Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Turkey Pants

by Grace AKA Blackbelt Oma

I am anticipating a trip to Spain in November (more on that later). I know it is a few months away, but I was thinking about what to pack (more on that later as well). I read somewhere that leggings travel well and take up little room in a suit case. That led me to think about putting outfits together that include a pair of "turkey pants" .... That's what I call leggings since they are so comfortable and they remind me of the episode of Friends where Joey wears women's maternity pants while he enjoys Monica's Thanksgiving turkey dinner. (View the 20 second video below to refresh your memory!)

Joey's Turkey Pants

(the link doesn't seem to work in tablets so you may have to copy the link below in your browser) 

I have already, as a "mature woman", ventured into wearing leggings. All the young girls are wearing them and they look great on "most" of them .... so why should they have all the comfort? I wear my leggings with a REALLY long top, which could actually be a short dress. My recent shopping experience, however, has proven that it is not easy to find just the right top (for an old doll) to go with my "turkey pants"!

According to my research, covering your butt is a must! (In fact more than covering it at my age.) For some great tips on wearing leggings check out the website below from Musings of a Housewife by Jo-Lynne Shane. Enjoy your "turkey pants"!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Green Curry with K---- Lime leaves

pic from Wikipedia

I absolutely LOVE Thai Green Curry! When I was in Thailand I rarely branched out to try other dishes because once I saw this on the menu, I had to have it. I couldn't get enough of it! Upon my return to Canada I thought about making it. I mean, if I love it so much, why not perfect it and make it "my special dish"? The simple answer is that, due to the large number of specific ingredients (that are not always easy to find here in Canada) it's just not worth the effort. Galangal, tiny eggplants, and Kaffir lime leaves are not exactly easy to come by and substitutions, I don't believe, hold up to the taste. ..... oops! I just said.... "Kaffir" lime leaves ..... so sorry to those who I have offended! I just discovered that the "K" word (kaffir) is actually a racial slur, similar to the "N" word that North Americans are familiar with. Apparently the better choice of term for these, (essential to green curry, in my opinion) Asian leaves is "Makrut" lime leaves.
So, the "moral" of the Green Curry story is:

  • don't bother making you're own green curry .... it won't taste as good as the stuff in Thailand
  • if you have a "hankering" for Thai Green Curry .... find a restaurant or take out that makes a good one
  • if you must make it yourself .... use Makrut lime leaves, not K ..... lime leaves!
Hubby enjoying a delicious meal in Thailand

CBC article and video

Green Curry Recipe  - check out the multitude of ingredients!

Ethnic foods can be found in all kinds of places, like local farmers's markets! I had a great Green Curry at our nearby Kingston Market the other day! Yum Yum!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


It's been a while since my last blog post. I feel guilty, but hey .... it's summer! I'm not sure if that's much of an excuse but I'm going to use it anyway. The weather this summer has been "interesting" to say the least but in spite of a "post tropical storm" and a two day power outage, I'm good. - not "well" - GOOD!

Now I do know that "good" is an adjective and "well" is an adverb, and I would never say "I'm doing good at school," or The team played good yesterday. But ..... It drives me crazy when someone asks, "How are you?" and the reply is, "I am well". It may, or may not be grammatically correct (you can check the debate at "Grammar Girl" below), but it just sounds too highfalutin!
So, if you ask me how I've been, my reply will always be .... GOOD! 

Here a little clip from 30 Rock about the use of "good".
Grammar faux pas on 30 Rock

If your interested in the "grammar debate" read all about it below.
Grammar Girl

Monday, June 23, 2014

We All Need a Good Hair Cut Now and Then!

It's not even July and my Petunias and Pansies are already looking "long in the tooth"! We've had some heavy rain and strong winds so I could blame it on that..... but once again good old YouTube comes to the rescue! Little did I know that all they need is a good trip to the hairdresser (or some serious snipping with the garden shears) to make them look beautiful again. (If I thought it would work for me I'd get my sleeping bag and camp out at the beauty parlor!)

My "leggy" Petunia basket below has already received a good "snip", but I think I may have to be more brutal .....  hate to see it having to endure the humiliation of a bad hair cut though! Check out the video below for some great instructions on how to care for Petunias and the proper method of deadheading. Apparently I've been doing it all wrong all these years!

My pretty Pansies are crying out for a makeover as well. From the video below I learned that all I have to do is snip away the little seed pod (see below) and any wilted looking blossoms.

So..... if some of your posies are looking a little peaked, all they may need is a good hair cut!

Caring for Petunias

How to Keep Pansies Flowering All Season Long

Deadheading Annuals

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ai Weiwei

I just saw this photo posted on Facebook by a former colleague at CISB (Canadian International School of Beijing), a school that I taught at a few years ago. The famous Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei is in the center. Apparently his son now attends this school! The two ladies on the left are Canadian teachers with whom I worked. How impressive is that? 

If you are not familiar with the Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei you can check out some of his work below and listen to an interview with him by Jian Ghomeshi.

Interview with Jian Ghomeshi

Friday, June 13, 2014

Garden Musings

Ah .... warm (well warm er)  weather at last, and time to poke around in the garden. It can be very therapeutic but, if you are infested with deer, very frustrating. Therefore I do it with a "grain of salt". I only spend money on things that are safe from "Bambi" like hanging baskets (hung really high) or pots you would have to climb stairs to get to.

The Fuchsia and Pansies are on our upper deck and the Phlox and Spurge are perennials so no cost there .... if the deer eat them .... there's always next year!

Our woodsy gazebo serves as a cool retreat when the sun is blistering (well maybe just very warm as opposed to "blistering!). I would like to adorn it with showy, colourful flowers but I know that would be a mistake. So, I've filled a few pots with leafy perennials, that I have tonnes of, just to add a little visual interest. For colour, I thought I might paint the flower pots bright colours .... perhaps get colourful chairs?? See .... there's more than one way to skin a cat (.. or deer, or anything that buggers up your garden decor!)

Happy Summer .... and gardening !- (if you're into it!)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Gastronomical Adventures!

There's nothing like a road trip in spring ..... especially if it includes great food! Last week my friend Diane and I headed to Halifax, Nova Scotia to attend her daughter-in-law's graduation from medical school and to visit my son and his girlfriend in the lovely town of Lunenburg. The scenery was awesome, the companionship and visits with family was wonderful and the food was deeeelicious! No fast foods joints for us, just nice restaurants and scrumptious little cafes! 

Diane and I are travel companions from way back ..... I mean way back! When we were backpacking through Europe in the 70s, gastronomical delights were usually foil wrapped triangles of Laughing Cow processed cheese and a package of Knorr soup prepared over our portable "camping gas" tank. Things did improve, however, when we found ourselves a couple of "sugar daddies" in Germany who treated us to some good schnitzel and other German cuisine. Later on, when our kids were young, we would get together for yearly visits that included meals for a crowd (six kids and four adults) prepared at home ..... my standby was "prepared ahead" lasagna. As our families got older we continued to travel together and enjoyed eating out but often we had the tastes of other travel companions to consider as well as distance, time constraints, costs and whether or not there might be a nice washroom. On this road trip, however, our first consideration when choosing an eatery, was satisfying our own taste buds!

Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Agricola Street Brasserie on Agricola Street in Halifax (did you know that agricola means farmer in Latin? - I should know - I took 4 years of Latin in high school! LOL!) was our first stop. I had a mushroom quiche and a side of squash with toasted barley and lime juice .. yum!
  • After walking around downtown Halifax Saturday morning for an hour and a half and hoofing it up that steep hill back to our lodging , I was starving. Not wanting to take another step, we found a great deli for lunch across the street from our hotel. Diane had a club sandwich that could have fed a family of four, and I had the delicious combo below. The soup was different but delicious!

Corned beef sandwich with sweet and sour borscht at Hali Deli

Since I was in Thailand I've been hooked on green curry! I mean I LOVE this stuff. It's almost embarrassing .... Diane sent a text to my husband while we were in the restaurant to say that I was moaning over my green curry! 

  • En route between Halifax and Lunenburg we chose a scenic tour, stopping at Peggy's Cove, Chester and Mahone Bay. In Chester we had lunch at the Kiwi Cafe where I enjoyed a BLAT  " A grilled Panini roll filled with bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato, and garlic mayo" and a nice cup of tea! Lovely!

Peggy's Cove 

  • The culinary fun just kept on going during our two day visit in Lunenburg. We enjoyed meals at two great restaurants just a short walk from Joel and Alicia's place. On Saturday evening we ate at a new Restaurant called Lincoln Street Food where I had some delicious scallops. I couldn't find their website but I did find this blog featuring the restaurant with some great photos - Lincoln Street Foods. After some serious second hand shopping on Sunday we had lunch at the Salt Shaker Deli, where I enjoyed a delicious chowder packed with sea food. On our last night, Alicia made a fabulous meal of manicotti and  kale Caesar salad with homemade, dairy free, coconut cream pie! 

While it may look like all we did was eat, that's not exactly true. We did lots of sight seeing as you can see by my pic of Peggy's cove above. Lunenburg also has some great sights with its fabulous architecture ..... Diane even found a building that matched her outfit! Joel showed us the community garden that he and Alicia have been working on (an incredible amount of administration on Alicia's part and Joel worked on building the raised beds) as well as one of the recent carpentry projects he's worked on. The modern looking home in the collage below is a house designed by Brian Mackay Lyons, a Nova Scotia architect, that Joel and his company are completing. We had fun in a vintage clothing shop in Halifax and visited a great farmers market..... and I just had to sneak in a pic of my favorite cat enjoying a rest on my sleeping bag. Our great four days on the road ended with a walk down memory lane for Diane when she visited her old stomping grounds in Greenwood and finally a relaxing ride on the Princess of Acadia back to New Brunswick. Can't wait for the next road trip!