Eat Well, Love Well.

16938647_1195199133911651_3384576010444227035_n2017! My mum’s kindergarten class recently did an art project where the kids created a painting of hearts, the background was made from shaving cream and paint. Every child placed hearts in different ways on their painting. One particular child said her hearts are “going around the world in love.” Kids know what’s going on better than adults a lot of the time.

Anyway, it got me thinking about love…again…as I often think about it in many ways, and what it means to me.

I think we were all dreamed up in the heart of something beautiful, some say we are made up of stardust. Wherever we come from, we have been fashioned and formed in a place of love. Love carefully, and not so carefully, continues to craft us throughout time.

“You know when I said I knew little about Love? That wasn’t true. I know a lot about Love. I’ve seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. pain, lies, hate… It made me want to turn away and never look down again. But when I see the way that mankind loves… You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that Love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and… What I’m trying to say, Tristan is… I think I Love you. Is this Love, Tristan? I never imagined I’d know it for myself. My heart… It feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it’s trying to escape because it doesn’t belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I’d wish for nothing in exchange – no fits. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.” ~Stardust

Love is a truth that is deeper than the roots of the oldest tree and stronger than the foundations of Everest. Love is the most beautiful song inside of you that doesn’t end, and we are continuously listening to it, letting it soak deep into our bones. Love takes us by the hand and guides us through the darkest nights.

It is the personal experience of pouring ourselves out and then filling ourselves back up again. The journey is a complicated one. Love is in the small things. Love thinks of you when you’re not thinking of yourself. Love makes you think of others. It throws its arms around you for shelter when you’re breaking.

Love can also let you down, which is never easy to prepare for. The first time my heart broke was when I was 11 and my granddad died. The last time my heart broke was when I was left for someone else. The hurt that comes from loving can stay in the corners of our hearts for a long time, but love also means life…and by filling each day with new memories full of people, places and those sparkling moments, our hearts become healthier and the corners become less and less sharp.

What I have learned through experiencing love in all its forms is that I know I won’t stop loving, because love is…categorically beautiful and it will always, always be there for you, it won’t leave you in the shadows for long.

I hope those hearts really do go around the world, we could use more of them.


Food is also love 🙂 and I LOVE seafood.

This brown butter scallops with parmesan risotto recipe from pinch of yum is simple, easy and very tasty.

PARMESAN RISOTTO:
1 tablespoon butter
1 minced clove garlic or 1 minced shallot (or both)
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup white wine
3-ish cups of chicken broth
½ cup Parmesan cheese
SEARED SCALLOPS:
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 pound jumbo scallops
SAUTEED SPINACH OR KALE:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
4 cups spinach or kale
BROWN BUTTER:
3 tablespoons butter
INSTRUCTIONS
1. For the Risotto: In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic or shallots and saute for a minute or two, until soft and fragrant. Add the arborio rice, stir to coat with butter. Add the white wine and enjoy the sizzles. Add the broth, ½ cup at a time, and simmer/stir after each addition until the rice is soft and creamy. I usually err on the side of more liquid to get a creamier texture. Add the parmesan and stir until incorporated. Salt + pepp to taste.

2. For the Seared Scallops: Heat oil in nonstick skillet. Pat scallops dry (VERY DRY, as dry as possible), sprinkle with salt, and add to pan. They should sizzle (if not, you need a hotter pan.) Shake gently to prevent sticking. After 2-3 minutes, flip each scallop over. They should have a pretty golden brown exterior and an opaque inside. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil. Serve immediately.

3. For the Sautéed Spinach: Heat the oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic, stir for a minute to get the flavor going. Add the spinach or kale and stir until wilted.
For the Brown Butter: Put a few tablespoons of butter in a clean skillet over medium heat and stir it while watching it closely – when it starts to look golden and foamy, remove from heat, transfer to a heat-proof bowl to cool slightly, then drizzle over the risotto, scallops, and greens.


Michelle Pfeiffer is one of my favorite actresses, and she’s great in Stardust


Prosecco. It suits the mood and the movie.

This is  great organic go to that you can get from the BCL.

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Contemplative Cake

Wow it’s been a long time since I made a post. A lot has happened in the past six months, the most monumental thing being I turned 30. I don’t have a list because when I started writing it I sounded so cliche, like I knew something about life, but I don’t really, all I really know is that everyone matters and we should love hard, have respect and be our most authentic selves. I never expected I would be 30 and single without kids, which is completely okay and great, but it was an adjustment. I’ve made it another year and am grateful, who knows what’s around that corner. Here’s some advice from one of my favorites who lays it out straight.

“Don’t do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do. Don’t stay when you know you should go or go when you know you should stay. Don’t fight when you should hold steady or hold steady when you should fight. Don’t focus on the short-term fun instead of the long-term fall out. Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore. Don’t seek joy at all costs. I know it’s hard to know what to do when you have a conflicting set of emotions and desires, but it’s not as hard as we pretend it is. Saying it’s hard is ultimately a justification to do whatever seems like the easiest thing to do—have the affair, stay at that horrible job, end a friendship over a slight, keep loving someone who treats you terribly. I don’t think there’s a single dumbass thing I’ve done in my adult life that I didn’t know was a dumbass thing to do while I was doing it. Even when I justified it to myself—as I did every damn time—the truest part of me knew I was doing the wrong thing. Always. As the years pass, I’m learning how to better trust my gut and not do the wrong thing, but every so often I get a harsh reminder that I’ve still got work to do.

We cannot possibly know what will manifest in our lives. We live and have experiences and leave people we love and get left by them. People we thought would be with us forever aren’t and people we didn’t know would come into our lives do. Our work here is to keep faith with that, to put it in a box and wait. To trust that someday we will know what it means, so that when the ordinary miraculous is revealed to us we will be there, standing before the baby girl in the pretty dress, grateful for the smallest things.”

― Cheryl Strayed


It’s all about the cake. 

NO BAKE Lime Cheesecake

Ingredients

1 cup boiling water
1 small package lime jello
3 Tbsp. lime juice
8 oz. cream cheese
½ cup sugar
1 packet Dream Whip, and the milk and vanilla it requires
1 graham cracker pie crust, Nilla Wafer crust works great, too
additional graham cracker crumbs for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • Combine boiling water, lime jello and lime juice in a medium bowl.
  • Mix and let partially set (stick in the fridge for about 20 minutes and it becomes partially set enough)
  • While jello is partially setting, In a large bowl, cream cream cheese and sugar together. Set aside.
  • Make packet of Dream Whip up according to box directions. Follow directions and store in fridge until ready to use.
  • Once jello is partially set, pour into cream cheese/sugar mixture bowl and beat to combine.
  • Fold in Dream Whip.
  • Pour into graham cracker crust and sprinkle additional graham cracker crumbs over the top if desired.
  • Cover and place in fridge until set.

This was such an emotional movie…Kristen Stewart did a good job and I’m totally in love with Nicholas Hoult.


Having had a big birthday week…schofferhofer grapefruit radlers are where it’s at, I will take one any day over a caesar. They are only 3% and totally refreshing.

2016 the Savoury Year of the Monkey

What’s up 2016!

pablo (8)I don’t really do resolutions, I mean I start out the fresh year by saying I’ll change the world and win the lottery but I come back to reality around January 20th. Just the delusion of the lottery though…we can all change the world a little right?

But this year there’s a word, that I want my actions and perspective to reflect which will be beneficial to myself and to others. It’s a word that has floated about over the past few years but really become noticeable as of late.

There are about a million articles and blogs out there that speak about it, but who cares I’m jumpin’ on that train.

Gratitude.

It’s practised in all circles of people from all walks of life, it’s somewhat of a red thread that binds us all together and like love, is something every single human shows in some way or another. It’s something that we express and feel, but is also something that we are when we decide to be.

The benefit it has on us humans is something we all search for: happiness

And happiness comes from your emotions, health, relationships, career, hobbies etc. which can all be affected by how you choose to view your life, other people and way of thinking.

Because what’s gonna make you feel better, thanking the coffee gods for making the world that much better in the morning or grumbling because you have to get up for a 5:00AM meeting (which pays the bills by the way).

If you’re prone to or experience anxiety/depression and see a therapist they may suggest gratitude exercises, like writing down three things you are grateful for each day, even if it’s just that your neighbour isn’t blaring Megadeath at 7:30 AM on Tuesdays (I know because A. That’s my neighbour and B. I come from a family of therapists, therapy is highly encouraged, and I’ll admit I’ve definitely been once or twelve times in my life, it’s great).

But you should actually try it out. 3 things. Little or big. Do it for a solid month everyday and see for yourself how your mood changes and the way you see the world.

I by no means can live a Little Miss Sunshine life, I am a Brit/Canadian after all, but when I’m grateful for other people and the things that are already in my life and right in front of me, I’m not lacking or wishing or wanting, I don’t feel anxious, envious, jealous and all those other emotions that can drag you down.

I feel content and okay, which is all I’ve ever wanted, plus I turn 30 this year and I’m gonna need to find a way to deal with it other than at the bottom of a whisky bottle.


According to Pinterest, 2016 is the year to move away from sugar and towards more savoury toppings…and since breakfast/brunch is like a happy pill let’s go with…

Savory Parmesan French Toast with Hollandaise Sauce

Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients

For the French toast:

4 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large garlic clove, crushed with the side of a knife
dash salt
medium-size loaf of good-quality bread, cut 1-inch thick
butter, for frying
flat-leaf parsley or chives, for garnish
For the hollandaise:
3 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 dash hot sauce
1/2 cup butter

Instructions

For the French Toast:

1. Turn your oven on to the warm setting (170 F). Set a cooling rack over a cookie sheet and place in the oven.
2. Add eggs, milk, cream, Parmesan, mustard powder, hot sauce, black pepper, garlic, and salt to a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour liquid into a pie plate or an 8×8 dish. Rinse out your blender immediately.
3. Slice the bread into 1-inch pieces.
4. Heat a griddle or a large skillet to medium-high heat.
5. Soak the bread in the egg mixture 1-2 minutes each side.
6. Grease the griddle or pan with butter.
7. Fry each piece of bread for about 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes or until browned. Continue with all the bread pieces, replenishing butter as necessary.
Place each finished piece of toast on the cooling rack in the oven.

For the hollandaise:

1. In the rinsed-out blender, add the egg yolks, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Blend until smooth.
2. In a small bowl in the microwave, melt butter completely so that it’s very hot.
3. Open the top spout of your blender. Turn the blender on low and pour in the hot butter. It should thicken immediately.
4. Immediately pour the sauce into a measuring cup or bowl. Place the bowl into another bowl of very hot water. (You want to keep the sauce hot, but if you microwave it, it will curdle.)
5. Pour the sauce over each serving. Whisk the sauce if it starts to separate.
6. Top each French toast with fresh herbs and extra Parmesan.


I just watched this again last night and it’s one of my most favourite Pixar movies full of chuckles…Toy Story 3


Sticking with the brunch theme…the Flying Pig in Vancouver has a really good Caesar and I can’t give you the exact recipe BUT it is made with: bacon bourbon, Worcestershire sauce, olive brine, Sriracha chili sauce and Clamato juice. Yum.

 

Is Thyme Really a Booster of Courage?

pablo

Thymus (thyme) comes from the Greek word thymon – meaning courage and is regarded as a symbol of courage and bravery.

But how about the homonym? Time is like heaven and hell. It’s the only thing that stays the same but changes everything. I hate it and love it and am terrified by it. It’s so precious and fleeting yet can drag on when all we want it to do is pass. The last time you saw someone can seem like a week ago when really it was a year ago. The last time you saw someone can seem like a year ago when really it was a week ago.

If you’ve ever lost someone who takes up a big space in your heart, or maybe your whole heart, the world soon revolves around the word time.

Yesterday I read that there’s no such thing as a time when everything should be okay, no script, no right or wrong way to grieve. People do weird shit. 

Completely. If someone or something mattered, grief can soak into our bones and we do things that don’t make sense to other people or ourselves.

The world is filled with the walking wounded. Having someone be there for you in even the tiniest ways can make things easier. I had a moment recently when I was in East Africa and I needed someone to be there for me. Along sauntered Paul – who took one look at me then gave me the warmest hug you could imagine. He introduced himself after.

Paul is 19 and lost his entire family through disease and brutality. He searched for two years to find some sort of peace and healing and eventually found it through the job he got, helping people who are sick. He finds his strength in others and is amazing.

Maybe time makes us courageous after all.


The world recently lost a special soul and when family and friends got together to remember him I couldn’t be there. So in honour of my amazing friend, tonight it’s tuna melts, because once upon a time a couple of kids used to go on late night missions for the best melt in town with nothing to worry about except where else we could go other than Denny’s.


Provençal Tuna Melt

Serves 2

1 6-ounce can tuna packed in olive oil*
1/4 of a red bell pepper, 1/4″ dice
Green parts of 2 scallions, 1/4″ dice
2 teaspoons capers, drained, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
2 tablespoons mayo
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch red pepper flakes
4 slices good bread; (ciabatta)
Olive oil
Slices of soft cheese; use as much as you like.

  1. To use tuna packed in olive oil, don’t drain the oil off too aggressively. Leave about half of it in the can; it will contribute a silkiness to the filling. Scrape the tuna and oil into a mixing bowl.
  2. Slice the pepper into strips, then lay a few at a time on their sides to chop. A knife will cut through the skin much more easily from the side than if you lay the strips skin-side down or up. Add the peppers to the bowl.
  3. Slice the scallions and add them to the bowl.
  4. Roughly chop the capers (you’re just trying to break them up a bit) and add them to the bowl.
  5. Mince the thyme and add it.
  6. Eyeball the mayo, but don’t use a heavy hand. You want just enough to bind the mixture.
  7. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the red pepper flakes. Gently stir everything together.
  8. Turn on the broiler. Set a rack a notch below the one right under the broiler; that will let the filling warm and cheese melt without either burning. Lay bread slices outsides-up on a baking sheet NOT lined with parchment. Brush them with olive oil and place under broiler. Don’t walk away. They should brown nicely within about a minute.
  9. Remove the baking sheet and use tongs to turn over slices of bread. Divide filling between two slices, and arrange cheese on the others. Return to broiler. Heat for about 2 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and golden brown, and filling has heated.
  10. Remove from oven, Use tongs to turn the cheese-y slices over on top of those spread with filling. Slice in half, and serve immediately.

Cheap Tuesday at the movies used to be the “hot spot” where we all would go to see people and maybe hold someone’s hand.

The Count of Monte Cristo will always be a favourite.


Before I knew about craft beer I only drank Miller, Labatt Blue or beer from my old local brewery Caribou. All made for beer pong.

Never forget your roots – Genuine Lager is classic.

Save me a dance at 9:37 wherever you are my friend.

Scones of the Past and Present

Sometimes I think I have more in common with my great great great great grandmother than I thought. I’ve been reading her journal from 1823 and it’s pretty much me at 18. Observing everyone.

How my mum got a hold of this journal is a long but incredible story and it is amazing to be able to read a family member’s personal thoughts. I wonder if all our blogs will be forwarded on to our future families in a 187 years?

This was one of her first entries.

Journal of Sarah Maria Barber beginning January, 1st, 1828

January 17th, Thursday

Went to a party at Mrs. Bacon’s, where there were about 60 people – dancing & music. Knew nobody but the Evans’s & the Brents, Br1ary is grown extremely pretty, and was very much admired, indeed she was by far the prettiest looking girl in the room Julia is also a very nice girl. I think country gentlemen’s daughters are in general, far more agreeable than the Londoners for not making accomplishments the first consideration.

Their minds are by that means more cultivated, as they have more time for study. I am always more interested at a ball by the remarks of an unaffected country girl than by the flippant conversation of an accomplished conceited Miss, who quizzes and abuses everything.

Mrs. Caradori was there She is a most unaffected, modest, charming woman, with just enough of the foreign accent to make her interesting. Mr. Allen is also a delightful man, and pays her the greatest attention possible.

He is justly proud of her, and sung a beautiful Italian duet with her but to the great disappointment of everybody she only sang 3 songs as the Piano was too flat.

Mrs. Bacon played very nicely on the harp and a young man sang two songs extremely well. There were very few pretty girls. Mary Brent & Mr. Bacon’s sisters were the only ones.

Danced once with John and twice with George Evans. Hugh danced with Mary Brent and not with me so that I have a great mind to be very angry with him, but then she is so pretty and amiable, that I think I must forgive him too. John and his wife went home early on account of the “little stranger” that is expected in March.

The supper was very handsome and at 9 o’clock we came home.

I would have liked to have a drink with my Grandmother and gossip as you’d do in the 1800’s. Do you have anyone from 187 years ago you’d like to meet?


Baking scones with mum in the 90's.
Baking scones with mum in the 90’s. Bangs looking great.

This recipe isn’t quite that old, but it’s been around in my family for about 36 years.

Scones. Now that I am a second class citizen thanks to Mr. Harper, I should perfect this recipe in case I have to go back to England. My Mum was given Fannie Farmer’s cookbook in 1979 as a wedding gift, it’s a huge book. She probably made these scones three times a week growing up. Throw in blueberries for best results.

Fannie Farmer’s Scones…

Your basic scone recipe

Minutes to Prepare: 15
Minutes to Cook: 10
Number of Servings: 8

Ingredients
2 C Flour (unbleached is best
2 Tbl Sugar
2.5 tsp Baking Powder (aluminum free is best)1tsp Salt (which I usually Omit1/4 C Butter (or Shortening) (I use unsalted1/2 C Milk (I use 2%)
1 large egg slightly beaten
2tbl mil
2tbl sugar
Directions
Makes 8 scones
  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. Combine dry ingredients with a fork to aerate. Cut in Butter/Fat with pastry blender or two knives until it looks like fresh bread crumbs.
  3. Stir in milk and egg until ingredients are just moist. Gather into a ball and knead lightly on a floured surface about 12 times (DO NOT OVERKNEAD) Pat or roll into a circle about 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Brush the top with milk and then sprinkle sugar on that.
  5. Cut into 8 pieces place on a cookie sheet about 1 inch apart bake about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Serve hot with butter, jam.

It’s probably most fitting to include a film about society in that day, it should be a Bronte film but I recently watched Vanity Fair, where Reese Witherspoon plays a strong female lead. It’s an enjoyable movie!


Memorable quote…

“Never mind. You cannot help your pedigree” – Becky Sharp (Reuse Witherspoon)

Also appropriate for the times… red wine (appropriate for all times really)

Wild Horse Canyon Shiraz is juicy and affordable and goes great with meat.

Aren’t we lucky we don’t have to find ways to cover up the taste of rancid meat like they did in the 1800’s because refrigeration was almost non existent?

10 Things to reflect on at 29 Over Pasta

photo (35)Yesterday I celebrated my birthday. 29 ain’t gonna be so bad right? I only cried once and then remembered my mom’s advice (she usually gives it to six year-olds in her grade 1 class but hey).

“whenever you need to let it go, just think of Elsa and start singing in your heart.”

For all you Frozen lovers out there, you know what I’m talking about. It actually works, try it, you’ll smile. You’re smiling right now aren’t you?

Anyway it’s the last year of my twenties, so what better thing to write then a classic “10 things I’ve learned in my twenties” post.

I originally thought, oh my god all I’ve learned is how to not fall down so much and eat cilantro, so I asked a bunch of my friends who all had awesome things to say, but there were too many great pieces so I’ve decided to keep them for their own special post.

And I should probably think a little harder. I am that much older and wiser and serious now.

  1. I don’t really know anything yet, but I really like learning from people. all people. Learn from every single kind of person you can learn from, don’t close your mind. If there’s a lady on the street corner with a rat on her shoulder, talk to her.
  2. Confidence is everything, seriously, you can fake and trick anyone with a certain level of confidence, but with confidence you can also not do those things and be really kind and do great things and be an inspiration to friends, family, yourself and strangers.
  3. Don’t ever waste your time on people who don’t really care about you or are not helping you, this is a big one, a lot of people may seem like they have your best interest at heart, but actions are everything, people have to prove themselves to the people they love and  want in their lives, until then, they don’t get a spot at our kick ass life table.
  4. I know this is said a lot, even Jim Carrey plays it out, but say yes to everything (unless it’s super reckless and you might hurt yourself or others) I used to say yes in my early 20’s to everything, I stopped for a while, then started again. It will change your life. You will meet people you never thought you would meet, have the wildest adventures and discover things about yourself you never knew or may have lost along the way. Saying yes is magical and makes you live life and push your limits. Sometimes it can suck, but there is always a story that comes from it.
  5. Don’t. Freak. Out. Anxiety can suck the life out of you. I didn’t even know what it was until I was 24 and it took a couple years to get a handle on. EXERCISE. Do the things you love, live wherever makes you feel the most alive and know that you don’t haveta impress a soul! And, sorry it has to be said because it works like a charm, just breathe  it’ll all be OK.
  6. Love yourself. Love your family. Love your friends. Love the environment. Love love. Love puppies. Love pizza (but also sorta love your body and what you put in it).
  7. Respect.
  8. Help others, seriously. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing, you don’t have to save the world, but do your part, we’re all in this together.
  9. Trust yourself, even when you make bad choices, trust yourself to figure it out, move forward and learn and don’t live in the past.
  10. When hippos are angry their sweat turns red.
  11. BONUS: Find a reason to laugh everyday, and laugh hard.

There’s actually a lot of things I’ve learned, but I won’t get all thought catalogue on you. Maybe I’ll do another 10 things when I’m 29 and a half.


In a previous life I was Italian. This dish is a great quickie.

Linguine with Lemon, Garlic, and Thyme Mushrooms

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

225 grams chestnut mushrooms
80 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon maldon salt (or 1½ teaspoons table salt)
1 small clove garlic (crushed)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves stripped off)
500 grams linguine
1 bunch fresh parsley (chopped)
2 – 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese (or to taste)
freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Slice the mushrooms finely, and put in a large bowl with the oil, salt, crushed garlic, lemon juice and zest, and marvellously scented thyme leaves.
  2. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions and drain loosely, retaining some water. Quickly put the drained pasta into the bowl with the mushroom mixture.
  3. Toss everything together well, then add the chopped parsley, grated cheese and pepper to taste, before tossing again, and eat.

Forest Whitaker, I love your stuff.

I recently tried this beer at the Woods on Pender

Short Wave West Coast Pale Ale by Phillips Brewery

Pretty Good!

Pizza Pals Forever

cousins and sisters and hopeless romantics forever and ever.

“Sometimes you gotta just take things for what they are and appreciate them, not try to label it or explain it. Explanations take the mystery out of it, you know?”

– Twenty Boy Summer

I not so secretly love “teen reads.” They make me feel nostalgic for firsts…first loves, first kisses, first heart flutters and even first heartaches.

My cousin and I have an unofficial teen read book club. We usually go for the ones that will crush us the most, that will really gut us and have us crying with the turn of each page.

I save these reads for the summer when I’m at the beach, so when I cry in public my tears can be mistaken for sweat (the colder months are for adult reading…books that contribute to my intellect not my desire to be 17 and wild in all the wrong ways again).

My cousin recently tagged me in a  post that said “no one will ever be as entertained by us as us” 

The last time we hung out we concocted up (shout out to Peller Estates magnum size wine bottles for the inspiration) some home made bubble soap and a hoop made from some random rubber tube with the hopes of creating human sized bubbles we could envelop ourselves in. It didn’t really work out. No one makes me laugh harder then that little chicklet.

My point of all of this is, if you don’t have someone who you can act stupid around and recap teen books with (or whatever your guilty pleasures are) find them now. Find your tribe, your life will be so much richer…and entertaining!


My cousin and I LOVE pizza. If you’re into making your own dough that’s awesome, but if you want a quick pizza, using naan bread is easy and tasty.

Naan Pizzas

Ingredients:

Naan bread, plain
Pizza toppings of your choice!

Instructions
If using a gas grill:

1. Turn all burners on to high, close the cover and let preheat for 15 minutes. At that point, turn the primary burner to medium-high heat and the other burners to medium-low.

2. While the grill is heating up, get all of your ingredients ready to go, including any utensils you may need (spoon for spreading sauce, tongs and/or spatula, etc).

3. Clean the grate and then oil lightly. Put two naan breads on the hot side of the grill and cook on each side about 1 minute.
At this point you can slide the two breads to the cooler side of the grill and place the toppings on the pizza, or you can remove the naan from the grill to put the toppings on, whatever is easiest and most comfortable for you.

4. Once bread has pizza toppings, close the lid and cook for about 5 minutes, until cheese is all melted. Remove from the grill and serve!

If using the oven: Preheat oven to 350º F.

1. Place naan bread directly on the oven rack and cook for 2 minutes.

2. Remove from the oven and add pizza toppings to the naan breads. Place back in the oven, either directly on the oven rack or on a piece of foil on the oven rack. Cook for 8-10 minutes or so, until cheese is totally melted. Remove from the oven and serve!


The Lovely Bones  is a great in our book club. Suzy Salmon…

 

Memorable quote…

“Our only kiss was like an accident – a beautiful gasoline rainbow” ― Alice Sebold

Sangria all summer please…

White Strawberry-Lemon Sangria

2 lemons, sliced
1 apple, sliced
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 (750 ml) bottle white wine (whatever you want)
1/2 cup light rum (or more if you prefer a strong sangria)
4 cups lemon-lime soda

Combine everything, leave in the fridge for 5 hours (if you can wait that long)

Joie de Vivre/Croque Madame

I recently came back from Montreal. I love that city…so very much. I live on an island, which is hard to leave in more ways than one. I love my island but there are times that I crave more culture than what surrounds me, more history, more diversity, more pockets of people. Sometimes even winter! Sometimes.

Montreal truly encompasses a special Joie de Vivre.

When I was little, it was easy to find my Joie de Vivre. Up until I was 16 I found it within the things that I loved to do, that made me feel good, like dance and sports and art…and cooking with my mum, and fixing the 57 Chev with my dad, and telling ghost stories with my siblings and cousins.

Around my teenage years I mistakenly started searching for it within relationships, within the comfort of other people, within wherever I could find safety. For years and years I did this…

But thankfully I now find my Joie de Vivre within myself again, within my own experiences, wherever I am, wherever I go, whatever I’m doing, my life is my life and just to wake up and have myself to look to for happiness is all I need, the other stuff is a bonus! I know a lot of people talk about it these days, but the importance of finding your inner child if you’ve sort of lost him/her is no joke.

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air–explode softly–and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either–not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.” – Robert Fulgham


I had this with the loveliest Quebecois woman in Old Montreal

Croque Madame (Ham and Cheese with Fried Egg)

The croque monsieur, the classic French ham and cheese sandwich covered in cheesy bechamel, becomes a “madame” when a fried egg is placed on top.

Ingredients (makes 6)

3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
12 oz. Gruyere, grated
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
12 ¾”-thick slices pain de mie or Pullman bread, toasted
6 tbsp. Dijon mustard
12 thin slices baked ham
2 tbsp. canola oil
6 eggs

Instructions

1. Heat butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking, until smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, 6-8 minutes. Add ½ cup grated Gruyere and the Parmesan, and whisk until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
2. Heat broiler to high. Place 6 slices bread on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and spread 1 tbsp. mustard over each. Top with 2 slices ham and remaining Gruyere. Broil until cheese begins to melt, 1-2 minutes. Top with remaining bread slices, then pour a generous amount of bechamel on top of each sandwich. Broil until cheese sauce is bubbling and evenly browned, about 3-4 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12″ nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add eggs, season with salt and pepper, and cook until whites are cooked but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Place an egg on top of each sandwich, and serve hot.


This isn’t out quite yet…either is the official trailer, but here’s a clip of what looks like will be a funny film.

The Lobster

 

It was 30 degrees in Montreal, so I sipped on some refreshing Pinot Gris

Bodega J&F Lurton Pinot Gris 2008 ($10.95) an Argentine winner. Light- to medium-bodied, versatile! 

How to Beat Anxiety with the Help of Babies and Beans

photo (1)I don’t think there is anything better than cradling a tiny human as they sleep. If there is a cure for anxiety I think that might be it (for me anyway). The sweet nature of this completely innocent human dependent on you to make sure they are safe and loved and wanted, can take you completely outside of yourself.

I don’t have kids yet, but my nephew brings a joy into my life I had not known before, I’m very grateful to my sister the stork.

Him and I got to hang out recently while my sister and her husband went to a wedding. He has never liked to sleep in a crib so he has a little bed, it’s sort of Asian in style, and he likes to sleep on his side and coo. It’s very adorable and reminds me of Benjamin Button.

Anyway me being me I had a bit of an anxiety ridden day and for anyone who experiences anxiety, you know how hard it can be to calm the fear and get out of the funk.

As those little arms reached up to me in the dark, dazed and confused and half asleep, I picked him up and he immediately went back to sleep, I didn’t want to put him down because I’m pretty sure he knew his mum and dad weren’t home yet and he woke up each time I tried with a crinkled “I’m about to cry face” so I sat there in the dark with him listening to his little snores, and for a moment everything was right in the world. All of the silly fears I had went away and once again I was reminded of how precious and irrevocably beautiful, life is.


I may have ate some of his home made brown mush. I think it was pureed beans? It was pretty good…so with that in mind here’s a tasty little breakfast bean dish (beans are good for the body and the mind, the selenium in them can pick you back up when you’re feeling low).

Bean and Rice Breakfast Bowls with a Spicy Avocado Sauce

The avocado sauce is what makes this breakfast. 

cooked beans (try pink, pinto, adzuki, or black)
cooked Sticky Brown Rice
chopped fresh arugula, Napa cabbage, or romaine lettuce
chopped green onions

Add all ingredients to a bowl and top with the avocado sauce below.

Spicy Avocado Sauce

2 medium, ripe avocados
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded
large handful of fresh cilantro
juice of 1 small lime
1/4 cup water (or more for a thinner sauce)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add more water for a thinner sauce. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Store extra sauce in a small glass container with a squeeze of lime over the top to prevent browning.


I’m a huge fan of coming of age movies… My Girl, Now and Then, Stand By Me,  Simon Birch, there are so many…this is one of my favourites.

My Dog Skip

 

Memorable quote…

“In my life I find that memories of the spirit linger and sweeten long after memories of the brain have faded” – Narrator

*note to my sister: don’t worry I wasn’t drinking the following while babysitting. 

*note to anyone who might care: this is a very refreshing cocktail that I also did not drink with my breakfast dish. 

Watermelon Julep

Ingredients

1 ¼ oz. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
½ oz. simple syrup
5 sprigs fresh mint
6 cubes fresh watermelon
Preparation

Muddle simple syrup and watermelon in a mixing glass. Add mint and press lightly to release oils. Add bourbon and mix well with cracked ice. Strain over crushed ice. Garnish with watermelon and fresh mint.