Great recipes – had to share.
Month: February 2012
SPREADING THE WEALTH!
Lately I’ve been de-cluttering. Painting the pumpkin room has led to cleaning and getting rid of the clutter. I had too much stuff in that room and once I calmed the colour I needed to calm the clutter. I’ve made several trips to the Salvation Army and I said to my husband “we could of had a really profitable garage sale with all the stuff we’ve gotten rid of.” He said “we’ve been so blessed with what has been given to us” and he reminisced to the time we found out we were pregnant with our first child. We looked at cribs and baby furniture and marvelled how we would afford it all. Out of the blue this man that my husband knew from his past, called him up and said we’ve got baby furniture and if you and your wife want it you can have it. He gave us a perfectly good crib and changing table and wouldn’t take a cent. My neighbour got a new couch and gave me her old one, my mother-in law gave me quite a few antique pieces and many other people have given us things. We have saved a lot of money on furniture. My husband’s right, we need to spread the wealth. That couch that my neighbour gave me a few years ago really had to go and I’ve thinking about replacing it, when out of the blue a girlfriend of mine tells me she’s getting rid of couch and do I want it? Today we finished putting the pumpkin room back together and took many boxes, an old coffee table and the old couch to the Salvation Army. While there I had to take a browse through the store and it was packed with browsers. It was 50% off day and people were buying everything. I found five Ikea dishes that I currently use as my everyday set and I paid $4.00 for all five, I usually pay $3.50 a piece. A few weeks ago I decided I wanted a new canister set for my counter. I saw something in a tupperware brochure and the ones I wanted were $54.00 for a set of 5. I took a browse through Value village and there I found two canisters very similar to the tupperware ones. $1.00 a piece. I looked around a little more and found a few more canisters that I mixed and matched with the tupperware wanna be’s! The whole set cost me $8.00.
Of course while I was there I found a few other things too!
A scarf, some jewellery, a pair of ski gloves for one of the boys, a couple of frames plus the canister set – all for just under $50.00. I’m not knocking tupperware, the product is very good but Value Village gave me more bang for my buck.
Around Christmas time my husband got a great deal at Value Village that saved me quite a bit of money. I have a beautiful nativity scene by Willow Tree and I wanted the manger to complete the set. I looked at a Willow Tree manger in the store and it was over $120.00. I couldn’t justify paying that so I resolved to having a nativity scene without the manger. My husband and mother-in law went to Value Village one day and came home with a manger for $2.00 – big savings there!
Looks so much more complete with the manger – Willow’s did not have a palm tree!
There is so much good karma in thrifting. You get rid of something you really don’t want only to be someone else’s treasure and that someone else’s throw-aways become your treasure. To top it all off if you want to get rid of any of your treasures – back to the thrift store you go only to delight someone else – you can’t feel guilty about that. So go ahead spread the wealth!
SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW!
After work as I sat on my porch watching my boys playing roller hockey, I turned to the sky and saw this – it’s been such a miserable couple of days and I’ve been feeling rather exhausted and here is this beautiful rainbow showing me that things can improve. This quote says it all:
“Life is like a rainbow, you need both the sun and the rain to make its colours appear”
Looking forward to the weekend!
A FEW FAVOURITE QUOTES
Quotes inspire me and I feel when you find one that touches your heart, it is your duty to share – I plan to share quotes in the future.
I found this one while searching blogs – studiolightblue – This lady’s blog inspires me!
“Let me ask you something, what is not art? Author unknown
Another favourite in the artist category
” I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Michelangelo
SHROVE TUESDAY, PANCAKE TUESDAY, FAT TUESDAY OR MARDI GRAS HOWEVER YOU CELEBRATE FROM WHERE YOU COME FROM!
I can remember being a very young girl in elementary school and being excited all day about having a major pig-out of pancakes, sausage, hash browns and whatever else my mom threw together for Pancake Tuesday. I grew up in Quebec and the English called the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday Pancake Tuesday. Also, big with the French Canadians is Mardi Gras and the Quebec Carnival. The Quebec Carnival does not necessarily fall around Pancake Tuesday but the carnival spans for two weeks and is usually in January or February – the 2012 Carnival just ended on the 12th of February. Just in time for another party, Mardi Gras. All in all as much fat as possible is eaten to prepare for fasting and abstinence of meat during the Lenten season. I continue the tradition for my children and they look forward to having pancakes and sausages for dinner. Today was a good day for the boys as the school they go to served them pancakes for lunch and then a little Quebec Carnival celebration for the afternoon. Pancakes for dinner again – all the sugar they can eat! This recipe is one I use all the time. I always have ripe bananas around and I throw the really ripe ones in the freezer for pancakes or banana bread. This recipe is from Crazy Plates. If you haven’t experienced Crazy Plate recipe books look it up – well worth it – really good low fat recipes.
1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp each baking soda and salt
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp reduced fat butter or margarine (melted – not fat free)
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
Strawberry sauce (recipe follows)
Combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl – set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, honey and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in mashed banana.
Spray large wide skillet or electric griddle with non-stick spray – heat over medium heat.
Use a big spoon and pour a good amount of batter on the griddle. Cook until undersides are lightly browned and flip and cook until other sides are lightly browned. Serve with syrup or strawberry sauce.
2 cups diced strawberries, 1/3 cup orange juice mixed with 1tbsp cornstarch and 1/4 cup sugar.
combine all ingredients over a medium saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until liquid as thickened and strawberries have softened. About 6 to 7 minutes.
Let cool slightly before serving. Sauce may be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
BYE BYE GREAT PUMPKIN!
It’s done – I’ve sent the great big pumpkin room to a room in the great big sky! Gone forever, although I have to appreciate that the great big pumpkin served it’s purpose for my need of bright colour at that time of my life. I now want something soothing, relaxing a place where I can breathe – think I’m getting old. I posted So Inspired as I was inspired by the Schmitt house. Cara does deserve a medal though she did all the work herself. I was all set to paint the room and trying to figure out how I was going to fit it in to my already busy weekend schedule and then my girlfriend told me she hired a painter. Got the painter in to give me a quote and hired him on the spot. I’m not use to hiring someone for something I can do, but have to say it was worth every penny – done in one day! Would of taken me two weeks! Here are the results – I’m still trying to get the room back together:
Pumpkin – gone, gone!
Still trying to figure out what pictures to bring back -has to be the right one!
Gone is the lego battleship!
Not Better Home and Gardens but it works for my family. My son’s artwork framed – can’t get much cheaper than that!
Bought this baby at Salvation Army for $24.00 – painting it white – I’ll show results when it’s finished! Good productive weekend at this house!
When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and was still living close to me – I spent some time reading about the disease so I could prepare myself and other family members for the eventual fate of Alzheimer’s. One book that meant the most to me was “Losing my mind” by Thomas DeBaggio, a well known herb farmer in the United States. When he was diagnosed with the disease he set out to write a book about the various stages of the disease – what makes this book so interesting is that he was going through the stages as he was writing about the disease. At times he said he couldn’t remember what a word looked like never mind write it. The book fascinated me, saddened me, frightened me, taught me much about Alzheimer’s and about the journey we were about to embark upon with our mother. Below is a poem he received from a woman who wrote this poem dedicated to her husband as she watched his mind being robbed by the disease – the poem struck a chord with me and I kept it close to my heart. Two years after reading it, I included the poem at the end of the Eulogy I said at my mother’s funeral. As the disease robbed my mother of the joys in her life, this poem reminded me of her because she fought the disease with all of her heart – determined to try and remember. For anyone who is suffering of watching a loved one waste away with Alzheimer’s or anyone who has been through this experience I believe it may bring you some comfort.
Today I hear the voice of a 58 year old man,
As he spoke of losing his memory,
Word by word, thought by thought,
He said “The only thing I never forget
is that I have Alzheimer’s disease.”
As he spoke of exercising his mind,
I pictured, once again, my husband
sitting at his desk, writing his name,
over and over, letters missing,
writing fading into a meaningless scrawl.
Then a group of near-perfect signatures.
Strong will and determination to not let go,
Beaten by the inevitable progress
of a mind-stealing illness.
At that moment I wanted to reach out
and tell this family that I too could
never forget that I loved one who
had Alzheimer’s disease.
I wanted to tell them too,
That times of pure love and closeness
will be theirs to savour and enjoy.
The simple accomplishments
are like a mountain climbed.
A victory against all odds.
That the act of unlearning
is like a book read backwards.
The words and stories there
to be unscrambled, interpreted,
and imprinted on the minds of others.
My mother pictured at our wedding – one of the last good times everyone was all together before she got sick.
If you have ever had the chance to watch a hummingbird you would know that this is true:
“Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. Hummingbirds open our eyes to the wonder of the world and inspire us to open our hearts to loved ones and friends. Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover and to savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday. The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation.”
BE MY VALENTINE!
I have to admit I am a Valentine scrooge. I’ve never really liked the occasion, I’ve always found the day to be a little silly! I love my husband and children every day so I don’t really feel the need to run out and be crazy on Valentine’s Day. No insult to the people who love the day – good for them – might as well spread the love around. I saw a few blog posts today wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s Day and I had no intention of blogging anything about Valentine’s Day. That changed when I got home from work, the boys had a box of classic shaped chocolates and a really cute card. They were very excited to give me the card and chocolates and they had giant smiles on their faces. It’s really hard not to reciprocate when your looking at two adorable little smiles!
On the inside it says – We’ll take all the blame! My husband gave me a card as well – nobody needs to see that one! Happy Valentine’s day everyone!
hot pot fever
I had to re-blog this post. Great idea – invite friends over and let them pick their ingredients, let them cook their choice of food and then friends serve themselves. You provide the hot pot and enjoy your friends without feeling stressed or too busy to really talk – this is simply brilliant! Click on the hot pot fever below:
As usual this past weekend my husband and I had seven different events happening at rinks. I have to admit, the weekends wear me down somewhat as I’m trying to catch up with housework, shopping and other stuff. Today we got home from our day at the rink at about 4:00 pm and both my children joined the group of children and adults playing street hockey in our cul-de-sac. I on the other hand tried to do all of the housework that needed to be done as my husband decided what to make for dinner. A good friend of ours, who lives across the street, phoned us at about 5:00 pm to tell us that she had the boys at her house and asked the boys to join her family for dinner, she then said come over and join us as well. I finished what housework I could finish, put the chicken back in the fridge for tomorrow’s dinner and off we went. As we were eating our dinner my girlfriend told me that she just booked a 10 day trip to Mexico and she was going with a girlfriend, leaving hubby and children behind. My first thought was “good for you” and then my next thought “how do you leave the kids behind?” Then as the paranoid person that I am, I thought “what if something happens to my friend down there, Mexico is a dangerous place for two woman.” I didn’t voice this and I didn’t have to as my girlfriend and I think alike. I asked her if she was excited to spend ten days with no housework, no driving children back and forth to school and sports, just her and whatever she wanted to do? She said “I feel weird, I’m worried if the plane crashes, I’m worried about being in Mexico – what if something happens?” She said “before I leave I’m showing Brian everything he needs to know, because you never know.” I thought there is is the woman I know and love and just as she would say to me I told her not to think negatively that she could get killed crossing the street right here at home! She’s going and I know she’s going to have a wonderful time and come back here rested and ready to be a mom again.
Later that evening at home I was thinking I don’t think I could go away without the boys and my husband and I was trying to remember if I ever had gone away on my own and then I remembered I went away for a whole week by myself when my mother passed away. I flew back east for the funeral and spent a week with my siblings sans children and hubby. The fact that it was a funeral did not make it a joyous occasion, however I was stressed before I went about silly things – I did make sure my husband knew all of our passwords to our bank accounts, made sure he knew all the important things of our financial life just in case the plane crashed, then the thought went across my mind that there would be a heap of housework left for me upon my return. All of these crazy outbursts were met with patience by my husband who calmly told me all would be well, the plane would not crash, the house would be clean and there was nothing for me to worry about. The funeral was a sad time, but I have to admit once I was there and able to take the time to spend quality time with my siblings, nephews and niece and was completely focused on them and not worried about what my children were doing – I really enjoyed the time. I found this to be somewhat refreshing and I was surprised to feel that. Needless to say when my week was up and back on the plane heading home I could hardly wait to see everyone. I didn’t even stress about the house at that point I didn’t care, once we got home and I stepped through our front door the house was neat and spotless. The next day I grilled the boys about the housework and they essentially told me they cleaned everything up the day before I came home and daddy had delegated them all jobs. To think that I’m needed to get anything done is funny – obviously everyone is better organized without me. Both my sons put it in the nutshell for me, they said we were fine without you and had a good time with daddy but we always felt like something was missing, we missed you!
Just the siblings – can’t remember when it was just us in the picture!
sisters – not much time for just us – never happens
Nephews, niece and girlfriends thrown in there too – my, my we’re all getting old!
MAN’S BEST FRIEND
“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.” pittieful love
Several years ago we visited my sister in Toronto. Jag is his name and he provided love, play and laughter while we were visiting. The boys love dogs, desperately want a dog and when I see these pictures I feel so guilty. I also know how much work a dog can be and how much love dogs need. I strongly believe that when you own a dog that you have adopted a family member. I would feel terrible constantly leaving a family member behind as we are running around from here to there. I also believe that everything has it’s time, maybe the time for a dog has not yet reached this family and just maybe the time will reach this family soon. Sssh – don’t tell my boys I said that!
THE AIR IS DIFFERENT UP HERE!
This past weekend I found myself in 100 Mile House, BC for an Atom Hockey Tournament for my youngest son. I’ll be honest, when this trip was first mentioned to me I wasn’t all that thrilled about driving 5 hours for a tournament. Then to add insult to injury, I found out my husband and other son could not join us for the tournament. There was no way I wanted to drive up there alone so my husband, being so kind, arranged for me to drive up with the coach and his family. I said to my husband “can’t we just say impossible we can’t make it” – noooo we had to go. After all I wanted to stay home and paint my pumpkin room as I mentioned in my “So Inspired” blog. Off I went and put on a big smiley face and pretended I was glad to go as my son was so excited. We left the house at 9:00 am Friday morning and arrived in 100 Mile House around 2:00 pm. We quickly unpacked the truck and grabbed our skates and hockey sticks and headed to the outdoor skating rink for a game of hockey. The coach myself, his son and my son played a game of hockey for an hour and my son laughed his face off the whole time. It was then that I realized how wrong I was, it was going to be a good weekend. Being out of the city I felt like I could breathe and pretty soon my body lost all of that city tension. Back to our chalet we headed to change to our bathing suits and headed to hang out at the hot tub and pool. The next day the boys played two games and then we had a four hour wait for the next game. Everyone was tired and wanted to relax, but all my son could talk about was playing hockey on the outside rink. I found out that there was a natural pond a little ways down the hill through the trees and that’s where my son and I and his friend headed with our skates through the blades of our hockey sticks thrown over our shoulders. Through the trees where we came upon a beautiful ice rink, smooth as glass with a tepee standing to one side of the rink, a place where you could build a fire to stay warm. Luckily for us there was no need for a fire as the sun was shining warm on our faces. The team lost one game, won three games that weekend and my son played the best hockey he’s ever played. He won most sportsmanship award and the smile on his face was priceless. The picture gallery below was taken by my son on his I-pod, sort of a journal of his journey all through the eyes of a child:
A few of my pictures to finish off the weekend!
Let’s just say this is a character rink! Look at that smile!
SAVINGS IN THE BAG!
I bought this bag back in September and I love it. We run around all weekend for sports and there are countless times we’re running out the door to get to a rink by lunch. It’s too early to eat before we go but everyone is hungry half way into the game. Concession stands and drive throughs become very expensive so this bag is my answer:
Water bottles ( no sugared pop at the concession stand much to my children’s delight)
Homemade pizza from the night before, bananas, apples, rice chips and other goodies.
I packed it quicker than getting through the concession line and sure enough even though I’ve thought of everything we could possibly need – the unhealthy chips displayed on the wall and the sugared pop pictured on the display board looks way more enticing to my boys than what is in the bag and while I’m eating lunch all I hear is “can I have $1.00 to buy a drink – please, please, please!” The water taste good here I always say!
OUT THE DOOR SOFT TACOS!
I make this recipe often when I’m in a big rush. Very simple and quick to put together – faster than driving through the drive through!
Beef – as much as you like
white onion – diced
fresh garlic – as much as you can handle(minced or diced)
diced celery, red or any colour of the rainbow pepper
Any other veggie you think would work – really I grab whatever is in the fridge.
cumin if you like
Salt/Pepper to taste
hand full of fresh parsley if you have some – no biggie if you don’t
can of diced tomatoes
greek yogurt or sour cream
soft tortillas – make it really healthy and buy whole wheat – I do like the white unhealthy ones better!
Pour some olive oil in a frying pan, add diced onion, garlic and cook until softened.
Add ground beef, all seasonings and cook until no longer pink – if there is lots of fat – drain and return to frying pan
I add spices until I think it taste right – you’re the best judge for amount
Add celery, all other vegetables and can of diced tomatoes
Lower heat and cook until all vegetables are soft – 10 minutes or so
Spread greek yogurt over tortilla
Pile on hamburger mix, cheese, lettuce and top with salsa – wrap and serve – better yet bring frying pan with hamburger mix, lettuce, cheese, yogurt, salsa to table and let them serve themselves and then after dinner have them clean up after themselves too!