One good turn……

1 11 2011

Friday last week I checked my email first thing in the morning and found that a Mr. Mikes restaurant had written me asking for my full name and instructing me to pick up my free football tickets to the Vancouver BC Lions game vs. Edmonton.  I had entered a contest a couple of days prior but hadn’t won just by a bit and expressed how I would keep trying.  Turned out that the fellow who did win had asked Mr. Mikes to give the tickets to me instead as he had felt bad that I didn’t win.  Wow!!!  I wrote back to him that he had made my day and Mr. Mikes too and was kind of elated to have such nice news so early in the day.

I was in my parking lot and I heard a man shouting “Can you help me ?”  from his pickup truck.  He is a disabled man that I have seen in our building who owns a townhouse as well and was inside the back of his truck laying on his back.  He said he needed a hand to get sitting up.  So I helped him up but he was also concerned that he could just slide off the tailgate too so with his instruction I was able to assist him to sit comfortably and safely.  Next he said he would like me to get him into the driver’s seat of the vehicle.  Yikes!!!  Anyhow with his coaching I walked close to him as he held me and the side of the truck and he was very unsteady (I think all the while I had my breath held -scared that he might fall) . But as I already had luck on my side we slowly made it and he dropped into his driver’s seat and we said our “goodbyes”.  I felt very good that I had been able to be there “at the right time” to help him.

Then next on my agenda was to pick up my Mom and get her back to her doctor’s appointment.  I was a bit late by now but had allowed a few extra minutes.  Got about 10 minutes into the drive and then there was a detour!!!  Drove around the Thrifty’s store parking lot two times trying to convince myself that there would be some secret entrance to get me back on the road I needed going up Mariner Road and not down.  I think the flag girl must have wondered what on earth I was doing.  So…………back the way I came and the longer way around to Mom’s with a quick stop roadside to make a cell call to let her know I’d be late.  No answer at her place.  That’s ok – I’d left my message.

By the time I got to Mom’s I was only 5 minutes late and I hurried down to her room and it turned out her hair dresser had been 1/2 hour late getting there too so Mom thought she would be late for me.  It all worked out and we made it to the foot doctor too with 5 minutes to spare.  Funny (or is it) how we stress ourselves out!!  So I am giving my banana bread recipe to you – this was my Mom’s recipe and has become a dessert that those who know me often share with me.  Have a cup of coffee with it and enjoy!!


  • 1/3 cup margarine or butter (or applesauce)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten with a fork
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mash 2 bananas (ripe) with milk with a potato masher. Leave aside.  Blend, margarine, sugar and eggs together with beaters or  a blender.  Beat till well blended.   Add the mashed banana to the margarine mixture and do not mix.   Add the following:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

Fold this mixture in gently and add the chocolate chips and stir in.  Do not overmix.

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.  Let sit in pan for 10 minutes and loosen sides with knife.  Have a piece while it’s warm.  MMMMMmmmm!   Let me know what you think when you try it, ok?  Also please leave comments on my blogs – I would really appreciate your input and if you think there are any ideas you might like me to blog about.


Julie’s Family Favorite Coconut Crisp Cookies

3 06 2012

It has been far too long since I’ve done a blog!! I know…. I really enjoyed blogging when I had the time off – can’t believe I had a year and a quarter off. Do not take anything for granted – when I had that time off it seemed like one day turned into another and I really enjoyed my days!! It was wonderful – unless I win the lottery -well reality hits and I’m back working again. I am working part-time and I do believe some things are “meant to be” and “fate” has it’s way. I was thinking that when I came back from our trip to Portugal that I had to find a job. (That’s a tough thought to carry around when you are enjoying a holiday) When I got home it was only a couple of days later when I got a call from a good friend that she needed someone to work in her accounting firm and if I could put the word out. Amazing! Well I called back and said “me!!!” She did hire me and it has been just the right thing for me.

So…….. enough about me…… I am so grateful for all of you that read my modest little blog! Sometimes I can see from what country people are “checking me out” – Russia, Malaysia, Latvia, Portugal, U.S.A. and many others. I really am so thrilled. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed in our day to day lives but when I see that other people all over the world are reading my comments on life I am so very very grateful. Life is very precious. Take things easy …. I find as I get a bit older for some reason life is getting easier. It doesn’t mean there is more money – in fact we just saw on tonight’s news there are a lot more people retiring than people starting in the work force. So the benefits for people retirement age will not be around forever. It is kind of scary. For you younger people – you do not know how much a benefit it will be to you later in life if you just start to put away $50 a month or more into an RRSP. ASAP!!!

So I am going to share with you one of our Popham family cookie recipes. (that was my maiden name) – my grandparents were from Yorkshire, England on my father’s side and on my Mom’s side my grandparents were from Scotland.

Coconut Crisp Cookies

2 cups coconut

21/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1 cup butter or margarine

2 eggs

Mix coconut, oats, flour, baking powder and salt. Add all other ingredients and mix well. (it might be easier to use your hands.)

Drop by teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet. Press lightly with a floured fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes until golden brown. Let stand on cookie sheet at least 10 minutes. Enjoy! These freeze well! Don’t forget to check out my website or refer it –

Butter Tarts – Delectable and Easy!

18 04 2012


Doesn’t this seem like a sign of Spring?  I took this picture last year while Jack and I were Washington.  This young deer was only interested in the foliage around her.

I am so sorry it has been so long since I last wrote.  Lots has been happening.  I got a job right after getting back from Portugal – it’s in a busy office so I have to admit it has changed my routine somewhat.  I really like it and now instead of getting up at 6 ish after Jack leaves for work to make my double shot latte and check out the internet and try to prepare a blog or  work on my website at or take Mom to an appointment now I have to decide what clothes to wear and whether I have time to stop for gas on the way to work.

So …… I know you are wondering what recipe I will post today since it is supposed to be a cooking blog.  I am going to give you my favorite recipe for Butter Tarts.  I make these mostly at Christmas.  I don’t bother to make my own pastry  – I buy the Tenderflake mini tart shells – I think they come in the freezer section about 36 in a box.

My recipe is simple –                  Butter Tarts

Remove about 30 mini tart shells from freezer and place on a cookie sheet.

Combine the following in a small mixing bowl:

1 egg

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup raisins, broken pecans, crushed walnut pieces (optional) (this is the total of all combined)

Beat all with the beaters until bubbles form and then spoon mixture into the tart shells until almost full.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Cool as filling is extremely hot.  You will be a hit with your friends!  These freeze really nicely.  Quite often I have made these twice at Christmas time but they take no time to whip up so it’s not too time consuming!  Enjoy and have a great week and please don’t be so shy – leave a comment on my blog or if you like on my cooking page on Facebook at Julie’s Cooking.  Also don’t forget you can address all you shopping needs at my website at


Happy Easter, Pascoa Feliz

6 04 2012

Happy Easter, Pascoa Feliz
If you click the link above – it is a video of Fabio, The Chef making Easter Brunch. It’s
Happy Easter to my friends and family.  Sorry I haven’t been blogging much lately.  We went to Portugal in March – check out my other blog at  It was a great time. This Easter is going to be different for us.  Jack’s daughter, Amanda and boyfriend, Johnny have gone to visit Amanda’s sister and hubby in Sanya, China.  Apparently it is called the “Hawaii” of China.  Usually we cook a turkey or a ham and have lots of veggies and then I make a big dessert.  We had planned to have my Mom over but she got a very bad cold yesterday and spent the day in bed.  She is 85 and at that age she is doing fairly well but I don’t want her to push herself to come here.  I think sometimes she overdoes things – she joins everything going and loves her choir but there is a need to take it easy too!  Sometimes she says the choir teacher pushes them too hard and I keep telling her at her age she should just do what she wants – no pressure.  She puts pressure on herself.

So tonight my husband Jack is going to buy us fish as it is Good Friday and we don’t eat meat today.  I like the snapper at Costco – no bones.  We will see what he gets a bit later.

Saturday night we will go to a restaurant in Vancouver called Cafe Il Nido for a more romantic Italian dinner and we plan to walk around the city a bit first.  Depending on how much fun we are having we may stay downtown for the night at The Blue Horizon Hotel which is located right on Robson Street.

Whatever you are up to hope it is a great weekend!

Check out “Julie’s Cooking” on Facebook and “Like” me too please.

Paradise in Portugal

27 02 2012

Consolacao (Sunbathing on the Rock Beach) - That's me!

The waves can be very high in the area of Cabo Carvoeiro.   Beautiful landscapes here. There is a lighthouse and a restaurant called Nau dos Corvos which means Crow’s Nest.  It is a great spot for 360 degree picture taking on the roof of the restaurant and sightseeing.  It’s a nice drive along the shoreline and there are many spots to stop along the way for more pictures.  You can see the Berlengas Islands.  If you want you can take a ferry to the Berlengas Islands.  Sometimes the ride can sometimes be a little rough (it’s ocean) .  It is an hour and a half trip but well worth it.  There is a bird sanctuary and it is a great way to spend the day.

We are leaving for Portugal very soon to visit family and friends.  My husband’s father is having his 90th birthday and our nephew is getting married.  So much to celebrate!!  I have been twice already and really enjoy it there.  I find the culture so different than what I grew up with in Canada.  I find the people very warm, family people and they really embrace their roots and look forward to their festas and Carnival, beaches, parties, and barbeques.  It seems as life is less stressful there.  Sometimes when one is on a holiday it can seem that way but I think it may be true of the Portuguese.  I do not miss the fast-paced life of city-living while we are there.  Last time we were in Portugal we saw a farmer and his wife riding home from the farm after a long day on their cart being pulled by a mule.  I will miss Mia, my new kitty.  When I get home it will be back to reality.  I would like to get a part-time job in April.  I am planning to have international students stay with us in the summer.  We hosted 2 young girls from Taiwan a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it – I still keep in touch with both by email.  Maybe one day we will see them again.  While I am gone I would be thrilled if you would check out my website at  (it’s called “Julie’s Cooking”) and you can have a look around and if you feel like shopping there are a variety of stores you can order from online too.  So I won’t say goodbye – instead  ate logo which means see you later in Portuguese. Please check out my other blog at: and if I would love your comments!! See you again in March!

Meatball Mania

25 01 2012

Healthy Meatballs – I saw them making this recipe on CityLine Tv this morning.  I like to try to make something different for dinner.  I like the idea of combining lean ground beef and turkey.  You still have the meaty flavor but it’s healthier – using the turkey as well.

Recipe adapted from: My Mom’s Mini Meatloaf circa 1960 out of ” Healthy Starts Here ”

This recipe is versatile. Make it as is, or divide the mixture in half and create Mexican-style or Italian-style meatballs! Pack in a thermos for hot meatballs or in a cooler bag for chilled ones.

1 ½ cups (375 mL) soft bread crumbs made with 100% whole grain whole-wheat bread (approx 1 ½ – 2 slices)
2 large shallots, peeled and chopped in half
6 cloves garlic, peeled, whole
½ tsp (2 mL) dried sage leaves
½ tsp (2 mL) paprika
¼ tsp (1 mL) cracked black pepper
½ cup (125 mL) ketchup, organic if possible
One 5.5 fl oz (156 mL) can tomato paste
1 lb (500 g) extra lean ground beef
1 lb (500 g) extra lean ground turkey (some packages of ground turkey come in 450 g – it’s okay to use this one!)

Mexican Meatballs (to make half of the meat Mexican-style – if you want to make the entire recipe Mexican-style, double the spices)
To ½ meat recipe add: ½ tsp (2 mL) each of ground cumin, coriander, and oregano

Italian Meatballs: (to make half of the meat Italian-style – if you want to make the entire recipe Italian-style, double the spices)
To ½ meat recipe add: 1 tbsp (15 mL) Italian seasonings

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease two 24-mini-muffin tins with canola oil spray or oil. Set aside.
2. Break the bread up into chunks and place in a food processor or blender. Pulse until you have soft bread crumbs. Add shallots and garlic and pulse until minced.
3. Add paprika, sage, pepper, ketchup, and tomato paste, pulse until well mixed.
4. In a large bowl mix together ground beef and turkey with the bread crumb/spice mixture and stir all of this together really well using a large spoon or your hands. (Just another great reason to wash your hands before and after any cooking.)
5. Either make into meatballs as is, or divide mixture in half.
6. To make the Mexican Meatballs add the spices (see above), mix well, and then scoop meatballs into prepared pan. Makes 20-22.
7. To make the Italian Meatballs add spice (see above), mix well, and then scoop meatballs into prepared pan. Makes 20-22.
8. Place both pans in oven and cook for 40-50 minutes or until cooked through. (Health Canada advises to cook until a meat thermometer reads 160°F (71°C) at the centre each mini meatball.)
9. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze in threes.

One serving = 3 meatballs.
One serving contains: 260 Calories, 9.6 g Total Fat, 3.3 g Sat Fat, 0.2 g Trans Fat, 165 mg Sodium, 13.3 g Carbs, 2 g Fiber, 5.2 g Sugar, 19 g Protein

Today is about a week until we are into February.   I think I will be glad to turn the calendar over.  We need some more sunshine!!

Have you checked out “Julie’s Cooking” – my website lately?  I’m located at   I’ve made a few changes – I have added for my Canadian friends and family.  Even if you are on most of the shopping pages – there is a spot at the top where you can select which country you are in.  We want you to be able to shop very easily.  If you haven’t “liked” me on “Julie’s Cooking” on Facebook please head over now.   I really appreciate all the support I can get.  Feel free to leave me a comment.  I really appreciate your input.  Have a good night or day  – depending on what part of the world you are in.

Julie’s Banana Bread

9 01 2012

Mash 2 bananas (ripe) with milk with a potato masher. Leave aside.  Blend, margarine, sugar and eggs together with beaters or  a blender.  Beat till well blended.   Add the mashed banana to the margarine mixture and do not mix.   Add the following:

Fold this mixture in gently and add the chocolate chips and stir in.  Do not overmix.

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.  Let sit in pan for 10 minutes and loosen sides with knife.  Have a piece while it’s warm. I would recommend next time making two!!  They freeze really well!  MMMMMmmmm!   Let me know what you think when you try it, ok?  Also please leave comments on my blogs – I would really appreciate your input and if you think there are any ideas you might like me to blog about.

I received a coupon on Facebook from Cadbury for any choice of 100 gram chocolate bar and tried the Toffee Milk Chocolate.  I really like it.  The little ground up bits of toffee blend well with the creamy consistency of the milk chocolate.  I have to say I really enjoyed reviewing this product.  At 230 calories for 9 squares I think I would just have 3 squares for about 75 calories as a little afternoon pick-me-up snack.  We keep hearing how a small amount of chocolate has good benefits for us.  I was thinking that next time I make my banana loaf I could cut up about 1/2 of this delicious bar and fold it in at the end instead of the chocolate chips.  Course I will have to buy a new one because this one will be long gone!!

Love Squid – Makes me miss Portugal!

22 11 2011

Marinated Grilled Squid with Sambal Vinaigrette
by Chef Rob Feenie

20 tubes squid, cleaned and rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 lemon, segments only
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped thyme and parsley
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp cracked black pepper
2 to 3 tbsp Sambal Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Frisée to garnish

Cut a few slashes in the squid with the tip of a sharp knife. Combine olive oil, garlic, lemon segments and juice, fresh herbs, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour over squid and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat grill to high heat. Cook the squid 20 to 30 seconds on each side. Place squid in the middle of a bowl or plate. Top with frisée and drizzle with vinaigrette. Serves 4.

Sambal Vinaigrette
1 tbsp sambal (chili relish)
¼ tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp rice vinegar
¼ cup olive oil

In a small bowl whisk together sambal, garlic, lemon juice and rice vinegar. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about ⅔ cup.

We do miss Lulas in Portugal.  You can have them in a salad, room temperature, barbequed or sauteed in a frying pan.  They are good for an appetizer or you can eat them as an entree.  In Canada we fry them up with batter and call them calamari and it is a popular starter on menus.  After having Lulas naturally I don’t care much for calamari as much.  In our local Greek restaurant we asked for squid and it was done nicely -very natural but not everyone in Canada is used to that.  I , on the other hand and of course my Portuguese husband was mpressed!

If you want to go to Portugal for a vacation we would be happy to let you know of some of my husband’s recommends.  I have been twice now and am looking forward to our next trip.  Scenery, food, wine, beaches – you can’t miss!  If you have family there too – you are lucky!