Walking…A Great Way to Start the Day


It rained here last night. On my morning walk the air was brisk and the sun was shinning. With hands tucked in my pockets I walked along and took in the beauty of the morning. Drops of dew were glistening on the plants and Christmas lights in the neighborhood. Birds were chirping on the wires and in the treetops. Neighbors driving by waved hello. A boy walking to school responded to my “good morning”. Appreciating the simple beauty in every day…a great way to start the day.

How to Clean a Toaster


Making toast is messier than one might think. I guess the action of popping the toast out of the toaster helps shed a few crumbs. Over time the crumbs can build up.

Toasters can be cleaned by emptying the little crumb tray at the bottom of the toaster. However, not all the crumbs are kind enough to make their way onto the crumb tray. Some like to stay stuck to the bottom of the toaster. Turning the toaster upside down and giving it a good shake will dislodge a few more of these crumbs, however, the really stubborn ones hang on for dear life. What to do? It is a narrow space and a long tool is required.

First off, unplug the toaster. Next, wrap a paper towel around a pencil or kabob stick and secure with a rubber band. Now this little cleaning tool can be used to reach down to the bottom of the toaster and dislodge those stubborn crumbs who could not be shook out.

Place pencil in folded paper towel
Wrap the pencil in paper towel and secure with a rubber band
DIY Cleaning Tool
Using the tool to clean inside the toaster

The outside of the toaster can be shinned up as well with a little white vinegar. For the metal parts, use a little cream of tartar and water made into a paste and use a non-abrasive scrubber to buff out any residue. Voila! The toaster is as good as new!

All shined up!

My Take on The Sharper the Knife the Less You Cry

Book Reviews, Cooking

I found the book The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn when searching the cook book shelves at the library. It looked interesting so I picked it up. From then on it was hard to put down.

The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry is a memoir of Kathleen’s journey to Paris after being let go from her job in London. Encouraged by her boyfriend, Kathleen enrolls in the famous Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris to fulfill a life long dream. It reads like episodes from Master Chef. Also entwined in the book are her daily adventures of being an American in Paris, learning the French language, outings and entertaining friends, and life with her boyfriend Mike. She includes recipes as well. So the book is also a cookbook.

I found the book entertaining and really enjoyed sitting down to read it. It’s the kind of book I hated to see come to an end. I should also mention that Kathleen Flinn has a background in journalism, so the book is well written. If a fan of cooking, cooking shows, Paris, or just want to learn a bit about how Le Cordon Bleu works, this book fits the bill. Bon Appetit!

Oh Christmas Tree!


‘Tis the Season for holiday decorating . I found some unusual and awesome tree decorating ideas…


(Featured image: An upside-down Christmas tree is suspended from the ceiling at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport hotel in Richmond, B.C. ( Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press ))

Happy Holidays!

My Take on the Movie Christopher Robin


I popped some corn and settled in to watch Disney’s Christopher Robin with my son last night. I had heard some time ago that it was a good movie. I must say, I will have to agree with that.

Christopher Robin is not an animation as with the Winnie the Pooh movies. It has human actors as well as “stuffed” animals playing the parts. Ewan McGregor plays Christopher Robin, Hayley Atwell plays his wife, Evelyn Robin, and Bronte Carmichael plays their daughter, Madeline. It was set in past England in the 100 acre wood and London.

Christopher Robin is all grown up now, having married, gone to war, and come back to the responsibilities of adulthood. However, he seems to be a bit more concerned about his responsibilities at work than to that of his friends and family. Then Pooh drops into his life again seeking his help and his old friend soon gets him to remember what is important in life.

Pooh and Christopher Robin
The animals of the 100-acre woods

Some movies I watch once and that is enough. Christopher Robin is a movie I would like to see again. It would be worth owning a copy of this movie to watch from time to time. It was entertaining, laugh out loud funny, cute, and touching. I loved it as a ‘period piece’ as well, as it was set in an earlier era. The animals of the hundred acre wood are as adorable as ever. The movie Christopher Robin sends a wonderful message to us all. A reminder to not forget who you are or who is important to you as you make your journey through life and to have fun along the way. Bravo for Christopher Robin!

Thanksgiving Wishes


A real treat as a kid was to be lucky enough to be chosen to pull the wishbone of the turkey on Thanksgiving Day. After all, only two people can compete in this wishing competition. The winner, of course, comes away with the bigger piece and gets their wish granted. But where did this tradition begin?

“Ever wonder where the wishbone tradition came from? Well here’s a little trivia for your Thanksgiving table: It all started with the ancient Romans, who pulled apart chicken clavicles—formally know as the bird’s furcula—in hopes of achieving good fortune. It was believed that the birds were oracles that could predict the future and preserving this bone would allow people access to the chicken’s mystical powers even after eating it. According to legend, the custom evolved into breaking the bone into two because of good old fashioned supply and demand; there simply weren’t enough wishbones to go around. The solution? Groups of two began to wish on the same bone and then snap the clavicle in half. The person who got the bigger half was deemed the winner and granted their wish.” —(From realsimple.com)

Apparently, this tradition was not used on the turkey until the Pilgrims arrived from England to Plymouth, Massachusetts where turkeys were abundant. The term “wishbone” came to be after President Lincoln named Thanksgiving a federal holiday in 1863.

Interesting! Well some things never change. We can still get enjoyment from ripping a slippery wishbone in half and hoping that our wishes will come true. Sort of like an extra birthday wish… Good-luck at getting the bigger piece. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving day.

Baked Alaska Cupcakes


I have a bucket list of items I want to try and make in the kitchen. Baked Alaska was on that list. It was one of the intimidating, challenging items on my list. How can ice cream be baked? Will I end up with ice cream soup? How will we eat the whole thing before it melts?

The answer was simple. Start small. I found that Baked Alaska can be made in cupcake form. Brilliant! The recipe I was looking at called for a box mix cake. I do not do box mix cakes. The family does not prefer them, and to be quite honest, I do not see the point in buying a mix if I have all the ingredients to make a cake from scratch. It is not any harder to make and it tastes better. Also, we did not need 24 cupcakes, only 3. So, I decided to make three Baked Alaska cupcakes.

First I made the cupcake batter and filled the cupcake papers in a muffin tin. I let these cool on a wire rack. Next, I placed them into a freezer safe container and then scooped ice cream on top. Into the freezer they went for a couple of hours.

I preheated my oven to 450 degrees F while making the meringue. Then I took the cupcakes out of the freezer and popped them back into the muffin tin and spread the meringue over the top.

I popped them in the oven for 2 minutes, until the meringue browned.

Then the Baked Alaska cupcakes were plated, brought to the table, and devoured.

The results were good. The family liked these tasty treats. My husband wished that I had made more. So the next time I made a bigger batch. Another successful attempt in the test kitchen. Happy baking!

To make the Baked Alaska Cupcakes:

  • Make cupcakes using paper cupcake liners (any flavor/any recipe – I used chocolate)
  • Ice Cream (any flavor – Again I used chocolate)
  • Meringue – to cover 6-12 cupcakes: 2 egg whites/ 1/4 tsp cream of tartar/ 3/4 tsp vanilla/ 1/3 cup sugar

Make cupcakes and let cool on wire rack. When cool scoop ice cream on top leaving a little border around the edge and place in freezer safe container. Freeze for at least two hours. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Beat egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the sugar until stiff peaks form. Take cupcakes out of freezer and place back into the muffin tin. With a knife, spread the meringue gently around the ice cream being sure to seal around the top of cupcake. Pop in the oven for 2-3 minutes. The tops should be light brown in color and firm. DO NOT over bake as the ice cream will melt. Remove from oven and plate and serve promptly. Enjoy!