Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Project 365

I love to scrapbook...I don't get much time to do it, but when I do, I thoroughly enjoy myself. So when I stumbled upon Project 365 by Becky Higgins, I thought this was the perfect way to ensure I keep up with my scrapbooking.

The idea is that you take one photo every day to capture your life..not just the significant events. Then you scrapbook one week on a 2 page layout. The Project 365 kit looks fantastic, but I decided I would make my own layout with colours I love. So I went to my local scrapbook store to pick out papers (and thankfully Janet had just completed an album in the colours I chose, so she was able to help me out!!). And then I picked up my first week of photos from Blacks. I'm excited to do my first week!

Anyways, I've posted a few pictures that reflect my first week of project 365. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday #7

Happy New Year! In honour of New Year's celebrations, I chose an appetizer for my What's Cooking Wednesday post today. Soooooo good!

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

1 package of low salt bacon (I used pork, but I'm sure it would work with turkey bacon too)
1 can of whole, peeled water chestnuts

1 cup of ketchup

1/2 cup brown sugar

Cut bacon strips in half. Drain water chestnuts. Wrap one 1/2 strip of bacon around one water chestnut. Secure with a toothpick and place in a baking dish. Continue until all bacon is used up.

Bake at 350F for about 40 minutes.

Heat the ketchup and sugar in a pot, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. After the 40 minutes, drain off any grease from the bacon. Cover each bacon wrap with the ketchup mixture. Return dish to oven for another 10-15 minutes.

Serve immediately!
These are so good...they were devoured quickly! I think next time I make them, I will add the sauce sooner so it becomes more caramelized....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday #6

So we've all been sick this week, so I'm going back to my recipe files to find a yummy meal (I'll post a picture when I make it again) for this week's What's Cooking Wednesday

Sweet Potato Salad
2 large sweet potatoes, peel and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used safflower oil)
1 cup diced celery
1/4-1 cup diced red bell peppers
sea salt & fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (I didn't have any, but it was fine without!)
1 green onion, thinly sliced
salad greens

Steam sweet potato cubes for 6 to 8 minutes, until just tender. Do not overcook. While potatoes steam, whisk vinegar, mustard, and honey in a small bowl. Slowly add oil in a thin stream, whisking until dressing emulsifies.

Place diced celery and red peppers in a serving bowl. Add steamed potatoes and dressing. Stir gently, add salt and pepper to taste, set aside for a few minutes. When salad has cooled a little, toss in parsley and scallions. Serve on salad greens.

Steamed sweet potatoes are one of my favourite foods! My husband and I and my in-laws loved this meal...I've given up on the kids!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday #5

So I've finally decided to start cooking again (I could only handle sandwiches, waffles and pancakes for so long!) Last night I made Pork Tenderloin with Apple Stuffing...delicious!!

Here's the recipe:
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
2 T olive oil
2 small baking apples, cored and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 C fresh bread crumbs (2 large slices of stale bread)
1/2 tsp marjoram (next time I think I'll use sage)
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Wellesley apple butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.Split the tenderloin almost in half lengthwise. Place it between two sheets of waxed paper; pound it to about ½-inch thick.

Heat the butter or olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the apples and onion and sauté until lightly brown and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the bread crumbs and marjoram and toss with the apple-onion mixture until moistened through. Remove from heat.

Pepper and salt the inside of the tenderloin and spread the apple stuffing over the surface. Roll the tenderloin lengthwise and tie with kitchen string. Reheat the skillet over medium heat. Add oil and brown the pork on all sides. Place in a baking dish.

Baste the tenderloin with apple butter and bake for 45 minutes. Add apple butter 2 or 3 times over the course of baking. Remove from the oven; let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

(Picture to come)

I served this with mashed sweet potatoes and mixed frozen veggies. T loved it, the kids ate the meat, but nothing else!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Photo opp!

So a good friend of mine asked me to take some family photos..I've always loved taking pictures for myself, but have never done it for someone else. After this photo shoot experience, I've decided to take some courses to improve my skills so maybe someday I'll turn this into my own business....

If only I had more time!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

1st Day!

Today was M's first day of JK...and she did great!!! Not that I'm surprised..but I had half-hoped to see her nervous face when it was time to leave me. Instead, she said, Mommy, you don't have to walk me to the door. When did she become so brave?

Then there's me. Trying so hard not to burst into tears..and I succeeded..until M's teacher handed us a little note with a teabag attached. It basically said that this day was full of emotions, and that I should sit down with a cup of tea and know that my child was having a great day. I guess that was when the reality set in. My little girl was on her own...and now she has a whole new world of people influencing her day-to-day. I'm not sure I'm ready for that! She is so innocent..I want to protect her from the unkind words of strangers, the loneliness of making new friends. But I know she is a strong child that will stand her own. And I know deep down that she still does need me....

Then there's N. He has spent half the day trying to figure out where "Nina" is (his nickname for M is Nina..I have no idea why!) He doesn't understand that she is at school all day, and that he is actually stuck with me the whole day! I have to admit though, it's been nice being able to spend quality time with N. Mostly he just comes along for the ride, but today we got to focus on him. I imagine that will grow old pretty soon, but for now, I'm going to enjoy this time.

Friday, August 8, 2008

New beginnings

So after a month hiatus, I've decided to rejoin the world of blogging. I can't believe how quickly the summer goes by! I would be lying if I said I never want it to end...I am actually looking forward to September. I love September..crisp fall mornings, new beginnings and new routines!

Speaking of new beginnings, I have decided to start my own business as a Sales Consultant for Norwex Enviro Products ( The company sells a Microfiber cloth that contains silver, a natural antibacterial it is possible to clean your whole house with one cloth and water. Talk about easy!!! I was sold even before I attended a show!! And now that I've attended a few shows..I'm hooked! What I like best is that I'm actually cleaning the house, not just relocating the dirt! I'm looking forward to the challenge of having my own business and hope to have a success story to post at a later date!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Growing up

We were driving home from dinner tonight..I was in the passenger seat so I could turn around and talk to M. The conversation was pretty standard (a few knock-knock jokes, a few Dora or "M" stories created by me etc.) But then I looked back and M was picking her nose...for the nth time I said, "M, please don't pick your nose..use a Kleenex. It's disgusting!" Her usual response is "I don't need a Kleenex" and she quickly removes her finger. Tonight, however, my quick-witted child quipped "Then don't look!" I almost died laughing (maybe not an appropriate response, but I couldn't help myself)!!! How did she get to be so grown up!?!?!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday no. 4

A dinner perfect for when you're in a rush....Quick Fix next contribution to What's Cooking Wednesday


1 lb ground beef

1/2 c. onion, finely chopped

2 1/3 cup (18 oz) tomato juice

8 oz tomato sauce

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp oregano

1 bay leaf

dash of hot pepper sauce (optional)

1 pkg of spaghetti (454 g package)

Brown ground beef. Add onion and cook until onion is translucent. Add remaining ingredients, except spaghetti, plus salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Add uncooked spaghetti, pieces broken in half. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir often.
Serves 4-6.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sensitivity is a virtue...

So I was putting my son, N, to bed tonight, when I heard sobbing out side by door and what I thought was the word "pee" I quickly plopped N into bed and ran to check what was wrong. In the hall was my daughter, M, clutching the deflated remnants of a white balloon dog (the kind you get from clowns at special events) in her hands, sobbing "puppy." When I asked her what the problem was, she looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said, my doggie is all gone...I really liked my doggie..."

Man, we're in trouble if we ever get a real pet!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday no.3

T's on holidays this week, so I was feeling adventurous tonight. What's Cooking Wednesday no. 3 is Tomato and Sausage Risotto


1 can diced tomatoes (23 oz)

1 Tbsp olive oil

3/4 lb sausage with casing removed (or ground pork)

1 small onion, finely chopped

coarse salt, ground pepper to taste

1 cup Arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)

1 bunch flat-leaf spinach, washed and chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving

In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes with their juice and 3 cups of water. Bring just to a simmer; keep warm over low heat

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon until sausage is opaque and onion has softened, 3-5 minutes.

Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1-2 minutes. Add wine; cook stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Add about 2 cups of hot tomato mixture to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until absorbed 4-5 minutes. Continue to add 1 cup at a time of tomato mixture to rice, waiting until liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup. Stir occasionally until rice is creamy and just tender, about 25 minutes.

Remove pan from heat. Stir in spinach and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan if desired.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday #3

Trying to get my kids to eat healthy foods is always a I decided to invest in the cookbook "Deceptively Delicious" by Jessica Seinfeld. This week's What's Cooking Wednesday is a recipe from this cookbook...

Chocolate Chip Cookies (with chickpeas)

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups all purpose flour (I used whole wheat for more nutrition)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
3/4 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray (or use a Pampered chef baking sheet)

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter with a wooden spoon or on medium speed until smooth. Beat in egg whites and vanilla, then the chickpeas and chocolate chips. Add the flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed until a thick dough forms.

Drop dough by tablespoonful onto baking sheet, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. Press gently with a fork to flatten. Bake until the cookies are golden brown and just set, 11-13 minutes. Do not over bake. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

So my daughter was very excited that I was baking (it doesn't happen often!) When the cookies were cool, she begged to try them. She pointed to the chickpeas and said "What are those?" Like any good mother, I told a little white lie and said "Butterscotch chips." After the first few bites, she decided she didn't like the "butterscotch chips" and proceeded to eat around the chickpeas..oh well..I had good intentions!!! Next time I think I'll puree the chickpeas...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday - 2nd edition

So we've been eating pretty poorly the last few days (Swiss Chalet, Burger King..need I say more!) so I decided tonight I would make a healthy, but delicious recipe for the next instalment of What's Cooking Wednesday.

Vegetarian Chili


an assortment of chopped vegetables totalling around 2 cups (tonight I used carrots, celery, green onions, green pepper, broccoli and mushrooms)
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of beans in tomotato sauce (pork n beans without the pork!)
1/2 can of tomato sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder (this makes a mild version as my kids won't eat spicy food)
pinch of brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
cooked rice (I like basmati best!)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Cut all of your vegetables and place in a large saucepan. Add a little water and cook over medium-low heat until vegetables are slightly tender.

Add black beans, tomato beans, chili powder, brown sugar and salt and pepper. Stir until well mixed. Add enough tomato sauce to make it chili-like.

Cover and cook on medium low for about 1/2 hour until flavours are blended. Stir once in a while. If it is too liquidy, then take the lid off.

Spoon cooked rice into bowl and top with a healthy dose of the chili. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese. Enjoy!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Time will tell....

It was with great trepidation that today we decided to try nuts with M. With T's severe nut allergy, we have been holding off introducing nuts to our children. But M is starting school in the fall, so we decided it was time to know for sure whether she has an allergy or not!

There have been a few times in the past where we've thought about just giving her nuts and seeing what happened (I joked with my husband that we should have brought M to the hopsital when I was in labour with our second child, N, ...that way if she reacted, we were already at the hospital!!) But I couldn't bring myself to just feed nuts to her without knowing what might happen (I'm a bit of a control freak!) So on Monday, I took M to Wellesley Naturopathic Medicine for a sensitivity test to see whether her body was sensitive to any particular foods. When the test results came back with no sensitivities, I decided this was the push I needed to feed her nuts.

Today was the day...I offered M some Oatmeal Crisp which is laced with almonds. Perfect! She readily took it and even asked to eat more nuts! So far, no reaction...I guess only time will tell!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday

If only....I had discovered What's Cooking Wednesday sooner!!!

I've been trying to be diligent about creating meal plans each week to avoid the meltdowns that happen when I'm late with dinner. So far I'm about 50/50 in my sucess! When my sister started doing What's Cooking Wednesday on her blog, I thought this would be a great way to make sure I try at least one new recipe a week...and eventually have enough to create some great meal plans!

So here goes my first attempt...

Chicken Pot Pie with Green Leaf Salad
(adapted from Sandi Richard's Cooking for the Rushed)

1 tsp olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 onion
10 mushrooms
1/2 tsp each of salt and ground sage
1/4 tsp each of marjoram and thyme leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat oil in large frying pan on med-high. Cut chicken into bite size pieces and gradually add to pan as you cut. Toss until chicken is no longer pink.

While meat is browning, chop onion finely. Wash and slice mushrooms. Add to meat pan. Add spices and stir.

Add butter, flour and gradually add milk. Stir until thickened.

Rinse vegetables under cold water. Add to the meat pan, stirring until mixed. Cover and cook about 3 minutes. Pour this mixture into a rectangular baking dish.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

Serve with a green leaf salad, and hot fresh bread. Enjoy!
The original recipe calls for adding biscuits on top of the casserole and baking (I don't like soggy bread, so I didn't do this)
Use finely chopped fresh, in season, vegetables in place of the frozen vegetables.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Backyardigans Live!

If only...N was a little older..he could have experienced Backyardigans Live!

We took M to see a live Backyardigans show (Extraordinary Alien) ..we weren't sure how she would react, but I think she loved it! When we first got there she looked around in amazement at the size of the theatre and the amount of children there. Then she got freaked out when her chair kept closing on her when she sat she spent the rest of the concert sitting on my lap. When the show started her eyes were as big as saucers..just taking everything in. Then out of the blue she said, "Mommy, how come their mouths don't move when they talk?" Seriously..what child notices that sort of thing!?!?! By the end of the show, she was right into it..dancing and clapping to the music. She summed up the experience by saying"Why did the Backyardigans have to leave so soon?" I guess she had fun :)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

If only...he wasn't so cute!!!

My son N has me wrapped around his finger. All he has to do is look at me with those huge chocolate brown eyes. Add to that his charming smile, and I am helpless to say no...
If only....
I had been the first person to think of blogging!!!

Oh well, I'm thankful to whoever started this I have a place to keep my random thoughts with the hope of someday scrapbooking them (that's an "if only" for another day!) My sister introduced me to "blogging"..we've both recently entered the world of SAHM's and need an outlet to share our thoughts. Hopefully this will be the place for me!