Saturday, February 28, 2009


I am lucky to have sisters, in fact I have four. I'm the eldest with 15 years between myself and my youngest sister.

We are best friends.

For many years now we try to get together at least once a year, no easy feat as we all live in different cities. Four of us live in British Columbia, so yearly "sister parties" are possible but sadly, one sister, lives just outside Melbourne, Australia so we only see her once every....

Next weekend is a "sister party" weekend in Victoria, B.C. We will eat way too much, shop way too much and talk, talk and talk. A visit to Buchart Gardens with afternoon tea is planned as well as antique, art and fabric shopping. I'm looking forward to lazy mornings with big mugs of coffee, newspaper crosswords, discussing at length the evening menu. Bliss.

Here we all are, this was taken in the mid 80's. (They will kill me when they see this)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Heart Healthy Eating

My Food Guide

Yesterday I had my appointment with the dietitian. It was a two hour session in a classroom setting with other participants. After all was said and done I came out feeling very good about my current food choices. I eat very good food, phew!!!

So why do I have high cholesterol??? Portion size, I knew I was eating too much but I didn't realize how much. For example a meat serving should be around 80g, 3oz or 1/2c. For example a lean cut steak with all visible fat removed should be no bigger than a deck of cards or fit in the palm of your hands. Yikes..

The other area that I'm way off on is the oil/fat I use to cook and to spread on my bread. I should be using about 3 tablespoons in total of oil, Becel, mayo and salad dressing per day, double YIKES..

I'm doing very well with fiber by eating lots of fruit, veggies and whole wheat grains, however I am overeating in the grain department.

I have to start measuring and weighing my food, not a huge problem, but keeping track of how much I eat is a bit more difficult. I put together a simple excel sheet with the number of daily servings I can have, I just tick each serving as I eat it.

I can't figure out a way to load the excel sheet but if you want a copy just let me know and I'll be happy to email it to you. My email address is mthistle at telus . net


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Weekend chores

Well we had every intention of heading up to the cabin this weekend but a stroll around our house showed us the north wall was a little green. So no cabin..

Art had a heck of a time cleaning the outside walls but he did it. It took him all of Friday and Saturday but the house now shines and sparkles. One less thing to worry about this year.

While Art was cleaning the outside I was cleaning the inside and cooked a delicious salmon for Saturday dinner.

Sorry no pictures, ate it before I could get to the camera but basically I made a simple sauce that I poured over the salmon.

This is my recipe which is enough for four servings of salmon. The measurements are just approximations because I seldom take proper measures when I'm cooking.

1/4 cup of olive oil
3 garlic cloves chopped
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon dried dill

Mix together and let stand for about an hour then pour over the salmon and bake.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Home made shake and bake

I love shake and bake. I used to buy it regularly when the kids were small, it was tasty and easy.

As my cooking skills improved I stopped using shake and bake and haven't cooked with it for years and I am committed to cooking from scratch, eating healthy and omitting processed foods.

I was looking for a new way to cook chicken from Allrecipes and came across homemade shake and bake, the recipe is here. I made some changes because the original recipe has lots of salt in it.

Here is how I made it:

4 cups whole wheat breadcrumbs, I used the crust ends that I save from the bread I make.
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground celery seed
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried rosemary

This makes quite a bit so rather than shaking my chicken in a bag and spoiling the remaining shake and bake I used a baking dish and pressed the mixture onto the chicken and used a little at a time. DO NOT keep leftover shake and bake if raw meat touched it. I keep uncontaminated left over shake and bake in the freezer. I'm not sure if this is required but it feels safer to me.

The chicken was delicious and can't wait to try it on pork chops.

Have a nice weekend everyone.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fabric, crafts and a frozen pipe

Well bad news first. The garden water pipe is broken, thankfully no water is leaking in the house but Art was looking for the shut off valve for a long time, finally found it under the porch. He had to pull the porch floor only to find the shut off is fully and completely rusted and he didn't want to touch it. Called the city, they came out and shut the water to the house and finally it's all fixed and we no longer have a water geiser in our back yard.

Now, the good news. I have my fabric for the fat quarter swap organized through Sew Mama Sew. I'm swapping with some good folks in Douglas, New Brunswick; Portland, Indiana; Fairfax, VA and Tucson, AZ. Can't wait to see what I get. With spring just around the corner I decided on floral fabrics.

And even more good news, my next door neighbour is pregneant so I'm sewing some bibs and recieving blankets for the new little treasure that will soon grace our street. She doesn't know if it's a boy or girl so I'll have to stick to yellows and greens.

And of course I'm busy embroidering another hanky for my shop.

I haven't had a chance to buy seeds yet but that will be happening very soon. Art has the fence up around the new veggie patch which will keep our cats out of the dirt and the deer away from our veggies.

Have a great everyone.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Powell River was once again stunning yesterday, the air was crisp, the sun was bright and perfect for a walk along the Willingdon Beach Trail.

I've walked this trail many times since moving to Powell River and never tire of the beautiful scenery.

Our dog, Seiko, joins us on our walks, Art and I look at the scenery and Seiko is on the lookout for chipmunks. You may not see the little chipmunk at the base of the tree on the following picture but it's there. Oh how Seiko would love to give chase but he is on the leash and can only stare...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Busy weekend

The sun was shining on the West Coast this weekend, a little chilly but great weather to be out and about in the yard.

Art and I started off by visiting our local nurseries but it's much to early so back to our own back yard.

I transplanted 3 blueberry bushes and a gooseberry bush into the new veggie patch. Spread out some peat moss in our clay, heavy soil and planted several honey suckle plants my friend pulled from her yard.

Sunday was my day of rest. Art and I headed up to our float cabin on Powell Lake for lunch and some relaxation. I crocheted a dishcloth, I think, it's a little big but I'll give it a try.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kids and the pressure to buy

I don't have much to write about today but as I read my favorite blogs this stands out and I urge you to read it, especially those of you with children.

I wish I was as insightful as Eileen, the author of the below post, but I didn't have the guts, the know how or insight..


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Expensive apples

The news reported that with Canadian unemployment rates increasing eating healthy is becoming very expensive and out of reach for many families.

A team of shoppers bought apples in different cities throughout Canada to compare prices and they found that in some cities five apples cost $7.00 while in other cities the same type of apples cost $2.50.

Eating healthy does not have to be expensive but in Canada it can be challenging. Canada is a big country and food has to travel long distances to get to a local grocery stores which increases the cost of food but even in Canada there are ways to reduce your grocery bill and still eat healthy.

1. Cook from scratch.
-someone is getting paid for processing the food that you are buying so you if you make it yourself you are in a way paying yourself.

2. Buy in bulk.
-packaging costs money so try to buy large quantities of food when items are on sale or you have some extra cash. But, only what you use, if you buy something that you never eat, it's not really a good deal.

3. Eat locally grown food.
-This is hard I know, winter in Canada is not conducive to growing food year round. But, you can grow or buy larger amounts of fruit and vegetables when they are in season and freeze or can them for use in winter.

4. Shop the weekly grocery fliers
-make a list of the items you need from the grocery fliers and try to buy what's on sale. Keep in mind that gas costs money so it may not be worthwhile to shop at all the grocery stores that have sales if you have to drive great distances between each store.

5. Make vegetarian meals several times a week.
-Meat is expensive and you can save quite a bit of money by reducing the amount of meat you eat. Stir fries are a great way to do this, increase the amount of veggies and add some brown rice or whole wheat pasta and you have a healthy and inexpensive meal.

There are many ways to reduce your grocery bill, the internet is full of ideas. I read the Down to Earth blog daily. It's well written and full of ideas and how to’s on living simply and becoming more self sufficient.

Now on to something fun, Sew Mama Sew is hosting a "fat quarter swap" but hurry, it's over on Feb. 13th.

In the shop I added a hanky. I used the bone linen/cotton I thought was too dark for hankies but I’m pleased with the result.

Have a great day.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I cooked all the pasta because it was to brittle to store. The sauce is made with extra lean sirloin, tomatoes I grew and then froze and fresh parmigiano cheese. A little bit of heaven at my dinner table.

New in my Etsy store:

Monday, February 9, 2009


For those of you who don't know I am Italian, born in Oderzo, Italy, immigrated to Canada with my parents and sisters in 1971 and Sunday was the first time I ever made pasta.

My mom gave me a pasta machine for my birthday last year but before she could show me how to make it I moved to Powell River so the machine has been sitting in it's box for a year.

The house I bought in Powell River was owned by an Italian widow. She and her family lived here for forty odd years and in that time Maria and her husband raised four kids. Needless to say I felt right at home the first time my husband and I toured the house. I've kept in touch with Maria and on Saturday she invited me over to make pasta. She made it look so easy that I had to try making it on Sunday.

I changed the recipe a little to make it a bit more healthy. I used a mix of whole wheat and white unbleached flour and a no yolk mix instead of whole eggs. The mixture was a bit too wet and the pasta too soft but it worked out OK. Next time I'll have to use less no yolk mix or add more flour but the dough will have to be quite a bit harder.

My original plan was to dry the pasta completely for future use but I don't think I'll do that again. I'll just make it and eat it the same day. The dry pasta is hard to store because it's not as hard as commercial pasta and the savings are not significant enough to warrant all the time it takes to make it, dry and store it.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

PJs are done - lessons learned

Although I DO need to loose weight I DON'T need 3 1/2 meters of material for one pair of pajama bottoms. That's right top and I used all the fabric, actually I had to patch some pieces. The PJs are huge..

Honestly what was I thinking!!!!

PS.. I placed the pajamas in such a way as to make them not look as big as they really are, the back is all scrunched up....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Got my frabric but...

I'm so disappointed. I just received the fabric I ordered online with which I was going to make handkerchiefs. It's a light linen/cotton blend fabric in a bone color. I was not expecting white but rather a light cream, turns out it's more of a taupe. Now what..
I'll have to put my creative thinking cap on because I have 4 yards to use. Maybe a tablecloth and napkins..

The fabric feels really lovely so maybe a garment of some sort??



Monday, February 2, 2009

We had a very productive weekend. Art replaced the plastic on the greenhouse and added a window to the ceiling which I can open for better ventilation on really hot summer days. We also picked some sea kelp which Art will rot till into the soil, not very much because it won't fully breakdown by the time I start my spring planting but we will add much more in the fall. A walk around the garden shows the clematis is starting to sprout some leaves, a tiny pansy flowered, but with the heavy rain today, it's probably squashed and many more spring bulbs have broken through, I just love this time of year.

I'm desperate for some pajamas so I bought some flannel and started sewing a pair yesterday, the material is quite bright but at 4.00 a meter it was a good buy and I purchased some embroidery thread to add to my existing stash. A quick stop at the second hand store garnered two embroidery rings .25 cents each, that's a super bargain.