Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Open faced sammies

Looking to save money AND cut down on your carb intake?

You don't want to cut carbs out altogether...
Carbs turn into the sugars that feed your brain!

Maybe you want to try an open faced sandwich?

I collected a few of my recent sammie recipes! 

Here is a warm and spicy idea:
Ground venison patties with sweet chili salsa on a slice of cornbread.

How about creamy tuna salad on home made bread with spinach and fresh tomato slices?

A sloppy joe is also a great option.
Ground beef in a tangy sauce with tomatoes served on 
home made fresh bread!

Left over chicken breast chopped up with chopped celery, chopped spinach
red pepper flakes and a teaspoon of mayo served on 
a piece of toasted caroway rye bread and melted swiss cheese on top!
PS.  Rye is also good for you if you are a diabetic.
Rye bread takes longer to break down and doesn't
turn into as much sugar as regular wheat bread.

All of these options are a great way to curb your carb intake
while still allowing yourself those carbs in a smaller amount.

What is your favorite open faced sammie?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ed Lawrence invades Verona...

At the beginning of April, I had the opportunity to
attend a speaking event
featuring Ed Lawrence.

I have to admit, I have never caught Ed's radio show on CBC.

I was worried it would be all talk about flowers.

Boy was I wrong!

This man was very humble and approachable.
A gardener with a liberal dose of puns.

As his front flap bio goes, Ed just retired from his position of the last 30 years.
He was the Chief Horticultural Specialist to the Canadian Political world.

I bought his book and he was kind enough to sign it for me.

It was 2pm on a Saturday.
All of the winter-worn gardeners gathered at the Trinity United Church in Verona.
Everyone just giddy to be talking about planting.


Ed gave a rousing talk about his favorite and, 
as he puts it, a very misunderstood and mishandled tool, 
the hand trimmer.

After his 20 mins, he took questions submitted before the talk
and took over and hour to patiently answer every
single one of them.
From reviving house plants and flowers outside in the garden,
to vegetables and trees, to getting rid of pests like deer and voles.
This guy seemed to know everything!

He had along a friend too.
(But he wasn't nearly as informative)

Ed gave words of wisdom on such a variety of topics.
I understand it played out much like his radio show.
People phoned in with a random question, generally around a topic of the day.

Today we just wanted to talk about anything but snow.

Afterwards there was a immense amount of delectable sweets and confections.
Tickets were $15 and well worth it. 

The whole event was put on as a fundraiser for the Grandmothers by the Lake.
If you want to know more about what this amazing organization here.
Basically, the grandmothers are raising their grandchildren in Africa.
A whole generation is being lost due to HIV and AIDS.
The women of those countries cannot own land, work or get health care benefits.
The grandmothers here and all over Canada, through the Stephen Lewis Foundation,
are constantly fundraising to help these courageous women. 

My seedlings are popping up at home...and the positive gardening vibes continue...

Monday, April 14, 2014

A few of my favorite things...SPRING EDITION

The Things I LOVE about Spring:

Rainy days


little green sprouts

freshly cut grass


Lilac scent in the breeze

garden centers re-open


Rubber boots

Return of the birds


splashing in puddles

Ches loves morel mushrooms, wild leeks and fields of dandelions.

Owen loves the opening of the campground across the street...
(It means his summer friends come back to visit him!)


The Things I do NOT love about Spring:

Poison Ivy

Owen doesn't like mosquitoes.

Ches is not a fan of rain.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Maple Syrup...second successful year

This winter has been doubt about it.

I tried to be optimistic for several months.

It just got harder and harder to find the wonder in the winter season.
Our backs were sore from shoveling what felt like tons of snow.
Our roof was starting to bend under the strain.

We didn't have the normal January thaw.
The deep freeze just kept on coming...
The weather networks kept coming up with new ways to say the same thing:
-Arctic Freeze
-Polar Vortex
In other words...extremely cold and so much snow that travel became non existent.

Then the time came to tap the neighbouring sugar maples.
It felt like we would never make it!
The light at the end of the wintry tunnel.
But the weeks wore on, and the temps were too cold.
The maple tapping would wait 2 weeks after we would normally be
getting a sap surplus.

The winds didn't cooperate either.
By the time we got the temperatures for collecting the running sap,
The winds made having a campfire almost prohibitive.
Ches was forced to construct a make shift cabin around the pit.
Halfway to a sugar shack!

He also employed a piece of metal scavenged from a friend.
The wind barrier keeps the heat from escaping too much.
The foil keeps out the ashes but still allows the steam to escape.

The temperatures this spring made sure we didn't collect as much sap as last year.
That just means we can't give any mason jars away...sadly.

We bring the pots inside when they are close to being done.
That's when you get a chance to strain the sap while pouring it into smaller pot.
We use an old fashions metal sieve with a wad of cheesecloth.

The cheesecloth is a wondrous thing!
You can rinse and re-use it over and over.
Talk about keeping your overall costs down.
We haven't bought a single thing (ok $3.00 for cheesecloth)
since last year's original investment of around $140 taxes included.

Essentially, this year's maple syrup is free!