Thursday, March 31, 2016

Real Food - Baking

I don't think it stopped raining all day! My dear child was off work today with fever, chills, cough and a host of other yucky symptoms so I had a "mothering" kind of day. You know what I mean, making hot lemon and honey drinks, cups of ginger tea, chicken noodle soup...the usual drill. Then she was looking for snacks (funny that she NEVER loses her appetite when she's sick!) but I don't really keep any snacks around, not the kind she likes anyway.

So that got me to thinking...what could I bake that would be considered REAL food?  I got out my recipe box and found my recipe for oat scones. I've made these buttery oaty morsels hundreds of times but now I looked at the ingredients with an eye to making healthier choices.

Butter - good (thank God!!!) though I need to look for organic butter
Egg - good (am buying Omega 3 eggs)
Milk - ok but I tried switching it up with organic coconut milk as it is so delicious.
Oats - large oats as they are gluten-free
All Purpose Flour - nope, don't want to use over processed refined flour. I have a lot of different flours that I buy at the Bulk Barn to use in my bread machine (that I never use but hope to soon). So instead of white flour I used whole wheat flour and 12 grain flour.
Brown Sugar - not a real food. Does anyone know if you can swap out brown sugar/refined white sugar with an equal amount of maple syrup or honey? With the first being a dry ingredient and the other being wet I didn't know what to do. I had a package of raw sugar so I went with that.
Baking Powder - not sure if there is a substitute for this, or an organic option. What is it made from anyways??

They turned out really really really good!
Very dense with the flour choices - a very oaty nutty flavour. I used a mixture of raisins, dried cranberries and currants.

I slathered on a little butter, let it melt and drizzled on a bit of honey. Delicious! Oh, and Kazi liked them too!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Bridge to Nowhere

SUNDAY was a bloody brilliant day. Since then the weather has been nothing to talk about... so...back to Sunday! Sunny + warm = hiking in Kilally Meadows!

Hey...I thought these guys were nocturnal?!
I'm further away than it seems - thank goodness for the zoom lens! Who can blame her for wanting to enjoy the sunshine!?

No leaves in sight yet, but it won't be too much longer til it's all GREEN! 

It wasn't too muddy considering all the rain we've had.

The artsy shot...

 I love these trees - they make excellent landmarks when I'm going in circles :)

Won't be crossing the bridge today - it's the Bridge to Nowhere. You can see by all the gunk that the river has been extremely high this spring.

  On my return trip I went off-trail for awhile and came across a deer carcass.

I guess there really are coyotes in here!

 I'll be glad when the flooding recedes - there are large parts of the trails I can't access.

Finally... I have a little miracle to share with you! After my hike I got together with a couple friends for the 2nd potluck of the Easter long weekend. When I got home, around 11:30pm the thunderstorm had begun and continued ALL NIGHT and most of the next day. I went into my house and went through my various bags looking for my phone. I could remember putting it into my purse so where the heck was it?? I was able to message my friend (using my iPad) whose house we were at and she looked and looked and called and called but it wasn't there or in my house. So I ran out into the rain and looked in the truck - nothing. There was nothing else I could do til daylight so I went to bed.

The next morning as I'm pulling up my blinds I look out toward my truck and see my turquoise phone case. It's been in the parking lot all night during a torrential rain storm. I didn't hold out much hope for it working, but once we buried Kazi's Macpro in rice after she spilled water on it and it worked!

So I grabbed the container of rice and buried my phone in it. Kazi said to leave it for at least 24 hours (the rice absorbs the moisture). Lo and behold it magically turned on. Now that is a true miracle. Yes, it's an iPhone, and seems to be extremely waterproof! Phew!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Eggs are Real FOOD!!

...except for the chocolate kind.....nuff said.

I finished painting the second of 2 shelves in the kitchen though it wasn't easy. When Luna fixates on something she can be very very stubborn. She was bound and determined to jump on and off each section that I painted which led to... having to chase her around to clean her paw pads and then clean the floor. The photo below shows only one painty pad belonging to Lily. She's a little more tentative than Luna - she put one front paw on a wet shelf, didn't like it, and ran off. It took me a little while to learn my lesson but I think I've got it figured out now. Put kitties in the basement when painting....

That was Wednesday. On Thursday I had SO MUCH FUN!! I still had over $200 left for March so I set out to do some shopping!  I felt I could do better in this little area by the front door than this "Welcome" chicken and small shelf for our keys. So...I went looking...

 ...and found this at Michael's craft store. I added the decorative hooks for our keys...

...and I also added a "boat's wheel" door knocker that had been on our front door when I was a kid. My dad was in the navy and combined ops during WW11 and this was his door knocker though I don't know where he got it from.

...and yesterday my friend Troy gave me some wind chimes so they're hanging there until I can get outside again.

My other purchase at Michael's was a new spring wreath for the front door - I had a 30% off coupon plus my senior's discount - isn't it pretty? I love pansies!

Then I went on a little spree at my local thrift shop where I found this letter "H" which I am going to paint and then attach to the top of my new key rack.  (H for Harrison)

After organizing our coats, hats, scarves, gloves etc on the coat tree in the freshly painted nook at the bottom of the stairs I had a few odds and sods that didn't fit in the boxes. So I went to Talize hoping to find a nice basket for the coat closet to hold the leftovers. And I did! This one is Luna approved!

Great fit!

Among other Talize finds... a napkin holder... (Lily approved)...

...and this antique iron hook - I haven't figured out where to put it yet but I NEEDED it!

I also went to the wine store :) and the grocery store. I used a bunch of my President's Choice points and ended up paying only $20 for Easter groceries! I purchased wine for two potluck suppers I was attending over the long weekend along with pumpernickel bread/spinach dip, and Thai food for the other potluck. I still ended up having money leftover which went into my small emergency fund that I keep hidden away here at home.

The $3.00 kitten bed I purchased at Dollarama continues to be THE PLACE for naps. Sometimes they both squeeze in and sometimes one lays on top of the other. If neither of those options work then even snuggling up to the outside of the bed with one's head hanging on the inside is preferable than NO kitty bed at all. They are quite obsessed with it - once in they stay in all day!!

We're in...I think...
Face to face.

Don't even think about saying anything about my butt!
Get off my larynx!

When you can't be IN you can at least be close!

I hope your Easter was a happy one! And that you did better resisting all the chocolate than I did. I had a fabulous hike yesterday - it was sunny and +17c - just delightful. Then by about 10pm it started to thunderstorm - it was WILD!! And today it's cold again, more rain, a bit of snow - blechhh! Large pools of water are everywhere as the earth can't absorb any more. Alright, quit already!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Workshop Blues

I've got the workshop blues.....

There is nothing to show you from the workshop today.  I've taken a few days off from the fun stuff to get some of the household projects completed. I have a very long to do list and have knocked off a few things this week.

  • first I painted the crown moulding in the living room. It has needed doing for a couple of years now (not exactly a speed demon am I?) I couldn't decide whether to continue the wall colour or paint it the ceiling colour - not that there's a huge difference. The walls are painted "White Swan" and the ceiling is also white - not sure it has a name. Finally, after consultation with my seester I painted them "White Swan." Such a non-exciting project - no wonder I kept putting it off. But I'm glad it's finally done.  CHECK
  • Repaint the white kitchen shelf using the RIGHT paint this time so it doesn't flake off, get stained etc. I'm glad I have CAA as it took 20% off the cost of the paint! CHECK
  • Remove wallpaper from a small hall wall hahaha! The other walls of the foyer had been re-wallpapered close to 2 years ago! I wasn't putting up wallpaper on this wall however, I was painting it ?  ............ yes WHITE!! You got it first try! match the wall along the staircase. Put up hooks removed when I began redecorating 2 years ago. Put shelf back up above the hall tree. Put new batteries in door bell thingy. Put candle holders back up by foyer mirror.
  • paint other kitchen shelf white. Started and will complete today!
  • repainted powder room baseboards, foyer baseboards and small hall wall baseboards. No photos but you can trust me on that! CHECK
And here are the photos...
The previous redecorating of the front foyer - ignore the messy floor.

Stripping off the really old wallpaper.

This shows the hooks I put back up to hold hats and scarves. Also the shelf above the hall tree.

This is just a dead space that I've given a purpose. 
My hat and scarf hooks - don't remember where I bought them.

On the shelf - a beautiful pot I bought while on holiday with Kazi in Quebec and one of my soapstone pieces. Above is the painting I bought from my artist brother, Kim, last November - it finally has a home!

The view from the dining room.

The kitchen shelf painted in extreme white melamine paint.

To the left is the other shelf that will be painted Extreme White.

The final transformation with 2 baskets for hats and gloves. Oh, and a Lily.

A close up reveals a gargoyle hanging over the ledge.
There, that's better.
Once I've had lunch I'll get back to work!
 Are we having fun yet?? Do you have any redecorating projects in the offing?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What I'm Eating.....

...Real food.
End of post......
Not really!

Remember the old food pyramid that advised us to have 6-11 servings of grains?! I hear it is getting updated once again. I offer for consideration the Real Food pyramid. I've been working towards this model for over a week. It requires a lot of thinking at first and I'm taking a gradual approach because there are a lot of things that are hard to give up/replace in order to LOVE what I'm eating and in order to cover all of my dietary needs - for example - protein and calcium.

For me, the most important thing to get away from is stuff that comes in packages and contains very little to NO food. Take a box of Kraft Dinner - one of Canada's favourite "foods". I've eaten a mountain of KD over the years starting when I was a wee tot and you could buy 2 boxes for 15 cents! BUT - it contains next to NO real food and provides no nutritional value. All it does is taste good and fill you up. Well, as a single parent sometimes those are the choices I've had to make. I get queasy thinking back to when Kazi's favourite lunch "food" was Zoodles!! I mean there is no such real food called a zoodle!!  So NO more. No more mystery foods!

Getting enough protein is easy as we love eggs, chicken, turkey and fish/shellfish and we eat lots of vegetables for every meal. Calcium is harder though I take a supplement along with vitamin D every day. I have to start examining labels on yogurt, cottage cheese and other cheeses to see which ones contain food but no chemicals. Sticking with organic should do the trick. I don't drink milk except for soy milk and again I stick with organic as I'd like to stay non-GMO as close to 100% as possible.

I'm not craving anything, so far. I will make things to satisfy my sweet tooth. With my Vitamix I can make my favourite food - ICE CREAM - by mixing soy milk and frozen berries. I will try to substitute honey, maple syrup, raw sugar or other natural sweeteners to re-create my favourite oatmeal cookies and scones. It can be done, it just requires some thought.

My hope is to have a stronger and healthier body. The body doesn't know what to do with UNreal foods so it stores it as fat. UNreal foods don't boost your immune system, don't strengthen your muscles, don't build bone etc. It all turns to FAT. I should know. I have a nice belly made out of licorice, ice cream, candy, pretzyls and chocolate bars. (Pssssst! I'm not giving up chocolate - just making better selections! There are choices that are organic and contain only real ingredients!)

Today I am eating:
Breakfast - organic green tea, 1% cottage cheese with raspberries
Lunch - falafel mixture (ground chicken, green/red peppers, onions, garlic and spices) over a bed of romaine
Mid-afternoon - organic green tea/cheese/half grapefruit
Dinner - green beans, cauliflower and broccoli, grilled shrimp, green salad (spinach, grape tomatoes, cucumber, onion, red pepper)
Before bed - a small yogurt

I'd like to think I can stay away from NONfood products but I know I'll want Dairy Queen eventually (VERY MUCH NOT A REAL FOOD) and I'll enjoy it! But I will try to keep to meals made from Real Food. It's a work in process!