Winter Is Hanging On

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On the third day of Spring, a winter storm will be moving in.


Happy Saint Patrick's Day - Erin Go Bragh!

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A Tree's Life

QuickImage Tags: Environment

A Tree’s Life Tree-Banding Research Program

A Tree’s Life is a citizen science study of backyard tree growth in response to global climate change. Your tree can tell us a lot about forests of the future.

A Tree's Life is looking for more citizen scientists. Will you join?

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Electric shock pet collars to be banned for being ‘unnecessary and cruel’

QuickImage Tags: Dogs Responsible Husbandry

"This type of device is not only painful for a dog, it can have a serious negative impact on their mental and physical well-being."

"A dog can't understand when or why it's being shocked and this can cause it immense distress, with many dogs exhibiting signs of anxiety and worsened behaviour as a result."

It's utterly flabbergasting that anyone with a sense of decency, affection for a pet, simple compassion and just plain intellect would put one of these on a living creature. The cruelty of it just floors me.

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Make Welsh Cakes for St. David's Day Tomorrow, March 1

QuickImage Tags: Local Gastronomy And Gustatory Delights

Welsh Cakes are the perfect breakfast and anytime snack on the feast day of their native country's patron saint, St. David, celebrated each year on March 1.

3 cups unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt**

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup cold butter**, cut into pats or diced

3/4 cup currants

2 large eggs beaten with enough milk to yield 3/4 cup liquid

**Use 1/4 teaspoon salt if you use salted butter; 3/4 teaspoon if you use unsalted butter.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

Work in the butter until the mixture is fairly evenly crumbly; a few larger pieces of butter can remain.

Mix in the currants.

Add the milk/egg mixture, mixing until the everything is moistened.

Turn the sticky dough out onto a well-floured work surface and divide it in half.

Shape each half into a thick 4" to 5" disc.

Cover one of the discs with plastic and refrigerate.

Leave the other on the floured work surface.

Roll the soft dough into a 9 1/2" circle; it should be about 1/4" thick.

Be sure to lift up the dough and flour underneath it as you roll so it doesn't stick. Using a 2 1/2" to 3 1/2" biscuit or other round cutter, cut the dough into circles.

Gather and re-roll the scraps, cutting until you've used all the dough.

Heat an ungreased skillet over low-medium heat; an electric frying pan or skillet, set at 325°F, works well here.

Fry the cakes for about 2 1/2 minutes on each side until they're golden brown and cooked all the way through. It's best to fry one sample cake first, to see if your pan is the right temperature.

Transfer the fried cakes to a rack to cool.

Repeat with the refrigerated dough.

Cut the circles, then let them warm at room temperature for about 10 minutes before frying.

Dust the finished cakes with cinnamon-sugar or superfine (castor) sugar; or split them, butter, and spread with jam. A pot of tea is the perfect accompaniment.

Yield: about 2 dozen 2 3/4" cakes.

Thank you, King Arthur Flour.

I never dust my Welsh cakes, they are good as is.

I'm going live wild and make them with orange rind and chopped craisins this time.


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Tapping Commences Today! The Earliest Ever

QuickImage Tags: Maple Sugaring Season

Taps are going in this morning, before the sap starts flowing.


Fat Tuesday’s Skinny Red Beans

QuickImage Tags: Abundance Adventures In Cooking Eat Local Gardening & Food Good Eats Gustatory Delights

This warming dish is perfect for Lent. It makes a good meal any day of the year. It could be served chilled or at room temperature in the heat of summer. Potluck, anyone?

The beans were soaked overnight to help the process along. First, the beans were cooked for approximately 10 minutes in the Instant Pot and set aside. Then the veggies were cooked and the beans added back in. All the veggies were cooked together just to make it easy, which worked quite well to blend the flavours and the texture was just what you want in a bean dish.

I must have used a different bean than intended by Moosewood because the cooked beans turned out quite plump, anything but skinny.

This dish was made with Monastery Red Beans that I grew last summer from seeds I got from Michelle Smith (Seeds Of Diversity) and seasoned with dried herbs from last summer's garden. Yay home grown!

2 cups chopped onions

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 tsp olive oil

1 cup each chopped carrots, celery and bell peppers ( red, green, yellow & orange )

1 tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried marjoram

1 pinch cayenne or more to taste

3 cups chopped fresh or canned tomatoes (28 ounce can)

1 ½ cups cooked or canned kidney beans

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 cup fresh or frozen okra (optional)

salt and ground black pepper to taste

chopped fresh parsley or minced scallions

Combine the onions, garlic and olive oil in a soup pot, cover and sauté on medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are softened.

Add the carrots, celery, bell peppers, oregano, thyme, basil, marjoram and cayenne.

Cover and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.

When the vegetable are just tender, stir in the tomatoes, kidney beans, mustard, brown sugar; add okra if desired.

Simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve topped with parsley or scallions.

Serve these beans on rice topped with salsa or in bowls as a stew, with a pile of mashed potatoes or with Almost Fat- Free Cornbread pg 110 of MooseWood Restaurant LowFat Favourites

Per 8 oz serving: 139 calories, 6.2 g protein, 2.4 g fat, 26.0 g carbohydrates, .3 g saturated fatty acids, .4 g polyunsaturated fatty acids, 1.2 monounsaturated fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 104 mg sodium, 3.2 g total dietary fiber.


One Teacher’s Brilliant Strategy to Stop Future School Shootings—And It’s Not About Guns

QuickImage Tags: Inspiration & Intelligent Thought New Ways Of Living

A few weeks ago, I went into my son Chase’s class for tutoring. I’d e-mailed Chase’s teacher one evening and said, “Chase keeps telling me that this stuff you’re sending home 
is math—but I’m not sure I believe him. Help, please.” She 
e-mailed right back and said, “No problem! I can tutor Chase after school anytime.” And I said, “No, not him. Me. He gets it. Help me.” And that’s how I ended up standing at a chalkboard in an empty fifth-grade classroom while Chase’s teacher sat behind me, using a soothing voice to try to help me understand the “new way we teach long division.” Luckily for me, I didn’t 
have to unlearn much because I’d never really understood 
the “old way we taught long division.” It took me a solid hour to complete one problem, but I could tell that Chase’s teacher liked me anyway. She used to work with NASA, so obviously we have a whole lot in common. Afterward, we sat for a few minutes and talked about 
teaching children and what a sacred trust and responsibility 
it is. We agreed that subjects like math and reading are not the most important things that are learned in a classroom. 
We talked about shaping little hearts to become contributors to a larger community—and we discussed our mutual dream that those communities might be made up of individuals 
who are kind and brave above all. And then she told me this.

Every Friday afternoon, she asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student who they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, she takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her, and studies them. 
She looks for patterns. Who is not getting requested by anyone else?

Who can’t think of anyone to 

Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?

Who had a million friends last week and none this week? You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down—right away—who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying. As a teacher, parent, and lover of all children, I think this is the most brilliant Love Ninja strategy I have ever 
encountered. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see 
beneath the surface of things and into the hearts of students. 
It is like mining for gold—the gold being those children who need a little help, who need adults to step in and teach them how to make friends, how to ask others to play, how to 
join a group, or how to share their gifts. And it’s a bully deterrent 
because every teacher knows that bullying usually happens outside her eyeshot and that often kids being bullied are too intimidated to share. But, as she said, the truth comes out on those safe, private, little sheets 
of paper.

As Chase’s teacher explained 
this simple, ingenious idea, I stared at her with my mouth hanging open. “How long have you been using this syst

em?” I said.

Ever since Columbine, she said. Every single Friday afternoon since Columbine. Good Lord.

This brilliant woman watched Columbine knowing that all violence begins with disconnection. All outward violence begins as inner loneliness. Who are our next mass shooters and how do we stop them?She watched that tragedy knowing that children who aren’t being noticed may eventually resort to being noticed by any means necessary.

And so she decided to start fighting violence early and often in the world within her reach. What Chase’s teacher 
is doing when she sits in her empty classroom studying those lists written with shaky 11-year-old hands is saving lvs. I am convinced of it. And what this mathematician has learned while using this system is something she really already knew: that everything—even love, even 
belonging—has a pattern to ds the help they need. It’s math to her. It’s math. All is love—even math. Amazing.

What a way to spend a life: looking for patterns of love and loneliness. Stepping in, every single day, and altering the trajectory of our world.

Glennon Doyle Melton writes the popular blog momastery.com and is the author of Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life.

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Apple Crisp (With Cranberries)

QuickImage Tags: Comfort Food Eat Local Fine Dining Frugal Meals

Apple Crisp is an all-time favourite and easier and faster to make than Apple Pie.

It lends itself well to additions such as cranberries, raspberries or rhubarb, which add a bright colour to the filling.

Spices can be adjusted according to your preference. Try adding a handful of chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans or 1/2 cup of rolled oats to the topping. If you like raisins or craisins, add some to the filling. There are no Food Police when it comes to Fruit Crisps. This way my stored produce from last year gets used as well.

My favourite version, and I've been making this for decades, is from Anna Thomas' Vegetarian Epicure 1. (As per usual, I adjust it a little to suit my taste.) It's usually made in a large baking dish but it can also be made in individual dishes, which is nice for company.

Today's version includes cranberries so the apples will have a rosy hue.

Dress it up with a scoop of ice cream or Pouring Custard.

Apple Crisp Vegetarian Epicure 1 pg. 280

8 cups apples, thinly sliced

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup butter

1 cup cranberries, raspberries, or rhubarb (optional)

Stir together the dry ingredients and cut in the butter.

Spread the apple slices thinly in a shallow 1 qt casserole and sprinkle the topping over evenly.

Cover and bake at 350 for 1/2 hour then uncover and bake another 1/2 hour.

The crust will be crisp on top and the flavour will have seeped into the apples.

Serve hot or cold, alone or with Creme Anglaise or ice cream.

Creme Anglaise or Pouring Custard Sauce Vegetarian Epicure 1 pg. 284

2 cup milk

4 egg yolks

6 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat the yolks with the salt and sugar until fluffy.

Scald milk, add to double boiler. Beat in the yolks.

Heating gently and stirring often, until it coats a spoon.

Stir in the vanilla and serve the sauce over steamed pudding, sweet souffles, berries, too-dry cakes, parfait, etc.

Aren't you glad I'm not writing about politics this time?



"President" Shit-For-Brains

QuickImage Tags: A Moral Outrage

What is it going to take for the Republican party in power to pretend they have morals and a sense of decency and get this p-o-s out of office? The piece of garage that is masqeurading as POTUS needs to be removed and sent away someplace secure where he can do no more harm.

Who thought that giving him the presidency would be good for the country? Why?

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