Have you ever accidentally picked up the wrong ingredient in your kitchen? Salt when you wanted sugar? Cayenne pepper when you wanted mellow paprika? Booze when you wanted olive oil? What? Yep……. talk about a close call for my bowl of Greek salad.
You tell me? Close enough to be understandable or should I get my head examined?
Nov 12, 2015
Have you ever accidentally picked up the wrong ingredient in your kitchen? Salt when you wanted sugar? Cayenne pepper when you wanted mellow paprika? Booze when you wanted olive oil? What? Yep……. talk about a close call for my bowl of Greek salad.
Nov 11, 2015
I came across this recipe on a Facebook group page (link at bottom) and it looked delicious.
At first glance I could tell the recipe had too much sugar in it so I cut the amount in half. It was the right choice. I upped the cinnamon amount as well. Also I am noting that you must put this on a baking sheet or you will have a huge mess in your oven. All that being said it turned out fabulous and is a super easy, fast recipe.
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1/2 to 1teaspoon of cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 5 or 6 apples
- double pie crust
Put the first 6 ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil on the stove stirring to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.
Peel and thinly slice the apples and put in the bottom of the pie shell. Cut the top crust into a strips and weave over the apples to make a lattice crust.
Pour the caramel mixture over top of the lattice crust allowing it to drip into the apples. You heard me right. You are pouring it over top of the crust. Don’t pour it right to the edge though. Leave about half an inch of the crust bare.
Place on a baking tray, lined with foil, and into a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and bake another 35 to 40 more minutes. Cool on a rack completely before slicing.
I found this to be the easiest pie I have ever made. It took about 5 minutes because I use premade crusts. My own crusts are not very good. Can’t beat that.
Click here on A Cooking and Crafting Journey’s Facebook page.
The recipe originally came from an allrecipes.com posting.
Nov 2, 2015
Many people don’t know it, but Facebook comes with a built-in “Privacy Checkup” feature, which is basically a quick-stop way of tweaking the most important privacy settings in about a minute. To get to it, click the icon that looks like a padlock on the top right of the Facebook homepage. From there, select “Privacy Checkup”.
Once inside Privacy Checkup, you can quickly tinker with three key settings: Who sees your posts, who sees content that comes from specific Facebook apps, and who sees personal information such as your phone number, email address, birthday, or hometown. If you’re anything like most Facebook users (hi Mom!), you probably set these things years ago and totally forgot why your Uncle Jerry or ex-boss doesn’t get to see your phone number. Here’s your chance to fix it.
2. …And An Automated Security Checkup
Using the same basic formula as the Privacy Checkup feature, Facebook’s new “Security Checkup” gives you an easy-access way of checking up on some basic security settings. To access it, head over to facebook.com/securitycheckup. From there, you’ll be presented with a three-stage checklist of action items. First: There’s the ability to easily log out of apps that you no longer use, but still could have access to your personal info. Second: The option to turn on alerts if your account is accessed from a new device (just in case it wasn’t you doing so). And, lastly, Security Checkup gives users some basic password tips, and the ability to immediately update theirs to something stronger than their mother’s maiden name.
To follow FamilyTreesMayContainNuts on Facebook. Click Here.
Nov 1, 2015
Listen to this beautiful song. A positive message. A proud message. Please support their journey by sharing this video wherever you can.
Oct 18, 2015
Oct 14, 2015
I was asked today what was for dinner and all I really knew was that I had thawed some chicken breasts.
I then made things up as I went along using ingredients that I had on hand.
Dinner was wonderful. Full of flavour with a great aroma and visually very appetizing.
This was dinner for 2 but could easily be increased for more.
Here we go:
- 2 boneless chicken breast halves
- 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil
- juice from half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon of tarragon
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- salt and pepper
Heat butter and olive oil in a heavy pan and brown on both sides until golden in colour.
Lower heat, squeeze in juice from half a lemon and cover pan. Let chicken cook through. Remove lid.
Sprinkle with tarragon and add balsamic vinegar.
Keep a close eye on the pan now and increase heat slightly to get pan bubbling. Spoon the sauce over the chicken repeatedly until the balsamic vinegar has reduced down to a thick syrup.
Don’t take it too far or you will burn it. You can always add more vinegar stirring up the mixture to mix it back in and then bubble it down again to the right consistency.
The chicken should have a wonderful, thick brown glaze on it. Remove to plates and pour any remaining sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with feta cheese.
How do you cook? Do you follow the recipe to the letter or do you fly by the seat of your pants and hope for the best? I believe cooking should be more method and less recipe unless we are talking about baking.
Oct 6, 2015
It may be Fall but we have been having such beautiful weather here in BC. This is typical through September for us but now we are into October and the days are still warm and sunny. It is cooling right down at night though.
When I have been up in the nights (I won’t bore you with my insomnia issues again) lately I have opened the patio doors and gone outside into the dark night and felt the glorious wind blowing across my mountainside.
Surprisingly the deck did not feel very cold under my bare feet.
I stood there in the dark amongst my planters with my face to the wind inhaling deeply, filling my lungs with the cool, crisp air. Eyes closed. Inhale. Exhale. Sheer joy at that feeling of the very strong wind.
I start to feel the cold creeping across my bare feet and I want to grab a big quilt and curl up in a patio chair for the rest of the night but I know it will become too cold within minutes.
I want to stay out there and clear my head of everything.
I want to stay out there and breathe the wind.
I want to stay out there and count the stars.
Oct 2, 2015
Sep 27, 2015
I love Autumn. It is my favourite season. For the most part in Beautiful British Columbia we have sunny days with cool, clear nights right into October.
It is a time for yummy stews and fragrant breads. Baking, reading, strolling. A wonderful time of year.
The mantle is 5 feet off the ground though hard to tell from the photo, it is a really big fireplace. I cannot even see onto the top of it without a stool. Don’t look at the dust. I couldn’t see it because I held the camera up above my head to take the shot. Honest. Shame on me. Who cares. Never mind.
This clock was my mother’s. It is fairly old and was made in Germany by a company called Shantz. I need to take it to a watchmaker / jeweller to have it set properly. It won’t stay running right now. It is a 300 day windup clock with a big key.
We moved into our home just over a year ago after living in the same home for 32 years. We love this new place and I said to my BB Guy when we first moved here that we are so lucky. He said it isn’t luck it is our hard work that got us here. I have to agree with him on that one although there is still a little luck that goes along with it. I spotted this little sign at the dollar store last week and had to get it for him.
The entire back of our home is windows and the plants absolutely love it here with all the light and the really high ceilings. When we moved here a year ago in June this Asparagus Fern was 3 tiny little sticks about 6 inches tall. It now trails down with 4 foot long fronds and gets bushier every day. They plant that is on the left side of the mantle is blooming after a few years finally. I have other plants that were in bloom when I got them and also never bloomed again until we moved here. Plant heaven. Now if only I could get my orchid to send out some flower stems. Patience, patience.
I will get my BB Guy to get the rest of my Fall Fever stuff down for me from the cupboards and will post some more photos.
What sorts of Fall things do you put out? Is your house “pumpkin spice everything” this time of year?
I wrote this post at 2:40 am.
I am often awake in the middle of the night. I have no problem falling asleep but I wake often and can’t get back to sleep.
Many times it is due to my lower back problems with sciatica which make me feel like I have electrical currents running through my legs.
Through the years I have tried many things to try and sleep properly without giving in to a prescription medication. Some have worked for a brief while and others have been of no help at all.
I have even left my job partly because of my inability to get enough sleep. I would have to get up for work by 5:00 a.m. so many days I was running on about four or five hours of sleep. That was not healthy or safe. I am now on early retirement and if I can’t sleep it is not the overwhelming feeling of desperation anymore. If I am too tired to get up in the morning I don’t have to get up.
Some of the things I have tried to aid in a proper nights sleep are listed below. In the middle of the night as we do the zombie walk we will try just about anything. Many of the suggestions people have are to help you fall asleep, which is not my problem. I just wake after about 3 hours and then cannot get back to sleep.
- Melatonin – worked for a couple months but then stopped.
- Mint water/tea recipe – worked great for quite a while and I still use this one off and on. Click here for that recipe.
- Meditations, clearing the mind – didn’t work for me at all
- Yoga – felt good and eased my back discomfort somewhat but not effective for sleep.
- Sleeping upright on the couch – worked a bit as it changed my position for my back but not all that effective.
- Eating protein before bed – this is something I had heard worked great for your kids many years ago and I used it for my boys. Not much help for me
- Aromatherapy – nope
I am sure there are many more tips and advice out there to help but I am not the type to go and buy a bunch of bottles of vitamins or sleep aids even if they are from a health food store.
The health issues that result from lack of sleep are becoming more an more evident. Besides the obvious problem of being tired there can be serious health consequences to being a zombie.
You have decreased performance and alertness. This is pretty serious because you need to drive a car or run machinery. According to webmd.com
reducing your night time sleep by just one and half hours at night reduces your daytime alertness by 32%. That is very significant.
Daytime sleepiness impairs you memory functions.
Stress increases and your quality of life decreases.
The long term consequences are much more serious. Lack of proper sleep patterns are associated with high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, obesity, depression, arthritis, chronic pain, thyroid problems, Alzheimers, Parkinsons etc.
Since retiring at the end of August I have felt much better. I can now sleep in the mornings until I no longer feel tired………. Just imagine that for a moment. I sleep until I am no longer tired…… That is life changing. It seems to me that the sleep I get after going back to bed around 4:00 a.m. is the best. I dream like crazy during that time and when I wake with my cozy quilt around me I just lay there and enjoy the feeling. I have even fallen back to sleep again at that point waking an hour later. It feels like I am getting away with something naughty and I like it.
So what are your sleep patterns? Are they affecting your health? Any tips to avoid the zombie walk?
Sep 17, 2015
Part of my road trip earlier this month took me to the Okanagan region of British Columbia. This area is known for its orchards, grapes and produce. A visit to the roadside stands are always a treat.
The start to any good sauce is a good base. As usual in my cooking it is a method and not so much a recipe. You don’t need exact amounts. Add more of what you like and less of what you don’t. The method here is to sweat the vegetables well before adding anything else to the pan. This will build up their flavours.
Once you have cooked this combination down somewhat you can add in the herbs and spices and again cook it down further to further meld the flavours.
Lastly add in the chopped tomatoes. Many people choose to blanch them to remove the skins but I think this is a waste of time, flavour and nutrition.
Note this is just a small portion of the tomatoes I added. I filled the roasting pan.
You could always take an immersion blender to the tomatoes once chopped or to run them through a food processor to make them smooth but that would seem boring to me. I don’t want an applesauce consistency. I want a fresh tasting sauce that showcases the lovely tomatoes.
If you have some nice parmesan rinds saved up you can put those in too. They add some lovely flavours to your sauce.
I came up with a great way to process my tomatoes.
I put a big, clean bowl in the left side of my sink for the chopped tomatoes and washed the tomatoes in the right side. Using a cutting board with a cut out handle area I cut up the tomatoes there and just pushed the accumulating seeds and juice through the handle hole into the sink. It doesn’t matter if it drips onto your uncut tomatoes. It is all clean. Just cut up some more and scrape the rest into the sink. When you are done you just run some water around the sink and shake the seeds into the garbage right from the stopper. Quick and easy with no mess on your counters.
The little tomato belly buttons can be saved and used in a vegetable stock. Aren’t they cute?
- 6 carrots chopped
- 2 large onions, one minced, one coarse chopped (this gives you a lot of taste without too many onion pieces in the sauce)
- 8 stalks celery chopped
- 2 full heads of garlic…. hey it is a BIG pot of sauce
- 3 hot peppers
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 3 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons each of oregano, basil, thyme, fennel seeds
- olive oil to sautéing the vegetables
- rinds from parmesan cheese
Run garlic and hot peppers through a food processor and add with rest of vegetables to a pan with enough olive oil to saute and sweat down.
Add in herbs, spices, salt, black pepper and sugar. You do need the sugar to balance out the acid in the tomatoes. Cook down a little longer until vegetables are tender and then add in the chopped, drained tomatoes and the cheese rinds.
Simmer in an open pot for a minimum of 4 hours to cook off the excess liquid and concentrate flavours. Stir occasionally. Remove chunks of parmesan before packing up or serving.
I packed mine into plastic vacuum bags and they are all sealed up in my freezer to pull out on a cold fall or winters day to spoon over some of my OMG Meatballs. Click here for the link to that recipe.
Sep 13, 2015
We have lived in our neighbourhood
(I’m in Canada, that is how it is spelled)
for just over a year now. We bought based on the house and really didn’t know anything about the neighbours.
Since that time we have met many in the hood. Our neighbours to our left are very social and outgoing and we have spent time with them several times in the yards, driveways, patios and have gone out to dinner with them as well. They are very thoughtful and helpful.
Our neighbours to the right are also very nice and friendly but keep mostly to themselves. We have spoken a few times in the yard or from deck to deck but that has been about it.
We went out of town on September 3rd and I was coming back alone on September 11th as my husband will still be away for another week. I had let the neighbours on the left know and they of course said they would keep an eye on the house.
When I came home on Friday I saw the front lawns had been mowed. I was very grateful as they would have got quite long in eight days.
I went out for some groceries and stopped at a lovely local flower farm and bought them a bouquet of flowers to say thanks.
When I dropped the flowers off they said they only did the small patch next to their yard and that the other side was done by the other neighbour.
I decided I would do a basket of fresh fruits and vegetables up for them as I had brought some cases home from the orchards/farms in the BC interior.
Yesterday around dinner time I could hear a lawn mower running for a long time. I live on a golf course so this isn’t uncommon except they mow in the early mornings only. ???
Next thing I know I see my right side neighbour mowing my front lawns again. He has already mowed my back, lower lawn and the hillside leading down to it which is really steep and too hard for me to do.
I was just gobsmacked. I never expected anything like this and it was such a kind hearted thing to do.
I put together a bigger basket with peaches, pears, apples, Roma tomatoes, garlic and baggie of super hot peppers. I put a warning sticker on that bag. I added two jars of homemade wine jelly and some pretty Fall napkins.
On top of this I put some blueberry streusel muffins and a thank you card. They were not home this morning so I have covered it with plastic and left it on their front porch.
We are so lucky to have such good neighbours and we have to strive to be good neighbours in return. What about you. Is there anything kind you can do for a neighbour? Let’s start a trend.
Aug 30, 2015
I have the strangest feeling. The feeling that I had better hurry up and do something. I don’t want to be late. I don’t want to forget. I don’t have much time….
But I do. I have a ton of time now. I retired from my job on Friday. It is an early retirement since I am still in my 50s and I am ecstatic.
Still I am feeling a great deal of anxiety because I should be getting a bunch of stuff done in preparation for my work week. It will take some time to wrap my head around the fact that I do not have to get up at some ungodly hour to drive to my job an hour away. I do not have to reach performance goals for the day. I do not have to track the results. I do not have to deal with the escalations from customers, who quite frankly have shown themselves all too often, to be disgusting people.
I am looking forward to more cooking and recipes on here. I am looking forward to getting to know my new town since we have been here a year but I have not had much time to prowl and post about the wonderful finds. I am looking forward to not caring when I cannot sleep in during the night.
Aug 9, 2015
Finally I picked some up and made a big container of bean salad to take to work for lunches this week.
I didn’t have a “go to” recipe so I went online to see what I could find that sounded good. One of the first recipes I saw called for adding mango to the salad.
What? Mango? I love mangoes but better yet I had a jar of a mango/peach salsa in my fridge that I had bought at Costco. Says it has a hint of habanero in it too. It is a delicious salsa.
So here you go:
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1 can of kidney beans, rinsed
1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed
2 cups of fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 cups of salsa of your choice (or more if you like)
3 green onions, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
one big handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
juice from one fresh lime squeezed into the mix which will add such a fresh zip to the taste.
You can add any spices that you like. Chili powder, cumin, pepper. Add some different vegetables too. Like avocado? Toss some in but only if you are eating it today otherwise add it only the day of so it doesn’t discolor on you. How about chopped fresh jalapeno peppers. That was all I think mine was missing but I didn’t have any.
So in the end you have slaved away opening 3 cans of beans, a bag of frozen corn and a jar of salsa along with about 1 minute and half of chopping. Quite frankly you could get away with just the beans, corn and salsa in a pinch.
Ya. I think you can do this.
Jun 30, 2015
In all of the world there are only a two known people still alive that were born in the 1800’s. Can you imagine that?
Emma Morano who lives in Verbania Italy, and Susannah Mushatt Jones of Brooklyn were all born in 1899. The oldest, Jeralean Talley of Detroit, recently passed away on June 18th.
Emma is still fairly healthy and is on no medications at all and Susannah has some high blood pressure but otherwise is in good health. Jeralean was still bowling at age 104.
They have had different diets with Emma eating raw eggs every day but little fruits or vegetables. She does come from Sardinia though and there seems to be a lot of centenarians in Italy. I would like to think it is that Mediterranean diet but as we see Emma never followed that much.
Susannah eats bacon, scrambled eggs and grits every day. Jeralean’s favorite foods were chicken wings and head cheese but had stayed away from butter and cheese recently. This was not for medical reasons however.
Emma and Susannah never had children and were not married for very long. Jeralean, however, was married for many, many years and did have a daughter.
Can you imagine the changes in the world these women have seen? It is incomprehensible to me. The advances in medicine. Technology. Wars. Laws. Rights. They are living history.
Susannah will turn 116 next week and Emma is a few months younger.
Happy Birthday to both of you.
Have a really big piece of cake.
Jun 19, 2015
There is plastic in our oceans. Lots of plastic. Literally tons of plastics. 300 tons generated per year.
The birds eat it and die. The fish eat it and die.
There is more and more added every day.
What are we going to do?
He is young, very young, but he is wise beyond his years. He has come up with a concept for cleaning the ocean of plastic debris that has been proven out through many feasibility studies.
It is a very complicated task due to ocean conditions, weather, sea life, sheer volume and costs involved. I believe he has the right idea.
I am not going to get all technical and scientific on you but there is a word used throughout his work that we need to understand first.
Gyre : definition from National Geographic Education: An ocean gyre is a large system of circular ocean currents formed by global wind patterns and forces created by earth’s rotation. The movement of the world’s major ocean gyres helps drive the “ocean conveyor belt”".” The ocean conveyor belts circulates ocean water around the entire planet.
It is gyres that are moving much of the plastics into an area known as The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This is not the only patch but is the biggest.
It was discovered by a racing boat captain named Charles Moore while sailing from Hawaii to California and becoming absolutely surrounded by the plastic debris. Some of it washes up on the beaches but tons of it just floats around decomposing and leaching chemicals into the sea water.
So what can be done about it besides the obvious point of not polluting our waters to begin with?
Become aware and support the brilliant minds that are trying to clean up what is there. Have a look at Boyan Slat’s video that show them in action developing their ideas into something that most certainly can work.
Since the areas are so far out to sea individual countries are not taking responsibility for the clean up. Does that surprise anyone?
How about a video of the young guy nervously giving a TED TALK speech https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROW9F-c0kIQ… click here….
The thing is the collected plastic will be recycled into other uses paying the costs for the collection and then some.
So what do you think?
May 18, 2015
This birdhouse used to sit to the side of our porch in the old house. Birds used it most years to nest in. They were used to us going in and out of the front door and they were far enough away that they were not too concerned.
The old birds nests have been turfed out the hole on to the ground and a new family has moved in. They are not very happy with me using the front door and were really concerned this morning as I watered some plants out there.
I feel bad for them but I can't move the bird house as it is too big and also needs to be sheltered so it doesn't rot any further.
I want to arrange some nice plants around it but I don’t want to distress them. I know the plants would give them more privacy and a more natural habitat but every time I water they will again freak out. What to do, what to do?
Apr 18, 2015
Last week I roasted a big meaty chicken for dinner. Not one of those scrawny ones from the grocery store but a full grown bird from a meat market.
I stuffed it with a couple fresh lemons and rubbed that bird with some salt, pepper and a bit of Italian mix spices. Into the oven to roast up with an onion on the side. It got nice and brown and was so delicious.
I had chicken wraps for lunch for a few days and also some leftover chicken for dinner twice. It was just that good. There was still a lot left.
My BB Guy had developed a sore throat and was not feeling well. I developed the same symptoms as he did a day later and ended up with a very sore throat and constant headaches. Ugh.
Time to make Chicken Soup:
- 1 chicken carcass (I left the lemons in and I highly recommend this)
- 2 onions, rough chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic
- *4 carrots
- about 20 black peppercorns
- 11/2 Tablespoons of salt – note this is a really big soup pot
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 hot red chillies – don’t worry the heat tempers down but it is essential
- a baby finger sized piece of fresh turmeric root
- *4 more carrots
- 1/2 cup quinoa grains – added almost at the end
- handful fresh chopped cilantro – added at the very end
Put the first 9 ingredients into your big soup pot and cover with water to just above the contents. As the soup cooks the bones will collapse and everything will be very well covered in the broth.
Simmer for a few hours and then strain out the contents saving all the chicken meat and add the meat back into the pot with the broth.
Cut up the remaining 4 carrots into big chunks and add to the strained broth along with the quinioa grains and cook another 20 minutes or so until the carrots are tender. Toss in the fresh cilantro and serve.
You will not need any more salt or pepper and the gentle heat from the chillies will have you craving more and more. The hint of lemon comes through as well and it is such a bright fresh tasting soup.
This was the best chicken soup I have ever made or even had for that matter. I have been eating it daily to help with my sore throat and have reached the end except for some broth that I poured into two containers and froze for a later date when I will toss in some fresh ingredients for a quick lunch or dinner.
Apr 16, 2015
The other day on Facebook I saw a photo of a man in a t-shirt that cracked me up. That set me on a quest, albeit a very short and easy quest, to find the source of this shirt.
I had to order something to surprise my BB Guy.
(Big Burly Guy for you new folks)
For those of you familiar with the HBO series Sons of Anarchy you will get the humor here.
Have a look at some of their product line. Father’s Day is coming soon so keep these in mind.
I live in Canada and it usually takes forever to get things that I order from the US but my package came so quickly I was amazed.
We are very happy with the merchandise and highly recommend ordering from them. Easy to use website as well.
And for those whose arthritis is of the rheumatoid variety they have a line for you too.
It is not just men’s shirts. They have a line of ladies as well.
This is just a sample of their product line. Go on over and have a look for yourself to see the rest of their fun gear.
ALL PHOTOS USED WITH PERMISSION