Category Archives: Personal time

Another practice day with ProCreate

As a child I loved “paint by numbers” projects that have a starting point that I could work.

I am approaching some of my self teaching with ProCreate with the same concept, using the layers as a way to draw and paint over an existing image ( my own photos).

Rose from TAV Creations client in Jan 2020

This rose came to me from a client who is a florist- so lovely!

And today I used it as my starting template for this:

The Rose by TAVALONIA, Feb 2020
The Rose by TAValonia, February 2020

Progress is being made!!

Sunday afternoon baking…

Jumped on the bandwagon-here are today’s kitchen adventures!

Oatmeal Banana cookies:

  • 2 smashed bananas
  • 1 cup oatbran
  • 1 cup oat flakes
  • .5 cup chocolate chips
  • .5 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder

350 degree oven- 9-12 minutes- greased baking sheet.

Note: Original recipe posted here:

Banana Oatmeal Coconut chocolate chip cookies

Sweet potato brownie cookies:

  • 1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
  • .5 cup natural peanut butter
  • .25 cup cocoa powder
  • .25 cup maple syrup

350 degree oven – 10-12 minutes for cookies- lightly greased baking sheet

Original recipe found on Pinterest:

Sweet potato brownie cookies

In the crockpot:

Original recipe found here:

I’m using that recipe as inspiration…I don’t have all the spices, nor vegetable broth.

Crockpot Sweet Potato Lentils ( my version)


• 3 large sweet potatoes, diced (about 6 cups)
• 3 cups water
• 1 onion, minced
• 2 teaspoon each ground coriander, curry powder and chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups uncooked red lentils (masoor dal)
• 1 can coconut milk
• 1 cup water


1. Place the sweet potatoes, water, onion, and spices in a crockpot. Cook on high for 3 hours, until vegetables are soft.

2. Add the lentils and stir once. Replace the lid and cook on high for an additional 1 1/2 hours.

3. Stir in the coconut milk and as much water as needed to get the right consistency.

A busy weekend- what to focus on?!?

Halloween Party or Tiny Dinner Party?

Ok- you get both – with visuals!

Halloween party:

This weekend, along with being Diwali (happy Diwali to this who celebrated), many local Halloween parties happened.

Traditionally,  hubby and I would have attended the Witches Gathering, but last year was the last of this fabulous event, after over 20 years of the organizers donating their time and making a community event that rocked.

Back to the present – another group, Vixens Victorious Ottawa, has been hosting an annual fundraiser for the past few years in October and this year they decided the theme would be Nightmare on Kent Street- perfect!!!

It was fun!

We went as a ghost bride and her stoic but distraught widower from the Victorian era ( stylized of course)

We won a prize in the couples category! Woot!

Congrats to the organizers and all the other winners  – looking forward to next year!

————–and now….

Tiny Dinner Party!

A few months ago, I set up a sub group, Tiny Dinner Parties, on FB to an existing social activity organizing group, and have been test driving it and having some fun!

Note: I am torn about my use of FB as a social connecting space; I mainly use it for positive shares and as a means of connecting with multiple folk at once where conversations can be easily perused and organized.)

The concept:

Create a space that will allow a larger group of loosely connected folk a chance to both host and attend smaller group events without pressure or guilt. No need to fee pressure to host or attend, but if it works out timing and energy wise, join in!

  • You want to host a party? You set up an event.
  • You only have room for 3 people to join you? Indicate it.
  • Your menu will be based on a specific food/style- ie. vegetarian or bbq or turkey dinner? Indicate it!

You then share the event with the full group and the first 3 ( or your chosen number) people to hit “going” have snared a spot at your table!

As a guest, you read through the description to make sure it’s a party you will enjoy before hitting “going”, offer your contributions if requested, and then venture out for a fun evening with friends- maybe folks you would not normally get a chance to meet!

Turkey Dinner Time:

Brined turkey is the best!

I hosted my 3rd last night and tried a new configuration for table set up- full on eat in kitchen!

We had a lovely turkey dinner – sorry I did not get pics of the Kale salad, sweet potato casserole, Brussels sprouts with bacon, nor the mashed, stuffing and gravy – but it was all amazing.

Wine and club soda and iced tea and a general feeling of “be comfortable” was the goal.

and a ” please, get out of the kitchen between courses so that I could clean up” – with the assistance of two lovely dish washers – MOST APPRECIATED HELP OF THE DAY!

Then,  there was the most lovely Sticky toffee pudding for dessert along with 3 types of cookies!

So if you are feeling disconnected from the world, and want to gently reach out but are unsure of how, maybe you can set up your own Tiny Dinner Party group and try to get together with people around the table… or picnic blanket, or whatever works!

Revisiting an old recipe

Charki Can or pumpkin soup a la Norma!

Based on my loose memory and the really vague recipe I wrote out years ago…

Charki Can

Peel and chop roughly, just cover with water and cook in a large soup pot until tender:

  • 500 grams pumpkin
  • 750 grams potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • Puree or mash well, leaving the water in, and set aside.

    Brown together in a separate skillet:

  • 300 grams ground beef
  • 2 medium onions, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely.
  • Oregano and Cumin to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Add to the puréed pumpkin mix and stir well, let simmer on low and add

  • 250 grams snow peas, chopped in halves
  • 1 can kernels of corn, drained
  • Cook 5 more minutes.

    So, this 2019 variation had:

      ½ medium onion, chopped and sautéd in olive oil in a medium saucepan

    I added:

      1 tsp curry spice powder
      ½ tsp each cinnamon and ginger powder
      Salt and pepper

    Then stirred in:

  • 2 cups Pumpkin-roasted and puréed
  • 1 can sweet peas ( drained)
  • 1 cup of chopped pre-cooked chicken
  • I served it with some homemade carrot and cabbage coleslaw and freshly made whole wheat/ cornmeal biscuits.

    The Gnarly Cherpumpberry

    I’ve made piecaken/ Cherpumple in the past and this smaller version has one other difference- the Lemon Cake with Blueberry pie baked into it.

    It is also Dairy free, with the substitution of lactose free margarine in the buttercream icing, coconut oil melted with the dairy/nut free dark chocolate drizzle, and reduced fat in the cakes, using apple sauce instead of oil.

    The gallery shows the stages- the concept being to have 3 pre made and baked pies, mix 3 cakes up and put cake batter and a pie in each cake pan.

    Bake for longer than recommended, about 20 minutes extra.

    Chill each layer completely for at least 3 hours before assembling.

    Apply a crumb coat to the cool cake.

    Chill again and then frost fully and decorate as you wish.

    The spiderweb was created by melting coconut oil and dark chocolate together and drizzling it onto the surface, letting it drip.

    The gnarly cake bits were cut off from the overflow that happened when the cakes were baking. I thought there might be some spillage, so I put each tin on a cookie sheet, and the overflow looked like cooled lava! Great fluke that added to the finished look!


    Cake drippings create a fab gnarly texture!

    Inside – the 6 desserts in one!

    Pretty even layers, the layer of “buttercream” was very sweet, but it offset the tartness of the blueberry lemon layer and the cherry layer!

    An evening of Cider, Carbs and Chillin’ with good folk!

    The 2nd annual Ottawa Craft Cider Celebration took place at the Experimental Farm and 6 of us headed out to enjoy an aassortment of craft cider, pretzels, shortbread, cheese and donuts!

    It was a beautiful evening and very well organized!

    I liked that they changed the layout this year – last year, the cider tables were along the outer edge of the gazebo, and the patrons were corralled inside. It made queueing up a bit claustrophobic.

    This year, the ladies at Savvy changed the layout and had the tables in the middle and the partons could spill out onto the grassy area if need be, or quickly grab their sample and shuffle off the to the numberous tables set up for us to enjoy a quiet < or raucous> drink and conversations.

    The band provided gentle back ground music, and while some of us found the pretzels #StaleAsF@#K, I was happy to have them available to offset the imbibing! and the Donut Rain on my Parade food truck provided a simple concept for flavour coated mini donuts that were enjoyed by all!


    Hot Cows in the city

    Checking out the Bovine!

    drunken squirrel was nibbling on something that cause much falling over and stumbling.

    Dar brought a snack to share!

    tried for an aerial view…

    Check in here!

    this one was great!

    Rood < Red in another language> was pretty good.

    tried all three- pretty good

    Disco Lemonade – light and waaaay easy to drink.
    Elderflower – ok..

    and the band played on.

    pretty good

    Yum – like candy

    mmm okay… but I like bubbles. #flatcider

    Selfie 1

    Selfie 2

    Selfie 3

    Shiny with Pinot Noir – was pretty nice!

    Enjoying their samples!

    this one was great!

    Rood < Red in another language> was pretty good.

    twas very good

    La gang la – thanks to our neighbour table who offered to take our pic for us!

    OMG yum – like light caramel…

    I’ve lost track now – I think it was ok.

    and the textured clouds framed the setting sun as we trundled into an Uber to head home!