Month: February 2016

Billions of Blistering Blue Barnacles, It’s a Frame Up!! Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock Art!

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As you have probably already seen from my thrifted Tintin sweater and my me-made Snowy sweater, I have a love affair with the Tintin comic books.

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When living in Europe, we visited Brussels several times and I always liked going to the Tintin shop just off the Grande Platz.

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One time when I was there I purchased this Tintin Adventures stamp sheet with the intention of framing it eventually.

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Then, I had the great fortune to purchase at the huge antiques and flea market in Tongeren, Belgium these 4 figurines of Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock and one of the Thompson Twins.  They sat on my shelf in my bedroom for years, and the stamp was carefully tucked away in a drawer, while I figured out what to do with them.  I wanted to display them together, but wasn’t sure how.

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Then I found this shadow box frame for $2.99 on a 30% off coupon day.  It also sat around for a very long time.  Finally I have gotten around to the display of my favourite comic book characters.

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Using this Craft Bond glue from Elmers, I glued the feet of my three favourite characters down to the bottom of the shadow box.

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Unfortunately the Thompson Twin was just too big to fit in and with out the other Thompson, it just didn’t seem right to have him all alone in the frame.

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I attached the stamp to the back of the frame and assembled it, and Ta da!  My Tintin artwork is complete.  And the Thompson twin can just supervise the activities of Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock from the sidelines.

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Now I just need to let the glue dry and I can hang it in my bedroom next to this picture that my youngest daughter, Madeline drew of us (me, my husband, our two daughters and our dog) as the main characters from the books.  I am Captain Haddock, my husband is Tintin, my dog is Snowy, and my girls are the Thompson Twins.

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What do you think of my completed art project?  I think it is pretty awesome!  And another addition to my Tintin collection.  Cheers, Michele

Plan Overs For Roast Potatoes!! Three Upcycled Recipes!

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In the first post of my “Plan Over” recipe posts, I am going to use roast potatoes as my starting point.  If you are planning to make other recipes with these potatoes, just double the recipe and hang on to the extras.  Or if you are less than 4 people, just save the left overs. So we love roast potatoes in our house and these are an often requested recipe.  I will give you my recipe for simple roast potatoes and then three more up-cycled recipes to use those “plan overs”.

Michele’s Roast Potatoes

2 pounds of potatoes

2 Tbsps olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

3 whole garlic cloves with skins on, crushed slightly

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line baking pan with parchment paper.  Cut potatoes into bite size pieces and place in bowl of salted water.  In a small microwave safe bowl, place oil, salt, pepper and garlic.  Place in microwave and cook for 1 minutes on medium high.  This softens the garlic and flavours the oil.  Drain potatoes well, put back in bowl and add flavoured oil.  Toss well and then pour onto baking pan.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until potatoes are browned and crispy.  Now on to the “Plan Over” recipes.

Photo courtesy of the Cooking Channel TV
Photo courtesy of the Cooking Channel TV

Patatas Bravas

This is a Spanish dish that is often severed with Tapas.  So delicious

2 pounds of roasted potatoes

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 small onion minced

3 cloves of garlic finely minced

1 can chopped tomatoes

2 tsp sweet paprika

1 large pinch of Chili powder or cayenne pepper

pinch of sugar

1/2 tsp pepper

parsley chopped to garish

In a medium sauce pan heat olive oil.  Sauté chopped onion on medium heat til soft.  Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more.  Add rest of the ingredients and cook for 10 – 15 minutes until bubbly and reduced slightly.  Reheat roast potatoes in microwave and serve with spicy tomato sauce poured over.  You can increase the cayenne pepper if you like this more spicy.

Photo courtesy of BBCgoodfood.com
Photo courtesy of BBCgoodfood.com

Roast Potatoes Tortilla

I seem to be on a Spanish kick, this is another great dish to use up those roast potatoes.

1 pound roasted potatoes chopped small

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

8 eggs beaten

1 tsp black pepper

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp sweet paprika

Pre heat oven to 325 degrees F.  In a bowl beat eggs with pepper, salt and paprika.  In a large oven-proof skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté til slightly caramelized.  Add garlic and  potatoes and cook for 5 minutes stirring well to coat potatoes in oil, garlic and onions.  Add eggs and mix to distribute potato mixture.  Place skillet in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes until centre is almost set but still soft.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  This is delicious hot or cold.  Serve with a nice salad on the side.

Photo courtesy of MyRecipes.com
Photo courtesy of MyRecipes.com

Roast Potato Chowder

1 Tbsp olive oil

5 slices of bacon sliced into half-inch pieces

1 onion

1 pound of roast potatoes chopped small

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

3 cups milk

1 can of corn undrained

1/2 cup cheddar cheese grated

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup sour cream or cream cheese

3 green onions with tops chopped fine

In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook bacon with olive oil until lightly browned.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl.  Add chopped onions and cook until translucent.  Add potatoes and coat with oil and onions.  Add stock, milk,corn and cheddar cheese.  Stir well.  Simmer on low for 20 minutes.  Add sour cream or cream cheese and stir til melted in.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  If you like a thicker soup, add 1/4 cup of cold milk whisked with 1 Tbsp cornstarch and whisk til thickened.  Add green onions at end and simmer 5 more minutes.  You can top this with more sour cream or cheddar cheese.

I hope you enjoy these “Plan Over” recipes.  Let me know if you have any food items that always seem to be left overs and I will try to come up with three options of what to use them for.  Cheers, Michele

Leftovers Have a Bad Name!! Upcycling Food Recipes!

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I am going to be creating new posts on this blog that use the leftovers which I am going to call “Plan Overs” as you are going to plan to make extras when you cook and then reuse them in new and interesting ways.  This is so that food is not wasted and less cooking prep is needed as you already have the necessary ingredients pre-cooked.  Saving time and money is the key!  I will try to have as many recipes that are gluten-free as possible as these recipes seem to be the most popular.

Are there any foods you always have as left overs that you would like me to feature recipes for on this blog?  I would be glad to offer options for ways to use these prepared foods in new and delicious ways.  Cheers, Michele

Spanish Roasted Onion Salad!! Easy Recipe!

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I made this recipe once for a tapas menu and it was a huge hit, yet oh so easy.  It is delicious with the contrast of the sweet roasted onions, tartness of the balsamic and saltiness of the capers.  I hope you enjoy.

Spanish Roasted Onion Salad

6 large onions peeled sliced thickly width wise (red or white onions)

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3 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh thyme

2 Tbsp capers drained

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a large baking pan oiled with 1 Tbsp olive oil, lay out the slices of onion.  Drizzle the rest of the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar over top.  Season with the salt, pepper and thyme.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until the onions are soft and caramelized.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with capers.  This can be served hot as a delicious side dish.  You can add more balsamic if the onions are very sweet and adjust the salt and pepper seasoning.  It is also delicious cold as a salad or added to a sandwich for a delicious kick.  I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do.  Cheers, Michele

These Are a Few of My Favourite Things!! Cookbooks!

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My family knows that I have gone through periods of having an unhealthy addiction to cookbooks.  Now this is a strange thing, because mostly I cook by instinct or imagination or what ever and just use cookbooks for inspiration.  I love all the ideas and the beautiful pictures but rarely follow a recipe exactly, often not even closely.  And the fact that I can thrift cookbooks makes them even more dangerous, they are cheaper, so hey, I can buy more.  But I have been trying valiantly to reduce the number of cookbooks I have and here are just a list of a few of the cookbooks or cookbook authors I refer to regularly.

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Nigella Lawson. Not only do I have a cookbook addiction, I used to be addicted to cooking shows, and Nigella’s was one of my favourites.  I love her cookbooks, she is unapologetic about enjoying the sensual nature and pleasure that food brings.

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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I love his River Cottage TV series and have watched them all.  I love his cookbooks and how he tries to teach people where our food comes from and how it should be ethically and locally sourced.

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Irma S. Rombauer. Her “The Joy of Cooking” is an absolute must for any beginner or advanced chef.  She talks about everything from how to trim meat to making the perfect meringue.

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The Canadian Living Cookbook. This book was given to me as a wedding present in 1988 by my mom’s best friend Liz Bayne and although it has lost it’s dust cover and part of it’s binding due to excessive use, it is still a valued and loved cookbook.

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The Best of Clean Eating.  This is a great cookbook for focusing on healthy clean eating, I love lots of recipes and ideas from this book.  I love the magazine too.

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Cooking Light Complete Cookbook.  This is another cookbook based off a magazine that I love.  The waffle recipe is the best I have ever eaten, I just make it gluten-free for me.  So good.

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Hot Sour Salty Sweet.  A fantastic culinary journey through Asia.  The pictures are amazing and I have made many a recipe inspired by this book.  My copy is a bit beat up from use and it was purchased second-hand.

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Julia Child.  I loved her cooking shows and I love her cookbooks.  I have read her biography and autobiography.  She had the most amazing life and the greatest laugh.

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Jamie Oliver.  I loved his shows as well.  I have several of his cookbooks on my shelf and refer to them often.

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Jeff Smith.  “The Frugal Gourmet” was a popular cooking show years ago and I rarely missed it on a Saturday afternoon.  I have used his “On Our Immigrant Ancestors” cookbook to try out lots of different ethnic cuisines.  An oldie but a goodie.

These are just a few of my favourite cookbooks or cookbook authors.  What cookbooks can you just not live with out?  I would love to hear as I am always on the look out for a new one to add to my collection of over 50 cookbooks (conservative estimate).  Cheers, Michele

Frozen Grand Marnier Orange Soufflés!! Aunt Jackie’s Recipe!

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Here is another delicious recipe from my Aunt Jackie.  She knows I don’t eat gluten often so she has made this for me on more than one occasion.  I love orange flavoured desserts, and this is truly delicious. I hope you enjoy another fabulous recipe from my guest contributor, my fabulous chef Aunt Jackie.

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Frozen Grand Marnier Orange Souffles

Servings: 4

3 egg yolks
1/3 cup (75 mL) granulated sugar
3 tbsp (45 mL) orange liqueur
1/3 cup (75 mL) pasteurized egg whites
3/4 cup (175 mL) whipping cream
1 jar (375 mL) Seville orange marmalade, melted and strained.

Line bottom of four 1-cup (250 mL) ramekins with parchment paper rounds. Cut four 13 x 5-inch (33 x 12 cm) strips of parchment paper; fold in half lengthwise and line inside of ramekins. Set aside.
In large heatproof bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the sugar and orange liqueur. Place over saucepan of simmering water; whisk until pale yellow and batter falls in ribbons when whisk is lifted, about 4 minutes. Let cool.
In bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; beat in remaining sugar, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, until stiff peaks form.

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In another bowl, whip cream. Fold one-third into egg yolk mixture; fold in remaining cream. Fold in one-third of the egg whites; fold in remaining egg whites. Fold in 1/2 cup marmalade. Spoon about 3/4 cup (175 mL) into each ramekin; smooth tops. Cover and freeze until firm, about 8 hours. (Make-ahead: Freeze for up to 2 days.)
Run knife around each ramekin to loosen paper; pull souffles from dish. Remove paper base. Set souffle in chilled plate; remove paper collar. Drizzle with marmalade.

I hope that you enjoy this luscious orange dessert.  Cheers, Michele

Value Village 50% Off Winter Sale!! The Luck of the Irish a Bit Early!

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Value Village was having a three day winter clothing sale and unfortunately all I found were these two items which aren’t very wintery but I love the soft green colours.  It is a little early for St. Patrick’s day, but these items will hopefully be worn when that day comes.  And the best thing is I don’t have to do a thing to them, no sewing or refashioning for this haul.

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This coat is by a Canadian designer named Robert Kitchen and it was only $7.49 with my discount.  I love the simple lines and it will be a great coat to throw over a dress in the spring.  His clothing is sold at Nordstrom’s so I am sure it was not an inexpensive coat to begin with.

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This cardigan by Joe Fresh still had the original tags on it and had never been worn.  It was originally $19.00  in store and I got it for $3.49 with my discount.

I can’t seem to avoid spring and summer colours when I am thrifting, but these beautiful green items will get lots of wear.  I can wear the cardigan now and save the coat for spring.  Hope you like my 50% off finds.  Cheers, Michele