Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jade's Grad

Last Wednesday was such a proud day for us. Jade graduated high school. For those who are new to reading this blog, Jade is my step-daughter. Although she doesn't live with us, she comes to visit regularly. I wish she could come more often. Schedules and hectic lifestyles quite often get in the way, but at least we get to see her every other weekend.

A week or so before the graduation, there was the prom. I think this might have held more appeal. Here's Jade and her boyfriend of 2 years, Mike. He's a really nice boy & he's just crazy about her. :o)

Jade's dress was absolutely gorgeous. She bought it in NYC when she was there on a school trip. She said she wanted a red dress and while in Macy's shopping, she happened to turn around and there it was. Only one. She tried it on and it fit! It was meant to be.

Aren't they just so cute??

The big day had arrived. We picked up Mama Rita and headed to the ceremony. Mike's younger brother was also graduating, so Mike & his parents were there and saved us seats. We were up fairly close and had a good view of the stage.

Here's the graduate waiting to go up & get her diploma. The ceremony itself was a couple of hours, but entertaining enough. Mike was able to tell us about this girl or that guy because he knew a lot of the students having only graduated last year himself. He kept it interesting.

Mama Rita is so proud of her granddaughter.

So are we!

In the fall, she's off to Niagara College to take Hospitality & Tourism. Conveniently located in Niagara-on-the-Lake Not only is she close enough to come home on weekends, but she'll be right in the heart of wine country. How lucky is that?? hehe

Her best friend, Katrina, is also going to Niagara College and entering into the chef program. They're hoping to bunk together in residence and are just waiting to hear if there's room. When she's completed her post secondary, Jade says she'd like to work in a big hotel. No, let me rephrase that, she wants to run a big hotel. We have no doubt that she will accomplish this.

In the winter, Jade & Kristina went to the college to register and check out the campus. Here's a picture Kristina had of the two of them that I really liked. YOU GO GIRLS!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Giada's Dinner, Grammy's Dessert

I'm not a regular watcher of The Food Network, but I do tune in from time to time and I have a few favorite shows. One is Everyday Italian with Giada DeLaurentiis. Although I didn't see the episode where she made this dish, I wanted to give it a try, with a vegetarian twist. I present Quorn Cacciatore.

Obviously, it's supposed to be chicken cacciatore, but I used Quorn's Naked Chik'n Cutlets and they worked beautifully.

See, there's the Quorn hiding under there. This was delicious!! I highly recommend this dish. The recipe can be found here. Sadly, I heard that the show has ceased production. Giada & her husband are expecting a baby. I'm sure there will be reruns for a while, but I don't know how long the recipe database will be available - so check it out soon.
For dessert (non-vegan) Lemon Meringue Pie - totally from scratch.

I don't know if there is a way to make vegan meringue, but since I still do eat eggs occasionally, I make traditional meringue. Sometimes weather (especially humidity) can affect baking results, but obviously the day I made this pie, the conditions were perfect. Look at the fluff of this meringue!

I have never bought a ready made pie shell. Actually, I lie. I bought a graham cracker one once and it was terrible. It was all crumbly and didn't cut well. And it was expensive! I was pissed. What was supposed to be a time saver ended up causing me a lot of frustration. Since then, I always make my own. The filling is also from scratch.

It turns out a pretty yellow colour, not a phony neon yellow, but a nice....well, lemon yellow.

Jim said this was the best lemon meringue pie he's ever had. Wow! What a compliment. I owe my thanks to my wonderful late grandmother. Years & years ago, she game me this recipe & tip sheet that she had picked up somewhere.

As you can see, it's been well used.

It's chockfull of useful information on how to make great pastry. When I was first learning how to bake pies & make pastry, this was my bible. When I take my time and do it properly, following what I've learned, my pastry always turns out wonderfully.

The lemon meringue pie recipe that I use is on the back. I looked to see if there was a year printed on this, but couldn't find anything. From the look of it, it could have been produced anywhere from late 40's to the 60's. All I remember my grandmother saying was "I've had that for years."

I know a lot of people that read this blog are vegan, but some aren't and if you would like this recipe, I'd be more than happy to share. Just lemme know.
I just want to show you what I turn around and see most times while I'm typing up blog posts.

Simon likes to lay on the floor beside or behind my chair.

He's my editor. He checks my spelling and gives his approval. This one has been given the green light, so I'm now allowed to click "Publish Post".

Friday, June 06, 2008


I don't know if you've heard the good news - KFC Canada has agreed with terms of a deal set forth by PETA. They will now have more humane slaughter conditions and offer vegan chicken! Unless you've been veg*n since birth, most of us have had Kentucky Fried Chicken at some point in our lives. As a kid, maybe once or twice a year, we'd get it as a treat. I remember a couple of times going to the old KFC store in downtown Fredericton with my dad to get a bucket of chicken. I don't know if it was the novelty of having my food come in a large cardboard pail or what, but I always found this super exciting. And let's face's not the chicken you want. It's that 11 herbs & spices coating. That's what it's all about. I said years ago, if only they'd just sell the coating mix, I'd make my vegan version at home with tofu and call it KFT. My friends, most of whom know I'm a little off the wall sometimes (OK, most of the time) just smiled and probably thought "Man, that chick is looney". Well, who's got the last laugh now?
The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper, reported the story on Wednesday and I also heard about it on the radio. If you'd like to read the article, you can do so here. PETA also had a press release published on June 2. That can be found here. Interestingly enough, as of me posting this; 4 days after the PETA announcement and 2 days after the Globe & Mail article, the KFC Canada site has absolutely no mention whatsoever of this monumental event. Hmmm....kinda makes you wonder, eh?
One of my big questions is - will they have a separate fryer just for the veg chick or will they throw it all in together? That defeats the purpose all together. I'm sure PETA will keep an eye on that (I hope). But seriously, will you be more inclined to patronize a KFC now? I'd have to do some more investigating but I don't really think I'll be lining up any time too soon.
This information only applies to KFC Canada. The KFC's outside of Canada have not agreed to anything and are still sticking to their cruel ways. Visit
this page for more info and to sign a petition. You can also make a fun little sign like the one I did above.