Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Halloween Dinner

After two days of secretive planning and preparations it was time for our annual Halloween party tonight and when it comes to gross foods I aim to please *grin*. 

I've been trolling the internet looking for new creepy foods to make and this year's menu consisted of brains, cockroaches, turds, a rotten cheese log (blue cheese & cream cheese with a touch of green food coloring)....
Monster Mouths

monster mouths which are just chocolate chip cookies cut in half with a little bit of red icing, marshmallows and almond slivers for fangs....

Swamp Water

and swamp water which is a favorite of ours and is an orange juice spritzer with a touch of grenadine to darken up the color with black sanding sugar and twizzlers as garnish :)

Pumpkin Dip

 I found this pumpkin dip on pinterest and it is to die for!! Oh my goodness is this good :)

Of course every Halloween party has to have at least one food item that is totally over the top disgusting and this year my pièce de résistance was a worm dessert that I named the 'Nightcrawler Parfait' *grin*.

Worms for Dessert

 You wouldn't believe how life like these things were! You make them in straws with the accordion necks so they get that ribbed center just like a real worm and they were cold and rubbery like they were actually alive. If you looped them around in the dish they actually moved and untwisted. Eek.

I made all of the children close their eyes when I brought the dishes of them to the table and then when they opened their eyes you should have seen the look they each had as I proceeded to tell them that they were fresh from the compost bin LOL.

Nightcrawlers Anyone??

 Not one of them would eat them!!
It was absolutely hilarious to see them turn a little green as they poked around at them in their bowls. My dad who loves a good joke grabbed a handful of the worms and stuffed them in his mouth so they were hanging out with some of the cookie crumble dirt hanging from them while the children looked at him in disbelief  :) In the end they all picked them off of the pudding beneath except for my oldest son who managed to eat some of his but it wasn't an easy task *grin*.

You know it was a great Halloween party when you make something that no one wants to eat!

Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Autumn Afternoon


 After what seemed like days of never ending gray the clouds finally parted yesterday afternoon to let the sun shine its warming rays down upon us.

our driveway

I'm pretty sure we literally dropped everything as we made a mad dash for the outdoors before the rain started again :)


 We explored the fields looking for interesting fungi that have started to sprout with the onset of the autumn chill...


giggled as we stood under the giant maple trees while the wind blew oodles of stray leaves in brilliant colors down upon our heads...


 and gathered the prettiest ones to take inside to stash away for more rainy day crafting.

collecting leaves

 The rain started again today so I'm thankful for those few short hours that we did get to explore outdoors. 

I have so many things to be thankful for these last few days. Many of you probably heard about the 7.7 magnitude earthquake that shook many parts of BC. We felt it here and in the aftermath it put all of the northern BC coast along with the northern part of our island where we live on a tsunami advisory. My husband who was at the time even further north was tied up at one of the marinas and emergency service crews got them to higher ground in the event that there was a tsunami but thankfully there wasn't one. So many communities up and down the coast from Alaska to Hawaii were on pins and needles as no one was sure of what to expect so I am so thankful that amazingly there seems to be very little damage for those families that were closest to the epicenter of the earthquake and that everyone that was evacuated is safe. 

It was if anything a wake up call to be more prepared. Our family has practiced earthquake drills, where to meet if we have to escape from our home and we have supplies on hand but I think we can do more. They tell you to be prepared for at least 72 hours in the event of an emergency but we're remote, rural and just a tiny blip on the radar when things happen. Winter storms take out our power regularly and we are always far down the list for repairs which at times have been longer than 3 days so when I think of what sort of destruction that earthquakes have caused in Haiti, Christchurch and the tsunami in Japan I'm not sure that 72 hours will cut it. How about you? Do you have your emergency kit ready just in case?

My thoughts and prayers are with those of you on the east coast tonight as you hunker down while hurricane sandy passes through your towns.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Linking Arms Across The Province

K'omoks Band singing

At noon today 67 communities across BC linked arms to send the message of 'defend our coast' to the government. The K'omoks first nation welcomed everyone and sang...

Defend Our Coast Rally

 while over one hundred protesters took over the top portion of 5th street in front of MLA Don McRae's office. (note: I just read that there were close to 400 protesters!!!)

Quack quack

 He was conveniently absent but that didn't stop everyone from voicing their concerns.

Defend Our Coast Rally

Sue Moen from the Green Party was there to share her opposition...

and the Raging Grannies came up with this clever song :) Way to go ladies!! If you are reading this in your email you will probably have to pop over to my blog to see the video.

First Protest :)

 My little protesters did great at their first rally *grin*. They were waving their signs and singing along despite the rain until we had to leave. You are never to young to get involved :)


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Will You Help Defend Our Coast?


Yesterday on the lawn of the legislature in Victoria there was a giant rally against the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project and the gigantic tankers that want to invade our coastline. People from all over BC and even Canada joined together, 4000 strong, to voice their opposition, their concerns and to send a strong message that our coast is not for sale!

Defend our coast

Unfortunately it was to far from home to attend but tomorrow, October 24th, in communities all over BC protesters are ready to converge on MLA offices far and wide to continue the 'Defend Our Coast' movement and we are going to be there.

Ready to protest

The children worked hard all evening drawing and coloring their posters while we chatted about what all of this means and why it is so important to us...


and tomorrow we're ready rain or shine to join our fellow BC'ers and to keep the momentum of this movement going :) Hope we'll see you there!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Canning Salmon

Salmon Ready for Canning

 I have literally been going through canned salmon withdrawals ever since I used the last jar in the pantry months ago so when I caught wind that one of the commercial fishermen we know was heading out for an opening I phoned right away and put in my order :)

Silver Bright

 Sockeye and pinks are my salmon of choice but this year they were so scarce you were really hard pressed to find any so I went with chum. 

Salmon Anatomy Lesson

As each fish was brought out to be cleaned the children took part in a bit of an anatomy lesson...

Salmon Anatomy Lesson

learning about their teeth, gills, organs and more :)

Cleaning fish

 Hubby wasn't home for the first batch of fish that I brought home from the dock so I got my oldest son to help with some of the cleaning and then I took over cleaning the last of the fish and filleting them with my dad. That made for a long day as I had to go in the house after to fill the jars and then pressure can them all.


Thankfully he was home yesterday when I brought home 8 more whoppers! They weighed about 12 pounds apiece bringing our total to 13 fish total.

Filleted Salmon and trimmings

This time I just had to wait for the fillets and trimmings so I could take them in for canning. So much less work!

Salmon for the smoker

Poor hubby had a bit of a sore back though from humping over his table all afternoon so we're definitely going to have to do something about that for next time. To make up for it he snagged six of the nicer fillets for smoking...

Smoked Salmon

and today he has them smoking away. Mmmm, I can't wait *grin*.

So with 55 pints of salmon all canned and ready for putting away in the pantry I can officially say I'm done. Until next year that is :)


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fall Comfort Food ~ Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

 October 1st was the first time I had to light the woodstoves to take the chill off of the air in our home and we awoke to our first hard frost of the season yesterday! The lawn was crispy and white and all of the water buckets for the cows and chickens had a layer of ice locking in the fresh water below. All of this cold weather has definitely left me yearning for warm comfort foods :)

I've been building up a little recipe cache on Pinterest which is where I found a yummy recipe for sweet potato gnocchi but I didn't have all of the ingredients on hand so I took a chance and remixed the recipe a bit and it turned out delicious!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

 In place of the ricotta cheese I used one egg, subbed in 1/2 a cup of asiago cheese instead of the parmesan, reduced the salt to 1 tsp. of sea salt in the dough instead of the two she called for and I baked my sweet potatoes in the oven for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit instead of microwaving them.

Now this was my very first time making gnocchi so I had no idea how sticky the dough would be but I found that I needed to use at least 4 cups of flour to get my dough to be workable and not crazy sticky but the original recipe only called for 2 3/4 cups. So I'm thinking my sweet potatoes were much larger than hers but you'll definitely know if you need to add more flour *grin*. 

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

 With my dough all ready to go I got busy rolling out dough snakes, chopping them into little bite sized pieces with my pastry cutter and then rolling them around with the tines of a fork to give them the little indentations in the photo. Nobody told me how many little gnocchi this recipe made though!!

I kept cutting and rolling and cutting and rolling...
until I had two giant cookie sheets full of them plus more all over the counter. On my final count I had over 200 of them so they all went into the freezer except for the ones I kept out for dinner and we're all stocked up for a good while now I think :)

The kids aren't real big on the taste of sage so I omitted the sage butter that went along with the recipe as well and instead made an easy sauce with basil and homemade chicken stock. 
I used:

1 cup homemade chicken stock
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tbsp onion powder
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all of the above together in the cold chicken stock and pour over two carrots cut into matchsticks, two cups of broccoli florets and 3 cloves of pressed garlic that have been sauteed until just tender. The arrowroot created a nice thick sauce just perfect for our fresh gnocchi to be coated in. Mmm, mmm good. Now if only there were leftovers *grin*.