Saturday, January 7, 2023

Library of Tea

January 2023 - Toronto ON

We woke to this weather on NYE.

New Year's Eve we spent at home, the way we like it. New Year's Day was also relaxing.

This is how our crossword challenge ended for the year, our average is tied.

First cocktail of 2023 John made me a Manhattan.

John broke the first glass of the year, hitting it with his elbow. Now I need to find a pair of new glasses for steak night.

I ordered and received new anti-fatigue mats for the kitchen. 

John has also enjoyed out cheap diffuser which died this week so we got a new one.

The mat in our walk in closet has gotten slippery but the one I ordered was cheap and ugly so I sent it back.

I am replacing any rusted baking pans and ordered a new loaf pan.

Our fire/smoke alarm expired in January 2023 (10 years) so we engaged the building fire alarm company to replace it. After discussions with the office we decided to get a hard wired alarm as is required in all new builds. Currently it is a battery operated one.

My Kitchenaid mixer is so heavy to move. I saw an ad on Book of Faces about sliding mats, turns out they make mats just for moving, you can find them on Amazon for $20. I had some small flexible cutting boards that I don't typically use. I had John put one under my mixer, and voila, it slides!

I did some blog housekeeping and updated the list of blogs I follow.

We are following the news in Mazatlán with the arrest of El Chapo's son and the violence that erupted. 
We had been in Mazatlán in 2014 when his father was arrested without any violence. I checked with our friends and they said they are fine, here is her post.
An acquaintance wrote this post. Another blogger said that the press has blown this out of proportion.

We picked up our new bus passes.

John had a chiropractor appointment after which he did a grocery run for a few things like fresh fruit, tomatoes and yogurt. We like fruit for breakfast.

John enjoyed using the golf simulator again.

John had a hearing aid appointment so I went along as it is in a mall. I got in a good $ store haul, I hadn't been since we went away in September. We also stopped into Winners and Kitchen Stuff but left empty handed.


Saturday I spent some time in the kitchen. I had to make a gluten free sponge cake for tomorrow's trifle. I also had some avocados to use up so I made avocado chocolate mousse. I also made the biscuits for dinner.
NYE crab legs and cheese gluten free biscuits.

Sunday New Year's Day roast lamb, roast potatoes, roasted cauliflower, onions, Brussel sprouts and mushrooms with Italian dressing. Trifle for dessert - my mother's recipe.

Monday eggs, fried leftover potatoes onions and cabbage with the rest of the cheese gluten free biscuits

Dinner - curry lamb. I decided not to beat myself up about the price of the lamb ($44) and I only got four meals out of it (and a soup bone which I made a broth with and we had a lunch of leftover curry) because I had $20 in store credits.

Lunch pizza quesadilla - pepperoni red onions jalapeno cheese tomatoes and tomato sauce.

 I call it shepherd's pie but apparently I make a cottage pie.
Shepherd’s Pie is traditionally made with ground lamb while it’s more well-known and oft-mistaken cousin, Cottage Pie, is made with ground beef. Both are topped with mashed potatoes.
And, seemingly, there is also a shepherd meatloaf pie, this is totally new to me.
Meatloaf is a dish of ground meat that has been combined with other ingredients and formed into the shape of a loaf, then baked. Shepherd meatloaf pie is made with slices of meatloaf and topped with mash.
I made a mash out of potato, cauliflower and turnips.

Thursday lunch was leftover curry (John had a roti using a tortilla GF) and dinner was leftover over cottage pie with additional mash. I finally cooked the gluten free English pudding I had bought last year. I also made a rum butter sauce (which I burned on Friday when reheating).


Friday steak, baked potato and fried onions. The plan was broccolini but it hadn't survived the week. Annoying as I had also had to throw out the strawberries that John bought on Wednesday as they were covered in nasty fuzzy stuff and soggy. I suppose we should have returned them but that takes time and effort and we didn't keep the receipt.


New Year's Eve afternoon we sat and watched Emily The Criminal which we both enjoyed, but then we always like a good scam. It is a 2022 crime thriller about a dummy shopper service that will pays her $200 for one hour of work.

7 Days to Vegas (also known as Walk to Vegas) is a 2019 American comedy film, based on the true story of the rise and fall of one of Hollywood's biggest poker games. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Our evening's entertainment and our last movie of 2022 - The Banshees of Inisherin is a 2022 black tragicomedy film that follows lifelong friends (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) who find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship; Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan also star.

We are watching one of the best cooking competition shows ever. The Big Brunch (how come it not be with Dan Levy!) and it includes great ideas for brunch!

Treason is a British television miniseries staring Olga Kurylenko, Oona Chaplin, Ciarán Hinds, and Charlie Cox. Adam Lawrence was trained and groomed by MI6; his career seems set. When the past catches up with him in the form of Kara, a Russian spy with whom he shares a complicated past, he is forced to question everything and everyone in his life.
This was a good watch, you almost wished for more of it.

Kaleidoscope is an American heist drama television miniseries created by Eric Garcia. The eight-part series centers around master thief Leo Pap (Giancarlo Esposito) and his crew attempting an epic heist worth $7 billion, but betrayal, greed and other threats undermine their plans.
We wondered about the colours that were shown at the start of each episode.
The Kaleidoscope episodes are identified by color and not a number. There are eight in total and they are titled Yellow, White, Green Blue, Orange, Violet, Red, and Pink.
As the series will play out in a different order for each viewer, there was no sense in numbering the installments. Watching the series as 2, 4, 7, etc. would just give the impression that it’s being watched out of sequence in an unintentional way.
Because it’s designed to be consumed in any order, it was best to avoid the idea of a set chronology through numbered episodes.
As for the reason they’re separated by color, a kaleidoscope is a toy consisting of a tube containing mirrors and pieces of colored glass. The reflections create changing patterns when the tube is rotated. Ultimately, the pattern of the series depends on the order of the colors.

Money Plane is a 2020 American action film starring Adam CopelandKelsey GrammerThomas Jane, and Denise RichardsA professional thief with $40 million in debt and his family's life on the line must commit one final heist - rob a futuristic airborne casino filled with the world's most dangerous criminals.
It had rotten reviews and terrible scores but it was kind of an amusing spoof/comedy full of awful cliches.

I also watched season 6 and 7 of the British Junior Bakeoff. 

I started watching a 3 part series Death and Nightingales that I know I will enjoy. 
Set in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, over the course of one July day in 1885, “Death and Nightingales” is told from the perspective of 23-year-old Beth Winters, stepdaughter to Billy Winters, owner of the Clonuala estate where they both live. Three hundred years and six generations ago, Billy’s Protestant, British family helped invade and colonize Ireland, and used fur pelts stolen from the French to secure their fortune in gold. Since then, Billy’s family has served as landlords for the land around Clonuala, and he also owns the local rock quarry, from which practically everyone in the area—including Roman Catholic Bishop Jimmy Donnelly, on the other side of the religious divide as Billy—has to buy their stone.


I only read 107 books this year, down from 121 last year.

I finally finished A Room Swept White, normally I enjoy Sophie Hannah's books, but this one dragged and dragged. I am done with the characters Simon and Charlie. There is an underlying antivax message happening as well. Fliss, the narrator, is so dull. I only kept going waiting for the AHA moment that never happened.

Dark Game introduced me to a new author and series by Rachel Lynch and I completely got engrossed in this book. There are three/four overlapping cases being investigated. I will say that the cold case does end up fizzling out.
It had everything you want in a new series - a female detective moves back home with her mother and interfering sister, a new love, an old love, trafficking, money laundering, cold case, and an abandoned baby.

Started The London House and I wasn't sure I was going to stick with it, however, as I read historically true events it quickly garnered my interest.
Uncovering a dark family secret sends one woman through the history of Britain’s World War II spy network and glamorous 1930s Paris to save her family’s reputation.
A stand-alone split-time novel
Partially epistolary: the historical storyline is told through letters and journals


  1. Happy New Year! Sounds like you had a lovely evening -- we had our best friends over, so just the 4 of us. I cooked, we watched a movie and talked. Quiet and nice. I'm going to try your sliding trick! I have some of those flexible mats that I never use.

    Tell me about lamb. I spent $$$$ to get a boneless leg roast for Christmas Eve dinner. Lord. I love lamb, but since yikes! We used to buy a whole lamb from friends each year, but the retired from the lamb business a few years ago. We've been missing it ever since.

    Funny about your reading. I read 103 books in 2022, also way down from normal. I wonder why.

  2. You two keep busy, it is always fun to see what has happened and what you are doing! Happy New Year!

  3. As a left hander, a good pen is a treasure.

  4. One of my Sister in law used to drink Manhattan.

  5. The happiest of New Years to you! One of the things I always look forward to when seeing a new blog post from you is the marvellous views from your apartment. I understand why one could choose to spend New Years at home with those views! I also live spending time at home, and so does my daughter. A home that is warm and loving, customised to your preferences is something to be very grateful for. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  6. Wow, I'm out of breath just reading about all your activities. You enjoy such a variety of meals. I'm impressed. Figuring out what to eat each day takes so much time when you're not going out. We cooked more at home this past year than ever before. I love your foggy picture. Fun post to read.

  7. You are certainly off to a great start with tasks-to-do for the year. I have a lot of them I like to do at the beginning of the year, like tidying up my blog.

    Love your header! And your pudding is beautiful.

    I think you had a good reading year. It's funny how we readers say things like, "I only read 107 books this year." lol

  8. I agree the KitchenAid is so heavy and I like the idea of a sliding mat. Brilliant! Lovely NYE celebration your had.

  9. If you liked Bill Fairclough’s epic spy thriller Beyond Enkription in The Burlington Files series you may on a bleak Winter evening just conceivably like Treason (starring Charlie Cox) created by Bridge of Spies writer Matt Charman. The plots are quite complicated in both productions but unlike Treason, The Burlington Files plots and characters are real, credible and much more intriguing. However, do remember Beyond Enkription is a fact based novel about a real spy called Bill Fairclough (MI6 codename JJ) aka Edward Burlington who was one of Pemberton’s People in MI6. He worked with real SAS Rogue Heroes and other ungentlemanly officers as explained in a news article dated 31 October 2022 available from TheBurlingtonFiles website.

  10. Treason and Death and Nightingales sound like ones I'd really enjoy.

    Both of those novels sound good -- I'd particularly like the WWII aspect of The London House.

  11. I love the sliding mats idea for the Kitchenaid! I agree they are heavy to move. Have a great weekend!

  12. Your year seems to be getting off to a good start! Have a great 2023.

    best… mae at

  13. Can you review the kitchen mats in a month or so please.
    Are smoke detectors are hard wired with a backup battery. The battery lasts about five years then the unit detects it needs replacing, letting the occupants know by loud chirping. It's very annoying and very effective at getting people to replace the battery. Five years after the building opened, chirping could be heard all over the building as batteries expired.
    I was in a store and picked up one of those mixers. Wow, they are seriously heavy.
    I thought Oona was Charlie Chaplin's wife. Maybe a daughter or granddaughter has the same name.

  14. Happy New Year! Nice to meet you through the Weekend Coffee Share. I like the weird things that make adults happy, that's me. Great idea for moving the mixer around. Karen

  15. Out with the old, in with the new! And congrats on over 100 books! I was tickled to read 25.


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