Faking Maple Syrup

I love maple syrup! I even buy it now and again but oh my, it’s expensive! Particularly, when little boys pour 3/4 of a can on 2 toaster waffles….

Because of this, I decided to cheat, slightly, and now it really doesn’t matter to any of us if we have real maple syrup anymore (I can hear treehuggers gasping in shock:)

Here’s my secret recipe: take one bottle of table syrup (ANY brand). Pour 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of maple flavouring in it. Shake it up. Pour it on.

Yep, that’s it.

Nope, it’s not rocket science.

But it tastes like it. It really does 😀

Replacing iGoogle…

Those who know me well, know I’m a BIIIIIG Googler. In fact, I’ve often thanked the heavens that I was born in the age of the internet as I’m a pretty curious person and LOVE being able to ‘Google-it’. Several years ago, I happened upon Google’s iGoogle homepage and have relied on it daily to provide me with information on new email, the Daily Puppy, my favourite hockey team, my favourite recipe sites, news and weather.

Last year, I was stunned when Google decided to remove it and, what I was dreading has come down to days (it’s all over November 1st). So, I decided that, if my virtual drug of choice was going to disappear, I was going to do my absolute damndest to find another…and I have! With a very similar look and feel to it’s design, igHome has duplicated the ‘grand central’ GUI of iGoogle, allowing me instant access to [most of] my beloved links.

A warning though: igHome is still in beta, so it’s a little slower than iGoogle and has less available gadgets. However, since new users are signing up by the boatloads, I’m sure this is only temporary.

So, should you be like me and are dreading the end of iGoogle, give it a try…won’t hurt a bit 😀

A few tech articles on igHome:






Easy White Sauce

My first cookbook was the Joy of Cooking that I received as a Christmas gift in the 80s. From it, I learned all the basics: gravy, biscuits, cakes, cookies and equivalents. The easiest, most versatile recipe I ever found was for white sauce. This is the base for cheese sauce, chicken pot pie, beef pot pie, etc. It’s so very easy, I’ve used it hundreds of times for the gazillion meals I’ve cooked for my family and friends over the years.

white sauce


  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 tbsps flour
  • 1 cup liquid (see below for variations)
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Melt butter or margarine in a sauce pan over medium heat.
  • When it has liquified, slowly mix in the flour until it completely absorbs the butter.
  • Slowly add your liquid to the mixture, stirring constantly to dissolve the lumps.
  • Once all of the lumps are gone, add your salt and pepper, as desired.

If you find the sauce too thick or too thin, you can add more liquid or a mixture of water and flour (scoop out the lumps before adding) to thicken it. That’s it! Easy peasy!


Cheese sauce: Use milk as the liquid. Once the lumps have been dissolved, add 3/4 cup of grated cheese. Because the cheese will thicken the sauce, you may need to mix in more milk if the sauce is too thick.

Sauce for meat dishes: Use chicken or beef broth as the liquid.

Cream Soups: On a larger scale, you can also increase the amount of ingredients and use this as a base for any cream soup you’d like to make. For this, I add some powdered chicken soup mix with the flour to the melted butter and then add milk. Simmer for a couple of hours with some finely diced broccoli, cauliflower or celery. Yummy!

Homemade Cleaning Wipes

In tandem with the baby wipes post, here’s what I do with the other half of the roll of paper towel used in that recipe.

DIY Cleaning Wipes (1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, few drops of dish soap, few drops of essential oil)

Following the same guidelines as the baby wipes, mix together:

1 cup warm water
1 cup vinegar
A few drops of dish soap
A few drops of essential oil (I use peppermint because I like how the kitchen smells after I use them)

Pour the mixture over top of your half paper towel roll and allow time to absorb. Remove the cardboard tube and you’re ready to go!

Credit: Natasha Cloud, Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/pin/9007267975734017/

Homemade Baby Wipes

My baby days are over but there are still MANY uses for this invaluable invention! I kept a purchased container in the bathroom and soon replaced it with this homemade version. I like it better than the others as it smells amazing!

Whether you are frugal or green....great idea. Diaper wipes or for cleaning sticky hands and faces.

– Tall, round 3 Quart container with a lid. (I use the second to largest container that comes in a plastic canister set for dry baking ingredients.)
– Better quality paper towels (the cheap paper towels don’t work well on a dirty bottom)
– Knife to cut the paper towel roll in two (serrated knife works best)
– Baby shampoo
– Baby oil (I have also used Avon’s Skin So Soft)

1. Cut a paper towel roll in half so you have two short rolls. I like to pre-cut several rolls at a time since the cutting process makes a mess and is the largest pain of the process. An electric knife is very helpful but not necessary. A husband to do this job is the best suggestion!
2. Set one roll inside the canister. Set the other half aside for next time.
3. Combine and stir together:
– 1 1/2 cup hot tap water
– 2 Tablespoon baby shampoo
– 2 Tablespoon baby oil
4. Pour the liquid mixture over the top of the paper towel roll. As the liquid soaks through, the moisture will loosen the cardboard center making it easy to pull out. If you get lucky, it will bring with it the end of the paper towel roll. If not, carefully pull on the wipes in the center to get the sequence going.
5. Pull out the amount of paper towels (from the center) that are needed. Reseal after each use.
6. If the wipes are not wet enough or the lid doesn’t get put back on, just add more water. If the wipes are too moist, leave the lid off for a little while.
If you are out of the diaper stage, these work great for cleaning up messy hands and faces when you are on the go. You can also use this mixture to re-wet purchased baby wipes.

Source: http://www.ouroutofsynclife.com/2012/02/homemade-diaper-wipes.html