Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Grocery Shopping

This week Brianne decided to do our grocery shopping. So we made a list, she walked to the store, did the shopping then we picked her up! Now that was a fast way to get our grocery shopping done!

I distinctly remember the first time I went grocery shopping for my Mom. We lived in a small town, 20 minutes from London so it was shortly after I got my driver's license. I got to take the car and drive on my own to London and purchase the groceries for the household. What a sense of freedom and accomplishment that was. There was also a certain level of pride that my Mom trusted me to buy the proper brands and pick out the fresh fruit and veggies. I remember thinking why didn't Mom want to do the shopping herself, it was fun!

Brianne came home from shopping thrilled to have been trusted to do it and excited to show us what she bought and the deals she found. She couldn't wait to go again.

Now I understand why my Mom didn't want to do the grocery shopping herself!

Sunday, July 29, 2007


I decided to make a peach raspberry blueberry cobbler to use up some of the produce I bought this weekend. As I was part way through I found that I was short on white flour but subsituted whole wheat and I think it worked!

It was yummy with frozen vanilla yoghurt.

I adapted this recipe from Diana's Desserts to use blueberries and raspberries:

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 pounds (about 5 cups or approximately 567grams) fresh blackberries
2 pounds fresh peaches (6 medium or 4 large peaches or approximately 907 grams), peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks/8 oz./226g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/4 cups milk

1 tablespoon granulated sugar (for sprinkling on top of the dough)

Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C. Spray a 9 x 13-inch (22cm x 33cm) glass or ceramic baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cornstarch and the 1 1/2 cups sugar. Add blackberries and peaches and toss to combine well. Transfer to baking dish and bake until just bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes. Leave oven set to 425°F/220°C.

While fruit is baking in oven, in another large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; then blend in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and stir just until a dough forms.

Drop 12 mounds of dough (about 1/3 cup each) onto hot fruit mixture, then sprinkle dough with the 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake cobbler in preheated 425°F/220°C oven until top is golden, 25 to 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or non-dairy whipped topping.

If necessary, cobbler may be made a day ahead, cooled completely uncovered, then placed in the refrigerator, covered. Before serving, let stand at room temperature 1 hour, then cover with aluminum foil and reheat in a preheated 350°F/180°C oven until warm, about 20 minutes.

Makes 12 servings.

Rock The Block

Yesterday afternoon and evening Steve was working with the Lions Club serving beer at the second Rock The Block event sponsored by The Beat. As this was a free concert and Hedley was going to be there I decided to the take Britt to see Hedley (she loves Hedley and Jacob Hoggard) and Brianne went along with a few friends as well.

We got there around 5:30 in time to see Faber Drive followed by Stabilo at 8pm and Hedley at 9:30 to 11.

Brianne was able to get a Stabilo member's autograph and we all certainly enjoyed Jacob's antics including him mooning the crowd! It was a great evening of Canadian Rock Music!

Here's a few pics:

Faber Drive


Salad Swap

I recently participated in another swap, this one a salad recipe swap through Go Scrapping. Look at all the wonderful recipes to try and layouts to scrap lift! Thanks Ladies!

Lunch in Port Stanley

On Friday, my daughters and I went to visit with Mom and took a quick excursion to Port Stanley. There we had a wonderful lunch at the Pineapple Room with the highlight being the desserts. The Pineapple Room offers courses in pie making so you know they are going to be good and they were! Brianne and Mom had fresh blueberry pie, I had lemon meringue pie with tons of meringue and Brittany had a creamy lavender brulee.

We then checked out a few of the local stores, visited the fishmonger to pick up pickeral for Dad and perch for Mom. We took a quick look at the beach then on the way back stopped in Aylmer at Spicers for my favourite cookie, date triblies. Except they were out of of them! Oh well, I quickly recovered and bought a variety of cookies for the girls and some cheese bread and Austrian buns as well. We also popped in to see my friend Nancy's new flower business for which she has lots of great plans. Back at Mom's house we checked out the squash and pumpkins(they're huge already!) as well as the other gardens and sampled her garlic jelly. The jelly was awesome!

I enjoyed spending the day with my Mom and my daughters, we'll have to do it again soon!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Border Crossing

This actually falls under the category of conversations with my daughters but it happened while we were recently crossing into the US for some shopping. The border guard asked all the usual questions, where were we going, how long we would be there,if we had anything to declare. I answered each question and ended by saying no I had nothing to declare. So as he let us proceed Brianne says under her breath, "I declare that I'm the Queen of Narnia!" If the guard had heard I don't think he would have been amused, I was though!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Family Jewels

I think Mom blogged about this show awhile back but I've just recently been watching more of these shows and they are funny! Gene Simmons Family Jewels is really a cute show. Yes Gene has an ego and in public maintains his rockstar, womanizing persona who is definitely out to make bucks(but who can blame him as the son of a single parent who survived the holocaust). But at home he's a typical father to two teenagers. How proud he is of his children is evident in every show even when his son is making a joke at his expense. And speaking of his son, Nick, he's tall, dark and way better looking than his father(although when his Dad gets that Demon make up on look out!). His partner of 23 years Shannon Tweed is clearly the one who runs the house. And his daughter Sophie challenges Gene at evey opportunity. They appear to be a well adjusted family who tease each other but clearly love each other. One of my favourite episodes is when the family goes camping in a camper painted with an ad for Endure Rx, its hilarious!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Another Random Conversation with my Daughter

I had an interesting conversation with my daughter Brittany on the way home from soccer tonight. We drove by a retirement home and she said she wouldn't want to live in one but she'd have enough money for me if I wanted/needed to live in one someday. I said, "pardon me" and she said, "oh yea Mom, I'll make sure you have enough money to live there." So I said I'd rather live with her and her response was "What, do you think I'm insane?"

New Cards and layouts

I haven't posted any new cards or layouts lately so here are a few cards and 8 by 8 layouts I've made here and there over the past few months. I hope to post some more cards and updated layouts soon!

My Harry Potter Alter Ego Is......

It was a tie but one question tipped me to Harry Potter. I'm only 20% Voldemort thank goodness! But I do seem to have a fair bit of Snape in me....that means he must be a good guy right?

You scored as Harry Potter, You can be a little reckless and hot-headed at times, but a more brave and courageous friend would be hard to find.

Remus Lupin


Harry Potter


Severus Snape


Albus Dumbledore


Sirius Black


Hermione Granger


Draco Malfoy


Ron Weasley


Ginny Weasley


Lord Voldemort


Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with QuizFarm.com

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Photo Shoot!

Here's some fun pics Steve took of the girls while we were in Niagara Falls!

Great Wolf Lodge

This past weekend we spent two nights at Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls. Steve won a gift certificate some time ago and we finally got around to being able to use it! It was a great place!

On arrival,we were upgraded to a room with fireplace, balcony and loft! The girls took over the second story loft and were thrilled with their own tv and powder room area!

We then headed down to the water park and were extremely impressed with the number of slides and other water features. The girls went staight to the larger raft tube rides immediately and went down a few times before we went back to the room to rest up for the next day!

The next morning, we slept in a bit then headed down for breakfast. Breakfast was included in our package and although it was busy, the food was pretty good! I had a fresh made omelette as did Steve and the girls loaded up on pancakes, waffles and sausage.

We then spent the rest of the morning and afternoon enjoying the park. The lines weren't really too bad and the girls were able to go down the slides numerous times. We all enjoyed the lazy river and I went down the 'toilet bowl' slide that was quite fun! I went down some of the raft slides as well, they start inside, go outside and finish up inside. We also spent some time lounging by the outdoor pool in the sun.

In the evening we drove down to the falls and dinner at Planet Hollywood. We checked out the nearby Hershey store too and had a mini-photoshoot with the girls in the gardens(I'll post those pics separately).

We then slept in the following morning and took a leisurely drive home with a detour to Chapters to pick up the newest Harry Potter book! It was a great mini-vacation!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Saturday BBQ

Well, we finally broke in the rotisserie Steve got for Father's Day and decided to use our friends John and Dana and their kids Cole and Jaiden as guinea pigs!

We prepared Prime Rib rubbed with grainy mustard and rosemary on the rotisserie and it actually turned out OK! It was a tad rarer than I would normally eat but still good! I'd make it again!

Then we had our first feed of sweet corn and it was yummy! I made a pesto butter that went wonderfully with it(1/4 cup butter, 1 T basil, 1 clove garlic and 2T grated parmesan).

And for dessert we had Triple Chocolate Pizza. It uses a chocolate chip cookie base then a whitechocolate/cream cheese/whip cream spread followed by fresh fruit and then drizzled with more chocolate. This was definitely a keeper and since it makes such a large amount is great for company or potlucks!

Here's the recipe!

Triple Chocolate Pizza

2 pkgs Chocolate Chip cookie dough (or double choc. Cookie dough)
1 pkg cream cheese
2 squares white chocolate
¼ cup icing sugar
2 cups Cool Whip or fresh whipped cream (frozen whipped topping – thawed)
Small box of strawberries
2 bananas
1 small can mandarin oranges (optional)
2 kiwis (optional)
½ cup chocolate chips
1 tsp oil

Roll out cookie dough onto stoneware bar pan and bake 12-15 mins at 350 until edges are soft. Do not overbake – cookie will be soft.

Place white chocolate in microwave and melt chocolate and stir until smooth. Combine cream cheese and icing sugar into white chocolate. Fold in whipped topping. Spread this mixture onto cooled cookie.

Slice and arrange bananas, strawberries, and whatever other fruit you would like over cream cheese mixture. Take about ¼ cup of choc. chips and add oil and melt in microwave and stir until smooth. Drizzle on top of fruit. Take other ¼ cup of choc. chips and place in grater and grate over top. Slice, serve and enjoy!

And I saved the best for last! Jaiden is at that really cute stage (just over two) where she will do almost anything you tell her so we got some fun pics of her!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ladies Who Lunch

On Friday, the girls and I made a quick trip to see Grandma and enjoyed lunch at Dishington's Tea Room in Lambeth. It was a great day for a drive and we had a good visit. Of course the highlight of lunch were the pies and Chocolate Explosion dessert but the quiche, pasta and salads were good as well!

Then on the way home we took the back route and made a stop at the Best Little Pork Shoppe in Shakespeare for London Broil. Brianne my picky meat eater even likes it!

More Garden Pics

A few random pics from the garden.This lily is called Darling Deception.

Another daylily.


Roses from the garden.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I don't visit the library anymore.

But my girls went there today and came home with a pile of books to read! Oh, the pleasures of the summer school break!

And I shouldn't say I don't go the library anymore, actually I do, just not as much as I used to. And that's because my Mom and Aunt are voracious readers and keep me well supplied with books! As does my husband Steve. He reads crime novels a couple of which I've read lately and they've intruded on my dreams!

The first of the crime novels I've read recently is Shadowman by Cody McFadyen and it is definitely a hard to put down page turner. This is the first novel by this author and he has just released his second called The Face of Death.

I will definitely be looking to read it sometime this summer.

The second is Mary Mary by James Patterson featuring his character Alex Cross. This was another page turner and was the one that I actually dreamt about. I'll definitely be reading more of this series as well.

All three of these books have been rated by other readers on Amazon at a 4 or above out of 5.

And here's some of the other books I've read recently. Some of these reflect the trend to base fiction on real life events which I do enjoy(has this happened since the success of the Davinci Code?). Steve Berry's books are very good and I also enjoy Phillipa Gregory. I've read a couple of her books including The Other Boleyn Girl which I hear is being made into a movie. Amanda Quick novels are a nice light treat(I don't dream about them!) and Patricia Cornwell is another favourite. Cat in Hot Pink Pursuit is a book my Mom gave me and had an interesting twist with the character of a cat narrating and solving the crime(you have to read it to get it!).

Now to decide what to read next!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Sherkston Shores 2007

This weekend we spent camping at Sherkston Shores on Lake Erie with my sister and her family, husband Willie and sons Brock and Brayden. They were there earlier in the week so when we joined them we simply unloaded a bit of food, set up the tent and were ready to go. We did have some fun setting up the tent in a bit of shower. We did things a bit backwards by getting the fly on before staking the tent and praying a big gust of wind didn't catch the tent while we were all holding it down! And just to be clear I am a fair weather and RV kind of camper. No sleeping in tents for me(except at Kin kamp and then only because my family forces me!)So while the kids slept in the tent, the adults slept comfortably in the RV!

Friday evening we took it easy with a few drinks and a late campfire with smores!

Saturday after a bacon and egg breakfast we headed down to the beach. This beach is one of the few that let you drive your cars on so a lot of people launch their seadoos straight from the beach! There was a brisk breeze that created some nice waves and kept us cool. Unfortunately, the breeze was a bit deceiving and I got sunburned! The kids had a great time on their boogie boards and playing frisbee. We had a mid-afternoon lunch back at the trailer then headed to the pool for a bit before dinner. That evening we enjoyed another campfire and smores. Sherry and the boys played a game of pick up the increasingly smaller paper bag from the ground using only their lips which made for some interesting pictures and a lot of laughs! The park also puts on an awesome fireworks show at 10 pm every Saturday night was really good.

Sunday morning was overcast and a bit threatening so we took down the tent before heading to the beach. The wind was stronger and the kids enjoyed the even larger waves until security came to advise everyone to leave the water due to the undertow. It was strong enough to pick up the sand in the waves! The kids still had at least 45 minutes of good body surfing though. So then we had lunch, packed up and headed home the back way following the Grand River up from Dunnville.

Here's a slide show with just a few of the pics Steve took!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My Daughters Decide to Cook

Today the girls decide to make some recipes my Everyday Food magazines. And they turned out well and tasted yummy!
First are the chive bicuits.Brittany told Brianne where the chives were!

Then macaroni and cheese

And finally shortbread, Brianne's specialty.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Another New Recipe

Tonight with pork tenderloin, we had veggies with poppyseed dip( a new favourite of Britt's).

Grilled cantaloupe. It tasted good but I'm not sure I'd make this again.

And Orzo and Zucchini Salad.

This recipe is from the July issue of Everyday Food and I'll definitely make this salad again. It is light but flavourful! And I used fresh basil from my herb pot outside the kitchen door!

Here's the recipe:
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup orzo
1 T plus 1 tsp olive oil
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove,minced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1 to 2 T white wine vinegar

Cook orzo till al dente, drain well, spread on baking sheet to cool completely.
Heat 1 T olive oil add zucchini and garlic, season with salt and pepper, cook tossing occasionally until tendercrisp, about 4 to 6 minutes.
In medium bowl mix zucchini, basil, vinegar and reamining 1 tsp oil. Season with salt and pepper, toss to combine.
If storing, cover and refridgerate up to 1 day, bring to room temp before serving.

Berry Crazy!!

I love long weekends! There is time to actually enjoy the smaller things in life, like breakfast with berries.

A yummy yoghurt, granola and berry parfait.

And then fluffy pancakes with berries made by Steve and Brittany!

The themed slide show is fun but here's a colour pic of the pancakes! Need to show off the berries!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

New Recipes

Well, I tried two new recipes today and they are both keepers!

The first is the Watermelon and Feta salad from Everyday Food.
Doesn't it look yummy!

For me the natural sweetness of the watermelon offset the slightly peppery taste of the arugula and the salty taste of the feta.

Here's the recipe:

2 T white wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper,to taste
3 bunches arugula(about 12 oz. total)
1/4 medium red onion,thinly sliced
2 to 3 cups chilled watermelon, cut into small chunks
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled or cubed

Whisk together vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.
Combine arugula and onion, toss with dressing. Gently toss with watermelon and feta.

The second is from the July issue of MS Living and is called Tiny Cherry and Almond Tea cakes.
And don't they look yummy too?

It was Brianne's idea to add a dusting of icing sugar. These are good with the cherries just starting to become juicy and soft. I think I would add a bit of almond flavouring next time to give a stronger almond taste. Also I didn't have Cherry Brandy so used Chambord but I think the Cherry Brandy would also have stronger taste.

Here's the recipe:
Makes 30( I made 28)
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for muffin tin
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for tin
1 1/4 cups finely ground unblanched almonds
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
5 large egg whites
4 teaspoons kirsch (cherry brandy)
30 sweet (Bing) cherries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush 30 cups of 2 mini-muffin tins with butter, and dust lightly with flour.
Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When it begins to sputter, reduce heat to medium. Cook, swirling skillet occasionally, until butter has lightly browned. Skim foam from top, and remove skillet from heat.
Whisk together flour, ground almonds, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add egg whites, and whisk until smooth. Stir in kirsch. Pour in butter, leaving any dark-brown sediment in skillet, and whisk to combine. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Ladle 1 tablespoon batter into each buttered muffin cup, filling about halfway. Push a cherry into each, keeping stem end up. With a small spoon, smooth batter over cherries to cover. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean and cakes are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges to loosen, and unmold. Cakes can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature overnight.