Monday, 28 April 2014

Random shots from around Newfoundland & Labrador

I've been sorting through the pictures on my computer, and thought this was a beautiful one to share.  This shot was taken from the balcony of a cottage we rented for the weekend back a few years ago, in Ferryland, NL.

While in that area, we hiked out to do some bird-watching at the Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve.  The birds in this shot are gannets.  They were making so much noise, it was incredible.  There were thousands of them there.

 I'm thinking I'd love to go back this summer for another visit.


Friday, 25 April 2014

Sourdough Bread

I had never made sourdough bread before, so I thought I'd do a little research and give it a go.  I found a recipe that didn't appear to be too complicated and tried it.  I was pleasantly surprised at how UN-complicated it is...and the results----Really Worth It!!!!!  Hubby gave it a thumbs-up, and I will definitely keep feeding my sourdough stater for more breads.  This should be awesome throughout the summer.  You could mix up a batch anytime, and it'll be a great side to barbecued meats or fish.  It will be especially good for those big backyard brnnches when there's lots of family visiting and on the weekends.  Check out the recipe here.

Here's how my starter took off on Day 1.  Shortly after I took this photo, I wrapped the bowl in plastic and put it in the refrigerator.

A couple of days later, I ttok out 1 1/c cups of starter to make a loaf.  Here is my dough after the first rise.... I kneaded it down on a floured pastry sheet, shaped it and placed it in the baking pan---and put it aside for the second rise.........(NOTE***I put a clean kitchen towel over the rising dough, and placed it in  the oven, with just the oven light on.  It rose to more than double its size in about 1 1/2 hours)

After it rose for the second time, I lightly scored the top with a sharp serrated knife,and put it back in the preheated oven.

Mmm--does this look good, or what?? It baked to a beautiful golden color, was as light as a feather and smelled delicious.......... for the final test----the bread had  that beautiful sourdough texture, and tasted delicious!!!!

I can't wait to bake up another loaf-------sourdough starter, anyone????

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

Here is a great recipe that I tried for the first time yesterday.......

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted                                    1 large egg
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed                                1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar                                            1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour                                        1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 12-count standard-sized muffin pan extremely well with floured cooking spray or grease and flour the pan.
NOTE**** I used three 8-cup pans-they are about half the size of regular muffin cups
    In a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter, then add brown sugar, peanut butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.  Then add egg.
    Add the flour, baking soda, optional salt, and stir until just combined; don't over-mix.  Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips; reserve remainder to place on cookie tops before baking.
    Distribute dough equally among the muffin pans, each will approximately be filled to about three-quarters full. The cookies don't rise much (nothing like muffins) so it's okay if dough seems high in the cavities.
    Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips on each cookie top.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until tops have set and are pale golden. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Watch your cookies and not the clock; bake until done. Allow cookies to cool in pan for at least 15 minutes before removing them.  Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

 Take a peek...........

You must let these cool for about 15-20 minutes before trying to remove, or they'll simply crumble.

These cookies smelled absolutely divine, while baking, and I have to admit I tried one. They are Yummy!!!!


Monday, 21 April 2014

Easter Feast

We went to the city to spend Easter with our daughter and her fiancee---as always, we had a fabulous visit, with lots of food and drink.  My niece and her husband came for the Easter feast on Saturday evening, as we were driving back home early in the day on Sunday......

The table is all set, and the aroma of the roasting turkey and the all the trimmings was just fabulous


A great coffee followed..........

and of course, some dessert-blueberry pie with vanilla ice-cream.........

And of course, old man winter stopped by and this was the sight on Easter morning.................

We had an awesome Easter weekend-hope you did too!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Happy Easter from my house to yours!!

 How about this beautiful hydrangea, An Easter gift from my dear friend, Moe.
I'll be putting this one out in my yard after the threat of frost is past...that may be as late as September...haha!
I'll keep you posted on that. 
We are expecting 10 cm of snow in these parts tomorrow!

I made a batch of "Coconut Bird's Nest Cupcakes". 
 I hope they taste as good as they smelled while baking.
 One of my oldest little Easter trinkets........all dressed up in her
 Easter bonnet-guarding the cupcake.....

and of course, my Easter tree...

Happy Easter Every Bunny!!!!!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Why did the ducks cross the road??????

To do this............

On my walk on Saturday, I caught a glimpse of these two darlings waddle across the road.  When I got up near where they had crossed, this is what I saw-------Beauties, aren't they?!
Have a great week everyone.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Spaghetti Squash-----Yummy!!!!

My friend from work, Amanda, is always coming in and telling me about the great things she cooked---especially after the weekend.  I love her recipes and try quite a few.  I was totally intrigued when she told me her spaghetti squash story.  I had never heard of it, but it's amazing!!!!!!!  Click here to see how to cook your own spaghetti squash, and you can use any pasta sauce you like.

First, wash the squash, cut it in half, then scoop out the pulp and seeds........

Next, rub a little olive oil on the inside and outside, season with a little sea salt and pepper.and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet, cut side down, like so.................

Bake the squash at 375 for about 30 minutes, until when poked it feels spongey.  In the meantime, prepare sauce.  I did a regular spaghetti meat sauce for this first try......

When squash feels tender to the touch, remove from oven and lightly rake a fork over the inside, and Voila-- it just falls away like cooked spaghetti noodles..............

It was so amazing---it tasted delicious!!!  You can serve it the traditional way......

Or, you can use the scraped out squash shell, place some shredded squash and spaghetti sauce back in it for individual/single servings...........

 Hubby loved this, and the squash doesn't seem to make you feel bloated, like pasta----
definitely a recipe to try when we have a crowd.  
Wouldn't  it be awesome to use a large squash and put the shredded squash back into the shell, 
and place it on a large platter for everyone to serve themselves!!!!!!

 Please let me know if you try this...or maybe you have a favorite spaghetti squash recipe 
of your own to share.....I'd love to hear from you!!

Thanks Amanda.


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Eagle Banding at Merasheen Island

I've just started the monumental task of organizing and cataloging all of the photos that hubby has taken over the years in his work.  He is about to retire and I really want to organize all of the fabulous pictures that he has taken.  As you'll see, it's a job worth doing....I think so anyway.

The first group of pictures I'll share are from an eagle banding trip to Merasheen Island in July of 2006.  Merasheen Island is located in Placentia Bay, on the southeast coast of Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada.  On this trip, my husband and his cohorts actually went up on cliffs at the edge of the ocean and climbed out into eagle nests, to put a tracking band on one of the the legs of the baby eagles (known as eaglets).  Surprisingly, the mother eagle is very non-aggressive and didn't bother them at all while they completed this work.  To see where Merasheen Island is located on the island of Newfoundland, click here.  To actually learn a little about Merasheen Island, click here.

For this particular expedition, the group stayed in a wildlife camp on Merasheen Island.  The provincial government actually have many of these patrol/research camps all over the island.  This is a shot of the spectacular sunrise right form the wharf......

I wouldn't mind getting before daylight if I could look at this view.....

Merasheen was resettled many years ago, but many people come back each summer to fish and some have beautiful homes and cottages on the island.  There are lots of old stages and sheds all along the coastline, that are still used by the people who come each summer, like this.......

Here's a shot of mama eagle coming back to the nest...

This little guys just got banded, as you can see......

Notice the band on the left leg.

In the afternoon, after the days' work is complete, it sight-seeing time.  Here is an old abandoned stage near the water's edge........

Here, the boys pulled up and visited with some people who come back here to live each summer, to trap lobsters.......

This friendly little guy was really happy to see visitors.........

This is the view from the wharf at camp that they stayed in.......what a place to sit and relax after a day's work........wait for sunset, then crawl into a warm cozy sleeping bag.....


Monday, 7 April 2014

Caribou at "MileTen" on Mint Brook Resource Road, near North Pond.

Every year a small herd of caribou grazes in the area of Burnt Pond.  We had been planning a trek up over 'da road to see them for the last couple of months, but the timing just never seemed right.  On Sunday morning, it was very gray and snowing and didn't look like it was going to happen, but the snow stopped and it brightened up a little, so we decided to give it a shot.  With the milder weather, the road is really muddy in places, so we went in Dave Stead's old truck.  Dave & Sharon picked us up and we stopped in for the other Dave (& Linda) and we were off!!

We took photos from the road, and it was still pretty gray up there, but you could easily see the animals......

One of these was still pretty lazy and didn't even bother to get up for a photo......

It is likely that there were many more down over the bank, that we couldn't see...

Awesome afternoon.  we usually do this much earlier in the winter on snowmobile.  I am so happy we went up though---it was well worth it!

Of course, as always with us, we just can't get together without having a little lunch.  Dave G had some crab legs cooked up, so with a little persuasion we went in to their place.....he didn't have to twist our arms too hard!!!