What a fun, relaxing day we had. Here's Jim's uncle John. He immigrated to Canada from Scotland years ago, shortly after Jim's dad did. He is a very, very nice man.
Uncle John's wife, Aunt Esther, also from Glasgow, helped to set the table. Jade's boyfriend, Mike, joined our family for dinner this year.
It looks like he's enjoying himself. He brought his guitar & amp and jammed with Ryan, Karen & Mike's son, who plays the drums. They were great entertainment! Jade is hidden behind Mike, beside her is Karen & Mike's daughter, Kelsey, who also entertained us with some flute, and beside her, Jim's cousin, Derek. Derek likes taking pics as much as I do.
On the other side of the table we have Derek - again taking pictures. Told you so. His partner, Josh, is being shy and hiding. Then, Ryan, the drummer and Jim. (These photos look like ads for Pepsi! I didn't realize that everyone was having pop with dinner. Yikes! I still find that an odd beverage choice unless I'm out & having a veggie burger)
Our hosts! Mike - chef extraordinaire and Karen.
Mama Rita made a new friend. Here she is with the family dog, Coda. He was named by Ryan who is a huge Led Zepplin fan. That was a bulk of our entertainment - Led Zepplin songs - which was great! Mike was kind enough to throw in a few Pink Floyd numbers just for me.
My big present from Jim still has me excited. Lookie! Lookie!
I've wanted one of these for years. I still wander into the kitchen just to look at it. It's amazing! So, what does one do when one gets a gift like this? Mix things! I started cooking - on Boxing Day.
First, I tried it out for mixing muffin batter. I chose VWAV Carrot-Raisin Muffins.
They turned out lovely, don't you think?
These are light for a muffin and very moist. Of course they taste delicious. Would we expect anything less from Isa? Lots of raisins too. I hate getting a muffin that has 3 raisins it. Be generous! Raisins are high in potassium & antioxidants. They're tasty and good for you.
The mixer comes with a dough hook, so if I can get the machine to do the kneading, all the better for me. Working in a bakery has made me privy to some tips which I put to use and voila!
Herb Pull-Apart Rolls that came out perfect and golden. I got the recipe from the instruction & recipe booklet that came with the mixer. These were soooo delicious! Definitely a keeper.
For dinner, I made a "meat"loaf using a recipe from Robin Robertson's Meat & Potatoes Cookbook. I threw all of the ingredients into the bowl, added a few extras to suit our tastes, flipped the switch and watched as everything was mixed up nicely in a matter of seconds.
Here's a shot of the finished product. This was a big hit with Jim & with me. It's by far one of the best loaf recipes I've tried.
I even put the potatoes into the mixer and mashed them that way. Everything is such a breeze now. My potato masher might just end up pushed to the back of the drawer. Sorry masher, there's a new kid in town. Notice I've also got brussels sprouts on the plate. I tried these a couple of times years ago, and didn't like them at all. But, tastes change and Jennifer McCann developed a recipe that she posted on Vegan Lunch Box called Best Brussels Sprouts. Well, I was bored for a new side veg, so decided to try it. They were really good! I think I like brussels sprouts now. Well, at least I like these brussels sprouts.
Now, I'm trying to decide what to make next in my new KitchenAid Stand Mixer. The possibilities seem endless!
Simon was also very excited about his Christmas gifts and wanted me to tell you about them. First off, he got these fun treats.
Pegetables! It's a chewy treat made with vegetables and they come in fun shapes. Low-fat, full of nutrients and good for the teeth. I wasn't sure if he'd go for the celery one because he doesn't like real celery, but he loved it. The corn and carrot were also big hits.
He also got another gift from "Santa" - his own Dog Companion DVD's!
These "movies" are made for pets to watch when they are left alone. Simon doesn't usually go more than 4 or 5 hours home by himself because most days, Jim and I have a only short overlap of our schedules. Some days were both gone for the day and so Simon doesn't get bored by himself, these seemed perfect. I stumbled onto them purely by accident on the internet, ordered them and they were here within a week. He seems to enjoy them - at least he shows some interest anyway, especially when I put on Dog Farm Adventure. Part of the proceeds from the sale of these DVD's go to the Ontario SPCA, and that makes everyone happy!