Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Relaxing? Enough is enough!

After the Holidays are over and 
the New Year is only just around the corner
there is a lot of time for relaxing. 
 ZZZZ here and zzzz there.
And more zzzz
It is contagious too.
Don't you dare wake him up! Or? 
Finally, Molly got enough of it.
She picked up a bone (just any item does the trick). 
That is her sign for:
Let's go for a WALK!

Who can resist that face.
Out we went into the freezing, beautiful afternoon.
The walk was just about an hour long.
Then it got too cold for me,
though Molly didn't care. She had her fur coat on.
Back to the warmth and a warm dinner.
Content she went back to the den, in the corner by the bed.
Nighty, nighty!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Sugar Beet - what is that?

While out shopping for groceries I found some of my German favourites! 
Sugar beet syrup (it is more like:molasses) and plum spread (like: plum butter).
Today, I baked some special sweet treats. Cookies with sugar beet syrup. The beet syrup will give a very distinct taste, that I have been 
missing for 30 some years! 
I actually prefer it to cane molasses which taste burned to me.
Sugar beet molasses cookies
How do they produce sugar beet syrup?

Every fall huge amounts of sugar beets will be transported to the factories around in Nordhrhein Westphalia. To extract the sugar the beets will be shredded and cooked. The cooking process can be smelled all over the country. It is a very distinct odour that hangs in the air in October and all November. 

As kids we would run along the wagons, where they lined up in the streets towards the factory, and wait for beets to roll of when the tucks took a turn. Then we would share off a piece of the beet and eat it raw. It was sweet. Memories.
The leftover pulp will be dried and fed as energy food to dairy cows.
Most of the sugar will be crystallized and bleached into confectioners sugar, similar to cane sugar. Some of the sugary water will be cooked in until it is caramelized, dark brown syrup. Sugar beet syrup. Used as bread spread, onto pancakes, in sauces, for cookies and dark bread.

I still remember when, in the late 70ies, the farmers discussed the novelty of glucose syrup that was about to flood the marked. There were afraid their sugar production would be out-conquered. True, glucose syrup has replace sugar in many produces. But the beets and their products are still very much present on the food marked in Europe. 
After my opinion sweets taste way better made with beet sugar than glucose syrup. 


1 1/2 cup quick oats ( I used old fashioned oats)
1 1/4 cup  almond
1/3    cup  butter
3/4  cup  sugar
1/2    cup sugar beet syrup
1/4    tsp salt

Melt butter in a pot and stir in sugar and syrup until all sugar is dissolved.
Stir in oats, ground almonds and salt. Blend evenly.
Spread mixture out on a cookie sheet, that is covered with baking paper.

Bake with 375°F for about 10 minutes. The mixture will we bubbly when it comes out of the oven. Wait until it has cooled down before cutting it into squares or rhombuses.
The cookies are pretty sweet and will mix good with none-sweetened tea or coffee.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Late December Ramblings

Compared to our recent years this winter will be 
quite a different experience. 

I miss my friends. 

Our get-togethers, pot-lucks and bonfires.

There is not much to do between work shifts in these days. 
No family to visit, no big meal to prepare. 
J.P. will be working during the holidays. 
The other day
I got into a creative mode and crafted...
...a few paper snow flakes... hang up between window pane and bubble wrap.
Then I waited for the sunrise.
So far the winter has been gentle towards us.
Outside, frozen fog has laced the few fallen leafs.
But there is still January and February to conquered.
The coldest months of a year 
are still ahead of us.

Soon Christmas Days are here again.
The Holidays or X-mas.
Happy Days to you all!
Only the Best for you
in 2015!
And thanks for following my ramblings.

Friday, 12 December 2014

From freezing rain to heat wave

The days are flying and soon we are in the middle of the holidays again. My new work place is about an hour drive away, and last week I encountered freezing rain. That was scary because I was still out driving on the highway on my way home. It started to rain, the road got slick within moments, and the windshield covered up with ice droplets.

I turned up the heat and crept home, but other drivers were passing by like nothing had happened at all. 
After the last turnoff I stopped to take this photo 
with my cellphone.
Wherever I turned, all lights around in the area looked like laser beams. That was eerie. 
I guess the ice droplets in the air reflected the light. 

After the freezing rain we got into a "heat wave", and temperatures went up to 9C (48.2F). 
The snow melted like crazy, and everything around the trailer turned into treacherous ice. 
I used windshield washer fluid by the buckets, and the van looks terrible after a trip on these dirty/salty roads.
The warm weather has one good side, though - we didn't have to use so much propane or electricity. 
Walking in the sun was a pleasure again. 
The air felt like spring.
We have arranged our work hours so that Molly will not be left alone more than 4 hour at a time. I mostly work evening shifts. To be on the safe side I arranged for a dog-sitter, who will take Molly for a walk in case we don't make it home in time.

Yesterday we had an "open house", and there was a lot of activity in the kitchen where I work part time now.
Our "Chef" created a beautiful centre piece out of vegetables and fruit.
My contribution was more simple. I had to arrange cookies and chocolate dipped strawberries on trays, help with the hors d'oeuvres and thousand other small things. But it was fun, and the hours went by like seconds.
We are an international gang here (India, Philippines, Africa, Canada, Ukraine, Germany) and everyone is very nice and polite. There is a lot of laughter around.
It is a pleasure to work at this place. 

Today is my day of, hubby is on the bus and will not be home until late this evening.
 I enjoyed the quiet, "Blue Hour", 
just after sunset, 
with a cup of cocoa. 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Canadian Winter Weather

Thursday we had the first major blizzard and the temperatures have plunged ever since.
 Blowing snow and bad vision caused many accidents on the highways.

 Busy traffic in town was not deterred by the icy road conditions.
 The Saskatchewan River is now frozen over.
Today on Saturday, the storm has left us blue skies and a bitterly cold. -27 C (-16F) with windchill down to -40 C.
I took a quick walk around the campground.
One of our neigbours has wrapped his whole rig into foil. One big package.
Only the door is uncovered. I wonder if that helps against the cold or if it only is good for growing mold inside?

Oh, and the soft side trailer we showed earlier got a winter coat too. 
But I don't want to know what the temperature is inside.

Don't worry, there is hope. 
Towards the weekend we will be looking at mild temperatures. Maybe up to -2C (28F) by Saturday next weekend. You have to count your blessings.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Bubble Wrap Comfort

Remember, we have put up bubble wrap on the windows for insulation purposes.
 And there is an insulating effect, somewhat. The right sight is NOT frozen, the left side of the window is.
It looks like this when the ice on the window pane is gone.
So far for the science side of this input.
It looks kind of neat when the sun sets in the evening. Funky.

Who was that walking by? An early visit of "Santa?"
We got some pre-advent cookies for coffee. Yummy.
The baker and his helper were, not Santa, but:
Peter and Molly

and today..
winter food:
there is a duck in the oven!