My Sweet Marie

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Being  a Canadian for all of my 55 years, people find it hard to believe I’ve never been on the East Coast! Well, I can now say that I have done the East coast! Denis and I recently toured the East Coast while on our summer vacation! We decided to do this by car to take advantage of all the beautiful sights along the way! I will share with you some of our itinerary, some cute stories and some not so cute ones!

We started our trip ironically on the American East Coast. We headed from home, London, Ontario to Portland, Maine! According to Google maps it’d be a 12 hour drive. We wanted to put a long day in the first day and get to the coast, we had no idea what we were in for! We set the GPS and away we went. It was a brand new GPS so we thought, what could go wrong? So silly.

Well that 12 hour trip turned into 17 hours as what we didn’t do with that new GPS is make sure the settings were to our liking! It had been set by someone to avoid all toll highways which meant we took the scenic route there. The upside was, we took the scenic route and what sights we say! Truly we laugh about it now, but let’s just say, in spite of the A/C being on, it got a little heated in that Honda that day!

We stopped along the way in a beautiful park to have our planned picnic lunch, took a few minutes to just chill and breathe in the beauty. We had a cooler in the trunk filled with delicious fruit, veggies, cheese, kubi, salad etc. This saves time and money, and it keeps your healthy eating habits on track! We had a dry bin as well loaded with crackers, nuts, seeds, cereal, snacks of all shape and size!

Day#2 was much better, we only had a short time in Portland so we headed to our favourite place….the beach! First though, we stopped at Holy Donuts, a bakery that our nieces, Natalie and Laura, told us about, so glad they did! If you’re ever in Portland, do make the effort to find them, they have gluten-free donuts as well! So we headed to the beach and I am happy to report, it is as beautiful as they all say!  We spent a few hours on the beach, walking and taking in the sunshine and breeze. We walked their boardwalk, stopped and did a bit of shopping, picked up a fidget spinner for Evy that somehow didn’t have one yet and then hopped in the car and headed to our next destination!

We wanted to be in St.John, New Brunswick for Canada Day. There were many festivities planned and we wanted to be a part of that! Unfortunately, it was raining when we got there and though some activities carried on, the fireworks were put off till the next night. Not a problem we thought, we’re here one more night. We stayed at the Homeport Inn.  It has a view of the Bay of Fundy, was built in 1855 so lots of history in one of Canada’s oldest cities. The breakfasts were superb! They were great about my food sensitivities, had special things for me and they were very friendly!

One of my favourite things about this B&B was at breakfast one morning, we shared our table with an American Mom, her daughter and her grand-daughter. The Grand-daughter was 14 and her favourite thing about Canada was our scratch and sniff money! She said if you scratched it, it smelled of maple syrup! Denis and I both got great enjoyment out that innocent comment! She had so many questions, a genuine interest in our history so the time passed quickly.  Denis, bless his heart, showed her the Canadian coins, the loonie and toonie and then shared their stories with her. He then gave her one of each as a souvenir and you’d think he gave her gold. I loved that.

In Saint-John’s, we saw the Reversing Falls, at all stages of the tide, we went on a Bay of Fundy Parkway tour, got to see it at low tide which was very cool. We also did a walking tour of the downtown, it’s a self-guided tour so was done at your own pace, and we stopped and saw the old buildings we wanted to see and we also toured the New Brunswick Museum. It was a jam-packed couple of days but we had fun with it! We never did get fireworks as on the second night, there was so much fog they couldn’t do the demonstration! Apparently Saint-John’s is known for their fog, who knew?

On day#4 we headed to Charlottetown PEI! We crossed the 12.9 kilometer( 8 miles) Confederation bridge and headed straight for the beach! Another afternoon of sun, sand and breezes! The beach is a red sand as are the stones along the beach. It really is quite incredible to see firsthand.  On the island we did the lighthouse tour, which simply put is driving along the coast and yelling stop every time you see a lighthouse! There is an actual map with them all but what fun is that? They are beautiful and I got to see several, some from a distance but still, I saw them! One of my musts for PEI was to have French fries, as Cavendish has a huge plant there and they grow all their potatoes on the island, so it seemed like the perfect excuse to have fries, non? We did not go to Anne of Green Gables as it’s not my thing but you have at it, when you all go next! Let me know how it is!

On Day#5 we headed to Halifax. We were both excited as we’d finally get to see Dave and Jan, friends that we’ve known for 35 years but haven’t seen in 25! We planned to stay at the Best Western as we weren’t about to impose ourselves on these friends but after one night at the hotel, we packed up and stayed with them after all. They were most gracious and shared their beautiful home with us along with some pretty delicious meals!  We got to see Stephanie, their grown daughter, who we hadn’t seen since she was just a toddler. Wow, she sure grew up fast! They were great at directing us to the sites, where to go and what to skip! Truly their help was invaluable!

We spent one day downtown Halifax doing the Maritime museum which has the Titanic display along with all the other history of the city. There was a huge display on the explosion in Halifax in 1917, it was a maritime disaster where over 2,000 people were killed by the largest human-made explosion in the world (at the time). I had never known about it, or if I did, I forgot. It was a very well done exposition with so many facts, I could have spent the day just doing that.  There was a ship to be discovered as well and yes, I had to do the Titanic pose much to my hubby’s dismay!

That same day we shopped the market that is on the waterfront boardwalk, which we walked as well. We also got to see the cannons go off at noon at the Citadel! It’s fun to watch people down below who aren’t expecting it…lot of jumping going on! We then lunched right next door to the Alexander Keith’s Brewery but did not do the tour, maybe another time!

The next day we did the Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg and Mahone Bay tour. Dave directed us to which roads to take and off we went! The trick is to get there early, by lunch time the place is hopping with people and busloads of tourists! Peggy’s Cove took my breath away! I was overwhelmed by it’s beauty and it didn’t help that there was a bagpiper in the background! I had brought Mom’s ashes with me and I left a few of her ashes as I think she’d really like it there! It was quiet in spite of the number of people, beautiful and serene.

In Peggy’s Cove there was a little bakery advertising fresh lobster rolls on their fresh baked buns. This being on our trip bucket list, I pulled out one of my gluten-free buns and asked if they’d make me a lobster roll on my bun and they gladly did! We sat looking out at Peggy’s Cove eating our lobster roll, absolutely content with the world.

Mahone Bay and Lunenburg were equally as beautiful, scenic places to visit. In Mahone Bay the scenery was to die for, the water, the sail boats, the town with eclectic shops, boutiques and cafes. It was all very lovely.

Lunenburg is known for it’s colorful buildings, it’s waterfront and it’s historical churches. We tried to see it all but truly we need to go back and spend a few days or a week there!

Our last night at Dave and Janice’s was a fun night which started with dinner of bacon wrapped scallops, ribs, potatoes, corn, salad, cake and on and on! There may have been some wine consumption and even cigar smoking with the guys in their gazebo but one thing that did happen is we reconnected with old friends and for that, this trip was worth every kilometer we drove to get there!

More to come….stay tuned!

Happy trails to you,

Sweet Marie

 

So have you been out to the London Fringe yet? Seriously, why not? It is fun, cheap and so accessible! Here in London, we have 8 venues, each with several shows a day! You can stay at one venue and hit 3 shows in 4 hours! Seriously…sooo much fun!

So far we have seen “I sound like Mom“, which was very good. If you’re a MOm or a daughter, you will relate and surely laugh!

We have seen “Hotter than Potter“, our local Keith Brown doing magic tricks that will astound you and leave you scratching your head thinking, what just happened? A must see, good for all ages!

Last night we saw “James and Jamesy” a comedy in the dark! It took me a few minutes to catch on, but not to worry, the laughs that come once you do get it, are well worth it!

Finally, my favourite so far by a long shot is “Woody Sed“. This is a show about Woody Guthrie,  a true story that will grip you right from the start. His songs, his stories, the sad tales, all of it will keep you captivated! Thomas Jones is brilliant, his singing exceptional and his timing, excellent. There is audience participation as well, which just adds to the fun! If you can see only one show, I’d say, see this one!

Gotta run, I have several shows to see! Now, call the sitter and go! For more info, go to http://www.londonfringe.ca

Sweet Fringing,

Sweet Marie

Have you ever been so excited about something that you just count the sleeps? Well, it’s 6 sleeps till the London Fringe Festival starts! My husband and I have been audience members many times over the years but this year, we are billeting. That means we’ll be having an actor stay with us for the duration of the festival. We look forward to the experience and this year, we will get to see many of the shows! Last year, I only got to one show as my Mom was very ill and that kept me very pre-occupied.

“The London Fringe Theatre Festival is dedicated to the promotion, production, and prosperity of independent artists. We create a unique and inclusive environment where the arts will be enjoyed in the present and developed for the future.” They give unrestrained creative freedom to participants, they provide artists with audiences, artists from the community and from outside the community as well, from all over Canada and from around the world! The Fringe provides technical, promotional support and even educational opportunities. To see more about the festival, please go to http://www.londonfringe.ca

Our billeter is Thomas Jones and his show is called Woody Sed ! His show is a new play about the life and times of Woody Guthrie and the songs he sang about them. This play was born out of the sheer astonishment he experienced learning about Woody’s life and the relevance he saw in his work and his story to the world we live in today. Woody Sed is loaded with songs both well known and obscure and each song is framed a theatrical context.   You can see more about his show on his website http://www.woodysed.com or look him up on Facebook.

Please join me in first welcoming all the out-of-town performers to London, and secondly spreading the word about the festival. It’s going to be fun and sure to put a smile on your face! Please join me at one or ten of the shows, I would love it! There are comedians, magicians, singers, actors of all genres! Truly it’s a wonder!

So if you’re trying to reach me in the next two weeks, you might as well look me up at the Fringe, that’s where I’ll be!

Cheers!

Sweet Marie

 

Spring has sprung and the rhubarb is in full season! Yipee!! I love me a crisp as it’s healthier than pie, tasty and if done right, gluten-free! so have at it folks, make one today for the ones you love!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh rhubarb, washed and diced
  • 2 cups strawberries, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp. tapioca flour/starch

For the crumble:

  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4-1/2 cup nuts of choice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease aa 8×8 pan or your 10″ cast iron pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the top 7 ingredients. Stir to combine well. Pour into your pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the topping ingredients till crumbly.  Pour over top the fruit in pan.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes till golden and bubbling. Serve with whipped cream or coconut cream for the non-dairy folks!

It’s Friday and I really want nachos with loads of cheese and ground beef, and the works. Oh wait, I forgot, I’m really trying hard to keep the weight off and let’s just throw this out there…drop some more! So here’s my recipe for Nacho  Salad!

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz ground turkey
  • 1 oz cheddar shredded
  • 4 corn tortillas cut into 6 pieces each
  • 1 jalapeno
  • pineapple salsa
  • tossed salad
  • lite dressing
  • salsa
  • sour cream (low fat, no fat, your call)

Pineapple salsa

  • 1 cup diced pineapple fresh
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 lime juiced and zested
  • 1 roma tomato diced
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper

Mexican Dressing

  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing of choice (low fat, no fat, full fat, your call)
  • Mix together, voila, you have Mexican dressing!

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. place your tortillas on baking trays covered in parchment. Spread them out.
  3. Spray them with either pam or spray olive oil( my choice). Sprinkle with a Mexican seasoning or garlic salt and paprika.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or till golden crispy!
  5. Make the pineapple salsa by simply mixing all the ingredients together and let their flavors marinate! 1-3 hours ahead is great!
  6. Fry up the ground turkey with some Mexican seasonings. Set aside to cool.
  7. Now, place your baked tortillas/nachos on a large dinner place.
  8. Sprinkle the meat and jalapenos over the nachos. Cover with the cheese.
  9. Nuke for 1 minute or pop back in the oven to melt the cheese ( be sure you’re using an ovenable dish)
  10. Once the cheese is melted, move the chips to the sides of the plate, and fill the center with tossed salad. (lettuce, tomato, cukes, red pepper, red onion etc)
  11. Top with the pineapple salsa, avocado, sour cream, salsa or dressing.
  12. Mine came out to 11 points, it all depends on your choices, could be more, could be less! Enjoy!

So I just posted the recipe for Zoom. Now you ask , what the heck do I do with Zoom? Simple, you can use Zoom anywhere you would use stewed tomatoes! Here’s a favourite in my house!

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar of Zoom ( stewed tomatoes if you don’t have zoom)
  • 1/2 -1 lb of cooked meat ( chicken, pork, beef, turkey or tofu shaved, diced, pulled etc)
  • 2-4 cups of veggies ( brocc, cauliflower, green beans, corn, zuch, squash, cut any shape or size)
  • 8 cups of broth (chicken, beef or veg)
  • 4-6 cups water
  • 1 can or 1 cup of beans ( black, chick, kidney, lentil etc)
  • 1 cup ‘carbs of choice'(potato, pasta or rice)
  • spices (thyme, oregano, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper) to your tastes

Directions:

  1. If you are using any raw veggies, feel free to sautee them in a tbsp olive oil.
  2. Add the broth and zoom
  3. Add in the rest of your veggies, beans and water. Boil.
  4. Add your spices. Taste, adjust as needed.
  5. Once the veggies are cooked, the taste is right, shut off the heat.
  6. add the starch of choice, stir, cover and let sit for 15 minutes with NO HEAT.
  7. Ta-da  you have Zoom soup!

 

This is a recipe that should have been posted 2 months ago. It’s a canning recipe for tomatoes which has been passed down for generations in my family. My mother made this every year for as far back as I can remember. The last time she made it, I had to help her and this year I made it on my own as Mom was in Hospice. I was really worried that I had missed the boat on this one. I would visit M0m 2-3 times a week as I am a 2 hour drive from Leamington.  So in September I went to see her but on this particular day she was out all day. I was very afraid that I had missed the boat on the recipe and that it would die with her! I am happy to report that on my next visit she was as alert as one could be, phew! She gave me full instructions and  I stopped on my way home, got a bushel and made them the next day!

So Zoom is a blend of tomatoes and other veggies used to make soup. The idea is you add 1 jar of zoom, to some chicken broth, toss in some leftover meat (chicken, roast etc) and whatever you have in the fridge and zoom you have soup! it is very clever and is also very good in Spaghetti sauce, chili and stews! Here’s what you need:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bushel of tomatoes
  • 3 large Spanish onions diced or slice ( more if you want or less)
  • 1/2 celery minced
  • 2-5 lbs of carrots diced small ( or more or less to your liking)
  • bay leaf ( 1 per jar)
  • basil for seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1.  Have your tomatoes washed and peeled. (dip them in boiling water and drop in an ice bath, peels will fall off!)
  2. Place in a large canner or stock pot.
  3. Toss in all the prepared veggies.
  4. Boil till well stewed. Season to taste.
  5. Have your jars sterile and waiting patiently for the yumminess. Keep them warm!
  6. Fill the jars to the rim. Be sure the rim is clean, wipe it if needed.
  7. Seal with sterile seals and lids.
  8. At this point, you can do the water bath but not necessary if you’ve boiled the heck out of your tomatoes and boiled the seals as well, and you’ve used sterile jars.
  9. I will post a separate recipe for Zoom soup right away!