Monday, February 29, 2016

HIgh Hopes, Homecoming, Downton Abbey.

Although it turns out my information on Bed Bug nymphs was correct, they are almost impossible to see especially at the beginning, it also turns out they don`t bite. Pleasant piece of information, they survive on the faeces of the adult bug. The upshot being, they are not a big problem until they are adult by which time you can see them, if you can find them, and kill the little perishers. The pest control people came on Friday and to date, on Saturday, everything has been OK. Please keep your fingers crossed for us. I have totally had it with them.

Friday we spent time wandering around as we couldn`t stay at home. It ended up costing us a lot of money. We bought fillet steaks, we ate out twice and we went bowling at a different alley in the afternoon. Our home alley being closed. Actually the new owner of Victoria Bowl where we played yesterday afternoon, let us bowl 5 games and didn`t charge us anything like the normal price. I was very grateful to him. We went to the Red Lobster with a friend who`s birthday had been on Thursday, so, as we had been unable to invite her to dinner at our place, we treated her. Yes, I did have a Chocolate Wave cake - this time with 3 spoons.. Matt swears I was gobbling it up. I paid for it with major indigestion later. This time I chose the Seafood Sampler plate which had Coconut Shrimp, Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms and Shrimp Cocktail. It was very good. Matt had Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms and our friend had Blackened Tilapia which looked delicious. Might try that if we go any time soon.

Before we went to supper we went home and got the beds made. Also had to replace the drawers in all the dressers and bedside tables. Bit of a pain. We had managed to put our blankets and pillows through the dryer before we went out so everything was totally clean and fresh. After dinner, we came home and had a couple of drinks. During which time I went to my bedroom and realised there was no power anywhere nor, it turned out, was there any in the second bedroom. Called the assistant super who, when he came, said he had been told not to come into our apartment (or any of the known bed bug places) however, he did check a fuse as it was right by the door. However, couldn`t figure out which, if any, fuse was gone. We would have to wait til Monday.

This morning we got up to a freezing apartment and realised we had no heat. Called the assistant super again and he came up, agreed we had no heat and said he would call the emergency number as we couldn`t go the weekend without heat.  When the maintenance guys came it turned out that it was a fuse and this same fuse also controls the heat as well. Not sure how, but this is what it was. Waste of money really, but not mine. If they hadn`t told Bob not to come in he would probably have sorted it on his own. Still, not my money.

Apart from the fact that we still have masses to do to restore our home to it`s usual state. I hope this is the very last you will hear about our bed bugs. You must be nearly as fed up with them as we are living with them. I will try not to talk about them any more. Except that Saturday night I got bitten!! Only once. The bed has since been stripped and steamed. So, Sunday night, I am hoping it will have done the trick. It was OK Friday night, mind you.

Just to really get me going, I went to the TV to watch Downton Abbey at 9 p.m. which is the time it has been on every week, to find some guy talking about all the work he did on ensuring the manners on the programme were correct. But where was the show. Seems like they played it at 8 - now I am hopping mad. Are the gods out to get me lately do you think? I am hoping my friend has bought the DVDs for this season so I can borrow the appropriate one. LATER: I discovered they postponed the finale til next week so they didn't clash with the Oscars. I won't comment about that!!!!

Slow cookers are so very useful. This is from Campbell Soups and sounds a pretty good recipe. I included the Campbell's ad although I probably will use an entirely different beef stock which I keep in house anyway.

Asian Braised Short Ribs (Slow Cooker)




1 tbsp (15 mL) sesame oil
2 lbs (910 g) beef short ribs
1 large red onion, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup (250 mL) Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 cups (500 mL) baby bokchoy
sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
green onion, chopped (optional)


2 tbsp (30 mL) rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp (30 mL) sodium reduced soy sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp (30 mL) chili garlic sauce (alt: Sriracha or Sambal)
1 carton (900 mL) CAMPBELL'S® Ready to Use 30% Less Sodium Beef Broth
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ cup (125 mL) sodium reduced Hoisin sauce


¼ cup (60 mL) corn starch
¼ cup (60 mL) water


1. Heat sesame oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Brown short ribs on all sides and place in the slow cooker, top with vegetables.

3. Add all sauce ingredients to the skillet and combine well with pan drippings. Pour desired amount of mixture over beef and vegetables.

4. Cook, covered, on HIGH setting for 3-4 hours or until beef reaches internal temperatures of 165°F (74°C) and is fork-tender.

5. Transfer vegetables and short ribs to a plate.

6. Skim any oil from the top of the liquid and discard. Pour liquid into a skillet and bring to a boil. Mix cornstarch and water and add to thicken the sauce.

7. Drizzle short ribs and vegetables with sauce.

8. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions.

Recipe Tips

1. If you like your vegetables crunchy, add vegetables to slow cooker when you have 30mins to 1 hour cook time remaining

2. Use up left over sauce in a vegetable stir-fry for a delicious quick dinner.

3. If you don't own a slow-cooker, cook in a heavy dutch oven pot at 325 ̊F (160 ̊C) in the oven for about 3 hours or until fork tender

Have a great day

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Laundry, Bowling, The Homeless Ones.

I don't believe this. I went to the laundry room this morning (Wednesday) to find it shut. I phoned the super and was informed it would be shut all day for them (the machine owners) to check the machines. There are at least 3 of us on my floor who need to use the laundry machines to help with coping with our bug problem. The pest control people will be here on Friday and we can't do any more today. How ridiculous. Luckily most of what I need to do is done although I still have piles of stuff on our balcony which hasn't had anything done to it at all. Actually this morning I was just going to wash our towels, not a buggy thing at all, but that's not the point. Inconceivable!! Mind you I was planning to bring some of the stuff off the balcony to wash. Won't get done before the bug man comes now.

We took a break to go bowling again on Thursday. Matt had two good games and one lousy but he did make 100 every time.  I had one poor game, one lousy and one not so bad. Oh well. Tomorrow we have to amuse ourselves for the full day so will probably go to Victoria Bowl as our usual alley isn't open on Fridays. Did think of taking in a movie but there is really nothing that would appeal to Matt who doesn't much like going to the movies anyway. I am hoping to go to the Red Lobster for supper again. Chocolate Wave maybe? I deserve a treat. Not sure where we will go for lunch though. Getting expensive this bug business. Matt is being pessimistic and saying he doesn't think this visit on Friday from the pest control will fix the problem. I do hope he is wrong.

I doubt I will be a recipe for Saturday as I will not be home all day plus when we do get home we have to make beds etc.

Pork Chops in Sage Butter with Beet Puree and Swiss Chard


The vibrant magenta beet puree that accompanies these luscious pork chops is made with almost
equal parts beets and creamy Yukon Gold potatoes.

2 large red beets (1 pound), halved
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (1/2 pound)
1 stick unsalted butter
Kosher salt
Four 12-ounce bone-in pork rib chops, cut 1 inch thick
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 sage sprig
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 pounds Swiss chard, stems discarded and leaves chopped

In a large saucepan, combine the beets and potatoes. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the beets and potatoes are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Drain well. When cool enough to handle, peel the beets and potatoes, and then coarsely chop; transfer to a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet. Rub the pork chops all over with 2 tablespoons of the olive 
oil; season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat until golden brown on the bottom, 7 to 8 minutes.Turn the chops and add the garlic, sage and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Cook until the chops are golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 135°, about 7 minutes longer. Transfer the pork chops to plates and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the butter into the skillet; season with salt. Strain the sage butter through a fine sieve over the pork chops. Reserve the crispy sage leaves and discard the garlic.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chard in large handfuls; let each batch wilt slightly before adding more. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the chard is wilted, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

Serve the pork chops with the beet puree and Swiss 
chard and garnish with the crispy sage leaves.


The beet puree can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently before serving.
Have a great day

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Tired tonight. But wanted to let you know that the steam cleaner worked very well this morning and much to my surprise, the chair I did dried very quickly as did the silk flowers. It comes with lots of different nozzles and I found a video explaining some of it`s operation which was useful

Sorry guys, nothing else for now.

Have a great day

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bugs, Bowling, Cooking, Jeweller.

I am gradually becoming an expert on bed bugs. I now discover that the nymphs which are their offspring, are, for the first part of their lives, invisible to the human eye and even later on still not that visible. Wonderful. I wondered why we haven't seen too many dead bodies.

Went bowling on Monday, of course, and we both bowled appallingly. The only good part was that we improved in each game, but not much I'm afraid. I said it was because we were tired. Matt disagreed!!

Right now I can't cook anything with onions as I don't have any. Put them on our shopping list last week and Matt bought one!! What a nig nog. Not many dishes I make which don't include onions although the pasta I posted yesterday didn't do so. I have tomato sauce in the freezer so I guess I can make pasta tomorrow. We had unstuffed cabbage rolls on Monday night.

Had to go to the bank and the jeweller I go to for repairs and such is apparently retiring. That will be a big miss. I was very sorry to see it. He is a very nice guy.

This sounds a good one for supper this week.

Chicken, Cashew, and Red Pepper Stir-Fry

This chicken stir-fry dish balances salty, sweet, tangy, and spicy ingredients. Spoon it alongside a quick rice pilaf for the perfect meal.
  • 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)


  • 3 3/4 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 2 teaspoons dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • 1 pound chicken breast tenders, cut lengthwise into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped unsalted cashews
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups julienne-cut red bell pepper (about 1 large)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions


1. Combine 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and next 4 ingredients (through hot pepper sauce) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.
2. Combine remaining 2 3/4 teaspoons cornstarch, remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and chicken in a medium bowl; toss well to coat.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cashews to pan; cook 3 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Remove from pan.
4. Add oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add chicken mixture to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan; place in a bowl. Add bell pepper to pan; sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and ginger; cook 30 seconds. Add chicken and cornstarch mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thick. Sprinkle with cashews and green onions.
Quick rice pilaf: Cook 1 (10-ounce) package frozen white rice (such as Birds Eye SteamFresh) according to package directions. Combine cooked rice, 2 tablespoons drained chopped water chestnuts, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Have a great day

Monday, February 22, 2016

Our Weekend

I really haven't much to write about - as I am sure you realise, There is just one thing on my mind and I am sure you are tired of my bed bugs, I certainly am. We have spent the whole weekend running stuff through the dryers and plan to do yet more during the rest of this week. Wish us luck for the Friday session with the pest control people. Not sure what and if I will write for the rest of this week. Today we will at least be bowling which will take our minds of things for a while.

Here's a nice easy pasta dish for a weeknight supper which I found in the New York Times.

Creamy Lemon Pasta

  • Yield6 servings


12 ounces wide egg noodles
Zest and juice of 2 lemons; zest cut in very thin strips 1 inch long
1 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt, to taste
Lots of freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles, and stir to separate. Cook for 8 minutes or until tender. Drain, then return to the cooking pot.
Just before noodles are done, in a small saucepan combine the lemon zest, cream, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until cream comes to a boil.
Pour cream mixture over drained noodles, and add the lemon juice. Stir to coat. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until all the liquid is absorbed, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with additional pepper, if desired.

Have a great day

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Saturday Recipe

Sorry if you are a non fish/seafood eater. But to me this looked pretty good.

Crispy Herbed Shrimp with Chive Aioli

Fresh herbs brighten up crispy shrimp for an indulgent yet lightened take on traditional fried shrimp.
  • Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 5 shrimp and 2 tablespoons sauce)
  • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper


1. Combine 1/4 cup panko, parsley, thyme, and crushed red pepper in a mini food processor; pulse to combine. Combine herb mixture with remaining 1/2 cup panko in a shallow dish. Place cornstarch and egg whites in separate shallow dishes. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and black pepper. Dredge half of shrimp in cornstarch, shaking off excess; dip into egg whites. Dredge shrimp in panko mixture; press to adhere. Repeat procedure with remaining shrimp.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of shrimp to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Repeat with remaining oil and shrimp.
3. Combine yogurt and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with shrimp.

Have a great weekend

Friday, February 19, 2016

Bowling, Red Lobster, Tsnunami,

We waited in for my new steam cleaner which came quite early and then went bowling. The first game Matt won hands down, but I am delighted to say I got a really good score on the second game and totally thrashed him on the last one. I was also showing around the picture of that Chocolate Wave cake I mentioned the other day. Everyone agreed it looked delicious but I am not sure anyone thought they should eat it because of all those calories - with one exception, the younger owner of the alley. He can get away with murder when it comes to eating - but then he is always on the move and, as his dad says, quite a bit younger than the rest of us.

Talking about the Red Lobster's Chocolate cake, a friend in the bowling alley said she had heard, on Facebook, that the Red Lobster was closing. I found something tonight which says the rumour is false. I wonder where these rumours come from? I am quite pleased it isn't closing. We don't go there a lot, but we lunch there twice a season with our Travel League.

Having got my steamer I checked on line about using it and find that if one has already been treated by professionals, one shouldn't use it without consulting them because of any chemicals they may have used which could become toxic if steamed or could be rendered ineffective, so I will have to wait to talk to them before I use it. I gather some of their people are coming to see us next Friday to see why their 2 visits didn't work. They all appear to think it's our fault. The fact that there are little visitors crawling under our front door.......! I am quite pleased with the steamer though, it has lots of nozzles and can be used for all kinds of cleaning jobs apart from the purpose for which I bought it. I meant to include this picture. I am now up since 4 a.m. having managed 4 hours sleep and another 4 or 5 bites. This is not an actual bug but a seed off my multigrain bread. However, this is more or less what bed bugs look like and approximately the right size. They are almost impossible to find.

I was just looking for a recipe for today's blog when I came across this piece of staggering information on How To Geek. The tallest recorded megatsunami in modern times hit Lituya Bay, Alaska in 1958; it destroyed vegetation up to 1,722 feet (525 meters) above the height of the bay and the wave that traveled across the bay was reported to have a crest on the order of 98 feet (30 meters) in height. I don't remember ever hearing about this, but how terrifying.

This to me, is a good old English dish. In this case it is all made easy for you by buying McCormick products. This is the kind of thing which, many years ago, we could buy in the fish and chip shops in the UK although not usually with beer in the batter, you had to do that at home. I confess the picture makes me feel quite hungry. Nope, I am not being paid to carry this recipe. Wish I was really. Help pay for all this bug stuff.

Beer Battered Cod

McCormick® Beer Batter Seafood Batter Mix, combined with the extra kick from OLD BAY, gives seafood a great taste and extremely crisp texture.

Makes 6 servings.


vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup McCormick® Beer Batter Seafood Batter Mix
1 tablespoon OLD BAY® Seasoning
2/3 cup beer or water
1 1/2 pounds cod fillets, cut into serving-size pieces


Pour oil into deep fryer or large heavy skillet, filling no more than 1/3 full. Heat to 375°F on medium heat.

Mix Batter Mix and Old Bay in medium bowl. Add beer or water; stir until smooth. Dip fish into batter. Shake off excess.

Fry fish, a few pieces at a time, 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown, turning once to brown evenly. Drain on paper towels.

Cooking tip

Substitute pollock, halibut or tilapia for the cod. Prepare as directed above. Use peeled and deveined shrimp in place of the cod.

Have a great day

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bites, Pandas, Nuclear Test.

The bug problem still goes on. I was sitting in my lounger yesterday, reading, and didn`t notice until I decided to go to bed and then realised I was itching. The trouble is you don`t basically feel it when they bite.
I had understood they only bit exposed flesh, I was actually wearing a sweat shirt at the time this happened. So that`s that theory knocked on the head. These are not the only bites, but most noticeable. I sent a copy of this picture to the landlords. There has been a resounding silence. I checked on line and according to I should get my new steamer tomorrow. I do hope so. I plan to wait for it even if we have to miss bowling. I hope not of course, but if we are not here, it will be returned to the post office and we won`t be able to get it til Monday. I forgot to mention too, my nuclear test has been postponed as I thought I should inform them about the bugs. I was not surprised to hear it being cancelled until further notice.

It`s been snowing here both yesterday and today (Wednesday) but not enough to cause any problems. The roads are a tad slippery in places but that`s about it.

There are two Giant Panda Cubs, born last October in Toronto Zoo, which are on film today  at this site. Cuteness overload.

They always look so cuddly don`t they. Polar Bears too. The 4 month old Panda cubs are walking around - just a tiny bit unsteadily. They are not yet on show to the public. These Pandas are the first ever to be born in Canada. It didn`t say so, but I imagine they will return to China one day along with their parents.

This is, basically, what we ate for supper on Wednesday evening. However, I had to make a few changes as I didn`t have all the ingredients. For the mirin I used sherry with a little sugar added, if you Google there are several things you can use as a sub for mirin. I also used fresh fettucine which worked very well. 5 minutes is nowhere long enough to soften the cabbage even though I added a little water and put a lid on it to steam. Finally, we found we needed a little salt despite the soy sauce. Apart from that, we thoroughly enjoyed it. Sure is easy enough to do.

Yaki udon

BBC Good Food

These thick wheat noodles with mushrooms and cabbage are made for slurping - a lovely
low-fat, low-calorie vegetarian supper

Serves 2


250g dried udon noodles (400g frozen or fresh)
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 onion, thickly sliced
¼ head white cabbage, roughly sliced
10 shiitake mushrooms
4 spring onions, finely sliced (green onions)

For the sauce
4 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp caster sugar (North American sugar is basically the same as caster sugar)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (or vegetarian alternative)

Boil some water in a large saucepan. Add 250ml cold water and the udon noodles. (As they are so thick, adding cold water helps them to cook a little bit slower so the middle cooks through). If using frozen or fresh noodles, cook for 2 mins or until al dente; dried will take longer, about 5-6 mins. Drain and leave in the colander.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil, add the onion and cabbage and sauté for 5 mins until softened. Add the mushrooms and some spring onions, and sauté for 1 more min. Pour in the remaining sesame oil and the noodles. If using cold noodles, let them heat through before adding the ingredients for the sauce – otherwise tip in straight away and keep stir-frying until sticky and piping hot. Sprinkle with the remaining spring onions.

Have a great day

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bug Saga. Supper Out,

Well I ended up with something of a ding dong with the super's wife this afternoon (Tuesday) with the result I have said screw it and ordered myself a hand held steam cleaner. What really teed me off was her telling me I could not have been told something by the exterminators because they didn't tell anyone else the same. Nothing infuriates me more than being told something couldn't have happened when it did. I don't know what they will do about our existing bugs, but once I get my steamer I don't give a damn. It is recommended for bed bugs and costs about $50 all told. Turning out to be an expensive proposition all told.

Did you pick up on the comments yesterday when JoJo Earle said she had been told to buy cheap clothes to go to Disney which she could abandon there and buy more to come home again. All because of bed bugs. I can't believe that. I do of course, because JoJo said so. What about the bites whilst you are there? I think, to me, the biting is the worst because it is an invasion of my bed, my comfort zone, etc.

Anyway, I was so teed off tonight that we went out for supper. Chose the Souvlaki Flame which I
mentioned a couple of weeks ago. We started with a serving of Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) between us which were served in avgolemono sauce (egg and lemon) delicious. We both had souvlaki, me pork and Matt chicken. It came with a salad, rice and roast potatoes. Matt could teach them a thing or two about roasting potatoes, but they tasted good. It was very enjoyable, especially as I didn't have to cook. Decided to have some baklava after. Mistake, it was tasty but very dry. I told the waitress and she said she would pass my comment on. I hadn't realised before but they do take out and the waitress, Jamie, gave me their take out menu. They are just along the road from us, so useful. Not that we eat out or do take out that much but....

So, now, we are having a drink. I need one. We also watched On the Waterfront. Haven't seen that in many a long year. It really was a good movie. Didn't realise Frank Sinatra was originally slated to play the Marlon Brando part.

Lasagna was never a biggie in the UK for us, or for anyone I knew. Not like it is in North America. I have only ever made one once I think. However, I did like the sound of this.

Bacon 'n' Egg Lasagna



1 lb diced bacon
1 large onion, chopped
1⁄3 cup flour
1⁄2-1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups milk
12 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
12 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
2 (8 ounce) cups shredded swiss cheese
1⁄3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

In skillet, cook bacon until crisp.
Remove with slotted spoon to paper towels.
Drain, reserving 1/3 cup drippings.
In the drippings, sauté onion until tender.
Stir in flour, salt and pepper until blended.
Gradually stir in milk.
Bring to boil and cook and stir for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Spread 1/2 cup sauce in greased 13x9x2" baking dish.
Layer with four noodles, a third of the egg and bacon, cheese and sauce.
Repeat layers twice.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake uncovered at 350°F for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly.
Sprinkle with parsley.
Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.
*Can be made the night before and refrigerated.
To serve, remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
Bake as above.
Have a great day

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cartoon, My Buggy Life,

I just stole this cartoon from How To Geek as I thought it was so appropriate. No doubt they did too.

Sadly I have to report that our bug problem has NOT gone away. Sunday night/Monday morning I was bitten at least half a dozen times. We sprayed everything in sight in the hopes of eliminating the problem. Being a holiday of course nobody can get hold of anybody - the control people would say don't spray, but I am the one being bitten, not them. We had got as far as unpacking our china and glass but have decided to stop until we have some kind of response.

Because of these bugs, our foot nurse couldn't come to see us. Today I decided I had better cut my toe nails at least. I haven't done so since my hip operation some years ago. I ended up making myself bleed. Duuh. I knew my finger nails were brittle, hadn't appreciated that my toenails were too. Guess I should check up on what the cause is. I take Vitamin B7 which is supposed to help one's nails. Seems I might need something else.

No bowling either, because of the holiday. They cancel the league as they have lots of kids who want to bowl. OK for the kids but what about us league bowlers? Matt and I will, of course, be bowling on Tuesday this week.

Who doesn't like chicken soup. It is a real comfort food.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Cooking Light

Chicken noodle soup is probably the top comfort food of all time. You'll need to start a day ahead to prepare the tasty homemade broth. A serving of this soup provides about 200 micrograms of vitamin A, just shy of one-third of the RDA.
  • Yield:8 servings (serving size: about 1 3/4 cups soup)

1 (4-pound) whole chicken
2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
6 cups water
1 1/3 cups chopped carrot
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons salt
8 ounces uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Lemon wedges (optional)
Coarsely cracked black pepper (optional)


1. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Place chicken in a large Dutch oven. Add 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery stalks, and next 5 ingredients (through bay leaves) to pan. Add 6 cups water; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes.

2. Remove chicken from pan; place chicken in a bowl. Chill 15 minutes. Discard skin; remove chicken from bones, discarding bones. Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces; cover and chill. Strain broth mixture through a sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. Cool broth mixture to room temperature. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours. Skim fat from surface; discard.

3. Add enough water to broth to equal 9 cups; place broth mixture in a large Dutch oven. Add 1 1/3 cups carrot, 1 1/4 cups onion, 1 cup celery, and salt to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add reserved chicken, and simmer 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Keep warm.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add pasta to pan with chicken and broth mixture; stir in parsley, rind, and juice. Garnish each serving with lemon wedges and cracked black pepper, if desired.

Have a great day

Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentine's Day, Judge Scalia, Unpacking, Stress Test,

I hope you all had a Happy Valentine's Day. We kind of celebrated on Saturday when I made Steak Diane for supper. An old recipe, but a favourite one. Sunday we finished off the Shrimp Creole from Friday. However, most of our time, at the moment, is focused on gradually putting our home back together. We now have all our switch plates back on the walls, outlet plates too, not sure what they are called. We also cleaned all the silver which, in this home takes a lot of effort. The silk flowers with which I decorate the living/dining room are back in place once more. Some of the pictures are back on the walls. It is beginning to look like home. Next we have to concentrate on laundering stuff or just putting things (like shoes) in the dryer. As well as unpacking glasses and ornaments. I might say we have found a few dead bodies (bed bugs I mean) around the place as well as the odd Asian Lady Bug. I am still not prepared to say we are totally in the clear. I feel that would be challenging the fates. I still itch, but I think/hope I am still being plagued by old bites.

Once again I am knackered. We unpacked three plastic storage boxes and one large garbage bag and of course had to put all the stuff back where it lived. If I were still a youngster, this would be no problem. Sadly I'm not. I am missing a lid from a piece of china. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out where it got to either. Must be the Borrowers (it's a book) - in the States I had a small lamb which had a sign saying "I love ewe" which Matt gave me - I still had it when we left NC but I haven't seen it since.

A lot on the news about Supreme Court Judge Scalia's death today (Sunday) someone I personally have never heard of. I guess his replacement is going to cause a lot of political upheaval according to the pundits on Good Morning America.

Today, Monday, is Family Day here which means no bowling for our league. Matt and I will be bowling on Tuesday afternoon instead.

I now have an appointment for my nuclear stress test. My biggest problem, it turns out I am not
allowed to drink coffee for three days. Nor am I allowed to take Tylenol 3. In fact nothing which contains caffeine. I didn't even know Tylenol 3 had caffeine in it. My appointment is on Thursday with a second on on Friday but I have to stop the caffeine on Wednesday. I can, apparently, take Tylenol Extra Strength so I will have to go get some. Luckily I drink decaf coffee so maybe it won't be so bad, maybe.

This recipe came up on Yummly and I thought it looked delicious. When I followed it to it's source I found it was actually from Pinch of Yum I think this would be really good with cauliflower too.

5 Ingredient Coconut Curry

serves: 3-4

1 can coconut milk
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 small heads broccoli (and/or other veggies of choice)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
optional: minced garlic or onion

Sauté broccoli (and onion/garlic if you're using it) in a tablespoon of oil. After a few minutes, add the coconut milk and let simmer for 5-8 minutes. The broccoli should soften but still be tender-crisp.
Add the curry paste to the pan and whisk it until it combines with the coconut milk. Add the chickpeas.
Bring to a slight boil and add the cornstarch. Boil for about a minute, then reduce heat and let cool slightly. Sauce will thicken as the mixture cools.
Have a great day

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Saturday Recipe

We had one bag of shrimp left which we had imported from the Carolinas. Even though I am still feeling dead tired, it was the only thing which appealed to me. It occurred to me that my friends from the Really, Real, Housewives of America should try this. They could make up a big batch of the sauce and separate it into serving sizes. When required they could then defrost it and add some pre-peeled shrimp and cook some rice. Easy peasy. Me I had to start from scratch.

Shrimp Creole

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup celery
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tsp peanut oil
flour for thickening
ground black pepper
2 cup fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes drained
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 Bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder (or Tabasco sauce) and/or fresh chillis
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup sherry
1 lb shrimp cleaned and deveined
cooked white rice, basmati for preference

1. Sauté onions, peppers, celery and garlic in hot oil until tender. Make a roux with a little flour. Add tomatoes, paste, sherry and seasoning. Simmer 45 minutes. Add shrimp and simmer for 10 mins. Just before service add Worcester sauce. Serve over rice and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Servings: 4

Have a great weekend

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Blog that Isn't, Nuclear Testing,

I said no blog because I am worn out, however, just thought I would post something for those of you who have been kind enough to send us well wishes for our bug problem.

Up really early for us, stripped the beds and at 8 when the laundry room opens, shoved blankets and pillows in the dryer. Supposed to kill them (the bugs) with heat. The pest guy arrived around 8:45 ish  and I asked him if he could please put the beds back together as there was nobody to help us and also to make sure the super's wife locked our door. He assured me he would and told us not to come back before 7 p.m. Oh dear.

Went to a local Tim Horton's (coffee, donuts and all kinds of other stuff these days) and I had a coffee and donut. Matt had a bottle of water. Same price as the coffee. Having hung around there for a while it was around 10:30 so went to the bowling alley and we were let in early to wait for the younger of the owners to come in and make lunch. He had to fix something at the back of the alley first so we didn't get lunch until about 12:30. Glad I had had my donut. After lunch, we ended up bowling 6 games to use up some of our time. At the end of that my hip was hurting as well as one of my toes. Painful but minor problem. I was also totally done in. Matt was in slightly better case.

Decided to go to the Red Lobster although for us it was a tad early for dinner. Did very well. Split a dish of seafood stuffed mushrooms then I had mussels in a wine sauce (bit like Moules Marinères) which was good, Matt had Caesar Salad. I then ordered a Chocolate Wave cake which turned out to be a largish slice of very gooey but delicious chocolate cake. Unfortunately the waiter brought two spoons and Matt, who didn't want dessert, ate half. I nearly didn't leave a tip. They serve it with ice cream which I cancelled. I have no idea how many calories are in that cake and I don't think I want to know.

Then we came home and sat in the lobby of the apartment building for about 1 1/2 hrs and then came upstairs to our apartment a little bit early. We then had to make the beds. Just starting and someone knocked on the door with an Avon order!!! Trying to make up the second bed and found the frame had come apart. Also, they had ;put a bug resistant cover over the mattress on that one but not on the other. I wonder why? Both beds have the bug cover on the box spring - they did that before - but now one has it on the mattress?? We moved a load of junk from the kitchen back out of the way and then collapsed. Like I say, I am exhausted.

I was trying to find this recipe but as I discovered, a slice is more than 1800 calories, maybe just as well if I don't. Just dream of it in chocolate.

Forgot to say, I asked, they do sell the whole  cake for about $40 and the waiter said it did about 12 large slices.

So, I do hope I sleep tight and that the bed bugs don't bite.

Having published this I realised I had a message from the local nuclear lab telling me I had two appointments for the nuclear stress test, one on Thursday morning the second on Friday morning. Before they used to make you hang around for ages between the two parts of the test. No details yet, will call them tomorrow.

Have a great day

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Nuclear Stress Test, Pest Control,

Today (Wednesday) I went to the doctor to arrange for a nuclear stress test. I am not able to do the walking type test because of my hip. If you have never done a nuclear test, I think they are dreadful. Only, for a few minutes, but for a very short time your heart is stressed by drugs and I felt I was literally going to die. I don't remember very clearly but you are given an injection to speed up the heart and instantly another injection to stop it. You really feel awful for what seems like forever but I suppose is only a few seconds. I am not looking forward to doing another one. One is also radioactive and you have to be given a form if you intend to travel.

Tomorrow (Thursday) the pest control people come again. We had one guy come in on Tuesday to check we were ready. He seemed surprised we had had so much trouble even though they had treated our place once. I showed him my most recent bites. We are planning to strip the beds in the morning and put the blankets through the dryers. We have clean sheets ready to use tomorrow evening. The sheets on our beds now will be put in a garbage bag to be washed later on. If this treatment works, and I pray that it does, we then have to deal with a stack of stuff on our balcony, much of which has to be washed too. Once the blankets are done, they will be put in a bag too and we will probably put them in the car if the pest people are already here.

I wasn't going to post today but I came across this recipe which I thought was delicious looking and is heart healthy too, I just had to share it.

California Walnut Stuffed Salmon  
2 tsp olive oil 10 mL
1/4 cup minced onion 50 mL
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chopped spinach 1 L
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper 2 mL
1 cup cooked brown rice 250 mL
2 tsp lemon zest 10 mL
1/4 cup shredded old cheddar cheese 50 mL
1/2 cup chopped California Walnuts 125 mL
1 lb salmon fillet, skinned and pin bones removed 454 g
In large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions; cook until tender but not browned, about five minutes. Stir in garlic, spinach, salt and pepper and cook just until spinach starts to wilt, about three minutes. Remove from heat.
Add cooked rice to spinach and stir in lemon zest until well combined. Spread spinach mixture evenly over salmon and sprinkle with cheese and walnuts.
Roll up gently using toothpicks or butcher’s twine to secure.
Place salmon on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and bake in 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven until fish is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
Transfer to cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with steamed seasonal vegetables or green salad.
Makes 4 servings.
The recipe was from the California Walnut Commission and re-published by Zoomer Magazine.

Have a great day

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dermatologist, The Rising Dough,

Went to see the dermatologist today and Matt has two more basel cells to be treated. He will be
seeing the same plastic surgeon he saw before. The dermatologist also froze a few places on his face, places he said were trying to become cancerous. As I said before, we just didn't know, when we were young, how dangerous the sun could be. The Vitamin D it provides is so good for us and so necessary, but we don't need to spend hours in the sun to get it. There are published statistics telling one how much sun we should take. Most of us used to lie out there trying to get a tan and many of us didn't both with sun tan creams, didn't think we needed them. As kids we didn't lie out but we played in the sun all day long. We didn't spend time indoors watching TV (well it wasn't really available) or using cell phones and such. Not been invented. So if it wasn't raining we were mostly outside.  I still sit in the sun for a while during the summer, but rarely for more than half an hour at a time and  these days all the face creams and skin creams are full of sun blocs of one kind or another.

In the same building as the doctor which is called The Grist Mill Centre, at street level, there is a store called The Rising Dough Bakery where I like to go to buy Cornish Pasties. Unfortunately they only had a couple and I wanted four. They said they would be another 10 minutes or so. Decided to sit and have coffee ($1.60 - I thought that was a lot) and wait. I have never really looked at everything they carry before and found it interesting. Liquorish Allsorts which I haven't eaten since I was a child, TCP antiseptic which made me think of Hilary's uncle. Scotts Porridge Oats, many British candies of one kind or another. Many other things which I don't recall now. The Allsorts packet was marked with a price of £1 which I thought was a lot, I asked how much they sold for here, about $5 I was told. Not cheap. OK, I know the stuff has to be imported. In the end I got my 4 pasties, as well as 4 wholewheat raisin scones and a couple of jars of clotted cream. We had a couple of scones for our mid afternoon snack and a couple of the pasties for supper. Boy were they ever good. I have made scones many times, although not for years, but never had wholewheat before. In my opinion these are best served warm but it's a matter of choice. You can just cut them in half and slather with butter or you can do the whole Cornwall/Devon thing and have jam and thick clotted cream on them. No I just buttered mine.

Wholewheat Raisin Scones

Makes 12 small scones

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
Scant 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 cup oatmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 oz unsalted butter (5 tbs)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Stir in oatmeal. Rub in butter, or place in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and beat at low speed, or pulse in a food processor, until incorporated. Add buttermilk and raisins and mix just until dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and gently shape into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Cut either into 2-inch circles with a biscuit cutter or into 6 squares, then cut each square in half on the diagonal. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, until browned on the bottom. Flip over, bake 2 more minutes, and remove from the heat. Serve warm or allow to cool.

These freeze very well too.

Have a great day

SuperBowl. Bowling. Pest Control. Dermatology.

I know nothing about the Superbowl and am glad it's over although I guess it will be talked about for a while. I used to occasionally watch the ads but understand from several people that they weren't worth the trouble either. Having lived in the Carolinas I kind of wanted them to win but... Not that much. I got a description of football from A Beer for the Shower. They called it a hand egg being carried around by sports teams. Good one guys.

The sport in which I do take an interest, bowling, went pretty well today. My average increased a tiny bit, but at least that meant I had reasonable scores today. One of our team was bowling like a demon for two of her games. She was really racking up the scores. We had a few moments silence for one of the league members who recently died, somewhat unexpectedly too.

Bit of an upset this morning, I called the pest control people and told them I was not impressed. They called the super's wife who said they had told her I was not to call them any more and it was all to be handled through the super or building management. Now we don't know if they are coming Wednesday or Thursday. If they come Wed. we will be here and not ready to leave. This may be the realtor's business but the realtor is not having to live with these conditions. I read an article given to me today saying bed bugs are living fossils. I would like to ensure they are no longer living fossils. If I won the lottery I would walk out of here and leave everything behind. Being pensioners, we are stuck with it.

Tuesday morning we have to go to the dermatologist again. Think there might be more skin cancer. If
only we had known, as youngsters, what we know about sun today. Even now, getting Matt to use sun screen is almost impossible. One benefit of the trip (it's in the next town) is that at the bottom of the building is a British Store which sells great Cornish Pasties so, guess what we will be having for supper tonight? These are meat and vegetable pies as made in Cornwall, England. Actually, in some parts of Cornwall, they call them oggies!

Having discovered this recipe today I think I might be making it soon. Marsala does give a delicious flavour to stews.

Marsala Chicken Stew

Marsala Chicken Stew
This Marsala chicken stew recipe gets its richness from plenty of mushrooms and onions. Make it a meal: Soak up all the saucy goodness with whole-wheat egg noodles and serve with a green salad.
Prep: 1 hour | Total Time: 1 hour
  • 2   tablespoons
    extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1   pound
    boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4   teaspoon
    salt, divided
  • 1/4   teaspoon
    freshly ground pepper, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1   pound
    mushrooms, sliced
  • 3  
    medium onions, chopped
  • 3   tablespoons
    all-purpose flour
  • 2   cloves
    garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2   cup
    Marsala, (see Tip)
  • 1 1/2   cups
    reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1   tablespoon
    balsamic vinegar
  1. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add half the chicken and season with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned on all sides and no longer pink in the center, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with another 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, the remaining chicken and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Add another 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to the pot. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften and give off liquid, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and onions. Cook, stirring and reducing heat as necessary to keep them from burning, until the onions soften and start to turn golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Add flour and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in Marsala and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and the reserved chicken, along with any juice. Return to a simmer. Season with additional pepper, if desired.

Tip: Marsala, a fortified wine from Sicily, is a flavorful addition to many sauces. Don’t use the “cooking Marsala” sold in many supermarkets—it can be surprisingly high in sodium. Instead, purchase Marsala that’s sold with other fortified wines in your wine or liquor store. An opened bottle can be stored in a cool, dry place for months.
This recipe comes from Web MD.

Have a great day