pizza collageWhen I look back on our life the last few years, I feel like  we have been living life in the fast lane.  Seems we are always on the run, always connected to technology and less connected to one another.   Both Drew and I have been trying to change this fast pace by being more focused on one another, turning off the technology and taking the time to sit together and just talk, spend time as a family doing leisurely things like swimming or skating.  Sounds easy but throw in work, school, sports, all of our schedules  and it can be real tempting to take the easy way out and lose yourself in Facebook, tv and video games.  We’ve never been a family who eats in restaurants or on the run as I’ve always been determined to cook home cooked meals.   Even at our busiest times,  I cook simple nutritious meals that don’t take long to make.   I’m a big believer that food is an important part of bonding – good food, not fast food you’re running at a 100 miles an hour through the drive through.   Lately I’ve been focusing on cooking ahead or making double the amount so I can put left-overs away for lunch or the next dinner.  Butter chicken has become a favourite and I cook up my butter chicken recipe at least once a week.  This past Friday I had some butter chicken left over in the fridge and decided to make a pizza with the butter chicken  theme.   The pizza was a hit and I must say it was delicious.   I make the dough in a bread maker, set it all up in the morning before I go to work and set for the dough to be ready when I walk in the door.  There is nothing more tasty than fresh dough pizza.  Below is the recipe and I warn you, I throw food together with a pinch of that and bit of this!  I will try to get the recipe right but I find the tastiest dinners I’ve made have been the dinners I’ve thrown together with spices here and there and grab this and that , so go ahead and experiment.   Recipe below – enjoy!


Two 30 cm (12′) rounds or three 20cm (8″) rounds

325 ml / 1 1/4  cups of water

35 ml / 3 tbsp olive oil

7 ml / 1 1/2 tsp salt

375 ml / 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

375 ml 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

15 ml / 1 tbsp bread machine yeast

cornmeal (optional) for sprinkling on sheet

Place all ingredients in the order listed (don’t add the cornmeal) in bread machine pan.

Set to dough setting. (takes 2 hours)

Grease pans and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Knead risen dough on floured surface until no longer sticky.  Place on pan; stretch dough with oiled fingers – careful of tearing the dough  – or roll out on pan with rolling pin, to edge of pan (dough will be springy so keep stretching until it stays in place)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

spread your favourite pizza sauce on dough and spread a bit of masala garam spice, salt and pepper and pressed fresh garlic on the pizza sauce.

Chop red onions into small wedges and grill in olive oil preferably in a cast iron pan on stovetop  until soft and sweetened.  Add a little balsamic vinegar grill a few more seconds and remove from heat.

Place left over buttered chicken, red peppers,  and grilled onions on pizza dough.(grilled mushrooms would be delicious on this pizza as well)

Top with lots of mozzarella cheese and bake in a hot oven for 12 – 15 minutes until dough is cooked and cheese is browned.

Double click on the link below for butter chicken recipe:

butter chicken






old farmhouse


“I have taken roads that I wished I had not traveled on.

And I’m traveling on some pretty exciting ones, too.

Just hope when you get to that great racetrack in the sky,

that the balance will tip slightly into those things that

you’d be proud of.”

Paul Newman


“But we can’t live in the light all of the time.  You have to take whatever light you can hold into the dark with you.”  Libba Bray

This past summer we went on a big road trip with our trailer.  We were gone for close to a month and we drove over 3000 kilometres.  Would I do this again?  In a word – No.  Next year I’m finding a camping spot on a lake and we are parking our beast there for a month and I  don’t plan to move from that spot except for the odd day trip here and there.  We had fun, we saw everything we wanted to see but at fifty I’m way to old for that much driving and spending some tense moments with two teenagers in a 27 foot trailer!  Even though it was a great trip it did not come without some trials.  Our truck started acting up before we left and we had an unexpected $700.00 repair bill.   We came home at one point to do laundry and pack up to head out for the next leg of our trip and then found out that our truck battery was dead, we bought a new battery and the next day the truck didn’t start again.  This time we were told it was the alternator, we changed that and hitched the trailer and headed out for the next leg of our trip.  Two hours into the trip we stopped at a gas station and the truck died again.    Turns out it was the starter and it was the starter the whole time, we didn’t need to change the battery or the alternator.  We spent somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1600.00 I had not budgeted for in truck repairs.  We finally arrived home from our long road trip and the next day we had to go out to run errands and here in the driveway was our truck with a flat tire!   I thought, “what else could go wrong.”  A week after the flat tire, I came home one night late from work and decided to relax outside on our front deck with my husband and mother-in-law and while we were talking a rat ran by me.   He ran so fast I just saw the flash out of the corner of my eye.  He ran under the outdoor furniture where we were sitting.   “Did you see that” I said that to my husband and mother-in-law.  “See what?”  “A rat just ran underneath this couch.”  “You must be dreaming” my husband says to me, “there are no rats.”  Thinking I’m losing my mind I get up to go inside and the rat runs out from underneath the couch right by my mother-in-law’s feet and takes off into our garden just off our front deck.  The funny thing was my mother-in-law just had eye surgery and she had a big pirate patch over one eye.  I’ve never seen her move so fast to jump up on her chair screaming her guts out.  We lifted up the chairs on the front deck and found the evidence of rat droppings confirming that the new addition to our family had been underneath the outside chair for a little while.  We had some mouse traps in the house from a time we thought we had mice in the garage, Drew figured we could use those until we got to the store to buy bigger traps.  We headed inside to eat dinner and  while we were in the kitchen we heard all kinds of rattling around the barbecue in the backyard.  Drew says “I think there is a racoon(we’ve got one of those in the neighbourhood too) in the barbecue.”  I knew it was our rat and I ran outside to confirm and sure enough sitting on the concrete beside the barbecue was that dirty rat staring at me with a challenging stare like he was saying “whatcha gonna do about it.”  I walked into the house, slowly closed the door and said “we need bigger guns.”

So off to the hardware store where we bought several rat traps and looked up on the internet what we should feed our friend to bait him and all research led to peanut butter.  Every morning the first thing we did was check the traps and the peanut butter would be all gone but the traps looked untouched and no rat anywhere.  This went on for over a week.  We read on the internet about rat traps by “Predator.”  Nasty looking traps but reading reader reviews they seem to be what we needed.  Headed to the store to buy some and there were no predator rat traps available anywhere – all sold out.  Obviously there is a problem with rats around here.  Talking to my neighbour she confessed that they’ve had problems with rats in their shed and it turns out there has been a few neighbours with the same problem. There has been a lot of construction throughout this area and all the digging is sending dirty rats running through the neighbourhood.   I asked if she had any extra Predator rat traps I could borrow and she happily obliged.  Took a few days but we finally got our dirty rat.  Drew thinks that’s the one and the only one and I assured him there are more.   We have a regular rat trap out back and sure enough yesterday morning I awoke to a sprung trap but no dirty rat.  The rats are driving Drew mad and I’m afraid he is going to turn into Billy Murray’s character “Carl Spackler” from “Caddyshack” where he blows up part of a golf course to kill a gopher that was driving him mad.   We had one of those burrowing rodents in our back yard as well.   A mole was back there leaving dirt and tunnels everywhere.  Chased him for a few years and we never got him.  Last year while walking in my back yard, I literally felt like my feet were going to sink into the ground because the ground was so soft from all of the tunnels burrowed through my yard.  Not wanting to pay a lot of money to a professional to have the mole removed I turned to the internet.  By chance I found this posting by a retired man who spent his days in the garden.  He had a mole at one time and the mole, like my mole, tore up his lawn and garden so bad he was in a depressed state as he tried everything, including professionals, to get rid of this mole.  The mole kept coming back.  He had a chance conversation with a neighbour at his mailbox one day and the neighbour told him to find an entrance/exit hole to the mole and buy a package of chocolate ex-lax.  “Moles love chocolate and sugar” the man tells him, “leave a whole package in the hole and you will never have problems with a mole again.”  “Just think what ex-lax does to a full-grown adult, so you can imagine what a full package will do to a mole.”  “The mole will shit himself to death,” the man says.  Desperate, the avid gardener tried it and is happy to report he’s never had a problem with a mole again.  Off I went to the drug store, bought chocolate ex-lax, found a hole to where the mole was living and left the whole package for his taking.  The next day the ex-lax was all gone and within weeks there was not one new mound of dirt, by the end of that summer there was no evidence at all of the mole.  A year later and no mole.  Wish it was that easy to get that dirty rat.  Unfortunately, rats are very smart as they only eat small amounts to see if they get sick before they take more.  Maybe Carl Spackler has the right idea  – time to get some dynamite!  A little entertainment – because laughing is a must –  scene from Caddyshack: