13 Oct

Fall Recipe

It’s Day 13 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here with today’s post, my “Fall Recipe”  

For my fall recipe, I’m posting my Dad’s meatball recipe.   It’s not a traditional “fall” recipe (no pumpkin or turkey in these), but they are total comfort food and I always associate that with Fall.  I’ve also been making them for Mary’s Dad and just made them for his Birthday celebration yesterday, so it seems like the perfect recipe to share.

Fall Recipe - Meatballs Full

“Daddy” Style Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

 For the Sauce:

– 1/2 cup of olive oil

– 3 x 28 oz cans of whole tomatoes

– 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced

Add the olive oil to a large pot and set over medium heat.  Add the garlic and saute until it just starts to turn golden.  Add all of the tomatoes (liquid too) and blend with hand mixer until the sauce is smooth.  You can also blitz the tomatoes in a blender beforehand, if you don’t have a hand mixed (I won’t tell my Dad!)

Add 1 tablespoon of salt and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.

While that’s simmering, start on the meatballs.  In a large bowl, add:

– 1 ½ lbs ground meat (I use a combination of beef, pork and veal)

– 1 tbsp kosher salt

– 1 clove garlic, finely minced

– 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

– 1 cup grated Parmasean cheese

– 1 ½ cups of breadcrumbs

– 1 ½ cups water

– 1 tbsp chopped parsley

Unclump the meat and mix it together with the rest of ingredients.  Shape into balls and place on a rimmed baking sheets, either lined with parchment paper, tinfoil or sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray.  I like parchment paper for easier cleanup.

Bake your balls at 375 for 30 min until golden, turning them once about halfway through.

When you sauce is almost done it’s hour of simmering, add ¼ cup of fresh basil (chopped), about 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and a teaspoon of dried oregano.  Taste and add more salt and seasonings if you like.

Once the meatballs have finished baking for half an hour, simmer them in the sauce for 20 minutes and you’re ready to serve!

Fall Recipe - Meatballs

These are great with spaghetti, you can throw some onto a bun and melt mozzarella on top for a great sandwich, you can even put them on pizza or in a panzarotti.  Honestly, you can even eat them straight…not that I do that.

The Daily Tay
12 Oct

Best advice you’ve been given

It’s Day 12 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Here is Mary with today’s post of “Best advice you’ve been given.”

Best Advice - In Corner, Sad One day in high school I was prancing around in my sparkly silver tights when my English teacher pulled me aside to impart the following little gem of wisdom.  Mary,  quoth he,  you really should try to be more like other people.

This is when I realized the value of a secret identity. Of course, I think he just didn’t like my sparky silver tights but I worked at it and later that same year my brother made me a t-shirt that said “conformist” and I knew I was on the trail of something big.

Best Advice - Beer Horns

Be more like other people.  It’s so simple and yet surprisingly difficult,  at least it is for a big honking weirdo like yours truly.  Sure,  everyone says be yourself,  embrace your inner what have you,  but when it comes to getting a job quickly when you’re broke,  making small talk with office strangers,  or just trying to float by under the radar without anyone noticing you,  there is nothing like being normal.

Anything funky or weird,  keep it to yourself and a small, trusted group of friends who will forgive you for your independent streak.  If you catch yourself doing something strange in public,  like chanting “evil robot”  under your breath ad nauseum just pass it off as a small stroke.  This creates what author Douglas Adams calls a “somebody else’s problem” field which most normals cannot perpetrate. Or just say,  “wow do I need another coffee! ” and everything will be right as rain.

Best Advice - Mary, Claire and Rasa

The best part about great advice is passing it on!  Let your loved ones know that you expect them to toe the normal line,  and shun them if they refuse.  Who are they anyway,  Ayn Rand?  This is an excellent way to curb troublesome childhood behavior too,  a few brutal corrections and they’ll be colouring in the lines like the little conformist monkeys they are.

It’s also a nice way to take the edge off any existentialist angst you may be feeling.  Not sure of the meaning of life and existence?  Trapped and frozen in a hell dimension of depression and pain?  Creatively stunted?  Desperate to express your true nature by performing a modern dance routine in a wolf suit to Van Morrison’ ‘Moondance’?  Relax and remember,  everybody feels that way,  so just pick yourself up off the floor and shake it off,  ‘kay?

Best Advice - In Corner, Happy

The Daily Tay
11 Oct

If I were President

Day 11 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between and today’s post is “If I were President”  Here’s Mary, well Mary’s cat, The Cheat, with the scoop.

If I were president.. With special guest blogging cat, The Cheat.

If I were president - The Cheat Snuggly

My fellow creatures,
The Cheat here, with a very presidential message for you all…

First of all, if I were president there would be much stupendous awesomeness and probably rejoicing around the world. That’s how powerful the message of The Cheat can be. Mostly because of the whiskers.

If I were president - The Cheat Lying Down

I, The Cheat have a simple philosophy of presidenting. First, make no promises. You never know what The Cheat is gonna do. That’s the risk. At least, I’m up front about it. Like cleaning the back end. Someone has gotta do it and it’s not The Cheat, okay? That can be the vice president’s job. Figure it out.

With The Cheat as president, you’re gonna see some big changes. Changes in you, not me. Mainly I’m gonna flop down here and get relaxed. That’s just how I rule. What a world we live in… Wars and and slavery and hunger. The Cheat is all about peace and freedom and eating. Everyone can take a nap too, that would be good.

If I were president - The Cheat Splayed

Sometimes, things get rough. I know you want a president that can bust out some sudden violence and take control. The Cheat is a one hundred percent expert in attacking from a lying down position. It’s all about the disembowling kick. Another fancy technique is I just lie down on top of whatever is the problem. That takes care of a lot of things.

So there you have it. Lie down. Sing for freedom. Eat food. Rub this fuzzy belly. Basically get relaxed that’s what I’m saying. Everything is better when relaxing. That’s The Cheat’s presidential way.

If I were president - The Cheat Portrait

The Daily Tay
11 Oct

I never thought blogging would

It’s Day 10 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here and today’s topic isI never thought blogging would…”  

I Never Thought Blogging Would - Paint

Honestly, I never thought blogging would have me learn such a diverse set of skills.  I knew going into this that there would be writing and photography involved.  I love writing and taking taking pictures…it’s one of the reasons that I started a blog.  I never thought that blogging would lead me to developing my skills in coding and website development & social media.  I Mean, I even learned how to refinish a chair because I set a goal on this blog to create an office space for myself.

I Never Thought Blogging Would - Chair Back Before

Learning all of these new skills has been so satisfying.  My new skills in develop websites has lead me to creating a number of websites for others, be they blogs or non-blog sites (what do you call non-blog websites?  Just websites?)  I love creating websites.  It lets me blend my technical and creative skills together.

I Never Thought Blogging Would - Chair Before

Furniture refinishing though?  They was way out of the blue, but it’s insanely satisfying to take an old, nasty looking chair and turn it into something beautiful that you use everyday.  Learning how to do this has lead me to refinish our dinning room table.  That’s something I’ve been talking about for years, but never had the courage to take on.  Who knew?

I Never Thought Blogging Would - Chair After

I’m looking forward to see what everyone else “never thought blogging would…”!!

I Never Thought Blogging Would - My Desk

The Daily Tay
09 Oct

Best or Worst Halloween Memory #TBT

It’s day 9 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Today’s post is a “Best or Worst Halloween Memory #TBT”.  Rasa here and I totally LOVE Hallowe’en, so this is my Best Halloween Memory.

Best Halloween Memory - Mary and Rasa2

Hallowe’en is really my favourite holiday.  It’s probably the costumes.  I just love dressing up.  I mean, I force my friend to dress up for theme parties when it’s not Hallowe’en.  My husband has even asked me if it’s possible for me to throw a non-theme party.  I’m not sure that it is…

Best Halloween Memory - Paul and Rasa

I haven’t had a Hallowe’en party in a little while (need to fix that),  but I’d say that my best Hallowe’en memory is throwing my “Come as Your Favourite Rock Star” party.  Everyone was incredibly enthusiastic about the theme and came out in full force.

Best Halloween Memory - Mary Smiling

I went as Debbie Harry (and was surprised by how many people thought that her name is  “Blondie”.)  My sweet husband made an amazingly accurate Bono.

Best Halloween Memory - Paul and Greg

I loved the creativity that went into all of the costumes (we even had a “police officer” there to arrest us for the Rock Star-related offences.)

Best Halloween Memory - Mary and Jesse

To be honest, every  Hallowe’en is the “best” for me.  It’s such a fun holiday.

Best Halloween Memory - Mary and Rasa

Is anyone else guilty of throwing too many theme parties?  (Please say, yes!)

The Daily Tay
08 Oct

Letter to Myself in 10 Years

Day 8 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between and today’s post is a “Letter To Yourself in 10 Years.”  Here’s Mary with a letter to the Mary of the future.

Dear Future Mary,

Ten years…  Well let’s see future me,  you are now 48 years old and who knows what you’re up to?  I hope you’re still alive and healthy. I hope your teeth aren’t wretched.  I hope you’ve learned lots of interesting things.  I hope you’ve been playing  the piano.. I hope you have a real one by now!  I hope that you’ve been able to spend a lot of time watching the kiddies grow up.. Let’s see Blake will be a whopping 21,  Abby will 12 and Desmond will be 10!  I hope you’re good to them.  Don’t let them slip away!

Letter to Myself - Lake

By now,  there’s probably some folks that have gone off into the mystic,  joining the heavenly choirs, eternally gallivanting through catnip meadows,  etc.  I’m not looking forward to saying those goodbyes and I hope you made it through the grief and the pain with the grace of your friends and family.  I hope you’re still meditating.  It’s nice to think of you as still going strong.

Letter to Myself - Mary and Rasa

You’re probably still a lot like me,  so there’s plots and plans and chaos and changes and business everywhere you look…  What are you working on?  Have you gone on any trips?  Seen Europe yet?  Still taking care of cats?

Letter to Myself - Mary and Jesse

Today I’m happy,  enjoying some really beautiful autumn weather and colours and just back from a trip to Michigan (remember that?) for Mike’s brother’s wedding.  I’m off to see dad today and really looking forward to it.. He’s just back home from the hospital and he sounds overjoyed.  We’re looking forward to his 66th birthday this weekend.  Who knows,  maybe you’re getting ready for his 76th now!  Okay probably not,  but maybe the world has found a cure for cancer in these past ten years.

Letter to Myself Road

As I’ve gotten older,  I’ve always felt better and better about myself so by now I bet you feel like you’re just about perfect.  Watch that ego!  Haha. No matter where you are or what you’re doing I hope you are smiling and enjoying life as much as you can.  I hope you are continuing to help the people around you and not being too worried to reach out.  I promise I’m doing my best to do all the things to make our continuing life good by the time I get there. (Yes,  I will go to the dentist… And do my taxes.)  Keep looking up,  me.  I probably named a few stars up there for us too.

Letter to Myself - Unassumed Road

I’ll leave us with one of our favorites,  future me, and hopefully we will take our own good advice…

“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final”
-Rainer Maria Rilke

Love
Me

The Daily Tay
07 Oct

Best and Worst Vacation

Wow!  We made it to Day 7 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here again with today’s topic of “Best/Worst Vacation“.

Best and Worst Vacation - Xcalacoop with Bug

Best vacation?  That’s an easy one for me.  Almost 15 years ago, I eloped in the tiny town of Xcalacoop, Mexico.  Mary was there as our witness (they pulled the other one off the street) and we had an absolutely amazing time.

Best and Worst vacation - Xcalacoop

We drove across North Eastern Mexico in our little bug (they called them belly buttons there, because everyone had one) and, well, GOT MARRIED.   We had our legal wedding in Xcalacoop and then has a more personal ceremony in Chichen Itza.

Best and Worst Vacation - Chichen Itza

We drove, ate local food in tiny little towns and explored all of the ruins we could find.  It was brilliant and I’ll never forget it…and Mary made the best witness you could ever ask for.

Best and Worst Vacation - Mary in Chichen Itza

My worst vacation?  That’s more difficult.  I’ve never regretted going away on vacation, even when I haven’t had the best time.

Best and Worst Vacation - with Mr. Fox

I’d say the worst vacations are the one that I never went on.  I found some excuse as to why I couldn’t go, but with that, I totally missed out on some opportunity to learn about a culture, to explore and to get outside of this world that I normally live in.

Best and Worst Vacation - with Mary

Do you agree with me?  Have you had a vacation that you could actually consider the worst?

The Daily Tay
06 Oct

What I’d Tell Myself When I Started Blogging

We’re on Day 6 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here and today’s topic is “10 Things You’d tell yourself when you started blogging”

Falafel - Spread2

Now, I’m fairly new to the blogging scene, but Make It Bittersweet is not my first blog.  I also have a food blog, This Fox Cooks.  I started it just over a year ago and there are already a bunch of things that I wish I had told myself when I started out.

1.  Get a better camera.

2.  Really, get a better camera, it will make a huge difference to your pictures.

Coconut French Toast - Pouring Syrup

3.  Once you start, keep going.  An object in motion stays in motion.  You might take a short break or two, but keep at it!

4.  Don’t be shy about promoting your blog and posts.  Otherwise, it will just be your Mom reading them.

taco party - table

5.  Get out there and network – remember that social media thing?  Use it.

6.  Be sure to thank your Mom for promoting your blog A LOT more than you are (it’s probably because she’s the one that reads it.)

Blueberry Bourbon Crumble - Featured

7.  Maybe reconsider that blog name.  Some people might think it doesn’t sound like a food blog…it might sound like something else, something inappropriate.  (For the record, my blog was originally named “The Vixen Life” and I did change it.)

Oops

8.  Don’t take things too personally if posts don’t turn out the way you wanted them to.

9.  Stay optimistic.  You will make blog-friends and it will feel very cool.  Someone that you’re not face-to-face friends with or related to is actually reading your blog.

10.  Keep true to the goals you originally had when you started the blog, but don’t be afraid to change if you feel that it’s what you need.  It’s YOUR blog!

The Daily Tay
05 Oct

Fall Bucket List

It’s Day 5 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here and I’m taking on today’s topic of  “Your Fall Bucket List“.

Fall Bucket List - Red Tree and Leake

I don’t think I’ve ever created a bucket list before.  Is that weird?  I’ve looked at a few fall bucket lists and it’s always things like “walk in the leaves” and “carve a pumpkin”.  Are these really bucket list worthy?  I always think of bucket lists as “things to do before you die” kinda stuff, but let’s go for it.  Welcome to my first ever bucket list!

Fall Bucket List - Red Leaves

1.  Create (and drink) a fall themed cocktail.

I love creating recipes and I’m overdue for a new drink.  I’m going to put this on the list and see what I can come up with that’s “fall themed”…something spiced?  What should be considered fall-themed in a cocktail?

2.  Find the perfect new sweater.

Why is this so hard??  OK…this is on my personal list of things that I need to do.  I’m one of those people that can’t wear wool, so I think that severely limits me in the sweater department.  It sucks, but I am still searching…I will find you.

Fall Bucket List - Trees and Lake

3.  Go to some sort of proper, dress up Hallowe’en party.

I love Hallowe’en…and I love dressing up.  The real trick here is figuring out what costume to choose.

4.  Make Mary’s Dad the perfect meatballs for his birthday.

Mary’s Dad is very ill.  I love sending him food and have been sending him different types of meatballs whenever I can….Italian, Indian.  His Birthday is coming up soon and he’s asked me to make him meatballs.  I cannot leave this off my bucket list…I will make him some damn good meatballs.

Fall Bucket List - The Red Leaf

5.  Have a drink on a patio, one last time.

I live in Toronto, Canada…It’s already fall and freezing cold here.  I am hoping for that last beautiful, Indian Summer day where I can have one last drink on a patio.  Honestly, people will wear parkas to stay on a patio around here, but not me.  One last day with nice weather…and a patio…and a drink.

Fall Bucket List - Leaves in Water

How is that for a first ever bucket list?

The Daily Tay
04 Oct

Favourite Instagram Photo

Day 4 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Today’s topic is  “Favorite Photo You’ve Posted on Instagram and here Mary tells us about hers.

I’ve got a lot of fun photos up on Instagram (okay mostly cats) that make me smile and bring back some wonderful memories, but my favorite pic is this one:

Favourite Instagram - Main

That’s me and my (then) 5 days new beautiful niece, Abigail Mary.  It means so much to me not only because I adore Abigail so entirely (which I do), but because her birth marked such a turning point in my life.

Favourite Instagram - Hat

During the spring and summer of 2012, I was suffering from a violent and brutal depression.  It had been coming in waves for years, but that year it settled in and held on like it would never let go.  I was barely coping, barely able to work, feeling wild and horrible and on fire with mental anguish.  Every day was a heavy duty struggle not to toss myself off a bridge just to make it stop.

Favourite Instagram - Sleepy

In desperation at the beginning of the summer, I got into a cognitive behavioural therapy outpatient program at CAMH that lasted 16 weeks.  Between that program and some very caring friends,  I managed to drag myself up and out of the depths.  There were some very dark moments.  Right in the middle of one of them, in a breakdown of epic proportion, my niece entered the world.  I got the phone call and heard my sister say, “She’s here, its a girl, her name is Abigail Mary!” and my entire world turned upside down.

Favourite Instagram - Hamper

How can I describe the flame of hope that emerged in the depths of my heart at that dark and terrible moment?  Hope for the beautiful little girl who was now my namesake, hope for myself, that I could be the aunt she looked up to. My whole life had changed in one fragile second.

Favourite Instagram - birthday

I knew I would finish the therapy.  I wouldn’t be sick anymore. I would get better.  I wouldn’t be depressed for all time.  I would work as hard as I needed to, for as long as it took.  There would be no more thoughts of bridges and finality.  Mary & Abigail Mary.  I have held onto that little flame ever since and let it lead me to a happier and healthier life.

Favourite Instagram - Together

The Daily Tay
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