Friday, 13 April 2012

Gluten Free Mexican Lasagna

As someone diagnosed with celiac disease, I don't find it a difficult diet to follow, since I'm pretty used to quickie meals with meat and salad or veggies.  I enjoyed a Dagwood-type sandwich once-in-awhile but it's not something I really miss.  I don't miss pasta at all.   Chicken wings and beer - that's another matter. 
But every now and then you get a craving for carbs and quinoa just doesn't cut it.
I used to be crazy about a frozen Presidents Choice Mexican lasagna that was available from Loblaws but I haven't seen one for years.  The other day while I was trying to decide what boring thing to have for dinner when all I wanted was somebody to make it for me, I had a brainstorm.  I had a bag of Masa Harina corn flour and made up a batch of small tortillas - took maybe 15 minutes.  Put a layer of medium spicy salsa on the bottom of my square 9" pan, a layer of tortillas, had no hamburger so shredded up a leftover chicken breast as the next layer, sprinkled taco seasoning over the chicken, more salsa, shredded cheese, another layer of tortillas, salsa and lots of cheese.  20 minutes in the oven and it was to die for.
I don't often cook anymore because a) I don't need to b) no counter space which is annoying when you try to do creative cooking and c) I hate to do dishes.  This dish was typical of what I will cook now - something experimental, creative, easy and quick.  I don't like cooking the same thing twice because then you're following a recipe and that makes it work instead of play, but this was so good I had to try it again.  This one was a real quickie, with store-bought brown rice tortillas, Frito-Lay salsa, lean ground beef and a mix of shredded blend and mozzarella cheese.  A definite success, slightly second-best but still pretty darned good.  The chicken is better than the hamburg which surprised me.
If anybody reading this blog needs gluten free cooking and likes the taste of Mexi-Cana, this is really a tasty dish.  Probably not low in calories with all that cheese but frankly, my dear...
Oh yeah, the only prep dish is a frying pan for either the tortillas or the hamburg - bonus!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Beautiful Morning (Not!)

The plan:  Sleep in and have a lovely, relaxing Easter Sunday morning.  The store wasn't opening until noon so it was the perfect opportunity to snooze.
The reality:  The wind was howling so hard and loud that it actually woke me up.  That was amazing in itself, because it takes a lot to wake me up. 
Plan B:  Dewey was restless and upset because of the wind and he wouldn't be able to sleep until he peed.  So I put sweat pants on and a coat over the nightgown and thought they could have a quick pee and go back to bed. 
The reality:  The door to my apartment was snowed shut!  No snow for weeks, spring weather and all of a sudden we wake up to a couple of feet blowing sideways and blocking my door with drifts.  The dogs and I ran through the store and I punched in the alarm code before it woke the neighbourhood and we went out the store door.  Dewey did what we went out for so I put him back in and grabbed the snowshovel and went to clear my apartment door with Corky.  And since the shovel was out, I did the front stoop of the store.  By the time I was finished shovelling and dried off the two dogs, I was desperate for coffee.  Of course sleep was out of the question now.
Plan C:  The store is closing at 5.  Nap! 
Right now it's 4:30, the sun is coming out and so are all the customers.  If I can close at 5 it'll be a miracle.  Go home and have Easter dinner, all you people!  The exception would be the man in the green pick-up with the plow on the front who did a drive-by plowing of all the crap the snowplough left, and just left.  He can come back as late as he wants.  I have no idea who he was, just a Good Samaritan on Easter Sunday.
By the time I close the store, walk the dogs and dry them off, it'll come down to a choice between nap and supper.  Sigh.  

Tronex Pliers Update

I said in a previous post that basically, I was just as happy with the cheaper Wubbers as opposed to the Tronex.  After making a rosary, I've changed my mind.
For most of my work,  I still prefer the Wubbers.  As said, they suit my big hands.  But doing a million (at least) little closed loops and fitting silver chain on a lot of those loops, I couldn't have done as well without those lovely, fine chain-nose Tronex pliers.  My hands and wrists didn't get sore from repetition either.  The plier handles are just as big but the nose itself is quite narrow.
So, Tronex company, I apologize for maligning you.  When you're doing fine wire work or a million (at least!) little closed loops, the Tronex pliers win hands-down.
If only my eyes were as good as the pliers.  It'll take me the rest of the day to be able to see well enough to upload some decent pictures of the rosary.  If I got any. 

Sunday, 1 April 2012

It Just Doesn't Get Any Better

A chock-full day of sunshine and good things!  Along with working in the store, dog lessons and an evening play date for both dogs and working a little more, I had four glorious hours sailing the Northumberland strait in a fishing boat, on a gloriously calm sea in glorious sunshine.  It was a last minute invitation so I forgot to take my camera and this is last year's slightly cloudy picture of the Confederation bridge pylon.  (It hasn't changed.) We played thread-the-needle with the pylons, admired the soaring windows of cottages, worried about the shrinking of the Island with the eroding shoreline and decided it was too nice a day to think about rising seas and expensive shorefront houses with their feet almost in the water.  We marveled at the expansion joints of the 13 kilometre bridge that look like big gaps in the structure from below, and the fact that we were having an ice-free sail in sunshine on April 1st. 
And I marveled that Charles, a fisherman and on the water his entire life, can still take such pleasure in just being on the water and sharing that with his family and friends.  He's taking a crew of divers out every day while they check the Maritime Electric underwater cable between PEI and New Brunswick and that will barely be done before scallop season starts.  You'd think that he'd like to spend his Sunday off away from his job but luckily for the rest of us, he loves what he does.  He's a remarkable man and he and his wife epitomize the generosity of spirit of so many Islanders.  Lucky me!