Monday, November 21, 2011

snow, Snow, SNow, SNOW!!

It’s that time of year again, when Jack Frost sends frozen kisses our way, and Mother Nature blankets the ground in the fluffy white “stuff”.  For some, winter weather means chaotic morning commutes, back breaking shoveling, and sniffley red noses.  For others – fire up them sleds, wax up them boards, bring on the fresh powder!

ME…  I’m the “in-between” type.   I hate the chaotic morning commute, but really do enjoy the peaceful mornings, when you wake up to a fresh blanket of snow… I just don’t like having to drive in the slushy sh&#*!..oops..err... I mean "stuff".
Allison Lake, BC - room with a view!
I LOVE to fire up the sleds (ok, try and pull start that green machine I use, often times giving up…letting someone else try and start “the thing” – though I am getting better) J  and ride along trails that are barely touched by mankind.  Where Mother Nature covers each tree with a thick blanket of snow, creating a magical forest of  sparkling snow and ice and turns the dusty, rocky hills into a white rolling landscape.   I LIKE (as I still seem to not being able to get the “hang” of it) snowboarding, riding the chair lift up to the summit of a mountain, and looking over what seems to be an endless mountain range.  I must admit my favorite part of the day is the hot toddy warm up at the end.  The winter months is when I enjoy the kitchen and various hobbies I have the most.  I am very lucky to be able to have a winter “retreat” that is easily accessible, and offers many winter activities right on our doorstep.  This past weekend we packed Duke Dog in the car, and off we went to have our first taste of “winter” this season.  Duke seemed to enjoy it the most… there was snow, but not too much so that his “ball” was still discoverable…
Someone's a little happy!
Finally hopping through the foot or so of snow wore Duke out for a few minutes, however, not letting his ball get too far away from him…he snuck in a quick sit down in the snow.  (for those of you who know Duke, or Border Collies in general, this is a rare moment!)
Duke Dog
We also have our daily visitors who enjoy a treat, while showing off their gorgeous blue colorings.  (Though the Stellar Jays are extremely camera shy , and took a while to get a decent pose for the camera.)
When there’s not enough snow to fire up the sleds (which was the case this past weekend), or when the weather isn’t cooperating, I like to enjoy yet another hobby.  Quilting. ..YUP…I do quilt.  Nothing too fancy - or crazy - I just find material I like, and then start the design / quilting process.  By all means, I’m no expert, but I think I can hold my own!  There’s nothing like being wrapped up in a homemade MORRIS original,  (ha ha, well in my opinion  that is!)
Of course, what is a frosty winter night without a little treat from the kitchen?   This past week I experimented with one of the recipes that I learned up at our previous Whistler Retreat.  Risotto.  Trying to keep a healthier spin on dinners, I came up with what I’ll call a “Skinny Chicken Carbonara Risotto”, and of course had to pair it with my new favorite vino - Abbondante Bianco 2010, Mistaken Identity Vineyards 

"Skinny" Chicken Carbonara Risotto
(serves 2, with a little leftover for lunch)

1 c. arborio rice ]
2 c. chicken broth
1 c. white wine  - not too sweet of a wine –
1 small handful freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 slices of bacon or pancetta
1 c. peas (frozen is fine as long as it's thawed)
2 egg yolks
1 clove garlic, freshly minced
Salt & pepper to taste
2 chicken breasts, sliced, slowly pan fried with tablespoon olive oil, herbs & garlic, salt,pepper  to taste.

- Add the chicken stock and white wine to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once a boil is reached, back down the heat to just under a boil
- Chop the bacon in a rough chop and fry in pan – I used my wok, as you want the pan you're cooking in to be big  enough to hold 3 cups of rice.  Remove the cooked bacon from the pan and set aside on a paper towel to drain. Reserve just enough of the bacon drippings in pan to barely cover bottom of pan.
- On a medium setting, add the rice to the pan and use a spoon to gently stir the rice in the pan so that the rice can toast in the liquid. Once you smell a nutty flavor, add the minced garlic and move on to next step.
Make sure you stir rice periodically while toasting, so not to burn
- Start by adding 1 c. of the simmering stock/wine mixture. Gently stir with the spoon periodically until the rice starts to drink in the liquid. When you start to see the bottom of the pan when you stir, it's time to add more liquid (a half cup at a time from here on out).
** The rice may or may not need all 3 cups of liquid. Keep adding stock/wine mixture as the previous addition is sucked up by the rice until the mixture is creamy and the rice is al dente (about 20 - 25 minutes). Taste as you go!
- Once the risotto is just about done to your taste preference, remove the pan from the heat. 
- Beat the egg yolks lightly in a bowl and add it in the risotto, being sure to stir to incorporate it so it doesn't curdle!
- Add the parmesan and stir gently to mix. Finally, add the cooked bacon and the thawed peas (the heat of the rice will cook the peas)
- top with the cooked chicken, and bon appetite!
*just a note, in the pictures I provided, you’ll see no peas! – They’re not a “favorite” of my other half… so I omitted them; either way… this was really a delicious dish!
Hmmmm… what’s cooking next??  I’ve been invited to my first ever “Bake Exchange”… looks like I’ve got to fire up the ole’ mixer, heat up the oven………..and decide what I can make 8 dozen of!  Eeek!



  1. oh my good god girl that sound like a tastie treat,,,,
    so besides being my most popular model, to a great entertainer, fabulous cook,, to your writing skills. wow kelly you are a girl of all trades keep up the great work love your little stories they are inspiring.... keep it up :)

  2. you are too kind!! Thank you! Now when are you coming over for snacks and photos?! thanks again!!