Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Practicing Patience.

Dear Patience, Please don’t forget to visit – all the live long day.

I think that if there was an exam that I needed to take right now on PATIENCE, that I might fail. Seriously. I think that I really need to work on practicing my patience. For some things, I have all the patience in the world (please DO NOT ask me to name them), but for other things, I just find I get frustrated and forget to take a step back and breathe it all in. 

Jozie - practicing patience June 2009

For example: My dogs keep sneaking under the fence to visit Behind Yard Barb. She says that she honestly doesn't mind them coming to visit, and that she loves them. The latter I know is true; however, when they are rummaging through her vegetable garden I know that she is not happy to have them for a visit. Then I go to the fence and call them back (I like to pretend I am out on my farm and I am calling the cattle home - but in my 'fantasy' the cows listen) - so after a few 'Jozie' and 'Magnum' (s) in a nice calm tone - it changes to JOzie right now - emphasizing on the 'JO'. For whatever reason Magnum usually comes back - and he's only one. 

Magnum - practicing patience June 2009. Also with a Mohawk. 

I know - dog talk is probably boring - but - the-not-coming-when-called - drives me a bit bonkers. The moral of the story is that we (me and the dogs) have a bit of work to do. 

Ok enough of that. 



Figs - I told you that I put them on pizza the other night - delicious. A couple of years ago I bought some for the first time and sauteed them in a little bit of butter and when they were nice and warm, I drizzled a bit of honey over them and served them over vanilla ice cream. I think that I might try this again.

I have just finished dinner - and I am very proud to report that I started the bbq on my own. For some reason, over the years, I have been extremely paranoid about starting it. Tonight, I made sure everything was done in order, and everything went smoothly.  Phew.  

Dinner was nothing fancy. I just rubbed some spices on chicken breasts and then grilled them while squeezing fresh orange juice on them as they cooked. I also took a bunch of cherry tomatoes and put them in an aluminum pie plate and put them on the grill - shaking regularly. And then some beautiful yellow summer squash. Cut in half lengthwise, drizzled with a very small amount of olive oil and placed on the grill. Deelish.  With the tomatoes, I added them to a bowl full of cut up yellow and green peppers, olive oil and fresh squeezed orange juice, whole basil leaves and a bit of feta. The basil adds such a refreshing flavour - give it a try.

We are on the eve of not only Canada Day, but also my good friend Jocelyn's birthday. I am worried that I may miss posting tomorrow b/c we have a Canada Day bbq to go to - so Jocelyn - HAPPY BIRTHDAY in advance!!!! I hope that you have an amazing day. And please note that I have not forgotten that Jocelyn is our next Guest Chef - I just have to post - tomorrow would be a good time for this.

I have to work tomorrow - but it should be a fun day. I get to work with one of my fave people - so that will make the day that much more enjoyable. Also, there is a 'drag baseball' game across the street that may be worthwhile watching.

Until tomorrow friends - enjoy your night - enjoy Canada Day - enjoy yourself and loved ones - and practice patience. Not patients - unless you're a nurse (hi Marsh) or a doctor. 

Loves,

Enjoy!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Love simple.


I love a lot of things. Things such as - chocolate, sunny days, snowy days, long dog walks, great movies, a Bruce Springsteen song, time, time with friends and family, vacation, a clean house, a nicely mowed lawn, fresh tomatoes, blueberries, pedicures, and so on and so on (I love people too, but they aren't included in this list). Anyways, I am just out on the deck, and I am sitting here, and thinking - I love our deck. Love it. I love that it is very comfortable to lounge around on, that I am surrounded by flowers, that it is our dining room all summer long, that Jozie and Magnum love their lounger and that it is purely peaceful (except for the new 'kitty corner' neighbours who are dying of 'coughidis' (haha) - not pleasant. I love Sunday evenings. Pretty much for the last month, we have done dinner with family and friends, when they all go home, we tidy up, and I get to sit out here for as long as I can, usually typing up the blog, and enjoying the evening. I love having all the cushions out, the table linens, and I try to avoid the end of the night when it all has to be packed up (I know anal, but I don't like it to get wet during the night).

Not sure if you can tell, but the green on the blankets on the loungers (they kind of look like towels, but they're not) match the green lanterns that I've got recently - at Zellers. Love Zells. 

Great weekend. The stag last night, was a lot of fun. I was so happy that it was at a house and not at a club. I can't even remember the last time I was out 'out'. Not sure that I would know what to do. God knows that I can't do what I used to do when I used to go out. Far too old for that. 

Jules aka Mom, and I went for our Sunday morning ritual today. I love it. She comes to my house and then we go to Safeway pick up what we need, grab a Starbucks and then to the Root Cellar where we stock up on fresh veggies. We have a good time and get lots of great stuff. Jules picked up our dinner tonight - THANKS MOM!!!!!, and Chris bbq'd the steaks. She brought a delicious potato salad and we had Caesar salad too. It was a grand dinner.

Mom's potato salad (please send recipe mom)

I made mini pizzas for an appetizer. Speaking of pizzas = Jocelyn has sent me a fabulous grilled pizza recipe that I will be sharing with you shortly. 

I did 5 different kinds. These really are so super easy and really flavourful. I would recommend them for any party. They can very easily be done in the oven too. And you can add whatever you want for the toppings.
I'm not sure if I have talked about my love for Naan bread before - if I haven't I should have. I use it for so many things, and pizza is one of them. I usually buy it at Safeway - and it's light, and always tastes super fresh.

Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza with Pesto

I used the Pesto that I got from Epicure - which just mixes the dry mix with oil and parmesan - but you can use anything. I didn't make mine from scratch b/c I just don't have enough basil - I am in the 'hoarding' phase of basil right now. I don't want to use it all up.
Anyways, just cover the naan bread with the pesto, add thinly sliced figs, some fresh basil leaves and crumble goat cheese. 


Tomato and Basil with Pesto and Tomato puree

I used the pesto on another one as well and then one with tomato puree. I wanted to add the bocconcini cheese, but it was out dated. Damn. I sliced very thin red tomatoes on one and then yellow tomatoes on the other, and then added goat cheese to the red tomato pizza and brie to the yellow one, and then fresh basil leaves.



The other two were just with tomato sauce and caesar salad dressing and just mozzarella cheese. Very simple, and the ones my nephews loved the best.

Chris rated all of the pizzas a 5!!

I was so excited to find the fresh figs today. I love them. They are such a treat. 

For dessert - easiest dessert ever and incredibly tasty.

Fudge brownie with chocolate sauce.


I used a store bought brownie mix and baked it accordingly to the recipe on the box. Let it cool. Then I melted chocolate wafers (dark chocolate) in a double boiler so that it made a silky smooth sauce. To serve it all up, in a bowl I laid the brownie, with a scoop of ice cream and then drizzled chocolate sauce on top. The chocolate sauce hardens, and it is a wonderful contrast between the gooey brownie and the softened ice cream. Yumma. 

So that about wraps it up for me. It was a lovely weekend filled with lots of lovely things. I hope that you all had a good one. 

Enjoy!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Green is my favourite colour.

I love this pic - Basil from the beautiful plant my mom brought me. Thanks Mom!

It's here - Friday! Sigh. SIGH. Sigh of relief! I am thinking positive thoughts so that I can rid this cold. It's not so pleasant right now. But I am no longer having to leave kleenex up my nostrils for long periods of time - that's got to be a good sign! Sorry if TMI.

Yesterday - I ended up at home again - did a bunch of nada. Dog walk, read a bit of my book (I'm reading "My Sister's Keeper"), prepped a little dinner and watched a movie with my love. Chris had a great time at Megadeath. So funny.

Dinner last night was easy - cooked not the way I intended, but it turned out great. We ran out of propane (isn't that the way it always works?), so it was cooked in the oven. 

My Aunt Barb is an amazing cook. I like to think that I can aspire one day to be as good of a cook as she is. We talk 'cooking' very often and pass recipes back and forth with one another. I think that we have very similar cooking styles - we think of something, have a main ingredient, and then go with whatever else we have to compliment it. We always talk about doing a cooking weekend, the two of us, just cooking what we love and trying new recipes. I have faith that it will happen.

My dinner last night was inspired by a conversation with Babs on cooking chicken. I love how this turned out and am excited to try it on the grill next time.

Soy Lime Chicken
*I made this recipe for two chicken breasts - but I think that the marinade would be enough for four pieces. Oh - and I am very excited to report that I did the measurements when making dinner - I never do that - so I was quite proud of myself. 

2-4 chicken breasts - bone in
1/2 cup soy sauce 
2 tbsp brown sugar
Juice of half a lime
2 cloves of garlic - minced

In a bowl mix all of these ingredients. Add your chicken to a ziploc bag and pour the marinade over top. Let the chicken marinade for at least 4 hours and overnight if possible. 

If you are grilling - place your chicken on the grill - skin side down first. If you are baking in the oven, bake at 425 - for 40 mins. For both methods, when the chicken is starting to brown nicely (grill turn it over after about 10 mins), heat up the marinade in a saucepan and add 2 tbsp of honey and the other half of the lime. Heat over medium/high heat until the sauce is heated through, and start basting  your chicken breasts. The chicken will brown so beautifully and wil be so incredibly moist. 

Chris rated this a 5!

I am going to try this again with thighs and legs - and I'll tell you how it turns out.

I also did something fun with brussel sprouts. I bought a bag of tiny brussel sprouts at the Root Cellar. They were so fresh and I wanted to do something different. 

Roasted Brussel Sprout Skewers


2 -3 cups of small brussel sprouts
Olive oil 
Kosher and Pepper
Skewers

Before you start, soak your wooden skewers in water for about a 1/2 hour to avoid burning. Steam the brussels for about 3 minutes. Drain them and give them a quick rinse so that they aren't too hot, so you can work with them. Add 8 brussel sprouts to each skewer. On a flat plate, drizzle olive oil over top and rub them gently and then sprinkle with kosher and pepper. Place on your grill and roast them until they start to brown beautifully. And that's it! They are so delicious and flavourful. If you don't have a grill - roast them in the oven at 425 for about 20 minutes.

I also made baked tomatoes. They were quite delicious but didn't look as good. So I will try them again and post.

Incredible Flax-Multigrain pitas - you can pick them up at Costco. They are great for everything.

I don't have a bunch planned for the weekend. Plan on taking it slow and easy. I have a pedicure booked for tomorrow - there's a new place not to far from home - an in and out place - so it should be done quickly. Then a stag tomorrow night at a friend's house - thankfully it's not out at a club somewhere. Can't do that sort of thing again :) Sunday - hopefully it will be a day of lounging on the lounger with my book.

I hope that you all enjoy the weekend - they only come every 5 days - so treat yourself.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blindsided.

Cold. I have a cold. Totally was not expecting it or felt it coming on whatsoever. Damn. I know it could be worse - it's a cold that will clear up in a couple of days - but damn. I feel wiped out. I actually missed work today - just couldn't make it in. I had a 3 hour nap at 9 this morning. The rest of the day consisted of staring at the tube, a quick dog walk and a trip to the video store. I feel like a rebel, watching videos during the day. Crazy. Seriously, it's something I never do. I just watched New In Town and have Confessions of a Shopaholic for this evening. 

Chris is at Megadeath tonight. ROCK ON. He was very excited about the concert. Very. He and some buddies are making the trek, and they were all looking forward to it. Not really my style of music - but love that he is going. 

Last night I was very busy. I had an appt after work, then walked the pups, then cleaned out the truck completely, then took it to the car wash, then baked cookies for Chris to take and then made dinner. Breathe. It was a busy night - that and a cold hit me hard.

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies
This is the recipe that I used last night to bake Chris' cookies. I love chocolate chip cookies. LOVE them. I remember as a kid, I would always make the batter, then go to bed and have my mom bake them when she got home from wherever she was. Nice kid. Thanks for always baking them mom. 

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar (I often omit this)
1/2 cup butter
1 egg beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour - I love to use whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 375.

Mix sugars with butter. I find that if I use my mixer that the cookies are too flat when they bake. I am not a baker - so not really sure why this happens - so I try to just mix them with a good old fashioned wooden spoon. Add the egg and the vanilla and give it another good stir. Mix your flour and soda and then add to the wet mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.  This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies.

If you don't have chocolate chips - adding chunks of chocolate chopped up, is also a nice treat. 

I have a couple of things that I want to work on this summer - and one of them is improving my baking skills - mastering recipes and using low fat, healthy options. I was pretty excited about the muffins these past couple of times and not having to add sugar. So that is one of my goals. If you have any tips or treats that you would like to share to help me - please pass this on. I would really appreciate it.

OD on OJ - cold season is among us.

Enjoy! 

Monday, June 22, 2009

Good friend - so blessed.



My lovely friend Jocelyn, came through and sent me a favourite picture that she has of my dad. I remember this day - I used to love it when Brenna and Connor were hanging out together - and to capture my dad cuddling both of them - is so good. He loved having little ones around. It's hard to believe that these two little ones are 14 - almost 15.  Connor was blessed to have had such a close relationship with his 'Baba' and I will forever remember their bond.

I love so much about this picture. Connor's tshirt - I bought that for him and loved the bright colours. Jocelyn's truck in the background - we had lots of fun cruises in that truck. The big tree in the back that our neighbour friend named Tiffany - and the bird cage I added that fed many of the birds. And the large window, a huge window to the world - always action on the street. Sweet Brenns in her lovely little dress. And my dad - in all of his layers - full of gentle hugs and smiles. 

Thank you Jocelyn - this sincerely made my day.  Jocelyn is the next guest Chef - stay tuned - I have some very good recipes of hers to post - and can't wait to give them a try.

Tonight I made a batch of strawberry muffins. I am not much of a baker, but I am pretty excited about how these turned out. I didn't add any sugar, which I am excited about. I needed to use a little more oil than my last muffin recipe - so that is something that I will have to experiment with.

Rustic Strawberry Muffins

2 cups of whole wheat flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp baking soda
2 cups cut strawberries
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl, add coconut. Add strawberries and give it a gentle stir. Add oil and apple sauce and stir gently. I used large muffin tins, and had enough batter to add to 10 of the cups. I added a very small amount of vegetable oil to a paper towel and rubbed them on each of the tins, so that I didn't need to use paper cups. 



Bake at 350 for 23 minutes.  Let them cool and remove them from the tins. I think that the sweetness is just right - and the hint of coconut is a delicious touch. 

I hope that you all enjoyed your day. 

Enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Thoughts.

To all of the lovely dads. 

Happy Father’s Day

There is a song that my dad and I used to always sing together - Willy Nelson and Ray Charles "Seven Spanish Angels".

There were seven spanish angels
At the alter of the sun
They were praying for their lovers 
In the valley of the gun
When the battle stopped and the smoke cleared
There was thunder from the throne
And seven spanish angels took another angel home

My dad loved music. LOVED IT. Often he would have the music blaring, with his headphones on, but it would still be coming through loudly from the speakers. We were blessed with country, folk, irish, scottish, rock - a bunch of everything. I thought I would share just one of the many songs that he would play - I memorized the words and would sing it at the top of my lungs for him. Just wondering now if he wanted me to zip it - so that he could listen to the music. 

I feel that I was truly blessed to have inherited his love for music. Just one of many things. I love to sing - but in the comfort of my own house. 

I tried to scan some pictures so that I could post a picture of my dad for my blog. The scanner is not cooperating - so unfortunately I don't have any pictures. I then had a bit of a 'moment' and told Chris that we don't have nearly enough pictures of him around the house. I have to fix that. Although I can see my dad's face at any time I need to, I sometimes would like to just see him looking back at me. 

I feel like I should share amazing stories about my dad today - but I think that instead of just talking about them on Father's Day - I need to share them always. Share them as I remember them. 

Happy Father's Day to Chris today as well. He is a great dad. He sadly isn't a part of his son's life right now - but hopefully faith will change - and his son will return to us someday soon.

Today was a good day. It started out with a nice dog walk - which finished up - not so good. Dang Jozie rolled in something. A short bath was needed when we got home. Then Jules and I did our weekly shop at the Root Cellar - we love that place. Then home - did some dinner prep - and then had a wee nap out on the lounger. Not sure that I actually napped - but it was nice lying out in the sun.

Miles, Jessica and baby Brooklyn didn't end up coming for dins, Brooklyn is still too sick, poor little thing.

We still had family over for dins and it was quite a good feast.


On the menu:

Grilled Quesadillas with Salsa
Roasted pepper salad with goat cheese
Roasted baby carrots
Twice baked potatoes
Lemon rosemary chicken
Flank steak - click here for the recipe
Creamcheese pie with strawberry sauce - click here for the recipe

Grilled Quesadillas with Salsa  
These are the easiest appetizers - ever. Seriously give them a try.


6 quesadillas - the larger ones are better and any kind are good - spinach, whole wheat, etc.
1/2 pack of light cream cheese
Havarti cheese - thinly sliced 4 pieces per wrap

Lightly spread cream cheese on each wrap. Place 4 pieces of havarti on half of the quesadilla - and fold in half. Grill on the barbeque - 4-8 minutes depending on how hot your grill is. Just keep an eye on them - they will start to show nice grill marks.
Cut each quesadilla into 4 and serve with salsa.

These were a 5 tonight!



Twice Baked Potatoes  
6 baker potatoes
1/3 cup butter - melted
1/4 cup chives
Chicken stock
Kosher salt and pepper
1 cup shredded cheese

Bake potatoes at 400 for 55 minutes. Don't forget to poke them with a fork a couple of times. 
Once they are baked - let them cool. Usually I don't have time to let them cool - but it is so much easier when you do that. Scoop out the potato from the skin leaving a thin layer to ensure that the skins are thick enough to keep skins whole.

Mash the potatoes with the melted butter, and the chives. With beaters whip the potatoes and add the chicken stock. If you want them a little creamier add a little cream. Season with kosher and pepper. Fill each of the potato skins with the potatoes and place them in a baking dish. Top with the shredded cheese. Bake in a 425 oven for  20-25 minutes, or until cheese is melted. 

These turned out really well, and went lovely with dinner.

Not only is it Father's Day today, and the first day of summer, it's also our Magnum's birthday! 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAGNUM. 

I am wishing all of the fathers a Happy Father's Day - and hoping that you all had a great weekend. It was a quick one - let's hope that the week goes as by as fast as the weekend.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The HIP!!!

Just home - ears ringing, 'Courage - my word', 'I've been meaning to call you', 'When the dream ends and the phone rings' all on my mind... So many awesome songs. Gord Downie is such an amazing performer. Chris and I went with Tracy and Jonathon - we had such a good time.

I had a busy day - mostly cleaning. A little shopping - a nap - and the concert. Tomorrow is Father's Day. I miss my dad - but will have many happy thoughts about him - like all days. We are having a BBQ with family - and will enjoy the day.  I have a few things planned for the menu, but one thing that I am going to try as a first is Flank Steak. I will tell you how it turns out. 

Flank Steak Sims Style 
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) beef flank steak
DIRECTIONS
1.    In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first six ingredients; add flank steak. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
2.    Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray before starting the grill. Drain and discard marinade. Grill steak, covered, over medium heat 6-8 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a meat thermometer should read 145 degrees F; medium, 160 degrees F; well-done, 170 degrees F). Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. 


I will leave you with the lyrics to Fiddler's Green. Mr. Downie said that they never perform this song live because it is too difficult for them as it is extremely emotional - I just checked online and it is about his young nephew who died of a heart problems when he was young. It's a lovely song - too bad it's a sad one.

Fiddler's Green
September Seventeen
For a girl I know, it's Mother's Day
Her son has gone alee
And that's where he will stay
Wind on the weathervane
Tearing blue eyes sailor-mean
As Falstaff sings a sorrowful refrain
For a boy in Fiddler's Green

His tiny knotted heart
Well I guess it never worked to good
The timber tore apart
And the water gorged the wood
You can hear her whispered prayer
For men at masts that always lean
That the same wind that moves her hair
Moves her boy through Fiddler's Green

Oh, nothing's changed anyway
Oh, nothing's changed anyway
Oh, anytime today

He doesn't know a soul
And there's nowhere that he's really been
But he won't travel long alone
No, not in Fiddler's Green
Balloons all filled with rain
As children's eyes turn sleepy-mean
And Falstaff sings a sorrowful refrain
For a boy in Fiddler's Green

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Costcy

Just home from Costco - had a great time with Beth. I meant to take her pic - and add it tonight - stay tuned. I sometimes like to call 'Costco' - 'Costcos' - pluralizing words that are not meant to be. Chris' mom used to always say 'Safeways' - as in 'Hey Chris - you work at Safeways' - which 1. we knew he did and 2. it shouldn't have a 's'. 

We bought a bunch of good stuff. Prepping to go in the oven for Chris' dinner and lunch tomorrow - are Dr. Oetker - Spinach pizzas. If you haven't tried these - they are a MUST. Seriously - so good. Thin crust, spinach - so good and an easy dinner.

We had a short little visit from Brooklyn - Myles and Jessica's little one. She is so cute. They are coming for dinns on the weekend - and I already plan to have everything prepared so that I can just have a bunch of cuddles with her.

Miss Brooklyn and Chris (3 weeks ago)

That's it for tonight folks. The potato salad was a HUGE hit with Chris last night - he loved it. It will be a definite 'redo'. The muffins were also delicious - and another easy recipe that I will keep on hand. I think that I might even spend a day baking some more healthy muffins to keep in the freezer and on hand for a quick breakfast.

I hope you all enjoyed Hump Day. Oh ya - we know that the weekend is just around the corner!!! Be ready for us - we are ready for you.

Loves.

Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yo'good'urt

Magnum carrying around his pumpkin - by the trunk - always

My mama told me there'd be days like this, my mama said there'd be days like this.  Not really sure if those were her exact words - but she meant the same thing. 'My days' like this - referring to today - was not a bad day - but a good day. Nothing exciting or overwhelmingly happened - just a good old fashioned good day. There was an extra 19 minute sleep in, a bowl full of plain yogurt with amazingly fresh and deelish strawberries, lunch with my friend Judy at work (I brought her in lunch today and we ate in her office - it was delightful), a dog walk, a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up Chris some allergy meds (they are brutal for him this year) and some flowers for me, then home where I whipped up a potato salad and some muffins. I guess you could say - pure bliss. These are the kind of days that I like to share. Simple and sweet. It's all about loving the good times - not thinking 'bout the bad times whooaaa... ha - some 80's song I'm sure that is from.

I had some leftover nugget potatoes that I knew I needed to do something with - so that they didn't stay in the basket and grow arms and legs. I like potato salad, but don't love it. I am not a huge fan of the classic potato salad with mayonnaise, eggs, radishes and just all around too much dressing. I usually try and do something different - and tonight's turned out pretty good. I think that it is a good low fat alternative to the traditional salad.

Here we go:

Creamy Dill Potato Salad Sims Style

4 cups of nugget potatoes that have been cut in half - and then boiled until you can comfortably poke them with a fork - let them cool
3 celery stalks - finely chopped
2/3 cup of plain yogurt
1/3 cup of sour cream
Lots of fresh dill - maybe 1/3 cup
Kosher salt and pepper

In a salad bowl, whisk together yogurt and sour cream. Add your dill, kosher and pepper.  Add the potatoes and gently toss them in the dressing. Then add the celery and give it another gentle toss - and that's it. 

It's so fresh and the dill is incredibly fragrant and delicious.




I have to tell you - that I am somewhat addicted to plain yogurt. I guess that it is a pretty good addiction  to have considering the many other addictions that I could have picked from. I especially love Olympic brand, but have just finished a container of Source - and it was also very good. It's a great breakfast mixed with fresh fruit. I sometimes like to add a tsp of honey - also very delicious. It is also that time of year when I get addicted to some of the incredible fruits that tend to only appear during the glorious summer months. Hello white peaches! Heaven.

My attempt at baking tonight - went quite well. I whipped these muffins up in no time - and they were not only incredibly easy - they are quite healthy too.  These will be a good addition to my yogurt addiction.

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins              

2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup mashed bananas

1/2 cup applesauce unsweetened

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup old fashion oatmeal (optional)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and sugar together in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix the banana, applesauce, and oil.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Spray your muffin pan with non-stick spray.

Put enough batter to fill your muffin pan 3/4 of the way.

Bake for 18-20 minutes

I hope you all had a day filled with bliss. Tomorrow for me will be even better today. My wonderful friend Tracy returns to work from her Greece extravaganza. I have missed her so.  As well, Beth and I are heading to Costco - I have promised her that I will push her in the cart. :)

Enjoy!

C.

Monday, June 15, 2009

LaLa Land


Freshly picked Strawberries - compliments of L & A

That's where I've been. Well not really - but it's been a nice couple of relaxing days - and at the end of the day when I typically write - I did other things. Nothing too exciting - read, hung with Chris, relaxed on the lounger.

This weekend was full of good things. Friday night Chris and I went down to Red Fish Blue Fish for dinner. Enjoyed the most amazing evening right on the water and the most delicious meal. That was my 3rd time and Chris' first - and we'll definitely go back again.

Tempura cod Tacones with Coleslaw

Our Dinner View

Saturday - gardening/yard work frenzy in the morning. The yard turned out looking really great - there were a few 'domestics*' along the way - but in the end - it was well worth it. *Tiffs.

Then in the afternoon - our new BBQ was delivered. It was a very early birthday present from my mom for both Chris and my birthday. It's grand - and is safe to start :) (my biggest complaint about our old one). Our old BBQ was 8 years old we figured, and was our first big purchase together. 

Chris' brother Larry (aka Lawrence - it's what he would like us to call him) came for dinner with his girlfriend Ayumi. 

On the menu:

Mini turkey burgers with havarti cheese
Chicken souvlaki with homemade tzatziki 
Steak
Greek salad
French bread
Dessert - Angel food cake with chocolate mousse and fresh blueberries and raspberries

Sunday was a little more low key - dog walk, groceries (again) a little gardening, vet appt (both pups are very healthy) and dinner with my sister and the boys.

On the menu:

Chicken wings
Burgers 
Greek salad

Easy low key dinners and a ton of leftovers.

As promised here is the Cheesecake pie with Rhubarb Sauce that I made last week. So delicious - and very easy. I would  definitely give it a try.



Cheesecake pie with Rhubarb Sauce

1-3/4 cups crushed oatmeal cookies

3 tbsp  unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

1-1/2 pkgs (8 oz/250 g) cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup sour cream

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 tsp grated orange rind (I used quite a bit more – almost a full large orange)

Sauce:

4 cups chopped fresh rhubarb

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp orange juice (I used the juice from the orange that I used for the rind)

Preparation:

In bowl, stir cookies with butter; press onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven until firm to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool.

Filling: Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar until fluffy; beat in sour cream, egg, egg yolk and orange rind. Spread in pie shell.

Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven until shine disappears and edge is set but centre still jiggles slightly, about 30 minutes. Let cool on rack. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.

Sauce: In saucepan, stir rhubarb with sugar over medium heat until boiling and sugar melts, about 3 minutes. Whisk cornstarch with orange juice; whisk into rhubarb mixture and boil until thickened and opaque, about 1 minute. Let cool. Serve with cheesecake. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate pie and topping separately for up to 24 hours.)

Courtesy of: Canadian Living Online

This week I tend to focus on a bunch of healthy meals. I find that with the BBQ it is very easy to whip up quick and healthy meals. Chris and I both love grilled vegetables - so it gives us a great opportunity to try and stick to our meat and vegetable meals. We'll see how it goes.

Off the food topic. My motto that I thought of today - after having quite a bit of time to think about it is:
Spend time with people that want to spend time with you. And spend time with people who you want to spend time with.

Life is too short to worry about having to be someone you aren't when you are around people that don't bring out the best in you. Friends, good friends, should see you for who you are and always want the best for you - and help you find that for yourself.  My friends - I love you lots.

Good night. 

Enjoy.

C.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dear Mom, come home soon.

Summer is just around the bend. Can you feel it? Bring it. BRING IT. 


View from the beach. Picture taken by Connor (13) Incredible, huh?

My mom has headed over to Point Roberts this afternoon for the weekend - prepping for her summer, I think. I know that she loves it there - it is her home away from home. I just get a little selfish and miss her too much and don't like her being gone for so long. I am hoping to get over for a few weekends this summer - and hopefully will see Jocelyn and Brenna for a good visit. They used to frequent the Point with us in the summer many years ago and we always had an amazing time. 

Thanks for the emails about what you are grateful for. I love hearing about them all. It's just so important to 'count our blessings'. 

I went and met Micki today after work at Lucy's in the Square. We had a great visit. She is such a wonderful person. I feel so fortunate to be around these truly amazing women who I feel make me a better person - who I inspire to be like. See!!!! - blessed!!  She had made iced tea - that was sooo good. She steeped black tea out in the sun during the day, added a little sugar - and oh my, so refreshing. I am going to make it this weekend. My grandma used to always make it at the Point in the summer when we were young - but I never liked it - it was always too strong and bitter. So I think that I will try it with the black tea. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Tonight's dinner - roasted chicken breast and a green leaf salad with a yellow pepper, tomatoes, goat cheese and my new favourite dressing. 

Dressing Sims Style

Juice of half a large orange (are they called Naval oranges?)
1/4 cup olive oil 
Verde vinaigrette - or just some good old fashioned kosh and pepp

Whisk it all together - and that's it! I think that adding some orange zest would have been a great flavour booster too.

I will post the cheesecake recipe tomorrow - it's a very good one. I just brought a piece over to 'Beside yard' Barb - she  had to lend me some sugar last night when I was baking. Oops.

Ok friends. Our Friday is here - alas. I just can't wait - I am going to treat Chris and I this weekend - and ensure that we get some 'C&C' time (I just made that up - fun) and enjoy what comes our way. 

Loves. 

Enjoy!

PS - don't forget to get me your recipes for the Give away!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Blessed. And meet Guest Chef Beth - you'll like her.


Blueberries!!!! 

I am feeling fully content right now. I am in my usual summer evening 'perch' - one dog is at my side sniffing the evening breezes, one pup is out in the yard chewing on a favourite bone, the cat is drinking out of the bird bath (his favourite source of water, thankfully the birds don't use it). Dinner has been made, dishes done. I even had time to make a cheesecake tonight - pretty sure it was the easiest cheesecake ever (recipe will be included shortly). Content: I have been feeling this way for quite some time. Although I have had days where I just would have preferred to have stayed in bed and slept or curl up and spend a day in front of the tv - I haven't - which in the end is a good thing.


I have family who I love and who loves me. I have a lovely group of true friends who I am grateful to have in my life and honoured to be in theirs. I have things to look forward to. I have things to plan. I have a good career that has given me ample opportunities. I have great neighbours who help me feel comfortable in my home. I have a home - a lovely, warm home. I have my pets - who I adore and are so fun. I have Call Display :). I have a beautiful garden. I have an incredible partner - the love of my life - he makes me laugh, he is my love. I have.


I am not sure what has  prompted me to declare this - but I think that it's important to take stock from time to time - and remember how wonderful your life is. I am pretty sure that things can't always be perfect - but what is perfect? Isn't perfect what we make it to be? Life is grand - I'm blessed. What do you feel blessed about? I love knowing and hearing what makes people happy, what they are grateful for. I think that it reminds us what else we have in our lives that maybe we forget. It's good to be reminded. 

As promised, it's time to meet our Guest Chef - Beth.

I have known Beth for 8 1/2 years. We work together and have developed a good friendship over the years. She is one of the people that can really make me laugh. I mean, LAUGH. The kind that I usually run off and as I am running off I can hear her saying 'Oh - she's going to wet them!!!'. She is a great friend - and Chris, I and the pups love having her over for visits. She has been to many a party at our place - and is always so much fun. She is considerate, honest, a confidant, smart and all around a good person. I am so grateful to have her as a friend.

Beth also loves to cook. She is a good cook - I think that we have similar cooking styles - in the sense that we are not afraid to adapt a recipe. Beth has provided me with some delicious recipes - and since it is prime grilling season, I have included her BBQ Sauce recipe. I can't wait to try this.

BBQ Sauce Beth Style

This makes about 5 cups.

1 cup ketchup
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup cooking molasses
2 teaspoons hickory-flavored liquid smoke
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

In a large pot over medium heat, mix together the ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, wine vinegar, molasses, liquid smoke and butter. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, celery seed, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low (not minimum - probably three out of ten), and simmer for 20-30 minutes. For thicker sauce, simmer longer, and for thinner, less time is needed. Sauce can also be thinned using a bit of water if necessary.

Deeee-lish.

Beth answered some of my favourite questions:

1. What is your favourite meal to eat? To cook?  to eat: my mother's lasagna. To cook: these days, anything in the slow cooker. Man I love that bitch. Also, anything with my spicy peanut sauce.
2. If you could have dinner with anyone - anyone at all - who would it be?
 Joss Whedon.
3. What is your most memorable meal?
 when I was 9 my parents dragged me to a Greek restaurant (they had to bribe me with promises of a bellydancer). I was sure I would HATE Greek food, and by the end of the night was eating lamb and squid.
4. Lemons or limes?
 Lemons. I like the slightly more unusual, sweet flavour of limes, but you can't go wrong with lemon in basically anything. I want a lemon-bar recipe that isn't too sweet.

5. Favourite kitchen utensil or appliance? sloowwwwww cooooookkkkeeeerrrrrr


I have received some good recipes so far. I will post them throughout the week. Stay tuned. And the good thing - not all of the recipes are food - I have deelish bevvie to post.

Anyways friends. I am blessed that I have this venue to communicate and to write about what I love and to share my recipes. 

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

And that's what happens...

No time. I came outside - all of my chores are done - I had high hopes of writing a masterpiece but got sidetracked by 'beside yard' Barb and her barking dogs. So... needless to say, I am out of time.

Stay tuned for tomorrow - where you will meet the lovely and talented Beth and a dish that she likes to make.

Don't forget the Give Away - it's a good one.

Dinner tonight - roasted chicken breasts with a nice fresh organic mixed greens salad, with a little red pepper, tomato and feta cheese. The dressing - a couple of drops of olive oil and some Verde Vinaigrette.

OH - the rice pudding turned out so good. So good!! Chris rated it and last night's dinner a 5!!

Have good sleeps - rest well - tomorrow is Hump Day.

Enjoy!

C

Monday, June 8, 2009

Just another Manic Monday. And Giveaway time!!!



I'm not going to lie, today was brutal. Work was super busy - SUPER busy and the day just seemed like a regular week rolled into one day. It's 7:58 - and time to do some relaxing.

I feel as though I am back in cooking mode. I think that my little hiatus did me wonders. Last night's dinner turned out really well, and it's always great to be able to cook for others. Chris and Bruce rated the dinner a 5!


Tonight's dinner - fast food. Super easy, healthy and no hassle. I had some free-range chicken legs and was trying to sort something all day - and decided to whip up something easy. Just the way me likes it. I even had time to whip up an easy dessert. Rice pudding. Don't say 'ew' if you're not a fan - this dish (although I haven't tasted it yet) is delicious. I had it the other night at Lucy's and it was so good. It was served with a rhubarb sauce on top - and it was to die for. Chris was very skeptic, but became an instant fan. I just googled a recipe - have modified* it a bit - and can't wait to try it. 
*Modified: I was using a 1/2 cup measuring cup and thought it was only a 1/4 cup.  And I didn't have whole milk so compromised with a can of evaporated milk and skim. 

Fast Food
Roast chicken with summer vegetables         
8 chicken legs 
1 large red, yellow and orange pepper - chopped
10 mushrooms - chopped into quarters
1 large zucchini - sliced into thick halves

In a large baking dish, place all of the vegetables. Top the vegetables with your chicken. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil, and top with my favourite seasoning - Epicure's Verde Vinaigrette*. Give everything a gentle toss - and that's it. 

Place in a 400 oven and bake for an hour. If you want it done even faster, crank up the heat to 425 and it should be ready in 45 minutes. Chris rated this a 5!!

Rice Pudding with Arborio Rice
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Few dashes ground cinnamon
  • Whipped cream, for serving

Directions

Bring water, salt, and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice, return to a boil, and then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Shake the pan occasionally and cook until rice has absorbed the water but it still al dente, about 15 minutes.

Bring milk, sugar, vanilla, and a few dashes of cinnamon to a simmer in a separate saucepan. Add the cooked rice and cook at a simmer over medium-low heat until rice absorbs most of the milk and mixture starts to get thick and silky, about 10 to 15 minutes. Be careful, don't let the milk get too hot or you will burn your pan - trust me I know.

Transfer pudding to a large bowl and cool to room temperature. Place in refrigerator until cool and set. Chris rated this a definite 5!!

*It's time for another giveaway! Since it was a Manic Monday - let's celebrate with goodness. I just ordered a bunch of treats from Epicure. I stocked up on a few of my favourites and am trying a few new things. I would love one lucky winner to have me send them a bottle of my favourite Verde Vinaigrette. I use this seasoning for much more than salad dressings - it's good on chicken, pasta, scones, grilled veggies...

So here's what you need to do: Send me an email (I know many of you aren't 'posters') or post with a favourite summer dish of yours. It's that easy. Chris will draw the lucky winner at the end of the week - contest closes June 13th. Hurry - send away.

I had plans to write tonight about feet - it's summer - I am not a fan of toes - but think that I will end it here. I have a new book to read thanks to a friend at work 'Her Sister's Keeper' - it's supposed to be a tear jerker. I plan on spending the next half hour - getting into this book - curled up on the lounger waiting for Christoff to come home. 

I hope that your Monday went smoothly. Tomorrow is a new day. Tuesday - be good to us.

Loves.

Enjoy!