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I’m starting the year on the right foot. I’ve already watched a couple of movies to start my annual tally, as well as tried a few new recipes and it’s only the first week of January! πŸ™‚

I have always had “make fresh pasta” on my life list. Ever since our trip to Italy two years ago, and our return trip last year (love Italia!!!), it’s bumped up on the priorities.

I figured since I don’t own a pasta machine or a stand mixer with pasta attachment, the easiest noodle to make would be ravioli. So I scoured cookbooks and online recipes until I found a recipe that would suit a first timer and had a lot of good reviews.

I ended up following the dough from here, and tweaked the pesto sauce to accommodate what I had on hand and reduce the recipe to 2 servings for my husband and I.

I admit to being a bit nervous. Homemade pasta just seemed so intimidating. But I persevered through my little well of flour and egg mixture, then through the rolling (and rolling and rolling) trying to get the dough as thin as possible. Then adding the filling in little piles on the first sheet of dough, brush with egg wash, cover with second sheet and I used a ravioli cutter but you could easily use a knife or a pizza cutter. Boiled them, then baked them for 4 mins to turn brown.

The filling was delicious with four cheeses: mozzarella, provolone, cream cheese and ricotta. For the sauce, I heated olive oil, added a fresh crushed garlic clove (from my garden last year), a 1/4 cup of my Genovese basil pesto that I froze last summer (and thawed overnight), about a half cup of heavy cream and 1/4 cup of parmesan. It turned out great (albeit the color was off because I didn’t blanch my basil when I prepared the pesto last summer..serves me right). πŸ™‚

I was relieved it all turned out and the little pillows were delicious. Wonder what I’ll make next!

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2019: A Look Ahead

So here we are – it’s time to plan what I’ll be tackling from my Life List next year. Since we already know where we’ll be traveling to, those will likely get crossed off in 2019. I also have some food-related and skills I want to tackle.

This is the list for next year:

  • Stay in a cabin or lodge in the woods
  • See Lake Louise in Alberta
  • Stargaze in a dark sky reserve (Jasper)
  • Visit Banff, Alberta
  • Visit Jasper, Alberta
  • Drive the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
  • Hike in the Rockies
  • Hike to one of the tea houses in the Rockies
  • Learn to crochet
  • Knit a pair of stockings
  • Knit a shawl
  • Grow a fruit tree
  • Attend a paint & wine class
  • Make yogurt
  • Make cheese
  • Make homemade pita bread
  • Try canning
  • Make fresh pasta

I’ll be keeping my usual “annual” goals but have adjusted (greatly lowered) my reading one since I’ve been spending a lot more time doing other things:

  • Watch 50 movies
  • Cook 30 new recipes
  • Read 10 books

Can’t wait!!

 

Life List Recap 2018

I can’t believe it’s the end of another year. It feels like I was just figuring out what I wanted to tackle in 2018 and here we are already at the end of it!

Here’s the summary of what I was able to tackle this year – most were related to our travels:

  • Celebrate 15 year anniversary (2018)
  • Go on a cruise in Europe
  • Visit Santorini, Greece
  • See King’s Landing (Croatia)
  • Visit Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Visit St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy
  • Travel to Venice, Italy
  • See Phantom of the Opera
  • Make my own herbal tea

Also increased the counts for these:

  • Go on 10 cruises (9 down, 1 to go)
  • Travel to 50 countries (22 done, 28 to go)

I focused quite a bit on food preservation skills and was able to complete the following:

  • Make freezer jam (blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, peach)
  • Make and freeze apple and caramelized onion chutney
  • Make pickles (refrigerator and freezer): dill, sweet, bread and butter
  • Grow and dry herbs for tea (chamomile and mint)
  • Make and freeze pesto (genovese basil pesto, thai peanut pesto)
  • Dried sweet potato slices for chips (meh)
  • Planted, harvested and cured my own garlic
  • Bake my own bread – this is now part of my weekly tasks. I make 2 loaves (one whole wheat, one whole wheat cinnamon raisin) and we e joy homemade bread daily for breakfast,
  • Make my own hummus – again, now part of my weekly tasks (we like hummus)

And of my usual annual counts, I completed 2 of 3 – I really need to reevaluate my commitment to reading :):

  • Watch 50 movies: I’m currently at 66 with a few days to go til the end of December
  • Cook 30 new recipes: I cooked 36 and have a couple more planned before New Years
  • Read 30 books: Total failure – not even close – I’m still only on my 4th book this year!!

I removed a few items from the list:

  • Ride an elephant
  • Ride a camel
  • Eat Belgian chocolate in Belgium
  • Eat a beignet in New Orleans
  • Own an All Clad pan

And added a few:

  • Learn to crochet
  • Knit a pair of stockings
  • Knit a shawl
  • Make homemade pita bread
  • Make yogurt
  • Make cheese

I’m currently at 319 completed of 470 – good progress!! I’m really pleased with what I managed to cross off this year, especially in the food skills – I’m excited to keep learning.

Next up – what I’m planing for 2019.

 

My sister and her two girls came down to spend the holidays with us again this year. They arrived on Friday (flew into the Toronto Island airport) and for dinner we had rigatoni with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil (by request :)), followed by buche (yule log). We headed out for a stroll in the neighborhood to admire the holiday lights. Once back home, we watched Daddy’s Home (first time for Chris and I, it was cute) and everyone got settled and went to bed.

Saturday we braved the mall and went shopping for some last-minute gifts – we went early and avoided the crowds (and we all wore our plaid flannel shirts :)). We ate lunch at Jack Astor’s, then back home to get ready for our evening at Westfield Heritage Village; a pioneer-style village where the staff dress up in period costumes and explain how a village ran back in the day. I love that place and learning about all the “old-time jobs”, with old-fashioned decor – super fun. We swung by Boston Pizza on the way home and hit the sack.

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Sunday we spent outside enjoying holiday festivities downtown. We had brunch at Eggspectations, then visited the Fair in the Square at Nathan Philips Square where they had a Christmas market, outdoor skating, food and drinks (mulled wine!). I bought some wool leg warmers at one of the stalls. Cozy!Β  Our next stop was over at the new winter festival Aurora at Ontario Place by the lake. They did an amazing job – it was gorgeous. There was a market as well (bought the girls stuffed alpacas and myself an alpaca sweater – love it). We had some food, warmed up under the heaters then the adults went over to the bar (warm cider) while the girls went tubing. We peeked at the skating pond (beautiful) but everyone had their fill from skating earlier in the day. We all went on the carousel and the mini-train. We loved the mystical world with all the lights – it was gorgeous. Great new winter festival to add to the holiday festivities in the city. Back home and everyone crashed.

Nathan Philips Square:

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Aurora:

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Monday (Xmas Eve) was baking day – we made kovas (nanaimo bars), ginger nut cookies and double chocolate chip cookies with mint chips. Everything turned out great and they were all gone by the time the family left later in the week. The girls also helped me with making lunch (chicken and Greek salad). After lunch, we headed out armed with an outdoor scavenger hunt game and walked through the neighborhood to Starbucks, then made our way back. If your family is into games but want to spend time outdoors, this game is awesome and kept everyone busy along the walk.Β  Luckily my sister brought her Christmas light necklace (equipped with working flashing lights) to drape over a mailbox so we could count the “decorated mailbox” as found on our hunt. πŸ™‚

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We got back home, had our usual charcuterie, cheese, crackers and other goodies for dinner, watched Daddy’s Home 2 (again, first time for Chris and I – funny) and got everything ready for the big day tomorrow. πŸ™‚

Tuesday was Christmas Day and after a morning opening gifts, we enjoyed our turkey lunch with all the usual fixings. We all ended up playing the new games Santa brought. Mad Gab (you have to read a card out loud that’s made up of words that sound like something else) – tough to explain, even tougher to play. We also played Hearing Things and had a blast – one player wore headphones with sounds that blocked out noise while your teammate whispers a phrase and the headphone-wearer tries to read their lips to guess what they’re saying. This was hilarious!! We ended the night watching The Holiday and snacking on holiday treats – even the cat joined in resting in his bed in front of the fire.

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Wednesday was Boxing Day and we headed down tot he King Edward hotel to have afternoon tea. At this tie of year they have a festive “Nutcracker Tea” and it was awesome. The finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, jam and lemon curd and pastries – everything was yummy, festive and filling. Back home, we played Christmas charades, then off to see Mary Poppins Returns.

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Thursday was “big breakfast” day including scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast. Followed by ornament-making – this year we made pine cone ornaments with berries and branches, topped with plaid ribbons. They turned out pretty well!

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Christmas Ornament 2018

As is our tradition, we picked an ornament to commemorate the year and it gets placed at the top of the tree. Since we took an amazing trip in the fall, we picked up an ornament in Venice. πŸ™‚ This is the 10th year that we do this and our collection of memories/ornaments is growing steadily! This one is of a mask that’s a popular sight in Venice. Love it.

2018 xmas ornament

Life List Update

On our recent trip, I got to cross off a few things on my Life List:

  • Celebrate 15 year anniversary (2018)
  • Go on a cruise in Europe
  • Visit Santorini, Greece
  • See King’s Landing (Croatia)
  • Visit Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Visit St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy
  • Travel to Venice, Italy

Also increased the counts for these:

  • Go on 10 cruises (9 down, 1 to go)
  • Travel to 50 countries (22 done, 28 to go)

I also noticed that I recently completed these but forgot to cross them off:

  • See Phantom of the Opera
  • Make my own herbal tea

My new total is:Β  319 completed of 442, so 123 to go! πŸ™‚