Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013.

Purple BrusselsI cooked the Brussels Sprouts recipe I posted just before Christmas. It was delicious, I was very pleased with it. I also bought some purple Brussels too, never seen them before, Matt refused to try them but I thought they were good and slightly sweeter than the usual ones. I am planning to serve them today, Boxing Day (Dec 26) for our guest.

What a Christmas, the headline on the news page of CBC on Christmas Day was “Tens of Thousands of Canadians Without Power” as a result of the ice storm of course. Then Christmas Eve night, Matt went into the bedroom to retire and the heating system was making one hell of a noise. It is a hot water system and what we could hear was like rushing water. That stopped eventually, I had called the Super who said he couldn’t do much about it, especially at Christmas!!! Then it started making some really weird noises, with my CPAP machine I could drop off, but Matt couldn’t. Just about then there was a loud knocking on our door, Super’s wife wanting to know if we had any flooding as a pipe had broken in the heating system and in the floors above us people were quite badly flooded. Lucky for us, we were OK. Of course the heat was off now too, however, whoever they called to fix it, this morning the heat was OK again. There was at least one more place flooded on our floor but we escaped. That doesn’t take into account all the poor people in disaster areas who are in even more trouble.

However, on Christmas morning everything seemed to be OK so we Christmas Morning Kirhad breakfast, cleaned up, and started cooking moves. Around 11 Matt poured me a Kir Royale which is Cassis and sparkling wine. Cassis is a French liqueur made from blackcurrents and in champagne, absolutely delicious. The Cassis was a presie today too. Then as has been traditional in my family for as long as I can remember, we had slices of ham and Coleman’s Mustard (very hot). Unfortunately the ham was a bit dry and Matt figured tasteless. I Ham for Brunchdidn’t think it was too bad and ate mine. We buy a fully cooked ham and eat it without heating it in any way. If I want to cook ham I buy it uncooked. However, I do prefer ham with fat round the edges but sadly those kinds of hams are usually way too big for just the pair of us. We would be eating it for a month.

Ice PicWe actually got a white Christmas and it snowed a bit during the day too which made everywhere look really pretty. Yesterday there were some wonderful sights with trees covered with ice sparkling in the sunshine – I wanted to take pix but the sun was wrong for me. This is one I copied from CBC News although with the sun it 2013-12-25 04.51.07looked great. There are more ice pix there if you want to check them out. This picture is one I took from one of the bedroom windows. Shows the white street too. I was going to edit out the windows, but I wanted to point out how clean they are and we have had them for quite a few months now. Those trees were covered in ice yesterday (24th)

Here’s something to counteract all that rich food we have been eating lately.


From EatingWell:  January/February 2013
This vegetable-packed minestrone soup recipe is inspired by a popular Weight Watchers vegetable soup recipe. It makes a big pot of soup, so keep some in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and freeze the rest of the vegetable minestrone soup in single-serve portions. That way you always have an easy, delicious vegetable soup to start your meal or to eat for lunch. Think of this vegetable minestrone recipe as a starting point for other healthy soup variations, too: toss in leftover chopped cooked chicken or whole-wheat pasta or brown rice to make it more satisfying.
10 servings
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions (2 medium)
  • 2 cups chopped celery (4 medium stalks)
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper (1 medium)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chopped cabbage
  • 3 cups chopped cauliflower (about 1/2 medium)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 medium)
  • 2 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces, or frozen, thawed
  • 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney or pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups chopped fresh spinach or one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 10 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven (8-quart or larger) over medium heat. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 13 to 15 minutes. Add cabbage, cauliflower, carrots and green beans; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 10 minutes more.
  2. Add broth, water, tomato sauce, tomatoes, beans and bay leaf; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in spinach and simmer for 10 minutes more.
  3. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in basil. Top each portion with 1 tablespoon cheese.

Have a great Boxing Day to my English, Canadian and Australian friends. To everyone else, have a great day.


  1. Glad you weren't flooded Jo. Our news headlines are much the same here - flooding, thousands of homes without power and spoiled Christmas travel/holiday arrangements. We count ourselves very lucky.

    Your snowy photos look great - I'd rather have the white stuff than all this wet stuff I think!

    I served mauve mashed potato with last year's Boxing Day meal but neither daughter nor mums would try it .... amazing how conditioned we are to having 'normal' foods!

    Just off now to organise Boxing Day Dinner. I've pre-cooked meats and some vegetables as I'll be serving it at my Mum's flat which has a tiny kitchen. I'm taking crockery and cutlery from my house so we can just bundle it all in a box to bring home and thrown in the dishwashwer afterwards. Its quite a military operation I have going here ... keep your fingers crossed I haven't forgotten a vital ingredient (like the prawns).

    We'll have both mums there and David and myself. Just the 4 of us having 3 courses. They live within 20 mins drive of each other so means we only have to do a 2 way drive today - if we bring them to our house it means a lot of driving picking them up and returning them home.

    Enjoy the rest of your holiday

    1. I have only seen mauve potatoes once, bought some, liked them and have never seen them since.

      Sounds like quite an operation you have going there for the mums. I can see the point though. What're you cooking? Always used to do a leg of pork with lots of crackling on Boxing Day. Yum. Have a great day anyway and go paint some of those stones.

  2. The food looks really amazing!

  3. You escaped the worst of it and I'm so glad. Christmas is a bad time for a lack of power, although I'm thinking no time is good for that affliction.
    Our day was quiet and fun with the boys over for dinner and a movie.

    Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

    1. Living in NC, we had one hurricane which knocked out power for a week. It was scorching hot, but at least we had a barbecue we could use for cooking or making coffee or something.and we weren't cold. Friend was telling us her daughter doesn't have power and what a bad time they are having of it.

      Happy New Year to you Yolanda. Not read your books yet, but hope to soon.

  4. Hi Jo - all I can say is thank goodness you weren't flooded out by a burst pipe or two .. the Brussels are supposed to be sweeter ... but apparently we all have different taste buds and some people just 'can't' eat whatever nature gives to BSs ...

    Glad the day went happily though and hope the 26th was fun .. we're not iced up, but flooded out - well I'm ok .. the rest of the UK is nearly a series of islands??!! The Medway is on red alert as is the lower Thames - I've given up looking! Cheers to us though - sad for many others .. things will get sorted eventually .. Hilary

    1. I think they were a bit sweeter. Everyone had some to try in the end, not much in the way of comments. Quite a lot of flooding happened, all through the floors apparently with people getting soaked furniture, etc. Will be quite an insurance claim for the landlords.

      Matt's daughters told us Maidstone in Kent was under water but luckily they are not too close and OK. At the moment anyway.

  5. I love purple brussels sprouts, but they're a bit hard to find around here. I've never had a Kir Royale, but now must order one next time I go out. Sounds very festive! We love ham, and buy it both cooked and uncooked. One idea for the ham with the fat that's too large for you: it freezes beautifully, so I slice it all and get it off the bone, then freeze the bone. Then when I'm ready to make soup, I'm all set and can decide how many slices to defrost and how much to put in the soup. Our favorite is black bean and potato, with onion and celery. I have no recipe, The Engineer and I just make soups without them, and adjust seasonings as we go. Soup is the only thing I can cook like that, though. Everything else? Gimme the recipe!
    Tina @ Life is Good

    1. I was a bit disappointed in them. Still have some left which I should use fairly soon. I never thought of buying a large ham and freezing it Tina, that is a good idea. The ham we ended up with was very disappointing. I too make a lot of soups without recipes although I do use a recipe for a cream of asparagus soup. I also take recipes as a basic idea for soups and proceed from there. We both love soup.