Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

As most of you know, this is a super busy time!!  I tried to put together a post last week and didn't quite get it instead, I at least wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!

From Pinterest

Be safe on your travels, enjoy your family (they are very precious) and most of all...remember the real reason for this season!!

From Pinterest

Have a safe and a Happy New Year!! 

From Pinterest

Friday, October 28, 2011

Potato Soup

Well....the fall weather is definitely here...I have dug out our warm woolies and am changing our closets over from warm weather clothes to cold weather clothes.

Via Pinterest

CeCe & Co

Along with the warm clothes comes flannel sheets, fleece socks and slippers, hot tea, chai lattes and comfort foods...

Cozy flannel

Tazo Chai Latte

I have to admit, that when it comes to my Chai Lattes, I am a Starbucks snob....a friend of ours used to make his from scratch and he'd send us home with 'Mason' jars full of his homemade chai (oh how I miss that) ...Starbucks seems to have the closest recipe and well...I just enjoy that indulgence when I get one!  I don't drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages, so this is my treat!  Now, we do buy the Chai concentrate by 'Tazo' in decaf at the grocery store and make our own at home (it's a close second, plus you can't beat the savings compared to buying them at Starbucks)...usually we use just a bit over half chai to milk for our recipe, then some extra cinnamon sprinkled on top.

This week our comfort food was POTATO SOUP!!

Country Living Magazine

I found this recipe in a Country Magazine a few years ago and it was a hit!

It is super easy to make and always hits the spot!

* 6 slices crispy bacon, crumbled into pieces
* 3 pounds (about 5 large) Russet potatoes
* 3 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1/4 pound butter (1 stick)
* 2 2/3 cups whole milk
* 1/2 tsp black pepper
* 4 scallions, thinly sliced
* 3/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Cook the bacon pieces over medium heat in a medium skillet until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper toweling to drain and set aside.
2. Peel, rinse, and cut the potatoes into thirds. Place them in a large pot with water to cover, add 2 teaspoons salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are very soft -- about 45 minutes. Drain the potatoes, discarding the water, and return them to the pot. 
3. Mash them with a potato masher until smooth. Add the sour cream and butter and stir until melted. Add the milk, pepper, and remaining salt and bring the soup back to a simmer. 
4. Divide among 8 bowls and serve the soup hot, garnished with scallions, cheese, and bacon.

We also like to make some corn muffins to serve with our soup...I pick up the 'Betty Crocker' packages in the states...they are super yummy and easy to make!

Cornbread & Muffin Mix

It snowed this morning where my Mom lives, north of didn't stay on the ground, but the first flakes have fallen!! Yikes!!

I hope you all enjoy your weekend and maybe you'll make up your own comfort meals...share them with me if you'd like!!

P.S. I have one more thing to add about Chai Lattes...the trick is to ask for NO WATER when ordering...that way it's not watered down and just the concentrate and milk are the BEST treat to go with your Chai is the CRANBERRY BLISS BAR!!!  It should hit the stores soon, they are seasonal and super yummy!!  I encourage you all to try one the next time you are there, or the pumpkin scones!

Cranberry Bliss Bars

I have found a 'Cranberry Bliss Bar' clone recipe...I am hoping to try it soon, I will let you know how it turns out!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Yummy Pumpkin Treats!!

Canadian Thanksgiving was this past weekend and we tried a new 'pumpkin' dessert this year!!

It was delicious!!   I actually found it on Pinterest (such a great website)...I did alter it slightly because I really enjoy the typical spices in Pumpkin Pie and I still wanted that 'pie' flavour.

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Here is what I changed about the recipe...I doubled the amount of cinnamon, added 1 1/2 tsp of ground cloves and 1 tsp of nutmeg to it...I did find it a bit sweet, so I would only add 1 cup of sugar instead of the 1 1/2 cups of it next time...I DID use the 1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans (delicious) and we used 'Breyers' All Natural Vanilla ice cream (the black carton) with vanilla bean in it and sprinkled a tiny bit of cinnamon on top!  YUM!!

OK, this dessert I had never heard of until it was holiday time (can't remember if it was Thanksgiving or Christmas) at my in-laws in West Virginia...Pumpkin was fantastic!! When I first looked at the recipe, I was a bit nervous, having never made any kind of 'roll' before...but I found a video/tutorial (I swear I did, but do you think I can find it now??) and it was actually a lot simpler than I was making it out to be.

Pumpkin Roll

One thing that was 'stumping' me was a 'jelly roll pan'....a jelly roll pan?  Where was I going to find one of those? So I searched the net to find that I could use a cookie sheet with a lip (not the flat style) and it worked just fine!  The one tip they state at the bottom of the recipe, about having enough ' powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick', I didn't use enough and it did stick a be generous!  For my first roll, I can say that it did pretty much turn out like the picture! Oh, and I probably added more of the spices for my taste!

Onto cookies....these cookies are nice and soft and best the day they are made..I haven't quite figured out how to store them without them going kinda softer because of the glaze they have on if you have any suggestions, please pass them along!!

Old Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies

 I haven't made these yet this fall, but by looking at the ingredients, I'm sure I probably doubled the spices and possibly added some ground cloves to it too.  I dropped these by 'rounded tablespoons' like it said, but mine turned out a bit lumpier looking, like a homemade biscuit...they still tasted great, but just different shape. My only suggestion, if you double the recipe, you don't have to double the glaze. There is plenty of glaze to do the second batch with!

What delicious 'Pumpkin' treats have you made this fall??

Send them along


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Fabulous Fall

I have to apologize for my absence, it is not out of laziness, but as most of you with families know, September is a busy month...getting back into the school routine, seasons changing and just giving into the fact that summer is done.

Great inspiration for Fall decorating

Little Miss is back to school and couldn't be happier, in her SK year (senior kindergarten-like regular kindergarten for my American bloggers) and happier than a clam that all her 'besties' are in the same class too!

Fall is suppose to be cooler weather, (not cold) changing colours, (not falling off dried out, crunchy and dead) and comfort foods (we have been OK with that one-because it's been miserable). It has felt like we skipped fall and moved right into November weather....but things are looking up, this weekend is suppose to be nicer, maybe even a short sleeve shirt...we shall see how it turns out!!

A stunning Sept. sunset looking over Lake Ontario, we saw it out the bedroom window, hopped in the car and drove down there to enjoy it.

We did get a nice weekend in September and we finally had our garage sale, Little Miss after much coaxing happily went through her toys and found items for other children to enjoy...I made up 4 dozen muffins (banana chocolate chip and apple streusal), 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies, lemonade and fruit punch for her to also sell.  Hubby and I had already discussed that she could keep the profits from her items and the 'treats'.  Do you know that she did just about as well as we did????? Seriously!  People gave her extra money, let her keep change, one gentleman just gave her the money for a muffin and juice but didn't take any food!  Amazing! The muffins were gone by 9:30am (we started at 8am), cookies gone by 10:30am and the 3rd juice container was gone by noon. She was certainly pleased as 'punch' and was a good little 'upseller' too.  Hubby and I giggled to ourselves watching her interact with her 'customers'.

At first I wasn't ready for fall at ALL...we had such a HOT summer (I'm not really complaining here) and usually our September is an 'Indian Summer', with warmer days and still some humidity...I just wanted to hang onto the warmth longer...but then I started to see all the fall decor in the stores and I thought about some of the cute things I had in storage. Soon enough I was ready to get out my sweaters and jeans that I hadn't seen since April!  But Hubby and I took a short trip to New Orleans (he was going for business and I was fortunate enough to tag along) and it was in the low 100's each day with the humidity (oh 'Pinkberry' I miss you)!  Fall thoughts were put on the back burner and I was wishing our hotel had a pool! More about that trip on another post!

A little New Orleans preview...
the famous Cafe du Monde...the beignets were yummy!

As we returned home, we were quickly reminded of 'our' weather and we were greeted by 'Mum's' from my Mom, who watched Little Miss for us!

This weekend is Thanksgiving and we have plenty to be thankful for...Hubby and I will be cooking our very 1st turkey together (Mom will be on standby by phone-I hope!). We will also be preparing for Little Miss's 5th birthday party the next weekend! The Hello Kitty cookie cutter and 'official' icing colours have arrived and I have been watching all sorts of 'cookie decorating' tutorials all over blog land. Trying and educate myself and make sure I don't go fully grey putting this all together next week!!  :D


As I finish this post, I will let you know that I have some great posts coming after Little Miss's birthday party is behind us!  So please be patient and check back in soon!

Oh, and this is our cat, Bailey. He had the right idea on this cold and miserable day last week!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Twice Baked Potatoes!

Another yummy comfort food to share with you!!  I made this the other night with a salad and they were delicious!!  Super easy too!!  I think the hardest part was waiting for the potatoes bake!! Oh...and my potatoes really did look like this when I was done! Mmmmm....

recipe found here

The Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes
from The Clarks and found on

4 large baking potatoes
8 slices bacon 
1 cup sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk 
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
8 green onions, sliced, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour. You can just microwave the potatoes instead because it is way faster and they taste just as good. About three minutes per potato, just check for tenderness. Make sure to poke holes in the potatoes with a fork before microwaving so that they don't explode.

Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
*another easy way to cook your bacon is to line a cookie sheet with tinfoil, turn your oven up to 350 and cook for 20 mins!  Just pour the grease off and enjoy!!*

When potatoes are done allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl leaving about 1/4 inch of flesh so the potato maintains it's shape; save skins. To the potato flesh add sour cream, butter, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup cheese, 1/2 the green onions, and milk (start adding 1/2 cup of milk but you may not need to add it all depending on the consistency you want. You don't want them too runny). Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese, green onions and bacon.

Bake for another 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Comfort Food!

Just something quick that you can whip up and enjoy with the cool weather we're having!!

I made this yesterday and it turned out quite yummy!  It didn't look exactly like the picture, but the flavour was there!


I think I had more pasta then what his 'box' had, because mine seemed a little drier than what his looks his, I only used the salt, pepper and minced garlic...oh...and one of the times I salted, I used Lawry's Season Salt, just to see if it would add to the flavour. Plus, I am guilty for adding a bit of sugar to the tomatoe/beef part to help with the acidity a bit (my father in law will like that!  ;D).

Over all, it was definitely comfort food and I did have left overs to freeze for another day!

This is one I'd make again!


What comfort foods are you making?? Share them with my for a future blog!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Whitty Farms

Around Niagara, there is a farm or stand almost around every corner. We are very blessed to live in such a 'rich' region where there is an abundance of fruits and veggies that grow.

One of our favourite places is, Whitty Farms. I think I was sent there for strawberries by my neighbours a few years ago and we have been going back ever since!!

Once the season gets rolling, they have a wide selection of fruits and some veggies...I always buy my corn is always sweet. I also pick up my tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers and BUTTER TARTS there!!  The tarts are SO Grandma also made the yummiest butter tarts, but since she doesn't make them anymore, these are the best substitute I have found!  Sometimes when you go somewhere they look great on the outside, but are too runny inside or just taste like sugar and don't have any 'taste' to them. But these...are awesome!  They also make a selection of other tarts, cookies, quiches and pies there as can smell them baking while picking up your other favourites.

They also sell these yummy looking flatbreads...I want to try to make my own!

There are a couple other stands that we visit when we head out on our errands...around the corner from Whitty's is where I get my cukes and they are the only place I've found peas...the kind you split open and have big, fat, sweet peas to snack on.  We never cook them for a meal, we nibble on them as we drive around and they usually don't make it home!

I already blogged about the stand where I get our peaches...they are SO delicious this year! We have been eating them non-stop!

Here is Little Miss enjoying her butter tart, they were still warm that mouth is watering as I type!  I really just need to get brave and make my own pastry and try my Grandma's recipe! If they turn out, I'll let you know!

As we headed home, we past this sunflower field...I explained to Little Miss how they turn their 'heads' towards the sun and follow it each day...she thought that was pretty neat!

Where are your favourite spots to stop??

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Back in June, Hubby was visiting his family in the states and I was here at home with Little Miss...His parents were going to be driving him home and coming for a visit...SO....I half jokingly say to him that now would be a good time to get that Ikea couch and chair we had been talking about since we'll need more seating...especially if we watch a movie downstairs!!  So what was his response??? 'Go for it.'  No need to tell me twice!

So I instantly jumped online and got all the info of the ones I wanted and gave them a call to have it delivered!  I then found out that ordering over the phone takes 1-2 weeks and the print I wanted was out of stock and may not get anymore...grrrrrr (it seems that every time I finally go to get something there, it isn't in stock!!) So...about 40mins later, I packed up Little Miss and we were off to Ikea!!

We arrived and made our way through the showroom to finalize our order and then it was off to the ordering desk!! The shipment would arrive the next day around dinner time!  Woo, hoo!!

Little Miss and I organized to have the old couch taken downstairs and cleaned up the living room to have it ready for the new arrivals!

Now, some of you may not know this, but Ikea furniture (even the couches and chairs) are a 'put it together yourself' kinda thing...I was a little intimidated when I saw the huge boxes arrive...I looked at the instructions and wondered what I had gotten myself into!

Little Miss helped me open and empty the boxes and away I went at putting it together! The sofa all came neatly packed in this ginormous box, there really wasn't that many pieces either.

You can see the seat and back rest area...the 2 holes on either side are where the bolts for the armrests/sides go into and hold it in place...the instructions actually say that to stay happy, 2 people should put it together...well it was just me!
It really wasn't that hard, but the most challenging part for me was, to tip the sofa forward to attach the nuts afterwards to hold it in was kinda top heavy...and the instructions also say to do it on a carpet or soft surface...yes, I would agree to that...I have a few scratches in my hardwood flooring now!  :(

The slipcover is on and I'm putting the covers on the cushions!

The finished result!! YEAH!! I liked these cushions (still do) but they don't go with my coastal theme, so I took them back :(

The next day, Little Miss and I put the matching chair together...

 This box was a little smaller, but still neatly packed like the sofa.

It was just as easy to put together as the sofa...just one small challenge...remember those 2 holes for the armrest bolts to go into? of those holes was NOT drilled!!??  I got on the phone and called the store...there response to my emergency dilemma? I could drive back to the store and they could replace the one part that was damaged.  What??!!  I had company arriving in 3 hours! I didn't have time to drive 40mins up with it...and 40mins back!!??  Come on!!!

So...thank goodness for my favourite woodworking teacher from high school (Mr. Yeo) and the skills I gained from his classes!!  I went downstairs to hubby's workroom, grabbed the drill, bits and measuring tape.  I seriously measured about 5 times where the hole should be drilled, measured the other holes to see if it seemed right, grabbed the drill, said a prayer and started drilling!!  I drilled nice and slow and also prayed that I didn't drill through to my hardwood floor!  I grabbed the armrest, lined it up, held my breath and pushed it went in!! Woo, hoo!!  Little Miss jumped for joy that it had gone well and we finished putting it together.

Little Miss even helped finish off the feet ( I later bought the huge felt circles for the bottoms at Dollarama that fit perfectly!)

Ta Da!

So when it all comes down to it, am I happy with my white slip covered Ikea purchases?? YES!  I know some may gasp when they read 'white'??!! But they have been easy to take care of, I haven't even washed them yet! They have been here for 2 months now...could they be washed? Sure, there are a few marks on them, but we have created some rules for the living room anyway...snacks at the table, drawing on the table, no wet clothes on the furniture etc., all reasonable rules for furniture anyway.

So what are you waiting for?? Go ahead, get that piece you have been wanting!! Enjoy it!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

After the storm!

If you live in Ontario, then you know about the storm that swept across the southern part of the province last night... I don't think it was as sever as the Meteorologists thought it was going to get, but the sky was sure lit up!  We lost power for a few hours around 10pm, but all was fine by branches down or anything really...just a  good watering for the plants!

This morning, Little Miss and I made our way to the beach to check it out...if you are along the coast after a storm, you will know that this is the best time to get seashells!  So I thought maybe there would be a some beach glass to pick up!

You have probably noticed that usually there is a 'line' on the sand from where the waves hit and leave a 'line' of debris, whether it's seaweed, grasses, shells, rocks or driftwood.  Today there were multiple lines on the of the lines was about a 1/4 of the way up the sand towards the parking lot!  That must have been some serious wave action last night!

Above you can see Little Miss running between 2 of the the very last picture I am behind these 2 lines and the 3rd line was still way behind me towards the parking.

At the one end of the beach (behind Little Miss in the last picture) there is a fence that divides what I think is a boat ramp area, from the public beach...we walked over to that boat ramp area to discover this little rocky/pebbly beach.  You can see the 2 lines in the above picture as well...we did find some beach glass amongst these rocks, big pieces mostly, but there were a lot of pieces that we not smoothed out and ready to take home yet.

Little Miss and I managed to fill my back pockets with beach glass and she even found a nickel and a 'cats eye' marble too.  I also picked up some small pieces of driftwood to use in making my own little sailboats.  I saw it over at Emerald Cove...I have been searching for the perfect pieces ever since!!

So our treasures have been cleaned, dried and added to their dishes for display...maybe we will hit another beach tomorrow and see what we can find there!!

Happy Hunting!!

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