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Monday, December 19, 2011

Six more sleeps!

We've been busy bees getting ready for Santa! 

Shortbread and Gingerbread and Oatmeal raisin Oh My! 
Apple sauce cake, chocolate covered pretzels and more! Good thing we've been giving away almost as much as we bake or I would be in some serious trouble!
Santa better wear his cookie eating pants.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thank you, Shopping Channel

Hello folks. I know I haven't been around in a while. No matter, I am here now! With a treat! I was whiling away some time on the Shopping Channel yesterday when I came upon these gourmet pretzels. They were enormous and dipped in caramel, chocolate, toffee and many other delights. They were positively drool worthy, but I wasn't about to pay $30 for 9 pretzels, no matter how gorgeous they were. So, I made my own version. I melted 1 cup dark chocolate chips with 2 tbsp vegetable shortening for my dipping chocolate. Then, with the help of my son, we dunked pretzels half way and then dipped in either; cocoa, cinnamon sugar, or sprinkles. Pretty much anything goes here and it was a cinch. Yes, my pretzels were lovingly hand made and they taste amazingly fantastic. If you don't believe me, try it for yourselves!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Late Night Snack

Last night I had a hankering for something salty and crunchy. I couldn't go out for a junk food run because my little guy has the flu and my hubs was out, so I made my own chips. It was incredibly easy, I just sliced peeled potatoes on the side of my grater, paper thin and then fried them in a couple of inches of vegetable oil. They were mighty fine, especially hot. When the man got home he demanded, not unlike Thor, in the movie, "Another!" I'd like to get a proper mandolin, to make the chips even prettier and experiment with some other flavours. It is true: there is probably about a potato and a half in a bag of chips, all told. Huh. Who knew?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thanksgiving Mish Mash


In the spirit of holiday laziness, this post will be dedicated to links I like, things I want to try, a recipe I want to share and a photo of my WIP night table. Seriously, why would they paint this green?
First up, this bag made from cargo pants. How cool is that? and I know I have a pair in the closet just waiting to be cut up and made into a neat-o bag. I just love it when people take the time to post tutorials so I can steal their ideas and then blog about them. O.K., moving along to this delicious pumpkin dessert that I had at work with our fantastic Thanksgiving lunch on Fr
iday. It was so good that I got a photocopy of the recipe and made it for my own feast. It is like pumpkin pie but you use a cake mix and sprinkle it on top of your filling and serve chilled with whipped cream. I think it originated from a Company's Coming book, but I can't be sure. I liked this better than pumpkin pie because it seems lighter without the pastry, more like a mousse. I'm sure the caloric value is similar but this makes a 9 by 13 pan so it's loads more servings!! Hooray!! Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Dessert
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 28 oz can pumpkin
1 tsp EACH cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger,
salt
3 cups milk
1 cake mix yellow or white two layer size
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup walnuts
whipped or ice cream

Beat eggs, Mix in next 7 ingredients in the order given. Pour into 9x13 inch pan, (or two 8 inch,take one to a friend)
Put cake mix in a bowl, cut in butter until crumbly. Mix in nuts. Sprinkle over top of filling. Bake 350 for 1and 1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve hot with ice cream or chilled with whipped cream.

Mmmmmmmm. Alrighty. On to my next tip and that is this website, Tipnut. Wow, what a powerhouse resource site. Why had I never seen this before? I love sites like this. Basically it does all the searching for you and then gathers all the good stuff into one place, kind of like I am doing with this post, but on a much grander scale.
Finally, here is what I want for my kitchen. This is a dream, mind you, since a reno does not seem to be in my immediate future, however, when it is time I would like these colours and ideas, please. Thank you for your time and attention. We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rudimentary Refashion

I bought this seemingly cool tee from the second hand shop the other day. Silly me, I forgot to inspect thoroughly and I found that it was coming apart at the seams. Can you see the tear on the sleeve in the photo? Grrr...
I decided this could be a good candidate for a refashion. I am no seamstress so this DIY was as simple as they come. Basically I cut apart two shirts and made them into one. I will spare you a tutorial because, honestly, if I can do it, so can you. I did take photos along the way, though and as I was cursing my sewing machine and the stretchy t-shirt fabric, I had a flash back memory of my grade nine sewing class. There was one single boy in our class, Kevin. He made a T-shirt from a pattern that
year and got an A. How he explained that one to his teenage peers, I have no idea, but now that I think of it, Kevin was a pretty smart fella. How else do you get to spend an hour a day with 24 teenage girls and have them help you, lean over you and praise you for learning a so-called feminine skill? Nope, Kevin was no dummy. And like my husband is to me now, Kevin was then a superior seamstress. Tailor? Who knows. All I know is I did not receive an A
on my project...and I probably wouldn't get a good grade on this one either, but it saved two shirts from the landfill for a bit longer, so what the heck? Here's to DIY refashion!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

More Fall Food




that people like to brag
about their food. I know that for many years my two uncles would phone each other long distance every week, just to boast about what they had eaten for dinner. They probably still do this.


Well, I don't have a brother, so here is what I have been eating:


First up, a turkey dinner made weeks before Thanksgiving simply because it was on sale and we like poultry. Then, last night, I had a little get together and made up some party trays. I snapped a couple photos of my handiwork before we dug in. last week, I baked up two loaves using the butternut squash from our turkey feast because, as it turns out, no one in this family really cares for sweet vegetables, unless it is in bread form. I haven't done any other baking and I think I will hold off, if only for health reasons.

I also made Knorr Spinich Dip for the first time and it was quite good, though next time I think I will use fresh

spinich, as opposed to the frozen kind, and let it sit in the fridge for a longer time. I wasn't quite industrious enough to make my own bread bowls, but I can see that being a fun indoor, it's-a- blizzard-out-there kind of activity. In my case, Superstore did the baking for me.

Tonight, I think I'll let my hubby do the cooking.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Food

I'm so happy to be able to turn on my oven again. Recently I made a delightful chicken noodle soup from a grocery store deli chicken carcass, chili and today I am roasting a turkey. Of course it helps to have people to feed in the house. I am looking forward to doing some baking with the fruits I have been stockpiling. I also plan to make turkey soup and a million other turkey things as well. My girl friday, (you remember her) told me she made a cheddar and jalepeno bread using the recipe I gave her for white bread. I will definitely have to try that. It sounds heavenly. Next week I am having a little get together, we'll see what I come up with for that. I'm thinking of a hot dip of some sort, mmm. Cheesy goodness.

Here's what I hope to bake this week for the freezer:

Pumpkin Ginger Bread
Fruit Crisp
Blueberry Muffins
Banana Bread
Neiman Marcus Cookies.

Chili-done
Turkey Stock-done

Monday, September 12, 2011

Finished!

Just thought you might like to see my finished cowl, which is a lot shorter than the inspiration piece. I like this length though, no fuss, no muss, no dripping in my coffee cup. It looks pretty cute, though right now, we are in the midst of a heatwave, so I didn't keep it on for long. I'm really liking loom knitting and I highly recommend it if you enjoy instant gratification, like I do. I got my loom set at Walmart and Googled (when did this become a verb, exactly?) some basic instructions and patterns. This isn't even a pattern, I just used the largest ring
and knit away until I thought, "Meh, this is good." And it is!
So, go, get loom! Knit!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Full Moon, Baby.


I am one of those wavy gravies who believe in the powers of the changing moon cycles. I'm not always exactly sure how or why the moon seems to affect me, I just feel that it does. For instance, yesterday I felt very drained and exhausted and today I feel refreshed and energetic. I did some projects and house cleaning that I have not felt motivated to do, nor felt I had the time to do, for weeks. I feel optimistic and positive about my goals and intentions. I am also slightly more driven and demanding today.
As a health care worker, I have long suspected that the full moon intensifies moods and emotions. Many of my busiest shifts in long term care facilities were on full moon evenings. Ask any nurse or care aid to attest to this phenomenon. It got so that as a casual employee, I would often turn down shifts if I knew they would fall on a full moon, because I knew they would be about five times busier than a regular shift.
I also am feeling a sense of completion today because of the decade anniversary of 9/11 and the returning of the kidnapped boy from Sparwood, B.C, Keinan Hebert. I allowed myself to become emotionally invested in the case, which was a dangerous thing for me to do, knowing that most of these cases do not turn out well for the abducted child. I felt so positive and encouraged by the response of people online and felt that there was a collective power at work to get that child home safely to his parents. Now, I realize that we were all at the mercy of the person who abducted the child, allegedly one Randal Hopley, and his decision to return the boy could only have come from within. Did he hear the pleas of the parents, or the public? Or was it something bigger? All I know is that there are many questions left unanswered and no matter where he hides, at some point, the kidnapper will have to atone for his actions, whether here on earth or somewhere else.
On a lighter note, I pulled out my loom yesterday and I have begun knitting my cowl. I am very pleased with my progress thus far and am enjoying the ease and quick sense of accomplishment it is giving me so far. The weather is unseasonably warm, but I know that could change at any moment, so might as well get a jump on it.

Photo courtesy dreamstudies.org

Friday, September 9, 2011

Projects, hobbies and the like.


I have many ideas for projects and some I even start. I don't always complete them, but I usually start. My latest is stripping the paint off of a wooden bedside table. I got it for free because it was painted Hospital Green (It's remarkable how many free items of furniture are this particular hue.) Well, yesterday was the day and I got most of the paint off. Next is to sand it with the orbital sander, and then varnish. Already, I am happy with my progress. I have begun to take photos but I will reveal them closer to completion. (Since completion isn't my strong point, ahem.)
My next idea is to knit a cowl. I have a great inspiration from somewhere in the blogosphere, it is an amazing herringbone worsted weight merino wool creation. Mine will probably be a multicoloured acrylic, knit on my loom, but whatev. It's a knitted tube. Get over it. Finally, I plan to make more handmade cards. Every time I am in a dollar store or scrapbook aisle, I buy something, so time to get it out and put it all to use. This is the time of year that I tend to enjoy, the harvest, getting back to the home and leisurely pursuits. There has been nothing leisurely about the summer, I can assure you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Okay, back online.

No ants allowed.
I'm back, by popular demand. Well, that and the fact that I really got no place else to go. I had a crazy summer and it seemed like I didn't have a minute to think, let alone blog. Today was the first day back to school for the boy and for me to upgrade my first aid training. Must be fall or something. I'm thinking that I will have to figure out what I want
to do with myself pretty soon, but for now, I will regale you with the minutiae of my life. My husband worked out of province for the entire summer and during that time, I vacillated between euphoric bouts of freedom loving fun and self imposed misery at missing him and resenting all the burdens I now have placed solely upon my shoulders. We spent two weeks on Vancouver Island, with the second week resulting in torrential downpours leaving me to wonder why I had ever ventured away from the sunny Okanagan in the first place. Also, two weeks with ones' mother is far more than enough, I should think. I also visited my aunt in the Shuswap, my friends in Salmon Arm and my family in Barriere for our annual Smokefest. Once again a wonderful party, each time it grows bigger and bigger. This time I did find it a bit overwhelming trying to fit in seeing my husband and  the rest of the family but as they say, c'est la vie. And even though my Aunty made sure to tell me that I am getting too hefty, it was a hell of a good time.
video

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'll be back in the fall.

I haven't abandoned this blog entirely. Just sort of lost inspiration. I'll be back in the fall, when life has structure again. Maybe that will happen? Who knows. Have a good summer folks!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My "baby" is seven.


I am feeling quite nostalgic but also so proud of the boy he has become. He is a smart and hilarious sensitive boy who is kind and caring. What more could a mother ask for? I love you Simon. Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We're on vacation!

We are taking a frugal vacation...at my mommy's house!
We spent the weekend in beautiful Victoria BC and spent two nights crashing at my sister's place. We saw all the sights without breaking the bank! So far, my major expenses have been gas food and of course, the ferry, but what can you expect? Nothing is free after all, and it sure beats hanging around at home with nothing to do. My posts are sporadic and that's just the way it is for now. I may come back in the fall, depends on how settled I am. Right now, I am not settled at all, not one bit!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring



Soccer, learning to ride a bike, easter eggs oh my!


Spring is busy!


Do you like my meat pie? I made it from scratch. Even the pastry using my food processor, as I find this is the only sane way to make pastry and the only way that ever works out for me. Also, I roll it on waxed paper and then gently peel it off into the pan, otherwise I have trouble getting it the proper thin-ness. Another kitchen tip I tried recently, which came from the blogs, is to run a hot soapy wet cloth over my kitchen counters and let it soak while you do the dishes. When youare done, all the stuck on bits wipe easily away without scrubbing. It's sort of like pre-wiping the counters. I know, I am close to my mid-thirties and just learning how to clean properly, but hey, I am a life long learner.


This is my new favourite song. Well, for the week anyhow. I am a ficle music fan.


Bye for now.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Knit your own royals, LOL!

Ha ha ha, Check this out! I wish I was craftier and had more time. As it is, I just paste links with funny knitted royals and call them blog posts. I am off to the theatre (say theat-ah with a phony british accent) to volunteer as an usher. This is how I see the play for free ;) Back soon with an Easter post! Enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Talk about recycling!



Check out this Spring Hoodie over on Refashion Co-op. Why is it I never thought about using different pieces of clothing of similar fabric weights to put together like this? Genius? I think so!My head is spinning with ideas for spring dresses. Good on ya, Be Grim!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Smoothies


I love 'em! Here is my latest concoction:


Banana Citrus Smoothie:


-one frozen banana

-1/4 c lemonade

-juice of one orange

-one apple juice box (200 mls)


Blend in the Magic Bullet.

I like this one because it is non dairy and sometimes you need that, like when you have a cold.

What's your favourite blended drink?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Two yummy treats


I am making rocky road brownies. Sometimes I add walnuts, sometimes chocolate syrup, but always the marshmallows :) You can use minis, but if you only have the big ones, cut them into quarters and add to your brownie mix. Mine's from a box from the dollar store, homemade would be fine too. I find it cheaper to use a mix for brownies because I only need an egg and water, instead of all the butter and sugar.


Last night I had a hankering for an Orange Julius. Instead of schlepping to the mall, I made my own in the magic bullet. Because I added banana, I am calling mine Orange Banoolius.

Here's what I did:

juiced two oranges (good for the wrinkly ones)

added frozen banana chunks ( I freeze mine before they rot for just this purpose)

1/2 cup milk

a bit of vanilla pudding I had left over 1/4 cup? yogurt would be good too.

Whizzed it all together in the bullet. YUM!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fun Saturday.


We went shopping at Zellers today and I bought $50 worth of loss leaders, including a ten pound bag of flour for 6.99! I also used three .75 coupons for wonder plus bread and since it was on sale, the coupons worked out to my getting a loaf free. We have tons of flour now, including whole wheat, so my plan is to make some whole wheat bread and other bread products like pitas and naan bread. Then we drove a few miles down the road to Enderby and filled up at 120.9 instead of 131.9, which saved us about 5.00. Not bad. We were out that way anyhow. Then we stopped at the Armstrong cheese factory and ate samples and bought some cheese. Besides Walmart, which sells it in a tiny bag, this is the only place my husband has found fresh cheese curds and as a French Canadian, he must have his cheese craving satisfied every so often. We rounded out the day's outing with the home show, trying out the massage chair and sampling things here and there. A great morning!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ten convenience foods that are cheaper and better at home.


1. Garlic bread. I bought a loaf of french bread for a dollar. How much cheaper would it be if I made my own bread from scratch? I added my own butter, garlic whizzed up in the Magic Bullet and parsley flakes. Cheap and cheerful.


2. Chicken wrap snackers/burritos Try saying that ten times fast. They sell these for two bucks each, but I am sure they could be made a lot cheaper than that at home with grocery store stuff. Imagine with homemade tortillas! Dried beans!


3. Pad Thai. This is essentially a stir fry. Make it at home and eat it with chopsticks.



4. Pizza. I can make gourmet pizza for about half the price of so-so take out pizza, even when I cheat and buy the crust already made.


5. Popcorn/chips Buy a case of microwave popcorn and don't bother with the greasy stuff at the movie theatre. Or better yet, pop from bulk kernels. I always burn it, so I have quit doing this. Try caramel popcorn or marshmallow popcorn for a treat. Buy a big bag of chips and bag them up in snack bags for lunches. I get multi grain rounds and pack a bit of salsa with them. Yum.


6. Chili. I just made a vat of chili for 30-40 people for about .40 a serving at my aunt's party. Seriously, why would I want to pay $4 for a little bowl?


7. Chai tea lattes/espresso. Five bucks a cup?? Puhleese. It's tea/coffee and milk. Enough said.


8. Granola. Oh so freakin' cheap to make at home, plus you know what is in it and you can make a basic one and add other ingredients to your bowl at breakfast. I love this for summer, saves on commercial cereal costs.


9. Yogurt. Again, I love this in the summer for smoothies, baking and breakfast.


10. Jello/ pudding. Buy some containers and pack your own from a big bowl. You get more at lunch and it's cheaper.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bits of Beauty




Not much to say, home from my aunty's birthday. The chill in the air did nothing to dispel the warmth in our hearts. I love my family!! Enjoy the beauty shots.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I have GOT to try this!!


I am going to make a top like this. It is amazing! Thanks to two butterflies for bringing it to my attention. I had a rare great sewing day yesterday and it has made me think that maybe I can actually sew after all. My machine is very temperamental. It is only a few years old but it was a starter machine to begin with and I feel I've outgrown it. My budget says otherwise, however, so, as Katy Wolk-Stanley, of the Non Consumer Advocate says, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." Sage advice, to be sure.

I don't think I should have uploaded this photo of chocolate chip cookies though. I may need to make them and then sew my top even bigger.