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Sunday, January 31, 2010

I Make Chicken Stew!

I don't know about around your place, but here, the chickens have been so down right cheap, that I buy one about every week!

But what to do with a roaster every week?

I decided to make a good old fashioned stew!

Toss the whole chicken into a nice big soup pot and cover with water. I put in about a 1/4 cup of soy sauce and a half pkg of onion soup mix.
Pop the top on and simmer for at least two hours to develop the flavor and soak it out of those bones.

After it has stewed a couple of hours, I generally take it off the burner and let it cool to lukewarm, or cool enough to handle the meat.
Scoop all the meat and bones out of the pot into a bowl and set the pot to simmer again.

Meanwhile, pull all the meat off the bones. Cut it up in big chunks, (it will likely separate anyway,) and toss it back in the pot. 
Slice about 2 cups of mushrooms in half and 3 or four big carrots into nice big hunks and throw all that into the pot.
Simmer until the liquid gets down to only cover the solids.

Take the pot off the stove. (It's just easier.) 

Sprinkle some cornstarch over it and whisk it in. 
(About 3 tablespoons, depending on how much liquid.)

Pop the pot back on a low heat until the gravy is nice and thick. This is also how I would make a filling for a chicken pot pie.
(Oooh! There's that word: Pie!)

I also had some sour cream in the frig and so I mixed that in.
(That's my secret!)

A little freshly grated black pepper on top.

A hearty, gut warming meal fit for any cold, sleeting night! 


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Silver Sunday

I am happy to join Gypsy Fish Journal for Silver Sunday!

I'd like to take us on an journey of a different silver!

Old fashioned cook stoves!

How many of you have hungered for a simpler time. One where a kettle sang on the stove all day, or the aroma of baking bread filled the whole house?

Heavy cast iron behemoths, squatting in the kitchen. Marvels of cast and chrome holding center stage!

Grate Restoration Stove works and Country Collectibles. Owned by Richard and Donna Vank of Courtland, Ontario, have been restoring antique and wood burning stoves for the past ten years and they have stoves that date back to the mid 1800's. They carry ornate cook stoves, parlor stoves, pot bellies, early gas and electric ranges as well as modern airtight wood stoves and cook stoves for fuel efficiency. Some stoves are in 'found' condition and are used for movie props and historic displays.

The beautiful silver piece of cast is the ornament on the top of the pot belly on the right.
Courtland, Ontario, located in the village just south of number 3 highway. Open all year. Website, phone listed at bottom.

 The intricate designs in the mold of cast iron always amazes me. How did they do it? Delicate feet holding such massive weight.
Located in a wonderful old Grist Mill. Look at those wooden floors!

You can't help but caress the enamel surfaces. The silver pieces so lovingly shone. The stove on the left is electric, the one on the right is gas. I love the warming ovens in the top.

This sweet little white model is a gas burner!

How much for such a delight you ask?

Remember that's Canadian dollars!
Pre-owned? It looks brand new!

Have as much fun with the website as I did with this post!
Thanks for joining me on silver Sunday!  

Go visit Gypsy Fish and see the list of wonderful silver Sunday Posts!

Friday, January 29, 2010


Hidden Gazebo... Hooked up?

While scouring the countryside for barns, I turned from taking one snapshot and Yo! 

What's that I see in the trees?

Wait! I see a Gazebo!
All day I had been hunting for one and here, I had almost missed this beauty!

A hidden gem! Ever resilient, some folks can make a silk purse from a sows ear!

Can you imagine a sultry summer's evening...
Sipping a cool one ...
Hooked up to the world by satellite?

Do you suppose they have a portable TV?

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Anytime you are traveling through the countryside, pause a moment and notice one of the monoliths known as a barn. Most of them handcrafted a century or more ago, they are quite often held together with wooden pins and huge, hand hewn beams. Each one unique and historic. 

These huge, sometimes craggy, sometimes svelte buildings make my eyes happy!
These are all located in Ontario, Canada

All gray and gloomy, this old soldier is simply falling in.
This barn would likely have been an implement barn.

A very typical example of an Ontario Barn.

Still in fair repair with cement silos.

What's in there? If you look closely, you'll still see remnants of the equipment for the elevators to attach to for loading the silage into the silos!

(Silage is fermented field corn that is chopped and fed to cattle)


The open doorways and windows behind the overgrown weeds and bushes.  I love the way the planks were never painted.

Oh! What secrets lie behind those walls?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Story

Inside the lid of a trunk is a story.

The war had passed a couple of months ago. At least that's what Ma told us. Nobody fought anymore. That's what Grandpa told us. The slaves were free now. That's what the poster on the painted wall at the Post Office told us. 

We were supposed to be in what those posters called "An Economic Rise!"

"Why am I so hungry Momma?"

"Shh! Little one!" My momma crooned, rubbing my back with her calloused hand, worn scrawny and almost to the bone from too much scrubbing and hard work.

"Your Daddy'll be back soon." She promised for the hundredth time.

I could only hope.

We had been without food now for ten days. Momma and I, (I was the oldest of three you see,) had let the hard bits of biscuit softened in water go to the young 'uns. The two babies were barely alive and we had patiently scooped a tiny bit of the gruel onto our fingertips and hand fed them. Momma couldn't feed them her milk anymore. Not enough food herself, I guessed.

The bits of vegetables we could scrounge from the nearby woods had run out and we couldn't walk farther and get back before dark. How I hated potatoes! 

How I would adore a potato!  Just thinking about the sweet orange flesh made my stomach growl alarmingly. Momma started to sing. 

"Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home" Her voice carried throughout our house. It comforted me. Bouncing off the bare floors and curtain less windows.  We'd had to sell most of our furniture for food.

"Swing low, sweet chariot, comin' for to carry me home." Her words trailed off and opening my eyes, I searched her face. Oh! What if my momma went away like grandma had? I couldn't bear the thought! She was holding her breath.

"I hear something!" She whispered. Out the door we ran!

Daddy had come back!

I don't know if the uniform is correct or that's where this trunk came from, but this is what I congured up in my head the instant I saw this. 

Please feel free to create your story own and add in the comment section.  Where do you think this illustration is from and what is your version of it's story?

I can hardly wait to see what you send me!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Snowmen of 2010

On the south side of St Thomas, Ontario is a short cul de sac. Mostly mid 70's ranch style brick houses.... a quiet place... A nice neighborhood to raise a family in safety and comfort....

Imagine my horror to discover that the notorious Snow Family had moved in?
I mean sure... I've read about them in the newspapers... who hasn't? 
But to meet them in person? 

What's the neighborhood coming to! 

Call 911! Call the mounties! Call Somebody would you?

This was the meanest looking one. See? You can't even see his eyes!

Look! He's got that hat pulled way down over his eyes! 
Suspicious, don't you think?

The mother of the bunch is quite a piece too!

Is this a new trend in head gear or does she think this is summer?


Do I have to go shopping now to keep up? 

And then the child... Oh! The poor little thing!

So bow legged! Maybe they simply couldn't afford braces?

At least he has a muffler against the cold!

Hey Dick! Call the rental place for a steam cleaner and let's clean up this neighborhood!

On a more serious note: 

If any one wonders why I love and feature snowmen as I do?
They are sculpture. Pure forms of expression. 
And many of these snow people are the first attempts at sculpture by a child.

They are so wonderful and expressive and I love them all!

Monday, January 25, 2010

What's Inside?

The Courtland Bakery!

When I find someplace that is outstanding, I could snap photos all day long! This huge bakery is so packed full of delights, it was hard to decide what to photograph and what to leave out! Yesterday, my post was all about the delicious beef pies we feasted upon.

Today... I'll tell the rest of the story!
If you can't see the whole photo on your screen, just click it!

Of course, when we think the word Bakery, we always think of bread first. All types of bread and many dietary breads are available. Example: No sugar, no cholesterol rye. 
This bakery will not disappoint. I believe (and it's evident in the taste,) that they still use real butter and quality ingredients. The community was originally settled with Polish, Hungarian and Belgian immigrants and this food reflects those origins. 


Baby Pies abound with any filling imaginable!

An enormous kitchen boasts cleanliness and a sweet smell. I've been shopping here since I was a teenager.

Bars galore can be purchased singly or by the dozen!
I saw Three kinds of nanimo, date squares, brownies, dream bars, butter tart squares and carrot cake sheets. I can't remember them all!

I've bought these before! They certainly have a little bite to them!

One of my other first choices is puff pastry and they make these the way I like, nice and brown. My sister bought elephant ears.

I had to take home four of these Cheese Crowns. Two lemon, one cherry for Dick and one blueberry for me!
Puff pastry made with cream cheese instead of butter. A little cheesecake like filling in the cups and then a fruit of creamy filling on top. Pure Bliss!

Lots of choices for those hard to find foods. Sauerkraut, noodles and chutneys. You can see the cheese counter to the left.

Some pretty wonderful selections of cold meats. Many of them made locally. My sister bought this pork loin and bacon loaf. Gosh! it looked good!


They have about ten tables set up so you can sit in front of those big picture windows, bask in the sunshine and eat your favorite sweet!
Although, it's always hard to find an empty one.

Come! Join us!

Pictures all taken with my Digital Camera: A Nikon P90

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In Search of Pie

The Courtland Bakery, 
 Courtland, Ontario

In Southern Ontario, partway between Delhi and Tillsonburg... right along Highway 3  lies the small village of Courtland. Small, but mighty, this community is packed full of day tripping goodness.

And I finally found real pie!

A simple brick building in a simple rural community. 
The austere exterior hides the delights within.

Tons of Pie!

Something for every palate!

Oh Heaven! Oh Bliss!

Then we thought, Oh! It's lunchtime and we should show some sense!

So we picked Beef pies!

What an amazing choice! 

Handmade right on the premises with flaky, to die for pastry!

Every bite was a dream with mouth watering goodness.

         If you're ever driving down #3 Hwy, stop in and treat yourself!

Tomorrow... What else was inside!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Make Cupcakes!

Dick came home and announced he'd like to take something to work today for the gang because they are all mandatory overtime. Heck! I said, (under my breath of course,) I really didn't feel like cooking on a Friday night. 

So what to do?

Out came the boxes and cans! Yep! I don't care what anybody admits, everyone will resort to a box when they're tired and a little bitchy!

Here's my ingredients picture.

Whenever I make a cake from a box, I always add a teaspoon full of vanilla,  use a third of the water measurement of milk instead and add a big dollop of butter to the mix. 
My mother always said it took the cardboard taste away!
So I just followed the directions on the box with my additions and changes.

Hmmm... What to do now... What to do?

Well, to start with, I fixed the store bought icing up a little with a dollop of butter. 
(Again, takes the cardboard taste out and it just gets creamier.)
And just slathered it on. 
(Well, the part that didn't get all over my fingers and that I had to  lick off!)

Then I remembered some gummy worms I had bought for the Grands

And so I twirled them and stuck them in the icing

Wow! I was on a roll! I ran to the pantry and got these out!

 And this is what I ended up with!

Plated some up to see how they looked

 OK, so I went a little nuts and  decided to get all fancy smancy

This is a candelabra that has been sparkle-ized!

A close up to make your mouth water.... mmmmm

I couldn't stand it either!

They're decent for out of a box! I hope Dick's buddies approve!