Saturday, August 22, 2009

Happy Birthday to Melanie & JanMary and Gift for You!

Today is our daughter's 26th - (cough!) Yes, twenty-sixth Birthday. Where HAS the time gone? She's off celebrating somewhere's today with her voicemail box full - can't even leave her a message! Luckily we were able to celebrate early together this last weekend.


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Wishing you a FAB-O day wherever it finds you Sweet Daughter! We love you more than any blog post could ever say! (ps empty your voicemail!)

Its also (ALMOST missed it) my friend JanMary's Birthday too and she's celebrated in FINE style in Ireland! Click HERE to read about her severe pampering! Happy Birthday, dear friend and when I FINALLY do get sending parcels off to my blog friends (which I hope to do one by one, as I can) I will be sure to wish you a belated birthday THERE too!

Now, since I baked up this delicious cake I thought I'd better make an element which would help us take care of the other end of the spectrum - so be sure to check out today's FREE gift after my little "plug" for my dear friends Kim and Saxon.


KIM has some WONDERFUL CU products emerging from her creative mind and on sale NOW - be quick now and head over to her blog as she is also giving a FREE gift of some CU Paper Cuts flowers! Get it HERE!


And Saxon (who I am catching up with after a long absence, has some very timely "Back to School" products launching and has included some BB QP's created by Kat available as a FREE gift to you as well! Clickin' HERE will take you there!


Finally, here's a small little gift for you. Very simple, high quality black and white images for you! They could easily be used as overlays, you might change the colors etc! You'll find ways I've not even imagined, I bet. I'd love to see HOW you use them! I chose the gym theme because both Melanie and I have been hitting the gym and encouraging one another! I've lost 2lb to date. Its HARD.

JanMary also has been thinking workout-wise and has been trying a program with the Wii and I believe will start spinning classes again in fall when her children are back in school.

I've started to use weights for the first time in my life. I don't want anaconda arms or anything but would like to tone up as well as lose. My goal is 20lb by Christmas. Think I'll do it? It helps having a handsome husband who comes along with me!


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Just click the preview to download.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fun Flea Market Saturday

This is my THIRD attempt to post! I tried two times from my iPod but perhaps because I have so many photos it did not 'take' and of course I chose the 'publish' feature instead of saving a draft both times. Whatever.

So I am here to share my Saturday adventures with you. My daughter Melanie came down for the weekend, and we met up with my friend Janice. We met at Tim Horton's and got our sugar fix (new whole-grain blueberry muffin for me) to fortify ourselves for a visit to the local Flea Market.


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This was our first find, still in it's original box. No, we did not buy it but it was fun to look at.


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Not only for your tired tush, this cushion would tickle any of your aching extremities!


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Who donated this? 100 disposable dental mirrors? Sure, when I set up my unlicensed dental clinic in my basement... want to book an appointment?


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I should grab this for the future - not only great for my cane but if that nasty robber tried to snatch my purse he would get the end of my cane jabbed in his ear (curing him for a while!)


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And if this was a real effective kitchen aid, how come we don't find them in cupboards all over the world? Something strangely tempting about it tough... (no!) It would join the ranks of some of the other unused things in my pantry!


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We totally wanted to HEAR this record album! How come the thrift stores never have a functioning record player set up so we could hear before buying? They would make many more sales, I'm sure.


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Finally, something to buy - Mel bought this for a little girl she knows.


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And then we visited the new book store in town and Janice bought a box of books. That she said felt like they weighed 400 lb and you could see the trunk of her car almost hit the ground when she placed them in the trunk!


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Then we made a final stop at the Dollar Store where we saw other oddities like these disposable plastic gloves big enough for a gorilla -


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and this disgusgingly sticky and soft see through egg toy. Ugh, all gooshy and mooshy and I bet kids would just LOVE it.


So, thanks for coming on our Saturday morning outting. Perhaps we will bring you along again!

My friend JanMary also posted this weekend, via her new iphone, and she will take you along on her walk with her family along the coast of Ireland! Just click her blog graphic for the tour!

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What did YOU do this weekend?


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Birthday to Maggie!

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Just a little note to send birthday wishes to my Sister in Law, Maggie to let you know we are thinking of you!

I'm blessed with several Sister in Laws and speaking of which I know Judy has a special greeting as well! Just click on her blog image to be taken there.


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*****

I'm working on a paper pack which might take me a few days or a few weeks, haha but either way look for it here. Don't hold your breath though or I will have to call 911 for you.

*****

And you know my new little pet the Mantis? Well, I've become quite attached and actually maternal to the thing to the point I decided I had to provide for it. It's living on my clothes line after all and I read how good they are by eating all the pesky insects and all... soooo....


***** WARNING*****

carnage alert!


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Yes, I fed my little mantis a nasty old wasp. He did not want the little pill bug I offered him prior. I think if I were a mantis there would be honour in eating a dangerous meal that could sting you.

I'm getting close to giving him a name... any suggestions?


Sunday, August 09, 2009

Freezes and Swirlies

With the hot weather we've been having I'll tell ya, it does not take long to go through a box of popsicles in this household and it can get pricey. Oh yes, I used to have a Tupperware popsicle mould (who didn't at one time or another?) But it sat and sat and SAT in the cupboard and finally migrated back to the thrift store whence it came from in the first place.

Problem was, there were all those pieces and even IF I remembered where I'd stored it, inevitably I'd forget to use it so it mostly took up valuable realty in my already overcrowded cupboards. So, one winter's day I made an executive decision to purge it.

So, what to do when the weather's hot and one is hankering for something cold and refreshing? I found one solution when we visited our local Shopper's Drug Mart one Sunday when I chanced upon a box of those looooog Freezies (you know, sort of a popsicle in a plastic tube?) They were on sale for 1/2 price so we bought a box and have been happily sucking on them ever since. Only complaint is they turn your hand blue so I wrap mine in a paper towel.

Now me being super frugal and also thinking on how I'd personally like to see more nutrition in a refreshment... and living in the land of fruit and honey... I got to pondering.


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Homemade Coconut Apricot Freezie


And this is what I came up with! Now my version is a concoction of coconut milk, yogurt, apricots and cantaloupe but you could easily use any fruit at hand.

If you would prefer a more 'juicy' flavour you might consider working from a base of orange juice with a puree of your favourite fruits - but if you're going for smooth and creamy, like a frozen smoothie idea then you should begin with a yogurt and then add whatever fruit you like.

When you have your puree whipped up its time for the "tube" step. I used my vacuum sealer, making tubes about 1 inch wide and then pouring them full with the aid of a funnel. It is a bit of a trick when it comes to sealing it - I'd advise you to leave at least two inches at the top so you have a bit of room to work with. I pinched my index and the finger to the left just above the puree in the tube, then put the flat end of the plastic in the sealer. Takes practice but you will be a pro before long.

My friend Saxon and I were talking about how freeze fruit puree in individual portions for the winter months, and I think this would work well. In the winter you might just take out a 'tube' of puree, defrost it and I'll bet even children would like to eat it right out of the plastic!

This idea is a great money saver - plus you know what's in it.

Besides these freezies, I've created a set of Swirlies for you to enjoy! Fine for Commercial use. I would LOVE to see how you use these - why not send my a jpg of your creations so I can share your layout in my next post?

Just click on the preview to download!


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Friday, August 07, 2009

Listen HERE!

I actually just discovered that I can embed the "The Splendid Table" program right here, so going to try it out on you. Though I am not able to place the exact session which spoke about Quinoa, (you can click on the links in the last post for that) However, you can listen to the latest episode right HERE! Oh how clever is this?






Things Are Still COOKIN'!


I've been cooking up a storm around here lately. "Storming" is what I wish the weather would be doing because we sure could use some rain. Yesterday was a bit cooler and with the house being cool without the aid of an air conditioner running 24/7 prompted me to cook something in the oven INSIDE the house. During the heat-wave I'd been cooking most things outdoors either with a propane camp stove or with a small portable oven which my Mother In Law found for me at a yard-sale.


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Blueberry and Lemon Muffins

Like these Blueberry and Lemon Muffins I whipped up! They turned out wonderfully - without heating the kitchen up.

So what did I cook INDOORS?

I had a roast intended for the crock-pot outside, originally, but chose to move it to the 'real' oven. I wanted to try something new and I was aching to use some of the homemade pesto I whipped up in the magic bullet (see two blog posts ago) So, I cut "pockets" every 1/2 inch into a roast and filled each section with a tablespoon of pesto and halved garlic cloves.


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Pesto and Garlic filled Pot Roast


I pressed it back into a roast-like shape and then browned it over medium heat. Next I turned it fat-side up and then slooooooww roasted it at 275 degrees F. for many hours, until it was fork tender. The pesto/garlic made a wonderful caramelized sauce. Needless to say today's lunch will be pulled beef sandwhiches with sprouts on multi-grained bagels.

And I also cooked up some Quinoa the other night and I've been dying to share it with YOU! If you don't know what Quinoa is, its little seeds which cook up like couscous. Quinoa is a healthy food - it's a grain but a complete protein so if you are a vegetarian this would be a good dish for you to investigate. It's also gluten free so if you are celiac this also would be an ideal addition to your diet.

I learned about Quinoa from The Splendid Table podcast which I faithfully follow:


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You don't have to download the show as a podcast though, simply click on the graphics above and it will take you to the site. I've set this blog to index the page where the show on Quinoa is featured (look to the bottom where it says Two Grains) Just hit the LISTEN feature and you can enjoy the show right from your computer! You can go to their home page to find listings for all their shows - warning, its addictive. I've fund many great recipes here and learned a great deal about food and cooking.

I cooked the grains in the way that Lynne describes on The Splendid Table, like this, basically:

1 cup Quinoa
2 cups water

Rinse Quinoa in water several times before you cook it, then spread it in a big skillet and toast over medium heat until it has a nutty aroma - about 3 or 4 minutes. Simmer for 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

This is the basic recipe just to cook the grains. While the grains were cooking I sauteed a few onions, zuccinni and peppers in a tablespoon of olive oil. When these were ready I added some black olives and then folded this into the Quinoa. I let this stand for 5 more minutes until all the flavours were absorbed. And of course, I added pepper (as I always do!)

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Quinoa Salad


I'd love to know if you have any recipes using Quinoa - I am confident we will be eating this often!

And if my blog has got your mouth watering and your oven mitts on ready to bake something delicious, then you may want to wander over to Gina's Blog to check out her YUMMY Apricot Scones (recipe feature!) Click on her blog graphic to be transported!


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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A Mish-Mash

I've planned my post several times in my head, but then some gets added, some subtracted. Like my brain, it's going to be a mish-mash today.

Here's some MASH - I made some homemade Pesto last night in my Magic Bullet. The Pesto I made with crisp, fresh basil leaves (from my dear friend Amalia's garden), pine nuts and extra virgin olive oil and a single clove of fresh garlic - and pepper (I'm a pepper-a-holic) I will add parmesan cheese onto whatever dish I make so won't add it into this mixture. As you can see, making it at home lends a deep, rich colour and texture. This stuff keeps VERY well in the fridge!


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The Magic Bullet was a gift from my Mother in Law. I'd put a bug in her ear a while back that I'd love to find one. She's my buyer for all things for the household as she has a lot more yard-sale potential than I do. She lives in a city, I a smaller community. She found one in almost new condition for $10. Woo-hoo, loving it! She also found me a hand mixer for $2 as my old one had burnt out.

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So, I've been whipping up iced coffees and smoothies in my Bullet. Have YOU a bullet? What are your favorite recipes? Unfortunately mine was missing the official recipe book. And drying apricots as we've been given a batch of very ripe ones.


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And dealing with the smoke in the area. There are fires burning all over British Columbia. The nearest to us currently burning is about about 1 - 2 hours north.


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I took this photo yesterday at the viewpoint just outside Penticton (1 hour north of us) If you lived here you would know that what we SHOULD be seeing is the blue blue lake and the airport at the end! The Snowbird airplanes (famous Canadian Air Team) are supposed to be performing today and tomorrow but I'm wondering if they will be able to in this smoke! Please pray for all the people who are being evacuated due to the fires, and the firefighters who put their lives on the line to keep us all safe! You can learn more about the fires in our area by visiting www.chbc.com


Well, I have a TON more I could write about but I will draw a line here so I can get attack some chores on my to-do list and also save some content for my upcoming posts.


One of these chores today was cleaning the bathroom. I'll share a time-saver with you. If you are experiencing a heat-wave as we are, when you come out of the bath... DON'T dry off! Grab a clean dry rag and wipe down all the faucets and tub. Give your bathroom a good once over with the dry cloth for most things works great. The mirrors come shiny without any detergent! You can use cleaners on the areas that require it (toilet) if you feel inclined to do so. Set the waste basket outside the bathroom for emptying. Give a quick wipe to the floors with your cloth after rinsing on the way out. By the time YOU dry off (naturally) your bathroom will be sparkling and you won't have to set aside a time in your week to do this. Children can be trained to wipe the faucets and mirrors at least - thus your bathroom will be mostly clean when you have company drop in unexpectedly, plus it teaches them to clean up after theirselves - skills they need to learn when they go to live on their own and don't have a mom picking up after them.


And now, a word for a few friend's who have "happnin's" on their blogs:


JanMary has a contest going on and besides enjoying her always interesting blog content, you might win a prize. I won't do a 'spoiler' here - you g'wan over and check it for yourself! Just click on JanMary's blog image:


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AmyW has some wonderful new products for sale - and a FREE sweet add on for downloa as well. Click on her blog image to visit!


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And KimB has been celebrating again - sheesh, I'm too old for that sort of entertaining - LOL! She's also featuring loads of new product - CU items which are a must have! Also with links to some FREE QP'S and a download of her own as well. Click the graphic to go!


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And last - but certainly not least, my own little gift for you. I made these sheep a while ago and I THINK I have not posted them before. At any rate here they are again, for your personal use. They measure about 6 inches - 300 dpi in png format. Click the preview to download.


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