Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year, Tobacco, Dubai

New Year

Barb TarboxCanada has decided to get a bit more serious about tobacco warnings. We were apparently the first to put warnings on cigarette packs, but then we lagged behind. Now we are catching up with extremely graphic pictures showing what can happen to you if you smoke. One of the many pictures is photos of the model Barb Tarbox who became a vigorous anti tobacco activist before her death. It always strikes me as odd that tobacco companies are trying to sell cigarettes and so on, but agree to put such devastating warnings on their products. I know why it happens, but its not logical is it? Buy my product and see what happens to you!!! We should, perhaps, put ads on foods showing how obese you can get through eating. What about pops or sodas, they are very detrimental to one’s health. I sound facetious but actually, I am not.

Last night we watched a programme on a nDubai Aquariumew shopping mall that has been built in Dubai. As with anything else, this is going to be the biggest and grandest mall. It is 1 Km square and contains an ice rink and a huge aquarium which has 30 sharks and a tunnel one can walk through. There will be a roller coaster, but this area is not yet finished. Of course there are hundreds of shops, no doubt selling pretty expensive items. The thing which staggered us the most is all the figures which were quoted. They will be shipping in thousands of gallons of seawater each day, which will then be cleaned and processed in a ginormous filtration plant, before being added to the Gold Soukaquarium to top it up. The programme we saw was mostly about construction and all the difficulties they had, but it did show a lot of pictures of the finished mall, not least of which was the gold souk which is a nod to the gold souk in the market place which is famous for selling the most fantastic gold jewellery and ornaments.

How silly, today on GMA they had a chef talking about simple snacks which could be served to your party guests tonight. At least two of them needed preparation a day ahead. In fact I am not going to include a recipe at all today, I figure any cooking you need for tonight you will already have done and no-one will really want to bother with reading recipes today.

So, as my last blog for 2010, I wish you all an absolutely wonderful New Year and a thank you to a friend for sending the New Year pic at the beginning of this blog.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pearlies, Menus, Burglars.

PearlykingandqueenThrough a roundabout method of thinking about clothes, I started thinking about the Pearly Kings and Queens of London, England. Must admit they haven’t crossed my mind for many a long year. I just read up on their origins – I didn’t know before why they existed, just that they did, I remember seeing them on visits to London or when I lived there. It was started by a crossingPearly Kings sweeper who collected money for charity. To draw attention to himself  he started sewing lots of pearl buttons on his clothes. Apparently it is still an institution in London. As a kid I was fascinated by them although one didn’t see them very often, it was always exciting to do so. If you would like to read more go to

Yesterday GMA talked about germy cell phones, today it was germy items on a restaurant table. Sugar turned out to have the least germs but it was the menu which was the worst with 185,000 bacteria on it. The suggestion is to place your order and then go wash your hands. You just don’t think about these things on a daily basis. A lot of stores provide hand sanitizing cloths to wire the handles of the store buggies, but when I suggested to our local grocery chain that they should do this, they opted out for what I considered somewhat spurious reasons. Nowadays I carry my own sanitizing cloths in the car. To read the report go to

Incredible story, an 88 yr. old woman facing a burglar in her own home ended up throwing water in his face and scaring him off. He was later caught. What incredible bravery – most of us would be shaking in our shoes.

This recipe came with a diabetic newsletter, dLife, and sounded pretty good. I like “blackened” food although you don’t see it around so much these days. Salmon is always available and a delicious fish to eat even if you don’t much care for fish.

Mother Love's Slammin' Blackened Salmon

Serves 8


1/4cup chopped pecansBlackened Salmon
1/4cup brown sugar
1/4cup Margarine, hard, safflower oil , melted
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2lb salmon fillet
1tbsp olive oil
4tsp cajun seasoning , or more to taste
8cup Lettuce, cos, fresh, shredded (or mixed baby greens)
1/4tsp black pepper
1/4cup Salad Dressing, French, fat free


1 Mix together pecans, sugar, margarine and vanilla in small bowl. Thin with hot water, if needed. Set aside.
2 Preheat indoor electric grill or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Pat salmon dry with paper towels. Brush both sides of salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with spice mix.
3 Place fish in grill or skillet and cook 6 to 8 minutes, turning once, or until salmon in blackened, cooked through and firm to the touch.
4 Place greens on serving platter. Sprinkle with black pepper and drizzle with French dressing. Cut salmon into 8 pieces and place over greens. Top salmon with glaze mixture.

Have a great day


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Reading, Modern US President, Germs.

I am a bit disappointed: this year I kept a list of all the books I read, it will total 135 by the end of the year. I thought I read a lot more books than that. There were a few repeats as I was waiting for other novels to arrive. It averages out at just under 2 1/2 books a week. I was going to publish the list, but it is rather long.

A friend sent this spoof on a Gilbert and Sullivan song which I thought was great. So I am sharing it with you.

A report on Good Morning America today about the germs on a cell phone, they are often dirtier than a toilet seat. Especially those of people who use them a lot and if you eat whilst using your phone you could be in serious trouble. The phones have been found to contain flu viruses, staph infections, and so on. They suggest you wipe them down with rubbing alcohol or rub you hands with sanitizer and then rub them over your phone.

We just asked some neighbours to join us for New Year’s Eve so now we are thinking about what to prepare as a snack – we have asked them for 9 p.m. and hopefully he will make it through 12 although I understand he usually goes to bed early. I came across this recipe yesterday, from Kraft Kitchens, and thought it might be a good one – if they like seafood, will have to check.

Baked Crab Rangoon

Kraft KitchensCrab Rangoon

12 servings

What You Need

1 can (6 oz.) white crabmeat, drained, flaked

4 oz.  (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, softened

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup  KRAFT Light Mayo Reduced Fat Mayonnaise

12 won ton wrappers

Make It

HEAT oven to 350°F.

MIX first 4 ingredients.

PLACE 1 won ton wrapper in each of 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray, extending edges of wrappers over sides of cups. Fill with crab mixture.

BAKE 18 to 20 min. or until edges of cups are golden brown and filling is heated through.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Makeover - How We Did It

We've taken a favorite appetizer and made it over by preparing it with PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese and KRAFT Light Mayo Reduced Fat Mayonnaise instead of regular cream cheese and mayonnaise. And since these tasty appetizers are baked, they require less hands-on time so you can spend more time with your guests. This baked version also saves 80 calories and 6 g of fat per serving compared to traditional fried Crab Rangoon.

Food Facts

Look for won ton wrappers in the refrigerated produce section of your grocery store.

For a Crispier Rangoon

Bake won ton wrappers in muffin cups at 350°F for 5 to 7 min. or until lightly browned. Fill with crabmeat mixture and bake 6 to 8 min. or until filling is heated through.

Have a great day


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bucket List, Email Privacy, Winter.

Not sure why, but this morning I woke up thinking about The Bucket List, I told you, a week or two back that we had watched the movie starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. However, every time I go on Facebook I see an ad at the side which says something about a Bucket List to do in my home town. I had a look at it the other day and it was full of things like spas and restaurants etc. The only trouble with this is one has to have money to be able to do all the things they suggested, or even that I might think of for myself. Morgan Freeman was lucky because Jack Nicholson was rich; I’m not and yet there are many things I would loTaj Mahalve to do before I die. They went to the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China, I would love to do that, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Grand Canyon either (that is more witin the realms of possibility); I could list a stack of things which I couldn’t possibly afford to do. I’m not sure I would try sky diving – not fit enough apart from anything else. A young friend tried it in New Zealand and absolutely loved it. Here is a challenge, make up your own bucket list and add it to the comments section.

Here’s a new one, a husband thought his wife was cheating on him so he opened her email to check. I should mention that they said she kept her password in a book beside her computer – silly thing to do if you want privacy – he is now being prosecuted for hacking and could face up to 5 years in jail. So Gmailspouses beware. What about opening each others snail mail? We never hesitate to open mail whether its addressed to us or not, does that constitute a crime as well? By the way, she was cheating. Not that I am having an affair I hasten to say, but I am quite safe, even though my email is not password protected, Matt wouldn’t have a clue how to get into it. I guess he could call in a friend when I wasn’t around or something. I wonder when it becomes hacking, if you just read someone’s email or if you have to use a password to do so.

This winter, so far, has been quite incredible, we have had major winter storms swirling all round us but we have basically escaped all of it so far. We have snow on the ground, but that was from several weeks ago, nothing new for a while and it needs enough snow to refresh it at least. New York airport was hit badly yesterday as well as Buffalo and then Eastern Canada got pasted. London, just south of us, was deluged with snow, and we just sit here. Maybe nature is saving it all up for January.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly over indulged over Christmas, I am still picking at cookies and so on which is not doing me any good. I haven’t the willpower of a limp lettuce leaf at the moment. However, Eating Well are already publishing healthy recipes to assist in losing weight, here is one which appealed to me.

Green Pizza

From EatingWell: September/October 2009

Why not use cooler-weather vegetables like broccoli and arugula as an unconventional pizza topping? The arugula adds a slightly bitter, peppery taste—for a milder flavor, use spinach instead. Serve with wedges of fresh tomato tossed with vinegar, olive oil, basil and freshly ground pepper.

6 servings

Green PizzaIngredients

1 pound prepared pizza dough, preferably whole-wheat

2 cups chopped broccoli florets

1/4 cup water

5 ounces arugula ,any tough stems removed, chopped (about 6 cups)

Pinch of salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup prepared pesto

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

  1. Position oven rack in the lowest position; preheat to 450°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about the size of the baking sheet. Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake until puffed and lightly crisped on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook broccoli and water in a large skillet over medium heat, covered, until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in arugula and cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread pesto evenly over the crust, top with the broccoli mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until crispy and golden and the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.

Per serving : 323 Calories; 13 g Fat; 4 g Sat; 7 g Mono; 19 mg Cholesterol; 33 g Carbohydrates; 15 g Protein; 3 g Fiber; 511 mg Sodium; 241 mg Potassium

2 Carbohydrate Serving

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

Have a great day


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Holiday

We had a great meal at the Rushes Restaurant in Waterloo. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I pigged out on the starters this year, I had mussels which were really delicious, smoked salmon, crab claws and smoked trout. Thought about going back, but figured I wouldn’t eat any more if I did. I then had Roast Turkeyroast sweet potatoes, mashed swede (turnip in Canada) and turkey with a little gravy. I went back for a bit more turkey, the turkey was really moist. Finally I finished with a huge piece of carrot cake, couldn’t resist it. The beef this year was very overdone, and I didn’t even look at the ham. There were masses of other things available, but one can only eat so much after all. I drank a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio with my meal and finished off with coffee. Some of our group, Matt included, were pigging out on the Brie, I thought about joining in but by then I had eaten more than enough. I almost felt pregnant I had stuffed myself so much. We got home around 8:30 and Matt checked the TV. There was a concert with Pavarotti and friends so we watched that and then I watched another version of The Nativity Story. That didn’t finish til midnight by which time Matt was fast asleep.

I bought Matt a recording of The Italian Tenor The Italian Tenorby Vittorio Grigolo for an under the tree present so he played it through in the morning. I was a tad disappointed as there wasn’t a lot of material that I recognised although there were a lot of things by Puccini, what a wonderful voice that young man has. He hasn’t made many recordings yet, there is one other which appears to be show tunes, but I am not really interested in that. We have heard him touted as the new Pavarotti, I think he certainly has the makings.

Boxing Day (Dec. 26 for those who don’t have this holiday) Matt called his family in the UK as usual and sinlaw Mike (Scolopax Chronicles) mentioned that they had had turkey with peanut sauce. We have asked for the recipe so when they send it I will pass it on. Sounds good. Basically we had a very quiet day and for supper had a roast loin of pork, just a small one for two of us. We had Brussels Sprouts, but I didn’t follow the recipe posted below.

Many people will have today and tomorrow off to make up for the fact that Christmas and Boxing Day fell on the weekend, however, I was surprised to find our grocery store was open yesterday although we didn’t go, I am guessing their hours will now be back to normal. I was surprised, on the way to dinner on Christmas Day, that so many restaurants were closed, I would have thought there were enough people out there to have used such restaurants on Christmas Day. Guess I am wrong, they presumably know what they are doing.

Here’s something a little different. A friend in the UK says it took her 3 hours to take the leaves off the sprouts in order to make this recipe from Heston Blumenthal. She didn’t write quite so politely about it, however, it does sound interesting. I actually like Brussels Sprouts anyway, but I appreciat different ways of cooking vegetables.

Heston's Christmas Trimmings - Brussels sprouts

''Many people ask me how to make Brussels sprouts taste nicer. For me, the best way to eat sprouts is to treat them like cabbage by separating the leaves and cooking them in butter with smoked bacon, but please don’t overcook them!;''Heston

Serves: 6


400g Brussels sprouts 5 smoked bacon rashers, 50g unsalted butter


  1. Slice the bases from the Brussels sprouts and carefully separate the leaves, pulling them off the sprouts.
  2. Fry the bacon in a frying pan over a medium heat until soft but not coloured. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter with the bacon fat in the frying pan over a medium low heat. When the butter is foaming, add the Brussels leaves and stir in the bacon. Add 2 tbsp water and cover the pan.
  4. Allow to cook for 3–5 minutes and season with salt and pepper.

Cook's tips

The Brussels sprouts can be shredded with a knife if time is short.

Have a great day


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas


I hope everyone has a fabulous day today and lots of good company with friends and family you enjoy.

We are going out to dinner with friends tonight at Rushes, a local restaurant, where they have a fabulous Christmas buffet so I am looking forward to that.

Have a great Christmas


Friday, December 24, 2010

Religion, Sugar Levels, Movie

Dunno why, particularly, but yesterday, in the shower, I started thinking about how much people complain because to be politically correct we are not supposed to say Merry Christmas, but Happy Holidays to ensure that other religions in our country are not offended by harping on a Christian festival. I was also of the same mind, we are a Christian country etc. etc. Then I got to thinking about it, when the white man first came here, the Indian or Inuit races were not Christian either and had to be “converted” by the ravaging white hordes. Apart from which we have a lot of different versions of what a Christian is, be it Catholic, Protestant, Methodist, Baptist and so on and so on. All kinds of Christian religions are now accepted, but we expect everyone to conform to Christianity. Now we have other people being accepted into our communities who are not Christians (well of course the Jews have been among us forever) and who do not wish us to push Christianity down their throats at every turn. If we allow them to immigrate to our world, should we not also treat their religious beliefs with respect? OK I know there are fanatical Muslims out there causing all kinds of havoc, but fanatical Christians have done some extremely questionable things through the years, not least of which was the Spanish Auto da fé and the English crusades, have you read what the Christians did to the Saracens in those wars, absolutely horrific. Fanatics are not exclusive to any religious community and Christians have produced some of the worst in their time.

So whatever religion you follow, accept the Merry Christmas, the Happy Hannukah, the good wishes for Ramadan, or Kwanzaa and lets all practise religious tolerance.

Back to more mundane matters, I lost my two teeth yesterday, was totally numb in jaw, tongue and most of my lower face for several hours and then in some pain for several more. I bought myself some hot and sour soup from a local Chinese restaurant and ate that for supper then managed a couple of bits of chocolate later. Finally around bedtime I decided to check my blood sugars which were way too low for going to bed. I had to start stuffing myself with things like scrambled eggs, milk, cheese, orange juice and honey. It took me quite a while to bring my sugar levels back up to where they should be.

I watched a delightful movie last night called The Nativity. It was beautifully done, the story of Mary and Joseph starting a year before the birth of Jesus. I cannot find any information on the version I saw, but I really enjoyed it.

No recipe today, not feeling up to much at the moment, so I wish you a Happy Christmas Eve and I do hope you don’t have to go shopping today, its murder out there at the moment.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Admiration Goes To:

Don’t forget to think healing thoughts for me this afternoon when I get my teeth extracted. I am not sure how likely I am to write a blog on Christmas Eve although I hope I will feel OK.

I have been having something of a discussion on Glenda’s website about trilogies or individual books. I generally don’t mind trilogies like those written by Glenda Larke or Karen Miller, but I do agree that a single book means you don’t have to remember events and characters from volume to volume. A good example of this is the book I am reading now, as I mentioned yesterday, I am reading Towers of Midnight which is No. 13 in the Wheel of Time series. This series was begun by Robert Jordan (who’s real name was James Oliver Rigney, Jr.) as I mentioned yesterday, the novels are being completed by Brandon Sanderson due to the unfortunate death of Robert Jordon. The first book was published in 1990 and there is still one more book to come. The current book is some 840 pages of novel with another 20 or so pages of glossary and maps and each one of the books has been of a similar size. How the hell one is expected to remember everything for 20 years, I do not know. Funnily enough, I do remember a lot, but every now and then something crops up and I have no idea who all the characters in a chapter really are, maybe I will be reminded later on.

The same situation applies to the James R.R. Martin A Song of Ice and Fire series, the last of which was published some 5 years ago. Another series, Earth’s Children by Jean M. Auel, is supposed to get another novel published in March next year (2004 was the last one). Meanwhile, we poor readers are supposed to keep all these characters in our heads. NOT easy.

At the same time, I have boundless admiration for Robert Jordan in the first place for conceiving and writing this vast series, but even further admiration for doing such a wonderful job of picking up the mantle and carrying on in such a way as to make it impossible to tell where one author left off and the other began. Having vaguely toyed with writing a book, ha ha, I have some concept of how difficult this is, and listening to published authors like Glenda Larke and Karen Miller, to name but two, discuss their anguish when they write and the problems of getting their work published in the first place, I don’t really know how anyone manages to achieve writing a novel in the first place.

For supper last night we had a dish I invented some 40 years ago and which was a favourite of both my hubbies although funnily enough we haven’t made it in many a long year. Basically you layer a casserole dish with slices of canned corned beef, cover it with cooked elbow macaroni and then make a cheese sauce with onions in it. Smother the pasta with the cheese sauce and bake it in the oven until everything is warmed through and the tomatoes are cooked. Around 30 minutes at 400 °F.

As an additional recipe, how about a holiday drink. This is certainly a new one on me, I just might give it a try although I do tend to drink Champagne for Christmas.

Lychee Martini

This sweet and sour drink is a great New Year’s cocktail.

Yield: 6


1 cup lychee juice (see note)Lychee_Martini_003

1/2 cup pink grapefruit juice, preferably fresh-squeezed

1/2 cup chilled vodka

Ice cubes

12 fresh lychees, peeled and pitted, or 1 can (398 ml/14 oz) lychees, drained

6 thin slices lime

  1. Note: If you can’t find lychee juice, use canned lychee syrup.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lychee juice, grapefruit juice, vodka and ice cubes. Shake or stir well. Strain into martini glasses. Garnish each drink with 2 lychees and 1 lime slice.
  3. Idea: Freeze the lychees before putting them in the martinis.

Have a great day, not sure I will.


Re-gifting, Weather and Books.

Do you re-gift? I suppose it is something everyone has done at some time or another. This morning on GMA, they had tips on re-gifting and the first item was don’t re-gift anything with engraved initials on it – no, really!!! Sometimes I wonder if they think everyone is stupid.

Eastern Canada is having terrible problems with flooding caused by rain and storm surges. What a lovely Christmas present! The weather seems to be playing up all over the place, last night I saw pictures out west showing houses collapsing into the flood waters. I am very glad I live where I do, of course there may be something I haven’t thought of but we live on a hill so flooding should certainly never be a problem. One good thing, it does seem that some of the airports are beginning to move their backlog of passengers although how long this will take is anybody’s guess. So long as Europe doesn’t get any more snow. Even Buffalo is going to have a meeting on why they couldn’t cope with their recent snow problems.

I have just finished The White Lioness by Henning Mankell, it is the third in his Wallander series. This one wThe White Lionnessas set in 1992 and was about a proposed plot by the African boere to assassinate Nelson Mandela. Sweden became involved because they conspirators sent the assassin to Sweden to practise in private before he went to do his job. In some ways it was a pretty horrid story. I was interested to discover, whilst reading, that Sweden uses white as a mourning colour Towers of Midnight(as do the Chinese). I have the next of his books to read but I am now just about to read Towers of Midnight which is the penultimate book in the Wheel of Time series begun by Robert Jordan and being finished by Brandon Sanderson using Jordan’s notes. I am really looking forward to this although it is a very thick book and I only have a month to read it as I have no doubt there is a long waiting list at the library.

I love smoked salmon and when I saw these from Eating Well, I just had to share them.

Smoked Salmon Bites

From EatingWell: November/December 2007

Wasabi mayonnaise really sets off the smoked salmon in these rice-cracker treats. If desired, you can set out the spread, salmon, ginger and rice crackers separately and let your guests build their own (but have plenty of extra salmon on hand if you do).

2 dozen appetizers


1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise Smoked Salmon Bites

2 teaspoons wasabi paste, or 2 teaspoons wasabi powder mixed with 1 tablespoon water (see Tip)

24 mini rice crackers

4-6 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 24 1-inch pieces

24 small pieces pickled ginger, (see Tip)

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

  1. Mix mayonnaise and wasabi paste (or reconstituted wasabi powder) in a small bowl.
  2. Top each cracker with 1 piece salmon, 1/2 teaspoon wasabi mayonnaise, 1 piece pickled ginger and a sprinkling of lemon zest.

Per appetizer : 52 Calories; 1 g Fat; 0 g Sat; 0 g Mono; 2 mg Cholesterol; 8 g Carbohydrates; 1 g Protein; 0 g Fiber; 77 mg Sodium; 9 mg Potassium

1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1/2 starch

Tips & Notes
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the wasabi mayonnaise (Step 1), cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Tip: Wasabi paste, wasabi powder and pickled ginger can be found in the Asian-foods section of most supermarkets.

Have a great day


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

TVO, Air Travel, Royal Engagement.

We caught a programme – kind of by accident – on TVO2 (Canadian Public Broadcasting) last night. It was called The Age of Power, hosted by David Dimbleby. A fascinating look at how the Tudors used art as an instrument of power. It particularly showed paintings of Holbein who painted Henry VIII, his wives and his ministers. A fascinating programme. Not sure how many we have missed butHolbein's Henry VIII we will certainly plan to catch the rest of them. I just googled, it appears we have missed two episodes. I hope they show them again. Will have to watch out for them, the previous ones were The Age of Worship and The Age of Conquest and the series is called The Seven Ages of Britain. What I thought was particularly funny was the painting of Henry VIII which now hangs in Cambridge university and his armour which was made towards the end of his life. Both were made or painted with large codpieces to emphasise the power of the man. In this copy you can’t see his legs of which Henry was particularly proud apparently. The armour was too heavy for him and he had to wear a special corset in order to support it. By this time he had a suppurating sore on his leg and was not a very well man. I was surprised to be reminded he died at 57, not, to us, very old. The programme went on to show how his daughter, Elizabeth, emphasised her power in a much different way but still very much through art.

It appears the air services between Europe and London Airportanywhere are thoroughly choked up. I think anyone planning to fly anywhere for Christmas might as well go home and give it up as a bad job. The European airports are totally clogged with snow which, of course, they are unused to and the backlog of flights is almost impossible for them to deal with from all reports. The odd plane is getting through, but not many. From Pearson Airport in Toronto they are flying one a day to Europe at the moment. Reports are of more snow and then clearing, but they don’t seem to think they will get the backlog dealt with before Christmas and there will be lots of cancellations. There are people camped out all over the terminals at Heath Row. We contemplated a trip to the UK, I am glad that’s all we did. Glenda Larke is presently at Kuala Lumpur airport hoping to fly to Scotland. I think she is totally out of luck.

On the news this morning, Prince William’s cousin has announced an engagement too. Zara Phillips, the Queen’s granddaughter who will also get married in 2011. She is Princess Anne’s daughter. Her wedding will be somewhat later than William and Katherine’s. I notice, by the way, that although she requested that the media and everyone call her Katherine, nobody is bothering to do so.

Its probably a bit late for baking cookies now, but just in case, here is a healthy recipe from Eating Well.

Pecan-Cinnamon Wafers

From EatingWell:  November/December 2010

These healthier pecan butter cookies are made with whole-wheat pastry flour and plenty of nuts.

4 dozen cookies 


1/2 cup unsalted butter Pecan Cinnamon Wafers

3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (see Note)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  1. Beat butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and add to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed until combined. Stir in pecans.
  2. Divide the dough in half and use lightly floured hands to shape each portion into a 6-inch round log. Wrap each log in wax paper and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Unwrap the dough and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon on a shallow plate. Roll the logs in the sugar mixture, then slice each into 24 (1/4-inch-thick) cookies. Place the cookies about 2 1/2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake, one batch at a time, until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Per cookie : 63 Calories; 4 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 1 g Mono; 9 mg Cholesterol; 7 g Carbohydrates; 1 g Protein; 1 g Fiber; 26 mg Sodium; 13 mg Potassium

1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1/2 carbohydrate (other), 1 fat

Tips & Notes
  • Make Ahead Tip: Wrap dough in wax paper and plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Store cookies airtight for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Note: Whole-wheat pastry flour is milled from soft wheat. It contains less gluten-forming potential than regular whole-wheat flour and helps ensure a tender result in delicate baked goods while providing the nutritional benefits of whole grains. Both are available in large supermarkets or natural-foods stores (or online from or Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Have a great day.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Retirement, Christmas.

We had a delightful evening on Saturday although we had no idea we had been asked for dinner. It was a retirement party and people had brought gifts. A tad embarrassing as we hadn’t, we just hadn’t realised what we were being invited to. What a spread, there was enough food to feed an army and much to my delight it included things like Cevapcici and PleskavicaPleskavica (shown in the picture) which are Serbian favourites of ours. There was so much food I didn’t get the chance to sample a lot of it. There was some nice looking salmon which Matt said was delicious. Luckily my teeth decided to be good that evening, however, then my legs played up instead. Honestly I am turning into a right old cripple.

Funnily enough I was thinking of The Twelve Days of Christmas, the funny version, the other day, then a friend published a link to a YouTube version which I enjoyed

12 Days of Christmas
The first time I ever heard this was shortly after we emigrated. I was at work and my desk was outside my boss’ office. Matt was at home and phoned me and read it to me over the phone, I was cracking up, and everyone was wondering what on earth I was laughing at.

I came across this gorgeous looking quick fix recipe in a BBC newsletter and couldn’t resist sharing it. I am not sure how it will work with the cream over here, just get the thickest, highest fat available to you. For digestive biscuits of course, use Graham wafers or crackers. Of course you could also use a pre-made Graham cracker crust.

Baileys and Chocolate Cheesecake
from the kitchen of Rob Burns


100g/3½ oz butterbaileysandchocolatec
250g/8¾ oz digestive biscuits, crushed
600g/1lb 5oz Philadelphia cream cheese
25ml/1fl oz Baileys
100ml/3½ oz icing sugar (confectioner’s)
300ml/10½ oz double cream, whipped
100g/3½oz grated chocolate
To garnish
200ml/7¼ oz double cream, whipped
cocoa powder, to dust

Preparation method
1. Melt the butter in a pan and add the crushed digestive biscuits. Mix well until the biscuits have absorbed all the butter.
2. Remove from the heat and press into the bottom of a lined 18cm/7in springform tin. Place in the refrigerator and allow to set for one hour.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Lightly whip the cream cheese then beat in the Bailey's and icing sugar. Fold in the whipped cream and grated chocolate. When smooth, spoon evenly onto the biscuits.
4. Refrigerate and allow to set for a further two hours. Once set, remove and decorate with whipped cream and cocoa powder dusted over the top. Serve.

Have a great day


Saturday, December 18, 2010

A New Day, Wikileaks, Winter Weather.

Toothache2Good morning, hopefully it will continue to be a better one for me. My Friday was a lot better than my Thursday. OK, I have been wingeing a lot, but I think I had plenty of reason so to do. This evening we have a retirement party to go to and I hope I will be able to. By the way, for those of you who have read the remedy of rubbing the palm of your hand with ice, I tried it, it doesn’t work!!

I must say my eating habits have been drastically affected this last few days, I have been eating soup, scrambled eggs, fish and other soft foods. I actually found haddock loins poached in milk with a little butter and seasoning are quite delicious. You can actually taste the delicious fish. Last night, I had that, a few peas (squish easily) and a baked potato. I struggled to eat the skin; but I like properly baked tatie skin so much!!! One of those occasions where I am not sure if the pleasure was worth the pain. Tomorrow lunch time I have some Hot and Sour soup which Matt picked up for me on his return from bowling. Looking forward to it.

Oddly enough, the world has continued without me and my commentary the last couple of days, how disappointing, it couldn’t wait for me. Assange has been in and out of a British jail, the Swedish want him for sexual offences and the Americans want him for violating their secrecy. I have never really understood how he got hold of the secrets he revealed, but whoever you are, I am not sure revealing them is the best way to go. Many people can get hurt in the process who are actually innocents in the games of governments. There’s free speech and there’s stirring up shit. Who makes the classification depends on where you stand.

Weather wise we seem to be escaping the worst stuff. All around us are still suffering and in Eastern Canada the flooding is appalling. I have been flooded once myself, but nothing like as badly as those poor people.

I liked the sound of this cake, chocolate and rum, what more could I ask for? The picture is not actually from the recipe but seemed pretty similar. I notice Sia has been posting some hot Christmas drinks on her web site – we must be on the same wavelength, you should check her recipes, and her Santa LOL

Fudgy Rum-Chocolate Cake

Source: Burt Wolf's Table

Makes 10 servings


8 ounces unsweetened chocolateFudgy Chocolate Cake

2 teaspoons instant coffee

2 teaspoons rum

2 tablespoons boiling water

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons arrowroot

1 cup heavy cream

One 10-ounce package frozen strawberries in light syrup, thawed

One pint vanilla ice cream

One pint fresh strawberries


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter and flour an 8-inch round loose-bottomed cake pan.

Melt the chocolate and allow it to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Place the melted chocolate into a mixing bowl and blend in the instant coffee, rum, and boiling water.

Break the eggs into a second mixing bowl. Whisk in the vanilla extract. In a third bowl, mix the confectioners' sugar with the arrowroot and whisk that mixture into the egg mixture. Using an electric beater, beat the egg mixture until it is about double its original volume, that should take about 4 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream until it is stiff and stands in peaks. Combine the chocolate mixture with the egg mixture. Then fold in the whipped cream. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan, and bake for 1 hour, or until the center of the cake is fully cooked.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack. Meanwhile, puree the defrosted strawberries in a food processor or blender until you have a sauce.

Cut the cake into slices. Place some of the berry sauce on serving plates and shake the plates until you have a thin coating of the sauce covering most of the plate. Put a piece of the cake onto the sauce. Put a scoop of the ice cream on the cake and garnish each slice with the fresh berries.

Have a great weekend


Friday, December 17, 2010

Damned Teeth,

Back to the saga of my poor, aching teeth. Having arisen before the cock crowed on Thursday, I visited the dentist and got the partner who turned out to be a female dentist and very nice even though she would not extract until I had taken a course of antibiotics and stopped my blood thinner for three days, the upshot being nothing doing til next Thursday – I do hope I will be able to eat on Christmas Day.

When we went to pick up the mail, there was a note to go to the Post Office to collect a parcel. Presumably they had called whilst we were out, how annoying. It was my sugar free Christmas cake and cookies which I can’t eat at the moment anyway. I am living on soup and eggs, etc. I also discovered I  have put on weight which really isn’t fair because I haven’t eaten much at all.

Anyway, I am not really up to blogging at the moment, sorry everyone. I can’t even think straight as I am doped to the eyebrows with pain killers and antibiotics. Keep your fingers crossed.

Have a great day.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fun before Teeth

Lately I have had a cold, dizzy spells and major tooth Toothacheaches but last night we had a delightful evening with some friends. I went for my diabetes check up with the doc and then went to our friends’ house and had a great time with them – we thank them so much. This morning the Dentist, last night a great meal, great company and a few drinks.

I am not sure how much blog is going to get posted, as I told you yesterday, I have an 8:30 appointment so this may be it.


Have a great day


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Teeth, Snow,

As I mentioned yesterday, I have bad toothache, I was  hoping to get two teeth pulled, but no luck, supposed to go to the dentist today. However, we now have an invitation to supper and things aren’t as bad as they were, so I think I will put it off. In fact I now have an appointment for 8:30 a.m. tomorrow, which, considering its in the next town, is very, very early. Oh well, not as bad as friends, she is having an MRI at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning, also in another town.

I am sure glad I don’t live in London, Ontario, they have been having snow upon snow, upon snow with people being stuck on the highways for hours on end – I know they talked of 300 people, how many of those were stupid enough to ignore the barriers and 402figure they could “do it”, I don’t know, but several did apparently. “I have a 4 x 4, it won’t give me a problem”, only it did. We still don’t have much round here and I have decided why that is, the superintendent has a brand new snow plough which, as yet, has never been used. Previously people were hired to plough, but this year, the super is doing it himself, but so far, no joy with his new toy. The 402 Hiway is still closed after yesterday’s storms, they were supposed to get a lot more, haven’t heard if they did. Helicopters ferried 230 stranded people away from the blocked roads although some people stayed with their vehicles. When we have this much trouble in Ontario, you know its bad, basically we are used to handling such weather. Check out the photos here 

Here’s a very different way of serving potatoes over the holiday period.

Yukon Gold & Sweet Potato Mash

From EatingWell:  November/December 2008, November/December 2007

The addition of delicious sweet potatoes gives a nutrient boost to mashed potatoes. Double it: Cook the potatoes in a Dutch oven rather than a large saucepan.

6 servings


1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and Yukon Sweet Potato Mashcut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1/2 cup low-fat milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  1. Place potatoes and sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until very tender when pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes, then mash them in the pot to the desired consistency. Place milk and butter in a small bowl and microwave on High until the butter is mostly melted and the milk is warm, 30 to 40 seconds. (Alternatively, place in a small saucepan and heat over medium until the milk is warm.) Stir the milk mixture, sugar, salt and pepper into the mashed potatoes until combined.

Have a great day


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Elevators, Teeth

We have two elevators at our apartment building, they are in the process of being replaced, working on one at a time, however, Monday afternoon I went to check the mail and the working elevator wasn’t – working I mean. I just hope to goodness there was no emergency. For me personally, I might make it down the five floors, but I would never make it up them again. Just as well I didn’t go bowling, Matt had to walk up from the garage. He stopped to get the mail and said there was a woman in a wheelchair and another with a wheeled walker who were just arriving so what the heck they would have done I have no idea. The mechanic hadn’t come and so it took a long time to fix it. Hope he has done so this morning.

I am in major pain this morning with toothache so gotta see if I can get an appointment. All for this morning.

When everyone is producing cookie, cake or dessert recipes, the other day Ron Claiborne, newscaster of the Weekend Good Morning America cooked up this chilli which actually looked good enough to eat.

Ron's Turkey Chili a la Claiborne

Recipe Courtesy Ron Claiborne

Servings: Over 8

Are you looking for a filling winter meal? This hearty chili is just the right blend of spice, vegetables and turkey, and its sure to leave your family satisfied.


2 to 2 1/2 lbs ground turkey Turkey-Chili-a-la-Claiborne
2 boxes of chili seasoning (Wick Fowler's "2 Alarm Chili Kit" or
Carroll Shelby's "Chili Kit")
2 (15.5oz) cans kidney beans, rinsed
1 (15.5oz) can white navy beans, rinsed
1 cup water, more or less
2 (14.5oz) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (8oz) can tomato paste
1 yellow onion, diced
3 bell peppers, diced
3 large carrots, diced
1 box frozen corn
1 box frozen baby peas
1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 bottle of beer (optional)
Chopped Jalapenos or hot chili peppers to taste


In a large stewpot, soften the onions and bell peppers in olive oil over medium heat. In a separate skillet, cook the ground turkey. Once the turkey is browned (and no pink remains), drain the liquid and add the turkey to the stewpot. Add in the stewed
tomatoes, the tomato paste, a cup of water, and the contents of the 2 boxes of chili seasonings (leave out some of the salt if you prefer - I only use 1 of the 2 salt packets). Add in the beer and cocoa, the carrots, corn, peas and beans. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for an hour+ over low heat. Add in jalapenos and spicy chili peppers to taste.

Serve with shredded cheese, diced purple onion, sour cream and tortilla chips.

Have a great day


Monday, December 13, 2010

Mushrooms, Reading, Overgenerous Tipping, Cat Poop Coffee.

PortobelloI said we hadn’t had Portobello mushrooms for a while, well we did on Saturday evening. Just gently sautéed in butter. They were delicious. We had a simple dinner of a fillet steak and the mushrooms together with a glass or two of wine. Can’t be easily beaten.

I also started Pock’s World over the weekend. It isPock's World by Dave Duncan who is one of my favourite authors. I see on they are promising to get it to you by Christmas if your order straight away. It is a very different story from anything I have read written by Dave Duncan before. I haven’t got very far into it, but it takes place on a planet which is about to be cauterized because of the possible existence of non human look alikes. That means the death of over 6 million people.

On Sunday morning I heard someone on GMA talking about tipping. She was giving advice on who should be tipped at this time of the year. Maybe she had a lot of money, but I certainly couldn’t afford, even when I was working, to hand out tips to all the people she recommended. Go to although this is not the same source, these women have very big ideas on what and who and how much to tip. As a pensioner I certainly couldn’t all the tips they talk about. Absolute nonsense. They talk about economic problems, but these people obviously have NOT been affected by the current economy or they have more money than sense.

Talk about coincidences. Last night we watched The Bucket List what a fantastic movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, if you have never seen it, I can highly recommend it. Jack Nicholson, being a very rich man in the movie, was drinking Kopi Luwak which is the most expensive coffee in the world, however, Morgan Freeman who knew everything (he was a whiz at Jeopardy) convinced Jack that in fact the coffee berries are eaten by civet cats, excreted and then the natives roast them and make coffee. Jack Nicholson said "are you shitting me" and Morgan Freeman said "no the cats beat me to it". Damn me if an hour after the movie there was a segment on the news about Kopi Luwak - it costs about $25 a cup or $500 a pound. The picture shows the source of the pre-digested coffee beans. One cannot imagine how it came about that anyone tried this in the first place. Nor can I imagine why anyone would pay through the nose to drink it.

Bianna Golodryga is one of the hosts of the weekend edition of Good Morning America. All the programme hosts have been sharing recipes which they eat at Christmas and this was her contribution. I never look at chocolate pie recipes without thinking of Matt’s youngest when she came to visit us in Canada some 20 years ago. She went absolutely nuts on chocolate pie and we had to buy frozen pies by the dozen for her, every restaurant we went into, she ordered chocolate pie for dessert.

Bianna Golodryga's Favorite Chocolate Pie

Recipe Courtesy Bianna Golodryga

Servings: 6-8

Are you looking for a chocolate fix? Bianna's pie is just the right combination of rich chocolate, crispy crust and crunchy toasted nuts.


1 graham cracker pie crust Chocolate-Pie 1 8oz package light Philadelphia cream cheese ¾ cup of sugar 1/8th teaspoon vanilla powder 4 tablespoons Hershey's cocoa 2 1/2 cartons (8 oz) Kraft light cool whip Toasted pecan, almond, or walnut chips


In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and cocoa and mix with a hand mixer on medium speed until the mixture is smooth.

Add cool whip and continue mixing until all of cool whip is blended with the filling and the mixture becomes thick. Pour filling into the pie crust. Sprinkle with toasted nuts, if desired.

Have a great day