Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Garden Plans - Free Plans for All Kinds of Special Gardens. BHG.com

Garden Plans - Free Plans for All Kinds of Special Gardens. BHG.com

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

If you absolutely LOVE chocolate and peanut butter...check out this recipe posted on my friends blog!  It's a moist chocolate cookie studded with Reese peanut butter chips.  I've made this recipe before and it is HEAVENLY..trust me:)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

(Photo taken by K. Simpson, photographer extraordinaire)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What I'm Reading - LaVyrle Spencer

I LOVE historical fiction and historical romance novels.  Recently I found a new author...LaVyrle Spencer.  I don't have the opportunity to do any reading until around 10pm right before bed.  By this time of night, I'm tired and really look forward to some "easy reading" fiction.  I have read 2 of LaVyrle's novels and am currently reading "November of the Heart", I am really enjoying these novels!  They are by no means as detailed as novels by Anne Rice or Diana Gabaldon, but have great character development and storylines and are definately more interesting than a Harlequin romance.  Check her out!

LaVyrle Spencer

Rested, Rejuvenated and Ready for Spring!

I have returned back home from a 3 week long vacation visiting our families in Calgary.  I took full advantage of FREE babysitting, indulged in many fabulous home cooked meals, sampled some amazing sushi and spent WAY too much money at outlet stores!!  But it was SO nice to get away for a while, get away from some of my daily responsibilities and spend quality time with friends and family.

While I was away I had time to think and have come to the conclusion that I have WAY too much on my plate.  There are so many things that I want to do and my list keeps growing! and now that it is Spring I will be adding outdoor activities to the mix.  How am I ever going to accomplish it all??  I really need to start organizing and prioritizing my life. 

One thing I realized while away was that I have been spending way too much time on my computer...don't get me wrong, I LOVE all forms of social media...twitter, facebook, email...but realistically I only really NEED to check my email once a day. 

I want to spend my time doing things that will fulfill me, things that will help clear my head and relax me.  I am looking forward to spending time outside in the fresh air playing with my children and working in my garden.  I am looking forward to getting more exercise, either outside or at the gym. 

Spring has always been my favourite season...I met the "love of my life" in the spring...I married the "love of my life" in the spring..both my children were born in the spring.  I am looking forward to a fresh new start in a fresh new season...Happy Spring!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Maritime Roots

I am VERY excited to post this link to the Keswick Ridge Historical Society.  If you check out the pictures, you will find tons of my relatives! I am related to the Jewetts and Hagermans.  I moved to the Fredericton area 2 years ago and am so excited to be discovering my roots.  My grandfather, Horace Jewett is the tall boy in the middle in the front row. 

(photo courtesy of the Keswick Ridge Historical Society)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Vintage Images of New Brunswick

Check out this AMAZING website full of vintage New Brunswick photos. I LOVE history and I have to say that I actually felt emotional viewing these photos. I especially love the ones from Fredericton since I can compare them with how the city looks currently! The photo of the interior of the bank and the bank teller is really neat as well as the pedestrians shown in the streetscape shots. Enjoy!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ginger Fried Beef

Since I am currently on vacation in Calgary I wanted to share an AMAZING local delicacy, Ginger Beef .  Ginger beef is marinated beef strips that are dipped in batter, deep-fried and then coated with a sweet and sour sauce. It is both sweet AND spicy at the same time and SO good! We actually had take-out chinese food last night from the "Ginger Beef" restaurant and savoured this very dish!  It is believed that a Chinese chef working in Calgary many years ago came up with this recipe and ever since has been a staple in all Chinese restaurants here in Calgary! 

1 lb. flank steak
2 eggs - beaten
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
vegetable oil
2/3 cup carrots - grated
2 tbsps. green onion-chopped
4 tbsps. fresh ginger root - finely chopped
4 cloves garlic - chopped
3 tbsps. soya sauce
2 tbsps. cooking wine - red or white
2 tbsps. white vinegar
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 cup sugar
dash - crushed chilis (flakes) optional

Slice steak while partially frozen into narrow strips.  Mix beef AND eggs.  Dissolve cornstarch in water and mix with beef.  Pour ample oil in wok.  Heat to boiling hot, but not smoking.  Add beef to oil, 1/4 at a time.  Separate with a fork (or chopsticks if you're talented) and cook, stirring frequently until crispy.  Remove, drain and set aside.* 
*this much can be done in advance

Put 1 tbsp oil in wok.  Add carrots, onion, ginger and garlic and stir fry over high heat.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Add beef, mix well and serve.  If your steak is over one pound, cook it all anyway.  Serve with steamed rice - of course.  Serves 4.

(Grand Slam : more recipes from the best of bridge / the best of bridge publishing ltd. copyright 1988, pg. 120-123 ISBN: 096904254X)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Roastess with the Mostest

This is my FAVOURITE roasted chicken recipe and it comes from my FAVOURITE cookbook, Eat, Shrink & Be Merry!  The lemon-herb paste is rubbed under the skin so you get lots of flavour right on the meat.

Lemon and herb roasted whole chicken

1 whole roasting chicken (about 4lbs/1.8kg)
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary/or 1tsp dried
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme/ or 1tsp dried
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated zest and juice of half a lemon

Move oven rack to bottom third of oven.  Preheat oven to 425 deg. F.  Place a small rack inside a roasting pan.  Pour 1 cup water in pan.  Rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. 

In a small bowl, mix together mustard, brown sugar, rosemary, thyme, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper to make a paste.  Add lemon zest and mix again.  Set aside.

Squeeze juice from lemon inside cavity of chicken, then tuck the used lemon half right inside it.  Tie legs together with kitchen string.  Rub reserved paste over surface of chicken and, using your fingers, carefully rub paste between skin and meat on breast and thighs. 

Place chicken on rack breast-side down.  Roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  Remove chicken from oven and flip over.  Add a bit more water to pan if it has evaporated.  Return to oven and roast for 35 to 40 more minutes, depending on size of bird.  If chicken browns too quickly, cover it loosely with foil.  When cooked, legs should move easily in sockets and thigh juices should be clear (not pink) when pierced with a small knife.  A meat thermometer inserted in thigh (away from bone) should read 170 deg. F.

Remove chicken from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. 

Makes 4 servings

(Eat, Shrink & Be Merry : great-tasting food that won't go from your lips to your hips! / Janet and Greta Podleski, copyright 2005, isbn: 0968063136, pg. 83)

**5 weightwatchers points per serving

Wordless Wednesday - Yo!