…it’s time for a change, and (fingers crossed!) it’s going to be a delicious one!

A while back (… ok a few years ago) I decided that I wanted to start a blog.  I mean, I read blogs (both friends and others – my favorite ‘other’ being Jen Lancaster’s), I read books that were created from blogs, and I have a lot of opinions.  But, little did I know that it is hard to write a blog based on random thoughts and have anyone but your mom read it (sorry momma!).  I had planned to do a “monthly experiment” each month and write about that, but it didn’t really pan out as planned.

It’s time for my blog to take a turn… a turn into delicious territory.

You see, I am the main chef in my house (although don’t tell Matt that I said that!) and I like to experiment with different things.  Some may seem regular or mundane to others reading this (like learning to use the BBQ and my many attempts to perfect both a delicious steak rub and then grilling the product to a perfect rare/medium-rare) to a bit more out of the norm for a weekday dinner (deciding one afternoon that I clearly need to make fresh pasta to get rid of the squash that is piling up in my fridge).

Part of what helps is the random vegetables that get delivered to my house every two weeks – thanks to a wonderful service offered by Bryson Farms.  I’ve learned about pea shoots, found endless things to do with squash/kale/swiss chard, and roasted more root vegetables that I can count.

I hope everyone (even if it is just you mom – and maybe Mal) enjoys this change.  It’s new, its (hopefully) interesting and chances are…it’ll be delicious!

Image

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

… it’s almost that time of year again!

You might ask yourself, “What time of year is she talking about?”.  After all, Christmas is over, Valentine’s Day is still two weeks away, and the summer – well, let’s not think about how far away that is as it will likely just lead to sadness over the remainder of the winter.

I kid – sort of.  True, everyone who knows me is well aware that I am not a very big fan of the winter months.  I don’t like the wind, when I get cold I get all achy and sick-feeling, and seriously – who likes wearing all those layers and boots around.  I would much rather be wearing a cute flowy summery dress and sandals.  Sunglasses and sunscreen instead of a hat and mittens.    There is however a couple of things that get me excited about the post-Christmas winter … cozy nights watching movies when the snow is swirling outside, snowshoeing (how did I NOT know how fun this was until a few weeks ago!?), and one more awesome thing.

My mom.

My mom is coming to visit me again from New Brunswick to enjoy all that Ottawa during Winterlude has to offer!  We will go skating along the canal (**fingers crossed that it is open while she is here**) and walking around the market.  We’ll go and check out all that’s going on in Confederation Park and then judge all of the ice sculptures.  We’ll probably even get some chip truck fries and let my father know what he is missing (but don’t worry Dad – I’m sure she will bring you home something).

She came last year and we had an absolutely fantastic time !Granted, she had a cold when she got here and the canal closed the next morning, but the weather got better a(as did her cold) and we were able to go skating once while she was here.  We were able to go and see all of the ice sculptures in Confederation Park (and, of course, get lots of shopping done).

And now she comes in a few days (2 to be exact!) … I can’t wait !!!!  So far the canal is on-track to stay open so we will get skating at least once!  We’ve got a car booked to go shopping on Friday (look out IKEA!), and she will hopefully learn even more about her new iPad with a trip to the Apple store on Thursday.  And, last but not least, she will get to meet ‘the boy’ 🙂  I think that they are both really looking forward to meeting each other, which is excellent for me !

Now I just have to go and clean my apartment before she gets here ….

** (I know that this is probably pretty dull since it is lacking the amazing photos of last year’s adventure, but my computer is giving me problems.  The next one will just have to have twice the amount of photos !) **

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

… it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas !

It’s officially December.  This morning, when I left for work, it was snowing.
Carols are being played in every store, as hold music, and even in some elevators I’ve been in.  I think, officially, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

In an effort to make myself feel more Christmas-y last week, my friend Melissa and I decided to get together to bake gingerbread cookies.  After many attempts to find a quick and easy recipe, we eventually chose the PC box of dough, which was exactly that – fast and easy!  It turns out though that it didn’t make as many as we thought, so shortbread were added to the menu as well.  Those we made from scratch 🙂

Ready to decorate ! At least the gingerbread are !

As you can see, we made normal gingerbread, a couple of ‘anatomically correct’ gingerbread and some others – angelfish, snowmen and ornaments!  While the cookies were cooling, we had gone with her fiancé Chris to the Bulk Barn and stocked up on goodies to decorate with!

Lots of Bulk Barn goodies to aid in the process

There were many icing mishaps… but I think that the end products turned out quite well!  Even if they hadn’t – it was a fun day spent with friends !

And, it really put me in a Christmas mood.  When I went home that night I spent the rest of the evening watching Home Alone and then Home Alone 2 the next day.  I could have sworn that I bought Elf last year, but can’t seem to find it so I guess that all I did was rent it.  I might have to do the same this year- or maybe this year I will go out and buy it 🙂

Creating cookie masterpieces!

My Christmas shopping is essentially done, and the Christmas baking (of presents) will take place soon.  I haven’t decided on this weekend or next!  Also, I’m totally planning to have my Christmas tree up by Monday night !  It’s my first year where I’ve had a full-sized tree of my own to decorate (not that I didn’t love the little tree you got me Mom!).  I brought ornaments from home and have purchased my own over the past few years.

 As most would guess, my Christmas tree will feature pink ornaments, shoe ornaments, and my favorites that my mom would let me take.

 As I listen to Christmas carols at work… I keep thinking “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”.

 While I don’t think that my co-workers would really like that… maybe I will make them their own batch of gingerbread men!

"Not my gum drop buttons!!"

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

… Peterborough WAS an adventure !!

Last weekend, as you know from my post below, I went to visit my friend Emily in Peterborough.  This meant a few things: leaving Figaro for the weekend, renting a car, and driving in Ottawa traffic. 

Those who don’t know me, know that I rarely drive.  More than that, I never ever seem to drive in Ottawa.  This time however, I had driven a few weeks ago- I had to bring things over to Booth Street for a work event.  However, driving downtown for like 5 minutes is not the same as the Queensway on a Friday at 3:35.  That was a little bit scary… but quickly passed once I got on Hwy. 7 !!  Smooth sailing from there 🙂

Friday we took it easy- went from Greek and then watched some movies … it is true that I can just watch The Hangover again and again …

Saturday started off with a great breakfast cooked by one of Em’s roommates’ families: eggs, toast, bacon, potatoes and coffee 🙂  From there we went to a few shops in her area (Skirt and the Benevolent Strange- I reccommend both!) and then to the mall (H&M) and finally… the ZOO !!!  There wasn’t a whole lot to see, but in a way that was good because we got to see everything.  They have monkeys, rheas, white fox, a puma, lynx, camels, reindeer and a whole lot of other stuff!

Wallaby giving me the stink eye...

I was able to get some really cute shots of some of the animals, even though it was a bit of a pain to have to take all of the pictures through the chain-link fence.  Although, I’m sure that it is much better to have to take the photos through the fence, than have an area like the puma fence-less !

I do have to say that the most photogenic of the zoo were the camels.  They both wanted their photos taken, but only one of them came right up to the fence and tried to stick his nose through!  He just wanted lots of attention…

Alice the camel has two humps!

 

The rest of the weekend was great as well- including teaching Emily to make chicken parm and discovering that it can be made just as well when gluten-free…. just use crushed up rice crackers and season with the Club House Roasted Garlic & Parm…. it was yummy !  Other than that… it was wine, Walmart and coffee 🙂

 
And, the bonus of having a car rented was that I could stop at Ikea on my own while driving back into the city… no need to beg someone else for a ride !!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks for a great weekend Emily !!
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

… Peterborough will be an adventure

Those who know me know that I don’t typically travel a huge amount.  I mean, I spend a fair amount of my vacation time visiting family, but am not really the type to rent a car and go away for the weekend.  This weekend though, it changes!

My friend Emily is finishing up her Masters at Trent (in Peterborough) and, since it is somewhere that I have never been and I miss her, I’m going to see her today!  I’m going to rent myself a little car and face my small fear of Ottawa highways and off I go.  And what is on the agenda?  H&M, eating yummy food, watching movies and going TO THE ZOO!

The Flipe Poey- Emily and I

Expect an awesome update (this time I promise!) with photos of my zoo adventure next week.  I can’t wait! 

Also, as Em is currently gluten-free, we’ll see how well one can make chicken parm with rice crackers instead of breadcrumbs!  I figure that, since our first experience together was living on a fishing boat in Cuba, that rice cracker substitution will be a piece of cake !

The only problem with this whole adventure?  The fact that Figaro doesn’t really want me to go.  This morning he hid under a jacket so that I couldn’t find him for almost 20 minutes, and then excaped into the hallway when I was leaving and stopped to grab my mittens.  He’s a silly cat who doesn’t like to be left alone… but he’ll have company from Paul & Dave- so he’ll be happy and fed !

Figaro looking out from his hiding spot thinking "Damn! She found me and now she'll still go away!"

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

… I almost has a heart attack last night !

Imagine that you’re getting ready for bed.  Everything is growing calm (especially since the kitten who was running in circles throughout the apartment is calming lying outside on a leash), and you’re almost ready to go to sleep.  All of a sudden you hear a sound – a swoosh!  What could that sound be !?

A bird!  That’s what it is!  A sparrow – flying around (trapped) in my living room!  My ceilings are pretty high (and I’m kinda short) so I couldn’t even have reach up if I tried.  Figaro was jumping up as high as his leash would allow him, snapping at the bird as it tried to find the way back out.  I grabbed Figaro, put him in the bathroom and closed the door, shut my bedroom door and went to investigate.  The bird was trapped underneath the couch… time to get back up!

The good thing is that it was only about 10:15, so I could run next door and wake up my neighbors.  They came over and together, along with a broom, blanket and flashlight, we coaxed and prodded the bird out from underneath the couch.  The little one got stuck in the tracks for the patio doors, so my neighbor picked him up and helped him fly away… !  I was just so happy that he was alive… and that he hadn’t flown into my head!

Turns out… even though birds are cute, I don’t like them in my apartment.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

… I’m turning into Suzy Homemaker !

Delicious filling !

I never used to be a good baker.  Seriously – my mom can tell you all about it.  I used to be incapable of making chocolate chip recipes.  It would look like they were headed in the direction of turning out yummy and fantastic … and then they would take a turn for the worse.

It’s my own fault I guess.  I’m really not very good at following directions.  I mean, I try to follow them, but I like to improvise.  I think that I can just leave a little of this ingredient out and make up for it by putting in more of that ingredient.  But…. that never works out right.  But, with the purchase of The Happy Baker cookbook, I think that I have gained confidence and am slowly turning my history around.

Why am I talking about this ?  Well… if you remember, I moved at the end of May.  Because I was moving from one unit to another in my apartment building, things were packed into boxes very well.  I wanted to move with ease when it came time to unpack.  In order to have this not take the whole day, I enlisted the help of some of the best friends that a girl could ask for.  Paul, Dave, Melissa, Chris and Emma all showed up bright and early on a Sunday morning ready to help.  It took us two hours to get everything out of one apartment, into another and slightly unpacked.  They were the greatest of help and it was unbelievable how great it turned out.

Side note : my new apartment rocks !

Now I am paying everyone back.. slowly but surely, through baking.  For Chris (and sort of Melissa – I still have to pay her back!) I made a pie.  He wanted strawberry-rhubarb, which I have never made.  Turns out that I was right – take strawberries, rhubarb, add flour and sugar, and bake !  I don’t really like the pie, but they both seemed to enjoy !

Paul and Dave came for dinner because I finaly have a kitchen table (wheeeee !).  Also, because Paul had just defended his thesis, I made cake.  Yummy, fantastic swiss-chocolate cake with milk chocolate icing.  Calorie rich, moist, fudgey, fantastic chocolate cake.

Who knew I could bake yummy things like this !?!  I have apparently moved on from my days of runny chocolate chip cookies (unless you count the runny sugar cookies from a few months back – but that wasn’t my fault !)

I wonder what Emma would like…. because it’s all starting to affect my waistline !

🙂

Yummy pie !Delicious filling !

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment