Pentecost 12

Hello Blog Friends!

As predicted this has been a rather wacky week, almost pre-pandemic, in that there has not been a similar flow of visitors in and out since the summer of 2019 😊.

Pre-COVID this would have been the week after CTM’s residential camps, a time in which some Day Camp Team Members who had stayed on to serve as staff at those camps would be preparing to leave Montreal and often staying over at “The Taylors” for a few days. Post Camps the Huyer family often came to stay, either before returning to their home in Ottawa or en route to a late summer vacation in the Maritimes.

My work, at this time, always revolved around completing the feedback forms, final invoices and receipts that were sent to all the Day Camp host communities. This year I did create a new version of the feedback form and Guylaine turned it into a fillable document, which I sent to our 3 host churches, I am waiting for them to be sent in and so, Thursday morning, I did a bit of badgering 😊. This week’s work has largely centred around the ongoing editing of blogposts (I’ve finally made it to 2018!!!) plus the various office tasks such as sending e-transfers and paying bills. I have received a couple of responses to the “updates” email, which I sent to a large number of Team Alumni and even had one person in Australia sign up for Carols and Cocoa next December (woot! woot!)

It is just as well that things were manageable on the “office” front as my former boarder, Steven, arrived Monday and stayed until Wednesday. He was greeted with GREAT enthusiasm by Thomason, who welcomed him as a long lost “pack” member. Steven was boarding here when Thomason arrived as a 7-week-old puppy and was part of our “pack” for the first 9 months of Thomason’s life. After Steven left Thomason kept dashing upstairs at random times to see if he was still in his bedroom, so sweet!

Then Tuesday morning Victoria and my three Godsons- William, Alexander and Andrew, stopped by before continuing on the next leg of their journey to Nova Scotia. I had been greatly anticipating their visit as it is a whole year since I saw them but I was also pretty nervous as to how Thomason would react and dreading a nasty scene with manic barking and screaming small boys. However, much to my relief, Steven was able to manhandle Thomason onto his lap and subdue him while everyone sat around in the kitchen drinking orange juice (or tea!) and eating molasses cookies 😊. Thomason was visibly anxious and panted for almost an hour but thankfully he hardly barked at all, which was a HUGE relief. Whew!! THANK YOU STEVEN!!!!

That same morning I had a call from my friend Michelle (of Day Camps fame 😊) who had arrived in Canada late last Saturday and will be here until the end of the month. I had expected a visit from her Monday but she explained that her sister, who lives in Ontario, was only able to drive to Montreal and to see her on Sunday and Monday, which was why she had nor been in contact. Happily we were reunited (after FIVE years!!) early yesterday morning, when we arranged to meet up on my walk with Thomason. We then walked back to the house and she stayed for 6 glorious hours after which Thomason and I walked her part way back to her mother’s apartment, where she is staying. We plan to visit at least once more this coming Monday, at which time I will serve her a slice (or 2!) of Tropic Aroma Cake 😊.

Also yesterday we were joined for a while by Christopher, a member of the Day Camp Committee who will be leaving next Tuesday to take up a yearlong teaching position at UBC in Vancouver and came to say good-bye. Since Michelle’s husband, Brandon, is a professor at Exeter University and also comes from Vancouver, we had plenty to talk about as we shared some Lemon Ginger Scones and glasses of hibiscus kombucha. Of course Thomason spent a fair but of time barking, but he did settled down on and off so it wasn’t too ghastly!

And so this last full week of August has flown by with plans already underway for the next “Changing of the Decorations” scheduled to begin towards the end of the coming week since next weekend is Labour Day Weekend marking the official end of summer in North America (despite the fact that the Autumn Equinox is not until September 22nd!)

I did decide to wait until I had the proper ingredients before baking the Tropic Aroma Cake and so am now off to the kitchen to mix up the batter. Once they are baked I shall pop the layers in the freezer and only ice it on Monday so that it is nice and fresh for Michelle to enjoy. My Nana would be shocked by this plan as she believed that a layer cake should always be baked, iced and EATEN, all on the same day, sorry Nana, I’m doing my best 😊. 

Before heating the oven, I’ll share a recipe that Steven enjoyed for dinner on Tuesday evening. 

Lamb Gyros 

Greek Flatbread: – I like to prepare the flatbread dough the day before and allow it to rise in the fridge overnight. Remove it from the fridge 2 hours before proceeding to roll and cook it.

  •  1 ¼ cups warm water
  •  1 Tbsp. yeast
  •  1 Tbsp. sugar
  • ¾ cup Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 Tbsps. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 3 ¾ cups unbleached flour
  • ¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Dissolve the yeast, with the sugar, in the warm water. Once it is foamy add all the other ingredients stirring first with a wooden spoon then mixing with your hands until the dough comes together. Place in a clean greased bowl and allow to rise for one hour OR place in the fridge overnight to rise.

About half an hour before serving divide the dough into 10 even pieces and roll into 7” circles on a floured surface. Heat a large dry skillet over medium-low. Brush the top of each circle with a little olive oil and place, oiled side down, in the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes then brush with oil, flip and cook the second side just until brown flecks start to appear. Place a tea towel on a plate and stack the breads on it, covering them with the towel to keep them warm and soft as you cook the rest. 

Filling: –

  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • ½ a large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. each ground cumin and coriander
  • ! Tbsp. each fresh mint and dill, chopped
  • ½ cup whole-wheat couscous
  • 2 Tbsps. lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tbsps. olive oil

Combine the couscous with1 cup boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes while preparing the other ingredients. In a large bowl mix everything together then add the couscous and stir well. Cover the bowl and keep in the fridge until you are ready to begin cooking. It takes 20 minutes to sauté the mixture. There is no need to add oil to your skillet, as there is some in the mixture, just keep stirring it during cooking to make sure any lumps are broken up.

Serve the gyros with Tzatziki, crumbled feta, chopped tomatoes and shredded lettuce, allowing diners to fill and roll as desired. They are super good accompanied by a pot of fresh mint tea! Yum 😊

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