Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How To Love Leftover Ham.

I never was one for ham. Turkey? All day. Salami? I'll take a bath in it.

Mustard was always a favorite. Until I discovered mayo in college. Mustard has since gone out the window.

But brown sugar....oh my. I could eat it by the spoonful. I have eaten it by the spoonful. I used to sneak it when I was a kid. True story. Ask my mom.

I can hear what you're thinking: I have issues. Thank you, I'm aware.

In the past couple of years I've been working on my relationship with ham. Our communication skills are better and we see a therapist once a week. We've learned that this relationship is a two way street and we both have to put forth some effort.

The ham has carried it's weight this week. All ten pounds of it, is trying to win me over. Capture my heart and have me turn my back on turkey. And you know what? It's working.

However, heating it up by itself is boring.

Adding it to a chef salad is slightly more interesting but I can only handle so much lettuce in my life.

But adding Christina's Ham Sauce to it makes it divine.

It is not a fancy sauce. Nor is it difficult to make. It's not pretty and it's probably not low-cal either. That can only mean one thing. It's perfect.

Perfect for spreading on a piece of bread. Perfect for dipping. Perfect for glazing.

Christina takes equal parts mustard and brown sugar.

I just poured some mustard in a pan and then added brown sugar until it tasted right.

Bring the mustard to a boil and stir continuously. Not with a metal spoon! Just the thought is making me cover my ears and want to die. Yes, I am a freak. Again, I'm well aware.

Mustard has a low boiling point (look at me sounding all scientific!) and doesn't take much more than low heat to start bubbling.

Add brown sugar until it tastes just right.

Serve hot or put it in the fridge and eat later as a midnight snack (PS - this is where the dipping part comes in).

I hope I've helped find a new way to rekindle your love for ham. Especially leftover ham that seems to be taking control of all your tupperware.

Note to self: 10 pounds of ham is excessive.


Today I am thankful for... everyone and everything that I have been blessed with.


Weights - arms and shoulders. I was too tired to do anything else. See below.
Cardio - run on treadmill:
1-3 min / 3.0
3-4 min / 3.5
4-7 min / 6.5 (for the record I have never been above 5.5)
7-8 min / 7.0 (I think I just might die at this point)
8-9 min / 3.5
9-12 min / 6.7 (definitely dying)
12-13 min / 7.2 (for sure cannot feel my legs)
13-14 min / 3.5 
14-18 min / 7.0 (might pass out and am willing to give my left arm to make this stop)
18-19 min / 6.5 (might puke. i am not meant to sprint for 5 minutes straight)
19-20 min / 3.5

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cupcakes In A Jar: Baby Shower or Christmas Idea.

Tonight I was all ready to tell you about the Santa Parade our town had this past weekend. But I'm just not there yet. It's still November, my house is wonderfully un-decorated and I'm enjoying a 'down' week from the holidays. But starting next week, bring on the festivities.

So let us back track a couple of weekends. Carla's baby shower was so much fun to help organize.  Mainly, because I've been hoping/looking/waiting for a reason to make cupcakes-in-a-jar. This is no new invention in the world of cuteness but I'm a bit of late bloomer and am just now jumping on board.

I googled high and low to see if there was a 'right' way to make cupcakes-in-a-jar. For the record, there is not. It's anything goes. Let your creativity run wild. I did notice a definite lack of good tutorials on how to do it. Excuse me, but not all of us are domestically inclined. Some of us need exact directions. 

Here it goes.

250ml Mason jars hold one normal size cupcake perfectly. At the very least, you'll need mason jars, lids, cupcake ingredients, frosting, a piping bag and a decorative tip. If you're feeling really artsy-craftsy grab some cute fabric, rope/string/ribbon, and disposable spoons. Or stickers. Or none of it. 

Like I said, anything goes.

But back to what I did.

Make the cupcakes. A box mix will work just fine. Don't be ashamed. Duncan Hines knows whats up.

Peel off the liners and carefully break the cupcakes in half. Set the tops aside.

This would be a good time to recruit some help. Husband, child, roommate, elf, imaginary friend, whoever. 

Drop the bottoms into the jar. 

Next, make a batch of icing. Go ahead, get out your mixer and make it from scratch. Don't be lazy. 

I decided to use two different colors of icing; pink and blue because we don't know if Carla is having a boy or a girl. Because I'm voting for a girl, I put a layer of pink frosting down first using a piping bag and decorative tip. (Wilton #2 I think?)

On top of the frosting went the cupcake tops. Recruit your helper to do this...

Because you're busy making a second batch of frosting. There is no such thing as too much frosting. This time I dyed it blue and piped it on top in the same manner as before.

But wouldn't it be cute to do red and green frosting for the holidays? 

Oh! Or dye the batter to have red and green cupcakes with white frosting! Oh! Or chocolate!

Finally, I suckered The Canadian into sprinkling a few sprinkles on top. Are these not the prettiest sprinkles ever?

Oh! You could put those pretty silver ball sprinkles on Christmas cupcakes in a jar!

So far, so good. You could even stop here and call it a day.

But I wasn't done yet. I found cute fabric (18x18 precut square for $2 at Walmart) that was gender neutral and adorable with it's cute owls. Cutting the fabric into 4x4 inch squares worked perfectly to cover the top of each jar.

I finished it off with simple string (that I found in the junk drawer) to hold a plastic spoon and a cute tag that I printed and hole punched. 

Oh! You could write cute Christmas song lyrics and attach it to holiday cupcakes in a jar!

Yes, I think that is exactly what my mailman would like for Christmas. Except he walks the streets and doesn't have a fancy backwards-driving mail truck. So maybe a jar o cupcake might weigh too much. Or he could just eat it as he walks. It does come with a spoon and everything. Yup, I think he will be will to bear the weight.

Happy cupcake-in-a-jar making!


Today I am thankful for... all the kitchen tools, utensils and lessons I inherited from my Grandpa.


Workout: Cardio - (I almost puked even though it was only 20 minutes) 20 minutes of some crazy TM workout I found on Pinterest. I thought I was going to die. I'm totally doing it again tomorrow. If I survive I'll give you the specifics tomorrow.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Deep (Holiday) Thoughts By The Dog.

Hobie would like to take a moment and remind you all to take a breather and enjoy the holidays. Running around like a wild person is for the birds. Nothing warrants that kind of stress. Except maybe the vacuum.

She knows the secret. It's all about taking a mid afternoon nap. That may or may not last all day. Ahem.

Life is too precious to get wrapped up in all the hoopla. After all, it's just a few crumbs of ham on the floor. Nothing to get in a fight over. There will be more.

She would also like you to enjoy the little things in life. Like a fresh bowl of water and fresh snow to eat.

No matter how much work and effort you put into decorating the house she will not care. For nothing is more important than raiding the trash can.

Finally, she would like everyone to remember that the most important thing you can do during the holiday season is not to buy gifts (although treats are appreciated), but it is to spend time with the people you love. And scratch them behind their ears.

Hobie says rour're relcrome.


Today I'm grateful for... camp.


Workout: BodyFlow

Southern American Thanksgiving Comes to Canada.

Try as I might, I cannot bring shopping, football and the Macy's Parade to Canada. But what I can do is bring a November Thanksgiving feast to my house and make it feel like home.

And that is just what I did. On Friday night The Canadian and I had all of our close friends over for the second annual good ole fashioned Southern Thanksgiving.

Most of the prep happened on Thursday but there was still plenty to do on Friday afternoon. Fortunately my friend Christina came over a bit early to help me out. And by that, I mean calm me down, reassure me that the turkey was not going to turn to sawdust and help make the Sweet Tea Cocktail. It wouldn't be Southern if sweet tea wasn't somehow incorporated, right?

Taste testing is the best part. The proportions can be tricky and requires lots of samples, if you get my drift. It's how I calm my nerves about the whole turkey-turning-to-sawdust-and-the-gravy-not-thickening situation. It may be the best part of the night for me.

When we had the sweet tea cocktail under control the buzzer finally went off and it was time for the moment of truth... Were my worst fears going to be realized and my turkey come out a pile of sawdust?

Perfection! Fortunately the turkey turned out tender and delicious.

Basically the opposite of sawdust.

There was plenty of ham too. Not because we needed it. More as a precaution and back-up in the event that I destroyed the turkey.

Finally, dinner was served. I love seeing Canadians enjoy southern comfort food. Makes me feel like I'm making a difference in their lives.

Cheers!!!! To a good meal, good friends and good company. And lots of homemade wine.

When we were all through gorging ourselves the party moved into the kitchen. It's how we roll in the Maritimes.

Eventually everyone got around to second helpings of pecan pie. Not peeeecan, as I kept trying to tell them.

We all stayed up late, hanging out and enjoying each other's company drinking. And apparently taking photos of ourselves using pans and cheese graters as attack weapons.

Who knows exactly what was going through our heads at this point. But if a photo could talk then this one would say, "We conquered Thanksgiving again and wore our aprons until the very last minute! Bahahah."

And let us not forget Hobie, who was so floored by the whole experience that she promptly fell asleep.

And don't forget Jackson who showed up in his fireman uniform just in case I burned the place down. He even brought along his moustache and five brand new stitches in his chin just to prove how awesomely dedicated he is to Southern American Thanksgiving. (PS - that's what you get when you go straight from work to hockey practice where you take a stick to the face and have to book it to the ER and then haul ass to your BFF's place so his wife doesn't have a meltdown because there is an empty seat at her perfectly planned table.)

Dear Thanksgiving 2012,

Bring it on.

Love, me


Today I am thankful for.... good friends and good times.


Workout: Cardio - 30 minutes, Weights - a whole bunch of random stuff that I don't feel like writing down because it was lame and I wasn't in the mood. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving is Tomorrow At My House...

Thankfully, Maple takes her daily nap under my desk. Just to make sure she's ready if any crumbs miraculously hit the floor.

Thankfully, my cranberries all burst in a timely manner and flooded the blueberry pomegranate juice. Fingers crossed that the mixture gelatinizes over night the way its supposed to.

Thankfully, no fingers were lost while the lemons were cut.  I did not want a repeat performance of the Bagel Incident of 2011.

Thankfully, my pumpkin pies appear to be behaving themselves. The cheesecake on the other hand...well, let's just say it got into a fight with a jar or pickles.

Thankfully, the sweet potatoes finally baked after two hours. They seemed to be in a bad mood so I gave them some sugar to sweeten them up.


Thankfully, Tom has now found his way to the refrigerator so I will be able to take a shower tomorrow.

Thankfully, these pretty little pecans came all the way up from down South just to help me make a pie.

Thankfully, TC brought me home my favorite white daisies that I turned into simple little centerpieces.

Thankfully, the real tablecloth doesn't look quite that orange in real life. 



Today I'm thankful for... my home.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

25 Centimeters of Snow Before 25 Pounds of Turkey.

1. "Due to the inclement weather (read: blizzard) we will be closing school early today. We will let you know the details of dismissal in the coming hour." Can I get a hell yeah! for a half day. Remember, it's not a holiday here. It's just a regular old week. With a blizzard. Totally normal.

2. Good thing I had my trusty dusty winter boots in the car. Too bad I had to walk a block in my cute flats to get them and then had icicles for feet by the time I got there.

3. Its almost the big day. Preparation continued today and first thing on the list was to defrost ole Tom (stop panicking - my dinner isn't until Friday). He takes up my whole sink. When I read the package it said 'defrost breast side up.' Not knowing what that meant, I had to call my mom and ask her which side that was. Legs pointing up? Legs pointing down? I should not be allowed to host Thanksgiving.

4. Having 17 people over for Thanksgiving requires having 17 chairs for said people to sit in. All hands chairs on deck! I meant to paint this lovely, gross mint green chair last year. I really meant to paint it black last month. Then I revised and planned to paint it tomorrow. Too bad that painting isn't recommended in temperatures below freezing. I'll have TC sit in it, he won't mind.

5. The tables are invading! The tables are invading! That, my friends, will be exactly 19 feet of Thanksgiving table when I get it all lined up tomorrow. I dug up every table I could find in our basement. It's going to span from the kitchen through the dining room and into the living room. It only took me an hour to iron the gigantic table cloths. No biggie.

6. While I was at it, I also went ahead and ironed and folded all of the napkins. I'm kind of a bad ass.

7. I braved the snow storm and headed to the gym for a little sweat session. When I walked in the girls at the desk cheered for me. "Yay," they cried, "Good job in surviving the storm!" Shhhh. Don't tell them that I had TC drive me there because I was too scared to drive myself.

8. I told you it was snowing. After about 30 seconds outside Hobie was well on her way to becoming a solid white Newf. Then she promptly walked inside and shook the snow all over the kitchen. Does anyone want a dog for Christmas? She's free to a good home.

9. Have I mentioned how much I love winter? Oh, I haven't? Hmmm. I wonder why not.


Today I'm thankful for... my family. I wish I was with them for Thanksgiving. Partly because they're at the beach. Partly because they're awesome.


Workout: Cardio - 30 minutes, Circuit - wall sit with 12 dumbbell shoulder press, 24 power bicep curls, 25 crunches on the ball, 10 push -ups with feet on ball, 10 squats with 40lb bar  X 3