Advent 4

Hello Blog Friends!

We have already come to the eve of the last Sunday in Advent. Where has Advent gone? Whoosh!

It has been a bit of a jumbly week around here. But let’s first wind back to Saturday afternoon and tell you about Carols & Cocoa. Looking first at the positives I can categorically say that the program was the best ever 😊. We had such a fine variety of presentations from classical to modern, from readings of prose and poetry to some lovely instrumental variations of carols with plenty that were also good for “sing-alongs”. Jeff had done a superb job of editing and Jillian was a perfect MC who was also able to provide Jeff with some very helpful tech advice when we did a run through earlier in the day, before the event.

On the down side, we had a small turnout with 14 households logging on totally about 23 people.  Having sent 3 rounds of email invitations to over 200 addresses, posting on FaceBook and Instagram, placing notices in both the Diocesan Newspaper, Diocesan e-news and CTM’s quarterly newsletter, that did seem a pretty poor response. Considering that many choirs and other types of organisations are still offering a lot of online concerts with both amateur and professional content it seemed like a viable platform and we had hoped that the date we had chosen was both close enough to Christmas to be of seasonal interest but far enough from Christmas Day to still be doable. Lastly, we had advertised that the program was just one hour long so we didn’t expect people to give up a big chunk of time when schedules are full. 

However, everyone who participated, both those viewing and those who had sent in content, seemed to feel it had been a really special occasion and are gung-ho to try again next year. I guess I should resign myself to a life of badgering.  Many years ago a dear friend and Day Camp Team “groupie” coined the phrase “constant badgering does wonders” and that was how I ended up being referred to ( I hope affectionately 😊) as The Badger!

     Last Sunday was the third episode of the Advent Study Program and despite following right on the heels of Carols & Cocoa, we had our largest group to date and shared an excellent time of study and meditation. 

   Monday I spent quite a bit of time sending out “Thank Yous” to everyone who had contributed their talents to C&C and was all set to get down to other office work bright and early on Tuesday morning at which time Hydro Quebec announced that the whole of our district (1000 households) would have no power from 8am-4pm. AGH!!!!!!! In the cold weather, no electricity is no joke and I was also scheduled to take minutes at the Diocesan Council meeting (on Zoom) at 4pm. As the day progressed the house got colder and colder and I watched both my laptop and cell phone batteries go down rapidly (both devices are elderly and need constant charging) I used what data I had on the phone to keep checking the Hydro website and close to 4pm they changed the outage end time to 6pm so I hurriedly sent a text message to the Vicar General letting him know I would not be able to log on for Council. Meanwhile it got very dark both inside and out as there were also no streetlights functioning in the area. I lit some candles and prayed for those who I knew were worse off than myself. Just before my phone lost power 2 friends, who also live in NDG, sent texts saying the outage was now predicted to continue until 10pm so I reluctantly got out some bread and cheese and had that for dinner with a glass of milk as I couldn’t heat any food. Fortunately Thomason (whose fur was getting cold too!!) then joined me on the sofa and we bundled up in blankets until I finally gave in and took him out for a wee, before going to bed at about 830pm as there really was nothing else to do and at least it was a bit warmer there for both of us! 

 When we woke up on Wednesday the power was back on and the house had started to warm up, which was a huge blessing especially as Jenna was coming to dinner that evening and I was making slow cooker Cabbage Rolls that most definitely require electricity 😊

I spent the latter part of the week catching up on office work, prepping for the last session of the Advent Study Program, making initials plans and a poster for the Epiphany Team Gathering and sending out numerous email and text reminders!

In my spare time I managed to finish and block the last pair of socks destined as Christmas gifts and cast on a hat, which also needs to be completed in time to be a gift . After that is done there are two more people for whom I would still like to make small presents, I will pick something that isn’t knitted (ha ha!!).

Today is a combination of shovelling and baking as yesterday, through today we have been experiencing the first big snowfall of the winter with an expected total of about 30-40cms. I went out several times yesterday to do some shovelling because if I wait until it finally stops it will be so deep that I cannot get out the back door, or manage to deal with it on the driveway.

I did some baking prep yesterday afternoon since the coming week includes the Spanish Inquisition on Tuesday, a friend coming for a visit and dinner Wednesday (although this may not happen as her husband has just tested positive for COVID) , Thursday will be mammoth preparations for the dinner for 12 I am catering and will also include a lunch visit with Jillian, Friday the order will be picked up, and Saturday aka CHRISTMAS EVE another friend is coming for brunch. Did I previously mention that despite my best attempts to have a solitary and peaceful Advent and Christmas, it just never quite works out that way 😊!!!!!! 

Thus it is high time I ended this rather long post by adding our “Festive Christmas Recipe”. This week it is a special Swiss Soup, which I like to prepare in Advent, it makes for delicious comfort food 😊.

Sweet Potato Soup with Emmental

  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 10 oz. potatoes, diced
  • 8 oz. onions, roughly chopped
  • 8 oz. thick cut bacon
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsps. ground cumin 
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tsps. Tapioca starch
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • hot sauce to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups grated Emmental cheese

Het the oil in a large stock pot and cook the onions and garlic for 5 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the bacon and cook for another 5 minutes then stir in the spices. Add the sweet potatoes, potatoes and stock, bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Blend the tapioca starch with 2 Tbsp. cold water and stir into the soup along with the cream. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Season to taste with hot sauce, salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and pass the grated cheese for topping. Accompany with a crusty loaf. Serves 4

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