Tags: #pretty, Christian Dior, essie, Influenster, Lilac Hair, make-up, nail polish, squee, too taboo, vernis
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.
Tags: cheesecake, Chocolate, Chocolate Cheesecake, Dessert, Recipes, Yummy
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! ;-)
- 1½ Cups Oreo Cookie Crumbs
- 2 Tbsp Butter or Margarine, melted
- 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
- 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.
- Melt Butter and combine with cookie crumbs. This mixture should feel like damp sand.
- Press into the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan which was sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray (i.e., Pam).
- Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.
- In a bowl, mix Cream Cheese, Sugar and Vanilla until combined.
- Add Eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, but do not overbeat.
- 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).
- Stir Chocolate and let stand for about a minute. Add Chocolate to batter and mix until incorporated.
- Bake for 50 minutes. Cake will still be loose in the centre when you remove it from the oven.
- 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).
- To make the topping, in a small saucepan, heat whipping Cream to almost boiling.
- Remove from heat and stir in Coffee if using.
- Add the Chocolate and continue to stir slowly until incorporated (takes a minute or two).
- 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.
- 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!
Tags: Pastry Dough, Pot Pie, Recipes, Thanksgiving, Turkey, Yummy
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
- OXO Beef Bouillon (yes, Beef)
- ½ cup Cornstarch or Flour
- Bisto Gravy Mix
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.
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:
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
- 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.
Tags: birthday, Happy Birthday, kids, writer
Somehow 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.
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. :)
Tags: Breville, Fast Slow Cooker, Kidney Beans, Pasta Fagioli Soup, Slow Cooker, Soup
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.
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 ;)
- 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.
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! :)
Tags: campaigns, Dove, kids, Mother's Day, Taryn Brumfitt
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 ;-)
Tags: #ImpressManicure, @BWayNails, @InfluensterVox, acrylic nails, bio gel nails, Broadway Nails, gel polish, Influenster, manicure, press on manicure
Checking my email the other day, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I qualified for an Influenster Vox Box. For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about, “VoxBoxes are boxes filled with complimentary products from your favorite (or soon-to-be-favorite) brands. Not all VoxBoxes are created equal: some programs feature an assortment of products while others will spotlight one awesome brand. But make no mistake: All VoxBoxes are created awesome.”
I was lucky enough to have received this item complimentary for testing purposes.
As you can see, the girls were very excited to receive the VoxBox ;-)
But seriously, since I joined Influenster last Fall, I’ve been eyeing some of the awesome VoxBoxes that I’ve seen and hoped that one day I’d get a chance to receive and review a product. I love to talk, and I’m opinionated (just ask my Husband!). I also love to blog and have been known to tweet on occasion. If you would like to join Influenster, send me a message with your email and I’ll send you an invite.
I received the #ImpressManicure VoxBox, which contained two complete manicures in really on-trend styles. I have to admit, I’ve tried other ‘press-on’ manicures before (circa 1985) and they didn’t work. At. All. I remember hoping that they would, and trying to align the sticky tape with my fingernail and then pressing the plastic coloured nail onto my own – after trimming it to fit. Only to have them pop off, one at a time, usually at the most inopportune moment imaginable.
Technology, and hairstyles, have certainly improved in the past 30 years. My daughter is eyeing the pink multi-coloured set and after the success I had tonight and the ease of putting them on, I think I’ll do her hands tomorrow.
Anyway… The good:
- These are very easy to apply and with a little prep work, they feel very secure.
- They take less than half an hour to apply a full set of nails.
- They have multiple colours and styles available – you can find anything to suit your mood!
- They feel lighter than ‘bio’ nails or ‘acrylic’ tips.
- You can actually get a good scratch with these!! Have you ever tried to scratch your back, or a mosquito bite with bio or acrylic nails?? You’ll end up bruising yourself long before you relieve the itch. Not these! They have enough of an edge that itch relief is within sight!
- Easier to change than bio or acrylic nails – if you grow tired of the current style, no problem, put the next on one – there’s so many to choose from.
- You don’t ruin your nails or nail bed when removing them, unlike bio or acrylic nails.
- They’re economical – approx. $10 per pack. A full set of bio nails can set you back $60.
- They look great. As good as your manicurist may be, she probably can’t do patterns like what is available from #BroadwayNails.
- I can actually type with them, which is one thing I always hated about fake nails.
The ‘Not-so’ Good:
- There’s a little catch at the top of each nail. I’m sure it’s from pulling them off of the form when they make them. if they could just file this down a bit, it wouldn’t snag panty hose or fine fabrics as much. “Oh honey, look, I’ve got a runner in my panty hose … oh wait, I’m not wearing panty hose…” (Pretty Woman).
- The instructions could be more clear. Included in the box is a nail file (although one of my sets didn’t have the file :-S – you can see where it was supposed to be in the picture on the pink piece of paper).
- The instructions on the moistened pad aren’t in English. In fact, they’re not in any language I know or understand. The only reason I knew what to do with the moistened pad, is that I’ve had gel polish put on before and remembered what my manicurist did.
- Nowhere on the box did it tell you what to do with the file or the moistened pad. It just tells you how to apply the nail.
Overall I would give this product a B+ for its ease of use and fabulous looks. I like them and would recommend them. Most importantly, I would use them again. :)
Apparently I’ve been blogging for 6 years now.
Neat. 461 posts later …
Tags: grumpy toddler, kids, Movies, Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted, R5, Ross Lynch
We took the girls to see “The Muppets Most Wanted” yesterday. It was a better movie than we thought it would be and the girls were happy to finally see it.
At one pivotal plot point, where Miss Piggy is about to marry “Kermit”, Caity got all excited and turned to me, “Mama, do you see that guy with the blonde hair?”
“That’s Ross Lynch!”
“Who’s Ross Lynch?”
“The guy with the flowers…” She said, getting impatient with me.
“But who is it, Cait?”
“Mama, that’s ROSS LYNCH!”, she said as if saying it louder will make me understand.
“Caity, who’s Ross Lynch??”
Caity sighed… “The guy with the flowers…”
I could hear my 7 year old do a mental head slap as I tried to follow her line of reasoning…