MY BEST CRANBERRY SAUCE

cranberry sauce

Remember when I said that all artists were good cooks?  This recipe is my own invention and since I view cranberry sauce as one of the main dishes, I make a lot of it.   Also, most cooks don’t measure therefore you might have to adjust the sugar to your own taste; okay… maybe the vodka too.

Cranberry Sauce recipe:

2 pounds of fresh cranberries

2 1/2 Cups of sugar

1/2 Cup Vodka

3/4 of a jar of St. Dalfour Kumquat marmalade

(if you are ambitious and you can get fresh kumquats you can make your own by chopping up a pound of kumquats and boiling them with grape juice and some sugar) if you can’t find either, substitute with orange/ginger marmalade.

In a pot, boil the vodka with the sugar until dissolved.  Add the cranberries and cook until they pop open (about 10 min).  Stir in the kumquat preserves and heat to boiling.  Remove from heat.  Let cool and store in the refrigerator.  YUM!  And remember:  the alcohol burns off so that you are just left with the flavour so the kids can eat it too.  …You were hoping that they would knock themselves out and you’d finally get some peace and quiet, weren’t you? 

Merry Christmas,

Kathryn

www.kathrynsmith.com

 

Santa Claus Parade

Today was the annual Santa Claus Parade in Toronto.  It was a perfect day for it – a bit nippy with just a few snowflakes.

Here is a bit of nostalgia and facts from the history of the parade.

  • It was sponsored by Eaton’s  and by 1950 the parade had grown to be the largest parade in North America.
  • In 1976 over 30 million people across North America watched the Santa Claus parade on TV.
  • In 1989 even the Soviet Union started airing the parade to viewers all across Russia!
  • This year (2014) marked the 110th anniversary of the parade and was the largest ever!

Speaking of Eaton’s, here is one of my Christmas prints, titled “Eaton’s Windows” by Kathryn Smith and available at my studio:  905-528-4197 or on my website at www.kathrynsmith.com

Eaton's Windows C

 

www.kathrynsmith.com

 

The most Delicious & Moist Turkey

As American Thanksgiving is approaching I want to introduce many of you to the best way of getting your turkey to turn out perfect.Brined Roast Turkey

For the most delicious and moist turkey that you have ever eaten, nothing comes close to brining your turkey.  I got this idea out of a magazine and now always brine my turkey before cooking.  This is nothing more than soaking it in salt water for 24 hours and throwing in some herbs, fruit, garlic and fresh ginger root.  Start early on Christmas Eve morning as the turkey has to sit in the brine for 24 hours.

To make the brine, pour 2 litres of water into a large stock pot.  Turn heat on high.  Cut up 3 oranges and 2 lemons.  Cut up a piece of ginger root about the size of your thumb and an entire head of garlic, cut horizontally in half.  Measure 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of Kosher salt (this is a coarse grind that does not contain any additives such as iodine and is less ’salty’ tasting), 4 bay leaves, 1/2 a bunch of fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon of cracked, mixed peppercorns.  Add all ingredients to the pot.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until the salt and sugar are dissolved.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Add about 5 more litres of cold water to mixture.

Find something large enough to hold the turkey so that it will be completely submerged in the brine (a picnic cooler is perfect, but remember to disinfect it with bleach afterwards).  Remove the neck and giblets.  Submerge the turkey completely and add some ice or freezer packs to make sure the turkey stays cold.  If you don’t have a cooler, a giant pot that will fit in the fridge will work.  Keep checking on the temperature if you are using a cooler and add ice packs as necessary to keep the turkey at 40F (4C) or below.

After 24 hours remove turkey from brine and rinse under cold running water and pat dry inside and out with paper towels.  You are now ready to stuff your bird as usual, but you will NOT need to salt the inside cavity as the salt water will have been infused into the flesh.  Roast at 325F for about 20 minutes per pound.  I buy an organically raised turkey and roast mine uncovered, basting every 1/2 hour.  The taste and moistness of the meat is incredible.  And don’t forget to make those little, frilly, paper things to put on the drumsticks!

And speaking of Thanksgiving, take a look at “Macy’s Windows” @ www.macyswindows.com   My new Christmas print.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

Kathryn

www.kathrynsmith.com

 

LENNIE & I – THE STORY OF US – Chapter 5

The sun had just risen and was streaming in across the bed.  The fragrant orange and white lei that Lennie had placed around my neck at the airport was hanging on the lampshade and I could feel the cool ocean breeze filtering through the jalousie windows with the promise of a warm day ahead.  Outside I could hear someone in the yard.  It was a strange monotone voice, as if it was someone in an institution that could not comprehend the world around them.  Over and over the voice said flatly, “Richard?… Richard?”  I got up from the bed and opened the window fully, but saw no one in the yard.  The slightly insane sounding voice had immediately stopped when I went to the window.  I gave it no more thought as I put on a robe and went looking for Lennie.

The smell of freshly brewing coffee led me to the kitchen, where Lennie was puttering around the freshly cleaned room.  He too was wearing a robe that hung open across his chest and was tied loosely at his waist.  He saw me staring and I was greeted with a huge grin.  “You look nice in the morning.”, he said.  “Some women have to have all their makeup on before they even step out the door.  I like the way you look when you wake up.  I think you’re beautiful Kathryn.”  He quickly went on, “Wait ’till you taste the coffee, baby.  Kona coffee – it’s the best in the world.”  He poured us each a mug of the dark, rich coffee and then added some stevia to his own.  “Come on outside and meet Nathan”, he said and I followed along.

Nathan was Lennie’s handyman and I liked him immediately.   He was tall and slim and moved quickly.  He had the depth of the ocean in his eyes and you could see the intelligence behind them.  Nathan was one of those guys who could do anything.  Lennie told me that he could build things, fix anything and that Lennie loved to just sit and have intellectual conversations with him.  So, I offered him coffee and the 3 of us just sat there in the garage, conversing and watching the morning sky greet the day.

Besides painting, there was one other thing that I excelled at:  cooking.  I have the ability to make something delicious and nutritious out of almost anything.  When Lennie sat down at the table he stared at the food and said, “I don’t want to eat it; it looks too beautiful.”  But his stomach won out and he picked up his spoon.  “Oh, baby, how did you make it taste so good?”  It was just cut up papaya and mango, but I had grated some fresh ginger and mixed it in.  Spices – they were the secret to all dishes, not matter how simple.  The omelette had been filled with whatever vegetables that I had found in the fridge and now we were full and I was ready to go wherever Lennie wanted to take me.

We got into the Blazer and headed for Lennie’s favorite store.  He said that he needed a couple of shirts as his were getting kind of worn looking.  He had told me that his favorite store was ‘Salvay’ and we pulled into the parking lot of the Kailua Salvation Army.

“Want to see how I pick out a shirt?”  I watched as he went to the extra large rack, closed his eyes and ran his fingers along the tops of the shirts.  “When I find one that feels like silk”, he said, “I stop.”

“Can I pick out your shirts for you?”, I asked him.

“Kathryn, I would love it if you picked out all my clothes.  A friend of mine told me to always buy black pants and shorts and never get horizontal stripes.  That’s all I know.  You should see the way I used to dress.  Green pants with a blue checkered shirt.  I didn’t know any better and no one helped me.”

“I would love to pick out your clothes for you and I can lay them out each morning, so you don’t have to try matching things, okay?”

“Deal.”, he said.  We wandered around the store and I found 2 bright canary yellow mugs for one dollar each that would match the dishes in the house as all of the mugs that went with the set were either missing or broken except one.  We left the Salvation Army with our treasures – 2 mugs and 2 new shirts for Lennie and got back into the Blazer.  Our next stop was Don Quixote, the local supermarket that, besides food, sold souvenirs, liquor, bedding and household goods and just ‘stuff’ in general.  It was an old store, full of everything that was Hawai’ian.  Instead of the deli counter being filled with cold cuts of meat, it was filled with ‘poke’ – raw tuna, cut into little cubes, done in every imaginable kind of sauce and marinade that you could think of.  Lennie asked the guy behind the counter to give me a piece of the ‘spicy ahi’, which was the Hawai’ian word for tuna.  I wasn’t sure about the raw fish, but as soon as I put it in my mouth, I loved it.  I don’t think that we ever tried many of the different types as we both loved this one.  We had both found out that each of us tried to be as health conscious as possible.  We loved many of the same foods – like our Fuji apples.  I was a vegetarian and he didn’t eat very much meat and being raised Jewish, had never even tasted pork.  This I was happy about.  I loved to cook and he loved everything that I made for him.

We packed our groceries into the Blazer and drove back through Kailua town to the house.  By now the sun was high so I decided to spend the afternoon unpacking.  Lennie had cleared out a dresser for me and given me half the closet.  Originally he had told me that I didn’t need to bring hardly anything with me, as I could get everything here.  And his one request was not to bring any jeans.  My favorite store back in Canada was also a thrift store and I had been able to find sarongs, shorts and sandals that people had obviously brought back from vacation and then abandoned.  I managed to fill my allotted space.

“Hey, baby?  Do you know how to get two days out of one?”

“No, how?”

“By taking a nap.  That way when you wake up, you feel more energized and can do more.”  He went on to explain how one of his good friends was a  well know health expert and had taught him that.  So he went to have a nap.  I had never done this before, so instead I went into the kitchen to see what I could make for lunch while Lennie napped.

When he awoke, lunch was on the table and as we ate Lennie said that it was Friday night and he couldn’t wait to go dancing with me.  I couldn’t wait either.  We both loved to dance.  I had taken ballroom and latin dance lessons and Lennie was just a natural.  He had about 25 different moves that had always made him a popular dance partner.  So popular in fact that several years earlier, after leaving a very unhappy marriage, he had signed up as a dance partner on a cruise ship that went from Japan to Russia to Europe.  He was considered one of the entertainment employees and therefore had the free roam of the ship when he was not dancing.  The dancing on the ship only amounted to 45 minutes before and after lunch and 45 minutes before dinner.  He had explained to me that there were far more women who went on cruises than men and they wanted someone to dance with.

When he came out of the shower Lennie found his clothes laid neatly on the bed for him to change into.  I had put my hair up into a knot and was wearing a halter top with attached palazzo pants.  I had sat out in the yard for a little while, so there was now a healthy glow to my skin.  Lennie just stood there staring at me.  “Oh my goodness.  I never thought that I could be with someone that was so little and cute, cause I’m so big.”

“I’m not cute.”, I said flatly.

“You’re cute to me, especially when you’re standing next to me.  I want you to start seeing yourself the way I see you Kathryn.  I think that you have been hiding yourself for far too long.”

Driving to Honolulu was a beautiful twenty minute drive through the mountains and along winding stretches of road with forests on one side and cliffs overlooking towns and the distant ocean on the other.   We passed through the area known as Nu’uanu where the different Embassies lined each side of the road, each one resplendent architecture, reflecting their own culture, but with distinct Hawai’ian and Asian touches.  One of the things that Lennie had pointed out to me was that there were no signs along the highways and roads, other than the government markers for speed and routes, etc.  There was no advertising, no billboards; nothing to mar the beauty of the natural landscape.

We were now driving down Kapiolani, one of the main streets through Honolulu on our way to the Ala Moana Hotel where the famous Rumors Nightclub is located.  This had been Lennie’s Friday night haunt for the past seven years, where he had danced and sweated off the pounds, getting himself down from 325 pounds to a little over 250 now.  He knew most of the regulars there and they knew him.  The bouncer at the door let us straight in and I saw a nightclub that looked as if it was out of the 1980’s with its sunken dance floor, sleek, curving bars and neon lights.

“I had one of the best nights of my life tonight Len.”

” Every night form now on is going to be the best night of your life Ku’uipo.  The drought is over.”  Holding hands, we drove home through the darkness along the winding mountain roads, as Cecillio and Kapono sang ‘About You’  on the radio.

 

SI Exif

BIRTHDAYS AND FORGIVENESS

Trying to stay positive is sometimes hard work.

Today was Lennie’s birthday.  He would have been 64.  It was one of those melancholy days when I kept thinking back to when he had turned 61.  I had only known him for several months and had decided to throw him a party.  It was an evening full of  fun and friends and singing and laughter.  Later that night he had told me that it was the very first birthday party that he had ever had.  For some reason that thought made me think about how quickly our lives pass by, one birthday at a time.

Life is too short to hold grudges.  I have long ago forgiven Malia.  I cannot hate her, partly because I still love her.

If someone has done something to hurt you, here are some points to consider:

  1. What purpose does hate serve?  Hating someone does nothing to harm them.  Instead, it festers inside you, creating illness.
  2. Look at the bigger picture:  in an awful time of heartache or crisis, was there something good that happened to you?  Were there people that showed you that they truly cared?
  3. Be gentle with yourself.  You need time to heal.  Do as much as you need to.  Eat well.  Rest.  Try to surround yourself with the all the beauty that the world has to offer.
  4. Don’t involve others.  As Iyanla Vanzant says, “Change your story.”  Your story is not about the bad that was done to you; those are just the facts and the facts are not your authentic story.  So don’t let someone else’s malice take away from what was true and good and wonderful in your life.
  5. Did you know that the Aramaic word (the language that Jesus spoke) for ‘forgive’ is literally ‘to untie’.  Sometimes it is necessary to ‘untie’ yourself from people or situations that have harmed you.  You need to remove the negativity and become more positive about the future of your life.
  6. Feel sorry for those that have harmed you.  They will have their own Karma to deal with.  Instead of hating them, feel pity for them, if for no other reason than they are not evolved or enlightened enough to be any different than they are.
  7. Don’t let others have the power to change who you are.  Only by allowing them to change you, your ethics or your personality can they still have power over you.
  8. Finally, ‘forgiving’ does not mean ‘giving in’.  Do what you believe is right.  You may need to see something through before you can truly move on.  Just make sure that you do it with grace and dignity and stick to only the facts as you know them to be.Lennie's birthday party 009Kathryn

www.kathrynsmith.com

 

 

UPDATE – “NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED”

Hello,

It has been far too long since I have written on my blog.  I have just posted Chapter 4 in The Story of Us a couple of days ago.  I feel that I should update everyone on what has been happening in my life this past few months.

I have seen the inside of an American Courtroom more times than I care to.  I have been falsely and maliciously accused of many things.  There have been petitions put forth in court alleging that Lennie had never loved me and that I was nothing more than his caregiver besides  dozens more cruel lies.  I have learned that greed has no bounds.  I have learned that often people have a false sense of entitlement.  And I have learned the meaning behind the cynical phrase “No good deed goes unpunished.”  I hope that few people have to endure the pain and heartache that I have gone through since Lennie passed away.  His heart would break for me if he had known the sheer magnitude of greed that surrounded him.  And yet, I believe that he does know.  I feel him beside me often, guiding my path and putting good people near me  to offer their help and support.  I cannot talk about this more than what I have stated as it is on-going.

I am now back in Canada with my pets and my friends and all that I love and that is familiar to me.  I have been financially devastated by Lennie’s cancer treatments and at the age of 55 …I am starting over.

Please visit my website at www.kathrynsmith.com if you would like to purchase a limited edition print online, view my artwork, or order a commission.  If you would like to contact me, my contact information is there also.

Vehementer vive, valde ama,

Kathryn

www.kathrynsmith.com

 

LENNIE & I – THE STORY OF US – Chapter 4

It was eleven a.m. in the morning in Vancouver.  I could feel the panic rising in me as I dialed Lennie’s number.  Vancouver International airport was huge; bigger than anything I had imagined.  Because I was still in Canada, I was told that I had to pick up my luggage and go through customs before getting on the next plane that would take me to Honolulu.  But, where was my luggage?  How was I supposed to find it in this enormous airport.  It was eight o’clock in the morning in Hawai’i and I heard Lennie’s voice answer, “Hey Baby.  You did it.  You’re making it happen!”

“I don’t know what to do or where to go.  They said I have to pick up my luggage and go through customs.”  I could feel pain behind my eyes as if I was a lost child.  “Okay”, said Lennie, “Look around you for signs that say ‘Baggage’.”  “There’s nothing here and there’s different levels – I don’t know where to go!”  Despite his help, I didn’t have a clue where to go and just started randomly asking anyone that was in a uniform.  A flight attendant directed me to an information booth and they told me that I would have to go to the next level to claim my bags and then re-enter security and go through customs.

I was more calm now that I had found my luggage and Lennie said, “How long a layover do you have?”  My flight doesn’t leave for 6 hours.  It had been 7, but I had used up an hour looking for my luggage.  He spent the next few minutes trying to talk me into leaving the airport and taking in some of the sights in Vancouver.  I assured him that I was absolutely not leaving the airport.  It was bad enough that it was under construction for the upcoming Olympics and there were detour signs and arrows and plastic-covered scaffolding, but I sure wasn’t going to go exploring by myself in a strange city, dragging around my luggage.  So I wandered.  I went through customs and just plunked myself down in a waiting area and waited.  Occasionally I drifted off to sleep for a few minutes at a time and got up to get something to eat and drink.  Finally it was six o’clock in the evening and I was boarding the last leg of the flight – a seven hour flight over the pacific to Honolulu to meet Lennie in person for the very first time.

The flight was uneventful and long.  I became the Queen of “Are we there yet?”  I was flying on WestJet and it was a night flight.  I was thankful that there was a movie even if it was “Twilight”.  Finally the captain come on to announce that we were approaching Honolulu and were flying over the other Islands.  I looked out the window and through the darkness could see the sparkling lights that outlined the strip of Waikiki, stretching up along the coast to Pearl Harbor and the airport that we were descending upon.

 

As I stepped off the plane I remembered Lennie’s words:  “Stop and breathe in the air; there is nothing else like it.  The air here in Hawai’i has more oxygen in it.”  This was true as I breathed in the warm, moist air.  It was as if my lungs were expanding more fully than they were ever able to before.  I walked across the breezeway with its open sides, overlooking palm trees and a small pond.  The airport was small with just a few carousels for luggage.  I had changed into a summer dress in the tiny head on the plane and now had my luggage in tow.  Where was Lennie?  I was crouching on the floor, digging through my purse for my phone when I heard a familiar voice behind me say, “Are you looking for me?”

“Yes”, I replied as I stood up, turning around and staring into his handsome, smiling face.  He was wearing the parrot shirt that he had worn in the photo that he had sent to me.  I had asked him to wear it and it was to become one of my favorite shirts on him and later, one of my most cherished belongings.  We walked out of the airport, hand in hand to his old Dodge Ram that I had asked him to pick me up in.  As I had explained to him, it had a bench seat and we could sit next to each other.

We drove out of the airport and into the night as we traveled inland to get to the Windward side of O’ahu.  Tunnels that were illuminated broke through the darkness as we cruised through the mountains and along the winding Pali Highway.   The majority of the trip was in darkness so I couldn’t see the beauty that was Hawai’i.  We passed stretches of ocean with lights dotted all over, showing glimpses of where towns and forests and marshes were.  Finally we were on Mokapu Saddle Road and turning onto the street in Kailua that was to become my home.

The house was in darkness when we arrived and Lennie lifted my luggage out of the back of the truck with ease and carried it into the house.  I walked behind him and stood, waiting for him to turn on the lights when he came right back outside to me.  He picked me up in his arms and carried me over the threshold as if I was his new bride.  He put me down and I stood in the middle of the living room while Lennie turned on the lights and I got my first glimpse of the house.  There was a lot of stuff and some mix and match furniture.  “Wait right here”, he instructed me as he walked into another room and closed the door behind him.  A few minutes later he opened the door with a smile on his face and the candlelight shining in moist eyes.  “Welcome to your new home, Kathryn.”  There were candles all over the master bedroom with a homemade sign on the bed, welcoming me.  He took me in his arms and kissed me passionately as he pushed the bedroom door closed with his foot.  The room and the night enveloped us as if we had been parted for a very long time and had finally found our way back to each other over the years and perhaps other lifetimes.  Finally, we had found each other.

Kathryn

www.kathrynsmith.com

WET & WILD HAWAI’I

As I previously mentioned, my blog has been down and I have been unable to post, so this is from March 9, 2012.

WET & WILD HAWAI’I is a water theme park here in Hawai’i. Today it was the description for the entire Hawai’ian Islands.

I woke up shortly after five-dark-thirty, as Lennie use to say, to the sound of what sounded like hammering or rapid gunfire on the roof. The sound was deafening, as if we were under seige. I listened for a few minutes before my friend Debbie came running into my bedroom, drenched from the rain. “Kathryn, you have to get up and see this! We will never see it again in our lifetime!”

Debbie had been out in the garage/lanai having her early morning coffee and cigarette when the storm hit. She was soaked from having run the 10 feet to the front door. When I looked at the ground in the still darkness, I could see hundreds of mis-shapen golf balls of ice. We were having a hail storm in Hawai’i. Most of the people that have lived here all their lives have never seen hail. And most of the people from the northern part of the mainland see it rarely. It is one of the oddities of nature and does not occur unless conditions are perfect. We turned on the morning news to see what it was like on the rest of the island. On the windward side we were getting the brunt of it. The marine corps base just 4 minutes from here had to be closed down due to flooded out roads. The base sits on a penninsula, forming a breakwall between the ocean and Kaneohe Bay. They were being hit hard.

It has rained for almost the entire month of February and now into March, but this was the worst of it as two storms of different pressures met. Off the coast of Lanikai, which is just 2 miles down the road, someone shot a video of a funnel cloud – something that has not occurred in the Hawai’ian Islands for over 100 years. This was likely responsible for the 60+ mile per hour winds that whirled the rain and hail around the house. At one point you could not tell where the wind was coming from. It sucked empty pails and containers out of the garage and the already water logged ground could not take in the water fast enough. It started to rise above ground level and flooded the side apartment. When Debbie later phoned friends in Honolulu they told her that the rain came down the mountain so fast that there was 2 feet of water running through the beautiful hill-side studio that she had previously lived in. When the worst of it was over, there were about 1,000 families in this area without power. The funnel cloud had briefly touched land before dissipating and one house in Lanikai had been destroyed, along with any trees that had been in its path.  There were mud slides and thousands of evacuations. During the pre-storm when it was just heavy rain, one of our neighbors had climbed onto their house and covered the roof with a tarp and sandbags. No one in Hawai’i has ever seen anything like this. Oh, and the temperature was 6 degrees above New York at a chilly 60 F.

February and March seem to be the worst months to visit Hawai’i. It was almost this same date last year that the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan and everyone in Hawai’i was being evacuated. I remember Lennie and I driving to the higher ground of the upper house in Kaneohe. I am guessing that we have had maybe 5 or 6 sunny days since I arrived here, and most of those were just days of partial sun. You have to feel bad for the people on vacation when you see everyone wearing polar fleece hoodies. Right now I am in the house – a house that has no heat and louvered panels of glass in the windows that normally would let in the balmy Hawai’ian breezes. I am wearing a faux sheepskin jacket and yoga pants. I am dressed in grey and black. It feels much like being up north in a cottage during a not-so-nice summer. Many of the restaurants here are open to the beach and the elements, not use to having anything like this kind of weather. All activities are centered around the outdoor beauty of Hawai’i. Even the famous Ala Moana Shopping Center is open to the sky on all floors with strategic bits of roofing to cover escalators and mostly for architectural esthetics. My friend Debbie and I went there one day last week, just to get away from the rain and the cold on this side of the island, only to find flooded streets in Honolulu and dozens of people with brooms trying to sweep back the rain from the store entrances at the Ala Moana. Patrons gingerly walked along the walls, not wanting to step away from the 12 inch overhang that afforded them slight cover on the slippery stone floors.  Later we raced back to Kailua so that Debbie could watch American Idol, only to have the power go out due to another windy storm.  We had only been in the house for about 2 minutes – just long enough to turn on the lights and the TV when a power line went down, setting the entire hillside on fire.

So everyone here has had enough of the rain, wind, clouds and cold temperatures.  And by the way, did I mention the vog (volcanic organic gases)?

Kathryn

www.kathrynsmith.com