Sunday, January 31, 2010


(picture taken from Sugar & Spice @
100 posts!
How terribly exciting.
I came on to post about something not at all exciting but now I feel like I have to hype it up a little to make the 100th post special!
But let me talk about what I wanted to post about first.
There is a resident of my building who has an English bulldog named Sophia. John as kind of fallen in love with her. This dog might be my only hope of getting a puppy. I wikipedia-ed bulldogs (because it is the most highly respected source of any and all information ever) and it told me that English bulldogs fall 77th on a list of 79 dogs ranked in order of smartest to dumbest.
But they are kind of so ugly-they're-adorable, as depicted in the photos below:
That's actually just cute. Not ugly at all.

That one too. Adorable!
I added some fuel to the fire by getting John to brainstorm fun British names with me for our potential future apartment pal. Runners up were: Reginald, Elton, Tiberius, Brutus, Neville Longbottom, etc.
Final decision: Winston Churchill. Ol' smoosh-face Winnie. Although I may have to limit the vast array of nicknames if the dog is on the lower end of the obedience/understanding spectrum.

Please check out this website if you get a minute.
There are some great little stories on it.
This is the best part because it basically explains why a bulldog would be perfect for us:

"Care for adult English bulldogs involves the following:
-regular feeding in the morning and at night(some dogs require special food to prevent alleriges)
-light exercise once a day
-daily facial cleaning to prevent fold dermatitis
-regular vet visits
-a good couch to sleep on"

Without making it too obvious, a less active dog might be the key. We both have busy-ish schedules so laziness could be the golden ticket.
I know dogs eat shoes and slobber on things, and generally wreak havoc but I want a poooopy dog. A little Winston.
I'll keep you posted.
We're researching (I'm procrastinating proof reading my essay) other breeds of dog. If you have any suggestions please pass them my way.
Please keep in mind:
  1. I live in a small-ish apartment but have access to a balcony and kind of really want to build a little square of lawn complete with fire hydrant for it.
  2. I do not want a large dog. Small to medium sized suggestions only.
  3. It has to be adorable.
  4. It should be a lovey dog, not yappy, and not overly hyper.

Does that leave any dogs?

I know I promised an exciting 100th post but I really should get back to my essay.

And by essay I mean dog research and the Grammy awards :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gumbo & Mint Meringues

I love the weekend. It should always be the weekend.
I woke up at a reasonable hour (more reasonable than 5:45) this morning and made banana-chocolate-chip-date pancakes (was thinking about that banana bread I made last weekend) for breakfast. Last night after Say Yes to the Dress ended I went searching for smething to watch and distract me from my essay and I wandered over to the Food Network on demand (channel 93 for those of you who are Rogers customers and in Toronto) and to my delight I discovered that there are like 10-15 episodes of Chuck's Day Off on there! I knew John would be happy about this so we watched a few episodes this morning over breakfast. That Chuck. He's a very interesting food network host as he runs what appears to be a fairly successful restaurant in Montreal, has insane food items tattooed all over his arms (love it) and - from what I heard on the grapevine - used to have a pretty bad coke addiction!
Does that make me a sad individual that I have gossip on Canadian Food Network stars?
Anyway he's worth watching. He also features the music of Canadian artists each episode - lots of Sam Roberts which I can definitely get behind. Pump a little "Them kids" or "Fixed to Ruin" and I dare you not to enjoy it.
John's in the kitchen making a seafood gumbo and I am making mint meringues. I couldn't be bothered to try and fiddle around and make the nice red stripes like Marth did and mine sort of comically look like albino dog poop. But they taste good - although I think I may have added too much mint extract. It's a bit strong. Oh well. Maybe once they dry out the flavour will detensify (is that a word?) itself.

Mmmmm dog poop.
If you feel like making a gumbo of your own here is a Martha recipe for you:
You will need:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced crosswise, 1/4-inch thick
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups homemade chicken stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 can (35-ounce) crushed tomatoes
6 ounces okra, sliced crosswise, 1/4-inch thick
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 dried bay leaf

1. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat; add flour. Toast, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to stop it from cooking.

2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl, and reserve. Add the chicken, and brown, turning once, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, and add to the bowl with the sausage. Add the pepper, onion, and celery to the Dutch oven. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, and add to the sausage and chicken.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the butter to the Dutch oven. Once melted, sprinkle in the toasted flour, and stir until combined. Continue cooking until bubbles form and mixture becomes very thick and dark brown, about 4 minutes. Add the stock, tomatoes, okra, thyme, bay leaf, and reserved meat and vegetables. Raise heat and bring to a boil; let simmer, uncovered, until chicken is tender and liquid has thickened, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove thyme, and serve hot over rice.
(taken directly from the website)
We're adding okra, shrimp, crab meat, and sausage to ours instead of chicken.
Well I hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday night!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Games Night & A Superbowl Recipe

It's Games Night!!!
And I'm excited.

I'm hoping that one or both of the classic games above will make an appearance tonight. I have a bit of a competitive streak and I also like to think of myself as a bit of pop-culture know-it-all so I really like to win, especially at Scene it.
But really, I much prefer just getting to play it with friends than winning.

So before I find you a recipe I have a recommendation for you:

I don't know how wide-spread across Canada they are but there is a store right near me and at the recommendation of my friend, I popped in today and bought the creme brulee tea. It is soooo good. If you can find a store I highly suggest you look into getting some of their tea. I want to try the Tirimisu next.
As we stand now, there is slightly over a week until the Superbowl. This means you have only about a week to figure out what snacks you'll need to buy, what recipes you want to try out, and which team you'll be backing - although I'm fairly certain legitimate tried and true football fans already have a preference. I must admit, I'm going to root, root, root for the Colts. I know, they beat the Jets and ol' muscley-arms Sanchez but I kind of have a soft spot for Mr. Manning as he once hosted SNL. I think I mentioned that before. John is cheering for the Saints so between the two of us we're cheering for a winning team.
I also was easily won over by the prospect of putting horseshoe's on my clothing.
So if you're planning on having a big Superbowl party, getting together with a few friends, or just thinking about sitting home alone or with a loved one next Sunday, I have a recipe that you should try:
Waffle Chips
(courtesy of, obviously)

1. Peel 4 potatoes. Using a mandoline fitted with the zigzag blade, slice potatoes 1/8 inch thick, rotating them a quarter turn after each slice to create a waffle pattern. Soak slices in cold water 1 hour.

2. Fill a 6-quart heavy-bottomed pot with 2 1/2 quarts vegetable oil, and heat over medium-high until it reaches 365 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Meanwhile, drain potatoes; blot dry with paper towels. In batches, fry potato slices until golden brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Lightly season with coarse salt. (Adjust heat between batches, if necessary, to keep oil temperature at 365 degrees.)

Delish. Bad for you, yes. But delicious none the less. You could always try and brush them with a few tsp of olive oil and then bake them for a healthier option. They won't be cripsy like potato chips though.

Well, friends, I am off to do my hair in anticipation of a big games night!


P.S. I changed the inner cannula of a trach tube today. And didn't vomit!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Valentine's Day Brainstorming

In the 3 years that I have celebrated Valentine's Day with John (this year will be number 4 - holy cow) I have come to appreciate the Lover's Holiday for it's more practical uses.
Let me explain.
John does not like Valentine's Day. Not because he hates gushy-mushy relationship stuff, not because he had a bad experience once, and not because he's anti-holiday. He just resents the fact that once a year men are expected to step up their game and prove to their ladies how much they care about them. John believes that men should do this for their significant others eveyday.
All together now: awwwwwww.
I agree ... to a certain extent. I still like the idea of a day set aside specifically to provide an opportunity for those who may not always have the time to show and tell that special someone how much they care. Plus I enjoy getting gifts and chocolate and just generally being pampered.
But fear not for me friends. My dear mother takes care of all that! She is where my love-of-all-holidays comes from. She buys my family gifts for every holiday. Valentine's, Easter, I'm pretty sure we've gotten gifts fo Halloween before...She's toned it down and while we might have poked fun at her for it, her generosity and love never went unnoticed.
She's the best.
2 years ago John and I started what I like to call the "pratical approach" to celebrating valentine's day. Instead of buying jewelery (love), chocolate (love), or any other little gifts we decided we'd split the price and buy a gift for the both of us. 2 years ago we bought Guitar Hero. Last year, since V-day fell on a Saturday or Sunday (I forget), instead of gifts we each rented 2 movies and ordered pizza & wings & garlic bread. So good. I think we watched The Kingdom, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, The Usual Suspects, and The Big Lebowski.
This year's practical gift is one that we REALLY need.
We're going to get a new computer chair.
The one we have is okay but it's not very comfortable and it provides almost no support. Plus we have a $20 coupon from Ikea from purchasing our Christmas Tree there and we need to use it before Feb 28th.
I did some research on the Ikea website and have narrowed my choice down to two:

1. The Allak swivel chair ($99)

2. The Moses swivel chair ($69)

I think I prefer the Allak chair because of it's higher back. And (100 - 20) / 2 = $ 40 each. Not too shabby.

P.S. If you're wondering how I'm blogging today it's because at 5:30 this morning I got a text from my clinical instructor telling us that she was feeling under the weather so today's clinical was cancelled. I set my alarm for almost 4 hours later (9:30) then got up and went to the gym. Now I'm watching Rachael Ray and feeling like the weekend has come early. Yes I still have to work tonight and yes I still have clinical tomorrow but tomorrow is Friday and is one of my favourite days of the week.
For good measure, here is a Valentine's Day recipe for you, courtesy of
Mini Heart-Shaped Cakes

To make 6 4" cakes:
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup melted dark chocolate, for decorating

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with rack in the center of the oven. Butter an 18-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet, line with parchment paper, butter parchment, and set aside.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, food coloring, and 1/4 cup boiling water. Set aside to cool.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and shortening on high speed until smooth. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    Stir buttermilk and vanilla into cocoa mixture. Into another medium bowl, sift together flour and salt. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture alternating with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until incorporated.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together vinegar and baking soda until baking soda dissolves; mixture will fizz. Add to batter and mix until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet, smoothing the top. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes, rotating pan after 10 minutes.
  5. Cook cake completely on a wire rack. Using a 4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out 12 hearts.
  6. Place 4 strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy susan. Place 1 layer on the cake plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake; top with another heart, bottom side up. Cover entire cake with a thin layer of frosting and transfer to refrigerator for 10 minutes. Repeat process with remaining ingredients.
  7. Remove cakes from the refrigerator and cover each cake with a generous layer of frosting, smoothing as you go around to create a flat surface.
  8. Place chocolate in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip; decorate as desired.

Back tomorrow :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Peppermint Meringues

Hello! I'm curled up comfortably on the couch watching The Bachelor on demand, slowly but surely adding paragraphs to my essay. The fire alarm went off twice - the first time for just under 10 minutes, and then a second time only 10 minutes later for no joke at least 15 minutes. It's also the most annoying sound in the world. Worse than this. I know, it's almost blashphemous to contest it but honestly it is awful.
Anyway, I was inspired to post a recipe, courtesy of, for meringues. 2 of my nursing friends and I were discussing healthy recipes for cookies, etc today and I brought up meringues. Upon questioning whether you could add flavour to them I decided to look up a proper recipe for peppermint meringues. I may try to make orange flavoured ones also.
Meringues are fairly easy to make, they just take patience as they have to bake for about 2 hours. They are fat free (sugar and egg whites) and if you want to cut back on the sugar you can try using splenda (the kind that works for baking). I haven't tried this out but I may experiment with Splenda this weekend. If you use Splenda there'd be virtually no calories. Success!
Peppermint Meringues
(I omitted the chocolate filling shown in the picture. If you want to add it to your meringue recipe go here to find out how)

To make the peppermint meringue you will need:
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • Red gel-paste food coloring
  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; secure corners with masking tape. Fit a pastry bag with a small open-star tip (such as Ateco #22). Set aside.
  2. Make meringues: Put egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water, and stir gently until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Mix in peppermint extract.
  4. Using a new small paintbrush, paint 2 or 3 stripes of red food coloring inside the pastry bag. Fill bag with 1 to 2 cups meringue. Pipe small (3/4-inch-high) star shapes onto prepared baking sheets. Refill bag as necessary, adding food coloring each time.
  5. Bake cookies until crisp but not brown, about 1 hour 40 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.

And P.S. are we all aware of this newest gadget from Apple? The iPad? I want. Why? No good reason, just looks super cool.

Off to try and get some more of that essay done...I'll be back on Friday!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Healthy Lunch Idea

Bonjour! Happy Belated Robbie Burns day! I forgot all about it until yesterday night when I ventured over to the local pub to see my Dad and was greeted by men in kilts. Amazing.
This will be a quick post as I have to skeedaddle to work in about half an hour and need to organize dinner and school work to take with me.
On Sunday while I was baking banana bread I also made a challah loaf and here it is:

I'm actually quite impressed by how much it tastes like challah from a bakery! I think I may prefer this one over the regular white bread I made first. I want to get the fixin's to make pumpernickel bread and rye. I'd try sourdough but you need one of those sourdough starters that's been passed down for it to be legit.
I made John a nice healthy and hardy lunch:
Tuna Sandwich on Challah with Peppercorn Ranch Salad
Easy easy easy to make.
  • Open a can of flaked tuna, drain the water, and place into a small mixing bowl.
  • Add 1-2 tbsp of mayonnaise, minced red onion, and salt and pepper and mix together with a fork. Spread on bread of choice and enjoy.
  • For the salad, toss together lettuce, red onion, alfalfa sprout and peppercorn ranch dressing. Top with parmesan cheese.


I'll be back tomorrow with perhaps another recipe for you!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Date & Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Sunday. It's such a bittersweet day. I love how lazy it is but I also hate the anxiety I feel creeping in come Sunday evening. I hate wishing away days that I'll never get back but I live for my peaceful Friday late afternoons and Saturday nights.
I went out dancing last night and had so much fun. It wasn't the original plan but we headed to this delightful establishment called the Dance Cave (when you picture delightful please envision darkness, people crammed shoulder to shoulder, beer all over the floors and your clothes, and sweaty people likely on a variety of recreational drugs). It's so much fun though. You can dance your little heart out and not feel self-conscious because everyone else is dancing like no one is watching as well. It's amazing.
I took John out for breakfast this morning but the poor fella wasn't feeling in top form. I had a grand slam breakfast of everything (pancake, sausages, bacon, rye bread, scrambled eggs and home fries.....cue salivation response a la Pavlov's dogs) so I enjoyed myself.
I thought today I would do some baking as I haven't done too much of it in awhile and I find it very therapeutic. I had a minor quarter-life crisis early Saturday night but my dear sister talked me through it. For all the annoying things she may do, I'd be lost without her. She often knows the advice I need. So Thank you Robin!
Back to baking!
I pulled out the bread machine and have a loaf of Challah rising (a sweet egg bread if you've never tried it, pronouned "hulla"). I also made some banana bread as we have a few that are starting to get dangerously brown. Plus dates were incredibly priced at Metro.
Today, I present to you,
Date & Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

For 1 loaf:
  • Beat 1/4 cup butter with 3/4 cup sugar. Add in 1 egg and mix until combined.
  • Mix in 2 medium bananas, 1 tbsp vanilla, 1/4 cup milk, and mix until smooth.
  • Add in 1 1/4 cup flour, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt.
  • Mix in chocolate chips and chopped pitted dates (add as much or as little as you'd like)
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour then let cool, cut, and enjoy!

I ate both the ends of the loaf already and it's good. My love of end pieces is definitely inherited from my Mom. We both like the bum slices of bread on loaves and it's usually a race to see who eats it first. I've been known to reach my hand all the way down to the end of the bag to pull out the other end piece. My mom is not impressed haha. The whole bum-piece reminds me of the Olive Theory from How I Met Your Mother's first season. If you watch the show, you may recall that Lily and Marshall believed that they were so compatible because she loved olives and he hated them so the olives on salads, etc always got eaten. John doesn't like the end pieces and they're the first ones that I grab. It's our olive theory in action.

Well friends, I'm going to get back to the Jets vs Colts game. I forgot that Peyton Manning was the QB for the Colts. I like him. I think he was the Manning brother that hosted SNL one time so in terms of hilarity: Colts - 1, Jets & Sanches - 0. But Manning's arms are no where near as impressive as Sanchez's....I guess they're even.

P.S. Thanks, Mom, for being my spell check :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bridal Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre

I went to the Bridal Show today with my neighbour whose wedding in Jamaica is this July. We got me in for free by registering me as a bride also. And I wore a fake engagment ring to seal the deal hahaha ohhh man.
They had a booth where they were selling jewelery cleaner and they were offering to clean rings for free. Marion got her's cleaned and I had to subtly give the woman my real silver ring. I was too afraid that if I handed over my "engagement" ring the silver paint would rub off and she'd call me out. Oops. Wouldn't my face be red.
There were lots of freebies and a few cake samples. I tried some really good raspberry vanilla cake, chocolate mouse (went back to the booth with those 2 twice), and then another booth with chocolate banana, lemon, and cafe latte which were the most delicate cakes I've ever tried. I'm keeping their card for the future. Maybe I'll get to look into their goods a little more seriously some day....
I also got 3 HUGE magazines free - why are bridal magazines so thick??? I'll have to hide these under the bed. I'm kind of excited to look through them though.

We also got some free tote bags and pens and lip balm, etc.
My favourite?
I entered a contest in which I could win a $7000 ring, or a chance to go to New York City and have Randy (from Say yes to the dress) pick out a dress from Kleinfeld's for me of which $5000 will be paid for! Hahaha I know, I know, marriage isn't even on the horizon but a girl can dream can't she? I would die. I love that show. It's my Friday night indulgence. And with a $5000 credit for a dress I'm pretty sure I'd pick one out anyway. I guess I'd have to get John to play along so they wouldn't crush my dreams because of a silly little lie.
Keep your fingers crossed for me.
It's a trip for 2 to NYC also so maybe if you say a lil' prayer for me you could be my +1. Because I'm obviously going to win. Right? How could I not?
Also I think my picture is going to be on the website for in the upcoming future. Also they announce the winner of the ring on Wednesday so I'll have to check back. I'd rather the Kleinfeld's gift though.
Alright, I gotta go get ready for a Saturday night out :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili & Gross Nursing

It's Friday so you know what that means....

Say Yes to the Dress!

It's my girlie downtime.

Oh and get ready to be so proud of me because (drumroll, please) I actually went to the gym after clinical today. I know! Last Friday I got home and just threw in the towel on the remainder of the day. Today I just had to give myself that little kick in the pants. I did a good bit of cardio and then did my Friday moves from Shape magazine. Maybe I'll take a picture of the pages I use and post them so that anyone else who wants to follow along can. They're easy moves to do at home and they give you that burns-so-good feeling.
Expanding upon last post, my friend who is throwing the Superbowl party is making it a potluck. I have volunteered to make a vegetarian chili so I thought hmmm who better to swipe a recipe from than the Domestic Diva herself. I may tweak some of the ingredients but we shall see!

Here's your recipe as promised:
Vegetarian Black-Bean Chili
You will need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 zucchini (about 1 pound total), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cans (19 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels, thawed

The How-To:

1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.
2. Add zucchini, carrots, chili powder, and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, corn, and 1 cup water. Simmer until slightly thickened and carrots are soft, 8 to 10 minutes more.

...I'm pretty sure that might be the easiest recipe I've ever seen!
On a side note, before I settle back in on the couch to finish watching Say yes to the dress, I finally found a new area of nursing that repulses me. It used to be bowel movements but I've become so desensitized to poo that it really takes either a lot of it or some sort of GI infection to get to me. So friends, to my horror, I learned how to change, suction, and clean a trach tube. Upon my instructor's removal of the inner canula during the demonstration, she pulled out this clump of


mucous and blood. It was the most disgusting thing I have seen this so far this year. I actually gagged and thought I might throw up all over the poor man. That was yesterday and then today I watched her suction a man's trachea....shudder. You literally stick it down their throats (from a hole in their neck, mind you) until they gag and suction out mucous secretions. Barf. I hope I become desensitized to this too 'cause my patient next week definitely requires trach care.

What a trach tube looks like (p.s that guaze on his neck? Impossible to get back under the plate)

How to suction the mucous out.


It's safe down here. Ok I'm off to enjoy a laaaaaaazy Friday night :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Football's got a new fan

Well hello!
Today - I don't have a recipe for you or a craft. I thought I would, instead, talk to you about something I am attempting to get into.
American football.
My best friend is having a Super Bowl party and, despite having watched a superbowl game once or twice before, I do not know any rules. About a week ago I got a kind soul that I work with to break it down for me and explain it to me in the simplest (read: dumbest) terms. I kind of have a grasp on it now. Admittedly there are still things that stump me like offside kicks (?) but I believe I know enough to watch a game and follow it.
I put that theory to the test last Sunday over at my neighbour's place while we watched the Jets - Chargers game.
It was then that I noticed a fan in the cowd dressed up like a very stereotypical Mexican man, complete with moustache, poncho, and sombrero. The QB is a fella named Sanchez. How clever.
Since the Jets won and are getting closer to the final game, I've decided that should they make it to the superbowl, I will cheer for the Jets.
Simply for the dress-up factor.
Yes friends, I am going to offend the beejeepers out of my politically correct, very culturally competent mother and dress up like a stereotypical Mexican. Named Sanchez.
Go Jets!

Also it doesn't hurt that this Sanchez QB in question looks like this:

Oh hello there, muscley arms.
*Note: while learning the various QBs and other players in football, I was able to familiarize myself with the more popular ones by their celebrity connections.
Tom Brady? Oh he's married to Gisele Bundchen.
Tony Romo? Dated Carrie Underwood, recently broke up with Jessica Simpson, and may or may not currently be dating Chace Crawford's pageant-contestant sister.
Matt Leinart? Oh he's friends with Nick Lachey.
Reggie Bush? Dating Kim Kardashian.
Michael Vick? Where to start....

Are you impressed with my celebrity knowledge? Are you sad for me? You should be. Think of all that valuable brain space that could be housing drug names, families, and actions. I bet my patient's will appreciate the celebrity gossip updates.
All that celebrity-talk got me thinking. You know who I really like?
Diane Kruger.
She's quite an attractive woman, has great taste in clothes, was in Inglourious Basterds, and is dating Pacey.

Love her.

Up early for clinical tomorrow, then it's Friday! My favourite day of the week.
I'll have a recipe for you then.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Products I Like Right Now

No work for me tonight. I had a meeting at school so I kind of have a free pass tonight. And are you at all curious as to what I am doing with my free time?
Watching The Bachelor. I do not like Michelle. Please watch this week's episode where the group date has to perform at the comedy club. Michelle is awful. And the looks she gives the other girls and Kathryn when she kisses Jake....
Moving on.....
What I meant to say is that I'm diligently working on writing 2 papers that are looming on the horizon......that's better, right?
Since I have some free time I thought I would shamelessly plug some products that I particularly enjoy. These are my "Good Things" for this week.

First up are the Breathe Right Nasal Strips. I was very skeptical of these when they first came out and it took a free sample to finally convince me to try them. They are fantastic! Coming from someone who has had a serious addiction to Dristan nasal spray (no joke, it got to the point where the free passage of air through my nose depended completely upon a few sprays every few hours..... not good), these strips are not medicated and naturally open your nostrils to allow for easier breathing. They feel kind of weird and can be a touch painful to remove in the morning but I can't toot their horn enough.

Next up, we have Prevens makeup removal wipes. I bought a pack of 15 because they were on sale and I'm tired to smearing oily makeup remover across my face to get rid of the raccoon eyes. These work wonders and are gentle on your face and really clean it all off with no residue. Plus if you're like me and tend not to wear a ton of makeup, you can reuse the wipes by putting them back in the pack and resealing it. I love me this product.
Last but not least, a late harvest vidal aka poor-man's icewine. The Wine Rack has been having an end of bin sale and though they did have ice wine for $17.50 (including the cabernet franc one that I've tried and LOVED and wanted) they only had slim pickings left. What they did have was this late harvest vidal on for 2 for $19.95. I bought the two and can't wait for an opportunity to pour myself a glass. Maybe on Wednesday night. Yum.

Well my pretties, I am going to finish watching this week's episode of The Bachelor and then head over to the local bar to wish John's mom a very Happy Birthday!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sandwiches, Cake, Tut, and The Lovely Bones

Oh Sunday, how depressing a day you are.
But at least this week might go by quicker as I don't work tomorrow night. I have to go to school for a peer leader dinner/meeting thing which I better be getting paid to attend. I'm losing 7 hours of pay by not going to work tomorrow!
Anyway, yesterday was a lot of fun. The Tut exhibit is really pretty cool and I love egyptology so all of the gold and other items that they found in Tut's tomb was very interesting. I recommend it to anyone interested in that sort of thing!
Our dinner also went over very well. John made a really good spaghetti with turkey, shrimp, and bacon (go ahead and salivate, it was as good as it sounds). My appetizer sandwiches that I wrote about on Friday also were a hit. I took a picture of the finished product for you:
Also a great success was the cake!
I used the cookie cake pan that John's brother and sister got me for Christmas and the cake turned out sooo well. And tastes sooo good. So good, in fact, that my diet has been sent into a tailspin. Because I've eaten so much of the cake. Uh oh. But tell me you wouldn't want to devour this:

The buttercream filling sort of exploded out of the cookie cake because I think the cake was still a little too hot. Oh well, live and learn. Looks fine now.
I went to see The Lovely Bones with my mom and sister today. I loved the book but the movie is kind of weird... I mean I still cried almost the entire time but ..I don't know, I guess I was expecting more.
I did find an incredible sale at Old Navy though. And I bought two new sports bras, a new work out shirt, and a pair of shorts for like $50. Thank you Old Navy. Now I'll be motivated to work out and wear them. I hope.

We're heading over to the neighbour's for dinner and I have to start an essay that's due in like a week so....
Hope you had a great weekend :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weekend Time!

Hallelujah it is Friday!
It has felt like a very long week so I'm ready for a few days of rest.
Doing a little entertaining for John's mom's birthday tomorrow evening so I stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some stuff to make appetizers. Below you will find everything you need to make some tasty little sandwiches (open face):

  • A loaf of ciabatta bread
  • Bocconcini cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • "Alfalfa" sprouts
  • Labneh (it's a middle eastern strained yogurt and tastes like a cross between sour cream and cream cheese)

My plan (and I already tried it out. Results are in: it's good) is to cut open the ciabatta, spread both sides with the labneh, then sprinkle on the alfalfa sprouts. Thickly slice the tomatoes and place on the sprouts, finishing the sandwich with peices of bocconcini cheese. So good. You can also drizzle some olive oil over the cheese if you want as it's a very bland cheese. I find the labneh and the tomato add enough flavour without the oil.

I have a confession: I never donated the Bad Sweater Party money to the Daily Bread Food Bank :( I brought the money to my parents house on Christmas Eve because John and I dropped off the canned goods and tried to give them the money there but we were told we had to do it somewhere else. I forgot to get the money back from my parents until about 2 weeks ago and then again completely forgot to donate slash in my defence I work a lot and my free time was dedicated to completely zoning out. But regardless...

On Wednesday I finally donated the money. But like I said before, not to the Daily Bread Food Bank. I asked John's permission for a change of donor as he was my partner in fundraising. I donated the $300 we raised to the Canadian Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund.

The situation in Haiti is devastating and I think sometimes we need to step back from our priveleged lives and do what we can to help those less fortunate. So many of these people have lost everything. What would you do in their situation?

Sorry if that sounded like I was guilting you into donating - definitely wouldn't do that! If you plan to donate here are some places you can (safely) do so:

Canadian Red Cross

Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti Organization (I've tried numerous times to get on this site but it's always down...I hope because the volume of people logging on and donating is massive)


Oxfam, Save the Children Canada, Care

Unicef Canada

Just to name a few.

Have a wonderful weekend :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chicken Dinner

One more day to go before the freedoms of the weekend is upon us!
Last night I sort of threw a mix & match of ingredients together to make the chicken. I was going to go with a Martha recipe but decided to make life easy and just sort of go with what was on hand. Very Michael Smith "cooking without a recipe" (that's his recipe) of me.
If you're curious as to how I made my chicken look like this :
...then I will tell you!
I poured in about 1/2 to 1 cup of chicken broth, a splash of red wine vinegar, and added in a diced onion and some baby carrots. Then I tossed in the chicken. I gave it a quick rub with some citrus grapeseed oil then added black pepper, salt, and paprika.
I also left the skin on while cooking becuase it helps to seal in some of the juices. I did rip open the skin to rub the oil on the actual meat though. And I didn't eat the skin.
Steam some broccoli and cauliflower, make some basmati rice, and roast some sweet potatoes and you've got a delicious dinner.

I think we're going to use the rest of the chicken to make some broth. Just boil it down until there's nothing on the bones. My mom used to do that with the left over turkey from Christmas dinner and turn it into a stew. It was so good.
Monday is John's mom's birthday so we're having his family over for dinner this weekend. John is manning the main course (a pasta dish most likely) so I can take sides and desert so long as his sister doesn't want to take care of the cake.
I was thinking of making some bread in the machine and then I got looking at this and this and now I don't know what I want to make.
Decisions, decisions, decisions.
I have my first day on a neuro-surgery floor tomorrow so I'll let you know how that goes....
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Brie, Chicken, and Why I Love my Parents

I'm sorry I abandoned y'all for the better part of the week .... yikes. It was unintentional, I can promise you that. I had a busy weekend and then had school + work on both Monday and Tuesday. I am also sick (again) so I'm trying to take it easy and get myself healthy again.
Friday night I entertained some friends at the apartment so I scoured my fridge for hors d'ouevres and decided upon a baked brie. It's so good and all you need is tin foil (which is optional), some crackers, and the cheese.
Pop the sucker into a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes-ish and then serve. I put my brie on tin foil only because I am lazy and don't like scrubbing pans. Plus it came in handy when I had to pop it back in the oven because my friends were running late. The cheese was already gooey so I wrapped it in the tin foil to keep it from leaking everywhere.
So we have here the brie before it went into the oven:

The brie after round 1 of baking:
The brie after round 2 of baking:
Mmmmmm even just looking at the pictures it enough to make me salivate.
As you can probably guess, my eat-well resolution hit some major roadblocks over the weekend. But fear not! It's back on track.
On that note, I'm trying to decide what to do with the chicken I'm making for dinner tonight. I was thinking of beer-can chicken but I don't think we have any beer in cans.... so back to the drawing board. I'll think of something. I've still got time. I know I'm making broccoli and sweet potatoes to go with it. John expressed his desire to eat more sweet potatoes last night as they are very good for you and - little tid bit of useless info for ya - are what helped Usain Bolt to break the 100 m running record. There's some motivation for you to incorporate more veggies into your diet :)
So lastly, here is why I love my parents:
  • My mom and dad both explained the origins of the term "soldiers" (see last post) pretty quickly after I posted it
  • My mom told me how cute I am for posting my mermaids and then reminded me of one I forgot to mention! (A Christmas tree ornament that is safely packed away for next year. The tree? Still right beside me. What?)
  • My dad also bought me bacon on Tuesday night and his reasoning was "because you said you didn't have any on your blog."

The fact that my parents read my blog makes me happy and it also means that they make up 50% of my readers. :)

Gotta love 'em.

Off to decide what to do with that pesky poulet.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Breakfast Egg Recipe aka Soldiers!

And as an added bonus - my weekend started early because my lab day at school was canceled! 3 day weekend! I found out at a bad time though because I was already up, had eaten breakfast and downed a cup of coffee, so I was up up. Rather than try unsuccessfully to go back to bed I made John breakfast! It's been awhile since I've done that so I thought it'd be a nice gesture.
We have no bacon (sad face) so instead of bacon and eggs I made perogies and something my mom used to make for me and my sister:

I always assumed this was the poper name for this breakfast until I asked John one day if he wanted soldiers and he looked at me like I was wearing a straightjacket. THEN today I finally found some reassurance. I googled "soft boiled egg cooking time" cause I was unsure of how long I had before the yolk completely congealed and the very first website I came across called it soldiers! Yayy!
So here's what you do:
  1. Place an egg (or two) into a pot with enough water to just cover the egg. Bring the ater up to a boil and allow the egg to cook for about 4 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, toast some bread. Butter the toast and cut length-wise into 4 strips.
  3. When the egg is done, place it into an egg cup and allow it to cool for a minute, then using a spoon or a knife, remove the very top of the egg so that the yolk (which should be runny) is visible.
  4. Dip the bread (the soliders) into the egg and enjoy!
It's a good breakfast and eggs are very good for you so long as you don't over do it. They are a source of protein and are fairly low-cal (about 70 calories per egg) but the yolks are a source of cholesterol so eating eggs every day isn't necessarily a good idea, especially if you already have high cholesterol. Egg whites, however, can pretty much do you no wrong.
Ok party people, I'm off to maintain my get-fit resolution and hit the gym! Martha is a Yoga show today and it's making me feel guilty for sitting on the couch in my PJs.
I also bought a Yoga DVD on Tuesday.....maybe I'll do it later :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

I'm home from Body Worlds in just enough time to write up a quick post, re-organize my bag, and head out to work for the evening.
Body Worlds was pretty cool and we watched an IMAX movie called The Human Body as well which was very interesting. 2 gross scenes: one in which you see food being dropped into the stomach and digested, and one where you watch UP CLOSE teens popping their pimples.
It's pricey ($30 for admission and the movie with a student discount) but worth it if you find the human body and the heart interesting.
Nerd alert: I have a soft spot for the Science Centre because John and I went there on I think our 3rd-ish date. So much fun.
Anyway, here's a lighter recipe for those of you trying to eat better, lose weight, etc. It's courtesy of Martha (obviously) and I've made it a few times. It's quick and there are rarely any leftovers - it's tasty.
Lighter Chicken Pot Pie

  1. Bring a medium - large pot of water to a boil and poach 2 bone-in chicken breasts, time will depend on the size of the chicken breasts. Once the chicken is cooked all the way through, allow the breasts to cool and then shred the chicken with a fork. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 thinly sliced medium shallots, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1 cup chicken stock. Whisk remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock into the 2 tbsp of flour in a small bowl. Whisk into shallot mixture. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes, whisking occasionally.
  3. Add 4 medium carrots (cut into 1/4 inch thick chunks) and 3 medium stalks of celery (cut into 1/4 inch thick chunks). Bring to a boil. Stir in chicken. Return to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped 3 tbsp parsley and 1/2 tsp tarragon. Let cool. Stir in 1/2 cup peas. Transfer to a 2-quart (8 1/2-by-12-inch) baking dish.
  4. Brush 1 sheet of phyllo (you'll need about 6) with melted butter. Sprinkle with parsley leaves. Repeat with remaining phyllo, parsley, and butter; do not sprinkle parsley on final layer. (Keep unbuttered phyllo covered with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel.) Drape crust over cooled filling; tuck in edges. Cut four 4-inch slits in crust for vents. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.
  5. Bake until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and recut vents. Serve immediately in shallow bowls.

This is definitely a comfort food and because it won't set you back a ton of calories, you can enjoy it guilt free AND if you make enough of it you can save it for lunches. It's good, I promise. You can add other vegetables too so there is some freedom.

Well, I'm off to work so I'll be back tomorrow :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Shrimp Pasta and....Mermaids!

Good evening!
I stayed true to my get-fit resolution AND my like-seafood resolution today. I got up and went to the gym this morning despite my aching thighs, glutes, arms, etc. Monday's work out reminded me that I really haven't done much physically activity in awhile....oops. But I'm back at it. I did the Wednesday muscle stuff like an hour ago too so I'm giving it 100%. Tomorrow I get a break but I'm back at it on Friday.
I bought some shrimp on Tuesday - garlic and butter, and white wine and herb flavoured. I had planned to make a shrimp pasta but I was running very late from a doctor's appointment, volunteering, and dropping off and subsequently waiting almost 30 mins to pick up a perscription. Holy moly. Anyway, John, being the great roommate he is, picked up the slack and went ahead with the shrimp pasta. I forgot to take a picture of it before we devoured it so this "in-situ" (situ = tupperware container) snap shot will have to do.

It was pretty tasty.....the pasta, I mean. I really thought I liked shrimp more than I do... I like 'em better than straight up fish because they're kind of meatier and not as fishy but it was like my mind was yelling "FISH! FISH! FISH!" every time I took a bite. I ate two. Not bad.
I tried to finaggle the recipe from John and very cryptically he told me this: he heated up some oil, sauteed onion, then added in red pepper and garlic. Then he cooked the spaghetti. For the sauce he mixed a bit of spaghetti sauce with some diced cherry tomatoes and cream cheese and black pepper. Delish.
Not an exact recipe but do with it as you will. It's goooooood. It'd be so much better with chicken instead of shrimp ;)
Since fish = seafood = sea = mermaids, I thought to myself, 'why not share with your 4 readers your love of mermaids?'
So I'm going to.
My mom started me on picking up mermaids. Not like in a bar, I mean buying decorative mermaids for the apartment. She gave me my first one and I've bought every other one with her. Plus I may or may not have a mermaid permanently on me.

This one I got when I was a wee lass in Florida. I assume purchased by my mama

This one I got in Perth, Ont, near my Nanny's cottage:

This one I also got in the same store as the mermaid above, and she's hanging right above my bedside table. I could hang something on her tail but don't really want to.

This posed siren is the first one my mom gave me from that same store in Perth. She's in the bathroom. Watching.

Well, there you have it!
I'm heading to bed before I cave and eat the open box of Quality Street Chocolates that are looking at me. Same with the jar of jelly beans. And eggies. Ohhhhh nooooooo!
I'm going to see the Body World's exhibit at the Science Centre tomorrow with my clinical group. I'm very excited!!!
I'll update on Friday but please note we are not allowed to take pictures of the exhibit :( I'll see what I can do though. I have taken pictures of the Sistine chapel and the statue of David....

Monday, January 4, 2010

Roasted Zucchini with Thyme

I've got another healthy recipe for you today but before we get into that I must confess that so far my year of healthy living has not been uber successful. I've had chocolate, cinnamon buns, apple pie, etc etc. Uh oh. AND this morning being a Monday was supposed to be my gym day BUT since John and I have very opposite schedules today I thought it'd be better if I spent the morning with him. Once he left for work this is what my morning has consisted of:

Three essentials. Actually four but the TV isn't shown. My snuggie, my laptop, and the phone, just in case.

I know, I know. Good luck getting incredibly fit with this lifestyle. So I'm getting up (not getting dressed though) and doing this:

Yayyy! Not yoga, just my exercises. I have a Shape magazine from like 2 years ago that has a really good workout play for Mon, Wed, and Fri. I did it for 2 weeks before I went to Cuba and it did work so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Plus I've got 6 months so....

Ok - Roasted Zucchini with Thyme!

(Thanks Martha Stewart)

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Quarter and cut 3 zucchini into 1 1/2 inch thick chunks. Thinly slice 1 onion and place zucchini and onion on a baking sheet.
  2. Toss zucchini and onion with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp of dried thyme, 1/2 salt, and 1 tsp pepper (Martha says 1/8 tsp but I like pepper so too bad).
  3. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.

So nutritious and so easy! I've got 2 zucchini in the fridge so I'm thinking I may do this and take it to work with me.

Hope everyone who's back to the daily grind today has a wonderful Monday!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My First Loaf!

Here she is, my first loaf o' bread!
The shot is angled appropriately so you can't see the giant dent we put in it when we were anxiously trying to get it out of the machine. Oops. The bread was good. We made another loaf (medium sized, 1.5 lbs) to bring over to John's parents place tonight!
Sorry the post isn't longer but we're heading over to John's parents place now so I'll try for a better, longer, more detailed post tomorrow.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Eggplant Recipe + Resolutions update

I made a delicious eggplant recipe last night - resolution eat more vegetables: check.
I also had fish (beer battered was pretty good to tell the truth) - resolution find a way to make fish taste good : check.
I also made a pack of Mr. Noodle and ate 3/4 of it - resolution eat better : Fail.
But it's okay! So far today I have kept my diet in check and eaten only good things. I'm making a whole chicken for dinner and either spaghetti squash or zucchini to go with it. The chicken will last a few days too so I can make some salad with it for tomorrow.
The eggplant I made last night was really good and worth sharing. It's a Martha recipe but I changed it up a bit so it's a Martha-Jamie collabo.
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees; cut 2 eggplants into slices (about 4-6 per eggplant depending on its size) and place in a roasting pan.
  2. Brush eggplant (both sides) with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and 1/4 cup honey. Sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes on top (keep in mind they're spicy so put as little or as much as you want).
  3. Bake skin side up for about 10 minutes. Then let cool, eat, and enjoy!
I'm taking my bread machine on her maiden voyage at the moment. We're (yes, we as is the bread machine and I) making a basic white bread. It's pretty fun to watch.

I'll post some pictures when the loaf is baked and beautiful, which should be in about an hour and a half. Ooohhhh so excited.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Farewell to 2009

It's January! Now that the Christmas Holidays are officially behind us for another year, it is time for me to move on to bigger and better (no such thing as anything better than Christmas) things for the next 11 months. It's time to get back to my 'Good Things' List! So here we go:
Good Things for January

Number one on my list is Glysomed handcream. What I hate most about winter, apart from the blistering cold, is the havoc it wreaks on my skin. And my hair, but we'll leave that alone for the time being. My skin turns to alligator scales and becomes red and itchy. Yes friends, I have the itis. Dermititis, that is. The skin on my hands expecially becomes inflammed and soooo itchy. I hate it. Glysomed is a life-saver because it pulls moisture back into the skin. John's aunt actually informed me that glysomed is a great cure for dry lips also - and she's right! While it's not the nicest taste it certainly does help your lips!

This is obviously for New Years but since January is a long, cold, dark month, why not celebrate with some champagne/sparkling wine more often? There are some good ones that are fairly reasonably priced. One I particularly like is Martini Asti. I used to always get the 1.5 L bottle of Presidente but since maturing (a bit) I prefer to compromise quantity for quality. Champagne hangovers aren't too pleasant. All those bubbles..... but it makes for a nice and fancy happy hour and I looooooooove champagne flutes. I want an entire shelf of them.

It's too early for Spring Cleaning but as it's the start of a new year I like to literally start with a clean slate. I used to go through my stuff and get rid of old clothes, clean out my desk, under my bed, etc. I may do the same thing this year. Clutter accumulates so quickly and I do not like it. I need a big house (or several houses) so that I can acheive the simplistic decorating I want without having to toss stuff that I can't bear to part with.

Fruits and Vegetables.
As part of my healthy living initiative/get really good looking by July 1st plan, I'm going to try buying, cooking, and eating new fruits and vegetables to keep it interesting and to keep my little mitts from reaching into the junk food. I'm not going to make outrageous claims and say I'm swearing off sugar completely because that would be a lie. And a dangerous predicament as John would likely come home one night to me sitting on the kitchen floor surrounded by cookie crumbs with chocolate smeared across my face. Not pretty. It'll be my quest to find new and exciting ways to keep veggies interesting.

Lastly, Exercise.
Oh, hello Hal Johnson and Joanne McCloud. What's that? We should all be aiming to include 30-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least 3 days a week? And strength training to keep our body's strong? You don't say! My plan is going to be to get on the elliptical Mondays and Wednesdays, and either Fridays or a weekend day as well. I will also up my squats and lunges from none to 3 sets of 15 a few times a week, start doing arm exercises, etc. By July I will be glorious. Hahaha that sounds like a Xerxes comment. Anyway, I know it will be every person's resolution to step up their physical activity but I'm sticking to my guns on this one. I was an avid runner until I did something terrible to my knee last May. I haven't run in months so perhaps I'll give it a go again and see if I can get myself in a position to do the Sporting Life 10 K again this year.

Well ladies and gents, I hope you all had a wonderful New Years Eve and celebrated it with the people you love. I wish you all a healthy, happy, and all-around amazing 2010!