Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cleaning, Stress Test, Coffee Jam?

Tuesday morning, the sofa was dry enough to sit on but my chair wasn’t: Matt made me sit on it anyway so he could see if it was positioned right. I got a wet bum, yuck. I guess itCleaning will be a while yet before it’s ready. So long as its cat free I don’t mind waiting. Monday night, to watch Jeopardy, Matt sat on a dining chair and I sat on his chair, nice of him, he always says I’m a spoilt brat. Afterwards I went on the PC so he could have his chair back. Then we swapped and he played Bookworm. They told me 4 hours to dry, I think they exaggerated a bit. I didn’t realise before the company I use for carpet cleaning and now furniture cleaning, has a web site full of popping bubbles they are pretty reasonable and I have used them for carpets a couple of times.

Tuesday just after lunch Matt had a stress test which he was worrying about Stress Testbecause he isn’t as fit as he was when it comes to pounding a treadmill. I can’t do it and I once had to have a chemical stress test which was one of the worst things I have ever experienced. The injection they give you makes you feel as though you are dying. Doesn’t last long as they give you the antidote almost instantly, but what a dreadful sensation. You really feel ill. Then you have to wait around for a couple of hours before they can put you in a machine and finish the test. I don’t ever want that test again. However, Matt came through his test with flying colours. See, he worried for nothing. Let’s face it, we often do worry about things which turn out fine in the end.

On the way home we stopped at the Ontario Cremation Centre which is managed by a friend I haven’t seen in several years, not since I worked in a funeral home. It was wonderful to see her and we had a good chin wag. She has gone through some bad patches health wise so it was nice to see her so well and cheerful.

Coffee and Coffee JamHere’s a new one from on Facebook “Our Editorial Producer Tina just returned from Guatamala with coffee and coffee jam (jalea de cafe)! The jam is made from the fruit of the coffee berry that covers the coffee bean. It's delicious! Mildly sweet and fruity with a slight coffee essence.” I‘ve certainly never heard of it, I wonder where one could get hold of it. I can imagine Barrie’s Asparagus and Food selling something like this.

How about this recipe for something different. I think I will be trying this one out very soon. They look delightful.

Parmesan Spinach Cakes

From EatingWell: September/October 2008

If you like spinach-cheese pie, try these simple but elegant-looking little spinach cakes.

4 servings, Parmesan Spinach Cake


  • 12 ounces fresh spinach, (see Note)
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, or low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Pulse spinach in three batches in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add ricotta (or cottage cheese), Parmesan, eggs, garlic, salt and pepper; stir to combine.
  3. Coat 8 cups of the muffin pan with cooking spray. Divide the spinach mixture among the 8 cups (they will be very full).
  4. Bake the spinach cakes until set, about 20 minutes. Let stand in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and turn out onto a clean cutting board or large plate. Serve warm, sprinkled with more Parmesan, if desired.

Per serving :141 Calories; 8 g Fat; 4 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 123 mg Cholesterol; 6 g Carbohydrates; 13 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 456 mg Sodium; 560 mg Potassium

1 Carbohydrate Serving

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

Tips & Notes
  • Make Ahead Tip: Equipment: Muffin pan with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups
  • Note: Baby spinach is immature or young spinach—it's harvested earlier than large-leaved mature spinach. We like the sturdy texture of mature spinach in cooked dishes and serve tender, mild-flavored baby spinach raw or lightly wilted. Baby and mature spinach can be used interchangeably in these recipes (yields may vary slightly); be sure to remove the tough stems from mature spinach before using.
  • Weights & Measures
  • 10 ounces trimmed mature spinach=about 10 cups raw
  • 10 ounces baby spinach=about 8 cups raw

Have a great day


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Furniture, Oscar Dresses and Kisses, Cruise Ships

I kind of wish I had never bought furniture from the estate of a woman in the coldbuilding. I got a very good deal, but as I said, the lounger was obviously the cat’s chair and for some reason I got allergies up the kazoo from  it. I now have a company in cleaning the chair and the sofa (just in case) which is almost doubling the price we paid for the stuff. However, having bought it, what can you do? Even had I known it was the cat’s chair, I wouldn’t have worried as I have never been allergic to either cats or any other animal, as far as I am aware, but I sure reacted to the chair, I have had a miserable few days of it untilCat chair I figured what was causing it. I thought I had a cold at first, and we never get colds. Matt did have one, but now I am wondering if he too had a reaction to the chair and we didn’t realise it. After all, it was only me sitting on it. I have also been on antihistamines so I am considerably dopey at the moment as well. A friend on Facebook said it was a case of buyer beware, but I wouldn’t have taken any notice other than cursing the cat hair. I have owned cats or dogs all my life. Guess I won’t be doing so again. This also meant I missed bowling again. Not only that but I didn’t have a dry seat to watch TV or even read a book last night. My chair still isn’t too dry, but he really did scrub it, so once it is dry it should be safe for me.

On TV yesterday morning, there were lots of comments on the apparelJ Lo of all the film stars at the Oscars, there were hundreds of tweets on the night about the apparent malfunction of Jennifer Lopez’s wardrobe although someone in the know said it couldn’t happen because there were cups in the dress Penelope Cruztop to prevent it. Although really, its silly when you think about it, you can show every part of your book except the nipple, that is then considered rude. Illogical or what? It really was a very lovely dress and she is one of the few who could have worn it. My favourite dress was that worn by Penelope Cruz, it was simple but elegant.  I also particularly liked Gwyneth Paltroe’s ensemble which included a coat. Someone commented it was cold enough on the red carpet to require one. It did tickle me to hear the interviewers saying to the stars “who are you wearing?”. I know what theyGeorge and Billy meant, but funny way of phrasing it I thought. Dunno about you, but I’m damned if I would stand outside the theatre for hours just to get a glimpse of all the famous people. I wasn’t too fussed about seeing it on TV, in fact I missed a lot of it, but to stand in the cold for ages, no I thank you not even on the promise of a kiss from George Clooney. Well I figure if he kisses Billy Crystal he wouldn’t mind giving me a kiss too LOL. If you didn’t watch the programme, you missed it, very funny.

Costa ConcordiaThere is another Italian cruise ship in trouble its had a fire in the engine room and is now drifting in the waters off Somalia where pirates are known to operate. Checking it out I came across this article detailing 5 cruise ship accidents. The one of South Africa was described as being neglected with a hole in one of the bulkheads, etc. and the captain and crew jumped ship and left it to the entertainment staff to evacuate the ship!!!! The picture shown is, to me, incredible, the Costa Concordia which the skipper ran aground, but the people in the foreground are totally blasé about it. I think people have to be very careful about going on cruises (have friends who are on one next week, hope they will be OK) and check the history of the company. One thing to check is where the ships are registered. Just because a ship is ostensibly from Italy, France, etc. doesn’t mean its registered there. Many ships fly under a flag of convenience from Liberia where standards are not generally as high, so if you know a ship is registered in Liberia, I would tend to avoid booking it. I learned this from my father many years ago. That’s not to say all ships under a flag of convenience are substandard. Nor that all the accidents occur to ships registered in Liberia. It is just one of the things to look out for.

Parmesan crusted chickenBy the way, for supper last night we tried the classic Hellman’s Parmesan Crusted chicken recipe, it wasn’t bad. Sure was simple enough to do. We think we would flatten the chicken next time though; tenderise it a bit.

Not sure how you can call it a meatloaf when there isn’t any meat in it, but even though I am not pro meatloaves anyway, I think I might enjoy this one.

Mushroom Meatloaf

WebMD Recipe from

The addition of richly flavored dried mushrooms and the whole-grain goodness of bulgur increases the vitamins and minerals and decreases the saturated fat of thisMushroom Meatloaf meatloaf. The loaf is free-form, rather than baked in a loaf pan, which means more delicious, browned crust. This recipe is large enough to feed a big group or, even better, have leftovers for a cold sandwich the next day.

Servings: 10

Recipe Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup dried mushrooms, such as shiitake, porcini or chanterelle
  2. 1 cup bulgur
  3. 1 cup boiling water
  4. 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 1 small onion, chopped
  6. 1 stalk celery, chopped
  7. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  8. 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  9. 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  10. 1/2 cup nonfat evaporated milk
  11. 1/2 cup ketchup
  12. 1 large egg
  13. 2 large egg whites
  14. 1 1/2 pounds 90%-lean ground beef
  15. 1 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
  16. 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  17. 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  18. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Recipe Steps:
  1. Place mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with warm water; let stand for 30 minutes. Combine bulgur with the boiling water in another small bowl and let soak until the bulgur is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the liquid; trim stems and coarsely chop caps.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat and add onion, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add Worcestershire and cook for 3 minutes, scraping the pan well as the mixture becomes sticky. Add tomatoes, evaporated milk and ketchup; stir to combine. Continue cooking until the mixture is very thick, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  4. Whisk egg and egg whites in a large bowl. Add beef, breadcrumbs, the soaked bulgur, the mushrooms and the tomato mixture. Stir in parsley, thyme and salt. Mix gently but thoroughly with your hands.
  5. Mound the meatloaf mixture into a free-form loaf on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Have a great day


Monday, February 27, 2012

Western Gray Whales, Elephants, Rhinos, Derailment, Oscars.

WhaleI do wish we humans would stop polluting the earth and diminishing the wonderful animal resources we were given to take care of. Right now, World Wildlife Fund is pleading for help saving Western Gray Whales of which there are only 130 left. All they are asking us to do is to send an email – all you have to do is sign your name in a petition. Watch this little video. We have already seen what can happen with oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico in 2011, do we want to do the same in the Arctic. This is a picture of a gray whale, I’m not sure if the picture is the endangered whale; it says on the video, pictures of this animal are very rare.dead elephant

These are not the only animals in trouble, in recent months 200 African elephants were killed in order to obtain ivory. The Sumatran elephant is critically endangered due to its loss of habitat. Rhinos are being killed willy nilly because Asians still believe the horn has some aphrodisiac and medical properties. There is big money in these markets and until we can convince the purchasers that tDead rhinosheir beliefs are untrue, the killers will still be out there to make their big bucks. If you find these pictures shocking, horrifying or offensive, I hope you will take action and do what you can to stop such pictures ever being taken again because there won’t be such things to photograph. Because we are the dominant species, although we are predators, the world has been left in our care and we are fast depleting its wonders. We are dreadful stewards of this beautiful place. The peoples of the world should band together to stop these disgraceful activities. This is something I feel so strongly about and wish I was in a position to do more.

There was a Via rail train derailment yesterday in the Burlington area. Three people -train-derailmentkilled and some severely injured. They don’t really say what caused it, no doubt there will be an investigation. Pretty scary thing to happen, one sees it done on movies but when it really happens, it is worrying. I used to travel by train in the UK when I lived in Kent and worked in London, otherwise I haven’t been on a train in years. I have a friend who travels from this area to Toronto, I am guessing on this line, don’t know though. I’m glad for her that it didn’t happen tomorrow.

Iron Lady2I wasn’t going to watch the Oscars last night but Matt turned them on and I ended up watching with him. He went to bed before it finished. Much to my surprise, Meryl Streep got the Oscar for best actress, everyone though the actress in The Help would do so. I am so pleased for Meryl Streep, I thought she did a brilliant job as Maggie Thatcher even if I am still not sure I enjoyed the movie itself. The best actor and the best movie went to The Artist, the silent, black and white movie starring Jean Dujardin, the best directing went to the same movie. A lot of awards were won by Hugo which I had never heard of before and will have to look out for, seemed like a movie right up my street.

I am dying with either allergies or a cold. I tend to think the former, but Matt doesn’t believe in them. I mentioned we bought some furniture from an estate sale and it appears that the lounger I got for me was actually the cat’s chair. I have never been allergic to cats, but I am thinking that this could well be what’s wrong at the moment, it certainly feels like allergies rather than a cold.

This is the sort of thing I don’t make, seems very North American to me, however, I thought they looked so delicious, I might well try them out.

Corn and Basil Cakes

WebMD Recipe from

Try these savory corn-and-basil pancakes as a side dish with barbecued chicken or grilled steak.

Servings: 5corn_and_basil_cakes

Yield:5 servings, 2 cakes each

Recipe Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  3. 2 large eggs
  4. 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  8. 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 2 large ears) or frozen
  9. 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Recipe Steps:
  1. Whisk flour, milk, eggs, 1 tablespoon oil, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. Stir in corn and basil.
  2. Brush a large nonstick skillet lightly with some of the remaining 1 tablespoon oil; heat over medium heat until hot (but not smoking). Cook 4 cakes at a time, using about 1/4 cup batter for each, making them about 3 inches wide. Cook until the edges are dry, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, 1 to 3 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining oil and batter, making 10 cakes total. Reduce the heat as necessary to prevent burning.

Have a great day


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Asparagus, Rare Whales, Oscars

Pickled AsparagusI know, its not the season yet, and some of you get sick of the way I carry on about asparagus when it is in season. The other day Tim Barrie of Barrie’s Asparagus Farm and Country Market posted a picture of his pickled asparagus with a label in homage to his grandfather who used to have 100 acres of asparagus. (Wonder how long it would take me to get through that?) So I thought I would share the picture with you. I love their pickled asparagus, its absolutely delicious. If I had the equipment I would try making it myself, but I have never had stuff for canning. When I canned tomatoes in the States I used to borrow from a friend.

An article and video in White Wolf Pack shows rare footage of a Shepherd’s rarewhalesBeaked Whale which is an almost unknown animal. The first confirmed sighting was in 1937 and there have only been three confirmed sightings of this whale. Scientists know little about this whale which apparently lives deep and rarely appears. This pod was discovered of the coast of Victoria, in Australia, and is the first video ever recorded of this reclusive animal. Naturally, scientists are very excited. Previously they had been thought to be loners and seeing them in a pod of 10 or 12 has given them new insight. They have no idea how many of these whales exist. The article and video are well worth a read.

As usual, Wolfgang Puck was interviewed about the food he is providing for the Choc OscarsGovernor’s Ball this year. Apparently it will all be hors d’oeuvres or finger foods this year, no sit down dinner. Two of the things he is serving are macaroni and cheese with truffles and chicken pot pie with truffles. Sorry, even with truffles, those two dishes do not fit my idea of a luxury meal. Neither dish is something I eat much at any time and certainly wouldn’t want to on such an occasion. What I would like to get hold of are some of the chocolate Oscars. A bunch of school kids on GMA were given one apiece yesterday, I want, I want. Apparently they are covered in edible gold.

One of the regular emails I get is called Recipe du Jour. Yesterday, Rich Rowand, one of the owners, wrote the following:

Rich's Note: Porcelain Unicorn
My brother-in-law, a pastor, and I exchange interesting emails, jokes, Porcelain Unicorn
videos, and such as I'm sure many of you also do. I received the following from him yesterday and wanted to share it with you:
(In 2010) "British film director Sir Ridley Scott launched a global film making contest for aspiring directors. It's titled "Tell It Your Way". There were over 600 entries. The film could be no longer than three minutes, contain only six lines of narrative, and must be a compelling story. The winner was "Porcelain Unicorn" from American director Keegan Wilcox."

Do watch the movie, it is extremely powerful and worth seeing.

Hmm, I have just seen part of Barbara Walters’ programme about cosmetic surgery and there was a segment about an 84 yr. old female executive who decided to have breast implants in order to still be competitive in the business world. 84???? She was so pleased she has had several facial surgeries since. Incredible. A girl I used to know had her the skin round her eyes done for much the same reason and I know that cost $15,000 – a) is it really worth it and b) you have to have money anyway.

I got this recipe from and thought it would be a useful addition to my recipe collection.

Quick Chicken and Vegetable Indian Curry

Posted By On February 24, 2012 @ 12:10 am In Lifestyle

(NC)—Using a jar of store bought curry paste gives authentic flavour to this easy dinner. Adjust the spice level as you make it or substitute hot for the mild if you prefer.QuickChickenCurry

2 tbsp (25 mL) vegetable oil
1 medium onion, cut in thin wedges
1 lb (500 g) sliced fresh Mushrooms (white or crimini)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3–4 tbsp (45–60 mL) mild Indian curry paste
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
1 lb (500 g) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into quarters
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes
3 cups (750 mL) small broccoli or cauliflower florets
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) lentils, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh coriander
1/2 cup (125 mL) plain low fat yogurt

In large deep non–stick saucepan heat oil over medium–high heat. Add onion and stir–fry 2–3 minutes and then add mushrooms and stir–fry for 3–4 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in garlic, 3 tbsp (45 mL) curry paste and cinnamon; then add quartered chicken thighs and stir–fry 2–3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with juice; cover and reduce heat to medium–low and cook about 10 minutes. Taste and stir in more curry if desired. Add broccoli or cauliflower and lentils; bring to boil, cover and cook about 3–5 minutes or until broccoli is crisp –tender. Stir in cilantro and serve topped with a dollop of yogurt. Accompany it with naan bread or basmati rice.

Makes 5 servings


• Any leftovers can be reheated and rolled up in a warm roti or whole wheat tortilla.

• Fresh coriander, used in Indian cooking is the same herb as cilantro, which is the Latin American name for it.

• To preserve the bright green colour of the broccoli you could microwave or steam on the stove separately and then stir into the curry at the end of cooking time.

Have a great weekend


Friday, February 24, 2012

32,000 yr. Seeds, Bowling.

plant-grown-from-32000-year-old-seed_49020_600x450I was fascinated by an article from National Geographic describing how the Russians have regenerated a seed from a 32,000 yr. old seed. The oldest yet apparently. The seeds were encased in ice and unearthed from 124 ft. below the permafrost and they figure they were buried by a squirrel. The seeds were surrounded by pre historic animals which were also frozen. To me its incredible something so old could be brought back to life. The plant itself is native to Siberia. The seeds were, in fact, damaged, they think by the squirrel itself, but there was enough viable material for them to be able to do the regeneration.

Had a pretty good day yesterday, went to a Red Lobster for lunch with all our Pin_Animation1[1]Travel League bowling friends and actually ate some lobster tails. Then we went bowling, and I had one bad game, one good game and then I had to duck out, my legs were aching like mad. Then 2 of our friends came back with us for a drink. Actually the Dutch couple that I have been nagging about the Ollie Bollen. LOL. Needless to say I was bugging them today. For supper we finished off the rest of the crêpes and this time I tried mine with Nutella, not bad.

The following is supposed to be a healthy dessert, its not very high calorie I must admit, 143.hot_fudge_pudding_cake

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

WebMD Recipe from

Serve this dense, fudgy pudding cake with vanilla frozen yogurt.

Servings: 12

Recipe Ingredients:
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1/3 cup sugar
  3. 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  7. 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  8. 2 tablespoons canola oil
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. 1/4 cup pecan halves, toasted
  11. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  12. 1 1/3 cups hot strong coffee
Recipe Steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Combine milk, egg, oil and vanilla in a glass measuring cup. Make a well in center of the dry ingredients and gradually pour in the milk mixture, stirring until combined. Stir in pecans. Spoon into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  3. Dissolve brown sugar in coffee; spoon over batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes; serve hot or warm.

Have a great day


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mastectomies, Pancake Day, Alzheimer Hope, The Iron Lady.

Breast Cancer RibbonNews item on CBC at the moment, 9 women in Newfoundland and Labrador are suing because they had unnecessary mastectomies: their tests were misread!!! Eastern Health will not part with the tissue samples as they are the only ones they have, but have said a visiting pathologist is welcome to go to the labs where the testing was done. It turns out the samples showed pre-cancerous cells, NOT cancer cells. One woman, who had both breasts removed was told later that she wouldn’t get breast cancer ‘cos she’d never had it. As she hasn’t gotBreast Cancer breasts now either, I would say that was even more certain. I know I would be absolutely livid if it happened to me. I just looked at some pictures and there are some god-awful ones, I didn’t know that breast cancer could produce such dreadful symptoms. One tends to treat it much more lightly these days as there is so much they can do. After looking at those pictures, I have changed my mind. This picture is a fairly innocuous one. Having been converted myself after avoiding tests for years, ladies get you mammograms done.

crepe 001We enjoyed our crêpes on Tuesday, Matt had his with Maple syrup and I went the butter, sugar and lemon juice route. I made 8 crêpes in all so we have enough for a second helping – probably tonight. Its quite a while since I last made them, I am always dieting on Shrove Tuesday. I quite like the frozen ones from the grocery store, but Matt doesn’t as they are slightly sweetened. The picture shows the top one of the stack of 8. They were very good by the way.

Just read about another possible treatment for Alzheimer’s from my CARPAlzheimer's newsletter. What is great is that it is a drug  (Bexarotene) which is already approved for use in humans for skin cancer treatment, but in mice it appears to improve Alzheimer symptoms very quickly, and they are about to start clinical trials on humans. This is an illness which has always frightened me especially as some of my relatives had dementia in one form or another before they died. It really is a pretty dreadful disease, terrifying for both the patient and their family. 

Iron LadyI made it to see The Iron Lady last night and was surprised how many people were in the theatre. I was surprised the film started with her living with Alzheimer’s – I have since read she had several small strokes which could mean she has cerebral dementia – and proceeded with back flashes from her memories plus discussions with her husband who was actually no longer alive. It was very well done and I think Meryl Streep did a very good job, but I would like to have seen a lot more of her life, I have been reading that she was a chemist and then a barrister, none of which was mentioned in the movie. I would be hard put to say whether I enjoyed the movie or not. I certainly enjoyed most of it, but didn’t like the angle they used. On the other hand, maybe a portrayal of a great lady suffering from dementia was a good way of portraying her life. I recommend you see the movie and decide for yourself. I am glad I saw it. I just read that the film was focusing on the price she paid for power.

Today we have Travel League bowling with regular bowling tomorrow. Dunno if my legs can cope, we shall see.

I am planning this chicken dish within the next day or two.

Arroz con Pollo

From EatingWell: January/February 2011

Arroz con pollo, or chicken cooked with rice, is a common dish in Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean. We use quick-cooking brown rice here to help you get this on the table in just 40 minutes. Serve with a mixed green Arroz con Pollosalad tossed with cilantro-lime vinaigrette.

4 servings

  • 2 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs and/or drumsticks (about 8 pieces), skin removed, trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup instant brown rice
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  1. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add half the chicken pieces, skinned-side down. Cook until browned on one side, 4 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken; transfer to the plate.
  2. Add onion, garlic and tomato sauce to the pot and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broth and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Stir in rice, return the chicken to the pot, cover and simmer until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165°F, 8 minutes. Stir in vegetables, cover and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve the chicken over the rice.

Have a great day


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Apple and Movies

Did you know Apple is Chinese owned? I surely didn’t. Bill Weir of Good Morning America and Nightline has recently visited some of their plants in China: they work long hours 6 days a week for very poor pay. Because some of their workers have Apple Logorecently committed suicide, the owners, Foxconn, have decided to open up a bit. They recently gave their workers a 1¢ raise. You really should read the article. It is too late to recommend you watch Nightline as it was last night. Mentioned this to a friend and she didn’t seem surprised because so many things are outsourced these days. The problem is the condition in which these things are made. One of the workers Bill Weir saw had never seen a finished iPod although she spends her days making such things. I knew a lot of IT was outsourced, but once again my naivety is showing, because I didn’t know how much manufacturing is outsourced nor that Apple is Chinese now. I missed Nightline, but did see a report on another programme – Bill Weir talked to one worker who spent 12 hours a day smoothing out the apple on the iPads where the logo had been stamped out, her rate of pay is $2/hr.

Last night we watched an excellent movie called The World’s Fastest IndianFastest Indian starring Sir Anthony Hopkins about a guy called Burt Munro from New Zealand who managed to get to the Bonneville Flats in Utah to do a time trial for his Indian motor cycle. A fascinating story and after the movie ended it said he went back again to Bonneville 9 times and his record still stands today. I hadn’t intended to watch the movie but I am so glad I did. Sir Anthony was brilliant, absolutely great acting. Munro was quite an incredible guy and seemed to attract friends and help wherever he went. Most of the film he spent sleeping in his car as he had little or no money. He managed to get assistance in some places, starting with a transvestite receptionist in a motel, an old girl along the highway who had lost her husband 12 years before and wanted a cuddle and then a whole bunch of people when he got to the Bonneville Flats. Wonderful story.

This evening I am planning to go see The Iron Lady with a friend. Meryl Streep playing Margaret Thatcher. I hope its good. I don’t understand why the distribution has been so limited. One friend in France who has seen the movie, didn’t think much of it, I hope I disagree with her.

This recipe appeared in my Inbox yesterday as something for Mardi Gras, didn’t give anyone much time, but I will probably try it with my NC shrimp. Sounds pretty good.

Grilled Shrimp Rémoulade

WebMD Recipe from

An updated and untraditional rémoulade makes a tangy sauce for these spice-rubbed shrimp. While this is a warm-weather favorite on the grill, you can also cook the shrimp under a preheated broiler. Cook shrimp on a lightly sprayed broiler grilled_shrimp_remouladerack, about 4 inches from the heat, for a winter warmer any night of the week.

Servings: 4

Recipe Ingredients:

Rémoulade Sauce
  1. 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  2. 1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  3. 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  4. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  5. 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, such as
  1. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  2. 2 teaspoons paprika
  3. 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  4. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  7. 36 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1 pound)
Recipe Steps:
  1. To prepare sauce: Mix mayonnaise, yogurt, parsley, mustard and hot sauce in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Preheat grill to high.
  3. To prepare shrimp: Combine cumin, paprika, coriander, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat with spices. Thread the shrimp onto four 12-inch skewers. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the shrimp until just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Carefully remove the shrimp from the skewers. Serve immediately, with the sauce.

Have a great day


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bowling, Matt’s Cold, Passport Expiry.

Monday we bowled, Thursday we bowl, Friday we bowl. I am not sure my legs will take it. Considering they have been used so little whilst I have been unwell, they are taking something of a hamm5-pinering now. My shoulder, which was the main problem, is totally well behaved and gives me no problem at all other than an odd twinge now and again. Thursday is, of course, our Travel League which takes place once a month. This time we are going to the local Red Lobster before hand. I have only been to a Red Lobster once and wasn’t overly impressed. Ontario is really too far from the sea. However, that was probably 25 years ago, so maybe I will be more impressed this time.

Poor Matt has a cold, we neither of us remember the last time he had one. He coldsays 50 years, I don’t know if its really that long, but it is a fact neither of us do get colds although I had one last winter and now he has one this winter. Guess I will have to do some hunting to find out what one does these days, echinacea springs to mind. No, according to what I read, echinacea isn’t much use. In fact as youngsters we were always told there really isn’t a cure, you just have to work through it and it doesn’t sound as though much has changed. I am not sure, but I don’t think I have one, but I do seem to have some allergies at the moment.

I just realised that our passports run out next month, thanks to my Palm. I haven’t been using iCanadian Passportt very much lately, so its lucky I happened to check it yesterday. I downloaded forms which I filled in on line, but we have to get photos taken of course although one no longer has to get anyone to sign them to id you. Used to be a bit of a nuisance finding someone who was ‘approved’. I don’t know if its still the same, but we used to get British passports for 10 years, Canadian ones are only for 5 years. They aren’t cheap either, $87 each. We are still able to apply for British passports as we have dual nationality, but it is much easier to get a Canadian one by going to an office in town, the UK applications have to be sent to a consul or embassy.

We have some very good friends who are Dutch in origin. This weekend at their church the various nationalities did a “table” to celebrate Family Day which was on Monday, 20th. Among the things on display, were Ollie Bollen which is kind of a Dutch doughnut. I have never eaten them, but I looked up the recipe and I am sharing it with you. They look pretty good don’t they? I am going to do some nagging until our friend makes us some.

Oliebollen (Dutch Doughnuts)

Submitted By: FlourGirl. Photo By: WENSMITH

Servings: 12

"Ollie-bollen, or (Oliebollen) is a dutch pastry similar to a doughnut. It typically is a deep fried pastry filled with raisins and dusted with powdered sugar. Some modern variations serve them topped with berry filling, but this is a traditiOllie Bollenonal recipe. Oliebollen are a traditional treat on New Year's"


1 (0.6 ounce) cake compressed fresh yeast

1 cup lukewarm milk

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 egg

3/4 cup dried currants

3/4 cup raisins

1 Granny Smith apple - peeled, cored and finely chopped

1 quart vegetable oil for deep-frying

1 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting


Break up the compressed yeast, and stir into the warm milk. Let stand for a few minutes to dissolve. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir the yeast mixture and egg into the flour and mix into a smooth batter. Stir in the currants, raisins and apple. Cover the bowl, and leave the batter in a warm place to rise until double in size. This will take about 1 hour.

Heat the oil in a deep-fryer, or heavy deep pan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Use 2 metal spoons to shape scoops of dough into balls, and drop them carefully into the hot oil.

Fry the balls until golden brown, about 8 minutes. The doughnuts should be soft and not greasy. If the oil is not hot enough, the outside will be tough and the insides greasy. Drain finished doughnuts on paper towels and dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve them piled on a dish with more confectioners' sugar dusted over them. Eat them hot if possible.

Have a great day


Monday, February 20, 2012

Snow, Batteries, Food and Wine, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.

Saturday morning we awoke to thick snow. I think its still winter after all although we certainly haven’t had much of the white stuff lately. However, it didn’t last very long, the roads had melted by lunchtime and the rest is disappearing fast. Very odd winter indeed.

Toshiba batteryOK, I’m naïve, I had no idea a laptop battery only lasted 2-3 years. I thought, because one recharges them, they lasted forever. Duuuh. So now I have to buy a new one. I guess we have been spending money like its gone out of style with new furniture, tech help, super’s help, and now a new battery. Oy vay. They are incredibly expensive things, I looked into getting one with a 4 hour life once, no way, much too expensive for me, even a 2 hr. battery costs in the region of $100. OK, I’m in luck, my tech guy is getting me one for $80.

Saturday supper I did a Steak Dianne again, I am now officially bored with that andSteak Diane probably won’t cook it again for quite a few years. We opened a bottle of our Clos du Val Zinfandel to go with it. Excellent meal followed by a nice piece of brie which goes well with a good red wine. I will now be looking for nice recipes for fillets. I could probably take pepper steak one more time, not sure, but I need more recipes for steaks. Plain steaks are definitely in the boring range these days. Matt thinks I’m nuts but….

Judi DenchI was very sorry to read that Judi Dench is battling blindness as she has macular degeneration and is having problems reading her scripts and even seeing people she is with. I have seen what that’s like, we have a bowling friend who has similar problems. He still bowls well – bugs me, he can’t see and gets strike, I can see and don’t. However, I digress. I have loved Judi Dench for years and think she is wonderful. She got an Academy Award for Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love, she was a principal character in a TV series we loved called As Time Goes By, this was a British comedy series which is still being shown on PBS. Lately she has been playing M in the James Bond movies, and that’s to name a few things she has been on stage and screen for many years now. Apparently she is not thinking of retiring at the moment, she is 77. At the moment she has friends, family and her agent reading her parts to her.

Sadly my favourite programme has finished for another year, DowntDownton Abbey 2on Abbey, the last episode was on Sunday night. I have heard that Shirley McLaine is going to be in the next series. That should make it interesting so long as they can keep the story up to its previous standard. So far, it has been excellent. I understand it has won all kinds of awards and I am not surprised. It is certainly one of the best series I have seen in many a year. Funnily enough there is a new movie coming up this year called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Maggie Smith, who is in Downton Abbey, is in it as is Judi Dench.

I always enjoy Bruschetta and this is a variation on the usual.

Bruschetta Duet

Source: Quick From Scratch - Italian

Serves 4Bruschetta Duet

AdvertisementWe like the variety here--the same toast spread with two different toppings. The green-olive tapenade, which uses pre-pitted olives, can be made in minutes with a blender or food processor. The sautéed mushroom topping is equally savory hot or at room temperature.

8 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons butter

3/4 pound mushrooms, chopped fine

3 cloves garlic, 2 minced, 1 smashed

1/4 teaspoon salt

Fresh-ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried sage

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus 1/3 cup lightly packed leaves

1/2 cup pitted green olives

1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice



In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil with the butter over moderately high heat. Add the mushrooms, the minced garlic, the salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and the sage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley. Remove from the heat.

In a blender or food processor, put the olives, parsley leaves, smashed garlic, anchovy paste, the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Blend or process to a coarse puree.

Spread the mushroom mixture on eight of the bruschetta, and the tapenade on the rest.


Bruschetta can be topped with endless combinations of ingredients. Some of our favorites to try:
*Chopped tomato and basil
*Diced roasted bell peppers with crumbled goat cheese
*Drained canned tuna and capers
*Strips of Parmigiano-Reggiano
*A split garlic clove rubbed over the toast, followed by a generous drizzle of olive oil