Friday, September 30, 2011

Bowling, Janus Cat

Wasn’t too sure if I would be going bowling 5-pinon the Travel League yesterday, but I went and it was fun. Had a chicken Caesar for lunch and then bowled two good games and one lousy one. Par for the course I guess. Matt did very much the same. It was great to see people we hadn’t seen all summer – I was surprised one of our friends had been to England in June. Didn’t know he was going. We have a few new people on the Travel League one of whom we discovered is on our team for our Monday Senior’s League.

The doc’s office called with Matt’s blood test results, but no-one called about my X-rays, I didn’t think to ask at the time and then it was too late to call them. I am very anxious to know what turned up, if anything.

Of course today is bowling on our regular league, we haven’t Friday bowled yet this season and I am not quite sure if I am up to it again. Ve shall see. Sorry to rabbit on about my health, but as you get older, it becomes somewhat of a preoccupation. A friend says when we were younger we talked about sex now we are older we talk about illness.

FrankenlouieAn incredible story caught my eye about a Janus cat or a two faced cat which was only expected to last a few days and has now survived for 12 years. The owner saved it from being put to sleep but nobody thought it would survive. It has two faces, two mouths, three eyes and its owner calls it Frank and Louie. Sorry, I don’t think I would want to live with such an animal although I am sure there are many who wouldn’t hesitate. Must admit I have been wondering which mouth it uses to eat or does it use both?

I complained to about their new introduction of various Kindles in particular because there is a very inexpensive one as well as the top of the line one at $199. They apologised but said if I wanted to order one they would waive the postage and handling. Big deal, I am not too happy with them. I sure am NOT going to buy a second one when I only bought the one I have in July. Am I being unreasonable?

I tend not to enjoy foods made with apples especially if they are desserts, but when it comes to savoury things, I am often there with the best of them. Eating Well are currently promoting apples as being the best fruit you can eat for your health and here is one of their recipes. We always have pork tenderloins in our freezer, buy some really nice ones from Costco.

Apple-&-Leek-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Apple Leek Pork TenderloinFrom EatingWell: September/October 2009

Stuff pork tenderloin with apple and leek to take it from ordinary to elegant. Our easy method of tying the roast together keeps the filling inside while you brown and roast it. We use applejack, brandy made from apple cider, for depth of flavor in the pan sauce, but you can use 1/2 cup cider if you prefer.

4 servings Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon, divided
  • 1 cup chopped leek, white and light green parts only, rinsed
  • 1 sweet apple, such as Braeburn, Honeycrisp or Macoun, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 1 sprig, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 1-1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup applejack or apple brandy
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leek and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add apple, chopped thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apple is beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool. Rinse out the pan.
  3. To butterfly the tenderloin, lay it on a large cutting board. Holding the knife blade flat and parallel to the board, make a lengthwise cut through the center of the meat, stopping short of the opposite edge so that the tenderloin remains in one piece. Open as you would a book. Cover with plastic wrap. With a meat mallet, rolling pin or heavy pan, pound the pork to an even 1/4-inch thickness.
  4. Spread the apple mixture in the center of the pork, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Starting at a long side, roll up the pork to enclose the filling. To keep the stuffing from falling out during roasting, fold in about 1 inch of the two short ends. Tie kitchen string firmly lengthwise around the roast to secure the two ends. Then tie it crosswise with string at 2-inch intervals. Lightly brush the roast with 1 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  5. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and brown the roast on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer the roast to a rimmed baking sheet (set the pan aside). Place in the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145°F, about 15 minutes. Let rest on a clean cutting board for 5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Crush garlic with the flat side of a knife. Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add applejack (or apple brandy), thyme sprig and the garlic; bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Whisk cider and cornstarch and add to the pan. Return to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by just over half (to about 3/4 cup), 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; discard the garlic and thyme. Whisk in mustard and any juice from the baking sheet. Slice the pork and serve with the sauce.

Per serving :366 Calories; 11 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 7 g Mono; 74 mg Cholesterol; 27 g Carbohydrates; 24 g Protein; 1 g Fiber; 561 mg Sodium; 534 mg Potassium

Have a great day


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Our Wednesday, Travel League.

What an exhausting day we had yesterday, we had to be at training for Matt at 9 a.m. then we dashed back after a 2 1/2 hr. session and had a fairly quick lunch then headed off for my doctor’s appointment in Cambridge (next town) having told her, my doctor, Electionsmy sad tale of woe, she sent me off for X-rays so, as I only really know a lab in Kitchener, we came home and first went to the lab for Matt’s blood test (they close at 3) and then on to get my X-rays. All done by about 3:30. I was now worrying because we didn’t have the cell phone and I had promised to visit a friend as it was her birthday. Finally got to call her from home and apologize for not dropping by. We had a quick, and early supper and off to another elections training session. We have now decided to swap jobs and Matt will be the Information Assistant (meeter and greeter) and I will be the Revision Assistant. Caused a bit of confusion, but we sorted it out in the end. Finally got home about 9 to collapse in heaps.

For those of you who might be taking part in the Provincial elections, by the way, you do NOT have to show photo i.d. this year – I think that’s ridiculous, but who am I?

Re the doctor, I had a bad fall a week or two ago and may have given myself spinal stenosis because I fell on my coccyx jarring my spine badly. I have major pain in my neck, back and shoulders. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Today its lunch at Benny’s in Waterloo and then the first bowling for our Travel League. This one takes place at our home bowling alley.

I am really annoyed with, we just Kindle Firebought their Kindle and now they have introduced a much better version as well as a cheaper version. Grrr. If you are interested, go to this page and you will find all their new Kindles  including the Kindle Fire which is apparently intended to compete with the iPad.

Carrot Cake

Source: © EatingWell Magazine

16 servings (by who’s count?)

An old favorite with an updated nutritional profile, Carrot Cakebut still as moist and delicious as ever.

For the Cake:

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (see Ingredient note)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved

2 cups grated carrots (4-6 medium)

1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

For the Frosting:

2 tablespoons coconut chips or flaked coconut

12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ingredient Note:
Whole-wheat pastry flour is milled from soft wheat. It contains less gluten than regular whole-wheat flour and helps ensure a tender result in delicate baked goods while providing the nutritional benefits of whole grains. Available in large supermarkets and in natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.


To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Toast walnuts in a small baking pan in the oven until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and 1/4 cup of the reserved pineapple juice in a large bowl until blended. Stir in pineapple, carrots and coconut. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until blended. Stir in the nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.

Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare frosting & finish cake: Place coconut in a small baking pan and toast in the oven at 300 degrees F, stirring several times, until light golden, 5 to 10 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Sprinkle with the coconut.

Have a great day


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I talked a bit about our journey yesterday, I checked my notes and discovered I had written a description of the hills and mountains of the parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania that we travel through on our trip. I was looking at all the trees and thinking about my mother who, on this same trip, said “you can get tired of trees”. In fact I don’t know that I can. I love to see all the slopes covered in different greens, and now beginning to show fall colours; then, every so often, they give you a treat and open up to show you a meadow glinting like an emerald in the sun between the foliage. Very lovely to look at. I wish I was as lyrical as sinlaw Mike who could really make that scene come alive for you.

Shipwreck Lake OntarioAnother thing I always like to see, returning to Ontario, we drive along an edge of Lake Ontario where they placed a wreck many years ago, and which somebody subsequently set fire to. I still love to catch a glimpse of it as we go past. I guess it is a tourist attraction although I am not sure how you get near enough to see it. Here it is in the water, but in fact it is beached on the shore of the lake.

We pass by Fredericksburg, VA on our trip too. I have noticed several times that there is a Mary Washington University and I wondered “who is Mary Washington”, turns out she is George’s mother. There are several spots I wonder about and forget to write them down although one I did note was a brand new stable called Nickers and Neighs which I thought was a great name.

We still saw a lot of police on the roads again even though 9/11 has passed. Quite a number of speeders had been pulled over.

I am not noted for the brilliance of my memory, but I had forgotten we both had election training today for the upcoming provincial elections next month. In fact there has been so much going on since I got home, I don’t know if its Saturday or Christmas. Tomorrow we have our travelling bowling league and Friday regular bowling. Yesterday I had my Avon to do and we had a power cut for several hours and as the elevators were not working, I couldn’t get to see the doc so have to go see her today. Waaah! I need a holiday!!!!!

Here’s an interesting looking recipe, if you can find flank steak, I haven’t yet been able to round here.

Mojo Marinated & Grilled Flank Steak

Source: FC - Issue 28

Toss a few red onions on the grill to serve with this dish; a salad of tomatoes and cucumbers rounds out the meal nicely. My family loves this versatile mojo on chicken as well as on flank steak.Mojo Marinated and Grilled Flank Steak

For the Mojo:

12 cloves garlic (or 4 tablespoons minced garlic)

2 habaneros or other spicy chiles, cored, seeded, and minced (wear rubber gloves)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 teaspoons whole cumin seeds, toasted

1 cup olive oil

2/3 cup sour orange juice (or 1/3 cup fresh lime juice plus 1/3 cup fresh orange juice)

1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Steak:

1 1/2 pounds flank steak

1 or 2 large Bermuda onions, thickly sliced and brushed with olive oil (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


TO MAKE THE MOJO: Mash the raw garlic, chiles, salt, and cumin together in a mortar and pestle until fairly smooth. (Alternatively, use a food processor, pulsing until the ingredients are finely chopped but not puréed.) Scrape the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Heat the olive oil until fairly hot but not smoking, and pour it over the garlic-chile mixture (the oil should sizzle when it hits the cool ingredients), stir, and let stand 10 minutes. This will cook the garlic slightly. Whisk in the sour orange juice and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool completely.

FOR THE STEAK: Put the steak in a zip-top bag or a shallow bowl and pour in 1 cup of the cooled mojo. Seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Refrigerate the remaining 1 cup of mojo.

TO COOK AND SERVE: Light a charcoal or gas grill. When the grill is very hot, remove the steak from the marinade (discard the marinade), pat dry, and season with salt and pepper; cook 5 to 7 minutes on one side and 3 to 4 minutes on the other for medium rare. Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes. (If you like, grill the Bermuda onions as well - you can put them on at the same time as the flank steak; grill 6 to 7 minutes per side.)

Meanwhile, warm the reserved mojo over low heat. Slice the flank steak very thinly on the bias and serve with the reserved mojo and the grilled onions.

Have a great day


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Trip Home, Yet More Eating, Super 8, Chinatown.

We are home safe and sound after a long and thankfully, uneventful journey. When we left NC we had rain for the first hour and then the rest of the Super 8, Winchestertrip was dry other than the occasional sprinkle, and I do mean sprinkle. We spent the night in the Super 8 Motel in Winchester which was absolutely fine, clean, comfortable and inexpensive. Matt complained the room was a bit cramped and there were a couple of worn spots, but nothing significant. We had a complimentary breakfast which offered cereals, juice, coffee, toast, muffins, bagels, etc. As we mainly eat cereal for breakfast that was fine. It also had one very big advantage, an excellent Chinese restaurant next door. More on that later. We arrived in Canada around 4 p.m. to sunny skies and temps of 29°C which, sadly, dropped to 21° by the time we got home although the apartment was pretty warm having been closed for two weeks.

I ‘broke out’ the turkey breasts and put them in the freezer and we started doing the shrimp, mostly everything travels very well with plenty of ice and is still solid by the time we get home. This morning there is still a lot of shrimp in the freezer, in the bath.

On Saturday we were taken to Snapperz Grill and Steamer Bar which I mentioned. I shared a sSnapperz.teamer pot which comprised snow crab legs, clams, shrimp, corn, sausage and potatoes (didn’t bother with the potatoes) and I really tucked in. We had drawn butter in which to dip the crab which was succulent. Thoroughly enjoyed it, will go back again when we visit once Steampot_thumb[2]more. Matt had a chicken dish which was served over a pilaf. He was particularly impressed with the pilaf, and finished it although he was full to bursting. I finished off with a hot chocolate brownie covered in thick chocolate sauce and augmented with a couple of scoops of ice cream and a couple of dollops of whipped cream, a chocolate ganache decorating over all. ChoCatch Phrasecolate, what more can I say? Forgot the camera though, duuuh. Went back to friend’s home for a couple of drinks and farewells. Played a couple of rounds of a game they have called Catch Phrase, found it on, where else? I really enjoy the game but it isn’t Matt’s thing at all. You are given a word of phrase and you have to describe it in a certain time factor so the other players can guess the answer.

Home and finish packing and finalising everything. Next morning had to pick up the shrimp first, drop off a few remaining grocery items at a friend’s and then head off back north.

I mentioned the Chinese restaurant in Winchester, it is called Chinatown and we weren’t sure whether to try it. The hotel said customer’s liked it and a Chinatownwoman leaving said their food was excellent so in we went. Their website is ‘under construction’  so not much to see there unfortunately, and once again, I didn’t have my camera. I will have to improve my record here. I started with an excellent hot an sour soup, can’t resist it, one of my favourites. Matt had Crab Rangoon, new to him, which he thoroughly enjoyed. I then had some steamed dumplings. Yum. I ordered a duck dish but they were out of duck, so I settled for a shrimp Pad Thai, yeah I know, not Chinese, they do some of both as well as some Vietnamese and have been open 25 years I discover. Matt had a beef in orange sauce dish, not sure what it was called but he loved it, I tasted a piece, great. Very un-Chinese but I finished off with a piece of very decadent chocolate cake which Matt shared.

I am not sure if this recipe is the same, but it looks very similar to what Matt ate.

Crispy Orange Beef

Submitted By: BEC

Photo By: misymiss

Crispy Orange BeefServings: 6

"A delicious crispy and sweet, yet mildly spiced beef stir-fry recipe served with steamed rice and broccoli."


1 1/2 pounds beef top sirloin, thinly sliced

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 cup long grain rice

2 cups water

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 teaspoons orange zest

3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

8 broccoli florets, lightly steamed or blanched

2 cups oil for frying


Lay beef strips out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Allow to dry in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, rice vinegar, orange juice concentrate, salt and soy sauce. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine rice and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Add more water at the end if necessary.

Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Toss dried beef in cornstarch to coat. Fry in the hot oil in small batches until crispy and golden brown; set aside. Drain all of the oil from the wok except about 1 tablespoon.

Add orange zest, ginger and garlic to the remaining oil, and cook briefly until fragrant. Add the soy sauce mixture to the wok, bring to a boil, and cook until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Add beef, and heat through, stirring to coat. Serve immediately over steamed rice, and garnish with broccoli.

Have a great day


Monday, September 26, 2011

Sorry No Blog

Today we are on the road from Virginia to Canada and I haven’t had time to write anything much. Blog tomorrow, I promise.


Have a great day


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fishing, Golfing, Packing & More Eating.

SpotThis last couple of weeks the Spots and Blues have been running and every time we cross the bridge to the mainland we can see dozens of boats in the sound trying to catch their share. Spots are a pretty small fish with not a lot of meat on them, but delicious nevertheless and Blues always remind me of herrings toBlues look at and are also good eating, not that we have had either for years as you don’t often get them unless you fish for them yourself. Of course the dolphins also enjoy these fish and when we crossed the bridge the other day, we saw a large pod of them. Wonderful to see, but death on fishing. This area is known as a fisherman’s paradise and when we lived here we fished quite a lot, even me now and again. One can hire rods on Bogue Inlet Pier but we have never done so, not sure why, especially coming to the area at this time of the year. You can also go out on the big head boats such as The Carolina Princess but a) that gets crowded and b) can be a long day. Mac of MacDaddy’s gave me the name of a friend who takes a small party of 4 out on his boat, bit late for us though to get up a party in the first place and to pick a day as we had commitments already. Maybe if we come down again.

Golfin Dolphin HoleYesterday we went to the Golfin’ Dolphin to play mini golf – Matt beat me by one point, I also got a hole in one, pat me on the back someone. I might have won but by the last hole I was in considerable pain in my back and really mucked up the hole, all I was interested in was sitting down on a nearby bench. That’s my story anyway, and I’m sticking to it. I think they need to make it possible for people to park closer to the mini golf range. The Golfin’ Dolphin is part of the MacDaddy’s group, and has actually been there for years, (we used to play there now and again when we lived here) whereas the MacDaddy’s bowling alley and games complex has only been built recently.

Boy did it ever chuck it down for a very short period yesterdaySunset afternoon. Just like a tropical storm for about 20 minutes and then it disappeared. The sky was threatening seawards for the rest of the day, but nothing else happened and there was quite a pretty sunset which I shot through the trees. Today, of course, will be spent packing and loading as much as we can into Steampotthe car in order to get to Cap’n Sam’s at 9 a.m. for our shrimp before we head home tomorrow. For supper we are going to Snapperz Grill and Steambar with a couple of friends. The restaurant specialises in a steam pot which looks great and I will certainly be choosing.

I couldn’t resist sharing these cookies when I saw them this morning.

Rocky Road Whoppers


Rocky Road WhoppersMakes 12 large cookies (serving size = 1 cookie)

These big chocolate and walnut chocolate chip cookies have a center filled with miniature marshmallows. The end result is a cookie marbled with chocolate and melted marshmallows. Lining the baking sheet with parchment paper make these cookies easy to remove.

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, divided in half

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 teaspoon water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

60 (about 2/3 cup) miniature marshmallows


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl to blend. Set aside.

Stir 1 cup chocolate chips and butter in medium bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Transfer chocolate mixture to large bowl. Set aside.

Whisk sugar, egg, coffee mixture and vanilla in medium bowl until blended. Stir egg mixture into reserved chocolate mixture. Mix in flour mixture just until blended. Add nuts and remaining 1 cup chocolate chips.

For each cookie, drop 1 rounded tablespoon dough onto prepared baking sheet, spacing 3 inch apart. Gently press 5 marshmallows into center of each. Gently press 1 rounded tablespoon of dough atop each to cover marshmallows and form 2-inch-high mounds. Bake cookies until top is dull and feels crusty when touched gently, rotating baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking to ensure even browning, about 14 minutes.

Cool cookies on baking sheet 15 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely.

DO-AHEAD TIP: Cookies can be made up to 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Recipe created exclusively for by Elinor Klivans.

Makes 12 large cookies (serving size = 1 cookie)

Have a great weekend, think of us on the road for the next two days.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday and Friday

Thursday we went to see our friend who had had spinal fusion surgery in her neck, apparently the first op pinched a nerve but they didn’t know this at first and had to perform a second op, I think I would be suing for all the extra pain and suffering, sounds like she certainly had plenty of it. If it weren’t for another mutual friend who stayeMediterranean Pizzad with her, things might have been even more difficult for her. I am glad she is getting better and hope she continues to improve. We had pizza for lunch, from Domino’s, one of them was a Mediterranean vegetarian pizza, delicious. Must check if that is available at home, we don’t eat pizza a lot, but this is certainly worth bearing in mind. It seemed more like a genuine Italian pizza than some of the ones you get served over here.

Although I am sorry we are leaving at the end of the week, there is another storm, TS Ophelia, heading into the Atlantic as well asShore Em lsle another behind it. Not only that, there is a piece of space junk the size of a school bus which is going to be re-entering earth’s atmosphere soon, luckily most of that will burn up apparently, but there will still be some sizeable chunks. The odds of getting hit are vaster than the odds of getting struck by lightening which is 1 in a million. This is a picture of the beach taken from Bogue Inlet Pier

Matt has taken the car in for an oil change this morning, a precautionary measure. Not really sure what we are doing today, nothing special planned.

Sorry no recipe today, feeling a bit under the weather. Long story will tell all maybe next week. Suffice to say didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.

Have a great day


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our Wednesday. Today’s Plans.

Went to MacDaddy’s for lunch. I talked about MacDaddy’s last year, it MacDaddy'sis a very large complex with two 10 pin bowling alleys, electronic gaming machines although by NC law you cannot win money. A sports bar and restaurant and a bunch of conference rooms. After lunch we bowled three games which was fun, always enjoy it, we were with a couple of friends and he is now on a league so getting better, Matt and I only do 10 pin once or twice a year. During lunch we were talking to Mac whom we have met before, he told us about a friend who runs a charter fishing boat, suggested we contact him. I will, but way out of our league I think. His mom also gave us a leaflet about Mac’s cottage which is quite incredible and designed for the use of paraplegics. Really a great place to stay, I think they rent it out.

Afterwards we went to Sweet Spot Candies for ice cream. That is Sweet Spotan interesting store, full of lots of candies as well as ice cream up the kazoo. They have more than 46 flavours as shown on their web page, delightful, I was relatively conservative though. They had some really colourful bags and purses for sale but they turned out to be expensive, too rich for my blood. Pity. I hope they last. There used to be a wonderful ice cream place in this area but it closed down a couple of years ago. They sold custard ice cream which was to die for and also cakes. They had a chocolate layer cake, 7 layers I think, which was wonderful. Ah, memories.

Today a couple of other friends and ourselves are taking pizza to a sick friend’s house. We haven’t yet seen her this trip as she has been so unwell. However, she is now up to having visitors, so, going there for lunch. Should be fun. Sadly we are beginning to count down to the end of our trip. Our Canadian friends have already left, he too isn’t too well and he is teed off that it is no longer quite so warm. Seems to be OK to us, very warm yesterday. Must admit I cannot imagine cutting our vacation short. Enjoying ourselves too much and we haven’t been on the beach once so far.

I have always liked Minestrone and wished I had ordered it the other night when someone had some at The Olive Garden. This is a somewhat different version, looks good.

Michael Smith’s Minestrone Soup

This is no ordinary minestrone soup with bacon and spinach it's sureMinestrone_Soup to be a delight. Yield: 4 – 6 servings

  • 8 slices bacon, chopped
  • 4 onions, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1x28 ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 litre chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 Parmesan rinds
  • Sprinkled sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 1x18 ounce can white kidney beans
  1. Put the bacon into a 6-quart soup pot and brown it until it is crisp. Pour off half of the bacon fat and discard. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté for a few minutes. Add zucchini, red pepper, cauliflower, tomatoes and juice, chicken broth, oregano and Parmesan rinds. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender, but still hold their shape.
  2. Stir in baby spinach and beans and stir until spinach has wilted and beans are heated through.

Have a great day


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Monster Invasion, Anole, Olive Garden.

Incredibly Good Morning America, yesterday, was taken over by the Cookie MonsterSesame Street gang. Not sure Matt was amused, but I was. You can see some video here but there was a lot more to it than that little segment. Sam was doing the weather with the Cookie Monster and it started raining cookies on Sesame St. and certainly raining something else in Times Square, however, the Cookie Monster produced an umbrella for Sam. I don’t remember all the names now, but one of the other characters took over for George who was on assignment and cracked “who would have thought George’s suits would fit me”. I was sorry not to see my favourite, Kermit the Frog, though. Miss Piggy too, was absent. Maybe they are not such popular characters any more, Elmo was certainly present.
We often sit on the deck with a beer before lunch, yesterAnoleday was no exception. Suddenly I jumped as something rushed along the picnic table, then I realised it was a Carolina anole. Much to my surprise it jumped onto my leg, then on to my hand and up my arm. I was moving it about all  over the place, it was a really tiny one, I think a baby, not certain. Matt went in and got the cameras and took a pic on my arm but then it jumped off and he doesn’t really know how to use my camera so we got the Carolina anole on to his arm and I took a pic which is what you see here. Cute little perisher. In the end he had had enough of us and ran off. From reading Wikipedia, I think it was definitely a juvenile. Matt’s may well be the better pic, but he still uses film which means it could be forever before it gets developed.

Mandel FilesThe afternoon was a washout in more ways than one, it rained heavens hard. Maybe they need it round here, same as we do in Ontario, but not much fun when you are on vacation. I read my Kindle, have a good story on it, The Mandel Files by Peter Hamilton. However, it was finally time to get ready and go out. We got a bit damp getting to the car, guess where the umbrellas were? Yes, in the car. We went to our friend’s house and eventually ended up at The Olive Garden. We had a very good meal and once again I had the mussel dish which was excellent. We all got to taste some stuffed mushrooms and then I ordered a shrimp and chicken recipe which had one thing wrong with it the shrimp had their tails on. This is something which really irritates me. Having to get my  fingers into the sauce in order to remove the shrimp tails. No thanks. Despite arguments from two couples, one person picked up the bill, really not sure why they should pay for our meal, but we were very grateful nevertheless.

I thought this recipe sounded good, I love Pissaladière and like the sound of these little versions. I am copying the complete article.

Petites Pissaladières
By Dana Treat
WebMD Recipe from
Everyone needs a good appetizer recipe in their back pocket, right?petites_pissaladiers For party food, I am currently enamoured with things that can be picked up and popped in the mouth rather than things that require a plate and a fork. I have done three parties in the last six months (one was mine, two I catered) where only finger food was served. I made a different version of this Pissaladière for two of those parties, but this one is even easier and less messy.
The first time I made these mini tartlets was for my rehearsal dinner just over seven years ago. Randy and I had both been married before and we had both had the big fat wedding the first time around. We decided to do something very small and personal and to have the wedding on Lopez Island. A small group of friends and our families caravanned over on ferries to spend the weekend with us on the island.
We had the rehearsal dinner at our families' little house. I use the term “rehearsal dinner” lightly because there was no rehearsal. Our wedding was non-traditional and informal so there was no need to rehearse anything. We had no attendants and we had a Universal Life Minister ferry over from another of the islands to marry us. My dad did not walk me down the aisle (Randy did) and we asked that everyone contribute a heart gift -- something to share with us from their heart. Some people read the vows from their own weddings, my sister-in-law did a Nepalese love dance, a friend impersonated Dr. Ruth, and my brother Michael read an old passage from his journal about how much he loved his sister. Everyone cried at that one.
Anyway, the night before the big night, everyone came to our house for a dinner cooked by me. I remember all the appetizers but I have no memory of what I served as a main course. I was a good cook then. I am a much better and more organized cook now. Still, I did pretty well. I got everything up there without leaving anything behind. I was smart enough to outsource dessert to a very good baker, and we had plenty of wine and beer. I loved these mini onion tartlets and can’t believe it has taken me theses many years to make them again.
1 frozen puff pastry sheet (from a 17 1/4-oz. package), thawed
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and very thinly sliced lengthwise

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 12 1/2-inch square, then trim the edges to form a 12-inch square. Prick sheet all over with a fork. Cut into 36 (2-inch) squares and transfer to 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans halfway through baking, until puffed and golden, 12 to 15 minutes total. Transfer to racks to cool until just warm.
While pastry is baking, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet until hot but not smoking, then cook the onion with salt and pepper stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in the thyme half way through cooking time.
Lightly brush tops of pastry squares with remaining tablespoon olive oil. Make a small indentation in center of each square with your finger, then top each with 1 teaspoon onion mixture and a few olive slivers. Sprinkle squares with fresh thyme.
(Pastry squares can be baked 1 day ahead, cooled completely, and kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat in a 350-degree F oven 6 minutes before topping. Onion mixtures can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat over moderate heat, stirring, until heated through, about 10 minutes.)
Adapted from Gourmet
This recipe serves 18/36 tartlets.

Have a great day

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quiet Day

Not a lot to talk about today, we just putzed around yesterday. Bridge 2thanks goodness the sun returned although it wasn’t overly warm, absolutely delightful. Not a bad thing to do nothing much as I was somewhat stuffed after our weekend of eating. This picture, and one I posted the other day, are taken from the bridge crossing from Emerald Isle to the mainland – we love the this view of all the little islands in inland waterway and enjoy it every time we come down here.

Took our cooler to the shrimp people, Cap’n Sam and his wife. She is going to let me know the exact price as we have to pay in cash so have to get some ready. We won’t be collecting them till we leave. We ate some of their shrimp for lunch yesterday, delicious, much better than the one’s I got at the store the other day.

We have been invited to join some friends at a restaurant tonight. Not sure which one, there is a choice of two, Texas Steak House or the Olive Garden. Meeting at their house.

We sat on the pier and enjoyed the sunshine for a while, we were told by someone further up the pier that the fishermen were catching blues and then the sharks were stealing them off the rods and having a feast. I don’t know how true this was. He was laughing fit to bust about it all.

Caribbean Grilled Lamb Skewers with Long Beans

By The Food Gal
WebMD Recipe from


¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cumin seed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon curry powder
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
3 pounds boneless lamb loin or well-trimmed leg, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound long beans, tips removed, left long or cut into 3-inch segments (or substitute green beans)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Put 12 wooden skewers in a pan of water to soak for at least 20 minutes.


To prepare the lamb marinade, whisk together ½ cup of olive oil, lime juice, lemon zest, garlic, cumin, chili powder, curry powder, 2 teaspoons salt, cayenne, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and jalapenos in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, cayenne, and lime juice.

Put lamb cubes and marinade into a large glass baking dish and toss, rubbing marinade all over lamb. Thread 4 to 5 pieces of lamb onto each skewer. Place skewers into baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 and up to 4 hours.

While lamb marinates, preheat a grill or broiler to medium-hot and prepare beans. Sauté beans in remaining ¼ cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until they are tender and begin to blister. Stir in butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. When butter just begins to brown, transfer beans to a warm serving platter and drape with foil.

Grill lamb, turning skewers every few minutes, until medium rare (internal temperature of 130 degrees), about 6 minutes. (Alternately, skewers can be broiled until medium rare.) Transfer skewers to a plate and let stand for 5 minutes.

To serve, place long beans to the side, and lay skewers across them.

From Without Reservations by Joey Altman

Total Servings: 12

Have a great day


Monday, September 19, 2011

Barbecue, Brunch then Dinner.

Saturday night we had a few people over for barbecued pork chops and baked potatoes. They all brought contributions with sausage balls, potato salad, mixed flavour cheese cakes slices and a Bostonokra Cream Pie. I also prepared a salad and some okra. Thereby hangs a tale. I use okra a lot when I make gumbo, but I don’t usually cook them plain. Years ago we were given some okra and I passed them on to a friend, she cooked some in our microwave then and there and they were delicious so I was annoyed I had given her the rest. Saturday, I didn’t like to call this friend because she has been ill but then I heard from the others that just the other day she Spatter screenwas boiling okra and they didn’t turn out right, so maybe she has forgotten how to microwave them. In the end I did it by guess and I used, for the first time, a Microwave spatter screen I was given as a birthday gift. The okra turned out OK but I think I Matt and I were the only ones who liked them. This in the south and at least two of our guests were genuine, all fired southerners neither of whom had ever eaten okra other than deep fried.

There should have been 9 of us but once again illness struck and she had to beg off. This whole trip has been plagued by some form of incapacity or another. Of course the weather became ill too and it was pretty cold all weekend. Saturday afternoon we watched our neighbours install a new window which was actually quite hilarious with the comments being made by one of their number. Matt asked if they charged for the entertainment. All very funny.

Earlier we went to see our shrimp supplier Capt’n Sam and had big hugs withraw shrimp his wife. She is going to check out some things for us and then we have to take in our cooler today. What they do is pack the shrimp in one pound flat bags and load up the cooler with the shrimp and lots of ice, they then put it in their big freezer. We pick it up on our way home. If we keep the cooler in the car, we find the shrimp travel very well and are still solid when we get home. We already have our turkey breasts in our freezer here.

Sunday lunchtime friends took us to Shephard’s Point for brunch. A celebration of birthday and anniversary. The food was buffet style and was really good. I finally got to try shrimp and grits which I have never managed to choose before, I enjoyed it. There were all kinds of foods available including bacon and eggs benedict, roast beef, waffles, omelettes, fruit and grouper bites. Lots of things, but, damned fool I forgot my camera. We stuffed ourselves. They also gave us a basket of sweet breads which I shouldn’t have pigged out on, but did. By the time we get home I will have gained a lot of weight I think. Trouble was, we were invited to dinner in the evening.

Having rested a while and allowed all that food to digest, we headed to the home of our friend who had invited us to dinner. She had made us a delicious shrimp creole as the main course – we both had second helpings. Had a very pleasant evening with her and came home fairly early, we seem to be going to bed a lot earlier lately, mind you this morning it is not even 6 a.m. as I am sitting here typing. What a weekend though, nothing but eating, I dread getting on the scales when I get home.

To the British in particular, grits are something of a mystery, I remember watching Beverly Hillbillies years ago and grandma talking about making hominy grits, it sounded like something to do with pigs but it turns out to be made from corn. If you click on the word you will find information on just what grits really are. Plus a number of recipes including the one below. There seem to be as many recipes for shrimp and grits as there are cooks. Some cooks add hot sauce some don’t. Most don’t use instant grits, I imagine they would not be so good. The recipe below doesn’t use cheese although most do, it relies more on heavy cream. The picture shows tails left on the shrimp, I hate that and would never serve my shrimp that way, you have to get yourself messy whilst trying to enjoy the dish.

Creamy Grits with Shrimp

1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined*ShrimpAndGrits
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups hot stock (shrimp, chicken, or vegetable)
1/4 cup butter
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup stone-ground grits**
3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
6 bacon slices
2 tablespoons finely-chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped green or red bell pepper

* Add add flavour, place the shells of the shrimp in a saucepan and cover with water. Simmer over low heat approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the broth, discarding shells. Add shrimp broth to hot stock.

** If using quick-cooking grits (not instant, reduce cream to 1/2 cup and reduce stock to 1 cup).

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cream, water, and hot stock; bring to a gentle boil. Add butter salt, and pepper. Slowly add grits, stirring constantly (so that the grits do not settle to the bottom and scorch), until all are added; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (be careful not to scorch mixture), or until the grits are tender.

NOTE: Grits should have absorbed all of the liquid and become soft and should have the same consistency as oatmeal (moist, not dry). If the grits become too thick, add warm stock or water to thin. remove from heat.

Sprinkle shrimp with lemon juice, salt, and pepper; set aside. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook bacon until brown but  not crisp. Remove from heat and pat dry with paper towels; set aside. Coarsely chop bacon when cool. Reserve 4 tablespoons bacon grease in the frying pan. Add onion, garlic, and green or red bell pepper; sauté 10 minutes or until the onion is transparent. Add shrimp mixture and bacon; sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until shrimp are opaque in center (cut to test). Remove from heat.

To serve, spoon hot grits onto individual serving plates and top with shrimp mixture.

Makes 4 servings.

Have a great day


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Doctors, New Restaurant.

Sorry no blog yesterday, wasn’t the greatest day for us although we spent a fair amount of time shopping and Matt finally found some pants he wanted. We had been a bit worried about Matt’s INR readings because he is on Warfarin (or Cumodin) and having tried one doc. who wanted $189 for Matt to become a patient before he could do the blood test, we were a tad disillusioned. However, we went to see the owners of a local garage who are good friends and they recommended another doctor so we went there and they gave Matt the test right away, still cost $51 for the doctor’s visit plus $10 for the test but…. The problem is, I am not sure if this will be covered by insurance as it is a pre-existing illness. As  we left the doctor’s my knee gave out, had trouble with it at home, this time I could hardly walk to the car, when we got back to the cottage we put an Icy Hot patch on it and it seemed to help. The reason I have these patches, I have been having neck problems. Ain’t life great? Back to those vicissitudes. We ended the day on an up note, Matt made chicken in Tarragon sauce and it was delicious.

The temperatures on Friday plummeted by some 25 degrees. It was  quite breezy and dull. Not the kind of day to do anything much when on holiday. Our friend had an appointment at the local doctors, the one that wanted us to pay $189. Guess what he paid!! However, he got a change in meds and is feeling a lot better which makes it well worth the money.

Last night we tried a new restaurant, Portofino, its only been open a couple of years - basically it is a glorified pasta joint although it calls itself an Italian restaurant. What people in North America do scallopsnot seem to realise is that Italians do not live on pizza and pasta. That said, we both had very enjoyable meals, Matt had Gnocci made with applewood smoked bacon and creamy tomato sauce laced with asiago cheese and I had Scallops Portofino which were sea scallops served with rice pilaf and asparagus in sage cream sauce. Very good and very tender.
Today we are going to be barbecuing pork chops and baking taties. Several friends are coming bringing an addition to the meal. Should be fun. Sunday noon, we are going to an ice cream parlour with some friends who highly recommend it then Sunday evening out to supper.

Here’s a somewhat different recipe from Hershey’s. I tend to forget chocolate is excellent for savoury dishes too. I always like Satays so this will certainly find its way on to our table.

Chicken Satay Skewers

HERSHEY'S Natural Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons dried coriander
  • 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 teaspoons fresh, chopped ginger
  • 2-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE(recipe follows)
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped


  1. 1 Combine garlic, coriander, brown sugar, salt, cocoa and pepper in large bowl. Stir in soy sauce, oil, lime juice and ginger.
  2. 2 Cut chicken into 1-1/2 to 2-inch cubes. Add to soy sauce mixture, stirring to coat chicken pieces. Cover; marinate in refrigerator for at least two hours.
  3. 3 Meanwhile, prepare PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE. Thread chicken pieces onto satay sticks. Grill or broil, basting with marinade. Discard leftover marinade. Garnish with chopped coriander, if desired. Serve with prepared peanut sauce. Refrigerate leftovers. 15 to 20 appetizers or 4 to 6 entree servings.
    1/2 cup peanut oil
    1 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
    1/4 cup lime juice
    1/4 cup soy sauce
    3 tablespoons honey
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
    Gradually whisk peanut oil into peanut butter in medium bowl. Blend in lime juice, soy sauce, honey, garlic, cayenne pepper and hot pepper sauce. Adjust flavours to taste. (You should have a sweet/hot flavour.) About 2-1/4 cups dipping sauce.
Have a great weekend.