Category Archives: 2013

What Makes a Sandwich: Revisited

Back in April 2011, I wrote a post about what makes a sandwich just right; The bread or the filling?  In that post, I also talked about some of my favourite sandwiches.  A toasted meatloaf sandwich and the “Dagwood Stag & Doe” sandwich.

Recently I saw that Dempsters was asking a similar question to people.  They even have a very funny video that compares making a sandwich to a home renovation project!  Check it out:

As a guy that has worked in and around the home renovation business for years, I love the way they tied it into a home renovation show and the toolbox of sandwich toppings is awesome!  I think that fridge makers should be taking note.  Wouldn’t that look great in a sandwich shop?

Given my love of cooking and the fact that I had been on this road before, the #DIYSandwich contest seemed like the perfect opportunity to share another one of my favourite sandwiches (or at least a variation of it)!  One of my favourite meals is Thanksgiving or Christmas and a turkey dinner.  The sandwiches made of leftovers rock!!

Here is what I started with:

Dempsters Flax Bread, Tangy Dill Pickles, Mayo, Mustard, Turkey and Swiss Cheese

Dempsters Flax Bread, Tangy Dill Pickles, Mayo, Mustard, Turkey and Swiss Cheese

I have used every type of bread to make this sandwich.  The key is that it is soft, fresh bread without a heavy crust.  You want the crunch to be the pickles in the sandwich and not the crust, in my opinion.

Normally, the turkey would be roast turkey leftovers, but I didn’t have any.  Deli turkey does just as well for this sandwich, trust me!  Usually I skip margarine and spread mayo on one slice of bread and mustard on the other.  It makes it a little healthier (one less fat) and still gets everything put together nicely.

The “leftover” version of this sandwich would also include a small spoonful of stuffing and a drizzle of gravy inside.  I’m waiting for Christmas to have another one of those.  I decided to change it up this weekend, since the gravy and stuffing were missing and added a few strips of turkey bacon.  Surprisingly, the bacon added a nice flavour and some more of that ever important “crunch”.  Here’s a peak at the finished product:

The #DIYSandwich contest challenges people to make their best sandwich and share it with Dempsters via their social networks.  In return there is the chance to win weekly $500 prizes and a grand prize valued at $4,000.  If you want to enter, you have to act quick.  The contest ends at 11:59pm ET November 6, 2013.  If you decide to enter, good luck!

Win a $25 Gift Card and go “Back To Mother’s”

Back in the spring of 2013, the city of Hamilton and most of Southern Ontario was excited by the news, that Mother’s Pizza Parlour & Spaghetti House would be opening again in the City of Hamilton.  One of the most popular places for birthday parties, post game get-togethers and family dinners was coming back.

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Grand Opening party held on March 30, 2013 and I have been back on a number of visits since.  The food has not disappointed and seems to have hit the spot with Hamilton residents.  They are constantly busy, but they do take limited reservations now between Monday and Thursday.  Weekends are still first-come, first-served.

My dad was an employee of Mother’s in the 1970’s and I remember their pizza and pasta well.  I was looking forward to trying some of my favourites, like Chicken Cacciatore and other pastas as well as the pizza.  While my taste for toppings has grown since my youth, the pizza was just as I remembered it; light and full of flavour.

Chicken CiacatorreGrandmother's Pizza

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the restaurant yet, which is at the corner of Queenston Road & Nash Road in Hamilton, I encourage you to do so.  They have made a great effort to make it look and feel similar to the original locations, with a number of familiar items; The Tiffany Lamps, the red & white checkers and of course the black & white movies!
Tiffany Lamps - Mother'sOld Movies - Mother's

There are also new items that they have added that I think evoke that old nostalgic feeling as you walk up to the door and into the dining room. The brown and yellow signs outside are fantastic and I am a big fan of the etched glass they have in the dining room.

Old Movies - Mother'sHula Hula Pizza - Mother's

Exterior Decor - Mother'sEtched Glass - Mother'sGiven that it’s back to school time and this post is all about my visits back to Mother’s, I would like to give you the opportunity to visit Mother’s again or for the first time.

Thanks to the kind people at Mother’s, I have 2 x $25 Gift Cards to share with you and I am going to be giving them away via Twitter.  Here’s what you have to do to win:

The contest will be open from September 14, 2013 to September 19, 2013 at 8pm (Eastern Time).  In order to be entered, you need to do the following:

1 – Follow @Mothers_Pizza on Twitter

2 – Like Mother’s Pizza on Facebook

3 – Follow @Canadian88 on Twitter

4 – Tweet me the following:

@Canadian88 I want to go #BackToMothers and see what @Mothers_Pizza is up to in Hamilton!

Don’t forget the hashtag & be sure to tweet each day, to help improve your chances.  The two winners will be selected randomly via Twitter Twitter Chicken Dinner on September 20, 2013.

If you have had the chance to visit Mother’s please feel free to share your stories in the comments here and good luck!!

Money Challenge for 2013 – Week #6 – Standard Method Benefits

Total Saved to date: $21
Balance in ING Savings Account: $21.01

Week #6 is drawing to a close and suddenly there is over $20 in our account!  Still seems like a small amount, but when you consider that we had $10 saved at the end of January, we have come a long way in just 2 weeks!  Are you starting to notice a difference in your spending habits to allow you to have the funds to save at the end of the week?  Hasn’t been too difficult yet, but we are rapidly getting to $10 and more per week.

This week, I am going to start a 3 post series looking at the benefits of using the different methods of saving and how that affects interest earned by the end of one year.  By looking at the Standard Method, The Reverse Method (which I discussed in the week #4 post) and a new idea, which was to divide $1,378 by 52 and save an equal amount each week, I hope to see if there is an interest advantage to one of the methods and whether it is worth considering other options.

Let’s start by looking at the interest earned using the Standard Method.  For the purposes of my calculations, I used the rate that I am receiving on my ING Savings Account (currently 1.35%).  The chart below shows the total savings and the interest that should be earned each week.

Interest Calculations based on Standard Method of saving

Interest Calculations based on Standard Method of saving

The interest growth starts out very slowly for this method, since it matches the amount being saved. As the money in the account starts to grow, so does the interest per week and per month, which isn’t surprising. The total for the year looks to be $6.09 using this method (assuming that the rate stays constant for the year). That said, an extra $6 won’t hurt when the end of the year arrives, will it?

Next week, I will look at the interest earned if you use the Reverse Method and how it compares to the Standard Method. What sort of rate are you getting from your bank? Do you have any tips on getting a better rate? Drop me a message on Twitter or leave a comment here.

As always, if you like this idea, please feel free to share it using the buttons below.

Money Challenge for 2013 – Week #5 – Spend Wisely

Total Saved to date: $15
Balance in ING Savings Account: $15

How are your efforts going this week?  Have you kept up with saving? Week #5 ends this week, so that means that $5 has to go into the account.  That’s 1/2 of what you saved in all of January!  Now things are getting serious!

I guess that $15 doesn’t seem like much, but by next week, there will be interest added to our bank accounts and even though that won’t be much yet, it’s our reward for sticking with it!  My friends at ING always offer a decent rate on their savings accounts too, which is a nice perk!

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the money we spend and the money we save.  Part of the reason is that I have ventured into this effort and part of it is because for most of January, I have been packing to move by the end of February.  One thing that has become clear during the clean-up/purge stage of my move; I have a lot of stuff that I no longer need.  As I was filling a bag for garbage collection and another for the Value Village, I started to think that I really should think twice before I spend money.  Balance off the wants and the needs.  Most of the things I was getting rid of, were things I wanted at some point.  Most of them didn’t address a need.  There were loads of impulse buys that seemed great at the time, but after a day or a week, the item ended up on a shelf or in the basement collecting dust.  Wouldn’t it have made more sense to take the money and put it into a savings account and let it collect interest?  I likely would have had more vacations in the last few years and less stuff to throw out or donate.

If we all thought twice (or maybe three times) before we bought some of the things we have in our basements and on our bookshelves, would we make the same decisions? If we equated the item to the percentage of a vacation, if we saved those funds would we make the same decision?  What do you think?  What can you stop buying to help you save a few dollars for a bigger goal?  Message me on Twitter or leave a comment here with your thoughts.

Money Challenge for 2013 – Week #4 – What method are you using?

Total Saved to date: $10
Balance in ING Savings Account: $10

We are now finishing week #4 for this challenge and things haven’t seemed too difficult, have they? Have you been able to keep up with putting the funds into your account?  This month was relatively easy, only $10 for an entire month; That’s less than a coffee a day.  February is going to be the first big challenge.  Four weeks and $26 in a month.  Not crazy, but almost a dollar each day needs to be saved.  Will you save the loose change you receive each day in a jar and put that into your account? Will you use another method?

Since I have started talking about this idea, I have heard and discussed a number of ways that you can implement this challenge into your life.  Here are some of the methods that I have heard about, so far:

Method #1The Standard Method – This method is pretty straight forward.  You follow the chart, as set out in my last two posts.  Week #1 is the first week of January and week #52 is the last week of the year.  Straightforward and easy to remember.  It does have flaws, as Justin pointed out.  This method has you saving $202 and just under 15% (14.6%) of the goal in December, when savings is not usually a priority.

Method #2The Reverse Method – This method is the same as Method #1, but instead of counting up the weeks, you count them down.  That means you start with week #52 in the first week of January and end with week #1 at the end of December.  This brings the heavy savings to the start of the year (and also gives you interest on a larger balance as the year progresses) and requires you to save a total of $10 or just less than 1% (0.72%) in December.  That’s seems more manageable around Christmas.  I really think this method holds a lot of merit given that January and February tend to be “quieter” social months due to the weather.

Method #3The Knock Out or Random Method – I tend to like this one too, although it does involve a bit of crystal ball thinking.  I feel it gives you the ultimate control to be successful.  In this method you list the weeks out and then select what you will save each week.  That way, if you get a bonus and have some extra money, get week #52 out-of-the-way.  If you have a sudden car repair and money is short, get one of the weeks between #1 and 10 out-of-the-way.  Knock them down so that the savings matches your life and what you have happening.  At the end of the day, just save each of the weeks.  The sooner the “Big” weeks are in the account the more interest you will earn, as well.  I really like this method and I may convert my attempt to this plan, just because it will help me be successful and that’s the key; To be successful in this effort.

Method #4The “What I Have” Method – Instead of letting the list tell you what to save each week, you can use a variation on Method #3, where you look at how much you have to save at the end of a week.  If the amount is $15, then you can either “check off” week #15 or week #7 & 8 or week #5, 4, 3, 2 & 1.  This way you are checking your wallet at the end of each week and instead of just blowing the money you have left at the end of the week, you are putting it into your goal for savings.

What method are you using and how is it going? Let me know on Twitter or leave me a comment below.  Please feel free to share these posts and ideas with your friends and encourage their comments.