Thursday, 31 May 2012

Gazebo construction has started!!!

Well, I've been talking about this for awhile...but it has finally started!  As with any construction job...there are always delays.  This project was delayed for a week because of a forest fire in the area that Roger was involved with. 

On Tuesday evening, one of the big trees in the back yard had to come down.  Our neighbor Dave, and Roger set to work and got the ladder up to remove as many limbs as possible before they cut the tree.  This was to prevent any limbs from hooking into the eave of the garage when it fell.

After the lower limbs were removed with a small electric saw, one end of a heavy cable was attached  to the tree and the other end was attached to Roger's truck.
 As Dave cut the tree with a chainsaw, Roger slowly drove off, pulling the tree onto the driveway.....
I had lots to clean-up from the tree removal.  On Wednesday evening, Roger completed the foundation work.  He had most of the preliminary work done.  We are now ready to put on the floor.  Roger is using all pressure treated lumber.

Here is a picture of the gazebo we are building....

Our gazebo will be totally screened in, with a screen door.  Roger is also making panels of glass to put in place during the cooler season so we can use it right into fall and again in early spring.  The dimensions are 12' x 16' .  I'll post progress pictures every coupe of days.  I can't wait to pick some new garden furniture to go in it!!!!

Do you have any new garden projects under way???

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Raisin Buns & Wine Glasses

Well---as anyone familiar with the weather in Newfoundland & Labrador knows...if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute!  We have had every season in the past 24 hours.

Yesterday morning was beautiful....sunny, but a bit cool at 10 degrees Celsius.  Olive and I went for a ride, and got caught in a vicious downpour of rain.  I came home and had to strip off my wet clothes right in the laundry room.  Thankfully it wasn't too cold at that time.  That changed however, and cold it got as the day and night wore on.  We had minus 3 Celsius overnight with snow (yes SNOW) flurries.

So...needless to say, I spent the remainder of Monday indoors.  I baked some raisin buns........

Here's my recipe:

Raisin Buns

4 cups flour
1 egg
4 1/2 tsp baking  powder
1 cup sugar
 1 cup margarine (or butter)
3/4 cup raisins

Rub together by hand all eight ingredients, then add enough fresh 
milk to make a soft dough. 
Roll out on a floured surfaced and cut into desired shapes. 
Bake at 350* for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.

After that, I spent most of the afternoon experimenting with some wine glass painting.  Which one do you like best??

Little Black Dress

Hot Lips

 Here are two new designs I tried...back & front views......

Orange Polka Dot Bikini--front

Bikini-Back view

Flip Flops--front view

Flip Flops--back view

I guess I was dreaming of summer and warmer weather!!  Oh well--it'll come, it always does.

Cheers all.....Backyard Gazebo construction starts tomorrow...if it's not snowing! Ha ha

Monday, 28 May 2012

Cajun Crab Cakes, anyone???

Happy Monday!

I had a great lots of gardening done...went to the nursery and bought all my annuals...and a few more perennials (which I swore I had enough of and was not going to buy anymore...ha ha).  Isn't it funny how you always imagine the plant at the nursery in a most perfect spot in your own garden....even when know you already have lots!!!

On Saturday, I was stumped about lunch, so I decided to make some Cajun crab cakes.  These are simple, but they are scrumptious.

Here's my recipe:

Cajun Crab Cakes

1 cup crab meat (or two-170 g cans, well drained, will suffice)
1 1/2 cups crushed unsalted crackers
1 cup light mayo
1/4 cup each  (finely diced carrot,red or green 
pepper, and green onion)
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
Sal & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and form into desired size.

In a nonstick pan, pour small amount of cooking oil, heat on med-high.
Cook crab cakes, turning only once and adding more oil, if necessary.
Cook until golden brown for about 6 minutes total.

These are a great summertime meal.  I have made miniature cakes and used them
for appetizers.  It is great to get such a nice treat from a couple tins of 
crab meat.  (of course, fresh is best)

Here's how mine looked......

    What are some of your summertime favorites??  
I love trying new recipes, especially summer treats and barbeque ideas.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Stuffed Pork Chops, Chocolate Chip Cookies....and Bridal veils!!!??!!

Well, yesterday was a nice cool, fresh day (12* and sunny)......a great day to bake something.

For supper, I made Stuffed Pork Chops, with Roger's favourite apple stuffing....

 You need some butterfly pork chops...

 The stuffing is almost the same as a regular stuffing for chicken, with the addition of a small chopped apple...

 I fasten the two sides after they are stuffed with stainless steel wire.  It is very
hygienic and quite easy to snip after they're cooked.  I usually bake them in a loaf keeps everything together nicely.  I cover the loaf pan with heavy duty aluminum foil for most of cooking.

Simply, place stuffing on one side of the chops, fold over and fasten.  place the chops in a loaf
pan with about 1/3 cup of water, then bake at 350* for about 1 1/2 hours.  Don't have water
up past the stuffing, but be careful that they don\t dry out.  
For the last 30 minutes of baking, I place a nice thick slice of peeled apple on the 
top of each stuffed chop.

Here's how it looked when we ate it....Yummmmy!

Stuffed pork chop, diced turnip & carrots, and steamed broccoli


My nephew Aaron just turned 25, on May 6.  He is an electrician and works away a lot. He is home for a few days now so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make him some of his favourite--Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp water
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream first six ingredients, then combine flour, soda, rolled oats and chocolate chips. 
drop dough by heaping spoonful onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350* for
10-12 minutes, until golden brown.  Don't overbake.

I sometimes add a couple of Tbsps of peanut butter and some chopped peanuts.

Here's how they look:

                      The head pastry chef, Mrs. Pig, was pleased with how they turned out!! (ha ha)


Last, but not least, I wanted to share a picture of one of my bridal veil bushes.  I have a pair, 
one  on each side of the steps coming onto my front verandah. 
This is the first thing that  blooms in my garden each year!

Cheers to you all ;o)

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Dry-Roasted chicken & all the trimmings!

Well, after Olive & I had a early morning bike ride (before the rain) on Wednesday, I came home and got busy in the kitchen.  Please note our typical Newfoundland weather--on Tuesday, it was 31 degrees Celsius and sunny........on Wednesday we had 12 degrees and rain.  Oh well, I guess that's part of what makes us so "hearty"--ha ha!

I had pulled a whole chicken from the deep freeze the night before last and I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it.  I think I was secretly hoping for another nice day so I could barbeque it.  The weather didn't cooperate, so I did the next best thing---a dry roast.  Simply place the completely thawed chicken on a rack, in a roaster, rub it with a dash of olive oil and season it up with your choice of spices.  I use a bit of pepper and some chicken spice.
( NOTE*** Do not put any spices in the cavity, they tend to go all mushy).
Place the roaster, WITHOUT COVER, in a 450* oven for about 20 minutes.  This sears the chicken skin and keeps all the juices in.  Place cover on roaster and turn back heat to 350* for another 1 1/2 hours.  This produces a beautiful golden brown, crispy chicken that is very juicy!!

I made us a light garden salad with a little Sweet Onion dressing.....

This dressing is awesome.  I have also used it as a marinade for steak before we barbeque.  The steak literally falls onto your fork and the flavour is scrumptious!!!  The dressing has a blend of fresh Spanish onions and key lime juice.  It's worth checking out....

To top this off, I tried a recipe from my "blog-friend", Jennifer at  She has three awesome recipes on her Tuesday post.  I made her Carrot Salad.  The only differences were that I took the lazy approach and put my carrots through the food processor, and I added a teaspoon of brown sugar because I don't have any sugar substitute, but I'm sure the taste is the same.  I added a few raisins, just for color.  It  is a delicious side for any meal.  I will certainly be making it again and again, especially over the summer.  I can't wait to get fresh local carrots for this salad!

To close, I'll show you a great way to use up left-over chicken.  I call it a "Chicken-Veggie Bake"  Here's my recipe:

Chicken-Veggie Bake

1 cup     cubed chicken(cooked)
1/4 cup(each)     chopped celery, green and red peppers, 
fresh mushroom, & cucumbers 
1 Tbsp     black olive slices
1Tbsp     banana pepper slices
1 Tbsp     crumbled feta cheese
1 Tbsp     shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese

Spray a single serving size baking dish with cooking spray
Place the ingredients in the dish as listed
Bake at 350* for 30-40 minutes
 (I use leftover pork or beef in this recipe as well.  You can use any combination of
veggies that you have on hand)


“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”
W.C. Fields

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Olive and olives!!

I've decided on a name for my new bike----It's Olive!!

Well. the bike is a cool olive green color and I just got it for Mother's the way-she is my first brand new bike....ever!!!  We always had bikes as kids, but for some unknown reason, I (the middle child--te he) never got a brand new one.  Now don't despair....I certainly didn't have to go to the local dump to find a bike to ride, but there was always a good bike that someone had outgrown that I could use.  

ANYWAY......the color of my bike is olive green and I have just recently acquired a love for olives.  I don't know why, but I just love them and kalamata are my favorite.  I used to always pick off the olives in salads and stuff.....strange

So Olive and I went for a great little six mile ride morning.  It was really hot, but I'm glad I went early because now, at 3:45 pm, it is a sweet 31 degrees Celsius outside........but definitely not an ideal temperature for me to be riding bike.

Here's a picture of sweet new ride!!!!!

I know---she's is so cool.

So after a visit with my mom this morning, to roller set her hair, and a bike ride, I came home and made myself a nice salad for lunch...just some field greens, black olives and few crumbs of feta cheese.  I added a splash of balsamic vinegar and it was Yuummmmy ;o)

After lunch I made a batch of muffins for my mom to take to a friend she is visiting this evening....

These are called Double Chocolate Knockout Muffins. 

Double Chocolate Knockout Muffins

3     squares Baker's semi-sweet chocolate
1/3 cup     vegetable oil
2     eggs
1 tsp     vanilla
1 1/3 cup skim milk
1 cup     flour
1 cup     chocolate wafer crumbs
1/2 cup     sugar
1 tsp     baking soda
1 1/2 tsp     baking powder
1 cup     semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350*.  Lightly grease muffin pan, or prepare with paper liners.
Melt chocolate with oil in microwave on medium power for 2 minutes.
Stir until completely melted, then add eggs, vanilla and milk, mixing well.

In another bowl, combine, flour, chocolate crumbs, sugar, baking soda and baking powder.
Stir flour mixture in with wet ingredients and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips---do not overmix!

Spoon batter into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over top.

Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

Happy Tuesday everyone


Sunday, 20 May 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award

Well--it seems I have been nominated for a blogger's award!!!  The fact that it was my daughter who nominated me has not lessened my excitement about this whole thing. 

The Kreativ Blogger Award does come with some rules. To accept the award, you must first:
1.  Post ten random things about yourself
2.  Nominate 6 other bloggers

Ten Random Things about me:

10.  My birthday is Boxing Day-December 26th
  9.  I love olives
  8.  I have a motorcycle license
  7.  I can't swim
  6.  I finished my university degree in the same semester that our daughter did her first semester
  5.  I love wine---white more than red, but white gives me a bad headache if I drink too much
  4.  I love Bruce Springsteen...I have his albums, 8 tracks, cassettes, and now CD's & DVD's
  3.  I am a middle child---two older sisters and one of each--younger sister and brother (a twin)
  2.  I love writing and secretly always dreamed of writing and publishing a book
  1.  If I am ever blessed enough to get grandchildren, I want them to call me Grammy

So the six bloggers that I nominate ( in no particular order) are:

3.  we'


Last, but not least---
Thank you Rana, for the nomination....I am honored to accept!

Gardening Time again!!!

Well---I have been away too long....unavoidable, I'm afraid, but I couldn't wait to put up a post----I don't know where to start.

Well in addition to the challenges I was having with my new laptop, I had to go to St. John's....unexpectedly, on Tuesday and didn't get back home until late Thursday evening.  Then on Friday, I had a very important "Birthday Lunch" date in honor of my very good friends from work.

It is so easy to get side-tracked and get away from the regular blogging, which I have so come to love.  I find this very's like a reflection time or a journal.

Well, it's all about gardening at our house this weekend.   We have had an awesome spring and everything is growing so well......and early!  It has been quite windy for the past few days but that works out excellent for me because  I have a very low tolerance for flies....especially fly bites, so when it's windy the fly problem is almost nonexistent.  (About five summers ago, I developed a pretty nasty reaction to a fly bite, so I have to be very careful about that now)

I love the outdoors all year round, especially summer.  We often eat three meals a day on our back deck when the weather is good--this was possible because we have an awesome screen-gazebo that Roger puts up right on the deck every summer.   I have been saying how much I would love to have a real gazebo and this year, Roger stripped out the entire back deck and he is building a gazebo!!!!!!  I am super excited and I can't wait to get to the stage where I can buy furniture for this new outdoor living room.  We do a lot of entertaining and all of our friends love the outdoor scene.  We usually take turns having get-togethers in each others yards for fires and barbeques, so our gazebo will not be unused.

Yesterday (Saturday), we got a nice surprise....right in the middle of our gardening...Rana called to say she was coming home for a couple of nights.  She had originally planned to come out in the middle of next week, but she decided to come on out on the weekend so that on her days off in the middle of next week, she could spend her time with Mark.  They both do shift work, and are in the midst of their own gardening and pre-summer preparation stuff.  I think that is the real bonus to shift-work----the ability to do things in the middle of the week when it's not "busy weekend time" for everybody......but I don't do shift-work, so people that do may feel differently.

Rana is an avid gardener and loves to pitch in whenever gardening is on the agenda!!!  Here is a picture of Rana mowing our front lawn today......

Our yard is pretty big and we have a lot of mowing, so I didn't refuse when she offered to do the front section.

After we finished up our gardening, we took Bailey(Rana & Mark's mini schnauzer), for a walk on the spectacular Middle Brook Walking trail.

How could anyone tire of these sights??  
We are so blessed to be able to take a relaxing, safe walk on this trail  right in town.  It's accessible almost all year round...all year round if you like to snowshoe!!

Bailey especially loves this walk because she can stop in many different
 places along the way for a cool refreshing drink of water.   She was pretty pooped after her long walk today, see for yourself...

Monday, 14 May 2012

Happy Monday....and a belated Happy Mother's Day to all mothers!!

I actually had a nice little Mother's Day post almost ready to publish last night when I Googled a site to add as a link and lost it all......I am still getting used to my new laptop.  Oh boy, this conversion to laptop phase is very humbling.  I thought I was pretty decent at this "techno" stuff, but it appears that I am quite inadequate.  I have had to add an external mouse to my new laptop gear, which sort of defeats the whole purpose of the I'm dragging cords and other gadgets around the house whenever I need to use the computer.....very uncool :o(.................I will prevail!!!!!
Enough of's a new week and I must stay positive!!

I was spoiled with beautiful gifts again this Mother's Day, and I had a special gift from my "other half"---in my case he probably makes up closer to 75-80% (te-he).  He bought me a new bicycle.  I sort of hinted ....a lot.  Anyway, my bike....she is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-L!!!  I think she should even have a name....that's something to ponder!  "She" has coaster brakes, and is now complete with rear-view mirror and the most awesome basket /carrier mounted on the handlebars.  I picked out my own matching helmet.  I must say I never thought I'd be cruising the streets of Gambo on a bicycle wearing a helmet....but hey!  This bike is helping me train for my first Tely 10 race in July.  Of course, I will be in the 'walking category' at the Tely this year, but it's a start.....right??

As I slowly get more acquainted with my new computer (I have certainly called this new laptop a few choice names over the past few days), I will be able to post a few pictures of my new bike.  I will have to name her....I can't keep calling her "my new bike" or "the bike"---I have a couple of names in mind actually, I'll have to narrow it down and decide!  Isn't it funny how I refer to "my new bike" as "her"????

I must go---I am dilly-dallying here now and I have things to go for a ride on "my new bike"  Ha ha !!!

Cheers everyone--have a great week ;o)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Reflections of the A-Z Challenge

Well,where do I start?

I loved it but am very happy it's over.  I guess it was a bit much to take on, after literally just starting my very first blog only days before the challenge began.

Next year, I will be really organized and pick a theme and try to get a lot of my posts in draft, at least.  It's amazing, everything I do now, such as cooking or baking, I'm always thinking----I can use this in a blog!!

I loved getting comments on my posts, and I loved visiting the blogs of my visitors...which can be quite time-consuming, however, I am still enjoying that part of it. 

I am really grateful that my daughter, Rana. talked me into starting a blog. I love to write and take photos, so this is definitely a place to share that. 

Looking forward to a good year ahead on the "blog-front".....and before we know it, we'll be signing up for the A-Z Challenge 2013!!!!!


Sunday, 6 May 2012

This has been a mad day....Painters just left--all the interior trim has been finished!!! 

Yippee!!--I am so happy to put away the drop sheets for the last time.  It seems like the whole house is in such  a mess when there is painting being done------when else do you have to literally take everything off the walls???  That's major work!

I just finished my clean-up and poured myself a big mug of Egyptian licorice tea....yuuummmy ;o)  

I snuggled up in the sun-room this morning for an hour or so, before my better half got up, and started a new book-Finding me in France-I feel like I'm going to be stealing away to read a lot over the next few days.  I love it when I start a new book and get hooked right from page 1!!!!  My book is extra special because my daughter Rana gave it to's a signed copy.  She picked it up for me in St. John's last week at the Chapter's book signing event.  She sent it out with her Dad as a "Pre-Mother's Day" gift.  Rana has been following the author's blog, and "keeping-on" for me to check it out....I did and I'm not disappointed!!!  Her posts are hilarious...she could publish her next book, right from her blog!!  

When I read her blog...or the book--I feel like I did when I watched the Bridget Jones movies or The Holiday with Cameron Diaz!  That's a nice feeling.  

I'm looking forward to a nice hot bath after my walk tonight and a good read....

Happy Sunday everyone!!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Hi everyone

I have been away for awhile.  Actually this is first my post since April 31!!!

I went to St. John's to visit Rana & Mark for a few days, while Roger was off on yet another adventure.  He went out on a crab fishing boat!!!  200 MILES out into the North all that wind and terrible weather!!

Thank Goodness for modern technology and satellite phones.  I was really nervous while he was out----with good reason.  He didn't let on to just how stormy it really was while he was out there....until he got back---which saved my fingernails and possibly all my hair.

He went out for on the "Roberts Sisters II"-- here's a picture of the boat a day before they left.  The boat was moored at the south side dock in St. John's harbor ---Cabot Tower on Signal Hill in the background....

Below are a few photos that he managed to was a trip of a lifetime---the captain(Terry Bungay) and all the crew were extraordinary...

This particular vessel can carry 50 000 pounds of live crab in her holding tanks. 
That's a lot of crab dip!!!!

Roger was amazed at how hard the crew works for the entire trip.  When they come in to offload, they usually spend one night at home, load all fresh supplies on the boat and do it all over again.  This is not a lazy man's work.

Even though this trip was extremely rough (weather wise), Roger did manage to get this beautiful picture of the sunset, during the one period of about two hours that was relatively calm.....

 It is work, work, work for the crew throughout the entire trip---



or Night-time......

The objective is to get the crab quota, get in and offload, then go out again.

It's not a bed of roses on the great North Atlantic Ocean..  Below is a shot of the ocean ahead as the boat headed out to haul the first crab traps.  Roger said this view shows a relatively calm water in comparison to most of this trip....
A glimpse at the mighty North Atlantic Ocean
 This, in my opinion, is one of the most delightful sites on planet earth today.......
A peek at one of the magical views as you cruise back into the safety of St. John's harbor

 Of course--this makes it all worth while.....