Friday, 30 October 2015



Sometimes those simple meals can be the most satisfying thing on the menu. Lately the citizen of the Place Under the Pine have been eating simple and loving it.

Macaroni and tomato juice - all it takes is two ingredients to make this wonderful meal. Add a bit of cheese still keeps it simple, but, adds much more flavour.

Perfect Autumn Food
Beans on toast - A can of beans on toasted white bread may not hit the top ten list of healthiest meals, but, for the PUTP it is a well loved classic that is enjoyed a few times during the year.

Any flavour of canned bean will work - with molasses, with syrup, with wieners even?

Meat, potatoes, and a vegetable (or two) - Not much doctoring with these ingredients to make them oh so tasty. This simple combination of food, a throw back retro meal for many, is not seen around the PUTP very often. But, recently this meal style has made a couple of appearances.

Meatloaf, potatoes, brussels, and corn niblets

Pork roast, carrots, squash, and potatoes

Simple ideas for Lunchboxes

Cereal and raisin trail mix

Cheese and crackers (wrap in plastic if made the night before to prevent sogginess the next day)

Fried egg sandwich. Don't forget the ketchup!
Add a dip - simple as that
To simplify lunch making for the multi kid family make identical lunches and snacks

Simple Desserts - There are many options for simple desserts. A bowl of fresh fruit or maybe some jello. But, in the PUTP dessert is more often a complicated affair involving layers, creaming, numerous ingredients, processing, baking, waiting, the end always scrumptious.

Coconut cream awaiting whipped cream

Monday, 26 October 2015



Approx one week ago some lovely kale was cut from the garden. It was the last edible plant growing in the 2015 garden. Within minutes of the last kale stem being snipped, a yellow Tonka truck and digger drove into the garden and did some dirty work.

The last of this year's kale

One of the dozen giant bowlfuls grown in the 2015 garden
As the Tonka trucks cleared away any evidence of the 2015 garden ever existing a laugh could be heard. A laugh of pure, unabashed joy.
Since that day many holes have appeared - one hole measuring over a foot deep. The soil has been churned better than if six pigs were given free reign of the backyard for a weekend. A dirt digging service may be started up in the near future with two energetic boys as key employees.

Ha ha haaa
Only feet away, quietly minding her own business, Lolli was enjoying herself as well. Her first pet was being given a home. She had caught a ladybug and was preparing a container filled with the kinds of things she thought a ladybug would like - flowers, leaves, rocks.

As a special end of the season treat, the Garden Committee has made a short garden video.
The Committee attempted to take pictures of the garden at one week intervals, in the same location, at the same angle, to make an interesting video showing the cycle of the PUTP's tiny garden.
There is much to improve on for next year, but, for a first year project it came out ok...mediocre, but, ok.
Without further ado - The Garden Over Time

Until next year...

Eat your yellows.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015



The Place Under The Pine started out as a quiet place - mainly full of artists, crafters, musicians, and readers. As the PUTP grew in population the demographic make up started to change. No longer were the citizens a homogenous group of artsy types, but instead, they have shifted towards a more sporty type. The younger cohort, those under the age of 10 who make up 60% of the population, are the cause of this shift. As this younger segment ages they engage in more and more sporting activities. The older generation, instead of rejecting this change have embraced it. They now spend more hours at arenas and basketball courts than they do crocheting, sewing, painting, and any other 'creative' activity. In fact, one parent has taken his support to a whole new level - becoming a superfan!

Example of a superfan

The superfan is someone who is there for every game and every practice. The superfan is one who memorizes the stats, collects memorablilia, maybe even creates homemade hockey cards. They are often the one who can be heard in the stands when 'their' player makes a good play.

Is a superfan a good thing?

One theory is that since a superfan is devoted for life, the player always knows they will have undying support whether they win or lose. It can make them feel special...and loved.

The PUTP superfan can often be seen waving his #1 Fan Finger. Although the children appear to be embarrassed by the finger, deep down they know, when they look up and see the big yellow foam hand waving, that someone is out there rooting for them.

Monday, 19 October 2015



There has been a long standing tradition around the Place Under the Pine of respecting the democratic process, acting in a responsible manner when electing our leaders, and encouraging all to voice their opinions - in other words : FAMILY OUTING TO VOTE! (Possibly followed by ice cream).

This year the clan took advantage of the advanced polling

The thinking around the PUTP is that learning to vote is an important life lesson, one that takes time and effort to learn. Since elections do not happen all that often, when they do it is given special status. Political discussion happen around the dinner table. Pamphets and websites are read and discussed. General political science theories are essayed about. And most importantly, the entire family takes a trip to the polls and casts their votes.
The results of this educational strategy are striking - Lolli, for eg, has went from saying, 'where is the boat' (around age 2) to spouting out party names and their stances on environmental, aboriginal, and educational issues (age 9).

Random political quotes heard around the PUTP:
"...should help out those that need help"
"...98% of lakes are not protected! What will we drink?"
"...Who is the Green sign again?"
"...the marginal enjoyment of an extra dollar is far less for those with higher incomes which is why the UCB does not make sense..."

Thursday, 15 October 2015



As our Earth continues to rotate around the sun we feel the change - from warm summer nights to cold fall mornings. However, it is not only the weather that is changing, but, the activities around the Place Under the Pine are changing as well. As the autumn leaves float down from the trees they land in the front yard, not on soccer balls and baseball gloves, but on basketballs and hockey sticks. The sporting seasons have changed once more.


Just like jumping right into the deep end of a pool in the summer, taking the shock of the water in one quick dive, the citizens of the PUTP jumped right into the hockey season with a 7 am practise at Centre 70 (also known as the Deep Freeze due to its lack of heat). But, these hardy veterans have a hockey sock full of tricks to keep them warm - dress in layers, cover with a blanket, bring the biggest thermos we own and fill it with piping hot hot-chocolate.

Hats, mitts, snacks, and hot chocolate make watching practice fun.

The new hockey season is full of changes, from a new team to a new focus. Elli has moved up a level and is on a team with many new faces. His focus has also changed from learning the basics (and not falling) to honing his blossoming skills. He has taken a liking to the polarizing position (either loved by a player or loathed by a player) of goalie. As with all positions he has tried, Elli took to it like a fish in water and left his first 'game' with a shutout. And in true goalie fashion he gave all the credit to his defensemen (or in this case defensewoman).

He's been practising this move all summer.
Laser focus on the puck.


Heads up! This time of year the front yard of the PUTP is sometimes dangerous, with pine cones falling. Now, Thursday nights are just as dangerous with basketballs flying through the air. Most seem to make the graceful journey through a hoop and fall peacefully to the hardwood floor...but, some miss the backboard and fly into the crowd of parents watching their Lil' Gals play some hoops.
Trying a new sport is always a challenge, but, Lolli, with her tallness, her high level of energy, her quick feet, and her smarts is well on her way to becoming basketball star. 

As with all things Lolli is part of she manages to find a way to lead. As a rookie basketball player she is not the leader on the court, but, off court she certainly is. As often happens with Lolli, she found a way to bring fashion into her sport. Tying a jersey into a knot is now a trending fashion statement in the Pete Peterson Basketball league.

Tie your jersey to prevent it from getting in the way...and to be fashionable at the same time!

Monday, 5 October 2015



Fall, or Autumn as some call it, can mean many things, to many people. To the citizens of the Place Under The Pine "Fall" instantly brings to mind food - warm foods, back to school foods, and appleicious foods!

Back to School Foods

One month into the school year the lunch containers have seen their fair share of delicious foods. As in other years the first few weeks of school are filled with exciting lunches and snacks. But, by the one month mark the monotony has started to set in. Luckily for the PUTP, monotony tastes great!
"Monotony" (noun) - Sameness, lack of variety....definition in the PUTP is demonstrated below:

Snack container - Fruit & Muffin

Bright red berries. Extra Oatmealy chocolate chip muffin...mmmm

Lunch - 'Main' and Fruit

Croissant. Peach. Hand picked local apple.

Extra container: Yogurt or apple sauce

The yummy high fat plain yogurt with fresh berries.

This year the food quality committee did some research into the lunch program to determine what went into lunches, but more importantly, what was eaten in those lunches. The first few days were recorded in the following video:

Apple-icious Foods

Fall is apple picking season. Every year the citizens take the short trip out to the apple orchard and pick a bushel of the wonderful fruit. Just like last year many of the PUTP's meals have ended with some sort of apple treat.

As you can see the apples are delicious

Apple sauce is sometimes made daily

Pair that apple sauce with some warm biscuits and you have the classic PUTP weekend breakfast


Fall also means cool weather. Cooler temperatures have an inverse relationship with the PUTP's oven. When it cools down outside, the oven heats up...and vice versa. The barbeque has been given a rest lately and the oven had taken over most of the cooking.

Piping hot crisp in the background!
Fall is a very busy time. School, hockey, basketball, and extra jobs all start up in the fall meaning many nights are busy, busy, busy. Easy, quick meals are a must have. The head chef of the PUTP takes this into account and often prepares her patented Double Meals - essentially a double recipe of whatever is for dinner. One to eat. One to go in the freezer to be pulled out on a busy night.

Examples of the Double Meal are shown below:

Stuffed peppers - One to eat

Stuffed peppers - One to freeze

Cheese filled pasta bakes - in freezer ready containers

Bake and serve

Add some quick sides for those busy nights

There are still those unusually warm days in the Fall that must be dealt with. The citizens of the PUTP have found a variety of ways to handle the unexpected heat waves of September.

One way to deal with the heat is by drinking fresh lemonade
A nice strawberry milkshake can cool the soul - although, these are good anytime of year.