Marriage Bliss or Bless?

The spectacle that was the wedding of Harry & Meghan this last weekend in London reminded us again that love and loving isn’t as fragile as we sometimes want to believe.  The right Reverend Curry from Chicago blew in and blew sensibilities and ramrod straight backs out the stained glass windows…. having a Royal wedding filled with Hollywood (and even some Bollywood) will do that.

We arrived in town last Tuesday and our hotel was filled with glamour and gowns and more tuxedoes than probably exist in all of British Columbia. Prince Harry was spotted by countless guests and so the anxieties and the FOMO were in full swing at the Grosvenor House… a hotel that the former Ms. Markle reportedly called her favourite…(who writes this stuff?) Tuesday was just the start.  Nightly displays of the best in show abounded.  We drank it all in… (or was that the free wine in the lounge?)

We spent the first 6 sunny days of this 30th anniversary trip frequenting some of our favourite haunts and reflecting on changes to the landscape and changes to our lives.  30 years married.  Full of bliss?  Absolutely…at least 50% of the time… Blessed? — 100% of the time.  Looking at your life as one that is blessed is a personal choice for us.  Lots will disagree, but really,  being blessed is an attitude.  Being a victim on the other hand is super easy and often the go-to in our current society.  Which is quite unfortunate.

But let’s not go off topic.  Being caught up in the excitement of a national wedding is infectious.  If you were grumpy during these celebrations… you really were missing the boat.  We ran into a senior gentleman on the elevator who had gone out to Windsor at 3:30 am to just be part of it all.  Kudos to him. I watched from afar in the comfort of my luxury bed.  Blessed?  Absolutely.

Harry and Meghan ideally have a good foundation. The brand new Duchess of Sussex seems to be have a great head on her shoulders.  Feet firmly planted and a strong, loving demeanor that will help and sustain Harry through the endless Royal duties that will inevitably only increase now that there is a Mrs. Harry.   It seemed that the Prince was looking for the right one for a long time.  He seemed to struggle with his mental state and his party state. Colliding the two in the public eye with shenanigans that just endeared him to us even more… we got to see a Royal who seemed to be one of us.  And we loved him all the more for it.  Then he met our Rachel, favourite paralegal and well… we were 100% hooked.


But does any of this mean bliss?  Unfortunately no.   Bliss will come when they choose blessed.   They started well… Ms. Markle brought in a gospel preacher who drew us all in with his fire and brimstone style of LOVE message.  Hell, he even wound in Dr. King and slavery.   All the while speaking to love.  Unselfish love. Sacrificial love.  Love that moves the mountains and then moves the hearts.

But even Rev Curry’s message won’t guarantee the newlyweds their bliss.   This they will have to sort out on their own…behind their doors… away from us the public … and find a way to negotiate their way through a life unlike any one elses.  While we all watch.  We send our apologies in advance for our idoitic appetites for gossip.  May you choose to look at it as blessed… and in it… find your bliss.

Their marriage has brought us all a bit closer to each other. The thought that a Hollywood actress of mixed race with a single relative at the wedding would be the one that affects change… it is a pretty outrageous thought.  And a wonderful one.  But she has. With glamour and with grace.

Meghan Markle you have done an amazing job keeping your head about you through the media whirlwhind. Keep it up.  I toast you and I toast you and Harry and your new life and I wish you happiness and endless, beautiful, wedded, blessed bliss. harry and meghanduke and duchess


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Posted by on May 22, 2018 in Sharing


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Ground…round….we go….

Ground…round….we go….

Ever since we have been raising our own grass fed beef…. We have run into a problem… not a bad problem… but still a problem nonetheless. We eat our way through our side… and as we get closer and closer to the next…(eh hem)… batch… we race to the bottom…

The bottom of the freezer that is.

And then what is left are the forlorn, forgotten …but still fantastic…cuts that seemed a GREAT idea at the time.

I am never sure who the baron was… but I see him as a proper sir with a top hat…. Or perhaps his genealogy ‘trumps’ his standing…

Anyways… politics aside, I end up with a whole shelf of these lost packages…. And a mad rush to do something with them… all the while reminding myself for next time….less round… more ground!!!

Then a few years back a solution presented itself. It seems that no amount of round roasts were the right amount. We always ate other cuts first.

The round is underappreciated.

It’s lean, it can be tough…and there is tons of it. Literally. Ever seen the ass end of a steer? Well that’s round/rump.

But back to the solution….

A nifty accessory for the mixer. This one has a few strong attributes…not the least of… grinding meat.

Side note…. It is VERY important to not lose the little windmill shaped blade that comes in this box. Not just very…exceedingly very important. And a further note….when you do put this little windmill guy somewhere safe…other than in the box with the rest of the parts…. Amazon can sell you one. Or two. Or three.

1 frozen roast

1 microwave

1 kitchenaid with said accessory

1 bowl

1 ice bath

1 sharp knife (with strength of blade to cut through a semi frozen round roast)

Ice bath?

The kitcheaid is designed to mix floury things. And whip eggs into submission. Grinding meat? It heats up. And warm steel meeting meat? A recipe for a congealed mess.

I bathe the accessories in ice before attaching.

First I thawed the roast a bit in the microwave. Then I used the strong sharp knife to cut the roast into thing chunks ideal for shoving in the grinder…I used the larger grinder piece…. And here is the result…

4 lbs of ground round.

The plan was Mexican. The end result? Gluten free crispy burritos.

4 lbs gently cooked in the Dutch oven. Gently because this is round and it is lean and does not do well with overcooking. I cheated and added some leftover rendered bacon fat. And I seasoned the heck out of it to make up for the lack of fat. And salt. A good amount.

I also made the most divine refried black beans… yes also using some bacon fat…..mmmmm

And of course guacamole…

I froze the rest of the cooked meat. I will use it in hard tacos and perhaps nachos or quesedillas.

I steamed the GF tortillas to soften and only put the refrieds, the meat and some sheep cheese inside. Then rolled and crisped in a fry pan with some fat… not bacon this time, but some beef tallow from said grass fed steer. Then kept warm in the oven until we were ready to chow down… and that we did….

Ground…round… we go….

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Posted by on March 22, 2018 in Food, Recipes, Sharing


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And a cracking, ‘easy’ time was had by all….

IMG_6679Enough was enough…or should I say en-oeuf already?  I haven’t blogged forever. I kept meaning to get back into it but life got in the way and I am still struggling with the time involved with getting a post just right.  As other bloggers know, it’s a commitment and I just can’t come to grips that I should just type and play around with pictures when there are sooooo many things to do….

But en-oeuf already… Its Easter Sunday and I thought there was no day better than today to do a post about eggs. Not just any eggs, but our backyard ladies’ eggs.  They started laying awhile back and we are still getting double yolkers from 2 of them.  The rest of the girls are laying medium-eggs.

But what this post is about is hard boiling them.  As a lot of you know, when you get a fresh egg and you decide you HAVE to have a hard boiled one… the shell is a HUGE problem to remove… well not HUGE, but an irritating process and you get little bits of eggshell under your finger nails… it’s that problematic and even somewhat painful.

I follow Serious Eats on Facebook and one day they posted about the only way to peel fresh hard boiled eggs. I was intrigued. Every cook complains about this so I was a bit skeptical.  But I am never let down from their posts.

The trick is to have your eggs cold.  And your water boiling… rolling boil. Add eggs. Then an immediate turn down to simmer.  For soft boiled, 6 minutes and for hard boiled, 11 minutes.  Then immediately into an ice bath.   Success rate is between 80-90 percent. Every time.  I tested it 3 times before I told anyone about it.  Then I started making devilled eggs again.  DC loves them but with fresh eggs and the peeling pain, I had stopped making them.

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I use an egg timer disc for doing eggs but if you don’t have one, just follow the 6 minutes for soft and 11 minutes for hard instructions from above.  Gently drop your cold, fresh eggs into the boiling water.

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When the eggs are ready, the disc is solid dark red.  I forgot to take pictures along the way so you could see the red colour changing from bright red to dark red…. but you can imagine the idea…..the colour goes dark from the outside to the inside.

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Then I use the same strainer spoon to gently place the eggs into the ice water. Wait 15 minutes and you have eggs ready to use.


Let the peeling begin!  It’s quite remarkable actually… after years of struggling with the shells, they basically just slip off like a non-fresh egg.

IMG_6656 (800x533)IMG_6658 (800x533)IMG_6669 (800x533) (800x533)

IMG_6671 (800x533)I think the theory is that the shock of the cold egg meeting the boiling water and then meeting the shock of the ice at the end, shrinks the egg to produce the gap between the membrane and the shell.  Success rate is between 80 and 90 percent, so with the ones that don’t make the devilled egg cut, I just add to the yolks for the filling.  Works like a charm.IMG_6674 (1024x683)IMG_6673 (1024x683)IMG_6672 (1024x683)

Happy Easter everyone!



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Posted by on March 27, 2016 in Food, Recipes


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Just like Animals….


DRC and I were married over 27 years ago and when we ended up in suburbia the second time… we had nested long enough to want a dog. We got our first Golden Retriever, Brooklyn, from the Calgary SPCA.  She was a year and a half old.

When you become a dog owner, your life changes. Not to compare it to children, but it does take out some of the selfishness in your life. You always have to think about a pet. There is always a responsibility.  We bought our first dog a new vehicle.P1030339

It sounds worse than it was.  We had a sedan and a big flannel sheet (wrong sheet for dog hair btw) and so within a few weeks (and a lot of dog barfing and dog hair) we traded it in for the first SUV and a large metal divider to keep the dog and her hair in the back.  Or so you think.  Dog can be contained… blowing hair…not so much.

P1020721We also bought a leash that cost more than the dog. After 18 years, the leash still works like a charm… they don’t make them good like that anymore… $55 for an SPCA dog in 1997 and $60 for a big-ass retractable leash.

She came with the name Brooklyn.  She had more energy than you can imagine.  The first thing she did when she met us was take a dump. and a pee. At the time we didn’t realize this was a good trait. It meant that in the future she would wait a VERY long time before using her personal space for a toilet.Brook closeupIM000411

We had her for years.  She died a few weeks short of her 14th birthday and she was vibrant until the end.  We put her on raw food when she was 6 and half and it turned her back into a dog with puppy-like energy.

After she was gone, it took a year before we were ready for another. Our home situation was a lot different because we had DRC’s Dad living with us so we weren’t sure if a young dog was in our plans.   We found a 6 year old Golden on Kijiji.  IMG_20140430_175859IMG_20140930_165046We call her a rescue because it was an extremely bizarre scenario.  She was vastly overweight and very needy.  We have since determined that she was most likely a puppy-mill dog who spent most of her time in a crate.IMG_20140512_190355

She is Ginny our present Golden. Her other name is Dog. IMG_3737 She has been the only pet in the house for some time … well other than the pet mice that moved in.  And because of those resident rodents, we decided to get cats. Cats that catch mice. Not all cats hunt.  But then never being a cat owner in the past… I knew none of the cat things that cat owners inevitably know.  Sure I had laughed at the cute cat tricks that showed up on friends Facebook feeds.  But that is not even being close to being a cat owner.

We have chickens, layers who have an impeccable pecking order…IMG_2850IMG_2841IMG_20141027_143849 previously we have had pigs and sheep.  We thought about getting a donkeyIMG_20140524_135520 and goats. Every Spring we get a couple of cattle to run on the property to keep the field mowed…       IMG-20120509-00090 then butcher them in fall for the freezer and sell some of the halves to friends. All these animals are not pets but we do have some animal husbandry going on.IMG_2828

Cats on the other hand… don’t need husbands.  Nor do they need humans at all…. or so they like you to believe.

They arrived in May… they certainly did not look old enough to leave Mama cat… the Great Hunter. I was worried we had them too early and Mama wouldn’t have passed on some of her great hunting skills.  How could these two balls of fur possibly hunt, let alone kill?

For the first weeks they just slept in their little bed, all curled up together.IMG_20140524_205325         IMG_20141204_082405       IMG_20140701_085333Then they started venturing out. They were skittish… they were shy… they ran when we came near.  Dog ignored them.

Slowly they became bolder and ventured out of their garage closet that was their home. When they started exploring… they would not leave Dog alone. IMG_20140627_090252Dog was not interested and was very jealous if we managed to catch the kitties and give them cuddles.  We polled our friends and gave them official names.  Marley and Hattie. Named for Marlborough and Manhattan. Marlborough being the region in New Zealand that is may favourite…think Sauvignon Blanc…mmmm….it being our house wine.   And Manhattan’s, our house cocktail.

But their real names are White Kitty and Brown Kitty.  And Dog continued to dislike them. IMG_20140806_182908_edit They would not leave her alone… she was of course, their older sister. They cajoled, they tickled, they chased, they laid all over her and eventually they wrestled their way into Dog’s heart. It took months. IMG_20140623_175601IMG_20140623_175208IMG_20140625_204335 Dog is almost 10 in human years so that makes her how old?… White and Brown Kitty were merely adolescents, then teenagers…. and now?  Still don’t have that cat thing completely down so not sure how human years translate to cat years but in April they will be a year and already the non-stop wrestling has been replaced with hunting or sleeping.

And Dog?  She hates to admit it… but when she went on a sleepover recently, she missed them like crazy.  Upon her return, the first thing she did was search them out.  We have officially been replaced.IMG_20141212_124146IMG_20150109_122145IMG_20141205_120411IMG_20150204_161024_editIMG_20150130_090028_edit

And DRC and I?  we gaze out on our deck to see the 3 of them curled together on Dog’s deck bed…and our hearts swell…  The dog bed being the catalyst… the straw that broke the camel’s back…. the deck bed has become the shared sleeping quarters for these animals. It broke the barrier for the Dog… that and the cold.  Two little furballs keeping her warm was just to hard to resist.   We feel we have a perfect little furry family.IMG_20140705_101723


Posted by on March 1, 2015 in Sharing


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Compromise or Sacrifice – is society getting it wrong?

With the latest edition of the REIN Report Magazine out on the stands now and me being featured as one half of a ‘power’ couple in it… I thought I would tackle a topic that is often misunderstood… and once understood fully can make a  big difference in a relationship whether in marriage or  business.

We are often told that we need to compromise as we work our way through life that way everything will work out for the better for  everyone. Well after helping to run many many businesses and having been successfully married for 27 years…  I beg to differ.

Compromise is Selfish

Compromise is the easy way out… or… actually… the selfish way out. Think about it.  Compromise is not committing.  Compromise often entails inaction.  If you compromise… you believe it smooths the waters and you won’t be  criticised for  trying to keep everyone happy (“ah, what a ‘nice’ girl she is”)  Continual compromise,  instead of standing up and saying NO or YES becomes a  wishy-washy route through life. Sure it helps you, externally, look a bit self-righteous and noble for ‘doing’ the right thing, but if you are not strong in your beliefs and convictions, your strength of character and who you are begins to disappear… until one day you wake up and say “How did I get here?”

Conversely Sacrifice means you actually took a stand.


 In the world in which most people live the word sacrifice means giving up something, becoming an emotional or business martyr. In fact, sacrifice, when done correctly, means you took a thoughtful stand for something or someone that matters to you. When you consciously make what people call a ‘sacrifice’ you were willing to drop something or give up an opportunity because you felt strong enough about why you were doing it OR for whom you were doing the sacrificing. It shows empathy, it shows thoughtful decisions and it shows that the issue or other person meant  a lot to you.

In a compromise, both parties give up something… both parties go away feeling a bit disappointed, but the expected outcome was reached. That of no real solution.  And as human beings, we tend to dwell on the negative… you know that compromise that made you a bit mad? Well guess what?  It is likely to make you a little madder with time. And as the continual compromises we are asked to make pile up well you can see the bad place that would eventually lead to.

Sacrifice means that you fully and consciously give up something.  Sometimes it is because you want something in the future…  or maybe even in the present and that thing…. is worth it. But mostly it is because of who or what the sacrifice is for.  It works great if the people who are in your life have the same philosophy.

The other form of sacrifice is that you give up something for someone else.  Imagine that… you make someone’s day, life, hour, minute…by sacrificing your needs or wants…. not only are they really happy, you have the satisfaction of being the person that made it happen. Its win win.

The typical emotion associated with compromise is frustration,

The Typical Emotion associated with sacrifice is sympathy and compassion. That sure puts it into another light.1Compromise leads to pain

I know the argument is often… ‘but what if I am the only one doing the sacrificing?’  Well then maybe you need to re-think that relationship.   Sacrifice is one sided…but not always by the same person. If it is that imbalanced, then it is not a true and healthy relationship. Once you give up something for someone else… (with a smile on your face and NOT looking for a  constant reminder of your good deed)…. you will find that you will have a lot given back in return. Believe me.  Try it.  You will be surprised.

Marriage Vow of Entrepreneurs: “To have and to hold, from this day forward, In Business or in Health…”

When my husband and I had an opportunity to take over a business (REIN) that we had been managing, we decided to run with it.  Literally.  You want to be all-encompassed?  Try owning a business that is so unique in its structure that there were no others out there to get advice from…  add to that we decided to expand  it into 4 cities (from the existing 2).  That meant that we travelled to 4 cities 12 times a year.  You want hotel and airline points?  Let me tell you how to do it, I have become a master  😉

When they say that a business is actually a separate living being… they aren’t lying.  This business definitely had its own identity.  It morphed, it grew, it grew some more, it gained staff, the business even got its own  attitude… and along with all of this it also got headaches, it got belly aches, growing pains… (hmmm, sounds like a teenager. I wonder if that is why we didn’t have kids because we were raising a business instead?).


Sacrifice?  HA! Travelling to 4 cities took up 2 weeks out of each month and that meant that life just flew by.  Social engagements took a back seat, golfing ended, movie dates were on the TV.  And we went full tilt.  If we wanted more than just a few days of holidays to recharge (so we could continue to give the business our all), we had to take them in July and December.  So we established European holidays in July and Caribbean ones in December.  Those were the months that REIN clients didn’t want to see us.    The other months they were ready and raring to go ….and their collective being and our full commitment to them dictated the way the business ran.  Remember when I said that businesses are alive entities? (I wasn’t lying)

Compromise?  HA!  That would not have worked in this situation.  Well for one thing… a business is a jealous lover. There is not a lot of compromising that goes on.  She demands sacrifice of time, money, lifestyle.   So that’s what we did.  It didn’t feel like a sacrifice it felt like a lifestyle choice. We saw where it could go and we gave it our all.

Our business also became our social life and social circle. If you are contemplating doing a crazy thing like running a business….remember… you do finally block out or get immune to all the comments from your social network and family that repeatedly say…. ‘you work too hard.’

From the outside looking in, from those who aren’t willing to sacrifice today to win in the long term, of course it looks like you “work too hard” or “work too much”.  But because, inside looking out, you know that you are living your passion and the supposed ‘sacrifices’ aren’t really sacrifice as they bring their own rewards from the choices we made.

What is the quote that now shows up all the time?  ‘Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy’.  That’s pretty black and white but you do actually have to work to accomplish things… great things.  Wild things. Things you never thought you could accomplish.  But you can.  And it takes sacrifice.  Not compromise.

Let me give you another example of the difference between the two.  A few years back I was travelling to Vegas and as we got to the airport we were informed that our airplane was fine but that an earlier one had broken.  So in their infinite wisdom the airline (Allegiant) decided that instead of having 120 people unhappy that day… they compromised everyone travelling to Vegas that day.

They just moved each group to the next airplane.  Instead of sacrificing 120, they compromised 600+ instead and ruined everyone’s first day of holidays and even then 100 didn’t make it.  Oh yes that was such a pleasant time at that airport.  The entire lot of us left with a bad taste in our mouth.  I don’t fly them anymore and neither do many others because of those types of decisions.   Their business motto does not match mine and I ended up upset every time I flew with them.  Life is just too short.

Expected Compromise in Politics Costs us Millions

Politicians are another lot who like to believe that compromise is a productive solution.  You want to get a major bill passed?  You will need to get the votes of all the rest of the politicians with their own agendas and that means that compromise will occur repeatedly when all those “side deals” get added onto the bill.  Those side bills are the biggest compromises and end up costing the city/province/country tax payers millions of unnecessary dollars.

Ever wonder how come we now consume genetically modified food on a regular basis? Or that antibiotics are in our meat and milk? Or why we consume pesticide-ready wheat? Lobbyists are the loudest lot and you can be certain they will get their agendas through as they promise you the sun, moon and stars. But that is different topic for another day.


 Our current federal government is highly criticized for a lot of things… but one thing they are good at is saying–  ‘my way or the highway’–  who wants leaders who are all over the map and not all on the same page?   Not me. They are in the party together. They need to get it done.  Leaders lead, they don’t follow a vocal minority and that means they have to sacrifice “good press” for policies they were elected on.  No  major compromises.   As a nation, we hardly were affected by the ONGOING recession that devastated the US and Europe and that was singlehandedly due to our leadership before and after the financial collapse.  They are sacrificing votes and opinions but they have kept us on the right track due to not compromising their stance.  Are they right all the time? no, of course not, but are they doing the job they were elected to do?  Absolutely. Yet, once again… the negative will be remembered when they have left their offices.

Look at the results the previous BC gov’t created, by holding an uncompromising stance on transportation improvements. We are now enjoying the fruits of this uncompromising vision.  I wonder if all those people who fought so vehemently against the new bridges, road widening and skytrain extensions are using these advancements to improve their lives? You can bet many of them are!  It now takes far less time to get into the City as a result of our beautiful new bridges and our new connector routes. But are they remembered for it?   They sacrificed popular opinion and got it done. Then they lost their jobs.  My and hundreds of thousands of people’s quality of life has vastly improved whenever we have to get somewhere in the Lower Mainland on one of the new routes.  And I say “Thank you for your political sacrifices” every time I do.

So back to the personal side of things.  Begin looking at compromise and sacrifice in a different light. Where, in your life, could a simple sacrifice today make for a much, much better tomorrow?  Where are the little daily compromises chipping away at who you really are?   If you don’t like something… then consciously make a decision under the new ‘rules’ of compromise and sacrifice.  But before you make that call make sure you have measured the consequences of you making a stand. Remember there are repercussions for all your decisions…..AND those repercussions are sometimes so absolutely fantasticly positive they make your cry……and sometimes they absolutely suck.  And they also make you cry.

So when you decide where and when you till take a stand….make a sacrifice… make sure it’s worth it.    Make sure you are sacrificing without compromise or expectation.   Although it goes against the current mass thinking – you will be surprised at just how wrong that thinking really is.

Sacrifice 1





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Posted by on January 5, 2015 in Sharing


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What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented drink, made by feeding a sweet tea to a kombucha SCOBY (symbiotic community/colony/culture of bacteria and yeast). The resulting beverage is a slightly carbonated, acidic beverage comprised of sugars, organic acids (like butyric acid which is an important anti-inflammatory), vitamins, and minerals (this is a nice detailed analysis). It will contain vinegar, vitamin B, traces of the kombucha SCOBY, and whatever constituents the original tea had (caffeine, polyphenols, volatile oils, etc). As vinegar is produced by acetic acid bacteria (in this case Acetobacter xylinum) feeding on ethanol (that’s regular old alcohol) in the presence of oxygen (open jar), there can also be tiny traces of alcohol.

Kombucha has been around for thousands of years, and has long been used by traditional cultures to improve digestion, boost immunity, eliminate kidney stones, reduce high blood pressure, and create sustained and lasting energy.

14 cups water
8 tea bags
1 cup sugar
paper towel
elastic band
1 gallon jar
bottles for bottling
2 cups reserved kombucha from last batch

IMG_00001216Bring the 14 cups of water to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and sugar and stir to dissolve sugar. Cool the tea completely. Tea that is too hot will kill the SCOBY.

While the tea is cooling, IMG_00001211get area prepared:  clean surfaces, clean bottles, IMG_00001214clean any spoons, clean measuring cups, clean a plate.  If soap is used, rinse really well as soap can affect growth.  Ideally just use very hot water and sterilize everything. Get your bottles ready to take the new batch of kombucha. Metal kills kombucha. Don’t use metal lid or store in anything but glass.

Bring out last weeks brew and gingerly remove the SCOBYIMG_00001218 from the batch and place on a plate. Remove yeast if too much has grown. The yeast is the brown hairy things that are growing and sticking to everything. Measure out two cups of the kombucha and set aside. Pour remaining Kombucha into bottles. I don’t carbonate mine as I prefer room temperature, non-carbonated kombucha. Others bottle with pop tops and the kombucha then carbonates. BE AWARE… that when you do this, you create a champagne like environment and I have also inadvertently sprayed kombucha all over the kitchen… you want a brewery smell? that is a sure way to get one….

bottle kombucha

bottled kombucha

Pour tea into gallon jug til about 3/4 full,  add SCOBY, add the 2 cups reserved tea from previous batch. It should fill up until the ‘shoulder’ of the jar. You need a bit of room for expansion of the SCOBY.  Cover with paper towel and an elastic band or a piece of cloth.  Don’t use cheesecloth as fruit flies know how to get through cheesecloth.IMG_00001192

Invest in some jars you want to bottle with. I purchased a very great jug at London Drugs for $7 that has a rubber twist seal on it. We leave it on the counter and keep the kombucha close at hand so we drink frequently. Keeping it at room temp also means that it continues to grow. If you put in fridge, it will stop growing. Growing means that you will always get the start of a new SCOBY as slimy scum on the top of your kombucha. I just chuck these little guys into the compost.kombucha jug

I make kombucha each Saturday morning*. I have a warm environment to store it in so our batches grow quick… and we like the taste of 1 week kombucha. Others brew for 2 weeks and it becomes much more vinegar like as the sugar gets all eaten up. You will find your happy medium. It should not be too sweet. The longer the brew, the healthier for you supposedly. Less sugar, less caffeine and the like.

Other instructions and observations suggest a variety of methods and tips: -Don’t move the jar too much for the 1 week – 2 weeks it’s brewing -Use tea that does not have too much oil ie. earl grey -A few bags of herbal tea can be added for a different taste experience -Without too much disturbing, ensure the SCOBY continues to be covered in the tea and to not get too dried out at the top -Green tea works but the batches seem to take longer -When bottling, flavours can be added… ie… herbs, fruit etc.

*Update April 3 2016.  I am now brewing every 2 weeks.  The process is taking longer because I started using tea that was less fermented to begin with.  I now am mixing jasmine, oolong, white tea, 1 or 2 bags of orange pekoe and 1 herbal.  These teas take longer to ferment a batch but I get a lighter product at the end.  When I just used orange pekoe, it went quite quick.

*Update June 9 2016.  I added mint leaves to the 2nd ferment.  This is the stage after brewing with the SCOBY.  Bottle the Kombucha in large glass containers with lids, add fresh mint leaves and let do an additional ferment for a few days.  The flavour is fantastic.  I am trying blueberry mint and ginger mint.

*Update January 26 2018  I started using the basket type coffee filters with an elastic to cover the jars whilst fermenting. They stand up better than paper towel.  During the winter I also added some chai to the first ferment and this made for a very nice taste.


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Posted by on January 27, 2014 in Food, Recipes


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Its raining zucchini… actually its more like flooding…or maybe its time for pizza?

Zucchini season is in full swing. When I was looking up new zucchini recipes last week, I found that August 8 is actually ‘National Leave Zucchini on Your Neighbours’s Porch Day’  The idea was that you snuck over to your neighbour’s place and stealthily placed zucchini on their porch… this if your neighbour has a porch of course… or doesn’t have a gate… or a dog…. or ?     I think that concept is more figuratively than literal, but I did have a good chuckle as I pictured myself dressed all in black, at night…. sneaking around with baseball bat sized zucchini….
What I did find was some great websites for recipes.  One gal had 20 ways to use zucchini.  In amongst all of them I found a few that really caught my eye. This one seems to be the winner.  I put up a brief description on FB already but thought I had better follow with a blog.

And the winner is zucchini pizza!  It’s really simple and works tremendously on the hot days as it’s all on the grill.  Most people have not picked zucchini at its prime when its nice and slender, so once it gets to about 3 inch diameter, its perfect for this.  Any larger and the centre gets a little too weak.
Get the grill hot and oil it for non-sticking purposes. Slice the zucchini on the round, about 3/4 inch thick. Grill for 8 minutes with the lid closed.  Remove the slices to a pan, grilled side up, and bring to where the rest of your ingredients are.  I found it easier to just bring back into the kitchen to assemble instead of bringing all the ingredients to the grill.

I started with pizza sauce, then added diced ham and pineapple tidbits.On this occasion I made 12, so I did 6 for Don and 6 for me. For his I used goat mozzarella.  For mine just regular.

In the picture, the top cheese is the regular, cow’s mozza, and the lower stuff is the goat mozza.  You can see that the regular one is more yellow… it’s because of the fat content….its higher.  I have made mozzarella from scratch… (see one of my earlier posts) and the full fat mozza comes out far more yellow.

I had some left over bacon bits and chives from last night’s baked potatoes, so I decided to add them to the tropical theme.
Now they went back on the grill for another 8 minutes.  I did them over low heat but had the other 2 burners on high.  The grill then operated like an oven and the cheese got nice a browned up.

And then they were ready to eat.  Bon appetit.


Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Food, Recipes


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Vita-Mix, Rice cooker, Polenta and Parchment. You wanted GF croutons didn’t you?

As the bounty of summer is upon us and at the same time a heat wave, I decided I wanted to try some new and cool ways to enjoy some of the veg.  I have a Vita-Mix so the concept of making cold soups was quite appealing.   Unfortunately, sometimes I mix a few too many things in… I clean out little bits of things left in the fridge and end up with… shall we say…a pale beigy green soup…. ummmmmm…

One time I even didn’t attach the lid on and had the nice green goop all over the kitchen ceiling.  When they tell you to ensure that the lid is attached properly.. THEY ARE NOT LYING.

Anyways… with the Vita-Mix, if you puree to your hearts content, the soup actually gets hot but not boiling so the enzymes are still alive ( which makes it healthy incase you were wondering).  It has a 2 amp motor so it can whiz and whir like a commercial robot coupe.  But back to cold soups… in order for things to be cold in the Vita-Mix, it is usually necessary to add ice cubes to the mix… or…. make the soup and put it in the fridge.  So my next attempt is going to be a green gazpacho with ice cubes. You whiz it and then immediately serve it.  Ideally it will taste OK as I am going to be serving it to company. I know, I am nuts.

Well on one of the cold soup websites, one of the garnishes was Polenta croutons.  As Don is GF, this seemed like a great idea.  The only problem being is that you have to cook them at 450 in the oven and who wants to do that in the heat? Good concept, bad timing.

So I cooked up a batch of Polenta in the rice cooker.  My cooker has a porridge setting which is the ideal one for Polenta.  Just don’t forget to stir at least once. If you don’t, you will have goo on the top and crust on the bottom… not palatable at all. I set a timer for 25 minutes and give a really, really good stir to get all the lumps smoothed out.  When it was cooked, I mixed in a bit of cayenne, olive oil and sea salt.

Anyways, now I had Polenta and I had to find a time to heat up the oven that didn’t make the house unbearable.  I laid it out on cookie sheet, shredded some hard goat cheese on it and stuck in the fridge and then proceeded to forget about it.  But… that’s what worked.  It got nice and coagulated and was very easy to cut into small crouton sized dice.

I put them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and baked for 30 minutes, stirring them up twice.  For a more crispy product, you could individually turn each crouton… I of course did not have that patience…  the brown, crispy side was actually the down side.

So now bring on the green gazpacho and we shall see if it all goes together.  Will keep you posted.

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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Food, Recipes


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ah-nyuh-LAHT-tee… really? Agnolotti or priests’ caps… you choose.

agnolotti   Pronunciation:  ah-nyuh-LAHT-tee  Notes:   Italian for “priests’ caps,” agnolotti are small, stuffed crescents of pasta.    A specialty of Italy’s Piedmont region, they’re great in a broth or pasta salad…

On May 11th it was my parents 50th wedding anniversary.  It was also Don’s 49th birthday.  Our whole family… all 8 (plus 1, so 9 to tell the truth) of us headed to Harrison Hot Springs Hotel for an evening of good food, good dancing and a just an all round good time.

On the menu was an Agnolotti.  As I am the resident foodie, when one person in our party did not know what it was… I could explain that it was almost like ravioli except in crescent shapes.  Agnolotti starts with a circle instead of squares as in ravioli.  Its easier to make but has more waste because you cannot use up the portions in between the circles.

With Don headed out on a boat trip for a few days, I took the opportunity to ‘flour’ up the kitchen.  And what a better item to make than these crescent-shaped stuffed pasta.  For the filling I used some swiss cheese, honey ham, red onion and arugula.  I bound it with bread crumbs and bit of water.

I used a crystal glass that had a fine rim to make the perfect circles, I put a small amount of filling on half, circled the edges with egg wash and then sealed.  I think I will cook them with burnt butter and sage sauce….  With the left over ‘wasted’ pasta, I made some spaghetti.  I also used my very cool pasta rolling-pin that Char made me.

And the most ironic part of the Agnolotti on the menu was that when the entrée came… it was ravioli……


Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Food, Recipes


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Icewine Marshmallows… or should I say Marsh…mellow…?

My friend Carla Johnson,  who hails from the greater Toronto region, is a fabulous writer and public speaker.  When she was growing up her mother would add wine to the food that was being cooked and her Mennonite Granny, suitably horrified, called it ‘cooking with sin’. hee hee.

Fast forward a generation and Carla pens a book that weaves recipes and stories together in a wonderful tale.  Cooking with Sin is born.

Occasionally Carla links to one of my recipes if it includes alcohol.  Recently on her facebook page she had a link to a recipe for Icewine Marshmallows.  This intrigued me.  I had never thought about making homemade marshmallows…. why would I?  We don’t consume that many of them but as I am always on the hunt to expand my cooking repertoire… I decided to give it a go.  I have to admit I am not that much of a fan of icewine… I know, here in BC we make fabulous icewine… we have the perfect climate in our grape growing regions.  Well I did have some icewine on hand, so it seemed like a very good idea to use it to try this out.

I had never made candy of any sort but had the most important tool….the candy thermometer.  When I started the process, I was a bit nervous….but really… how hard could it be?  So I dove right in.  Marshmallows are basically sugar… and more sugar…. oh yah and corn syrup….  Guess this is why they are not that popular around here.

First off you soak the gelatin.  This is to be done in a stand mixer… I didn’t think I had one of these… I know… why wouldn’t I have a stand mixer?  Well I don’t do much baking and so it never has been a priority.  What I did find out is that my food processor has an attachment to turn it into a small stand mixer… and when I say small… I mean almost too small for marshmallows that is.  It was quite funny.  Marshmallow goop that expanded and took over the machine.

But I am getting ahead of myself,  first you have to cook the sugar, more sugar and the corn syrup and get it to what is called a ‘soft ball’  ??   and what do you know… these exact words are on my candy thermometer!  Goat yogurt never gets this hot so I always have ignored the wording on it.  Now I know.


It was definitely an interesting test. When the recipe says, use oil to coat the pan….they are not joking.  When the recipe says coat the square marshmallows by dusting with icing sugar…. they are also not joking.  Marshmallows are best described as ‘self sealing.’  When they are cut, they become un-cut if you don’t remove them from the pan.  And the end result?  They texture and taste was EXACTLY like a marshmallow…. well actually a marshMELLOW with icewine added to it…. Enjoy!

Original recipe

Icewine Marshmallows

Jason Parsons, executive chef at Peller Estates, says it can be challenging to cook with icewine, but if chefs are mindful of the alcohol content, they should be OK.  Makes 12 squares.


  • 3/4 cup Icewine
  • 3 envelopes Unflavoured Gelatin
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Corn Syrup
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla
  • Icing Sugar (to taste)


  1. Place Icewine in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Simmer until reduced to 4 tsp, watching closely to prevent scorching; cool.
  3. Pour half a cup of water into mixer bowl, sprinkle with gelatin and let stand 10 minutes to soften.
  4. Combine remaining water, sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan, bring to a boil then boil vigorously for one minute.
  5. Stir into gelatin mixture with the salt.
  6. Beat with whisk on high speed for eight minutes.
  7. Add vanilla and reduced Icewine and continue beating two more minutes.
  8. Transfer mixture into 9-inch square pan lined with oiled plastic wrap, using an oiled spatula to spread evenly.
  9. Allow to set several hours in a cool but non-refrigerated area.
  10. When firm, remove from pan, cut into squares with a lightly oiled knife and coat each square in icing sugar.

Posted by on April 28, 2012 in Food, Recipes


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