Thursday, September 20, 2018

Craft Space Organization Challenge 2018 Take 2 ~ Challenge #3

Challenge #3

So, your paper is beautifully organized, your scraps carefully stashed or purged, and your desk is gleaming! I've posted photos in our Facebook group but you are also welcome to post links to your challenge photos as a comment here.

You are starting to be organized.  Doesn't it make you feel creative? Don't you want to get cropping? Well, you CAN'T scrapbook without PHOTOS!

Our third challenge is to organize our photos. Here is an excellent article to get you thinking about how to organize those precious photos before we S.P.A.C.E. them:

SORT: Gather together all of your photos, and sort them into categories that make sense: TRASH (it's okay to throw out photos with bad colour, expression, or composition. Why keep them? You're not going to scrapbook them), TO SCRAPBOOK (the shots you know you are going to use), TO STORE (photos that need to be kept, but aren't necessarily going to be going into your scrapbooks), and TO GIVE AWAY (doubles that you want to send to friends and family)

PURGE: Throw out the TRASH pile. Put the TO GIVE AWAY photos in envelopes and mail them to friends/family, or put them in your car so you can drop them off the next time you visit. Do not leave them in your studio, or they will creep back into your organized space.

ASSIGN: Sort the final two groups (to scrapbook and to store) of photos into a system that makes sense to you:

CONTAINERIZE: Now it's time to decide how you want to store your photos. Perhaps you want to put your TO STORE photos in acid free envelopes or albums. Perhaps you want to put your TO SCRAPBOOK photos into photo storage boxes, or accordion folders.

EQUALIZE: Next time you get new photos from the photo processor, spend a couple of minutes and put the photos where they belong: throw out the bad shots, give away the extras, put the keepers away in their album, and sort your photos for scrapbooking into their container.

Harvest Pot-au-feu

We love this excellent beef stew-ish recipe.

Quantity : 4 servings
Preparation : 15 min 
Cooking : 3 h
370 calories/serving

1/2 onions, finely chopped 100 g
2 cloves garlic, minced
750 g blade pot roast, cut into large cubes
2 tbsp olive oil 30 mL
2 tbsp white flour (all purpose) 16 g
2 1/2 cups beef broth 625 mL
2 1/2 cups water 625 mL
1 bay leaf 0.2 g
2 tsp herbes de Provence 2 g
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]
3 carrots, cut into large chunks 300 g
2 rutabagas, cut into large chunks 300 g
5 1/2 cups Savoy cabbage, cut into large chunks 400 g
8 small potatoes, whole 360 g

Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic. Cut the meat into large cubes.
Heat the oil in a casserole dish or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the meat and brown thoroughly on each side until golden, 7-8 min total, then take the meat out of the pot and set it aside.
Add the onion and garlic to the pot, then sauté 3-4 min until the onion is translucent. Stir in the flour and cook 2 min with continuous stirring. Pour in the broth and water gradually, with stirring, then put the meat along with its juices back into the pot. Add the bay leaf and herbes de Provence. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer 2 h, until the meat is tender.
While the meat is cooking, prepare the vegetables: peel the carrots and rutabagas, then cut them into large pieces; cut the cabbage into large pieces; leave the potatoes whole. Add the vegetables to the pot and cook an additional 40 to 45 min, until the vegetables are cooked al dente. Adjust the seasoning.
Serve the meat and vegetables including the cooking broth.

This dish can be made a few days ahead and reheated over moderate heat.

The broth may be served in a separate bowl, or it may be puréed with a few vegetables in a food processor then served as a thick soup.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Asian Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Quantity : 2 servings
Preparation : 10 min 
Cooking : 10 min
380 calories/serving

1/2 tbsp canola oil 8 mL
1/2 shallots, finely chopped 20 g
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp gingerroot, grated 7 g
1/2 dried chili peppers, minced 0.2 g
2 cups chicken broth 500 mL
1 cup water 250 mL
1 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla) 15 mL
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]
160 g chicken for Chinese fondue
80 g rice sticks (noodles)
1 carrots, grated 100 g
1 green onions/scallions, thinly sliced
4 button (white) mushrooms, thinly sliced 55 g
1 1/2 cup soybean sprouts 100 g

Before you start
Individual 500 ml (2 cups) serving bowls are needed.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the shallot, then sauté 2-3 min. Add the garlic, ginger and chili pepper. Sauté 3 min with stirring. Pour in the broth and water, then add the fish sauce and a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer a few minutes. Adjust the seasoning. Add the chicken slices, warm up the broth 1 min, then take the saucepan off the heat.
Meanwhile, cook the rice sticks for about 4 min in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain in a colander, then rinse and drain again. Set aside.
Prepare the vegetables: Grate the carrots, then thinly slice the green onions and mushrooms. Portion out the vegetables into individual serving bowls. Add the soybean sprouts and cooked rice sticks. Pour in the hot broth and serve.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

This No-Crust Quiche is now my pizza craving substitute!!!!

Quantity : 2 servings
Preparation : 10 min Cooking : 40 min Cooking Dish : 18 cm diameter
180 calories/serving

3 eggs size large
1/3 cup cottage cheese, 1% 80 g
1/3 cup Cheddar cheese, grated 24 g
4 sun-dried tomatoes (oil packed), finely chopped 16 g
1 serving Oven-Roasted Peppers (recipe at the bottom of this post)
margarine non-hydrogenated , to grease the pie-dish
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g

Before you start
Peppers must be roasted in advance.

Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F. Grease a pie-dish.
Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and chop them finely. Peel, clean and pat dry the roasted peppers, then cut them into strips of about 1 cm.
In a bowl, beat the eggs with the cottage cheese using a fork. Add a little salt. Mix in the grated cheese, peppers, and tomatoes.
Pour into the prepared pie-dish and bake in the middle of the oven 35-40 min until firm. Check with a tooth-pick or knife if it is cooked through. If it comes out clean, the quiche is ready.
Let rest a few minutes before cutting.

Oven-Roasted Peppers

Quantity : 1 serving
Preparation : 5 min Cooking : 30 min Standing : 45 min
70 calories/serving

1 yellow or red sweet peppers 200 g
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil 5 mL
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]

Before you start
Only red and yellow peppers are used in this recipe. They are harvested from the same plant as the green ones but are plumper and sweeter after changing colour since they are picked when fully ripe.

Preheat the oven to 215°C/425°F.
Clean the peppers with a wet towel, pat dry, and place into an ovensafe dish or a roasting pan. Cook in the middle of the oven about 30 min, or until peppers are soft and browned in spots. Turn them a couple times during cooking.
Remove from oven, cover or wrap in a paper bag, and let cool down about 15-20 min (the moisture kept in the bag or under the cover will help the peeling). Remove the stem. Peel and cut each pepper lengthwise into 3-4 strips and remove seeds. Drain in a colander for about 30 min.
Add salt and pepper to taste only when ready to use. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve.

Sole Fillets with Mushrooms . . . are DELICIOUS!

Quantity : 2 servings
Preparation : 10 min 
Cooking : 10 min
350 calories/serving

8 button (white) mushrooms, thinly sliced 110 g
1 tbsp Italian parsley, fresh, chopped 5 g
2 sole fillets 300 g
3 tbsp white flour (all purpose) 24 g
2 tbsp butter, unsalted 28 g
2 tbsp canola oil 30 mL
2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed 3/4 lemon
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]

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

Preheat the oven to the lowest setting.
Prepare the mushrooms: slice them thinly. Chop the parsley. Set aside.
Rinse the fillets and pat dry. Add salt, pepper and coat with flour.
Melt the butter in a pan over high heat. Add the fillets and cook 2 min on one side, turn them, and cook 1-2 min. Put them on a plate and keep them warm in the oven.
Add the oil to the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook 4-5 min over high heat. Add salt and pepper. Add the chopped parsley, lemon juice, toss and transfer over the fillets.
Serve immediately.

Craft Room Organization Challenge 2018 Take 2 ~ Challenge #2

How did you make out on the first challenge?  It's not too late to share your photos.  Doesn't it feel great to start the new year with a clean work surface?

Let's move on to the next challenge . . . 

Challenge #2

Image result for piles of scrapbooking paper

Here is this week's challenge:

Your challenge this week is to S.P.A.C.E. your paper - - and I mean ALL of your paper: cardstock, patterned paper, specialty papers, and all those SCRAPS!
Scrap cardstock

Extra cardstock

SORT: Bring all of your paper to one area. Sort it all into piles: KEEP, SELL, DONATE, TRASH

PURGE: bag up, and assign a price to paper bundles that you want to SELL at a garage sale or online, and put the bags in the garage sale box. Throw out the TRASH pile. Bag up the DONATE pile and immediately make arrangements for drop-off/pick-up or put in your vehicle.

ASSIGN: separate your paper into categories that make sense to you. For example, you may want to divide it simply into cardstock and patterned paper. If you have a huge stash of paper, you may want to divide it by colour, theme, or manufacturer.

My page kits

Another way to sort your paper is in page kits. Package matching patterned papers in a zip lock or similar bag, add matching cardstocks and embellishments to create kits.

CONTAINERIZE: store you paper in a way that makes sense to you:

- vertical paper holders
- hanging vertical file folders
- wire cubes
- paper trays
- paper organizers
- bookcases with adjustable shelves

Click here to see lots of different storage ideas.

EQUALIZE: each time you finish a scrap session, return from a crop, or bring home new papers, spend a few minutes putting your paper away where it belongs.

We have started a Facebook group as a place for us to share photos, accomplishments, encouragement, tips and tricks as we work through the 2018 Craft Space Organization Challenge.  You are welcome to post before and after photos of any or all of the challenges.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Flemish Beef Stew

Quantity : 4 servings
Preparation : 15 min 
Cooking : 2 h 30 min
380 calories/serving

800 g blade pot roast, cut into cubes
1 tbsp butter, unsalted 14 g
1 tbsp canola oil 15 mL
1 1/2 onions, finely chopped 300 g
2 tbsp white flour (all purpose) 16 g
1 1/3 cup beer 330 mL
2 bay leaf 0.4 g
1 sprig rosemary, fresh 5 g
1/2 tbsp brown sugar 6 g
1/2 tbsp wine vinegar 8 mL
1 rutabagas, peeled and cut into large pieces 150 g
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces 400 g
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]

Before you start

A baking or casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid is necessary for this recipe.


Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF.
Cut the beef into large cubes, about 4 cm, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Finely chop the onions.
Heat the butter and oil in a casserole dish over high heat. Add the beef cubes in batches, turning them until dark brown on all sides, 5-7 min. Take the cubes out of the casserole using a slotted spoon, then transfer them to a plate.
Add the onions and sauté over medium heat about 5 min, then add the flour and cook 1-2 min with stirring. Pour in the beer, then put the meat back into the casserole. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, brown sugar, and vinegar. Pour in some water if necessary to cover the meat. Cover and cook 2 h in the middle of the oven, until the meat is tender.
During this time, prepare the vegetables : peel them and cut into large chunks then add them to the casserole. Pour in some warm water if too dry. Season with salt, cover and continue to cook an additional 20-25 min until the vegetables are tender. Serve.


This stew can be made a few days ahead and reheated over moderate heat.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

What is to become of Alma College? Updated.

Image result for alma college st thomas

My husband and I attended the September 4th, 2018 meeting regarding amendments to the original Ontario Municipal boards order as it applies to the former Alma College site. 

An official from the City of St. Thomas explained the details of the original OMB order which was issued January 15th, 2008.  It allowed that the buildings could be demolished. The north central entrance way has to be retained and the north facade was to be replicated excluding the belfry and spire.  The order required the property to be measured and documented and for the city to repeal the heritage designation. 

On May 26th 2008 Alma College burned to the ground. The remains were demolished the next day.

In January 2018 the Alma College property was purchased by Patriot Properties to develop 430 new high-end multi residential units in three separate buildings. Research has shown that there's a desperate need for higher-end rental housing in St. Thomas. 

After several failed attempts at designs replicating the facade of the original building, Patriot and their architects determined that it would be better to use a more contemporary heritage interpretation strategy; instead of replacing the original building they would create a structure that honored the original building. 

The newest plan which Patriot proposed today includes an increase in green space between the three apartment buildings by moving 75% of parking to underground structures They plan to close the Moore Street gate to vehicles, making main access to the property from Ross and McIntyre Streets.  There will be 430 units built over the three phases of the development.

As well as the contemporary structure or sculpture made of metal which will honour the front entrance of Alma College, there will be a bricked courtyard on the original site of the college, the granite gate pillars will be restored, the amphitheater will be restored, and the forecourt gardens will be restored. Patriot proposes that four Heritage plaques be installed on site, two of which will be at the McIntyre entrance on the granite gate pillars. 

The next speaker was Russell Schnurr from the St. Thomas municipal heritage committee. He discussed the implications of not following the OMB order. The committee wants to replicate the facade, they want the OMB order to be met, and  they want St. Thomas and Patriots to support our cultural heritage.  He did mention that some CIP funding might be available if the order is faithfully implemented. This speaker is also a instructor at Fanshawe College and his students came up with a very interesting plan to replicate the facade which he shared with us.  The presenter mentioned that he also liked these commemorative structure that Patriot is suggesting. 

Dawn Doty, a neighbor of the Alma College property, reminded us that the original OMB decision was paid for by the City and citizens of St. Thomas. She would like to know what the cost was. She also mentioned that an archaeological site was noted in the decision and wanted to know if an assessment of the archaeological site had been done.

Doty does not support the removal of the OMB decision. She does support the newest Fanshawe College plan for the facade.  She also requested that a decision on this matter be deferred until the next council is elected. Mayor Jackson responded that the decision will probably be made at the September 17th council meeting as the current Council has a mandate until the end of November.

The next speaker was Sue Smith who has an extensive list of credentials in urban planning and related fields. Smith is in support of the replication of the facade and is definitely against the repeal of the OMB order. She reminded us that the original order wasn't registered until 2010, 2 years after the fire that destroyed Alma College.  Ms. Smith would like to know what the cities solicitors think about the repeal of the OMB order and she also asked what the cost of the original hearing was.  

Nancy Mayberry is a citizen active in our local architectural and railway heritage. She discussed the National Standards of Conservancy and stated she is also against the repeal of the OMB order. 

Sine Herold and Donna Robertson, both Alma College Alumni, spoke about the importance of the amphitheater to the alumni of Alma College and to local citizens. Many alumni do not believe that building a pretend Alma College is the proper way to remember her. Many letters from alumni were read out which support Patriot's proposals. At the June 2018 alumni reunion all in attendance approved. 

Several other citizens, myself included, stepped to the microphone with comments or questions. I asked what would happen if the Ministry of Natural Resources did not approve plans for the amphitheater. Mayor Jackson reassured us that a plan is in place and that discussions would be made with the ministry to deal with any issues. I also asked what would happen if the city was unable to have the OMB order repealed. Would Patriot Properties pull out, leaving the abandoned rubble pile undeveloped?  

John Vigars spoke about the need for high-end rental property in St Thomas.  He challenge City County to remember that we already have a monument that we killed the world’s largest elephant.  We have monuments to the fact that this city was abandoned by the railroads. He reminded us that we have already been abandoned by Ford, Timken, Clark and many other industries and asked that Patriot Properties not be added to that list. He challenged City Council to step up to the plate and move on this issue, not leaving it to the next council. 

Neighbors in the Alma College area also spoke on the side of development, repealing the OMB ruling, and getting the apartments built. 

Steve Peters asked what the cost would be to honor the OMB order.   According to an article in the St. Thomas Times-Journal dated September 6th, Michael Loewith of Patriot Properties states that "a replica facade is financially 'unfeasible' because about 8,000 square feet of historic masonry would need to be recreated at a cost of about $5.1 million."  Loewith also stated that if they are forced to recreate the facade "the project will not go through."

We will look forward to learning city Council at the September 17th meeting.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Broiled Bacon

Image result for broiled bacon

Places slices on preheated broiler rack, 3 to 3-1/2" from heat source.

Broil at moderate temperature for 1-1/2 to 3 minutes per side, turning only once.

This bacon needs no draining.  If only a small quantity is prepared, a shallow pan with a wire rack may be used.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Craft Room Organization Challenge 2018 Take 2 ~ Challenge #1

Challenge #1

September. Kids going back to school. You may even find time for some crafting now. But first you really need to get your craft space organized.

The first challenge is to clear off your crafting work space.

Maybe you have a desk committed as your craft space, maybe you have an entire room, or maybe you have taken over the dining room table. Wherever you craft, completely clear off the entire surface of your work space, dumping everything into a big box. Give your surface a good scrub and polish, removing every speck of paint, adhesive, and uh.... is that chocolate????

Take a photo of your newly scrubbed craft space and upload it to your blog or other online sharing site. Don't forget to post the link to your photo here in the comments section.

Here are my BEFORE photos:

My big ugly table 

My genealogy work space 

My computer work space 

And now for my AFTER photos:

Okay, now it's your turn. Let's get to work on that big box of stuff you just removed from your work space.

Now is the time to learn that you need S.P.A.C.E. to craft: * Sort * Purge * Assign * Containerize * Equalize *

We're going to use this method for each and every challenge of the Organization Challenge. So, let's go over this method:

SORT: Going object by object, divide everything in the big box into categories that make sense to you.

You may want to have some baskets laid out and labelled: SELL, DONATE, TRASH, STORAGE (for stuff you want to keep but doesn't belong on or in your desk/work surface) , NOT IN HERE (for items that sneak their way into your craft space but belong elsewhere in the house) and ACTION (for items that you want to keep in or on your desk).

PURGE: This is a no-brainer.
1) Throw out everything in the TRASH pile - all the ripped, broken, dried up, crumpled STUFF.
2) Bag up and assign a price and your initials to everything in the SELL pile, and put in your sale box.
3) Call the person who could use the DONATE pile, and immediately set up a time to drop off, bag it up, and hang on the door knob so it doesn't sneak back into your studio area. 4) Put the NOT IN HERE stuff where it belongs (I'd make the kids do it. It's probably their junk anyway)

ASSIGN: You have a couple of options here for your STORAGE pile: put the stuff aside to be organized when we work on other areas, or (and I strongly suggest this alternative) put the items away where they belong using your current organization system.

CONTAINERIZE: Sort all of your ACTION items into the appropriate drawer, container, and boxes. Containerizing gives you a chance to make everything pretty and inspirational to you. You may need to make a shopping trip to purchases containers that you love to look at, are sturdy enough to withstand repeated openings and closings, and are the right size. Make a list and take measurements. Label everything.

EQUALIZE: each time you finish a crafting session, return from a crop, or bring home new supplies, spend a few minutes putting everything away where it belongs.

The next challenge will be posted on September 9th.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

August 2018 Scrapbooking Finishes

Although I do enjoy the challenge of a really complex layout once in a while, in general I prefer my layouts to be clean and simple.  This is why I love 4 x 6 Photo Sketch Blog for inspiration.  

A little bit of peace and quiet equals . . . art journaling

It has been a rather quiet couple of weeks . . . which is really weird in my world.  Because of the peace and quiet I have been able to do some serious crafting on both big projects and small.  Three whole art journal pages . . .