Monthly Archives: February 2016

Easy Peasey Carrot Ginger Soup


This past weekend I found myself down and out with a bit of a cold which rarely happens to me. I had not much of an appetite and besides a few basics an almost empty fridge. But even with my few food ingredients I knew I should eat something. Copious amounts of green tea with lemon and ginger is my drug of choice but it wasn’t filling the void.

I wanted something nourishing if I had to eat it. Something that would warm my insides and make me feel like I was doing something great to heal myself. I opened the fridge door (again) and looked inside (again) and there staring back at me was a mostly forgotten half bag of carrots and an onion. Ok we are on our way! After a little more investigating in the kitchen I found I had garlic and ginger – no shock there I usually always have them around – and about 1/2 a 900ml carton of veg stock.


The beautiful thing about a soup like this is you really can’t mess it up. I was planning on throwing in a couple pinches of curry spice but forgot. This recipe is for a small batch of soup.

Ingredients – 2 toes of garlic, 1 small node of ginger, 1/2 of a yellow onion, 9ooml of vegetable stock, 5 or 6 carrots, 1 tbsp of your favourite cooking oil, salt&pepper

Recipe – First you finely chop one or two toes of garlic. If you like garlic a lot then two or more will make you happy. Finely chop half an onion and again finely chop as much ginger as you like or can handle. I probably added about the same amount of ginger as I did garlic.

In a medium size pot over med-high heat add about one tablespoon of olive oil, coconut oil or whatever your favourite oil is and sautee the garlic, ginger and onion until they are browning and by now your kitchen smells delicious!

Pour in your vegetable stock (chicken or beef will work as well). I added about a cup and a half of water to this as well since I was shy in the stock department or else I would have used the whole carton. Let this start to heat up and boil. Meanwhile shred and chop your carrots. I used 5 whole carrots.

When your broth is boiling throw in the carrots and let the liquid get back to boiling again. Then turn down the temp and let the soup simmer away for about 45 min with a lid on it. Throw in a little salt and pepper if you like.

When your carrots are soft take the soup off the heat.

This is the only thing that sucks about the soup is now it needs to be blended. So let the soup cool and blend it. If you have a full size blender you are lucky. I have a magic bullet so I used that to fill three of the cups with lids to put in the fridge.

So there you have it. Easy Peasy Carrot Soup. It’s healthy, hearty and warming and it’s a fantastic colour too!


After You – Book Review

0143108867“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”
How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

My thoughts on After You – I applaud Jojo Moyes. Very rarely am I ever a fan of sequels. I approach them with trepidation, wondering how these new chapters are going to effect my outlook on the whole story and I really liked this book.

I remember when Me Before You was recommended to me and with skepticism I read it. I am normally a mystery, thriller or historical fiction reader. Never do I pick up a romance type novel and think “oh ya this is for me” but I was pleasantly surprised.

Once again with After You I didn’t have any great expectations. I may not have even read it but because of my commute to work  I actually listened to After You on CD in my car and I found myself laughing out loud and then shaking my head. Moyes writes all her characters voices with such simple honesty and fortitude you can’t help but love them. You want to meet them. You relate to their stories and feelings.

I have read a few of the really negative reviews on this book and the big disappointment was that there is no Louisa and Will. Of course not. How could there be? I wasn’t expecting Will to show up. We know he is gone and that was part of my curiosity. How is she – the writer – going to do this?? You can’t go into this book expecting anything to be the same. Some of the characters yes but the story has moved on.

I will admit I wasn’t thrilled with Lily because she was exasperating to read and Louisa put up with way too much from her. The Lily story seemed a little too far fetched with the whole I need to meet my family thing coming from a 16-year-old girl who obviously had family whether she liked them or not. Her problem was not not having Will’s family it was about her being a spoiled unmonitored child.

So some of it did drag on a bit but over all it’s an excellent read.

Why I recommend the book – It’s a nice tenderhearted read for anyone who is curious about what happens next.


About the Author – Jojo Moyes was born in 1969 and grew up in London. After a varied career including stints as a minicab controller, typer of braille statements for blind people for NatWest, and brochure writer for Club 18-30, she did a degree at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, London University. In 1992, she won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to attend the postgraduate newspaper journalism course at City University.

Jojo worked as a journalist for ten years, including a year at South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, and nine at The Independent where she worked variously as News Reporter, Assistant News Editor and Arts and Media Correspondent.

Jojo has been a full time novelist since 2002, when her first book, Sheltering Rain was published. Since then she has written a further eleven novels, all of which have been widely critically acclaimed.

Jojo has won the Romantic Novelist’s Award twice, and Me Before You has been nominated for Book of the Year at the UK Galaxy Book Awards. Me Before You has since gone on to sell over 3 million copies worldwide.

The Red Queen – Book Review


This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart …

My thoughts- I’m conflicted. I liked this book. It has a captivating storyline. It is entertaining and well written. I didn’t find it overly predictable, though I had my suspicions as to what was going to happen early on, it wasn’t blatantly obvious. The author did a good job of keeping the reader guessing and following along.

You will love it if you are a fan of Harry Potter, Divergent and the Hunger Games because it feels like you’re reading all of them rolled into one. I have to say I was a little let down early on when I felt like I was having a book deja-vu but I won’t sit here and just draw lines of similarity throughout this review if I can help it. There are too many. Another teenage female, a tough poor girl from the village of S*&% finds herself suddenly “special” and she has to be strong for everyone blah blah blah.

Then you had the evil stepmother queen, the social class divide, the jealous pretty girl, the boy best friend from the sticks etc. etc. Oops I said I wasn’t going to do that.

While the whole blood separation was an interesting twist I didn’t find Mare, the protagonist, to be a very interesting or believable character. There were secondary characters in the book who were far more interesting like Cal the prince who made it all happen in the first place. Even the bad guy Maven was more believable in his part.

I was confused over the whole war thing too. If the Silvers were so special with their super-powers why didn’t they just go in and end it?

Thanks to the riveting ending I’m hooked enough to keep reading the series. I guess I was just hoping for something new.

Why I recommend the book – Because it is young adult fantasy fiction and I am not a young adult. This book is keeping up with it’s intended audience and they probably love it right down to the little love triangle. It works for teenagers or for an adult that just wants to have a light fun read.

About the Author – Victoria Aveyard is an young adult and fantasy writer from United States. She is known for her fantasy work Red Queen, which is going to be adapted into a movie. Aveyard wrote the novel a year after graduating from University of Southern California‘s screenwriting program in 2012. Sony Pictures teamed up with her to write spec Eternal
She tries her best to combine her love of history, explosions, and butt-kicking heroines in her writing. Her hobbies include the impossible task of predicting what happens next in A Song of Ice and Fire, road trips, and burning through Netflix.

In the Navy – a Wool Coat Redux

There are a lot, I mean a lot of wool coats floating through thrift stores. Beautifully designed garments crafted from gorgeous natural fibres like pure virgin wool, cashmere and angora. It breaks my heart to see them hanging there, abandoned and unwanted just because their shoulders are (way) too wide or the lapel crosses too low. In other words they are really great fabric but totally out of date in style. So this year I decided to do something about it.

A few of these amazing specimens are purchased by crafters and sewers alike to turn into repurposed mittens and needle felted projects or shabby chic decor. Those are all awesome ways to make good use of what’s being wasted. I however have vowed to maintain their intended purpose as wool coats by giving them a make-over. Here is coat numero uno.


This is the before coat (sorry for the poor photo the light was bad).


This coat was a no brainer to choose for a re-do. Number one there’s lots of it, it’s a big, long coat and the navy colour of the wool stands out on it’s own. As far as design goes though, I was inspired by the moto style of coat. I liked the off-centre zipper and high collar. I think it is a stylish silhouette.

Another reason I was attracted to this coat is that it had a Toronto Heritage label in it. I’m hoping to repurpose mostly made in Canada garments. After some research I have still come up empty handed on what Toronto Heritage clothing was but I thank them for the coat. If anyone can pass on any info. about this company that would be greatly appreciated.

I reattached the original labels and used the original lining to keep as much authenticity intact. And there you have it!