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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

For Your Information

Please watch this area for important information like updates, food recalls, polls, contests, coupons, and freebies.
  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
  • [February 1, 2016] - An interesting report on why you should always choose organic tea verses non-organic: Toxic Tea (pdf format)
  • Sticky Post - Warning: 4ever Recap reusable canning lids. The reports are growing daily of these lids losing their seal during storage. Some have lost their entire season's worth of canning to these seal failures!

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

National Soup Month

Waving hi and Happy New Year!

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere it is easy to see why January is National Soup Month.  The cold, blustery, snowy winter days are perfect soup days!  Soup is much more than comfort food.  It is one of the most frugal dishes you can make.  When made from scratch soup is a mere pennies per serving, considerably less expensive and healthier than commercially canned version, and an ultimate budget stretcher.   They are a lot easier to make than the food industry would have you believe.  The best part about homemade soups is you can easily tailor them to your tastes.

Chicken Noodle Soup
As our time in the sunny south drew to a close, my craving for homemade soups grew.  We left there a week ago Saturday making the trip north, not making a good of time as we wanted.  We were delayed due to a system going through Georgia and somehow during the last few days there, I picked up a bit of a stomach bug.  We arrived home Sunday.  I went immediately into winter mode!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup is a winter staple.  It really is just what the doctor ordered for cold and flu season.   Easy Pressure Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup is a quicker way to make the longer cook version.  Both versions are delicious, easy to make, soups. 

Ontario, Canada is currently experiencing a hydro crisis with rates soaring.  Gosh, when I started this blog over 10 years ago, our hydro rates were one the lowest in Canada but those days are long gone.  I am so glad we switched to natural gas for cooking when we moved here.  If you live in Ontario or anywhere where hydro is expensive, I highly recommend using a pressure cooker for making soups and stews.  This is one of the most cost effective tools you can use in the kitchen especially when trying to conserve cooking fuel especially hydro.  Many long simmer soups and stews can be made in a pressure cooker in about 40 minutes. 


Sunday, February 07, 2016

The Final Wind Down to Superbowl 50 (2016)

In less than five hours the house will be filled with guests.  The week has been a whirlwind of preparations and yet surprisingly calm.  As with most of our entertaining, I relied on the tried and true dishes then added in a couple new dishes that hopefully will become favourites.  Yesterday, I made the pulled pork in the oven so the house smelled delicious during the long, slow cooking.  Today is more of assembling the dishes for serving although I still have the dips, vinaigrette, popcorn and cornmeal muffins.  It is going to be a busy morning but the final preparations for our Superbowl 50 Party should go smoothly!


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Superbowl Menu Planning

My husband and I have been having a lazy Sunday, enjoying coffee and chatting about next weekends plans, pleased we don't have to go out in the rain.  Yes rain!  Here in beautiful southwestern Ontario, we are experiencing rain (heavy at times) and rather mild temperatures (highs in mid 40˚F) for this time of year.  We are lucky in that we were away for most of the cold weather but still folks in southwestern Ontario can't complain.  We have only shoveled once, haven't had to use the snowblower and the temperatures haven't been bad.  All in all, it has been a mild winter here.

Superbowl Sunday 2016 (February 7) is a week away!  We sent the invitation out last week so now have a good idea of the numbers.  It looks like we will be hosting our Superbowl Party for sixteen.  That means it is time to do the menu planning for this event.  Unlike many, menu planning does not nor has it ever played a large role in our day to day living however, it is a very useful tool I rely on for certain activities like camping and entertaining.

On the menu:
  
Snacks

  • crudites with avocado/herb dips*
  • cheese tray with crackers*
  • nachos with cheese sauce/salsa/sour cream/pickled jalapeno peppers*
  • cashews
  • potato chips
  • seasoned popcorn* 
  • [bacon wrapped jalapeno peppers*]
Dinner
  • pulled pork sandwiches* with garnishes (romaine lettuce, shredded cheese, red cabbage slaw*, dill pickles*, pickled red onion*) 
  • spring mix salad* with vinaigrette*
  • chili with corn muffins*
Dessert
  •  banana cake* with cream cheese frosting*
  •  peanut butter cookies* 
* homemade, needs prep ahead

A few menu items like the pickled jalapeno peppers, dill pickles and salsa are homemade pantry staples.  This afternoon I will firm up the recipes I will be using then base my grocery list on that.  I bought a pork loin for the pulled pork with part of it reserved for peameal bacon.  The bacon wrapped jalapeno peppers are in brackets as they are dependent on the availability of the fresh peppers.  Next, I will create a priority for the prep.  For example, cookies and crackers can be made 2 to 3 days prior to the event, pull pork 1 to 2 days before the event, corn muffins the day before and dips the day of.  I'm experimenting with the seasoned popcorn so will make a few trials before deciding on one or two for the party. 



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

And Here We Go...

The new year is well underway with January proving to be very busy!  We had a very eventful ending to our stay at our vacation home that resulted in my husband dislocating and fracturing his shoulder.  So, we had first hand experience of the US emergency health care system.  They were very good to my husband who is now healing nicely.  It will be a long haul healing but we are very blessed as thing could have been so much worse!  Normally, we are home by the 22nd of December but this year did not return until the 5th of January.  We had actually planned on staying closer to the 10th but really wanted to be home for follow-up medical care.  Since being home, we have already hosted one large gathering and our family Christmas.  Now it's time to get into a bit of a routine before we are off again!

left over chicken stir fry
We spent a total of 15 weeks out of Canada in 2015 with the longest portion of that being 7 weeks starting in November.  Most of that was spent in Florida but one week was in Aruba, another in Tennessee and we even managed to get to Bermuda as a port of call on a short cruise we took.  In all, we had an amazing year filled with beautiful memories.  A lot of the food we enjoyed was stellar!  I'll share more on that shortly. 

For now, we are back to good old home cooking like this left over chicken stir fry I made.  Stir fry is one of my favourite quick meals.  This time I used an ancient grains pasta - whole wheat pasta with quinoa, amaranth, millet, sorghum and teff.  This pasta has a slightly grainy texture with a mild nutty flavour that paired nicely with the left over chicken.  I substituted Worchestershire sauce for soy sauce to reduce the sodium.  Mushrooms, onions and broccoli completed the stir fry. 

I'm planning on resuming regular posting after my hectic hiatus of 2015.  We are hosting our annual Superbowl Party so I'll be sharing a few dishes we will be serving.  This is always a fun gathering that starts just after lunch and running until after midnight.  Next I will be focusing on ideas for Valentine's Day.   Stay tuned...