Advent 4

  This bright and sunny Saturday morning, we woke to a light dusting of snow, which I’m sure was exciting for all the winter sports enthusiasts who have been waiting impatiently for the season to take hold.
  Around here I’m only too delighted not to have to shovel and with a meeting of SYC Staff at the house tomorrow afternoon it is just fine with me not to have to haul out a pile of boot trays and to deal with slush puddles in the front hall.
  It has been a catch-up week after being laid low the week before and at this point it seems all that extra work has in fact been accomplished so the next few days, although full are not ludicrously so (well except for tomorrow, which is shaping up to be manic!!-don’t look for a Sunday Reflection before Monday)
  Last Monday we held the December Day Camp Committee Meeting and although only four of us could be present, some good planning was done for the upcoming Team Gathering and also for our presentation at the SYC Mini-Camp Day later in January. Throughout this week there has actually been a surprising amount of activity as we received another Church Application form and heard from two more communities in the process of applying. We also received a couple more completed Program Manual Chapters plus the completed cover design for 2016. Yay!
  Wednesday was the catered dinner for 20 that I was preparing for my friend so much of Tuesday and Wednesday involved a flurry of baking and cooking. The meal included 3 appetisers, main course, salad and 2 desserts. Thursday evening my friend called to let me know that the dinner had been a great success with everyone really enjoying the food. It is always a huge relief to hear that one’s cooking has been well received!
  Thursday I was very happy to share lunch with Brett Cane (former CTM President, “inventor” of Day Camps, former boss, mentor and friend!) Brett has recently settled in Victoria BC but has come East to spend Christmas with his family here. We had a really nice visit. That same evening Matthew came for his final art lesson (Matisse-style paper cut-outs) plus dinner and a sleepover as his parents are celebrating their wedding anniversary by spending a couple of nights up at their country cabin.
  Yesterday I successfully made my second batch of marshmallows, peppermint this time, they will be served along with a big pot of cocoa as refreshments for the SYC Staff Meeting tomorrow afternoon. I also baked gingerbread cookies and once this post is organised it will be time to ice them.
  Last evening the phone rang and it was our family friend Brian to say that he would be continuing his tradition of delivering a Christmas tree to me!! This was exciting news as one cannot count on such a special gift and I knew his family is dealing with some health issues so I was doubly happy to know that things are going better with them and that, this evening I will have a TREE!!!!
  So this morning I reorganised some furniture to free up the living room bay window, filled the stand with water and will soon bring out the boxes of ornaments.

Since I was up early today I also decided to knuckle down and give Mandu her bi-annual bath. EEK!!! Those of you who are cat owners will understand my trepidation at this undertaking, but with a longhaired cat it really should be done regularly, even for an indoor animal. Actually she was quite well behaved without too much yowling or scratching. She is still looking rather damp despite a good towelling off and a session with the hair dryer but I’m glad the job is done and it is good to know she is clean and fresh for Christmas!

 Now it is late afternoon and I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the tree, but before I hit the “publish” button here we still need a recipe. The dessert for the committee meeting was pretty popular so I’m going to share it. Never having been a big fan of trifle I like this one because it is lighter and doesn’t taste of sherry!
 Light Berry Trifle
  • 2 cups each frozen blueberries and raspberries, drained (save the raspberry juice!)
  • Half a 9” plain Angel Food cake
  • 1/3-cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsps. cornstarch
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch nutmeg
  • ½ cup heavy cream, whipped stiff
First make the custard: – In a medium saucepan whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a boil over medium hat, stirring. Boil 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Whisk ½ cup of the mixture into the egg yolks then whisk the egg and milk back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat several more minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and nutmeg, strain into a clean bowl. Place plastic wrap on the surface of the custard and chill for at least 2 hours. Meanwhile cut the cake into 1” thick slices, arrange half the slices on the bottom of a 6-cup glass bowl, layer on the blueberries and the reserved raspberry juice.  Make another layer with the rest of the cake. Once the custard is chilled layer half of it over the cake then add the raspberries, saving a few for garnishing. Add the last layer of custard, cover and chill for several hours or overnight. Before serving, decorate the top with piped whipped cream and the reserved raspberries. Serves 6, easily doubled.

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