Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year, 911, She.

Happy New Year

For the first time in years, I don’t expect to be up at midnight tonight and will not see the ball drop in Times Square – I can’t remember the last time I didn’t stay up. I will definitely be toasting it with a glass of champers though even if too early. I guess it will be New Year somewhere in the world when I go to bed.

We didn’t get any mail til Thursday and then I just realised there will be another holiday on Monday. Lovely if you are working, a pain in the neck if you are not.

A list of stupid 911 (999 to Brits) calls was issued yesterday by the police in Chatham, Kent, Ontario. The top one; someone actually called emergency to tell them her cats had eaten her Whopper burger and she wanted another one. The top 10 silliest emergency calls are listed here. The police say they think drink was a factor in some of the calls.

I made a request for She on the radio yesterday, I got Charles Aznavour, what I really wanted was Paul Byrom from Celtic Thunder. Actually I don’t think he is with Celtic Thunder any more, pity.

Yesterday I gave my recipe for Champagne Cocktails, I should say Matt’s recipe, out on the local radio. I thought this would be an appropriate time to share the recipe with you again.

Champagne Cocktails

To each glass Champagne Cocktails

Add 1 cube or 1 tsp sugarI

A small piece of orange zest

A couple of splashes of Angostura Bitters

¼ shot of brandy

Top glass up with chilled champagne.

You do not need to buy expensive champagne for this. You also need to be very careful as these can be lethal (figuratively speaking, of course).

Happy New Year


Friday, December 30, 2011

Snow, History, Homemade Soup.

Yesterday it snowed all day, began to look really lovely and wintery. Almost like Christmas which of course it missed. However this morning we have warmer temps and are supposed to get rain so how long it will all last, I have no idea.

I am ashamed of myself, I have been getting English history lessons from an American, Sia McKye. We have been talking of King King JohnJohn about whom I know very little – as I said to Sia – history was not my forte at school and I guess what I have learned since has generally stuck to particular periods of time and not covered everything. I had no idea that John had had his problems with the Pope as well as Henry VIII of the 6 wives fame. I was not the world’s best student, I had many more things in which I was interested when I was at school and I don’t think my father really believed girls needed much education (old school) and if he wanted to sail across the seas removing my home and therefore me with it, it never occurred to him not to do so. It always staggered him in later life that I could hold my own in an intelligent conversation with people he considered somewhat erudite. My mother was an intelligent woman but came from a generation where it was considered better to downplay that side of her nature. Makes me wonder where I got my somewhat feminist ideas from.

Over the last few nights I have watched Happy Feet and The Full Happy Feet2Monty on TV both of which I enjoyed again, Matt didn’t watch Happy Feet and thought little of The Full Monty which did surprise me, I thought he would enjoy it. I haven’t seen Happy Feet 2 yet. I had forgotten much of both movies. I though Mumble was an adorable character. From the reviews, it sounds like his son cannot dance in the second movie.

Last night I made ham and bean soup for supper, it was pretty good. Only used up 2 cups of ham though, so we still have some left, not much though. I found recipes which involved soaking white beans and then cooking them with a ham hock, etc.etc. I am quite sure they would be good soups, but I decided to take the easy way out. Still not up to much in the way of cooking or doing much else.

Jo’s Ham and Bean Soup

A few ribs of celery (we didn’t have a lot left)ham and bean soup
1 large carrot
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1-2 tsp dry mustard
1 – 2 oz shredded cabbage
4 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 can of white beans (navy, cannellini, whatever you have)
2 cups chopped cooked ham.

We chopped all the vegetables and then added them to the stock -with the mustard and bay leaves. I simmered them for about 1/2 an hour until the vegetables were done. I then added the beans and ham and adjusted seasoning to taste. Don’t forget ham adds salt so be careful. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy, we did.

Have a great day

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Monitor, Roundabouts, CPP

Well, well, well, after all that fussing, my new monitor has an auto Old Monitorbutton and it fixed everything all by itself. Ain’t technology wonderful? I must say I am tickled pink with the difference between my old and new monitor. The old one worked fine in one sense, but technology has changed so much, the pictures I was getting just weren’t very good at all. Not only that, I have just realised that I can read the type even when the sun is blazing on it. Thought only Kindle could do that. What do I know? What I find really frustrating is that I cannot use my desktop for any length of time, hurts my shoulder too much. Ah well. Thinking about it, I’m amazed I put up with the old one so long, but I figured it worked OK, so why change? By the way, we had to pay $10 to dispose of the old monitor. Part of the new law apparently.

Something I have been meaning to mention – when we first came to Ontario, one never saw roundabouts on any of the roads, nRoundaboutsow the Ontarians have gone nuts and roundabouts are appearing all over the place. I figured I should send them pix of the roundabouts in Albufeira, Portugal, I was absolutely fascinated by them when we were there. This is a postcard I bought whilst we were there to show the local roundabouts. There are three shown, one with dolphins, one with watches and one with worms. I think it would be fun to do something similar with the new roundabouts in our part of Ontario. I don’t know if its being done all over the province,  but its incredible how many roundabouts we now have which have been built in the last 10 years or less. Not that people really know how to use them. I wonder if that has been added to the driving instruction manuals etc.?

People employed in Canada are not overjoyed to know that their pay cheques will be a bit lighter in the New Year as they now have to pay more towards the Canada Pension Plan. Maybe a pain now, but they will be glad of it when retirement rolls around. Not enough people pay heed to their futures and don’t realise just how important these contributions are. Of course, right now, they are contributing to my pensions at the moment, thanks guys, but their extra contributions will come back to them in the end. Its like some of the benefits we used to get as pensioners which have been bargained away by the current employees who will, I believe, regret that when they in turn become pensioners. One thing comes to mind, out of country medical coverage which we used to have but don’t have any longer.

I am doing another stint on the local radio again on Friday at 11:30 a.m. if you are not local you can go to and hear the broadcast there. If you are local, its 98.5 fm.

Still following the New Year’s plan for a possible party, here is another finger food recipe which sounds pretty good.

Mini Mushroom-and-Sausage Quiches

Source: © EatingWell Magazine

1 dozen mini quiches

Click here to find out more!

These crustless mini quiches are like portable omelets. Turkey sausage and sautéed mushrooms keep them light and savory. Small and satisfying, they're also a good finger food for your next cocktail party.
Make Ahead Tip: Individually wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. To reheat, remove plastic, wrapMini Mushroom & Sausage Quiches in a paper towel and microwave on High for 30 to 60 seconds.


8 ounces turkey breakfast sausage, removed from casing and crumbled into small pieces

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup sliced scallions

1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

5 eggs

3 egg whites

1 cup 1% milk

Tip: A good-quality nonstick muffin tin works best for this recipe. If you don't have one, line a regular muffin tin with foil baking cups.


Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325 degrees F.
Coat a nonstick muffin tin generously with cooking spray (see Tip above).

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Add oil to the pan. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to the bowl with the sausage. Let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in scallions, cheese and pepper.

Whisk eggs, egg whites and milk in a medium bowl. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle a heaping tablespoon of the sausage mixture into each cup.

Bake until the tops are just beginning to brown, 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Place a rack on top of the pan, flip it over and turn the quiches out onto the rack. Turn upright and let cool completely.

Have a great day


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Funnies, Doc, Christmas Monitor.

LaughI mentioned before that we are having quite major work done in our building which was supposed to take 2-3 weeks. Sadly, it is still going on. There are notices all over the place telling us what is happening and the one by the elevator on our floor carries a comment about being overdue and then someone else has written “way funny-pictures-the-lawn-gnomes-have-beaten-the-pink-flamingospast schudel”. My first laugh for the day. My second laugh was the collision outfit in Cambridge who always post funny comments, today’s was “He who gets the last laugh didn’t get it”. I was looking for a laugh type picture and came across this one with all the  flamingos which really made me grin. I couldn’t figure out what they were at first.

Went to see the doc again this morning, had to get up an extra hour early to get through my morning pain problems, pills, icing, etc. then, much to our surprise, we got there and she took me in straight away, I was very pleased. She commented on how lucky we are in this part of the world and that its Christmas every day compared with how some people have to live. She’s right, but I was not in the mood to give a damn. However, it turned out that she had scheduled me to visit a specialist whenever he can find time to see me and she said she would phone him again to try and urge him on. She also is scheduling me for all the tests he is likely to give me so that when I do see him, they have all been done. This made me feel better in my mind if not in my shoulder. For those not living where there is social medicine, one of the principle problems is getting to see a specialist, it often does take time, I guess there aren’t enough of them or something, however, for all these tests and for my eventual appointment I won’t have to pay a cent. That is one of the major benefits of social medicine in as much as everyone can get free medical treatment. Yes, we pay higher taxes, but it makes a hell of a difference when you need a major operation and you don’t have to worry about paying for it.

Then, on the way home, we dropped in at Staples monitorand bought me a new flat screen monitor – my Christmas present. It was actually very reasonably priced and the sales girl assured me that if I wasn’t into gaming or things that needed major screen use, it would be just fine for me. I am delighted with it. What a difference in the resolution. Things I haven’t been able to my see very well look great now. Only trouble is, because of my shoulder problems I can’t sit at my desktop at the moment, hurts too much. Also I have a slight problem with the Windows Live Writer which is where I compose my blog as its not fitting right and my brain isn’t working very well so I can’t for the life of me figure out how to fix it. I emailed my PC guy who reminded me to check the manual and then I remembered that you have to set various buttons on monitors, so long since I had a new one, I had forgotten. Only problem is, at the moment I cannot sit comfortably at my desktop for very long, certainly not long enough. It works well enough for now and I will do my blogs, which is the main problem, on my laptop where I cannot type worth a damn.

Some of you may be planning a party for New Year’s, I thought this would be a quick and easy addition. Spinach again, but it is a tasty ingredient in finger foods. Useful too, you can freeze them and take some out of the freezer when required.

Make-Ahead Spinach Phyllo Roll-Ups

Kraft Kitchens.Spinach Roll Ups

30 servings or 5 logs, 6 servings each

What You Need

1 egg, beaten

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained

1 cup ATHENOS Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese

1 tub (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Garden Vegetable 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese

4 green onions, finely chopped

15 sheets frozen phyllo dough (14x9 inch), thawed

1/3 cup butter, melted

Make It

MIX first 5 ingredients until well blended. Brush 1 phyllo sheet lightly with butter; top with 2 more phyllo sheets, lightly brushing each layer with some of the remaining butter. Place remaining phyllo between sheets of plastic wrap; set aside.

SPREAD 1/5 of the spinach mixture along one short side of phyllo stack. Fold in long sides of phyllo; roll up from one short side to make log. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets and spinach mixture. Brush with remaining butter. Make small cuts in tops of logs at 1-inch intervals. Place in large freezer-weight resealable plastic bags or wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

FREEZE up to 3 months. When ready to bake, remove desired number of logs from freezer. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, several hours or overnight until thawed. Unwrap, then place on baking sheet. Bake in 375°F oven for 25 min. or until golden brown. Cool 5 min. Transfer to cutting board. Use serrated knife to cut each log into 6 slices.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Storage Know-How

Leftover phyllo sheets can be wrapped tightly and refrozen.

How to Prepare with 18x14-inch Phyllo Sheets

Use a total of 9 phyllo sheets, spreading 1/3 of the filling on each stack of 3 sheets and rolling up each stack to make a total of 3 logs. Freeze and bake as directed. Cut each log into 10 slices to serve.


Omit butter. Spray phyllo sheets with cooking spay instead of brushing with the melted butter.

Have a great day.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Not much of a Blog

I honestly have nothing to write about today. I have spent the best part of the last 3 1/2 weeks feeling sorry for myself and am off to see the doctor once again this morning – for what I’m not really sure. I had to get up extra early in order to get over the major pain attack I have when I first get out of bed. So, my apologies today.

If you were shopping yesterday, hope you managed to get some bargains without getting pepper sprayed, what is the matter with people, nothing is that important surely.

I’ve always liked stuffed mushrooms and have posted recipes for them before, this is a new one, to me, and so I thought I would share it.

Spinach Cheese Mushrooms


28 Servings (serving size: 2 each)

Click here to find out more!You'd never know it from the delicious creaminess, but these bite-size hors d'oeuvres are guilt-free.

Spinach Cheese Mushrooms

1/2 pound torn fresh spinach

2 tablespoons water

3/4 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese

3 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened

1 egg

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup water chestnuts, chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped pecans, divided

56 large fresh mushrooms (about 3 1/2 pounds)

Refrigerated butter-flavored spray


In a saucepan, bring spinach and water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 3 minutes. Drain; squeeze dry and finely chop.

In a mixing bowl, beat ricotta and butter until smooth. Beat in egg. Stir in Parmesan cheese, water chestnuts, 3 tablespoons pecans and chopped spinach.

Remove stems from mushrooms (discard or save for another use). Spray inside of mushroom caps with butter-flavored spray. Place caps on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Stuff with spinach mixture; sprinkle with remaining pecans. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Have a great day


Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day.

Today, in Canada, is Boxing Day. Same in the UK. Not in the US though, I am not sure why the Americans have never started having Boxing Day. They do, however, have sales today, they say this is one of the biggest sale days of the year, if not THE biggest. Not for me mama, I like to save money, but not at the risk of life and limb nor all the lining up and scrambling that will be taking place in stores today.

As for yesterday, we ended up cooking a turkey breast as I was just not up to going out. I am still in screaming agony for part of the day and the thought of wandering around a buffet just didn’t work for me. Pity, the food is excellent. However, so was our turkey breast. Otherwise we just spent a quiet day having ham and champagne for brunch and relaxing for most of the afternoon.

Here’s something fairly simple after all the cooking we have been doing lately.


Quick French Onion Soup

WebMD Recipe from

Picture of Quick French Onion Soup

French onion soup is a favorite but it usually isn’t substantial enough to make a complete meal. We’ve solved this problem by adding fiber-rich chickpeas to a broth flavored with sherry and three kinds of onions. Of course, we didn’t forget the gooey topping, we’ve just made it a little lighter and a lot easier to prepare at home—simply top toasted whole-wheat bread with cheese and pour the soup on to melt it.

Servings: 6

Yield: 6 servings, 1 1/2 cups each

Total Time: 45 minutes

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Recipe Ingredients:
  1. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 2 large sweet onions, sliced
  3. 2 cups chopped spring onions or leeks, whites and light green parts only
  4. 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  5. 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  6. 1/4 cup dry sherry (see Ingredient Note)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  8. 3 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium beef broth
  9. 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  10. 1/4 cup minced fresh chives or scallions
  11. 6 slices whole-wheat country bread
  12. 1 cup shredded Gruyère or fontina cheese
Recipe Steps:
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sweet onions and stir to coat. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until softened and starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add spring onions (or leeks), garlic and thyme and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until starting to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in sherry and pepper; increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in broth and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in chives (or scallions).
  3. Meanwhile, toast bread and divide it among 6 bowls; top with cheese. Ladle the soup over the bread and cheese and serve immediately.
Recipe Tips & Notes:
  1. Ingredient note: Sherry is a type of fortified wine originally from southern Spain. Don’t use the "cooking sherry" sold in many supermarkets—it can be surprisingly high in sodium. Instead, purchase dry sherry that’s sold with other fortified wines in your wine or liquor store.
Recipe Nutrition:

Per serving: 374 calories; 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat, 4 g mono unsaturated fat); 20 mg cholesterol; 48 g carbohydrates; 18 g protein; 6 g fiber; 591 mg sodium; 555 mg potassium

Have a great Boxing Day


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fairy Tale Home, Prince Philip, Mistletoe

Merry Christmas

Fascinating articleFairy tale home which I found on Facebook yesterday about a man building a fairy tale home for his family for only £3,000 – basically not much money for a home, whatever currency you are used to. The man, Simon Dale, built his home in Wales and from the pictures it looks the most fascinating place to live. Do check out the pictures, a wonderful place to live, particularly for a young family. The report was in Gaia Health.

Apparently Prince Philip had an emergency operation to relieve aPhilip blocked coronary artery on Friday. Considering the man is in his 90s I guess its not surprising a few things are going wrong. Its a pretty good age for a man The Queen herself is 85. I hope all goes well with the operation on the Duke of Edinburgh’s artery. Many people are anti royalist these days, but I am not one of them. Next year is the Queen’s Jubilee by the way so there will be lots of celebrations in Britain.

Funny one, there is a shortage of mistletoe which they say thwarts Christmas kissers. I haven’t seen mistletoe for sale for years nor seen it used in decorations anywhere. I can’t imagine it stopping anyone having a kiss if they want one!!

I also can’t imagine anyone wanting a recipe today as they will be up to their ears in Christmas cooking so I will refrain. I hope you all have a wonderful time over the next few days, don’t eat too much or drink too much, as though anyone will listen to me. Remember the girl falling under the train.

Have a great Christmas


Friday, December 23, 2011

Dangers of Drink, Health, Siku, Math’s Geniuses.

This is the most incredible story, there are lots of problems with drunkenness, but this story which I came across in August Mayfield’s Diaries, takes the biscuit. A woman gets out of a train and then staggers back falling underneath it. August assures me the woman was basically unhurt. She is so lucky.


Sorry about the lack of blog yesterday, I went to Let it Heal the afternoon before and then we went to a friend’s for supper which was very enjoyable, however, through all this I was in a lot of pain and by the time we got home, I had had enough. After the treatment one is supposed to avoid pain killers but it got just too bad, so I took some and went to bed. Just didn’t feel up to blogging at all. Hope you enjoyed the story of the sparkly pants though. I am aware that with Bowen Therapy it is perfectly possible for the situation to get worse before it gets better, this is the first time that’s happened to  me though and I assure you its not funny. I have another appointment next week, but I do hope things will have calmed down by Christmas though. Of course when one is sick and feeling sorry for oneself, there are always continuous reminders of others who are worse off.

SikuCute story about a polar bear cub, Siku, which is to be raised by hand because his mother had no milk. He will need 24/7 care and attention for the first year of his life and there are three staff allocated to do this in the Swedish zoo where Siku lives. There is a video which can be seen here.

Another funny story on CBC news tells that pigeons’ Math Pigeonsmath skills are as good as monkeys’. I wonder why anyone would think to test this kind of thing, but apparently they did. Apparently scientists had previously thought only humans could learn certain abstract math skills, but through research they have been proved wrong. Now there’s something, my math skills have never been good, but I didn’t realise I could be outdone by a pigeon or a monkey come to that.

Damn I found what looked like a lovely recipe to share, but when I checked it out, it was full of ingredients that most of us don’t carry in our store cupboards, I know I certainly don’t. Pity, it was for muffins which looked delicious. Anyway, according to Eating Well this recipe is one of several which will lift your spirits and promote a happier mood; of course, its chocolate!!!

Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes with Mocha Sauce

From EatingWell: January/February 2007

Some molten-cake recipes call for simply underbaking the batter so Mini Molten Choc Cakesthe middles stay lava-like, but mini cakes get done so quickly it's best to give them a filling that won't set up. These rich, mocha-flavored morsels are guaranteed to stay moist and gooey, owing to a simple mocha ganache in the middle. Serve the cakes with a scoop of low-fat coffee ice cream and garnish with a chocolate-covered espresso bean, if desired.

6 servings, 2 cakes each

  • 4 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, (60-75% cacao), coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light cream
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, or granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1-3 teaspoons very hot water
  1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Generously coat the mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place chocolate and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. (Alternatively, see “No Microwave?” below.) Microwave on High for 1 minute. Stir well, then continue microwaving on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until the remaining chocolate melts completely.
  3. To prepare filling: Stir together granulated sugar, cream and half the espresso mixture in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High just to steaming, 20 to 40 seconds. (Alternatively, combine in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until just steaming.) Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add corn syrup and half the melted chocolate (reserve the other half for the batter); stir until completely smooth. Cover and transfer to the freezer until cold and firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. To prepare batter: When the filling has been chilling for 20 minutes, whisk egg, oil, vanilla, salt and the remaining espresso mixture in a medium bowl until very smooth. Return the remaining chocolate mixture to the microwave. Microwave on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until just warm again (do not overheat). In two batches, whisk the egg mixture into the warm chocolate until well blended. Sift confectioners' sugar, flour and cocoa over the batter and whisk in just until smoothly incorporated.
  5. To assemble cakes: Remove the filling from the freezer. Spoon half the batter into the mini muffin cups, about 1 rounded teaspoon per cup. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon filling onto the center of each (reserve the rest for the sauce). Divide the remaining batter evenly among the muffin cups, about 1 rounded teaspoon per cake. Smooth out the batter to cover the filling.
  6. Bake the cakes on the middle rack until the edges look dry and puffed but the centers still look very underdone and puddinglike, 6 to 9 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack until firm, about 2 minutes. Place a cutting board on top of the pan and invert the mini cakes out onto it. If the cakes are stuck to the pan, run a knife around and under them to loosen.
  7. To prepare sauce & serve: Thoroughly stir very hot water into the reserved filling, 1 teaspoon at a time, until very smooth and slightly fluid. Serve the warm cakes drizzled with the sauce.

Per serving :244 Calories; 17 g Fat; 7 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 49 mg Cholesterol; 27 g Carbohydrates; 3 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 64 mg Sodium; 30 mg Potassium

2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 2 other carbohydrate, 3 fat

Tips & Notes
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 5, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. After baking (Step 6), the cakes will keep in the pan, tightly covered with foil, for up to 1 day. The sauce (Step 7) will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To serve, reheat the cakes in the covered pan at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Reheat the sauce in a microwave on Medium for about 20 seconds. | Equipment: 12-cup mini muffin pan
  • No Microwave? Melt chocolate in a double boiler instead: Place chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water. Gently stir until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove from the heat and stir until it melts completely.

Have a great day


Thursday, December 22, 2011


Forgot to mention the other day, when we had our bowling Christmas party we were all given Christmas ornaments and we got a couple of sparkly birds which dripped sparkles like rain showers. Later in the day I lay down on the bed still clothed, when I got up I decided to undress and didn’t put on the light, I had flashing lights inside my pants? I could only figure it was these sparkles, didn’t work on anything else though, but it was like a miniature firework display, very odd!!!

Sorry no blog today.



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pass the Cream, RCMP, Let it Heal

MilkWell, here is a complete reversal, go back to real milk, cheese and cream. I have been drinking skim milk for over 40 years as it was supposed to be better for me although I must admit having tried what pass for fat free cheeses, I never, but never, eat them. If I want cheese, I eat full fat in moderate quantities or not at all. Matt uses 2% milk because he finds skim to taste like chalk and water, I have been using it so long, I don’t notice and Becelregular or full fat milk tastes like cream to me, but guess what, after reading this article, I will be back to regular milk. I will probably continue to use Becel which is margarine a) because I like it and b) because it spreads straight from the fridge, not only that, it is loaded with Omega 3. We do use butter for cooking, but for every day we use Becel. We use a lot of olive or canola oil too.

Big scandal in Canada right now, women RCMP RCMPofficers, or retired officers, are complaining about sexual harassment in the force. This will not reflect well on one of Canada’s icons, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The women are complaining about everything from bullying to sexual harassment. One wonders how this is all going to turn out. For non-Canadians, RCMP officers in their red jackets is not something one sees very often. Prior to living here I figured one saw them all the time, t’aint so I’m afraid, in fact they don’t dress in their traditional uniform all the time anyway.

Today I am off to Let It Heal – never been to their new location, they are not in an area with which we are familiar, hope we find the place OK. Never understood why they moved so far out. Maybe I will find out tomorrow. Keep your fingers cross for me everyone. I am sick of being in so much pain.

I have no idea what Snickerdoodles are, but they look good enough to eat in this picture and they seem simple enough to make. Bearing in mind my opening paragraph, I would use butter.

Toffee Studded Snickerdoodles



1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup shorteningToffee Snickerdoodles

1-1/3 cups sugar, divided

2 eggs

2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1-1/3 cups (8-oz. pkg.) HEATH BITS 'O BRICKLE Toffee Bits

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  1. 1 Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. 2 Beat butter, shortening and 1 cup sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs; beat thoroughly. Stir together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in toffee bits.
  3. 3 Stir together remaining 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon. Shape dough into 1-1/4-inch balls; roll in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. 4 Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 5 dozen cookies.

Have a great day


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Books, Bowling Party,

Yesterday morning I read Sia’s blog, Sia McKye Over Terry Spear DreamingWolf_R4 1Coffee (see link this page) and she was talking to Terry Spear, mostly about her new book Dreaming of the Wolf. So I figured, why not, and got hold of a copy to read. Amazon have it in Kindle as well as book form. I am in the middle of my N.K. Jemisin book, Kingdom of Gods, which I mentioned the other day, but now I have another book to follow on with. I haven’t been reading very much lately, just haven’t felt up to it.

I did go to the bowling Christmas party yesterday, enjoyed seeing everyone as I haven’t seen the5-pinm in a couple of weeks or so. Had lunch and then watched the rest of my team bowl. Felt jealous, but no way I could have bowled. I have a tournament coming up at the beginning of January, hope I am going to be OK for that. Hopefully the Bowen Therapy will do the trick.

Been watching a few Christmas movies, the Tim Allen The Santa Clause ones, seen 3 and 1 so far. I quite enjoy those, although I don’t enjoy his new TV programme, Last Man Standing. Didn’t think it was very funny at all.

This sounds like a good recipe, its healthy and a way to use up left over turkey if you have some after the weekend which I won’t sadly, as we are going out. Pity, I do enjoy turkey sandwiches. Oh well.

Cheesy Chicken Pasta

WebMD Recipe from
This ooey-gooey pasta dish is a crowd-pleaser forCheesy_Chicken_Pasta_MP6687 adults and kids alike—think rich and creamy macaroni-and-cheese tossed with cauliflower and chicken. Serve with a spinach salad.
Servings: 6

Recipe Ingredients:
  1. 8 ounces whole-wheat penne
  2. 2 cups 1/2-inch cauliflower florets
  3. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  5. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  6. 3 cups low-fat milk
  7. 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  8. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  10. 1 cup shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese
  11. 3 cups shredded cooked chicken or turkey (12 ounces; see Tip)
  12. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  13. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or scallion greens
Recipe Steps:
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 5 minutes. Add cauliflower florets and cook until the pasta and florets are tender, about 4 minutes more. Drain, rinse and return to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and cook until reduced slightly, about 1 minute. Whisk milk, flour, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl and add to the pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese until smooth. Stir chicken (or turkey) and mustard into the cheese sauce; cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir the sauce into the drained pasta and cauliflower. Serve sprinkled with chives (or scallion greens).
Recipe Tips & Notes:
  1. Tip: To poach chicken breasts, place boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a medium skillet or saucepan. Add lightly salted water to cover and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes.
Recipe Nutrition:
Per serving: 433 calories; 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat, 5 g mono unsaturated fat); 75 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrates; 34 g protein; 5 g fiber; 491 mg sodium; 483 mg potassium

Have a great day

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lovejoy, Philippines, Alberta Shootings, In the News.

I was interested in this article which talks about a Lovejoycomet, Lovejoy, which was observed going close to the sun, within 75,000 miles, and survived to come out again – not unscathed mind you, it wasn’t as big and had lost its tail, but nevertheless it survived the sun and astronomers were delighted to see it. You can just see the comet in this picture approaching the sun.

What a disaster in the Philippines this weekend, Philippinesthere are still masses of people unaccounted for and over 800 dead at the time of writing. What a terrible thing to wake up and be killed almost within the same moment, always assuming they woke up in the first place. Nature isn’t any too particular how it deals with us. Not their first disaster this year either. I’m glad I live in Canada although we do get weather disasters here, just not as frequently. I did see a report that some of the tons of garbage they are expecting on the west coast from the Japanese disaster has already started to arrive, about a year before it was expected. That will be a great clean up headache.

All the shootings in Canada this weekend, its getting to sound like the wild west – normally we don’t get too much of that kind of thing compared with our neighbours to the south, but sounds like we are Shayna Conwaytrying to compete right now. One horrific story was of a young man shooting his ex girlfriend, Tabitha Stepple, and two friends of hers whilst they were driving to the airport in Calgary. He rammed his SUV into their vehicle, commenced shooting and then shot himself. One young woman, the driver, is expected to to survive. Death doesn’t seem to mean anything to these young people any more.

Lots of news last night, the death of Havel the Czech leader and defeater of communism, the death of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, a proponent of secrecy, and the US troops finally leave Iraq after spending lots of money and lots of lives. It remains to be seen what will happen next as a result of these news items.

I am afraid to report I am still in a lot of pain with my bursitis, hope my trip to Let It Heal will do the trick on Wednesday. I am supposed to go to our Bowling Christmas Party at lunchtime today, dunno if I am going to make it or not.

If you are into big breakfasts, this one would certainly fill the bill. Something I would only want to do for the weekend though. Maybe you could serve it on Christmas morning.

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

WebMD Recipe from

This healthy update of a traditionally rich ham-and-Ham_and_Cheese_Breakfast_Casserolecheese breakfast strata is made lighter primarily by losing a few egg yolks and using nonfat milk. Gruyère cheese has a delicious, nutty aroma and flavor, which means that with the relatively small amount in this recipe you still get a big impact. To finish the makeover use nutritious, fiber-rich, whole-grain bread instead of white. The results: plenty of flavor, half the calories and one-third the fat of the original.

Servings: 6

Yield: 6 servings

To Make Ahead: Prepare casserole through Step 2; refrigerate overnight. Let stand at room temperature while the oven preheats. Bake as directed in Step 3.

Recipe Ingredients:
  1. 4 large eggs
  2. 4 large egg whites
  3. 1 cup nonfat milk
  4. 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  5. 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  6. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  7. 5 cups chopped spinach, wilted (see Tip)
  8. 4 cups whole-grain bread, crusts removed if desired, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1/2 pound, 4-6 slices)
  9. 1 cup diced ham steak (5 ounces)
  10. 1/2 cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers
  11. 3/4 cup shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese
Recipe Steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 7-by-11-inch glass baking dish or a 2-quart casserole with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk eggs, egg whites and milk in a medium bowl. Add mustard, rosemary and pepper; whisk to combine. Toss spinach, bread, ham and roasted red peppers in a large bowl. Add the egg mixture and toss well to coat. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and push down to compact. Cover with foil.
  3. Bake until the custard has set, 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and continue baking until the pudding is puffed and golden on top, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Recipe Tips & Notes:
  1. Tip: To wilt spinach, rinse thoroughly with cool water. Transfer to a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and punch several holes in it. Microwave on High until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Squeeze out excess moisture before adding the spinach to the recipe.
Recipe Nutrition:

Per serving: 286 calories; 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat, 3 g mono unsaturated fat); 167 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrates; 23 g protein; 4 g fiber; 813 mg sodium; 509 mg potassium

Have a great day


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chocolate Wonderland, Sickness, Grocery Special,

Shanghai’s World Chocolate Wonderland opened on chocolate dragonFriday – a theme park of lifelike chocolate exhibits. There is a video of some of the exhibits including a copy of the underground terracotta army of Emperor Qin all made in chocolate. Of course the one that appealed to me was the chocolate dragon. Now I’d be in trouble, I love chocolate but wouldn’t want to spoil the dragon. What on earth would I do?

What’s happening? Its Christmas, and everyone is getting sick. The other night someone told me of a friend with shingles, then I phoned a close friend oshinglesf ours who has shingles as well. She is not a happy camper as it has completely screwed up Christmas for her; she is not allowed near children, people undergoing chemo and people who have had chicken pox including her husband. Chicken pox apparently makes you more vulnerable, Matt and I have both had it. Shingles is a miserable disease and one which can become pretty serious if it attacks the waist area. My friend’s best friend’s hubby is on chemo and of course for Christmas lots of grandkids would have been around. That puts the kibosh on Christmas Eve which is when they celebrate. Having Googled, it appears that if you had chicken pox before age 1 you are vulnerable, after that you are not. Think I will check with my doc, but looks like we could visit her.

Back to my own ailments I had an email from Let It Heal today; I hadn’t thought of them in a while as I basically found them somewhat expensive for regular treatments, however, I was suddenly reminded the Bowen Therapy would be great for bursitis so I have booked an appointment for next week. Keep your fingers crossed everyone.

Prime RibHad an email from my local grocery store chain and they are offering Prime Rib at less than half price, that might be worth looking into. It is also shown nicely rare which you don’t often find here, unless Matt and I have cooked it that is, but most people we come across prefer their beef well done, obviously we know a few exceptions, but generally we don’t serve beef to people as I cannot bear overcooking beef which, to me, ruins it. I have mentioned before, Matt and I like our beef so rare that you can slap a Band Aid on it and send it back out in the field.

I am always looking for different pork chop recipes and I thought this looked quite easy and quite good.

Oven Barbecued Pork Chops

WebMD Recipe from

Need a little summertime flavor? Try this swift recipe and enjoy a "barbecue" indoors. Make it a meal: Serve with coleslaw and cornbread.

Servings: 4

oven_barbecued_pork_chopsRecipe Ingredients:

1 1/2-1 3/4 pounds bone-in, 3/4-inch-thick pork rib chops, trimmed of fat

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 teaspoons canola oil, divided

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup orange juice

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

Recipe Steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add the pork chops and cook until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the pan. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add orange juice and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in barbecue sauce. Return the pork chops to the pan, turning several times to coat with the sauce.
  4. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the pork chops are barely pink in the middle and an instant-read thermometer registers 145°F, 6 to 10 minutes. Serve the sauce over the pork chops.
Recipe Nutrition:

Per serving: 245 calories; 10 g fat ( 2 g sat , 5 g mono ); 51 mg cholesterol; 15 g carbohydrates; 20 g protein; 1 g fiber; 190 mg sodium; 349 mg potassium.

Have a great weekend