WOO HOO!!! I saw my first robin this morning, a sure sign that spring is actually on the way in this cold northern region!
   Although I’m getting started on this post
early Saturday it may not be published until tomorrow since I would
love to be able to include some photos from tonight’s Spring Team Gathering!
 As I write, I’m roasting some vegetables with
feta cheese for Hearty Barley and Vegetable Salad, my contribution to the Pot
Trust Supper that will kick-off the evening.
We are excited to be having a House
Eucharist, which we try to do at least once a year but which doesn’t always
work out. Thursday afternoon I sloshed through a downpour (at least it wasn’t
SNOW!!) and borrowed vessels and some basic linens from the chapel @ Isaiah 40
and then baked some communion bread from the Day Camp program recipe. Not
wanting to miss an opportunity I also baked Giant Ginger Snaps and Millet
Breakfast Cookies for the Retreat Week stash.
Last Monday was the semi-annual “defrosting
of the freezers” so now everything is super organized and listed and the
advance baking for the Retreat will soon be completed. After that the plan is
to cook 2 main course dishes, which freeze well.
Tuesday afternoon I met with Alex @ Isaiah
40 to discuss the catering for a small weekend retreat in mid-May
that he is organizing for clergy couples. It will be a bit of a challenge since
there seems to be a high percentage of food allergies to navigate so I shall be
doing some experimenting over the next few weeks 
😊
This week there has been plenty of activity on the “Host
Communities” front.  On Thursday it was
FANTASTIC to receive the Applications from 3 First Nations near Regina. All
three communities are Pastored by Rev. Vicki and two of them have been hosting
Day Camps for a number of years but the third only joined on last summer so it
is super exciting to have them back.
Hopefully this evening some TEAM
APPLICATIONS will be submitted. Mae Anne was with me for lunch last Monday and
as one of the youth leaders at her church she has also been badgering and
assures me that at least some forms will be forthcoming. It is good to live in
hope 😊
After becoming increasingly anxious about
the lack of Team applications I  have appealed to my mentor, Brett, for suggestions
and a few days ago he sent me quite a long list of UK contacts to try in the
hopes of luring some university-aged young adults to come to Canada this
summer. I penned a compelling plea for assistance and sent copies out into
cyberspace-no responses yet. Sigh.
On a brighter note-the Wedding Outfit is
finished. YAY!!!  Last Sunday’s fitting
went smoothly but I was slightly apprehensive to discover they had chosen some
small shank buttons for the blouse since the buttonhole attachment on my sewing
machine is only workable with regular flat buttons. Thus it was necessary to
make the buttonholes by hand. Snipping through the fabric on the front of a
wedding blouse is pretty nerve wracking but happily all went well and after
sewing on all the buttons and then ironing the blouse and skirt it looks really
nice. Jessica will see it this evening as she is coming to the Team Gathering.
Well the veggies are out of the oven but
there is a lot more to do for this evening so I’m about to call this a “wrap”.
Regular readers may have noticed that I did
not get around to a special post with the Soft Pretzel Recipe so here it is
today…better late than never!
(adapted from Martha Stewart Living)

Pretzels
2 Tbsps. yeast
2 cups warm water
¾ cup dark brown sugar
6½ cups unbleached flour
2 Tbsps. coarse salt
½ cup butter or margarine, cut into small
bits
½ cup baking soda
½ cup pale ale beer
In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in the
warm water with ½ cup of the brown sugar. Add the flour, salt and butter or
margarine and mix first with a wooden spoon and then with your hands until the
dough comes together. Knead to form a smooth dough. Place in a clean, greased
bowl, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
Next day combine the soda, beer, and
remaining ¼ cup of brown sugar and 8 cups of water in a large pot and bring to
a simmer over medium heat.
Roll out the dough into a rectangle approx.
12x14inches. Cut into 12 strips. Roll each strip into a 24” long rope and form
into pretzel shape OR cut each strip in half and roll into a 15” rope and form
into smaller pretzels.
Line two large baking sheets with parchment
paper. Place two or three pretzels at a time into the simmering liquid and
allow to float to the surface, skim out immediately with a large slotted spoon
and place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle each pretzel with additional coarse
salt and bake in a preheated oven and bake for approx. 8 minutes or until
puffed and deep brown. Cool on racks and serve with mustard dip.
Mustard Dip
3Tbsps. hot mustard powder
1/3 cup cider vinegar
¼ cup pale ale
1 egg
2 Tbsps. sugar
½ tsp. coarse salt

In a small non-reactive metal bowl combine the
mustard and vinegar and allow to sit for at least an hour. Whisk in all the
other ingredients. Place the bowl in a shallow pan of simmering water and cook,
whisking from time to time until thick, approx. 20 minutes. Cool and serve with
pretzels. Will keep for a week in the fridge.