Sunday, February 28, 2010

WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOO HOO! CANADA WINS GOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Scotland Travel Plans

http://allotment2kitchen.blogspot.com/2010/02/day-in-pictures.html alerted me to visiting the following when we go to Glasgow. The People's Palace - http://www.glasgowmuseums.com/venue/index.cfm?venueid=9
After visiting there we will stroll over to the Barra market and perhaps lunch at http://www.13thnote.co.uk/
The 13th Note as suggested by Mangocheeks in her blog.

I pulled out our photos from 2001 and liked this shot taken in Tarbert. The film My Name is Joe was filmed here in Tarbert. We watched it when we got home and chuckled because it had sub-titles.

Cooking Agenda - Weekend of Feb 27-28

I don't plan on going overboard this weekend.
Last night, Friday, we had homemade turkey rice soup with garlic cheese biscuits. I posted the biscuit recipe earlier.

Saturday was breakfast out (see Saturday Breakfast at The Tulip) and then steaks, broccoli and garlic bread for dinner.

Just came across this recipe http://cookbookapprentice.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/raspberry-cream-cheese-breakfast-buns-and-the-best-___________-i-ever-had/ from the Cookbook Apprentice's blog.
It sounded so good that I immediately looked in the freezer to see if I had any raspberries and only found strawberries. Since the recipe called for raspberry preserves (and we never have jam in the house) I remembered that a few years ago our neighbour C had so many apricots we didn't know what to do. I found a recipe for jam made in the breadmaker  and we used up all the apricots. I didn't find any raspberries but did have strawberries so I thought I would make the buns and sustittute strawberry preserves for raspberries. The strawberries are defrosting and I will make this tonight in preparation for making the buns in the morning got up early and made the jam not realizing that it took an hour and a half in the breadmaker. Breadmaker hasn't been out in the light of day for at least a year! While it's out I'll take the opportunity to clean out the cupboard where it resides.



So we are finally eating these at 10am. I also realized I didn't have enough strawberry jam. Necessity is the Mother of Invention so I took some frozen blueberries out of the freezer, microwaved them, mashed them and swirled them through half the muffins.
I used my medium muffin pan that makes 12 and then had enough dough to make 7 more.

Strawberry Jam (Bread Machine)
This came in my bread machine's user book Black and Decker All in One Deluxe Horizontal.  You can also substitute any other berriesfor this jam.

3 cups strawberries(fresh or frozen thawed)  I used frozen and only had 1 cup
3/4 cups sugar I used 1/4 cup
1 tablespoon lemon

If frozen, thaw completely.
Put berries and sugar into pan of machine.
Follow the directions for your machine for the jam cycle. And DO follow their direction to prevent splatter, form a 2" wide collar out of foil to put around the upper rim of baking pan to keep centre section open. I didn't and now will have to use a lot of elbow grease to clean up the splatters which have dried throughtout the machine.
Muffins on my grandmother's plate. They were good but not the best ever.
 
For Sunday dinner I was looking for something that I can use the chicken thighs that are in the freezer. Will make enough that we can have lunch for work on Monday. Oh yeah, I am meeting K for lunch on Monday...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Morning Breakfast at The Tulip

http://www.tulipsteakhouse.com/index.php

The Tulip Restaurant has served Torontonians great food since 1929. They market themselves as the Original Steakhouse. Their menu is fun to read and feels quite retro.
We headed out for breakfast at 8:30 before we go to the King Tut exhibit at the AGO. The Tulip is huge as is their menu. Breakfast was good and only $13. Service is quick and cheerful. More and more people arrived while we were there. It appears to be local hangout.

Saturday Shoes - London





Taken in October in London outside Number 10 Downing St. I just love her red shoes in a sea of black. It was the first day of back to work for Parliment so the whole area around here and the Houses of Parliament were buzzing. http://www.life.com/image/80025000




Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Weekend Feb 20-21 Cooking Agenda, Car Break In and an Electrician

Friday night we had a beef shepherd's pie. I normally make a traditional lamb with carrots shepherd's pie using Emeril's recipe but had been really busy at work so opted for a beef using canned corn- lazy woman's recipe. But I did add cheddar cheese to the mashed potatoes before putting it in the oven to brown. That deserves some points.
Saturday an electrician came to fix the hall switch that had sparked and blown out 3 lights during the week. In the process, we decided to ask him for an estimate to replace the old wiring. I guess the bathroom reno moves down the list. But this is more important. I suppose.
Saturday made a great chicken rice soup with the leftovers from the chicken curry I had made earlier in the week with chicken thighs. We had this for lunch.

Saturday night we wanted to use up the tzatziki we had in the fridge. I have blogged about this tzatziki in an earlier post from Sun Valley in Toronto. We grilled some boneless chicken breasts, chopped some onions (didn't have any tomatoes and no one was going out to get any), heated up some pita that was in the freezeer and piled everything onto the pita. Was very good! With hot sauce added!

 Sunday I had to make something for a pot luck lunch at work tomorrow. Gawd how I hate those things. You have no idea how other people cook or keep their kitchens clean. Since most of our staff are vegetarians I thought I would make these.





I did have plans to make other things today but a neighbour knocked on the door to tell us our driver's car window had been smashed in and we discovered that our GPS was taken as well as some loose change. Honestly do these hooligans people do this to make a few bucks selling it in some bar? They only cost $100 so how much could you get for it? Glad that BH didn't have our house address programmed, he had used a store near us. It's all the inconvenience it causes, cleaning up, calling cops, making appointment to get it fixed. And to add insult to injury it isn't even worth claiming on your insurance.

Mixing the filling
Mini Gorgonzola-cranberry quiches


Published by Chatelaine on 1/1/2006

Frozen mini tart shells are a good cheat for showcasing these pretty quiches.


Cooking time 6 minutes

Preparation time 10 minutes

Baking Time 20 minutes

Makes 36 mini quiches


•1 small bunch leeks

•2 tbsp (30 mL) garlic butter

•1/2 cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped dried cranberries

•5 oz (150 g) Gorgonzola or Cambozola cheese

•2/3 cup (150 mL) whipping or table cream or homogenized milk

•2 eggs

•1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

•2 (255 g) pkgs frozen mini tart shells

1.Position oven racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Slice root ends and dark green tops from leeks. Discard. Cut in half lengthwise. Fan out. Rinse under water to remove grit. Thinly slice. Leeks should measure 2 cups (500 mL).

2.Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add leeks and cranberries. Stir often until softened, 6 minutes. Cut cheese into small pieces. In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk cream with eggs and salt. Place frozen tart shells on 2 rimmed baking sheets.

3.Stir cheese into cooked leek mixture in pan until almost melted. Spoon into tart shells, filling two-thirds full. Slowly pour in egg mixture just to tart rims. Bake until filling is set, 20 to 25 minutes, switching baking sheets halfway through. Serve right away or cool, then cover and refrigerate up to 1 day. Warm at 350F (180C), 12 to 15 minutes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Black Sand Beach

Note - found this in my Drafts folder...



Punalu'u Beach Park is the most famous black sand beach on the island. This black sand beach is the most expansive and most accessible black sand beach on the Big Island. This is a perfect place to enjoy the scenery, explore the black sand beach, watch the sea turtles, and swim or snorkel. You can also spread out a blanket under a towering coconut tree for a midday picnic or afternoon siesta, or sit for hours watching the action in the park's beautiful freshwater fish pond. The white tips of cresting waves against the deep blue Pacific are beautiful, but it's the astonishing black sand beach that will take your breath away.
Punalu'u Beach Park is located off Hwy 11 on Puna district's south shore, south of the town of Hilo. This quiet beach is a perfect spot for people who want to do nothing but just relax. Punalu'u is also famous for the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles who frequent this beach, sunbathing on the warm sand. Come and view these wonderful turtles, but please don't touch them or scare them. Please don't take any of the black sand and don't distress or even touch our beloved turtles - keep a wide berth between you and the turtles! They are endangered species and the bacteria transferred to them via our human skin can kill them as they have no immune system for it.
The waters here are protected by the small cove and the black sand is soft and welcoming. Tall palm trees ring the beach area providing some shade at the outer edge. There is a large, paved parking lot with full facilities nearby.

Toronto Thursday - Graffiti

I'm going to attempt to post photos from around Toronto on Thursdays.

To start this off I am posting some pictures of graffiti that I took with a BF late last summer. It was a beautiful September day and we then went for lunch. Here is a link to all the photos we took that day.
http://www1.snapfish.com/thumbnailshare/AlbumID=2364034015/a=9917559_9917559/otsc=SHR/otsi=SALBlink/COBRAND_NAME=snapfish/

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Planning our London/England Trip

Picture courtesy of K! Hope you don't mind!
K and T outside Buckingham Palace

BH and I have been to London quite a few times, the last being 2005. I did go with a GF in October 2009 for a week and we had a ball. My niece, T came down from Birmingham, had never been to London, so it was a real "girls" week.

BH and I plan to stop in London when we do our England/Scotland trip in the spring. We plan on a couple of days and then train it to Scotland, making stops on the way.

There's always something new to do though. So this is my wish list so far.
Museum of London (at London Wall) features a new exhibition re-creating Londinium (Roman London). It's based on archeological findings, which revealed a city of timber and mud brick, unlike most Roman cities of the time. After strolling through a replica High Street, visitors can view the actual objects found on-site.
http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/English/

Brick Lane - for good Indian food and of course some awesome photos.

Little Venice - had never heard of this until an episode of Coronation Street last week when Ken's true love mentioned it. No spoilers please! We are watching in Canada and are almost a year behind!
Templar Church  http://www.templechurch.com/  posts the current month's visiting hours. We tried to visit in 2005 after reading/seeing Angels and Demons and it was closed. Was on my list for last October but just didn't have time. I am determined this time.

Bath -In the eighteenth century Bath was re-designed as an outdoor showplace for Georgian society. Almost the entire town centre is a coherent and attractive map of honey-coloured limestone terraces. Among the town's architectural highlights are the curved and panoramic crescents, and Pulteney Bridge, where you can pause to shop while crossing the river Avon. Bath has several fascinating galleries and museums devoted to subjects ranging from the town's Roman past (a trip to the Roman Baths is unmissable) to the history of costume.

Stonehenge - lies on a spot where a series of circular monuments were constructed between 3000BC and 1600BC. Originally made of earth and wood, the stones which now stand in a circle, aligned with the solstice rising sun, were brought from various locations: sarsens from the Marlborough Downs (these are the large standing stones in an outer ring, connected by lintels), and bluestones brought all the way from Wales; a considerable achievement. Stonehenge is part of a fascinating wider landscape, including various burial mounds, Neolithic long barrows, an earthwork of unknown purpose and Woodhenge, also oriented to the solstice sunrise.

Windsor Castle - just a maybe not totally on wish list.

Manchester - would love to visit Corrie St set but it is not open to the public, but I did find this! Canadian fans: The World of Coronation Street Tour is located in Toronto, Canada and runs trips to the Coronation Street set every September. The tour visits various outdoor locations in the Manchester area, a private group dinner with a Coronation Street Star as well as a coveted visit to Granada Studios. The website is http://www.kemptvilletravel.com or the tour exclusive website is http://www.coronationstreettour.com.
Liverpool

Olympic Mittens

We have a colleague from the States up here for 2 weeks on business. She mentioned that she wanted to get some Vancouver Olympic mittens to bring home. Seems they've become a hot item since Joe Biden was spotted wearing them.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v09yD-1DNYM
She also mentioned that they were selling for a $100 on Ebay. I looked and didn't seeany $100 mittens.
I said I'd go pick them up for her. She wanted 5 pairs and someone else wanted a pair. I headed to the Bay and picked up a total of 8 pairs. At $10 a pair they are a bargain.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

TorontoThursday - Olympics


I am going to try to make Thursday's post spotlight Toronto. Since the Olympics are taking place at the moment and Canada won another gold today I thought this was appropriate.
Spotted on King St today as I was going home from work.

Biscuits

I love southern biscuits. I love going to Cracker Barrel http://www.crackerbarrel.com/index.cfm when we are in the States. Trust me everyone who knows me knows this! I even chose a mutual fund just because it had Cracker Barrel funds in it and it's done very well.
Back to biscuits. Cracker Barrel biscuits or any biscuit in the southern states for that matter. I have a recipe from a copy cat site for Red Lobster Cheese biscuits that are perfect every time.

Ingredients


•1/4 cup margarine or butter

•1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

•2 cups of baking mix (I use Bisquick)

•2/3 cup milk

•1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese



Directions

1.In a bowl, combine the baking mix, milk and cheese until they form a soft dough. Drop spoonfuls of the dough on an ungreased cookie sheet.

2.Brush the biscuits with the garlic butter and put in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes at 400 degrees - the tops will be golden brown when the biscuits are done. After removing from the oven, brush with the garlic butter again and consume rapidly.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Project 365 2009

Here is a link to my Project 365 from 2009. Each month had a theme.
http://www1.snapfish.com/thumbnailshare/AlbumID=2364096015/a=9917559_9917559/otsc=SHR/otsi=SALBlink/COBRAND_NAME=snapfish/

Bathroom Renovation - Wish List

We must get our bathroom renovated, nothing's been really done to it since we moved in. Other than replacing the TURQUOISE BLUE  toilet, sink and bath and stuck some stick-on tiles on the floor.
So I am going to track my wish list here.
It needs a vent installed as well.
Or even a floor warmer!


8x10 or 12x12 travertine tiles on all the walls - floor to ceiling.

Replace the tub with a walk- in shower. Found some great images.
Not sure I like the wall though, the idea is to open up the space. It must have a bench and a safety bar though as well as lighting.

Remove the medicine cabinet. Large mirror with lighting at sides.

Gut the closet and re-do. I already posted this picture but will include here. Rolling the towels make total sense and looks really nice. Now if only the cat didn't love clean towels from the laundry. He has pulled the threads in so many of them!

Sink must have towel rack attached.

I think a pocket door would be perfect as well and there would be room.


Local sources:




Post Valentine Musings

I received the most beautiful flowers and card from my BH - pictures posted previously. As I was skimming through my blog list (spend way too much time doing that, there are soooo many good ones out there! But I think of it as browsing through magazines and look at the money I save and the inspirations I get.) I came across an article on Love and it reminded me of this photo we took in Phildelphia last summer.