Recycled Christmas art

Christmas is truly my favourite time of the year. The lights, Christmas trees, decorating the house, time spent with family, eating, school concerts, more eating and all the magical events that go together with the season makes this truly the most wonderful time of the year for me.

With decorating, comes an opportunity to make some Christmas crafts. This year, I needed to add some decorations to the mantle in my family room and I was waiting for inspiration to hit. It came when I was at my local craft store- I could paint some festive quotes. My next question was what would my canvas be? I do love to make my craft out of recycled materials and I was running down a list of things that I had at home, when I realized that I had some boxes to get rid of. I cut up the box to make my canvas. In fact, I feel that painting on the boxes gave this artwork a more rustic feel.

I used the last of some ribbon that I bought over 10 years ago to finish off the project. I certainly feel merry and bright when I look at my new artwork. It brings me comfort and joy!




Roobois Chai Tea

I do like to start my weekend morning with a cup of Chai. I find it hearty and nourishing, and at the same time very relaxing to sip on my cup of tea.

I have been experimenting with different variations of spices and like this version the best. I use Roobois tea and almond milk, but this can be substituted with black tea and regular milk. I grind up a batch using my mortar and pestle and then steep up my tea when I am ready for a cup.

Chai mix

1 tbsp ground ginger

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp cloves

1 tbsp cardamom pods

1 tsp all spice


  1. Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, grind all the spices.
  2. Store in a container. This should make about 3- 4 cups of chai


Chai tea

1 tbsp chai mix

1 tbsp roobois tea


  1. Add 1 cup of milk to a pot. Simmer on medium low heat. Add 1 tbsp of chai mix and 1 tbsp of roboois tea. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Use a tea strainer, to strain the milk into a cup.

I usually add another cup of milk to the roboois chai mix. I find the second cup to be as delicious as the first. Play around with the amount of chai mix. If you like it less strong, then add less chai mix to the milk.


DIY Luggage tags

We are redoing our laundry room and part of the process has been to figure out what counter-tops, cabinets etc to purchase. Thankfully all the decisions have been made and now we need to install all our purchases.

We had some leftover counter-tops samples and I figured that they could be recycled into luggage tags. Using some hot glue, I stuck two pieces together, covered the sides with tape and stuck on some fabric decorations that I had.


Gluten free Quinoa Cake

Quinoa cake? When I first saw this recipe posted by Joy McCarthy -, I was a little skeptical.  But I thought I should give it a try because wouldn’t it be wonderful to find a healthy and delicious recipe.

I have to say that I absolutely love this cake. I really enjoyed the slight bite the quinoa gives it. My only change was just to use the maple syrup and not the additional sugar. I found it sweet enough. I also used really rich cocoa powder to give it a really nice richness.

I have been having this cake as my treat every day. Simply delicious. Thanks Joy for sharing.

Kale and Chickpea soup

My husband does not like chickpeas or kale, but he really enjoyed this soup. I used yams instead of potato for an added sweetness. I also used no sodium chicken and beef broth, for an extra hearty flavour.


1 onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 celery stalks, sliced

4 carrots, sliced

500 ml chicken broth

500 ml beef broth

2 yams, diced

5 slices prosciutto

1 bunch of kale, cut  up

2 can chickpeas

1/2 cup barley

1 tbsp olive oil


1. Pan fry the onions until golden brown. Add garlic, celery and carrots. Pan fry for a couple of minutes.

2.  Pour broth into a pot. Add onions, garlic, celery.

3. Add barley and yams. When the yams are almost cooked, add in kale, prosciutto and chickpeas.

4. Simmer for a few minutes and then enjoy!


20130928_151826 20131001_105558

Hot Chocolate microwave cake

We bought a big container of hot chocolate mix for my daughter’s birthday party and now have tons lots over, so I started experimenting with hot chocolate mix recipe cakes that can be made in the microwave. This recipe is really easy. I got my kids to make it by themselves as a special and they loved it. You could use a mug, but we used bowls. Depending if you like it a little molten, you can cook it a little less, but it should be done in about 3 minutes. My daughter wanted hers to be a little under cooked (see picture below). She plans to make this when her friend comes over for a playdate on Saturday. This mix would also work really well as a present.

6 tbsp hot chocolate mix
4 tbsp whole wheat flour (sure why don’t we make this as healthy as we can)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp water

1/2 tsp vanilla
A handful of chocolate chips
3-4 small marshmallows (optional)
Strawberries (optional)

1/2 tbsp peanut butter (optional)


1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl well with a fork.
2. Microwave for about 2-3 minutes until set.

Zucchini pasta with an Asian twist


This Zucchini pasta makes a very healthy but delicious meal. I was actually not looking forward to having a lunch with so much vegetable, but the Asian seasoning gave this meal a very delicious and flavourful twist. You can probably add in any vegetables that you like. The zucchini and carrots stay crunchy and make a good base for this meal. If you prefer, you could add salmon or tuna to the pasta salad instead of crab.

1 zucchini, grated into long strips (remove most of the skin)
2 carrots, grated into long strips
Cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can crab meat
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tbsp lime juice

1. Mix crab meat and vegetables together.
2. Mix the sesame oil, lime and soy sauce together. Toss into salad.
3. Sprinkle sesame seeds on the pasta salad.

Salmon Cheese turnovers

So I have finally finished my son`s challenge to create 10 school lunches from countries around the world. This last one, is inspired by Cheese Turnovers from New Zealand.  These turnovers are best eaten warm, so they need to be sent to school in a Thermos. I added some salmon to this dish, to give the kids some extra protein. I also sprinkled a little bit of blue cheese as garnish, since my kids love this cheese.


1 egg, beaten

½ cup milk

½ cup plain flour

¼ cup whole wheat flour

2 tsps baking powder

1 tsp Mrs. Dash seasoning

2 cups cheese, grated

1 can flaked salmon



  1. Lightly oil a baking tray.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Shape into little patties.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes in a 400 F oven.DSCN2590_2496

Roast leg of lamb

I love lamb and always look forward to my mom roasting a leg of lamb at Christmas. This year, I decided that I would learn how to make it from scratch. So to celebrate my parents save return from Malaysia, my husband getting a job and my son’s birthday, I roasted the leg of lamb for a celebration lunch. It was quite easy and the taste was wonderful. Thanks Ma for the recipe!


6 cloves garlic
2 T butter
1 T fresh rosemary
1 T pepper
1 T Oregano
1 beef stock cube (Knorr)
2 T Maggi seasoning (watery)
1 cup white wine
2 T lemon juice

1. Remove fat from the leg of lamb
2. Cut slits all around the meat and stuff it with the garlic butter mixture
3. Rub well with all the other ingredients, except for the lemon juice.
4. Leave covered in the fridge overnight.
5. Heat oven to 370 F.  Add lemon juice to the meat. Cover with foil and roast for one hour.
6. Take out of oven, remove foil. Baste meat with drippings. Cover again with the foil and roast at 325 F for 1 ½ hours.
7. Bake till it shows on the meat thermometer that the lamb is done.
8. Leave on counter for 20 minutes.
9. Carve. Pour half the drippings over the meat. Reserve the rest for making gravy.

Gravy Ingredients:
2- 3 T plain flour
Drippings from lamb

10. Mix Flour, dripping with some water and a pinch of salt.
11. Let mixture boil to the right thickness.
12. Remove from stove and serve.

Homemade Pinata

My daughter is turning 9 on Thursday. I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by. For her 9th birthday party, she had a sleepover party with a few of her friends. One of her party requests was to have a pinata that you pull instead of one that you hit. This easy project was fun to make with my darling.

We used a paper grocery bag as our base. The handles of the bag was cut off. Then the bottom was covered with tissue gift wrap paper.  Next we covered the bag with coloured streamers, working from the bottom. We kept going until we reached the top of the bag.

We did this project a little bit each day over a week. My daughter was assigned the task of snipping the edges of the streamers during the week. A task that she quite enjoyed doing.

The next thing we had to do was to add the yarn to the bottom of the bag. At the bottom of the bag, I made a small hole at each corner .

I prepared two sets of yarn that comprised of 6 strands each (the length can vary, make it long enough- remember the children are going to pull on it). From the bottom, outside of the bag, I threaded it into hole X and then pulled it out through the other hole X. I did the same with hole Y.  See diagram below. My yarns were now crisscrossed inside the bag, and when pulled hard enough, would cause the bag to break, allowing the contents to fall out.

The next step was to fill the bag with goodies. Remember that the items should not be too heavy, as they could break the bag or hurt the children when they fall out.

Once the bag was filled, I glued the top of the bag together.  Punched two small holes on either side of the bag, and using more yarn created a handle. I did reinforce the top holes to ensure that the bag did not break from the top and just fall on the kids, but it probably was not necessary.

    X                                                                                                              Y




   Y                                                                                                               X

The kids had lots of fun pulling the yarn to break the pinata. There were 4 girls at the party, as each held on to one corner of the bag and pulled away.

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