Monday, January 25, 2016

A to Z

Just to let you know I have joined the A to Z Challenge this morning. I hope you too will join us. Click on the badge link to do so.

Have a great day

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Disappearing for a while.

Got a heck of a lot on my plate this week. Probably won't blog. Sorry. See you again soon.

Have a great day

Friday, January 22, 2016

Bowling, Bed Bugs,

Not much going on in my life at the moment. We went bowling as usual and in fact I didn't do too badly so I was happy about that. I was surprised the alley owners knew about my hospital episode and then realised a good friend had been bowling on Wednesday.

One thing I am worried about. It turns out that in Ontario there has been an outbreak of many total infestations of bed bugs. Funnily enough I had seen 3 insects in the bedroom which I didn't recognise. I checked on line and I think they might have been the bed bugs. Not 100% sure. However, I sprayed all round the bed and the rest of the room. The exterminators have been working in the building for most of the day apparently. I am also told we have had cockroaches in our building, in Canada? That does surprise me. Apparently the whole building needs spraying outside as they say the bugs are now in the brickwork. I think we tenants should get together to achieve this rather than just wait and see what is done. Bed Bugs seem to have become a problem in North America. I have heard lots of reports about infestations. In fact I read that they are a big problem in Canada these days and in our area too. There is a scam going around advertising an easy cure. I believed it when I first read it, but luckily continued reading.

Elizabeth Seckman who is an author and is also one of the housewives at The Really Real Housewives of America says she likes easy recipes and admits to being lazy in the kitchen. For you Liz here is an easy lasagna. I don't know what a doonk is, you will have to guess I'm afraid.

Lazy Lasagna

I’ve made plenty of zucchini and eggplant lasagnas in the last few years that fit S mode* (see info below), but they call for cutting the veggies into thin layers as faux noodles, and sometimes also require pre-cooking the veggies. I’m so over that. These days my life is way too busy for those extra steps; I need ultra-easy meals, so I thought about spinach. It’s super cheap when you buy it in frozen bricks, it doesn’t require cutting— hmmm—couldn’t that work as a lasagna noodle layer? My children
are not the hugest spinach fans, but they scarf this down and tell me it is the best lasagna ever! This is my go-to lasagna now; I’ve ditched all the others.

Serves 6-8

2 pounds ground meat (beef and venison work well)
2 (12-ounce) jars no-sugar-added pizza or spaghetti sauce (see Note)
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Mineral Salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¹/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 to 2 doonks Pure Stevia Extract (optional)
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (8-ounce) package 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1 (14-ounce) container 1% cottage cheese
2 large eggs
1 (8-ounce) piece part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (for sprinkling over top; green can is fine)


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brown the meat in a large skillet over high heat, then drain off any excess fat if necessary. Add the sauce and seasonings, and simmer over low heat for several minutes.

Put the spinach in a colander and squeeze and push to get all the liquid out.

Put the cream cheese, cottage cheese, and eggs in a food processor and process until smooth.

Layer half the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9 × 13-inch baking dish. Top with half the cheese mixture, then layer on half the spinach. Follow with half the grated mozzarella. Repeat the layers, ending with the mozzarella. Top with a good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 40 minutes or until bubbly.
Have a great day

Thursday, January 21, 2016

More Medical Sh*t, Leeks,

I am getting fed up with medical problems. Tuesday afternoon I developed a severe pain just under my left breast. I didn't have any other signs other than high Blood Pressure readings, but eventually I called an ambulance and went to the local hospital. The ambulance took my first ecg in the hallway at our building. They can't get the stretchers into the apartments. So there was I lying on a stretcher with my shirt up and breasts exposed whilst they stuck those things on me to attach the appropriate leads. They promised me they would cover me quickly if any door opened. It didn't. I was hooked up and left that (hooked up not exposed) way whilst we travelled to the hospital and the wires were only detached when they had me in a bed in emerg. They disappeared and it was at least 20 minutes before anyone came near me. However, I figured if they had thought I was having a heart attack they would have been with me sooner. I hope. In the end I was in there for over 5 hours with no positive results. They did say I had a bundle branch block. I had blood tests and a chest X-ray so most of the time is waiting for results. I had problems with high blood pressure too. It did not want to come down. Eventually they sent us home at about 1:15 a.m. with a requisition for a stress test.

So whilst all this was going on I was preparing supper and decided to roast some leeks although I wasn't doing the full version of yesterday's recipe. Our stove works by pushing buttons so I set everything up and when it beeped I put the leeks in. However, without thinking I pressed the off button for the oven so when the leeks came out they weren't done. I was cursing the recipe because it hadn't been anything like long enough. It wasn't til much later, in the hospital, that I realised what I had done. I guess the moral is don't cook if you have a pain. Still have some leeks both part cooked and uncooked so going to try again. I did cook them again and have decided it wasn't all my fault. I gave them 17 minutes, not long enough, 20 minutes is the absolute minimum I think, and maybe 25-30 minutes.

So, sorry about all the medical rubbish. Thursday we can go bowling so that will be a better day for us. Didn't go to exercise classes as I was feeling tired. Had to post my blog when I got home LOL

Another recipe which caught my eye. It was posted by Yummly and turned out to be from The Woks of Life. It occurs to me this is not only vegetarian, but with the right noodles could also be suitable for vegans. As I am such a noodle freak as well as an asparagus freak I should be looking out for such combinations.

Vegetable Lo Mein
1 pound (450g) fresh white noodles or lo mein egg noodles
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar + 1 teaspoon hot water to dissolve the sugar 
pinch of five spice powder (optional)
1 tablespoon oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms (shiitakes, button mushrooms, or anything you like)
1 scallion, split at the thick parts and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 small carrot, julienned
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
a handful snow peas, trimmed
a handful of leafy greens (bok choy, choy sum, etc.)
Boil water in a large pot for the noodles. If using the lo mein egg noodles, you can skip this step, as those noodles do not require any pre-cooking. But if using fresh white noodles, you will have to boil them. Just cook until al dente, drain, and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauces, sesame oil, dissolved sugar, and five spice powder if using. Heat oil in a wok over high heat and add the garlic, mushrooms, and the white parts of the scallions. Stir-fry for 30 seconds and add the peppers and carrots. Make sure your hot is searing hot, and then hit it with the shaoxing wine. Stir fry for another minute.
Next, add the snow peas and leafy greens to the wok and cook until the greens are just wilted. Then add your noodles. Make sure that before you add them to the pan, they're somewhat loose and not all clumped together (you can rinse them in warm water to loosen them up before adding them to the pan).
Pour your sauce mixture over the noodles and stir-fry until the color of the noodles are uniform. A folding or scoop and lift motion works well for that. Once everything is well-combined, dish out the noodles and serve.

Have a great day

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Medical Update, Language,

I finally phone the orthopaedic surgeon and it turns out he is retiring this year and is booked right through until then. Damn. I had a lot of faith in him as he had done both Matt's replacements as well as mine. However, his secretary, who knows me very well, recommended a new young surgeon who has moved into the area. So I phoned my family doctor, unable to get through, so I then faxed them but haven't heard anything in return. Not only that, I saw my doc on Thursday evening, but the secretary at the surgeon's office said she had not had a referral. I am beginning to think that going back to the group in the next town would be a good idea as getting a response is so difficult. Mind you, my hip has been heaps better anyway although my back has been worrying me and nothing is underway for that. Now I need to concentrate on hip and lower back exercises if I don't want to end up as a cripple.

I know, some things I spell the English way and some the American way. Most of the time I no longer know the difference unless, like now, a word is underlined by the system as I type (referring to orthopaedic). Sorry, doesn't look right to me without the dipthong. If I go to England they think I sound Canadian (or more likely American, we don't know the difference in sound) but in Canada they think I sound English. Unless you come here as a very young child I don't think you ever lose your original accent. I don't think I have ever heard a Scot who didn't sound like a Scot. In my young days we were always told that the right way to speak was as heard on the BBC. However, that doesn't apply any more as no matter where you come from in the UK you are not expected to change they way you speak to be on the radio. With the result that all kinds of grammatical mistakes are creeping into the English language, and maybe creeping is understating it.

I love leeks and frequently use them instead of onions or even as well as. I also like to braise them. This recipe caught my eye, it is, supposedly a French recipe


Michael Anthony

Whole leeks roasted in the oven reveal a deep, soulful side of their character. They're charred on the outside and soft and tender on the inside, and we'll finish them with a vinaigrette and fresh
cilantro to keep things bright.

3 Leeks
3 tbsp Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 C Orange juice
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 Clove garlic, smashed
3 tbsp Sherry vinegar
3 tbsp Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Orange segments, for garnish

For the leeks: 
Heat oven to 375 F. Trim the root ends, then remove the green tops and any tough, damaged outer fronds. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and rinse in cool water to remove the sandy soil they grow in. Pat dry and place on a roasting pan cut side up. Drizzle olive oil over the leeks, season with salt and pepper and roast until tender, 15-20 minutes.
For the vinaigrette: 
In a saucepan, add orange juice, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer until liquid is reduced by half, 5 minutes. Finish making the vinaigrette by removing the garlic from the reduced orange juice and whisking in vinegar, then olive oil. 
Assemble the dish: 
Arrange the leeks on a serving platter, drizzle several tablespoons of the vinaigrette (reserving the rest for another use), and garnish with cilantro and orange segments. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Have a great day

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Snow, Bowling, Loonie,

Join me on the balcony?
Well, Monday has been all about snow. It has snowed almost constantly all day and as far as I know, it is still doing so this evening. We also expect more tomorrow. When it was snowing really hard Matt said there was no way we would be going bowling, however, watching such traffic as there was outside, they seemed to be progressing well and we are on a bus route which helps. I did NOT see any snow ploughs however, no idea what happened to those. Maybe too busy keeping the express roads clear. One of our team told me that she would not be coming bowling, I had guessed that because I know she doesn't like to
Anyone for Tennis?
drive in snow, but apparently another member had told her he wouldn't be coming either!! I was surprised as he drives an SUV. In the end, having asked the bowling alley what the main road outside their door was like, we decided to go as the snow had eased off. The roads were snowy, but it wasn't that bad so long as one took it carefully. Of course there were idiots out there driving too fast and who wouldn't have been able to stop if they needed to. There were quite a lot of people at the bowling alley, more than we had expected. I bowled, not very well, but... Only  thing is my back decided to play up instead so having only just about crept over the 100 points for the first two games, I ended up with a 140 game. Maybe I was thinking too much about what ached and not worrying about bowling.

I just pinched this from another blog, Viveka's My Guilty Pleasures,

 “Snow is like sex,
you never know how many inches you’re going to get
or how long it will last”

Kind of listening to the TV, they are talking about low gas prices today (Monday) - we noticed on the way past that our local gas prices were 88¢ a litre. That, for us, is fantastic although I understand the economy is suffering from the low gas prices per barrel. I must admit I am not up on such economics, but this is what is reported on the news. Luckily we have no plans to travel anywhere so the low dollar doesn't affect us. But the loonie (as we call our dollar) is certainly taking a beating at the moment. In case you don't realise, the bird on the back is a Loon. Of course this situation doesn't help food prices and our weekly expenditure on groceries has gone up a bundle. Like the $7 cauliflower for instance. Trouble is, not a lot of veg can be grown here in the winter, anything that is would have to be in greenhouses, so most of our stuff is imported from Mexico or the southern States. I bet when gas prices go up again though, the food prices won't come down. Funny how it happens that way!!

I liked the sound of this although I  have never eaten papaya.

Green Papaya Salad with Tomatoes and Basil
Food and Wine

Chef Lee Anne Wong loves the crunch of green papayas, an ingredient that's abundant in Hawaii. She spikes her healthy salad with green beans, grape tomatoes and plenty of herbs.


1/2 cup macadamia nuts
5 small Thai chiles
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest and 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 lime zest
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
10 cups lightly packed julienned green papaya (from a 3-pound fruit)
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Thai or regular basil, sliced into 1/4-inch ribbons
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a pie plate, toast the nuts until golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
In a food processor, combine the chiles, garlic, lime zest and juice, fish sauce, honey and salt. Purée until smooth.
In a medium bowl, toss the papaya with the green beans, tomatoes, basil and cilantro. Add the vinaigrette and toss again. Fold in the nuts and serve.

Have a great day

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hip, Chocolate Volcanoes, A to Z, National Geographic Photo,

Now isn't that interesting, having been to the doctor, been told to go see the orthopaedic surgeon, I went to exercises on Friday and mostly had no problems and then I spent the whole of Saturday hardly using my cane at all. It seems highly possible to me that the surgeon will say still too early, unless the pain comes back to what it was. I think the inflammation has finally subsided so that my hip is getting back to what it was before my fall. Fingers crossed anyway. I do take anti-inflammatories so this may have done the trick.

Saturday dinner I tried another "packet" recipe. My peers will be ashamed of me, however, in Zehrs, our local grocery store, I came across Chocolate Volcanoes in a box and couldn't resist trying them which we finally did last night. They were very good. We had one problem, you know that cream I froze? Well I added a dollop on each cake but despite being told that they would, they didn't defrost. Odd because they defrosted on the mincemeat pie a week ago. Anyway, I guess I should have taken them out of the freezer in advance. This store does a Decadent Chocolate cookie too which is to die for. They really get their chocolate right. This is a dessert I will be keeping on hand for the future, mind you the calorie count is pretty high, 390 for one cake.

Oh, by the way, if you didn't catch it anywhere, this year's A to Z Challenge sign up starts on January 25th. I am still dithering. It's fun but it's also a lot of work. Not, for me, so much the writing as the visiting which is essential during this period. It is a great way to meet new blogging friends and to discover new and interesting blogs, but it does take up a lot of time.

I had an email from the National Geographic today showing some of their prize winning photographs. Their photographers are brilliant, but this picture particularly caught my attention.

The photo is by Stephen Wilkes and he took a series of photographs at different times during the day and then "stitched" them together to make Day to Night - Serengeti. I now have this as my wallpaper.

To be honest, I cannot imagine making these, but I couldn't resist sharing the recipe, they sound so delicious. They would be so impressive at a dinner party

Blood Orange Soufflés

Pastry chef Jen Yee of NYC's Lafayette Grand Cafe and Bakery uses blood oranges at the height of their season to make her tangy warm souffles in orange cups.


8 medium blood oranges
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon blood orange marmalade
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut a very thin slice off the bottom of each orange so it stands upright; be careful not to pierce the pith. Slice 1 inch off the tops to expose the fruit. Using a superfine citrus zester, such as a Microplane, grate 1/2 teaspoon of zest from the tops and reserve; discard the remaining tops.

Using a sharp paring knife or grapefruit spoon, scoop out the fruit into a medium bowl. Hollow out the oranges, being careful not to pierce through the skin and collecting all the juice in the bowl. Arrange the orange shells on the prepared baking sheet.

Squeeze the juice from the fruit and strain into a bowl. Transfer 1/2 cup of the juice to a medium saucepan; reserve the rest for another use. Add 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over moderate heat; cook until the sugar is dissolved.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and the cornstarch until smooth. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the hot orange juice. Add the mixture to the saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened to a pudding consistency, about 1 minute. Whisk in the reserved 1/2 teaspoon of grated zest and the marmalade. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl and let cool until lukewarm, about 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form. Fold the whites into the cooled orange mixture until well blended. Spoon the filling into the orange shells, leaving 1/4 inch at the top. Run the tip of a sharp paring knife just around the inner rim of the oranges to help the soufflés rise evenly.
Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, until the soufflés are risen and golden on top. Transfer to serving plates, dust 
with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.


The souffles can be prepared through Step 6 and kept at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.

Have a great day

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Saturday Recipe

For some time I have wanted a cheat recipe for Vietnamese Pho or Beef Noodle Soup. This sounds like it would be a good one, I found it on My Recipes. The real recipes call for baking and boiling beef bones etc. I am afraid I can no longer be bothered to do that. Knorr make an excellent beef broth in jell form.

Vietnamese Beef-Noodle Soup with Asian Greens

Introduce your taste buds to Vietnamese cuisine with this quick and easy soup. The rich broth, aromatic herbs, and tender steak will leave you wanting more.
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 (8-ounce) sirloin steak
  • 4 ounces uncooked wide rice stick noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 (3-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon less-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 4 cups baby bok choy leaves
  • 1 cup snow peas, trimmed
  • 1 small fresh Thai chile, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 4 lime wedges


1. Freeze beef for 10 minutes; cut across grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain.
3. Place onion and next 5 ingredients (through star anise) in a large saucepan; cook over medium-high heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Strain broth mixture though a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Return broth to pan. Add soy sauce, sugar, and fish sauce; bring to a boil. Add bok choy and snow peas; simmer 4 minutes or until peas are crisp-tender and bok choy wilts.
4. Arrange 1/2 cup noodles into each of 4 large bowls. Divide raw beef and chile slices evenly among bowls. Ladle about 1 2/3 cups hot soup over each serving (broth will cook beef). Top each serving with 1/4 cup bean sprouts, 1 tablespoon basil, and 1 tablespoon mint. Serve with lime wedges.

Have a great weekend

Friday, January 15, 2016

Snow, Bowling, Hip, Lamb.

Last night, before I got into bed, I looked out of the window - it was quite windy and it had been snowing. I saw several snow devils (like dust devils but snow) whirling and dancing through the trees in the park. It was so pretty to watch. A couple of houses are still using their outside Christmas lights which made the effect even more enjoyable.
There's only one in this picture and it's daylight, but to show you what I mean.

Thursday we went bowling as usual and I had a go, managed OK. Even threw a couple of strikes which suprised me. In the end, I missed out on the last three frames. My scores were pretty lousy, but at least I played. We went home to kill some time before the doctor's and then headed out again. When we got there I was horrified, it wasn't even 5 and the place seemed full. One man offered me a chair, another offered me his lap. I told him I would be too heavy, he assured me women were never heavy? Cheeky. However, there were 2 seats so a couple of guys shifted along and Matt and I sat down. We actually only waited 45 minutes which wasn't as bad as I had thought. The upshot is the arthritic condition of my hip was aggravated by my fall before Christmas and I am being referred to an orthopaedic surgeon. I requested the doctor who had done my previous hip replacement in 2005 and had also done both Matt's hips and his knee. Tomorrow I will give them a call and see if I can get a jump on an appointment. In Canada you cannot go straight to a specialist, you have to be referred by your MD. The Doctor said it was OK to exercise or bowl but not to aggravate it any further. She talked about strengthening exercises. Said I would have been given them before, if I was, or Matt was, we don't remember and don't have them anyway.

Home to my invented lamb stew which I had been cooking in the slow cooker all day. Delicious. Don't know why I didn't think of doing this before. I have often made a hotpot dish which is lamb, onions and potatoes, but never made a stew with these pieces as well as the tough lamb chops we had. It was full of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin giving it a pseudo Persian effect. I decided to find a lamb shanks recipe to share. This is from the Liquor Board's Food and Drink Magazine.



Lamb Shanks are very trendy because they are full of great flavour and end up with a tempting, melting texture when they are cooked slowly. The sauce for this dish is rich and thick. Serve with mashed potatoes, couscous or noodles.

2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin
2 tsp (10 mL) ground ginger
2 tsp (10 mL) ground coniander
2 tsp (10 mL) paprika
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cayenne
6 lamb shanks
3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped carrots
1/2 cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped celery
1 bottle (341 mL) beer, preferably ale
2 cups (500 mL) beef stock, homemade or canned low-salt
1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
1 bay leaf
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled

Vegetable Garnish:
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
3 zucchini, cut in 3/4-inch (2-cm) dice
1 red pepper, cut in 3/4-inch (2-cm) dice
1 yellow pepper, cut in 3/4-inch (2-cm) dice

1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Combine cumin, ginger, coriander, paprika, cinnamon and cayenne. Toss lamb shanks with 2 tsp (10 mL) spice mixture, reserve remainder.

2. Heat 2 tbsp (25 mL) oil in skillet or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Brown lamb shanks in batches on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve. Wipe out pan and add remaining oil.

3. Add onion, carrot and celery. Sauté until onion is browned slightly, about 5 minutes. Add reserved spice mixture and sauté for 3 seconds. Add beer, stock, thyme and bay leaf and bring to boil. Return meat to pan.

4. Bake for 1 hour, add garlic, cloves and bake one hour longer or until meat is tender and nearly falling off the bone.

5. Remove meat. Skim fat, then remove vegetables with a slotted spoon. Discard bay leaf. Purée vegetables in a food processor or blender. Stir back into stock and reduce until sauce lightly coats a spoon, about 10 minutes.

6. To make vegetable garnish, add oil into skillet on medium-high heat. Add vegetables and sauté until vegetables are crisp tender, about 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Stir vegetable garnish and lamb back into sauce. Simmer together for 15 minutes or until lamb and vegetables are reheated. Serve with potatoes, couscous, or noodles.

Serves 6

Have a great day

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Coward Punch, Health, Lamb Stew,

People have queried coward punches. Apparently they are similar to sucker punches but likely to happen to people who are totally innocent of anything. The coward punch is just an unexpected attack and totally unprovoked. My Australian blogging friend, Pinky Poinker, who started me off on this tack has a petition running at the moment and his hoping to get enough signatures to make a difference. If you live in Australia, maybe you could go to her site and sign this petition. Wednesday saw the funeral of a young person, Cole Miller, 18, who had been coward punched. A very tragic waste of a young life. Pinky herself is the mother of 5 kids, 4 boys if I remember correctly, all of whom are in the age group where this could happen. Not only that she is a teacher so has seen the Soft Fall used in playgrounds and such. There is a radio broadcast too which she is hoping will draw attention to her petition. I found another petition in Australia and suggested she could link up.

I had a very quiet day on Wednesday not doing much of anything. Sometimes my hip was killing me
and other times I didn't know it was there. Anyway, this evening I go see the doc, I am just hoping the walk from the parking lot to the doctor's door will be clear as I am hobbling along with a cane. I could just do with a fall. They say they do have a wheel chair in the office, but Matt is not really up to going and getting it and then pushing me into the office and they certainly didn't offer to help. However, I am sure you are beginning to get bored with my ailments. So I will shut up for now.

According to the weather forecast we were supposed to have a lot of snow on Wednesday, we didn't, and more snow on Thursday, we shall see. We can't really complain it was so spring like up to the end of last year but we knew we would get it eventually.

When we were last at one of the stores here, Central Fresh Market, we bought some frozen lamb chops. We ate some and were extremely disappointed as they were as tough as old boots. However, I have taken a tip out of Ivy at Happy Whisk's book and am going to turn them into a spicy stew tomorrow. I will chuck them and some neck of lamb that I have, into the crockpot with some veg and a few spices and hope to come up with something tasty. Normally we buy our lamb chops in Costco and they are usually excellent.

These looked interesting so I thought I would share. Their main attribute of course is chocolate. They are, apparently, a Mexican sweet. Of course you could use real cream instead of the Cool Whip.

Chocolate Churros

Churros with double the chocolate: in the batter and in the sauce. Make a batch for your next fiesta.

Servings 15 servings, 2 churros each

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
2 Tbs powdered sugar
1 cup water
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups oil
1 pkg (4 oz) semi sweet chocolate chips
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. tub) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping (Do not thaw.)

Mix 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder and powdered sugar in shallow bowl until blended.
Bring water, granulated sugar, salt and butter to boil in medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Add flour and remaining cocoa powder; cook and stir on low heat 1 min. or until mixture pulls away from side of pan. Remove from heat. Add eggs; beat until blended. Stir in vanilla. Spoon into pastry bag fitted with large star tip.
Heat oil in deep fryer to 350ºF. Pipe dough, in batches, into 4-inch strips into hot oil. Cook 3 min. or until each churro is golden brown on both sides, turning after 1 min. Remove from oil with slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Add warm churros, 1 at a time, to powdered sugar mixture; toss to evenly coat.
Microwave semi-sweet chocolate and COOL WHIP in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after each minute. Serve with warm churros.

Variation For cinnamon-sugar coated churros, coat the warm churros with a mixture of 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 tsp. Mexican cinnamon instead of the cocoa powder mixture. How to Pipe the Churros Dough When piping the dough, use kitchen shears to cut the dough into the desired-length strips

Have a great day

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Soft Fall, Doctor, Shopping, Risotto, Snow.

I have just heard, from a friend's website, Pinky Poinker, who mentioned a product called Soft Fall a product I have never heard about before. I don't know if it's exclusive to Australia or is used anywhere in this hemisphere, but if it isn't it certainly should be. It is basically a rubber product which is used, for example, in playgrounds so that when kids fall they don't crack their heads open. It is also used in old age centres and anywhere else where people might fall and hurt themselves. They are, apparently, having a problem in Australia with coward punches. I recently heard about those on Good Morning America. Pinky is recommending the use of the Soft Fall outside night clubs where people are frequently "coward" punched. But what a wonderful product especially for the young and old who are subject to many falls. If we don't have it over here, it's time we did. It appears that there are a couple of companies in the States. One is Rubaroc and the other is Surface America however, looking at their sites, this product is used for a lot more things like basketball courts and so on so maybe it's not as unknown to others as to me. However, I do think putting it in playgrounds and places where old folk congregate is an excellent idea. It seems I am way behind the fair on this. Maybe I should get out more.

I went to the bowling alley as I told you and ended up
not bowling. Tuesday morning, have left phone messages, I faxed the doctor and heavens forbid I got a phone call. They said they hadn't received anything and which lab had I been to. Later the phoned back and I am going to see the doc again on Thursday, between 5 and 8 p.m. Actually, Tuesday, I hobbled around the store helping to do the weekly shop which Matt normally does early Wednesday, but there were a couple of things I wanted and which Matt can never find. I ended up traipsing around the whole store. Trouble is, even though we have a shopping list, I am a bit of an impulse buyer and our bill soared. We did buy some very expensive tenderloins which I basically paid for on the PC points we save. In fact last week we spent $100 worth of points on groceries. Cauliflowers are still at $6 and another customer told me they are $7 in Quebec. Pity because we do enjoy cauliflower cheese now and again. Maybe I will have to make Macaroni and Cheese instead. I have cheese sauce in the freezer so not too difficult. I have never tried the packet stuff. Talking of packet stuff, bought some more risotto and as it was on at 2 for $5 naturally I bought 2.

Forgot to mention, it has been snowing practically all day and is supposed to do so tomorrow as well. I guess winter finally caught up with us. Maybe they will re-build the ninja snowman. The roads were a bit slippery this morning, They look pretty well covered right now. Not planning to go anywhere so no problem for us.

We also bought some salmon.

Grilled Salmon with Sweet Jalapeño GlazeFoxes Love Lemons

    • Juice of 1/2 lime
    • 1/4 cup molasses
    • 1-1/2 tablespoon chopped jalapeño pepper
    • 4 center-cut skin-on salmon fillets (about 5 ounces each)
    • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
    • Vegetable oil, for grill


    1. Preheat outdoor grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. In mini food processor, puree lime juice, molasses and jalapeño until smooth.
    2. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Lightly brush grill grates with oil. Place salmon fillets skin-side up onto grill. Cover and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until fish easily releases from grill.
    3. Flip salmon and continue to cook 6 to 8 minutes longer or until salmon is almost opaque throughout and internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F. Brush salmon with glaze and cook 2 minutes longer. Remove from grill and serve immediately.
  • Have a great day

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Stain Removal, Bowling, Doctor, Risotto, Snowman.

When I was living in North Carolina I bought a tub of Quick 'n Brite which turned out to be the best cleaner I have ever used. I recommended it to the bowling alley recently as they have new carpet and they are finding that it's working. I decided to research it and discovered the only place we can get it in Canada is from and it costs $46 something for a 20 oz. tub - which does last a long time, I have had mine for years. Then I checked shipping which is another $25 and taxes as well brings it well up into the $70. Now all the bowling alley have to worry about is whether it's worth it. I think, for them, being a business, it definitely is. They have, apparently tried all kinds of cleaners and this is the only one which has worked. Would I recommend anything different!! But at that price. I guess they have to consider what it costs them to replace carpet tiles or clean them. For you, who live in the States, you should try it. Much cheaper there. I have only ever used it for carpets, but in different strengths it is recommended for all kind of stains. It comes as a paste (well mine does) which you mix with water and then use in a spray bottle. Good stuff.

I went to the bowling alley today, threw a couple of balls to try, but it was really too painful. So I had to sit there and watch everyone else enjoying themselves. It is now early evening and I still have heard absolutely nothing from the doctor despite leaving a message and sending them a message from their website. I am NOT a happy camper.

The other day I bought a box of Wild Mushroom Risotto, store brand, and Monday night we tried it. I
sautéed some cremini mushrooms to add and it was pretty good. It does beat standing stirring for hours as one does with risotto. It takes about 17 minutes and apart from giving it an occasional stir, one doesn't have to do much. I was quite impressed. One adds a little Parmesan at the end and some unsalted butter. I will be buying it again. Once upon a time I wouldn't have dreamed of doing this, but with so many things hurting, shortcuts are a necessity these days.

By the way, I forgot to say, when we passed my Ninja Snowman today, he had melted into a pinhead. His head was about the size of a grapefruit.

Halibut is a fish one doesn't often see round here, but it is delicious when you can find it and this sounds an excellent way of preparing it.

Thyme-and-Sesame-Crusted Halibut

WebMD Recipe from
Quickly roasting fish at high heat keeps it moist and succulent. The thyme-and-sesame crust gives this halibut a distinctive finish.


  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 pounds halibut, or mahi-mahi, cut into 4 portions
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2-2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt, or kosher salt
  • Lemon wedges


Step 1
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Step 2
Mix lemon juice, oil, garlic and pepper in a shallow glass dish. Add fish and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Step 3
Meanwhile, toast sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool. Mix in thyme.
Step 4
Sprinkle the fish with salt and coat evenly with the sesame seed mixture, covering the sides as well as the top. Transfer the fish to the prepared baking sheet and roast until just opaque in the center, 10 to 14 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Have a great day

Monday, January 11, 2016

Owl Selfie, Saturday Supper,

Funny, a Snowy Owl has been caught several times in a Montreal traffic camera. They suggest it is taking selfies. In fact the theory is that it is looking for a suitably high spot to nest as being in this area there are lots of open fields in which it can hunt.

Saturday night we finished up the mincemeat tart with a dollop of the frozen cream. The cream was fine and hadn't changed one little bit. I also made Oven Barbecued Pork Chops with sautéed cabbage - Matt had a baked potato - for supper. Not bad for someone who is hobbling around. Hopefully on Monday I will find out about my X-ray results. I have linked to the blog where I first gave the pork chop recipe. Do try them, we enjoy them and they are so very easy to make.

So nobody won the Powerball on Saturday and now it is going up to $1 billion. That is actually a ridiculous prize. What they should do is separate it into several large prizes to give more people a chance to win something. This week I will have a ticket, friend is buying one for me, I have told him if it wins I only want $5 million, he can keep the rest. I really wouldn't want that much money - I firmly believe it would destroy your life. One thing if you have earned ever penny, but to win that much money, no, not a good thing.

A friend posted on Facebook that she had made these fritters for supper last Friday. I thought it looked very good. My only problem is, I can't figure out how many servings this is for, I would guess 2. It is certainly a different way of serving couscous. I have never heard of SunBlush tomatoes, I don't know if they are an English item or not. I have converted the metric measurements as near as I can get to ounces and cups. Although I live in a country with metric, I still haven't learnt to think in those measurements and of course in the US they don't use metric at all.

Couscous fritters with feta

BBC Good Food


175g (6 1/4 oz.)couscous
200ml (3/4 cup)  hot vegetable stock
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp natural yogurt
85g (3 oz) feta cheese, cut into 1cm (small) cubes
50g (1.75 oz) SunBlush tomato, finely chopped
3 spring onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp sunflower oil or vegetable oil


Measure the couscous into a large heatproof bowl, pour over the hot stock, then cover with cling film. Leave to stand for 5 mins or until the couscous has absorbed the stock and is soft. Add the egg and yogurt and mix well. Season, then fold through the cheese, tomatoes and spring onions.
Divide the mixture into 4 and shape into burgers. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, then cook the fritters over a medium heat for 3 mins on each side until golden. Serve with a green salad and a spoonful of your favourite chutney.

Making the fritters
Wet your hands before shaping the fritters to stop the mixture sticking to your hands. SunBlush tomatoes are softer than sundried. If you only have sundried, stir them into the couscous before adding the stock.
Have a great day

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Saturday Recipe

I have to say, I am not too sure about the servings on this one, I think it would be a very small portion.

Chicken Chili with Black Beans and Corn


Make a batch of this Super Spice-rich chili for your next get-together. It doubles easily if you are expecting a crowd.

Serves: 8 Serving Size: 1 cup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon  Paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons Oregano Leaves
1 teaspoon Cumin, Ground
1 teaspoon  Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper, Crushed
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 ounces) great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, , undrained
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 cup frozen corn

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken, bell pepper and onion; cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Add paprika, oregano, cumin, garlic powder and red pepper; mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 20 minutes.

Have a great weekend