Friday, January 31, 2014

Brakes, Bowling, Amanda Knox.

I/we are lucky we are still here. Some stupid female drove out from behind a car in a mall driveway, and across our bows. Matt had to slam on the brakes. Then once we got moving again, he realised the brakes had Stop Signgone, so, not being far from the bowling alley, we limped along and parked. Decided we would call for help and get the car towed to Meineke where we have our work done.  I phoned the Emergency Service line and the woman first asked if we were safe. I assured her we were and explained we were at a bowling alley. She asked me lots of questions, now bear in mind I am in a bowling alley (she called it bowling place) and have changed into bowling shoes which, granted, she may not have known about. She wanted the VIN number, I told her it was in the car outside and I couldn’t get at it. She then wanted to know when our last service was (to qualify for assistance) I told her beginning of the month. She asked for the invoice number. I explained I didn’t have it as I was not at home. She asked me some more questions and wanted more information I couldn’t give her because, as I explained yet again, I was not at home. Grrr. However, they finally sent a tow truck which I had to pay for as I hadn’t got my VIN number. They will reimburse it. Only trouble is, when we did get home, it turns out that I didn’t have a copy of the qualifying email or the address where I should send the claim. I found that on the internet and by dint of various phone calls to various offices, managed to get the rest of the information I need, including having to send the claim to Boca Raton, Florida. No main office in Canada; that did surprise me.

All this was so frustrating, that when I started bowling, I was somewhat agitated and ended up bowling a high scoring game. OnlyBowling alley time I did today though. Today was the travel league but we didn’t go for several reasons, my knee being one, and as our friend pointed out, just as well, it could have happened on the highway miles from nowhere which would not have been funny. Turns out it was a fluid line to the brakes which had gone – minor I thought, $271 I was told. I guess it would have happened sooner or later, but sooner because of this other driver.

I see the Italian court has has upheld Amanda Knox’s conviction. Many over this side seem to think she isn’t guilty. What now I wonder. Apparently they have an extradition treaty with the US.

The best Hushpuppies I ever ate were at a barbecue where Matt was cooking a pig and someone else was cooking the Hushpuppies and they were being handed out immediately. They are something of a staple in North Carolina, or at least, where we lived. So here is a twist on them from

Jalapeno and Bacon Hush Puppies with Chipotle Dip

Contributed By: julie, NY

  Jalapeno Hush Puppies
Jalapenos and bacon spice up these cheesy, zesty hush puppies.

1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely minced
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 small onion, grated
1/4 cup chives, chopped
2 cups sour cream, divided
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup Chipotle Tabasco
1 lime, juice and zest
Peanut oil, for frying

Preheat oil in a deep-fryer or Dutch oven to 350 degrees F.
In bowl, combine bacon, jalapeno, cornmeal, flour, cayenne, paprika, onion, chives, 1 cup sour cream, egg and cheese. Mix well to combine. Drop heaping tablespoon-sized amounts of the mixture into the hot oil. Fry in batches for 2 to 3 minutes each. Remove from the oil to paper towels to drain and season immediately with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter or bowl and serve with the dip.

For the dip: Combine remaining cup of sour cream, Chipotle Tabasco, and lime juice and zest. Mix well to combine.

Have a great day

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Computers, Infamous Canadians, Jeopardy Sweepstakes.

Multiple card readerWell I soon got rid of that money I earned this week. Had my computer guy here. I told you about my printer going kaput. We decided it wasn’t worth repairing, especially as I have an alternate. But I was losing a card reader and a USB port, so he installed a card reader which does everything. Plus I got a new mouse for my desktop, the old one was giving up the ghost. As Matt frequently points out, I have a very expensive hobby. This picture is similar if not exactly the same. I couldn’t figure out where to put my camera card to test it, had to be shown. I can also put a SIM card in there pl;us various other cards which I don't have anyway.

I see Justin Bieber is in the news again, he is being shown in prison garb. He could use a stint in prison but I’m not sure it would do him any good. Matt figures he will get special treatment. He is in trouble with the law in both Toronto and in Miami. The police say drugs were uncovered at his home. Our infamous Toronto Mayor is in the news again too. Maybe I’ll change my nationality, LOL.

I am still dedicatedly following and entering the Jeopardy Explore the World Sweepstakes. I don’t really think I will win but splash-arcticone can’t do so without playing. There are some wonderful trips, including the Arctic and the Galapagos. Matt would be thrilled to go to the latter. I guess we would both be thrilled to go on any of their fabulous trips. I have always envied their “clue crew” who travel around the world sometimes with Alex Trebek, or maybe he always goes and we just don’t see him.  This picture advertises the trip for yesterday Arctic Svalbard: Ice Bears. I have always wanted to see polar bears in the wild. Seen them in the zoo of course, but never in the wild even though that is quite possible in Churchill, Ontario.

Having chosen a couple of snack recipes, here is an Indian inspired recipe from Food & Recipes which I liked the sound of. Obviously you can make your own choice, but I have mentioned before, I rarely, if ever, use non fat anything.

Cashew Salmon With Apricot Couscous

Cashew Salmon With Apricot Couscous
WebMD Recipe from

Yogurt sauce flavoured with lemon, cumin and cilantro tops this Indian-inspired grilled salmon.

  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 3  scallions, sliced, greens and whites separated
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup whole-wheat couscous
  • 1 pound salmon fillet, preferably wild Pacific, skinned and cut into 4 portions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted cashews
  1. Preheat grill to medium-high or position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler.
  2. Combine yogurt, scallion greens, lemon juice, cilantro, cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add apricots, ginger, the scallion whites and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat, cover and let stand until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  4. Meanwhile, rub salmon with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. If grilling, oil the grill rack. If broiling, coat a broiler pan with cooking spray. Grill or broil the salmon until browned and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with the couscous, topped with the yogurt sauce and cashews.
Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Exchange, Purple Tomatoes.

I mentioned the exchange rate between the US and Canada. Today I cashed a cheque for $40 US and got $43.40. Fine when it’s coming in, but not so good when it’s going out. Unless Exchangesomething drastic happens I don’t think we will be vacationing in the States this year. The trouble is, it’s dollars to dollars so one notices it, when we lived in Europe, we just bought francs, marks or guilders without thinking about it. Of course it’s all euro today so no exchange other than travelling from Great Britain. Good day for me, not only did I get a cheque for $40 but I got paid for my stamps so that was another $40. Wish I could find some more misprinted stamps.

Here’s a new one, a genetically modified tomato which is purple because it has been modified to contain cancer fighting purple-tomatoesanthocyanins similar to blueberries which is what turns them purple. These have been grown in Leamington, Ontario, which isn’t very far from here. One of my main questions, what do they taste like? I find most of the tomatoes available in stores today are pretty tasteless and hardly worth the effort. The last time we had tomatoes we really thought tasted good was from a particular farm in Bogue, North Carolina from who we used to buy them by the bushel load.

OK, so here’s another recipe for the Superbowl on Sunday. Thinking of you again Tina Downey. Once more potato, this time skins which I personally love. It’s a fairly easy Kraft recipe.

Super Skins

Save the baked potatoes out of their skins for another day. These loaded potato halves are skins only—filled with CHSuper Skins recipeEEZ WHIZ, bacon bits and sour cream.
24 servings

What You Need

6 baking potatoes (2 lb.), baked
2 Tbsp.  oil
1 jar  (15 oz.) CHEEZ WHIZ Cheese Dip
1/4 cup  OSCAR MAYER Real Bacon Bits
1/2 cup  BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
2 green onions, sliced

Make It

HEAT oven to 375°F.
CUT potatoes lengthwise in half; scoop out centers, leaving 1/4-inch-thick shells. (Reserve centers for another use.) Cut shells crosswise in half.
PLACE shells, skin-sides down, on baking sheet; brush insides of shells lightly with oil. Bake 15 min. or until golden brown.
MICROWAVE CHEEZ WHIZ in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 3 min., stirring after 1-1/2 min. Spoon into potato shells; top with remaining ingredients.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Savour every bite of this warm appetizer. Each serving, 1 potato skin, goes a long way on flavour.
Prepare as directed, substituting frozen waffle fries or french fries for the baked potato shells. Bake fries as directed on package. Place on serving plate. Serve topped with remaining ingredients.
To prepare using VELVEETA® instead of the CHEEZ WHIZ, cut 1/2 lb. (8 oz.) VELVEETA into 1/2-inch cubes; place in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 3 min. or until melted, stirring after 1-1/2 min. Pour into potato shells, then top with remaining ingredients as directed.
Have a great day

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow, Bowling, Minions, A to Z.

Sorry about all the grousing in my last post.
Everyone is complaining about the weather and joking about the old fashioned Canadian winter. It certainly is that. It’s not so much the cold as the wind which has been really bad lately. As I said to someone by email, it’s a lazy wind, it goes KW roadsstraight through you instead of around. Today, Monday, everywhere looks pristine white after the weekend although there is an abandoned snowman on our way to bowling and one half of him became whiter, but the front is still dirty grey coloured. Pity. The piles of snow are so high along the roadsides and in parking lots that it becomes difficult when edging out into traffic to make sure nothing is coming. And still, we get people driving as fast as though there were dry roads and it was a summer’s day. They couldn’t stop for love nor money if they had to in a hurry. One of our bowling friends was away for a couple of days and today couldn’t find her car because it was buried. She isn’t very tall either so would have had trouble sweeping it off the roof. The picture was taken a day ago.

Matt bowled really well by the way. Enough said. It is our Travel League bowling on Thursday and as it’s out of town, the weather may prove an adversary. In that case, we certainly won’t go. Not that enthusiastic about going this week anyway, not sure why.

Not much to write about today. Having been snowed in all weekend. MinionsAll the hosts have been touting the A to Z Challenge for this April  and offering links for one to sign up. I am No. 58. I am also going to be a minion for Tina of Life is Good so I need to get cracking on my own posts. Time seems to be slipping away from me lately, I will have to haul some of it back and use it. This year’s hosts will be calling for minions any time soon – not very arduous so if you can join the fun they will be grateful.

This recipe is intended, by, to be eaten at the Superbowl on Sunday. However, it seems to me they are an excellent party food at any time. I won't be watching the Superbowl of course, but I might try and catch the ads at half time.

Baked Potato Bites

Contributed By: Patricia, 
12 servings
Rec Image
Comforting and filling for game day, yet elegant enough for the dressiest dinner party.

2 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes (cut in half)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 slices of bacon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 small green onions, trimmed, sliced thin
1 tablesoon minced shallot
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
1. Toss potatoes, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
2. Cook bacon to desired crispness; chop into small pieces. Set aside.
3. Blend sour cream, mayonnaise, half of the sliced green onions, shallot, parsley, bacon and cheese in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Place roasted potato halves on a large platter. Top each potato half with a large dollop of the sour cream mixture. Sprinkle each with chopped bacon and sliced green onion.
5. Leave remainder of sour cream mixture in a small serving bowl for extra toppings.

Have a great day


Monday, January 27, 2014

Lousy Weekend. Exchange.

Sorry, not much to write. Had a migraine since the early hours of Saturday morning and although it’s not so bad now, it’s still there. So bad I couldn’t drink wine on Saturday nor champagne on Sunday. Now that’s bad. Not only that, Friday and Saturday the wind blew and the snow flew making it miserably cold in our apartment again necessitating the use of the stove again. We have got to get ourselves a heater for times like this. So, basically, I don’t feel up to much writing at all.

It was also pointed out to me that the Canadian dollar has been dropping lately so that, right now, it would cost us $20 to buy $100 US. Depressing because that may mean our US vacation would be too expensive. Although Matt did get a pension increase last week, a whole $3.88 a month! Meanwhile Canada’s premier, Stephen Harper, has promised billions to the Palestinians.

Can you tell I’m fed up?

This pudding from Food & Wine would make me better now wouldn’t it?  I have got most of the ingredients on hand to make this, but no cream and no cooking chocolate.  I’ll probably end up with soup in fact.

Double-Chocolate Pudding

Contributed by Richard Sax
  • SERVINGS: 6 double-choc-pudding
This recipe from the late, great cookbook author Richard Sax has everything one could ask for in a chocolate pudding—an intense flavour and a silky texture that's still firm enough to stand a spoon in. For the best possible pudding, use top-quality cocoa powder and chocolate.
  1. 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  5. 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 2 large egg yolks
  8. 5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  9. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  11. Lightly whipped cream, for serving
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of the milk with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the salt and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the unsweetened cocoa powder and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until blended. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of milk and whisk until smooth. Whisk this mixture into the hot milk in the saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, whisking constantly, until the pudding is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the whole egg with the egg yolks. Gradually whisk about 1 cup of the hot cocoa pudding into the eggs until thoroughly incorporated, then scrape the pudding back into the saucepan. Cook the pudding over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until it just comes to boil, about 2 minutes.
  4. Strain the pudding into a medium heatproof bowl. Add the chopped chocolate, butter and vanilla and whisk until the chocolate and butter are melted and incorporated and the pudding is smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer the pudding to six 6-ounce ramekins and refrigerate until chilled. (If you're not in a hurry, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding in the bowl and refrigerate.) Serve with lightly whipped cream.
Make Ahead The chocolate pudding can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Hope you have a great day.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Recipe

I have mentioned many times that one of my favourite desserts is carrot cake. This one also has chocolate. I have posted this before, but I like it so much, here it is again. The recipe was in the LCBO’s magazine Food and Drink.

Double Chocolate Carrot Cake with Mocha Frosting

Spring 2011
By: Monda Rosenberg

If you’re in the mood for a rich dessert, this one takes the cake. Just Unknownone bite tweaks your taste buds—think a shot of cappuccino and a hit of chocolate at the same time. The warm, comforting flavour in the coffee-spiked frosting comes from mascarpone cheese, the star in classic Italian tiramisu.

5 cups (1.25 L) grated carrots
2¼ cups (550 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
¼ cup (50 mL) cocoa
4 squares (4 oz/125 g) semi-sweet chocolate
¼ cup (50 mL) milk
¾ cup (175 mL) vegetable oil
1¼ cups (300 mL) granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
1½ cups (375 mL) mascarpone cheese
1 cup (250 mL) cold whipping cream
2 tbsp (25 mL) instant coffee granules
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
2 cups (500 mL) sifted icing sugar
Shaved Chocolate

1 Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Spray or lightly oil two 8- or 9-inch (2- or 2.5-L) square cake pans.
2 Grate carrots using a food processor. Measure out 5 cups (1.25 L) and set aside. Place flour in a large bowl. Sprinkle with baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and cocoa. Stir until blended, then make a well in the centre. Separately, coarsely chop chocolate and place in a small microwave bowl or saucepan. Add milk.
3 Combine oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Microwave chocolate and milk combo on medium for 1½ minutes. Stir, then heat on medium for 1 more minute. Stir until smooth. Or on stovetop, stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Pour into cake batter while beating on low speed. Scrape into well in flour mixture and stir with a spoon or spatula until even in colour. Stir in carrots. Batter will be thick.
4 Divide batter between pans, adding about 3 cups (750 mL) to each. To remove air pockets, bang pans on counter 5 to 6 times. Bake until centres seem set when lightly tapped and cakes start to come away from sides of pans, 35 to 38 minutes. Remove pans to a baking rack to cool. After about 15 minutes, turn cakes out of pans and finish cooling on racks. It’s best to bake cakes a day ahead of icing and leave at room temperature overnight.
5 Place mascarpone in a bowl. Microwave ¼ cup (50 mL) cream in another small bowl or heat in a small saucepan until bubbles appear around edge. Stir in coffee until dissolved. Then, beating mascarpone on low, gradually add hot coffee-cream. As soon as no lumps remain, beat in cold cream and vanilla. Gradually beat in icing sugar. Beat about 30 seconds. Beating too much will cause thinning. Refrigerate until frosting has a good spreading consistency, about a half-hour, before icing cake.
6 To assemble, place 1 cake, flat-side up on a platter. Generously spread with icing, leaving a narrow border of cake around the edge. Top with the second cake, flat-side down and gently press down. Smoothly spread icing over the sides of the cake, then the top. Garnish top of cake with shaved chocolate. It’s best to refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.

Serves 10

Have a great weekend.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jeopardy, Bowling, Medical,

JeopardyAmazing, I mentioned Rob Ford yesterday and how he is disgracing Toronto; lo and behold he came up in a category on Jeopardy on Thursday night. That’s notoriety if you like. Talking of Jeopardy, I have been entering their contest every night with the hope of winning a trip. I am not usually very lucky so I don’t suppose it will happen, but you can’t win if you don’t enter.

For me bowling was not very good again, Matt had two excellent Bowling Pin Placement 5games. I did have an excuse though, I appear to have done something to my knee and was having trouble walking so when I bowled I was nervous about hurting myself further, however, as it turned out, the only time I didn’t hurt was whilst I was bowling. Go figure. We were bowling on our own as well so it went very fast.

Thursday morning I saw the gastroenterologist and asked him about a colonoscopy. He told me that colon cancer is the third most deadly. He told me all the pros and cons of the procedure, but he would NOT advise me about it. Guess I should talk to my family doctor and see what she says. I have never had one and don’t really want to, but its a precaution and I don’t know how advisable it is to take this precaution.
We are still getting snow here and it is still extremely cold. Despite this, there was a guy at the alley wearing shorts. Apparently so long as his top is warm, he wears shorts all year. Athletic type I understand. Seems nuts to me in this weather. I don’t even take my coat off at the doctors as I find it too cold.

I found a tourtière iTourtieresn the freezer the other day, I thought we had eaten them all, I make four at a time. So Thursday night we had it for supper. Not sure how long its been in the freezer, but it tasted pretty good. Now I guess I should make some more. I use three meats in mine and our local grocery store doesn’t have ground veal so I have to go elsewhere to get it. Had some homemade asparagus soup the other night and I have now started a countdown until the asparagus season. It is still a long way away. Sigh.

My apologies to those bloggers who haven't seen me lately, as you might gather, I have been running around all over the place this week.

This doesn’t sound like a bad breakfast dish. Bit high in calories for me these days, but it still sounds pretty savoury. It came from

Bacon Fried Rice

Source: Burt Wolf's Menu Cookbook

Makes 4 servings
Rec Image
1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups cold cooked rice (see Note)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (add more to taste)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped scallions, green part only

In a skillet, fry the bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels.
In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the eggs and cook, stirring, just until firm. Remove from the pan and reserve.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan and add the rice. Mix well. Add the soy sauce and mix well. Mix the eggs into the rice, breaking them into smaller pieces as you stir. Add the scallions and bacon. Mix again to combine, and serve.
NOTES: The rice should be cooked at least several hours ahead, or the day before, and refrigerated. It should be completely cold to be used for fried rice. This dish can be kept in a casserole in the oven at 140 degrees F. for about 40 minutes without drying out. It makes a good dish to serve with a main course that needs last-minute preparation.

Have a great day

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Doctor’s, Shingles, Toronto Mayor

Yesterday I had to go to my doctor’s for my quarterly diabetic check. Told you about the blood work last week. So normally I get in really quickly, but today it was a zoo. I have never seen them so busy. Saw one guy walk out because he had been waiting for 2 hours. Just after he had gone, they called him!!! They had five doctors working today and they were still behind. Apparently they had had a patient in the morning who had to be whisked off to the hospital and with the Shingle shotsambulance and emergency vehicles, it set them back quite a while. Anyway, once we got in to see the young man who goes through the results with you, I found that, as usual, my diabetes was well under control. However, my doctor came in to see me and said the government were recommending everyone over 50 should have shingles shots. However, they are $170 a shot and the government is not paying for them, not even for senior seniors. She and others are lobbying about this she told us. It turns out that our own insurance does cover the injection to the tune of $150 per person so we decided to go ahead. We then had to go to their pharmacy, get the medication (another 20 minutes or so) and then the pharmacist gave the stuff to the nurse who did it right away as there is a 20 minute window for its use, I guess it is refrigerated. I am just glad that I had the shot in my left arm as its hurting, might have stopped me bowling!!! Matt, typically, is fine. So, by the time we had finished, we had been in the clinic for 2 hours. Not how we wanted to spend the afternoon.

Actually, I had noticed a lot more about shingles on TV lately and I know people who have had it. Apparently if you have ever had chicken pox you have the shingles virus in you and it can flare up at any time, particularly when you are older. I certainly have had chicken pox, when I was about 10, I got it because one of the girls in our dormitory came back to school having been at home with her mother who had shingles and we all got chicken pox from that. Matt also had chicken pox many years ago. From everything I hear, shingles is extremely painful and recently there has been a lot more of it occurring for some reason. I can’t believe the government are recommending it but not paying for it.

This morning I have another appointment with the specialist the gastroenterologist I saw a while back – he did my endoscopy. Today is just a follow up. I seem to be running around in medical circles lately.

I see our beloved mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, is playing up again. He has been videoed drunk once more and people are again calling for his resignation. He has had all his powers taken from him, but I suppose he is still getting paid and I understand he cannot be fired. I don’t pretend to fully understand why. Just because he is elected. If he is an incompetent, drug taking, drunk, they should be able to kick him out. But it can’t be done and he won’t go. Grrrr. What an embarrassment for the city. What an embarrassment for the country.

This doesn’t sound like a bad way to use up chicken and would be a quick evening meal I think. That is assuming you have the ingredients. I found this on

Grands!® Fiesta Chicken Casserole

Source: Pillsbury® Grands! ®
Active Time:  10 Minutes
Total Time:  55 Minutes
6 servings
Rec Image
Turn leftover chicken into a tasty dinner in a family-pleasing casserole featuring Grands!® biscuits.

1 can (16.3 ounces) Pillsbury® Grands!® Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup Old El Paso® Thick 'n Chunky salsa
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives, drained (if desired)
Cut each biscuit into eight pieces; toss with salsa to coat.
Spread in greased 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish; sprinkle with remaining ingredients.
Bake at 375 degrees F 35 to 40 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown and center biscuit pieces are no longer doughy. Let stand 15 minutes. Serve with additional salsa, if desired.

Have a great day

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Stamps, Printer, Polar Vortex

Sorry about the lack of blog yesterday. I will try not to let it happen again.

I mentioned, over the Christmas period, that I had bought a book of stamps $1.10, which were mispriStampsnted and if lifted off the sheet, would only say ANADA. I took them into a philately shop yesterday and he advised me to send a picture to a place in Montreal. I did this and they offered me $40 for them. If they had been much more misaligned they would have been worth more. However, I can’t complain, I only paid $6.60 plus tax for them. Would be nice to find something like that worth a lot of money though wouldn’t it? I’m not that lucky.

I had a bad day on Saturday, my printer decided to pack up on me, it first made a lot of noise, then started flashing its warning light and nothing I could do would Printermake it work.  Then the rest of the day was a lot of small things going wrong which put me in a bad temper. Poor Matt. In fact my computer guy has taken my printer and is going to have a look at it and see if it can be fixed and if it’s worth fixing. I do have a second printer which I bought because it was the only flatbed scanner I could find, my previous one having gone kaput some years ago. I very rarely use this second printer so, needless to say, the ink was somewhat dry. Googled and found that if I soaked the cartridge ink head in hot water it might work, guess what, it  actually did. I had three new cartridges on hand for the broken printer and Staples agreed to exchange them for cartridges for my second printer.

That polar vortex has come back with a vengeance in Eastern Canada, we are definitely getting some effects from it. Went to get my hair cut today and even though I wasn’t outside for more than a minute or so, I can assure you, I froze.

Grits are not something I eat a lot, but I have learned to like shrimp and grits which has become very popular in North Carolina and when I came across this recipe I thought it might be worth a try. Of course I will have to find some grits first.

Goat Cheese Grits With Fresh Corn

Goat Cheese Grits With Fresh Corn
WebMD Recipe from

Take grits upscale by adding fresh corn, goat cheese and chives.

3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup quick grits, (not instant)
1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 large ear), or frozen
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (3 ounces), divided
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives, or scallion greens

  1. Bring water, salt and pepper to a boil in a large saucepan. Slowly pour in grits, stirring constantly. Stir in corn; return to a simmer. 
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat, stir in half the goat cheese and let stand for 5 minutes. 
  4. Stir in chives (or scallions). Serve each portion sprinkled with some of the remaining cheese.
Have a great day
Jo (2)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I Forgot


I'm sorry, I was so busy watching The Sound of Music that I completely forgot to write a blog.

Just to keep you up to date, bowling was terrible, worst I have done in a long time. Matt's game was much better.

I thought these mini quiche looked great.

Mini Brie & Apple Quiches

Mini Brie and Apple Quiches

Have a great day

Monday, January 20, 2014

Doctors!! Pronunciation, Crafts.

HI had a bit of a scare on Friday. Around lunch time the doctor’s office Kidneycalled me, a nurse I assume, to say that there was a problem with the blood work I had had done the other day and the doctor wanted me to go to a specialist for a second opinion. I put the phone down and then started to worry. What could be wrong? What could be the problem? Why didn’t they tell me? Matt decided we should head over to the doctor’s office right away and find out. Takes us a good half hour to get there and once we did I saw one of the receptionists who knows us very well, she told me that it wasn’t too serious but I had a lowering of kidney function (diabetes strikes again). They are sending me to a nephrologist (new word to me). I might say the receptionist was probably not really supposed to tell me all this. Anyway, the upshot, I didn’t need to see a doctor which I probably would have not been able to do anyway. But why don’t they tell you this stuff in the first place instead of scaring you. Lukemia came to my mind, particularly as I had recently been talking to a friend who has it.

As a blogger of recipes, I was interested in this article when I came Guancialeacross it How to pronounce the 16 most confusing food words so naturally I had to check it. I don’t really know Sriracha but it turns out I was pronouncing it right. See it a lot in recipes all of a sudden. The only word I wasn’t pronouncing right was acai I was using a hard c although I think I had heard the proper way at some point in time. As for guanaciale when I read it I pronounced it correctly, but I have never heard of it before. I gather it’s a cured meat similar to prosciutto. It looks pretty fatty though, I wonder if its available here? All the others are mostly French and Italian names with one Greek and one Vietnamese thrown in. I knew how to pronounce Pho because a friend, who had been there, told me.

I pulled out a sweat shirt the other day which I hadn’t worn in a Shirt Picturewhile. It has a large bouquet of flowers on the front which I laboriously applied some years ago. I used to pipe some gold or silver rubberised liquid all round which one had to let dry before using. No idea what it was called. I did a whole bunch of these things when I lived in NC. I also did a bunch of transfers which I made on the computer on special paper and then ironed on to various things, shirts, napkins, etc. I put poinsettia designs on a set of napkins for Christmas plus names on our chef’s jackets when we had a cooking business and so on. It suddenly occurred to me that I always deny that I do crafts but I guess these things do come under that heading. So yes, I do crafts.

I’m not a big fan of lasagne although in this part of the world, everybody has their own recipe which is made frequently. When I saw this, I thought it sounded sufficiently different to be interesting.

Caramelized Onion Lasagna

Caramelized Onion Lasagna
WebMD Recipe from

This unusual lasagna with portobello mushrooms, sweet onions, spinach and Gorgonzola cheese has a rich, complex flavor. It's also great with goat cheese instead of Gorgonzola, if you prefer.

  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles, preferably whole-wheat
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium portobello mushroom caps, gills removed, diced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cups nonfat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles until not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain; return the noodles to the pot and cover with cool water.
  2. To prepare onion filling: Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and very soft, about 25 minutes. (If they begin to stick, add water 1/4 cup at a time to release them and prevent burning.) Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add wine and 1 teaspoon salt and continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pepper.
  3. To prepare spinach filling: Place spinach, ricotta, basil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor and process until smooth.
  4. To prepare white sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir until bubbling, about 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking, until the sauce has the consistency of thick gravy, about 1 minute. Add Gorgonzola and gently whisk until it is melted. Remove from the heat. (The sauce will continue to thicken as it sits.)
  5. To assemble lasagna: Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Drain the noodles and spread out on a kitchen towel. Spread 1/2 cup white sauce in the prepared pan. Place a layer of noodles over the sauce. Spread half of the spinach filling over the noodles and top with one-third of the onion filling. Evenly spread 1/2 cup white sauce over the onions. Repeat with another layer of noodles, the remaining spinach filling, half the remaining onion filling and half the remaining white sauce. To finish, top with a third layer of noodles, spread the remaining onion filling over the noodles and then spread or dollop the remaining white sauce on top. Sprinkle with walnuts and basil.
  6. Bake until hot and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Have a great day

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday Recipe

Here is yet another seafood recipe, they have been coming thick and fast lately and as I love them, I am sharing them with you. Not sure about cooking pasta without salt but I suppose you get a lot with the clams and clam juice.

Seafood Arrabbiata

Italian for "angry," arrabbiata is a spicy tomato sauce. For true fury, use 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper in this delicious seafood dish.

Cooking Light NOVEMBER 2009
    Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
    Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
  • Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces uncooked linguine
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 ounces bay scallops
  • 6 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can petite-cut diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup clam juice
  • 12 littleneck clams
  • 12 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
2. While pasta cooks, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops and shrimp to pan; cook 3 minutes. Remove scallop mixture from pan; keep warm. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, red pepper, and garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and tomatoes; bring to a boil, and cook 2 minutes. Add clam juice; cook 1 minute. Add clams; cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 4 minutes. Add mussels; cover and cook 3 minutes or until clams and mussels open. Discard any unopened shells. Stir in scallop mixture and parsley; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Serve over pasta. Sprinkle with basil.

Have a great weekend
Jo (2)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Yes We’ve Got No Bananas, Cleaners, Pipe Bombs, Radicals.

MonkeysAccording to a news story, Paignton Zoo in Devon, England, has stopped feeding bananas to its monkeys as they have discovered that it causes tooth decay and diabetes just as it does in humans as well as obesity and heart problems. The monkeys are now much healthier on a diet which is contains more green vegetables. Also the lack of so much sugar is making them less inclined to fight. Most of us believe that in the wild monkeys eat bananas, apparently this is not so.

Although we mostly get up around 7 a.m., we don’t always “Mrs. Mopclean up” that quickly. Particularly me, I get on the computer and forget what time it is. However, Thursday morning we showered and breakfasted early because the cleaners were coming. Eventually at 9:05 I double checked my calendar, duuuh, it’s Friday they are coming, not Thursday. No idea why I thought it was Thursday. So anyway, it’s all to do again.

Read an article today about a young man (Skylar skylar-murphyMurphy) boarding a plane in Edmonton with his family who was discovered to be carrying a pipe bomb in his camera case. The officials believed his story that he and a friend were planning to blow up a shed and he was going to photograph it then forgot he had the pipe bomb in his camera case when he packed to travel. I kind of believe it too, I know my first husband used to blow things up as a kid – he became a physicist. It seems they do that kind of thing. However, he was arrested when he came back from vacation.

Unbelievable, in the last week or so, two Canadians, who had converted to Islam and then been “radicalized” have lost their lives in fighting in Syria. What on earth makes young Canadians, born and bred get involved with such things. It doesn’t appear their families were Muslims.

Bowling went well yesterday. First game lousy second two very good. However, for Matt it was great first game, lousy second and third. It’s a very odd sport.

This recipe is from Eating Well’s Clean Recipes. Sounds good. Been getting a lot of shrimp recipes lately, all worth saving as far as I am concerned.

Grilled Shrimp with Melon and Pineapple Salsa

From EatingWell:  July/August 2009
Grilled shrimp is perfectly accented by this light, summery pineapple-melon salsa. The flavors are bright and fresh, just right for a hot day. Use just one melon or any combination of melons—including watermelon—for the versatile salsa. For best flavor marinate shrimp overnight.

4 servings
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño, divided
  • 2 cups finely diced firm ripe melon
  • 1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large lettuce leaves, such as Boston, romaine or iceberg
  • 4 lime wedges
  1. Combine shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon jalapeño in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
  2. Combine melon, pineapple, red and green bell pepper, onion, vinegar, chopped mint and salt in a large bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon jalapeño. Refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  3. About 20 minutes before serving, preheat grill to high.
  4. Thread the shrimp onto skewers, piercing each twice, once through the tail end and once near the head end. Grill the shrimp until pink and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. When cool enough to handle, slide the shrimp off the skewers.
  5. To serve, arrange one large lettuce leaf on each dinner plate. Spoon salsa onto the lettuce and top with shrimp. Garnish each serving with a lime wedge and a mint sprig, if using.
Per serving : 211 Calories; 8 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 5 g Mono; 168 mg Cholesterol; 16 g Carbohydrates; 19 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 352 mg Sodium; 501 mg Potassium
1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 fruit, 2 1/2 lean meat, 1 fat
Tips & Notes
  • Make Ahead Tip: Marinate the shrimp (Step 1) for up to 24 hours. Cover and refrigerate the salsa (Step 2) for up to 4 hours. 
  • Note: To devein shrimp, use a paring knife to make a slit along the length of the shrimp. Under running water, remove the tract with the knife tip.
Have a great day

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Phone Calls, Laptop Concept.

BahamasOh goody, I got a phone call telling me I won a free cruise to the Bahamas. Do people really fall for this stuff? I suppose they must otherwise they wouldn’t continue to do it. Right now, it’s cold and snowy again so I could use a cruise to the Bahamas. We went there once, for a couple of days, had a fabulous time. Tickled me that rum was dirt cheap but if you wanted to mix it with anything, that cost a small fortune. Earlier I got a phone call from someone talking with a very strong Indian accent who offered me cable, phone and internet service for a lot less than we pay now. However, the number showing on the phone was a list of zeros so I decided not to take them up on it!! What really tees me off, we pay for the phone to get these idiots calling us. We also are on a list not to receive advertising calls, but I guess some always get through. One of the most annoying is duct cleaning. Mostly I don’t answer such calls in the first place, but the other day I answered an unknown number and it turned out to be my cousin in California. Not sure what made me answer it.

I have been having trouble with my laptop and just got it back. It has German Concept Laptopbeen suggested I might want to upgrade because it has become very slow. I didn’t know a hard drive and memory could be changed in a laptop. Duuh. I kinda thought what you had was what you got. Anyway, I am using it right now, so it doesn’t seem too bad if not as fast as it should be. Talking of computers, a friend sent me a video of a German concept laptop. What a great idea. I want one. Absolutely fabulous. Do watch the video. That is the laptop hanging from his shoulder.

Bowling today, wish us luck.

I love rice noodles so this recipe is right up my street.

Sweet and Spicy Shrimp with Rice Noodles

Sweet and Spicy Shrimp with Rice Noodles
Photo: Francesco Tonelli; Styling: Philippa Brathwaite
This dish has the starch built in, and because the recipe includes lots of fresh veggies, it qualifies as a one-dish meal.
Cooking Light AUGUST 2012
  • Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste, such as Huy Fong)
  • 1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 12 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 4 ounces uncooked flat rice noodles (pad thai noodles)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped unsalted cashews
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 green Thai chile, halved
  • 12 sweet mini peppers, halved
  • 3/4 cup matchstick-cut carrot
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup snow peas, trimmed
  • 3/4 cup fresh bean sprouts
1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add shrimp to vinegar mixture; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
2. Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain.
3. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add cashews, garlic, ginger, and chile to pan; stir-fry 1 minute or until garlic begins to brown. Remove cashew mixture from pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
4. Increase heat to high. Add sweet peppers, carrot, and salt to pan; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add shrimp mixture (do not drain); stir-fry 2 minutes. Stir in noodles and peas; cook 1 minute, tossing to coat. Return cashew mixture to pan. Add bean sprouts; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, tossing frequently.

Have a great day
Jo (2)