My Husband’s Shrimp and Pork Stirfry!!

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My husband makes this dish quite often and it is a family favourite.  Serve with steamed rice.  You can mix the Stirfry and rice and place it in a fresh lettuce leaf to eat it…delicious.

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Shrimp and Pork Stirfry

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 pound ground pork

1 onion chopped fine

4 cloves garlic chopped fine

thumb sized piece of fresh ginger peeled and minced fine

1 red pepper chopped

1 hot red pepper minced fine

3 cups snow peas cleaned and cut in half

1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled and cut in half

2 tbsp sherry or Chinese cooking wine

2 tbsp oyster sauce

2 tbsp soya sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp black pepper

salt to taste

2 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup fresh bean sprouts

In a deep sauté pan or wok, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the pork, onions, and ginger and cook til no more pink is showing in the meat.  Turn the heat under the pan down to medium and add the garlic, hot red pepper, sherry, oyster sauce, soya sauce and sesame oil.  Cook and stir to coat the meat with the sauce for 3-5 minutes.  Add the sweet red pepper, snow peas and shrimp and cook for 5 more minutes.  Top with the fresh cilantro and bean sprouts and cook 1 minute more. Serve in lettuce leaves with steamed rice.  You can add a little extra oyster sauce in the lettuce leaf package if you like.  Enjoy.  Cheers, Michele

A Swimsuit Cover-up From A Shower Curtain!! A Quick Refashion!

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I loved the colours of this shower curtain as soon as I saw it and I think it was only $3.99 with a 30% off on top.  I hemmed and hawed about what I would make out of this and then remembered that I always disliked my swimsuit coverup because it is made out of t-shirt material and sticks to me when my swimsuit is still damp.  So I thought I could use this shower curtain in a new way.

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Here is the original shower curtain.

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Here is the dress that I used as my pattern,

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Here is the final dress.  It was an incredibly easy sew.  I used the original curtain hem as the hem of my dress, so no hemming involved. I cut out the curtain around my original dress.  Then zigzagged all the raw edges as it is a highly fraying fabric.  Then it was just a matter of stitching up the shoulder and side seams before hemming the arm holes and neck hole.  I quite like that I was able to match the pattern in the front and show off the beautiful pattern and colours.  I think I may also be able to wear this dress with a white slip underneath as a regular dress, I will have to see if it works.  Hope you like my quick refashion.  Cheers, Michele

More Curtain Panels For The Refashioning Pile!!

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So my wrap skirt from the shower curtain refashion went over a treat and it has gotten me back in the refashioning state of mind.  I went out the other day and got some more curtain panels for some future refashioning projects.

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These black and white flowered curtain panels were each priced separately and differently; one was $3.99 the other was $7.99 but the lovely clerk at Value Village gave them to me both for $3.99 each.  There is lots of fabric here and I am thinking of making a swing dress with the panels.  Pockets of course!!

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This panel is a shower curtain in a lovely blue, green and cream pattern which I can envision as a lovely top or, I know, another dress.  How many dresses does a girl need?  But I do donate and rotate my closet regularly so I am not overloading it.

Keep tuned for future refashions with these beautiful curtain panels as they become new clothes for me!  Cheers, Michele

Pork And Chorizo Stew!! Spicy And Delicious!

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The cooler days are inspiring me to cook more hearty comfort foods which still keep within our healthy eating guidelines.  This Pork and Chorizo stew is a perfect example of a hearty and delicious dish which warms your stomach and your soul.  I was inspired by a recipe from the BBC Good Food website and of course tweaked it to my taste.

Image courtesy of BBC Good Food.
Image courtesy of BBC Good Food.

Pork And Chorizo Stew

2 Tbsps olive oil

1 pound of pork tender loin or pork chops cut into 1 inch cubes

2 chorizo sausages

1 onion chopped

1 large carrot chopped

4 stalks of celery chopped

1 red pepper chopped

1 yellow pepper chopped

1 orange pepper chopped

1 tsp crushed dried oregano

1 large pinch hot chilli flakes

2 tsps smoked paprika

2 tsp chilli powder (I used Ancho Chilli pepper powder)

4 bay leaves

1 small can of tomato puree

1 large can of chopped tomatoes

3 Tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar

1/2 cup red wine

2 cups of chicken or beef broth

1 large can of chickpeas or white beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups of baby potatoes, halved

1 large sweet potato peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat.  Cook the pork until browned all over and remove to a bowl.  Add sausages and cook until well browned, remove to cutting board and slice into thin slices.  Place onion, carrot, peppers, herbs and spices in pot and saute until onion is translucent.  Return the pork and chorizo to the pot and add tomato purée, chopped tomatoes, vinegar, wine and broth.  Cook til bubbling.  If too thick, add some water or more chicken stock.  Cover and allow to cook for 45 minutes over low heat, or in a 350 degree F oven. Add peppers, beans and potatoes and return to oven.  Cook for 45 minutes more and check periodically and add liquid if the stew is too thick.  Taste the stew and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

I hope you try out this recipe inspired by the BBC Good Food website.  Cheers, Michele

Sweater Weather Thrift Finds!! Sweater Thrift Haul!

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So on a recent thrift trip I veered away from primarily looking at summer dresses towards looking at sweaters for fall.

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This white with black stripped sweater is thin enough to be a great transition piece from summer to fall.  It was only $4.49.

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This lovely grey sweater is part lambs wool and cashmere and is as soft as butter.  It was only $4.49 too.  Great deal and a great neutral piece.

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This red v-neck is also very soft and thin knit for transitioning into the cooler weather.  It was only $3.99.  Why so inexpensive, I don’t know, but who am I to complain.

Do you use sweaters as a transition pieces into fall and winter.  Cheers, Michele

Favourite Forensic Pathology And Anthropology Books!!

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My dream job would be to work full-time in forensic pathology, but as I am a casual with three jobs in pathology including forensics, I just have to dream this will come true.  So I read and study and day-dream about it.  I know this is not a job that most people would want to do, but it is for me the best job ever.  Here are just a few of my favourite forensic and forensic anthropology books, both non-fiction and fiction.

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Any of the Jefferson Bass Body Farm books (fiction).

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Forensic Anthropology books.

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Forensic Pathology books.
I read a lot of different kinds of books, but forensics is my favourite whether it is non-fiction or fiction.  They feed my dream to one day work full-time in forensics, participate in a mass grave exhumation or work in forensic anthropology.  Cheers, Michele

Homemade Ginger Tea!! Sore Throat And Cold Banisher!

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I must have inherited my love of all things ginger from my mom and maternal grandmother and I remember my grandmother giving us this tea when I was little with an upset stomach, but I find this tea works great as a cold remedy.  I have included an option for adding lemon to the recipe as well. It is a simple recipe that you can make up very quickly and keep around for when you need it.  Just keep the finished syrup in a glass jar with a lid in your fridge or even on your counter.

Image courtesy of A Beautiful Mess
Image courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

Homemade Ginger Tea Syrup

1 1/2 – 2 pounds fresh ginger cut into 1 inch pieces (no need to peel)

3 cups water

3 cups sugar or other sweetener like honey

juice of one lemon (optional)

3 inch strip of lemon peel (optional)

Place all ingredients in your blender, I have a Vitamix which is an awesome gift from my lovely husband, Will.  It does a great job of whizzing up the ingredients into a paste.  Blend well until ginger is finely chopped.  Place the mixture in a heavy pot over medium heat and cook for 10 minutes until the ginger changes colour and goes a bit translucent.  If the mixture is too thin, cook longer, if too thick, add a bit more water.  Remove from heat and strain well.  You can leave it untrained and eat the ginger pulp for the added heat and fibre if you want.  Place in a large glass jar and keep til needed.  In a large mug place about 3-4 Tbsps of the syrup depending how spicy you want your tea and then top with hot water.  It is also nice cold over ice.  Great for soothing a sore throat, an upset stomach or anytime you need to feel warmed to the core.  It is delicious and good for you too.  I like a cup after supper as it aids in digestion and warms me up and relaxes me before bed.  Cheers, Michele