Thursday, March 31, 2011

Travel League, Movie.

Today we have our Travel League, last but one. This time in New Hamburg. I am not sure if I am up to bowling yet awhile. I am probably going along for lunch at least and will see when I get there. Haven’t bowled for the last two of our bowling sessions, in fact I didn’t even go although Matt did.

Last night I watched The Legend of the Guardians:The Owls of Ga’hoole. I loved it, great movie and the owls themselves are extremely realistic especially in some of the flying scenes. Our artistic sinlaw is particularly fond of owls so he really should see it if he hasn’t done so already. There are a lot of Australian accents in the movie – don’t know who is doing the voices. It is not all sweetness and light either, not sure if it has an age rating.

That’s it for today, gotta go get ready.

Here’s a recipe from Kraft especially for people with diabetes. A different take on Chicken Cacciatore.

Chicken Cacciatore with Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Kraft Diabetes Chicken-Cacciatore-Creamy-Mashed-Potates-59992

Makes 4 servings.

What You Need

3/4 lb. red potatoes (about 2), cut into 1-inch chunks

1-1/2 cups small fresh cauliflower florets

4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)

1/2 cup KRAFT Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

1 pkg. (8 oz.) sliced fresh mushrooms

1 each green and yellow pepper, chopped

1 can (14.5 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2 cup (1/2 of 8-oz. tub) PHILADELPHIA Chive & Onion 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Make It

COOK potatoes and cauliflower in boiling water in large saucepan 20 min. or until tender.

MEANWHILE, cook chicken in large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat 3 to 4 min. on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to plate; cover to keep warm.

ADD dressing, mushrooms and peppers to skillet; cook and stir 6 min. Add tomatoes; simmer 8 min. Return chicken to skillet; spoon sauce over chicken. Simmer 3 min. or until chicken is done (165ºF).

DRAIN potato mixture; return to pan. Add reduced-fat cream cheese; mash until potato mixture is fluffy. Serve topped with chicken, vegetables and basil.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Substitute Italian parsley for the basil.

Have a great day


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Skit, Tangled, Fish Anyone, Asparagus

This is a link to a funny comedy skit from the UK. A friend posted this on Facebook yesterday and I thought it would amuse you.

I am beginning to feel a lot better, I am pleased to report, hopefully I will stay that way. Sia swears it isn’t her fault I caught this bug. At least I got a fairly decent sleep last night without coughing my way right through it nor being condemned to lie virtually upright propped up by pillows.

Being a big kid, I watched Tangled on my laptop last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a Disney version of the story of Rapunzel and her long hair. I must admit I don’t remember much of the original story other than the phrase “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair”. Having rented it I decided to buy it. I have now got a DVD I have wanted to see for a while, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, I may end up buying that one as well if I enjoy it.

I am sure you have all seen the news about the Japanese reactor problem and the radiation of the local seas. What this will do to the sea life I dread to imagine. I imagine the Japanese will be very careful when eating sashimi. Considering they are so used to earthquakes, albeit not of this magnitude, I would have thought they would have taken more precautions when building a nuclear facility.

Many of the ezines, magazines, etc. I receive, are now publishing asparagus recipes, copy cats, that’s my bag in the spring LOL. However, Tim Barrie said, on Facebook, the other day, he was guessing 35 sleeps and asparagus would be available. Yippee. I am totally out of soup so will have to make a batch or two before the season ends.

If fresh asparagus is already available where you are, here is one of the recipes I have received. Panko is now regularly available at most supermarkets. This is what Eating Well has to say about asparagus: “We get so excited about fresh, tender spring asparagus that we devoted an entire feature to it in the current issue of EatingWell! Packed with nutrition, asparagus is high in folic acid and a good source of potassium, fiber and vitamins A, B6 and C— plus it might help keep your brain young. And its buttery flavor and succulent aroma make it a culinary treat. Snap up a bunch and make one of these fresh spring recipes starring asparagus tonight.”

Panko-Crusted Asparagus Spears

From EatingWell: March/April 2011

Warm from the oven, these crunchy asparagus spears make a tasty side dish or cocktail nibble. Before being coated in panko breadcrumbs they are rolled in a flavorful sesame-miso sauce that doubles as a simple dipping sauce.

4 servings Panko Encrusted Asparagus


  • Cooking spray, preferably canola oil
  • 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white miso (see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed
  • 3/4 cup Japanese-style panko (see Notes)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil; coat with cooking spray.
  2. Combine mayonnaise, scallions, miso, chile-garlic sauce and oil in a small bowl.
  3. Place asparagus in a shallow dish and toss with half the miso mixture (about 1/4 cup), making sure the asparagus is well coated.
  4. Combine panko and sesame seeds in another shallow dish. Working with one spear at a time, roll in the panko mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a bit of room between each spear. Coat the prepared spears with cooking spray.
  5. Roast the asparagus until the coating is browned and crispy and the asparagus is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with the remaining miso mixture as a dipping sauce.

Per serving : 150 Calories; 7 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 2 g Mono; 5 mg Cholesterol; 19 g Carbohydrates; 4 g Protein; 3 g Fiber; 516 mg Sodium; 190 mg Potassium

1 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 1/2 fat

Tips & Notes
  • Notes: Miso is fermented soybean paste made by inoculating a mixture of soybeans, salt and grains (usually barley or rice) with koji, a beneficial mold. Miso is undeniably salty, so a little goes a long way. White or sweet miso (Shiromiso), made with soy and rice, is yellow and milder in flavor; use for soup, salad dressings and sauces for fish or chicken. Look for it near tofu at well-stocked supermarkets.
  • Although we typically use whole-wheat panko-style breadcrumbs, for this recipe we recommend using white, Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs for the best texture and flavor. Look for them in the Asian-food section of most supermarkets or near other breadcrumbs.

Have a great day


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dinner, Ebony and Ivory, Baby Bikinis, Croc Hunter's Daughter.

I’m still a dying duck in a thunderstorm, my bronchial cough went into a cold and I still have the cough. I hope you all feel suitably sorry for me with this crud. I actually think I must have caught it from Sia (see link on this page) she has had the crud and I think she passed it on through cyberspace.

Bobotie_and_RiceSunday was cooking for friends coming to dinner. We had shrimp cocktail, Bobotie with Yellow Rice and Melk Tert. If you are interested in the recipes, I posted two Bobotie recipes together with pictures in my blogs of 2009, 1/16, 1/19 and 3/14. Much to my embarrassment, the guests who came last night were the same as when I first made this dish. I usually try not to serve people the same thing. However, they assured me they enjoyed a second time.

A story on the news, a couple gave birth to twins, one black, one white. Ebony and Ivory as is said in the article. It is pretty rare and to me, quite incredible. Apparently people have been somewhat unkind, and others fire questions at the parents because they cannot believe the children are twins.

A lot of fuss taking place in the States at the moment about the push up bikini tops made for 8 yr. olds. They are marketed by Abercrombie and Fitch and the tops are padded. Not having a young kid, I haven’t got much of an opinion, but ever since it was first mentioned on Saturday GMA they have had thousands of messages either on their web site or on Facebook criticising these bikinis.

Also introduced this morning was Bindi Irwin, daughter of Steve Irwin the ‘Crocodile Hunter’. She is following in her father’s footsteps and working for conservation. She has two books recently published which are designed for kids, Trouble at the Zoo and Rescue. Her mom was with her and she was cuddling a baby kangaroo which was apparently very hungry as she fed it a whole bottle of food. A very poised and confident young lady, she has a line of plastic toys and a TV show in Australia I understand. She makes a lot of adult personalities look bad, she didn’t um or er once.

Whilst looking for these stories I came across this somewhat different recipe for breakfast.

Healthy Breakfast Sandwiches

From the kitchen of Emeril Lagasse

Servings: 4healthy_breakfast_sandwiches_

Are you looking for a delicious and healthy way to start your day? Try this egg sandwich from Emeril.

  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 6 egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons evaporated skim milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4-1/4 inch thick slices tomato
  • 2 whole wheat English muffins, cut in half and lightly toasted
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Cooking Directions

    In a small bowl combine the feta cheese with 1 tablespoon of chopped chives and the chopped basil and set aside.

    Combine the eggs, milk, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium size mixing bowl and whisk well to combine.

    Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a medium size sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add the sliced tomato and cook for 1 minute per side. Remove the tomato from the pan to a plate and set aside. Using a paper towel, wipe out the pan.

    Return the sauté pan to medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Once the butter has melted, add the eggs to the pan. Allow the eggs to set for 30 seconds, then begin stirring slowly with a heat resistant rubber spatula. As soon as curds begin to form, increase heat to high and instead of stirring, use the spatula to fold the eggs over themselves. Fold in the feta cheese and herb mixture to the eggs and cook for another 45 seconds, or until just warmed through.

    In a small bowl combine the arugula with the remaining salt and pepper and the toss with the olive oil and vinegar.

    Toast the English muffins and place a quarter of the arugula on each muffin half, then top each with one slice of tomato. Divide the eggs between the English muffins and garnish with the remaining chopped chives.

    Serve immediately.

    Have a great day


    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    Japan, Election, Dinner

    Some of the main headlines seem to be about the reactor in Japan at the moment. There has been lots of criticism on TV about the Japanese handling of the crisis – it is said they should have called in teams of experts from around the world. I dunno, but I would think under the circumstance, like a quake and a tsunami, its not that easy to cope. But yes, I agree, they should have asked for help. Still should I guess.

    Our election is definite now, the speculation is that it will be May 2. Stephen Harper is talking to the Governor General right now to get permission to dissolve parliament and begin an election. This will be the 41st election, doesn’t seem like many, I wonder how many elections Britain has had. Canada is, after all, a very young country.

    We have friends coming for dinner tomorrow night and I am making Bobotie which I made a couple of years ago. I happened to have some ground lamb in the freezer. There aren’t a lot of our friends we can invite to partake of lamb – having said that, we actually have three couples we can invite for lamb so that’s a fairly high proportion.

    Oh, I am still feeling like crap by the way, I am having trouble sleeping, my chest rattles so much it keeps me awake. I am not used to this stuff any more, so I don’t suffer quietly.

    I love Vidalia onions although we don’t often see them round here. One of the delights of travelling dahn sahth. Georgia is where they mostly come from although sweet onions are grown elsewhere and we can buy sweet onions all the time. I found this recipe on, no picture unfortunately.

    Vidalia Onion Casserole

    Source: Preserving Fruits and Vegetables

    Makes 3 cupsClick here to find out more!

    This recipe freezes well and can be enjoyed all year round. INGREDIENTS

    5-6 large Vidalia (sweet salad) onionsVidalias

    1/3 cup butter

    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon mustard powder

    1/2 teaspoon pepper

    1 cup milk

    1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

    1 cup bread crumbs


    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Thinly slice onions to equal 4-5 cups. In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onions and sauté until soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

    In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter and stir in the flour, mustard, and pepper. (This is called a "roux".)

    Slowly stir in the milk and cheese. Cook until thickened. Line the baking dishes with aluminum foil, if desired. Spoon alternate layers of the onions and sauce into the baking dishes.

    Sprinkle the top with the bread crumbs and dot with the remaining butter. Either bake and serve, or, cover and freeze.

    DO-AHEAD TIPS: If you are making the casserole to go right into the freezer, line the baking dish with foil. Freeze until the food is hard, then remove the baking dish, wrap the food, label, and freeze. To serve, remove the foil (if used), and return the food to the dish in which it was frozen. Thaw in the refrigerator. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.

    PREPARATION TIPS: The Vidalia (sweet salad) onion season is short and they don't last long in cold storage. This onion casserole recipe makes Vidalias available all year long.

    Remove frozen dishes from the freezer the day before they are required and transfer to the refrigerator to thaw.

    Have a great weekend


    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Health, Elections, Quakes.

    I’m late today. I have been fighting a bronchial Bronchitiscondition for the last 24 hours and feel like you know what!! I am also very sorry for myself, I couldn’t lie down for long last night and ended up sleeping in an armchair which is not conducive to being rested and relaxed. I haven’t actually had bronchitis since I quit smoking some 16 or more years ago. It was an instant benefit to quitting the weed. I am taking one of Buckley’s cough mixtures and the ad goes “it tastes awful but it works” not sure about the latter half of that claim, but the first part is right. What really annoys me, I have been boasting for years that I don’t get colds, this is the second bout this winter. Grrrrrrr.

    Today the Canadian government vote on the budget and the prediction is that it will fail and the government fall. That means a spring election. At least we don’t go on for ever like the Americans do, I really don’t understand why they have to campaign for so the best part of a year. Both in Britain and Canada an election is over and done with in a matter of weeks. In fact Canada is in a pretty good state at the moment and it is predicted that our national debt will be reduced to virtually 0 by 2015. However, all the other parties want their crack at the whip. Elections cost a lot of money and I don’t think the man in the street wants one yet, but I guess we don’t get a lot of say in the matter.

    One thing I forgot to mention, the two large earthquakes in Burma (Myanmar) yesterday. The reports this morning say 75 dead and 111 injured. This doesn't seem to have impacted the local news so I haven't read a lot about it yet.

    Here’s something a bit different today. It is from WebMD which is an email I get regularly with all kinds of health tips, including diabetic news. I don’t know how easy it is for you to obtain clams, in Ontario we pay a small fortune, in North Carolina we used to walk into the water and rake them up. I used to pig out on them when we lived there and miss their easy availability.

    Miso Soup with Clams

    By The Nourished Kitchen WebMD Recipe from

    Miso soup with clams is one of those special foods – miso_soup_with_clamssimple and quiet and humble, but also elegant in its simplicity. Sometimes the best dishes are the simplest. In our home, broths and stocks form the foundation of many of our meals, and with good reason. In the summertime, when the days are long and hot and standing over a boiling stockpot seems otherwise unappealing, we make the effort to eat broth daily or every other day, but in winter when drifts of snow can climb as high as second-story windows, we make the effort to drink broth with every meal whether in soup or stew, as a liquid for braising vegetables, in reduction sauces and gravies, or even on its own. This soup, simple ingredients dressed in a fine Japanese-style fish and seaweed broth, is a simple incarnation of the many ways we love to enjoy and celebrate the nutritive value of a good broth.


    2 heaping tablespoons dried wakame (edible seaweed) 1 pound fresh clams, scrubbed clean 2 quarts dashi or fish stock (low sodium) 1/4 cup white miso paste 6 scallions, white and light green parts sliced thin


    Set the dried wakame in a boil and pour enough filtered cold water over the seaweed to cover it by about a half inch. Allow the wakame to sit in the cold water for about ten minutes.

    Meanwhile, boil or steam the fresh clams until they open. As they open, move them to serving bowls. Discard any clams that do not open.

    After the wakame has soaked for ten minutes, rinse and drain it.

    Heat the dashi or fish stock until barely simmering and add the wakame. Slowly simmer the wakame in the broth for about two to three minutes.

    Remove the wakame and broth from the heat, allowing it to cool for about five minutes before whisking one-quarter cup white miso paste into the broth until it’s fully and completely dissolved.

    Pour the broth over the clams, garnishing with sliced thinly sliced scallions.

    Total Servings: 4

    Nutritional Information Per Serving

    Calories: 179 Carbohydrates: 19.6g Cholesterol: 5mg Fat: 5.1g Saturated Fat: 1.2g Fiber: 2.0g Protein: 13.6g

    Have a great day


    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    Liz Taylor RIP, Books, Phones and Bananas.

    That’s got to be the end of an era, Elizabeth Taylor died yesterday, she was only 79 which, at my end of the spectrum, is not very old, Liz Taylorespecially these days, with more and more people clocking in at 100. Heard about someone at 119, her grandson was almost as old as I am. Obviously the news will be full of obituaries, she had more husbands than Henry VIII had wives, 8. Of course she married Burton twice, don’t know if that counts. She was described as one of the greatest stars, not sure about that, certainly she made the news a lot but I never thought a lot of her acting ability; she was such a beauty I guess nobody cared. A friend cited Virginia Wolff as an example of her acting ability, I never saw it, so I cannot express an opinion. This morning on TV Barbara Walters said she was a great actress too!! She also said she told very raunchy jokes too, nothing you could tell on morning TV.

    I was given a tip today which I am now trying out. Apparently to keep bananas fresh, put them in a clear plastic bag. Don’t put them in the fridge. I will see what happens.

    I just had the cable guy in (no not the comedian unfortunately) because when you phone us and we are out, our answering machine sounds like a fax which a high pitched wailing noise. They checked our lines and there was a slight problem, but had to send someone in to check, but he said he couldn’t find anything wrong, amongst his continual chatter, I think I know his life history now. So, looks like a new machine. He suggested I get one through my ISP who is also my phone provider, but I think I’ll go with a machine.

    Yesterday I pre-ordered the third book in Glenda Larke’s Watergivers Trilogy, its called Stormlord Exile. It isn’t available til end of July/beginning of August, but thought I would get it ordered anyway. I can’t wait to read it and finish the series. Right now I am working my way through the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan as this series has been going so long I find I have forgotten a lot of what happened at the beginning. Right now I am on book three, The Dragon Reborn and I have the next book, The Shadow Rising, already. It is interesting just how much I had forgotten - I am also enjoying them very much.

    I found this recipe in a booklet which came with Food and Drink and is basically an ad for Sobey’s products. This salad appealed to me, I need one for dinner guests and I thought, without the ricotta, this would be perfect. I will make it properly at another time.

    Spinach, Pea and Ricotta Salad

    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 60 mL 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (approx. 2 lemons) 60 mL 1 tbsp Compliments Honey 15 mL 1/2 tsp salt 2 mL Pepper to taste 1 pkg Compliments Organic Baby Spinach 312 g 1 cup frozen Compliments Petite Peas, cooked according to package directions and cooled 250 mL 1 cup sugar snap peas, ends trimmed and cut into thirds 250 mL 6 leaves fresh Compliments Mint, finely chopped 1/2 cup light ricotta125 mL

    1. In a small bowl, use a fork to blend olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper until smooth.

    2. Place spinach in a large salad bowl. Add both kinds of peas, the mint and lemon juice mixture. Toss well.

    3. Use two spoons to shape ricotta into 6 to 8 football-shaped ovals and place them on top of the salad. Serve immediately.

    Servings: 8

    Author Notes This lovely salad is topped with light ricotta and two types of peas. Mint adds an extra hint of fresh flavour.

    Have a great day


    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Spring and Snow, Budget, Kiev Zoo.

    One thing I forgot to mention yesterday, a friend at bowling on Monday told us she had seen lots of American Robins. That, in this part of Ontario, is considered a certain sure sign of spring. The only trouble is, since I wrote that, we have been blanketed with snow. The robins must be freezing, I hope they brought some winter woolies with them. I knew snow was forecast, but certainly didn’t imagine we would get so much. Matt usually goes shopping at 7 a.m., he put it off today as the roads are totally white.

    The budget didn’t seem to do a lot and the NDP (kind of like the British Labour party) said they wouldn’t support it, the Liberals said they wouldn’t before it was announced as did the Bloc Québecois which means, I guess, we are definitely headed for an election. I didn’t know the NDP, headed by Jack Layton, were pro increasing supplements for pensioners, I just might vote for them next time, I could use a few more bucks. Then who couldn’t? As it is, there was a sop to the NDP that they would increase supplements to the poorest of pensioners – er, we’re all poor mate. We don’t get the pensions you government people do when you retire. I just saw the figures, the proposal is that a single pensioner, at a low income level, would get a whole $50 a month, whooppee. What the hell good is that supposed to do?

    An article I just found today talks about the zoo in Kiev as being a concentration camp for animals. Animals have been dying from malnutrition and neglect since the collapse of the Soviet Union and corruption is suspected as being at the heart of the problem. To read the rest of the article about this horrific animal story, go to

    We tried a new recipe last night, the object of which is not to have too much salt in one’s meal. I didn’t have brown rice so used white. I also used red and white or navy beans (cannellini in the US) not all red. It was very good, I used a little less cayenne as I thought it might be too spicy for us, about 1 tsp.

    Louisiana Red Beans & Rice

    Source: EatingWell Magazine

    4 1/3 cups water, dividedRed Beans and Rice 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice 1/2 tsp salt 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup diced onion 2 tsp minced garlic 2 15-ounce cans red kidney beans or pink beans, rinsed 6 oz sliced Canadian bacon, chopped 1/2 cup chopped celery plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped celery leaves 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (see Note) or cayenne pepper

    1. Combine 3 1/3 cups water, rice and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low, cover and cook until all the water has been absorbed, about 45 minutes.

    2. About 10 minutes before the rice is ready, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is lightly colored and tender, about 3 minutes.

    3. Place 1 cup beans in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the mashed and whole beans, the remaining 1 cup water, Canadian bacon, celery, celery leaves, bell pepper and ground chipotle (or cayenne) to the pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened into a gravy and the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Serve in shallow bowls, spooned over the rice.

    Servings: 6

    Tips A pot of this classic Cajun comfort dish used to bubble on the back of the stove on wash day. This quick version gets its smoky goodness from super-lean Canadian bacon and a hit of ground chipotle pepper.

    Author Notes Note: Chipotle peppers are dried, smoked jalapeno peppers. They are often used to add heat and a smoky flavor to foods. Ground chipotle can be found in the specialty spice section of most supermarkets.

    Have a great day


    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Zinfandel Grapes, Elections.

    zinfandel-wine-grapesOn the way back from bowling, we called in at the LCBO (liquor store) to get a bottle of Clos de Val Zinfandel which in fact they no longer have. I was talking to one of the staff who told me a brief history of the Zinfandel grape which is basically grown in California, but appears to have originated in Italy with the Primitivo grape. I then looked it up because I couldn’t remember everything he said, I now find that the story is much more complicated with possible grapes of Croatia origin mixed in with the history of this grape. We are very fond of a good red Zinfandel and in fact were recommended to buy a Cline product which we were totally unfamiliar with but the staff member praised it highly. If you are interested in the Zinfandel grape origins read They do make other wines from the Zinfandel grape, sweet wines, blush wines and so on, but Matt and I prefer our wines to be dry although we do enjoy the occasional sweet or iced wine with desserts.

    Whilst in the LCBO we picked up the latest edition of Food and Drink in which there are some super recipes which I will get round to looking at more closely – at least two new asparagus recipes and a whole bunch of carrot cake recipes. This magazine might have been written for me. Of course I need carrot cake like a hole in the head but it is so delicious.

    It seems Canada’s Government is in a political mess at the moment with a big scandal in the offing. This means that the rumoured election will almost certainly take place. Last time we had a federal Polling Stationelection Matt and I both worked at polling station, I think we will apply to do so again. I quite enjoyed my time there although I was quite tired by the time we got home. It’s a long day. I know we have to take lunch and supper, I am assuming we had breakfast before we went to the polling station. I think this time we will choose a couple of jobs that keep us in the same place, last time it seemed Matt would never come and pick me up and I tried to walk home. I made it, but only by taking a rest part way. These days I would never make it – not unless I get an operation on my arteries before that time.

    I was looking for something a little different as a vegetable and came across this Kraft recipe. I personally would not use Miracle Whip but would probably use regular mayonnaise. You couldn’t serve this with too many things, but it is still different and a useful recipe for one’s repertoire. I mentioned this recipe to Matt and his reaction was yuk. I guess I will not be making it after all.

    Carrot Salad

    Kraft KitchensCarrot_Salad

    What You Need

    1/2 cup MIRACLE WHIP FREE Dressing

    1 Tbsp. sugar

    6 carrots, shredded (about 3 cups)

    1 can  (8-1/4 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained

    1/2 cup raisins

    Make It

    COMBINE ingredients.

    REFRIGERATE 1 hour.

    Kraft Kitchens Tips

    Reviving Limp Carrots

    Restore most of the crispness to slightly limp carrots by soaking them in ice water for 30 min

    Have a great day


    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Knut the Bear and Other Weekend News.

    KnutSad little story on Saturday, Knut, the polar bear beloved of Berliners, died at 4 years old watched by dozens of spectators. That day he played with other bears, took a swim, had a spasm and died. Obviously they will be trying to find out what caused his death. The bear had been brought up by keepers because he was rejected by his mother when he was born. There are more pictures and details here I will be interested to see what an autopsy discovers. You kinda don’t think of animals having heart attacks do you?

    I was reading, this weekend, about statins which are given to lower the risks of heart attacks caused by high cholesterol. The article also mentioned Metformin which is the diabetes drug I take, and said it did a good job as well (so why am  I on both). I have recently heard Metformin described as a cancer fighting medication too, sounds like it is a good pill to be taking if it really does have all these properties. It was the Canadians who discovered its cancer fighting properties so Canada can pat its back for this at least.

    Having been reading about the bombing of Libya and the fact that countries like Russia and China are against it, I have now started worrying about the possibility of the war escalating. The Pentagon claims the Libyan launch sites are now disabled, in which case, I hope the bombing will stop.

    I have just this minute heard of another earthquake in Afghanistan, no details yet though.

    For my friends who need gluten free recipes, here is another I found in WebMD. They look and sound delicious.

    Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins

    By The Gluten Free Goddess
    WebMD Recipe from

    Picture of Gluten Free Pumpkin MuffinIf you don't care for nuts in your pumpkin muffins, use chopped or dried cranberries, raisins, or even chocolate chips.

    Ingredients and Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.

    In a large mixing bowl, whisk together:
    1 cup sorghum flour
    1/3 cup organic coconut flour
    1/2 cup almond flour
    1/2 cup tapioca starch
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    1 teaspoon xanthan gum
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

    Add in:
    1 and 1/3 cups packed organic light brown sugar
    1 cup pumpkin puree (canned organic pumpkin is fine)
    1/3 cup light olive oil
    2 free range organic eggs, beaten, or Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 1/4 cup warm water for vegan
    1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
    1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

    Now add in:
    1/2 cup vanilla almond milk or coconut milk

    Beat the batter to incorporate the ingredients. If it needs a little more liquid, add up to 1/4 cup almond or coconut milk until it is a smooth consistency.

    Stir in by hand:
    1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts (or raisins, if you prefer)

    Spoon the batter into twelve muffin cups, filling them close to the top. Smooth the tops using a wet teaspoon. Add a pecan half to each muffin top, if you like.

    Bake in a preheated oven till domed and golden. The muffins should feel firm yet springy to a light touch. If a wooden pick inserted into the center emerges clean- these babies are done. Cool on a wire rack. Remove the muffins from the pan after five minutes, and allow them to continue cooling on a wire rack. This helps keep their bottoms from getting soggy. Wrap and freeze leftover muffins in freezer bags for easy on-the-go treats

    Total Servings: 12

    Nutritional Information Per Serving

    Calories: 291
    Carbohydrates: 34.3 g
    Cholesterol: 31 mg
    Fat: 11.6 g
    Saturated Fat: 3.7 g
    Fiber: 2.5 g
    Sodium: 201 mg
    Protein: 5.1 g

    Have a great day


    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    Souvenirs, Shortages and Where is Spring?

    Will-Kate-MugYesterday, I saw an article about Royal Wedding souvenirs. It appears that one company has made a load of souvenir mugs with a big gaffe. They got Kate Middleton right, but the picture shows Harry instead of William. If I could, I would buy one or two, they will probably be worth money one of these days.

    It appears that car manufacturing plants are laying people off because parts are unavailable from Japan. The economy really is global isn’t it? We have a large Toyota plant in the next town which will, no doubt, be affected by these shortages. There is still no resolution to the nuclear problems in Japan, we keep hearing reports that they have got power lines back to the plant, but if its true, nothing seems to have been gained by that. This made me think of the movie The China Syndrome which was about a nuclear meltdown possibility and the idea that it could burn right through to China. Jane Fonda and Jack Lemon were the stars.

    I thought I was right and that spring had arrived, but it looks pretty dull out there this morning and I still American Robhaven’t seen any American Robins which are considered a harbinger of spring here. There are definitely a couple of trees showing a touch of green, but not many. A friend said she had seen daffodils beginning to emerge, ah well, guess we just have to possess ourselves with patience. What really upset me was a TV cook talking about the availability of fresh asparagus, not round here it ain’t. Not til May.

    A report on TV this morning stated that a lot of film stars had had their cell phones hacked into and nude photos stolen. What on earth were they doing keeping nude photos on their cell phones? Are they crazy? Some of the people mentioned were household names so I guess we can see nude pix of these stars on the net now. I am just staggered that the victims would do this in the first place.

    I had an email from Black and Decker the other night and blow me if there wasn’t a delicious recipe for lamb chops which I just had to share. As you may have gathered, we love lamb, so guess what, these will be on our menu tonight.


    Broiled Lamb Chops ¼ cup mayonnaise

    1 green onion, chopped (about 2 tbsp.)

    1 medium clove garlic, minced

    ¼ tsp. saffron threads

    1 tbsp. lime juice

    6 loin or rib lamb chops, cut about 1¼-inch thick


    Garlic pepper

    In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, green onion, garlic, saffron and lime juice. Cover and let stand at room temperature to blend flavors.

    Place lamb chops on broil rack in bake pan/drip tray in single layer, season with salt and garlic pepper. Broil in preheated oven at 450°F in upper rack position, with rack down and oven door slightly ajar, for 5 minutes. Turn lamb chops over and season with salt and garlic pepper. Continue broiling until desired doneness, about 5 minutes for medium.

    Serve chops with saffron sauce.

    Delicious served with garlic whipped potatoes and a fresh green salad.

    Makes 6 servings.

    Have a great weekend


    Friday, March 18, 2011

    This and That and a No Fly Zone. TV Thursday.

    I went on about not eating specific foods on St. Patrick’s Day, but funnily enough, I seriously contemplated having corned beef and cabbage for dinner. Its not a bad meal, if I had had any corned beef handy I might have cooked it. I didn’t however. For those in the UK, we are not talking about the stuff in a tin, but salted beef brisket.

    I always thought I had a pretty good knowledge of the English language but came across a word in Matt’s crossword yesterday “oppugn” – to oppose, contradict or call into question. Anyone else ever heard of it before?

    The other day I printed up my blog book from July – Dec 2010. Matt has been reading it and he takes great delight in pointing out my typos. Once upon a time he used to read what I wrote before it was published, but for one reason or another, that no longer happens. Guess I should make sure he does read them first and then you wouldn’t have to put up with any mistakes, hopefully. One thing that does puzzle me, most of the pictures come out a regular size, not too big, but my signature when printed from the blog books, becomes comparatively huge, I have no idea why.

    I don’t know about where you live, but gas prices are jumping up and down at the pumps here. Barrel prices have been doing much the same, obviously, and will continue to do so until the crisis in the Middle East is settled. The UN have decreed UN  votea ‘no fly’ zone over Libya which will certainly help the rebels and hopefully prevent civilian casualties, however, the UN have granted permission for a lot more interference from the rest of the world so there is no telling what is going to happen. There was a report at home saying that all prices have jumped 4% which is the highest increase for many years, this spirals because people, particularly pensioners, will need more money to live and I don’t see us (pensioners) getting it.

    Last night we watched a couple of interesting programmes, one about the Ring of Fire (as it is known) in the Pacific which obviously includes Japan. I had seen this particular programme before but they showed it again because of what has just happened. I had forgotten that Japan is sitting at the conjunction of four tectonic plates and this is why it is so very prone to earthquakes. They virtually predicted this current disaster although they missed out on the nuclear problems.

    The second programme (on the Doc Zone)) was about the Irish Potato Famine which I learnt about in history and more or less forgot. I hadn’t a clue about what had happened and how a potato blight had caused millions of Irish people to starve and they were given no help at all, in fact some of the landlords, if not all, were only too happy to get rid of a lot of the peasantry. At least a million died at the time. The story continued to cover the exodus of these starving people in an attempt to start a new life in Canada. Life on board ship was appalling and one particular ship ran aground on ice off the Newfoundland coast. The Captain skipped with his crew in the lifeboat having nailed down the hatches which, luckily, one or two of the other crew men ripped off again. Although many were lost, particularly children, quite a number were eventually rescued by another ship. Unfortunately the captain was never caught and punished for his crimes. A lot of this was the fault of the British so we should hang our heads in shame.

    I had never eaten raw spinach until I came to Canada, I don’t know if people eat it in the UK today, probably, it is 35 odd years ago. Anyway, I learnt to like it very quickly and when I saw this recipe from Eating Well, I thought good, a new salad for me. I never know what you are supposed to do with the yolks in many of these recipes. I think I would just add 4 complete hard boiled eggs, although I suppose the salad may be healthier with only one yolk apiece. Seems a waste to throw out 6 yolks, don’t you think?

    Loaded Spinach Salad

    From EatingWell: March/April 2007, The EatingWell Diet (2007)

    Like many spinach salads, this one features lots of Spinach Saladchopped-up hard-boiled egg. But since most of the calories in an egg are in the yolk, we use just two whole eggs, plus the whites from six additional eggs. The result is a rich, eggy, satisfying spinach salad that keeps the calories in check.

    2 servings, about 4 cups each


    • 8 large eggs
    • 6 cups baby spinach
    • 4 tablespoons Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing, divided (recipe follows)
    • 1 8-ounce can beets, rinsed and sliced
    • 1 cup carrots, shredded
    • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted (see Tip)
    1. Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook at the lowest simmer for 10 minutes. Pour off the hot water and run cold water over the eggs until they are completely cooled. Peel the eggs, discard 6 of the yolks, chop the remaining yolks and whites.
    2. Toss spinach and 2 tablespoons dressing in a large bowl. Divide between 2 plates. Top with chopped eggs, beets, carrots and pecans. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons dressing.

    Per serving : 300 Calories; 13 g Fat; 3 g Sat; 6 g Mono; 216 mg Cholesterol; 26 g Carbohydrates; 22 g Protein; 8 g Fiber; 823 mg Sodium; 592 mg Potassium

    1 Carbohydrate Serving

    Exchanges: 4 vegetable, 2 lean meat, 1 1/2 fat

    Tips & Notes
    • Tip: To toast chopped nuts & seeds: Cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

    Have a great day


    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Lunch, Face Lift, Spring, Diet Chart.

    First of all, Happy St. Patrick’s Day. The top o’ the mornin’ to ya.

    Yesterday, for lunch, I made an approximation of Hot and Sour Soup. It worked really well. As a base I use Lipton’s Chicken Noodle Soup then added things like mushrooms, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, hot sauce, sesame oil, I thickened it slightly with corn starch and then added tofu and a beaten egg. Works really well. However, for a genuine recipe, look below.

    I need a face lift. It seems to me totally unfair that one has to be rolling in riches to have one. I actually don’t need the whole face done,  just a part of it, if that’s possible but, alas, unless I win a lottery, it will never happen.

    I forgot to mention, when I was walking on my treadmill, gazing absently out of the window, I suddenly realised one of the trees I can see has signs of green on it. Hurrah, spring is on its way. Maybe the groundhog was right after all.

    Later in the day I found that the site WebMD which sends me a health email with lots of diabetes information, is offering a chart to enter one’s food and exercise on a daily basis. Kind of thing Weight Watchers make you pay for, but this is totally free. I spent a large portion of the afternoon entering foods I eat and exercise I do (at least bowling is good)  the treadmill doesn’t amount to a lot I’m afraid, my walking is somewhat limited. I am over my intake today, but I pigged out on the soup. Tomorrow I will be better.

    Here is an actual recipe for Hot and Sour soup. I love the soup but have never made it totally correctly. I have bought it several times as a takeaway and I always have this soup when I go to a Chinese restaurant, whatever else I eat.

    Hot and Sour Soup

    Hot and sour soup is reputed to be good for colds. To increase the health benefits, feel free to add 2 or 3 teaspoons of finely chopped ginger.
    For a vegetarian version of Hot and Sour Soup, leave out the pork.
    Serves 4


    • 1 cake tofu (fresh, if possible)
    • 2 ounces pork tenderloin
    • Marinade:
    • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 1 teaspoon tapioca starch (or cornstarch)
    • Other:
    • 1/2 cup bamboo shoots
    • 2 tablespoons black fungus (Wood Ear) or Cloud Ear fungus
    • (or 3 - 4 Chinese dried black mushrooms or fresh mushrooms)
    • 1 small handful dried lily buds
    • 6 cups water (or 6 cups water and 1 cup Campbell's chicken broth)*
    • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
    • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons red rice vinegar, white rice vinegar, or red wine vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 green onion, finely chopped
    • White pepper to taste (no more than 1 tablespoon)
    • Hot chili oil, to taste, optional


    Hot and Sour Soup Directions:
    Shred pork. Mix marinade ingredients and marinate pork for 20 minutes.
    Cut tofu into small squares. Cut bamboo shoots into thin strips and then into fine slices. To reconstitute the fungus, soak in warm water for 20 minutes. Rinse, and cut into thin pieces. (If substituting Chinese dried mushrooms, soak to soften, then cut off the stems and cut into thin strips. If using fresh mushrooms, wipe clean with a damp cloth and slice.)
    To reconstitute the dried lily buds, soak in hot water for 20 minutes or until softened. Cut off the hard ends.
    Bring the water to a boil. When it is boiling, add the bamboo shoots, fungus or mushrooms, and the lily buds. Stir. Add the tofu. Bring back to a boil and add the marinated pork.
    Stir in the salt, sugar, soy sauce and vinegar and sesame oil.
    Test the broth and adjust the taste if desired. (If using chicken broth, you may want to add a bit more rice vinegar).
    Mix the cornstarch and water. Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the soup, stirring while it is being added. Let the broth come back to a boil. As soon as it is boiling, remove the broth from the stove.
    Slowly drop in the beaten egg, stirring in one direction at the same time. Add the green onion and the white pepper to taste. Drizzle with chili oil if desired. Serve hot.
    (Hot and Sour Soup can be prepared ahead of time and frozen. When making the soup, leave out the tofu. When ready to serve, thaw, add the tofu and bring to boiling. When the soup is boiling, add the egg.)
    *Adjust the ratio of water to chicken stock as desired.

    Have a great day


    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Tomorrow, Japan, St. Patrick’s, Health.

    One of the blogs I read is written by an English woman, August Mayfield, and yesterday she was commenting on disasters and the fact that you never know what will happen tomorrow – or even in the next hour. As with Japan, life is normal one minute the next you have lost home, mother, father, children, friends – we cannot imagine the effects of such a disaster on the people living through it. Over the years there have been stories about people saving things to wear or use at some nebulous point in the future, but we don’t know and are never sure what will be in that future. So use that good china you have been saving, wear those special garments or eat those special foods. To quote August “Tomorrow’s Never Promised”.

    JapanSome of the pictures coming from Japan lately are absolutely incredible, there is some footage of a whole village being swept away. One wonders who stood and took those pictures of such a disaster. I saw a report yesterday morning saying the sea had returned 1,000 bodies which it had carried away when it receded, makes me wonder how many more will never be returned.

    St. Patrick’s Day is coming up on Thursday and as usual there are all kinds of recipes. I used to have an Irish friend who went nuts about all this, she said the Irish do not eat anything different for St. Patrick’s than on any other day and got so teed off with all these recipes for Corned Beef and Cabbage Shamrock2especially for that one day. It is a fact, that it appears to be the ex patriot Irish who eat these things presumably as a nod to their erstwhile homeland which, today, many of them have never been near having been born in the countries in which they now live.

    I went for my first and only mammogram two years ago and I understood, at my age, I wouldn’t have to Mammogramgo for another one, WRONG, I have had a letter requesting me to go again, I am not yet out of the mammogram woods it appears. Actually, having heard all the horror stories of breast screening, I didn’t find it bad at all. Nothing like I had imagined. Therefore, I urge every woman to go regularly even though I didn’t. Silly risk on my part, and so unnecessary as it turned out. I assure you, you do not have to practice by slamming your breast in a fridge door, or lying down on a garage floor and getting someone to run over you, it ain’t like that at all, I promise you.

    Pig in Boots

    Why the picture? It keeps popping up on Facebook and it amuses me.

    Irish Cream Cheesecake

    Food Network - Courtesy of Anna Olson

    Rich and creamy cheesecake that's so good you might have to make two!Irish_Cream_Cheesecake

    Preparation time: 20 minutes
    Cooking time: 80 minutes
    Yield: 10

    • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
    • 1/2 cup regular oats (not quick cook)
    • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cups whipping cream
    • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
    • 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1/2 cup Irish Cream liqueur
    • 2 large eggs
    Brickle Almond Garnish
    • 1 tablespoon egg white
    • 1/2 cup whole almonds, lightly toasted
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
            To Assemble
            1. For crust, preheat oven to 350 °F and grease a 9-inch springform pan. Pulse graham crumbs, oats and brown sugar in a food processor until oats have been roughly cut. Add melted butter and vanilla extract and pulse until an even texture. Press into bottom of prepared pan and bake for 7 minutes. Allow to cool while preparing filling.
            2. For filling, reduce oven temperature to 325 °F. Heat cream to just below a simmer. Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate and whisk gently until smooth and set aside. In a bowl using electric beaters or with a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl often. While beating, slowly pour in sugar, again scraping the bowl often. Beat in cornstarch. By this time the filling should be looking a little more fluid. Slowly pour in Irish Cream and beat in eggs, one at a time. Pour chocolate mixture into cheesecake filling and blend well. Scrape filling into pan and bake for 30 minutes. Without opening the oven door, turn off the oven and leave cheesecake in another 30 minutes. Remove, let cool to room temperature, then chill overnight.
            3. For brickle Almond Garnish, preheat oven to 350 °F. Whisk egg white until frothy. Add remaining ingredients and toss until almonds are evenly coated. Spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until sugar has browned. Allow to cool. Break apart almonds and chop in a food processor. Remove springform ring and bottom and place cheesecake on a serving plate. Press the ground brickle onto the sides of the cake and chill until ready to serve.

            Have a great day


            Tuesday, March 15, 2011

            Blog Books, Spring, Movie.

            Yesterday, on the way back from the docs, we stopped at Staples to buy a binder and some paper to print up my latest blog book – ending Dec. 31, 2010. Its over 400 pages. It wasn’t until I started printing them that I realised just how much I write in a year. As I said in someone else’s blog, I like writing, but I perhaps need to figure out a way I can get paid for doing so. Like writing for a local paper or something. Not sure what I would write for a paper, have to be about food perhaps.

            One of my blogging friends, Sia McKay, lives in Missouri and is posting pictures of apple blossoms and talking of daffodils and tulips. I am so jealous, we haven’t Daffodileven a sign of a bit of blossom or a new green leaf yet even though the groundhog (Wiarton Willie) predicted winter would end tomorrow. I guess the forecasters were correct when they announced, at the beginning of this month, that Willie was wrong. I have no doubt that spring is sprung in England too, last time I was there in March the crocus were well out, with daffodils on their way. That is one of the things I miss about having my own home, not having spring flowers. We used to have a wonderful display of daffodils in North Carolina not to mention our azaleas which were wonderful.

            I was going through back issues of this blog and Dawn Treadercannot find that I mentioned going to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader which is one of the Narnia movies, the third one. As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed it, as did my friend. I have still not discovered how they do the lion which is very much a lion and looks totally real. It’s amazing what they can do these days, the mouse, Reepicheep is another one which is so very well done, well all the animals are. When it comes out on DVD I must get a copy of it. I am not sure if its out yet, its not that long since I went to see the movie.

            I mentioned "pills for cancer" the other day, I discovered last night they are talking about iodine pills which help prevent thyroid cancer which can be caused by radiation poisoning. Doesn't appear to do anything for all the other cancers which can be caused by radiation though.

            I am very fond of muffins and when these recipes dropped into my inbox, I really wanted to eat some straight away. I am not especially fond of marshmallows, but these look so good I thought I would share them with you. Of course the recipe had me at Double Chocolate.

            Double Chocolate-Marshmallow Rocky Road Muffins


            These moist, ultra-chocolate muffins become tiny molten marshmallow volcanoes as they bake. For a less marshmallowy, more fudgy effect, use halved marshmallows in place of whole ones. INGREDIENTS

            2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, choppedDouble Choc Marshmallow Rocky Rd. Muffins

            6 tablespoons unsalted butter

            1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

            2/3 cup sugar

            1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT Dutch process)

            1 tablespoon baking powder

            1/2 teaspoon baking soda

            1/2 teaspoon salt

            1 1/4 cup buttermilk or unsweetened yogurt

            1 egg

            1 teaspoon vanilla

            1/2 cup fine quality bittersweet chocolate chips, plus more for topping

            12 regular-size marshmallows

            1/4 cup chopped almonds


            Set oven rack in center position and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners, place tin on baking sheet and set aside.

            Melt chocolate and butter together over double boiler or by placing in microwave on high for 20 - 25 seconds, stirring, and returning to microwave for additional 15 - 20 seconds. Stir until smooth and set aside.

            In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

            In a separate small bowl, whisk together until well blended the buttermilk (or yogurt), egg and vanilla.

            Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk (or yogurt) mixture and the melted chocolate mixture. Stir gently until ingredients are partially mixed, add 1/2 cup chocolate chips, and stir until just mixed. Do not overmix! Batter should be a bit lumpy and spongy.

            Place a heaping tablespoon or more of batter in each prepared muffin cup so that the base is well covered. Nestle a marshmallow deeply into the center of each cup, pushing it down into the batter. With the rest of the batter, finish filling the cups, surrounding and covering the marshmallows. The batter will mound up a bit in each cup.

            Top each muffin with a sprinkling of chopped almonds and chocolate chips.

            Put filled pan, still on baking sheet, in oven on center rack and bake for 20 minutes. The marshmallow may bubble up from the tops.

            Remove and cool muffins, still in pan, for 3 or 4 minutes, then carefully remove from pan and allow to cool on rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

            Have a great day


            Monday, March 14, 2011

            Garlic, Les Misérables, Japan

            I was reading some tips the other day about food preparation and doing things to save time later which reminded me of a tip I wanted to pass on. I recently peGarliceled and prepared three bulbs of garlic and meant to mention it. Once upon a time I used to buy huge jars of peeled garlic cloves from Sam’s (a warehouse store) but they stopped selling them, I then decided to start doing smaller jars myself. I store the cloves in a Mason jar with some paper towel on top to absorb the moisture and that way I have fresh garlic ready to use whenever I want. It lasts for months stored in the refrigerator.

            Saturday we watched the 25th anniversary concert of Les Misérables on TV. It was great even though the Public TV channel was fund raising. I think I might well send for a copy from PBS as I wouldn’t mind having it in my library. Mind you, it makes me cry my eyes out most of the time. Stupid isn’t it? We have had cassettes of the show for years, given to us by friends and often play them when we are driving long distances. I cry then, but not quite as much, I guess I don’t get quite as involved.

            The news out of Japan is most disturbing, I am writing this on Sunday night (doc’s appointment in the morning) and there has been a second explosion at Fukushima not to mention the worries about the other damaged nuclear stations. As well they evacuated everyone. There was mention of people being given pills to ward off cancer? Something I have certainly never heard of, of course the Japanese should know a lot about radiation and cancer after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

            A friend sent a recipe for biscuits today which sounded pretty good and pretty easy. To the English biscuits are cookies, to the North Americans they are more like scones. I just might have a go at these myself – I used to make scones but haven’t done so in years.

            Mayonnaise Biscuits


            "This is a simple but tasty biscuit recipe. You don't taste the mayo, but it gives the biscuits a light and fluffy texture. For rolled and cut biscuits, use just enough milk to hold it together."

            Mayonnaise BiscuitsPREP TIME 
            10 Min

            COOK TIME 
            12 Min

            READY IN 
            22 Min

            INGREDIENTS (Nutrition)

            • 2 cups self-rising flour
            • 1 cup milk
            • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise


            1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
            2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, milk, and mayonnaise until just blended. Drop by spoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets.
            3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

            Yum! These biscuits come out very light and fluffy with a rich (but not too rich) taste and mouthfeel. If you don't have self-rising flour (like me), use 2 cups less 4 tsp. sifted flour, 3 tsp. baking powder, and 1 tsp. salt.

            Have a great day


            Saturday, March 12, 2011

            Japan Disaster, Earth Hour, Spring Clocks.

            Subsequent to the dreadful earthquake yesterday, there has now been an explosion at the Fukushima nuclear plant this morning. At the moment they say the reactor core is OK but evacuation of a 20 mile fukushima-nucleararea has taken place and all kinds of conflicting reports are being talked about some of which say radiation levels are rising, others that the levels are falling. It has the potential of being another Chernoble or Three Mile Island disaster. They say things come in threes, first the quake, second the tsunami and Fukushima would be the third. The disaster pictures are pouring out of Japan and the death toll is rising, presently it stands at 900, with many injured and many unaccounted for. The major town nearest the epicentre was Sendai which reporters are only just being able to approach. I just learned this morning that Google has a people finder service which everyone concerned can contact to  leave messages. I wonder how many others know of this Google service. By the way, there have been over 100 aftershocks, I think the number is closer to 150.

            People are so damned stupid, I didn’t hear the full report, but the coasts of the States were evacuated as far as possible and yet three guys were on a pier taking pictures of the waves; they got swept away and although two were saved, a third has been drowned. I do understand that there hasn’t been much in the way of damage on the coasts of Hawaii or the US and Russia, but there have been some pretty powerful waves which are still continuing.

            Meanwhile the States is suffering from considerable flooding from an excess of rain although this news has been somewhat glossed over due to the reports from Japan. I have no doubt that if your home has been flooded or washed away, the earthquake news is of little interest to you.

            Earth HourBy the way, Saturday March 26 is Earth Hour so this is a preliminary reminder to you to turn off you lights and computers, etc. for one hour at 8:30 p.m.

            Don’t forget to turn your clocks forward an hour tonight. Spring forward.

            I thought these looked wonderful especially if you happen to have guests for breakfast. They are from a newsletter sent by my local grocery store, Zehrs. There were lots of recipes which I shall be looking into, but this is a start. Obviously some of the ingredients will not be available to all my readers, but I am sure you can find local sources of turkey bacon and Greek yogurt.

            Easy Individual Breakfast Quiches


            This twist on your usual eggs and bacon creates delicious individual breakfast or brunch quiches for your lucky guests.

            Serves: 8PC Breakfast Quiche


            8 slices PC Blue Menu Turkey Bacon-Style , cut in half crosswise

            4 eggs

            2 egg whites

            3 tbsp (45 mL) PC Greek Yogurt- Plain

            2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh chives

            ¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

            1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) freshly ground black pepper

            1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Spray 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
            2. Press two halves of turkey bacon into each of 8 muffin cups, covering bottom and sides as much as possible. Bake in centre of oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until bacon is browned at edges and set. Cool.
            3. In bowl, whisk eggs with egg whites until smooth. Whisk in yogurt, chives, salt and pepper. Divide mixture evenly among turkey-lined cups. Bake in centre of oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until cooked through. Use spoon to unmold.

            Have a great weekend.