friday favourite – 2018 travel reading list

I stumbled on a travel blog called Traveling with MJ and her Jan 1st post was a travel reading challenge. It caught my eye since many of us tend to read more when we are on vacation and I usually try to read a book that takes place in a country that I’m visiting. The initial list has 24 different ideas, if you do the math that’s 2 books per month. Don’t let that scare you, feel free to make yours the 2018/19 travel reading list! Here’s the list. It’s a creative idea and our friday favourite.

THE 2018 BASIC TRAVEL READING LIST

  1. A book that takes place in the country of your origin
  2. A book that takes place in a destination you’d like to visit
  3. A book with a type of food in the title
  4. A book that takes place somewhere you’ve always dreamed of living
  5. A book that takes place in your hometown
  6. A book that is set in a period of history in which you are interested
  7. A book recommended by a friend
  8. A book that you read years ago and want to re-read
  9. A book with an animal in the title
  10. A book with a type of plant in the title
  11. A book set in the future
  12. A book set in your favorite country or region
  13. A book that is an adventure story
  14. A book by an author whose last name starts with the same letter as your last name
  15. A book by an author who is not of the same gender as you
  16. A book with a silly title
  17. A book that’s perfect for reading over lunch
  18. A book from a genre you don’t typically read
  19. A book with a purple cover
  20. A book published in 2018
  21. A book that is also a movie
  22. A guidebook
  23. A book that is written by or is about a famous person
  24. A book that inspires you to make a change

Let us know if you take the challenge, I expect ACC (Alison) to be the first one done!

HAR

 

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costa rican coffee

Before boarding our small ship for a week off the coast of Costa Rica, we found a coffee plantation tour that we could just squeeze in during our one free morning.

Britt Coffee has a small plantation at their roasting facility that was about 45 minutes from our hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica. The hotel arranged a taxi for us, we paid for the tour and lunch and we were on our way.

The tour was very entertaining with two hosts who must have a background in theatre! Throughout the plantation there were coffee stations so by the end of the tour we had tasted most of their blends, and had a caffeine buzz!

IMG_1165

 

IMG_1159I wanted to buy some coffee but didn’t really want to carry it with me all week on a boat. Clearly I wasn’t the only one who thought this way since they made it very easy to ship coffee home. I placed my order, it arrived last night and this morning I ground my Costa Rican beans and drank my coffee watching the snow fall!

 

HAR

 

 

 

friday favourite – my new cheese board

I love cheese. Love locally produced cheese is even better. Some of my new favourites are Five Brothers from Gunns Hill, Baby Swiss from Stonetown Cheese and I will always cross the street for manchego.

The Dairy Farmers of Canada had a cool promo on before the holidays – giving away a maple wood cheese board in the shape of Canada if you sent in a photo showing five cheeses bought with the Canadian milk symbol. That was easy.

And this week – my new #CanadianCheese board arrived. I’ll be testing it out this weekend. It’s going to look even better when there is a slab of two-year-old Thornloe cheddar sitting on Saskatchewan, Woolwich goat cheese taking over Quebec and some olives all over the country.

Thank you dairy cows for making delicious milk!

CJR

friday favourite – SLO

I bought a beautiful pair of new mittens over the holidays. It was a cold day, and I was a personal shopper guide for a friend or relative looking for Christmas gifts. Which meant that I saw something I wanted, in between recommending a gift for someone else.

I stumbled on beautiful, handcrafted mittens by SLO. The tag told me they were made out of up to four carefully selected wool and wool blend sweaters, and that the were locally sourced and manufactured.

A quick visit to their website filled in the rest — “…use extra, unwanted and second-hand fabrics to make functional, useful, everyday products and accessories. Each item is made by hand using reclaimed fabrics when possible.”

I love wearing functional art.

CJR

homemade mac and cheese

The holidays are an interesting time. Throw in the extreme, extended cold, a few extra pets in the house … and we were building up a recipe for madness. I was avoiding the grocery store for as long as possible…and after eating a LOT of vegetables and salad at a restaurant lunch, I settled in for homemade mac and cheese.

I’ve been using a recipe of Anne Lindsay’s for the cheese sauce – there is no butter in the roux – but don’t worry, I add it into the topping! I had old cheddar and swiss cheese in the frig for the sauce. And made a topping from homemade breadcrumbs, soaked in melted butter and some shredded mozzarella.

Here’s the result.

 Here’s the recipe.

  • 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 cup shredded old cheddar (or other mix)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Cook macaroni until tender.

In a saucepan, whisk together milk and flour. Cook over medium heat, whisking for about 5 minutes or until boiling and thickened. Whisk in cheese, salt, Dijon, cayenne and green onion.

Mix sauce and pasta, and place in baking dish. Top with butter breadcrumbs plus a little parmesan or other shredded cheese. Bake at 350 F for about 20-25 minutes until bubbling.

I can admit here that mac and cheese, even the tasty homemade variety, always gets topped with ketchup…

CJR

having a word with 2018

We’re picking a word for the year again – to ponder, spend time with, remember about, and maybe a way to act or be.

I think I have two words. One to inspire and one to guide. To inspire I choose read. I have gotten quite completely out of the habit of reading. Does that ring true with any of you? Our shorter attention span, stress-up lives, a new iPad and perhaps a little Netflix affliction have taken my attention away from focusing on words and storylines and new ideas.

My other work to guide is joy. A recent post circulating on Facebook asked friends to post a word that started with their name. There were probably some other instructions but I’ve forgotten them…but I did post joy. And I thought that would be a nice word to  carry around this year. CJR

And I chose the word explore. I want to see and do and discover. I have launched my kids, I have volunteered, I have worked. Now I want to explore! As for a word that starts with the same letter as my name…can I chose a few? Happy, healthy, hilarious. HAR

Happy New Year

CJR & HAR

 

friday favourite – a tasty school fundraiser

How many boxes of waxy chocolate covered almonds and flimsy wrapping paper have you bought over the years…to support somebody’s school? Finally…a school fundraiser that’s tasty, healthy and supports local farmers.

This is the second year I’ve bought Fresh from the Farm – the yummiest way to support the whole community. There is a box of apples, and bags of sweet potatoes, onions, potatoes and carrots. And perfect timing for some hearty winter stew. A definite Friday favourite.

CJR