Friday, February 26, 2016

The Best Bean Salad Ever!!!

When you find something you think is awesome, you immediately want to share it with others.  This recipe is one of those things. If you like  love bean salad, then this is one you will have to try. I grew up on this recipe. Yes, this one is courtesy of my Mom! Our family Bean Salad recipe.
I have tried a lot of Bean Salad recipes in my time, but never have I ever had one as good as Mom's. I've visited salad bars, gone to potlucks, picnics and bought it in delis. I am always disappointed. 
So here today, I share one of my all time favourite recipes with you. So easy, so simple and so good!

I make this at home, at the trapline cabin and in the RV. It is such a handy thing to have prepared to go alongside  any meal. It's your veggies and a salad. What could be better! This is a great recipe for us at the trapline cabin, as most of the main ingredients are either canned or dried. I have dried kidney and garbanzo beans (chick peas) stored there and cook up a big pot of each for this recipe. The green and yellow beans are canned. In the RV I just used store bought cans of each.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Shining Sink = Brighter Day!

Most people have a stainless steel sink in their kitchen. Most are double. There are more and more people (those lucky ones!) who are having kitchen remodels done and installing lovely undermount sinks...

Farmhouse sinks....

or maybe something like this....

Thursday, February 18, 2016

You Can Make Better Butter

Better butter? Isn't butter already delicious? Yes, it is! But, there has long been the controversy over which is better for you.  Butter or margarine?  It's all about the cholesterol.  I'm not going to go into all the 'butter versus margarine' arguments. There is plenty to be found on the internet about that, and you can do a search  yourself if it interests you.

I've always prefered butter over margarine myself. I didn't prefer the price though. When you are feeding a large family on a single income, you try to stretch every dollar.  So, our family used margarine. Except for special occasions, like Christmas, when I would splurge on a block of butter to use for Christmas dinner.  Now, with this recipe, we can have our butter all the time!
This makes butter into a spreadable, keep in the fridge, cook with it, delight! It results in a butter that has 1/2 the saturated fat, which is the bad thing about butter. In this recipe I used olive oil which has more monounsaturated fat than other oils, but you can also use safflower oil, which has the highest percentage of polyunsaturated fats of all the oils. Which is good. Other oils to try are sunflower, soyabean, canola and peanut.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Adventure on the Trapline.

Some of you may recall that we own property in northern BC.  It is part of a huge trapline that my husband manages.  Most falls find us packing up the truck and heading north for a couple of months to live in our little log cabin up there. It  has become a springtime trip as well now as my husband, Trev, is retired and we can come and go as we please. 
It is a beautiful place. Our main cabin is located beside a lovely lake and I enjoy looking out the window at the scenery while I crochet and knit to my heart's content. As the cabin is quite remote, we have no electricity, no running water, no access other than by rough trail. It isn't everyone's 'cup of tea', but we love it. You can't get much more 'back to basics' than this. I wanted to share one of our adventures with you. This took place 2 years ago after we had been at the cabin for 2 months and were heading home. I shared this with our Facebook friends in bits and pieces, and my father in law was kind enough to save it all and make it into a single document. (Thanks, Ken!)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Easy Homemade Oven Fries

Fries!!  You know you want'em!! Who can resist them??  We know they aren't the best thing for us. If you don't, you're in denial.  So, what can we do to satiate this need for fries without having to resort to fast food restaurant's deep fried baddies? Make our own!!!
It is so easy to make these and takes no time at all. A nice change from boiled, baked or mashed. Easier than scalloped. Follow my directions and you'll be noshing on some soon!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Easy Apple Crisp

Living where we do, (high altitude with lots of snow and freezing temperatures all winter) it is a real challenge to grow things. Fruit trees are pretty much impossible. I have a hard time just getting plants that are hardy enough to last out a winter here. But, lucky for us, we live very close to the Okanagon, which is the fruit growing area in BC. We have easy access to peaches, cherries, and apricots, plus other fresh from the tree fruits. Well, during the summer anyways. In the winter though, we can still get our hands on apples. In a small town about an hour from us, we can grab a 20kg. bag of apples for $10! We picked up a couple of bags just last week. While eating them right off the core is great, we love them baked up in a crisp best!
The first one I made lasted 1/2 a day! Poor Zac went to the fridge the next morning thinking he would have some crisp with milk for breakfast. Nope! Trev had finished it off the night before. Needless to say, Mama whipped him up a fresh one. They are so easy to make and so delicious! We usually pour some milk over top when it's hot out of the oven, add some ice-cream for a dessert, and eat it cold for a snack. Anytime is crisp time!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Pump Up Your Porridge!

In this day and age of fast food breakfasts picked up from a drive thru window while you're rushing so as not to be late for work, school or an appointment, it's sometimes difficult to imagine breakfast any other way. In our fast paced world we sometimes forget that 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day'. A bowl of cold cereal and toast is probably standard for a lot of us. It's certainly better than what is being handed out that window! But, what about the old fashioned day starters?  When was the last time you cooked up a pot of porridge? Oatmeal or mush, it's all about the grains. This was how our ancestors ate their grains. Way before bread was even thought of,  people were cooking up a pot.  It was originally served as a savoury dish with meat and veggies. I can't quite get around to trying that, but the Americans do have a great love for their 'grits',  which is served with savoury foods or has savoury things added to it.

Friday, January 29, 2016

More Basement Renos!!

As promised, I'm back to share some of the work that we've been doing in the basement since our contractor friend helped us get started last spring. Here' a link to that post, in case you missed it.
Right after he left, we had to pack up for our spring trip to the trapline cabin. Then, our next grandchild was about to arrive and we were on the Island staying in our RV for that. Then, we had a family reunion in Alberta to go to, and then decided while we were there, we would spend a few weeks travelling around. We got home at the beginning of August and were eager to get back to the basement renos! Yay!!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Basement Renovations on the Go!!

Hello? Is there anybody out there??
I know I've been absent from this blog for quite some time....and I apologize profusely!  Life got somewhat crazy last spring with house renos, travelling, a beautiful little addition to our family arriving (grand baby #4!) and time spent on our trapline....And now, with life slowing down a wee bit after Christmas, it seemed like a good time to reconnect.
The biggest change happening here at the Little Shack, and one I've been dying to crow the magic that has been happening in the basement!!  After 8 long years, it's finally getting done!  It is beautiful!!   If you've read past posts, you will know that our Little Shack has been a project right from the get-go. A few years ago, we hired a guy to come in and build 2 bedrooms in the basement for our still-at-home kids. The kids and I went away to work in a tree planting camp for the summer,  while hubby stayed at home to work and take care of the critters, and we had the 2 bedrooms done while we were gone. It was so exciting to come home and have these 2 rooms ready for the kids to move into. Goodbye temporary walls, cement floors and open cobwebby ceilings! Hello beautiful bedrooms with closets, flooring, ceilings, light fixtures and doors! You can take a look at them here.
Now, I get to share some of the stuff that has been happening downstairs recently!
Last spring, we decided to use some of the money hubby got when he retired (early at age 50!) to hire a contractor friend of ours to help get the basement finished. Hubby and I were the 'gophers'....well, I was more the gopher, coffee lady, lunch preparer, clean up the sawdust and wood  person, passer of tools and screws, reloader of nail get the picture. Hubby dealt with wiring, cutting wood, heavy lifting and was part of the 'harass Susan' club. I spent 2 weeks being the brunt of jokes, teased and poked fun at. Boys will be boys. It was fine...really...I just smiled and kept reminding myself  that the basement was GETTING DONE!!!!
So, now the unveiling! Well, obviously there is still work to be done. We are currently laying floor down and will be doing some more finishing after that.  But, I couldn't wait to share these pictures any longer!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Simple Herb Garden

With spring's arrival, I, like so many others, get the urge to get out in the garden and start digging, planting, growing.... Living in an RV, in an RV park, kinda changes that. I still want to get growing...but, I have no garden of my own to work in here. The park we are staying in has meticulously maintained gardens. Over the windy, wet and surprisingly sunny winter their gardens have been kept up nicely, and are now in the  process of being dug, weeded, planted and made ready for the multitude of summer vacationers who will soon be filling all the empty sites.  We won't be here then, as we move out in a month and head for the Little Shack.  Back to my own little patch of earth which has been hibernating under piles of snow all winter. I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty and adding a few new perennials to my garden.