Monthly Archives: January 2013

How Come I Have Never Seen This Before?

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When I was at the grocery store yesterday, I came across a product I have never seen before…crustless bread! Why have I never seen this before? Tramezzini Bread.

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So many things I could do with this bread! But, I decided to start simple, with one of our families favourites, Grilled Cheese. Dylan’s old daycare showed me how to make grilled cheese this way, and I haven’t used a frying pan since. I butter one side of the bread, and put the buttered side down on a cookie sheet. Four slices of the Tramezzini bread filled almost the entire cookie sheet.

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I added a layer of grated mozzarella cheese….

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Then, to add some extra flavour, I grated some cheddar on top…

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Then, I buttered the top piece of bread, and covered the cheese, leaving the buttered side facing up.

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Then, I put the whole tray into in the oven at 375 degrees. After about 5-7 minutes, I flipped the slices over. And put them back in for another 5 minutes.

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If you really like your grilled cheese crunchy, you can also turn on the broiler for a few minutes to brown them.

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I know this isn’t my most original or unique post, but it is an easy way to make grilled cheese, and I was so excited about the crustless bread, I just had to share! There was no wasted crusts that I had to toss out at the end of lunch, the kids ate every bite.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

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A sucker for Valentine’s

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A sucker for Valentine’s

So, as you know, it’s Valentine’s day coming up soon… so it’s time for us to start thinking about making cards for the kids in Sam and Dylan’s classes. They are still at an age where they give every kid in the class a valentine. The way it normally works is that we start way early (like now), half finish, and then have finish making the last half in a panic on the night of February 13th. This year, we will probably follow the same pattern.
I found a few examples of cards that I liked. The kids like giving a treat out with their cards, and I thought that making the candy a part of the card was a cool idea. Here are a few I saw on Pinterest.

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I thought, no problem, we can do that!
So, we set up a photographic backdrop in our studio… ok fine, I taped up some extra fabric on the kitchen cupboards, and grabbed an extra lamp from the livingroom…

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While I was taping the fabric up, Sam ran upstairs to find herself a Valentine’s day outfit (had to be a dress, pink and have hearts on it). Then, she posed and I took some pictures. I had Sam put her arm towards the camera and make a fist. I tried to frame it so that there was some empty space at the top of the picture so there was room for the lollipop and writing. This was the photo we picked…

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Then, I added the text, “Don’t be a sucker…be my valentine!” and I added few hearts using an app on my ipad (it’s called, pic collage).

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I printed one picture out on our printer as a sample, but I will probably send the rest to costco because there are about 25 kids in her class.
All I needed to do was cut a couple slits above and below her hand using an exacto knife.

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Then, slip in the lollipop sticks, and we’re done!

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I think it turned out really well!
Dylan wants to make a card too, but he’s not crazy about all of the pink…so we will have to come up with something more “manly”….don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted!

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T-shirt Teddy

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My 96 year old grandfather passed away last month, and my mom and aunt saved me some of his clothes. I have been thinking about what to do with them, and I came up with the idea to make a teddy. I thought it would be nice for his children, grandchildren, and grandchildren to have something special to remember him by.
So, here are the pile of t-shirts I started with…

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I looked for a teddy bear pattern, but couldn’t find something i liked, so i decided to try out a design of my own. I started by sketching a teddy bear on newspaper…

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Then I cut apart all of the pieces…

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Then, I added about 1/4 inch seam allowance to all of the pieces by cutting a new piece, and leaving space around each side for the seams. Notice, I only cut one ear, arm and leg, as I will just cut 2 the same.

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To start sewing, I started with the ears, I tried a few things, but I ended up making them by sewing two ear centers together right sides in, then I turned them inside out and stitched them onto the outer ear.

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Then, I turned it right side out and stitched around the edge of the ear.

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Then, I cut out the rest of the pieces. I decided to stick with a few of his grey t-shirts. So, I just picked different shades for different pieces.

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I sewed the snout the same way as the ears, but first I sewed around the perimeter of a black piece of polar fleece, then, I sewed the right sides of the snout together, then turned them right sides out, pinned it on the face, and sewed it down. If I make this pattern again, I will try to make the snout a little three dimensional, so it is not so flat.

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Then, I added the eyes and nose that I bought from the dollar store. They both come in two pieces, the back just snaps on to the front. I and pinned the ears, and sewed across the neck to attach the body and pinned the head and bodies together. I also cut out a pocket from one of the shirts and sewed it on the bear’s belly. If you knew my grandfather, you would know that he never wore a shirt without a pocket. He spent his career working with wood and always needed a pencil or something to put in his pocket, so even after decades of retirement, it was non-negotiable that his shirts have a pocket. So, I thought it was appropriate that his teddy has a pocket too.

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The next step was to sew the arms and legs. So, right sides together, I sewed the perimeter of the arms and legs, leaving the ends open. Then I trimmed the seams, turned them right side out, and stuffed them.

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So, I would say the most challenging part was to put the whole thing together. I put the head and body right sides together, then pinned the arms and legs towards the center. Because they were already stuffed, it was tough…but I used lots of pins and sewed around the outside, and left it open at the side seam so that I could turn it right side out again.

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I clipped the seams , then turned it right side out. Don’t forget to clip at all of the curves and corners, this makes a big difference and makes all of the curves smoother.

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Then stuffed him and hand stitched the side seam closed…

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And here is Grampy Bear, all done!

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I still have lots of his shirts left, so stay tuned!

Rapini with Garlic and Spaghetti

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This is a meal that we frequently eat because it is healthy, quick, easy and cheap. John makes it for us all of the time, so I have to give him full credit for this post…All you need is spaghetti noodles, and rapini, and a bit of olive oil and garlic. You could also use spinach, or broccoli too.
Start by boiling two pots of water. While you are waiting for the water to boil, wash the rapini, and cut it into bite size size pieces. When the water has boiled, toss in the pasta, and rapini.

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In the case of rapini, I wouldn’t recommend cooking it with the pasta because the pasta will absorb the bitter taste of the rapini, but maybe you could use the same pot if you were cooking brocolli…not sure.
Anyways, when both have finished cooking, John said to let them both sit in a strainer or colander for a few minutes to make sure all of the water is drained.
While you are waiting for them to drain, pour a couple tablespoons of olive oil in one of the pots (I am all about saving dishes here) and lightly toast some garlic. Be sure not to turn the heat up too high here, there is nothing worse than the taste and smell of burnt garlic.

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After the garlic as toasted, then mix in the pasta and rapini all together.

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And, serve into bowls. This seriously takes about as much time and effort as a box of Macaroni and cheese…and it can’t be too hard if John can do it…right?? Just joking, John is actually a pretty good cook.

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And, it tastes amazing with some freshly grated parmesan cheese!

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Thanks John, for the dinner, and being such an amazing husband! ūüôā

The best homemade cough remedy…ginger tea…

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That persistent cough that has been going around made it into our house… and I really hate continuously taking or giving cough medicine for it… so I know that lemon and honey are good for sore throats, so I googled homemade cough medicine, and found a recipe that I modified a little. The cool thing with this recipe is that you can take a spoonful like a cough syrup, or the way I love to take it is to mix a spoonful with a cup of boiling water and have as a cup of tea. All you need is organic honey, lemon, and fresh ginger. I have also seen recipes with a little cayenne pepper, but I know the kids wouldn’t like that, so I left it out. Sam still thinks that toothpaste is too spicy…I don’t think she would enjoy the heat of cayenne peppers somehow.

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Start by putting a layer of chopped ginger in the bottom of a glass jar. add a squeeze of honey and a squeeze of lemon juice. I also cut up and peeled thin slices of lemon to add, but adding the lemon also reduces the shelf life, so you could also just add the lemon right before use.

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Keep repeating adding the ginger and lemon and honey and fill up the jar.

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Let it sit for a while. You can use it right away, but the longer you wait, the stronger the taste of ginger. Store in the fridge for no longer than a couple weeks.
Have a teaspoon as is, or add a teaspoon to boiling water. Yummy, and it works. Much better that Buckleys too!

SEW Easy Letters!

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I know the “sew” pun is a little cheesy, but I couldn’t think of anything else….sorry.

I have been working on decorating the library, and I wanted to make a few signs so I thought I would share the lettering technique I used.
So here goes, start by writing what ever word you want in large capital letters, be sure you space them out evenly. Write lightly so that when you erase them, the lines won’t show at all

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Next, trace around the letters to make block letters. I used an 07 drawing pen…

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Then, erase all of the pencil lines…

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I use a thinner pen (03) to draw a line of stitching, basically a dotted line a couple millimetres away from the line.

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You could stop there and colour them in…or, you could make patchwork, or quilted letters. All you have to do is draw a few squares inside the letters then add stitching. You can even do a neater stitching like the S, or more of a patch, like the Y

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If you want to get really fancy, you can even add some appliqued flowers!

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Or, just leave the letters plain…

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I coloured the letters with marker…I really have to start scanning in my drawings and adding colour on the computer…one of these days… anyways, I coloured in the letters with markers.

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I also made a big sign for the library using this same style of lettering…

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The Holy Grail of Fudge!

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At our house, like any house, we have our favourite foods, fruits and vegetables, and also we have our favourite unhealthy and fattening foods. Today’s post falls in the unhealthy category. I really do have to apologize in advance for sharing this recipe with you… this is by far the best tasting fudge I have ever made, but it also the easiest….OK, I have warned you, so my conscience is clear…enjoy!
Only three ingredients needed, chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla, (and if you like nuts, you can add a cup right at the end before pouring them in the pan)
Here is the link to the recipe… I am really learning that the only recipes you can be really successful with are from reliable sources like Chatelaine, Better Homes, etc. because they are tested and made in test kitchens before they are published. I was talking to one of my friends, before the holidays, about researching recipes on-line. The problem now is that there are too many opinions on-line now. You find a recipe and then if you keep searching, you find five different opinions about the recipe, and five different versions. So, I have been trying to stick with published sources. Here is the link to this recipe…
Better Homes Fudge Recipe

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Start by melting 2 cups of chocolate chips. I melt mine in a double broiler, but you could also use the microwave.

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Once the chocolate has melted, slowly pour 1/2 can of the condensed milk into the chocolate, ad add 1tsp of vanilla. Keep on the keat, stirring as you mix. If you do this too fast, it will cool the chocolate and harden it while you are trying to mix. As it is, you have to work fast.

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In a 9×9 pan, line it with parchment or waxed paper, and pour the fudge in. I used another piece on top to help flatten it out.

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I used a fork to score the top, not for any reason other than I like the way it looks. Let the fudge cool for about 1/2 hour in the fridge, if you can wait that long! Then take it out of the pan using the waxed paper.

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Cut it into squares….

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And enjoy. You should keep this in the fridge, I am going to try to freeze some of it…this much fudge is my fridge is dangerous! I used a left over sushi tray to store it.

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I call it my Fudge Boat Supreme! I know I have been saving those sushi containers for something!
Only one more days until our holidays are over…:(

Cough Drops…

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The last couple of weeks, our house has had that cough that has been going around. You know, the kind that gives you the tickle in the back of your throat that you just can’t get rid of…the cough that gets worse the moment that you lay down in bed… the cough that keeps everyone else in the family awake…boy do I love winter…
So I have been looking for alternatives to regular cough drops, and I have combined a couple recipes to make the below cough drops. I am actually really impressed with the taste and how well they work. They actually do a great job of controlling the annoying cough.
To make the cough drops, you need
1 1/4 cups of organic sugar
1 cup of strongly brewed tea
1/3 cup of honey
the juice from 1/2 a lemon.
Start by brewing tea 4 bags in one cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. I bought a cough and cold herbal tea sampler pack and used one tea bag of each kind.

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I just discovered this method for candy making, and it is the coolest, easiest way to make the candies all the same size and shape. I tried using candy moulds, but found that most of them cracked as I was trying to get them out. So, to make a mould for the drops, start by spreading a couple cups of icing sugar out on a cookie sheet. Use the back of a spoon to smooth it out as much as possible. Then, use the back of a measuring spoon to make indentations in the sugar. I think I used the 1/4 teaspoon.

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To a medium sized pot, add 1 1/4 cups of organic sugar, 1 cup of the brewed tea, 1/3 cup of honey and the juice from 1/2 a lemon.

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Stir everything together and bring to a boil, until it reaches the hard crack stage or 300 degrees. This takes about 10 minutes and you will notice that it reduces in size and boils down a bit.

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When it has reached 300 degrees, here is the fun part. Spoon it into the icing sugar mold. it is amazing how it runs right into the holes. I used a spoon and drizzles it into the holes. Even if you are not exact in your pouring, most of the liquid runs into the closest hole. You do have to work fairly quickly as it starts to harden almost immediately.

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Here is what they looked like in the mould when they were cooling…

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When they cooled, I wrapped them in little squared of waxed paper that I twisted at each end. They actually take that tickle out of your throat, and they taste pretty good too!

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