Tuesday, September 16, 2014

THE END

For quite some time I have been struggling with content for this blog and I have come to the conclusion that it has run it's course...  I will no longer be updating this blog because even though some of you have come to enjoy what I write, there really is nothing earth shattering or particularly satisfying to me of the subjects that I have been posting.

So for the time being, if you really need to see what I am up to, check out my etsy store at www.etsy.com/shop/susanbeingsnippy

or on twitter I can be found as @susanbsnippy

or even some of my photos on instagram  as susanbeingsnippy

and on Pinterest, too!  http://www.pinterest.com/susanbgsnippy/

I have disabled comments so as to avoid spam use as I do not plan to monitor this blog on a regular basis.

Thank you for reading my writing for the past 5 years or so (I haven't kept track) and I greatly appreciate those of you have written comments and encouragements!
Susan being Snippy

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Future of Food - Diet Quality

Earlier this week, I discovered a series being presented on the National Geographic website called The Future of Food...

Whew!  Some of the subjects that involve food are quite intricate and complicated...  Very far beyond just sitting down at your table (here in Canada) to have dinner and as my Dad often said "shoveling it in".

One subject area when it comes to food that is looked into is The Gap in Diet Quality between Rich and Poor

This article  (click on the highlighted text to read it ) takes on the question of obesity because of the poor quality of food that lower income households are forced to consume.  Poor food quality or lack of access to quality food means that if you have a limited income the meats that you buy are poorer quality, more fat content and raised in such a way as to contain the things that make the animal grow or produce faster... In Canada  growth hormones are not legal in animals destined for human consumption, but it is allowed in the USA.   So is the quality of the meat okay in the LONG run for us to eat?

I surely am no scientist and cannot answer that question, but I have come to realize that from being on the low end of the income scale for a number of years that it is often quite difficult to buy the healthy product.   Things often left out of a low income menu plan in any given month is FISH and often Chicken or other Poultry.   Hamburger prevails on a low income diet, and really what is in GROUND MEAT?.   Fresh Vegetables often are lacking simply because access to  a garden or Farmer's Markets may be out of the area.  Vegetables in a low income diet are often frozen or canned, I think, mainly because if fresh vegetables go bad in the fridge, it is waste that a low income household just cannot afford...

I noticed just the other day that two shows NEW (to us) are now on the Food Network Canada, that would be good for those with lower incomes to learn about making good choices -- yesterday was all about using pork shoulder even to making dim sum steamed buns with left over meat! --- Jamie's Money Saving Meals (check out the web site info) In my area the show is on daily at 2 pm (Shaw Vancouver listing -- the time may differ in other areas)  And on at 1 pm daily is Gordon Ramsey's Cookery Course (no SWEARING! hahaha) but you pretty much have to watch the episode because Mr. Ramsey charges real money to access his recipes on his website, so if you watch his show, have pen and paper in hand to write down any hints or tips that you might want to try out.

This week my trip to one of the thrift shops resulted in buying a Company's Coming Meatless Cooking recipe book (by Jean Pare`) for two bucks...  In a way these cookbooks are an easy format to use because of their smaller size and ring binding that allows the pages to lay flat, but I often find miss prints or ingredients that seem to be out of place in many of the recipes.  An often occurring ingredient in many of these recipes is canned soups, so you should note that there is probably more salt than is needed in many of these recipes.  I also wonder if you need canned soups for a recipe, is it economical, or could you use perhaps some milk, chopped mushroom, a bit of nutmeg instead of canned mushroom soup?  Perhaps that would be more economical and more healthy too! Though of course it might take an extra minute or two to chop or mix those things in...

Are you following my Friday is for Food project?  I hope you are finding some of the info and the links that I mention of interest and adds more depth to make the subject useful. Let me know if you are looking for something about food that I might post here, or if you have an idea for me...

... next week I am planning and looking for some breakfast ideas...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Work in Progress -- Scrappy Bits

Finally! Back to the sewing machine!  This week, I have been working on using all some of those left over bits from other projects...

I had a Fabric Sale in Mid July as part of a group Garage Sale and did fairly well in selling off some of my larger fabric pieces but the shoe boxes with scrap bits that were usually less than 4 inches in any one direction remained in shoe boxes...

Earlier this week I was thinking about how I can use these bits...  Then I remembered the blocks that people across Canada donated to the flood relief efforts in Calgary back in the spring of 2012 that Cheryl Arkison had organized.   And you can see some of the blocks as they are on the HEADER of her blog at Dining Room Empire  and it even turns out that her current post is about scraps and about clearing them out of her own stash!!  Perhaps this is the season of Scrapping Scraps??  I am not quite ready to get rid of them so....


So I am making some of these "Just One Slab" type blocks. I doing some sewing and might get these odd scrappy bits made into one or two utility quilts or even to use these "slabs" as backing for more 'formal' blocks...

As things go these are IN PROGRESS and I really don't have a final destination for them yet!  I am encouraged tho, that after many months of not being very enthusiastic about sewing some of that joy is creeping back in!


Linking up with the Needle and Thread Network this week...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Municipal Elections

I must admit I am the kind of person who generally accepts things as they occur.  A very long time ago, I considered myself to be quite political and very interested in the things that the elected people in our municipalities, provinces and country did to keep things running.


The one who really "fired me up" was Ed Shreyer.  He was elected to the riding that I lived in when I was a teenager.   Yes, my Dad talked about him, and was impressed by him and I am sure he voted for him.   From then on, I mainly voted for the New Democratic Candidate where ever I lived, though on occasion I did vote Liberal or even Conservative or whatever the party name was that came closest to what I thought was right for the things I believed in.  Yes, I was and am still pretty much a socialist, but not exclusively, as I think everyone's ideals adjust slightly with whoever is elected and how they conduct themselves during their time in office.


One of the things that I have always been fascinated by is the short memory of the people and that it seems to take a major effort to go and vote.  What motivates a person to vote for or in reality more often AGAINST someone or something?   Do people actually take the time to read and listen and study the consequences or previous actions either of the Party in Power or of the Elected Official.  Or might it be they hear snippets of opinions and look or listen no further to base a decision on?



Strangely, the type of election that is most likely to directly affect you is the smallest election and usually the election that fewest of us vote in.   The Municipal Election.   I must admit to actually not even taking the time to go and vote in past elections.   When I lived in Victoria, BC I never once went to vote in a Municipal Election!  My excuse?  Maybe it was those years were filled with raising teenagers and holding a job and at the same time going to college to learn accounting.   Not too much else could fit into my life!



In more recent years I have gone to vote in local elections, though really I did not necessarily know the 'point of view' of some of the city Councillors.   I was generally satisfied with those who ran our town, through the 1990's and into the 2000's, but now things have changed quite drastically.  



Our council is not something that I can say I am happy with as it stands and with Municipal Elections coming this November -- the third Saturday this year -- just a bit less than 3 months away.... I am thinking that this year I am going to try to keep a bit better informed and if I cannot attend information meetings, I am going to try to find out what is and who doing what, when, where and how...



In my city, Abbotsford, BC  there have been a number on ongoing problems that NEED a resolution, things that need to find a way for our government and citizens to stop chasing their tails like a young dog who is not quite sure what that fluffy thing is just out of reach....



Now, as I was taught many years ago, I do not plan to announce or advertise my position on any of the points that will soon be appearing for local people to think on and vote on come November 15, because I am not running for a position, nor I suspect will I agree with everything one person says over another...



But I am planning to PAY ATTENTION and make a decision and show up on Voting Day...  I am hoping to learn much about my city and maybe about the people who are putting their names forward to attempt to win a position on our city council and hopefully who are accepting the responsibility that their decisions will be affecting many lives as they serve our city for the next 3 years...


** all photos that appear in this posting are taken by ME around ABBOTSFORD, BC during different seasons, doing different things.***

Friday, August 29, 2014

Household Sciences -- Meat Cuts and their Uses

In today's supermarkets the Meat counter and display cases are quite different than 50 years ago.  Often if you bought your meat from a grocer or a butcher you would ask for the 'cut' of meat that you want and if you were not sure what to do with it the Man at the counter would often be able to tell you the best way to cook the piece that you have bought.



Now, stores do not provide the information that many of us could use when first starting up our own household.   When I was first married, there was still much that my Mother had not taught me about cooking so one of the early meals I provided for my new husband was quite a disaster!

I bought a chicken to roast for us to celebrate our 1 month anniversary.   Now I had no problem cooking some potatoes and mashing them adding a bit of butter and milk and salt and pepper to make very smooth mashed potatoes.  Warming up a can of corn was pretty basic as it was just, well, warming up the corn in a small pot on the stove....

But the chicken...  I am not sure why I had not up to that point in life learned anything about cooking meat.   I bought the chicken from the local grocery store, washed it, put it in a small roaster pan that had been a wedding shower gift and popped it in the oven for 4 hours....  Yeah, 4 hours!   This was alot of years ago, so I cannot remember if I took the time to baste the chicken or even if I checked how it was cooking in that time...   It actually looked very nice when it came out of the oven and I put it on a serving plate.  In my childhood home, my father always took on the task of carving the roast, whether chicken, or beef or pork or whatever else might be on the dinner table, so I handed the knife to my new husband and even though he said he had not done it before I explained the way I could remember my Dad doing the job.

(this is not the chicken I cooked - it is a photo from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Book - 2009 which is beautifully illustrated and excellent explanations for good family meals)

 Knife and big fork in hand my husband tried to saw through that chicken....   And he sawed, and sawed and sawed...  it sort of crumbled like dried out bread, it definately did not slice at all!  Good thing we were young and in love cause that chicken was obviously not at all edible.   Laughter and even the refusal of our cat to eat that Roast Chicken is still a funny memory between me and my Hubby.

It took me awhile to learn why -- I did not dare to ask my mother what might have gone wrong with that roast because my mother tended to use mistakes as a way to make fun that was not funny and if she knew of it, the story would have haunted me for years....  So I had to figure out what happened for myself....   I soon after discovered the first big error with that chicken was that I bought a "stewing hen".  Next was that roasting it for 4 hours just toughened the already tough meat.   What a way to learn about cooking! But I must say I did learn that lesson very well!   I don't think I ever had the same knack of roasting a chicken or a turkey as well as my mother, but then I did not have the advantage of taking a Household Sciences course as an extra choice in my school years.   Yes, we had Home Ec, but the detail in our cooking classes never included the details needed to understand MEAT.

In my Mother's Household Sciences Textbook are a couple of pages that are rarely explained or shown to new home cooks...



These two pages explain quite clearly where certain 'cuts' of meat come from on an animal.   A more modern and a very detailed explanation of what to look for in your supermarket when you shop for beef can be found at the following links...




and for chicken or turkey...


There are alot of wonderful sources of information on the internet when it comes to understanding cooking and choosing meat.  It is to a home cook's advantage to learn about how and what methods to cook various cuts.

I also want to point out that the FOOD NETWORK and most of the shows they feature DO NOT give instruction on choice of ingredients. If you discover an idea from one of the celebrity chefs it is a good idea to research the recipe and methods of cooking by going to that chef's web page...

Have fun with your adventure in home cooking because everytime you try something new you learn so many things about what it is to be a home cook!

Oh and PS, don't fall for that current trend -- Restaurant Quality - Home Cooked Meals are so much more satisfying because YOU did it and it tastes GREAT!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Embroidery

One of my "collections" is embroidery transfers or iron on embroidery designs.  These were quite common 40 and 50 years ago.  For a time there were a few companies that promoted and sold tube "paints" to use with embroidery patterns and they were very popular with young women who wanted a touch of hand made in their homes but didn't have the time to actually use thread and needle to create embroidered towels, pillow cases and monograms on special items...

So I thought I would pick out a few of these designs just as inspiration.  They probably were fairly common designs in their "hey day" but not so much now...

Here are a few that probably were meant to be embroidered on crisp white kitchen curtains or maybe special dish towels...







The nature of these transfers over time seems to be that adjacent or printing on previous pages seems to 'bleed' through the paper.  So these pictures show that 'bleed' through.   Also because they were meant to be ironed onto fabric they were printed 'backwards' so that when placed face down on fabric they would transfer in the mirror image or right way.

Oh and by the way, these are not for sale because I have no idea if they might be under copyright or even who that copyright might belong to.   I am simply posting them for 'inspiration'

I may be going through my collections and perhaps will add a few more of these designs in the next few weeks....
Check back if this sort of thing is of interest to you....