Basil Bacon Taro

Today I discovered something that was discovered thousands of years ago –

taro root!

Taro is a tropical corm used traditionally in many cultures across the world.  The Hawaiians have a fermented taro dish, poi that is a superfood; I’ll have to try it some day.

taro root – a scary looking version of potatoes!   Image source

I really enjoy Terra chips which contain taro (among other root vegetables) so when I saw this recipe for taro chips, I wanted to give them a try.  Being a  total novice in the taro-cooking department, I happily purchased a moldy taro root. Uh-oh… I didn’t realize the extent of the moldiness until I peeled it and saw big sections of tainted taro.  What to do? I quickly Googled, “is moldy taro safe?”   I couldn’t find anything definitive but everyone was saying “buy a hard, non-moldy taro root.”  I decided that I’d cut out the bad sections and boil it rather than bake it – that ought to kill that mold!  With the change in cooking method, I had to come up with a new recipe and here it is!

Basil Bacon Mashed Taro

1 large taro root (mine was 1.89kg before I peeled and de-moldified it)

1/2 cup bacon fat

5 slices of cooked bacon

1/4 cup fresh basil + some for garnish

1. Cook the taro like you would cook regular potatoes.  Note:  a lot of online sources said taro can be irritating to the skin when raw so wear gloves while preparing the root

2. Drain the water from the cooked taro root and add the bacon fat.  Mash it together

3.  Add the chopped bacon and fresh basil

4. Enjoy!


baby bundts

A few weeks ago I came across this donut recipe on Gluten Free Fix.  I knew right away that I had to try this recipe!

Problem: I don’t have a donut pan.

Solution: our “local” dollar store, Dollarama!

I must say that I am continually amazed with the selection at Dollarama and a little scared (who is making this stuff anyway?).  Anyway, I found these adorable little silicone bundt pans that would be perfect for the job!

Baby bundt pans

I’ve never baked with silicone bakeware before and was skeptical about the results.  I couldn’t have been happier!  Gluten free baking often means (in my experience) that half of your cake falls out of the pan and the other half stays in.  Then you have to go through the tedious process of gluing it back together with icing. With these pans, the “donuts” came out beautifully and had a natural shine, as you can see below.

I opted to glaze them with a mix of melted chocolate and coconut oil.


I suggest you try both the bakeware and the donuts… both are great!

Sheets into Summer P.J.’s

It’s been hot here and I mean very hot! I thinks it’s been in the mid 30’s (we’re talking Celsius here) and creeping up to the 40’s on some days.  That’s pretty hot in my books and if I could, I’d be swimming every day!  Personally, I love the heat.  I don’t like working in it but it is such a nice change from the freezing cold air conditioning inside my school.  I’ve never understood why buildings are often  colder than room temperature in the summer  when we are all dressed in shorts and t-shirts.  Does it make sense to you?

Well, hot weather usually calls for lighter clothes and that means lighter pajamas too!  Here is a p.j. I made from an old set of sheets.  I laid down one of my pajamas on the sheet and cut around it and sewed it all together.  The sheets were quite old (my mom got them as a birthday present on her 12th birthday!) and threadbare so I had to double up the sheets.  I always smile when I pull these out… they’re comfy, cool, and remind me of my mom 🙂

The bottom ruffle was actually a part of the sheets!

No pattern this time (again!).  I have to start making patterns so I can replicate something when it turns out… and then maybe the pile of half-finished, botched sewing projects in the bottom of my material box will disappear!


Another Pillow

I’m sure many of you crafters out there have seen this beautiful pillow on

By OutonaLimbDesign on Etsy.  I fell immediately in love with it. I absolutely love poppies.  They are so meaningful at the same time as being beautiful.  The poem “In Flanders Fields” immediately comes to mind when I see a poppy but instead of sadness and fear the poem brings me  hope and thankfulness for and from the people who fought so hard to preserve our freedom.

Since I’ve decided to redo my living room in blue I decide to try my had at doing blue poppies instead of red.  I know they should be red and are gorgeous the way they are there were two factors that influenced my decision:

1. I saw a beautiful painting that took my breath away with blue poppies

2. I didn’t have any red felt.

I used an old sheet to make the pillow case and stuffed it with some foam stuffing. I used a marker to do the stems. I tried to sew it but the sheet was so thin and I’m not quite good enough to do embroidery — yet (I hope).  I used blue and dark purple for the flower since I didn’t have enough blue.

It is not quite as beautiful as the one from OutonaLimbDesign but I’m satisfied.  Plus it looks very nice in front of the beautiful throw blanket my grandmother crocheted for me for my confirmation!


p.s. for those who don’t know this is “In Flanders Fields:”

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

– John McCrae

Finally! It’s Done!

A looonnggg time ago I wrote a post about using my sister’s sewing machine:


where I hinted what I was making by adding these links that I’d found on pinterest :

Sewing 101: Piping 


How to Sew a Ruffle Pillow

I finally completed my pillows!  It took forever and I ripped and sewed and ripped and sewed.  My seam ripper got a lot of use.  There are still some things that I would do different if I were to do it again but I’m satisfied.

The material is different from anything I’ve ever seen. It is satiny feeling on the right side but a flannely (yes I am making up words now) on the inside. While the flannel side makes it much easier to sew it also make it very easy to fray.  The flower in the middle was the most difficult and I would sew the seam with the good sides facing together and then turn it right side out to avoid the fraying fabric look.

I recommend you check out the tutorials from Pink Toes and Power Tools and Design Sponge. They are great. They give a perfect amount of detail and pictures to get the job done correctly.


P.S. How do you like my instagram filters? I’m sorry I’m a little obsessed with them at the moment 😉

Summer wreath

Evidence of summer is everywhere! I spent countless hours in my garden in the last few days but now decided it was time to escape the 25 C heat outside. Ok! Ok! I know 25 isn’t that hot but for us Canadians! For those American 25 C is about 77 F. A few weeks ago (actually at the beginning of spring) Stephanie asked me to make her this wreath we found on pinterest.

Etsy Egg Carton Wreath


Sorry the picture is so bad. I’m just learning to use the WordPress app on my iPad.

Instead of using egg cartons I used my Cameo Silhouette (which I’m totally in love with) to make my flowers.

This was the colour scheme we decided on.

My desk full of the flowers that I made.

I bought a green wreath form and knew that I wanted to cover it in white yarn so I first had to paint it. I just used leftover paint from around the house. I then covered it in some small pieces of white yarn.


It was a long and tedious job but I chatted on the phone, getting some great friend time in.


This is what it looks like all wrapped up in yarn. I like using foam forms and covering them in yarn as it is a great way to make an eco-friendly wreath. This is because it is so easy to re-use. I use pins to keep the flowers in place and the yarn covers up the holes when I use it again.

This time I only covered a small part with flowers like the one Stephanie showed me.


It was so much fun putting together the colours to make pretty and very different flowers. I added a yellow ribbon to hang it up.


It’s finally all done! Hope you like it Steph!!

With Love,

From Frightening to Functional!

It’s spring, right?  And spring calls for makeovers, right? Well, here is a spring inspired makeover!

My parent’s have this room that has to multi-task… majorly.  It used to be a bedroom but was converted into a computer room.  Eventually it became an office and since it is close to the living room, it was an ideal place for little ones to play in while the adults visited nearby.  Needless to say, many of our toys have migrated from the basement into this room.  Over time this room became a catch-all storage space too housing extra kitchen chairs, wheelchairs for a a disabled family member, and workout equipment.  To add to the mayhem, we added a deck to the back of the house and needed a backdoor! The door was placed in this room.  So, we ended up with this room that needed to serve as office/storage/playroom/back entry and it needed to be presentable.  Those of you that follow Better After may have seen this room redo already.  You can see it here.

 Here are the scary before pictures.

As you can see, this room needed some help… desperately.  We thought and thought and thought about a room layout, how to incorporate our existing furniture and we finally settled on a plan that would be functional, work with the existing duct work, and give us more storage.  This new layout meant that the rolltop desk had to go.  My mom was kind of sad to see it go.  We kept the mahogany stained desk and built in shelf above it.  My brother built those and my mom couldn’t part with them.  After a couple of coats of paint (Benjamin Moore-I can’t remember the exact colour) furniture arranging, and installing shelves, here is the after!  We aren’t completely finished yet; we’d like to add some crown molding to the top of the shelves and put a corner bench in above the rolling toy cart. But for now, it’s much nicer.

This picture is taken from the door of the room

The fun part was “shopping” around the house finding items to put in here.  The white toolbox on the top shelf was something my dad made years ago but just shuffled from one corner to the next with no purpose. The old grey typewriter was my great grandfather’s that sat in the basement for years. The pen and pencil organizer on the right hand side of the desk we had purchased at Ikea years ago but they sat in the laundry room collecting dust. I love putting stuff to good use!

This is where the rolltop used to be. In this corner we want to add a corner seat above the rolling toy cart for my little cousins and niece to read on.

This area didn’t change much.  We cleaned it up, swapped the dinosaur of a CPU for my mom’s old laptop (that had more memory and processing power), and found a new home for the spare wheelchair!  This desk is raised a bit so that a person in a wheelchair can sit at it so it serves as the perfect storage area for our extra counter height chairs.

The overall result is much prettier and much more functional!  My mom says that she actually enjoys doing her paperwork now and in fact, is more organized than she has been in years!


Waltz Fish Shak

I’m sorry, this is kind of turning out to be a food blog! This is the last review – I promise (at least for a while!)

Waltz Fish Shak

This little shak at the end of the boardwalk in Medira beach is like a pearl in an oyster. From what I’ve heard John’s Pass has slowly become more and more commercialized over the years. The evidence of this is the big huge Bubba Gump’s and Hooters, but way back in the corner is a little restaurant that makes you feel like a local. They only serve the catch of the day, the menu changes everyday and the place decides when it wants to open. There is a sign out front that warns people that the place isn’t for kids, people in a hurry, or high maintenance people. It lets you know that Walt will close if and when he wants to. We got there just before 5pm (the time it opened) and there was already a line up.

Once the doors were open we got promptly seated and a very nice waitress explained the menu to us. No hurry, no rush, just a nice relaxing meal in a shak!


We had the gator bites – yes I did eat alligator. It tasted like chicken, literally, but was a little bit more chewy.

Warning: Alligator bites


I had the fresh Scamp and my Hubby the Grouper. Both were delicious!

the blackened group and the fried light scamp with AMAZING rice and good coleslaw


The fish was great but if you go there MAKE SURE you order the rice and peas. It is so good! I don’t know what they do to it but it is YUM

The Key Lime pie is also a must!! (sorry no pic – It went too fast to take a picture).

YUM! For a great local place in John’s Pass I would TOTALLY recommend Waltz!

Chow for Now!


Instagram photos

I recently downloaded an app that is pretty cool. You might have already heard about it (its not uncommon for me to figure things long after everyone else has) – Instagram! It is an amazing photo app that lets you take photos and add these really neat affects on them. It turns an amateur like me into someone who looks like a pro! I’d love to edit my wedding photos with this thing!
I tried it out by first using a few photos in my camera roll. . .

Paper flower

winter flower

And added some of the cool effects that Instagram has built in:



What do you think?

Then I Walked around my garden and took a few more.




Definitely a cool app!! Forget the cannon! I’m going to try iPhone photography!


Hot Doggin’

Mel’s Hot Dog’s near Busch Gardens

So the next place that I’d recommend in Tampa to eat is Mel’s. It’s a little different from Bern’s (like a few hundred dollars!) but still completely delicious!

At Mel’s we (my husband and very tired and warm I) had a hot dog each and then some cheese fries. I never thought I’d comment on how yummy a hot dog was but it was gooooood.

just looking at this makes my mouth water! Posting at dinner time - not a good idea.

The only thing that was a little weird was the relish. My hubby got relish on his and I looked at his hot dog and there was this neon green stuff! I asked him what it was and apparently the new shade of pickles is neon green.  Good to know!

A friend who joined us for lunch.

The Mel's Hot Dog Mobile

You think they go hot doggin’ in here? 😛

Been there! Done that! Got the Tee Shirt!