#GameNight Was a Blast

November 13, 2014 at 10:48 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Contests, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut, Product Testing, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Lexy loved collecting the Monopoly Money - a capitalist at heart.

Lexy loved collecting the Monopoly Money – a capitalist at heart.

We recently received a copy of #MonopolyJunior from @Influenster free for review. I’m so glad we did because it was our first #GameNight in a while and the girls absolutely loved it.

Caity getting the game pieces ready

Caity getting the game pieces ready

After opening the box, the girls made quick work of setting the game up.  They were a great help, putting the board pieces in nice piles and helping to distribute the money and game Tokens.

Alex was the Banker and Caity, being the youngest, was the one who rolled first.  You should have heard the giggles of glee when Caity landed on a spot and was able to buy it.  That wasn’t as gigglesome though as when one of us landed on her property and had to pay her rent.  The little Slum Lord kept saying “oh yeah, more money, oh yeah…”.  She’s pretty silly :)

It was a good evening filled with laughter and the girls managed to get us to play a few games with them.  It was very easy for them to learn how to play.  The next day they played another few games on their own and after dinner their Dad and I joined them for a couple of matches.  Every day after school, when I pick them up from daycare, they make plans to play yet another game lol.

Caity taking a "Chance"

Caity taking a “Chance”

@Hasbro has done it again.  #MonopolyJR is sure to become a classic in our house and we will no doubt have many cherished memories of the girls.  I’m pretty sure I know what they plan on putting on their Christmas List to #Santa – more Hasbro games! Even the Cat tried to get in on the game a couple of times! ;-) 

Mavvy wants the Cat token!

Mavvy wants the Cat token!

Note: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

 

Really..?

November 5, 2014 at 11:29 am | Posted in Miscellaneous Crap | Leave a comment
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Dear Anonymous “Friend” who likes to leave comments on my blog.  I’m sorry that your comments end up in the Spam folder, however when you write things such as “this is the most interesting information i find.  please post again on this fascinating subject”, I’m unlikely to accept you and give you permission to comment in the future.  Your use of spell check and command of the English language really endears yourself to my heart.  How could I possibly think your comments are anything but genuine in nature.

This is irritatingly close to those wonderful emails I receive at work addressed to “Dearest One” from some prince in Nairobi who has a confidential business transaction he must discuss with only me.  Sweet, I could use $25 million.  Sounds legit.

I do give the last guy credit though for saying that he ‘subscribes’ to updates he made on his previous comments but ends up receiving three emails and could I please remove him from this service.  Sure, no problem *Empties Spam Folder*.  Problem solved.  Have a nice day.

———–

See what I mean?  Today’s attempt at acceptance, I don’t have a clue what the hell they’re talking about.  Delete. : 

“This is the right blog for anyone who would like to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic which has been written about for decades. Wonderful stuff, just great!”

Yet More Leftovers…

October 13, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Posted in Food, Recipes | Leave a comment
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photo from www.pillsbury.com but mine looked like this!

Photo from http://www.pillsbury.com but mine looked like this!

Yes I know I recently posted another version of the pie but I needed to write this down before I forgot it, especially as it turned out really yummy.  Even the kids liked it, which says something.  I accomplished the impossible – make something that everyone wants to eat, and likes.

Yet another Thanksgiving has come and gone and another Turkey was cooked and leftovers made into a classic pie.  What you end up with is a version of this beauteous classic:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of leftover Turkey meat, your choice of white or dark or both
  • 1 cup frozen Peaches and Cream Corn
  • 2-4 cloves Garlic, minced (I used 4 large cloves because I love Garlic, but use to your preference)
  • 2 large Onions, diced
  • 1 stalk Celery, sliced
  • 3 small Potatoes, small diced
  • 1 pint Cremini Mushrooms, quartered (or smaller if the mushrooms are large)
  • 2 cups leftover Stock from the Turkey (or equivalent store bought Chicken Stock or Chicken base/bouillon)
  • 1 cup Milk (or half and half cream)
  • 1 cup leftover Turkey Gravy
  • 1 cup Cream of Mushroom Soup – about 1/2 can (optional) (I didn’t use it this time)
  • 1 tsp Poultry Seasoning, divided
  • 1 tsp Paprika, divided
  • 1 tsp Oregano, divided
  • 1 tsp Freshly ground Black Pepper, divided
  • 1 tsp coarse Kosher Salt, divided
  • 1 Stick of Unsweetened Butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 2 packages frozen Deep Dish Pie Crusts (total of 4 pieces)

Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a sauté pan over medium heat and add the onions.  Sauté for 5 minutes and add the garlic.  Sauté for a couple of minutes until the Garlic and Onions are fragrant.  Add the Potatoes and sauté for another 5 minutes.  Add the Celery and sauté for 5 minutes.  Add the Mushrooms and half each of Salt and Pepper, Poultry Seasoning, Oregano and Paprika.  Stir and sauté until the Potatoes are almost completely cooked.  Add the diced Turkey meat and frozen Corn.  Reduce heat stirring occasionally.

In a medium saucepot, melt the remaining butter and once melted and hot, add the flour, stirring to combine.  Add the remaining Spices and stir over medium heat for several minutes to cook the Flour through, browning the Roux slightly.  Slowly whisk in the Stock, careful not to pour in too much at once – let the sauce catch up before you add more.  Once the Stock has been added, stir until smooth and slowly add the Milk or half and half Cream.  Heat until bubbling, stirring occasionally.  When the sauce has thickened, add the Gravy and Cream of Mushroom Soup if using.  Heat through and pour mixture over the vegetable/turkey mix.  Combine and let cool slightly.

Remove pie shells from the freezer and their boxes to thaw.

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Divide the mixture between two pie shells.  Moisten the rim of the pie shell containing the filling with water and put on the top crust.  Crimp the edge using a fork and cut 3 one-inch slits on the top to allow the steam to escape.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pan half way if you don’t have a convection oven.  Allow pie to sit for 15 minutes before slicing.

Pie can be frozen prior to baking.  Partially freeze pie before wrapping to not damage the crust, after an hour double wrap in plastic wrap and foil.  Can be frozen up to two months.

—–

Update:  we had the second one tonight.  Baked from frozen 1.5 hours at 375°F.  It was better than Sunday’s version, the flavours all melded and it was fantastic. Not an understatement! :)  this is how the finished product looked before we devoured it…

Omg so good!

Omg so good!

What Makes a Girly-Girl?

September 29, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Miscellaneous Crap, My Kid is a Donut, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Hello, my name is Kelly and I’m a nail polish addict.

I’m a firm believer in accessorizing and colour isn’t an option, it’s a requirement.

Let me back up on that last statement a bit and redefine it. I’m not talking about scarves, shoes and bracelets, although my love for designer shoes is another matter.

I’m talking about accessorizing yourself – hair, nails, skin.

I’ve always loved funky hair and nail colours. I’m not necessarily brave enough to try them on myself, but kudos to those that do. I have several different colours in my hair as we speak, but more in the “normal” spectrum. The wildest I had ever tried was a bright Auburn and black tips mixed with blonde. I loved it, but it was hard to maintain. I admit, I love Kelly Osbourne’s Lilac tresses (and her make-up line). The new on-trend Grey hair (Kelly Osbourne again) makes me giggle with glee. The latest bottle of bright, neon nail polish fills me with squee and makes me feel like a kid at Christmas – I can’t wait to try it on and experiment.

Caity, my 7-year-old, told me this weekend that she doesn’t like nail polish because she’s a Tom-boy. She looked at me like she was expecting me to tell her that I didn’t think that was acceptable. I think she was surprised that I told her that it was OK for her to be a Tom-boy and I was one too when I was her age. The few times I tried to put nail polish on her, she asked to have it removed two minutes later. She doesn’t think girls should have nail polish on their hands, yet she likes to wear headbands and bows and pretty dresses

I told Caity that I wasn’t a Girly-Girl. Then I heard my Husband snickering from the Kitchen.

I told him that Girly-Girls get their hair done and wear make-up and get their nails done at the Salon all the time. He rolled his eyes at me. I suppose it was hard to prove my case when I had just come back from getting my hair coloured the day before and had just finished applying my new Christian Dior Vernis Lacquer (“Pied du-Poule”, thank you very much) about an hour before that.

I think a true Girly-Girl is someone who wears dresses or skirts (I don’t), curls or flat-irons their hair (or at least blow dries it), wears high heels and always looks put together. That is so not me. I neither have the body, nor the budget for any of that. My idea of blow drying my hair is to drive with the windows down on my way to work. In fact, my hair was still damp when I wrote this from my shower this morning.

My oldest daughter, Lexy, on the other hand is a Fashionista in the making. She loves nail polish and clothes. She has to make sure her hair is perfect before she goes to school. She wants to have a couple of coloured extensions put in this Fall because she wants to experiment with colour, but not necessarily commit. I’m OK with that. I encourage her to be her own person.

I seem to be stuck in the middle of my two girls. A Girly-Girl wannabe.

My Little Fashionista

My Little Fashionista

Cheesecake!

September 11, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Posted in Food | Leave a comment
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I’m in a cooking mood lately and I thought I’d share this classic.  This is quite possibly my most favourite cheesecake.  Ever.  That’s quite a statement considering how many cheesecakes I’ve sampled in my life.  It’s also quite easy to make, surprisingly.

It’s like eating a really big Truffle.  So rich, easy, but soooo good!  Great with Coffee or just a big glass of Milk.  My husband prefers the chocolate chip version, so I haven’t made this one in a while.  I’m hoping when he reads it, it will make him want this one! ;-)

Ingredients (Crust):

  • 1½ Cups Oreo Cookie Crumbs
  •  2 Tbsp Butter or Margarine, melted

Ingredients (Cake):

  • 3 Packages (8 Ounces each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • ¾ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Package (8 squares) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted, slightly cooled
  • 3 Eggs

Ingredients (Topping):

  • ½ Cup Whipping Cream
  • 4 Squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
  • 1 Tsp Instant Coffee or Espresso Powder (optional for “mocha” flavouring)

Let all ingredients come to room temperature.  Preheat oven to 325°F.  Place a cake pan filled with warm water on the rack below the rack where you will put your cheesecake.  This will help create a humid environment and can prevent cracking.

Method (Crust):

  1. Melt Butter and combine with cookie crumbs.  This mixture should feel like damp sand.
  2. Press into the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan which was sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray (i.e., Pam).
  3. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.

Method (Cake):

  1. In a bowl, mix Cream Cheese, Sugar and Vanilla until combined.
  2. Add Eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, but do not overbeat.
  3. Melt Chocolate in a bowl in the microwave (start with 1 minute, stir, add 15 seconds more time if needed – be careful, Chocolate burns easily).
  4. Stir Chocolate and let stand for about a minute.  Add Chocolate to batter and mix until incorporated.
  5. Bake for 50 minutes.  Cake will still be loose in the centre when you remove it from the oven.
  6. Allow cake to cool before putting in the fridge.  Chill at least 8 hours or overnight before removing spring form ring (leave the bottom under the cake).

Method (Topping):

  1. To make the topping, in a small saucepan, heat whipping Cream to almost boiling.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in Coffee if using.
  3. Add the Chocolate and continue to stir slowly until incorporated (takes a minute or two).
  4. Once the sauce has come together, let it stand for a couple of minutes then pour over cake, allowing excess to drip over the side.
  5. Chill at least 2 hours for best results. Use a hot, dry knife to slice each piece.

Sometimes, depending on my mood, before the ganache sets, I’ll sprinkle the top with roasted, slivered almonds.  Or mini chocolate chips.  Or toasted, chopped hazelnuts … or … fresh, ripe raspberries!

For an extra treat, serve with some fresh Whipped Cream and sliced Strawberries.  Yum Yum!

Cheesecake.jpg

Leftovers? Yum!

September 10, 2014 at 10:57 pm | Posted in Christmas, Food | 1 Comment
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Lately I’ve been into making pot pies.  It just started after Christmas or Thanksgiving last year when I had left over Turkey that I needed something to do with.  For years I’ve made Pot Pies, but that version usually was nothing more than a gravy mixture topped with biscuits.  Here are some variations I’ve made over the years…

First:  You need some Turkey!

Roast Turkey 101…

  • 10-15 lb Fresh Turkey, giblets and neck removed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Package Pork Sausage (Maple Leaf makes a great Pure Pork Sausage just for this purpose)
  • 2 Slices dark Rye (Dimpflmeier makes wonderful Rye) bread (regular sandwich bread is also fine for this)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Large Onion Diced
  • 1 Large Onion Quartered
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Water
  • OXO Beef Bouillon (yes, Beef)
  • ½ cup Cornstarch or Flour
  • Bisto Gravy Mix

sunflowerRye

My Mom was the best home cook I ever knew.  She hasn’t really cooked in years because she’s getting on in years and has significant nerve damage in her hands and legs caused by Diabetes.  Happily though, I picked up a few things from her over the years.  Sadly, she’s also suffering from a form of Dementia and doesn’t remember a lot of things anymore, especially her fabulous recipes.  My Brother, however, knows a lot of them and reminded me how to make the stuffing.

The secret to a good bird is to salt it, heavily, the night before you intend to cook it.  The salt permeates the meat and imparts a delicate flavour that you can’t get without this step.

The night before I’m ready to cook, I prepare the fresh Turkey (I prefer the taste and texture of fresh Turkeys vs. frozen).  After washing the bird, inside and out, I pat it dry and place it on a cutting board.  At the base of the bird and the area next to the neck (do Turkey’s have shoulders?), loosen the skin with your fingers, removing it from the flesh but being careful not to puncture the skin with your fingers.  You can use a spoon to do this if you don’t find the idea too appealing.

Liberally salt the entire bird, ensuring you get some salt on the flesh, under the skin you just loosened.  Put the bird in a covered roaster and place in the fridge until the next day.

Half an hour before you need to put the bird in the oven (I cook mine 1/2 hour a pound at 325°F), take it out of the pan and place it on the cutting board, first draining any excess water/blood.  Wash the pan the bird was in to get rid of the water/blood/salt mixture.  Dust the bird all over, including inside the cavities, liberally with Poultry Seasoning.  You won’t need any salt as the bird is already salted.  Pepper can burn and affect the taste.  Next start on the stuffing.

untitled

Sauté the diced onion until barely translucent.  Add the minced Garlic and sauté for a few more minutes.  Remove from heat.  In a large mixing bowl, place the Pork Sausage, and the sautéed Onions and Garlic.  Add 1/2 Tsp. Poultry Seasoning, 1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper, and 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder.  Tear up the bread into smallish pieces and add them to the mixing bowl.  Mix the mixture thoroughly but not too much that it all breaks down.  Stuff this mixture into the cavity of the bird (make sure there are no giblets in there first!).

Fold the wing tips backwards under the bird so they look like this:

Turkey wing

Tuck the legs back into the skin fold by the bottom of the bird.  Place the bird breast side up, in the roasting pan along with the quartered onion and fill the pan 1/3 the way up the bird with water.  Dot the bird with pats of butter or margarine on the breast and the crevices of each joint.  Cover.  If the lid will fit, fine, if not, cover loosely with greased or non-stick Aluminium foil.  Cook the Turkey for ½ hour a pound, basting every 30-45 minutes, until you reach an internal temperature of 165°F. I know my Turkey is completely cooked when the drumstick jiggles effortlessly (although I still recommend purchasing a thermometer).

Place the bird on a cutting board, remove the stuffing, and wrap the bird loosely with Aluminium Foil allowing it to rest while you finish the gravy.  Pour the drippings into a saucepan and bring to a hard simmer.  Add the OXO bouillon (4-6 envelopes) and mix well.  In a mug, add the cornstarch or flour and 2 heaping tablespoons of Bisto gravy maker.  Carefully mix.  Add enough cold water to the mix to create a slurry.  Once the drippings have started to boil, add the slurry in a slow stream, whisking the entire time.  The gravy should thicken after a few minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Carve the Turkey and serve with your favourite sides.

Turkey Pot Pie – With Biscuits

  • Diced leftover Turkey meat, your choice of White or Dark or Both
  • 2 cups Frozen Corn
  • 1 cup Frozen Mixed Vegetables (optional)
  • 1 Large Onion, Diced
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • Reserved Turkey Gravy
  • Fresh ground Black Pepper
  • Milk
  • Bisquick Biscuit mix

Sauté the onion until translucent and add the minced Garlic, sautéing for a few more minutes.  Add the soup and about a cup of gravy and ½ cup of milk.  The mixture will loosen as it heats but you can add more milk if you find it is still too thick.  Once the mixture has heated through, season with Pepper (and salt if you wish, but we find it salty enough).  Taste and add more gravy if you want it to have more of the Thanksgiving flavour.  Add all of the vegetables and heat for 2 minutes.  Add the Turkey.

Pour this mixture into the bottom of a casserole dish.  Mix the Bisquick Biscuits according to the directions on the back of the box (I mix a double batch).  Roll and cut the biscuits and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake as directed on the box but only for 5 minutes.  Take the biscuits out of the oven and place them on top of the Turkey mixture, fitting them as best you can to get the most number of biscuits on the top.  Bake in a 350°F oven for ½ hour.  So good.

Turkey Pot Pie – With Pie Crust

  • Turkey mix as above
  • Tenderflake pie crust

Follow the instructions for the Turkey mixture as above, but instead this time place it in a pre-made (or homemade if you prefer) pie crust. Cover with a second crust and cut steam vents into the top. Bake at 375°F for 30-40 minutes. Delicious.

11 Already??

July 12, 2014 at 7:00 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Family Ties, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Dear Lexy:

Every year for your Birthday, I always write a post to let you know how much I love you (here, here, here, here, here…).  This year is no different.

IMG-20140711-00709Somehow the past 11 years have slipped away.  It seems like yesterday I was having and holding a squeaky little thing that I wasn’t sure I would know what to do with.  We learned together and somehow I figured it out.  Babies don’t come with instruction manuals, and you certainly didn’t.  I think that’s what has made it much more fun.

A parent’s responsibility is to teach their children the many things they will need to know in life.  I’ve tried really hard to do just that and have loved every minute of it.  You filled a place in my heart that I didn’t know was missing until you were born. I’m thrilled with the young lady you’re growing into.  Like I’ve said before,  you make me proud every day.  You’re smart and beautiful and have a generous heart. You love to sing and act and write. You take care of your family when we don’t realize we need you to.  Your little sister adores you, you are her best friend.

I want many things for you in life, my Doodle.  I want you to be happy.  I hope you will have a life filled with happiness – with good friends and family all around you.  I want you to be accomplished.  You are so smart and I know you can do anything you put your mind to.  I hope it leads you to a career you can be proud of (so far you’ve said you want to be a Teacher, a Writer and a Vet’s Assistant).  I hope that if it’s in your plan, that you find a man who loves you and treats you well.  If it is what you desire, I hope you have children so that you will find out how wonderful they are and understand how I feel about you.

Please slow down a little bit.  You’re growing up way too fast and I can’t keep up.  It won’t be long before you won’t need me anymore, but I hope you always will.  I love you.  Happy Birthday Doodle.  Love Mom.

That’s My Girl…

July 9, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap, My Kid is a Donut, Sisters | 1 Comment
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I’ve said before many times that I’m proud of my daughters, I have good reason to be. Among her other wonderful qualities, Lexy is a prolific writer and I think she has real talent. On the way home today, she read to me something that she wrote in her Journal.

“My Little Sister: one of the miracle kids though she doesn’t know it. She was born sick, but now she is a healthy 7 year old. Her hair is yellow like the Sun and her eyes are like the sky on a clear day. She may have troubles with Asthma but she is one of the sweetest things ever. I see her look outside with curious eyes and her mind hungry for learning. She is a gift. I am happy to call her my Sister.”

She also wrote: “Mom’s Advice: Mom gives me wisdom every day to lead me on the journey of life; to dodge every obstacle and face every challenge. Thank you Mom.”

It’s hard to believe sometimes that she’s only ten years old. :)

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Soup du Jour

July 1, 2014 at 4:46 pm | Posted in Food, Product Testing, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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There used to be a little Italian sandwich shop close to where I work, but sadly it closed down a couple of years ago.  They had the BEST Veal and Chicken Parmesan in Durham Region.  I would go in every day just for the soup.  Chef Julie made the most delicious Pasta Fagioli Soup I have ever had.  It was so good, I ate it five days a week – even in the hot Summer.  How many foods can you say that about?

When the restaurant closed down I was heartbroken, because I really loved that place and Chef Julie’s home cooking.  I’ve been on a quest for the perfect Pasta Fagioli soup ever since.  I think I’ve come pretty close.  This is my homage to Chef Julie.

Breville's Fast Slow Cooker

Breville’s Fast Slow Cooker

I recently purchased a Breville Fast Slow Cooker and have been dying to use it since. Summer isn’t normally when one thinks fondly of slow braised meats and stews, but hey, the girl wants what she wants… A Fast Slow Cooker by the way is part Pressure Cooker, part Slow Cooker.  It also steams and sautés.  It’s probably one of the smartest appliances I’ve ever tried.  I love the way the people at Breville think. :)

I found two recipes online for Pasta Fagioli Soup and sort of combined the best parts of it and put it in my Fast Slow cooker.  I thought I would post a blog about it before I forgot what I did to make it so yummy ;)

Ingredients:

- 1 lb lean Ground Beef
- 4 cloves of Garlic, finely minced
- 1.5 large Onions, diced
- 4-5 Carrots sliced into thick medallions
- 2 stalks of Celery, diced
- 3 strips Smoked Bacon, diced
- 1 can diced Tomatoes
- 1 can Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can 6 (or 5) Bean blend, drained and rinsed
- 1 jar Ragu Original Pasta (Spaghetti) sauce
- 1 box Campbell’s Beef Broth
- 1/2 tsp Coarsely ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Tabasco Sauce
- 1.5 tsp Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp dried Rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried Oregano
(Note:  I didn’t add salt, because everything thrown in already contains so much salt, however if it’s not to your liking, feel free to add some near the end of the cooking time.)
- 8 ounces of a hearty, small Pasta (Ditalini or Macaroni are perfect), cooked separately.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can use a regular large soup pot or Dutch Oven. Fancy equipment is not needed.  Most of the instructions are the same, however, when everything is combined, simmer for 1-2 hours.

only 4 hours left!

only 4 hours left!

Set the Fast Slow Cooker to Sauté for 20 minutes. Cook the Bacon until mostly crisp. Add Garlic and sauté for a minute, being careful not to burn the Garlic. Add the Ground Beef, season with all of the Herbs and Spices above (except for the Tabasco Sauce), crumble the Rosemary before adding and cook for about 10 minutes, until most of the fat has rendered and the Meat is mostly cooked through. Add the Onions and cook for about five minutes, until translucent. Add the remaining fresh Vegetables and sauté for another five minutes. The timer should be done, or nearly done at this point. Set the Fast Slow Cooker to sauté again and set the timer for 10 minutes. Add all of the drained, rinsed Beans and stir, cooking for approximately 5 minutes. Add the Tomatoes and all of its Juice from the can. Add the Ragu Sauce and the Beef Broth. Add water if you feel the soup is not ‘soupy’ enough. Add a good round or two of freshly ground Black Pepper and the Tabasco Sauce. Set the Fast Slow Cooker to ‘Slow Cooker’ with the timer set for six hours. Give the pot a stir once an hour if you have time and remember. When you’re ready to serve, cook the pasta to al dente in a separate pot (the pasta will soak up all your beautiful liquid if you cook it with the soup). To serve, place some cooked pasta in a deep soup bowl and ladle your soup over it. Grate Parmesan over the top if you wish.

I usually make the soup one day, let it cool and refrigerate until the next day – not only does it make it taste better, but you can also skim off the excess fat from the soup when it’s cold for a healthier option. Make extra pasta and store in the fridge. When you’re ready for left overs, you don’t have to reheat the pasta, the hot soup will do it for you.  Be sure to pick up a good loaf of crusty bread and slather in butter.  Enjoy! :)

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Soup in Action!

Soup in Action...

The Final Product…

 

 

 

@Dove … I Love You

May 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Miscellaneous Crap, My Kid is a Donut, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Dove has promoted positive body images for a long time now, and it’s a campaign more people should pay attention to.  For too long, across all media platforms, have there been images of what others consider ‘real beauty’ to be.  Stick thin models in bizarre makeup wearing little-to-no clothing.  That’s their image of a perfect woman.

The latest commercial from Dove asks one simple question.  ‘What went wrong?’  (see the ad here)

What did go wrong?  When did we stop loving ourselves and stop thinking we (all women) aren’t beautiful?  What message is this sending to our children?

I never want my girls to grow up thinking that they are unacceptable in society in any way.  I tell them daily that they are wonderful, beautiful people and how proud I am of their accomplishments.  My oldest daughter is entering that horrible, painfully awkward adolescent phase where she’s beginning to grow into her body (think of a big Labrador puppy who hasn’t grown into his feet yet).  I hated that phase and it left a lot of emotional scarring.   One boyfriend I had in high school told me I needed to lose weight because I was too fat.  I weighed 115 pounds.  If he could only see me now, I wonder what he’d say?  My ‘best’ friend at the time used to tease me and actually had me believe that I was terribly flat chested throughout high school.  Back then I was a C-cup.  After having two kids, I’m DD, and about 50 pounds heavier than my ‘ideal’ weight.  I have huge self-esteem issues.  I feel like a barrel with legs.  To my daughters, I’m beautiful. That’s all that matters.

Girls have enough to go through without thinking they aren’t good enough.  Huffington Post posted an article about a lady named Taryn Brumfitt who is creating a documentary which shows it’s ok to be ‘normal’.   The video she made is very moving and enlightening.  “How am I ever going to teach Mikaela to love her body as it is, if her Mummy can’t do the same?”

The Dove commercial made me think about myself.  The last time I posed for a picture was with my two kids, about seven years ago.  I have avoided pictures since then like the plague.  I don’t like how I look.  I have tons of pictures of the girls and so far they seem happy to pose for them.

I want my girls to grow up well-adjusted, in a world that accepts people for who they are.  I applaud Dove for trying to achieve that and I hope they do.  Heck, they’re even trying to get armpits accepted into society!  If they can do that, anything’s achievable ;-)

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