Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Easy summer meal

I don't know about the rest of you, but yummy, easy meals are becoming more and more popular in this household...especially with the a new little one arriving VERY soon!

We had some friends over for dinner one night this weekend and with the heat I wasn't feeling like being in the kitchen much.  So I planned an easy meal that I could also do some of the prep ahead!

Dinner Menu

* Pulled Pork on a bun
* Creamy Potato Salad
* Veggie Shish kabobs
* Aloha Cake - I was most excited about this!!


I actually went and made the Pulled Pork the afternoon before, shredded it and added the sauce and left it right in the crock pot insert and into the fridge after it cooled down. Then 1 1/2 hrs before company's arrival, I had hubby put it on 'warm' and warmed it up!  It was plenty hot by dinner time.

The recipe is the same I have posted before. You can find it here. Super easy!

The Creamy Potato Salad is a combo of Martha Stewart and my own. I used the baby white potatoes (pre-bagged), green and red pepper, green onions, celery and fresh parsley. The dressing consisted of:
~  1 1/2 cups Hellmans Mayo - one day I'll make my own like Martha
~ 3 tbsp cider vinegar
~ 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
~ sprinkle of sugar

I usually mix mine all together then give it a little taste test and see what it needs more of or if it's enough to cover the potatoes.

Pulled Pork and Creamy Potato Salad


I actually cooked the baby potatoes the day before as well, while the heat from the crock pot was going.

The Veggie Shish kabobs were probably the least amount of prep. I chose white button mushrooms, green and red pepper chunks, cooking onions and grape tomatoes. I just wiped the mushrooms with a damp cloth (they say you are not suppose to wash them, they absorb the moisture), chopped the peppers into chunks and then cut up the onion in larger pieces (the stronger the onion when raw, the sweeter it is when cooked).

I threw them into a bowl, poured a maple garlic marinade over it (I had been saving this one) and into the fridge it went. ** It helps to soak your skewers in water for about 10mins before loading them up, especially if they are bamboo ones**

The Aloha Cake, I found this recipe on Pinterest and had been wanting to making it for a while. So this was my perfect opportunity!!


Cake


~ 1 box yellow cake mix
~ 3/4 c. oil
~ 3 eggs
~ 11 oz. can mandarin oranges, with juice
~ 1/2 t. vanilla

*So use these ingredients and don't worry about what the box says! As you mix all the ingredients together, the oranges will break up. Grease your 9x13 pan, pour into pan and bake 30-35 minutes at 350F or until a toothpick comes out clean.

**I used one circular pan that was tall so I could make it a layered circular cake. If you chose to do this, your baking time will increase, about another 10-15 mins. you just have to keep your eye on it. When I cooked mine, at the 35min mark, it was still wet and jiggly in the middle. I kinda watched it every 5-8 mins checking on it. The top started to brown too much, so I put tinfoil tented over it loosely to prevent it from burning.**


Aloha Cake



Frosting

~ 1 box, regular size (4-servings) instant coconut pudding

~ 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, with juice
~ 8 oz. carton Cool Whip

*Mix the pudding (do not follow the box instructions) with the pineapple and juice. Then mix it with the Cool Whip. It makes quite a bit of icing, you will have extra to enjoy!

** Jello does make coconut pudding, I couldn't find it in the one store I was in and bought Dr.Oetker cooked pudding...MISTAKE!!!  It was a mistake only because with it not being cooked first, it had a slight powdery/granular consistency to the frosting and may not have been as thick. The taste was fine though!!  So make sure to buy INSTANT!**

Aloha cake





Once the cake is completely cooled, ice it and keep it in the fridge. Serve cold.

Overall the meal was a success!  It was about 95 degrees with the humidity and we didn't have to heat up the house cooking all day!!

Hope you enjoy!!




Monday, June 11, 2012

Bailey and his Friend....

Our latest adventure took place last week around 1:25am....

Let me back up a moment....our cat, Bailey, is the most talkative cat I know...He is a Blue Point Siamese (I've had Siamese all of my life and he is the loudest  most communicative one, hands down). During the warm weather, he becomes an outdoor cat. We rarely have to even change the little box in the summer because he's outside so much!!  Anyway, he is a hunter through and through as well...at our old house, it was almost a daily occurrence to have some kind of small creature sacrificed on our doorstep. Proud as a peach of what he had brought home to show us....(thanks Bailey).

The cute Kitty ~ Bailey

Anyway...so the other night at 1:25am, he is howling, meowing outside our bedroom window (clever kitty) and I get up to let him in. In he comes and as I make my way to the bathroom (one of my middle of the night trips) this strong odour hits my nose....UGH....skunk. I'm thinking to myself,'you have to be kidding right?'  No, no...not just something my senses are making up at this hour.

Our chatty Kitty


So I call out to Hubby and he just already knows from my voice that he will be involved....hee, hee.  Up Hubby gets out of bed and we start to gather our ingredients for our concoction.



Now, Bailey hasn't tangoed with a skunk since he was a kitten (he will be 9 this fall)!!  We were living in our 1st apartment when we got him and his first summer he was sprayed 5 (yes FIVE) times in 3 weeks!!!  Our neighbour had a remedy that worked wonders for us...(I don't claim that it is 100%, but we have had great success with it).

Ingredients


~ Hydrogen peroxide - just from the grocery/drug store
~ Baking Soda - the kind I bake with
~ Liquid dish detergent
~ Mixing bowl
~ Jug - to put warm water in
~ Old face cloth/rag
~ Beach towels

** I think that's it, oh and maybe a camera to catch the humour at whatever hour you are doing this??!! **

1.  In your mixing bowl, add equal parts of the peroxide and baking soda, it kinda will be paste like (I usually just eye it).

2.  Add a couple of drops of the dish detergent and mix around.

3.  At this point you can add a bit more peroxide or a bit of water so it's more sloppy than paste like so you can scrub down kitty well.

4.  Put an old towel on the bottom of the tub, have others ready for drying off the cat after.

5.  Take your facecloth or rag and start rubbing this mixture all over the cat like it's the *****

6.  After you've cleaned all parts of your happy cat, take the jug with warm water and rinse all the mixture off (this was Hubby's job to keep refilling it with warm water - cold water might send the cat leaping and clawing at you and a wet, smelly disaster around your house if they break free!! Plus the sound of running the water from the tub could catch kitty off guard - no need to upset kitty any more than I'm sure they already are!!)

7. Make sure kitty is well rinsed and dried well, give them a nice brushing and maybe some treats.  ;)

When I first put Bailey into the tub, his legs and paws kinda got spread out and he hissed at the situation. Then his meowing started, no actually it was more like screaming. He was NOT happy to be wet and being scrubbed down, but he really didn't fight me or it...he just voiced his opinion instead.  Hubby was my right hand man through all of this while I rubbed Bailey down and rinsed him.

Bath time!!

***Ok stop for a mental picture for a moment as well...almost 9 month pregnant lady hanging over tub, scrubbing screaming kitty, in her jammies, in the middle of the night = FUN  Now, Hubby would have definitely done the scrubbing if I had asked him, but I was actually fine doing it and probably the more experienced one with this kinda thing anyway...sometimes a helper is the best part anyway. ***

So Bailey is all rinsed and out of the tub on the old towels getting dried off.  I pick him up in my arms and snuggle him in the towel a bit while drying his face...I finally get a softer look from him and the purring starts. I think he knew we were helping him, as much as he despised the whole process...he got a nice brushing and some catnip. Bailey proceeded to clean himself at this point, while Hubby put beach towels covering his favourite sleeping spots so we didn't have damp furniture in the morning.

Bath time over ~ Getting dried off

It's after 2am by this point, we are cleaning up and thinking about our nice, cozy bed waiting for us. By 2:30am we are in bed and ready to go back to sleep. But now, we are both wide awake and watch the clock for another hour and a half to two hours... sigh ... I guess our bodies are getting prepared for the baby coming?

Clean up time

And who shows up at my bedside about 45 mins later??? Bailey. He wants under the blankets and to sleep with me. He circles around until he finds the best spot on the king size pillow I sleep with between my knees. He's right up against the baby bump and happy as a clam to spend the rest of the night there.



All for the love of a pet.  ;)  On a positive note...he does have the softest fur since his bath!

AND we never heard a peep out of Little Miss during this whole process!!


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

9 months * 36 weeks!!

Finally here!! 9 months of anticipation, nausea and waiting!!

Sunday was 36 weeks, 4 weeks or less to go!!


36 weeks

There are still many 'things' left to do on 'the list'...we are trying our hardest to accomplish the most important ones, without going 'crazy', before the baby arrives.  

This week I plan to pack my bag and baby's things for the hospital...just in case this little one decides to arrive early!  She is sitting SO low....she has turned, which is good, but not dropped...which is also GOOD!!!

Little Miss is getting more and more excited as each week passes. Her kindergarten graduation is also coming up and is VERY close to the due date.  I pray that I am able to be there!!!!
Well...off I go to accomplish another item off our list before bed!

Night all!!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Our Saturday afternoon adventure!!


So this was an unexpected event this afternoon...I was driving home from grabbing some bedding plants through our neighbourhood, turned a corner to see a Momma Mallard duck at the corner. I thought to myself, 'why is there a Momma Mallard duck in our neighbourhood?' As I looked in my rearview mirror I saw her circling around the storm drain.

My next thought was...the babies have fallen through the storm drain holes.......



I turned the car around, parked across from the Momma and quietly approached the drain. She was walking around the drain quacking away and I could hear the familiar peeps of the babies coming from the drain below. She was upset, but not with me. I peered into the drain and could see at least 6 babies about 8 feet down, some huddled together and a few swimming around. Call it pregnancy hormones if you wish, but I just couldn't drive away without trying to help them.  I went back to my vehicle and searched my 'Maps' app for the Humane Society number. Got ahold of them and unfortunately they don't handle calls involving wildlife, but they did suggested I call the city 'water' people and see if they could help because the storm drains are locked.

I drove home (a block and a half away) and called the 24 hr emergency hotline number. I immediately reached a very nice man who actually was only about 5 mins away from the storm drain. I borrowed the neighbours pool skimmer (Hubby's idea) and off Little Miss and I went to meet him.

He was already there when we arrived and said that in his 30 years with the city, he had never had something like this happen. He opened the drain and down there we could see 8 little ducklings.

Momma Duck circling the storm drain



video



He didn't really have anything long enough to grab the ducklings with and then went to make some phone calls to see what else could be done. The whole time the Momma duck was still circling around the drain quacking, never getting too close to fall in herself. She never tried to chase us away, she was just upset being separated from her babies.

After his phone calls, the Fire Department, Station #2 from just down the street, was coming and so was the Humane Society after all!!  Around the corner came the Fire Department Van with the Platoon Chief and one big rig...then along comes another big rig!!! Such excitement for our street!!

Fire Department and City vehicles

After taking a look at the storm drain, one of the Fireman grabbed the pool skimmer and lowered it down to scoop up a duckling. Another Fireman was ready with his gloves on, to grab the duckling and send it off to Momma.  At this point the Momma moved to the other side of the street, quacking away.

The Platoon Chief and Firemen
bringing up the babies

One by one, the ducklings came up, unharmed and instantly made their way to their Momma.  The more babies that came up, the more she settled and made her way back across the street towards the grass and settled down.


Momma with some of her ducklings


The ducklings cleaned themselves off as Momma sat and watched. She ended up relaxing with all 8 of her babies on the grass, just long enough for all of us to take pictures of them before she led them off to a safer place.  


Momma Mallard Duck and her 8 ducklings

I thanked all of the Firemen and the City worker for coming out and helping with the rescue. It was great to see the compassion towards some 'ducks'. Some of the Firemen even took pictures to show their own family members. ;)

A happy ending and very thankful that our prayers were answered!!


I wonder how many cars passed by before me and thought nothing of (or didn't see) that Momma duck?? I'm very thankful that it was brought to my attention and I was able to help.



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