Monday, July 30, 2012

Menu Plan for August 1 to August 7

I leave the choice of sides until the day of the meal, because you  just never know what needs to be eaten up in the refrigerator. I prefer to have something 'light on the side' with the 'heavy on the meat', meals and rely on cooked vegetables to give weight to the poultry and fish mains. Lately, I have been enjoying the simplicity of no more than two or three things on my plate, rather than complicating my meals with too many flavours.  Simple suits me best! 

In the summer, I like to keep a marinated salad or two in the refrigerator for quick meal prep. Nothing beats a good coleslaw, bean salad or refrigerator cucumber pickle!  When I am inspired to spend time in the kitchen, I like to pre-wash the lettuce I will need for the next couple of meals, especially if I have another pair of hands to help!  I tried to buy pre-made salads, but they just didn't cut it! What is that odd taste they have? And don't get me started on that stuff they pass off as coleslaw!

Wednesday August 1


(Freeze portions for two for future use)

(with fruit accents)


Thursday August 2


& Rice

(Stir Fry with Mushrooms, Peppers, Carrots & Onions)

Friday August 3

Barbecued Burgers


 Tomato Salad


Saturday August 4

Chicken Breasts

& Julia's Rice Salad

Sunday August 5

Fish & Potatoes
Hot Vegetable

Monday August 6

Hearty Meatloaf
Mashed Potatoes

Creamed Corn

Tuesday August 7

(freeze one for future use)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

New day dawning, but I won't see it because we now have blackout curtains!

We finally found some curtains for our bedroom  that will block the light. Hmmmm....after sixteen years, it is about time! The neighbours have a habit of turning their lights on in the middle of the night, and the light bounces from the window to the mirrored closet doors, to the mirror over the dresser, back to the closet doors...the result is a light show that would rouse the dead.

So tonight is the night we enjoy blissful darkness until our body tells us it is time to wake up not quite so early in the morning!  I am very pleased with the colour, as they were a complete impulse buy. They just reached out and said "HEY!!! I will match your toss cushions!" as I walked by. And they they did. A lovely pea green that matches the stripe in the cushions PERFECTLY!  I was debating whether to buy them or not and the man gave me a gentle nudge, and for once I listened. So, I guess the moral of my story is, polyester curtains may be a lot of things, but when they talk to you? Listen for they do not lie!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

If I could save time in a bottle...

maybe I wouldn't spill so much of it!  Where has the month gone?

While we were away, we were privileged to be guests at a lovely family outdoor dinner. The appetizer was absolutely wonderful, as was the whole meal, but the appetizer really was a star. In fact, it made a really good supper for me as soon as we came home yesterday!

Toast baguette slices as you would for bruschetta - drizzle with EVOO.  Dice avocado, drizzle and sprinkle  with lime juice, chili flakes and coarse salt. Place on toasted slices, and serve with more chili flakes, salt and oil to dress as desired. FABULOUS, easy, and oh so tasty on a hot summer's night.  Thanks to Sandee for being a gracious hostess and one of the best cooks I know.  Ah, the panacotta, the panacotta!  Soooo good!

While away, I found a new travelling dress. (on sale!) To test it,  I scrunched it up in my suitcase to fill in small space at the edge for the trip home.  Not carefully folded by any stretch of the imagination. When we arrived home, I pulled it out, and wore it immediately to go out for the evening to a lounge to listen to our friend's jazz band! Comfy, bright and cool. Dressed up or dressed down with flip flops, this will be a great item for travelling, summer or winter - easily be worn with a black jacket for warmth.  I also found an Indian cotton blouse, but the jury is out on that one... so far, I haven't found something to go with it other than my jeans and my white Capri's. Although initially, I had thought it would be a match to a turquoise skirt I have malingering in the closet, but it wasn't a good pairing at all.  Seems to be my way of doing things. Buy separates that will be just that for their lifetime...separate from every other article of clothing I own!  Ah well. Moving on...

Tomorrow will be a quiet day. My plan is to make plans for the following month. Menu plans. Cleaning plans.  Holiday plans. Travel plans.   The kids will be down for a visit mid month, and I am really looking forward to more time with them -  a fun thing at the top of the list is a shopping to refill the goody basket in the closet for our dear baby girl's visit!  She is absolutely precious about the stash she finds when she visits. She has been taught not to 'ask', but the first thing we do after our big hugs is explore Gramma's closet! She takes one gift a day, and is quite content to wait to open the others. She must have her mother's self control, because I know for a fact, I still could not be that patient if I saw those presents waiting for me!  It takes so little to make her happy...a story book, a sticker book, balloons, bubbles - that sort of thing. And of course, the little girly clothes are not to be resisted. She is growing up so fast...either that, or  I am growing old too fast. Either way, time is precious, and I do wish I could save it in a bottle!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How wonderful the house feels!

And all it took was me, and two pairs of extra hands for two hours!  I actually went grocery shopping while they were here and bought fresh flowers for the house. What luxury!  My lists were well received by the ladies, and we are on the same page, literally!  We seem to be hitting it off just fine.

By the way, the flowers at Safeway were so nice this morning that I bought three bunches.  I asked the clerk which ones were the most likely to last the longest, and took her advice. She also told me to change the water every two days, using a quarter of one of those little floral fresh packets.  Done deal. I want to keep them happy for as long as I can. The flowers, plus one of my "saved for good" candles that I just lit, are  making the house look and smell fabulous!  In fact? I think it makes  the house so pretty that it doesn't seem right to mess it up doing mundane things like eating lunch. I think I will just bask in the glow of a house that is actually dusted from one end to the other!

As for the rest of the afternoon? I just may go do a little shopping at the dollar store!

Today I proved once and for all time...

that I am definitely not a baker.

I attempted to make a Matrimonial cake (date squares) but found to my dismay that I didn't have gluten free flour. So, since it was scorching outside, I substituted pancake mix. Not a good idea. Then, to add insult to injury, I overcooked it. (I am still not used to my oven being fixed and sporting two active coils! Plus, the demon TV lured me away from the kitchen until an ominous smell called me back) Anyway, one taste told me it was a no go, so the whole thing went in the trash. I will purchase a dessert at Safeway in the morning for the kids. A much better solution, even though I will not be able to eat a crumb of it.  However, in my defence, I did make a fine bowl of Jell-O. I will stick to what I know in the future, and to tell you the truth? These days, that seems to be a decreasing commodity. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

So much to do, so little time....

This summer seems to be going by in a flash. My sorry little petunias have come into their own, and actually look quite nice in their pots. Will miracles never cease? Having black thumbs is quite the challenge, but there is a couple of plants that grow to spite my toxic attention!  The herbs are flourishing as well, and I have been afforded the luxury of using mint and basil in huge handfuls. I am going to try to keep these over the winter, since they are such a valuable addition to our meals.

So, today I have great plans to bake.  A batch of matrimonial squares (date squares in some circles) tops the list, because they will keep well through the weekend.  I will go grocery shopping tomorrow to pick up the odds and ends that I need to prepare our meals throughout the week. I am counting on the weather being good, and making most of our meat on the barbeque.  I want to spend as much time with the family as I can. Time goes so quickly and I am sure our little one has grown leaps and bounds since we saw them last.

It is nice to stay home in the air conditioning and attend to a lot of jobs I have been putting off for far too long.  I tackled the china cupboard in the kitchen last week, as well as cleaning out the pantry. Every register cover in the house has been cleaned, and every vent well vacuumed. Bit by bit, I am getting back on track after being "out of the saddle" for far too long!

There are a few purchases I have made in my life that I will never regret, and Tupperware ModularMates happens to be one of them. All I have to do is pull everything out and put them back like Lego blocks!  I can always find things easily without frustration. Yep. It they are good things!  Of course, using my label maker is just icing on the cake. 

Simplify, simplify, simplify - but always keeping in mind the words of Albert Einstein, “as simple as possible, but no simpler.”  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Menu Plan July 11 - July 17

Wednesday 11

Housekeeping Day 
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Veggie Tray and Dip

Bake Squares for coming week


Thursday 12

Chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting

Baked Rotini & Sauce

Tossed Salad

Friday 13

Baked Chicken with

Julia's Rice Salad

Green Cole Slaw

(Make Deviled Eggs for Pete)

Saturday 14

Salmon Steaks

& Quinoa Tabbouleh

Yoghurt cucumber dill sauce

Sunday 15

Home Made Pizza


Tossed Salad


Monday 16


Leftover Salads

Tuesday 17


Monday, July 2, 2012

While I am on a roll -

I thought it would be a good idea to keep track of household chores, so when the ladies come in, I will know what has, and has not been done from visit to vist. It will take me working every day for two weeks in between visits just to do the things that need my personal touch, and let them get on with the things I can not do! Many hands make light work, but it also could get confusing if I don't keep track of whose hands did what! And by publishing them here? I won't lose them in the next crash...and you KNOW there will always be a computer crash waiting to happen!
So here we go:


Self Clean oven, then wipe clean interior and racks
Clean behind stove, wall and floor
Stove exterior, stove top, knobs
Behind Refrigerator, underneath coils (vacuum)
Refrigerator wipe out inside, clean shelves, baskets and bins
Freezer, clean shelves, walls and basket
clean micro, inside, outside, shelf
Small appliances, cannisters, utensil rack and holder
Clean tops of cabinets and replace waxed paper
Clean cupboard faces
Clean Pantry
Clean cupboard interiors
Cupboard drawers, clean and straighten
Under sink trash, big can
Dishwasher front
patio door track
vent hood, filter
light fixtures
Dust and straighten wire shelving
Clean china cupboard and contents
Wash baseboards
Wash floors, change scatter mat

Living/Dining Room/Front Entrance

Clean front & garage door thresholds
Clean front & garage doors inside and out
Clean mailbox, lighting fixtures
Straighten front hall closet, clean floor of closet
Clean mirrored doors

Remove and wash living room curtains
dust blinds, window sills
Wipe clean leather furniture
Dust lamps, shades
Polish coffee table and stereo table
Clean glass in Buffet shelves, straighten china cupboard drawers and lower shelves
Polish chairs and buffet
Vacuum - moving furniture out

Bathrooms (3)

Wash area rugs Wash shower liners
Wash shower curtains
Clean trash cans, toilet brushes, plunger
straighten drawers and cabinets
Towels/ storage
clean medicine boxes in hall closet
throw away all expired and unused items
clean shower, tub, toilet, sink
scrub, finish floor

Master Bedroom/Guest Room/My Office . 

Wash curtains, mattress pads and dust ruffles.
Clean register covers
Clean minis, window sill
Replace curtains register vents.
Tidy drawers
Polish furniture
Dust all surfaces of furniture with Pledge
Clean all items on furniture: lamps, alarm clock, mirror, jewellery boxes.
Lighting fixtures
Dust baseboards
Remake beds, turning mattress
Vacuum rooms thoroughly 

Family Room /Laundry /Storage Room/ Rick’s Office

Clean Venetian blinds, window ledges (office and family room)
Vacuum furniture
Wipe down leather chairs and desk
Vacuum all floors

         Laundry and Storage

Empty Central vac bag, change furnace filter
Wipe down appliances, folding table
Neaten pantry items
Neaten cleaning items, clean open shelves
Vacuum floors
Wash tiles

I am getting there...

The planning is done...all I have to do now, is actually get up and do it!

Menu for this coming week:

Wednesday 4

Oven Roasted Chicken Breast
Greek Salad

Thursday 5

Spaghetti & Corn Pasta

Friday 6

Haddock & Potatoes

Higgelty Piggelty  Cream Sauce


Saturday 7


& Caesar Salad

Sunday 8


Monday 9


Fruit and cottage Cheese


*make squares for kid’s visit

Oatmeal peanut butter bars, Date Squares

Tuesday 10

Frig Gleanings

Salads to prepare for kid’s visit:

Sauerkraut, Julia’s Rice Salad, Bean Salad, Cole Slaw


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Being the technological genius that I am not...

I actually found two comments that I had not published! Thank you, thank you for spending time time to give me feedback...very good tips by the way. Chicken Chalet sauce in a packet? WHO KNEW????? And the velcro dot tip, well. Sheer genius.

So, now. What I have been doing with myself. General feeling of malais is finally coming to an end, and I have regained the will to live. I hate it when they mess with my meds...I was so useless for the last couple of months, that I actually didn't attempt to clean the closet once!  Now though, I am back on track with the old pills, and the two months of my life were wasted for what? Ah well. I found out the other pills just didn't work either! 

Today is the beginning of a brand new month. There have been a few happy changes. We have engaged a housekeeping company, that provide two maids for two hours twice a month. I find there are  a few things that I can not do, and Rick is too tired to do, so it is best to get the two to do!  Light fixtures, blinds, that sort of thing. Last Wednesday was the first visit, and these little women were all over the neglected bits of the kitchen. I thought I had been doing well keeping up, but they found every one of my dirty little secrets!  Things lurking on the kickplate, and cooking goo up on the trim on top of the cupboards...all the sheets of waxed paper have been replaced on the top of the cupboards, and the trim scrubbed.  A major accomplishment for me, since for some reason, climbing on counter tops to scrub has never been one of my long suits.  Behind the stove, the wall sparkles. I think this is going to work out very well!  This coming visit, we will focus on the living and dining room...that will include the front door threshold as well, something that has been bugging me of late! 

All in good time...within a few visits, things should be back to normal. I am working in tandem throughout the weeks between visits, and have things like curtains and rugs to prepare for the cleaning day's finale.

This getting old really bites!  It would be so much easier to do things myself, but where the heart is willing the body is weak.

I have made menu plans for the next three weeks. There are some gaps, but the most important week is done. The kids are coming down mid July, and I want to have the majority of preparation done so there will be lots of play time with the little one. Make ahead salads, and things roasted in the oven will take care of the majority of meals. Easy prep, and easy clean up is the order of the day.  I am quite pleased with this particular week, because it includes treats!

Want a peek?

Wednesday 11
(Housekeeper’s Visit)
Dinner for one: Veggie Tray and Dip
(The sad secret is, that I will just be lazy and munch the same thing for all meals through the day, maybe adding a cheese sandwich if I get the urge for something more solid!)

 (things made the week before: date squares, peanut butter chocolate chews)

Thursday 12

Peter, Glenda & Giselle Arrive

Chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting

Red Wine Oven Roasted Beef & Vegetables

(*makes enough meat for lunch on Friday)


Friday 13

Baked Chicken with
Julia's rice salad
Cole Slaw
(Make Deviled Eggs for Pete)
*roast beef for lunch on Saturday
Saturday 14

Salmon Steaks
& Tabouleh
Yogurt cucumber sauce

*chicken for Lunch on Sunday

Sunday 15

Home Made Pizza


Tossed Salad
Monday 16
All on our own, again.....sniff....
Leftover Salads

Tuesday 17


The menu for the days between now and then is still up in the air. I imagine it will be much the same as every other week.  Simple, simple, simple.