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Family Reunion on Fathers day

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Let me preface this with a huge shout out of thanks to Mary and Lorin for an amazing day! (((Hugs)))

Today…Fathers Day….I found myself reflective , grateful, yet extremely melancholy/pensive. As we spend the day at a family reunion it is not lost on me those who brought us together in life…our fathers. They are no longer here and I take a moment to myself to thank them for who they were, what they stood for and all that they did for us as a family. If it were not for them we wouldn’t be in the here and now enjoying one another, laughing our heads blissfully unaware of how gloriously fortunate and grateful we are for those around us.

Our Fathers were brothers that came from Holland to build lives and families. I know had my father not passed in my childhood that our family dynamics and relationships would be even stronger yet. It is that loss and sadness that haunts me from time to time and will likely continue to do so. “They” say you can’t grieve what you never had. “They” are wrong.

Although I was adopted into this family I am truly blessed as they have never made me feel that way…misplaced if you will. And the love and genuine feelings I feel from this crazy bunch, has never wavered.

To alllllll these beautiful people in my family…Im grateful for you…I love you.

Happy Fathers to two incredible fathers. We miss you.<3



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Eggplant Rolls – Baked


I spent a large part of the holiday season home due to the fact that one of my dogs (Pip) had cancer surgery again.  Since I had soooo much time on my hands I chose to spend it in my happy place…the kitchen!  As you know I love to cook but in doing so I also lve to just play with food and see what happens.  As a child my om always said “don’t play with your food” and of course she meant mucking around on my plate.  However as the years went on I decided literally playing with food was fun.  Dont kid yourself there has been more than one disastrous outcome but that just means I tweak it some more and try it again.

As a vegetarian I think that I test out many more ways to try certain foods verses when I ate meat it was generally the typical meat, potatoes and veg.  Aside from the crock pot cooking meat dishes was to time consuming especially after work.  And for the most part vegetarian meals often cook quickly, especially if prep is done the night before.  I also typically cook meals that will freeze well and This recipe stemmed from me wanting to find something different to do with eggplant but not too heavy and filling.

These rolls were super simple to make and unbelievably tasty!  The flavours that meld together was a pleasant surprise considering there really want much to them.  Keep in mind that you can change it up to layer in what you like.

So here we go…..

Eggplant rolls

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt, pepper, and basil to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup Cottage or Ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. To prepare the eggplant cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle salt on both sides and places slices on paper towel for about 10 minutes or so.  Leaving it longer isn’t an issue if you get into the rest of the prep work.
  3. Then warm oil in fry pan and place slices in oil on low and cover to cook each side for approximately 4 minutes or until its cooked enough that its pliabl for later rolling.
  4. Remove from pan and place back onto paper towel to soak up excess oil.
  5. Cut zucchini into thin slices also and fry them the same way as the eggplant. And also drain on paper towel.
  6. In a seperate bowl mix diced tomato, cottage cheese, pepper, basil and breadcrumbs
  7. Once eggplant has cooked lay out the eggplant and place strips of zucchini on top.
  8. Place 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture on one end and roll up securely.
  9. Place rolls into a greased baking dish
  10. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan
  11. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes or until browned






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Happy New Year


Well now that the busy season is behind us I have surfaced for air and of course want to wish everyone a Happy New Year!  I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season.  I wish you and yours all of lifes best offerings in 2015.



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“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.” ~Maya Angelou~


  Those of you that know me know I am a very private person (she says as she blogs… lol) , however today I am yet again stepping outside of my box as I want to pay well overdue homage to a couple of special ladies.

  I got a call this morning from a friend asking if I wanted to pop out to an event in the city, so off we went.  While there we ran into another old friend that I haven’t seen in way too long of a time.  It was interesting, in an ironic way, that today of all days I should see both these ladies.  I don’t know if they realized it on the onset of seeing one another but today marks the anniversary of a life altering event I experienced some time ago.  And when this event happened these two gals, more than any other, were the ones there for me, caring for me, protecting me, supporting me, loving me and standing by my side through my long physical, spiritual and emotional recovery.  They were my gate keepers, my strength, my cheerleaders, my shoulder to cry on…my true friends.    

  I think that as time goes by, as life happens, as wounds heal … we often forget.  I have never forgotten that time in my life or its effects on me, but today was a reminder that I have not been as mindful as I’d thought I had about the importance of the two gals and how that experience marked them in their own way; way I can’t ever begin to identify.  I believe that it all took its toll and was the foundation of a fracture and a test of the strength of friendship; resulting in a regrettable distance between us.  But I also believe it’s not irreparable.  

  I will forever be grateful and love these gals and be grateful for their roles in my life and the bond we share. 


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Wonton Wrapper Spinach Lasagna


Ok I have to start this by saying this is equivocally one of the best lasagna dishes I’ve ever had let alone made!

I find that most lasagna with noodles (gluten-free or not) are very heavy as it is with pasta dishes.  Oh and by the way this particular one is not gluten-free but could be modified easily.  So because they are so heaving and I always feel cruddy afterwards; I virtually don’t eat pasta much at all.  It’s high in fat and a pain to make but this!

So lately I have been trying more and more recipes with Wonton wrappers and this by far is the best I’ve played with yet!  In taste and consistency you’d be hard pressed to know the difference if it was served to you and you hadn’t been privy to the prep of it.  Lasagna as a whole can be a tedious project layering unless you go with the noodles that don’t require pre cooking; and this is exactly the same idea as that but is even easier.  I have done other Lasagna recipes that Ill post as we go along but I can not stress enough that this in all facets is easier especially if you have a family to feed and will go through a fair bit in a sitting.  As opposed to the Lasagna cupcakes that I do; which are a great idea for portion and packing for meals.  Stay tuned for that one.  😉

What you’ll need can be changed according to your likes and dislikes of course but this is a dish to get some of those yummy veggies into your kids, or spouse for that matter. 🙂 But in keeping it relatively basic I’ve opted not to add a bunch in.

So let’s have at it!

Wonton Wrapper Spinach Lasagna


  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 medium sized onions
  • 12 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1 package ground beef (or a meatless substitute for us vegetarians)
  • 2 packages of wonton wrappers
  • 1 24 ounce canned tomatoes
  • 3 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese (regular mozza or I use the fat-free mozza)
  • 2 pounds of cottage cheese (Or ricotta if you prefer)
  • 1 egg
  • Parmesan cheese



  1. Chop onions in a med fine-cut
  2. Begin by heating 2 tbsp oil in the skillet over medium heat and once it’s warm add the garlic thyme and oregano.  Saute for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add onions to saute and continue to saute until onions are golden brown; about 15 minutes.
  4. Add your meat or meat substitute and stir until cooked (For substitutes this is usually about 10 minutes).
  5. When done put in a large bowl and add in the canned tomatoes (or sauce)and stir well.  (Tip: freeze and unused sauce/tomato in ice-cube trays and use next time.  I added tomato sauce to my tomatoes for texture.  That is what the red frozen bits are in the bottom left photo)


  1. Using the same pan add 1 tbsp of oil and when warm add the spinach and stir until it is barely wilted (About 2 minutes)
  2. Remove from heat and set aside
  3. In a large bowl whisk the egg, salt, nutmeg and oregano and stir; then add the cottage cheese and stir well.  Add the spinach  and stir until ingredients are all combined.  If you find the spinach didn’t break up enough you can add pulse it in the process or I use a my hand blender)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a 9 x 13 pan spread a little of the tomato mix in the bottom of the pan.  Layer with wonton wrappers then about 1/3 of the cheese and spinach mixture and then more tomato sauce (to your taste) and 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese.  Repeat once or twice more (can do twice as the wrappers aren’t as thick as lasagna noodles).  Be sure to end with noodles, sauce and mozzarella.


  1. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove foil and when you remove the foil you will see the wrappers have puffed up a bit; just give them a poke with a fork and they’ll go back down.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and continue cooking uncovered for 10 – 15 minutes until brown.
  2. Let stand for 10 minutes so the dish can set and serve

DoneIgnore the extra pan in this picture as I made a lager batch to freeze and you can do the same if you have left over.  It freezes great!


I would love to hear if you try it and what you think.  I kid you not that it is amazing!!



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Back on track



  This first post back I want to touch base about my recent pause from blogging and where I’ll go from here.. But before I do that I have to acknowledge that today is National Adoption Day. “National Adoption Day is a collective national effort to raise awareness of the more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families “My adoptive parents are my parents. When writing I refer to them as “Adoptive” simply so that you may more easily follow the bouncing ball of he family tree. Because trust me; it’ll bounce! 😉 So as you may know my adoptive father died when I was a little girl and my Adoptive mom is still alive. Despite the curve balls life has thrown us they are my parents and I will always hold close to my heart the family life they were building for “H” (my adoptive brother) and I. The link above has some really great stats on it and adoption resources. Do take a peek and feel free to pass it on; not just today but any/everyday with the hopes tha we are somehow aiding in the lives of children in need of a family.

Mom Dad Henry and I at 1 yr

   Ok so with the blog I found myself like so many of us, overwhelmed with just life as we know it. As you know I’m an Entrepreneur and that in itself is a full time job: however I also work outside the home as well as chair a non-profit organization re-uniting birth families. And as well of course I have my 2 buds (a.k.a my Weims 😉 ) that require much attention and exercise. At some point I became so immersed in all these aspects of my life that I forgot to come up for air. I certainly don’t say this begrudgingly, quite the contrary as I take so much joy in all of these and am fortunate enough to love what I do. However at some point when I wasn’t looking it all took on a life of its own. It wasn’t until I realized I hadn’t fulfilled one of my biggest passions in a very long time…and that is to travel. So I had some unfinished business (figuratively speaking) in Holland and I decided it was time to tend to that and to go spend some well needed time with family, friends and myself. That time away allowed me time of self reflection and it was then I gave further thought as to what was holding me back from blogging and not only from blogging but from making the content CharsJargon what I wanted it to be. In a world of social media and blogs everywhere that are primarily used for business purposes a part of me felt that perhaps I as a blogger was less. Because my goal was not financial gain and/or not for business,  instead it was a place for me to share my experiences and my passions …cooking, genealogy, the world of adoption and my place in it and now reacquainting myself with my dearest friend “Travel”. I also questioned myself and my ability to be 100% forthcoming with those of you reading my blog for the adoption related posts. Yo those who have contacted me and I am grateful that you trust me and feel I am a place of comfort and I still look forward to hearing from you again along the way.

   I realized for me to be my best me in something that is not only a part of my life but is who I am that I cannot hold back and filter myself because of concern as to what others may feel. I will not tell any untruths and I will not knowingly or unwittingly with malice hurt anyone. But I will along the way share my story and my truth. I reminded myself recently how I expressed to my biological father that I hated being their dirty little secret and that I wasn’t going to be a part of that anymore. And I’ll be darned if I didn’t digress and fall right back into it by trying to protect others. He is gone and yet I am carrying the secrets of my father and perpetuating them by giving over the power of my freedom of speech. And in the process I and only I, am the one hurt by it. On my hiatus I came to the conclusion that I am only doing a disservice (to other in the triad and myself) by perpetuating the secrets behind adoption and my story by letting the intimidation take over. I have recently been reminded that I am not responsible for another person’s doings, decisions or whereabouts; ergo “I am not my Brothers Keeper”.

  So my friends there you have it. The look of the blog will be undergoing some changes but the content will be virtually the same. I’ll write about what comes to mind and I hope that you’ll join me on my journey.


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Regroup time



I thought I would pop on and touch base as it’s been quite some time since my last post.

With many things going on I’ve had to step back, refocus, regroup and re-energize.  I hope to be back up and at it really soon and thank you so much for your blog inquiries and for checking in.   Please do come back and stay tuned in.

In the meantime over this crazy busy time of year please take time to breathe.  😉



Gluten Free (or not) No Yolks dish

No Yolks Gluten Free dish

This is one of those open the fridge, pull things out and hope for the best.   And if I do say so myself this was seriously tasty!

Although I would’ve like a few more ingredients such as maybe some peas and tomatoes, I figured what I had was a good jump off point.


  • 2 Onions
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 box baby spinach
  • Veggie Chicken substitute (obviously you can use regular chicken)
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVO) or butter
  • 4 cups No Yolk Noodles


  1.  Chop/cube carrots and cook for 10 minutes.

  2.  Remove and put in a large bowl and set asideDiced carrots  3.  In large pot steam spinach.  I used the entire packaged because as you can see once cooked it equals about 2 cups.


  4.  In another frying pan saute the onions in the EVO (or butter) and once they begin to soften add the Veggie Chicken.  If you are using regular chicken I would start cooking it first and add the onions to saute 15 minutes before you feel the chicken would be done.  Or you can cook them separately but I as a rule like the cooking flavors to mesh.

5.  Add all the spices at the same time as the veggie chicken, cover and cook on med heat.  Be sure to mix up periodically as to prevent sticking.  With using a lid the dish will cook in the minimal butter/oil used as we’ll as its own juices.

6.  While that’s cooking cook noodles according to package directions.Sauteed onions and veggie chicken  6.  When cooked remove from heat and cut chicken into bite size pieces

  7.  Once all ingredients are cooked place in the bowl with the carrots, mix well and serve.



Dog blog….you knew this was inevitable! :)


Ok so you knew this was coming sooner or later…more of the dog blogs 🙂 

As many of you know I have always loved dogs and been a fan of this breed and prior to having my current 2 Weims Pip and Savannah I had Miss Chelsea.

When I first got Chelsea I took some flack because I wasn’t training her to hunt, I didn’t want to breed her, nor did I want to show her.  To many of those in the purebred Weim world this was as much as sacrilegious.   But that wasn’t important to me; what was important was to give a long healthy life to a buddy; and she had just that.  Bless her wee heart she made it to 15 yrs old and up to the end she would walk up to 7 km a day and not miss a beat.  She was a traveled, brilliant, funny, playful dog for 15 years. OmaAs time went by Pip came to live with Chelsea and I and then after Chelsea passed Savannah joined our fold.  I thought adding to the brood would be good and that Chelsea could teach and have a house/playmate.  Just like any pet Chelsea could never be replaced and had a personality all her own.  She gave me all she could and I loved her dearly, and she spoiled me into thinking all would be as fabulous as her!  I think we make the mistake of assuming that when you know a breed; you know a breed and it’s all good.  All that goes out the window and “knowing “a breed doesn’t mean a thing when you bring in a rescue of that breed or any other.  I highly underestimated and was not prepared for what was coming my way in doing rescue:  Pip gave me a wake up call to that very quickly!  Here I was with this fabulous, placid, stoic, brilliant beautiful old gal and in comes “Pip” a.k.a. Cujo.

It was a whole new world I had embarked on and yet it’s interesting because in keeping in touch with the rescues and foster parent I don’t get that she was problematic at all.  I very quickly became a trigger for Pip and she would try to dominate me and if she felt threatened by Chelsea she would go at her.  When that happened so may people said to me that she was a write off.  A very prominent local dog trainer told me she “couldn’t be fixed” and “needed to be put down”.  Ive heard similar opinions along the way because it took awhile to work with her and she had issues to say the least.  I would never visit the notion of relinquishing her or worse yet putting her down.  When I rescued I was in for the long haul; barring injury to a child or adult, she wasn’t going anywhere.  Before I brought her home I knew in doing so I was a making a commitment and it just turned out to be a challenging one.

Savanahh wasn’t quite as volatile but she had her own stuff going on.  I remember on the way home she snapped at my friend “S” who was in the backseat with her.  And “S” had been bitten years before so needless to say I wound up in the back seat and she drove home; all 14 plus hours.  All the while Im thinking…..”oh Lordy Lordy Lordy….here we go again: but this one is actually snarling and snapping at people”! There were a lot of issues she came with and there are still some residual problems like her fear of storms or even flickering TV’s.  But she has come so far from the chewing Weim with separation anxiety, terrified, spoiled and stubborn to still stubborn (but that Im sure is the Weim thing), afraid of storms, trainable, cuddly and socialized.Bark in the parkThe motley crew of agility 😉

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People are quick to assume Pip and Savannahs problems lie from their deafness and I am here to tell you that’s not true.  On the contrary as you can see they are still just as capable as a hearing dog, learning everything from ringing a bell to go out to running agility courses. Clearly being deaf adds elements and learning curves that you wouldn’t otherwise have with a hearing dog.    But it doesn’t make them fearful to the core, it doesn’t make them vicious, and it certainly doesn’t make them “less”.   These attributes are part of their history and experiences that brought them to rescue.  Lotsa love, patience, training, consistency and commitment to them will help them turn around and see life in a new light.  You can only hope that one day they will be happy, and I now believe they are.

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My hope in my pipe dream world would be for others to have just even a molecule of understanding and acceptance for dogs (much like people) that you believe are different.  Show them the same love and kindness you would with your own whether they are from a breeder or rescue.

I no longer question (nor have I for a very long time) my decision to bring these gals home.  When I see where they have been and where they are now with the bounce in their steps and the wags of the tails…it makes me smile and I like to think they do to.

Pip and SavannahPip and Savannah I would do it all over again in a heart beat!

A big shout out of thanks to all the ladies in rescue that helped me in so many ways along this journey!  (Chris and Jean Michigan Weimaraner Rescue and Liette of Weimaraner Association of Canada )


Vegetarian Cabbage Casserole with Quinoa


 “Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all” ~ Harriet Van Horne

Rainy, cool, dark days like this I find myself seeking these creature comfort foods.  But then with my European upbringing any excuse is a good one for cooking.  🙂

 Ive done regular cabbage rolls which are pretty much the same as this but as everyone knows it’s quite a tedious undertaking to make them.  And really of course the casserole tastes just as great and is the same thing with a whole lot less fuss and muss.

 You can easily modify this to not be the vegetarian version if you prefer; however I certainly can’t advise how to do a gluten-free option.  As a rule I eat gluten-free as much as possible just simply because I can and I feel so much better.  However I had the ingredients for this in the house and didn’t even think until after the fact I should’ve maybe looked up a gluten-free option on-line.  Note to self to do so.  lol

  None the less I’ve made this dish several times before and love it as I hope you will!  The Quinoa really adds a great taste to it and it’s so much lighter than using rice.  And I love the fact that it freezes really well if there are leftovers and I actually did this recipe as an over sized batch so that I could freeze it.  It was done in a larger oval roaster. (15 pound one) Keep in mind as well when you choose your roasting pan that you need it large enough to accommodate all the cabbage that goes in last.

 The ingredients below are what I prefer but you can certainly mix it up and play with it.  Also I apologize a not all ingredients are in the picture ( I got multi-tasking…imagine that!)  So please refer more to the list than the picture.


 So here we go….


  •  I large head of white cabbage (5 lb)
  • 2 large sweet onions – chopped
  • 2 dozen cap mushrooms
  • 2 packages textured vegetable protein (meatless hamburg)
  • 2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 zucchini sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1 box vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • Garlic (to taste)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp crushed caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bag small carrots – (or 4 regular garden carrots)

Prep Directions:

 Cook 1 ½ cups quinoa as directed and when done set aside to cool.

 Also if you are using real hamburger cook it and set aside as well.  The vegetable protein is pre cooked so it does not require further prep for recipe.

 Chop up head of cabbage in 1-2 inch cubes and rinse in colander and set aside.

.Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C)

Cooking  Directions:

– In a Dutch oven or the roasting pan heat on medium setting 2 tbsp oil.

– Add sliced onions and cook until golden brown

– Add garlic and cook about 3 minutes

– Add sliced/diced carrots and zucchini until tender (about 15 minutes depending on size of batch you are making).

– Add thyme, caraway, oregano, salt and pepper

– Add mushrooms and continue to cook covered for 10 minutes.

– Add the vegetable protein and stir to mix ingredients up well.

– Pour in 1 can of the diced tomatoes and water and again mix well.  (keep other can as you’ll use it later)C C INGREDIENTS 2Now stir in the quinoa you had set aside:  Should be about 5-6 cups of cooked quinoa.C C INGREDIENTS 3 If you have been doing this on the stove in a deep fry pan or haven’t already done this is the roasting pan now is the time to transfer the over to your oven ready dish.

Once transferred to your oven safe dish put the cabbage chunks on top of the mixture.C C IN DISHIn a separate bowl mix the vegetable broth with the other can of diced tomatoes.  Once you’ve mixed that up a bit you want to pour it over the entire dish but do not stir again. 

If you find you like it less dense than just add more water or tomatoes.  Just be careful not to water down.

Cover and cook at 350 for about an hour and a half; until cooked through and cabbage is tender.

Remove from oven and let cool for 15ish minutes.


Just a guesstimate, this makes about the equivalent of 24 cabbage rolls.  As I say freeze them and you’re good to go for dinner for another evening or 2 or 3.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.!


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