Monday, November 17, 2014

Music Monday

I have this gem on repeat for some reason.

Dear Darlin' by Olly Murs


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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Cabbage Rolls

Do you have those recipes that you don't make that often but once in awhile they pop into your head? This is one of mine.  Hubby & I love cabbage rolls but they're not something I do frequently.  However, when I was down at our local farmers market I saw a beautiful cabbage and the craving hit!

Note:  When you are picking out a cabbage for this recipe try finding one that the first few layers of leafs are loose.



What you're going to need:

9 cabbage leafs (This recipe will make 8 but I always put on an extra leaf just in case I lose one in cooking/wrapping process)
2 lbs lean ground beef
3 eggs
1 cup white instant rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup spaghetti sauce (you will need the rest of the jar later)
1/3 cup mayo
1 tbsp prepared mustard
salt & pepper


Directions:

1. Put on large pot of salted water to boil.

2. Cut the individual cabbage leafs from the steam.  This part is tricky especially if your cabbage is tight.  Some ripping is going to happen but you want the leafs relatively intact.  Sometimes it helps to wiggle a spoon under the leaf - you're try to get air between the leaf & the rest of the cabbage.

3. Put the cabbage leafs in the water to cook.  You want them just under done.  They'll finish cooking in the oven & will be easier to handle when you're wrapping.

4. In the meantime, combine all the other ingredients.  Making sure it's well mixed.

5. Lightly coat the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan in spaghetti sauce.

6. Once the cabbage is done pour out the hot water in fill the pot with cold.

7. Preheat your oven to 400*F.

8. Take out a leaf and place on the counter.  Spoon out into your hand about a baseball sized portion on the meat mixture and make a ball.  Place the meatball on the the stalk end of the cabbage leaf and roll, tucking in the sides as you go. Place each roll into prepared pan. Repeat for the rest of leafs.

9. If you have meat left over just form into balls & add to your pan.

10.  Pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over the top of the cabbage rolls, cover with aluminium foil and throw it in the oven!  Ok, not literally!!! Cook for an hour, sprinkle with a little dried parsely & enjoy!


Stay Sweet!
Tammy






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Monday, October 6, 2014

Music Monday





Taylor Swift ft Ed Sheeran - Everything Has Changed




I love the combination of their voices & the video is SUPER cute!! Enjoy <3

Stay Sweet

Tammy

P.S: Do you have a fave song/artist? Leave a youtube link in the comments.  I'm always looking for a new to me artist to fall in love with.
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The Banana-iest Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread





We love banana bread in our house. Especially if it's loaded with not just chocolate chips but chocolate chunks!  Throw out any banana bread recipes you've had before because this will be your new favourite.  Trust me.  



Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter, unsalted
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup chocolate chucks
1 tbsp vanilla extract
6 med/large ripe bananas, mashed (I filled my 2 cup Pyrex measure right to the top)
1 package instant vanilla pudding (no cook)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt

Directions:
1. Preheat over to 350*F. Grease and flour 2 4 x 6 loaf pans or one 5 x 9 pan (you may need a small loaf pan or use a muffin pan for any extra batter if you use the 5 x 9 pan).
2. Melt the butter and let cool.
3. Whisk the eggs, sugars, sour cream, vanilla into the cooled butter.
4. Stir in bananas.
5. Add the dry pudding mix, flour, baking soda, salt and fold in with a spatula.  Be careful not to over mix.
6. Lightly fold in the chocolate chucks.
7. Bake for 60 - 75 minutes.  Set your timer for 60 minutes and check it.  It's done when the top is domed, golden and a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean or with a few light crumbs.  If after 60 minutes you need more time add 5 minutes at a time until done.  
8. Let cool in the pans for about 20 mins and then turn out on wire racks to cool completely.



Stay Sweet!

Tammy
  
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Transplanted

Lady Cove Beach, Newfoundland


I moved to Ontario when I was nine.  My parents came here to provide a better life for me and my two sisters.  See, I was born in Newfoundland. Yup, a true Newfie.  Both my parents, all my grandparents and everyone before them since my ancestors took that huge leap of faith and crossed the pond from England - born on The Rock.

There's a joke that floats around that goes like this: "How can tell a Newfie in Heaven?....They're the ones that still want to go home."  No other statement in all of history could be as true as that.

You're probably asking yourself "Why? What's the appeal".  In all honesty I can't answer that question in a way that if you've never experienced it you'll ever understand.  There's a pull from your heart and your stomach that never goes away.  Sure it may subside a little but then you see a picture, hear a word, or get a wisp of something familiar the pull gets stronger and you'll want to immediately want to drop whatever your doing and go home.  Home. It seems funny to say when I've lived here twice as long as did there but that is what it will always be. . . . home.

See the picture at the top of this post?  I fell asleep every night to that view when I stayed at my grandparents house. There's nothing more beautiful than a calm sea, a full moon and clear skies.

A few years ago I took my family home.....We packed up the car, headed east, driving for three days.  It was a group trip with my mom, step dad, and sister in their car and the four of us in ours.  I distinctly remember coming up to the the causeway that attaches Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island.  We all had our windows down and my mom calls over the walkie-talkie "Tammy! Can you smell that?".  She hadn't noticed my head was already hanging out the window.  At that point you smell the ocean.  The beautiful Atlantic Ocean! And do you know what the first thing I did a few hours later when we reached the ferry at North Sydney?  I grabbed my girls hands and walked them down to the shoreline, took off our shoes, stepped into the coldest water imaginable and told them 'This water runs through your veins'.

Luckily my parents have the opportunity to retire there.  They bought a ridiculous amount of land and built their dream house.  They just left last week from a visiting us. I miss them which is probably the driving force of this post.  Hearing about the cod fishing, boating conditions, the going on's of people I barely or don't even know has made me home sick. But mostly I think the is cause is listening to them talk.  My mom never completely lost her accent but I noticed it's stronger now than it's ever been. I lost mine shortly after moving.

You may have a place like this, somewhere your heart pulls you too.  You may never have called it 'home' but it's the place where your soul belongs.  If you don't, then find it! Newfoundland is where my soul belongs.

I think another road trip is in our future!

Stay Sweet
Tammy


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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Faith in Humanity Restored

*Note: This picture is from last year but it's about how deep the snow is now.

Just before leaving for work yesterday the snow plow came by nicely filling in the bottom of my driveway with a bank of snow. It didn't look too deep so I carried on getting ready to leave. I left enough time to warm up the car and get it all cleared off.

Once that was all done I jumped in, threw Stan ( my car) in reverse - determined to just ram out on to the street like I've done a thousand times before.  Bad idea.....  I went slightly off course and hit the deepest part of the bank on the drivers side :( So there I sit with Stan half on street and couldn't go forward or reverse.  I push the door open again a tonne of snow to examine the damage.  After a few explicit words to myself for not clearing a path - I walk up the driveway and grab the shovel.

While I was digging out the passenger side I noticed a car coming down the street - thinking to myself  'This person must think I'm such an idiot'. No statement would have been truer at that point in time but shameful all the same. But wait...what's this?  He pulls a U-turn, parks in front of my house & offers to help.  Damsel in distress saved!

Within a matter of ten minutes my knight had most of the snow cleared.  He asked if he could try driving it out.  I said sure as long as he knew how to drive standard, which he did. A little rocking and wheel turning and Stan was freed from the clutches of snow!

After a dozen or so "Thank you's" and an offer to pay him for his services (which was declined).  We were both on our way.  I made it to work on time and my knight is forever in my debt.

So once again kind stranger, "Thank you!"

Stay Sweet!
Tammy
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Stuffed Roast Chicken



Here in SW Ontario we have been snowed in.  The weather hasn't been fit for man/woman or beast. What better to have for dinner on a blustery chilly Sunday than this:

Stuffed Roast Chicken

Ingredients:
 Chicken:
       1 Whole Chicken
       1 1/2 Tbsp Butter/Margarine
       1 Tbsp Mt. Scio Savoury (Newfie Savoury)
       Salt & Pepper

Stuffing (for a 4 lb chicken):
      1 Cup Bread Crumbs
      3 Tsp Dried Mt. Scio Savoury or to taste
      4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil or Melted Butter
      1 Small Onion, chopped
      1/2 Tsp Salt


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375*F and prepare the stuffing.
2. Saute the chopped onion in a small amount of butter.
3. Combine bread crumbs, savoury, vegetable oil, salt, and onions.
4. Loosely fill the cavity of the chicken.
5. Truss the cavity closed. To do this pull the excess skin of chicken to the opposite side and poke a skewer all the threw to the other side so both ends are exposed, repeat this 2 more times.  Remember: these things are intended to go threw meat & skin so be very careful!  Using butcher twine (or I save the cotton thread from potato bags) and starting at the bottom skewer crisscross the thread under each one until you've worked your way up.  If the legs are all willy nilly you can tie them in as well.  Tie the twine together - remember you're going to have to take this off so tying in a bow works nicely for easy removal.
6. Rub down the chicken with the butter and sprinkle the savoury, salt & pepper on top.
7. Roast for 20 minutes per pound. I usually cover the bird for the first half of the cooking time so the skin doesn't brown too quickly and baste every 20 minutes or so.



Stay Sweet!
Tammy
 


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Music Monday

This is one of my all time favourite songs.

What About Now - Daughtry



Stay Sweet!
Tammy
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Zip Lining & Team Building




This past fall my company took all the administrators & managers for a day and night of adventures and team building at Long Point Eco Adventures. (As you can tell this is a pretty long post but I want to record everything for myself. )

Our team building started at 1:00 on Sunday with games focused on communication and getting everyone to work together.  Our first task was introducing ourselves with our names, a animal that used the same first letter, and the action of that animal. I was Tortoise Tammy.  Our guide, Buffalo Bill, complicated matters with this one because we had to remember everyone's animal & action before us ( I was third to go so I had it pretty easy, hahaha)




The second task was a timed group effort to flip over 30 numbered disk's in order in a circle.  Only one person could be in the circle at a time and only our hands could be within the circle as well, any breaking of the rules got a 5 second time penalty.  Our first efforts were ok, 1 min & 31 sec including 2 penalties.  We tried two more times and managed to get down to 59.1 seconds (our goal was to be under 1 min) with no penalties - Go Team!

In the third task we were blind folded two or three at a time and had to be verbally lead thru a mine field of objects within a circle by our other co-workers. The blind folded person could not talk.  If you touched one of the objects you were frozen and another group member going thru had to touch you to be released.  This task was awesome!  You had to put complete trust in the person/people guiding you.  The course was only about 15 feet long but once you put that blind on and started it felt like you were being guided to South America.








We took a walk on our fourth task, which was more of a bridge task taking us to another location.  We paired up and one person was blind folded and the other was the guide.  The guide couldn't talk.  We strolled thru the woods trying to keep our companions safe.

Once we arrived at the fifth task the blind folded person could see again and the guide could talk - which was good because the not talking part was killing me!  This task required us to all be on a low platform that balanced.  The goal was to get half the group on the very edge of the platform, without it touching the ground, while the rest used their weight as a counter balance.  Once that was complete we had to switch places so the others could get to the edge.  It was hard but we did manage to do it the first time.

Task six - we're almost to the end.  Our instructions were to build bridges over "piranha" infested waters with only using 3 boards that had to sit on concrete blocks and couldn't go in the "water".  This one we figured out pretty fast.  Once we got people positioned to move the boards back and forth it was a breeze.



Our seventh task was up an insanely steep hill that took forever to level out.  Our objective was to get from one "deserted island" to the other, crossing over "alligator" infested waters with only using our friendly "snake" - rope (We definitely had to use our imaginations on this one because it was completely flat and dry, and to be honest gators are not problem here in SW Ontario).  We chose one person to take the only "boat" across to the other side where that person kept the boat.   Our exiled person threw our snake friend over and the rest of us had to figure out how to cross without touching the ground or tie a knot in our "snake".  After some discussion we figured it all out and constructed a primitive suspension bridge from tree to tree. All eight of crossed successfully - not one lost to the alligators.

The final walk back to base was task 4 with the guide now being the blind.

All in all a very cool way to spend the afternoon.  We learned so much about each other and our strengths.

We had some free time to check in to our tents and socialize before dinner.  Let me tell you - this place has glamping all figured out.  The beds & pillows were big, fluffy and oh so comfy!  There was a complete bathroom in every tent, which even included a shower that was open to the sky.  My morning shower was amazing!











Our prime rib dinner with all the fixin's, including salad's and desserts was catered by our hosts.  It was fabulous and I ate way too much.  We reflected on our day and speculated on our biggest adventure to come.....THE BIG ZIP!

Let me just say if you have never been zip lining before PUT IT ON YOUR BUCKET LIST!!!! It's a little scarey at first but our guides were great! The first time you step off the platform your heart is racing and you feel SO alive. By this time the weather had turned on us and it started to rain and probably a little cold but we hardly noticed we were all on an adrenaline high.  Our adventure consisted of 8 zips and 2 suspension bridges. Most of the zips were short enough that from the take off platform you could see the light on the landing platform so you could judge the distance.  However, our last zip was the best - over 700 feet of gliding! I absolutely loved it but was sad with the knowledge that it was over.  All the was left was a 40 foot free repel to ground level - another shot of fear and adrenaline!  We all made it down successfully - cheering each other every step of the way.












We had booked a visit to the observatory for a wind down after zip lining unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate with completely cloudy sky's and light rain :( so we headed to the fire pit for roasted marshmallows, companionship, and a few beers.  All in all a very successful day.



I don't think it took very long for any of us to fall asleep - the camp ground went quiet pretty fast. Our big comfy heated beds kept us toasty all night.  Getting up to crisp fall air and an open top shower left you in awe.

Our hosts provided an amazing omelet chef extraordinaire.  Cooking up made to order eggs for everyone with toast, fruit, muffins, everything you could ever want for breakfast. But once we were finished eating everyone had to head back to work.  The bitter sweet reality...



It was an amazing weekend that I'd love to repeat.

Stay Sweet!
Tammy


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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Happy New Year!

A New Year & a new look! And hopefully more posts....

These last few months have just been crazy for me.  Mostly work related :( I'm the cover girl around the office....which means when anyone takes a holiday I have to cover & continue to do my regular job.  With three offices in three different towns it can make the holiday's very busy for me.  I've been pulling almost 60 hour weeks for the last two months and at the end of this week I'm done and life will continue on normally.

So I want to wish everyone a great 2014!




Stay Sweet!
Tammy


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