Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rhubarb Bread

I had a great idea from Dana to put on my recipes that I have been here is the first one! Rhubarb is the quintessential early summer fruit and many people just don't know what to do with all of it. Unfortunately I don't have a rhubarb plant and had to buy my own, but it is just delicious. I made this recipe which makes 2 loaves and gave one away to our church staff. They gave me rave reviews...

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk/sour milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 tsp orange zest
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups chopped rhubarb (more if you like!)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine brown sugar, buttermilk, oil, egg and orange zest in a large bowl. Mix well. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to sugar mixture, mixing until smooth. Fold in rhubarb and pecans. Spread batter into two 9"x5" loaf pans that have been greased, dividing evenly. If desired, mix 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp softened butter and 2 tsp orange zest until blended and sprinkle on top. (I found it to be too sweet, so next time I will either half that, or omit it). Bake at 350 F for 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan and then remove it to a wire rack to cool completely.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this! Bon appetite!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Fantastic Weekend

A great weekend full of sun (and some cloud), new friends and good times. Saturday was such a gorgeous day that we decided we needed to do something different than usual. We had been invited to go camping with some people from church for the whole weekend, but we had some other things to do. After we finished our other things, we drove out to Adams Lake where they were camping to spend the day with them. Adams Lake is past Chase, but before Sorrento , a little more north. Its just over an hour's drive from our place. Well, it was cloudy and chilly when we got there and poor Nader forgot to bring a jacket or warm clothing. At least I brought a heavy Mexico blanket and he stay sort of warm with that. We basically spent the afternoon around a campfire chatting with new people and getting to know some friends better. It warmed up and the sun even came out too. We drove back home around 7 since Nader was so cold by then.On Sunday after church we went to Jeremy and Lillie's place for lunch. They are one of the couples in our home group that we are part of. Lillie made a fabulous fish curry....mmmm....even thinking about it makes my mouth water. We had really good conversation about food and different cultures and traveling. Then we had ice cream with home made chocolate sauce and peanuts and almonds on top and we ate it outside...oh what a glorious day!
They invited us to go fishing with them down near Kamloops Lake, so Jeremy showed Nader how to find worms. Nader didn't want to touch any of them, he just held the container! We drove just outside of Kamloops and hiked down to the opening of a creek onto the lake. Jeremy and Lillie had been telling us of the rattlesnakes that they saw last time they came down, so we all were a bit jumpy.
The location of the fishing trip was a beautiful spot, but there were lots of mosquitoes and we all got bitten before we put on our repellent. Apparently the water level had fallen about 18 inches in a week, so the fishing wasn't as good. Nader did catch a trout, medium size, but it got off the hook before he pulled it out of the water. I also caught a small trout, and again, it got away! Lillie and Jeremy had no luck, but they caught 12 last week (catch and release), so that's ok.
We did, however, come across a couple rattlesnakes....One was just in the bushes behind where we were fishing, so we were nervous and kept our eye on him. He did end up coming right up to where we were and Jeremy took a video of him. He seemed curious about us. Anyways, he was headed to the water and we were in his way, so he went around. When we followed him, we found another one curled up under some exposed roots. Jeremy was sitting too close when we noticed him. Neither of them were rattling though. As for other wildlife, we saw a beaver, who apparently has a house nearby, a bald eagle and its (big) baby, an osprey, and other birds. I think Nader enjoyed being around Jeremy who is very knowledgeable about wildlife and outdoor activities. We were exhausted when we got back home, since it was also a hot day.
Last night after eating Fatteh (sooooo good, remind me to make it for you sometime), Nader and I decided to go for a walk at Kenna Cartwright park. We can see the hill/mountain from our balcony and it has lots of nice trails. It is cooler in the evening, so nicer to walk then.We walked down the Red Fox trail, a bit wary of rattlesnakes (I keep writing snack...), but enjoying the cool evening. There were lots of pretty little flowers along the way.I got bit by a giant mosquito and killed it on my arm. That was a lot of blood! We continued on the Doc Findlay Loop and went back up the hill. It was a good walk and I felt great when we came back home. It was exactly what I needed!

Last night I also put up pictures on the walls (finally!) and it is feeling so much more like a home in here. I've been kind of lazy to do the finishing touches around here and still have about 10 boxes or so to put away. I'm getting there, slowly but surely. I am feeling more and more at home here in Kamloops. And I signed up at church to help out with VBS in July, so that should be interesting and fun.

Have a wonderful day! Love and hugs, Nicole.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sewing again

I have begun sewing another quilt! I am so excited about this. I have been putting it off a little because my sewing area is not organized, and I wanted to have it in order before starting a project. However, I went to the quilt store to find some inspiration and found some beautiful fabrics that are just perfect for a quilt for our friend's new baby, Elaine!
The colours of the fabrics are just fantastic. They are called Sherbet. Yummy. I also had the perfect pattern already from making a baby quilt for Matthew with sock monkeys. It is so easy and the blocks just come together quickly. I already made 16 blocks in one evening.
A good thing about our new place is that I don't have room for the ironing board where I sew, so I have to get up and go to the other room to press the seams. It is good to not just sit in one place, but to get up and stretch in between seams. However, there are a lot of seams and it was getting a little frustrating to get up every time. We'll see how long this lasts.

I have also been preparing stuff for the Hillside women's retreat this coming weekend. I am really excited to be going and seeing what God will do!

Love, Nicole

Monday, June 2, 2008

More Visitors

Eric, Leanne, and her friend, Suvi came for a short visit on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning on their way to Cranbrook. We enjoyed going for a small hike at Kenna Cartwright park on a sunny afternoon. Eric especially loved the bouldering there.The other activity of choice was pinecone baseball. All you need is a dead tree branch and a pile of medium size pinecones, and some sagebrush for bases.
The walk through the park was really nice and the smell reminded me of camping and hot summers. Too bad a lot of the trees are dead from the pine beetle. At least they were clearing out some of the smaller trees so that there would be a lower fire hazard in the park. They seemed to be doing some other construction there too, but I don't know what for.On Saturday morning we went downtown for the Farmer's Market. No fresh produce yet, but I am looking forward to later on in the summer when there will be a lot of it. It was a nice atmosphere down there. We went for a walk down to Riverside Park and Eric was trying so hard to not startle the geese....walking in slow motion....
Leanne and Suvi found a wonderful rock to sun on, one that reminded Eric of a nice lizard sunning spot. And of course he demonstrated that too. (Wasn't fast enough with the camera to capture that).
Alas, the visit came to an end less than 24 hours after it started. We did enjoy good times together and lots of good food. I hope we have some more visitors soon! We have a nice guest bedroom all set up now and there are lots of books to read too. I know people who downhill bike and I am discovering some nice lakes to walk around. There are plenty of things to do in Kamloops in the big open space. I think I am growing to like Kamloops more each day. We are making some good friends too, from church.

Still missing you all,

Nicole xoxo