Saturday, July 20, 2019

a delicious peanut butter and chocolate treat

Man, those guys are work are so lucky to have me.

Here's another treat I made them - chocolate peanut butter no bake cheesecake bars.

These bars are super simple and also super delicious.
It's light and fluffy and dreamy as long as you don't think about calories and fat.

Who doesn't love chocolate?  Or peanut butter?

Some other peanutty faves from over the years:

Friday, July 19, 2019

Book Club - Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark

I'm coming at you with 5 days of Book Club to get those out of the way so I can post my books for the Adult Summer Reading Club!


Fuck Politemess're responsible for your own quality of life.  

Don't be a fucking lunatic.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Book Club - Audiobook - My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper

I'm coming at you with 5 days of Book Club to get those out of the way so I can post my books for the Adult Summer Reading Club!



Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Book Club - I'll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

I'm coming at you with 5 days of Book Club to get those out of the way so I can post my books for the Adult Summer Reading Club!



But every so often a blue moon surfaces.  A snow leopard slinks by.

At thirty-nine I understood my mother's love for me for the first time.

She was born with a true cop's heart and mind - she craved justice, not glory.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Book Club - Big Gal Yoga by Valerie Sagun

I'm coming at you with 5 days of Book Club to get those out of the way so I can post my books for the Adult Summer Reading Club!



You can't change the past; you can change the future.

I can't be anyone or anything else than who and what I am.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Book Club - Is Your Chair Killing You? by Kent Burden

I'm coming at you with 5 days of Book Club to get those out of the way so I can post my books for the Adult Summer Reading Club!



"If you stand still long enough, death will find you."

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Adult Summer Reading Club 2019

The 2019 Summer Reading Challenge is underway at the TNRD Library.

This year is a bit different - there are 12 spots to be filled in, with any book you like as long as it has one of the letters on each line.  The exclamation mark is a wild card.

It's a shorter list than prior years so I might have a shot of completing it before the end of the summer.

Details above if you want to join in - submissions must be received by the library by August 24.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Cookbook Cleanup - Book 2 - Nigella Express

The second book in my cleanup is Nigella Express which I got for Christmas 
wayyyyyyy back in 2007.

This one has always been on the edge for me - there is a lot of stuff in here I won't ever make either because it isn't appealing or it contains ingredients I can't find.  Every time I think about cleaning out my shelf I always think this one should go, and this time was no different; even before I had opened it to find some recipes to try I was already thinking I would add it to the donate pile.

I have had some good luck with this one in the past - the crepe sandwich recipes are good, the scallops and chorizo and the banana butterscotch muffins too. 
The real winner of this book for me is and always will be her Rapid Ragu; which she makes with ground lamb and I make with ground turkey- and tomatos, lentils and cheese.  Delicious and comforting.  

I chose 4 recipes to make - Flourless Chocolate Brownies, Goujons of Sole with Dill Mayonnaise, Home-made Instant Pancake Mix, and Macaroni Cheese.  

First up was the Sole and it was an easy recipe to follow that produced crunchy fish and a tasty sauce.  The pancake mix was easy to mix up, and also easy to scoop and prepare a nice breakfast of 'cakes.

The Flourless Chocolate Brownies were so easy and produced one of the BEST brownies I've ever had.  They were raved about.  The sun and the heat came out here, so the Macaroni Cheese was swapped out for Instant Chocolate Mousse; a recipe I have stared at for years.  I needed to make a birthday dessert and had all the ingredients on hand and this was another one that knocked it out - such a fabulous mousse from a simple recipe. 

This book is not a perfect fit for me, but it does keep showing me that it has some great recipes, and I need to get over my assumption that it isn't worth keeping.  It stays!

Bookshelf - 2  Donation pile - 0

Monday, July 08, 2019

Beautiful BC - Harrison Hot Springs

Happy Summer!  

This Spring we took a trip to Harrison, our first time.  The weather was cloudy and cool but the water was warm and there was a poolside bar so we were happy. 

Friday, June 07, 2019

Book Club - Becoming by Michelle Obama


Since stepping reluctantly into public life, I've been held up as the most powerful woman in the world and taken down as an "angry black woman.".  I've wanted to ask my detractors which part of that phrase matters to them the most - is it "angry" or "black" or "woman"?

He was asking for forgiveness.  He was saying goodbye.

When they go low, we go high.

And I will always wonder about what led so many women, in particular,  to reject an exceptionally qualified female candidate and instead chose a misogynist as their president.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Cookbook Cleanup - Will it stay or will it go? Book 1 - Simple Chinese Cooking

I am in clean out mode around here - well, I wish to be in clean out mode, but time and my family work against me.  I would love to declutter this house top to bottom but - when?  and how to get around these other 3 people who complain when I touch their stuff?  Ugh.

So far I've cleaned out the 2 bathrooms and reorganized the drawers and that felt good.  Next up is my part of the closet and my dresser - will I continue to hold on to all these clothes that no longer fit in hopes that I WILL drop some of these pounds???? - stay tuned!

I am also going to clean up the bookcases - both reading books and cookbooks and that's what this is about.  

A few years back I did a cookbook shelf clean up on Instagram and I kept meaning to bring it over here but didn't.

This is an area of my life that could definitely use some cleaning up, so I am going to go through all my cookbooks and see which ones should stay with us and which should move on so they can be more appreciated by someone else.


First up is Simple Chinese Cooking by Kylie Kwong.  A search for Kylie on my blawg reveals I got the book in 2007 (!) and that we loved the dishes we've tried.  I can't remember what I made out of here in the last cookbook clean up, but whatevs.  

This time we made (in order of appearance in the book):
White-Cooked Chicken with Soy and Ginger Dressing 
Crispy Kings Prawns with Honey and Garlic Sauce
Asparagus with Baby Corn
Stir Fried Hokkien Noodles with Chicken and Oyster Mushrooms

While a couple of the dishes weren't quite what I was expecting - the white cooked chicken had a lot of ($$) stuff in it but was surprisingly mild tasting dish; the crispy prawn batter didn't make for a crispy prawn - everything was very good, and easy to make.  I would make any of these again, along with what we've already tried, and there is much more I look forward to making.

This one stays on our shelf!

Monday, June 03, 2019

Intentions - enough with the sugar already

So, how did I do on my 4 goals last week?

1.  No more ice tea - Not bad!  I had a bit more tea that I thought, but once it was gone, I switched to water and the no sugar no flavor no fun sparkling waters I bought.  HOWEVER, The Mister casually mentioned a few days in that I did indeed have some more tea in the basement.  I lasted another day and then opened it and drank it.  Hey, I can't waste it right????
But - I think I am doing pretty good with this one.

2.  No more ice caps - I am not doing as well with this one.

3.  Portion size - I think this has been going well.

4.  Moving every day - I did well until Thursday and Friday when The Boy and I both got sick.  Getting back on track.

I also tried a "detox tea" recipe I found online, allegedly from Jillian Michaels - where you mix dandelion tea, unsweetened cranberry juice and lemon juice and drink like 2 liters of it a day for 7 days, to lose up to 5 pounds of water weight.  I did that Sunday to Thursday, then missed Friday, Saturday due to illness and Sunday due to not having my shit together, so I will do the last 2 days today and tomorrow to finish my 7 days.

Well, am I down any pounds this week????
Down 2 pounds!

I am super happy with this as it was a sick/carb heavy weekend.  So, that 2 pounds is probably water weight I will promptly gain back this week.  :)

Goals for the week -

1.  Move the bod.
3. Make snacks healthy.
4. Lots of water.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Book Club - Difficult Women by Roxane Gay


We sit, not speaking to each other, filling the quiet around us.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Way back in Calgary times, we would sometimes go to a pub called Limericks - which Google tells me is still there!  We had a few few favorites on the menu - yorkshire puddings stuffed with beef, chips with curry sauce, and boxty - a traditional Irish potato "pancake".

Potatos have always been one of my very favorite foods, so who can be surprised I would love a potato pancake topped with more food?

I was going to make a version like they had/have at the pub; with chicken in a sauce, but stuff happened and so instead I made them for breakfast topped with sauteed onions and bacon.

Check out these recipes :  Traditional Boxty and Creamy chicken boxty

Monday, May 27, 2019

Intentions - get out of this bad weight gain rut

I've put on a lot of weight in the last year and a half and I'm not happy about it.

I'm not happy about it and yet - and yet - I can't quite seem to do anything about it.

My brain has never been wired well to figure out diets - my anxiety slams into overdrive, I can't figure out what to cook for me to lose weight and the family to eat regularly, I get overwhelmed and freeze up.  I want to make changes to the family menu but I don't want to deprive the people who don't have a weight problem, so I eat the same as them and get nowhere.  It sounds silly but I don't know what to do.  I feel stuck.

The biggest culprits for me I think are my age - my metabolism is changing (I'm mid 40's!), snacking due to stress, and sugar.

Sugar is the biggest.

Sugar is BAD.

I am definitely in a one step forward, 2 steps back situation right now.

I want to give up!  But I won't.  So here we go.

I am writing about this here to be accountable.  I've got my current weight written down, and I'm going to list my intentions for the week.  I will be back next Monday and we'll see how I did with these intentions:

1.  No more ice tea.  This is probably my worst habit.  When I gave up drinking I replaced it with ice tea, which sounds pretty good, but I drink a lot of it at home.  A LOT.  This weekend I didn't buy any ice tea when we did the shopping and told The Mister not to pick me up any.  I believe I am drinking the last of it right now - yes, drinking ice tea in the morning is part of my problem.  I am going to focus more on water, and I've also bought a few types of flavored sparking water 0 sugar drinks to try so I don't break down tonight and race to the store for tea.

2.  No more ice caps from Tim Hortons - This is my second worst habit!  I have been using these as a motivation treat the past few months on my way to work.  This is bad for my body and my bank account.

3.  Portion size - I like to think I am pretty reasonable with portion sizes, and sometimes I am, but not enough.

4.  Move this bod every day.  Yoga, walks, some stretching, whatever I can fit in.

OK, those are my 4 things for the week, I don't want to overwhelm myself at the start.

I've got my breakfast and lunch for the day - I bought a protein smoothie powder at the health food store yesterday so I'm going to have that for breakfast, and I've got some plain greek yogurt and berries for a snack, some leftover pasta for lunch (not the best choice but it has to be eaten and it's a small portion) with some veg, and an apple for a snack.

I do have to run to a store downtown today for an errand, so another challenge will be not picking up a "treat" snack for myself.  Can I leave the store with only the one thing I am going there for?

I'm doing this thing.  Send me some good thoughts.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Book Club - I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke


The past can be so full of monsters that won't die.

Light creeps in through the cracks caused by tumbling through the hard spaces of life.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Work treats - fudge and cheese dip - separately

The weekly treats are over at work now, thank GOD because seriously, I am bursting out of my clothes over here.
In addition to the churro brownies that I made (and you should too!) I also made fudge and cheese dip, but not served together.

My dad gave me a handful of my mom's recipe a while back; some are familiar and some aren't, and her fudge recipe is definitely one I don't remember.

There's no notes or details on the page so I don't know the origin but I figured it would be a good work treat - easy to prepare and transport, so I went for it.

And here's the only photo I took - cut up and in a storage container.  Nothing but class over here.

5 Minute Fudge

2 TB butter
1 small can evaporated milk (2/3 cup)
1 2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to boil and cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.  Stir vigorously for 1 minute, until everything is melted.  Pour into buttered 8" pan.  Cool and cut into squares.


The next time it was my turn I was ready for a savory treat.  

I found this garlic cheese dip in my binder and it spoke to me.  Loudly.

In my effort to have photos in my posts, here's my kids in some trees.

And here's the link to the dip - roasted garlic whipped feta

I served a dollop with some carrot sticks and crackers.  You could also use it in sandwiches, on toast, with eggs, or eaten directly off a spoon.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Book Club - Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr


It must be nice in his watery world, where there were no tunes, and no dark dreams, where nothing could be heard but faint gurgles, and everything was a mysterious shade of green....

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A tale of three mousses

Here's the thing.  I finally tried 2 dessert recipes I've been hauling around forever, and there were SO delicious.  My photos though were hideous, even by my low standards.  So, so bad.

I was going to not write about them because I have no accompanying photos and all the blawgs today say you have to have 400 photos of your dish, all from slightly different angles, before you can share anything. 

But here we go.  I'm such a rebel.

Here's a picture I took last Fall downtown at the farmers market.

The first dessert I made was Apple Mousse from a book called The World in my Kitchen.
I wrote this out back in my notebook heyday when we were in Calgary, so this one has been around a long time.

Apple Mousse
adapted from The World in my Kitchen

Peel 4 Granny Smith apples.  Core and cut into 1" pieces.
Melt 3 TB butter in a small pot or pan.  Add apples and a pinch of salt and cook over low heat until soft.  Removed from heat and puree in a food processor with 1/2 cup sugar and 2" piece of ginger.  Let cool.
Beat 1 cup whipping cream until stiff.  Fold in apples.  Chill.

Soooooo delicious!  I subbed out the ginger for some cinnamon but next time I will leave the ginger in.  This dessert is so light and airy and would be perfect for an after dinner treat on a warm day.


Up next is another moldy oldie that I've had since 2003- 2 0 0 3!  And still hadn't tried.  This one came from Martha Stewart from her Every Day Food magazines.  Loved those.

Here's a photo of my turkeys last month at the Oak Hills Trail.

I'm just going to link to the recipe here  - it is so easy and so decadent.  I didn't make the parfaits, but spooned the 2 mousses side by side in a bowl so everyone could have what they liked.  And boy did we like it.

This tasty and long overdue post is making me want to add on to my every growing list of project that will likely never be finished and cook through all the recipes I've been saving in my binder all these years, plus all the ones saved on my computer, and in Pinterest, and.......... 

Oh look!  Something shiny.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Something I Like - My Favorite Murder podcast

I go through a lot of phases of what to listen to during the work week - classical, nature sounds, yoga music, folk, and currently I'm in to podcasts.
I started listening to MFM last month I was hooked right away.
It's interesting and funny and I have a huge crush on Karen Kilgariff.
It's a bit of an odd choice for me, I think, since I have anxiety and spend a lot of time worrying about bad things happening, but somehow it doesn't send me into a spiral.
Check it out 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Book Club - Lightly by Francine Jay


"Possessions can be powerful psychological triggers; it's almost as if emotions get stuck to your stuff.  When you release physical clutter, mental clutter also gets swept away with it, giving you a jump start on your path to inner well-being."

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Grocery Shop May 6

goldfish crackers, eggs, cheese slices, french fries, croutons, coconut chips, grapes, cucumber, broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower, snap peas, strawberries, bacon, ground beef, chicken breast, bread - whole wheat and white (for meatloaf!), tortillas, deli ham.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

The easiest - hardboiled eggs in the Instant Pot

I think I've mentioned before that I am terrible - truly terrible! at peeling hard boiled eggs.
No matter what method I try I always gouge half the white off with the shell.  I can't help it; it's a gift.

Before we got our instant pot I'd read that making hardboiled eggs in it was not only easy, but they were super easy to peel too.  

It's a true damn miracle guys.

And it's also true that hardboiling the eggs in the IP is super easy as well.

Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the IP.  Place the steam rack in the pot, and lay on as many eggs as you'd like.

Put the lid on and set the pressure cook setting for 5 minutes.
When it beeps, let it sit for 5 more minutes, then vent to release the pressure.

Remove the eggs to an ice bath and let cool.

Not only is it fast and foolproof, but THE EGGS POP RIGHT OUT OF THE SHELLS.
It's a beautiful thing.

We've been making a batch every couple of weeks and I sometimes make a couple of deviled eggs for breakfast - and this weekend I've been eyeing this muffuletta deviled eggs recipe.

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Kamloops Symphony Book Sale - for the last time I promise

I got invited to go to the book sale at lunch today and found more treasures!  I had just enough money to pay for these ones - if I'd had more bucks, there were at least 3 more books that would have come home with me.

Sale is on until April 20!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

ways with cauliflower

Cauliflower is everywhere now - it's rice, it's pizza crust, it's wings.  

We love cauliflower and having some new exciting ways to cook it is fun.

This kick started a bit of a cauliflower craze in the house that went well until we tried cauliflower biscuits which was a bad idea.  So bad.

Stick with wings and crusts, Cauli.  Although I hear beets are trying to make a move on your turf....

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Kamloops Symphony Book Sale - part 2

Went back yesterday for another look-see and found 4 more beauties to bring home.

The Mister hit the big time with this old Star Wars book.  He had this as a child.  I might have too.

Sale is on until April 20 - get down there! 

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Kamloops Symphony Book Sale - Spring 2019

I am super excited about my purchases from the book sale -
my first two David Sedaris books! 
 (Yes, I am obsessed.)
The book sales is in a new location this Spring - the old Value Village location on Seymour. 
On until April 20.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

French Toast cups, banana muffins, chicken cordon bleu and meal planning

I am mentally and physically stuck in huge ruts right now.  My house is cluttered and unorganized and none of my good intention projects have been started.  I am GAINING weight, I feel like this is something I need to focus on here soon as I just can't seem to find long lasting motivation for that either.

Winter has done me in, I think, even though up until the end of January it was not a particularly hard one, but I am done.  I need blue skies and warm air and green grass.

I need happiness and gentle talk and encouragement and I can't find any of that in me lately.

ANYWAY, here are 3 recipes that I made in the past bit that turned out quite well.

French Toast Cups from Chrissy Teigen -

SO good.  Croissants instead of bread mixed with beaten egg and milk and sugar and such and then nestled into a little ham nest for baking.

I made these best ever banana muffins (added some chocolate chips!!!)  and everyone loved them.
They were super easy and good.  My family mowed through them in no time and requested more.

We all really loved Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu  it was an easy weeknight dinner and very delicious.
The idea of just laying the ham and cheese on the chicken is so smart and saves so much time and headaches.  And the sauce was deeeelish.


I'm heading into the kitchen to start menu planning for the week so I can get groceries today.

I'm considering the following - 

Crock Pot Gyros - The Mister is particularly excited about this one.

Slow Cooker Cajun Fettuccini   - with probably all the spice left out for the kids.

Curried Lentil Tomato and Coconut Soup - no one will eat this but me.

Pina Colada Cake - I really wanted to make this for work but one of the ladies hates coconut so I might make this for Sunday Dinner.
What's on your meal plan this week?