Helen’s World

Well, I was going to work in the garden this morning. 

Maybe I”ll just make some tea instead….

and lie on the couch.  (or, take the picture while the rest of them lie on the couch.)

What is this spring morning like for you?  Tell us!


I don’t know why I buy zucchini…no one likes it.  I’ve learned that the best way to cook it is to gently saute it in butter for just two or three minutes; that helps a lot, but it’s still not a favorite.  Tonight I had some and looked up some ideas for what to do with it on my favorite recipe search engine, Recipe Puppy, and came up with this winner: 

Middle Eastern Zucchini Casserole

Cook separately:  1 1/2 cups rice (uncooked measure), 1/2 to 1 lb ground beef, 2-3 zucchini sliced (saute in butter, for only a minute or two).   I also added some dill and salt to it. 

Combine rice and ground beef.  Add:

1 tsp allspice

1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon

1 to 1/2 tsp salt

The recipe at this point says to add tomato sauce, but I felt that would be too tomato-y so I made a cheese sauce (white sauce with cheese) and added a little bit of tomato sauce to that, and mixed it in with the rice and beef. 

Layer in baking dish zucchini slices, layer of beef mixture, zucchini again, beef again, top with zucchini and some more tomato or cheese/tomato sauce.  I put on a little grated cheese too.  (Oh, and I had no more zucchini left, so there were only two layers of that.  That’s enough!

Bake in oven until hot at 350 or 400.

Serve with plain yogurt. 

You could also make the filling and stuff it into zucchini that have been halved lengthwise and scooped out. 

I can’t believe Shana liked all that allspice! And now that I think about it…she didn’t eat the zucchini after all.  But she did like something that was not Plain Jane boring, so that’s still a good thing! 

Let me know if you try it!

…Hell froze over?

Let’s go outside and take a look. 

Guess I left the screen open and some outside came in! 

Blowing drifting snow, visibility on the roads is almost nil. 

This is a lot of snow for Calgary, by the way!  We don’t usually get buried like this. 

Care to come and sit a while?  We have dry seats inside too!  And the hot chocolate will be flowing freely! 

Nate says if we are lucky the power will go out.

Food, IncI recently won tickets from SPUD to a new movie in the theaters called Food Inc.   It was a documentary-type film about the food industry and how it works.   I liked it, it shows you where your food comes from without inducing a guilt trip. 

I think one of it’s main points was that every time we shop around for the cheapest deal, we are getting cheap quality as well as cheap prices.  When all we care about is the price, no one cares about the animals that make our food, they don’t care about the workers that process it, they don’t care what poisons we get in our food, they don’t care if we die from it, as long as it’s cheap. 

Now, most of us don’t know if there is poison or if people are dying or anything at all about the animals, and we assume what we don’t know won’t hurt us.  However, it’s a vicious circle, as we cannot find out either, because many companies are behind closed doors, self-regulating, no one knows what goes on there and no one asks questions.  And those who dare to oppose, well, let’s just say they are silenced.  And that’s where the problems come in, when too much power is concentrated in too few people. 

Change comes slowly, but it does come, and this movie is an attempt to pull back the curtain so people can know where their food comes from and make informed decisions. 

At my house, I will definitely continue to eat and buy organic and local whenever possible.  I even buy organic grapes when it’s my turn to bring snack to preschool.   Every time I tell the marketplace I want something cheap, well, that’s what I’m going to get!  No Thanks! 

A thought on Fair Oaks Farms that Dad sent on:  that was not in the movie, but maybe it should have been.  I like that place, the thing I liked most was the glass walls and the info center: you could see what they did and how they did it; no hiding anything. They also spotlighted one organic farm in the Shenandoah Valley, VA:  Polyface Farms.  That is definitely where I’d buy my meat if I lived anywhere near there!

This movie is in a theater near you.  If you’re ready for some food for thought, get out there and see it.   Just a small piece of advice while you are watching the movie:  don’t buy popcorn.  Not this movie. 

Happy Eating!

Yesterday, we have STEVE, from Blue’s Clues!  Notice not only the striped shirt which first made Kenan think of Steve, but also the khaki pants, belt that you can see (shirt tucked in) and shoes in the house.  And of course the Handy Dandy Notebook with green crayon! 



And today we have, wait….is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  Is it Kenan?  No, it’s SUPERMAN!!!!


Notice, the big red boots, and (an almost) red cape, and the red gloves.  He really wanted a big red S for the front of his shirt, but the furthest I would go was looking up online what colors Superman really has.   He likes this picture because it looks like his hand is touching the ceiling. 

For tomorrow, he is working on his LarryBoy outfit!  Don’t forget the Super Suction Ears!

Jobs I’m Really Glad I Don’t Have: 

This week the temperature has been High of -21 C, low of -24 C, feels like -35C.  Sometimes it’s backwards and just gets colder throughout the day and never peaks at all.  In Farenheit this is called “Below Zero.”  Here is my attempt at being thankful! 

Top Ten Jobs I’m Really Glad I Don’t Have This Week:


10.  Police Officer (licence and insurance pppppplease)

9.   Ice Cream Shop Owner (little slow on business?)

8.   Guys who hand out free newspapers on the streetcorners downtown.  (They do get paid, but I just don’t think it’s enough!)

7.  Bicycle Courier downtown (they probably still wear shorts!)

6.  Window Washer

5.  Ski Lift Operator

4.  Travel Agent with no personal vacation days left this year

3.  Bus Driver / Taxi Driver (that ice on the roads is just not going away, and neither are the drivers who don’t know what they are doing!)

2.  Garbage Collector (Listening to them picking up my garbage early one morning is what gave me the idea for this post, and made me really thankful I was still in my slippers having tea!)

And the Number One Job I’m really glad I don’t have this week: 

1.  The man at the intersection with the sign: 

Homeless and Hungry Anything Helps Merry Xmas