Friday, February 26, 2010

Cheater Chicken Parmesan

Let's face it. It is exhausting always having to put together a perfect meal from scratch. Where I live I do not have the luxury of just picking up a phone and ordering take out. Plus, sometimes I don't want to spend over an hour preparing a meal. So, that is when I came up with a way to have Chicken Parmesan, with out a lot of hassle.


Chicken Breasts
Shake and Bake
Garlic Powder
Left over hamburger buns
Mozzarella cheese
1 jar of pasta sauce
Spaghetti noodles

The makings for Caesar salad (Roman lettuce, dressing, etc)


1. In the bag provided by Shake and Bake add coating mix, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder and 1/2 tsp of parsley. Mix and coat chicken. Bake for 30 minutes.

2. While chicken is cooking begin cooking your noodles.

3. Mix butter and 1 tsp of garlic powder in a bowl. Spread over hamburger buns. Top with cheese and parsley. Bake for 8 minutes.

4. When chicken is almost cooked pour a little bit of your pasta sauce over the chicken and top with cheese. Return to the oven for last 5 minutes.

5. Add the rest of the sauce to the spaghetti and heat.
6. Serve altogether and enjoy! :-)

This meal is done and sitting on the table in 30 minutes. It has staple ingredients that I usually always have. I plan this meal around a week where I am already using hamburger buns. There is nothing that I hate more than throwing away 2 or 3 moldy hamburger buns. Plus, they make delicious garlic bread. It may not be an overly fancy meal but it is inexpensive, quick and tasty! Yum!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Snow Hater...?

I have to admit. Every year I dread the first snow fall. I am a full blown, snow hater. I hate the look of it, the feel of it underneath my boots and I hate the work it creates. I in no way find it "pretty" when it is lying on the trees. Every year I cross my fingers, in hopes of a green Christmas.

However, something happened to me yesterday. I enjoyed the snow fall that we got! (Did your hand just fly to your mouth in shock?)

It was a delicate, light snow fall that we got yesterday. The weather was super warm for this time of year (+2) and it wasn't a ridiculous dumping of snow that we normally get. I even had an urge to sliding on the old church hill, like I use to enjoy when I was a kid.

You see, my boyfriend LOVES snow. I think every night, before he goes to bed, he prays for snow so that he can go snowmobiling.

I have been feeling a little feverish lately, which must account for the sudden love of the "white" stuff. But, do not fear blog readers, all is safe in "Small Town Kind of Life" because I am back to my old, "I hate snow" self. With a heavier snow fall over night, and a boyfriend who "forgot" to take out the recycling bin, I decided, as I was dragging (sometimes pushing) my completely full bin through this newly fallen snow that I once again...HATE SNOW!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dare # 21

I hope everyone is feeling good about themselves after completing last weeks dare. There are times to remember the good qualities about yourself because normally we just focus on the negative.

Here is your dare this week:
Dare # 21

Watch a sport on the Olympics that you normally wouldn't. I usually always end up watching the hockey games but this week I'm going to try to watch something I wouldn't normally watch like, speed skating or bobsledding!

Have a great week!


Friday, February 19, 2010


I am in no way an "environmentalist". I make smart choices about what I do around the house that is right for me but I don't pressure other people to do the same.

Ryan and I have energy efficient light bulbs, appliances, new windows to reduce hydro and recycle. Lately, I have been thinking very seriously about starting a compost pile.

The problem is..I had no idea what kind to get or what can go in it!

I did a little bit of research about composting in general and learned a lot that I'd like to share with fellow, "I have no idea how to compost" peers.

Things that you can put in a composting bin:
Dry leaves
Wood chips
Dryer lint (This one surprised me!)
Vacuum cleanings
Grass cuttings
Fruit and vegetable peelings/scraps
Tea bags
Pasta (Another one that surprised me!)
Coffee grounds
Stale bread

Things you can't put in:
Fats and Oils
Dairy Products
Weeds that may have gone to seed
Pet manure
Kitty Litter

Ryan and I don't usually have that much garbage every week because of the recycling, but I can just image how much it would reduce it again if you eliminated the above things to our future compost pile.

With a little research I think a tumbling compost would be better for us to reduce pests from going into an open bin.


It has been said that the turning helps things to decompose faster and there are some models that dispense the earth when it is ready so that you don't need to do individual batches.

I don't know how this is going to go. And I actually feel a little nervous about it, to be honest. We are going to save for a composter for the spring and get things started then. I just find it amazing that something that I consider rotting/smelling up my garbage, can be transformed into a useful soil amendment for my garden. I only hope that it goes as planned and is worth our while.

If there are any composters our there that has some advice, it would be greatly appreciated.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Pillow Case?

So, like I have mentioned in one of my past posts I have been feeling very domestic lately. One of the things that I have enjoyed doing lately is sewing. I don't own a sewing machine and I love how when I am watching t.v my hands are kept busy.

I bought myself a new book before the Christmas break called, "Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Pillowcase". So I went to the local thrift store and picked up half a dozen old pillowcases and got to work. The first thing I wanted to make were aprons, and give them as gifts to the women in my family.

First I started out with two standard size pillowcases. I chose one solid color for the body and a floral pattern for the "accessories". However, you can do whatever pattern and styles that you like, the sky's the limit.

Cut the pillowcase with the opening at the bottom for your apron. I just held it up to myself to measure. There is no standard length.

Cut out two pieces of fabric from the other pillowcase for pockets. To make them both even I used a DVD case as a guide. Sometimes I only made one pocket.

Cut out three long pieces of fabric from the same pillowcase as your pockets. Two will be for tying the apron around your waist and one will be for closing off the top of the apron (where you cut the body). Each will be about 1-1 1/2 inches in width.

Time to sew it altogether! I started with the pockets so that you could sew them onto the outside piece of the apron body and wouldn't see the stiches on the other side. It really doesn't matter but it just makes it look neater. Fold the fabric in two and when sewing make sure to keep the top open for the pocket. Sew on a decorative button on each outside flap of the pocket.

Sew on the decorative top. Take the long piece of fabric designated for the top of the apron and pin it in place. Sew all around all sides and cut off any excess that might be there. Sew the two remainder pieces of fabric inside out, leaving a space to be able to turn it back right side out. Sew one strap to each side of the apron.

There is the finished product.

This is the one that I made for Ryan's mom Bev for Christmas.

This is the one that I made for my mom for Christmas.

Finally, the apron I made for Holly and with the scrap fabric I made a matching one for Faith.

I had a really good time working on these projects. I felt very "crafty" after I was done. I was happy to give the women in my family something that I made and spent so much time working on. This is only one of the projects that I have done. Check out future posts for other pillowcase projects that I've completed! :-)


Monday, February 15, 2010

Dare #20

Is it just me or does the weekend pass WAY too fast? I would love to have today off like some Ontario workers do today for Family day.

Did everyone have a nice Valentines Day with their sweethearts? Mine was great. I am so lucky to have someone that I just click with. We enjoy doing pretty much anything together and can always find the fun in whatever we do. He is so thoughtful and caring. Being that we have a lack of funds we had to come up with a creative way to spend Valentines day together without spending a whole lot of money. Ryan suggested that we go skating on the Rideau Canal.

I haven't been skating in a LONG time!

We headed to the city on Saturday morning and parked close to where the Canal ended. We skated the whole length and back. Half way we got hungry and got two Back Bacon on a Bun. It was such a tasty Canadian treat. Once we got back to the Chalet to untie our skates our legs felt like jello. It was a lot of work so as a reward we each got a Beavertail, my favorite treat. A bread like treat fried and dipped in cinnamon and sugar. Yum! A total cost for the day on the canal; $20.00.

On the canal!

On Sunday, while Ryan was at hockey I decided I wanted to make him a Valentines Day treat. I had worked the night before so I was pretty dopey when I woke up. I had bought a heart shaped cookie cutter a while back just for this day. I made the dough no problem. Cut them all out, no problems.

Ready for the oven.

But then......

I stuck WAY too many on one pan. I was tired and wanted to take nap so instead of being patient I put too many on one pan, to get done quicker. Woops. I am still a young cook. :-) Trial and error. The next pan came out much better and Ryan was surprised to have this treat waiting for him when he got home.

Speaking of onto this weeks dare!

Dare #20:

Today, write down 5 things that you love about yourself. Then every day this week read your list. Because rule #1 about being in love is always to love yourself first!

Here's my list:

1. I love that I am organized.

2. I love that I am brave enough to try new things.

3. I love my naturally straight hair.

4. I love my lips.

5. I love that I always try be positive in a negative situation.

Let me know what your list is!

Have a great week!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back to Reality

I'm alive!! I swear my lack of posting isn't because I've been sick or because I've given up on blogging. I have been on a holiday! The benefits of this is now I am rested, relaxed and ready to get back to my real life and my blog!

Let me tell you about mine and Ryan's holiday. For all those wondering, no I'm not engaged! Ha ha

We had an amazing time. Hawaii was always on our list of places we wanted to see before we died. It was actually magical. As corny as that sounds I don't have any other way to describe it.

There is a downfall to Hawaii. The travelling. You are pretty much up for 24 hours between travelling and wait time. Three flights later though we were finally in paradise!

Third and final flight. Someones tired and someones excited!

Our room was amazing and right on the ocean. Every morning Ryan would open the patio doors so that we could lay in bed and listen to the ocean crash against the rocks.

View from our room.

On the first day we were still pretty tired from the travelling and time change. We decided we were going to take the free trolley to the market and do some exploring. We stopped and ate "Hula Sandwich's" at Bongo Ben's. It is terriyaki chicken with pineapple on a bun. Afterwards we played cards on the patio and were in bed by 8:00 pm. Like I said, so tired!

On the Monday we checked out all the adventures at the hotel. There was an awesome pool with an awesome slide (ya, I'm 5). Ryan and I must of went down that water slide two dozen times a piece. We had a pasta buffet that night at the hotel and stuffed ourselves so it was off early to bed again.

Tuesday was a day full of adventure. We loaded a bus at 7:30 am and toured around the whole island. To drive the whole island takes about 2 hours but we had many stops along the way. We went to a coffee farm, a bake/cookie shop, black sand beach with sea turtles, volcano, a lave tube, lunch on a military base, orchid farm, ice cream/chocolate factory, and finally a really old cattle ranch. Needless to say, after all the adventure we were tired! We got back to our room at 7 and decided to order pizza in. We ordered a medium pepperoni pizza (8 slices) and when it arrived we were shocked, $40.00 FOR A PIZZA! Crazy! We never ordered it again.

Having homemade pineapple ice cream with an orchid in my hair. If you are married the orchid goes over your left ear and if you are single it goes in your right ear.

Wednesday we had decided to do a much shorter tour. We went to two coffee farm's. The first was a old coffee farm that still picked the coffee beans the way the settlers first did it when they came to Hawaii. The second was called Java Joe. It was a more modern coffee farm and a very popular brand that actually sells in stores all over the world. There were tons of free samples and I couldn't fall asleep that night with all that caffeine in my system!

Picking coffee beans

Thursday was a little less adventurous of a day. We just hung around the pool area, ate lots of yummy food and relaxed. That night was a party though! The hotel put on a traditional Hawaiian luau with all the fixings. Dancing, Mai Tai's, and traditional Hawaiian food. It was amazing. I had been disappointed about being in Hawaii for so long and not getting a lei but I received my first on that night!

Blowing the dinner shell

Friday again started off the same as Thursday. We had to leave the pool area early however because that night we were going on a sunset dinner cruise on the ocean. I had an amazing time. Their was live music, all the drinks included, and a buffet. And while I was having an amazing time on the boat my boyfriend was being sea sick. The romantic dinner and sunset boat ride quickly turned into a booze cruise! With the drinks flowing and amazing musicians everyone started dancing. It was awesome! I had a great time partying that night but I don't think Ryan will ever join me on a cruise again!

Ryan and I on the boat

Then it turned into a party!

Saturday morning we woke up an took the free trolley to the market again. We had breakfast in a place called Lulu's. They made the best pancakes I have ever had! Buttery, fresh, light and melt in your mouth goodness.....mmm....Lulu's is really a great place to go if you ever visit Kona, Hawaii. The rest of the morning/afternoon we did all of our souvenir shopping. We had to go back to our room and change however because I surprised Ryan with 9 holes of golf at the Kona Golf and Country club. It was a beautiful course right on the ocean and I started it off by winning. However, it didn't end in my favor. That night we went to the hotel restaurant for the Prime Rib buffet. Remembering all this yummy food makes me think I don't want to step on the weigh scales anytime soon. :-)

Ryan swinging away

Sunday was the last official day of our vacation. It was also the Superbowl so the place was deserted! We spent the morning at the pool working on our tans. We packed in the afternoon and took the trolley one more time down to the market. We had supper at Bongo Ben's and watched the ending of the Superbowl. It was WILD down their with all the faithful football fans so we didn't stay long (Ryan was wearing a Packer's hat). Before heading to the trolley I was looking for something to cool me off and saw a "Shaved Ice" stand. I went up and asked the guy for a snow cone, thinking it was the same thing. Well it isn't and I got a detailed explanation of what the differences were. And I have to admit, shaved ice is MUCH better than snow cones! Less messy, more flavor, and goes down easier! We watched the sunset that night and went to bed early in anticipation for a long day at the airport the next day.

Mmm...Shaved ice!

Leaving Hawaii on Monday was difficult. We were happy to know that we would be home but sad at the fact that we were leaving an amazing place that we would forever think fondly of. We had a huge breakfast buffet and then gathered our bags and headed to the airport at 11:30. We went on our first plane at 2:00 from Hawaii to L.A. The next was L.A to Chicago. We landed in a snowy Chicago and started to look for our gate for our last plane to Ottawa. However, EVERY plane except one was cancelled going out of Chicago because of their storm. That one plane that was available was a Toronto flight leaving in 30 minutes. We ran up to ticketing to beg to get on the flight. We were successful and ran to the gate and loaded the plane just in time. We arrived in a sunny Toronto and got on another plane to Ottawa. We are so thankful that we got on that last available flight to Toronto because if we didn't we wouldn't of been home till Wednesday! Unfortunately, because of the quick flight change we had to sacrifice having our luggage with us but it has been worth it to be home!

Sad to be leaving Hawaii

Ryan and I created so many fun memories together while in Hawaii. It was truly like paradise. I was worried at first because it was our first official trip alone and I wasn't sure if we would both come home alive. We both made it and I think it has made us even closer as a couple. At the beginning of the summer I wasn't sure if we could go on a trip but I am so glad we were able to have that break. I am ready for the rest of the winter now and feel rejuvenated. I will never forget Hawaii and the adventures that we had. It is a small paradise on earth!

Mahalo! (Bye)