Month: October 2012

Lime frozen yogurt canning for a new generation

Cookbook Review: This cookbook was one of three new cookbooks I bought last Boxing Day. I have about eight cookbooks now, seven I got in the past year. Of all these, I’ve used this one the most. The main reason being is that right now, I don’t really cook or bake that much, but in the summer, I did canning, but this book doesn’t just have recipes for canning.

First off, this book is good value for money. It has 200 recipes and it’s seasonal based. While this doesn’t always apply since I live in Canada and the author lives in California, the layout of the book does apply to most places i.e. berry recipes follow berry recipes.

Additionally, it’s not all just canning, but it includes various clever ways of using leftover or excess fruit such as in the recipe below. The book is a great resource for any novice or seasoned canner, and most of the recipes are from scratch. There are no packets of pectin around here.

Some of the canning recipes I liked included: “Strawberry and lemon preserves”, “Blueberry Apple Jam” and “Concord Grape Jelly with Green Apples”. I wasn’t a big fan of her “Do Chau” (pickled carrot and daikon) recipe, but all in all, this book is incredibly useful for the casual and serious canner and cook.

There are also recipes on how to use your canned goods (for pies, savoury dishes, etc) and other ideas for preservation like the Lime Frozen Yogurt recipe below.

All in all, I recommend this book for canners and those who just like fruit.

Canning for a new generation

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Sunday Salon

Hello everyone! How is your Sunday going?

This week, I read Lost Laysen by Margaret Mitchell and continued to read Bel-Ami. I may read a bit of it today, but I also want to fiddle. I like the writing in the book, but it requires more concentration because of the French.

Last week, I made Lime Frozen Yogurt from Canning for a New Generation and I am writing up a review of the cookbook. The yogurt turned out ok, but it’s going to take me awhile to eat it!

Skipped badminton again this week, but still love yoga. I’ve been thinking I should meditate again. I use to do it once a week back in graduate school, and I really think it helped me get through that year. Does anyone else meditate?

It’s colder, and I like to stay indoors more. I am a homebody at heart.

Have a good week, everyone!

Lost Laysen Margaret Mitchell

This is the ‘lost’ romantic novella Mitchell wrote for one of her beaus when she was fifteen (going on sixteen). Mitchell probably didn’t want this published since she dictated that all her personal artifacts, writings and original manuscripts be burned after her death. Furthermore, this was seemingly a gift between young friends and lovers.

This story is melodramatic. Three men are in lust/love with the main female character named Courtenay Ross. Billy Duncan, the hard fighting sailor and narrator/protagonist, is ardently in love with Courtenay. I’m not sure why, but I guess Courtenay has Scarlett O’Hara level of attractiveness that make men want to marry, love, or rape her in this story.

Reading this and Gone with the Wind reminds me how sheltered Mitchell’s life seemed to be. I often wondered when reading what her exposure to other ethnicities and non-Caucasian people were. There is some derogatory remarks about the Japanese in this story. Did she even meet a Japanese person when she wrote this? The antagonist and would-be rapist of the story is a “half-breed” who is half Spanish and half Japanese, but receives no dialogue in this story at all.

It is a bit unfair to critcise this novella too much since she didn’t intend for many people to see it. I do think it shows her promise as a writer. It is definitely much better than most high school short stories. I enjoyed the book not just for the novella, but mostly for the insight about Mitchell’s life in the early twentieth century.

Read October 23-24th 2012.

My Gone With the Wind review will be up on Margaret Mitchell’s birthday November 8th.

This week on BTT:

Are there any good books that you read IN SPITE OF the cover and ended up wondering what on earth the artist and publisher were thinking to pair up a cover that so badly represented a perfectly good book?

And … if you didn’t like the cover, what made you pick up the book? The author? Assigned reading from school? A recommendation from a friend?

As I said last week, most times, I don’t really see that many bad covers. If I do, I don’t notice it as much as the book for itself. I do notice that French publishers keep their covers much simpler than those in the anglophone publishing world. I was French book browsing this weekend and noticed again how many of their books lack a lot of colour and intrigue. They focus less on advertising to be sure.

Usually, I pick up books for a plethora of reasons, including, but not limited to: author that I have read before, it is a classic/award winner, part of a series, or a recommendation from a friend/blog/or other source. I use to read for school, but it doesn’t apply now that I am out of it.

How about you?

Sunday Salon

Hello, everyone!

I am still reading Bel-Ami. I am nearly halfway through it, but I won’t be able to read it by the time the book is due on Tuesday. I’ll have to continue by downloading a copy. I have to find a French one for the Kindle though. I’m enjoying reading it in French, but it’s one of those books where none of the characters are likable so I’m not really rooting for anyone. The writing is good though; I do love French.

No reading today as a friend is visiting from out of town so I am out and about. It’ll be a good way to test my new camera out.

In an effort to curb my hobbies, I’ll probably drop badminton after Christmas. I am no longer looking forward to it like I use to. I even skipped it to this week because I was tired and I rather play fiddle instead. I’m really getting into my music. It’s been six weeks, and I’ve learned three tunes. I find it meditatively and boosts my confidence since I’ve never been particularly musical.

Next month, I’ll have more time to read (yay!), but also look for jobs (boo!).

What is everyone reading this weekend? Have a good week!

Taska This knit purse was a stashbusting project from yarn from the first sweater I ever made: Aftur (Ravelry link). I had several left over balls from the main sweater and the fair isle. The designer probably foresaw this and designed this companion purse to go with it. Taska It is doubtful that I will use it often because I tend to like bigger bags. I don’t really wear the sweater often either, but only for outdoors activities such as skating and hiking which I don’t very often in general. I love this sweater though. It is very itchy so I always have to wear turtleneck underneath it, but it is very warm and it almost feels like I am wearing protective chain mail with it on. I love lopi wool.

Taska, started September 10th, finished October 3rd 2012. Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Taska by Védís Jónsdóttir from Ístex Lopi No. 25 Ravelry Pattern Page
Size: Blocked W 9.5″/25cm x H 10.5″/28cm
Yarn: Ístex Létt-Lopi. Leftovers from my Aftur sweater. Here the original amounts I started with, and all leftovers from the original 12 bought for the sweater, save the last brown one. I only used up the brown and the orange one. Still have a fair amount of the others left:

  • Oatmeal: 32g+34g
  • Black Heather: 21g
  • White: 35g
  • Mustard: 41g
  • Crimson Red: 42g
  • Orange: 48g – Even though I had a full skein of this, ran out of this in the lining and had to finish with the Mustard.
  • Brown: 23g – I had little of the the black to start off, but I used leftover brown (23 g) from another lopi project to replace it. I also used this brown for the strap.

Needles: HiyaHiya #7/4.5mm and #6/4.0mm 40″/100cm metal circulars. The latter only for the strap. Also a 4.0mm crochet hook for the loop.
Modifications & Notes:

  • Judy’s Magic Cast-On for the start so I wouldn’t need to sew the bottom closed
  • Used a tutorial for the crochet loop tutorial. I am not a good crocheter so I did my best and it’s not neat, but it’s rather sturdy.
  • Slipped first stitch of every row the strap. Knit until I ran out of yarn which was around 115cm.
  • Blocked the strap and the bag before sewing them and the button on.
  • The strap is too long though, I would make it about 30cm shorter for someone of average height. I sewed it deep down into the bag for the result.

Tools/Notions: One button.
Cost of Project: Whatever the small fraction from the original 12 skeins I bought from the sweater ($65CAD) + the brown + the button.
Would I knit it again? No, but I do like this pattern as a stashbuster.

Have a good weekend! For more FOs, go to Tami’s Amis.

This week on BTT:

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but there’s no question that it can make a difference!

What book(s) have your favorite covers? Something that’s perfect for the story, the tone, the colors, the mood…

And did you pick up the book BECAUSE of the cover? Or were you going to read it anyway, and the cover was just serendipitous?

I have picked up books based on the cover, but I haven’t done it in a long time. I now usually pick the book based on reviews or word of mouth. I do like a good cover though.

Since I have read a lot of classics, I like a lot of the publishers of classic book sellers. My favourite edition of classic books is the hard cover Everyman’s Editions. I also really love the Penguin covers as they always pick out the right design and photo. I like the new prints they have for the Austen and Bronte books too.

Some of the best covers I’ve seen are, unsurprisingly, from graphic novels like Blankets or Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series.

Most of the time, books have good or OK covers and there aren’t many that I dislike really or find off putting for books. Publishers must sell books so they are much more careful about book covers than say, people who make movies. You’re more likely to see bad movie posters than bad book covers I think.

WIP Paper Totoros

Lately, I have been working on the Paper Dolls pattern by Kate Davies, but I am doing the Totoros variation. I’m using Sandnes Garns Sisu cream, green and dark grey for the Totoros so it will resemble the big one in the film. It was the most cost effective twisted yarn that I could find, and actually, it’s not bad so far. Just a tad fuzzy. I really like the look of the corrugated ribbing which I knit the MC White in my right hand and the CC1 Green in my left with Norwegian Purling.

Someone on Ravelry gave me their Totoro spreadsheet, but I modified the decreases for my own size which took about an hour of maths. I’ve only made about three waist decreases so far and I’m decreasing faster in the pattern because I am making a smaller waist than for the size 6/34″ that I am making. I think I am mostly on gauge with my 2.75mm though I may need to change needles for the yoke to be smaller since many people seem to lit a bit looser for stranded work. Furthermore, my chart is taller than the one in the pattern.

I am knitting a bit less these days since I have so many other hobbies going on. I still love to knit and am doing it regularly, but I am trying to achieve a balance with it. Before, I use to knit every day, and now, I am much better at knitting in big bursts every few days. The projects take longer, but I really need to cut back my knitting for other things.

What’s on your needles today?

For more WIP Wednesdays, go to Tami’s Amis.

Gatineau Park Thanksgiving Weekend

Sunday Salon

It’s been an oddly long week though I only had four day work week.

I did skim one book and read another. They were both relationship self-help book. I’m very much an analytical person and I am at that age where many of my peers are married or going to be. I’ve been wondering more about my own relationship future/lack thereof so what better way to do this than to skim a lot self-help books? They are actually helping even though they sometimes offer contrary advise to one another. I read funny one called Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb. I doubt I’ll read a review for it, but I enjoyed it.

In other book news, I am reading Guy de Maupassant’s Bel-Ami in French! Ok, I am also reading it in English after every chapter to improve comprehension. It is slow going.

Got three new cookbooks this week, and one of them is Nigella’s Christmas and I don’t think I will cook from it anytime soon, but it’s a great cookbook just to browse through.

So bad news first is that I am going to be unemployed again in November. I restarted this blog as I way to cheer myself up from my employment situation so this means more time for books, blogging and my other nine million hobbies.

Fiddle Dust

Good News: I decided to splurge my current dwindling income a new camera: Canon 60D! I have been waiting for a DSLR for years. This is the first new camera I’ve bought in six years. I wanted to wait out for the 70D, but to be honest, I was getting a bit impatient. I saw a great bundle from Best Buy on Thursday and decided to jump at it yesterday. I haven’t been hyping myself up for this purchase so it feels a bit surreal.

It hasn’t changed my life so far in the one day. It has great 1080p video, but I don’t really like video editing. It took a bit for me to figure out how to do an OK self-portrait since I do a lot of these for my knitting photos. My old camera was a pro at those. I got two lenses with it: a 50mm portrait and a 55-200mm telephoto. I really wanted the 50mm portrait, but I doubt I will use the 55-200mm very much since I don’t go to sports events or see wildlife often. The result is that I have very limited range since I don’t have an all purpose or wide lens. I’ll need to put more investment, time and money into this new camera. I already just ordered a remote, and plan to get a tripod when I see a sale for them.

I do miss how easy my Canon A630 Point & Shoot was to use and it was great in many ways: portraits, macros and landscapes. You can see it in the autumn shot at the top of this post. It’s been a bit weird the last two years with battery issues, but it still works. I just need to study the 60D more, but I doubt I will put the P&S in a drawer anytime soon since I think I’ll keep it for macro shots in the long term.

In any case, this should mean better photos for the blog and maybe I can get a proper banner up. Also, this means more hobbies for me.

On an average week, I enjoy the following activities: Reading/Books, Blogging, Fiddling/Violin, Knitting, TV/Movies, Badminton, Yoga, and Photography is now back on it. That’s the most minimal of activities too as I still like to eat, socialize, cook/bake, and oh, work.

It can’t be said that I don’t know how to keep myself busy. Have a good week, everyone and thanks for reading!

This week on BTT:

If your house was burning down and you could save just one book from your collection … what would it be?

What a tough question, but I went with the first thing that came to my mind: my Harry Potter books. These books may not be my favourite books or the most useful (like my cooking or crafting books), but I bought books 4-7 the day they came out and the series was a unique experience for me. I really don’t know when I will ever buy books the way they were released after years of anticipation between books. Most of my fiction books are used, but I bought new and no one gave any of them to me. As a book experience, they are special among my relatively small collection of books (I have less than 100 books to my name).

How about you?

Sunday Salon

It’s another long weekend. Wonderful things long weekends, but I haven’t been reading much. I have been watching a lot of TV.

In any case, I finished Gone with the Wind this week, rewatched the movie, and the movie will be up on November 8th.

Books to read next include Guy de Maupassant’s Bel-Ami in the original French, The Song of Achilles, and many more. Being a reader is a lifelong job, and there is always more work to do it seems!

I am having turkey with the family, and for weekend baking, I am making a blueberry pie. I may take a photo of this one since I am using a cookie cutter top crust.

Speaking of food and books, I bought three cookbooks the other day, and now that my cookbook collection is starting to be notable, I will need to do a post about it. I really like going through recipe books. I love food and I love books so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I read about food and like to cook, but I rarely get to cook or bake nowadays.

Now, I am off for a hike in the woods. The best time of year in this part of Canada.

Have a good week everyone!

I only saw two things in August: “Northanger Abbey” 1986 (24 08 2012) and “Pride and Prejudice” 1980 (27-8 08 2012). Both reviewed in Austen Adaptations.


Best Exotic Marigold HotelThe Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (08 09 2012) – I knew I would love this movie when I heard about it. Stellar cast, lovely setting, and touching storytelling. It had some slight moments of cheese, but it is such a nice feel-good movie.


IntouchablesIntouchables (09 09 2012) – I have a European friend who recommends a lot of French movies to me because i have generally always liked French movies. She told me about this one when it came out on DVD in France some months ago, and since it has taken the theatres here in NA, I finally got around to it. The version I saw did not have subtitles which means I understand most of everything in the movie, but not all the little nuances. Still, you don’t really need to know a lot the language since the humor and beauty of this film comes from largely from what you see and from the actors. The two actors have expressive faces and Omar Sy is one good looking man. A lovely human film.

Father GooseFather Goose (23 09 2012) – Got this for Cary Grant. I’d never heard of this film before. It stars Leslie Caron too. It’s a bit slow paced and not the best classic or Grant movie, but it has its cute moments because of Grant. He is decidedly undapper in this role. He is not as suave and very Bogart actually. The girls in the movie are rather annoying at times though.



Notably Rewatched

My Neighbor TotoroMy Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away (09 09 2012) – Hayao Miyazaki is a genius. I only use the word genius rarely. To me, Miyazaki is one because he puts down in words, film, and animations such things that are part of all of us. He is able to capture emotions from when we were younger and there is such a beautiful optimism and realism in his works. Spirited Away I really can’t stress out how much I love his movies. Totoro is light and amusing. It has no real plot other than being a wonderful time with some fun characters. Spirited Away is amazing in every way and the most romantic of all of Miyazaki’s works, and in some ways, one of the most real in terms of growing up.