Monday, December 29, 2008

Cruise Pictures 2008 - Carnival Legend

Cruise Pictures --> Pictures <--2008 - Carnival Legend

Cruise 2008

Walking into the airport, I start to feel my tummy tighten. Patti and I are pulling our suitcases through Terminal One at Pearson, in Toronto. It's freezing outside, yet I can already feel the warm tropical sun burning my skin. I've never been on an airplane... never mind a ship.. and here I am about to do both... in one day. We check our tickets at the self terminal... get in a short line to get tags and the bags weighed... and walk through to another section of the terminal. Security! I start to sweat. We don't have anything we shouldn't, yet it feels wrong somehow. 15 minutes later, after a quick 'hello' with customs and we are through. Whew! Boy was I wrong... next station we are instructed to empty our pockets, remove belts, jewelry and SHOES... place everything into the blue dog dish, and walk through the metal detectors. Getting dressed, we place out bags 'wheels side up please' into a rotating conveyor, and climb aboard the escalator into 'Duty-Free Ville'.

Taking a quick trip into the duty free store, I grab a 40 oz bottle of Skky, and Patti a 40 of Mount Gay Rum... tossing the bottles into our carry on, we sit outside the gate and await flight AC902... direct to Tampa.

Now, like I previously said... I have never been on a plane and it's not what I expected at all. We are only ever exposed to HUGE 29 aisle wide planes in the movies, with First class behind the curtain up front and wings as big as a semi. We board the Air Canada AirBus 320, right behind the cockpit. No separate first class section.... not that we are flying first class, we are in row 30. Yup... the VERY LAST ROW. Going through the standard (I assume) safety info, we are taxied out and the engines start to roar. Sticking into the back of my seat (which has to remain in the upright position) we start to speed down (or up) the runway. Within seconds we are in the air. Climbing at what feels like a 45-55 degree climb, I can see Toronto slowly get smaller below us. I'm still not sure what I envisioned, but I think in my mind I created this huge ordeal that was terrifying me... but now that the worse (I hope) was over... I'm slightly disappointed. I wanted to be scared out of my mind...
Flying through the clouds was neat, but again.. not what I expected. Then we start to climb again! We were only above the first layer, and sandwiched between them. Nothing but white outside, and then.... white fluffy pillows. It was beautiful... this was the worth the price of admission as they say.
Now once again, I'm comparing all the sights and sounds to movies we have seen. I'm thinking this huge big screen comes down and they start the in flight movie. But then I notice the 11" flat screen built into the seat in front of me. Plugging in my iPod headset, I start to navigate the menus of movies, and TV shows available.... this is a huge improvement I'm sure!! I start Batman, sit back and forget I'm 20,000' in the air. Fast forward 2 hours 50 minutes and we are descending into Tampa. It's 21c and not a cloud in the sky. I just can't believe it's December 14th... unreal.
Within 10 minutes Patti and I are walking off the plane, down the stairs where the bag claim is. Within 100' are PALM trees! Grabbing our bags, we wander over to the Carnival rep standing waiting to give us directions to our transportation to the pier. BUT before we get to the bus we have to get the duty free bottles into our luggage. Another 10 minutes and we are sitting on the air conditioned bus surrounded by palm trees waiting for the 10 minute ride to our home for the next week. I am so excited I feel like I'm going to scream... but I play it so cool so Patti doesn't notice. I just want to reveille in her excitement..... she is smiling like the Chestershire Cat. A few minutes more... and the bus driver boards and we pull out. A couple lefts.. a right... and we pull into, what looks like the same spot we just left. IT WAS! We had left somebody behind!!! Thank G*d that never happened to us! Another minute and we are off again... into the highway, through some light Sunday traffic, past the aquarium and into the port.

Now from a distance the Carnival Legend looks big. But as you get closer... it's a big as a skyscraper on it's side, and half as high. Now for anybody that knows me KNOWS I've read alot of reviews, and a mountain of specs on this ship, but NOTHING can prepare you for the real thing. I follow Pat into the terminal and we approach a gentile looking man in a red vest and a huge smile. I fish out the info Carnival sent us, our passports and my MasterCard, the happy little man takes our picture and hands us our Sail'n'Sign cards. Another short walk and we are on the PLANK. I have goosebumps!!
Now were at a spot we will get very familiar with over the next week on every port day... security. A very serious looking man takes our cards, punches them into a machine that pops up our picture and all or relevant info. He smiles says "Welcome aboard" and we walk into the most gorgeous lobby I have ever seen.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Premiere of Hell's Kitchen! - 2007

June 4th.... set your Tivo.. clear your calendar. Gordon Ramsay is BACK with a 3rd season of Hell's Kitchen. Last year saw Heather cross the finish line. WHO, is going to do it this year??

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

VH1 Rock Honors Awards

I just finished watching this years VH1 Rock Honors... with presenter like Robin Williams and Cameron Diaz, it should have been great. Instead it was EXCELLENT. There wasn't a disappointing minute... save for when Bam Margera gave himself a black eye, on purpose. Here is a quick summation of the nights events. I just wish I could post it online from my TiVo. Sorry guys!


The second annual Rock Honors on Vh1, presented by Garnier Fructis, and hosted by Bam Margera with appearances by Cameron Diaz, Robin Williams, Taylor Hawkins, Billy Bob Thorton, April Margera, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Criss Angel. This years show payed tribute to iconic rock bands, ZZ Top, Heart, Genesis, and Ozzy Osbourne.

Nickelback started this year's ceremony, playing the hit ZZ Top song, Sharp Dressed Man. Billy Bob Thorton then announced the Texas trio. After a biography video, the band took the stage and performed their MTV video hit Gimme All Your Lovin', followed by La Grange, Dusty Hill's signature song Tush and finished with Cheap Sunglasses.

Cameron Diaz then took the stage to announce the Seattle Sisters, better known as Heart. After a biography video on the band, Gretchen Wilson, assisted by Alice in Chains performed Barracuda, joined by Heart guitarist Nancy Wilson. Heart then took the stage and performed Straight On, Lost Angel, and Crazy on You.

Robin Williams was the next presenter, and announced Genesis. After a biography video, Keane was the next tribute performer, who performed That's All. Genesis then took the stage and performed their hits Turn it on Again and No Son of Mine, as well an instrumental jam of Los Endos. isn't on the TV special.

Next, in honor of Ozzy Osbourne, Bam Margera gave himself a black eye. Jada Pinkett Smith was the next presenter, who announced Ozzy Osbourne. After a biography video, Queens of the Stone Age performed the Black Sabbath tune, Paranoid. Criss Angel then appeared, honoring Ozzy by biting the head off a mouse. Ozzy then took the stage, performing his new single I Don't Wanna Stop, followed by Bark at the Moon and Crazy Train.

Monday, April 30, 2007


My boy Ethan... Swimming goggles and a hockey net.. yup, it's spring!
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Kody and Nanna

My beautiful wife, and her grandson Kody.
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Here it is... the announcement of my beautiful grandson.. Kody.
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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dinner In The Sky

Would you eat dinner in an open air restaurant, with 21 of your closest friends, suspended from a crane at 160 feet above the ground? Check out: thefood would have to be something reaaaly special!

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Loss... By The Book....

NOBLETON -- By the book, the Thornton Tigers peewee hockey team broke the rules.

The crime: Ineligible trainer.

The punishment: A forced season-ending forfeit.

The result: A team of 11- and 12-year-olds getting booted out of the league final because adults in their organization made a mistake and adults in the opposing organization turned to Page 93 of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association Manual of Operations to have a result overturned.

"It really stinks," Tigers captain Joey Cochrane said of watching another Thornton squad lose 4-1 against Nobleking Knights, semi-final losers before protesting, in Game 4 of the eight-point final.

Kim Criece-Reynolds, whose son plays for the eliminated Thornton team from just south of Barrie, is at the centre of the controversy.

A certified trainer, Criece-Reynolds agreed to fill in for the team's absent regular trainer during the six-point final. Tigers president Bill Wiggins approved the plan, telling coach Todd Lewis to inform the Knights coaching staff of the change before Game 1.

Lewis said he did just that, pointing out she was certified and also noting she wasn't the regular trainer.

While Knights coach Brian Love politely declined comment on the matter this week, Lewis said the Nobleking coaches didn't express any problems with the plan. The series went on with Criece-Reynolds on the bench for all six games, including a Tigers victory in the deciding Game 6 last Monday.

But the anticipated all-Thornton final was called off less than 48 hours later. A day after Game 6 of the semi-final, the Knights filed a protest, pointing to the fact that Criece-Reynolds is not on the roster of the Tigers' organization. She also does not have a PRS number, an OMHA requirement since 2005 for any adults associated with a kids team. Adults must take a three-hour safety course to obtain the number.

The protest was upheld by Simcoe league chairman Dave Matanovic. Matanovic declined an interview request.


The OMHA manual of operations states: "Any player or team official whose name appears on the game sheet and/or participates in the game and is ineligible for any reason will cause their team to forfeit the game regardless of the score of the game."

"Did we break the rules? Yes," said Criece-Reynolds, who did not step on the ice in Game 6. "Did we do it intentionally? No. Did it affect the outcome of the game? No. It's supposed to be all about the kids and it turned out to be about a technicality."

While the Tigers are guilty of breaking the rules, there is still one unanswered question: Why did the Knights wait until after the series was decided to file the protest, even though Criece-Reynolds was on the bench for the entire semi-final?

"I believe there was convenience involved, but I can't prove it," Wiggins said. "It's an ugly, ugly thing."

In the aftermath of the protest, Wiggins and Knights president Michael Bennett came up with a solution -- play Game 6 over again. But the Simcoe league turned that proposal down, officially ending the Tigers' season.

"I really feel for the kids," said Richard Ropchan, executive director of the OMHA. "It's better when the game is decided on the ice and not by some technicality. But you can't bend the rules.

"Rules are rules."

Ok.. this isn't right. YES, it was against the rules (I checked the 2006 OMHA Operations Manual myself). And YES, they have a point... but according to the SRMHL.. in which
DAVE MATANOVIC is the Chairman... their motto is, Have Fun, Play Hard, Have Fun. It just sucks when these kids play hard... have fun... and then get taught that it doesn't matter how you fair you play... or how much sportsmanship you show... If you need to whine and fight and complain to win... then what values are people like Dave Matanovic teaching their kids?


Decide it on the ice

Shame on the team who protested the mother acting as trainer. And shame on the tournament directors whose job it is to ensure fun and fair play for all. Let the games be decided on the ice by the kids.

Joe Badali


(It's kids hockey, right? For the fun of the game)

Game is for the kids

Thanks to the Sun for "A loss -- by the book" by Mike Koreen. My younger brother was one of the goalies for the Thornton Tigers and he was very disappointed by the league's decision to disqualify his team. The Tigers battled it out with the Nobleking team and the Tigers were the better team. I think it's shameful for the Nobleking coach to protest the win due to an ineligible trainer and take away the Tigers' win. These kinds of actions illustrate what has become of Ontario minor hockey. The article will hopefully get some attention from the OMHA and events like this will, with any luck, not happen again. The game should be all about the kids and it will take some effort to get it back that way.

Cameron Loder

(Isn't the game also about post-game pizza parties, not league hearings?)

Stick To Rules: Coach Says
Mistaken suspension, led to PeeWee team challenge....

Peewee hockey coach Brian Love claims he would not have protested an opposing team's use of an ineligible trainer if not for an unrelated mistake by the referee on the same game sheet.

After the Toronto Sun reported yesterday that Love's protest of the victorious Thornton Tigers use of a non-rostered trainer overturned the result of their semi-final, the NobleKing Knights coach told the FAN 590 he was calling the Simcoe League to report a wrongly issued suspension when he noticed Thornton trainer Kim Criece-Reynolds did not have a mandatory PRS safety number.

The referee issued a three-game suspension to a Knights assistant coach for an argument in the deciding Game 6 last Monday, but Love said the official accidentally handed the penalty to him.


"If the referee had not (given the suspension to the wrong coach), I never would have inquired about getting the (trainer) thing right," Love told the FAN.

"I inquired about the game sheet (as the referee) gave me a suspension and I wantd to get it straightened out. In passing, it (the trainer issue) sort of fell on my lap ... She didn't have a PRS number. It was the luck of the draw."

Love said the Tigers coaches asked him before the series if the Knights trainer could help Criece-Reynolds out if needed because their regular trainer was away, but never mentioned she did not have a Prevention Services certificate (PRS), an Ontario Minor Hockey Association requirement for any adults associated with a kids team.

"My wife, who is the manager, had to travel a fair distance to get a PRS number, just to have the honour of sitting on the bench three times to cover for a coach who was away and just to take money at the door," Love said.


"So I said you know what? I'm going to challenge this if they don't have a PRS number. Because you know what? Rules are rules. I can't believe they would put their team in jeopardy."

The ensuing Simcoe league final series between another Thornton team and NobleKing has featured its share of ugliness. Thornton coach Kevin Kennedy said a league official told him that NobleKing parents felt threatened and if it continued the series could be awarded to the Knights. In addition, one parent was booted out of the arena for a heated argument with an official.

Meanwhile, the Tigers are leading the charge for a rule change. President Bill Wiggins said he will put forth a motion with the OMHA that calls for a coach to be suspended three games for any off-ice ineligibility rulings that do not affect game outcomes, instead of a forced forfeit.

From The Globe and Mail:

Shoalts: Odds and sods from the road and elsewhere

ATLANTA -- There is an early contender for Weasel Move of the Year, always a crowded field when the folks from minor hockey get involved.

Brian Love, the coach of the NobleKing Knights, a peewee team based in Nobleton, Ont., gets the nod for making an official protest on a technicality that overturned the result of the sixth and deciding game in the Simcoe League final against the Thornton Tigers. He filed the protest because the trainer for the Thornton team did not have a Prevention Services (PRS) certificate, which is required by the Ontario Minor Hockey Association.

It was a bitter series by all accounts and Love’s team lost the game. But his protest to the OMHA was upheld, the result was reversed and the NobleKing team was declared league champion. It will also move on in the OMHA playoffs.

Before the series started, according to an account in the Toronto Sun, the Knights told the NobleKing team they would not have their regular trainer for the series. They asked if the mother of one of the players, who was a certified trainer, could fill in and the NobleKing team did not object. But she did not have the PRS certificate, which is acquired after completing a three-hour safety course.

One day after the final game, Love filed his protest and the Thornton team was disqualified.

Earlier this week, Love told sports radio station The Fan 590 he only filed the protest because he noticed the error when he called the OMHA to straighten out another matter. Love’s assistant coach received a suspension in the final game and it was mistakenly attributed to Love on the game sheet. He said if the suspension mixup had not occcured, “I never would have inquired about getting the [trainer] thing right,” Love told Don Landry, The Fan’s morning-show host.

“In passing, it [the trainer’s lack of a certificate] sort of fell in my lap,” Love said. “She didn't have a PRS number. It was the luck of the draw.”

However, a couple of sarcastic remarks Love made to Landry about the other team at the start of the interview indicated there was much bitterness in the series and the feelings were still fresh.

Landry is to be congratulated for not letting Love off the hook after his lame explanation. He told the coach he could have let the matter rest rather than file a protest on a technicality a day later and deprive a group of 12- and 13-year-old boys of something they rightfully earned.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Heavy Metal in the 80's

I just finished watching the 4 part series on VH1 Classic (DishNet channel 163) called Heavy: the History Of Metal. I never really realized how much heavy metal had inspired, and was such an important part of my life in the 80's. Believe it or not I was very much a loner. the only thing I really looked forward to in the 80's was coming home after school to my dog Ginger... then later on to spend time with my girlfriend Donna. They were at the time the 2 most important things in my life. Sadly Ginger got old... and eventually had to take the long sleep. This was grade 8 for me and I was shattered. She went everywhere with me... we would go for 5 hour walks into the rouge valley.. we would visit with the trainer of the Littlest Hobo, and she would run and bark at the 5 dogs it took to film the series. We would walk along the tree/fence line that leads into the Toronto Zoo... looking and wondering what it would be like to be caged. she would never know... but I did. Living in stairwells... sneaking onto the top of FoodCity after dark to the ventilation shaft to stay warm.... hot wiring cars and sleeping in the backseat till sun up, and then leaving them... but NEVER stealing them. I did bad, illegal things out of neccesity, but never out of profit. I am a better man today... 3 childeren, a wonderful wife... and a new Ginger.... Daphne. My family on the other hand, still feels like a mountain I will never climb... like i'm afraid of heights or something. My sister constantly keeps reaching her hand out to me and I never grab on to it.... why? anyway, back on track to the VH1 special... a friend lent me his Ozzy Osbourne albums for a while, and a whole new light bulb lit up. Here was this man... the knew what was going on inside my head. He was singing the thoughts, and feeling I had.. the lonely ness... the sadness... the anger.. then I started hearing about how people thought he was a satanist. How he was singing to/about the devil. I couldn't believe it. Did these people not listen to the words??? did they not understand?? I would telll them if they had only asked. Moving more in the genre I dug.... Metallica was my next stop, them Black Sabbath and Judas Priest.... Motley Crue, Van Halen, Iron Maiden etc... these guys may have been drinking and smoking and taking drugs, but because thats what people seen when they looked at them thats what they assumed the people listening were like. I had long hair, smoked, and cried myself to sleep more often that not. My brother Dave, was the coolest person I knew. I never told him that, but I would sneak his Cat Stevens, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd records when he wasn't home... looking back, I'm sure he knew, but I was his little brother, and I thought I could get away with anything. Then again... you know.. maybe he never knew..... never knew how much I wanted to hang out with his and his friends... wanted to go down stairs and watch M*A*S*H with him... I could hear him laughing, watching it, and I just wanted to be like him. Now he is a successful businessman, with a big house, and wonderful wife... 2 amazing kids, and as far as I'm concerned... father of the year. I will forever be in his shadow.
Anyways.. the 1980's Heavy Metal scene to me was most important... I have seen Motley Crue, Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Bon Jovi (3 times), Ozzy Osbourne and AeroSmith. I have partied with the Killer Dwarfs.. Lee Arron, and.... ahem... I know I know.... Larry Gowan. I actually lost my virginity on his couch.... with a girl that lived 2 floors up from him.... not metal, but roack in my book. :)
I would get my pay cheque, and hope on the subway alone... get off at College St, and accross from Maple Leaf Gardens on Carleton St, was this amazing record store called The Record Peddler. I would pour over the imports, and after what seemed like hours, come home with a Black Sabbath, or Ozzy import that nobody would have heard of... the 1980's were the best years of my life, and wish that my childeren could understand how different things were. I would never give those memories up for ANYTHING in the world.... but I may do somethings differently..... definatly.

If anybody has the 83' US Festival on tape, or DVD... I would appreciate it alot.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Wal-Mart Eyes Organic Foods

Lately I have been looking a lot closer at organic food. There used to be a time, that one couldn't afford to eat organic... a single carrot was like $18. Now it seem there are more and more farms, companies, and labels getting into the organic game.... and I thank them whole heartedly. Listening to Martha Stewart radio this morning, they mentioned that Wal-Mart was getting into the organic biz. Bravo I say.

I wonder how long it will before McDonalds add's to the menu... I think I was the only one in the country that was ordering the McLean Deluxe :(
read more.....

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Secret recipes from your favorite restaurant

If you have ever been to Red Lobster.... then you have found their secret weapon. Those light fluffy, cheesy buns they serve you are addictive. Here is a way you can reproduce them yourself, EASILY in your own kitchen. The recipe below was -sniped- from one of favorite food sites.. Cooking For Engineers, and it's source from there is unknown.

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

4 cups all purpose flour
8 tsp baking powder
4 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder

1-1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup butter flavor Crisco
1-1/4 cups warm milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

This recipe was developed using a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer.

Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl, mix well (about 30-seconds).

Add grated cheese. Mix well (about 1-minute).

Add butter flavored crisco a little at a time. Mix until dry mixture
looks like cornmeal (about 2-minutes with mixer on low).

Add milk. Mix well (about 1-minute). Turn onto floured board. Knead for 1-minute.

Roll out 1/2-inch thick. Cut out with biscuit cutter.

Bake at 425 F for 18 minutes on baking sheet.

Biscuits are done when slightly browned on edges.

Makes about 12-biscuits

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I am an addict

I have to come clean. I am an addict.
I am addicted to
-Cookbooks (I have close to 200)
-Food blogs
-Food magazines -Cook's Illustrated
-Food & Wine
-Cook's Country
-Gourmet Magazine

-Martha Stewart Satellite radio station

The Friday newspaper comes, and I don't even glance at the headlines anymore... I can't wait to see the supermarket flyer's. That can't be right, can it?? I can go into Hendrix, or Home Outfitters and just window shop for hours... I need help.

No more Bobby.... no more.

Why it's ok to hate Bobby Flay

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Knee Replacement Surgery

Every wonder what was involved with having a knee replaced? Me neither.. until my mom had to have her knee replaced recently. Check out this site to see whats involved, but make sure you click on the activities here as well... you can do the surgery yourself!!

Hell's Kitchen 2007 !!!

I just read that Hell's Kitchen is coming back for a third season!! EXCELLENT!!! If you watched last year, it became very evident early on, that 25 year old Heather from Port Jefferson NY was a going to be tough to beat. Heather is now the Executive Chef at Red Rock Casino and Spa in Las Vegas NV. If you were a fan, then you can watch this years 12 'would be restaurateurs ' battle it out Wednesday nights on Fox, starting this summer.

Read about Gordon Ramsay at SuperChefBlog or my Fanpop site for Gordon.

McCormick's Flavor Forecast 2007

Over the past seven years since 2000, McCormick, the spice people, have been releasing their "Flavor Forecasts" each January on what they think will be the new, hot, and trendy flavors over the next 12 months. This year the list is a lot more interesting than in the past, and shows multi-cultural leanings and blends of salt and sweet. The list was made up by their food researchers, trend experts, chefs, home economists, food technologists, and sensory analysts; as well as outside Universities, chefs, cookbook authors and food celebrities.

Many of the pairs do sound pretty good and some are ones I have been using for awhile like maple/wasabi which I use in a shrimp cocktail sauce and cumin/apricot which I use in a pork glaze. I also went back to research some of their previous lists and they were pretty interesting as well, so I included the ones back to 2004.

McCormick's Flavor Forecast 2007 top ten flavor pairings are:
  • Clove and Green Apple
  • Thyme and Tangerine
  • Tellicherry Black Pepper and Berry
  • Sea Salt and Smoked Tea
  • Lavender and Honey
  • Crystallized Ginger and Salted Pistachio
  • Cumin and Apricot
  • Toasted Mustard and Fennel Seeds
  • Wasabi and Maple
  • Caramelized Garlic and Riesling Vinegar
McCormick's Flavor Forecast for 2006
  • Anise
  • Caraway
  • Chai (usually a blend of spices including cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and white pepper)
  • Marjoram
  • Paprika
  • Saffron
  • Sesame
  • Pomegranate
McCormick's Flavor Forecast for 2005
  • Allspice
  • Annatto
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Curry
  • Ginger
  • Mint
  • Pickling Spice
  • Sage
  • Vanilla

McCormick's Flavor Forecast for 2004
  • Bay leaf
  • Chile peppers
  • Cinnamon
  • Coriander/cilantro
  • Lemon grass
  • Mustard
  • Pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Sesame
  • Turmeric
  • Vanilla
  • Wasabi

McCormick's Flavor Forecast for flavor combinations 2004
  • Lime, cilantro, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil
  • Black pepper, cinnamon, clove, and dried red chile peppers
  • Sugar cane syrup and chile peppers
  • Plum, ginger, mango and habanero peppers
  • Fish sauce, lime juice, Serrano chile peppers and honey
from Slashfood

Children's Aid Foundation of Simcoe County

WHAT a great idea. Check out The C.A.F. of S.C. Catalogue of Hope. If your looking for a unique gift for somebody, You will receive a gift card for each item purchased to give to someone special in lieu of a gift. Your gift is 100% tax deductible and you will receive a tax receipt in the mail! Or maybe you would simply like to help out some children in need. The catalogue is filled items food hampers, clothing, toys, even educational aides (tutoring).

Check out the bike on page 4... neat idea!

You can contact them at this website, or the following address:

60 Bell Farm Rd., Unit 7,
Barrie, ON, Canada
L4M 5G6

Phone: 705-726-6587 or 1-800-461-4236 Fax: 705-726-9788

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Iron Chef America -- Cora vs. Royal

Cat Cora vs. Water Royal
Secret Ingredient: Ostrich

Chef Royal made this simple sauce, that I just had to try. it is simply excellent with something not too sweet... maybe something tart, or savory.

Black Pepper Honey

Prep: 5 min.

This recipe goes with Country Ham Mini Biscuits

1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
2 drops hot sauce

1. Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl until blended.

Yield: Makes 1/2 cup

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ritz... WOW

Ok, so we're at my beautiful sisters place for Christmas. Everybody was to bring something for dinner, dessert etc.... there was Newfie Peas Pudding, Cottage Roll, Pizza 2 ways, meatballs, hashbrown something or other, my lasagna, Ceaser and tossed salads. Dessert consisted of a wonderful trifle, fresh peanut butter cookies, chocolate cookies, fruit dipped in chocolate, the COOLEST chocolate fountain, and there was this incredible bar style gooey mass in a 13"x9" dish. I cut into it and tasted a small piece. OMG. It was sweet, sticky, and had an excellent creamy frosting. I almost thought I tasted peanut butter. I looked over at my big bro and he was grinning like the Cheshire Cat. He wants me to guess whats in it. I can tell you now, I was not prepared to hear it was Ritz Crackers, Eagle Brand Milk, and Skor pieces, slathered with a cream cheese frosting. Here is the recipe, as well as another I haven't tried yet.

1 - Package of SKOR bar chips (made by ChipIts)
1 - Box of Ritz Crackers, crushed
1 - Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

Crush Ritz crackers with rolling pin (if you leave them in the bag it is less messy). Add the can of milk, and all but 1/4 cup of the SKOR ChipIts. Mix all ingredients and press into an 8x8 well greased pan.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, sprinkle the remaining ChipIts, let it cool and enjoy!

NEED to try this one soon.... i'll let you know the verdict.
RITZ® Mock Apple Pie
Prep Time: 45 min
Total Time: 1 hrs 20 min
Makes: 10 servings

pastry for 2-crust 9-inch pie

36 RITZ Crackers, coarsely broken (about 1-3/4 cups crumbs)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. cream of tartar
Grated peel of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Roll out half of the pastry and place in 9-inch pie plate. Place cracker crumbs in crust; set aside.
MIX sugar and cream of tartar in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in 1-3/4 cups water until well blended. Bring to boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 minutes. Add lemon peel and juice; cool. Pour syrup over cracker crumbs. Dot with butter; sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll out remaining pastry; place over pie. Trim; seal and flute edges. Slit top crust to allow steam to escape.
BAKE 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is crisp and golden. Cool completely.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Lasagna

Ok... here it is... my lasagna. it's easy, and very good. But it's still going under some changes. as always with my recipes :)
Hope you like it!


1-2 boxes of no boil (oven ready) lasagna noodles

Meat sauce:
3/4 lb Ground Pork
2 lb Ground Beef (was a tube of meat) - leaner the better as we will not be browning the meat but cooking it in the tomato sauce.
2 Medium onions
3-4 stalks celery
?? 3-4 cloves garlic (omitted last time, and missed the flavor)
2 jars of 'Ragu' (used the mushroom type)

Cream sauce:
1 tub of ricotta cheese
2 eggs
?? spinach (not added last time but could use the texture)
1 frozen box of spinach (thawed and drained (squeeze well))
?? maybe omit salt and use anchovie paste instead ??
1/2 tub Romano cheese

1 Block of Mozzarella cheese (500gm) - sliced
1/2 tub Romano cheese (maybe asiago)

Saute onions and celery until slightly opaque
add meat and turn heat down as to NOT brown meat, but to slightly cook it. Add 1 jar of the Ragu sauce. bring to just shy of a boil. Add 2nd jar of sauce. Bring to just shy of a boil again, then reduce heat to simmer. Heat sauce until meat is cooked.
Meanwhile mix ricotta, eggs, Romano, salt and pepper in bowl, set aside.

In oval roasting pan or 13"x9" baking dish, put shallow layer of sauce.
Layer noodles breaking some to fill gaps made by oval pan. Add layer of sauce on top. Add layer of ricotta/spinach mix, another layer of noodles. Add layer of sauce. Add layer of sliced mozzarella. Another layer of noodles. Alternate layers ending with layer of sauce OR noodles, and coat with mix of mozza and Romano cheese.

Cover with foil and bake @ 300F for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 15 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Let rest for at least 15/20 minutes before cutting into.
I have been drawing this symbol for as long as I can remember... I would doodle,
and this would come out. My beautiful wife loved it so much she came home one day with this
on her ankle. What a woman... you gotta love her :) Posted by Picasa

Butternut Squash

Is this not the biggest butternut squashes you've ever seen? Patti and grabbed these at the Peterborough Farmers Market, and couldn't resist! I put her cell phone up against these to show the size comparison... wow

Patti wants me to make her some butternut squash soup, and the rest I will either roast, or freeze. Here is the recipe for the butternut squash soup, thats super silky... mmm

You need a folding steamer basket or a pasta pot insert for the steaming of the squash.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts, serving 4 to 6

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 medium shallots , minced (about 4 tablespoons)

3 pounds butternut squash (about 1 large), unpeeled, squash halved lengthwise, seeds and stringy fibers scraped with spoon and
reserved (about 1/4 cup), and each half cut into quarters

Kosher salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon dark brown sugar

1. Heat butter in large Dutch oven or stock pot, over medium-low heat until foaming; add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add squash scrapings and seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and butter turns saffron color, about 4 minutes. Add 6 cups water and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to Dutch oven and bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, place squash cut-side down in steamer basket, and lower basket into pot. Cover and steam until squash is completely tender, about 30 minutes.
Off heat, use tongs to transfer squash to rimmed baking sheet; reserve steaming liquid. When cool enough to handle, use large spoon to scrape flesh from skin into medium bowl; discard skin. Remember to toss this into your compost bucket for the trip to the composter!
2. Pour reserved steaming liquid through mesh strainer into second bowl; discard (compost bucket!) solids in strainer.
Rinse and dry Dutch oven.
3. In blender or food processor, puree squash and reserved liquid in batches, pulsing on low until smooth. Transfer puree to Dutch oven; stir in cream and brown sugar and heat over medium-low heat until hot. Add salt to taste; serve immediately.

This is great when served with homemade croutons (with a little cinnimon in them!)

To freeze the soup, make sure that the soup has completely cooled off first. You can pour into Mason jars, 3/4 full with the lid on loose until frozen, or pour into zip lock bags and lie flat in freezer to freeze. Make sure all the air out first. To use, thaw in the fridge over night, or put bag of soup unopened, into pot of water and reheat. Do NOT attempt this with the jars!! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 19, 2006

If I could...

If I could take 2-3 years off work, to finally do what I want.... it would be to enroll in a culinary school. I just feel like I am getting no where doing what I am doing and my heart is elsewhere.

The Calphalon Culinary Center in Toronto has a 4 week (Sundays) course that seems basic, but I would LOVE to go to. Here is the list of what's in store:

Basic Skills Class #1: Kitchen Foundations

Hands-On / $500 for series of 4 classes

In professional kitchens, any cook worth his or her salt knows the importance of mastering the most used tools in the kitchen - your knives. The goal of this class is to build confidence while teaching precision and skill, working alongside our Chef Instructor. Major cutting techniques are demonstrated and practiced using our block of knives. You will learn the purpose, usage and correct grip for each knife. As well, we'll showcase and practice the most efficient way to chop, slice and dice a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for different situations and maximum results. You'll reap the rewards of your new knife skills by creating delicious recipes during class.

Basic Skills Class #2: Soups & Stocks, Steaming & Poaching

Hands-On / $500 for series of 4 classes

Start with fresh stock made from aromatic vegetables. From there your possibilities are endless! Acquire the knowledge that will enable you to enhance your recipes in countless ways. Stocks are the basis for building a wonderful culinary repertoire. From there, move on to steaming & poaching.


Vegetable Stock
Butternut Squash
Steamed Salmon Filet with Seasonal Vegetables
Poached Pears in Red Wine

Basic Skills Class #3: Sauteing & Pan-Frying

Hands-On / $500 for series of 4 classes

Master the techniques needed for sautéing and pan frying, and learn to develop luscious pan sauces for each.


Crispy Eggplant and Goat Cheese Marinara
Seared Beef Tenderloin with Cabernet Sauce
Tarte Tatin

Basic Skills Class #4: Grilling, Roasting & Baking

Hands-On / $500 for series of 4 classes

Learn how grilling uses direct heat and which ingredients are best suited for this dry-cooking method. Roasting uses indirect heat. We'll also discuss which cuts of meat and vegetables are best suited to roasting. Since the ovens are already on, you'll also learn how to bake dessert in a pinch!


Rosemary Roasted Cornish Game Hen
Grilled Chili Shrimp
Roasted Root Vegetables
Raisin Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

I would LOVE a set of Calphalon cookware... Calphalon one or even the Simply Calphalon would be excellent!

sigh.... if only I could do some things over... sigh...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

One dead soldier

Patti and took a walk last winter, down by the lake, and I came across this. I thought it would make a great shot. The composition turned out just perfect. Enjoy :) Posted by Picasa

Happy Easter!!

I took a walk through the zoo by myself last week, while Patti was pricing a new client... I thought this little guy was just the most sexiest donkey ever. I will call him Jesus. 'Hey Zues'

After all... it IS Easter :) Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 03, 2006

Spring is here!!!

First signs of spring :) The buds on this tree were begging for some nice sunlight! Posted by Picasa


My boy :) Practicing his archery in the backyard. James needs a compound bow... he's getting to big for the bow he has now :( Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Look at the ladder... it melted right down the front of the van window. Omg...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

North Bay

So here I sit, in my hotel room in North Bay. They still have SNOW here!! 4 hour drive, and i could slowly watch the snow getting higher.. and higher. We have NONE in Peterborough, and there are still snow banks here higher than my van. I will post some pics tomorow.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I need to build

an outdoor aviary, for my babies. BeeP_BeeP needs to set up camp with his new female, and the BlackCheek needs some room to excercise and fatten up.

New addition!!

Ok here is our newest addition... A male Black Cheek Zebra finch. Isn't he AMAZING?

TV shows I miss...

CSI, Medium, Friends, Numb3rs and Las Vegas... the shows we watch now are excellent. But what about the shows we used to watch? Emergency! CHiPs, Whiz Kids, Love Boat, Fantasy Island... they were awsome. So when does a show go from good to gone? Who decides? God bless TV-Land :)


Wouldn't you know it. If there is somewhere James is NOT suppoed to go... you will find him there. This is a shot of James inside of an old fence, behind HolyCross Highschool... you can see the new fence on the right, and the old wire fence with the sign on it, to the left. Posted by Picasa


My beautiful wife taking a picture with the Canon Rebal EOS. I think she likes the Lumix better though... Posted by Picasa

Dog Tired!

Daphne needed to hitch a ride near the end. When your legs are only 3" long, an hours walk through the woods is like 4 hours! Posted by Picasa

A nice day for a walk

Well, today seemed like the perfect day for a nice walk in the backyard. The sun was out and Daphne was looking forward to it. Patti and I took Sandy and Duck out in the back woods with the cameras to take some nice spring pics.. James showed up just after we left, and made for nice company.... he's so funny :) Sandy was acting like it was her first time ever out!
We found some old cars and houses that broke down in old age.. made for some cool shots. Patti seems to really like taking pictures... and shes getting good too. She was using Dave's Canon Rebal EOS SLR, and I was using our new Lumix FZ20. What and incredible camera!