Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A touchy subject....Part II May I wrote a post "A Touchy Subject" about my weight loss journey and how it was going at the time.'s an update....
It's not.....I have again backed away from the whole losing weight thing.

However, there is a method in my to speak. I am still exercising, although I've dropped the gym membership and bought myself a recumbent bike and a few other exercise accessories. It will work out cheaper in the long least that's what I'm telling myself. It all remains to be seen. I have been listening to podcasts of Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone whilst I "work out" and also reading  blogs and books....and I have frequently come across the phrases Intuitive Eating and Mindful Eating.

I won't go into the ifs, ands or buts of the subject...just google the phrases....but the concept, while not new, is a good one. However, it is also hard to master....very hard as I'm finding out. There are a lot of behaviours that I'm trying to change and I'm spending a lot more time on me and how I operate....inside and out. I feel a little self-involved....something I don't think I usually am....although maybe some people would beg to differ.

I'm hoping the end result of all this navel gazing and "listening to my body" will be stabilization of my eating habits and a general overall lessening of unnecessary food otherwards...hopefully I'll eventually eat three squares and few snacks and exercise on a regular basis.

I'm afraid, though, that I'm still bothered by the old bugbear "what people think"....
I like to believe that I could give a flying toss about what people think of me and how I look or act....but my mother (God rest her soul) trained me well and it's a behaviour that causes me a whole lot of grief. It's getting better, but there are still people in my life (thankfully only a few) who believe they know me well enough to be able to make comments that hurt and they really believe they are helping me.  It's been a problem all my life and I think that I'm finally getting better at deflecting the hurt and firmly believing that I am the one and only person who really knows best about me, myself, and I.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Recently, I had to clear some rhubarb from my garden as it was overshadowing my basil and well....we know how important my basil is to me!! I grew up thinking (in the garden section of my mind) that one shouldn't harvest rhubarb after July 1st because it needed to take some of the goodness back into the plant as it died....or something like that. I believe it was something that my mom told me.....and probably one of those sayings that should go under the heading of "Old Wives Tales".  My rhubarb has been VERY prolific this year....I have gotten at least three very large-scale cuttings from this plant and even now it is still growing. However, I digress....this post is about what I DID with the rhubarb that I recently cut.

Well....stored the stalks in the fridge wrapped in a damp tea towel until I solved the problem of what to do with them .  I went online and typed in Rhubarb recipes and came up with a website called The Rhubarb Compendium is a veritable encyclopedia of rhubarb recipes.  I was mostly interested in a type of rhubarb cake and I have tried out two recipes that I gleaned from this website.
The first one is called Ravishing Rhubarb Cake and is a simple carrot cake type of texture....made in a 9x13 pan.
I didn't ice it at all, but I'm sure one could with cream cheese icing or powdered sugar as the recipe it is...sorry no pics on this one.....
Oh...and I also used the last piece of this (or at least part of it) broken up on top of my blueberry, yogurt (yes..Krema French Vanilla Greek Style!) and granola brekkers and it was an amazing addition to the mix. Yum!!



3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
11/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup applesauce or plain nonfat yogurt
3 cups uncooked rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Beat eggs, salt, sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, soda and cinnamon. Add applesauce, rhubarb and nuts; stir until well blended.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour. Cool; dust with powdered sugar. Yields 20 servings.
Per serving: 130 calories; 2.8 g fat (0.3 g saturated fat, 19 percent calories from fat); 32 mg cholesterol; 78 mg sodium.

The next recipe is a gem.....totally. Quick, easy and totally deeelish!!



Two-layer yellow cake mix
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup granulated sugar
1 pint whipping cream (2 cups)


Prepare batter for cake mix according to package directions; turn into greased and floured 9x13" pan. Dump the chopped rhubarb on top of the cake batter. Sprinkle the sugar on top of the rhubarb. Pour the whipping cream (unwhipped) over the sugar. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, until cake springs back when lightly touched.
Cream, sugar, and rhubarb sink to bottom, forming a custard layer. Makes 1-18 (depending on how you cut it!!) dee-vine servings.

Now I am not one to use cake mixes a lot....or whipping cream for that matter....but this just appealed to free spirit in me....the one that says  "Oh go know you want it!!"  A couple of things though.....first of all...don't use one of those "Moist Deluxe" cake mixes....just a plain jane white or yellow cake mix.....and I made this twice in the last week or so and the second time I only had 1 cup of whipping cream and so I added a cup of sweetened condensed milk to it and cut the sugar to 1/2 cup. It was just as good or even a tad better. Now I have pictures of this....but it's been mostly devoured from the pan ...and believe me, my piece was half of that which is shown on the plate.....really....yes it least the first piece!!

The only thing I can say after this is.....Enjoy!!


Monday, July 26, 2010


There are two herbs which are my all time favourites....basil and lavender. Today's post is about lavender.

To me lavender evokes visions of an English country cottage where the door opens and a white haired elderly lady emerges with a crocheted shawl around her shoulders and walks down the path towards me with her hand outstretched to greet the visitor. Upon entering the house, scents of wood polish hinting strongly of lavender assail my nostrils. Whether the lavender is on the lady or in the cushions dotted around the sitting room, I'm not sure, but  it's very comforting and the urge is strong to kick off my shoes and curl up on a flower patterned sofa and breathe. Call me a Romantic, but there is nothing that puts me in a more relaxed and nostalgic frame of mind than the scent of lavender.

Strangely enough, lavender perfume tends to make people think of England, but there are also many lavender farms in France and of course North America.....along with a myriad of varieties of lavender.

I have about 3 large bushes of lavender in my garden, which is small compared to what I had in Langley. However, it's more than enough for my needs. I always keep dried lavender around in the winter to use for baking, teas or just to smell..:-). In the summer the two major projects for me with lavender are
Strawberry Lavender Jam and Raspberry Lavender Vinegar (of which I have no link because it's something I do out of my head......
Here is the lavender......and the lavender and strawberries and sugar in a large bowl covered with plastic see you have to leave it overnight to marinate and well.....there are these fruit flies......and I forgot to take a picture before I covered it......and I reeeeally didn't want to take the cover off and redo ......

...but you get the gist of it.....and then there's the finished product......voila!!!

The Raspberry Lavender vinegar is really quite simple....get a gallon jar or two half gallons and a lot of white wine vinegar and raspberries and lavender.....

You then combine them all together, giving the raspberries a little squish to release the juices, break the stems of the lavender a little....putting them in the jar and filling it up with white wine vinegar. Put some plastic wrap over the top if you're using metal lids, or if you do what I did and use the canning lids, just put the lids on and screw them up tight. They should look something like this....
or to get a clearer view (with the flash) ...this
You then store them in a cool dark place (in our case the downstairs pantry) for at least 2-3 months, and then bottle them in smaller bottles with plastic screw tops similar to this.......
...which is officially called "a 10 oz Woozy" bottle from Richard's Packaging....however, any similar type of bottle will be suitable....just make sure you use a plastic cap to avoid corrosion. 

We usually filter the vinegar anywhere up to 5 times, using coffee filters and then it makes a beautiful clear ruby colour in the bottle.  One hint: Do NOT put fresh herbs in the bottled vinegar as it will go moldy as you use the vinegar and the herbs are no longer covered.  The idea is nice and pretty, but not very practical.
So there you have it.....

I am presently contemplating the idea of infusing a large bottle of cleaning vinegar with lavender....I had a chance to try someone's home made lavender cleaning vinegar and it was wash windows, counters etc....just left an overall comfortable and welcoming lavender scent in the house. I did notice that one of the large supermarkets had a vinegar labeled for cleaning as it was a stronger strength.....what a super idea!!!

I haven't made any lavender cosmetics recently, although I have made a lavender lip balm and it was heavenly and worked a treat!!  Speaking of treats, I do allow myself to buy commercial lavender preparations for bath and hand soap and bar soap and shower gel and shampoo...and ....and....
At some point I would like to make some of those things myself......I may or  I may not, but in the meantime I try to buy organic products and ones that have a very traditional lavender many now are very synthetic and only a fraction of the loveliness that is natural lavender scent!!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

The desk!!!

The last couple of days on Facebook, I have been posting about the sorting and tidying of my studio so I can add the new computer desk I bought.

I needed a new desk because the little one I was using worked well for a laptop but when I got the new desktop computer  I started getting major muscle cramps in my shoulder because of the two levels....keyboard on lower level and mouse on upper level. I decided that I needed a slide-out shelf with room for both a keyboard and a mouse. We searched high and low in all price and quality ranges and finally came up with a rather good one with a glass top from Liquidation World. It seemed sturdy and I loved the whole concept of the glass top. It was larger than we had visualized, but I was confident it would work.

As is normal with me, once I buy something, I want it set up RIGHT AWAY!!....drives DH crazy. However, his calmness prevailed and despite the nagging feelings of frustration, I bit the bullet and tidied up, chucked garbage, cleaned up random piles of paper into recycling and anything that I couldn't figure out what to do with, I threw on my large work/drafting table to be dealt with maybe a winter project???

I moved my stereo into my workshop and figured out how to configure THAT idea....using my old computer table.

This is my relaxation/comfort/meditating area of my work you can see, there is a nice comfy couch to "meditate" on.....zzzzzzzz.

...and then I moved the book case over next to the piano keyboard behind the door, and I think eventually I will probably use it for music instead of books, moving the books over to where the music is now.

I also have a little alcove to store two of the important things in my creative life.... my treasured horn and music stand.

So all in all it seems to have worked well....and provided me with a myriad of little clean up organizational projects to do during the rest of the summer when it's too hot to be upstairs. Things like the pile of stuff in front of the cupboard

and then whatever is behind the dreaded cupboard door's actually pictures.....hundreds of pictures that have to be to gone through and decisions made as to where they must end up. They are accumulated from the family home about 6 years ago...which only gives you an indication of my powers of procrastination!!!
But I digress.....
The final outcome of "The Desk" saga is this.....

Pretty cool isn't it??
I love it!! ....oh and by the way...the bowl and cup on the table.......that's my delicious breakfast of apricots, blueberries, Greek Yogurt, Kashi Honey Almond Flax Cereal and Blueberry Syrup.....and coffee.....but that's another story!!!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Leftovers ...act II I had another experience with leftover - Yukon Gold potatoes from dinner last night. This morning DH slyly said...."Hmmmmm.....fried potatoes and eggs would make a good breakfast.....wouldn't they??" Needless to say that got my brain into cooking mode!!
I rummaged around in the fridge and came up with ....the said potatoes, some fresh spinach from the garden, a bit of red pepper, 2 green onions and some sliced mushrooms. I then dashed out to the garden and clipped some tarragon and dillweed. I also took three eggs from the fridge. All was assembled (more or less) so on I go...
First of all I chopped all the veggies and herbs (excepting the potatoes) and it looked like this....
and this......

I then whisked the three eggs briefly and added some kosher salt and a few twists of pepper and it was ready...
Then it was time to put it all together.....

Heat up the pan with a few glugs of EVOO (which, ironically, was not enough as you will see!) add the chopped veggies and stir for a bit 'til slightly softened. Then add the chopped herbs and slice the potatoes in as well. Keep stirring until it all looks warm and tasty....sort of like this......
Then pour in the eggs, swirling it all around letting the egg mixture run into the little pockets between the veggies and also lift up the edges a wee bit to let the egg flow underneath.  It should look something like this.....

Now here's where the "glugs" of EVOO  may not have been quite enough.  I didn't use my ovensafe skillet and in retrospect, that was probably a mistake. In any case my usual procedure is to get a slightly larger skillet, heat it up and then flip the smaller skillet (and eggs etc..) into the already hot pan, thereby cooking the top of the frittata in short order. HAH!!! The best laid plans  etc...etc...etc....
I heated the pan, tried to do the flip, but the smaller pan wasn't having any of stuck and then dripped pieces of cooked egg mixture onto the larger pan. OK...I can fix this.....I put the smaller pan upright, got the flipper and scraped the bottom  and then dumped the rest of the mixture into the larger pan and kind of pressed it into some sort of circular scramble that resembled ....well, I don't know what it resembled....but it definitely WASN'T frittata!!
So I sucked it up and grated some aged white cheddar on the top of it....cut it in half and served it up....

It looks a bit of a mess....but believe tasted amazing!!!! 
I definitely had to grit my teeth though, when DH put a rather substantial ribbon of catsup over his.....accckk!! He did concede though, that the non-catsup portion was ...well....ok....and I know that when he says that he's actually quite taken with the finished product!! As for me, I was happy to have used up something else out of my fridge and also pleased that I don't have to think about making a lunch!!! I think I'll just have a pear, thanks very much!  :-)


Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I am quite proud of myself. DH thought I was quite weird, but last night before I drifted off to sleep, I figured out my brekkers and lunch.....lunch being the more work to prepare.
Breakfast was Multigrain Cheerios, with strawberries from the garden topped with Krema Greek yogurt and leftover rosemary, rhubarb, strawberry sauce which was used the night before with a scrumptious Cornmeal,  Rosemary & Lemon Cake with Rhubarb and Strawberry Sauce.  It was a most delicious breakfast and a perfect way to start the day.

However, the emphasis in this post is on the lunch. I knew that I had some egg whites left in the fridge from the afore-mentioned cake and I also had some leftover Pico de Gallo from Sunday and an avocado, some green onions, mushrooms, and celery a load of tarragon outside in the garden. So....I chopped the green onions, celery and mushrooms and chopped tarragon and sauted them in a glug (a la Jamie Oliver) of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (hereafter known as EVOO), adding a couple of twists of fresh ground pepper and a sprinkle of kosher salt.  I then gently whisked the egg whites and added them to the veggies scraping the bottom to make scrambled egg whites. In the meantime, I seeded and scraped out and mushed the avocado with a fork and added the remainder of the Pico de Gallo to it. I also had a tortilla warming in the large skillet. To assemble....I took the tortilla and pushed it into a pretty blue bowl , scooped in the egg mixture, added some fresh picked salad herbal greens chopped and then topped with some avocado mixture (hereafter known as guacamole Pioneer Woman style...GPWS). I finished it off with a dollop of natural flavour Krema Greek yogurt (I die for that's amazing!!)...and voila!!!
So there is yet another thing to cogitate on whilst sleep alludes me......who knew!!!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A dinner to simmer...

Today I thought I would put together dinner early in the day....a hearty soup sitting on the back of the stove, simmering away until dinner time. I started it around one'ish...after lunch.
First I went out to the garden just as it was beginning to rain to see what I could find herb-wise. I came back in with some sage, thyme, Italian parsley, margarita mint, oregano, and rosemary......and after washing and trimming they looked like this
and then after chopping .....they looked like this....
While I was outside...I also picked some spinach and chard... and Russian Kale (which I have never tried before ), washed and chopped them up

Add to that, carrots, panacetta, garlic, leeks, celery, red pepper, some poblano pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, a large can of tomatoes (that I smushed with my fingers a la Jamie Oliver), a can of mixed beans and  some low sodium chicken broth....and at the end I added some cooked chicken thighs that we had in the freezer (chopped up) and the finished result (after much simmering....looked like this
and this
....and served up with some Olive Ciabatta was quite a tasty treat!!

I actually managed to get something done downstairs whilst it was simmering away...and...there is enough left for dinner tomorrow night and to put in the freezer for a quick lunch some day.

Today was a good day....rainy though ...and although I never thought I would say this.....I WANT SOME SUN!....if only for my poor basil. On the upside though...our rocky, root infested front lawn has never looked greener!!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Garden time!!!

On Tuesday I did manage to pot up some basil for Ty and we have left it on the patio close to the house to see if it will survive....and the good news is that IT DID!! least so far, but the night time temps for the next few days are supposed to be in the 'teens so I'm hopeful that they will thrive. Those night time temps also mean that I may be able to plant basil in the garden as well.....keeping fingers crossed.
This is what the basil looked like before I potted it small containers sitting on a card table inside our patio doors..and below is what it looks like after I potted it up.  (Excuse me...can I scream now....the Blogger picture upload stuff is driving crazy!!!! It should be so much simpler than it is....nothing ever comes out the way you want it....ARRRRRGH!!!!) Ok, now I have that out of my system......on to some more pictures...I hope.
and below is a picture of the remainder of the basil to be planted as it sits on my patio in the sun....sun??? sun???did I say sun???  Oh well, at least the rain will keep it watered!!
...and to finish things off ...a few more pictures from our garden....

my hops ...which is definitely up and running 


.....and then there is the dill among the grape leaves....

....and it is so prevalent in our garden it has almost become a weed as shown by this picture...
I don't think I will run short of it this summer!!

Then there is the strawberries....

...and here

mesclun and chard.....
         .....and finally

The Rhubarb

...which we've already had one cutting from. ....oh and that plastic's a potato experiment!!!

So there you have it...our garden....well..not all of our garden....I mean, there is the carrots, radishes, beans, peas, onions, garlic, lettuce, beets......oh and then there's the fruit trees....but that's another story....

Time to head off before I scream at Blogger....either I'm not doing things right or it's just too confusing.....
One final ARRRRRGH!!! and then I'm outta here.....


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Me again!! I am again....

I thought last night that I should really blog much more than I do....and make an effort to make things interesting....well least not endless streams of text. goes.......

I have a few things to do particularly is to pot up basil plants for daughter Ty, now a date for the visit has been finalized.  I have pots, I have soil....I will pot!!

I also have decided to try to think of blog topics and that's not as difficult as it sounds. I always can think of blog topics...when I'm lying in bed unable to sleep, when I'm sewing, when I'm listening to music, when I'm working on the computer....but I never remember them when the time comes to THAT'S why I never post. I have decided to keep a notebook handy to jot down things that occur to me that may or may not make it to the blog. I'm also going to take a few more pics and regularly upload them into the 'puter so I can post them if and when I want to.  I'm so lazy about uploading pics....wait a minute....I'm so lazy period!!

Having said all this, the trick is to actually follow through on it. I think that setting a specific blog read and a good thing. I know that if I don't watch it, I will be on here all day!!

Now for a picture....this morning, I actually made my brekkers grabbed my coffee and headed downstairs (followed by Chauncey) so I took a couple pics of my brekkers and workstation.
This was my brekkers....Multigrain Cheerios, banana and thick creamy Greek style yogurt topped with a splash of Summerland Sweets Peach Brandy syrup.....creamy and crunch all at the same time with a few little round Cheerios for the pooch to nibble on.....

...and here's where I sit....with my Hawthorne Vineyards coffee cup. I'm so good, I actually had my second cup black this morning. I usually start my morning with coffee with milk and 2 sugar and then the rest of the coffee during the day is just milk or black. I so need that boost of sugar in my first cup though.

I have a few other projects to work on, sewing and organizing, but those will be previewed on another day. I also have a load of food pics that I took with the intention of posting on the blog.....the results of my attempts with new recipes...and most are not too bad.  Those also are for another day.

Today, however, is to start now....almost 11, I'm doing good !! (Note the tongue firmly planted in the cheek here!!)


Monday, June 07, 2010

Sitting in the Rain....

Sometimes there is a definite benefit to having a patio with a roof.....
Tonight I was sitting watching TV (as I am wont to do most nights) and I suddenly got the urge to go sit on the patio...which in itself is remarkable because it was pouring rain and thunder was beginning....but I was bored.

I have to was wonderful....and just what I needed. I grabbed my hoodie and went and sat with my feet up on the lawn chairs and just absorbed the lovely moisture and fresh air. Chauncey (our Bichon) roamed around the yard in the rain and came back to be dried off and paws wiped and then retreated inside to his perch by the front window. However when the thunder started (not a lot) he came roaring out and sat looking mournfully at me until I picked him up and he snuggled up on my arms and we both sat quietly dry...but in the rain.

It was a nice break from routine.......


Saturday, May 08, 2010

A touchy subject.....

Quite some time ago in another life (just kidding!!) I mentioned here that I was trying to lose weight and wouldn't talk about it, but would just get on with it. I'm thinking, in retrospect, that might have been a mistake. I probably should have talked about it and then maybe I wouldn't have fallen off the the wagon at the end of last year.

Sparkpeople (hereafter known as SP) came into my orbit a couple of years ago (maybe longer) by my DD and at the time, I just bookmarked it and left it at that. However, due to health issues etc....I thought I would explore it further, as I don't do well in group weight control settings. I didn't realize how extensive a site it is so when I did my exploration I realized that it was probably what I was looking for. It was on the computer (as was I....a lot!!)and I could make use of as little or as much of the site that I wanted...and best of all was FREE.....perfect!! I was diligent to the point of obsessiveness at first....finding out nutritional data, tracking my food, exercise and weight daily. I lost 50 pounds in about a year and then proceeded to plateau for about 6 months....all the while still documenting my progress or lack thereof. Around Christmas time last year, I decided to give it a break....I was tired of the lack of progress, the tracking procedure, the whole thing. I rationalized this by saying I was trying to see if I could control my eating habits.

I couldn't.

About a week ago I was feeling down (a common problem with me at this point) and it occurred to me that maybe I should return to SP and give it another go.

In the interim, I had read many different weight loss blogs (there are a LOT of them out there) and I came across one written by a lady, probably slightly younger than me, a Canadian (Yayyy!) and who had similar disability problems as myself. It didn't seem that she was that overweight, in fact it was, for her, more about keeping healthy and least that's the way I read it. It was not a fancy was just quietly telling her viewpoint and I kind of related to it.  I had also read a lot of food blogs as well and consequently  found myself trying out new recipes and realizing that I can do this without losing the joy of eating....which is where it's at for me and always has been....and no doubt always will be. I had also started going to a Ladies Only gym and been set up with a program that worked for me....and at first it was a challenge, but now I really enjoy it.

So I'm set up to try again.....

As it turned out, I had gained about 25 pounds (so much for "controlled eating") but that word control figures prominently in my days now. I feel much more in control of my life what I eat and how I exercise. I didn't realize how much I was floating until I got the anchor back.....and about the fussiness of the constant tracking???
Well....I just decided that the less I eat between meals the better....then all I have to track are my meals and that's not a problem. I have also set up my gym program on SP so I can track and mark what and when I do the exercises and it tells me approximately how many calories I burn. Even since I've started my energy level has gone up and my interest in things around me has increased, and the depression is lifting. I've been gardening, practising and listening to my all in all, it seems to be a positive outlook. I feel as though I'm going forward instead of standing still or slipping backwards.

Generally speaking my take on losing weight hasn't changed a whole's all about quantity and quality. Eat good food, eat food that you love, just eat less of it.....and some way shape or form.  One obviously has to be aware of the nutrition of the food you eat, but once you've done it for a while, it's just second nature. I have one hundred pounds more to lose.....and I've given myself a year to do it. My only concern at this point is  ...that after the loss of 50 pounds, I still had not gained control over my eating habits. The rationalizing, skewed view of my body and food's all still there and leapt to the forefront in my mind when I made that decision to stop losing weight. The initial relief at not tracking my progress was transformed quickly into making excuses, constant worry and fretting about my appearance (read weight!). Somehow I am going to have to find the strength to believe in my ability to control my diet....and I mean diet as in what I eat...not as in losing weight. It's all about one day at a time I think.....that's the only way I can look at it. Otherwise I get overwhelmed....and then it's all downhill from there.

So there you have weight loss story (or at least the part that I'm willing to talk about!!)


Friday, April 23, 2010

Last weekend......

We had a wonderful weekend with our two offspring and their spouses. It was a first time experience (all together in Kamloops!!) for all of us. Exhausting to say the least (I'm showing my age), but it was totally a hoot!! Unfortunately I took no pictures of the you'll just have to take my word for it.

Apart from the concert on Saturday night (KSO and Charlie Chaplin movies) I think the highlight of the weekend was on Sunday night. We went out for dinner and then headed home for an evening of board games. By the end of the night we were all in hysterics....DH was laughing so hard at one point, I thought he was going to have heart attack. It was really great because we didn't just stay with one game....which made things interesting. Lots of humming, charades, guessing, creative was positively gleeful!!

I love my kids and their fun.....


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Music to compute by.....

I'm sure most people have radios and CD players close by their computer....I know I do....but I have recently re-discovered the joys of internet radio live streaming...

I used to use it quite a while ago...but got out of the habit when my laptop started to slow down and I was using it mostly upstairs where there is the TV to compete with.

I recently got a new computer which I set up in my studio in the lower regions of the house (read ground floor, basement, entry level....whatever works for you) so have re-instituted the practice of listening to radio online.....particularly British and Irish radio. My taste (when I'm working) is in the classical music genre so I found this site which lists classical music online radio all over the world....
I clicked on the Europe section and voila....I have a wonderful varied selection to choose from. For the moment I listen to Lyric FM in Ireland and BBC3 in the UK.....and I know there is another ...Classic FM in the UK. I haven't explored any further ones as yet, but will do at some point.

Lyric FM is a more lighthearted variety of classical music with a mixture of serious classical and light classical and jazz with some other genres mixed in. BBC 3 is a little more serious classical....full concerts there is definitely a few options.

There are a lot of options for radio online, but to find many "just classical" stations is inspires me. It's interesting too, when I have Lyric FM on, it's usually early morning or evening their time, so I get local Irish news weather and traffic reports (especially in the morning). I love it....if I can't be there in person, at least I can listen in on their lives!!!

I check out the RTE and BBC websites as well to find out what's on so if there are any special programs that twig my interest, I can listen in.

It's definitely a nice alternative to CBC, especially since the CBC has taken to "dumbing down" Radio 2 to appeal to the masses......and there's just something that kind of suits me to listen to an overseas radio station.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Food adventures....

OK, this post is long overdue, according to DH. However, it's about my recent and rather sudden re-awakened interest in cooking. Whilst DH and my bro and I were watching TV one Sunday night about a month or so ago, I was I picked up a copy of the "Appeal" magazine from Save On Foods. I was amazed how it totally absorbed my attention and how I actually considered that most of the recipes were well within my capabilities. I have a sneaking suspicion that the movie "Julie and Julia" may have twigged something way back in my mind making me realize that I really do enjoy cooking, but just couldn't be bothered.

So.....the following weekend...when looking for something to have for Sunday dinner, I remembered reading the recipe for Beef Bourguignon....and...having heard about it in the afor-mentioned movie, I thought.....why not??? The recipe from Appeal is on Page 18 here and it proved to be relatively uncomplicated. When comparing it to the Julia Child recipe, it seems that hers, while much the same ingredients, is much more labour intensive. My attempt, by all accounts, was a success......
Some pictures of the actual dish.......and then the sides.....mashed potatoes, baby carrots and green beans, along with a nice wine, which of course is mandatory!!
Having shown you this, of course, the realization has hit me that I would never make a REAL chef....I just don't clean up the presentation enough!! Splatters on the sides of the casserole....(shudder!!)

So the BB went off, feeling rather pleased with myself, I tackled a couple of baking projects, which is normally not too bad for me, but I have to say that I usually use a muffin mix as a starter when I make muffins and then add to it. However....again in the
Appeal magazine Page 56 (see link above) I found a recipe for Chunky Apple Banana Bran Muffins. I think that the fact I had most of the ingredients played a large part in my enthusiasm, plus the fact that I was at home alone with no distractions.....just music playing. Anyways, they turned out amazingly well and I learned to fill the muffin cups using an ice cream easy!!
My next baking challenge was Healthy Blueberry Bran Muffins....which was on the KCTS website (PBS) and again....they were very successful (especially with the ice cream scoop.)The only change I made with them is I used 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk instead of 1 cup of skim milk and 1/2 cup of applesauce or plain yogurt.

From this same site, I explored a bit and found a wonderful cranberry, orange, apricot salsa which is delicious and makes quite a large quantity. I'm a real fruit salsa fan, so this just hit the spot.

So, I have no more pictures as yet, but since this revelation, I have found myself to be quite creative in cooking and baking. It seems that DH is also, to a lesser degree, feeling the pull of cooking a wonderful tasty meal. His attempts have been very successful.

More about my (or our) cooking adventures in future posts....but for now, I'll just keep my apron ready and camera handy!!