Showing posts with label Recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Recipes. Show all posts

Monday, November 12, 2018

Biscuit Egg Pie Recipes

Egg and green bean biscuit pie on the grill.
Somewhere on one of my social media groups I saw a photo of someone's beautiful biscuit-egg casserole. It looked delicious. And easy. Well, the crust didn't necessarily look easy. I think I saw the photo on one of my homesteading groups; with the biscuit/crust made from scratch. It didn't take me but a minute to think of a shortcut; using Pillsbury refrigerator rolls for the crust.  However, it seems I'm behind the times, as usual. There are many versions of these "egg pie" recipes and I'm going to list a few here.

My Egg Pies


I have made these in a variety of flavors. And both at the apartment in the oven and at The Shack on the grill.  I especially like egg pies at The Shack.  I have a hard time making fried or scrambled eggs on the grill. Egg pies are a super easy way to make breakfast on the grill.

My two favorite recipes are: green bean/egg/sriracha and egg/refried bean/salsa. No matter which ingredients I choose, I melt Kerrygold Butter on the top. 

I have used pie pans, casserole pans, and my favorite small dutch ovens. I have found that the deeper dishes cause trouble with getting the eggs cooked completely. Now, I'm sticking with the shallow Pyrex pie plates.

A slice of my egg pie - salsa and refried bean version

I have used both Pillsbury Grands and Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.  I thought I'd prefer the crescent rolls, but I have come to prefer the Grands or the Flaky rolls. I pop the can open and use each roll after peeling it in half. The rolls are easy to press into the bottom of the pie pan - creating the crust. Sometimes I used any extra roll pieces on top. Sometimes I bake the extra rolls separately. 

Typically, I do not use recipes. In preparation for this post, I looked for recipes. It seems that people have been making "egg pies" with these biscuits for a long period of time. For real recipes, check out the links below.

Pillsbury Cheesy Southwest Egg Bake - combining the flavors of sausage, eggs, peppers, Mexican cheese, and biscuits. Yum!

Cheesy Southwest Egg Bake

Pillsbury Sausage and Egg Biscuits - small, individual sausage, egg, and biscuit pies. Such a great idea! Such a fast and easy, hot breakfast.

Sausage and Egg Biscuits

Pillsbury Sweet and Savory Mini Hand Pies - apples and sausage baked in biscuits. Individual breakfast pies that would be great on-the-go.

Apple and Sausage mini pies




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Food Pets Die For - Book Review

Read More Reviews
As one focused on saving animal lives on a daily basis, it is my responsibility to do as much as possible to help animals thrive.  Certainly, nutrition is a critical factor.  Many ailments and diseases, even deaths, can be linked directly to the food consumed by companion animals.  This is no surprise.  What did come as a surprise to me was how reading Food Pets Die For, by Ann Martin, would shake me to my core.  It is my hope that what I share here will make a difference in helping others avoid the heartache of losing a beloved pet, or of having a pet suffer needlessly.

Let's start with why I felt shaken and shocked as a result of reading this book.  Despite my serious efforts to feed animals a high quality food, I now realize how I have sometimes failed in the past.  Having learned quite a bit about commercial pet foods through my shelter work, I didn't expect to be horrified by the contents of Food Pets Die For.  What did I find horrifying?  Well, would it make you sick to know that the furry members of your family have eaten euthanized dogs and cats?  I'll never get over that ugly reality.  Are you up to hearing more about the "ingredients" in Fifi's so-called premium pet food?  I hope you haven't just eaten.

For starters, it is not unusual for pet food (and not just the cheapest brands) to be made up of:  fecal matter, decomposing garbage, road kill, poisons, known carcinogens (herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides), the ingested stomach contents of dead animals, drugs used to kill animals, diseased animals, chicken pen shavings, blood, toxins, feathers, additives not approved for dogs and cats, and unregulated levels of supplemental vitamins that can kill cats and dogs.

You may be wondering how this is possible.  Largely, this is the result of a self-regulated, multi-billion dollar industry.  The author has meticulously researched the commercial pet food industry for nearly 30 years.  Though it seems too shocking to be true, and though many pet food manufacturers have attempted to block the release of damaging information, the evidence is compelling.  What pet-lover could ignore these facts?  To do so is to be an accomplice to crimes against animals.

And speaking of crimes, I found it beyond disheartening to learn of the animal experimentation supported by well-known pet food companies.  I would never have purchased food from these companies had I known about the extreme pain, and premature deaths, inflicted upon the subjects of their so-called nutritional research.  I will continue to be haunted by the barbaric experiments documented by undercover employees.

At this point, you may be wondering if you have the stomach to read this book.  If we care about animals, we can't afford not to.  How can we justify supporting practices that hurt innocent creatures that depend on us for their safety and well-being?

There is much to be learned from Food Pets Die For that can move us to making a positive difference (whether you currently have companion animals or not).  In addition to enlightenment about the lesser known inner workings of the pet food industry, you will also be introduced to options for feeding your pets homemade meals and treats.  Key considerations, including the nutritional needs of dogs and cats, are presented.  Additionally, Martin provides sample recipes.

While reading this book, I found myself standing in the pet food aisle of my neighborhood big box store.  I have to admit that I could not bring myself to purchase a single can or bag of food from their pet food offerings.  I knew too much to be able to do that to the animals I treasure.  I am making the commitment to cook meals for my animal family.  It is impossible for me to fill the stomachs of my pups and kittens with lethal substances given what I now know.  I just hope I can forgive myself for not knowing sooner.  Ignorance is no excuse and with knowledge comes new responsibility.

What can you do starting today?  Please read and share this book widely.  You will likely save lives.  Also, please consider doing something for your local shelter animals.  Many of the animals arriving at shelters are already in a greatly depleted state (suffering from starvation or malnutrition).  Shelters are often dependent on donations of pet food.  One powerful thing you can do is to provide a gift of high quality pet food for the animals awaiting adoption.  If you are unsure about which pet food would be the best to buy, please check out the suggestions in this book.  There are few things more satisfying than filling the empty tank of a beautiful companion animal with what that creature needs, and deserves, most.








Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Easy Snack - Ham Rolls on Celery

Healthy and delicious ham rolls on celery.
I haven't been eating as healthily as I should and I can feel it. This weekend I made a concerted effort to cut back on sugars, carbs, and caffeine. As a result, I ended up making this delicious, healthy, and EASY snack - ham rolls on celery sticks. I have always liked ham and cream cheese rolls, but this new twist on a favorite recipe was extra delicious and satisfied those cravings. 


4 Ingredient - Ham Rolls on Celery


This spicy, creamy snack is super easy to assemble and my version consisted of only 4 ingredients: celery, ham, cream cheese and sriracha

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 4 slices of ham 
  • cream cheese
  • sriracha


Assembly:

  1. spread cream cheese on a ham slice.
  2. roll the ham, jelly roll style
  3. wash the celery sticks, trimming the ends then cutting each remaining stick into 1/2. 
  4. place a couple of drops of sriracha in the celery stick 
  5. place the ham and cream cheese roll in the celery stick - on top of the sriracha 

add sriracha to your taste

I am not a nutritionist so I cannot instruct you on what includes healthy eating for you. But I do know with certainty, that overdoing it on carbs, sugars, and caffeine causes me problems. This snack helped me avoid the snacks that I wanted to avoid this weekend. And ended the cravings I was having for the sweets. 


Recipe Inspiration


My inspiration came from those cream cheese and ham rolls many of us have enjoyed at parties and celebrations. 

The Kraft version of the recipe is here. The Kraft version uses chives for the flavor kick, cuts the rolls into smaller sections, and places the pinwheel sections on crackers.


Ham Pinwheels recipe by Kraft

There are other variations of pinwheels, including rolling a pickle in the ham wrap with the cream cheese. I like the pickle version too and may pick up some pickle spears to give it a try on the celery sticks. 


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

How to Make the Best Chocolate Icing

Review By Funkthishouse.com
Photos: Via Pixabay
My parents moved away from their home town in Manitoba, Canada when I was about five years old. We lived in many places throughout our country, but no matter where we lived, my dad would fly his mother out (our Memere) for visits. Oh wait a minute! She would take the train, she was terrified of flying!

I sure hope Memere knew how much I loved it when she would visit.

On one visit, while sitting in the kitchen doing homework, Memere had just finished making a cake. She was about to make the icing, when I decided I had to know how she made such delicious chocolate icing. So being an inquisitive 15 year old, I stood beside her while she explained her secrets.

"What this recipe is about, isn't the ingredients, it's in the mixing, texture and general understanding of what to add and not to add to get the best chocolate icing."

Lets start with the ingredients - They're fairly standard and well known:
Added Note: 

Below 'Sylvestermouse Cynthia' asked what Icing Sugar was. In Canada we (most everyone I know) call Powdered Sugar, 'Icing Sugar'. The only brand I use is Redpath Icing Sugar.

Turns out, Redpath Sugar is a Canadian Company as well. According to it's website it's been a part of Canadian kitchens since 1854.

Being Canadian I admit I should have known that, however in my defense Redpath Sugar and Fry's Cocoa have been a part of my family's kitchen since before I was born. That's a long time ago!

Redpath Sugar carries many sugar products, including Icing Sugar. You can find Redpath Icing Sugar at Amazon.ca (not .com), and of course, learn about their products via their website.

What makes chocolate icing awesome:

To no surprise, Memere never measured any ingredients, and to this day, neither do I. 

I learned to make chocolate icing just the way she taught me; by understanding how to get the right texture.

Here's the most important tip from my Memere:
When you need to thin out the icing, do it by adding more softened butter, not more milk
She explained this further: "Because adding too much milk will quickly make the icing mixture too runny, then to fix it you'll have to add more icing sugar to recover the texture from liquid mud to icing. So to avoid this, add more butter first, not more milk"

Putting the Ingredients Together:

Although I never measure, I'll try to put some measurements to the above ingredients
  • In a deeper mixing bowl, put in about two cups of icing sugar
  • Add about half a cup of Fry's Cocoa (add more for a richer chocolate taste)
  • Butter .. hmmm.. I can't give you a measurement - maybe start with 1/4 cup of softened butter, that's 'softened', not melted, not runny, not too soft either. Ensure it maintains it's thick butter texture.
  • Add a teaspoon of pure Vanilla Extract
  • Add a teaspoon of milk, or two teaspoons if the icing is too thick to mix
  • How to know when you've nailed it - For me, I like it when the Icing is spreadable but can hold swirl peaks on the cake, in other words, not too hard, not too soft, just right. 
With a hand-mixer, mix the ingredients together. It won't be the right texture for spreading yet.

This is where the Grandma touch comes in:

If your mixture is too thin and runny, add more Icing Sugar to correct the texture. Keep mixing it with the hand mixer. If you've had to add more icing sugar, you'll need more Cocoa so add a couple of tablespoons at a time. More icing sugar dilutes the chocolate, that's the reason for adding more cocoa.

However, it's more likely the texture will be too thick.

To thin out the texture, add another heaping tablespoon of butter, a couple of drops of milk, a half teaspoon at the most! Then stop completely with adding milk.

At this point, it should be getting to the right texture. If it happens to become too runny again, then add more icing sugar. Sorry I can't give you a measurement for that, just add a tablespoon at a time.

However if it's too THICK, then keep adding softened butter, one tablespoon at a time.

Thanks to Memere, I've never used store bought icing. I always make it from scratch.

If I had to choose the key ingredient (other than butter) it would be Fry's Cocoa. That's also the cocoa we use to make the chocolate cake recipe passed down from my grandmother on my mother's side.

My kids have grown up on our homemade chocolate cake and homemade icing thanks to our grandmas on both sides - and it's the only birthday cake they want. Store bought is a no-no.

Added Tip: You CANNOT put icing on a cake until the cake is COMPLETELY cooled. I'll usually put the cake in the fridge to fully cool it off if time is an issue.

Happy Baking!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

10 Spices That Are So Easy to Grow & Great in Recipes

Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner, there are so many spices that are so easy to grow!  Let's review some of these spices and maybe they might help trigger some creative cooking too!

spices, easy to grow, spice bible, tasty cooking, review, flavor bible

Gardening is about enjoying what you and the earth can produce.  Nothing tastes as good as fresh from the garden.  That's why many people decide to go out to the country on the weekends to stock up on fresh from the farm goodness.

Having a spice garden is relatively easy and when it really starts to grow, it can become bountiful.  What a tasty treat for all your home cooked meals.  Let's get on to the list of easy to grow and great to enjoy spices that are just a few steps away from the kitchen.


10 of the Most Used and useful spices:


1.  Parsley:  either curly or flat leafed.  Wonderful for dressing up salads, potatoes, stews, and more.

2.  Chives:  Great with stuffed baked potatoes, salads, soups and more.

3.  Peppers:  These can be hot (hotter than Hades) or sweet as in bell peppers.  Some can be used for a meal as a vegetable and others for spicing things up.  Be careful, some of the peppers that are being grown today are so hot, you need to handle them with rubber gloves.

4.  Basil:  There are several varieties of Basil, from large Green Leafed Basil, to Purple Basil and even small leafed basil.  One thing is certain, tomatoes with fresh basil is a little bit of heaven right here on earth.

5.  Dill:  Great for making home made pickles, but also added to salads it adds just a little bit of a different taste sensation.

6:  Cilantro:  This is one spice that you either love or dislike(dare I say "hate").  It depends totally on your own taste buds.  Some people when eating anything with cilantro will taste a "soapy" flavor.  They are sure not to like this spice.  But others find cilantro to be refreshing with a crisp clear taste!  Great in salads and stews, soups and even sandwiches.

7:  Mint:  There are all kinds of mints available and all of them are really easy to grow.  Some might even be considered invasive.  Mints can be used in cooking as well as making teas (hot or cold) to enjoy on a hot summer's day.

8:  Sage:  Pretty in green or purple sage has a very strong flavor that will pack a punch of flavor in your cooking.

9:  Oregano:  Easy to grow and will often overwinter.  A great spice for all Italian dishes from spaghettis to pizza.  Added to soups and stews it adds a lot of flavor with a tangy zesty taste.

10: Rosemary:  this spice is easy to grow and can be used not only for cooking but as a decorative plant.  It prunes really easy and can be used as small topiaries.  This spice is great for lamb and grilled or roasted vegetables.  Taken indoors for the winter months, it will continue to grow without any problems.

This is my list of 10 favorites, but there are so many more and each one will add a dimension to your cooking that you may not have realized yet.  Below you will find a "cookbook" to help you make the most of the spices you grow yourself and the ones that you need to purchase because they just need a climate that we don't have.  Either way, home grown spices will definitely make you think twice about the way you cook and the way you enjoy your meals with your family.


Guide to Using Spices


If you are looking for help in pairing spices to make your recipes pop and sizzle, then I would highly recommend this Cookbook!  I use the term "Cookbook" with a certain amount of caution, it is not so much a "cookbook" as a real guide to using spices in combinations that will make your food preparation and your family's taste buds sing.


With a rating of 4.5 stars from Amazon, and over 1,000 verified purchases (mine included), I know that you will enjoy this addition to your cookbook collection!  As with many books today, there is a "Kindle" edition.  Alas, the Kindle version does not get very good ratings at all. (This decline in ratings I'm sure dropped this from a 5 star to 4.5 star rating) With the Kindle book, there is not the same ability to skip to other pages easily and quickly.   Some books just need to be in a paper version!

This truly is a REFERENCE BOOK  that every kitchen should have.  You will use it more often than you ever thought possible.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Dukes Real Mayonnaise Reviewed

Not just for sandwiches!

sandwich with mayonnaise
Sandwich with mayonnaise courtesy of Pixabay.com
My new favorite mayo is Dukes Real Mayonnaise! From what I can gather those of you who either live in the southern part of the United States or perhaps grew up there are very familiar with this condiment. Those of us from the northern regions and perhaps the western regions of this country most likely haven't tried it. Well, I'm here to tell you; we didn't know what we were missing!

Honestly, I have never been a big fan of mayonnaise. About the only time that I used it was when it was called for in a recipe. Since I have discovered Dukes mayonnaise, that has changed. Now, I eat it on sandwiches and use it in those recipes. Shoot, I'm even adding it to recipes that don't really call for it but I think it makes a nice addition. 

This mayo is so creamy! It also has a different taste to it. Personally, the brand that I used previously didn't have much of a flavor to it at all but not so with Dukes. I don't know how to explain it other than there is a bit of a zippiness to the flavor. It is really very tasty! So, now I actually like mayonnaise on a sandwich.

One of my favorite things to have for lunch is an egg salad sandwich. Making my recipe using Dukes makes it even more enjoyable than it was before!

Bev's Egg Salad Recipe


8 hard boiled eggs that have been chopped after peeled
1/2 cup Dukes Mayonnaise
1 tsp yellow mustard
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the ingredients with the chopped eggs until mixed well. Spread on bread, bun or crackers.

For those of you who are health conscious enough that you don't use mayo; Dukes is healthier than most brands. There is no sugar added and the cholesterol is lower than most brands. 

If you haven't tried Dukes or perhaps you are not able to get it near you; it can be purchased at Amazon and shipped right to your door. It doesn't get much easier than that folks! I love this stuff so much that I am finding ways to use it that I would have not done in the past with the former brand. Last night, I fixed homemade baked macaroni and cheese and decided to add about a 1/2 cup to my recipe. Oh my goodness! I love my mac n' cheese anyway; adding Dukes just made it even better! 

How about you? Have you tried this brand of mayo? What do you think?




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

It's National Blueberry Month All Around the World

Today is National Blueberry Muffin Day!  Just as these plump little berries are coming onto the market, it is time to get some great recipes, so you can fully enjoy these delicious little treats!  



Let's Review some of the best recipes that are out there on the World Wide Web, for all of us who love to consume this delightful bit of heaven on earth!
Blueberries are one of the best fruits for you!  Full of lots of vitamins and minerals, it has also had a lot of reported health benefits as well!.Blueberries are pretty to look at and taste even greater than they look.  Naturally native to North America, blueberries have been attributed to longevity and strength.  They are low in calories and high in taste!  A great combination for sure. If you want to learn more about the health benefits of blueberries you can check out a link right here!

Let me just give you the highlights!  100 grams of blueberries contains about 57 calories. for those who are not in the metric system that equals about a half cup.  Blueberries are full of anti-oxidants and dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. These dark blue berries even  help lower blood sugar levels and control blood-glucose levels. They pack a big bang for your grocery dollar. Many people feel that blueberries add years to your life and life to your years.  Added to other berries like strawberries and raspberries, the colors alone will make your mouth water.

What's even better is that you can use blueberries in so many different ways.  You can eat them just as they are, like grapes, or add them to a dish of ice cream for a real treat!  Blueberries can even be used in savoury dishes too! They are great in gravies, soups and stews or to add some flavor to venison dishes.   Just make sure you wash them well, just like any other fruit.

Blueberries can be cooked into a jam or jelly, baked into a cake or tart, or frozen for later use.  If you have a farm near you, I would highly suggest that this fruit is one you should go out and pick.  The time for that is right now!  Berry season this year looks like a great one.  We've had the right amount of rain and sunshine so that these fruits should be available without any problems. The height of the season is June through August.

Now let's look at a few ways that you can make the most out of this incredible berry season. Eating blueberries just as they are is wonderful.  Add other berries to make a lovely colorful flan, fruit cups, and mixed berry jams and jellies is a great idea too!  But don't stop there.  Blueberries can also be used in smoothies and making wine!  My personal favorite is Blueberry Muffins.  I like the flavor, texture and look of these muffins!  Yummy for breakfast or as a dessert for the family.  You will find so many recipes that use blueberries in this cookbook! 

Blueberry muffins are so good and easy to make, I just know you will enjoy this recipe!  Sam Monaco, a friend and great cook shared this recipe on his blog "Sam's Place"  I've made them lots of times and I never get tired of the ease and the great taste of these delightful muffins.  Enjoy!  Sam's Blueberry Muffins

By the Way,  just for some added fun, the next time you play a game like Trivial Pursuit, you can awe your family with the knowledge that Canada is the largest exporter of blueberries in the world.  Bet you didn't know that!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, July 2, 2018

3 Refreshing Pea Recipes for Summer

It is very hot outside and I'm feeling particularly lazy. Yet I'm hungry. It's too hot to eat a full, heavy meal but I'm really hungry. After seeing my gardening friends posting their magazine quality photos of their pea harvests, I'm having a pea craving. I think the following three recipes are the three best pea recipes. 


7 Layer Salad


I love 7 layer salads. I tend to make them only occasionally in the summer and have not yet made one this year. There are a variety of 7 layer salad recipes to be found, but I always use the recipe that uses peas. I love the flavor that peas add to this salad.

While looking for that recipe, so I could give you the amounts of the ingredients, I found this version of a Layered Salad by The Pioneer Woman. I like her version even better! She adds spinach and tomatoes - in addition to the 7 ingredients I add: lettuce, eggs, peas, green onions, bacon, cheese, and mayo. 


Layered Salad by The Pioneer Woman

Her salad is like a beautiful BLT in a bowl, with the added oomph of the peas and other ingredients. What a fresh and beautiful layer salad. YUM! My mouth is watering. 

I need to stop at the farmer's stand and buy some fresh, ripe 'maters - instead of those cardboard flavored tomatoes at the grocery. 


Pea Soup



Pea Soup recipe by Eating Well
Pea soup!  How easy and flavorful can you get?  This Pea Soup recipe by Eating Well is right up my alley - only 12 ingredients; all of which I have in my kitchen right now with the exception of fresh thyme or parsley. The recipe claims that it only takes 35 minutes until ready to eat.

In this heat, I believe I would serve this chilled (as many pea soup recipes are) but I can also imagine this would be a great soup to prepare and serve either warm or chilled - depending on my mood that day.


Smashed Peas with Mint Butter


All my life, I've smashed my peas in my potatoes and made smashed peas. Mom served them separately but they ended up mashed together on my plate. Who knew that would become "a thing" ?!  Well, it is. 

Including the water, this Smashed Pea with Mint Butter recipe by Genius Kitchen has a whopping 7 ingredients! Again, everything I have in my kitchen already with the exception of fresh parsley. No, I don't intentionally boycott parsley, I apparently just don't really use it.

The idea of adding my own fresh mint (from the balcony) to my smashed peas excites me.


Smashed Peas with Mint Butter by Genius Kitchen


*  *  *  *  *  

Whether you prefer using fresh peas for a garden to table cooking or frozen peas (because frozen peas keep their flavor for a garden-fresh taste even when the gardens aren't producing) I hope you find one of these recipes to be useful. 

Summer is a wonderful time for trying new recipes and re-visiting family favorites because the seasonal vegetables are at their freshest and most flavorful. I always feel more adventurous in the kitchen when gardens are in full swing.

Related Link:

Do you think you hate eating peas? For me it was beets. I despised beets for decades. But I changed my mind recently. Here is my article about how I came to love (and crave) beets. Even if you think you don't want to eat peas, one of the above recipes may change your mind.

Looking for vegetable recipes other than peas?  I've included some recommended cookbooks below. And yes, I've included a kid-friendly cookbook (being released in October) because, frankly, kid-friendly recipes are more my style.


Photo Credit: Intro photo courtesy of Pixaby - CC0 creative commons


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Jan Arden's Feeding My Mother Book Review

Jan Arden's Feeding My Mother Book Review
I do it too often. That is, pick up a book without a true appreciate of what I am about to read. Jann Arden's Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss definitely fits that bill. I picked it up because it was written by a wonderful Canadian music artist and because my mother is experiencing some memory issues right now.

Feeding My Mother turned out to be a series of diary or journal-style entries written over a period of a few years while Arden tried to continue working in the music industry and care for her ailing parents. What I expected was information about memory loss; what I did not expect was the diary style of writing or the recipes. I did expect and receive heartbreak, which is definitely on the menu when a loved one disappears in this manner. It is not really a book to turn to for information about Alzheimer's disease but rather one to read to understand one family's struggles to deal with their situation.

It is a nicely put together book with pictures; caring and sharing; family, pets and lots of love; tears but also much laughter; and with a few simple recipes, some of which I may return to. This book was crafted from (apparently) popular Facebook and Instagram posts that Arden wrote during her journey. I believe that she handled her parental situation as best as she could, something we can all aspire to do if and when we become caregivers for our parents. As Arden says, it is not easy becoming a mother to your mother.

Jann Arden


Arden is an accomplished Canadian singer songwriter who has won eight Juno awards and been nominated for a total of eighteen. She has also written three books. This one plus If I Knew, Don't You Think I'd Tell You and Falling Backwards: A Memoir. Another couple of books for our reading lists.

You can hear Arden discuss Feeding My Mother on CBC Radio by clicking right here. They call the book a cookbook, which I disagree with though it does have a few recipes. If you picked this book up thinking it was a cookbook, you would be disappointed. It is more correctly categorized as a biographical book about Alzheimer's disease and patient care.

Do I Recommend Feeding My Mother? 


Yes, I do recommend Feeding My Mother. It is definitely of interest to someone who is dealing with a family member with memory loss or who sees that coming in the future, as I do. However, I am uncertain if it is a book that my mother should read. I know she would appreciate the humour and the love that is found within the covers but not sure that she needs to really think and worry about all of the situations found in this book. What do you think? Should I give my mother this book to read or not?  Have you read Feeding My Mother? Have you been a caregiver for someone with memory loss?

You can get your hands on a copy of Jann Arden's Feeding My Mother by ordering it from Amazon here.

See you
at the book store!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Order your copy of Feeding My Mother from Amazon.










Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Best Way to Get Ready, Party Time is Here

In a couple of days Summertime will Officially be here! 

Along with Summertime comes Party Time! It's high season for Graduations, End of School Years, and let's not forget about the Fourth of July!  For Canadians that would be the First of July!

party time, dollar tree, review this, setting a beautiful table



Everyone is looking forward to being with friends and family especially when the weather is warm and sunny!  Let's Review some of the best ways to get ready for all of those wonderful outdoor BBQ's and Holiday celebrations. Summertime is a wonderful time for us to enjoy our company, friends and the great outdoors at the same time.

Party planning can be fun, but it can also be costly.  Dollar Tree is a great place to get all those party needs at a reasonable cost. Red, White and Blue party supplies can be had for the best 4th of July party ever!  Canadians can skip the blue and stick with red and white!  Everything from glasses, plates and cutlery for your table and all of it color coordinated, can be had right here!


Setting a table for an outdoor party is easy when you can get everything you need in one place.  From the decorations to balloons, napkins and snacks.  You can even get mixes and drinks for the kids without any problem at all.  Dollar Tree is a one stop shop for all things party related.


When I have been invited to a backyard party, I like to come with something in hand to add to the table.  I will buy a nice bowl or two and then fill one of  them with my special salad and another with a dessert!  The host and hostess are always happy to see my contribution to the party and they always go over really well.

My favorite salad is easy to make, looks really good and is a healthy alternative!  This comes from a friend of mine who is a Naturopathic Doctor! Take a look and see if you don't agree that it looks delicious.
dollar tree, backyard party time, summer festivities, BBQ's, Review This


Dr. Amy Tung's Baby Arugula, Seaweed & Kale Salad with Roasted Almonds and Fresh Herbs 🌿 .

1 cup unsalted almonds
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cups kale
3 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup soaked and drained dried kelp
2 Tbsp each chopped fresh dill, parsley and cilantro 
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
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Dressing: 
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar 1 clove garlic, grated or pressed
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
.
Toss almonds with extra-virgin olive oil and salt. Spread on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 15 minutes, turn every 5 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool.
.
In large bowl combine kale, baby arugula and herbs. Cover with damp paper towels and reserve.
.
For dressing, combine lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic and salt. Whisk in olive oil.
.
Just before serving toss greens with dressing. Serves 6 - 8 people

decorations, party time, dollar tree, setting a beautiful party

The other bowl is for fruits that I love to bring along to a backyard get together.  Summer is the season to enjoy all of the abundance around us! There is no better way to enjoy fresh and good for you food than to prepare a large bowl of summer ripe and summer sweet fruits.

My favorites are strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, watermelon cubed or balled, melons (honeydew and cantaloupes) cut into strips or cubed, apples and cherries.  Add a special Citrus Honey dressing (by that is just superb!  Just one warning,  do not place this dressing on the fruits until you are ready to serve.  Some of the fruits may become soggy if mixed too early.

Citrus-Honey Dressing Ingredients:
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 teaspoon orange zest
• 1 teaspoon lime zest
• 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice
• ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice


May your summer be wonderful, may you have many friends and family to share it with you and may you make memories that will keep you smiling for many years to come!  



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

A Review of Creativity on Review This!

(c) Kimberly Austin Daly, Artist*
Creativity Lives in Everyone!

My daughter is an artist.  She studied art in college, graduating with a degree in Fine Arts. But her creativity in this field has been present since she was old enough to hold a crayon.  All her life she has been compelled to draw & paint.  I've always admired her artistic ability because I can't draw a straight line with a ruler! :-)

*Artwork is the property of Kimberly Daly, Artist/Illustrator.  Copyright: Do not copy.  Permission granted for display in this story.






My hubby was a fine musician, having studied the violin for 14 years, then played the guitar for many more years and even had his own 'trio' during the 'folk music' era of our college days.
Today my son plays guitar and several other instruments and has his own local band with a group of fellow musicians.  I can't play any instrument and have no musical ability.

My brother sings and plays guitar.  My mother and sister could sing up a storm. I can't carry a tune in a bucket!  

Coastal Crochet Crafts on Etsy

I used to say to my talented family that I had no 'talent' for anything, until they reminded me that my crochet and needlework crafting was MY creative ability.  






Creative Talent is in Everyone


You don't have to be able to sing or dance, play an instrument or draw to be talented.  Creativity in ANY area is a talent all its own.  It was a nice reminder that we all have some form of creative talent, whether its in the arts & crafts field, music or dance, or simply being a wonderful cook.  Being able to express ourselves in writing is also a creative endeavor.  


Highlighting a Few Reviews Written by Our Talented Contributors on Review This!


Our team of contributors who write for Review This! review many products and do music, book and movie reviews, in addition to a wide range of other topics.  They are also very creative, sharing a variety of crafts, tutorials of DIY projects, cooking and baking recipes, and photography and gardening tips.  The following are a few examples of this team's creative talents.


Crafts Reviews



(c) Dawn Rae
How to Make Easy Christmas Tree Ornaments by Dawn Rae.  Dawn gives us easy step-by-step instructions on how to create with your children these simple, yet lovely, ornaments for your holiday tree.







(c) Bev Owens

For crochet crafters, Bev Owens tells us about this easy pattern you can use to create your own handmade poncho in her review titled Reviewing A Crochet Poncho Pattern.






(c) Wednesday-Elf

Wednesday-Elf loves to crochet, particularly stuffed animals.  Handmade crafts are her favorite, as shown in this A Bird in the Hand-i-Craft article.  In addition to her own crochet crafting, she enjoys sharing the creative talents of many other fiber art creators on Etsy.










DIY Projects


(c) RenaisanceWoman2010)
Clever & creative Diana (RenaissanceWoman2010) gives us a tutorial for a DIY Mason Jar Bird Feeder using a regular canning jar, a pretty plate or bowl, and a few other simple supplies (glue, wire, and a chick feeder base). Then just add bird seed and watch the local feathered friends in your area flock to your new bird feeder. 







Photography Tips



(c) mbgphoto
Several of the Review This contributors are photographers, but Mary Beth Granger (mbgphoto) goes one step further with sharing her fabulous photography tips for all of us to learn to take even better photographs. She shares the tips she's learned from taking photography classes and doing LOTS of practice. I would imagine Mary Beth seldom goes anywhere without a camera. Her favorite subjects are lighthouses! Check out her Review of Photography Tips for some helpful advice for your own photographs. 





Recipe Reviews



(c) Sylvestermouse

Sylvestermouse is our creative baker here on Review This! She loves to put together fancy cakes and cupcakes.  A quick look at one of her favorite cookbooks for baking (the Cupcake Cakes Cookbook) will give you an idea of some of the fun and clever ideas she often incorporates into her baking.








Gardening Tips



Olivia Morris is one of our resident gardeners.  In her How to Grow Your Way to Happiness and a Great Garden, she shares some tips for your spring planting. 




Articles on Creativity


For more articles on these creative reviews, click on each subject below:






What do you consider your 'creative' talent?  







(c) Review of Creativity by Wednesday Elf


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.