Author Archives: christinadolgowicz

Soap making 101

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This post is dedicated to my awesome granola friends who taught me how to make soap on a Saturday night!!! And because of a request from one of them, this blog will be mostly pictures with little writing……

Ingredients: safflower oil, extra light olive oil, canola oil, shortening, borax, glycerine, lye, sugar, goats milk and we added grapefruit essential oil for some yummy smell!

Let’s start:

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Ingredients: check

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All oils and shortening go into a pan to melt…

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Goats milk, measuring carefully….

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The goat milk heads into a pan that is set in cold water. The lye will be added in next, very slowly, to ensure that the temperature stays below 27degrees Fahrenheit . Notice the finger pointing – this is an important step!!

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One must protect themselves from the Nasty lye!

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Again, careful measuring….

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And mix!

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In the meantime, the oils have slowly melted…

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And the lye has dissolved into the goats milk.

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Time to get the molds ready. They are lined tightly with wax paper.

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Now’s the perfect chance to say hi to the kitty, hi kitty!!!

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Serious stuff now, we are going to mix the melted oils with the goats milk/lye! This is the same time that we add the borax, glycerine, sugar and essential oils.

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Adding and stirring.

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Borax in!

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Once Everything is mixed, you must blend it together in a mixer. This was working really well for us and was very creamy and thick once it was done, like the consistency of hand soap!

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Now pouring it into the molds….

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And smoothing it out…

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Looks perfect!!!

Now, fast forward 24 hours….

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Of course I have to include one picture of the kid!!! He’s with a snowman that lived for three hours. Gotta love temps of 11 degrees!!!

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Ready to start cutting. How? Using a cleverly designed apparatus that you feed the soap through and you are able to cut even slices. Here are some pictures!

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A gorgeous slice…

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Perfect!! (by the way, we added some dried marigold leaves for texture…..looks professional, wouldn’t you agree?)

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Finished product: over 30 bars of homemade goats milk soap. It will be ready in 6 weeks!

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V-day in the sticks

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Welcome to valentine’s day!! Are you glad it’s almost over? sad it’s almost over? such mixed emotions on a day of love!

We are not big valentine’s day people but you know, once you have children, everything changes. So this year I decided to celebrate a bit, first off by following sistah2’s advice and made this gift for our daycare provider:

 

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So cute!

I decided for supper to make some tomato soup a la jamie paired with some sandwiches. Why tomato soup? Because it’s red of course!!

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First step, lots of veggies!

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Then throw those roughly chopped veggies into some warm olive oil and cook it.

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Once the onions are soft and veggies are shiny and delicious, the tomatoes and stock goes in

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Seriously, who wants to buy canned tomato soup ever again?

Boil those veggies

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And purée it into goodness once it’s cooled ( adding some fresh basil- I love the smell of fresh basil!)

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Results?

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And the taste test

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The bowl was empty and the sandwich gone. I would say it’s a hit.

Next up, opening up the v-day treat.

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What else is in there?

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Ohhh, he likes it!

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The best part was watching him chew and chew on jelly belly- beans.

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And chewing….

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And now using his finger to try to dislodge the sticky jellybean!

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And to finish off the night, one of Nigella Lawson’s fairy cakes.

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So delicious, you may end up with some on your face,

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Agh, a successful valentine’s day after all. And the best part of all, some beautiful flowers to brighten up those February days. Wishing everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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A forgotten snack

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You all may have a favorite appetizer, I know I do. Well, I did. I use the past tense because I haven’t made it in a couple of months. It wasn’t until a good friend told me what she was having for lunch when I was like: OMG! I totally forgot about that! And so I was motivated to make it again (do you like my omg? Makes me feel young and hip).

So let me tell you the story of how I started making this…..
For those of you who have had the pleasure of visiting Kingston, Ontario, you may have visited a delectable bakery/restaurant called Chez Piggy. Everything is so delicious in there, definitely worth a stop!!

So one day I stopped into this bakery to buy a snack for work and decided to buy a small container of olive tapenade. Now, I’ve always disliked olives- blech. But, being open minded, decided to try a bit of this on a fresh baguette and ahhhhh…… It was love at first bite. How can I not love a salty snack when my favorite thing of all time is to sit down with a bowl of chips and lick all the salt off??!!

So here it is, thanks to my friend (you know who you are!), my little version of olive tapenade.

Ingredients: olive oil, olives (without pits), lemon, pepper, garlic, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes (the lovely thing with this appie is that you can add/delete what you would like!)

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Drain the olives, throw them in the processor with a splash of olive oil, some garlic, a squeeze of lemon, couple of spoonfuls of capers and some of those oil infused tomatoes.

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And pulse that appie. I like some texture to mine so I pulse it for maybe 30-40 seconds tops.

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Oh yummo!!!! It’s 10pm and I’m drooling. Next step, some fresh bread and dig in!

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The lovely thing about this is that it is super easy and is a hit at parties – Bon appetit!!!

Ahh Martha.

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So a couple of months ago I decided to paint our ensuite bathroom. Desperately needed because I hated the khaki green colour (next, our bedroom – also khaki green). Instead? a neutral beige called  whisper bluff. I like to whisper that when I say it and really focus on the ‘f’ in bluff. It drives my husband crazy. Do it….whisper…bluffffff….

But you know when you paint a room, you need new wall hangings. I am el cheapo and am always trying to find an inexpensive way to decorate. Isn’t everyone?

So I turned to this lovely lady, Martha Stewart to see what she could inspire me with.

Turns out, she has LOTS of ideas!!! Sister 2 bought me this book for my birthday and it is FILLED with easy, do it yourself crafts and sewing. So I did it. I did it myself. And here’s the proof.

I tackled this project:

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In this picture, Martha (because I truly believe that Martha does everything), embroidered some placemats – very cool looking. So I thought, I’ll do some embroidery and hang it! Easy, right?
TOTALLY!!!

Materials used:
– dollar store embroidery thread
– curtain material (neutral in colour and left over from a previous craft project)
– some embroidery stretchy wooden things (I’m sure there’s a name for these)
– tracing paper and pen (lent to me, this is the cheapest way to go)
– frames for Ikea (4 frames for $10)

So, Martha gives you  a cd that you can print off all the templates in the book. So I printed those off, used the tracing paper and pen, and started stitching:

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(I love crafting while eating chips and watching grey’s anatomy, don’t you?)

Here are the pieces when I was done stitching:

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Then I simply threw them into some frames:

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Hung them on the wall:

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(like the colour? remember…whisper blufff……)

 

Here’s a close up:

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Presto!!! All done. I quite like it. Total time for craft, maybe 3 hours. Total cost (keeping on mind I already had some material and borrowed others) $20 tops.

Now, what else should I try Martha? Hmmmm……

In celebration of a blondie’s birthday…

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So my blondie friend is celebrating her birthday today. Happy birthday the cuter, younger version of me!!!!

Okay, to help celebrate this blondie’s day (who is an Italian), I’ve decided to blow the dust off of David Rocco (also an italian) and see what I should try.

The lucky recipe?

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Crocchettes di Patate ( aka potato balls – I think I like the Italian name better)

So imagine delicious mozzeralla, stuffed in mashed potatoes and fried in olive oil. Who’s drooling??

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-potatoes? Check.

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So, I have the cool, mashed potatoes (I just mashed them briefly), fresh Parmesan, eggs, salt and pepper…next step, like David says, let’s get our hands in there:

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So apparently 6 potatoes makes a lot of balls (snicker, I know you want to). Into the HOT oil you go!

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CRAP! This is why you should read the instructions carefully, I should have dipped them in egg before putting them into the oil.

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Right, like that. But even though I forgot it, they browned nicely.

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And while that was cooking, why not throw on some brussels spouts a la BFF

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Yummo.

Okay, back to the Italians. Let’s open up those potato balls.

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Oh, deliciousness. Now, how did the men like it?

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One thumbs up. Now onto the real critic,

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Success!!!

I hope that we can celebrate another birthday tomorrow…..

A weekend single-parenting….

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This weekend found my husband on a ski-doo trip with the boys and me alone with our 2 year old. Hmmm…. What to do?
Hit up a museum with family!!

We headed to the Museum of Nature in Ottawa. I worried a bit about bringing a toddler to the museum, but here is some proof that is was enjoyed by all:

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-woah! Dinosaurs!

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– checking out some interactive stuff with his cousin

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– pumping water is hard work!!

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– Future Captain Feathersword (click here if you have no clue who that is)

Verdict? Would totally do that again. I love it when outings work out, don’t you??

And to finish off the day, a stop into Chapters saw this:

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I really had no clue that Darth was in town!!

At 8:30, when baby was asleep and I was on the couch with some chips (best snack ever!!), I managed to finish this knitting project for a baby shower gift.

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Like it? Super cute hat. The patter for it is from this book, More last minute knitted gifts, which is full of super cute patterns. Perfect for those nights by yourself…..

This is for my gals…

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So I promised some fabulous girlfriends of mine that I would test out a recipe and blog about it. They were happy. Now they are forced to read this (love how that works!).
Recipe:baked French toast casserole with maple syrup

Seriously, it looks so good. I love French toast, who doesn’t. I love to add real vanilla to the mix I make plus some nutmeg and cinnamon, it turns out so yummy. So I was really excited to try this out.

It was super easy to get ready:

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I had bought a loaf of plain white bread instead of French. This could have been a mistake. Keep reading,…

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I also cut the recipe in half. There is only 3 of us on the house. This made sense to me. Bread (double layered) in the pan and now onto the mixture (be jealous of my retro beaters, I know you are!)

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And pour overtop.

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Voila.

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I then covered it and in the fridge it went.

I made the topping that night too. Also very straightforward.

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I covered that and left it on the counter so it would stay soft and easy to spread.

So Sunday morning. I got up, spread the topping on threw it in the oven. The topping did not go on as easily as I thought, but no big deal because it melts and spreads as it cooks.

So 350 for 40 min.

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It smelled super yummy. However (here it comes), it was so runny in the middle. So back in the oven for another 20 minutes ( meanwhile, Isaac has already eaten and I had some fruit and yogurt. This morning was already being tackled… With or without this casserole),

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So it’s now a bit better, but the inside still is bit runny. I’m not sure about everyone else, but my mouth just doesn’t care for the texture of runny eggs and frankly, it kind of grosses me out.
So, back in the oven now at 350 for 30 minutes (I’m now starting to think about what to make for lunch).

So now it’s 10:30 (2 hours after I put if in) and it’s out. It is still a bit soft in the center but eatable. I put it to the test.

Hmmmm he thinks.

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He takes a bite….

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And, success!!

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He liked it.

Pros: super easy prep. The cooked topping is like sticky caramel when it’s ready. Hit with 2 year olds.
Cons: runny and took forever to cook.

Things I may change for next time: French bread, less liquids over the bread it was great trying it out, next Sunday though, you’ll find me over the frying pan with some batter and my own French toast batter.