Tuesday, January 31, 2012


There are so many amazing talented people online these days offering their artwork to lazy people such as myself, for free!!
I especially love scanning the net when it comes to seasonal celebrations such as valentines day.
Here are a few of my favorites flying around the Internet...freeeeee...just need a printer and LOTS of colored ink. (Notice I didn't say it would save you money???)

You are the cheese to my macaroni.........*tear* how frigging adorable?


So many options......just pic one!

WHOOO doesn't have a soft spot for owls? I'm such a dork!

free printable valentine cards for kids

Cute and simple.
printable valentine cards for kids

Like I said before, colored ink is a given for major impact!

Ahhh the season of love. 
I still have yards and yards of colored butchers twine to put to use so I'm trying to think of some fun valentines crafts to share with you all this week. 

Anyone have any super romantic plans for V-day this year? The hubby's birthday is on the 15th so he gets the annual double whammy, two day love-arama celebration....lucky man!!

Lord help me!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Nom, nom......winter food.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Perogy how I luuuurve thee. Empty calories all rolled into one delicious little package.
We made and served these little babies to the guests at our back yard wedding reception in Australia 12 years ago. The Aussies loved them, these strange, foreign, delicious pockets of potato. I think it made my hubby proud to share a little something from his native land and have it so well received. He also made his famous creamy mushroom perogy sauce, don't ask for the recipe, it goes to the grave with him.
We've not made them since then.....and now I know why. Because they are a lot of work!!!
Totally worth the effort though, just like homemade ravioli and bread baked from scratch. And what a great opportunity to teach the kids the difference between store bought and good down home cookin'.
There's an art to the forming of them, I was certain that after making 100 or so I'd have it all figure out.......NOPE.

They don't look at all bad and they tasted mighty fine but I absolutely must invite my adopted Ukrainian mother over and have her show me all her secrets.
We decided after returning from our last trip to Australia that every weekend would involve a new family recipe, we either make copious amounts of something we know and love or agree to experiment and hopefully create the next recipe to be added to our family cookbook. The weekend before it was lasagna, this weekend was perogies and next weekend is undecided. Any suggestions?

Anywho, back to the Perogies. So we made potato and cottage cheese, potato and bacon, potato with sauerkraut and bratwurst and my all time favourite...potato and roasted pumpkin...we were literally fighting over these ones, forks in hand.

I have a dough recipe to share, this is a new one that was passed on by my mother in law. I hope she doesn't read this, she really is not a random recipe sharer. Usually you have to marry into the family for her recipes so don't go telling Gramma Le!!!

Perogy Dough

6 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of oil ( I used a canola/olive oil blend)
1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes

Mix all ingredients together.
Add approximately 2 cups of warm water until texture is soft but not real sticky. I used my kitchen aid stand mixer with the hook attachment and then turned the dough onto a floured surface for a quick knead. If it feels too sticky, add a bit of flour.
For best results let sit covered for 1/2 hour. Dough can be frozen or refrigerated.
If refrigerated, take out 1/2 hour before. If frozen, take out the night before.

I found this dough to be very elastic and to be a bit tricky to work with at first. But after a while (100 or so perogies), you get the hang of things.....trust me.
For those of you who know how to make perogies you can stop reading here..the rest of you still wondering what the heck to put in the dough..follow me.
The recipes below came with the dough recipe, I have to tell you that we did not follow any of these recipes, not because they are bad but simply because the hubby wanted to create his own.
These are simply a guideline. Does that sound like a decent disclaimer??? Done!


Dry cottage cheese: Mash the cottage cheese, add salt and pepper, onion flakes, dill  (optional). Or, add mashed potato which helps keep the perogy together.

Cheddar Cheese: Grated cheddar cheese, mashed potato, salt and pepper, minced onion. Bacon is also welcome here!

Sauerkraut: Drain and fry sauerkraut. Add chopped onion, mashed potato, salt and pepper to taste.

Once you've made your perogies you can boil or fry them and sit down like a piggy and eat them all. Or like we did, you can eat SOME and then freeze the rest on baking trays and later; transfer them to ziploc bags.
From frozen, we like to gently boil them first and then fry them in a hot, oily pan with a little salt and pepper.

Soooooooooooooooooo goooood! Tootles.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I'm going nude!

Ha!!! Gotcha, you perverts. You thought there was actually going to be naked people on your screen....go on ...admit it! You know I track my traffic to this blog..........ahhhhh! PANIC!
Just kidding. But seriously, if you`re here for naked people you`re barking up the wrong tree today.
I just wanted to share with my fully clothed readers a new product that I stumbled across in Australia on my last visit.

Don`t you just love the censored fruit parts. Now before you Canadians get all excited, I'm trying to find a supplier here so that I can tell you all where to get this product, no luck yet.So for now you can all read on and be envious of my impulse purchase.

We all know how easy it is to get suckered into the ease and convenience of Ziploc bags and plastic wrap, in the words of one of my dear friends...it makes me feel like an "environmental terrorist" (thanks Nat).

I've used a few products in the war of packed school lunches, such as these handy lunchskins. They work well but are easily lost and still require a lunch kit. Also the fact that they are made in Canada makes them an appealing purchase. I lucked out and was able to trade a couple for some of my jam at a market.

So here's what I purchased in a Safeway supermarket in Australia, on clearance mind you for A$6.99. Ingeniously named...the nude food mover is an all in one lunch kit system. I picked up one for each of my girls and they have used them every day this week with no complains, no spills, no dry bread and no breakage....so far.


Here's the bio:

Nude Food Movers = a healthy body + a healthy planet!

Hailed as the best thing since sliced bread – and the ultimate way to keep that bread fresh, the Nude Food Movers range consists of lunch, sandwich and snack boxes, stackable snack tubes, banana and muffin movers and neoprene covers.

The Nude Food Movers range by Smash, is designed with a space for everything to eliminate the need for portion packing and wrapping. All products are also BPA free making them the perfect choice for families!

In 2010, Nude Food Movers in conjunction with Nutrition Australia, developed the first annual Nude Food Day to encourage Australians to pack nutritious, environmentally friendly lunches for work and school while raising money for healthy schools programs.

The event was hugely successful, and 2011 we made it international spreading the word to New Zealand. In the years to come, we want the whole world to participate in Nude Food Day and become healthier and more environmentally aware together!

If you haven’t already, it’s time to join the Nude Food Movement!

The product line has an assortment of different configurations and snack containers, the only complaint I have is that my luggage space was just not big enough for me to buy more components. I did have to reserve space for my other Aussie treats.
So not only has this nifty little product replaced the plastic wrap, it has also replaced the lunch kit. No more mould checks in the little corners and stitching of synthetic fabric lunch kits for this momma and no more squished lunch for my little monkeys.

On another Aussie topic...Australia day is coming up soon, don't forget January 26th. Our hot lunch lady extraordinaire Stacy is my hero of the week for sourcing out REAL Aussie meat pies for the occasion. I will be in the hot lunch room showing my Aussie pride....can't wait.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

baby its COLD outside

With the weather all of a sudden plummeting to FREEZING and lots of snow to be shovelled outside I'm feeling the need to light the woodstove and blast the chill from my bones. I'm a bit of a cranky bear today, having just spent two weeks in Australia in 35C+ this is just a little bit much for me right now.
Although it was lovely to go home and see so many people all at once, unfortunately the circumstances were not ideal.
I recently lost my dear dad in a tragic accident and as much as I feel like I'm ok to talk about it I'm all of a sudden feeling the wave of emotion sweep over me as I type. So for now I leave you with this, my final tribute to my hero, my dad. My personal reflection of my dad that I read at his funeral.

For several nights now I've sat quietly in my parent's home, trying to capture my thoughts and memories of Reg.
I've started more times than I can count and stopped just as many. Then I started again, trying to find the words to describe how it feels to be here without him...to be honest. I still don't know.
But what I do know is that regardless of my recollections, you will all remember him in your own way...as a husband, brother, father, Pa, uncle, friend, teacher and mate.

Regionald was his name, some called him Reggie....I called him Dad.

One thing that you could count on with my Dad is that what you saw, truly, was who he was. Rough around the edges, with a mouth like a trooper but with the biggest, warmest and most giving heart.
He was a salt of the earth, meat and potatoes, sit and have a beer kind of guy. I think we can all agree on that.

As a father, he was never absent. Yes, he worked a lot, but he was never more than a few footsteps away, working in the shop next door to our house. I have many fond childhood memories and although it's hard to find him in the photographs of my youth, he was there. He was always there.

Our childhood went a little something like this:
Dad worked, mum ran the house.
Dad worked, mum took us on holidays.
Dad mowed the lawn, mum did the cooking. Except for on the rare occasion when Dad was left in charge.
One of my most cherished memories of my dad's culinary flair was jaffles, cooked in the living room fire.
Leftover's, always with mashed potato's, sandwiched between two slices of white bread. Into the jaffle iron and cooked over an open fire as we huddled around dad's feet, patiently awaiting our dinner. A squirt of tomato sauce and the masterpiece was complete.
We didn't have much back in those days, but we didn't notice. That was the magic of my Dad.
Dad fixed things, we broke things.
I don't remember seeing many tradesmen in the Luy household growing up. My Dad was a jack of all trades as you well know. He didn't always do things the right way, granted, but he got it done.
If you'd ever worked alongside my dad, you know only too well of his short fuse. What we affectionately called the spanner dance was known to many.
When things went wrong, as they frequently did, you knew to stay clear and protect yourself from projectiles such as a spanner or a hammer. And for goodness sake, cover your ears.
Dad played good cop, mum the bad cop.
Dad loved the speedway, mum sat with us on the side lines and screamed.....a LOT!
Everything that Dad was passionate about became our passion. His energy was infectious and his zest for life was intoxicating. Go hard or go home was his motto....he practiced what he preached.

Dad was a man of very few words when it came to expressing his affection for his children, but we never, ever doubted how much he loved us. It was evident in the sacrifices he made every day. In the little gestures that went unnoticed by others but meant the world to us.
Helping with my math homework, even when his body ached and his mind worn out after a hard days work.
Sitting quietly with me in the living room- no words exchanged between us- after every broken heart. Never trying to fix things....but he did, just by being there.
Flying all the way to Canada to come for a visit. Realizing that it meant having to go without a smoke for almost 24 hours and still stepping on that plane.

Even with all the time spent in the last few days looking at old photographs of him. It seems the image that is with me every day and will be...always...is not of the face of my Dad.
With his cheeky smile. His thick, coarse hair, brittle form years of spray paint and thinners. His ears protruding slightly and those famous thick glasses, you couldn't miss him in a crowd.
No, the image that my mind continues to focus on, in every photograph that I see of Dad, it's the image of his hands.
Rough and strong with his short, wide fingers usually clutching a cigarette. Grease lodged under his fingernails, his skin callused and leathery from years of doing what he did best. Those were the hands of a man who spent his life working his hardest, living passionately, giving to those who needed him most and loving with every ounce of his being.
And in the end, it was only your hand that we were able to touch through a veil of silk to say goodbye.

Dad, the morning I heard of your death, travelling to my in laws for Christmas.

I will forever cherish the beauty, the warmth and the calm that I felt as that sunrise slowly engulfed me. It was the longest and most magnificent sunrise I have ever seen.
I could feel you that morning, just as I feel you here today.
As I see you in the eyes of those gathered here, on the many familiar faces.
We will see you in the eyes of your grandchildren and in all those who love you.
We will hear you with each rumbling car engine and every honk and toot from a passing vehicle.
I will miss you every day of my life and be with you with every sunrise and sunset that I seek.
I love you dad.


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