Saturday, 21 April 2018

21/20/18


















Today is Dance Recording Day so I will soon be heading off to FFBCM (First Filipino Baptist Church) on my bike to teach this year’s Day Camp liturgical dance to a group of (I hope) EAGER volunteers!
Of course there will be food bribery in the shape of mango juice and ginger/chocolate biscotti!
This week started off with Victoria and her two older boys being with us Sunday Morning at the Pod, more than doubling our usual tiny community gathering. It was lovely to have the energy of small boys amongst us.
Then in the afternoon there was the CTM Board meeting followed by a meeting of the Church Visits Task Group, at both of which I am secretary and thus take minutes!
Sunday afternoon and evening also brought another wicked ice storm that continued through Monday. I was super-thankful we did not lost power J.
Despite the totally foul weather only one of the Day Camp Committee members was unable to come, to our Monday evening meeting as she lives the farthest away and her Mum was worried about her making it safely home that night (a very reasonable concern!)
After thatmeeting, it was time, on Tuesday, to type up tonnes of minutes and follow up on a gazillion items that had been flagged at the DC mtg.
As of that day I was also trying to carve out time to begin my huge spring-cleaning task of washing ALL the windows and doors (there are 28 windows and 7 doors in this house!!!). This marathon task includes taking down 29 curtain panels, washing all of them and then rehanging them. At this time I also wash all the dining room chair seat covers and slipcovers on two big armchairs, so things have been pretty manic around here. 
Throw in another “Miyazaki Movie Night” on Thursday, with the attendant cooking of a special meal (Chicken Pho followed by Tropic Aroma Cake) and you can see why manic is a good adjective 😊.
Not to slow down or anything, yesterday Jillian and I met about a bunch of Day Camp stuff over brunch and as I started out by saying- 
Today is the Liturgical Dance recording session 😊
In fact I think I need to hit a “pause” button now and head off on my trusty red bicycle…
Well the session went off super well, with 7 Team Members present, Miriam on the video camera and Adriel on sound. Here is a clip I took on my phone while we were rehearsing, I'm so proud of how hard they all tried, and I think the fine instructional video will be just fine 😊



My bicycle has now been safely put back in the garage and it is time to make dinner and to set out some resources for tomorrow at The Pod.   
But before I go we need this week’s recipe.
Last Monday, for the DC committee, I made a Provençal Chicken Salad. I was determined we would still have a nice meal, even if we lost power during the ice storm, so I had prepped the chicken and potatoes the day before. Happily we were able to eat it in a warm house and accompanied by hot tea but this actually is a good dish to start the day before as then it comes together super quickly when you want to serve it!

Provençal Chicken Salad
 6 boneless chicken thighs, cooked, cooled and cut in bite-sized chunks
3 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 can artichoke hearts
3 small zucchini, striped, halved, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 pounds boiled new potatoes, quartered
¼ cup each, pitted black and green olives, halved

Dressing: -
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup plain yoghurt
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. smoked paprika
2vTbsps. Lemon juice
2 Tbsps. white wine
¼ cup olive oil

Place all the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients and fold into the salad with a rubber spatula. Cover and chill at least 1 hour to blend the flavours. Serve at room temperature.
Serves 4-6

Saturday, 14 April 2018

14/04/18
















      What a strange spring we are having here! I saw my first robin while out walking with Wil this morning and yet a “severe winter storm” is forecast to hit us tomorrow. Oh My! the poor crocuses in the garden will be shredded.
   This evening is CTM’s spring fundraiser concert over at St. Peter’s Church and the Huyers will soon be arriving from Ottawa in order to attend. Victoria is the one who originally suggested the group “Infinitely More” who will be performing, I’m not sure how she knows them, but she does! If the storm is as bad as predicted they may come by train but unfortunately the weekend schedule does not always meet ones needs in terms of arrival times so I’m still not sure what is happening. The original plan was that they arrive some time this afternoon and that I would babysit Andrew (just turned 3) while the rest of the family attend the concert, they would then sleep over so as to be present for the CTM Board meeting tomorrow afternoon but due to the ghastly weather forecast, everything is sort of up in the air. All of this is rather reminiscent of Jillian’s Wedding Weekend back in January😊
This week a priority has been to forge ahead with the Program Manual as we near the point of final proofreading and publication. Arnee is now working on some of the last bits like the Table of Contents and I expect to receive the first draft copy of the whole document next week.
Throughout the week I’ve also spent quite a bit of time working on various aspects of the Training Retreat from making a giant pot of White Chilli to choosing passages for Small Group Devotions! 
At the Team Gathering last Saturday I posed a question to the Team Members as to whether, last summer, they had enjoyed using Taizé resources for our Evening Worship and Small Groups at the Retreat and was met by a resounding “YES!”  So it looks as if Jillian, this year’s Worship Director, is going to have to learn to play a number of new songs 😊. Last summer she was working several jobs as well as preparing for her wedding so she was not as involved in the Retreat as she has been in previous years but now she is back on the Day Camp Committee (and living literally 2 minutes away from Isaiah 40!) she volunteered to lead the Evening Worship at this year’s Retreat. Yesterday she was over for our weekly “Friday Lunch” visit and so we started to explore some of the resources and I think we will be revisiting the subject many times over the coming Fridays!
Today I have been busy inflating air mattresses for the little boys and prepping foods for the next few meals, still unsure who will be here to eat them. Right now I have a cake in the oven as I’m also trying to get ahead for Monday evening’s Day Camp committee dinner since even if the Huyers don’t make it tonight, tomorrow will still be a very full day with The Pod in the morning, CTM Board in the early afternoon and a Church Visits Task Group meeting after that! Somehow I may need to carve out time to shovel in between. UGH 😒
Well before I go and check on my cake, we still need this week’s recipe.
This past Wednesday, when baking, I made a batch of Ginger Almond Biscotti, which I plan to serve for dessert at lunch tomorrow. I really like this recipe as it has no butter and so the biscotti turn out extra crispy 😊

Ginger Almond Biscotti
¾ cup whole almonds
½ cup candied ginger
1 cup flour
½ cup cane sugar
1 ½ tsps. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 large egg white
½ tsp. vanilla

Toast the almonds in a large sauté over medium heat until browned. Chop coarsely in a food processor. Chop the candied ginger and toss with the almonds. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, soda, salt and ground ginger.
Place the egg, egg white and vanilla in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and foamy. Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon and then mix in the nuts and candied ginger. 
Line a large baking sheet with parchment and, with wet hands, form the dough into a long log about 3” wide and ½ “ thick.
Bake for 25-30 minutes in a preheated 325º oven, or until lightly browned and firm to the touch.
Leave the oven on and cool the log for about 15 minutes then with a serrated bread knife cut on the diagonal into ½ “ thick slices.
Stand the slices upright on the baking sheet and return to the oven to toast for 15-20 minutes or until crisp.
Makes about 2dozen. Freezes well.  

Sunday, 8 April 2018

08/04/18


As promised ,here are the photos from last night's Easter Team Gathering.
We had 19 people present and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, as you can see from the smiling faces!
I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story...













Saturday, 7 April 2018

07/04/18















Woo Hoo! Easter Team Gathering Day and I’m very busy running around setting up the house for the coming “invasion”!
We are expecting 18 people tonight; former, current and prospective Team Members, committee members, Chris Belle (who will be celebrating the Eucharist for us) and even one or two spouses of committee members.
The living room is set up, with prep for the Eucharist too and yesterday I made a giant pot of Vegetarian Chilli. Jessica has kindly offered to bake cornbread and everyone else is bringing either salad or desserts. I’m also preparing a big punchbowl of Lime-Mint Ade, which should go down well with the chilli.
This week I baked 48 Jamaican Patties and 3 dozen orange coconut macaroons for the Retreat and during the coming week hope to make White Chilli and after that hold off on the last few “make ahead” items until we are closer to July.
Easter Monday, which was technically a holiday (from CTM work anyway 😊) I used the day to defrost the two big chest freezers and take inventory, especially focusing on arranging all the bags and containers of Retreat food into separate sections of the freezers. That day I also hauled out the stove and fridge and gave both of them a good clean as well as sweeping out dust and washing down the walls and floor behind where they usually stand.
Tuesday Brett came and we had such a nice visit! We sat talking at the table for so long after lunch that I had to bring Wil’s bed into the dining room as he was quite confused as to why we were still sitting there! Brett will be travelling to many countries over the next three months so I got to hear all his plans and of course he was very interested to hear all about Day Camps. As I mentioned in a previous post, a Team will be going, this summer, to the Parish near Victoria BC where he is an honorary assistant so we talked a lot about that particular Day Camp too!
After Brett left my next spring-cleaning task was to oil all the butcher-block kitchen counters. Normally this means leaving them untouched for 24 hours before a final polishing but due to very nasty and intense rain all day Wednesday it took almost 48 hours before I could use them again or put back any of the small appliances that normally sit on them! Of course being me, I had also planned to bake the Jamaican Patties & Macaroons on Wednesday, which proved to be an insane idea since the only usable flat surfaces were the kitchen table and the stovetop AGH!!! That day I didn’t finish cleaning up and packaging everything until well into the evening but it was worth the mess to have that last really huge baking job for the Team Retreat completed.
Thursday I met with Jessica over lunch to discuss all things “Day Camps”. Later in April we will be doing the big inventory of all the Team Supplies and beginning to pack the Team Duffle Bags. Jessica is also the noble soul who assembles the vitally important TEAM LEADERS BINDERS! So she will be working here at the office with me quite a bit over the next month or so. Last year at this time she was also preparing for her wedding so at least this year there isn’t that added level of stress!
Finally, yesterday Jillian and I had our regular Friday Lunch together and again, besides catching up on “life” over the past two weeks (as since she did not come on Good Friday) we also discussed all sorts of important Day Camp business and I was delighted when she agreed to help out with the song recording session coming up in early May. Yay!! 😊 We had been looking for a guitarist for weeks so it is a huge relief to have someone in place. 
Well I need to get busy putting out boot trays (yes we still need them here as today is cold and windy with more wet snow forecast for this evening) and mixing up the limeade, but before I get to those jobs, we need a recipe.
For lunch with Jillian yesterday I made Pho. I had only tried it once before but it was so good that I enjoyed the leftovers for dinner last evening and plan to make it again later in the month when we have our next Miyazaki night!
It is a little complicated but a lot of the prep work can be done in advance so it can come together quickly at mealtime. Do try it!
Pho
8oz, boneless skinless chicken breast
7 cups chicken broth
1 whole clove
1 cinnamon stick
12 peppercorns
1 star anise
1 tsp. coriander seeds
5 slices of fresh gingerroot, bruised
6 scallions, 3 cut in 2”chunks, 3 thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and bruised
½ cup cilantro leaves 
8oz. rice noodles, cooked, drained and cooled
1 carrot, julienned
1 cup bean sprouts or sunflower sprouts
1 lemon or lime cut into wedges
1 tsp. cane sugar
1 tsp. Asian fish sauce

Place the whole spices in a large saucepan and toast for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the ginger slices, scallion chunks, garlic and chicken broth, bring to the boil and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and strain the broth through a fine sieve. Shred the chicken.
 Return the broth to a clean pan and add the sugar and fish sauce. Bring to the boil.
Divide the rice noodles between 4 large soup bowls, ladle an equal quantity of the hot broth into each bowl and top with the chicken, carrot and sprouts. Garnish with cilantro and a wedge of lemon. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 generously!

WATCH FOR A BONUS POST TOMORROW WITH OUR TEAM GATHERING PHOTOS 😊