Groundhog Day Predictions from Spanish Joe

Spanish Joe Interview

Spanish Joe was interviewed often by Helen Morley of the Mid-North Monitor in Espanola for his Groundhog Day prediction along with other weather related predictions, ok, ok, and sometimes he rambles on about other things too!

Groundhog Day 2015 – Saw Shadow, Six More Weeks of Winter
Groundhog Day 2014 – Saw Shadow, Six More Weeks of Winter
Groundhog Day 2013 – No Shadow Early Spring
Groundhog Day 2012 – No Shadow Early Spring
Groundhog Day 2011 – No Shadow Early Spring
Groundhog Day 2010 – Saw Shadow Six More Weeks of Winter
Groundhog Day 2009 – Saw Shadow Six More Weeks of Winter
Groundhog Day 2008 – No Shadow Early Spring
Groundhog Day 2007 – No Shadow Early Spring
Groundhog Day 2006 – No Shadow Early Spring
Groundhog Day 2005 – Saw Shadow Six More Weeks of Winter
Groundhog Day 2004 – Saw Shadow Six More Weeks of Winter
Groundhog Day 2003 – No Shadow Early Spring
Groundhog Day 2002 – No Shadow Early Spring
Groundhog Day 2001 – No Shadow Early Spring
Groundhog Day 2000 – No Shadow Early Spring
Groundhog Day 1999 – No Shadow Early Spring

Photo credit:  Our picture taken Jan 31, 2006

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Spanish Joe – the World’s only psychic Groundhog!

Spanish Joe Time.jpg

With Groundhog Day just around the corner, we have recently had a few requests on what Spanish Joe has been up to.  He has been very comfortable in his retirement the last couple of years, but due to popular demand, we will see if he would like to make this his new home.

Who is Spanish Joe?

Spanish Joe resides with his spiritual medium, Rick, in beautiful downtown Spanish, located on the North Channel of Lake Huron.

Joe lived quite happily in the Ottawa Valley until one sad day when he was run over by an Environmentalist protest bus, apparently he was hit with a “green” “piece” of that bus. Shortly afterwards Joe was put under Rick’s care and it became apparent that Joe has a direct link to the spiritual world. Joe is able to pass on such messages from the spirit worlds which are interpreted by his spiritual medium. Joe gives predictions, readings and is sought out by various news media. In 1992 Joe moved up to Spanish with Rick and hence…. Spanish Joe emerged and he has amused the locals since!

I do hope to add his numerous past newspaper articles and recommend you read them, they will certainly give you a good woodchuckle or two.

….. stay tuned!

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Basic White Sauce in the Microwave

Basic White Sauce

Making this in the micro is so much easier than on the stove top, and faster.

Times below are based using my microwave, which is 800 watts (you may have to adjust times for your micro).  The first time you make this, just watch carefully so you don’t burn it.

Prep Time: 5 1/2 minutes     Total Time: 5 1/2 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large Pyrex 4 cup measuring cup, melt 1/4 cup butter, micro on high 30 seconds.
  2. Remove and stir in 3 tablespoons flour, micro on high for 30 seconds.
    (at this point, it is a roux)
  3. Remove and gradually stir in 2 cups (room temperature) milk, mixing well.
  4. Micro on high 1 min 30 seconds.
  5. Remove from micro and stir thoroughly.
  6. Micro on high 1 min 30 seconds.
  7. Remove from micro and stir thoroughly.
  8. Micro on high 1 min 30 seconds.
  9. Remove from micro and stir thoroughly.
  10. You are finished, now add salt and pepper to taste.

When making scalloped potatoes, be sure to add onion powder and parsley to taste at the end.

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Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe, this one may surprise you!

Homemade Tomato Soup

Yes, most homemade tomato soups are made with fresh tomatoes, but this recipe, made using canned tomatoes just might surprise you! I know it did me. If using canned, I use premium San Marzano type tomatoes.

Many years ago, I think it was back in the early 70’s, my mother found a tomato soup in one of her French cuisine cookbooks (so popular at the time) and made it her own.

I have never heard of adding rolled oats to a soup, but it really does make a difference and nice touch.

I often add small pasta shells, cooked separately, at the end as an option.

This is a wonderful soup for the family to enjoy on a cold winters day!

Be sure to add a basket of fresh baguettes to the table.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 cups chicken stock (or substitute with vegetable stock)
  • 1 large can (28 fl oz) of quality tomatoes (chopped with the juice)
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrot, grated
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Serve with small pasta shells (optional)

Instructions

  1. Sauté onion and garlic in butter in a large heavy saucepan until softened
  2. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, carrot, celery, rolled oats, basil and sugar
  3. Season with salt and pepper and onion powder
  4. Bring to a boil, partially cover and reduce to simmer
  5. Simmer gently for 45 minutes
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Roasted Orange Cauliflower

Roasted Orange Cauliflower Recipe

I had been hearing for years about the different coloured cauliflowers, and wanted to try them, the orange cauliflower in particular.  I know this is probably old news for most, but you see, we don’t have the best selection up here, and are usually at least a year or two behind when new products come on the market.  That’s the one disadvantage to living in a small northern Ontario town.

I had pretty much given up ever seeing an orange cauliflower.  And then one day this summer, and much to my surprise, a grocery store in our area had them on the shelf! I grabbed three of them LOL

EVERYTHING YOU WILL NEED

Roasted Orange Cauliflower Ingredients

I didn’t have any fresh garlic, so used a little garlic powder.

THE RECIPE

You can also make this recipe using regular white cauliflower, which I have done when I can’t get any orange ones.  But believe me, the orange cauliflower tastes so much better than white!  There really is a difference and I now prefer the orange to the white cauliflower.

We don’t get these very often, and still haven’t seen a green or purple one yet, but when I do, I will definitely try them as well.

Serves: 4 Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  •  2 orange cauliflowers (cut into florets)
  •  1 clove of garlic (grated or finely minced)
  •  juice from 1 or 2 fresh lemons
  •  2 pinches of cumin
  •  2 to 4 Tablespoons Canola oil
  •  2 teaspoons course Sea salt
  •  1 teaspoon Pepper
  •  sprinkle of Italian parsley (rough chopped)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large 11″ x 16″ baking sheet with aluminum foil
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, juice from 1/2 a lemon, garlic, and 1 pinch of cumin,  whisk mixture with whisk or fork until well blended
  3. Cut cauliflower into florets, pieces should be as close to the same size for even cooking
  4. Add the cauliflower to the bowl and toss well, make sure to coat all the florets with the oil mixture.
  5. Toss on to the foil lined baking sheet
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (to taste)
  7. Bake until tender and browned on top, around 1 hour
  8. About half way through cooking, remove from oven
  9. Squeeze the juice from the second half of the lemon evenly over the florets and sprinkle with second pinch of cumin and/or additional salt if required
  10. When finished, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve

Note: Adjust any of these seasonings to your individual taste. I go easy on the garlic but as I love lemons, once it is finished, I actually will add more juice from a second lemon.

Roasted Orange Cauliflower

Can you say yumee?

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENT COLOURS?

White cauliflower is the most common colour of cauliflower.

Orange cauliflower contains 25% more vitamin A than white varieties.  This trait came from a natural mutant found in a cauliflower field in Canada.  Cultivars include ‘Cheddar’ and ‘Orange Bouquet’.

Green cauliflower is sometimes called broccoflower. It is available both with the normal curd shape and a variant spiky curd called Romanesco broccoli.

The purple colour in this cauliflower is caused by the presence of the antioxidant group anthocyanins, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine. Varieties include ‘Graffiti’ and ‘Purple Cape’.

Did you know that the orange cauliflower was discovered in Canada… eh?

Update

sad …. I am so sad….  I walked into my grocery store today and I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Staring me down was this weeks featured produce.  Sitting there waiting for me was some very nice orange cauliflowers in the bin….. but wait, there’s more!  I took a look, I took another look, rubbed my eyes, and yes, there it was, the long awaited PURPLE cauliflower.

I ran over, immediately threw in two of the orange cauliflowers and went over to the purple ones.  Oh my, the disappoint I felt when I saw them up close.  They were awful, very soft and wilted with lots of black yucky marks all throughout.  Definitely not the quality I would ever buy.  It is at times like this I wish we lived in a large urban city with lots of good grocery stores and fresh markets offering high quality produce!

I was still very happy to get another feed of my orange cauliflower, but so sad I couldn’t try the purple.

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Chinese Pork Filling with Chinese Noodles

Chinese Pork Filling

I have always loved Chinese wontons, my favourite with pork filling, but they are just so much work. Face it, after making my pork filling, I just do not have the patience or strength to make and cook all those little wontons. So I rarely had these little treasures that I enjoyed so much. Finally one day, the light bulb came on. Oops, sorry about that, did I blind you? LOL

Let’s see, I love the filling in Chinese wontons, I love my Chinese noodles, so why not just have the filling on noodles?

Problem solved! And it was absolutely delish! Now I enjoy this all the time and hope you do too!

INGREDIENTS TO GET YOU STARTED

Ooops, forgot the sugar in the picture LOL

PREPARE THE CHINESE MUSHROOMS

Instead of soaking the dried mushrooms in just plain warm water as most do, I reconstitute mine in a flavoured warm water solution, by adding:

  • enough warm water to cover the mushrooms
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 drops of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • pinch of grated ginger

Soak for 20-30 minutes or until they have softened. Squeeze to remove any excess liquid, discard stem (or cut around).

PREPARE THE LIQUID MIXTURE

Make the liquid mixture next so it can sit and the flavours can combine.

  • 2 Tablespoons Kikkoman soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons Canadian Imperial Sherry (or similar) *
  • 5-6 drops of sesame oil
  • Dash of red pepper chili flakes

Once you make it the first time, you may want to adjust amounts of some of the ingredients to your taste.

* see tip below

TIP

Never use a cooking sherry, use a good quality sherry.

My motto for using any alcohol in a recipe is …..

If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t use it in your recipes!

PREPARE THE VEGGIES

This is what takes the most time.

Chop all veggie ingredients, put in separate bowls

  • 1 cup water chestnuts, rough chopped
  • 1 or 2 whole green onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of baby bok choy stems, rough chopped
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups of baby bok choy leaves, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup Chinese mushrooms, rough chopped
  • 1 Crimini (brown) mushroom, finely chopped

You can chop to your desired consistency. I like larger pieces that I can see and get a better taste. Some folks like things chopped finer. It is definitely your preference.

PREPARING THE BABY BOK CHOY

Preparing the baby bok choy

I use and recommend using Baby Bok Choy.

I cut off the root end, separate and break apart all the pieces from the bunch. Remove and discard any old looking or yellowing pieces. Wipe off any dirt, soak the individual pieces in cold water for a few minutes, drain well.

I cut off the end of the stem and discard.

I cut the white stem and chop those up until I have around 1/4 cup.

I roll up several leaves at a time, cut slices, then rough chop until I have around 1 1/2 to 2 cups

PREPARE THE PORK

prepare the pork

In a frying pan over medium heat, fry 1 1/2 to 2 pounds good quality lean ground pork. I like using ground pork as it is much easier to prepare than cutting up lean pork.

TIP

For additional flavour, fry the ground pork with onion powder, garlic powder and pepper to taste.

Fry pork until cooked, strain all but around 1 tablespoon of the fat.

Note: Use onion and garlic powder (not salt)

COMBINING ALL THE INGREDIENTS

combining all the ingredients

Over medium heat, to the cooked pork, add in the following order:

  1. Water chestnuts and baby bok choy stems, mix in and cook for couple of minutes
  2. Cremini mushrooms, mix in and cook for a couple of minutes
  3. Chinese mushrooms, mix in and cook for a couple of minutes
  4. Baby bok choy leaves and green onion, mix in and cook for a couple of minutes
  5. Liquid mix, mix well

Cover and simmer for 5 minutes

Then adjust any seasoning to taste and for final step, add:

1 to 2 Tablespoons Oyster sauce (I use Golden Dragon)

To add a little more tang, I add 1-2 teaspoons of rice vinegar (optional)

PICK YOUR NOODLES

Pick your Chinese noodles

You can now add my Chinese pork filling over a bowl of your favourite noodles.

There are times like this I wish I lived in a big city that had a Chinatown I could shop for ingredients at.  I am lucky I guess that I can even find my Chinese mushrooms!

And finally…….. MIX IN and ENJOY!

Kathy's Chinese Pork Filling with Chinese Noodles

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