Sunday, December 27, 2015

Acadian Christmas poutines!

GREETINGS everyone!
Another Christmas come & gone!
Was that a collective sigh of relief I just heard? ;)
Regardless of what kind of Christmas it is,
I am almost always relieved when it's done.
This time between Christmas and New Year
is my favorite time of the year.
There's a special quietness to this time...
We all slowly get back to our routines.
I get back to some serious painting & sketching,
after having done very little of it
over the past few weeks.
This is my first quick painting (acrylic on paper)
in at least 2 weeks.
So we have a Christmas tradition here
of making "Acadian poutines"
that I want to share with you.
Not the same thing as "Quebec poutines",
which are basically french fries with gravy & cheese.
These Acadian poutines are far more elaborate.
And delicious.
Even if they look like dirty snowballs
when they're done. ;)
I don't think I ever remember a Christmas without them.
When I was young, our tradition consisted of
going to the evening mass (at midnight for many years!)
coming home & having poutines & meat pies,
and opening a few gifts.
We'd usually keep some for Christmas morning,
although they seemed to dwindle
with each passing year,
because we opened almost all of them on Xmas eve!
It would often be 2 or 3am
by the time we got to bed.
When mom was here, 
she was basically the chef and we pitched in
to help with the poutines.
But since she's been gone,
I hadn't dared to try to make them on my own.
But this year, I thought, fuck it!
We're making poutines.
Got to keep the traditions going, right?
So let me share the process with you...
so you'll understand that it's quite a process,
and that I'm not just a big crybaby
who wants her maman. ;)
We started by peeling a 50lb of potatoes.
We normally then grate the potatoes by hand (about 2/3 of the bag)
with a handmade grater like this:
But this year, I had the good fortune
of having a good friend
who has a good mother
who lent us this ELECTRIC grater!!
So we were FLYING through those potatoes!
The grated potatoes look like this,
and we then take this & scoop it up
in these special little bags,
made for me by the same little momma
who lent us the grater. ;)
We fill these bags with the grated potatoes
and then squeeze out the excess water...
although this is where it's tricky,
cause I remember mom saying:
"leave a bit of the water in, but not too much.
It can't be too squishy
otherwise, they'll burst when we cook them!"
So we'd constantly ask: "is this too squishy mom?"
So this year, I asked myself
"would mom think this was too squishy?" ;)
The rest of the potatoes are cooked (1/3 of the 50 lb bag),
salted & mashed,
and then mixed with the grated (and strained) potatoes.
We then form balls with the 2 combined potatoes,
a bit smaller than the size of a softball.
We use pork meat in the middle of the poutine.
My friend laughed when she saw my meat
all lined up like obedient little soldiers on parade.
Some people cook the meat a bit
before putting it in the center of the poutine,
but mom never cooked it, so I didn't either.
We then make a little space
in the middle of the potato mixture,
like a bird's nest,
to fit the meat in there, like this:
 ...put the meat in, & close it up as gently as we can,
and hope to hell they don't all bust in the pot!! ;)
They are patted down a bit 
so they're nice & round,
before gently being put in a pot of boiling water,
and then cooked for 2 hours.
If the water boils too much,
the poutines will burst when they're cooking.
If it doesn't boil enough,
they won't cook well.
It's a fine balance.
We only had 3 burst...
which is not bad, out of 35 poutines.
Sound complicated?
It is. ;)
But if you can get past the idea
of eating dirty snowballs...
they are SO good!
Of course whenever there's tradition involved,
you wonder if your brain isn't tricked
by all those happy childhood memories
and that the memories are making things taste
so much better than they actually do? ;)
Either way, they were good
and we enjoyed making and eating them!
Mom would be so proud. ;)
Christmas morning breakfast!
...mmmmmm
Besides the poutines,
I got very little art done
over the past few weeks,
but I did this little acrylic painting (on paper)...
And a crazy one...
done just before Christmas
Micron pen & watercolor on paper.
And this was yesterday,
which I spent mostly outside.
Walking in the trails,
on a beautiful sunny day.
It felt so good to get outside
and to feel the sun on my face.
We're getting a storm today,
so who knows when we'll see the sun again.
I should be back here before the new year,
but if I'm not,
I wish you all a Happy New Year
filled with laughter and lots of love.
Thank you for being here
and for all your comments
and cards & emails
and the support you've shown me
throughout the year.
I appreciate EACH and every one of you.
Hugs to everyone.
xx

Thursday, December 24, 2015

SANTA'S COMING!!!

Merry Christmas!
Joyeux Noƫl!
Happy Hanukkah!
Happy Holidays!

Wishing you all peaceful holidays.
xx

Me, when I was much more innocent, ;)
with a pretty sad looking tree in the background,
but what a mighty fine stroller! 


Monday, December 7, 2015

life on other planets, the crazies and art.

hello friends.
It's been a strange couple of weeks
although if you ask me why
i can't give you an answer.
Maybe because it's that time of year,
maybe because of the way of the world,
maybe because I've not painted much lately.
Maybe because I'm writing more,
and because I'm watching
great documentaries
and reading great books
that remind me that
life is not the same for everyone
and we don't all see
through the same eyes.
Getting up in the morning
is easy for me.
It's hell for someone else.
I wake up to the sound of silence.
Others wake up to the sound of bombs,
or in incredible pain,
or hungry, 
or unloved.
I eat when I want.
Others don't.
This is a huge privilege
and it shouldn't be.
Governments are spending
billions on wars they create,
on defence budgets,
on space programs,
and there are still people on this planet
who don't eat.
That is a fucking BASIC need.
Food.
Clothing.
Shelter.
We send people in space
but we've yet to figure out a way
to feed the world.
I love science
but why are we concerning ourselves
with finding life on other planets
when we are not taking care
of the lives we have here,
on this planet?

Makes me crazy.
(hence, the crazy doodle) ;)
This makes as much sense to me
as those who sacrifice this life
for an eternal life after death.
And they usually kill others
in the process. 
I believe in life before death.
Not life after.
I guess i'm still trying to make sense
of something that will forever be
senseless.
And then, there's this...
We got our first snowfall last week. 
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Time to take out the music.
I just bought this one, and I love it.
But this one is still
my favorite of all time. :)
It's not Christmas until the Charlie Brown music comes on.
And then this happened. ;)
I may have shared this already
but it's cute, so I get to share it again.
Dad made Fluffy this little bed.
She totally loves being a princess.
She can do no wrong.
A few doodles from my 'draw your life' book.
A left handed drawing.
A few weeks ago,
I ordered this watercolor print from Prashant Miranda,
one of the great Sketchbook Skool teachers.
(They're all SO good)
Prash makes his home
between Canada and India.
Isn't it beautiful!?
I love it.
Love the bold colours.
He was so much fun as a teacher.
If you want your own print,
you can get it here.

And last, but not least...


If you purchase a copy of Color for Clarity by Jan 1st 2016,
you’ll receive a free e-book as our gift to you in thanks
for your support. Inside, you’ll find bonus colouring pages
and some great resources (several of which are free!)
to continue exploring your own creativity.
To claim your free e-book, forward your receipt
(or send a photo of Color for Clarity or other proof of purchase)
to me at:
paulinel@nb.sympatico.ca
and I'll send you your free e-book within a day or two.
And YES! Anyone who purchased the book when it was first released gets a FREE e-book as well!

If you haven’t grabbed your copy yet (and you know you want to) ;)
you can get it at:  http://colorforclarity.com/

And if you can, please leave us a review on Amazon!
We'd love to know how you like it.

Thanks for hanging out
and listening to my rants. ;)
xx