Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Peanut Butter Balls

Need a last minute Christmas treat? These are a sure hit, very popular and no-bake. I always used to dread making them because they were so time consuming to dip in chocolate and tap off each ball to remove the excess chocolate. Now I just hold them and dip and let the chocolate run down the sides once they are on the waxed paper trays. They don't need to be perfect. Most people just pop them in their mouths, they don't stop to examine them. They are especially useful if you re-organize your kitchen cupboards and realize you have 11 sweetened condensed milks on hand. I usually double this recipe.

Peanut Butter Chip Balls
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together, shape into balls. Place on waxed paper. Chill to set.
Melt chocolate chips and 1 tsp. shortening either in small saucepan over low heat or in microwave.
Dip balls in chocolate and chill to set.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Grinch Pills

I saw the idea for Grinch pills floating around for a couple years now and I could never find the green TicTacs and they end up making the item too expensive to sell for a fundraiser so I came up with my own idea. I saw the Mike and Ikes in their green package and I knew they would be perfect. It took me a couple tries but I ended up with a match box design and typed out my own poem, found the Grinch heads on the Net and voila..... Grinch pills. They were very popular. I made a HUNDRED and I don't have any left so it went well.
Here's a peek..

And the poem inside..

Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas Cutlery Holders

It's been a very busy season. I went through 10 kg of flour doing my Christmas baking and worked on a couple new ideas for my little fundraising sale that I hold every year at work. I think I could have saved myself some time and only made shortbread but that would get a little boring.

Saw this cute idea on Pinterest. I happen to have the Tim Holtz Pill Box die and like to get my money's worth so this was another good way to use it and they work up really quickly.
You just cut off the notched edges, make a black band and a square of gold glitter paper and a smaller square of black, add a couple of black Dewdrops and you're ready for Christmas dinner.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Here's a recipe to try for your Christmas entertaining. This is my GO TO meatball recipe. Forget the grape jelly and chili sauce. This recipe uses fresh ingredients and is much cheaper then buying a couple of bottles of ingredients.
Of course, homemade meatballs take it over the top. Forget those rubbery disks from the grocery store but if you're in a rush, like most of us this holiday season, this sauce will compliment those as well. The best part of all is you can throw them in the crockpot and forget about them until they are ready to serve piping hot. Give this recipe a shot. You won't be disappointed.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
1 cup brown sugar
1 can tomato paste
1/4 cup low salt soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp hot sauce (or to taste)
1 tsp garlic (fresh)
Mix and pour over meatballs in the crockpot. Meatballs can start off frozen. 5 hours on low heat.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Pumpkin Cake

I quite often get asked to bring my carrot cake to various functions but I was getting a little tired of making the same thing so I did a bit of browsing around the Internet and came up with this recipe for Pumpkin cake. They called it Cinderella cake. I was a little gun shy after making a few duds from Pinterest but I figured you can't go wrong with cream cheese frosting and I was right. This cake is delish, so moist and stays fresh for several days.
I had a little fight with my Bundt pan getting it out but nothing a little frosting wouldn't hide.
Hard to get a decent photo in these gloomy Fall Winter days but you get the idea.

Pumpkin Cake
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (just over a half of the large can)
1 tsp vanilla

Blend sugar and eggs, add oil. Combine dry ingredients and add to wet. Pour into greased 9 in  Bundt pan. Bake at 350F for 55 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then turn out onto platter.

Coachman's Icing ( Cream Cheese)
4 oz cream cheese (1/2 a brick)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Blend butter, cream cheese and vanilla. add sugar until desired consistency. Frost completely cooled cake and sprinkle with nuts if desired. This amount of frosting will not completely cover cake but is more then adequate for an excellent ratio of icing to cake.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Mighty Maple

Just trying to figure out how to blog from the iPad.

Thank you Mother Nature for letting me hang onto my leaves until
a vicious windstorm brought them down and blew them around the yard 
necessitating a FOURTH raking of the yard in sub zero temperatures.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Baked Parmesan Caesar Chicken

It's been awhile since I posted a recipe and this one is a keeper. I first starting using creamy Caesar dressing and Italian as a marinade this summer at the suggestion of a friend. Then I was invited to a delicious lunch out and another friend used the marinade base and added the breaded topping and it was delicious.

Here's the recipe if you want to try it yourself:

Baked Parmesan Caesar Chicken
6-8 boneless chicken breasts (I cut them in half)
1/2 cup creamy Caesar dressing
1/2 cup zesty Italian dressing
1 cup shredded Parmesan (the fresh kind)
1 cup bread crumbs

Combine dressings in one bowl, combine cheese and crumbs in another bowl.
Dredge each breast in the dressings and then roll in the crumb mixture. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is done.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Lions Dog Guides

My posts have been a little heavy on the dogs lately. I have been making some cards and working on some other stuff but it's pretty much dark when I leave for work and darkish when I get home so maybe now with the time change, I will have some time to get the items photographed.

Last weekend, the Lions Dog Guides hosted their bi-annual Open House in Oakville to showcase their programs and to allow the public to view their facility and of course, meet the stars of the show, puppies and dogs in training.

Dog Guides offer 6 programs;Canine Vision, Hearing Ear, Seizure Response, Service,
Autism Assistance and Diabetic Alert. It was very interesting to hear how the dogs are trained for the different programs. Did you know that there are breath donors for the Diabetic Alert dogs? People donate their breath when they have a blood sugar low and these are frozen and used to train the dogs to "alert".
Look at the tail wag on this Lab. They really love to work!
 We were greeted by Bev who is completely blind and her Yellow Lab. She is on her 7th Canine Vision dog. The dog was not working so he could enjoy lots of pets and praise from his visitors.
The poodles were adorable. Most likely heading towards a career in Hearing Ear. They were about 12 weeks old.
This little girl was looking for a foster home. Tempting but I think 2 is plenty for right now.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Farley Foundation

October is Farley month. Many vets across Ontario carry on fundraising events to raise money for The Farley Foundation. I took this opportunity to give a generous donation from the funds raised at our Scrapbooking Crop to this organization via Kingsdale Animal Hospital. Dr. Hinsberger has been a valued support for Lindor from 8 weeks of age, through 2 litters of puppies and so on. He is very thorough and their Clinic also helps to support clients with limited means.

 Now that I have adopted Lindor and am paying for 2 dogs, it is even more apparent how beneficial this Foundation is to support people on fixed incomes, senior citizens and disabled individuals who value the companionship of their pets.
Nicole, their receptionist was very happy to add our pawprint to their wall. And the mascot is pretty cute too.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Farm Fresh Vegetables

Like everyone else, I was in my local grocery store yesterday picking up supplies for Thanksgiving dinner. It was so busy. I needed some broccoli so I picked up 3 heads and put them in my basket.
I had my doubts about them but I didn't want to make another stop. They were so tired looking with brown spots, I just couldn't justify making the purchase so I changed my mind and  put them back. I long for the old days when you could eat the produce fresh from the garden.

I was lucky enough to get this work of art from an organic farmer last week. What a difference in quality and taste. It was so lovely, I just had to take a photo of it and post it on my blog.
This is an orange cauliflower. You should see it in person. Not a blemish on it and fresh from the garden. I will be getting a few more items in the near future. Off to prep for Thanksgiving dinner.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Fat Beagle

A lovely story from Kismutt Small Animal Rescue, one of the groups that we support. A puppy mill dog survives a life of misery and has a happy ending. The story is called An Unlikely Pair. For Dog Lovers everywhere.

Sunday, 28 September 2014


In the spring and fall, Danes in Distress host Daneathons on a private property just outside of Breslau. It's a large acreage with some ponds, well set back from any road so these magnificent animals can stretch their great long legs and play with others their own size. I was able to sneak in a smaller doggie version (Maya) and we had a pleasant walk with the big guys.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get their photos to re-size so you'll have to go to their website to see these gentle giants cavorting. I was able to get a couple photos of the boys with Morgan, the world's tallest living female dog. She's in the Guiness Book of World Records. What a sweetheart!

Unfortunately. a lot of people get these adorable dogs as puppies without doing proper research into their medical issues and taking into account the high cost of vet care, not to mention dog chow. It's a good thing there are organizations like Danes in Distress that are knowledgeable and passionate about this breed and work diligently to educate and re-home these gentle giants.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Great Danes!

I made a bunch of Great Dane cards and some other animal cards to donate to the Danes In Distress Rescue Group along with some much needed funds to support their efforts. They had their bi-annual dogathon on Sunday and it ended up being such a beautiful day and such a sight to behold. Over a hundred Danes all running at large. Every colour imaginable.
Here's a sample of one of the cards that I put together... (I saw a similar idea on Pinterest).
It was a pretty neat card although not the best picture. I used my Silhouette and they had an awesome likeness of a Dane. I think the cards went over pretty well. More on the event when I get the rest of the photos downloaded.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Terry Fox

Today was the day, that I was able to realize my lifelong goal to participate in a Terry Fox Run. I was so glad I was able to coerce a few of my buddies into joining me. Terry was such a inspiration and continues to be after all these years. It was a beautiful day and an important cause. I hope a cure for cancer is found in my lifetime. Wouldn't that be awesome!!!
Here we are just starting off..
Half way there....
And we made it...
And Terry's beautiful words (July 11, 1980)

"I'm not doing my run to become rich or famous. To me, being famous is not the idea of the run. The only important part is finding a cure for cancer. Don't forget that. I'm no different from any of you- I'm no better, no worse. You are cheering and clapping for me but if you have given $1, then you are part of the Marathon of Hope. Even if I don't finish, we need others to continue. It's got to keep going without me."

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Sketch Challenge

I love the Sketch challenges. Seems a little easier to get a design together when you have a starting point. I made this cute card using a digi image from From the Heart stamps. I think I'm addicted to the Birdbrains now. I'm entering this card in Sketch Challenge #77

I followed the sketch pretty closely....
And I even had flowers to match.So I decided to also post in the Kraftin' Kimmie, Saturday Challenge.... Bloomin Flowers

Rose of Sharon

The Rose of Sharon is in full bloom and was really enjoying the cool temperatures. Not so much today. This is my first attempt to download a photo from my IPad so we'll see how it goes. Ok, that didn't go so well, so I'm trying another method. The learning curve for computers is a little steep for me.
At least I have learned how to email photos from my Ipad. Baby steps. I wish these flowers would bloom all summer. Just beautiful.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Over the summer, I had a chance to get a little more organized and discovered that I may be a bit of a hoarder or as I like to see it; stockpiler. Boxes of cereal (there was a movie promo, don't you know), doggie stuff, scrapbooking supplies, crushed pineapple, Chipits, sprinkles and apparently also cake mixes.

 Fortunately, I can use at least one of those items in the following recipe. I used to make a recipe for Lemon Poppyseed cake where you beat the egg whites separately and folded them in and yadda, yadda, yadda until my friend Kathy gave me this great recipe. I've never looked back and have made it countless times. So moist and yummy and turns out great always. I took it to a function and didn't have my camera so you'll just have to imagine the inside....

Lemon Poppyseed Ring

1 pkg lemon cake mix
1 pkg (4 serving size) vanilla pudding, instant
4 eggs
1 cup lemon or plain yogurt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup poppy seeds
2 tsp. grated lemon rind

Combine ingredients and spread batter evenly in prepared bundt or tube pan. Bake 50 -60 minutes at 350F or until tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool and remove from pan.

While still warmish, prepare the following and apply to the cake.
3 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp butter (melted)
2 cups icing sugar
3 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh)
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
 Adjust the liquid so it is the correct consistency to stay on the cake.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

From the Heart Stamps Monthly Challenge

Well, I survived the wettest camping experience that I have had in the last 20 years and now its back to the routine. I have missed not participating in the From The Heart Stamps montly challenge. If you do it every month, you get the next month's image for free. Unfortunately, I have not had time to keep up and my computer hard drive went which delayed my participation also, so I had to purchase the digi so I could get back in the loop. The Pigwits are growing on me and this one was so cute.
They usually come with some great sentiments as well. Here's my card.... Hope you like it.
And I'm trying to be a little more creative on the inside as well...

Sunday, 10 August 2014

More Mason Jar Cards

Here are the last 4 cards that I handed out to the participants at the Loonies for Lindor fundraising crop....
Love these colours. So fall-like. Whoops, that's a bad word right now. Still enjoying the summer climes.
And the spring is good too. You can't see the details but I blinged this card up a bit....
The daisies are always so cheerful. I believe this was a Whippersnapper stamp that I borrowed....
And finally a card from Silhouette that my friend Corrina originally found and made in a Valentine theme. I changed the theme but gave away all the cards....
There are so many options for the mason jar theme. It was a really fun one to work with. I hope you get some inspiration from my cards.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Mason Jar Cards

Well, I thought I was done with the Fundraiser but I still have a few posts to share. The mini theme for the Crop was mason jar and I had a great set of stamps from Papertrey Inc that I paid a fortune to ship some time ago so I was happy to put them to good use. And I was also able to use a couple of digital images.  In all, I made 8 designs for the cards. All of the cards were cut and coloured so all the guests had to do was assemble. I had a busy winter making 80 cards.

Here's are a few to show you:
I love the fall colours, I orginally did this card in purples but quickly realized it is almost impossible to find purple paper.
The strawberries took me awhile to colour...
Of course, I had to work in a dog-themed card...
I tried to use some different techniques. Here, I cut out the jar from coordinating paper...
Usually I have a few cards leftover but this year, they were all needed for participants. I hope everyone enjoyed their cards and have been able to send them to a special friend.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Kismutt Rescue

I have been busy picking up various donation items and checking out some of the  Rescues in the area. I was really pleased to have a couple of visits to Kismutt Rescue near St. Mary's. Kim rescues the majority of dogs from local Puppy Mills where the animals are subject to horrendous conditions.

On the first visit, I was able to drop off the towels and blankets that were donated at the Fundraiser and also bleach, laundry soap, moist canned food and doggie treats.
At a second visit, I met Tinkie a Puppy Mill Survivor...
Here's a little bit about Tinkie and her life until now. Tinkie is a Bichon-Poo approximately 6-7 years old. She has never known a home or had a soft bed to sleep in. She has never known love or even had a name until she was rescued from a Puppy Mill. Her fur was a matted mess and had to be shaved down and she had to have 7 rotten teeth removed. Tinkie has come a long way, she is still a little shy but you can see from the photo how adorable she is now. Tinkie is available for adoption and will hopefully find a loving forever home soon.
This friendly guy is a stray with no real name or background and he is also up for adoption. He was so friendly, I could hardly get a photo. He kept edging his way towards me to get petted. What a sweet, gentle boy. He would make someone a great friend.
I had no idea that so many dogs and cats were dumped in rural settings. Many of them needing medical care and attention. I'm happy I was also able to donate some of the funds raised at the Crop to this cause. I'm sure it will be put to good use.

On another note, my chocolate girl turned 6 yesterday. Happy birthday Lindor! You will be getting a special treat later today.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Lunch at the Crop

We try to make all the food for the Fundraiser at the last minute and most of it is freshly prepared from the cut up fruits and vegetables to the muffins and baking. I'm lucky I have a really great group of friends and relatives to help out. It takes a couple days to get just the food prepared. Thanks Keri, Anne Marie, Lisa and Kathy and all the girls who helped in the kitchen the day of the event. I hope I didn't leave anyone out, it was a very busy couple of days.
Of course, I like to do most of the baking and this year, we made a couple of cute desserts in mason jars. Carrot cake trifle with cream cheese whipped filling....
And delicious Oreo/Peanut Butter trifle....
Thanks Lori for taking all the great photographs. That wraps up the "big" event for another year.
Back to card-making and crafting and enjoying the DOG days of summer.