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Hallowe'en Is Over

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Yesterday I decorated the house with a door poster, some "Danger" yellow tape and some candles inside protective jars.
The weather was cool but dry and we had many little revellers enjoying the door-to-door fun.
Yeah-- I've heard a number of histories about where Halloween got its start and how evil and dark it has been.

I think that is why I use bright pumpkins and candles to lighten the gruesome aspects. I don't scare kids... last night I answered the door as a friendly angel!

My pumpkin was glowing red and next year I want to try to make it glow blue or bright neon green! I don't march to the regular drummer.

I hostessed a taco party for my newly-widowed neighbour. She had never eaten them (or torillas) before. I showed her how simply this meal can be thrown together.

Anyway, after we noshed, all the little kiddies from the reservation knocked on our door and showed off their costumes. I love when they have to tell you that they are a teddy bear or they are Superman! Yep, that's what they look like!

I did wave at the other neighbours in my angel costume too and everyone had a laugh! Scary? No. Sharing some joy around here?
You betcha!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IUHRYTR 11/4/2011 9:11PM

    Sounds like a more fun holiday than usual. Good going on your creative approach. emoticon -- Lou

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ROEANDGO 11/1/2011 11:26PM

    I LOVE sharing the job at Halloween too! I was a happy, good witch this year and have been a slice of tomato, an angel (like you!), a cow with udders, etc. in previous years! Life is too short to just go with the flow, right?!

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NOLAZYBUTT110 11/1/2011 9:21PM

    I wish I lived in your neighborhood when I was a kid, maybe I would not be so set against celebrating Halloween....... most were horrific memories, one was nice until someone pushed my head into the apple filled tank and dunked me! Would love to enjoy a nice Halloween!

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KESHA1975 11/1/2011 2:57PM

    I am glad you enjoyed your Halloween....It has always been one of my favorite holidays. Mostly due to the fact that my mother has always went out of her way to make it a fun, cheerful holiday about children. I think lots of things have bad origins and some have good and have been made bad. It is just up to us to decide what we are going to allow it to be for us today. So like many other things it will be what you make it. :)

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PANSYLADY2 11/1/2011 1:48PM

    I'm just happy that Halloween is over. A group of us were in a location praying, and groups of 2-4 went out Blessing and Treating, taking prayer requests and praying for people. Better than trick or treat.

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DISCOVERLLH 11/1/2011 1:22PM

    My daughter and I were discussing Halloween yesterday and where it got its origins. She went to a church service last Halloween with her friend and has since decided that as a Christian she can't support Halloween. I understand that point of view but am torn. When my kids were little and I took them trick-or-treating, the intention was not evil or gruesome, but a chance to do something fun together as a family and connect with the neighbors. I can't see how it is a bad thing to see a glow of happiness in the eyes of the little Tinkerbells and Puppy Dogs that came to my house last night. I still refuse to decorate in ghoulish or gory things and prefer "harvest" type decorations, but I plan to keep opening the door to the kids. You are only young once...enjoy it! emoticon

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Throwing Out Old Spices and Herbs

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Today, a neighbour dropped off two grocery bags of bottled spices and herbs. One of our local ladies has passed away and the hubby is trying to simplify his kitchen cupboards... that's where the spice bottles came from.

I noticed right away that many of the spices no longer had colour. When I opened the lids, the aroma was gone or smelled musty. How old was this collection?

I went on the Club House website because many of the bottles had those labels. This is what I have been able to glean:

Check for these signs:

All recent Club House packaging reflects the current Club House logo (house with green leaves) as is shown throughout our site.
If your Club House spice bottle is glass, the spice is over 15 years old
If your Club House spice has a yellow cap and label, it is over 4 years old
If your Club House pepper has a white/cream cap, it is over 4 years old
If your Club House tin is larger than 2" tall (excluding ground black pepper), it is over 8 years old
If your Club House product does not have the Club House logo with a red and orange wave in the upper left corner, it is over 4 years old.

Product Expiry Guidelines

Your Club House products will deliver the best flavour if used within these guidelines.

Ground spices - 2 to 3 years
Whole spices - 4 years
Herbs: 1-3 years
Sesame Seeds & Poppy Seeds 2 years
All other Seeds 4 years
Spice Blends: 1-2 years
Pure vanilla extract: unlimited shelf life

How to Maximize Freshness

Spices and herbs that are whole maintain their freshness longer than those that are ground. If kept in airtight bottles, they will keep for a long time. Spices and herbs do not spoil but they do lose their strength. Old and weak seasonings will not deliver the taste they should.

There are three checks to use when verifying freshness: look, smell and taste. A visual check for colour fading is a good indicator of flavour loss. Taste and smell your spices and herbs; if a fresh odour or taste is not apparent, they need to be replaced.

Avoid sprinkling spices directly from the bottle over a steaming pot. Steam will get into the bottle and result in caking the content. Measure spices in a separate bowl, seal bottles and then add measured spices to pot.

Soooooo... I have a collection of 15 year old (or more) spices in the most ancient of bottles with the old labels and old coloured lids. I think I will wash the bottles out and go to my local bulk food store to start over.

Easy come-- easy go!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOVBUG2 2/2/2014 11:54AM

  As I wiped down my much used salt and pepper containers, i decided to checked on the out dated herbs from my cupboard and I was very surprised to find 2/23/11 dated rosemary and cumn, both smells just as fresh as to when I first used them. I thought of my daughter right away, because she NEVER uses anything out dated. but she loves my cooking. emoticon

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MARILYNKNITS 11/19/2011 4:33PM

  I decided to toss my old herbs and spices too. This is what happens when you "lose" them in the back of the cupboard!!

I am going to replace them three at a time - otherwise I'll be broke!

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NOLAZYBUTT110 9/30/2011 4:20PM

    My way of telling if the spices or herbs are old...is ...if they have no aroma, they are over a year old. If they have no taste, they are ready for the trash can! If they have bugs, (and you can even find them in cayenne pepper) you may end up hosting a whole family you dont want to host. Your best bet is...if its over a year old for leaves, toss it! Leave/ herbs lose their potency after one season believe it or not! And dont have much of a taste or aroma. Its usually after the first years season taht herbs and soem spices are nto so good to use, some can even be poisonous. Like Tumeric. If you want to be kosher about it... get rid of all your old spices and herbs after a year! Even tea bags after a year they may be good and they may not be good. It depends how you contain them. If you keep them in plastic they will be iffy after a year. If in glass containers you may get up to 5 years for some teas. Herbs and teas varie for potency. Black versus green. Greener canbe less tasty than dark colored teas ad herbs. Green tea is fresher than black but is only good for the year. After that they may even become filled with bugs (hard to know if their are parasites in somethings espeically teas and spices!

Even though some herbs/Teas are roasted or dried they still can get bugs via the distributors inability to control such via enroute to the stores. If I were you, I would be more incline to toss old spices or teas or at least be careful about some things esp some spices and herbs. You could be asking for troubles and parasites when you dont know how old theya re or how they were contained or their expiration dates.

As for me, I date everything I bring into my house! Your safer to know the date you bought it or at least make sure it has an expiration date on it, because spces and herbs do expire! and can make you sick if you dont know much abitu them. Soem can be even toxic when OLD!LIke Tumeric! Susana

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GOSPELCLOWN 9/29/2011 12:06AM

    I'm a great user of oregano and Mrs. Dash. I love cinnamon and nutmeg. I often make chili so I go to the garlic, cumin and a chili powder.

I cannot use added sodium either, so the herbs and spices are my way of improving flavour.

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KNIT1PURL2LOSE3 9/28/2011 8:43AM

    It's amazing how long people hold onto spices and think they are actually flavoring food. Good for you for checking them out.

I'm in the process of replacing all my spices and herbs (and I use a lot of them!) with organic ones. It's expensive to switch them all over, but I'm going a few at a time. Some I have replaced when they were empty, but others I am tossing out because they are old and it is time to get fresh.

Those of us restricting sodium know how important it is to use a lot of herbs and seasonings to punch up that flavor!

What are some of your favorite and most often used spices and herbs?

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MOTTAMAMALOU 9/27/2011 7:24PM

    Love the tip!

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ROEANDGO 9/27/2011 5:29PM

    Great info! You've inspired me to open my spices and start replacing the ones I use the most. Maybe I'll put them all in a basket and pull out the ones as I use them, test them and replace if needed. Any others will just get tossed. I have some white pepper that has to be 20 years old!

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LAFFLOTS57 9/26/2011 5:14PM

    Good info! I always wondered about spice life.
emoticon

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PROT358 9/25/2011 11:16PM

    Wow, that is interesting information. We keep using the same old stuff. They quite literally have dust on the tops of them. Well now I can make a compelling argument to get some new spices!

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GOSPELCLOWN 9/25/2011 11:07AM

    Tell your partner to throw out HIS Old Spice too! Haa, haa, haa!

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PANSYLADY2 9/25/2011 9:02AM

    Good information!! I'm glad to see you plan to put those glass spice bottles to good use. (And I love your new quilt background.) Have a great day.

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JUDITH316 9/25/2011 6:18AM

    emoticon for the timely tip, after reading the description above, I can be sure I have heaps of old spices in my spice rack. I threw out some old spices not long ago because when I went to use, the spice didn't look right, and when I smelled the product it sure did not smell pretty. LOL Anyway your post has only reinforced a reminder to clean out my spice rack, no more second guessing for me, I'm also positive that ALL my spices are old in that rack and like you I'm heading to the Bulk Spice section and what I can't get there I'll head over to my trusty dollar store, I can get large bottles of spices for under $3.00, most are between 1 and 2 dollars a bottle.

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_CYNDY55_ 9/25/2011 2:18AM

    emoticonfor the Great Info and Tips!!!
I am also Guilty of Keeping old spices!
Right on with the Pure Vanilla Extract!!!!!

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UNICORN212 9/25/2011 1:26AM

    I am guilty of having old spices, too, but I have been trying to replace the worst offenders! At lease you learned something from the experience!

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Roses In September

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I love where I live! The coastal weather is temperate, bright and fresh. Many think we are constantly in grey fog and drizzle. That is only accurate in November.

This morning as I was taking out the trash, I was rewarded with the beautiful sight of my red rose bush with its nine blossoms. Imagine that-- nine roses, showing off in September!

I grew up in the east but in an completely different growing zone. Roses bloomed in June. If you were lucky there were a few roses to see in July but that was it. Show's over!

But here way out west, we have some gorgeous roses still doing what they do best on the last days of summer. I enjoy them and feel so blessed.
In my neighbourhood I can still see a yellow rose bush and a salmon coloured rose bush still blooming.

It really adds a lot to my walking workout! I love roses in September!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IUHRYTR 10/1/2011 8:10PM

    Seeing emoticon emoticon emoticon would sure brighten up a day. Glad you had the chance to enjoy them. -- Lou

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CANBDONE 9/24/2011 11:04AM

    Thanks for reminding me to take the time to notice the beauty around me. I have been enjoying the butterflies.... emoticon
Whenever I see one I say, "Yes, Lord!"

Comment edited on: 9/24/2011 11:05:19 AM

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MSLZZY 9/24/2011 12:17AM

    emoticon

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ROEANDGO 9/23/2011 10:17AM

    I love roses too!! Thanks for reminding me to "stop and smell the roses"!!

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NOLAZYBUTT110 9/23/2011 8:05AM

    I still have zinnias blooming. They bloom til we get a freeze here in New York! The Hostas just finished their blooming. We always have something blooming in my garden. Roses did not do so good this year (I have no idea why, but NO Roses Bloomed in the front of my house and very few any where else). But I have marigolds still blooming too. Everywhere in my garden I have something still blooming. I have these winter flowers which are cranberryish color. They turn brown when the cold comes, but give a nice fall color to the garedn. The Butterfly bush still has flowers and my hydrangea just turned a purplish color. so we have some color yet. My garden, I call the Garden of Eden 2. Have posted soem pictures already. ( check out my blogs.)

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SGTSUNNY 9/20/2011 11:58PM

    We have roses blooming all year here, actually Christmas time is the best. Thank you for the blog, it reminded me to to count my blessings and notice appreciate what I am given.

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REENSKI 9/20/2011 9:24PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Ours have long past in Massachusetts-but thank you for the lovely visual!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon


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Farm Fresh... Dirt Cheap

Monday, September 19, 2011

If you live near me in Victoria, British Columbia, you might recognize this title as the by-line of a wonderful produce store. Their fruit and veggies are so ripe, fresh and affordable that I get all excited about going there to shop. May I introduce The Root Cellar!


The staff is helpful and friendly and the prices are great. If I had to rename the place it would be "VARIETY Vegetables--FANTASTIC Fruit". I can purchase local produce, organic varieties, fancy items and very basic things too!
Let's just leave the name as it is, OK?


Today, after having an appointment with the dentist (yuck), I decided to treat myself to healthy food for my fridge. What started with the goal of finding some shiny zucchinis for an Italian casserole, became a delicious list of snow peas, baby plum tomatoes, fresh green beans, five avocadoes, a bunch of watercress, celery, an English cucumber and Oriental bok choy. I bought the loveliest bunch of green onions and a fresh acorn squash too! Many of these items will end up in a stir fry (our favourite) or in my brown bag lunch throughout the work week.


I've listed the vegetables I brought home. The fruits that caught my eye and jumped into my cart are: bananas, Okanagan peaches (a region of this province), cantaloupe, plums and a pear. I'm the fruit eater at this house, but I keep trying to introduce it to my better half.

My challenge for the next week is to incorporate my exciting variety of Root Cellar treasures into the menu and not allow a single thing to go bad in the crisper.

Stay tuned to see how this gal and her guy manage to enjoy the season's best -- I'll be managing my high blood pressure and he will try to ignore that he has diabetes. (That's an entirely different blog.)

I challenge you to bring home some of this year's produce instead of the prepackage and frozen veggies that are so convenient. Are you up for that double-dog dare???

What did I buy that interests you? What was in my shopping cart that you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IUHRYTR 10/1/2011 8:12PM

    I'm not fond of onions but would have enjoyed the other things you chose. -- Lou

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ROEANDGO 9/23/2011 10:21AM

    I would eat anything that you put in your cart!! But I've never heard of a "Okanagan peach" so I would try that first!

Thanks for sharing your crisper freggies with us!

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PROT358 9/20/2011 4:55PM

    All of it sounds yummy! Any leftovers? ;)

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GOSPELCLOWN 9/20/2011 12:30AM

    I made a cream cheese and watercress sandwich for myself and later in the afternoon when a girlfriend popped in battling depression. I found out she had not eaten, so I introduced her to the easy-to-make tea sandwich. She had a few slices of cucumber too. She didn't want to try any avocado.

It is so fun to share food and boost another with friendship and some energy!

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TEMPEST272002 9/19/2011 7:29PM

    Sounds like a great day at the market. I'd eat *everything* in your basket! lol Very few fruits/veggies I don't like.

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CANBDONE 9/19/2011 6:51PM

    What do you do with your watercress? I've only had it in cream cheese sandwiches.

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CANNOTFATHOM 9/19/2011 6:13PM

    I don't like avocados, but like you I love the farmer's market. I like keeping my money close to home and I love the freshness of the items :)


Penny

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GOSPELCLOWN 9/19/2011 6:11PM

    Lunch today was a cream cheese and watercress sandwich and an entire avocado. I didn't mean to eat the whole thing, but it has been so long since I bought a little green treasure... it just disappeared down the chute as I was reading a magazine and listening to the birds outside.

I guess I had better 'fess up and log in my calories. I loved every tasty one of them! Then I made a girlfriend her first every watercress sandwich. She liked it too!

I encourage you to have a love affair with your fruits and veggies this harvest season!

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DOLPHINFAN1334 9/19/2011 6:08PM

    IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU GOT A LOT OF REALLY GOOD FOODS!! HAVE A GREAT WEEK!! emoticon

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What Food Do You Dislike The Most?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm putting myself out there tonight... I really dislike hot dog wieners. I don't like their appearance. I dislike the odor when they boil. The taste is not to my liking and I get heartburn from them for hours after someone hosts a BBQ. (GREAT--- we're having wieners.)

I think it hit me hard one day I volunteered at my daughter's kindergarten class and we were hostessing a Hot Dog Day to raise money.
There were pots and pots of smelly frankfurters with oily circles on the top of the water. I felt sick.

Still, I helped out until 300 hot dogs were wrapped in miles of aluminum foil to deliver classroom by classroom.

My Sweetie loves to shop at Costco and buy a Hot Dog as his reward for buying groceries. They are one of his favourite things for lunch.

So I ask, what food do you dislike the most????

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOLAZYBUTT110 7/30/2011 11:36PM

    I hate PORK and Beef products..milk, hamburger, but hate pork the most , because I cant tolerate it those meat products.... even ice cream makes me sick. I only have ice cream so I can purge! Any of those in any amount makes me very sick.....diarrhea and when its hot, even worst. I vomit! And get migraines galore! I cant tolerate any Hotdogs or hamburgers. and when I am forced to eat such food, to say they disagree with m\y palate, is the least of my angst. I get very sick! The only summer food I can eat is chicken! And smelling Hotdogs on a grill make me very ill! I despise having to share a grill with such foods! So I can relate to that nasty smell! Just drive thru the state of Iowa and you will get sick......its where they make Hotdogs! The air is sickening; the worst in the summer heat! I avoid Iowa or going thru Iowa on my travels! I feel for anyone who lives in Iowa.

Comment edited on: 9/23/2011 8:12:55 AM

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PROT0530 7/28/2011 8:15PM

  COFFEE. Uggh. The smell literally makes me nauseous, so much I sometimes I have to excuse myself, and if someone is drinking one (even a weak one) close enough I can't avoid the smell, like the time my brother drank a huge cappuccino in the car and the smell infected our shared air, I was just about screaming with the intensity of the headache and nearly asked them to pull over the car from my nausea. Clearly coffee does not like me either!

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CANBDONE 7/28/2011 11:39AM

    You make me smile, as everything you said about hot dogs are true, except I love them! I once made a hotdog omelet out of left-over grilled dogs. My husband begged me never to do that again! I would have to say raw tomatoes...I like them cooked, or in salsa, soup, ketchup, but not raw. My son eats them like an apple...eeewwww. My mom likes tomato and mayo sandwiches...ewwwww!

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JUDITH316 7/28/2011 1:51AM

    I love almost all foods but really don't like lima beans, I've tried them in almost every recipe and don't like, I also don't like anchovies, don't like the taste or the smell...But over all I love all food, heaps of fresh veggies and fresh fruits.

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MIRDREAMS 7/28/2011 1:29AM

    I'll second Coffee. I don't even like coffee ice cream. But I love the smell of it brewing.

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JIBBIE49 7/28/2011 12:12AM

    emoticonI hate DARK CHOCOLATE. Yuck! emoticonI hate coffee.
Yes, I am a "SUPER TASTER". Having read Neal Barnard M.D.'s book "Change Your Genes" I passed the test with flying colors. He says we have the GENE for "BITTER" and that is why we dislike foods like Sweet Potatoes and Tea. About 1/4 th of us have the gene. Those that don't love sweets because they lack strong tastes.
I always hated cabbage, pickled herring and sardines.

As for as Hot Dogs, I love REAL Deli Franks but not the cheap hot dogs at all. I do buy Kosher Dogs and NATHANS.

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WCUNNINGHAM3 7/28/2011 12:03AM

    Liver is GROSS

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ROTCHV 7/28/2011 12:00AM

    sushi with raw fish

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SWAN47 7/27/2011 11:58PM

    Liver and onions.

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