Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Scrapbooking Finishes from August 2014

Yep, just one layout . . . 

In my defense, it was summer . . . LOL.

Scrapbooking Finishes from August 2014

Yep, just one layout . . . 

In my defense, it was summer . . . LOL.

Question #23

What would you do if money were no object?

If money were no object, I know exactly what I would do.  TRAVEL!!!  Everywhere!!!

I want to go to Europe, Australia, Iceland . . . 

I want to travel by plane, train, ship . . . 

And I would write stories about my adventures.

Question #22

What memories are brought by the smell of pine needles?

When I smell pine needles I think of outdoors, of course.  

I think of Christmas.  It is only since Hal and I became empty nesters that we stopped having a real Christmas tree.  

Pine needles also remind me of rosemary.  I love rosemary in cooking, especially with roasted potatoes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Knitting Finishes from August 2014

One mystery knit-along dishcloth completed.

An oddball sampler afghan square complete.  It is called Choo Choo and the pattern is here

A second mystery knit-along dishcloth completed.

The mystery knit-along afghan which I started forever ago is finally completed.

And a second oddball sampler afghan square . . . Fairy Tale Castle.  Here is the pattern

Question #21

Write about your first car.

The only car I ever bought in my whole life was this beautiful 1985 Olds Cutlass Supreme.  I loved that car.  I drove it until the frame finally gave up.

And for those of you who have heard the story of me driving my car while it was on fire to the fire hall . . . here's the proof.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Question #20

List your four favourite desserts.

There is nothing I don't love about dessert.  Dessert is happiness in a dish.

My four favourite desserts are

1.  cheesecake . . . any kind

2.  pie . . . especially blueberry and cherry

3.  yogurt with fresh fruits and granola

4.  cookies . . . any kind

Wow, that was easy.

July 2014 Scrapbooking Finishes

This last layout is missing one photo . . . of the way this building looks today.  I really need to take care of this.

July 2014 Scrapbooking Finishes

This last layout is missing one photo . . . of the way this building looks today.  I really need to take care of this.

Question #19

Write about your very first job.

My very first job that wasn't babysitting or the one tragic day in the agricultural field was at 13 when I spent the summer working for the Falkins at the Wendie Leigh Motel on Talbot Street in St. Thomas.  I remember that certain things had to be done exactly done . . . especially bed making and that leaving a hair in the sink was a capital offence.  I don't remember what I was paid.

July 2014 Knitting Finishes

I actually finished 3 mystery knit-along dishcloths and one lonely odd ball afghan square in July 2014.  That is it.

Question #18

Did you ever run away from home?

When we were really young a neighbourhood friend wanted to run away from home because her family weren't going to give her a birthday party and she was heartbroken.  So we made our plans and at the crack of dawn the next day (I believe it was a Sunday) Lori and I filled a garbage bag with clothes and books and food and sneaked out the back door.  When we arrived at our friend's home she informed us she didn't have to run away after all because she did get her birthday party after all.  Well, I suppose we could have returned home but since we were packed we decided to continue running away.  We ran away to a nearby gully (ravine?) with a huge old tree that provided excellent cover.  It was about 4 blocks from home, 1 block from our grandparents and right across the road from family friends.  But we were quite sure we were well hidden and would never be found.  I don't think we had given any thought to what we would do when the bread and jar of freezer jam ran out.  Needless to say, the family friend spotted us and called our parents and we were discovered and returned home.  I don't remember the consequences so it couldn't have been too bad.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Recipe - Quinoa and Lentil Salad | SOS Cuisine

Recipe - Quinoa and Lentil Salad | SOS Cuisine

4 servings
Preparation 15 min
Cooking 30 min
470 calories per serving


2/3 cup green-brown lentils (dried) 110 g
1 cup quinoa 180 g
2 cups water 500 mL
1 yellow or red sweet peppers, finely diced 200 g
1 shallots, finely chopped 40 g
1/2 bunch arugula, coarsely chopped 80 g
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 65 mL
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed 1 1/2 lemon
2 tsp Dijon mustard 10 mL
80 g feta cheese, crumbled
4 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped 12 g
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.1 g
  ground pepper to taste


Rinse the lentils and cook them in a saucepan of boiling salted water, about 30 min until tender but still somewhat firm. Drain, discard the liquid and set aside the lentils.

Cook the quinoa in the water then let it cool down 10 minutes.

Prepare the vegetables: Seed, core and dice the pepper; finely chop the shallot; coarsely chop the arugula. Place the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the lentils and quinoa to the bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper. Pour over the salad. Gently toss to combine. Coarsely crumble the feta cheese and add it on top of the salad. Sprinkle with the finely chopped mint then serve.


Lentils can be cooked up to 5 days in advance.

Question #17

How do you entertain your family without spending any money?  I'd love to hear your ideas.

Boxing Day 2013
I'm going to assume that we can use anything that is standard in our home.  When we have the grandsons over we generally play board games or card games.  Euchre and Clue are favourites.  For snacks we usually make pots of tea or hot chocolate and munch on big bowls of popcorn.  Sometimes we watch favourite movies such as Oscar.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Question #16

List 3 favourite TV shows.

Scrapbook layout challenge for you night owls

Scrapbook a layout about something you don't like.

Scrapbook layout challenge for you night owls

Scrapbook a layout about something you don't like.

Question #15

What are your 10 favourite restaurants and why?

This would be good journaling for a scrapbooking layout.

1.  Asuka Japanese Cuisine, St. Thomas ON

2.  Braxton's Tap & Grill, St. Thomas ON

3.  Boston Pizza, St. Thomas ON

4.  Le Cafe Siam, St. Thomas ON
I can't believe I have never blogged about this restaurant before.  I love this little hidden gem.  It is intimate, beautifully decorated, the staff are charming and provide excellent service, the food is FABULOUS and it is reasonably priced.

5.  Bella Jack's, St. Thomas ON
Another restaurant I haven't blogged about yet.  Unbelievable.  Excellent margaritas, the fish tacos are fabulous, the decor is amusing and fun, the staff are quite friendly and it is all very reasonably priced.  Deb and I were just there two nights ago when we ran away from home.

6.  Golden Dragon, St. Thomas ON
New to St. Thomas, we've only ordered from them a couple of times so far.  It is really important to phone your order in well in advance because it is a tiny operation and they are very very busy already.  It is take out only but the food is fresh made and delicious.  The prices are excellent too.

7.  New Sarum Diner, New Sarum ON
This restaurant has been around forever because it is excellent.  The decor is kitschy and full of collectibles.  The service is fabulous.  It is the perfect place for a nice family dinner.  The chicken dinner is my favourite thing to order.

8.  Montana's, London ON or Oakville ON
I can only speak for these two restaurants, but I have never had a bad meal in either place.  I love the cobb salad and the corn bread.  It is a fun place to eat with so many collectibles and "junk" to look at.

9.  At the Crossroads, Elmira ON
It is impossible not to find something delicious At the Crossroads.  You can order from a menu but why?  The buffet is the best.  In fact it is the one and only buffet I have ever been to that gets it right.  The selection of salads, entrees and sides is enormous and the desserts . . . sigh . . . so many beautiful desserts.  Can you tell I love this place?

10.  Arabesque, Kitchener ON
Arabesque could very well be my go-to place for Middle-Eastern food.  The servings were huge and beautiful and colourful and totally delicious.  It was noisy, mostly because the place was packed while we were there with families all chattering together.  The decor is nice but nothing fancy.  Our server was delightful.  The prices were excellent.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Scrapbooking challenge for a quiet Monday evening . . .

Scrapbook a layout you've been meaning to start.

I thought I'd printed and scrapped all the photos from this crop.  I can't believe I missed these three the first time around.  Hail to the chief cook and bottle washer . . . LOL . . . my dear hubby.

Scrapbooking challenge for a quiet Monday evening . . .

Scrapbook a layout you've been meaning to start.

I thought I'd printed and scrapped all the photos from this crop.  I can't believe I missed these three the first time around.  Hail to the chief cook and bottle washer . . . LOL . . . my dear hubby.

Question #14

What are your favourite three things to wear?

This is an easy question for me.

1.  pyjama pants and tank tops (but only at home)

2.  flip flops

3.  earrings (I feel naked without them)

Question #13

What's something you were afraid of as a child?

When I was a kid I don't remember being afraid of much of anything.  If I was, I probably wouldn't have done as many crazy things as I did.  I was quiet and very shy around new people though.  My sister was generally the instigator of any crazy we did.

As an adult I have a disturbing list of things I'm afraid of.  I'm assuming it is because I have an understanding now of pain and mortality and consequences.  It could have a lot to do with the fact that anxiety seems to be a family trait.  Who knows?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Memorial Day

MONDAY, MAY 26, 2014

Today's Writing Prompt: Memorial Day

In the USA, today is Memorial Day. Tell us any stories about loved ones who have served in the Armed Forces.

Look at his face.  He is so young.  

Garfield Edwin Page was born January 27, 1897 in Tryconnell, Ontario.  He was my great grand uncle; half brother of my great grandfather Alexander Hewson. He joined the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force on March 29th, 1916 at the age of 19. The rest of his life is still a mystery to me but I am searching for more information about him. He died August 10, 1968 and is buried at South Park Cemetery, St. Thomas, Ontario.

Pear and Brie Flatbread

Pear and brie flatbread (Donna Griffith for The Globe and Mail/Donna Griffith for The Globe and Mail)
  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes
  • Ready time: 15 minutes


4 rounds naan bread
2 Bosc pears, sliced thin, peel on
1 200-gram wheel double-cream brie, torn into chunks
100 grams thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into pieces
1 bunch basil, stemmed
Olive oil
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 425 F.
Place naan on a large baking sheet. Drizzle naan with olive oil and scatter pear, brie and prosciutto overtop. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until brie is melted. Remove from oven and drizzle with more olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Scatter basil leaves on top.
Cut each naan into long rectangles.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Recipe - Irish Beef Stew | SOS Cuisine

Recipe - Irish Beef Stew | SOS Cuisine

2 servings

Preparation 15 min
Cooking 1 h 40 min
530 calories per serving


260 g stewing beef cubes, of about 2 cm
2 1/2 tbsp white flour (all purpose) 18 g
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil 23 mL
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup beef broth 375 mL
1 tbsp tomato paste 15 mL
1/2 tbsp sugar 6 g
1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 8 mL
1/2 sprig rosemary, fresh 3 g
1 bay leaf 0.1 g
1/2 onions, coarsely chopped 100 g
1 stalk celery, cut into 1 cm pieces 70 g
1 1/2 potatoes, peeled then cut into 1 cm pieces 300 g
1 carrots, peeled then cut into 1 cm pieces 100 g
1 tbsp butter, unsalted 14 g
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.1 g
ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp Italian parsley, fresh, chopped 5 g


Cut the beef into 2 cm cubes, if not already cubed, then dredge the cubes in flour.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef cubes and sauté until they are browned on all sides, about 5-6 min. Mince the garlic, then add it to the pot. Add the broth, tomato paste, sugar,Worcestershire sauce, rosemary sprig(s), and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 1 h, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables : coarsely chop the onions; cut the celery stalks into 1 cm pieces; peel the potatoes and carrots, then cut them into 1 cm pieces.
Melt the butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables and sauté until they are golden, about 20 min, with occasional stirring. Add the vegetables to the beef stew. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until the beef and vegetables are very tender, about 40 min. Season with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaves and rosemary sprig(s), sprinkle with the chopped parsley, then serve.(*) If the stew is too liquid, remove some of the excess broth and serve it separately as a soup.


This stew can be prepared a few days in advance and brought to a simmer before serving.

Recipe - White Bean Soup with Rosemary | SOS Cuisine

Recipe - White Bean Soup with Rosemary | SOS Cuisine

3 servings

Soaking 8 h
Preparation 10 min
Cooking 1 h 40 min
330 calories per serving

1 onions, coarsely chopped 200 g
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil, for sautéing 15 mL
1 sprig rosemary, fresh, whole 5 g
1 cup white beans (dried) great Northern, or navy beans 200 g
2 3/4 cups chicken broth 700 mL
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.1 g
ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, when serving [optional] 15 mL

Before you start

The beans must be soaked in water overnight.

A pressure cooker will reduce the beans' cooking time from 1 ½ h to 30 min. A food-mill will be very useful to purée the soup.


Prepare the onion and garlic. Coarsely chop the onion and mince the garlic.
Heat the sautéing oil in a pot over low heat. Sweat the onion 2-3 min, then add the whole sprig(s) of rosemary and cook 10-15 min, with occasional stirring. Drain the beans, add them to the pot, then add the garlic and broth. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and cook 1 ½ h or longer, until the beans are soft. Alternatively, you may use a pressure cooker and reduce the cooking time from 1 ½ h to about 30 min.
Remove the sprig(s) of rosemary and purée the soup using a food-mill (the texture will be much smoother than using a blender). Put the soup back into the pot, warm it through, then season with salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick, it may be thinned with some broth or water.
Serve the soup into bowls and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil.


This soup will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 4 months in the freezer.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Creamy Hot Artichoke Dip

This crowd-pleasing favorite is perfect for any celebration.

MAKES 2 1/2 cups
PREP TIME: 5 min
COOK TIME: 25 min

1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine all ingredients in 1-quart casserole. Bake uncovered 25 minutes or until heated through. Serve with your favorite dippers.

VARIATIONS: For a Spinach & Artichoke Dip...add 1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, cooked and squeezed dry. For a Seafood Artichoke Dip...add 1 can (6 oz.) crab meat, drained and flaked. For an Italian Artichoke Dip...add 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup drained and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. For a Roasted Red Pepper Artichoke Dip...add 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup drained and chopped roasted red peppers. For a Mexican Artichoke Dip...omit Parmesan cheese and add 1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies undrained, 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and hot pepper sauce to taste. Also terrific with Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Canola Cholesterol Free, Light Mayonnaise or Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Low Fat Mayonnaise Dressing.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Recipe - Lemon Mousse with Cranberry Sauce | SOS Cuisine

Recipe - Lemon Mousse with Cranberry Sauce | SOS Cuisine

6 servings

Preparation 30 min
Standing 8 h
260 calories per serving
Cooking dish: 15 cm pan or 6 ramekins

vegetable oil spray, to grease the pan or the ramekins
2 eggs size large
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed 1 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup sugar 110 g
1 pinch salt 0.4 g
3/4 cup whipping cream 35% 190 mL
6 serving(s) Cranberry Sauce (Recipe)

Before you start
A food processor or a mixer and a blender will make things easier for this recipe.
You may use either individual ramekins or a single large springform pan.

Prepare the lemon mousse
Lightly oil the bottom and sides of a large spring formpan or of individual ramekins.
Separate the egg whites from the yolks and put them in 2 separate bowls. Combine the egg yolks with the lemon juice and about ¼ of the sugar. Set aside.
In the other bowl, beat the egg whites using an electric mixer until foamy, then add the salt and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar, beating until the egg whites are glossy and stand in stiff peaks, about 7-8 min. Set aside.
Pour the cream in a third bowl, then using the electric mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream and egg whites into the yolk mixture using a spatula.
Carefully spoon the mixture into the pan or distribute it into the ramekins. Cover with foil and freeze at least 8 hours if using the pan, or 2-3 hours for the ramekins.

Unmould and garnish with the cranberry sauce
Just before serving, remove the frozen mousse from the springform pan and place it on a serving plate. If you are using ramekins, turn them upside-down onto individual serving plates. To make ramekin unmoulding easier, pour about 2 cm of hot water in a large bowl, then immerse the bottom of the ramekins in the water for about 1 min.
Spoon the sauce over the individual servings then serve.

Cranberry Sauce

8 servings (2 cups)

Preparation 5 min
Cooking 5 min
Standing 1 h

2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen 200 g
1/2 cup water 125 mL
1/2 cup sugar 110 g
2 tsp cornstarch 5 g

In a saucepan, stir together the cranberries, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil, with constant stirring. When the sugar is fully dissolved, add the cornstarch through a sieve, in order to avoid lumps. Reduce the heat to 'low' and continue to cook 6-7 min until the berries burst. Chill 1 h in the refrigerator before serving.

The sauce keeps 7 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Recipe - Chicken Cutlets Milanese | SOS Cuisine

Recipe - Chicken Cutlets Milanese | SOS Cuisine

4 servings

Preparation 5 min
Cooking 10 min
240 calories per serving

1 1/3 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless 400 g
1 eggs size large
4 tbsp bread crumbs 30 g
2 tbsp butter, unsalted 28 g
2 tbsp canola oil 30 mL
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.1 g
ground pepper to taste

Before you start

Keep the serving plates in the oven at the lowest setting so they are warm when you serve.


Tenderize the chicken by flattening the cutlets using a meat pounder. Slice each breast horizontally into 2 or 3 cutlets.
Prepare 2 shallow dishes: beat the egg in one, and put the bread crumbs in the other. Dip one cutlet at the time in the egg, let the excess egg drip off before coating the cutlet with the bread crumbs. Turn the cutlets to coat both sides, then set them aside.
Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, taking care not to let them burn. Add the cutlets and sauté until golden, about 4 min on each side. Add salt and pepper. Serve on the warmed plates.

The remaining beaten egg may be cooked as an omelet and served along side the cutlets.