The price of beef has been too expensive lately, so we've haven't been buying or eating it. There was a recent steak sale, which wasn't that great of a deal, but with BBQ season here we were all craving a nice steak. Beef is just a once in a while kind of meat now, but we really enjoyed having these. Tastes like summer.

Posted by Jen B On Friday, July 31, 2015 4 comments
Honey has been really expensive lately and my memory of buying a kg for less than $6 is a distant one. For the past few weeks the 1kg jar has been on super sale at Food Basics for $6.49, so we got some and I realized how much I missed it. Honey is so damn good.

There was a sale on boxed chicken fingers/nuggets recently so we picked up a few boxes and I decided to make some honey mustard dipping sauce to go with them. I found a yummy recipe on allrecipes, which I cut in half and it made the perfect amount for both of us.

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup mayo
1 tbs prepared yellow mustard
1/2 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs honey
1/4 tbs lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together and chill overnight in the fridge. Enjoy!

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, July 29, 2015 4 comments
Coming up on August 8th is the 5th annual Coldwater Steampunk Festival. We went a few years ago and had a fantastic day of walking around Coldwater and seeing all there was to be seen. You can read more about our adventure from a few years ago here, here, and here.

It was all wonderful, but we really enjoyed the costumes, the Knights of Barrie Swordplay Association, and the steam powered corn roaster.

Corn roaster
Yummy corn!
There is so much more to see and do, and I am particularly excited that the costume contest this year is themed 'Wild Wild West'. I am obsessed with westerns at the moment, so I can't wait to see all the amazing costumes.

So if you are in the area check it out on August 8th from 9am-4pm. If you are from out of town, think about planning a trip to Coldwater. This festival is really a lot of fun.

To find out, more check out the following links:

Coldwater Steampunk Festival website

Coldwater Steampunk Festival on Facebook

Coldwater Steampunk Festival on Twitter

Posted by Jen B On Monday, July 27, 2015 4 comments
Our friends Colleen and Brendan recently threw a puppy birthday party for their son. There were hot dogs, dog shaped cookies, cheese and crackers (with the cheese cut out as dog bones), as well as assorted treats served in new puppy bowls. All very cute and well done.

Colleen, who decorated the Beholder cake from last month, also made the dog cake for the birthday party. She used a combination of piped icing and fondant to make this cute little guy. A lot of work, but the result was adorable. Her son had a very happy birthday!

Posted by Jen B On Friday, July 24, 2015 4 comments
A year ago today we adopted our sweet Trudy-cat. It didn't take us long to fall in love with her and it didn't take her long to fall in love with us. She is not as in love with the other cats (nor them with her) but she is one of the family and is happy to be here.

Resting on her favourite blanket
Trudy has decided I'm her BFF (best friend forever) and she follows me around the house when the mood strikes her. She isn't a lap cat, but she likes to be near me. She'll lie at my feet when I'm at the computer, or she'll sit at the other end of the couch if I'm on it.

Her first time sleeping on the couch with me
She is a very social cat (with people). Periodically I'll feel a cat paw poking at me if it's time for pets or playing. She is the first cat I've known that really loves belly rubs. She rolls onto her back and demands them. She is so silly and fun.

Give me all the belly rubs!
We have come up with various nick names for her over the past year. There is Trudy-Bear, Trudy-Doody, Tru-dor, Trudinator, Big Gray, Big Grump, Tank, Pretty Eyes, and a million more that we make up while talking to her. We love her!

Tank sitting on some boots
Pretty Eyes sitting on a pillow

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, July 22, 2015 5 comments
Generally I make my own buns for sandwiches, but if I'm in the grocery store at the right time, I don't mind picking up a bag of deal buns. The local Foodland has an amazing bakery and getting a bag of the 'end of the day buns' is the dream. It is always crammed full and is often incredibly assorted. It used to be $2.00 for the bag, now it's $2.49, but it's still a great deal. Bought individually the buns are anywhere from $0.80 to over a dollar. The buns are still fresh for a few days, so we normally eat as many as we can and put the rest in the freezer for later.

This 'end of the day' assortment had bagels, plain rolls, garlic and plain dinner rolls, a cheese bun, an onion bun, and two soft pretzels (not pictured because we ate them). The pretzels tasted like they had been dipped in all the butter. Yum. A few times we've gotten a chocolate chip danish in the bag. So good! We love the bun bag!

Posted by Jen B On Monday, July 20, 2015 3 comments
On July 4th weekend, we had a nice time walking around the Sales Barn (aka Elmvale Flea and Farmers Market). The weather was beautiful (if a little hot), there were lots of people out, and lots of stuff to look at. There are some crazy book deals this year, with one vendor offering six books for $5. I got a pretty good haul of books last year, and I'm rather particular about what I own (even if it's less than a $1 per book), so I didn't add any books to my collection this time around.

I did pick up some hot pepperettes, which weren't lying about their name. Sometimes food listed as "hot" is actually more of a "medium" spiciness, but these didn't disappoint. They were Hot Hot Hot and super fun and easy to eat. The pepperettes were 12/$5.

Posted by Jen B On Friday, July 17, 2015 4 comments
There are many insects that fly around in the backyard, some more pleasant than others. I could live without mosquitoes or black flies, but bees and dragonflies are nice to see. I caught this dragonfly hanging out by the flowers.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, July 15, 2015 2 comments

I experimented with two new recipes to create some amazing cupcakes.

The first recipe was for strawberry buttercream that I saw on yoyomax12's youtube channel. No food colouring was added to the buttercream, that colour is all strawberries. I had some fresh Ontario strawberries, so it was the perfect time to make it.

I piped the icing onto six cupcakes, and this recipe made the perfect amount.

     1/8 cup finely chopped strawberries (about 2 medium strawberries)
     3 tbs butter or margarine
     1 1/4 cup icing sugar

     Beat butter, strawberries, and 1/2 cup of icing sugar until blended. Add remaining
     icing sugar and mix. Add more icing sugar (if needed) to get to desired thickness. 
     Beat an additional 3-4 minutes.

The buttercream I made was a little on the soft side (it didn't run, but it was kinda runny), so if I made it again I would add less strawberries or more icing sugar to try to thicken it up.

The other new recipe I tried was for a small batch of chocolate cupcakes from Celebrating Sweets blog. These cupcakes were so easy to make and tasted really great! Check out the recipe here if you want to make just a few cupcakes. The only change I made to her recipe was to the baking time; my cupcakes baked for 20 minutes instead of 15.  Definitely making these again!

Posted by Jen B On Monday, July 13, 2015 5 comments
One of the food-loving perks of living around here in the summer is the food trucks. We are a touristy area, so there are quite a few that are open in the summertime, hoping to entice people on their way to the beach. Or on their way home from the beach. Or just the regular inhabitants who love french fries. It isn't officially summer until I eat something deep fried off a truck, so I'm happy to report that when Mom and Dad visited last weekend we hit up Perky's Fish and Fries in Perkinsfield for some fabulous fish and chips. Just wonderful!

Posted by Jen B On Friday, July 10, 2015 4 comments
We have a small foot stool that doubles as a small storage container. It doesn't hold that much, but we usually find odds and ends to put in there.

Last week I decided to clean it out of any junk and organize what belonged in there. As my back was turned, Gary decided to make this storage space her bed, and stayed there for a few hours.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, July 08, 2015 2 comments
I started playing Skyrim in early March, and four months later, it still has a hold on me. A major credit to this game is that there is so much to do in it. Every now and again I think maybe I've done everything I want (or need) to do, but I keep going back and find more things to accomplish. Video games really have a lot of value for money spent. Sure it's $60+ on the front end for a game, but with a game like Skyrim you can literally play for hundreds of hours. The more I play the better the deal!

Current level at the time of this posting: 118

Number of in game days played: 517

Number of in game hours spent sleeping: 1718

Number of in game hours spent waiting: 309

Number of ingredients harvested: 2595

Number of dragon souls collected: 56

Books read: 356

Number of skills at 100: 13 (out of 18)

Number of skills in the 90s: 5 (the rest)

Number of barters (I'm a helluva merchant): 11,830

Stores invested in: 27

Amount of gold found (all time): 3,821,797

Most gold carried: 943,863

Number of locations found: 243

Number of quest lines completed: 3 (Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood, and Civil War)

Number of houses owned: 5 (all that are available)

Number of hours spent playing in Skyrim: 300 (and counting)

Number of times I was going to quit for the evening after just doing "one more thing" and then played for another hour or so: daily

Posted by Jen B On Monday, July 06, 2015 2 comments
Sometimes there are bonuses to going on a daily walk. Maybe there is something really neat to take a photo of. Maybe there is someone really neat to say "hi" to. And maybe there is ice cream in the middle (and for most of the way home).

The corner store has their $2.00 soft serve ice cream back (although this year there is an option to get a smaller version for $1.50. To that I say "No thank you!"). Walking with ice cream is pretty great, especially on a beautiful day.

Posted by Jen B On Friday, July 03, 2015 2 comments

Happy 148th Birthday Canada!

Hope you are having a great day!

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, July 01, 2015 6 comments
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