I do hope you have had a chance to read
this month’s Wednesday words post, which was published  a couple of days ago. In the middle of a long cold Canadian winter it is encouraging to see photos of
children outside in the summer sunshine, enjoying Day Camps
J
We have had snow and ice every day this
week, making the sidewalks and roads impassable and adding hours of shovelling
time to my own busy schedule. Perhaps other people are also encouraging
themselves with thoughts of the summer since we have had quite a deluge of
enquiries from host communities, both “regulars” and “newbies”.
I cannot remember a recent year in which
the schedule contained so many bookings this early. Of course only a handful of
them have actually sent in their forms so a LOT of juggling is sure to ensue,
but it certainly is exciting to see so much early interest.
Work is also in full swing on the Program
Manual Almost every day Arnee sends several files for me to proofread or emails
with urgent questions on specific points.
We have heard that the York Region of the
Anglican Diocese of Toronto will once again be sponsoring 3 young people to
come and join the Teams so things are looking up on that side of the equation
too. So all in all there has been a lot of activity around here and I’m busy
mulling around ideas for designing the Team Crosses, finalizing Retreat Week
Menus and even approaching potential evening speakers for the Retreat!
Despite nasty weather the week has included
several visits, most of which were accompanied with  knitting problems! I’ve started the
Icelandic socks for my friend, and already know they will take a LONG time to
complete but at least everything is untangled and the wool wound onto the
bobbins so it could be worse. Yesterday I had another wedding dress
consultation with Jessica and we are now good to go on ordering the fabric, an
exciting step forward!
 
With Chinese New year happening next Tuesday, today I’m baking some Moon
Cakes, an annual favourite. On Monday evening Alex in coming for dinner so we
are going to have Chinese Soup Noodles, White Peony Tea, Moon Cakes and
Mandarin Oranges. Yum! I’m also baking two ciabatta loaves and some scones, as
they are always useful for unexpected tea visitors.
 There has not been much time for sewing but I
did make three more drawstring “project bags” and mended a flannel shirt for a
friend (not very interesting!) however it looks as if I shall soon be embarking
on the wedding outfit.
 
Progress on my winter jigsaw puzzle has also been limited as there are
just so many hours in the day and I’m super excited to delve into two new
books, one a belated Christmas gift and the other a “Thank You” for creating
the “Deer Horse” book.
Well no time for reading right now as the
bread needs to be taken out of the oven and dinner prepared but before I go, I
promised Natalie I would post my recipe for Tomato Dumplings this week. Very
suitable winter fare and economical too!
Tomato Dumplings

1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ cup green or red pepper, finely chopped
4 Tbsps. Butter or margarine
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. celery seed
½ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. pepper
1 28oz. can diced tomatoes
Dumplings: –
1 cup flour
1 ½ tsps. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 egg
6 Tbsps. Milk
! Tbsp. fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
In a medium-sized, heavy bottomed pot met
the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, green pepper bay leaf and celery
seed. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add the
tomatoes and their juice, the basil and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer
uncovered for 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour,
baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter and then stir in the egg and milk to
form a soft dough add the parsley or cilantro and fold in.
Place heaping tablespoons of the dough on
top of the simmering tomato mixture. You should have 6 dumplings. Cover tightly
and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer gently for twenty minutes without
removing the lid during that time!

Serve in bowls. Serves 3 as a main course
or 6 as a side dish with sausages or ham.