Monday, March 14, 2011


I have moved my blog. I'm now writing on wordpress. I've decided to move because I'm looking for something different from here. But I am just trying it out, who knows, I might be back =)

You can follow me here

Hope to see you all there =)

Thanks for reading!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Chicken salad sandwiches and lackluster inspiration

I have LOST my creative inspiration. Okay, maybe it's not lost, per-say, but I've definitely hit a wall. I've been feeling defeated lately, and that's really rubbing off on my creativity. I felt a little better today, Adrian and I went to the park. We channeled our inner children and played on the merry-go-round and swings. I love swinging (on swings!). I am hopeful that tomorrow will see a greater improvement in my feelings. It could also just be PMS... HA!


Although I've been lacking creative skills, I still managed to make up a new recipe last night, for chicken salad sandwiches. Okay, I guess I didn't necessarily MAKE it up, because it's a pretty common recipe .... but I did give it my own twists and I didn't follow any other recipes, I came up with everything on my own. So here's what I did!:

You'll Need

- 4 to 6 chicken thighs (or about 2 or 3 chicken breasts)
- a frying pan
- oil and any seasonings you love - I used tarragon, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and onion powder
- 1 to 2 sticks of celery, diced into small pieces
- 1/4 of an onion, finely chopped (you can totally use more, that's just how much I used)
- about 3 to 4 heaping spoonful scoops of mayo
- about a 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice
- mixing bowl
- knife
-cutting board

What You Do

- Season the frying pan with a few splashes of oil, and a few pinches of all your chosen spices and herbs
- Cut up your chicken into small cubes (I touched raw meat for the first time, for the sake of this recipe!! *I usually use a fork to hold it while I cut it up*)
- Throw your chicken cubes into the frying pan, which is heating over medium heat
- fry the cubes until a light brown colour and all the pink is gone

Pause: I'm a habitual over-cooker. I blame it on my hand-me-down germ-phobia
from my mom, and from the news. When I was younger, the news was always telling
me that undercooked meat was going to kill me, and I believed it! So, my chicken
cubes came out very much more brown and crunchy then they should have been.
DON'T overcook the chicken, it will still taste good, but you'll be wishing for
tenderer chicken in the end!

- Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and spread it out on a plate lined with paper towel (or a napkin, if you don't have paper towel) and put it in the fridge for about an hour to cool completely
- While your chicken cools, you can cut up your celery and onion and set aside. I also used green and red peppers because they were just gathering freezer burn in the freezer. Because I used frozen veggies I cut them all up and threw them into the frying pan and cooked them a little, just until all the water evaporated and then put them in the fridge as well. Fresh or frozen, either way works the same =)
- Once everything is cooled completely scoop your mayo into the bowl and toss in the veggies. Give the contents a good mixing and toss in the chicken. Mix until you're satisfied with it. You may want to add more mayo ... mayo makes everything better ;)
- Slap that spreadable goodness onto some toast of bread. I think cheese would be a fabulous accessory to this tastiness.
- serve with your favourite side dish and you have a delicious meal, enjoy =)

Makes about 2 to 3 sandwiches depending on how generous you are!!

Thanks for reading =)


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wedding music - to dance or not to dance? 500 days: Day 17

I signed up for this wedding site and I get their random emails. The other day there was an article about playing newer music at your wedding. It got me thinking, what kind of music do we want? .

Now, this did come up when we first decided to get married(and I'm sure it will come up again), and Adrian's suggestions were predictable. He'd be happy if we could just play Atmosphere, Tom Waits and the Black Keys the whole night. But thinking about how our families might react to "What's He Building In There" and "Until the Nipples Gone", provoked me to being a hunt for the best wedding music to play.

The first issue I faced on my hunt was 'do we want to have a dance, or not?' I mean, Adrian is not a dancer, he bobs his head, but that's about it. And me, well, I LOVE to dance, preferably when I'm at home and in my pjs, but I'll dance in public ... Preferably after a few drinks ;) (**Flashback to childhood**) Then I began thinking, what if we don't have a dance but everyone expects there to be one OR what if we do have a dance but no one dances!? I contemplated NOT having one, and putting it on my wedding website, just so everyone was clear. But then I talked to Gina, and she changed my mind. She made me think about all the people that WOULD want to dance and when I got home, I began hunting for songs that would be fun to dance to. So far I've got about 5 good songs, which is NOT nearly enough. I know there will be ABBA and Elton John ... I will probably choose a lot of songs from our childhoods. But now my issue is finding the balance between what us "younger" folk prefer to dance to and what the aunts, uncles, grandparents etc. prefer. I honestly never thought choosing music would be so stressful!!

My next issue was choosing the music for the main events. I have a whole playlist of songs I want to walk down the isle to, but, obviously, I can only pick one. OMG so hard! Do I go with She & Him "I Can Hear Music" or do I go with Bright Eyes "First Day of my Life"!? OR maybe I want to go with The Moldy Peaches "Anyone Else But You". Ugh, the decisions.

As stressful as it is, it is kinda fun searching for good wedding music. I'm finding songs that I never thought I'd like, but I actually do!

Do you have any suggestions? What is your favourite "at-home-in-your-pjs" dance music? If you've been married, what music did you play at your wedding? And did you have a dance at your reception?

**I remember when I was really young, probably around 6-7 years old. I was pretty shy. Not like so shy I ran away from people, but still shy enough. I loved to dance with my mom in the living room to oldies like ABBA and Elton John, so fun. And once when we were in the grocery store, I heard a song that I liked, and I just started dancing, forgetting that there was a bunch of people around. There I was, grooving to some ABBA song, totally lost in the movement, in the middle of the frozen food isle. People were watching me and as I started to realize this and stopped dancing, my mom just started clapping! I was so embarrassed. I stuck to my mom's side for the rest of the time in the store ... But funny enough, that wasn't my last time!!!

Thanks for reading =)


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

banana-polooza - the story of how bananas made my day =)

I used a lot of bananas today!!

First I ate one, half on peanut butter on toast and half in milk (it's better than cereal if you ask me =)).

Then I made banana bread. We are just tasting it now, and OMG it's amazing! I used this recipe. I left out the butter, because we didn't have any and I added 2 extra bananas, a pinch of salt and a few drops of my butter vanilla Bakery Emulsion that I bought at Winners once... I always check when I go in there, because if it's there I buy it. I love using it, especially when I leave out the butter in a recipe because it still hints at a butter flavour. OH NO, I'm giving away my secret ingredient! I also sprinkled some brown sugar on the top to make a tasty crust and I ended up having to bake it for about 10 minutes longer than the recipe said. Adrian says "it's the best banana bread I've ever had", so I know it's good. Otherwise he would have just said "yeah, it was good".

While my banana bread was baking away I decided to try out this recipe for one-ingredient ice cream. It's not ACTUALLY ice cream, as it's made ONLY with bananas. I froze my bananas whole. I didn't know if the bananas were going to last long enough for me to get around to making this, so I just tossed them in the freezer to save for the day I decided to make it. Since we moved here, last August, I still hadn't unpacked everything. This included my blender. So I went on the hunt while my baking bread filled the house with it's sweet aroma =P Luckily I found it in the first place I looked, only to find the base and the lid, but still missing the top part. Also lucky for me, I found it in the first place I looked. So with all the blender pieces assembled, I cut up my banana. It was pretty easy to cut, even though it was frozen, and each piece easily popped out of the skin. The only thing that suffered was my thumbs, they are still tingling from the cold! Once I got the banana pieces into the blender I was so excited to start it up!! Only to be let down. Piece of advice: This recipe is probably not going to be very easy if you're using a blender like mine .... a cheap $20 plastic Betty Crocker. It took me about 15 minutes to get it all blended, which was just enough time, as the motor started to give up towards the end!! I had to add some milk just to juice it up a little so the blender didn't have to work so hard. I mushed it a great deal with my spatula and had to keep scooping it off the sides and mushing it on top of the blades. It made me feel like maybe next Christmas I will ask for a food processor!! But after all of that the banana mush started to take form and I had it to the same consistency as the recipe. So I got excited again =) I had to put it back in the freezer so it could solidify some more, but then I was too impatient so I tried a bit and sprinkled some chocolate chips on top =)

And thus is the story of my day with bananas =)

Oh, and I also talked on a banana phone ;)

Thanks for reading!!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Going wedding crazy - 500 days: day 13

Making twine wrapped balls from memory is a little harder than I imagined!! I tried one ball, by wrapping the twine around a balloon, gluing it and then painting the twine white. BIG MISTAKE! Once I popped the balloon, all the paint that dried to it stuck to the twine and now just looks like a mess! So I tried it another way. First I painted the twine and then rubbed glue all over the pieces and wrapped the balloon. That seemed to work a little better, although a LOT more messy. I'm still not getting the same effect that I can imagine in my head. So, upon talking it over with Adrian, we both decided it would be best to try a white cottony yarn or thick string, dye it the colours we want and THEN use the gluing mixture to adhere it to the balloon. I'm excited to try it with dye and yarn, I think it will work a whole lot better than the last two methods. At least now I know what NOT to do, as far as these decorations are concerned.

When I attempted the first twine ball, I mixed far too much of the glue mixture and had a whole bowl of it left over. I have been saving cans, jars and containers for a few weeks, so we can use them as decorative containers for the coffee/tea bar and the dessert bar items. So, with the left over glue I decided to get a head start on my plans for the containers. I sorted through all my scrapbook papers and pulled out the ones that I thought would incorporate nicely into our wedding decor theme. I cut various sizes and pieces, as well as pieces of tissue paper. I covered the entire surface of each container with pretty pieces of paper, until I achieved the look I was going for. OMG do they ever look cute!! The twine balls may not have turned out the way I wanted, but these containers sure did! I then tied some ribbons around the tops and once I get my menu all sorted out we will make little labels for each one, saying what each holds. This project was SOOO much fun for me =) Yay for gluing!

I also attempted another tissue paper pom ... this one actually turned out relatively like what I had pictured, but still not as round as I had hoped. So, I keep trying.

I guess you could say that last night I went a little wedding crazy!! But I'm really happy that I attempted the twine balls, weeding out the do-not's of twine balls =)

Hopefully next post I can upload some photos of what I've made so far =)

Thanks for reading =)


Saturday, February 26, 2011

500 days: day 12

So, I've missed a few days of wedding preparations!! I'm pretty behind on my calendar of things to get done. But that's okay, I won't start actually worrying until, you know, it gets closer to the actual day. I think I may have taken on too big of a challenge by wanting to make all my own decorations, food, etc and planning everything myself. Oh the joys of a limited budget!! I'm just thankful that I have lots of extra time and most things I want to make can be made from supplies from the dollar store. I LOVE THE DOLLAR STORE!!

I really want to be able to make most, if not all, decorations from dollar store supplies. It would really really take some stress off the budget. And I hope, that by writing about my budget adventures, I will inspire other brides who have the same budget stress that I'm facing =)

Whenever I come across a decoration idea, I like to try it out and make a 'proto-type', so I have something to look back at as a reference. So far I've tried making some tissue paper poms, but I keep ripping the tissue paper or I don't add enough layers.. so I keep trying!!

Today I'm thinking of attempting a new project. Adrian found some twine in the closet, and I remember seeing a tutorial once on how to make twine hanging balls, using twine, balloons, paint and glue. So I'm going to try making a few, from memory, and see how they turn out. **I just had to run to the dollar store because upon an extensive search, we realized there were no balloons.**

The twine is in the gluing stage. Have to wait for it to dry completely before I can paint it. I'm excited!! It looks like it really might work.

It will probably take over night to dry, so I will post the finished product tomorrow!!

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Last night's dinner

I really enjoy cooking dinner. Like I've said in the past, I enjoy cooking, even though I'm not the greatest cook by any means. I can't make rice to save my life, I either burn it or I under-cook it. I always leave that up to Adrian .. he makes a good rice ;) But I'm good at other things ... like making dishes that use up all the random ingredients and left overs that are scattered throughout my kitchen. One dish I'm particularly proud of is a shepherd's pie that I first made months ago, using ground pork. This time I used ground beef and it was just as amazing =)

I really love making this meal, as you can throw pretty much anything in it, and it will always taste awesome! (And by 'pretty much anything',I mean veggies, macaroni noodles, spices ... not peanut butter or chocolate chips :P). I also love this dish because it's SOOO easy to make. I'm sure everyone has their own way of making a dish like this, but here's how I made this one.

You'll Need:

-one package of ground meat (I used extra lean beef)
-about 6 medium sized potatoes
-any veggies you feel like tossing in (I used: onion, green pepper, red pepper, celery, peas, carrots, black olives, banana peppers and some left over homemade french fries I made the night before ... chopped up into small bits)
-any seasoning you like to use (I used: taco seasoning, salt, pepper, basil, garlic powder)
-gravy or any sauce you want to add as a topping (I used cheese soup)
-butter or milk for whipping the potatoes (I loooove to use butter and cream cheese - soooo good!!!)

What You Do:

-preheat oven to about 350F
-Peel and cut your potatoes into mash-able sizes. Then add them to a pot of cold water with a little salt. (Whenever I make boiled potatoes I always add peas and onions's like a weird obsession I have!). Bring to boil.
-At the same time as you add your potatoes to the stove, toss your meat into a frying pan and get it going.
-Cut up your veggies. I prefer to use frozen veggies so I do this step first so they get some time to thaw first.
-When the meat is beginning to brown but still a little red, I add the veggies. I don't know how other people do it, but I like my veggies to be soft. When all the red is gone from the meat, I add the spices.
-Once the meat is cooked and the potatoes are boiled, remove meat from heat and drain potatoes. You'll want to let everything cool for a few minutes - I'd say about 5-10 minutes ... or however long it takes to preheat your oven.
-Whip the potatoes in a bowl, using your choice of milk, butter, cheese etc.
-Get your baking dish and pour the meat mixture into the bottom - I like to use a small square one so the pie is more hearty!
-spread the whipped potatoes on to the top of the meat
-bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the potato topping is baked to your desire.
-Wait a few minutes before serving or everyone will have burned mouths!!
-add your gravy or sauce
-ENJOY IT! Make sure you say MMMMMMMM after every bite, totally makes it taste better ;)

I'd love to know what you all do differently when you make shepherd's pie!!

A special thanks to my wonderful fiancé who took the photos, even though all he wanted to do was eat the subject ;)

Thanks for reading =)