Category: Delicious Stuff

Easy Cheesy Potatoes

Cheesy Goodness My sister and I have this cheesy potato recipe from our Dad from many moons ago. We make it all the time and bring it to dinners and potlucks. It's the perfect dish to travel with and if you can make it ahead of time, you only need to heat it up right before serving. Highly sought after, this dish is super easy to make.  But I must warn you, if you make it once, you'll have to make it many more times. It's very easy though so you won't mind. A sure winner at all dinners and get togethers.  The trick is to have all the ingredients measured and ready to go before you start. Here is a quick video to show you how easy it is: https://youtu.be/FZeBl11g7ZU Now watch carefully and you will see the science behind the magic. From this: To this:   All you need is love. And a cheese grater. Well, and this:   See how easy that was? I hope you enjoy it as much as every other person who has ever tried it does.  Enjoy https://youtu.be/X9jB7T3MbJs  

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Smoothie Smorgasbord

In case you are wondering, a "smorgasbord" is a Swedish buffet. Growing up we used to refer to a large quantity of yummy food as a smorgasbord and now it's a pretty good way to refer to these smoothie recipes.  Do you eat all the fruits and veggies you are suppose to every day? I know I don't. As a matter of fact, I feel like I'm in so much of a hurry most days that getting the good stuff in my diet is not very realistic.  According to the Canada Food Guide,  If you are a woman between the ages of 19 to 50 years of age you should aim to have the following daily: 7-8 servings of vegetables and fruit 6-7 grain products 2 milk and alternatives 2 meat and alternatives 30 - 45 mL (2 to 3 Tbsp) of healthy oils and fats In the last few months I have begun the process of changing my lifestyle. With help from people like the folks at Bulletproof, my family now has a greater understanding of what eating with purpose really means. It is almost as if this knowledge came to us at the perfect time when we were absolutely ready to absorb it.  And then I decided to hop on…

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toonies4tummies

Toonies4Tummies

I've just had the pleasure of watching an auditorium full of high school kids turn into Agents of Change. These future leaders came together with their teachers and school administration to donate a couple of dollars each for the pleasure of watching a movie together. Each kid in that audience learned that there are more than 36,000 kids in their region who rely on nutrition programs to eat at school or in community centres daily. toonies4tummies In this post I'm going to give you the chance to donate to this program online three times. This is the first time - click the toonie:  If you live in Canada you probably think that as one of the wealthiest nations in the world our children don't experience many hunger issues. You'd probably be shocked to know that approximately 1.1 million children rely on nutrition programs in school 5 days a week to eat during the school day. Believe it. The more I read the statistics the more shocked I am. Take a look at this infographic: All money raised is distributed to the groups in each area responsible for the programs for them to decide how best to use it. Some places such…

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Shortbread Cookies

I am about to show you how to make the most delicious shortbread cookies you will ever try. This recipe is being posted early so we have time to prepare for any parties or cravings that might sneak up. I'm making them in anticipation of a repeat of last year when I found out the same day that my daughter needed some for school and if they don't end up going there we'll enjoy them at home - they are DELICIOUS.  My favourite shortbread recipe can be found on the back of the Canada Corn Starch box. I've made this so many times over the years for all occasions and I believe this one is the best.  I'm not sure how long this recipe has been around but I do know I've been making it for decades. I've seen and tried many variations of it but I always come back to the original.  You can roll it into a log to slice it as I have here, roll it into balls and press with a fork on the cookies sheet, or cut it into shapes with cookie cutters. Lots of options. Plus the decorating choices are endless... Make it like this... I also modify mine by adding…

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#FuelYourAwesome

It has happened - we are engaged. By engaged I mean committed. And by committed I mean to an act of craziness that might just save my life completely - medically and psychologically. I found out last fall that I needed to make some major changes in my life "or else". Keeping an open mind for a solution this is what I found: The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto, or WLFM, is an approach to improving one's life in many ways and it only takes 2% of your entire day to be involved. 15 minutes of intentional movement, 5 minutes of personal reflection or meditation, and 10 minutes of personal enrichment or education. Any person at any level of fitness can do the WLFM, including the "couch potato" being that I was. "The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto is not just about physical health but whole-life fitness that blends mindfulness and personal development with equipment-free workouts." This is a free fitness resource with ongoing support in Facebook groups when you sign up on the website here. And this month the bonus is the people at Bulletproof are giving everyone who participates a free copy of Dai's book and the 7 day green smoothie plan.  So you…

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KINGSTON winter adventure

A Kingston Winter Adventure

Magical Lights and Sounds Recently we had one of our favourite experiences in Kingston - the Lumina Borealis at Fort Henry. It runs until February 4th Thursdays to Sundays and you have to go to see it! https://youtu.be/Mcz8cH1D2jo Fort Henry is a World Heritage site where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario. We have enjoyed visiting it a few times since my son started going to school in Kingston last year and if you'd like to see more, you can find a few more details about those visits here. "Hearts warmed through frost and snow, will be the ones to see and know..." Lumina Borealis is the current exhibit and it is wonderful. Set outside in a winter wonderland we were dazzled by the beautiful and mesmerizing lighting displays. Music and animations add to the magical effect of this mystic and playful display. Running around the walls and inside the parade ground of the fort, we appreciated the variety of scenes that were set up - including stories and paths that lead you through the displays. "A coloured symphony paints the sky, each time a heartwarming song goes by..." The colours were beautiful and I really enjoyed the fire pits scattered throughout. We were there…

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eclecticsoapbox.com

Chocolate Pretzels!

This is a neat little treat with any size of pretzels that you can make with every seasonal colour. Today we are going to use Christmas colours. My very good friend Micheline Kerswell, ( owner of the now famous classy consignment store in Port Hope, Ontario - My Sister's Closet and the Men's Den, ) taught me how to make these.  We used to get the kids together at Christmas break to do up hundreds of these pretzels - when they were younger. Micheline is from a traditional French Canadian family and they have some amazing recipes. I've been fortunate enough to try many of them and even more fortunate to learn the secrets of how they are made.  I'll use images to illustrate since a picture tells the story best sometime. I melted the chocolate wafers in the microwave. I took one cup of the chocolate flavoured ones and heated them for 30 seconds on high. Then I stirred them around and put them back in for another 30 seconds. It continues to melt when it's out of the microwave so don't over heat them. I've included some video footage so you can see how it goes when you heat…

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Stress Relief in a Cup

Stress? Me?  It is the time of the year I usually want to stick my head in the sand, cocoon in my house, or stay in bed. To say I find the holiday times stressful is an understatement. And they seem to be coming earlier every year - have you noticed that? Not to mention the time change and less sun during the day - it came so fast this year. If only I could nap every day around 2pm. stress Usually I charge ahead being super human in November and December and on my first day off I crash like a dropped puppet - getting really sick just in time to enjoy my Christmas vacation.  This year I decided to do things a bit differently and get the gift shopping done before the end of November. Hilarious right!?  That way I can have more time for the fun stuff. It means using my time better to get my work done faster. An excellent theory anyway - I just needed to find a way to focus better to get more done in my day while not burning myself out completely.  Butter Coffee? I’d heard about adding healthy fats in my coffee from someone I met in the blogging world.…

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Whatever Makes You Happy

Happy I read a fantastic post a couple of years ago by Jennifer Powell about celebrating something when YOU want to - not when the calendar says you HAVE to. (Moveable Feast) I really feel like I can do this now without feeling guilty. Happy  My husband and I have rescheduled celebrations in the past because we haven't had a choice and always felt it was a let down to people. Not to mention the resentment it has generated. But, as this blogger points out, the purpose of the celebrations, or special meals, is to celebrate THE PEOPLE. I'm a flexible person and I don't care when these things happen. As a matter of fact, I feel very strongly, perhaps ridiculously and rebelliously so, that it is my purpose in life to reduce the pressure of those around me by NOT doing things when I am 'suppose to.’ So much of it is about commercialism anyway. The 'Marketing people' seem to be the ones calling the shots and capitalizing on them these days. Am I getting more cynical as I get older?  Here are some of the reasons I believe events can be rescheduled pain free: Christmas is a pressure filled time with everyone panicking to get…

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It’s Worth the Drive to Watertown

Watertown, NY Before you start your engines to head down to Niagara, New York, consider going the other way first. That's what my daughter and I did recently when we were hunting down awesome deals on clothing, shoes, gift items and also looking for some exploring. I can only imagine how amazing it would be in Watertown, NY for their Black Friday sales.  We live on the eastern edge of the GTA so it's about equal distance for us to Niagara or Watertown. But here is one of the best parts of going to Watertown - it took us 3 minutes to get across the border! Not even kidding. I've waited up to 2 hours to cross at the Queenston Lewiston bridge, the Peace bridge or the Rainbow bridge - it's a roll of the dice how long you will be. Plus I find all those bridges really intimidating - especially when you get stuck waiting on one - the swaying is nauseating. Check out the official wait times website here to see for yourself.  If you go via the Thousand Islands bridge you'd be laughing. I asked when we were going into the US and then again coming home when the worst…

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Best Apple Cake Recipe

My very good friend and incredible baker Maria Jose Condesa recently visited me. She was determined to help me deal with the apple surplus I had from my tree this year. It seemed to be an excellent year for my fruit trees. They have grown so high! Not so good for tomatoes though. This apple cake is very delicious warm out of the oven, cooled down or re-heated.  As I watched her prepare and bake this cake I realized how lucky I am to have: An apple tree in my backyard; A country to live in that has ever changing weather with cooler temperatures to make the apples sweet; Good friends with apple cake recipes! Maria Jose has this really neat way to chop apples - she scores them vertically - all over the apple, then turns them and scores horizontally. ENJOY!  

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Quick & Easy Pastries

I love puff pastry. I think you can put just about anything in puff pastry and it tastes great. I've heard these called handpies, pastry pockets and turnovers. Whatever you call them, they are delicious, and flakey, and wonderful. Years ago, "pre-kids", I used to make spanakopita from scratch. I'd take dozens of large cumbersome layers of pastry, brush them gently with melted butter, and stack them up layer by layer. This was a time consuming process but always worth it. Now I have discovered pre-buttered puff pastry and I'm so excited. It's only $2.99 for a pack of two sheets. I've made all sorts of 'handpies' from cooked beef, pork, beef and pork and chicken. Veggies alone or with the meats work well too. And cheese too of course. You only need a little bit of filling if you are making a lot from one pack of pastry. These ones I'm showing you are fairly small. Too much filling and it won't close properly. I like to save a small amount of whatever I make for dinner to put into these pies. As I said, you don't need much to make a batch. A great use for leftovers too. When adding things to puff…

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- anniversary trip

Cheers to 24 Years

A Good Long Time #24years  I can't believe it's been 24 years since I met the man of my dreams. Ironically we grew up within a dozen blocks of each other in Toronto, Ontario but never met until we went out of town to celebrate Oktoberfest in Kitchener that fateful night. It seems only fitting that this anniversary be celebrated with beer – it being a 2-4 and all. We were invited by Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island to explore the area and enjoy some of their excellent selection of fall delights including canoeing, beer, great food and culture. This area is rich with culture and has many unique and diverse establishments. It was so nice to be able to explore it fully with all our senses.  On our trip we visited restaurants with their own breweries and breweries with restaurants. We found two things in common with each - their determination to be unique, and their pride in their offerings. (Click on the green or underlined words - they are links - if you want more information.) Our First Day We began our #falldrivesYQG by stretching our legs after a 4 ½ hour drive at the Ojibway Nature Centre. While we were walking on one…

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Muskoka Getaway Feature Image for Couples Resort

Our Romantic Getaway

My husband and I recently returned from an amazing trip up in the Muskoka Region in Whitney, Ontario.  The Scenario This was one crazy insane summer. My husband had two jobs, I had two jobs, both our kids had a job each. Very different schedules and hours with no public transportation and only two cars that both ended up dying half way through the summer. To say it was stressful would be a terrific understatement. I love my husband and having been with him for 24 years this month it’s pretty obvious I like him too. But things had been alternately strained and toxic between us lately. It was time to reconnect away from kids, cars and jobs. Our Solution I’d heard about the Couples Resort in Whitney, Ontario and when we were invited up for a mid week mini vacation, it seemed like the perfect idea. Muskoka Getaway And oh wow was it ever! We had the best 3 days we’ve had in a long time. Let me tell you all about it… It would have taken us less than 3 hours to drive directly to the resort but you can’t just go from A to B in the Muskoka area. There…

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Friday Night feature image

Friday Night Movie Night

Ever since the kids started school we've declared Friday night the time for sitting around the tube, eating popcorn and watching movies together. Even now with one of our 'littles' away at school, we still keep up the tradition. It involves the treats of pizza, pop and popcorn.  It's nice to have a tradition in this day and age. The social lives are busy with the teenagers and my husband works two jobs away from home but one thing that is constant is our Friday night movie night.  How do we decide what to watch? It's a matter of polling to see if the mood is for humour, science fiction, classic, scary, romantic, teen or drama. Then there is the question animated or not?  We have used this night to educate the kids on what we feel are important cultural references from movies like Star Wars, Star Trek, the Sixth Sense, the Others, Mission Impossible, the Princess Bride, Scooby Doo, Ever After... all available on good old Netflix.  A new idea has recently surfaced for a bingo game that I found from Netflix. It adds a slightly different angle to movies where you can play a game at the same time as watching. We have come up with many different levels…

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