Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday Potluck

In the kitchen...

An oatmeal cookie and a cup of tea.


The thing that makes this special is the cookie actually tastes like an oatmeal cookie, not a mouthful of sawdust. Gluten-free baking can be a bit of a crapshoot, or at least it was until I found this cookbook last week when I was visiting my mom.



This book is brilliant because the people at America's Test Kitchen take only one thing into consideration when they craft their recipes, and that is taste. They don't care how many carbs the item has, what kind of flour substitutes are used, or how many calories are in each serving. Their recipes don't even pretend to be healthy. Their only guarantee is they taste good. There is a downside to all this goodness though. In the week I've been home I have already made the lemon pound cake, the chocolate chip cookies, and now the cranberry oatmeal cookies pictured above. I think someone needs to do an intervention. Or at least borrow my cookbook for a few weeks.

Out my window...

This Steller's Jay has made an appearance at our feeder. I know some people think they can be a nuisance, but I quite like them. They're wearing my favourite shade of blue.


The suet feeder we bought was specifically designed to attract woodpeckers. Last Sunday this female Downy Woodpecker paid a visit. She was sharing the feeder with one of the resident chickadees.


Then yesterday a male Downy showed up.


Out and about...

You'll notice from the bird feeder pictures that our snow has all melted away. This process has been helped by the buckets of rain that have been coming down all week. Frost Creek has been turned into a muddy torrent. I took this picture two days ago, before the Pineapple Express moved in. If the rain lets up I plan to walk back today to see how much higher the water is after this latest storm. I'm a sunshine kind of person, so all this rain is making me feel a bit unhinged.


The time change...

I am going to jump on the complainer's bandwagon. I really, really dislike the time change. (Note how carefully I worded that to make it family friendly.) It leaves me with the feeling of jet lag minus the wonderful holiday memories that should accompany it. I just don't understand why we keep doing this every year. I have lived in a place where the time stayed the same all year round. The earth didn't open up and swallow us whole. The CBC website has an article this morning about the time change. Did you know the risk of heart attacks increases by 10 per cent in the 48 hours after we spring forward? Or that there is a five to seven per cent increase in road fatalities in the first few days after the time changes?

Comments...

Thank you for all your kind words about Strokkur. And thank you for all the fun comments on my post about Las Vegas. Thanks to you all I now know I was sitting "up in the gods" at Celine Dion, and that it was, indeed, a hummingbird moth. And just in case there was confusion about which one I was in the Budweiser picture, I'm the one on the right in the black jacket, not the one in the red dress on the left. :-)

51 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more about the time change! Every year at this time I threaten to move to Saskatchewan. It seems a ridiculous thing to me. And it happens just as I'm getting used to how bright the mornings are, too...sigh. Who needs that extra hour of evening daylight, that's what I say. Of course, come June, I always appreciate that it's not getting light at 3 in the morning! (Come to think of it, I could probably get used to that if it meant not having to change the clocks twice a year.)
    Ruth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fort St. John in northern BC is another option. That's where we lived that didn't ever change their time. To me it isn't so much about when it gets light and dark as it is about the change in general, especially since there doesn't seem to be a good reason to do it but several good reasons not to. I especially disliked it when I had young children. Getting them switched over was never easy in terms of bedtimes.

      Delete
  2. Kristie, I have never seen a Stellar Jay before. They are very interesting looking! We only have regular ol' Blue Jays here on the East Coast--at least that I know about. I also learned something else new: Pineapple Express. You'll never hear that term over here.

    I agree about the time change. I would prefer the light in the morning. It will be dark for 2 hours now when I get up tomorrow because I'll more than likely still get up when my body tells me to, not my clock.

    Our snow is melting rapidly here, too, and we expect even warmer temps the first part of the week--into the 60's! I will be working to clear out the detritus of last year's garden. Hopefully, we'll see new life pushing up through the earth soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You deserve temperatures in the 60s after the winter you have had! Yes, Pineapple Expresses are a West Coast (Wet Coast!) specialty. This time the temperatures didn't get really warm though, which meant we got the express without the pineapple. :-)

      Delete
  3. That's my kind of cookbook--with taste as the priority! My wife used to work for a medical publishing company and has one of their cookbooks aimed at diabetics--she thought the recipes would be healthy. But they're not...the zucchini bread is loaded with sugar. But it all tastes good.
    I love the bird pictures. I took a picture of a woodpecker yesterday--it was destroying the bark on a neighbor's tree. I should say I tried to take a picture. I only had my phone, which doesn't zoom. So really it's a picture of a slowly dying tree.
    I don't like the time change either, especially now that we do it several weeks earlier in March. Ugh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What kind of woodpecker was it, Rick? If it was going after the bark I wonder if it could have been a pileated woodpecker? They are quite large and can be very destructive.

      Too funny about the sugar laden diabetic cookbook! :-)

      Delete
    2. I can't ID it. Maybe a young pileated? It wasn't as big or colorful as a pileated, but did have a tuft of copper on its head. From the back, the body had two colors (gray snd black) that alternated in four vertical "stripes". The little bugger really went to town on the bark.

      Delete
    3. I wonder if it could have been some kind of flicker??

      Delete
  4. Love that picture of the Stellar's Jay...we rarely get them in Victoria but in Sooke we see them.
    Lovely tea cupand saucer...think I'll put the kettle on now.
    This pineapple express is not as much fun as the name implies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm surprised you don't have many Jays in Victoria. Maybe they like a more rural setting. I'm glad I was able to inspire you to put your kettle on. :-)

      As for this pineapple express, it didn't get as warm as was forecast, and thankfully we didn't end up getting the 100mm of rain either. Hopefully you weren't hit hard on the Island.

      Delete
  5. Years (make that decades) ago I lived in a place that straddled the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. Clarification was needed when planning to go out with a Mountie as my area went by the Sask. clock, his by the Alberta one.

    Beautiful photos! The blue of the jay is a striking colour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's funny about your date with the Mountie! It is very confusing when some places change and others don't.

      Steller's Jays are a gorgeous shade of blue - much prettier in person than the picture. I wish I could find yarn in the exact shade of the bird. :-)

      Delete
  6. I despise the time change, so I'm right there with you. I particularly dislike the spring one, though I don't love the fall one either. I guess it's nice to have more light, though. This was a nice post, it's good to see what you've been up to. I love ATK, the books and the TV show. I do have their Healthy Family Cookbook, and the recipes are better for you but still very good. They're pretty smart folks, they always make things work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree Jennifer. Spring is the worst. I've never watched the ATK show. I'll have to check it out. I really like how they try different things, tell you why they do or don't work, and keep working until they get it right. In the Gluten Free book they have their own flour mix for you to make, but they also test each recipe with two store bought mixes and compare the results to the one with there flour mix.

      Delete
  7. Ah, so Canada is as perverse as Australia - some states time change, some states don't. Here in Queensland we do not change, and I like that. Over the years they have had the odd trial of daylight saving, and when our kids were little I disliked it very much. Can't see the point really. I have not heard of the Stellar Jay but it is a very attractive bird, and lovely that it comes to your feeder. I'm liking your oatmeal cookie and your pretty tea cup, but having had a weekend of Too Much Cake, I too need an intervention!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so lucky to live in a state that doesn't change the time! And you are right about the time change being much worse when young kids were involved. Bedtimes became a nightmare. I hope you enjoyed your weekend of Too Much Cake. :-)

      Delete
  8. I too hate the time change; the children take ages to adapt and the cats do too. Don't see any good reason for it, unless maybe it's for someone to laugh at us all trying to adapt. Here in NZ it changes shortly before Guy Fawkes night, so the children have to stay up even later in order to have fireworks that are actually decent to watch.
    By the way, loved your Strokkur and I might have ordered some yarn from a NZ farmer today to make my own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel like a yarn enabler! I think you are really going to enjoy knitting Strokkur. What colours did you choose?

      Delete
  9. I really like your photos of the birds

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks - they are easy to get pictures of since they are just a few feet from my back patio doors!

      Delete
  10. That Jay is just beautiful! I'm glad you've discovered a way to bake TASTY gluten free food!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wouldn't you love to be able to capture those shades of blue and black in a sock yarn? :-)

      Delete
  11. The jay is beautiful, we certainly don't see those here and the gluten free book, I shall pass that title on to my friend, who is always looking out for different tasty recipes to try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Jays are very beautiful, and I was happy to see this one yesterday. I've seen them around the neighbourhood, but this is the first time one has been to our feeder.

      Delete
  12. Glad that you are enjoying your tasty cookbook!! The cookie looks lovely, so if it tastes as good it has to be great! I'm afraid that I disagree on the time change - although I would like it if we changed earlier and later as ours doesn't change until the end of this month! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ours used to change later, but they switched the time change to an earlier date a few years ago. My mom likes the time change too, but only in the spring when we move the clocks forward.

      Delete
  13. Love your bone china tea cup, very civilised. Your birds are beautiful, your weather not so. Time change crazy, we do ours at the end of March

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's my second favourite tea cup. :-)

      I agree about the weather. Things are looking brighter today though. There is actually some blue sky!

      Delete
  14. Great bird pictures. We just bought a similar suet feeder and squirrel-proof tube feeder at Wild Birds Unlimited - what a great store. We've had a chickadee, Stellar's Jay and an anonymous (to us) brown bird so far.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wild Birds is where we got ours too, Ellen. We have been really happy with both of them. I should warn you that the feeder is squirrel proof, but sadly not racoon proof. Our stand blew over in a storm a couple weeks ago and a racoon hauled off the feeder. We had to replace it. Good luck attracting birds!

      Delete
  15. Thanks for the hot tip on the cookbook! I've been getting by substituting GF flour blends in standard recipes. A lot of the GF recipes I've used have odd consistencies. I'm a fan of America's Test Kitchen, so I'm interested to see what they've come up with in this recipe book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That odd consistency problem is exactly what they eliminate in these recipes. I think you would like the book - just keep in mind some of the recipes aren't exactly healthy. :-)

      Delete
  16. Those birds are beautiful. I had to take my feeders down, because I ended up with a flock of Starlings that bullied all the other little birds away. And then the Seagulls came. I could do without them in my garden. They are very bold, and think nothing of dive bombing you in the summer while you eat al fresco. If you ever visit St Ives, and fancy an ice cream (Moo Maid is best), make sure you hold it close to your chest and find a wall to lean against while you slurp and lick. Those buggers will have it out of your hand in a trice.

    Leanne xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Starlings are nasty birds. They scare away all the song birds. Seagulls are rather nasty too. I can picture exactly what you are describing about the ice cream. We used to live in a place near the water, and the fish and chip/ice cream shop by the beach was overrun by seagulls. I used to get so mad when I would see tourists throwing them chips. They certainly didn't need the encouragement!

      Delete
  17. Your oatmeal cookie certainly looks very tasty Kristie and glad you have found such a good recipe book. I love the photos of your birds, they are stunning. I'm catching up on my reading and working down the page with the newest first, so will catch up with your other older news soon. I don't like the time changing either, ours in the UK is at the end of March.
    Patricia x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cookies were good. Notice the past tense in that statement! :-)

      Delete
  18. Beautiful photos today. I am with you on the time change, I was so sleepy at work yesterday I almost fell asleep. There are more accidents the Monday after the time change than almost any other day of the year. I wish they would just leave it alone.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it amazing how changing just one hour can make us all so tired? You now have Little Buddy, and I remember how hard it was getting my kids switched around when they were that age. Hopefully you can catch up on your sleep this weekend.

      Delete
  19. The recipes from your Gluten free cook book look good.One of my friend's son is on a gluten free diet and I can understand your comments about taste! The colours of the stellar Jay are amazing - you don't get these birds over here! The buckets of rain sound familiar hope the sunshine soon appears. I hate changing the clocks too especially in the winter when it is so dark by 5. Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The rain finally stopped and the sun came out yesterday. It was very nice to see it, but not all the dust it illuminated in the house. Scary! Time to do some spring cleaning. :-)

      Delete
  20. Here, here! (Re: the time change). The birds are beautiful and so is that lovely tea cup and saucer. I so enjoy your posts. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Lisa! I really enjoy all the birds that come to our backyard feeder. :-)

      Delete
  21. I love oatmeal cookies! Yours look great! I am sure it tastes fantastic :o)!
    I have never seen Steller's Jay before...thanks for sharing the photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They did taste very good, Timi. Of course, they are now all gone! :-)

      Steller's Jays are very common where we live in BC. They are very brave birds, which is how I was able to get such a good picture.

      Delete
  22. Fascinating stats about the time change! More heart-attacks? Why? Wonder if it's the same here. We lose an hour of daylight next weekend so I'm unhappy about that as it means an end to my evening walks. On the plus side, it will be easier to get the kids to bed :-) Your birds are amazing over there! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure why there are more heart attacks. Good question! Yes, of course, you will be going the other way when the time changes. It's funny, but I hadn't thought about that before. I do find it easier to go back than forward, and you're right, it's easier for kids' bedtimes. Not so much so for their hungry tummies though! :-)

      Delete
  23. You have so many pretty birds over there. We have some, obviously, but the North American birds generally seem to be more colourful.

    And the time change, I'd like to keep to GMT all year, but I'd rather the change to British Summer Time and back to GMT than the BST all year that was mooted a while back here, which would mean that in winter it wouldn't be light until about 10.00am.

    I do hope the rain stops soon x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope your rain stops soon too, Annie! Wales has really been hit hard this winter. It must be hard finding breaks between the downpours to get out and walk your dogs!

      Delete
  24. I often skip over to your blog from Dovegrey Scribbles. Yours is so enjoyable also. But a mild protest--your bird pictures--surely the chickadee is a female downy woodpecker? I loved the forest Stellar blue jays when we lived in northern Oregon--but now in Delaware we have the "ordinary" US blue jays, very pushy and would feed from the hand during this hard Winter.

    I hope you and your delightful family are all very well.

    Best wishes, Erika

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice to have you here Erika! Isn't the Dovegrey blog terrific? I see you figured out the chickadee/downy woodpecker thing. It was confusing because both birds were in the picture. :-)

      Delete
  25. Sorry, I carelessly misread you--downy woodpecker it is! I hide my head in shame.
    Erika

    ReplyDelete