Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dragons, Bloody PC, Balloons.

I am very sad to be nearing the end of my book by Robin Hobb. Part of her Rain Wilds series (trilogy? I’m not sure) it is called Dragon Haven. I have been enjoying Robin Hobb’s books for years and this one is no exception. As many of you may remember, I love dragons and reading about them. I often wonder where the idea of dragons came from, the Chinese have dragons in their mythology as do the Welsh not to mention that England’s St. George is supposed to have killed a dragon. Where did these dragons come from I wonder. I have always loved dragon books by Anne McCaffery too, different kind of dragon and ones that were bioengineered by man, but Dragondragons, nevertheless. When I am reading these stories I am so envious of people who speak to dragons, work with dragons, etc. etc. I just remembered Mercedes Lackey’s Joust books too. Another favourite author of mine.

I have been playing with my new PC for a while and trying to reload software I used to use, some without any success. In fact a couple of programmes I have been able to load onto the laptop as it has a 32 bit versions of Win 7 and my PC is 64 bit. I confess I don’t really know what the difference is. My phone fax system does NOT want to load at all, and the particular software I was using is no longer available and cannot get it to re-install. All the updates are fax programmes or fax and voice mail programmes and do not allow one to make phone calls from the system. Not what I want at all. I do so wish software manufacturers wouldn’t change things. A friend described her feeling for computers as a kind of love/hate relationship. I know just what she means. Aha, I have finally found a phone dialer system which I think will work for me. Hooray.

I was up pretty early for me and looked out of the 100_0482window to see a balloon floating by. I once again wondered what time the passengers had risen this morning to be up in the air so early. When I first saw it, the sun was glinting on the balloon although the dawn sky itself was not yet very bright. Even after 10 years of living here I still get somewhat excited to see them.

Here’s another recipe I picked up from today, a Pasta Salad again which includes another favourite of mine, shrimp. I think I would cut this recipe back somewhat and make it for less people but still use lots of shrimp.

Dilly Shrimp Salad

Contributed By: Karlene, MT

Yield: 10 servings

I got this recipe from a friend of mine who likes dill as much as I do. My husband loves it and it has become a family favorite and also a potluck favorite with friends.


Dilly Shrimp Salad Recipe at

4 cups cooked small shells or penne pasta

1 lb. cooked large shrimp, deveined and cut into thirds

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup chopped green onions, including green tops

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

8 oz. plain yogurt

1 cup Mayonnaise

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp. snipped fresh dill

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp white pepper


In a large bowl combine pasta, shrimp, peas, celery, onions and parsley. In a small bowl combine yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill salt and pepper. pour over pasta mixture and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours.

Have a great weekend.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Computers, Obama and Chelsea, Pool Cleanliness

Did I mention that I hate computers *g*. I have been spending hours and hours messing with this new one and trying to get things to work properly. What do I know, apparently this is a 64 bit version of Windows 7 which means things don’t work the same on it as they do on my laptop which is 32 bit. I complain about Matt  being a technological idiot, but I don’t feel much better myself lately. I write my blogs on Windows Live Writer these days and I can’t even find out where the heck the computer is storing them. Certainly not where I thought. Having said that, I checked again and found them so that’s OK.

There is a lot of fuss about Obama appearing on a programme called The View which is not the usual type of programme for Presidents. He joked that it was one which he knew his wife, Michelle, watched.There is also a lot more fuss going on about the wedding of Chelsea Clinton – I suppose people care, but I certainly don’t – leave the girl alone, let her enjoy her wedding in private.

One thing mentioned on tips for summer safety was the cleanliness of public pools. Good Morning America carried out surprise inspections and of the three pools they tested one was blatantly full of germs. They said you can buy test strips for about $15 and check the water yourself before using it. The oft repeated story of a chemical in the waters which turns urine blue is a fallacy they said, also urine from a healthy individual is not actually harmful, but then who knows who is healthy? And I still wouldn’t want to swim in someone else’s pee.

Pasta salads are extremely popular here and this one sounded pretty flavourful I thought. I really don’t know why I don’t make pasta salads more often, they are very good on a hot summer evening.

Fusilli with Spinach and Sun-Dried-Tomato Pesto

Source: Food and Wine 

Serves 4

Our tomato pesto packs a wallop of flavor. Use it in this colorful pasta salad or toss it with hot pasta instead. You may also want to try the pesto on top of grilled chicken, lamb, or vegetables; as a sandwich spread; or mixed with cream cheese on a bagel.


Fusilli with Spinach and Sun-Dried-Tomato Pesto Recipe at

For the Pine Nuts:

3/4 cup pine nuts

For the Pesto:

15 drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, 5 of them chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup water

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

For the Salad:

1 pound fusilli

1/4 pound spinach leaves, shredded (about 2 cups)

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (about 6 ounces)

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


FOR PINE NUTS: In a small frying pan, toast the pine nuts over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes; remove from the pan. Or toast the pine nuts in a 350 degrees F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

FOR PESTO: In a blender or food processor, put 1/4 cup of the pine nuts, the whole sun-dried tomatoes, the oil, water, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Puree until smooth.

FOR SALAD: Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fusilli until just done, about 13 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly. In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, toss the pasta with the remaining 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the pesto, the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, the spinach, cherry tomatoes, and Parmesan.


  • Use chopped walnuts instead of pine nuts.
  • Add half a cup of roughly chopped pitted black olives to the salad.
  • WINE RECOMMENDATION: There are seven different subzones within the Chianti growing area, among them the famed Classico. The best choice for this pasta, however, would be a Chianti from Rufina, where the wines are crisper, with more vibrant fruitiness.

    Have a great day


    Thursday, July 29, 2010

    Medical Science, Public Emotion, Bear Attack, New PC.

    I just heard a snippet of news on Good Morning America, scientists have been working with stem cells and have stimulated rabbits to grow new cartilage and hips. Don’t know all the details at this time, but Matt’s instant reaction “I didn’t need all this metal inside me”. I doubt it would be finally approved in his lifetime anyway. Thinking about it though, it must be a pretty slow process surely? I will be interested to see if there are any more reports.

    Something that really annoys me, people crying on TV. If I was involved in something emotional, I am damned if I would be interviewed about it whilst I was still so upset. Giving people the benefit of the doubt, I suppose they think they are in control when they agree to be interviewed.

    Grizzly Oops, I nearly forgot to mention a bear attack in a campground in the Yellowstone Park area. One or more grizzly bears attacked people sleeping in their tents, one man unfortunately lost his life but a woman who was bitten on the arm, managed to play dead and the bear left her alone. She was asleep when the bear attacked though so wouldn’t that be like playing dead? They are looking for the bear or bears now and unfortunately the animals will be killed. Can’t put up with that now can we!!!! Seems unfair to the bear(s) to me. There is a video with Jack Hanna who also encountered bears during a hike recently. Jack is a regular contributor on GMA and is the Professor Emeritus at Columbia Zoo. This is his story

    By the way, I am using my new computer and keyboard to write this blog today, what a difference after using the laptop for a couple of days. I can type properly now. Mind you I have to spend a considerable amount of time re-loading a lot of programmes which I used to have. It turns out that there are no Windows 7 drivers for my scanner so that is, to all intents and purposes, defunct. What a nuisance. Matt is very unlikely to agree I should buy a new one at this stage of the game. I really need a new monitor as this one is old and the fonts are somewhat fuzzy to look at. Oh well. One thing, it is so much faster than my old machine. Isn’t it incredible what a difference 5 or 6 years can make to a computer.

    I am not a big fan of canned tuna unless it is well disguised. This recipe from Eating Well looks as though they have done just that.

    Tomato, Tuna & Tarragon Salad

    From EatingWell:  August/September 2005, EatingWell for a Healthy Heart Cookbook (2008)

    Tomatoes and tuna were meant for each other, and fresh tarragon seals the deal. Soaking the onion in cold water tames the heat and sweetens its taste.

    4 servings

    IngredientsTomato Tuna Tarragon Salad

    1/2 cup diced red onion 

    1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

    Freshly ground pepper to taste

    2 6-ounce cans chunk light tuna in olive oil, drained (see Note)

    2 stalks celery, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

    1/4 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh tarragon leaves

    8 cups torn lettuce, or mixed greens

    1 pound small ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges

    1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

    1. Place onion in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Drain.
    2. Whisk mayonnaise, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add tuna, celery, tarragon and onion; stir to combine. Serve on top of the lettuce (or mixed greens) with tomato and lemon wedges.
    Make Ahead Tip:

    Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

    Note: Chunk light tuna, which comes from the smaller skipjack or yellowfin, has less mercury than canned white albacore tuna. The FDA/EPA advises that women who are or might become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children consume no more than 6 ounces of albacore a week; up to 12 ounces of canned light tuna is considered safe.

    Have a great day


    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    Beaches, Safety Tips,

    A new one to me, they are now issuing regular reports on the safety and cleanliness of beaches in the US. As pointed out after a heavy rainfall, particularly in an industrial area, all kinds of pollution can get into the waters. For the map go to seems like this would be a good site to bookmark for when you are on a beach vacation. In some cases it only gives one beach in the area, but, it will give you a pretty good idea about where you are staying. I have bookmarked it for our vacation. This, by the way, is a picture of a beach in North Carolina. There are miles of beaches there and its one of the things we love about the State.

    On safety issues today they talked about choking and how to deal with it. It is a serious problem and I recommend you go to GMA to watch their videos if you haven’t done any first aid studies. I know my cousin lost her son because of swallowing a toy of some kind whilst in the pool. A very tragic thing to happen and it is not, by any means, unique. Most people of heard of the Heimlich Manoeuvre, but how many know how to apply it. Or what to do first.

    Whooppee I have just heard my new PC is ready.

    I have never cooked anything ‘jerked’ but the picture appealed to me so I thought I might give it a try.

    Jerk Rubbed Pork Chops

    Kitchen of Cat Cora

    Serves 4JerkPork Chops


    2 limes

    2 tablespoons jerk seasoning

    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

    4 boneless pork loin chops, each 3/4 to 1 inch thick (about 1 pound total)

    8 fresh sprigs cilantro, for garnish

    Cooking Directions

    Zest one of the limes and juice it. Put 1 tablespoon lime zest and 1 tablespoon lime juice in a small bowl. Add the jerk seasoning and the olive oil and stir until the mixture forms a thick paste. Spread the lime-jerk paste on both sides of each pork chop and put the chops on a plate. Let the chops marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

    To grill the pork chops, light a charcoal grill about 30 minutes before you're ready to cook or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Place the chops on the grill. After 6 minutes, turn the chops and cook until they are brown outside and slightly pink inside, another 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the grill and let the chops rest for about 5 minutes. While they're resting, cut the remaining lime into wedges. To serve, place 1 pork chop on each plate and garnish with a lime wedge and 2 cilantro sprigs.

    Cat's note: Instead of grilling, you can pan-sear the chops in a frying pan on the stove. Just add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan. Turn the heat to high and, when the oil shimmers and just begins to smoke, add the meat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then turn the chops and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.

    Have a great day


    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    Computers, Travelling Dogs.

    Right now I could chuck all computers out of the window. This laptop suffers from jumping cursor. Its driving me bonkers trying to type a blog on it. Toshiba now want to reset the whole thing so that means I have to have good backups which I don’t have because the desktop is out of commission and that’s how and where I back stuff up.  Grrrr. Now it appears I really need a new desktop, after all, mine is 5 yrs or more old. Ancient where computers are concerned. Matt has said my birthday is coming up so I can go ahead, but that isn’t going to be tomorrow. Mind you I emphasised I wanted it yesterday. I cannot type on this laptop

    A sad story on GMA today about dog Dog_Airplane deaths on airplanes. I didn’t realise there were so many. We flew one of our German Shepherds (Alsatians) to Canada when we emigrated and luckily for us she travelled very well and was licking the customs officers to death when she arrived. She topk the the flight very well and it apparently didn’t phase her. However much compensation the airlines might offer you, it doesn’t really help because a pet becomes a beloved member of your family.

    Short blog today, when I get my new desktop it will be different.

    OK here’s the second side dish from Saturday night.

    Zucchini and Tomatoes

    PamZuccini & Tomato
    1 tsp olive oil
    4 cup sliced zucchini
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1 clove garlic crushed
    1 (14 1/2 oz) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
    1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp pepper

    1. Coat a large saucepan with Pam, add oil. Place over med high heat until hot. Add zucchini, onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is tender.

    2. Add broth and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 35 mins or until zucchini is tender and liquid absorbed.

    Servings: 4

    Source: Cooking Light Recipes 1996

    Have a great day.


    Monday, July 26, 2010

    Bloodwork, Dengue Fever

    I was up at the crack of dawn this morning – or at least as far as I am concerned - to go for blood work. I got there at 6:40 and there were still 4 people before me. Makes me wonder what time the others got up.

    I felt very sorry for one of the editors of an ezine I take, he has been out of a proper job for a vey long time. He managed to get a part time job bagging in a grocery store, but obviously not enough to pay his mortgage. Along with so many, he is losing his home – luckily he has somewhere to live for a while, but…..

    On Good Morning America they mentioned presence of Dengue Fever in the Keys (Florida). It is delivered by one of the many mosquito breeds and can make you pretty sick – there are even people who have died from it. One doesn’t normally think of Dengue Fever in this part of the world, but it has become very prevalent in the Caribbean.

    My desktop died on me yesterday and I need to get someone to come in. These days lugging a tower around is not very easy for us. They guy who used to come in and fix my PC doesn’t seem to want to reply to my messages. So, sorry if there are any typos, I find typing on a laptop very difficult.

    I promised to give you the “sides” recipes from our dinner party on Saturday night. They turned out very well. The first was a rice pilaf and I thought it was delicious. We finished it off on Sunday and it was still good.

    Simple Rice Pilaf

    2 Tbs butter   Rice Pilaf
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    3/4 cup basmati rice uncooked
    1 1/2 cup chicken broth
    1/2 cup currants
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp pepper
    1/4 cup chopped walnuts (pecans), toasted
    1 Tbs fresh oregano leaves
    1/4 cup chopped walnuts (pecans), toasted

    1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over med high heat. Add onion and sauté until tender. Add rice and sauté 3 to 5 min until rice is lightly browned.

    2. Add broth and next 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 25 mins or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Add walnuts and oregano. Toss gently.

    Servings: 4

    Source: Cooking Light Recipes 1996

    Have a great day.

    Saturday, July 24, 2010

    Dinner Party, Thunderstorm, Technology.

    Veg Stuffed Mushrooms We have friends coming for dinner this evening so we will be cooking most of the day I guess. We are doing the chicken dish we cooked the other day with a tarragon sauce. Matt had actually chosen another chicken dish, but we decided it was unsuitable. Then with it we are serving two new dishes, one is a rice dish and the other a zucchini dish. If they turn out to be successful I will post them later in the week. As a starter we are doing Vegetable Stuffed Mushrooms which I did post quite some time ago and for dessert we will be doing my new Tipsy Oranges.

    I mentioned the Right Whale jumping on the boat off Cape Town. Now some video has surfaced showing the whale actually hitting the boat. I thought you might like to see it.

    I had fun yesterday!!! I have mentioned before, Matt is, I'm sorry to say, a technological idiot. So with our nice new cell phone, I couldn't put a lock on it because he couldn't unlock it. Every time we put it in its carrying case or when he tried to attach it to his belt, the camera button got pressed and we ended up with lots of pictures of the inside of the pouch, etc. plus of course, it wasn't in the normal working mode. After what seemed like dozens of phone calls to our provider, Rogers, I finally discovered that you could actually put a lock on the camera (that includes video and music too) so our problem was finally solved. I had one of those days which seemed like I was forever on the phone either about this, or half a dozen other things.

    I didn’t mention that Thursday night we had one heck of a thunderstorm with masses of rain, it was still raining when we got up the following morning. Matt went down to the pharmacy later and couldn’t enter because they were flooded. Incredible. Not being there I am not sure how they would have got flooded when nowhere else in the mall seemed to. Later in the day it then turned very hot and sticky.

    With all this hot weather floating around us at the moment, I thought this Ice Cream cake from Smuckers looked just the thing for a warm evening. My only change would be not to use salted peanuts, for preference.

    Ice Cream Sandwich Cake


    Ingredients:Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

    24 prepared ice cream sandwiches 2 cups (500mL) whipped cream, unsweetened 1 jar (250mL) Smucker’s® Chocolate Flavoured Topping 1 cup (250mL) salted peanuts, chopped ½ cup (125mL) Smucker's® Sundae Syrup™ Caramel Flavoured Syrup


    1. Place 12 ice cream sandwiches in bottom of freezer proof 9” x 13” (23cm x 33cm) pan. Top with ½ of whipped cream, all of Smucker’s® Chocolate Flavoured Topping and ½ of peanuts. Repeat with remaining ice cream sandwiches, cream and peanuts. Garnish with Smucker’s® Sundae Syrup™ Caramel Flavoured Syrup. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours. Let stand about 5 minutes, then cut into squares.

    Have a great weekend


    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Whale Tale, Book, Movie.

    whale1 Did you hear the incredible story about the 40 ft. whale which jumped out of the water and landed on the deck of a sailing boat? It happened off Cape Town and although the whale thrashed around a bit and did a fair amount of damage to the boat, apparently neither the whale nor the humans were hurt. The whale was seen swimming around afterwards. There is one picture of the whale jumping but not of the whale actually on top of the boat. If you want to read the article click here and there is a link to pictures. I totally believe the story because sea critters do jump, we have had fish jump into our boat in North Carolina, quite a lot of them into several boats in company. So why not whales? Bit of a shock to have such a large creature land on your boat though. D'you notice the figure on the mainsail? Its what Simon Templar, alias The Saint, used to leave behind when he had been somewhere.

    I have just finished The Sleeping Beauty by Mercedes Lackey, one of her Hundred Kingdoms books in which she takes fairy stories and twists them around somewhat with the help of the local Godmother or Godmothers. They are fun reads these books, and I can highly recommend them if you like some light reading with magic all around. I have enjoyed every one of them I have read so far.

    Its summertime so there is not much on TV; who said there was much on in the winter either! However, I watched The American President with Michael Douglas and Annette Benning for about the 5th time. The film is loaded with other well known names such as Michael J. Fox and Martin Sheen just to name a couple. Its a lovely romantic story with political overtones and it is one of my favourites. The basic story is: the widowed President falls for a Lobbyist but, of course, they both have different political agendas.

    I love Asian noodle dishes; I have now started getting the newsletter from BBC Food so when I saw this today I thought aha that would a recipe I would enjoy. Matt isn’t so keen on this kind of thing so I guess I will be making it just for me.

    Malaysian-spiced noodles with tofu

    Simon Rimmer – BBC Food

    Serves 4.


    For the spice paste
    25g/1oz fresh ginger, peeled
    2 lemongrass stalks
    3 red chillies
    3 shallots, chopped
    1 garlic clove
    1 tsp turmeric powder
    pinch of salt
    2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
    For the sauce
    400ml/14fl oz can coconut milk
    250ml/9fl oz vegetable stock
    For the noodles
    vegetable oil, for deep-frying, plus 1 tbsp for frying
    150g/5oz fresh tofu, cut to 2.5cm/1in squares, dried on kitchen paper
    20 oyster mushrooms, finely sliced
    8 sugar snap peas or mange tout, blanched, cut in half lengthways
    400g/14oz ready-made udon noodles, cooked according to packet instructions
    To serve
    fresh coriander leaves
    lime wedges
    crushed peanuts

    Preparation method

    1. For the spice paste, place all of the spice paste ingredients, except the vegetable oil, into a food processor and blend to a pulp.

    2. With the motor still running, gradually add the oil and continue to blend until you get a loose paste (you may not need to use all the oil).

    3. For the sauce, place a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the spice paste and fry gently for 2-3 minutes.

    4. Add the coconut milk and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a further five minutes.

    5. For the noodles, half-fill a deep, heavy-based pan with vegetable oil and heat until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)

    6. Add the tofu cubes and deep-fry for 2-3 minutes, until crisp and golden-brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain onto kitchen paper.

    7. Heat the remaining one tablespoon of oil in a clean frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oyster mushrooms and fry for three minutes, or until softened.

    8. Add the mushrooms to the sauce.

    9. Add the asparagus, deep-fried tofu and udon noodles to the sauce and stir well to combine.

    10. To serve, spoon to the curry into serving bowls and garnish each with fresh coriander leaves, lime wedges and crushed peanuts, to taste.

    Have a great day


    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    Expensive Drugs, Cheap Taxis, Horrendous Shoe Prices

    I was horrified, yesterday, to pick up a prescription which Pillscost us 5 times more than usual. On enquiry it seems the government have introduced new legislation which is causing such increases. This is of major concern to us as we are both on a lot of medication and this will seriously impact our finances. I am not totally sure what the legislation is and I will have to do something to find out, but of course, the major thing, is the impact on our pocket. I do know it involves generic drugs and the pharmacist told me it has become less profitable for drug companies to make generics. Not that I approve of generics in the first place, but pensioners can’t be choosers.

    I went to have an assessment for Mobility Plus, run by Grand River Transport, yesterday to see if I qualified for taxi cabs at $2.50 a ride. The trouble is, I don’t really appear to be immobile, so Matt thinks I won’t get approved. Its not as though I am in desperate need, I was thinking of using the service more as a kind of emergency thing than on a regular basis. We do have a car, after all, and generally Matt can drive me. I just thought it would be a convenient back up. This was not something I was aware of until recently and I wonder how many others don’t know about it. I am told you can travel as far as Cambridge (that’s at least a half hour drive) which would help if I needed to go to the doctor and Matt or the car were not somehow available. Then there was the time when someone accidentally walked off with Matt’s coat with the car keys in it. Our cab ride was $20 something that day.

    Good Morning America were advertising ABC’s new app for iPads today. Looks pretty good, if you happen iPad to have an iPad in the first place of course. It never ceases to amaze me how some of my favourite sci fi writers, in this case Isaac Asimov, so accurately predicted the future. Asimov wrote about Multivac, a giant computer, and everyone having hand helds to access it. Well, what is the world wide web but something like a giant computer, except it is not just one computer of course and we certainly have handhelds to access the internet from anywhere. Even in his own lifetime Asimov saw some of his fiction come true, I remember reading an intro to one of his collections of short stories where he pointed out that he had written about some of this more than 20 years ago. We had friends who’s idea was that sci fi writers dreamed something up and scientists then invented it.

    Shoes Another thing on GMA this morning, they were talking about women being ripped off when buying shoes on line. They apparently believe they are buying cheaper versions of designer shoes but of course, when they get them, it isn’t true. The picture shows a real designer shoe and a false one. What particularly got me was paying $1,800 or more for designer shoes and even the ones bought cheaper were $400. $400 for a pair of shoes????? I know I don’t buy fashion shoes any more, its just as well, I cannot, in my wildest dreams, imagine paying so much. In this picture I think it is easy to tell the difference, but if you were looking at just one of them on the internet, it could be difficult. It tickled me that they described some of these shoes as “come talk to me” shoes, we used to describe them with a much more obscene phrase “come f…. me shoes”. In the GMA article and expert said you would have to be drunk not to see the difference (he had both pairs in front of him) I think you would have to be drunk to pay these prices.

    Matt and I have been having simple salads the last couple of nights and really enjoying them for a change. Matt doesn’t eat salads very often, we have had them with canned salmon, shrimp and hard boiled eggs. However, after 3 nights running I guess that’s enough, although it is still really too hot to want to eat a big meal. However, this one from Eating Well might be well worth trying for a change. It says serve with chicken, but the black-eyed peas would be plenty of protein on their own.

    Cucumber and Black-Eyed Pea Salad

    From EatingWell: May/June 2007, EatingWell for a Healthy Heart Cookbook (2008)

    An easy salad to serve with grilled chicken or steak for supper or on a bed of greens for a satisfying lunch. Substitute white beans or chickpeas for the black-eyed peas if you prefer.

    6 servings, about 1 cup each

    IngredientsCucumber Black Eyed Pea Salad

    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    2 tsp chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tsp dried

    Freshly ground pepper to taste

    4 cups peeled and diced cucumbers

    1 14-ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed

    2/3 cup diced red bell pepper

    1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

    1/4 cup slivered red onion

    2 tablespoons chopped black olives

    1. Whisk oil, lemon juice, oregano and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Add cucumber, black-eyed peas, bell pepper, feta, onion and olives; toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

    Have a great day


    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Stargate, Eyes, The Moon,

    I am reading a book by Karen Miller called Do No Harm. It is a Stargate novel. I knew nothing about Stargate so last night I watched two episodes. Not very long because although they lasted an hour I think most of that was taken up by ads. I do enjoy stations which don’t have any advertising. Anyway, I am now au fait with just what its all about and can carry on reading my book and enjoy it. I have read several of Karen Miller’s books, some of which she writes as K.E. Mills. Matt saw a few minutes of it and decided to go to bed *g*.

    Yesterday afternoon, because my doctor insisted, I went to see an opthalmologist. I could not convince her that my optometrist was doing a good job checking my eyes for diabetes. It turned out OK of course. However, I was not best pleased with them because no-one told me I needed a driver, nor that I needed dark glasses. I have had drops in my eyes before to dilate the pupils, but these were so strong they had to give me anaesthetic drops first. I finally got a third set of drops to enable a glaucoma check. This resulted in me being unable to open my eyes properly for some 2-3 hours and even by bedtime my eyes were still somewhat blurry. Of course I did have a driver, Matt was with me, but what on earth would have happened if he had not been there, I cannot imagine.

    MoonLanding It turns out I was not quite right yesterday, it wasn’t the anniversary of landing on the moon, but of stepping out onto the moon, the day when Neil Armstrong made the historic statement “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. I actually found a very good site which is intended for kids, and includes explanations and pictures including this one which I borrowed to show the historic event.

    Today, yet another delicious looking recipe from Eating Well. It doesn’t specify, but I think those are Heirloom tomatoes in the picture. Delicious tasting. A friend said all the Heirloom tomatoes she had been growing had been eaten by critters.

    Tomato-Corn Pie

    From EatingWell: July/August 2010

    Tomatoes and corn have a natural affinity for one another: the slight acidity of tomatoes balances the sweetness of the corn. Here they partner in a delicious quiche-like pie. The dough is very forgiving and bakes up into a sturdy shell that’s great for just about any savory pie or tart. Perfect for a summer brunch or try it with a tossed salad for a light supper.

    Makes 8 servings

    CrustTomato Corn Pie

    • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see Note)
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 5 tablespoons cold water
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 cup low-fat milk
    • 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
    • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
    • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 large ear; see Tip) or frozen
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1. To prepare crust: Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, add oil and water and gradually stir them in to form a soft dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
    2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
    3. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan, preferably deep-dish, and press into the bottom and up the sides. Trim any overhanging crust. Line the dough with a piece of foil or parchment paper large enough to lift out easily; fill evenly with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil or paper and weights. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.
    4. To prepare filling: Whisk eggs and milk in a medium bowl. Sprinkle half the cheese over the crust, then layer half the tomatoes evenly over the cheese. Sprinkle with corn, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Layer the remaining tomatoes on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour the egg mixture over the top.
    5. Bake the pie until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

    Per serving : 258 Calories; 14 g Fat; 4 g Sat; 9 g Mono; 88 mg Cholesterol; 24 g Carbohydrates; 8 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 379 mg Sodium; 217 mg Potassium

    1 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

    Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1/2 lean meat, 2 fat

    Tips & Notes
    • Ingredient note: Look for whole-wheat pastry flour in large supermarkets and natural-foods stores. Store it in the freezer.
    • To remove corn kernels from the cob, stand an ear of corn on one end and slice the kernels off with a sharp knife.

    Have a great day


    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    Moon Landing, Bowling, Gregory Peck,

    Today is the anniversary of the first landing on the moon. I didn’t remember that, a friend reminded me. I so remember the excitement although first hubby and I were in a taxi in, what was then called Yugoslavia, taking a taxi to the airport and the driver had the report on the radio. Unfortunately although the report was in English, the voice over was, of course, Yugoslavian, so we had trouble hearing what was going on. We had been cruising on my father’s boat and had had no idea what was happening before getting into the cab. The cabbie was surprised we didn’t have a TV on the boat.

    Yesterday was our summer league bowling banquet, basically lunch at the alley before we bowled a couple of fun games. The second of these games was our uBowling Pinssual bingo which I always enjoy. Not yesterday, I was throwing strike after strike and I didn’t want them. As I said to a friend, I never thought there would come a time when I would say “oh sh*t” when I threw a strike. In bingo you have to throw all kinds of different combinations and our team got stuck on 6 and 9 which are very difficult to throw. To remind you, to get 9 you have to hit each corner pin and the middle pin only. To get 6 you have to knock down the two pins on either side of the middle one. Nothing else. In fact Matt’s team won the bingo. As they had already won the league that was very unfair of them, *g*. We don’t start league bowling again until August 30. We will obviously miss a couple of weeks in September as we are going to be in North Carolina. There we will probably have a couple of games of 10 pin. We did last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. No doubt we will play the odd game here and there at another alley which will be open more than the alley we usually use.

    Last night we watched a couple of Gregory Peck movies, the first was Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. and then a lesser known movie Captain Newman M.D. both excellent. Hornblower I had seen a couple of times before, I have always been a big fan and still have all the books. I hadn’t seen the second movie but thoroughly enjoyed it, Tony Curtis was in it too and was a pretty funny character. The movie is about work in a Air Force ward for troubled patients. Gregory Peck was a psychiatrist who was torn by the fact that he worked to cure people in order to send them back to war to get killed. There were some very funny moments as well as some traumatic ones. If you get the chance to see it, I highly recommend it. Mind you, I always loved Gregory Peck whatever he starred in. I discovered last night that he actually took the time and trouble to study whatever he was doing, for instance he learned sword fighting and navigation etc. for the Hornblower movie and he worked with psychiatrists and went on rounds with them for the Captain Newman M.D. movie.

    I used to make banana bread all the time although I would only eat the occasional slice, Matt loved it. I don't know why I haven't done so for so long. This one is from which is a somewhat different banana recipe.

    Banana Cake with Coconut-Cream Frosting

    Source: Eating Well

    Combining traditional flavors with modern sensibilities, the creamed butter and sugar have been replaced with a simple meringue in this moist, luscious cake.

    Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 6. Wrap cake layers in plastic wrap, then foil and freeze for up to 3 months.

    For the Cake:

    1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see IngreBanana Cake with Coconut-Cream Frosting Recipe at

    dient note)

    1 cup all-purpose flour

    1 1/2 teaspoons Baking powder

    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    2 tablespoons butter

    1 large egg white

    1 large egg separated

    1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

    1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

    1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 large)

    3 tablespoons canola oil

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1/2 cup buttermilk

    For the Coconut-cream frosting:

    1/3 cup unsweetened coconut chips or flaked

    12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese

    1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

    1/2 teaspoon coconut 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.


    FOR THE CAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Dust lightly with flour, shaking out the excess (or use cooking spray with flour).

    Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl.

    Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, swirling, until it turns a nutty brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

    Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff but not dry (this can take up to 5 minutes).

    Combine the melted butter, egg yolk, remaining 1 cup sugar, bananas, oil and vanilla in a large bowl. With mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk; beat until just blended. Beat in a heaping spoonful of the whites. Using a whisk, fold in the remaining whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

    Bake the cake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto the racks and let cool completely.

    FOR THE FROSTING & TO ASSEMBLE CAKE: Toast coconut in a pie pan at 350 degrees F until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.

    Combine cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and coconut extract in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy.

    Frost the cake, using a little less than half the frosting between layers and the rest on the top. Garnish with the toasted coconut.

    Have a great day


    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Gulf of Mexico, Movie, Golf

    Last night I heard there was a problem with the new cap on the oil well in the Gulf, they think it may be leaking methane gas. I read an article this morning, apparently it is suspected that the well may be leaking through the sea floor which could cause major ecology problems if its true. The government have said BP can keep the cap on for another 24 hours but must monitor closely. There was quite a storm in Montreal yesterday, including a mild tornado. Apparently a couple sheltered under a tree. The husband is now in hospital with a cardiac arrest, not sure if he has survived or not. Doesn’t everyone know? You DO NOT shelter under a tree during a thunderstorm. Locally a man was killed by lightening and he was out on the water. Not a good place to be in a storm. The movie Inception did really well at the box office this weekend. It stars Leonardo di Caprio. From the previews I have seen on TV it looks as though it is right up my street and I can’t wait to see it. I wonder how long before it is available on video. I don’t normally pay a lot of attention to golf on the TV, but this weekend it was the British Open and there was a young South African, practically unheard of, who ended up winning the tournament in St. Andrews (a very tough course) beating his nearest opponent by 7 shots. A very impressive game. His name is Louis Oosthuizen which made me sit up because my cousin is married to a South African with the same last name. Are they related I wonder??? I am not sure how true this is, although knowing the old fogies of yesteryear, the word golf is supposed to be from Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden. I used to play golf with enthusiasm but then lost my game. Then I lost my legs (well it seems like that) now Matt can’t really play either. The joys of aging. Heard from my cousin this morning, as far as they know they are not related to the young golfer.

    Tonton Last night I watched Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back – that’s the one with the Tontons in it – where Luke loses his hand plus studies with Yoda for a while and Han Solo gets carbonised. I would have enjoyed it more if there had been no ads, for the first half hour there were none, then they started to cram them in once they had you hooked. I wonder if they are going to show the next movie any time soon.

    I had a load of cream available after we had done the Chicken in Tarragon sauce so on Saturday I invented a dessert. I made it again Sunday night and forgot to take a picture.

    Tipsy Orange

    2 Ladies Fingers, broken upOrange

    1 orange peeled and sliced 1 lge tot of rum or brandy 2 tsp sugar or small packets of sweetener Whipped Cream Chocolate syrup

    In each of two dessert glasses or dishes, put a broken lady finger, then divide the orange in two and put chunks in each glass. Pour over the liquor of choice (if you want non-alcoholic I am guessing orange juice would work) sprinkle with sugar or sweetener and let sit. Just before serving put a large dollop on cream on top and drizzle chocolate syrup over all. Delish.

    Have a great day

    Saturday, July 17, 2010

    Entertainers and Entertainment from Oz.

    What is it with Aussie actors these days. Mel Gibson is hitting the news with his violence towards his girlfriend and in fact from the tapes and transcripts sounds like a nasty piece of work. Such a shame because he has turned out a great body of work so far.

    Then last night we watched Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles – we’d seen it before, but enjoyed it again. I wondered what he, Paul Hogan, was doing these days and discover he is in major trouble for extensive tax fraud and hiding millions in offshore tax shelters in conjunction with several others. I like his Crocodile Dundee movies, but seems he is going to end in jail with al this nonsense. Don’t know if I ever told you, put a similar hat on Matt and he looks just like Crocodile Dundee. Wish he had the money, although preferably not in illegal tax shelters.

    Finished both my Rogue Agent books by K.E. Mills (Karen Miller see blog link this page) and am about to start Arch Wizard by Ed Greenwood. I know nothing about this book, but there is a dragon on the cover, nuff said!!!

    I mentioned that we had a lot of tarragon in our “herb garden” (a few pots on the balcony) and I went hunting for a Chicken in Tarragon Sauce. I found one on Annie’s Eats which is a blog and from what I can see is all about food. We tried the recipe for dinner last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you want to read Annie’s Eats go to

    As for the recipe itself:

    Chicken in Tarragon Sauce Ingredients: 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves Chicken in Tarragon Sauce 1 Tbs. unsalted butter 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 3 Tbs. chopped shallot 1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon 1/2 cup heavy cream Fresh lemon juice, to taste (optional) Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish Directions: Trim any excess fat from the chicken. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. One at a time, place a chicken breast half between 2 sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, flatten to an even thickness of about 1⁄2 inch. In a large sauté pan or fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. When hot, add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and sauté gently, turning once, until the chicken is golden and opaque throughout and the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a warmed plate and keep warm. Pour off any excess fat from the pan and place the pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and sauté, stirring, until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tarragon and cream, increase the heat to medium and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits from the pan bottom and blending well. Cook, stirring, until bubbling and thickened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Return the chicken to the pan and turn each breast several times in the sauce until well coated and hot. Transfer the chicken to a warmed serving plate or individual plates and spoon the remaining sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

    Source: Williams Sonoma

    Have a great weekend.


    Friday, July 16, 2010

    Its Plugged, Airplanes and Earthquakes, Summer Safety.

    Thank God, BP say the oil leak is finally capped. I can’t tell you just how pleased I am so imagine what it is like for all the people involved locally. There is still masses of clean up to do and that will take forever, but at least there is no longer oil spewing out into the gulf. I don’t know just what the toll has been on the wildlife of the region, we have seen pictures of birds covered in oil and baby dolphins dead because of oil pollution not to mention what it has done to shellfish such as shrimp and oysters. But, it is finally plugged.

    Unfortunately, I have just seen stories saying that although everything seems OK, BP are keeping their eyes on this latest cap to ensure that it withstands the pressure which is vast apparently. They are monitoring it every few seconds and will report every 6 hours. They figure if it lasts 48 hours it will last as long as they require. However, they will still be drilling the relief wells some time next month.

    GWDOD On the news last night, Canada is buying a bunch of F35 jet fighters to upgrade our air force capability. I hope this is a better buy than the ships they bought from Britain a few years ago all of which were well used second hand vessels and caused us all kinds of trouble. The photo came from CBC and was taken by the Defence Department.

    There was an earthquake in Washington DC yesterday, centred in Maryland. It was a 3.6 magnitude and the strongest recorded in that area since records have been kept. Apparently the windows shook in the White House, but no damage.

    There was an incredible story on GMA yesterday about parents stealing their kids’ identities and racking up loads of debt in their names. After all, who has more access to their children’s social security numbers, etc. What a dreadful thing for a parent to do. Go to for the story.

    There have been lots of tips and tricks for summer safety lately. Reportedly a number of children have already died this year by being left in a closed car in the heat. One report was of a dog who was saved from more than heat exhaustion because he repeatedly blew the car’s horn. Clever dog. I cannot believe people are still stupid enough to leave their children or pets in the car on a hot day. There are always so many warnings. Pool safety was another thing featured this morning. One emphasis, you cannot just leave your kids in the pool and socialise. Something I had never thought of, the edge of the pool, in the water, is somewhat obscured from anyone not in the pool and a little kid can drown without anyone seeing.

    I have just come across a whole bunch of Eggs Benedict recipes. I have bookmarked the page. The following recipe is one of them. Matt bought tarragon by mistake when he was buying herbs to grow and so here is a recipe where he can use some.

    Eggs Benedict with Tarragon and Chive Hollandaise Sauce

      Yield: 4 servings


    For the Sauce:

    1/3 cup regular mayonnaise

    Eggs Benedict with Tarragon and Chive Hollandaise Sauce Recipe at

    3 large egg yolks

    2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice

    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

    3 tablespoons boiling water

    1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


    1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

    For the Eggs Benedict:

    Nonstick vegetable oil spray

    8 large eggs, poached

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil

    8 slices Canadian bacon (back bacon)

    2 English muffins, split, toasted



    Combine first 5 ingredients in processor. Blend 5 seconds. With machine running, carefully pour melted butter down feed tube and process until well-blended.
    Transfer sauce to double-boiler set over simmering water. Add 3 tablespoons boiling water and lemon peel to sauce. Whisk until sauce is very hot, about 4 minutes. Whisk in chives and tarragon. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

    Fill egg poaching pan with enough water to come 3/4-inch up sides of pan. Bring water to simmer. Lightly spray egg poaching cups with cooking spray. Break 1 egg into each cup. Cover and cook until yolks are just set around edges but still loose in center, about 4 minutes. Transfer eggs to warmed plate and repeat with remaining 4 eggs.

    Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add Canadian bacon and saute until heated through, about 1 minute per side. Place 2 bacon slices atop each toasted English muffin half. Top each with 2 poached eggs. Drizzle with sauce and serve.

    Have a great day


    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Bookshelf Porn, POAs, Oil Spills, Cereals.

    Glenda Larke of Tropic Temper (see link this page)started me off this morning with a reference to Bookshop Porn and directing her readers to where there are some fascinating pictures if you are a bibliophile. So I decided to take a picture of a couple of my bookshelvesBookshelves This picture shows two of the five in my office/library/computer room. As you can see, there are not only books but lots of other stuff piled on the shelves. I have a lot of space devoted to cookbooks of course although what you can see here are novels, the one’s I couldn’t bear to part with when I got rid of hundreds of books on leaving North Carolina to come back to Canada. I had to be very, very ruthless at that time and in some ways it broke my heart, but… needs must and we sure wouldn’t have had room for them here. At the top of the picture you can see the bottoms of red folders which are full of Cooking Light magazines, on the left at the top you can see three white folders which are full of my blog books. Until I printed them, I had no idea I had written so much. I still have one to print to keep current.

    BP are being cautiously optimistic about their new oil well cap, the oil is not coming out from the top but from the sides and they are tightening it all up gradually, so much at a time, hoping the cap will stand the pressure. I hope so too. The damage this oil has done will last for years. As was pointed out recently on TV, the oil has sunk into the sediment of the Gulf of Mexico which will take many years to dissipate.

    I spent a large portion of yesterday making up Powers of Attorney. I get fed up with having to call Matt to the phone every time I want to arrange various financial, tax or pension matters. The bank, at least, need a power of attorney, I am assuming the various government agencies do too, so they will get ‘em. We have had these for years, but it didn’t occur to me before, silly me, that they were executed in North Carolina so don’t have validity in Ontario. This also applies to our Medical Powers of Attorney too so had to re-do them as well and now have to get them witnessed.

    The power of advertising: we tried Kashi’s Go Lean cereal today, not bad at all, but a bit high in sugar for me. It has the same amount of protein as an egg but not as much fibre as I like. We shall see how it goes.

    An email from Splenda this morning gave me this delicious sounding salad.

    Simply Fresh Bean Salad

    Source: Splenda

    10 servingsBean Salad

    1 can (425 mL) lima beans, rinsed and drained

    1 can (425 mL) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

    1 can (425 mL) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

    1/4 cup (60 mL) capers, drained

    4 garlic cloves, minced

    1/2 cup (125 mL) artichoke hearts, drained

    1/2 cup (125 mL) red onion, minced

    3/4 cup (180 mL) fresh parsley, chopped

    1/3 cup (80 mL) SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated

    1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine vinegar

    2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil


    Whisk Splenda Granulated, vinegar and oil together in a medium mixing bowl.

    Combine remaining ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add dressing and stir until ingredients are coated. Refrigerate a minimum of 3 hours or overnight before serving.

    Have a great day


    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Bastille Day, Pensions, Latest Reading

    Guillotine Today is le quatorze Juillet, Bastille Day, France’s national holiday and the anniversary of when the revolutionaries stormed the Bastille prison in France. I wasn’t very good at history, but it is a date that has always stuck in my mind, probably because it is a special day in France, plus I always found the French Revolution fascinating. At the time of learning about it, I was pretty good on the subject. The picture of old women knitting (les tricoteuses) whilst watching the aristocrats being sent to the guillotine is one that has stayed with me throughout my life. Joséphine de Beauharnais, who later became the Empress Joséphine, was destined to ride a tumbril (virtually a small farm cart) to the guillotine but charmed her way into the arms of an important revolutionary and was saved from that fate. Because of the same name, I used to read a lot about her and loved being able to visit Malmaison where she lived and which is still as it was (unlike many French palaces which were ransacked). So to my friends in France, Happy 14th.

    Isn’t it amazing, governments waste millions, sometimes billions, on all kinds of investments, ventures and outright stupidities not to mention a few cons and bribes. They can invest fortunes in failing companies and destitute countries, but when, after two years, they find they have mistakenly paid a couple of pensioners $72 apiece too much for the whole year a couple of years ago, they have to get it back by deducting it from an upcoming pension cheque making said pensioners short for that month. You would think they could perhaps recoup it by installments, but no, it has to be paid off immediately. If it is going to cause hardship one has to go to another government department who would take another 12 months to agree or disagree with said hardship anyway. Why is it pensioners are treated so badly I wonder, not just us, but others too. Certainly in New York State pensioners received cut backs because the New York government couldn’t balance its books. By the way, the pensions received by elected members of parliament are more per year than a majority of us earn when working full time. When you are working, $144 probably doesn’t seem like much, but it can hurt, I assure you.

    I have been reading The Curse of the Mistwraith by Janny Wurts. Unfortunately I gave up on it about 3/4 of the way through, I found it too heavy going and I couldn’t get sufficiently involved in the story of the two princes. Subsequently I picked up The Accidental Sorcerer by K.E. Mills (aka Karen Miller) and I am re-reading it with pleasure. I then have Wizards Inc. to read which is the sequel, and which I have been waiting for a long time..

    Because his wife was moaning and groaning yesterday, Matt found a new recipe for cooking chicken breast in one of our Cooking Light books. It was quite simple and pretty good. We didn’t have any oranges left unfortunately, I think that would have given a fillip to the whole dish.

    Chicken Breast Dijon

    Cooking Light 1996

    For a super quick supper, serve this entrèe with steamed Sugar Snap peas (the frozen kind) instant brown rice and orange wedges.

    1/3 Cup fine dry breadcrumbsChicken Breast Dijon

    1 Tbs Parmesan cheese

    1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

    1/2 tsp dried thyme

    1/4 tsp salt

    1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

    4 (4 oz.) skinned, boneless chicken breast halves

    2 Tbs Dijon mustard

    1 tsp olive oil

    1 tsp reduced calorie Margarine

    Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Brush both sides of each chicken breast with mustard; dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

    Heat olive oil and margarine in a nonstick skillet over med.-high heat until margarine melts. Add chicken breast and sauté 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until chicken is done.

    4 servings (192 calories per serving)

    Have a great day


    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    I Got Conned, Flying Coolers, News Snippets

    I am sure you have seen ads for açai berries – they are all over the place. Anyway, I read an article on line ostensibly written by a reporter from a reputable paper, I thought. The paper directed you to a free trial where you could get a sample offer for the postage, i.e. $3.87 US. I sent for it on or around June 26. To date I have had no free sample. However, Saturday I discovered a charge on my Visa statement for close to $94 Canadian for a shipment from the same company. On phoning them yesterday, I was told a) they didn’t send out free samples and b) I was given 10 days to make up my mind before they sent the next shipment. The girl I spoke to made me mad so I slammed down the phone. I then phone another number – same people – and was told I could return the order for a $45 re-stocking fee!!!!!!! This for something I did not order and did not want. They sent me forms which they wished me to fill in a) cancelling the order and b) agreeing to their extortionate re-stocking charges. Last but not least, I phoned Visa who are looking into the whole business for me. This will take a while I gather, but I may get a better resolution than I was offered. Be warned though, this is what happens. Visa also cancelled my card and are sending me a new one, just in case. (In fact the free trial did arrive yesterday afternoon – taking three weeks, Visa advised me to Return to Sender).

    This morning on GMA there was a segment about travel safety. They pointed out that sometimes the Coolers most safety hazards are inside the car. They then proceeded to show crash test pictures with flying child seats, coolers, and any other loose objects causing untold damage to the dummies in the vehicles. There is an article here Apparently the safest place to store items like coolers (other than in your trunk) is low and forward, i.e. as close to the back of the seat as possible so such items don’t have far to travel and are less likely to become missiles. Even such things as maps and cell phones left lying around can become missiles if you have to slam on the brakes. I have now become nervous about travelling to NC in September.

    Actually there is quite a lot of news today, Mel Gibson is in trouble for alleged domestic violence, there are tapes now circulating with him swearing at his ex and virtually admitting to hitting her. The oil leak has finally been capped once again and they are waiting to see if it works. Last, but not least to me, there is a new diet drug being looked at by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the States which apparently works so long as you are eating sensibly. However, the doctor on GMA expressed some reservations about the study because a large proportion of the people in the test didn’t finish the course.

    We watched Roman Holiday last night, with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Two of my favourites anyway. I first watched this movie when I was pretty young and didn’t much like it because of the ending. I saw it again when I was quite a bit older, and appreciated the ending had to be the way it was. I enjoyed it once again last night, as did Matt funnily enough, sheer romance really. Audrey Hepburn was such a lovely young woman.

    We finally got our lamb from Costco yesterday, I needed to go out and buy a case for our new cell phone and some ink for my printer. The store we were going to is just by Costco so we went there first. I ended up getting 3 inks for the price of 2 and a somewhat expensive case for the phone as well as a lamb roast, lamb chops and three pork fillets. I also bought a couple of 2011 calendars, they were $6 each and full of my favourite wolf pictures, cheaper than I usually buy these. We are now broke once again.

    Summer fruits being so plentiful at the moment and cobblers are very much a favourite, I came across this recipe which I thought sounded pretty good. It says fresh or frozen, but at this time of the year, why on earth would you use frozen.

    Berry Cobbler

    Source: Eating Well by Burt Wolf

    Active Time: 10 Minutes

    Total Time: 55 Minutes Makes 4 servings

    INGREDIENTSBerry Cobbler

    2 cups fresh or frozen, thawed, strawberries, sliced

    2 cups fresh or frozen, thawed, blueberries

    1 cup all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1 cup sugar

    1 cup buttermilk

    2 tablespoons margarine, melted

    Frozen yogurt and fresh berries, to garnish


    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a sauté pan over high heat, combine the strawberries and blueberries and cook until warm, approximately 2 minutes. Divide among 4 buttered ramekins or ovenproof dishes, about 4-1/2 inches in diameter.

    In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, buttermilk, and margarine. Stir until combined. Spoon evenly over the berry mixture.

    Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes.

    Serve topped with frozen yogurt and fresh berries.

    Have a great day