Saturday, November 30, 2013

Col. Chris Hadfield - Astronaut, Hero and Really Nice Guy

Last night, Husband and I had the pleasure of meeting a real Canadian Hero.  Col Chris Hadfield, former Commander of the International Space Station and inspiration to millions, came to a Halifax Chapters to do a signing for his book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.

Husband snapped this just as Col Hadfield reached over to shake my hand!  In fact, even though there were probably thousands of people there, he managed to make eye contact with, shake hands with and have a little chat with every single person.  He told me he liked my t-shirt:

It was a surprise that Husband ordered for me online weeks ago and serendipituously (Col Hadfield's own word when we told him about it) arrived yesterday afternoon.  He admired the likeness and told us about how it was his son who wrote the new lyrics.  My face still hurts from grinning so hard. 

We waited to get our books signed for close to four hours, but it was a surprisingly quick four hours.  Everyone was cheerful and so excited, and besides, we all had a wealth of millions of books to look through as the signing line went on.  I spotted at least four tiny astronauts in homemade space suits waiting to meet the hero with their parents.  Young and old, girls and boys, people of every background gathered at the bookstore to meet and express their appreciation for a man who has inspired them.  

When Hadfield was still on the space station, he constantly kept in touch with us mere earthlings via social media.  He published photos of his views from up there, snippets of interesting information, and just general observations about his life and work while he was in space.  He made being there, in a way, accessible to everyone, and fueled the imaginations of people in a way that no one ever has before.  In a world where people often have to look hard for a champion, here came this charming, generous, brilliant mind who wanted to share his fascinating life with us all.  And we are better for it.

I am fully aware that I am gushing, don't worry, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find a cynical soul on the premises yesterday, when so many other people were fighting for their place in line for half price Korean tvs, we were all basking in the presence of greatness.  

Till next time!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

So Much To Do......

This is the busiest time of the year for many people, the weeks leading up to the holidays, as it certainly is for us.  A month - EGADS! - to go and not even one present has been made.  How did the end of November sneak up on us so quickly?  There is so much to do around the house and to get ready for Christmas, but yipes, so much fun to be had too.

Like tonight, for example, I'll PROBABLY go to the Tedeschi-Trucks Band show instead of dusting my salt and pepper shakers.

Although that rabbit DOES look somewhat dismayed. . .

And tomorrow, we might just have a dinner and drinks and games party with family and friends rather than doing the raking in the chilly backyard.

Looks like one thing I WILL have to do before the dinner party, is some grocery shopping.  Pretty hard to make risotto without arborio.

And though I'm gonna have to at least do some ironing beforehand. . .

. . . I'm pretty sure we'll be going to Husband's work Christmas party instead of folding the laundry.

Oh for shame, as my Mum would say.

Yep, things pile up pretty quickly when there are holiday and birthday parties, friends having babies, astronauts to meet, family to visit, concerts to go to and addictive television shows to catch up on.  What can you do but carry on?

I hope you're all having an easier time keeping up than I am!  Till next time!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Yes, I realize the title of this post is less than welcoming.  But, dear friends, it is not without just cause.  Take a look:

Our poor, sweet patio set.  And YES, I know it is November, and YES, I DO realize what country I live in.


Poor lil barbeque.  You're gonna be a bit lonely for a while.  Sorry.

Pumpkin that I bought two months ago and keep meaning to do something with, maybe you'll become a science experiment now.  Perhaps I'll put you up in the corner where nothing seems to grow and see if, over the winter and next spring, your hundreds of seeds may, in fact take root.

Garlic babies.  I was told you like the cold?  Though I am reluctant to leave such a pretty planter out all winter, you are deeply rooted in there now, and I feel like if I pull you out, you will not be happy?  Oh garlic baby, if only you could talk.

Anyway, it's frigging snowing.  I know, it has to happen, it's pretty much Winter.  But I don't have to like it.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Till next time!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Le Bon Poulet

A while back I was searching for a good new chicken recipe - I mean, there must be trillions, right? - and I came upon this super easy, if time consuming recipe that we've fallen in love with.

It all started with an over zealous tomato buying trip to the Farmer's Market.  Husband is not a big fan of the mighty tomato - crazy, I know - so having purchased a dozen of them was, perhaps, foolhardy.  They were getting dark and squishy in our fridge but there was no way I was tossing them out, so in my search for a new chicken recipe, I looked for ones that included tomatoes.  I could not have found a more perfect solution.

It's a French recipe, called Poulet Saute Au Vinaigre, which, funnily enough, according to my Mac's dashboard translator, means Chicken Jumps to the Vinegar.  Whether or not that is the most accurate translation, I think we can all agree that it's the one we shall use.  This is what you need:

That's it!  You gotta love such a simple meal.  So here we go. Chop the tomatoes - I should mention, the riper they are the better, so this is a great recipe for when like us, you find yourself with a surplus that's at risk of going bad.  So yeah, chop them up.

No need to be precise here, just chop.  Then, take a good chunk of the butter and melt it in a medium sized sauce pan - ok, another aside - if you don't have good quality pots and pans, you might want to skip this recipe.  The very nature of it means that the pan WILL BURN on the bottom.  If you have a good quality pan, no big deal, if it's a cheap one, it may never recover!

Anyway, melt yo' butta.

Keep it on medium to high heat, melt it all, and then pop in your chicken - breasts are the best cut to use. Keep a pair of tongs close by and push the chicken around every couple of minutes, until they are browned nicely on both sides.

Then toss in your chopped up tomatoes.

This is the part that takes the longest - you have to wait for the tomatoes to release all their juices, and then reduce.  You want them to turn into a thick, dark, sticky sauce.  Keep the heat at medium to high, and give it a stir fairly frequently.  I have found that this takes about an hour.

This is what it looks like in all it's tomato juicy goodness.

This is what you should have in the end.

Now, add about a cup of red vine vinegar.  You have to stir it in and, again, reduce it, this time to about half.  The vinegar reduces much more quickly than the tomatoes.

Once the vinegar is reduced, add a cup of chicken broth.

Again, reduce, but this time, until you have a sauce consistency that you like - I like mine to be still pretty saucy since I serve it over plain rice.

Finally, add another chunk of butter - this IS a French recipe after all! This makes the sauce a bit slicker and creamier.

Take it off the heat and now you're done!  Like I said, I serve mine with rice, but whatever you like.

The result is a rich, delicious meal, made with whole ingredients.  It takes a while but it super easy to make.  Enjoy!

Till next time!