Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lobster Heaven, Beans, Wine, Kindle Cover

lobster-road-300I should have been in St. John, New Brunswick yesterday, a large truck was in an accident and carrying 16,000 kilos of lobsters a lot of which spilled out onto the road. I can’t bear the thought of all that waste. If you would like to read the whole article click here, there is another picture which shows the truck lying on its side split open. The driver, his wife and child were all taken to the hospital but appear to have only scratches and bruises. Oh how I wish I’d been there.

flat beansStill, one good piece of news for us – foodwise that is – Matt had to pop into the grocery store yesterday afternoon and just happened to spot flat beans. They are also known as pole beans although in England we call them runner beans. We both love them and rarely see them so when we do we grab a bundle. I will be French cutting them later and we will have them for dinner tonight. I came across a picture for French cut beans, the picture was from so I have borrowed it in order to show you what I am talking about. I very rarely meet anyone who knows what I am talking about. I have tried to  teach people how to pFrench cut beansrepare the beans this way, without much success. Maybe I am not a very good teacher. I get so sick of the regular round beans, their flavour is not very inspiring. I guess I could get sick of flat beans too if I could get hold of them more often. In case you are wondering, I boil them in salted water until they are crisp tender. They are delicious served with a knob of butter.

I forgot to tell you about a bottle of wine we opened last night. It  was the Cabernet Sauvignon which we bought at Chateau de Charmes when our friend from South Africa was here. I took a mouthful and it was horrid, it was corked (means the cork didn’t stop the air getting to the wine). I emailed Chateau de Charmes who explained that 5% of corks can fail and they were sorry I was in that 5% bracket. The upshot is that they are sending me a coupon for a VIP tour and tasting next time I go to their winery. Not sure what that includes or if it is only for one person. I shall no doubt see when it arrives in the mail.

Kindle CaseThat reminds me, I have been fascinated by the saga of my Kindle case. Following its journey on line, it made two stops in California, one in Indiana, one in Ohio and as of yesterday it was in Windsor, Ontario which isn’t that far from here so I kind of hoped UPS would deliver it yesterday, sadly it didn’t arrive and I don’t think they work Saturday so I wonder what the chance is I will get it on Monday? It left Windsor at 9 p.m. last night.

Lemon Bars are very popular and I received this recipe today, I would love to try them, but guess who will end up eating 99% of them? I should persuade someone else to make them and then I could have just one.

Lemon Bars

By Dana Treat
WebMD Recipe from

Picture of Lemon BarsFirst let me say that I LOVE lemon bars. For a chocolate and caramel lover that is saying something. My go-to recipes is this one that I adapted from one of my favourite Betty Crocker cookbooks. It goes to show that the good, old standards like this little sweetie stand the test of time. It is totally no frills and for that reason it is perfect.


1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, butter, and powdered sugar in an electric mixer until the dough starts to come together. Press into an ungreased 8 x 8 inch pan, building up an edge. Bake 20 minutes, until light brown.

Wipe out bowl. Beat remaining ingredients for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust. Bake another 25 minutes longer, or just until no imprint remains when touched lightly in center. Allow to cool completely, then sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into squares.

Total Servings: 16

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories: 143
Carbohydrates: 20.6g
Cholesterol: 39mg
Fat: 6.4g
Saturated Fat: 3.8g
Fiber: 0g
Sodium: 84mg
Protein: 1.6g

Have a great weekend


Friday, July 29, 2011

Doc. Easy as Pi,

Matt has a doctor’s appointment today so we will be able to check out where exactly she has moved to, there seem to be two buildings involved so I am curious to know what its all about. When I phoned for the appointment I got a different receptionist too, makes me wonder if the staff has changed, or some of them work in another building or whatever. All very curious. I have my regular diabetes check in a month and need to know where that will take place.

PiYesterday I learned a useless little tip which I thought was cute. A lot of programmes have Easter Eggs which are little extra gimmicks you can use, turns out the Windows 7 calculator can easily give you Pi. You pull up the calculator from the start button, change to scientific and then type P, lo and behold it will give you Pi to quite a few decimal places. Of course I had to try it. As they said on Worldstart’s newsletter, its not life changing but its pretty cool.

Our dinner last night went very well, we started with the gladsSpiced Chilled Tomato Soup which I posted on July 25th which turned out to be very good. We followed it with a London Broil and then went on with Almond Rice Pudding which is one of my favourites. Our friends brought some lovely gladiolus which I am sitting looking at right now.  They are the same colour as this picture, the Mennonite farms all seem to sell them in the summer.

Here’s a nice easy dessert from Kraft.

Tiramisu Bowl

Kraft Kitchens

What You Need

1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

3 cups cold milk

2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavour Instant Pudding

1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided

48 VANILLA Wafers

1/2 cup brewed strong MAXWELL HOUSE Coffee, cooled

2 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, coarsely grated

1 cup fresh raspberries

Make It

BEAT cream cheese in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Beat in milk and dry pudding mixes. Stir in 2 cups COOL WHIP.

LINE 2-1/2-qt. bowl with 24 wafers; drizzle with 1/4 cup coffee. Top with half each of the pudding mixture and chocolate. Repeat all layers.

TOP with remaining COOL WHIP and raspberries. Refrigerate 2 hours.

Healthy Living

Save 60 calories and 4g of fat, including 2g sat fat, per serving by preparing with PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Fat Free Sugar Free Instant Pudding, COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping and Reduced Fat NILLA Wafers.


Since this indulgent dessert makes 16 servings, it's the perfect dessert to serve at your next party.

How to Easily Grate Chocolate

Unwrap chocolate squares, leaving each square on paper wrapper.Microwave on HIGH 10 sec., then grate with the largest hole of a cheese shredder.

Have a great day


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chia Pets and Books.

chiaWell, how about that, it turns out that the seeds used on Chia pets are actually a very old seed and considered wonderful for Type II diabetes. Read about it here Chia Pet. That reminds me of an old station wagon we had in North Carolina which I think was held together by green mould and which was referred to as our Chia car by the mechanic we went to. The vehicle was green anyway, we just called it the Green Machine. However, getting back to the seeds, I wonder where one can obtain them, I will have to look out for some.

I spent a large amount of time over the last day or two trying to finish off the books I had been loaned so I could return them when our friends come to dinner tonight. I managed it and finished Kings of the North at lunchtime yesterday. As usual, I enjoyed it as I do with everything I have read by Elizabeth Moon. This book is another one written in Pak’s World which, if you have read any of them, you will be familiar with.  Later I started one of Mercedes Lackey’s books, Unnatural Issue, which is an Elemental Masters novel. I am enjoying it very much. Mercedes Lackey is one of my favourite authors. She is probably best known for her Valdemar stories.

So, we are busy cooking today for guests this evening, with the result that this, plus the recipe, is all my blog contains for today.

I don’t actually like milkshakes, but I guess I could force myself to try one of these.

Bailey's Milkshakes-For Big Kids

By Mommy Diva 

Ingredients:Bailey's Milkshake
Servings: 1
1 cup French vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
1/4 cup milk, or
1/4 cup eggnog (*can interchange with milk)
1 banana (*if you choose this option,I suggest the milk)
Baileys Irish Cream,  to taste I prefer the heavier hand for flavour
  1. Add in blender ice cream, chocolate syrup, Bailey's, and either the milk (with or without banana) or the egg nog.
  2. Blend lightly until just mixed to desired consistency.
  3. Pour or spoon into tall glasses and garnish with whipping cream, chocolate swirl, piroulines, or vanilla wafers and a mint sprig.
  4. Enjoy! :)
Have a great day

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Old Age? Vascular Surgeon, Odd Odes

Quite a while ago I complained to my doctor about feeling tired soOld Age often, she assured me it was old age. Recently Matt asked her about big blotches appearing on his skin, she said it was old age. The other day a close friend had an episode where she suddenly couldn’t remember what had happened in the previous hour or so and felt unwell. She also had very high blood pressure readings. Her husband took her into the local hospital. When they eventually sent her home, with a BP reading of 211/104, they said it was old age. I am beginning to wonder whether there is any validity to this pronouncement or is it just a cop-out? My mother used to say the trouble with old age is that you don’t feel old. She’s right, well most of the time! I have written before about how people are living longer and longer all the time and many are living to a healthy old age which is the main thing. Shouldn’t this also mean that doctors don’t dismiss you as suffering from old age? Are these things really due to age or due to something else which they don’t investigate but just lump under the old age heading?

I went to see the vascular surgeon yesterday and he is happy about the results (I had an ultrasound first) as am I. He asked if my left leg gave me any bother, it doesn’t so we won’t be doing anything with it. I will apparently be getting an ultrasound once a year for the rest of my life. That didn’t happen the first time either. He was astounded there was no sign at all of the entry site, guess he did a good job. He didn’t say anything about my age!!!!!

I’m not sureCyril Fletcher what it was yesterday that made me think of a comedian in Britain many years ago called Cyril Fletcher who used to recite his Odd Odes, they were quite funny, so I Googled him and found this one which amused me. There are lots more of his monologues and odd odes which can be found on line. I must do some more Googling.

The tale of Cuthbert Bostril
by Cyril Fletcher

This is the tale of Cuthbert Bostril C
Who thought he'd only use one nostril
So he made himself a sort of cover
To stop him breathing through the other.
And so he wandered 'round the place
Wearing a muzzle on his face
Until he met Euphemia Muck
The barmaid at the Dog & Duck.
Euphemia loved him from the start
And told him frankly, "'Have a heart"
Remove that gadget from your clock,
In other words your nose unblock."
Ahh! such was love it made him weaken,
He took the shutter off his beak 'n'
Wedding bells rang out with Cuth'
Letting both nostrils do their stuff.
Alas, alack their bliss was short,
'Ere very long our Cuthbert thought,
He'd buy an eye-shield and then try,
To read the paper with one eye,
And then Euphemia saw with fear
He'd cotton wool stuffed in one ear,
And then he bought a sort of peg
And started walking on one leg.
So Euphemia took the only course
And being granted her divorce
Married a bloke named Arnold Stout,
What didn’t muck himself about.

Pursuing the theme of picnic foods, or at least summer items which can be served both indoors and outdoors, I used to love Marinated Broccoli, unfortunately I can no longer be able to eat it because of the grapefruit juice. Certain medications clash with grapefruit.

Marinated Broccoli Appetizer

Weight Watchers – serves 2Broccoli

I C broccoli florets, blanched

1/4 C grapefruit juice

1 Tbs chopped scallion

1/2 tsp salt

Dash each artificial sweetener and pepper

2 large lettuce leaves.

Combine all ingredients except lettuce in a small bowl; toss. cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve in lettuce cups.

Have a great day


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Medical, Drought, Eat Local and Well.

At long last, today I get to go see the surgeon who recently did the angioplasty on my femoral artery. Seems like years ago, but I guess its something like 6 weeks. I have to have an ultrasound first. I am pleased to say that the enormous bruise I had has finally just about faded away, but I am still having trouble with oedema. We will see what he has to say about it, I am sick of keeping my feet up.

We have had a couple of thunderstorms and a little drizzle, but whatstorm most of North America needs is a good, long, soaking rain. Ontario is as dry as can be and from all the reports coming from the States, it is the same in many places there. This will not do the crops any good, there is a motto “Good Things Grow in Ontario” (sounds better if its sung) but at this rate, those good things won’t be growing any too well. I am not sure how long we need to be without rain to call it a real drought, but we are sure heading that way. Its all very well to plan eating “within 100 miles” but if there is a shortage of crops, this cannot always be done, apart from the fact that I don’t know of anywhere round here where they can grow coffee or chocolate!!!!

Camper TrailerActually our very first vacation in Ontario was in a drought summer, 1976 or 77 we rented a tent trailer and went up north. The lakes were so low we were able to catch whitefish which you can normally only catch in the winter months. We didn’t know what we’d got and the locals couldn’t believe we had managed to catch it. We gave a couple away, we had 7, and thoroughly enjoyed the rest, barbecued.

Spearheaded by Michelle of Smothered in Butter (see link this page) we are trying to figure out ways of persuading Ontarians to eat better or I should perhaps say healthier, especially in schools. We are kind of trying to do a Food Revolution without the power and influence of Jamie Oliver. We both publish recipes although mine have different levels of difficulty – I haven’t been reading Smothered in Butter long enough to know what range her recipes cover. I know she recently published a couple of picnic recipes – I haven’t been on a picnic as such in years – made me think of one recipe I picked up from a colleague of Matt’s some years ago. The last time I ate this though, I found it a bit sweet so I think I would hesitate before adding the sugar to the dressing.  Feel free to add more shrimp – I do.

Neptune Salad

1 sm bunch of broccolishrimp
1 sml romaine lettuce
1 C cooked shrimp
2 hard boiled eggs


1/2 C mayonnaise
1/2 C sour cream
6 green onions cut up finely
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Break up broccoli and romaine into bite sized pieces. Cut up shrimp and chop up eggs. Mix dressing ingredients, chill and pour over salad about 10 mins before eating.

Have a great day


Monday, July 25, 2011

Bidets, Weekend News, Books

Why don’t we have bidets in North America? Come to that, why don’t we have them in the UK? I think they are an eminently sensible part of one’s bathroom and had one installed in a Bidet Coolerhouse I lived in in England. Only trouble was, the water flow wasn’t reliable and one could end up scorching or freezing oneself. I remember the first time I saw a bidet, staying with a family in France, and being sure they were foot baths until my parents disabused me when I came home. They have them in France and Portugal, that I know of, and I can’t help wondering why this extremely hygienic practice hasn’t spread. Obviously, from the picture, which I couldn’t resist, it has other uses too.

A young woman named Amy Winehouse died over the weekend, I first heard about it on Facebook and I had no idea who she was. Although I have since seen a biographical segment I still have never heard of her. Matt said he had and that when she was younger she had a wonderful voice. What a waste.

Re the Norway bombing and shootings, the reports say the gunman wanted a revolution. Not sure how he figured he could bring that about by killing something like 93 people – quite a few more wounded too. So dreadful to attack children although he doesn’t seem to have been very old himself.

I have just started reading Kings of the North by Elizabeth MKings-of-the-Northoon, it is the latest in the Paksenarrion books. The last one I read was Oath of Fealty which was a few years ago, so I have problems recalling who everyone was and what they did. The principal characters OK, but some of the others, difficult. I always enjoy Elizabeth Moon’s books, one of my favourites was a stand alone called The Speed of Dark which was about autism but with a fantasy twist to it. My other favourite was a “first contact” novel Remnant Population which I bought for my Kindle so I could have a copy of it.

Sunday I made a chilled spiced Indian tomato soup which I hadn’t tried before, it is delicious and so here is the recipe. It is quite different to a regular tomato soup.

Indian Spiced Chilled Tomato Soup

1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oilIndian Spiced Tomato Soup
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp salt
1 (28-oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, with juices
1? cups low-fat or non-fat plain yogurt
1 Tbs fresh lime juice

1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.

2. Add cardamom, cumin, and cayenne; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Stir in onion, garlic, and salt; reduce the heat to medium and cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

4. Add tomatoes and their juices, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.

5. Remove from the heat.

6. Cool briefly and then stir in yogurt and lime juice.

7. Transfer half of the tomato mixture to a blender and puree until smooth; pour into a large bowl.

8. Repeat with remaining tomato mixture; pour into the bowl.

9. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

10. Serve chilled

Servings: 4

Author: Healthy Recipes
Source: South Beach Diet

Author Notes
Wonderfully aromatic, cardamom adds a distinct and delicious Indian flavour to this tasty soup, which is also good served warm in cooler months.

Have a great day.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sex, New Blog, Heat, Kindle Cover. Famine.

I caught a headline yesterday, which annoyed me, something about how many athletes are gay. Who cares, what does it matter? How  many are heterosexual? Too much fuss is made about sexual orientation, much from non gays but also from gays themselves. I have never heard of a heterosexual pride march, but there seem to be dozens of gay pride marches. I don’t give a damn who you like to go to bed with, its nothing to do with me. Either I like you or I don’t, who you like to screw has nothing to do with it. I have had a theory for years that people who are so aggressive to gays are frightened because they are borderline themselves and are terrified of it. What I don’t like is having someone’s sexual preferences shoved into my face; I feel the same about many other such things, race and religion being two of them. Live and let live is my motto.

Brolly-PomPom_Turq_thumb2There is a new blogger in town, Robyn is writing Pretty and Practical and I loved her first one. I have read a number of Robyn’s writings before, when she was teaching in China and later visiting New Zealand. In my opinion she is a very amusing writer and I hope one day she will write books like her grandfather. I am sure she would do well. She, and her family, have a great sense of humour. Go for it Robyn.

It was somewhat cooler yesterday, but not as cool as I personally would like. However, there is supposed to be a cooling trend starting today, what we really need though is rain, rain and a bit more rain. We have major forest fires in Western Ontario – there is an updated map at this link which shows where the fires are currently. Looks pretty frightening to me.

I was a bit miffed today to receive an email telling me the cover for my Kindle would not be forthcoming (I have been anticipating its arrival for days) for some very complicated reason part of which was to do with the Canada Post strike. OK I am getting a refund, but I was looking forward to its arrival. I have had to order another one from a different source so lets hope this one will arrive OK.
Yesterday we went to Sobey’s which is a grocery chain here, and whereLondon Broil the butcher still cuts meat for you. Unfortunately it isn’t very close to us so we don’t often go there. It is the only place where we can buy the cuts of meat that Matt and I call London Broil. In Ontario, London Broil is quite different, but we first discovered our London Broils in North Carolina and we have been getting one of the butchers to cut them for us for the last 10 years or so. When we want to serve one we marinate it all day long and then cook it on our indoor/outdoor grill, not as good as a barbecue, but it works.

I haven’t mentioned the news, either regarding the dreadful famine in Somalia or the bombings in Norway – its all horrific, but there is lots of Somaliacoverage, so my input is certainly not necessary. Having written that last bit, I started thinking about it. We are being inundated with terrible pictures of starving children and dying babies plus continuous requests for help. Canada has just pledged another $50 million; but why is this happening? I was lying in bed worrying about it, so I Googled. It appears that a lot of the problem is aggravated by a militant extremist Islamic group called al-Shabab who have denied access to the UN and various aid groups who wish to help the 3. 7 million people who are starving in the south. Somalia has had a drought which precipitated the problem of famine and now the people are being denied help. If you want to read the horror story, go to From there you can find links to other stories such as the huge refugee camps set up in Kenya for the starving people who have fled their famine plagued country.

As for the attacks in Norway, they said on the news last night that it is thought it was a home grown terrorist attack, this morning I read that it might be because Norway is assisting by providing planes in Afghanistan.  Read more here

Sunday breakfasts used to be a feature of my life until I ended up with diabetes, now I mostly have the same ol’ same ol’. featured breakfast dishes this week and here is one from Eating Well.

Sunday Sausage Strata

Source: © EatingWell Magazine
12 servings
Click here to find out more!
Rec Image
The "strata" in this classic casserole are layers of bread, cheese and sausage baked in an egg-rich pudding.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4 the night before serving.
1/2 pound turkey breakfast sausage (four 2-ounce links), casing removed
2 medium onions, chopped (2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (1 1/2 cups)
12 large eggs
4 cups 1% milk
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
6 cups cubed, whole-wheat country bread (about 7 slices, crusts removed)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese (4 ounces)
Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (or similar shallow 3-quart baking dish) with cooking spray.
Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Add onions and bell pepper to the pan and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a large bowl until blended.
Spread bread in the prepared baking dish. Scatter the sausage and the onion mixture evenly over the bread. Brush with mustard. Sprinkle with cheese. Pour in the egg mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the strata, uncovered, until puffed, lightly browned and set in the center, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving hot.

Have a great weekend

Friday, July 22, 2011

Its hot. Books, Geological Snippet.

Really, what’s to talk about, its hot. Even with our a/c running constantly, its hot. Outside the humidity has brought up our local temps into the 40’s Celsius. We are breaking local records for heat and there is apparently a greheatwaveat dome of hot air over a large part of North America and everyone is boiling. The last report I heard was 20 deaths, there may have been more since, although I hope not. Raleigh, NC is 101°F the last we heard. Toronto was at 34.4°C at lunchtime. Meanwhile friends in England are complaining about the wet – we could use some of that. Crops are dying in the fields from lack of rain, at this rate, maybe I will never get the corn I talked about yesterday. Cannot imagine why I thought it was already available. I guess I should thank my lucky stars that at least I don’t have to go anywhere in this weather. A friend said, its so hot, he saw a bird pulling a worm out of the ground with a pot holder. Our new thermometer read 36°C today.

I have just finished the third book in the Green The High King's TombRider series, The High King’s Tomb which I thoroughly enjoyed. Its odd to me how little I really enjoyed the first book, but seem to be enjoying the stories more as they progress. I have already started reading the fourth book and will then be biting my nails looking for the fifth which, by the look of the other publishing dates, may take a couple of years.

Although I have watched the programme before, I saw an episode of Geologic Journey II, I think I missed some because they said that Edinburgh Castle in Scotland is built on top of a volcano which has been extinct for 350 million years. I had never heard any of that before.

Despite the fact that we live so far inland, we do try and eat fish on a regular basis. This recipe is offered by Eating Well as a low carb dish for people with diabetes. It sounds good to me too.

Almond-and-Lemon-Crusted Fish with Spinach

Almond and Lemon Crusted Fish with SpinachFrom EatingWell: January/February 2011

Coating fish with nuts and baking it is an easy, foolproof way to cook it elegantly. And it is especially nice with a mild white fish like cod or halibut. The spinach turns a little yellowy because it’s cooked with the acidic lemon juice, but what you lose in green color is more than made up for in great flavor.

4 servings

  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 pounds Pacific cod or halibut (see Note), cut into 4 portions
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • Lemon wedges for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Combine lemon zest, almonds, dill, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place fish on the prepared baking sheet and spread each portion with 1 teaspoon mustard. Divide the almond mixture among the portions, pressing it onto the mustard.
  3. Bake the fish until opaque in the center, about 7 to 9 minutes, depending on thickness.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds. Stir in spinach, lemon juice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the spinach is just wilted, 2 to 4 minutes. Cover to keep warm. Serve the fish with the spinach and lemon wedges, if desired.

Per serving :249 Calories; 13 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 8 g Mono; 46 mg Cholesterol; 8 g Carbohydrates; 28 g Protein; 4 g Fiber; 496 mg Sodium; 1025 mg Potassium

1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 2 fat

Tips & Notes
  • Note: Pacific cod, a.k.a. Alaska cod, is considered a good choice for the environment because it is sustainably fished and has a larger, more stable population.

Have a great day


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fantasy, Heat Problems, Mail Delivery.

Yesterday, Glenda Larke had a guest blogger (see Tropic Temper worldweavers1_uslink this page) Alma Alexander, who is a writer. One thing she said which particularly resonated with me,  I paraphrase, all fiction is fantasy, a tissue of lies. Something I had never thought of and I don’t suppose many people have. It is a very good response to those who denigrate so called fantasy fiction. I haven’t the imagination to write fantasy, but often wish I had; although from all I have read since starting this blog, I don’t have the dedication these writers have to have as well. Alma Alexander has written a number of books including a young adult series, the first of which is World Weavers:  Gift of the Unmage. I often enjoy young adult books so I will certainly check these out.

I have been complaining about the heatwave we have in this part of Ontario; Thursday we are supposed to hit 36ºC which is about 97ºF with lots of humidity. That’s nothing to what some of the Midwest States are getting, with temps well into the hundreds. A report yesterday said its so hot it is setting off people’s fire alarms, now that’s hot. Of course one of my friends in Australia would think that was cool, she loves temps in the 40s. Way too hot for me. There have been lots of heat warnings in the States, particularly for the elderly and the very young. Plus warnings about how hot cars can get when left parked in the sun. I don’t remember the quoted temps but a car can get hot enough to boil your blood. At least once you get to your car you can switch on the air, but its the folks who leave their animals in a parked car who really need to heed this warning, don’t do so. I have also heard of a baby being left in a car parked in the sun. No it didn’t survive, nor would anything alive.

We actually got some pieces of mail today, some of which I know  were mailed before the strike, some I know was mailed after. However, we are still missing quite a few bits and pieces. One thing I did discover today, the bank can email me my statements apparently. I know I can get them electronically but I tried that for a while and find things get very complicated because they use different descriptions to me and things get muddled up. One thing I haven’t yet received is the case for my Kindle – its taking longer to get that from (Canada) than it did to get the Kindle itself from (US).

Corn is now available at the local farms and fresh tomatoes soon will be, here is a recipe using both which sounds pretty good to me.

Tomato-Corn Pie

From EatingWell: July/August 2010

Tomatoes and corn have a natural affinity for one another: the slight acidity of tomatoes balances the sweetness of the corn. Here they partner in a delicious quiche-like pie. The dough is very forgiving and bakes up into a sturdy shell that’s great for just about any savoury pie or tart. Perfect for a summer brunch or try it with a tossed salad for a light supper.

Makes 8 servingsTomato Corn Pie

  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see Note)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons cold water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 large ear; see Tip) or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  1. To prepare crust: Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, add oil and water and gradually stir them in to form a soft dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan, preferably deep-dish, and press into the bottom and up the sides. Trim any overhanging crust. Line the dough with a piece of foil or parchment paper large enough to lift out easily; fill evenly with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil or paper and weights. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  4. To prepare filling: Whisk eggs and milk in a medium bowl. Sprinkle half the cheese over the crust, then layer half the tomatoes evenly over the cheese. Sprinkle with corn, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Layer the remaining tomatoes on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour the egg mixture over the top.
  5. Bake the pie until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Per serving :258 Calories; 14 g Fat; 4 g Sat; 9 g Mono; 88 mg Cholesterol; 24 g Carbohydrates; 8 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 379 mg Sodium; 217 mg Potassium

1 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1/2 lean meat, 2 fat

Tips & Notes
  • Ingredient note: Look for whole-wheat pastry flour in large supermarkets and natural-foods stores. Store it in the freezer.
  • To remove corn kernels from the cob, stand an ear of corn on one end and slice the kernels off with a sharp knife.

Have a great day


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Books, Sports, This ‘n That.

I meGreen Riderntioned a friend lent me a whole load of books but I didn’t mention that four of them are of The Green Rider series by Kristen Britain. I must admit I found the first one slow going and am not sure I would have pursued the story if I hadn’t already had the books handy. As it turns out, that would have been a pity as the second book, First Rider’s Call turned out to be much better. I have the last and most recent book but have now discovered it does not wrap up the story so have no idea how many books this will extend to. I hope it doesn’t end up being like the Wheel of Time series which is at 13 books with another to come.

I have tried out something new with the previous paragraph, well new to me, I have used the hyperlink connection in my Windows Live Writer programme in the hopes it will give me the connection to that I am looking for. Every time anyone connects from my blog to place an order, I get a miniscule percentage. So far I really haven’t earned anything yet.

So no more league bowling til August 29 – we start that early because of the Labour Day Holiday in September – this is the only time we don’t bowl on a holiday, I think because the woman who runs the place always takes that day/weekend off.

On Sunday Matt was glued to the TV because of the last day of the Open in Britain (golf), then later he watched the women’s FIFA soccer finals between the US and Japan. Pity the US didn’t win, but it really was a close game. If it hadn’t been for the final shoot out it would have been a tie.

I have never heard of this summer soup before, but I love regular Gazpacho and this sounds like it would be very good. I think I would want to start with seedless watermelon though.

Watermelon Gazpacho

By The Gluten Free Goddess
WebMD Recipe from

Picture of Watermelon GazpachoTailor this recipe to your own preferences. If you prefer it chunkier, switch out the romaine for a large yellow pepper. Add a garnish of finely chopped red onion or a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt and chopped fresh mint.


1 ice cold 3 lb. ripe watermelon (thump it- does it sound hollow?)
1 large cucumber, skinned, seeded (or 2 medium)
2 large celery stalks
1 small head romaine lettuce, trimmed, cut up
2 medium, dense, heirloom tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1-2 teaspoons minced Elephant Garlic
Juice from 1-2 limes, according to taste
2 tablespoons white balsamic or rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, basil, mint or parsley
Sea salt, to taste


Slice the watermelon, cut up most of it, taking out the seeds; reserve about 1 cup, diced fine. Toss the cut up watermelon into a Vita-Mix or blender. Add the cucumber, celery, lettuce, tomato, garlic. Pulse and blend the mix briefly to process it. Add the juice from one lime. Add the vinegar, chopped herbs, sea salt. Pulse till combined.

Pour into a storage container, add in the reserved diced watermelon. Cover and chill until serving. Two hours is best.

Total Servings: 6

Have a great day


Monday, July 18, 2011

Heat, Mail, More Medical and Grammar

“We’re having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave” although nobody is can candoing the can can. But we are having lots of heat and of course, lots of humidity which is not welcome. I did a bit of sitting out on our balcony, not the best place in the world to sunbathe, but… I want to get a little protection for when we go down to NC in September. The couple who are coming with us, the wife is OK because she golfs and has a good colour already, not sure about him.

Sunday I spent some time printing up my blog book for the beginning Basil Cafeof this year and noticed I had written about the Basil Café which we went to for lunch one day because it’s near the doctor’s. However, our doctor has now moved, so I guess we won’t be going there again, pity. A letter about the move is another item which has disappeared in the maw of the Post Office strike. I heard a statement last week that the backlog would be cleared by last Friday, well, I don’t know, but we are still missing several pieces of mail including one Father’s Day card and two bank statements.

This morning we both have a very early appointment at the Optometristoptometrist’s for our annual check up. I must have been crazy, I never book appointments for 8:50 a.m., that means I had to get up really early. Lunch will be at the bowling alley for our summer league banquet – basically sandwiches and desserts. We then do a couple of fun games and that’s it until the winter season.

My friend Satima, Satima’s Blogspot (see link this page) has recently been talking about grammar and in her latest post about verbs, I finally understand just how Yoda’s speech was figured out. I have often tried to imitate it but could never get it quite right, now I know why. Read the blog, its interesting.

I have mentioned that we like frittatas before and here is one I thought sounded interesting.

Leek and Spinach Frittata

By The Sprouted Kitchen
WebMD Recipe from

Picture of Leek and Spinach Fritatta I like to use more whites to make it a bit lighter, if you like a richer egg dish, use 10 whole eggs.


2 Whole Eggs
10 Egg Whites
1/3 Cup Milk
2 Leeks, White and Light Green Parts, Thinly Sliced
1 tbsp. Butter
1 Cup Fresh Steamed Spinach
¾ Cup Shredded Cheese (I used Goat’s Milk Gouda)
2 tsp. Hot Sauce
1 Cup Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Halved
Fresh Basil
Salt and Pepper to Taste


Preheat oven to 500’

Warm the butter in a saucepan (preferably non stick) on medium heat, add the sliced leeks and sauté until they begin to caramelize, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, egg whites, hot sauce and milk. Incorporate some air and break them up, whisk about 4 minutes, yes, your arm will start to hurt. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Squeeze as much water possible out of the steamed spinach, give it a rough chop, and squeeze again.

Distribute the leeks in the pan, as this will be your frittata base. Turn the heat back to medium and pour the egg mixture on top. Scatter in the chopped spinach and the shredded cheese and allow the mix to sit for a minute. Use a spatula to lift up the sides.

As it starts to firm up, lay your tomatoes on the top, cut side up. Put the entire pan into the oven on the top rack. Let it bake for about 8 minutes and check. It should be set, but still have a little give when you push on the middle. Remove and let it cool a bit before serving. This recipe goes well with some fresh chopped basil and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Total Servings: 6

Have a great day


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hydro Poles, Kindle, Nutrition, Religion. John Nash.

Here’Hydro Poles an odd one, I heard on the radio that hydro (electric) poles are being stolen. I think so far the total sis 8. They are worth about $700 each apparently. Who on earth would steal them and why would they want them? For my no-Canadian readers, electricity is referred to as hydro here. I have told the story of my confusion about this when we first came here, we had a thunderstorm and then after it, the robins were singing themselves stupid and we were listening to them with our neighbours out in the front yard. One of them went indoors and came out saying the hydro was off, was ours, so I went indoors and turned on a tap which was running fine so I went out and told them.

I have, of course, been playing with my Kindle and am somewhat disappointed to discover I cannot borrow books from my library Kindlealthough other systems can do so. My friends who have Sony readers borrow library books all the time. The librarian suggests I get in touch with Amazon. I have been able to transfer many of my existing ebook library to the Kindle so I have now something like 100 books on it but I have read all these books before. I certainly cannot afford to shell out lots of cash to buy books from Amazon. The odd one now and again I guess. It turns out that Kindle will be launching a library access feature in the near future but only for American libraries at the start. I wonder how long this will take to get to Canada?

Michelle from Smothered in Butter (see link this page) was thrilled to discover she had been chosen for blog of the month by the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution team. She is the spearhead for our local ‘conversation on restoring family nutrition’. This is such an important item and I am glad Jamie Oliver’s team are supporting us, maybe we could get Jamie to come to this area, wouldn’t that be great.

Friday afternoon, late, we finally got our car back. Apart from a major financial deal, it was something of an ordeal for Matt. The guy who owns the garage where the repairs were done, turned out to be a Jehovah’s Witness so Matt was bombarded with religion on the day he took the car in and again when he was picked up yesterday. He was also given some booklets to read, all this after he told the guy he was an atheist. I don’t care what you believe, but don’t bend my ear about it please, especially not in a business situation. Now all I have to do is pay off the credit card.

A Beautiful MindFriday night we watched A Beautiful Mind, I thought I had seen it before, I hadn’t – what a great movie – it was about Dr. John Nash who was a Nobel prize winner for a mathematical theory he developed as a very young man and which has revolutionised finance all over the world and been used in other applications. Russell Crowe did an excellent job playing the part, one of the best things I have seen him do. If you have never seen it, I highly recommend it.

Eating Well is now saying chillies are not only good for taste but also the capsaicin is good for weight loss. If so, try this recipe they give.

Red Chile-Spiked Chocolate Mousse

From EatingWell: September/October 2010

Hot chile peppers may do more for you than add heat to your next meal. Studies show that capsaicin—a pungent compound in hot chiles—increases your calorie burn by boosting your metabolism. It may also stimulate brain chemicals that help us feel less hungry.

The idea of chile with chocolate still surprises most people, but the duo pairs beautifully in many chocolate desserts. In this silky, luxurious mousse the chile adds a light but bright accent.

8 servings, about 1/2 cup each Active Time: 35 minutes Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes (includes chilling time)

IngredientsChili Mousse
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 4 tablespoons water, divided
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mild-to-medium New Mexican red chile powder, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 teaspoons dried egg whites (see Note), reconstituted according to package directions (equivalent to 4 egg whites)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Sprinkle gelatin over 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. Combine cocoa, granulated sugar, chile powder, espresso powder and salt in a large saucepan. Whisk in egg, then milk. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until steaming and just beginning to thicken, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the softened gelatin, chocolate and vanilla. Stir until the chocolate is melted and fully incorporated.
  3. Beat egg whites, brown sugar and cream of tartar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed just until firm peaks form.
  4. Stir one-fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until smooth. Fold in the remaining egg whites until fully incorporated. Spoon the mousse into 8 dessert glasses or cups.
  5. Chill the mousse until set, at least 2 hours. Sprinkle with chile powder, if desired.

Per serving :158 Calories; 4 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 1 g Mono; 28 mg Cholesterol; 30 g Carbohydrates; 5 g Protein; 3 g Fiber; 97 mg Sodium; 245 mg Potassium

2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 2 carbohydrates (other), 1 fat

Tips & Notes
  • Note: Pasteurized dried egg whites are a wise choice in recipes that call for uncooked egg whites. Look for brands like Just Whites in the baking or natural-foods section of most supermarkets

Have a great weekend