Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Laughing At Myself

Ok- I have to admit, this video just about nails me.  It’s good to have principles,  but you gotta be able to laugh at yourself.  Hope you enjoy this hilarious clip.  :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Easy Cheesy Down Home Biscuits

I love my adopted country, Canada, but I do have one little complaint: the folks up here just don’t take biscuit-eating seriously enough.  You’ll occasionally see biscuits under the label of “tea biscuit”, served at donut shops and the like as a go-with-coffee treat, but what you won’t often find is a nice, hot, homemade biscuit on a dinner table or offered as an alternative to toast at breakfast.

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Here’s where you can take the girl out of the U.S. (and the southern U.S. at that), but you can’t take the U.S. out of the girl!  And once you’ve tried this quick, delicious recipe for my biscuits, why would you want to?

The following recipe make about twelve biscuits, but you can easily half or double it as needed.

Ingredients

2 C flour

1 T baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or a bit more if you are using regular salt)

1/3 cup cold butter (best if you can put it in the freezer for half hour before baking)

1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1 C ice-cold milk

fresh ground pepper

1.Preheat oven to 450*.  In Medium size bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper to your liking (we like ours peppery!).

2. Remove butter from freezer (dont you DARE use margarine!!) and quickly grate it into the flour mixture using a cheese grater (try to handle as little as possible to keep it cold).  Add shredded cheddar.

Picture 088 Shredding the butter and cheese and keeping everything cold is the key to perfect, flaky biscuits

3. Add milk, half cup at a time, and quickly mix with a fork, until the ingredients have just come together.  Over-stirring with ruin the biscuits and instead of crisp and flakey, they will be flat and gooey.

4. Gently form the dough into loose lumps (dont over-handle them or press them down), a little bigger than a golf ball, and place on a well-greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 11-13 minutes or until just light brown on top. Serve immediately with soup, salad, or any other delicious meal, including breakfast.  If you have left-overs they can be stored in a cookie jar for two days max, and reheated at 400 for just a few minutes.

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Enjoy!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thrift Store Finds

Howdy ladies! Hope this blog post finds you all doing well. I’ve had a hectic week and not as much time to blog as Id like, and as I am now doing guest blogging over at the Loft Organic foods blog, that makes my blogging time even more divided! Oh well, life before blog, right? (Right?….)

I had a chance to stop in to one of my favourite new thrift stores this past week- The Bibles For Missions shop in our small city of Kitchener, Ontario. I love this little shop we found last year when we moved to the city- not only are the prices fabulously cheap (earlier in the year I got a large Le Crueset dutch oven there for TWO DOLLARS. TWO. They retail for over 300 dollars!) becuase they are an all-volunteer-run store so that helps keep the costs down, but all the proceeds go to a great cause- buying bibles! Free bibles are available at the front of the store, too, which is excellent. If you live in the KW area, check it out for sure.

So here are the groovy finds I made out with:

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all the loot

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someone with my exact same taste in magazines donated their stash!! I almost never buy magazines new because they are so bleetin’ expensive- but these were a quarter each!

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just in time to get me in the mood for the season!

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these were fantastic finds- all 1.50 each and in perfect shape! I have a hard time finding Christian fiction I enjoy, but i do like Frank Peretti and Ive been meaning to give Jan Karon a try. Anyone like these authors?

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I am just starting to learn to sew (on a machine I got at this thrift store for 18 dollars!) and I was excited to find this old pattern set for kid’s stuffed animals as Id like to start making them for Bird instead of buying them. Only 50 cents!

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we eat a lot food in this house where I need sectional dishes, like mexican food, salad bars, etc. I was excited for find this divided serving set, 2.00!

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I also stocked up on cards, 2 for 25 cents, and now have a nice stash instead of paying the exorbitant price you pay for retail

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I especially loved these cards with the Japanese woodblock prints on them- look at this detail below of a mother and child- precious!

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Thanks for coming along with me on my trip to the thrift store! Blessings, ladies!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Guest Culinary Blogger? Me?

Yes! If you recall I recently did this post on the local, organic produce we recently purchased through the Loft Organic Foods Box program here in Kitchener. The good folks at Loft were kind enough to ask me to do some guest writing on their recipe blog. I was honored to be asked and have now completed three recipe entries for them.

If any of the recipes look enticing, simply click on the image and it will redirect you to the Loft recipe page. If you like the looks of them, be sure to “like” them if you are a facebook user or leave a comment- who doesn’t like encouragement? :)

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Locals’ Only Black Bean Soup

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Spring Equinox Salad with Black Radish Viniagrette

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Pub Pie of Cider-Braised Beef

Be sure to let me know if you try any of these recipes, Id love to know how they turn out for you!

Blessings!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Congratulations to Twyla and Lindsey from Two Crazy Crafters, you are the winners of The Waltons Giveaway!  I’ll be contacting you at your blog this morning to make sure you know you are the winner.  Ladies, be sure to check out their website, it is super cute!

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Thanks for those who entered the contest, and be sure to stay tuned- I like giving away stuff, its fun!  So Ill be having more give-aways soon.  Blessings!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Last Chance for Walton’s Giveaway

Hey Friends, just a friendly reminder to anyone checking their blogs today that it is the last day for the Walton’s give away.  I’ll be choosing the winner tonight before bed (about 9pm) and I’ll be announcing the winner tomorrow morning.  Click on the image below to enter.  Good luck!

 

giveaway

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Armchair Confessional- Yogurt and Dog Edition

Wow, it’s been a long time since I did an Armchair Confessional!  For any of you new to the blog, I have been known from time to time to get brutally honest about my homemaking foibles, and when I do they make it to the blog under this Confessions category.  If you’re interested in seeing more of my blunders, you can check them out here.

I was feeding Birdie girl her breakfast of yogurt and fruit puree the other morning, and as I was attempting to refill her dish, I dropped the large container of yogurt and ended up splattering about 1/5 of the contents all over my table top.  After I suppressed a curse word or two, I remembered that theres no sense in crying (or cursing) over spilt yogurt.

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A confession within a confession: the older I get, the more I hate waste. The more organic and local and seasonal we eat, I hate waste more.  The more I try to recycle what I can, compost what I can, and reduce packaging, I hate waste even morer (yes, I said morER). 

So with this in mind, I looked at my spilled yogurt and a light went on: when I drop food bits on the floor I call Stuey Dog, our little Hoover with a pulse.  So why limit his clean-up capabilities to the ground level?  Stuart was about to move on up.

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So… as you can see yes I did allow my Maltese to lick up the yogurt off my table top.  We can’t get the poor dog to put on any weight, so hopefully the full-fat dairy product will do him some good.  And it made a bit less for me to clean up, and a bit less of a frustration in my brain over waste.  I was happy.

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And so was Birdie girl- she enjoyed the show.

 

Epilogue:

And what did I do the very next morning?  Put Bird’s yogurt dish in arm’s reach of her, turned my back to get something, and got myself this new mess to clean up:

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I’m not a quick learner, am I?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Winter Harvest

 

I have been studying on the best way to purchase local, organic produce for this coming growing season, and I have been very interested in joining a CSA (community support agriculture), which is a system by which you purchase a percentage of a farmer’s crop at the beginning of the growing season as a way of supporting the farmer and ensuring yourself access to great produce.  I am still considering this option, but Ive also found an interesting program that sells local produce and you can purchase the food week to week instead of paying for a crop ahead of time, which might be good for us to get started. 

The program is called Loft Organic Food Box, and if you live in KW area, I highly recommend it.  Not only is it a great service, but they folks that staff the program are very friendly and helpful.  We picked up our first box of goodies last night, and we got this lovely harvest:

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The breakdown of what we got in the box :

14 russet potatoes 1 head of garlic
3 heads (greenhouse ) lettuce 8 orange carrots
1lb dry black beans 3 yellow carrots
3 black radishes 4 parsnips
3 sweet potatoes 10 apples
6 onions

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I can’t explain it, I guess Im just corny or weird, but it gives me a real sense of satisfaction knowing where all this good stuff comes from- right in our own backyard (well, relatively speaking).  And to give you an idea of price, we got all of this for 40 dollars, which is not too bad at all if you ask me, for local, organic produce. I didnt even have to fight a line or a crowd in the grocery store, just picked up the box all ready to go!  Im a pretty happy camper!!

Now to get cracking on some menus to make the best use of all this lovely winter bounty.

Blessings!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Apple Pecan Oatmeal with Ruth and Boaz

 

One of our favourite breakfasts lately is a nice, big steaming bowl of oatmeal. “Our” being Birdie girl and me- we share a bowl probably every other day these late winter mornings. I like to add shredded apple, diced pecans, and a pinch of cinnamon to the oatmeal as it cooks (Im using up a bag of 5 minute oatmeal but will soon be switching to steal cut), and then I top it with some delicious pure maple syrup and a dash of 1/2 and 1/2 cream. Delicious, and baby girl digs it, too.

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Most of the time we have breakfast at the table with Bird in her highchair, but sometimes when mornings come early and we just want to stay snuggled up and comfy, we share our bowl of grau on the couch, cuddling side by side.

Picture 031 nice camera, mom… where’s the grub?

This morning was one such morning. Today’s reading in my read-thru-the-Bible-in-a-year plan was the book of Ruth. Four of some of the most beautiful chapters in scripture, and to my thinking the most romantic short-story in existence. After the rough ride of Judges, the book preceding Ruth in the Old Testament, the tale of the Moabitess, her Israelite mother in law and Boaz, her kinsman redeemer, is like a spring tonic after a hard winter.

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It is not only a beautiful story of redemption in its own right, but in light of the dire spiritual estate of Isreal outlined in the 21 painful, gritty chapters of Judges, it serves as a reminder that even in the darkest of times, some faithful men and women do continue to live quiet lives of devotion to the Lord and HIs people, and that He is a God to all nations and peoples, and will meet us in our circumstances, no matter how bleak and hard they may seem.

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I love reading God’s word out loud to Bird during my morning devotional time, eventhough she doesnt yet understand anything Im saying. She enjoys being read to no matter what the story is, and because scripture is God-breathed, I feel as though I am blessing her with a benediction simply by reading the words to her. My prayers is that as she grows and learns to understand words and their meaning, she won’t be able to remember a time when part of her daily learning did not come His word.

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If you find yourself in a season of not knowing what to read for your devotionals, can I suggest you read Ruth? And if you are looking for an excellent teaching series to accompany the text, may I suggest the Redeeming Ruth series by Pastor Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill church. I have listened to it probably three times now and I have blessed each time. Great expository teaching of one of my favourite books of the bible.

Hope you all had a beautiful, worshipful, steaming bowl of oatmeal-filled Sunday morning. Blessings!

and don’t forget about my Waltons Season 7 giveaway- click the picture below to enter :)

giveaway

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Waltons Giveaway!

Do you love The Waltons as much as I do?

Well, you probably don’t, because I really love them.  In fact, if I could be a fictional character, it would probably be Olivia Walton.  :)  But, assuming that you do like them anywhere near as much as I do, this is potentially your lucky day!

waltons

To celebrate my return to blogging at The Armchair Housewife, I am having a giveaway for my faithful “followers”. The complete Season Seven of The Waltons!  These dvds are brand new and have never been watched- it just so happens I have an extra copy of this season that was given to me as a gift.  And now it can be yours!

All you need do is be one of my followers and leave a comment on this post letting me know that you’d like to be entered in the contest.  No need to advertise the giveaway or any of that junk- just leave a comment and I will pick a random winner on Sunday, March 20th.  If anyone happens to become a new member between now and the 20th, they are welcome to enter the contest as well.

And, this has nothing to do with the give-away, but if you have a favourite Waltons moment, episode, or character, feel free to share that in your comment, too!

Really hoping this will bless one of my bloggy friends.  I am excited about my return to blogging and what better way to celebrate than to share the love with some Waltons?!

Blessings, friends!

At $55 a Tank, it Makes Sense to start buying local

 

I drive the ubiquitous silver Pontiac Sunfire.  As vehicles go, it is by no means a gas-guzzler.  And yet I spent $55 filling the tank yesterday afternoon.  This is pretty crazy, and I dont expect it to get anything but worse.  As gas prices rise, the cheap food we take for granted that travels the length of the globe to get to our supermarkets is simply not going to stay that inexpensive.  Have you ever looked into airline tickets to South America?  They’ aint cheap.  And while I know raspberries and green peppers arent flying business class to get to your green grocer, they still have to use up an awful lot of fuel to get to us, fuel that is becoming exorbitant in its cost.  Figuring out how to make the best use of your local sources of food is not only the “right” thing to do, its looking more and more like the smart thing to do, too.

OK, let me climb down off my soapbox here so I can share some local goodies I purchased recently!

First stop was City Cafe Bakery, with at least three locations in the KW area.  This is a great, unique little cafe that features all locally-made baked goods.  I dont believe that the ingredients are necessarily organic or local, but the company gets my seal of approval because they have a unique business model based on a limited menu of quality items at great prices and still manage to pay their staff a living wage, unlike so many other food chains (yes, I am talking about you, Tim Hortons).  Also, they make THE dankest bagels you’re going to find in Ontario (yes I did say dank.. I reserve it for times like this).

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Bear was coveting some this morning, so I ran out and got a half dozen (bear was already eating one before I could snap a photo)

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just look at the sesame seed, wood-fired goodness

Next stop was Golden Hearth Bakery in downtown Kitchener.  To get a full understanding of their local/organic ethos, check out their website, but basically they use as much locally grown and milled ingredients as possible, and then supplement the rest with organic bits and pieces.  Very cool.  And WOW is their food amazing.  Check out some of the goodies I got yesterday:

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That would be a chocolate croissant, two plain croissants, two ginger molasses cookies, two chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, and a beautiful big loaf of sourdough bread.  YUM.

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this was the best bread I have tasted in a long time.  So worth having to slice it yourself!

The other day I stopped in at one my favourite local grocers, The Old Kitchen Cupboard.  It’s a wonderful place where you feel like you’ve stepped back in time to a general store of days gone by.  And the staff is SO helpful… I had a question about one of the companies that supply their dairy, and the guy just got on the phone and called the company for me!  Customer service is not dead, friend! :) I procured two fabulously local and organic staples while there:

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Some lovely organic cheddar, made nearby in Millbank, Ontario.

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And some delicious summer sausage from southwestern Ontario- our little Bird loves this stuff!

Then, for lunch yesterday, I made this yummy equation:

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Yumm-o.

Pretty neat to know that almost everything on that sandwich is raised right in my own back yard.  Not something we normally even think about these days, but it brings you a deeper appreciation for the food when you know it.  Or, it does for me, anyway.  :)

Blessings!