Saturday, November 28, 2009

An awesome day in Kitchener/Waterloo ON -- November 23, 2009

I went along for the ride today to keep Hal company while he stood in line at the Drive Test Centre in Kitchener ON. We were really surprised when he was in and out with his paperwork done in less than an hour. Good thing we'd brought along our letterboxing gear. What a great way to spend the rest of the day!!!!
If you are heading out to find Mummies Under Cover, you will find out that the Buddha is not in the window. In fact, when we were there all the windows in the building were being replaced. That won't stop you from finding the box if you can figure out the rest of the clues.

This is a true story . . . We stopped in this cute little neighbourhood park for a picnic lunch, musing that the neighbours probably were staring at these strange old people eating a picnic in late November. But it was a nice day!!!! Well I thought to myself "look at that lovely tree in that lovely corner of the park. What a great place to hide a letterbox". I was disappointed that we hadn't brought a box along to hide. Later when we were following clues down some railway tracks, Hal says "haven't we seen that house and park before" and we both started to laugh. We were right back at the park we'd picniced in and the box was hidden right where I'd suggested would be a perfect spot for a letterbox.

A half day visit to Kitchener ON - November 15, 2009

Our first attempt was Alpine Adventure Kitchener but it was just an attempt. The area the box should had been greatly muggled by children building forts, etc. It was definitely a lovely walk though.

Mennonites of Ontario - #19 Nine Patch Quilt Block by Waterlily was an easy find. We are really enjoying learning about the Mennonite communities in Ontario and finding all these lovely quilt blocks.

Stop and Smell the Flowers was a lovely spot. Don't worry that the fountains are covered in winter and can't be used with the clues. There are other hints in the clue which will get you to the letterbox. I am definitely coming back in the summer to see the gardens in full bloom and all the fountains splashing.

Our next find was another of Waterlily's quilt squares -- Mennonites of Ontario #16 Square in a Square Quilt Block. Yes, the bush is definitely prickly!

We grabbed a quick lunch and headed home. A great day!!!

Gift Tin Album

You choose the theme and colours for this mini album in a tin.
Saturday, December 19 @ 1 pm

An Album in an Afternoon

You select the papers and theme. This is a 20 page 8" x 8" gift album. Perfect for Christmas gift.
$50.00. Price is for pages only.
Saturday, December 12 @ 1 pm

A Week in My Life

An exciting project documenting your day to day life. The project is 12" x 12" and 18 pages. You select the papers and cardstocks you wish to use. Price is for pages only.
Wednesday, December 9 @ 7 pm

Baby Paper Bag Album

For your baby girl or baby boy . . .

Tuesday, December 8 @ 10 am, 3 pm or 7 pm
$25.00 - all materials supplied

Thirty Minute Layouts for December

Do you think I got a little carried away with the buttons? LOL . . . I don't.

Saturday, December 5 @ 1 pm
Wednesday, December 16 @ 7 pm
$24.00 - all materials supplied.

Wonder Years

Wednesday, December 2 @ 3 pm
Thursday, December 3 @ 7 pm
$12.50 - all materials are supplied

Canvas Album

I was reading a designer's blog one day and spotted her canvas album. There were only peeks at the finished project; not enough to scrap lift from (darn it!! LOL) but I was intrigued with the idea. So of course I had to try and make my own.

AND I LOVED IT . . . THE ENTIRE PROCESS. Here is my finished album. Believe me, the photo does not do it justice . . . all the textures and colours are so delicious.

Would you like to make this easy, sewing-optional, album? You choose your patterned papers, embellishments and colours.
Wednesday, December 2 @ 10 am & 7 pm
Wednesday, December 9 @ 3 pm
$30.00 - All materials are supplied.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stuffed Pork Chops ~r

Did you see that several supermarkets have pork roasts on sale this week? Mom & I picked up 6 roasts for $1.89 and $1.99 per pound at Metro and spent today cooking. I hope you enjoy the 6 recipes I am posting: Dijon Pork Chops, Sweet-n-Sout Pork, Pork Rice Skillet Bake, Herbed Pork Chops, Provencale Pork, and Stuffed Pork Chops. I did a lot of cutting to turn the roasts into dozens of pork chops and Mom chopped and stirred and packed like crazy. We knew we'd done a good job when my nephew (her grandson), Scott, walked in after school and you could see his eyes glaze over as he smelled the aromas coming from the stove and oven. He went home with a stuffed pork chop, scalloped potatoes and Provencale Pork. I have since heard that he really enjoyed his supper . . . LOL.

On the subject of the cookbook we used today, "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor-Hough, I have to say I love this book . . . perhaps a little too much. It is now covered in olive oil and white wine and who knows what else. Don't worry Pam D., you will be getting a brand new copy of this book . . . LOL . . . On the down side, the editor or proofreader of this book needs to be fired. I have found several mistakes that have been a little frustrating like ingredients missing from the shopping list or extras added that aren't needed and sometimes the recipes have things out of order. But that's okay because the recipe results make up for most shortcomings.

6 servings

6 thick-cut pork chops (about 1-inch thick)
1/2 cup wild rice mix
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup sherry
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 teaspoons pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
1-1/2 cups fat-free beef broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Cook wild rice mixture according to package directions, substituting 1/3 cup sherry for 1/3 cup water in directions. Heat butter in skillet; stir in mushroom slices and onions, cook until softened. Remove from heat. Stir 1/2 mushrooms into wild rice mixture. Slice a pocket in each chop. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons wild rice/mushroom mixture into each chop. Close with toothpicks. Rub pepper and paprika into chops. Broil chops on broiler rack 5-inches from the heat for 15 minutes (turning halfway through). To make sauce, in saucepan stir together broth and cornstarch. Add remaining sauteed mushrooms; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1 tablespoon sherry.

In my opinion: Well a few things didn't go quite right with this recipe. We were using pork roasts and slicing into pork chop sized pieces. Unfortunately pork-roast-style chops don't always lend themselves to having pockets sliced into them. And we also didn't have a package of wild rice mix so we used a rice vegetable mix and just followed the package directions. Since the pockets were not very big we just stuffed with rice (no mushrooms) and used all of the mushrooms in the sauce. Now after all that I have to say the chops and sauce turned out gorgeous and were enjoyed by my nephew, Scott. Also, we used cremini mushrooms, because they are firmer and more flavourful than white mushrooms.

Recipe from "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor-Hough.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Provencale Pork ~r

6 servings

2 pounds boneless pork chops, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1/4 cup butter
2 medium onions, sliced
1 (15-oz.) can stewed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
1-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Trim excess fat off pork chops; slice into thin strips. In large skillet over medium heat, melt half the butter. Add slices of pork; cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink. Remove meat from skillet; set aside. Stir onions into juices remaining in pan; cook until just tender. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and mixed herbs to pan. Heat to boil; reduce heat; simmer about 5 minutes. In casserold dish, layer pork, sauce and potatoes (end with potato layer). Brush top of potatoes with melted butter; sprinkle with parsley. Cover casserole dish with a lid and bake at 350F for 1 hour.

In my opinion: Beautiful!! While we were at it, Mom sliced up some extra potatoes and onions and made scalloped potatoes.

Recipe from "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor Hough.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Herbed Pork Chop ~r

6 servings

1/3 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons fennel, crushed
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons basil
6 pork chops

Combine together in a small bowl: wine, fennel, marjoram, basil, salt and garlic: blend well. Set aside. Spray large skillet with cooking spray. Cook pork chops over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Turn chops, add wine mixture. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until pork is no longer pink.

In my opinion: This recipe was elegant, aromatic, attractive and so quick and easy!!!!! The aroma from the wine and the fennel were absolutely fabulous!!!!!

This recipe from "Frozen Assest Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor Hough.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Pork Rice Skillet Bake ~r

6 servings

6 pork chops
1 package brown and wild rice mushroom mix
2 cups water
1 large tomato, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Spray large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over high heat; place chops in skillet; cook 2 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from heat. Remove pork chops from skillet; set aside. In a casserole dish, stir together drippings from browning pork chops, the wild rice mix and 2 cups water. Arrange slices of tomato and onion in a single layer over rice mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup parsley. Arrange pork chops over top. Cover. Bake in 350 F oven for 40-50 minutes, or until pork is no longer pink in centre and rice is cooked.

In my opinion: We put the parsley on top of the pork chops because it was prettier. This recipe is quite simple, and looks and smells wonderful.

Recipe is from "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor Hough.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Sweet-n-Sour Pork ~r

6 servings

3/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons catsup
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 egg, beaten
6 boneless pork chops, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large onion, cut into thin wedges
1 large gree pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large tomato, cut into wedges
2 cups canned pineapple chunks, drained
1 cup water

In a medium-sized bowl, combine 1/4 cup cornstarch and the vinegar. Stir in 1 cup water, sugar, catsup, soy sauce and cayenne; set aside. In small bowl, beat egg. In separate bowl, place remaining cornstarch. Dip pork chunks in egg; then dip into cornstarch. Over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil in large skillet. Add meat to hot oil and saute until golden brown on the outside and no longer pink inside (stirring contantly); remove meat from pat using a slotted spoon. Add onion, green pepper, garlic and 2 tablespoons water to pan; saute for 1 minute. Stir sweet-n-sour sauce into pan with vegetables. Cook stirring constantly until sauce boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Add tomato and pineapple.

In my opinion: This recipe is very easy to make and looks and smells wonderful. Hal had a bowlful for his lunch and really enjoyed it. I did cheat a bit when making it. We were making a double batch and it was taking forever to dip each piece of pork so I poured the egg into the bowl of cubed pork and tossed it well. Then I added the cornstarch and tossed the pork until it was all well coated.

This recipe from "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor-Hough.
Le dîner est servi . . .

Dijon Pork Chops ~r

6 servings

1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 pork chops
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

In pie plate, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, oil and pepper. Mix well. Set aside. Spread both sides of pork chops with mustard; press chops into bread crumb mixture, coating both sides. Spray rack in broiler pan with cooking spray, arrange chops on rack; broil 5-6 inches from element until cooked (5-6 minutes on each side).

In my opinion: These chops are so simple and the aroma . . . fabulous!!!!!

Recipe from "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor-Hough.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Monday, November 2, 2009

More Baby Paper Piecings for Sale

Bib $3.50
Rattle $3.50
Bottle $4.50
Call 519-495-1897 or

Need a special dish for a pot luck?? Check this out . . . ~r

I haven't woken up Taylor from his nap to taste test this one yet. I think it tastes really really good. It looks pretty good too. And it was quite simple to make.

Tortilla Casserole
6 servings
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 (15-oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (4.5-oz.) can chopped green chilies
1 package taco seasoning mix
6 corn tortillas
3/4 cup nonfat sour cream
4 oz (1 cup) grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oven to 350 F. Spray nonstick skillet with non-stick cooking spray. heat over high heat until hot. Add ground beef; brown 8-10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring constantly. Drain well; return beef to skillet. Add beans, tomatoes, chilies and taco seasoning mix; mix well. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, spray 12 x 8 (2-quart) baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cut each tortilla in half; place 6 halves in bottom of sprayed baking dish, overlapping slightly. Spoon half of beef mixture evenly over tortillas. Spoon sour cream over beef mixture; spread evenly. Top with remaining 6 tortilla halves and remaining beef mixture. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle with cheese. Cover; let stand 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Per serving: 324.9 calories; 10.8 g fat; 23.8 g protein; 34.2 g carbohydrates; 45 mg cholesterol.
Le dîner est servi . . .

Macaroni and Beef ~r

Taylor and I really enjoyed taste-testing this recipe. I used Unico Scoobi Doo macaroni for a little extra excitement. And it is soooooo simple to make.

Macaroni and Beef

6 servings

6 oz elbow macaroni, cooked
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
4 oz (1 cup) reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, grated

(I substituted 1/4 cup of homemade pesto for the basil)

In large skillet, brown ground beef, onion and bell pepper until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are softened. Add tomato sauce, basil, thyme and pepper, Stir frequently over medium heat until heated through. Remove from heat. Add macaroni; stir to combine. Sprinkle cheese over top.

Per Serving: 292.2 calories; 10.3 g fat; 21.3 g protein; 28.3 g carbohydrates; 43 mg cholesterol

Le dîner est servi . . .

Pizza Burgers ~r

These burgers didn't make it into the freezer . . . they were lunch . . . and very yummy!!!!!

Pizza Burgers

Serves 6

1 pound extra-lean ground beef (I think I would have liked bigger burgers so maybe 1-1/2 pounds of ground beef would be better)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup muchrooms, thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
4 oz (1 cup) fat free mozzarella cheese, grated
1 tbsp parsley
6 hamburger buns

In skillet over medium-high heat, saute mushroom slices in butter. Remove from heat. In large bowl combine beef, salt, pepper and oregano. Form beef mixutre into six equal patties. Cook patties in non-stick skillet for 3 minutes (or until cooked through). Spread each patty with 1 tbsp tomato sauce and 1 tbsp mushrooms. Divide cheese evenly between patties. Serve sprinkled with parsley in hamburger buns.

Per serving: 217.1 calories; 13.1 g fat; 21.0 g protein; 3.5 g carbohydrates; 56 mg cholesterol

Le dîner est servi . . .

Beef Loaf ~r

Beef Loaf

8 servings

2 cups onion, chopped
2 cups carrots, shredded
2 cups zucchini, shredded
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
4 tbsp skim milk
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage

Spray medium skillet with cooking spray. Heat and add onions. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until golden brown. Add carrot, zucchini and garlic, stirring contantly until vegetables are softened. Remove from heat. Set aside. In small bowl, combine bread and milk. Let stand five minutes. In large bowl, combine beef, eggs, parsley, salt, pepper, thyme, sage, cooled vegetables and soaked bread. Shape into loaf. Place into centre of 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Per serving: 206.4 calories; 10.3 g fat; 13.7 g protein; 15.1 g carbohydrates; 105 mg cholesterol.

This was very simple to make, smells wonderful, and tastes good too. I did make one substitution. There is a typo in the recipe book's shopping list so I did not have the zucchini for this recipe. So I went through the freezer looking for something green and vegetable-like . . . peas. I think it worked out just fine.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Today was a perfect day for letterboxing

Today was a perfect fall day for letterboxing. We started with Early Telephone in Paris ON. We found a great hitchhiker in this box -- Ohio Farm Land by Saddle Bag (which has already been planted in another box somewhere in Ontario).

And to finish the image we had to find Calling Long Distance in Brantford ON.
I'd like to bring the grandsons back here to see the Bell Homestead.
Finding The Great One in Brantford ON was a wonderful walk. Some tricky directions in the clue . . . LOL
We really enjoyed our walk through Riverside Park. The Little Houses in the Woods were absolutely charming.
Our next stop was to find Mennonites of Ontario - #12 Pinwheel Flower Quilt Block. This was our second try at this Kitchener, ON letterbox and we FOUND IT!!!!!
We then headed to Lookout - Pioneers in Kitchener, ON.
Our last stop was Topsy Turvy in Kitchener, ON. It was a great walk. Topsy turvy was a great name for the board walk we were on. But we never did find the box. Hoping to hear from the owner with an extra clue.

What a great day . . . and then we headed for home . . .