Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pigeon Pictures

OK - so you know that I had a pigeon nesting on the balcony. We stayed away to give mama pigeon some peace and once the eggs hatched, I would go out every couple of days to have a look and snap some pictures without disturbing them too much.

The first photo was taken on July 19. This is the first time I got to see the babies.

July 21

Mama never went far. She'd see me and came flying back right away.

Mama protecting her babies.

July 24

July 28

July 28

July 30

Aug. 1

Aug. 3

Aug. 6 - The nest is empty!

Jim disposed of the nest to discourage any more egg laying and cleaned up the "mess" they left behind.

Aug. 12 - Lo and behold, look who I spotted. They still have little spikes on their heads where the feathers haven't quite finished coming out, but obviously, pretty much full grown & full feathered.

Thought you could get rid of us, eh? Not that easy.

The "babies" were sitting on the floor of the balcony and mom was on the railing keeping watch it seemed.
We'd been very accommodating. We let them set up temporary house on our balcony, but now they are getting to be a nuisance. They're like the grown children that won't move out. They keep pooping all over and frankly, I'm getting tired of cleaning it up. We get all gloved & masked up to go out and clean up bird crap. We can't even enjoy the balcony anymore. Time for some desperate measures.

Jim went to Canadian Tire and bought this plastic owl. He set it up outside while chattering away "Say hello to my little friend."

This by the balcony door also acts as a pigeon deterrent.

So the owl is in the middle of the balcony, Simon is on one end and look what's on the other end.

Geez! I think we're going to have to resort to putting netting up.

Or get another Jack Russell?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Post of Deliciousness (or Failure To Come Up With An Adequate Title)

In keeping with the Led Zeppelin theme for a moment, did you see Jimmy Page at the Olympic Closing Ceremonies? How funny that he played "Whole Lotta Love". That's the song in the video I posted below. Of all the songs he could have played.... Thanks Jimmy! (who knows, maybe he'll read this blog too. HA! In my dreams.)
David Beckham was also at the closing ceremonies, and because I have mostly female readers, why not a gratuitous photo of Becks in his underwear?

Not long ago I got some wonderful Ontario grown raspberries.

These were so sweet and delicious, I didn't do a thing to them - just ate them as is. It saddens me that their season is so short. When I have a garden again, I'd like to plant some. Has anyone tried their hand at growing raspberries?

A lot of the locally grown produce is hitting the stores & farmer's markets now. I got some beets and roasted them in orange juice with garlic & thyme. I've showcased this dish before, so if you'd like the recipe, go here. I also roasted some potatoes with onions, green beans & a little bit of thyme, and sauteed some kale with garlic & onions. All of that fresh produce and it's onion-y garlic-y goodness made for a fresh vibrant meal.

A while ago, I also tried some Sheese. I went to Goodness Me and although they had all kinds of alternative cheese products, I didn't see Sheese, so I asked. They carry it at their Hamilton store, which is much larger, and were more than willing to have it sent over for me.

It had a sort of crumbly cheddar look, and I was really keen to try it. It wasn't bad, but because I still do eat cheese, it wasn't what I was used to and I think that made me not really enjoy it as much. If I had been away from real cheese for some time and then tried this, I think I would have been much more impressed. I will say that it's waaaay better than most of of the other alternative products I've tried. I think it's an excellent option to have and I would definitely buy it again. I'd really like to try some of the other flavours, especially Gouda and the cream styles. I've been hearing & reading a lot now about Teese so I've got my eyes & ears open for it to come to Canada so I can try that one too.

Now feast your eyes on THIS! It's from Susan at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. It's her creation - Seitan Baked in Sweet & Sour Orange Sauce.
This was soooo freakin' delicious!! And like Susan says at the beginning of the recipe, it's not as complicated as it first appears to be. I worked the way she suggested and it all came together fairly easily.
I even did the vegetables with some of the orange sauce like she suggested. More of my fresh Ontario bounty is displayed in the photo. If you haven't made this yet, I highly suggest it. Trust me. You will drool over it and your taste buds will be getting a "Whole Lotta Love". (insert groan here)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Robert

First I heard last month that Mick Jagger turned 65! Now today, Robert Plant is 60. Time marches on, but our rock icons are still icons. Just not quite as smokin' hot as they used to be.

I can't really think of anyone around today that comes close to the doing what the super groups of the late 60's & 70's did. What a great time for music! There are some odd exceptions but for the most part I'm so sick of all the shiteous music on the radio. It all sounds the same. (barf!) Instead I mostly listen to the classic rock stations. Isn't is sad when the music of your generation is considered classic? about some good ol' rock? Here is one of my very favorite Led Zeppelin songs. Crank up your speakers & Enjoy!

I highly doubt he reads this blog, but just in case - Robert - Happy Birthday!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vegan Gourmet Dreena Style & Brilliante Shout-Outs

I adore anything that is wrapped in pastry. Make it puff pastry or phyllo and I'm all over it. So when I saw the recipe Walnut, White Bean & Spinach Phyllo Rolls in Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, I knew I had to make it. Phyllo always looks so impressive, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to work with. I've used it in the past, so I knew this was going to be a cake-walk (or a pastry-walk if you will)

I tried to get a good shot of the filling and still show you the delicate flaky layers. The filling is savoury with perfect textures that don't overpower the pastry. These could be eaten hot or at room temperature and if made bite-sized they would be a terrific hors d'oeuvres.
I made these 'regular' size to have as a meal and was trying to decide what to serve as a side. Pasta is always a hit with Jim and I remembered a wonderfully delicious sauce I had made many years ago from Dreena's very first book The Everyday Vegan.






Here is whole wheat spaghetti smothered with Basic Creamy Garlic Sauce. This sauce is so freakin' delicious. The garlic is roasted first so it's a nice & mellow. Fresh herbs are mixed in to give it a little lift.

To top off this delicious feast, another winner from Dreena. This is also from her new book, Eat, Drink & Be Vegan -

Lime Sucker Coconut Pie

This is one of my new favorites. It's not very difficult to make and the lime coconut combo is a perfect compliment.

There are pretty flecks of green throughout. I don't know if you can see them too well in this photo. I made this in the morning so there would be no fussing after dinner. The pie kept nice in the refrigerator for a few days. This whole meal was very delicious and because I could do a lot of the prep work ahead of time, I made it again for a small dinner party we had. I was able to spend more time with my guests rather than in the kitchen and everyone really enjoyed the meal.

Thanks to Catherine at Food Snob & to Peggy at Vegan Teen Cuisine for giving me a shoutout. From what I gather, I'm now to nomiate 7 people that I feel are deserving of a Brillante Weblog mention, so here we go. (psssst....before I start, let me tell you that I've been known to not really follow the rules for these sorts of things.)

1. Urban Vegan - not only do I love the food Dynise makes, but the restaurants she frequents and the wonderful get-away holidays she blogs about. Her cats are adorable, her Omniman is wonderful (and has very handsome hands) and I LOVE her Philly digs.

2. Vegan Vice - Vicki is always cooking up something fun in her Idaho kitchen. Her daughters help alot and the cuteness factor there is over the top. Check out her red tile countertop - to die for. Vicki & her husband also take jaunts to California and she blogs about their beach & restaurant adventures there.

3. Are You My Mother & The Daily Antics of Kody (tie) - Both of these blogs are put up by Tanya Kristine, a kindred spirit. She's a drinking, partying, dog-loving, life-loving Irish woman like myself. Topics range from weight obsession to striking it rich to saving animals & bugs to pub crawls to heart wrenching family tales. Kody is her beloved dog who has his own blog full of handsome photos and funny stories.

4. Where's The Revolution? - Bazu loves her ice cream! And there's nothing wrong with that whatsoever. There's always something new & interesting on this blog. Whether she's educating us in Iranian customs, telling us about fellow bloggers she meets on her trips, or just showcasing downright tasty food, the revolution is in Syracuse.

5. Walking The Vegan Line - Think that living as a vegan in Texas would be difficult? No so! Besides hosting potlucks for Society of Peace, and showcasing delicious vegan fare right in the heart of Texas, Amanda is a Daring Baker and the goodies she whips up in her kitchen are nothing short of amazing. The trip to NYC for Vegan Baking Bootcamp & the photos of what she made there keeps me going back for sneek peeks. And did you know, her prom date was Johnny Depp? (hehehe) ;o)

6. Veggie Girl - Where she finds time to do all she does is just short of astounding, but Liz is an inspiration. She has such a love for life, animals & fellow humans, it shines through in her posts. Always willing to experiment in the kitchen, she shares her latest baking adventures with us. As a student, hoping to write for a magazine, she's certainly getting a great start with her blog.

7. Strictly Tastings - A fellow wine lover & Burlington resident, I've been lucky enough to meet Wino Will. I like the set up of this blog and how the entries are updated as the wines are tasted. We seem to have sort of similar tastes and I'm always checking to see if my favorites get a good score from Will. A wide variety of wines are chosen as well, from the uber cheap to more expensive Vintages releases.

8. (see, I told you I cheat) Vivacious Vegan - After a too long hiatus, Crystal is back! Picking up from where she left off, delicious food porn is abundant on this blog. Whether she's showcasing dishes from trendy veg*n restaurants or scrumptious homemade creations, Crystal's photos will surely have you drooling. She's not shy about showing off her skateboarding skills either.

Honourable mention to Michelle at Can You Marry Your Dog. (honourable mentions are not cheating) Former chef & buddy of Tanya (see #3), Michelle blogs about food, her family, her dogs, the wine bar, etc. all with great wit. Any girl who thinks vodka is a food group is definitely worth a shout-out!

Now, those of you I nominated should in turn do your own nominating. Ready....GO!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

PETA Goes Too Far

I have a like-hate feeling for PETA. There is no denying they've raised awareness of animal rights and brought the plight of factory farms, inhumane treatment of circus animals, horrifying slaughter practices and much, much more to the forefront. Sometimes they use sex to sell their message as they've done with their latest fur campaign. Unveiled to coincide with the 2008 Olympics is this poster -

Amanda Beard, a swimmer on the US Olympic team, was to do the unveiling at an event that was to be held in a private room at a nearby hotel but for some reason, the hotel was locked down due to "security reasons." Instead, the event was held at the gates of the athlete's village. The event took place to not only help draw attention to the cruelty in the Chinese fur trade, but to inform & educate on the cruelty of the fur trade worldwide. Amanda did some press coverage, and it was all done in a positive way. Well done on this one PETA.

The next news story generated by PETA a couple of days later just sickened me.

This is all in reference to the horror story that struck the Canadian media with such force, people are still talking about it. On July 30, 2008, on a Greyhound bus travelling from Edmonton to Winnipeg, Tim McLean was sleeping in his seat when the passenger beside him stabbed him repeatedly and decapitated him. You can read here the report when the story first broke.

As the days went on, more and more information came to light. There were news stories about the attacker. And there were news stories about the victim. It is such a horrifying, sad, disturbing story.

Then the Westboro Baptist Church (who's only members are the founder and members of his own family) and that nutty Shirley Phelps-Roper were coming to picket the funeral. They were going to carry signs that said "God Hates You" and "God Hates Canada".

As if Tim McLean's family and friends didn't have enough to deal with, PETA comes out with a new campaign, playing on this whole event.

Click to enlarge.

It's things like this, or that terrible campaign about the Holocaust, that totally discredit PETA and has the general public thinking they're a bunch of radical kooks. It's such a shame that all of the good work they have done is overshadowed by this kind of shock media. They even tried to purchase space to run the ad in the Winnipeg Sun! Click here.

Would this campaign make anyone think twice about going veg? I certainly don't think so.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I Miss You Already Gil!

I love this freakin' show. Jim & I have been watching it since it came on the air in 2000. Over the summer I heard that my beloved 'Gil Grissom' is leaving the show! NOOOOO!! I have such a huge crush on him. Thursday nights are the best nights of the week because of Gil.

He's so mysterious, weird, quirky and smart. Except for the bug thing. What am I going to do? Watch re-runs I suppose.
Then, I heard that he would make a handful of appearances throughout the upcoming season. Whew! Every week I'll be like a kid on Christmas Eve. The anticipation of him showing up will just about kill me.

Yesterday I heard they were getting a replacement for 'Gil Grissom'. This was on the internet and the article gave a little teaser with "find out who" link. Did I really want to know? No one could fill his shoes. I HAD to click the link and as my finger hovered over the 'enter' key, I held my breath and hit it. Who did I see?

Laurence Fishburne!! Doesn't this guy just exude COOL? I'm OK with this. I think he'll be a fantastic fit for the show. He won't "replace" Gil, but be a new addition to the team. Now I'm kind of looking forward to the new season. It should be almost as good as it could be. ;o)

Here's a picture of Jim & I that Karen took on the platform while waiting for the subway in TO. We purposely posed in front of this poster. (Jim has a crush on Catherine Willows) HAHA! We're so silly. But, hey, why not! It makes life more fun.
Do you have a TV character crush? Come on - don't be shy. Tell us!