Friday, February 26, 2010

Did Anyone Guess?

I posted this photo a few days ago on the blog post about Nigerian Curry (me at the Ibadan Zoo).  Did anyone figure out who is allowed past the gate?  If you are having trouble, try saying it with a British accent (it was a British colony so they had a Nigerian version of a British accent).  Anyone got it?  Nope, then scroll down to the bottom and I'll reveal all. 


Have a good weekend.

Friday Photo - Coast Mountains

These two photos were taken last summer when I flew south, from Smithers to Vancouver, British Columbia, in a little baby planelette.  The weather was clear and the view of the Coast Mountains was amazing.  I posted these photos because some of the Olympic events are being held on Whistler,  a mountain that is in the Coast Mountain Range.

p.s. Our new winner of the giveaway is Abby.  Congrats! The goodies will be on their way just as soon as I get a mailing address.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Hint of Spring

There are no signs of spring in the garden, but a friend gave me some beautiful tulips a few days ago.  I put a thrifted tablecloth on the table in a colour to compliment the tulips and have been enjoying my little touch of spring (sorry about the wrinkled tablecloth - no time to iron).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bathroom Progress

Does this look like progress?

Or this?

Well it is!!!  (Especially if you know how long it takes me to get anything done).  The bathroom is still waiting - but I bought the materials - yeah me.  More progress coming soon.

Anyone else take forever to get their home reno projects finished?  In our house, projects get done, but very sloooooowly.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Company Dinner Recipe - Nigerian Curry

When I was young we lived in Nigeria, a country in west Africa.  The photo below is me at the Ibadan Zoo (say the sign out loud and you will see who is allowed past the gate).   

When we lived there we often ate Nigerian Curry.  According to my mother it was not the kind of curry that the local people ate, but rather a curry brought over from India by the East Indian workers and modified to accomodate local foods. 

It is chicken in a curry peanut sauce, served on rice, with a variety of fruit toppings.  In our family we use the following toppings:
  • pineapple
  • grapefruit
  • orange
  • banana
  • coconut
  • peanuts
  • raisins

The original recipe I have was very homestyle.  You boiled a whole chicken and removed the meat to use in the curry and used the broth in the recipe to make the sauce.  You also were instructed to "fry the onion small".  I have simplified the recipe so it is actually quick and easy to make.

Ingredients (serves 6 people):
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup chicken stock or bouillion
1 -2 tablespoons curry (depending on taste)

To prepare:
Cook chicken and onion in oil, until chicken is no longer pink.
Add the rest of the ingredients and cook gently until blended (adding water if it thickens too much) for about 10 minutes.
Serve with rice and a variety of fruit toppings.

This is one way to eat Nigerian Curry - the organized way (this was my plate)

This is another method - the big pile (this was my son Malcolm's plate)

Both methods are yummy!!!

I usually serve Nigerian Curry with boiled eggs in it as well - sounds strange, but it is really good.  

This is our family's favourite meal - I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

p.s. Anyone guess what the sign says in the first photo?

Linked to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum 
and Best of 2010 Blog Party - Recipes at House of Grace

Monday, February 22, 2010

Giveaway Winner and Statistics

Statistics - did that scare anyone - sorry about that.  I didn't really mean we were going to do math but I just made a few graphs for your viewing pleasure and my own fun.  

I'm always curious where everyone is from who reads this blog.  I have a stats counter, and it is exciting for me to see that there are sometimes 11 people in Tunisia reading this blog.  Now my hubby has done a little digging and found out that, it isn't that I have a fan-club in Tunisia who are obsessed with pictures of snow, but rather that Tunisia is where the fiber-optic cable goes through to Africa.  Nevertheless there are quite a few people from Africa who read my blog. Cool, eh?  Or, is that warm - never mind.

Anywhoo, I thought it would be fun to graph where everyone came from who responded to the giveaway:
And who is watching the Olympics:

Isn't it fantastic to see that lots of people are watching the Olympics.

Oh, and as to who won the giveaway - drumroll - it is FlavoredFlourCongrats!!!  Please contact me so I can get your mailing information.

This is the comment left by FlavoredFlour:

"What a great idea, eh! I am watching every moment that I can. I am so proud of our athletes and the way they conduct themselves.I love the snowflakes for a wonderful reminder of the Olympics. I'm in Maple Ridge on the outskirts of Vancouver."  

Isn't it appropriate that someone from Vancouver would win the giveaway.  My grandmother used to live in Haney, which is now part of Maple Ridge.  I visited her there many, many years ago.

Thanks everyone for participating.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Photo - Prairie Road

The 2010 Olympic games prompted me to select today's photo.  Canadians are not known for patriotism and flag-waving, but the opening ceremony to the Olympic games was a proud moment for us. One of the segments I especially loved was the boy that danced and whirled in the air and every time he touched down, more of the prairie showed up.  That reminded me of this photo that I took in August 2007, when I spent 6-weeks driving from Toronto to Banff in the Rocky Mountains and back again ( a distance of 3500 miles or 5600 kms). 

I remember driving along this road in central Saskatchewan for at least ten minutes and noticing that there were no other cars and absolutely no change in the direction of the road or view of the prairie.  It amazed me that any place could be so absolutely flat and any road could be so unerringly straight.  It was the prairie photo I had been looking for.

p.s. Just a reminder to join my giveaway in honour of the Olympics.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Exercise Plan

This folks is my exercise plan:

She needs walking twice a day so hubby and I take turns - he does the morning walk and I do the after-school one.  It usually amounts to about 1 kilometre every day - and that is about the extent of my exercise plan.

Did you know that Google Earth can take your exercise plan (well if it's anything like mine, anyway) to a whole new level.  William, who is quite the computer whiz, recently showed me a feature on Google Earth that has helped make me measure how far I walk.

Here's how it works.  You open Google Earth and zoom in to your neighbourhood.  I have kindly plotted out a route for Michelle Obama to walk her dog, Bo, around the White House. 

You go to tools (along the top left side of the page), then to ruler (in the drop down list), then to path, and then you click along your route.  You can adjust your measuring system from miles to kilometres, to nautical miles, or even smoots (who wouldn't want to know how far you walk in smoots).  

I now have several routes charted around our neighbourhood, of varying lengths, so I can do different walks depending on how long I have.

How about you, what's your exercise routine?  Anyone else like to walk the neighbourhood?  

p.s.  Just want to remind everyone to join in my first giveaway in honour of the Olympics.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bathroom Inspiration

This is the long wall in our en suite bathroom.   Do you see the problems? 



A few years ago I painted the walls a soft gray-blue colour, which I still love, but we had never got around to making any other improvements in the bathroom or even hanging art on the walls.  In short, this bathroom just does not zing!

I have been pondering what to do to fix the problems with the long wall.  And I think I may have some solutions.

Since it is a bathroom, I didn't want to hang any art that cost too much or would be damaged by moisture.   My solution was to frame six black-and-white photos, taken at the cottage last summer.  That way we would enjoy looking at them, but I could easily replace them if they got damaged by humidity.  See here they are in their white IKEA frames, just waiting to be hung up in the bathroom.

The builder's basic towel rack is one huge obstacle to any change in the bathroom. How to remove that treasure?  Anyone know?  There are no screws so I'm thinking it will be a demolition effort with a big hole in the wall.  

This got me to thinking about how to deal with the large hole in the wall I will be making, since I don't seem to be able to patch walls so they are perfect.  One idea would be to put raised panels on the wall.  That would have the advantage of adding some interest to the wall, while partially covering the badly-patched-previously-demolished wall area. 

Source: Style at Home magazine

Source: Chris at Just Beachy

While I love the look of raised panels - a lot - I was still worried about how smooth the patch on the wall would be when we take the towel rack off, and it would show between the raised panels.  So plan B would involve installing beadboard on the lower part of the wall.  This would have the advantage of fully covering any ghastly drywall patches, while still adding some interest to the wall.  A mini-ledge along the top would finish the top edge as well as giving a perfect spot to sit the photo frames (notice in the bottom inspiration photo they have done that). 
Source: Chris at Just Beachy
Source: Country Living

I'm definitely leaning toward the beadboard as I think it will cover more of the imperfections. What do you think?  Do you prefer raised panels or beadboard?

Just a reminder to join my first giveaway.  You can add your name here.

Linked to Inspired By at The Inspired Room

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

First Giveaway

We're so excited to have the Olympics here in Canada, and especially to have won our first gold medal on Sunday.  Go Canada!!! 

So in honour of the 2010 Olympic games I have put together a few things to give away to one of you.  

There's sort of a Canadian connection to everything I'm giving away.  Let me explain...

The tea selection was purchased in Niagara Falls.  There are three different kinds of tea mixed with Quebec's apple ice wine, Niagara ice wine, and Canadian Maple Syrup.

These wooden snowflakes were made by an artisan using different kinds of Canadian wood.  I purchased them at the Ethel Curry Gallery up in cottage country in Ontario.

This tea towel was purchased on the weekend at Anthropologie in Toronto.   I got one for myself (which I have warned the family they are not actually allowed to use - I did notice some eye rolling - not sure why).  So the connection to Canada is pretty lame for this one, but my daughter, Kate, and I were seriously excited  (almost as excited as we were about the Olympics) when Anthropologie opened their first stores in Canada last year.  So that counts, right?  Well anyway, I like it, so it's part of my giveaway.

The giveaway will close on Sunday, February 21 at 6:00 PM EST.  There are several ways to get your name in the draw:
  1. leave a comment below telling me what country/province/state you are from and if you are watching the Olympics.
  2. become a follower (and leave me a second comment telling me you have done that).  All followers will automatically be entered a second time.
  3. mention me on your blog (and leave me another comment letting me know you have done that).
The winner will be selected by a random draw and will be announced on Monday, February 22nd.  Please be sure and leave an email address, if you do not have a blog, so I can reach you to get shipping information.  The contest is open to anyone, anywhere in the world.  I have a stats counter and I'm fascinated that people all around the world find my blog - I would love to hear from some of you living in far off places (of course, I'm happy to hear from the nearby ones as well - just saying).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Yummy Chocolatey Brownies

When the kids do something right I often tell them they just earned some "brownie points".  A few years ago they decided that they should cash in their life-time of earning brownie points for some real brownies.

Actually, between you and me, I don't need much persuasion to make brownies.  I'm just like that - really agreeable when it comes to chocolate.

Here is my tried and true brownie recipe.  Thank you Baker's Chocolate for the recipe.  The super simple icing, you can thank me for.

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips (or more if you want a thicker icing)

Melt chocolate with butter in microwave on medium heat.
Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Beat eggs, then gradually add in sugar.
Blend in chocolate mixture and vanilla.
Stir in flour mixture.
Spread in greased 8-inch square pan (or heart-shaped if you are feeling romantic)
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.  
While still warm, sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Spread when they have melted.




 Mmmm brownies.  Enjoy!!!

p.s. Come back tomorrow for details about my first giveaway.

(Linked to DIY day at A Soft Place to Land.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Around our house we had -  
a few Valentine's Day decorations 
(with emphasis on "a few"),

a little pink and red happening at the table (I didn't iron the tablecloth - just keeping it real),

and a heart-shaped brownie.

It was also our wedding anniversary.  So hubby and I went out to lunch then went home to our houseful of kiddos.

What about you?  How did you celebrate Valentine's Day?