Happy new year!! Welcome to 2021 - it's just gotta be better! Maybe not more interesting, but just generally, better.
I can't say everything in 2021 was a disaster or a mess - many amazing things happened.
1) I went to Panama with my hubby and the best darn friends a girl could have!! That was an amazing time!! I mean - look at that view. We stayed in the little hacienda to the right - I wanna go back!
2) I painted my kitchen cupboards! Not thrilling per-say, but it was pretty nice when all was said and done! AND, they have stayed in great shape.
3) We celebrated a wedding at the Friesen farm. My nephew married my now niece. It was so fun and we danced for hours outside in the grass.
4) After the wedding we spent time at a cabin near Kenora with my sister and brother-in-law. Bernie and I biked a lot and spent a little time biking with the grandkids.. ok, only once - but it was great!
5) We spent time at a great little You-Pick Flower Farm owned by my sister and made some fall bouquets.
6) We escaped just in the nick of time to Canmore to attend Bernie's nephew's wedding and enjoyed walks/shopping with family - and a few awkward photo shoots!
7) I learned to weave - well, I am constantly learning!
Unfortunately, due to Code Red restrictions which popped up very shortly after we returned from Alberta, we were unable to be in person with any of our family members for all of December! That was hard. We Zoomed, FaceTime and Google Met as much as we were able.
For New Years Eve, the same applied. We gathered online with our supper club crew and a couple others and enjoyed time playing games and laughing a lot.
HERE is where the pickles come in!
For our New Years event we did an appetizer exchange - kinda like a cookie swap, but with way better food!
There were a total of five couples and each couple made enough appies at home to share with each other. We didn't let each other know what were were making and - wow - there was a diverse selection of goods.
We met under cover of night behind a desolate gas bar on Pembina Hwy (*spoiler alert - the gas bar was hoppin' and busy as always). Regardless, we met behind the dark and desolate gas bar to exchange treats. Bernie and I walked to the location as we live quite close and we cautiously approached a vehicle in the back parking lot. The lights were not on, but it appeared to have exhaust emanating via its back tail pipe. It was much darker at the dark and desolate gas bar once you were behind the building and we couldn't quite see into the vehicle. We both were thrown a-shudder (yup, meant to type that) when the doors opened on the vehicle and two masked peoples emerged. Whew.. they were only wearing small face masks, not full on balaclavas. Just another normal day in 2020.
Soon a few other vehicles slowly pulled in and from underneath coats, behind seats, below toques, from brown paper packages tied up in string - food started to emerge. Quiet as mice, the couples hastened to exchange containers of food lest they be tracked down by COVID radar and busted for being more than five in a dark and desolate parking lot.
Who is kidding who - there was safely distanced chatter for about 15 minutes as food such as, Mushrooms Neptune, Moose pies, hot cheese dip, cranberry brie bites, garlic feta dip and more were exchanged. In roughly 1.5 hours, we would meet again - safely distanced and unmasked on Zoom for games and chatter.
For this festive event we made - Bacon Wrapped Cheese Filled Pickles - so I thought i would share the recipe here for you to enjoy! We made enough for 10 servings at approx 6-8 each person.
2 jars of dill pickles
1 container of Philadelphia Whipped Jalapeno Cream Cheese
2 containers of bacon
FIrst - drain the pickles
Second - hollow out the innards - I just used a sharp knife and cut into the edges than dragged out the seeds.
Third - Let them drain dry a bit - that's what you see in the 2nd pic
Fourth - get out your bacon and cut in half
Fifth - fill each pickle well with some whipped jalapeno cheddar cheese
Sixth - wrap each pickle with a piece of bacon
Seventh - cook at 425' for about 20-25 minutes
Eighth - EAT.
(Optional: Cut up the pickle innards and add to some ranch dressing and use this to dip your pickles!)
SO, wrapping up 2020 was like wrapping up a cheese filled pickle; a little damp (our spirits), a little hollow (vacations, events not accomplished), a bit spicy (just enough dips and and turns and changes to keep you on your toes), a bit fatty (don't even need to explain the Covid 20 to ya'll), a little slimy (yeah.. a little slimy) and at times - fiery hot (our emotions, our mood, our spirits) - BUT then we baked the crap out of 2020 and we ended up with some delicious morsels that we can savour and enjoy. Just remember, after you lick your fingers - wash and sanitize!
Blessings on 2021!