Monday, 1 April 2013

Saying Goodbye

Written by Linda Gauthier

I'm all dressed up and ready to go, just waiting for you

Hi Everyone,

Just a short note to let you know that this web address is now going to be inactive. I have transferred my blog over to my new site, I believe you will find it to be much more reader friendly, easier to print and find  the recipes, as well as more appealing to the eye.  I have to say I am very happy with, and proud of my efforts, I hope you enjoy it, and will follow me to my new location.  You will find  new feature pages, and an index of subjects at the bottom of the page. I have also created a page where I ask you what you would like to read, and I will do my darndest to try to fulfill your requests.

You will still find my quirky writing style, family friendly recipes, and a few more surprises and changes coming down the road, like contests, information on cookbooks, and whatever crosses my mind at the time I am preparing to write, please join me on my journey to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.  It is going to be fun and interesting, and I am looking forward to sharing my life, laughs and giggles with you and yours.  Join me at My Simply Delicious Weight Loss

Bye Bye for now, hope to see you real soon , Linda

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Yummy things ahead....

Written by Linda Gauthier

Yummy things ahead, these are the pictures of my centerpiece submitted for the contest being held by Green & Black's Organic Chocolate.  The recipes will be published on my site over the next week.  I would appreciate your votes for my Dark and Decadent Caramel Cupcakes, on the Green and Black's Organic Chocolate.

Bunnies on Parade

Dark Truffles 
were made with this is adapted from a recipe I formulated and published on my blog on 1/12/2012  Linda Gauthier

Base ingredients

2/3 cup 160 ml heavy cream
2 tablespoons 30 ml unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons 30 ml granulated sugar
¼ cup 60 ml organic unsweetened cocoa powder

Melt butter and cream and dry ingredients in top of a double
boiler and then divide in 1/3's

This way you can make 3 dark chocolate flavoured truffles the
following are the flavours I used.

Green & Black's bars used for flavouring

Green & Black's Dark 85% - break into 3 equal pieces
Green & Black's Ginger - ¾'s of a bar
Green & Black's Hazelnut and Currant - ¾'s of a bar
Green & Black's Butterscotch - ¾'s of a bar

To flavour your base ingredients follow these steps:

In a food processor, combine one each of the Green & Black's
Dark 85% chocolate pieces with each of the other three
flavours, grind them to a fine powder, or about 10 seconds.

Keep in separate bowls

White Truffles

Ingredients for base

½ cup or 150 ml Eagle Brand condensed milk
2 bars of Green & Black's White chocolate
1/4 to 1/2 c or 60 ml to 150 ml heavy cream

• Melt Green & Black's White chocolate in double boiler
• Add cream, condensed milk and chocolate and stir,
cooking it until thick
• Divide into half or 1/3 depending on how many flavours
you want. I only made 2 in addition to the plain white
• Note with the additions of the flavorings I found I needed
the ½ cup or 150 ml of cream


2 tbsp or 30 ml creamy peanut butter
½ of a Green & Black's Milk chocolate bar. This is for a peanut
butter cup truffle
½ of a Green & Black's Butterscotch bar

I made the following :

• One batch that tasted like peanut butter cups, rolled in
ground peanut butter baking chips by Chipit
• One that was like a milky caramel flavour, rolled in dark
chocolate sprinkles.
• One with the leftover Ginger & Dark 85% mixture from
the dark truffles with the plain white to make the Yin and
Yang truffle

Ying and Yang Truffle  Green and Black's Organic Ginger and White Chocolate

Assorted Bunny Truffles in a Cream Puff Pastry Basket  

 Keep an eye out and you will be seeing the following recipes, all my original recipes created for the contest.  Published in my blog over the next week.

Sweet Deception Strawberry Compote

Dark and Decadent Caramel Cupcake
Another view of the Dark and Decadent Caramel  Cupcake
This is the recipe chosen by Green and Black's Chocolate for entry into their
Easter Recipe Hunt.
Chocolate Snaps in the back and forefront has the basket of Truffles and the
Dark and Decadent Caramel Cupcake

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Thanksgiving Brunch with My Daughter

This Thanksgiving was a bit strange, wonderful but strange.   I have said before, that my children are scattered about starting their new lives, my son is in Turkey right now traveling, his twin sister is living in St. Johns Newfoundland.  So how do you celebrate a family meal together when you are so far apart?  By Skype of course!  They ate dinner, and we ate brunch and we enjoyed a meal together, I saw her and her wonderful boyfriend Brad and we enjoyed each others company for an hour.  It made my day.

It is so wonderful to see my children blossoming and becoming the people I knew they would. I give thanks for my family everyday, not just 1 day of the year, but on this Thanksgiving it became even more apparent to me how proud I am of them as we form NEW traditions for years to come.
However, the forming of this new tradition also involved eating in front of the TV screen. Hence the strange serving picture below, oh well a very small sacrifice for a heart full of joy, not a bad trade off, I'd say!!

Pumpkin Carrot Soup

Carrot Pumpkin Soup

Makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


4 carrots, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
5 cups (1.25 L) prepared Epicure's Chicken Bouillon
1 tsp (5 ml) Epicure's pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup (125 ml) half & half cream
Epicure's Sea Salt, to taste
Italian Parsley to garnish  (optional)
Epicure's Black Pepper, to taste

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in Epicure's 12-cup Multi-Purpose Pot. Simmer 20 minutes, or until vegetables are fork-tender.
2. Blend in a food processor or blender until smooth.
3. Return to the pot. Whisk in cream and season with Sea Salt and Black Pepper. Reheat and serve.

Per Serving : Calories 200, Fat 5 g (Saturated 2.5 g, Trans 0 g), Cholesterol 10 mg, Sodium 160 mg, Carbohydrate 27 g (Fibre 4 g, Sugars 6 g), Protein 10 g.

Tips:  For a different, spicier taste, try adding up to 1 Tbsp (15 ml) finely diced Epicure's Crystallized Ginger. or instead of Pumpkin spice add Epicure's Mango Curry Dip, substitute the Cream for Coconut milk (low fat or reg.) add Epicure's Kaffir Lime Leaves 1 or 2 and you have a soup to die for.

No Turkey for me....downsizing in all areas my new motto

I did not feel I missed out on any of the falvours of the day.  We had Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken, with Steamed broccoli and cauliflower, with a drizzle of melted herb butter, 
( the old me would have covered it in cheese sauce); steamed green beans, roasted carrots and parsnips, with mashed yams and new potatoes ( no sugar topping on yams as usual); Epicure Cranberry Sauce, and low sodium gravy made with the juices of the chicken.  The salad was a Beet and Walnut Feta Salad served on romaine lettuce with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, with Epicure Ranch dressing made with buttermilk and BLT dip mix.   Doesn't that sound festive? It was and good too.  

Thanks to the super power of garlic and herbs, 1 Tbsp (15 ml) of this blend has more antioxidants than 3/4 cup (180 ml) of broccoli!

Makes 6 servings
Cost Per Serving: 2.22

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


1 Tbsp (15 ml) Epicure's Roasted Garlic
1 — 4 lb (1.8 kg)  organic roasting chicken
1 lemon, quartered
2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1 Tbsp (15 ml) Epicure's Herb & Garlic Dip Mix
Epicure's Herbed Garlic Sea Salt, to taste
Epicure's Garlic Pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp (15 ml) all-purpose flour
4 cups (1 L) prepared Epicure's Chicken Bouillon

1. Preheat oven to 400° F (205° C). 
2. Sprinkle Roasted Garlic inside cavity of chicken. Squeeze lemon juice inside and insert wedges for extra flavour. 
3. Rub skin with olive oil and Herb & Garlic Dip Mix. Coarsely grind Herbed Garlic Sea Salt and Garlic Pepper over chicken. 
4. Roast in Epicure's Eclipse® Coated Professional Frying Pan or Roasting Pan for 25 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F (170° C) and continue roasting for 50–60 minutes. 
5. Place chicken on a platter. Loosely cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. 
6. To prepare sauce, drain excess fat from pan. Sprinkle hot pan with flour and slowly whisk in Chicken Bouillon. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Per Serving : Calories 340, Fat 12 g (Saturated 2.5 g, Trans 0 g), Cholesterol 125 mg, Sodium 160 mg, Carbohydrate 5 g (Fibre 1 g, Sugars 0 g), Protein 49 g.

Tips: Serving Suggestion: Serve with mashed potatoes and your favourite steamed vegetables.

This photo below is how I wanted my Chicken to look, but wasn't quite what I got, but the result was the same yummy yummy yummy get into my tummy!

Epicure's Roasted Lemon-Garlic Chicken

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Sometimes I don't know how I function....

Written by Linda Gauthier

Friends are a treasure.
To my friends, you know who you are, Thank you.

I imagine we all have times when we give our head a shake and say "what the heck am I doing?"  It seems I have been experiencing a lot of those lately.  I sometimes have a rather chaotic lifestyle, but what is weird about that, is that it is during those times that I seem to, or at least I feel, that I function at my best.  Give me some down time, or time when I don't have everything all planned out, and I tend to be like a bumbling, Great Dane loping across the field in one direction, until something else catches my eye, and oops!! I'm off chasing whatever it was that distracted me from my original goal, the result being that I don't complete anything.
Hubby calls this my "Squirrel!" mindset, a line from some cartoon or other.  "Nice to know I inspire him to think of me as a cartoon character", she said with a furrowed brow, adding to the "I'm not amused look" is, that he does not think of me as Jessica Rabbit, but a dog that chases squirrels, so what does that say?  Actually, I think it is funny, but I'm not going to let him off the hook, would you?   I'm afraid he is right though, as much as I hate to admit he is right about anything!

So the point behind this preamble is I once again started out to create something else for dinner, then whoosh, a picture in a magazine advertisement caught my eye, and the dinner menu suddenly changed.  

This was my dinner, and my first attempt at making the Empanadas, I hope you get a chance to make them, I think you will enjoy the results.

Empanadas with Corn and Bean Salad with
Romaine Lettuce, Guacamole and Salsa.


1/4 lb lean ground beef
2 fingerlings Sweet Potatoes diced
3/4 cup red kidney beans
2 tsp Epicure Chili Seasoning
1 tsp Epicure Louisiana Hot & Spicy Dip Mix
1 small onion diced
2 tbsp finely chopped green pepper
3/4 c grated Monterey Jack Cheese


Brown the ground beef 
Add the sweet potatoes and cook until soft
Add the onions cooked until they are soft
Add kidney beans heat through
Add your spices and green pepper
Add grated Cheese 

When they are all softened, mash with fork forming a soft mixture
with the texture of lumpy mashed potatoes.

This made enough to feed 4 of us for dinner, and 3 lunches for my husband and son.

Set aside.

For the pastry:  Weight Watchers Pastry

5 1/2 oz plain flour
pinch of salt 
2 1/4 oz low-fat spread.  I used a vegan butter substitute, you could use Becel or other diet margarine.

I added 11/2 tsp Epicure Chili Seasoning  (to add a little zing to the flavor)

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.  Rub in the low-fat spread until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add just enough cold water to bring the dough together.  Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Roll your pastry out, then cut into circular shapes,
I used a biscuit cutter, 3" diameter
In the center of each circle, place a tbsp of the bean and meat mixture 
Fold over to form a crescent, pinch edges, and then pull the corners in slightly to form a C shape.
Cut a couple of small slices into the top to allow the steam to escape.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until your pastry is golden brown.

Corn and Bean Salad

1 sm can Sweet Corn Niblets
Rest of the Kidney Beans
Pickled Banana Peppers to taste
Diced red onion to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic crushed

Char the corn in a cast iron fry pan
Toss remaining ingredients together
Serve on washed leaves of  Romaine Lettuce.


1 diced tomato
1 tbsp Epicure Guacamole Dip Mix
2 pitted and peeled Avocados, mashed
Finely diced onions
Fresh lime juice
Sea Salt

Chop tomato, place in bowl, add onions and lime juice
Mash Avocados in a separate bowl, stir in the Epicure Guacamole Dip Mix
Add the tomato mixture to the avocados, stir until mixed
Grind some sea salt onto the Guacamole, to taste.  Less is better.

As always, I hope you enjoyed your time with me, and if you have any recipes you would like to see, leave me your requests.  Until the next time, smile and enjoy.  Here are a couple of pics that brought a smile to my face, I hope they do the same for you.  Talk to you soon.

Mr. Potato Head?
Mr. Potato Head

Why yes, I'm a bit stressed. Why do you ask?
Yes I am a bit stressed, why do you ask?


Thursday, 28 February 2013

Don't Be Afraid To Try Something New

Written by Linda Gauthier 

         One step at a time...

Time has gotten away from me and I have been distracted from writing my blog this week, and for this, I apologize to those of you out there who read my blog.  I have been working on the process of preparing to move my blog over to a Wordpress site, including the learning curve, so hopefully it will happen in the next couple of weeks.  This involves a lot more work than I thought, because I want to transfer all of my past posts over to the new site, but I hope you will find it to be a much more reader-friendly site.  I have high hopes for it anyway.  I'm feeling quite confident you will enjoy it and it should prove to be easier for you to download or print the recipes.

When I consider, before I started my blog, I was lucky to get from point a to b on  my computer.  I'm very pleased with myself, and the changes writing this blog has made in my life.  Not only have I been able to lose weight, I have also been able to develop my computer skills, and best of all, I have a creative outlet which I had not explored up until recently.
I always knew I liked to write, but it has been a long time since high school and college, and any dreams I had of writing went out the window a long time ago.  I'd often thought about it, but never got much past thinking about it, a few scribbles on paper but nothing more.
So here I am, writing, creating and programing a new web page.  Holy cow, not bad for a semi-senior citizen, newbie tech, who is fumbling her way through learning to blog.  Yup.  I am proud of myself, this has been a good 6 months, even if I do say so myself!!

The other day I tried a new salad for lunch and served it with a small Veggie Cheese Quesadilla.  The salad is for 5 servings, but I only made enough for 1.  Same with the Quesadilla.

Summer Corn Salad

Summer Corn Salad

Ingredients (5 Servings)

2 c cooked corn (fresh, frozen thawed or canned)
1/2 c roasted bell pepper- red, green or a mixture
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lime juice
1.5 tsp cilantro
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper


1. Add the corn and the peppers to a small bowl.
2. Pour in the olive oil, lemon and lime juice, then sprinkle with   chopped cilantro.
3. Mix well, add salt and pepper to taste if desired and serve. Refrigerate, if not serving immediately.

Veggie Quesadillas

Veggie Quesadillas

Ingredients (4 Servings)

4 tortilla whole wheat tortillas
1 c Mexican cheese blend
2 c black beans
3 Roma tomatoes
1/2 medium red onion
1 large pepper
8 tbsp salsa
4 tbsp guacamole & seasoning


1. Heat beans over the stove on medium heat. Add taco seasoning to taste and stir until combined
2. Heat a large pan over medium to medium-low heat, spray with olive oil cooking spray.
3. Assemble quesadillas: one layer of beans (use up to 1/4 cup per quesadilla), one layer of cheese, a layer of onions & peppers, and another layer of cheese (don’t use more than 1/4 cup of cheese total per quesadilla)
4. Grill the quesadillas in the pan until both sides are browned and crispy and the cheese has melted.
5. Top with diced tomatoes, 1 Tbsp guacamole and 2 Tbsp salsa. Enjoy!

So I'm going to sign off, and I will be talking to you soon.  I will be posting on this site until I am ready to switch over to my new site.  When I finally have my new page setup, I will be providing you with a link so you can find me, sort of leaving a trail of bread crumbs in the hopes that you will follow.  

As always I hope to leave you with a smile, and good thoughts. Smile, laugh, and enjoy your family and friends, remember with every laugh and smile your life becomes richer.  Here are a couple giggles for you, I'm sure you ladies out there of a certain age can relate to.

This following picture is one that made me giggle, I could just see myself out doing the grocery shopping or gardening in this, a truly practical everyday dress suitable for all , right ladies?

                        Christian Dior - Haute Couture S/S 2009<3 na

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Reinventing the leftovers and helping my food budget...

Written by Linda Gauthier

Pinned Image
In case you wonder why the cat pictures? I have noticed that the internet is ruled by  the "Cats" so I thought it might bring more readers to my blog  if I threw a random cat picture in now and then. Is it working?   Bwa ha ha Cats rule!!!

So as a continuation of my blog entry  "Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone"
I thought I would show you what I did with the excess Black Beans and Chicken slow cooker dish.  We fed 4 people the first meal, the following day I portioned out the leftovers with the resulting 2 packages of 2 cups each for the freezer and 1 portion of 2 cups of the chicken rice and beans for a soup for that day's meal.  Which also gave us soup for a couple of lunches during the work week.  

2 packs of 2 cups each for the freezer to be used for meals at a later date.

The next picture is what I used to create our soup for the Sunday Supper.

I'm calling this my

"Skookum Soup"

1/3 of a large bottle of Motts sodium reduced Garden Cocktail Juice
1 pint of my own roasted tomato sauce 
1 1/2 c frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 medium onion chopped small to medium dice
3/4 c celery diced 

I did this step in the morning, letting the flavors develop throughout the day.
Add to rice and bean mixture bring to boil let simmer until flavours have a chance to develop and veggies are getting soft.  Turn heat off, cover and let sit until you are ready to use.  Reheat and serve with crusty bread and salad for a wonderful flavourful lunch or dinner.

Soup just coming to a boil

As my mom used to say, you now have a "Skookum soup"
 Full of good things guaranteed to fill empty tummies!!

So from a relatively inexpensive original meal preparation costing approximately $11.29 for ingredients.  I am able to create a minimum of 12 meals with just the Chicken and Bean and Rice mixture, (4 dinners first meal, and an additional 8 with the 2 packages in freezer).  Plus the Skookum Soup for an additional 8-10 meals.    

That is a grand total of 22 healthy easy meals, with most of the work already done for future meals.  How great is that?

I then added an additional $5 in ingredients (and that is on the generous side) to create the Soup which has given me an additional 8-10 meals.  

So for a grand total of $16.29, I was able to create 22 meals for my family.  I won't complain about that, as it really helps the budget out, and works out to 74 cents per meal for your main ingredients.  That allows you room for a nice bread and salad plus a dessert and your budget would still be on the low side.  You cannot go out and buy a complete meal for your family in a restaurant or with pre-prepared foods, for that price, that is for sure, at least not in Canada.

I would say that is pretty darn good, and the cost isn't the only wow factor.  I have been able to prepare this without a lot of sodium, or additives, the flavours have been great, and the meals were not repetitious.

This simple mixture of Chicken, Rice and Beans can be found in many recipes from countries around the world, such as Haiti, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Mexico, Louisiana (Cajun), African nations, Malaysia, just to name a few.  Simple ingredients, but a world of choices, to expand your menus and your food budget.  Give it a try.

I hope you have found this information useful, and that you might try doing it for yourself.  Until next time, smile, eat and enjoy.

Dude! Where is everybody?  Happy Thursday Everyone!
I'm off to do something with my hair, I'm beginning to look a lot like this guy.