Food: Homemade Herb Pesto

When it comes to pasta sauces I cannot think of any I do not enjoy, although pesto is not at the top of my list of favorites. But that was before this.Recently I made an absolutely delicious pesto by accident (kind of) out of herbs I just wanted to use up and the freshest and/or best ingredients possible.  The next time I make pesto I’ll be looking for this exact combo.

Basically I used  three large handfuls of a fresh mix of :

Watercress, Dill, Basil, Cilantro, Parsley and Sage.  Seems like a lot (or an odd lot) as you can just use basil, but this combo really rocked.

Two large garlic cloves (market fresh russion river garlic)

1/3 cup walnuts

½ cup parmesan cheese (I buy a block of Parmissimo Parmigiano Reggiano and roughly grate it myself)

½ cup organic cold-pressed olive oil

Fresh squeezed  lemon (to taste)

Hot pepper flakes (to taste)

s+p

In a food processor chop the garlic with the herbs.  Then add the walnuts and parmesan.  Lastly while blade is still running, slowly add the olive oil until everything is finely mixed together (I prefer pesto slightly chunky but oily).  Then you can squeeze some lemon, add pepper flakes and salt/*pepper to taste.

Make your favorite pasta according to directions, drain and put back into pot the amount you need.  Then add pesto sauce and turn on element to gently heat the sauce with the pasta.

I’ve been making (but not from scratch obviously) my own country pepper spice mix using Tellicherry black peppercorns, chopped onion, garlic, chilli pepper + italian seasoning.  It’s fabulous!

I should really bottle and sell this but it’s too much work!

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Mood Board #9

Recent Random Photos

Say Goodbye to:

The Party’s Over!   The very last sunny summer day – Friday, September 15th

A corner of my deck

My summer blue polish

 

 

 

 

 

Say Hello to:

Fall Clothing

Outside Heaters if you’re lucky (at Lift, Vancouver)

Hearty Dishes (this is Tavola on Robson, Vancouver).  Whole Seabass & Gnocchi

Different Desserts

Maybe some dancing here and there

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel-good Friday: Furry Friends

I would like to introduce you to our new little furry female family member,  a one-year-old sheltie named LAYLA.

THEN – first meeting

Big brother Jia Jia is thrilled to have her and considers Layla his dog.

She brings some sunshine to our days following the one month anniversary of Don’s passing.  We are still grieving and Jia Jia was very depressed and moping around.  Now he has come back to life.  Layla too for that matter.  It’s a bittersweet story of how we got her.

Don was the instigator because he started sourcing breeders when we were last in Palm Springs.  He located a breeder in the Kootenays (British Columbia) and asked me to make the call.  It was a husband/wife team. They were expecting a litter in May but I told them we would be fine with an older female for our male sheltie.  They had a female who they were planning to breed and would be happy to let her go after she had a litter.  We decided to take a trip in June to see her.  Believe it or not, Don drove most of the way there and all of the way back. The dog was Layla.  Jia Jia and she immediately hit it off.  We saw the puppies too, which as you can imagine, were totally adorable.  They were not ready to let her go as she was coming into heat at that time.  So we went on our way and said we’d be in touch.

We got the call early August that she did not get pregnant as planned, so they were going to have her spayed so that she’d be available for pick up. I asked Don what to do as his health had deteriorated to the point of not being able to look after himself at that time.

He said “go for it.”  He met her and loved her.  Said she’d be great company for Jia Jia and good for me too.  So I said okay.  I made plans to pick her up in Summerland early September where they were headed to a dog show.  It was also half the driving distance to where she lived.

Then about a week after Don passed away the breeder called and told me that Layla was very sick.  She had been spayed but didn’t come out of it so well.  She stopped eating for several days and seemed to have a possible problem with her esophagus.   They would not be able to sell her and they thought they might have to put her down.  I was doubly devastated now.  This was the dog that Don, Jia Jia and I made the trip out to see and now not only can we not have her, but she might not even make it.  I asked them to please keep me posted on her progress nonetheless.  Hoping that they would at least be able to keep  her should she survive.

Fast forward two more weeks.  I received an e-mail that Layla was eating again and x-ray showed that all was fine. Clean bill of health from a terrible scare.  It was just an alarm and she had a bad reaction to the anesthesia.  She was available once again.  So I made a quick decision to pick her up the very next day in Summerland where the breeders were showing one of their dogs.  They were not even planning to take her.  And I was lucky to get a hotel room because everything was booked for either the dog show or a classic car show.

NOW – getting acquainted with her new HOME and adapting amazing well

She’s a very sweet, smart, playful little girl.  It took her all of one day to get settled. My only disappointment is that Don not be here to witness how well the two of them get along together.  But he is responsible for finding her and he did meet her (above photo).  I’m very thankful for this gift from Don.  At least this story has a happy ending.  I absolutely adore her!

Have a Happy Weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

In Memory of my husband Don

Donald James Wilson (June 19, 1943 – August 15, 2017)

Top Photos + bottom left photo: Lisa King

The beginning, the middle and the end.

I believe in the laws of attraction.  I believe that people, places and things come into your life when you need or manifest them, or to teach you a lesson.  I’m not sure about the ending.  That’s a big question mark that I’ll never understand.  But my husband, like my dog, just showed up at my door one day and changed my life forever and for better.

 When I first met Don he was wearing a pale yellow shirt with a front button missing and carrying a paperback novel. His demeanor was the exact opposite of the crazy whirlwind relationship I ended months prior with an extroverted, creative, complicated guy with a gambling problem from NYC. At first glance Don was more down to earth, reserved, relaxed but solid. I was immediately attracted.  Of course he turned out to be a lot more than that.  A disciplined hard working, well-traveled, intelligent, caring, kind and philosophical man with utmost integrity. A man of his word as well as someone you could trust.  On the down side, quite stubborn, but I was always happy when I could change his mind about something he was very set on not changing.

At the time we met, before Don started his own company as a consultant engineer for telecommunications, he was managing an office in Toronto.  He kept a condo in Vancouver, always with the intention of moving back here.  A mutual friend from Toronto asked him to deliver photos from another friend’s wedding we had just attended in San Francisco instead of putting them in the mail. I forgot to bring my camera to San Francisco and I often wonder what my life would have been like had I taken it. So he brought them to me, and right after he left I called my mom and said this “I just met someone who showed up at my door and don’t know why but I’m pretty sure this is the man I’m going to spend my life with.”  Crazy, right?

But true.  That was 27 short years ago and we were married for 25 of them.

In between we created a life well lived.

The Road Well Traveled.  Photo Credit: Lisa King

A life filled with travel, adventure, a few rocky patches but overall, more good times than bad, up until the very end. He was my advisor and my best friend. That’s why I decided to do whatever in my power to try to make him well when he got sick with kidney cancer.  He was re-diagnosed a little over two years ago and it was starting to spread.

Even during that time filled with uncertainty he managed to surprise me with his strong will several times. We were able to make a few memorable trips even though his health was not good.  He would not give up easily. The past several months were the hardest.  The last two were the worst.  I borrowed a hospital bed from the Red Cross with the most comfortable inflatable mattress cover for Don so he could be downstairs at home on one level because it would be easier.  But it was not.  I was his nurse until I had to get weekly, then daily help. My life was not my own.  He gave me the biggest compliment by saying that there was nothing a nurse could do that I could not do.  But I don’t believe that.  I was just trying to cope as well as make nutritious meals before deciding to just make whatever he craved be it macaroni & cheese to ceviche. And believe me, it was all over the map. He was craving food from his childhood to when he worked in the desert in Saudi. A meal from a can to Sablefish.  Never a dull moment or at least, meal.

Then I found out about Vancouver Hospice Society with their incredible staff and volunteers.  A place in a reconverted house in Shaugnessey with only 8 beds and a wait list.  I went there, and after meeting the director and looking around at the home like atmosphere, decided it would be the best place for care and to free up quality time for me to spend with Don. Luckily a bed became available within a few days.  The private room was lovely overlooking an outdoor patio with plants, a flat screen TV and a pull-out  sofa bed which my dog and I slept on every night.     Don was only there for 10 days.

The night before he went into Vancouver Hospice he told me he wanted to give me something personal.  I won’t say what it was but it was meaningful and very moving.  At that stage I knew that he knew he was dying.  Before that, he was always optimistic and full of hope. Nobody mentioned the actual dying part, so it was extremely sad and I could not stop crying.  He then said “there is a beginning, a middle and an end to everything.  My end is coming and now you can have a new beginning.”  He was very thankful to me for all I had done to try and help him.  He said all this in a matter of fact way and I could feel that he now wanted the humility and discomfort to finally come to a finish.  His mind was good right up until the very end.

I will forever be grateful for having Don in my life.  No other person has done so much for me in so many areas.  I am a much better person for having known him. He was also a true friend to my sister and they had become very close.  He was a mentor to many people.  Well respected and trusted.  It was important for my brother to spend a few minutes explaining how he felt near the end.  He shared something special and I have to say that since my mom passed away, I have never seen my brother cry so hard. He was close to his brother George who lives in Toronto, and who gave him a much needed surprise visit in July.  I had no idea the influence Don had on so many, although I’m not surprised.

I was by his side holding his left hand when he took his very last breath. Lisa (my sister) was holding his right hand.  He looked peaceful. Lisa didn’t leave my side for three days following.  My dear friend Margeaux left her business and drove eight hours to spend the next four days/nights with me.  I’m forever grateful.

A light has gone out.  A new future begins.

 

Welcome August

A few quotes on the very first day of a bright new month

Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun.”— Kent Nerburn (American writer).

Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.”—Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.” ―Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

“When summer opens, I see how fast it matures, and fear it will be short; but after the heats of July and August, I am reconciled, like one who has had his swing, to the cool of autumn.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson (American essayist and scholar).

Some of the best people are born in this month; one was my mother

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.” ―Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

Speaking of color…

Have a wonderful month

 

 

 

Monday Mood Board #8

SUMMER INSPIRATION starting with:

Never forget to apply sunscreen.  I love her retro look.

Chic Peek: Style on the Street (somewhere else)We just had a Sunday afternoon Tea Party with a variety of homemade finger sandwiches (sans pink, green + yellow food-grade dye like my mom used to do with the bread – yeah she did!), old-fashioned deviled eggs and some sweets to finish.  And tea.

Maybe not high-tea. More like medium-low but delicious nonetheless. Highly recommend it!

Keeping it light

But you can still enjoy it!

Self care Sunday – Time Out

This is my first post in a week

You may have noticed or not because everyone is caught up relishing the joys of Summer.    It’s normal for me to cut back posts from mid-July until the end of August.  Time to wind down. I become more lazy, take time out for myself,  spend more time outside and quality time with others.

However at present I am devoting my full time and energy to a very difficult family situation.  Eventually I might write about it.  It’s the first time in a loooong time that I find it hard to concentrate on more than what is at hand.  It’s been emotionally draining and I must look after myself on top of it all because…

Simple pleasures: it’s strange to note that something as unexciting as changing the bed sheets give me a simple boost of pleasure.  Something as habitual as sitting down with my morning coffee to check e-mails is more relaxing than normal and a fifteen minute afternoon nap is heaven sent.  I don’t function well when there is chaos around me and my surroundings need to be relatively clean and tidy.

Which brings me back to what it means to take time out.  It’s important to not totally deplete your energy. And we don’t need Denis Waitley (best-selling author of the audio series “The Psychology of Winning” and books such as “Seeds of Greatness” and “The Winner’s Edge”) to tell us so.  Although he did say:

Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted.

Food for Thought

 

 

 

 

 

Self-care Sunday Scramble

Always scrambling for new healthy breakfast ideas, my gut feeling said that this would be an excellent choice.  Made with good-for-you *kimchi and leftover vegetables topped over wilted spinach it was!

photo/recipe – d. king

Story at-a-glance
*Kimchi is a fermented blend of cabbage, chili peppers, garlic, scallions, and other spices often eaten with every meal in Korea.  Rich in vitamins A and C due to its fermentation process, it is also rich in beneficial gut-boosting lactobacilli bacteria. Kimchi has potent antioxidative and immune-stimulating activities along with anti-obesity effects and more more.  Basically it is a super healthy additive or mid afternoon snack on its own.  

As it turns out I was not so imaginative using kimchi in a scramble as I thought because there is a ton of recipes out there.

How-to:

First wilt a handful of spinach in butter.  Set aside.

In same frypan stir in chopped red pepper, broccoli, green onion + parsley.  Then add some kimchi (amount depending on how much you like – it’s a required taste but I actually love it). I also added some freshly grated carrot (optional).

In another small bowl beat with a fork two free-range eggs.  When vegetables are tender, add the eggs and mix together. Top over spinach.

Notes: for sides instead of making homefried potatoes I steamed yams then mashed with a little (grass fed) butter, sliced avocado with sesame seeds and baked beans.

woodbrine3Do you like kimchi?