Saturday, 8 December 2018

08/12/18





















Here we are on the Eve of the second Sunday in Advent and despite my best efforts at “quiet reflection” time, each day seems to be jammed with a ton of “to-do” list items. Sigh.
I am making sure to include some extra Advent devotional readings each day, which do force me to sit down for 20 minutes or so at some point!
Still waiting for 2 more pieces of copy for the CTM Newsletter and since one of them is the President’s Message we really cannot publish it without that article!
Work is also continuing on the Day Camp “Planners” and I have been sending reminders to the people who are editing chapters for the Program Manual, since December 31stis (supposed to be) the deadline 😊
We have set a date for our special committee meeting to completely rethink the Training Retreat and I have sent a letter to the Corporation of the church, which is our number 1 choice of venue for our new plan. Once we have held that meeting (at the end of January) I shall probably write a special post on the topic as several blog readers have already asked for details, but it is still rather nebulous, so the “reveal” will need to wait a while. 
Over the next 2 weeks I fear there will be rather less to report on the Day Camps front as communities hunker down and pour all their energies into the final preparations of the Advent & Christmas Season. Few people are currently fixated on plans for their summer Day Camps and so I too will need to confine the planning to the topics that can be dealt with “in house”.
Today is bright and sunny and there has already been plenty of activity around here although it is only 930 a.m.!! Yesterday I received a plea for a last minute catering order and since I knew the person asking has been going through a very rough patch, I couldn’t say “no” so on top of plans to bake- a Japanese Cheesecake, mince-pies, Pennsylvania Dutch Chocolate Christmas Cookies and 2 loves of Gluten-free bread, I added on making a frozen peppermint cheesecake, Angel biscuits, a large salad with toasted pecans and cranberries and a jar of honey/balsamic dressing!!! Of course there was also the small matter of preparing dinner (Danish Fishcakes and Garlic Oven-
Fries 😊)
All of that to say that my friend picked up her order at 840 a.m. just as the man arrived to measure our fireplace for retrofitting with a wood-burning stove. AGH!!!!! My dearest friend Michelle has always referred to this sort of situation as “a quiet day at the Taylors”, wait until a puppy is added to the mix 😊.
Earlier this week we had a lovely Advent/ Christmas Pod Gathering with 12 people in attendance, all ages from a 6 year old to seniors. We enjoyed a delicious shared supper and then were led by Nick Brotherwood in a simple House Eucharist, which included the making of Danish Paper Hearts as a special Advent activity. I also managed to persuade my boarder, Steven, to be our musician and he played viola, which was so beautiful. After it was over a whole gang pitched in to wash the dishes and help clear up for which I was extremely grateful. The evening was such a blesséd way to bring Advent into this home.
There will now be a short pause while I bundle up (it is currently -17ºC) and dash to the CO-OP as we are out of coffee beans, quite a serious situation!
Back again, with just a bit more time to finish up here before making Saturday Lunch. 
Tonight some former neighbours, who are still dear friends are coming for dinner and I have decided to make Nabemono, (hence also the aforementioned Japanese Matcha Cheesecake!) so as soon as lunch is done I shall need to launch into making Dashi and cutting up all the chicken and vegetables for this dish, which I always think of as Japanese comfort food, so good for a freezing night 😊
In a season with so many calls upon one’s time it is good to focus on meals that can be quickly pulled together. One night this week Steven and I enjoyed Carrot & Bulghur Pilaf with Broiled Halloumi as this recipe is a good candidate for tasty and speedy dinner.
Here you go!

Carrot & Bulghur Pilaf


1 ½ cups bulghur
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, diced
4 medium carrots, grated
1 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. tamari
black pepper,to taste
1 Tbsp. butter, cut into small bits
8 oz. halloumi, sliced ¼” thick

Rinse the bulghur in a sieve under cold water. Place in a bowl and pour boiling water over, to cover by 1 inch. Let soak for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain well, gently pressing down to remove as much liquid as possible. Set aside.
In a cast iron skillet heat the oil over medium-high; add the garlic and onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and basil and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the bulghur, tamari, pepper and butter and toss well. Place the slices of halloumi over the top of the skillet and place under a hot broiler for approximately 5 minutes or until the halloumi is browned and melting. Serve immediately.
Serves 3-4

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