13 going on 91 !!

Well it's the time of year when 12 legs get hoisted into the back of the pickup truck for our annual Birthday Cone Extravaganza!
Yesterday was Boda Zapha's birthday (he's the black dog on the right) and Zeke the Freak has a birthday in a few days, they are both 13 this year.  Gingivitis doesn't celebrate hers until November but it would be wrong to leave her out don't you think? This year I decided to take a video to prove that dogs are just like kids... no two are alike.

For the record:  the cone on the Golden Retriever isn't some sort of odd torture.  She had bad seasonal allergies so every year the cone comes out while we give her meds... otherwise she would chew her butt bald... I've seen it, it's not pretty.

Hedgehog Anniversary

We have a hedgehog.  It was given to us by the Pilgrim Family and we are so gratefull because we just love every spiky inch of her!  Her full name is Sonic Sally Mia, but we just call her Mia (which is the name she was given before we got her and seems to stick!) We are just coming up to our 1 year anniversary with Mia, thus the tribute to our prickely pet.

A few cakes from May

Despite my recovery I allowed myself to play with a bit of sugar this month... here are a few pictures.
The top two are for two homeschool girls that graduated this past weekend. The one is lime green (which doesn't show well in these crappy pictures) and the other is purple.

My friend Matt celebrated a birthday and we couldn't help but send him his own R2D2:

R2D2 Cake

I also did a pirate/treasure map cake but forgot to take a picture ( I always forget!).  I will try to get one to post.

Things your surgeon fails to mention....

You might have noticed I haven't been around here much recently.  My apologies.  I had a hysterectomy 4 weeks ago and am finally feeling like myself.

On that note here are a few pointers for anyone else looking forward to this kind of surgery:

*Slip on shoes are a must at the hospital.  Waiting around to have someone tie up your laces is a real downer and makes you feel 2 years old again.

*If your husband/friend rents a funny movie to lift you spirits after surgery... kick them out and tell them to take their tool of torture  with them.  I didn't know this universal rule and had to hold a pillow to my abs while trying not to laugh for two hours.

*Even the most proper of us will start to rejoice at the return of certain bodily functions.  Abdominal surgery messes with everything and sometime your body takes it's time getting back into the swing of things.  In the meantime you will feel like Buddha (the short happy fat one) and feel disgusting.

*If you body is stubborn and DOES NOT start said bodily functions... call your surgeon.  DO NOT leave it TWO full weeks until your mother who happens to be an unsympathetic RN drags you kicking and screaming to the ER for X-rays and other things I will spare you from knowing about.  Enough said.

*Hiccups are from hell, avoid them at all costs. 

*Between incision holes and hepron shots your abdomen will look like a world map to a world you have never seen.  Don't sweat it, just make up country names for all the bruises, they don't last forever (although those hepron shot sights are still alive and kicking 4 weeks later ~ just to warn ya!)

*Get used to the following pet names:  Frankin-mommy, Frankin-wife, Scary-lady-who-sleeps-all-day.

Enjoy the rest, take it easy, milk it for all it's worth.  That's been my motto.

The Story of Stuff

OK, I LOVE the Story of Stuff. But, did you know there is also The Story of Bottled Water? The Story of Cosmetics? The Story of Citizens United vs. FEC? It might be time for you to take another look at http://www.storyofstuff.org/


Sometimes when my husband goes out the dogs do some pretty freaky stuff.  Just recently while my husband was away for the day our lab came out of our bedroom looking like this…..

I don’t know how he get’s them on, or why.  Strange, right honey?

Sweet Potato Heaven

Well I decided I better post something from the recipe book I felt so guilty about buying…(see here)  just to prove I actually use it! 
This was amazing!  It's a side dish but I could have had just this and been supremely happy.
Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Maple Pecan Topping

6 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (approx. 3 lbs.)
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (approx. 1 lb.)
3 eggs
2 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp. salt
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch pepper
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook potatoes and sweet potatoes, covered, until tender, about 12 min.  Drain; return to pot.  Mash until smooth.

Beat together eggs, maple syrup, lemon juice, salt, nutmeg, and pepper;  beat into potatoes.  Scrape into greased 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish.   ( To prepare ahead of time, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours; add 10 min to baking time.)

Stir pecans with brown sugar; sprinkle over potatoes.  Drizzle with butter.  Bake at 350 degrees F until set and bubbly, about 45 min.

Yoga’s in the bag…

I’m out to deliver some yoga bags I just completed.  Here are a few images.  It’s amazing what you can do with recycled jeans!
These are made with jean legs.  You have to open one of the seams to apply the fabric designs and then stitch it back up again. (All of my appliques are made from quilting scraps and leftovers from other projects.)  Add a round bottom, a strap and fold over the top and make a channel for a string to tie the whole thing closed!  Happy downward facing dog!

A few more cakes…

February/March was a really busy time for cake making!  Here is a rundown on some of the more recent stuff…

A Jungle Theme baby shower… It was actually for my friend Mary in Penetang. ON, she picked it up on her way home from Ottawa and froze it until the shower. She's going to be a grandma!  Here are the elements, picture it stacked all together.
My friend Sara ordered a Pirate birthday party cake for her son Kailin.  I’m pretty happy with how the chest came out, and the gummy spiders were a bonus last min. find at the Bulk Barn!

February & buttercream

 I love doing baby shower cakes.  They are always fun to do!

Baby shower cake ~ boy

After the baby shower came my youngest sons birthday.  He wanted a Star Wars cake.  Again.  I had a million other ideas for cakes but... no.... he wanted star wars.... again.  So here is, hopefully, my last Star Wars cake.

R2D2 Cake

My VW Bus

Every winter I get a bit antsy to do some truck painting.  My loving husband took this into account at Christmas and that’s why I am the proud owner of this VW Bus….
Ok, so I can’t drive it anywhere, and it's not as cool as Rachel's … but I can paint it over and over and over and over …. you get the picture!

Pizza Sticks with Roasted Red Pepper Dip

So ya have some leftover dough from your buns (see HERE) and you want to eat something yummy. Well prepare yourself for something great….
Roll out your dough into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle.
Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic powder, and any herbs you like.  (I used basil and oregano).
Now shred cheese on one half of the rectangle.
(I also added a drizzle of my favourite sweet BBQ sauce.)
Fold your dough over to seal everything in.  Roll with your rolling pin just to flatten out slightly.
Let rise for 30 min.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min.
Cut into strips.
An AMAZING dip for these is a roasted red pepper and sun dried tomato puree….
This actually came from a Vegetarian Times recipe for pita pizza.  This was the sauce they used instead of a tomato pizza sauce:

1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained.
6 oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, plus 1 tbsp. oil.
1 clove garlic, pressed or chopped super fine. (I used 2)
(I also found it a bit acidic so I added a tbsp. of honey to cut the acid and add some sweet, taste it and see if you think it needs it for yourself)
Put everything into the food processor and spin the crap out of it.

Burger Buns... so fast they should wear a cape!

I found a recipe for fast burger buns and thought I would try them.  The process is a bit different from anything I had ever done before but I was really pleased with them and the great thing is they only require 40 min. of proofing/rising.

Here is the recipe:
4.5 cups flourIMG_0013 ( I used two cups all purpose & 2.5 cups whole wheat)
2 tbsp. yeast
1 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup oil (i used olive oil)
3 tbsp. honey.
In a bowl combine 2 cups of flour and the yeast.  Stir to mix the yeast through.
Heat the water, milk, honey, salt, and oil until warm but NOT hot. (I just microwaved the whole thing in a glass measuring cup for a minute on high).
Stir this into the flour until it’s all combined.  Add the rest of the flour gradually until you have a soft dough.  Knead until soft and smooth.  Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rest for 10 min.
Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick using a round cutter of some sort.  Place on a greased baking sheet (I used parchment paper instead) and let rise for 30 min.  Bake for 12-15 min. at 400 degrees.

This recipe should make about 2 dozen buns.  If you have no use for 2 dozen.... hold on and I'll show you what I did with the other half...... to be continued.

Cookbook guilt

I bought a new cookbook.  I have quite a NUMBER of cookbooks.  Justifying the need for another one is not easy, but somehow I did it. To be fair ~ I took it out of the library originally and  by the time I wrote down all the page numbers of things I wanted to try/copy down I had half the book listed.  So here it is…
Canadian Living ~ The Vegetarian Collection.

The longest crochet project of my life….

Some of you might remember this picture from 2010.  It was my gift to my husband last Christmas. 

I’m pleased to announce that with only a week to spare his gift was finally finished for this past Christmas!
I’m not going to lie to you.  Crocheting something this size and then felting it is a daunting project.  Before it was felted it pretty much covered our bed.  The best/worst compliment I got was from my youngest son who took one look at it and said: “I want one too!” Oye.  Maybe for his 18th birthday.

Tea… it’s not just for drinking anymore.

Last night my children were a little put out that there had been no dessert for quite a while.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have much to work with to change our sugarless streak.  I did however have a HEAP of left-over rice from dinner.  So…. into the oven it went with a few additions.  One such addition was the contents of two chai tea bags.  Let me tell ya… it was yummy.  Here is a brief outline:

1 can of light coconut milk
2 eggs
3 tbsp. sugar
2 chai tea bags or about 1 tbsp. loose chai tea blend
1 cup raisins
1 cup flaked coconut
2 cups of leftover sticky rice
Beat the eggs, mix everything together, dump it into a baking dish.  Place this into a larger pan and add a enough water to reach half way up your baking dish.  Bake for 45 min. at 325 degrees.  The kids loved it once I convinced them to try it.

Resolutions Past & Present

If you recall, last year I resolved to read a book a month.  No problem.  I think I went a bit off the rails in posting my reading adventure so I will briefly sum up….

January: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (Miller) ~ spiritual
February: Ignore Everyone (Macleod) ~ art, creativity 
March: Super Freakanomics (Levitt) psychology
April: Buyology (Lindstrom) ~ psychology & marketing
May: The Kind Diet (Silverstone) ~ vegetarianism
June: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Larsson) ~ fiction
July: Rework (Fried & Hansson) - psychology and business
August: The Poisonwood Bible (Kingsolver) ~ fiction
September: The Lovely Bones (Sebold) ~fiction
October: The Girl who played with Fire (Larsson) ~ fiction
November: The Girl who kicked a Hornets Nest (Larsson) ~ fiction
December: Exiles (Frost)  ~ spiritual

I don't think I read a book I didn't like. If I had to pick a favorite I would say my favorite fiction was The Poisonwood Bible, non-fiction was A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  Here's hoping 2011 brings more good reading!  If you want to read more about what I though of the books you can hit BOOKS in the label list and there should be reviews for at first half of the year at least!

My Favorite Whole Wheat Bread

I know I've posted a bunch of bread recipe's, and at the time they really are my favorite.  BUT.  My CURRENT favorite is this beautiful whole wheat from  the Amish and Mennonite Kitchens cookbook.  I like that it makes 4 loaves because my dudes can go through it no problem.  However, it also freezes well for those who can't scarf down that many carbs in a short time.  You can also half the recipe pretty easily.

2 pkgs dry yeast
4 cups warm water
1/2 cup soft margarine or butter
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp salt
6 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups white flour

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water
2. Combine margarine, molasses, honey, and salt in a large bowl.  Mix well.  Add yeast mixture.  Gradually add flour.  Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth.  Place in greased bowl and let rise until double.  Punch Down.  Let dough rest for a few minutes.  Shape into four loaves and place in greased bread pans.  Let rise about 1 hour. 
3. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Homemade bread...It's a thing of beauty.

No Waste shopping at Bulk Barn

I recently viewed a video on Facebook of a supermarket that creates no waste.  All of the containers are reusable and you simply fill, use, ...