Apple Pie Muffins

muffinsMade these with fresh apples picked from a friend’s tree…..delicious..

Ingredients:  – yield 18 – 24 muffins


1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter – melted


2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (or use 1 tsp vinegar in 1 cup milk)
1/2 cup butter  – melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups diced apples


Topping-mix all together, until mixture forms crumbs.

Batter- Whisk together egg, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla.
Stir in sugar.

Without mixing, add flour, baking soda, salt and apples.
Stir just until combined.  Do not over mix.

Spoon into muffin cups.

Sprinkle with the topping.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Recipe courtesy of


“To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.”  Buddha

It seems like my whole life I have watched people build a life of material objects to fulfill their happiness.  They will obsess over material things and get what they want only to be bored and move on to something else.  It’s not that I don’t value the material things in my life – I do.  However, the obsession with having the right look, the right car, the perfect furniture and the shallowness of thinking I am superior because of what I have in a material way has never been me.  My husband and I are blessed to be able to afford the house that we live in and I enjoy the fact that I have a roof over my head,  but when I really look around, I see four walls, four walls everywhere.  I don’t think this house represents  who I am as a whole person,  nor am I going to find some bliss of happiness by spending a ton of money to fix up the house to make it appear as if I live in the pages of magazine where surely no one could live happily as magazines display a perfect order an order I don’t believe exists.

The older I get the more I am simplifying my life.  I am simplifying my life in every way.  I eat simple, cook simple, play simple and love simple.  I follow paths of simplicity by simply enjoying nature, enjoying simple laughs with my children and my husband, casual conversations that don’t necessarily lead anywhere other than simple enjoyment of another person.  I want to take the time to get to know people, not what they do for a living, how much money they make or what kind of car they drive.  I really don’t care for any of that and the truth be known I find it incredibly boring.  I want to know what a person likes, what makes them laugh and who inspires them.

Interesting because in this social media frenzied world everyone is talking about how perfect their lives are and living with abundance but their interpretation of abundance is full of material things to make their life rich and abundant.  The truth is we could live with less than half of the material things we have and live an incredibly rich life.  The more we have the more baggage we carry and the more baggage we carry the less our spirit soars.

If you are thinking I have a house with hardly any material things, check yourself because I have way more material things than I need.  I live with my  husband, two children and  a mother-in-law, all who carry emotional baggage that translates into material objects.  I want it all gone and if I had my way I would back up my truck and trash it all, but I have to respect other people’s personal property and honour their wishes.  As time moves on and I have started to live in a more simplistic state, I am finding that slowly but surely the pack is following.  In the last five months my husband has been on a roll to get rid of his clutter and material baggage and my youngest is almost ready to give up the rest of his childhood toys that he no longer uses.  Matt and I have gone through his toys and gotten rid of most things but he is having  a hard time letting go of his lego – several huge boxes of lego.  I keep telling him that another child would be so happy to own this lego and he might as well let it go and make someone else happy.

A natural order as the energy flows from an older child down to a smaller child bringing both to a happier place.  My son doesn’t quite see it like that yet, he sees it as letting go of a period in his life that is gone and he’s holding on to that period with everything he’s got.  Slowly he is coming around as we talk about letting go and moving on, plus he sees that if he gets rid of all that lego, his personal space would open up giving him more room  and freedom for his paints, more room to draw and be creative using a different medium to broaden his artistic ability.

The shift is happening, we are all on the path to abundance through a  more simple life.  I also have to learn patience because the life shift is not happening fast enough for me but I know that shifts in lifestyle and attitude take time and in order for me to truly find abundance in simplicity, I have to respect everyones personal space and property.  A lesson in humility for me as I continue on this journey we call life..









“But no matter how much planning you do, one tiny miscalculation, one moment of distraction, can end it all in an instant.”  Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses

I never make new year’s resolutions, don’t believe in them.  All my life I’ve listened to people say they were going to do this or that in the new year and most of the time they never do.  I believe in living my life everyday, it’s  that simple. I don’t live in the past, I try hard not to live in the future and I try equally hard to stay in the present.

I ended last year with severe back pain and started the new year with the same back pain.  I’ve been slowly getting myself back into the gym, walking, running and playing hockey.  The other night I decided to see if I could run, I couldn’t run without some pain, so I took it slowly walking a bit, power walking a short distance and then walking again.  Every day I walk my dog, Kaos, at least twice a day.  He is a beauty and Kaos is my solid companion when I’m walking and running.  He was with me that night when the two of us innocently stepped into a crosswalk without the slightest inclination how that simple act could lead to a life turning event.

It was dark and I’m always careful crossing any street in the dark, we were on a busy street but the cross street was quiet and not many cars turn into that area.  There  were no cars in sight when I stepped into the lit cross walk but halfway across the street I noticed a vehicle turning left and the vehicle appeared to be turning slowly towards me giving me the space I needed to cross with the dog.  I was in front of the vehicle when the driver stepped on the gas and crashed into me and the dog.  I managed to jump out of the way in the nick of time but I realized at that point that Kaos was behind me and there was nothing I could do to protect him.  I instintively let go of his leash hoping he’d drop and roll with the force of the vehicle.  As the suv hit Kaos, the terrible sound of a body hitting a car echoed in the darkness, I still shudder when I think of that thud as the vehicle rolled over him.

Miraculously, Kaos managed to free himself and came shooting out from under the truck and ran down the street.  He was completely spooked, so I dropped to the ground and remained calm as I quietly called him back.  It took me a good 15 minutes to get him back and he was terrified.  Meanwhile the truck drove by where I was sitting and parked in an adjacent church parking lot.   My initial thought was that he was getting himself together and then coming over to make sure I was ok. How wrong I was, he never got out of his car.

I checked Kaos over thoroughly and he seemed good, no broken bones not even a scratch.  I then headed to the man’s truck.  As I was walking toward his vehicle he looked my way and mouthed “fuck” as he furiously texted on his phone.  As I approached his side of the vehicle, he was already rolling down his window.  He stared at me for a few seconds and I said to him “the dog is fine, I’m fine but I’m floored you never got out of your car to check and see if we were ok.”  He looked at me straight in the eye and said in a very withdrawn tone “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  I said “you just about ran me over and you hit my dog.”  The man then says “I didn’t see a dog, ” and then he says ” I came from the other way.”  If he didn’t know what I was talking about then how did he know which way I was coming from?   He was denying it but he wasn’t, every time he said something he was digging his own grave.  I was talking to him calmly because I was happy that both the dog and I were ok.  I said to him, “look I’m just happy the dog and I are ok and I’m not looking to report you because shit happens, but I have to admit it upsets me that you are denying your part in this.”  Again in a submissive tone he says to me “I’m here to pick up my daughter, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  I look over at the church where he’s parked way over at the back of the parking lot, parallel to the location of the accident, where I was sitting on the ground calming the dog and his vehicle was the only car in the parking lot.   I said, “there’s no one in the building, it was you, you are the one who hit me, it was this vehicle, you are the guy.”  He continued to deny it and I said to him, “I know it was you because right now you are shitting your pants, I can feel the fear radiating from your body.”   I was completely bewildered that he would continue to deny his actions.

I decided to leave the situation behind as there were no witnesses and to be honest if the police said to me did you see the make of the car, or the person driving, I would have to say no because after the accident I was so focused on getting Kaos back and calming him down.  I was not directly focused on the driver or the car, I just instinctively knew it was him who drove by me slowly and parked in the church parking lot watching him from my peripheral vision as I was calming Kaos.  Before I walked from the scene, I looked at the man straight in the eyes and stared at him for a long time making him very uncomfortable and I said, “I’m going to leave you in your thoughts and I suggest you go home and examine your conscious because you are the poorest excuse for a human being I’ve ever met.”  As I walked out of the parking lot, I ducked behind a row of trees planted at the edge of the property and within seconds the man started his car and slowly drove out of the parking lot not waiting for his daughter!

It took me a long time to get Kaos home as he was dropping to the ground every time a car came any where near us or made a loud noise driving by and each time I stopped to console him and assured him it was ok.  Each time I thought of the driver and the reasons why he denied; was he in shock, did he have some kind of record, was he scared or could he simply not admit to his mistake.  The incident renewed my simple philosophy of living for today and not living in the past, or the future.  The time is now to connect with your love ones, live healthy and stay true to yourself.   You just never know when a miscalculation, a moment of distraction or an error will be your last thought. I hope the experience wasn’t lost on the man driving, I hope he is living his life more in the moment and not lost in his phone or thoughts while driving.







My mother use to say it, I thought she  was just rambling, but it is true, the older we get the faster time flies.  It seems like yesterday my boys were babies, they’ve grown so fast.  They are becoming young men before my eyes.  With all this fast-moving life I find myself shifting;  shifting ideas and priorities.  Talking to my neighbour the other day, he was telling me that he can’t keep up with the weeds in his backyard.  He has a huge backyard and  the weeds have gotten away on him. We have kept up with the weeds in our yard only because I hired a landscaping company to take care of that for me. We do mow the lawn and keep the property neat, however,  I don’t even want to do that any more.  I told my neighbour I want to sell the house and pack it all in for something smaller with no property.  As  much as I love this house and the flowers in my garden, I want simple, I want just what I need in space and in stuff.  No clutter, no property, I want less so I can live more.  One  small glitch with my plans,  I am the only one in the family who wants to simplify by moving, no one wants to move.  I’m working on it and I plan to keep working on it as time goes by, I’m in for the long haul and I’m not a quitter.

I have to start somewhere, so I’m starting by getting rid of excess stuff.  Stuff we don’t use, stuff we will never use, stuff that is in my home because the boys and my husband like to buy stuff.  Ok I admit – I’ve got some stuff too but it’s all going, slowly but surely it’s going.  I recently read an article entitled “simplify your life in 25 minutes.”  This lady never spends more than 25 minutes daily simplifying her life.  If she decides her pantry needs organizing, she only spends 25 minutes.  She says “I have too much living to do to spend more than 25 minutes on a chore like organizing my pantry.”  Smart lady, I like the way she thinks.    Debts or rather no debt is part of simplifying your life.  Society encourages us to have everything now  and not to wait,  if something breaks down we must replace it immediately.

Several months ago I heard all this racket coming from upstairs and when I ventured up the stairs to check where all the noise was coming from, I found my youngest standing in the middle of his room looking stunned.  He said “my bed is broken mom and I don’t know why.”  “Well I know why, it sounded like someone was going to fall through the top floor, you guys were jumping on your bed.” We really needed to replace his bed as it was a cheap Ikea bed frame I bought at a garage sale and the frame was really on its last legs.  I was mad of course and then my son says “we can just go buy another one.”  Really annoyed me because kids think money grows on trees.  I said “no I’m not running out to buy you a new bed, I don’t have the money right now and I’m not purchasing a new bed with my credit card.”  “Well what am I supposed to do for a bed?”  “I see you still have a mattress, the mattress can go on the floor and you can sleep there until I have enough cashto buy you a new bed.”  He wasn’t happy with me but we got rid of the broken bed frame and laid his mattress on the floor.  He really needs to understand that wecan’t go running out to purchase big-ticket items at the drop of  a hat.  The whole idea of teaching him a lesson kind of backfired on me because the other day I told him that we needed to look at new beds and he informed me that he likes his mattress on the ground and doesn’t want a new bed.

His bed pictured below ties in with my quest for the simple life – just what you need, no more, no less.   My quest for smaller digs is going to take some work, convincing, conniving and manipulating.  I’m going to have to be ruthless in order to get rid of all of the “stuff” we have.  The problem with “stuff” is my three boys love “stuff.”  I put stuff in the garbage and it’s like my children have “mommy is throwing stuff out sensors” and  they quickly become dumpster divers running and diving into the garbage to get their stuff back.   Lying and cheat

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAing is the only way I’m going to achieve my goal of simpler living and I’m ready for the job.   They’ll thank me, once they realize they have more time for play.  At least that is the scene running through my head.  A simple organized life where everyone co-operates… My mother use to tell me I was a dreamer!


I love to cook and I love the whole concept of food.  The cooking, the gathering, the laughing and the comfort that comes with everything to do with food.   Unfortunately, there is no time for the cooking or the gathering, especially during the week.  For quite  a while I’ve needed some inspiration for my weekly meals.  I seem to do the same thing and I’m bored, but the things that I’m cooking are healthy and the key word here – fast.  Grilled chicken, salad and potatoe wedges, omelettes, veggie burgers,pasta – all good but I’m bored and there are times the thought of another piece of grilled chicken makes me want to scream.  Last week I was shopping at Costco when I came upon a cookbook.  I  gave up on cookbooks a long time ago, I don’t buy them because they just get stored on a shelf  and collect dust while I take to the internet for my recipes.  The chef is pictured on the cover of the book and having seen the chef on the food network made me stop and take a browse.  “Chef Michael Smith’s 110 simple speedy recipes, fast flavours.”  In a word  – awesome!  The ingredients are simple, the meals are quick and nutritious.    The average time for a recipe is 25 minutes and the results are delicious.  I’m going to include one recipe here, but you’ve got to go out and buy the book.  For all you busy moms or dads you will feel inspired and refreshed in your cooking.

Pork Chops with balsamic cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon or so of beget                                          2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

4 bone-in pork chops                                                    1 teaspoon (5ml) of dried oregano

1 onion finely chopped                                                  1 teaspoon of salt

4 cloves of garlic, chopped                                            Lots of freshly ground pepper

1 pint(500 ml) of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Step 1 – Match your favourite large skillet with a tight fitting lid and set it over medium high heat.  Splash and swirl in enough vegetable oil to evenly cover the bottom of the pan.  When the oil is hot, add the pork chops.  Sear the first side until it’s golden brown and crusty, 2 or three minutes or so.  Keep an eye on the pan’s heat and adjust as needed, high enough to keep the chops sizzling but not so high that the oil smokes.

Flip over the pork chops and give the other sides the royal treatment too, until equally golden brown and delicious looking.  Add a splash more oil if you think the pan needs it.  The goal here is not to fully cook the meat but just to add lots of brown flavour to the works while the pan temperature is high.

Step 2 – Reduce the heat to medium.  Stack the pork chops on a plate and cover loosely with foil.  Add the onions and garlic to the pan.  Saute, stirring, sizzling and jumping the flavours for  a few moments.  Add the tomatoes, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.  Adjust the heat much lower, just enough to maintain  a slow, steady simmer.

Return the chops to the pan along with every drop of their juices, nestling the meat into the stew.  Cover tightly and simmer until the meat is cooked through and the tomatoes are stewed.  5 minutes or so.   Place the chops on plates.  Spoon on the delicious balsamic stewed tomatoes.  Serve and share.

Tip from  chef Michael:  “Liquid is a much better conductor of heat than air alone.  The combination of the pan’s heat, a tight lid, and the internal moisture dramatically speeds up the cooking time for the pork chops.  Best of all, any juices released from the meat blend into the pan stew.  Not a precious drop is lost…”

Tip from chef moi:  I cooked a few extra chops and the next night I cut all the meat off the bone in a shredded style with the stewed tomatoes and sauce. I then heated the meat in a frying pan with barbecue sauce – I warmed up some corn tortillas and layered the tortillas with meat, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, salsa and sour cream – very good – check the pic below!

If you enjoy this recipes – I guarantee you will love this recipe book – great flavours, simple ingredients and best of all fast and delicious!   If you don’t find the book – double click on “Chef Michael Smith’s Website”