Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: My best friend's Bachelorette!

This won't be a long post as I'm getting ready to head off for another night at the hospital (my 2nd of 5 this week).
This past weekend I helped to celebrate the upcoming wedding of my best friend with her bachelorette party.
It was a whirlwind of pink, champagne, dancing and laughing.
We took her on a scavenger hunt around my neighourhood where she picked up a box of cupcakes, a new Pandora bracelet, a bottle of champagne, and one of her bridesmaids from Halifax!
Then we headed back to my place for the pre-party!
And I made her a terrible cake (terrible when you compare it to the cake that she made me for MINE)

We played some games including Jeopardy and a Betting game
(I made this one up - I'll explain it later, it was actually quite fun!)


Enjoyed the candy bar

 Then got in the limo and headed out for a night of wild partying!

...and I came home and devoured more of the cake.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu

One nice thing about having a real job (plural actually - jobS) is that I'm seeing my savings account creep back up to an acceptable level. And it's doing it faster than ever before.
Between my 2 nursing jobs I get paid every Friday. It's amazing.
At the place I work casually I've been doing my orientation shifts and they are unfortunately coming to an end next week, so I won't be guaranteed any hours.
And then the pay days will likely take a bit of a hit.

Until then I'm enjoying making money.
It sucks, though, because my moments of free time have been few and far between.
But I'm sure I'll be complaining that I'm poor when I'm sitting at home with no work.

I neglected to blog anything all of last week so this week I'm going to try to be better.

Over a week ago I found a recipe in Everyday Food for lighter chicken cordon bleu.
It being my night to make dinner, I got everything I needed and made it for us to enjoy on the balcony.

It's really really easy and looks and tastes like you put way more effort into it than you really did.

So inspired by Everyday Food, here's how to make
Lighter Chicken Cordon Bleu

 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheet with tinfoil (this makes eating the melted cheese from a lot easier. Cleaning too). Cover the tinfoil with panko bread crumbs.
2. Butterfly 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. On one side of the opened chicken breast place 3 slices of lean ham. Cover with 2 slices of light swiss cheese.
3. Seal in the goodness by securing the butterflied chicken with toothpicks. Place chicken on the panko bread crumbs. Spray the top of each breast with cooking spray then coat with more panko bread crumbs.
4. Bake for about 30-45 minutes, until chicken is cooked. Then serve and enjoy!

Also: I've officially been married for one month as of today!
Happy one-monthiversary to my amazing husband.
I love you!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Personal touch extras

I was a very hands on, DIY bride. And I wouldn't have had it any other way. There's something very rewarding about having a hand in creating your day and being able to incorporate the little things hat make you unique as a couple.
Several people jokingly asked if we would be including our cat Murray in our wedding. Most had visions of our lazy cat sauntering down the aisle with our rings tied to. Little pillow on his back.
No way was I letting that happen. I love my cat but he might be the worst cat ever. He has never really been outside save for short jaunts to the vet in his carrier and when we let him Lou ge on the balcony. He would be so overwhelmed he wouldnt know what to do.
So that was out of the question.
What I did though, being a bit of a crazy cat lady and all, was to include Murray in a way that didn't require his physical presence and in a way that ended many of our guests leaving with a smile.

Murray, MD, provided guests with some morning after medications. I used a photo of him that I had taken when he was still a cute little kitten and I added in a stethoscope in Microsoft paint. I added some typewriter font in picmonkey and sent off the image to be printed. I bought Tylenol and tums and made little packages with 2 pills of each included. As a nurse (and one who works with palliative patients) I don't believe people should be made to suffer when pain relief is available to them.
I didn't want our guests to be regretting the beverage choices they made the night before.

I think it's a great idea for anyone who wants to add in a personal touch to their wedding.
The Tylenol and Tums were fairly cheap so this is also a budget friendly idea!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Balcony Dinner Series: Crispy Ginger Beef

In the past 2 weeks that we've been married, John and I have been taking turns making dinner and eating them out on the balcony.
It's been so nice, especially since I was practically never home last year (what with school, placement, and work) and this summer I was working til 9 every night. Nights where we could sit down to dinner together were few and far between.
And generally when we did get to have dinner together we would make something quick and eat it on the couch watching TV together.
Eating dinner on the balcony removes the distractions and lets us talk about our day and anything else we want to share.
It's also been a nice opportunity to get back in the kitchen and cook again.
John's favourite dish when w order Chinese food is crispy ginger beef. Feeling lazy one night I suggested we just order in chinese. We ended up just making something quick but it inspired me to find a recipe so that I could make it for John.
I put together an Asian-inspired meal, with wonton soup (my favourite), a turkey terriyaki stir fry (complete with bok choy), and crispy ginger beef.
The recipe is relatively easy (with the exception of frying the beef) and turns out absolutely delicious.
I used a package of mixed vegetables that I bought from an Asian vegetable market. Cabbage really works well with this dish.
I also cooked chow mein noodles to soak up the delicious ginger sauce.
Balcony Dinner Series
Turkey terriyaki stir fry

Crispy Ginger Beef
Here's the recipe I used

You will need: 

  1. Place cornstarch in a large bowl. Add water gradually while whisking.
  2. Beat eggs into cornstarch mixture. Toss in beef and stir to coat.
  3. Pour 1 inch of oil into wok, heat until boiling hot, but not smoking. Add a quarter of the beef to the oil. Seperate with a fork and cook, stirring frequently, until crispy, Remove, drain on paper towel and set aside. Repeat until all the beef is cooked.
  4. Drain off all oil except for about 1 tablespoons and add carrots, (I also added cabbage and broccoli which I recommend) onion, ginger, and garlic in that order. Stir fry briefly over high heat.
  5. Combine last 5 ingredients and add to vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil and then add beef. Heat thorough and serve immediately

You won't regret making this for dinner!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Vows

Writing our own vows was not something I was completely set on but it was something I did want to include. It's a nice way to personalize the ceremony and to let your soon-to-be spouse know all of the things you love about them and what you promise to bring to the relationship.
To ensure we didn't go in complete opposite directions with our vows since we were keeping them secret from one another, we followed a format where we started with a little introduction, the things we loved about each other, and what we wanted to promise to each other.
Since we got married outdoors by the water without a microphone, not everyone got to hear our vows.
My aunt asked if I would post them so here they are!
Currently our vows are up in a frame on our wall surrounded by pictures from that amazing day.
It's a nice way to remind ourselves of how incredible our wedding was and how excited we are to spend the rest of our lives together.
John's Vows
We've done so much and been on so many adventures together, and we always manage to have a great time. Whether paddling a sailboat for hours and hours because the wind died, or wandering lost around Venice at night, we've always made it through together.
I could never hope to find anyone more perfect to travel through life with. We've alays fit together like puzzle pieces and it's incredible to think that our next adventure together will be as husband and wife.
While I don't regret a single day I've spent with you, I can honestly say that if I had my life to live over again I would only change one thing: I would have found you sooner.
I vow to do everything I can to make you happy. I'll make you tea when you're cold, save you the end piece of bread when you're hungry. Give you confidence when you feel insecure. And always make you feel appreciated and beautiful.
I vow to be everything I can for you and spend everyday from now til the end building an incredible life together with you -
as long as you stop cracking your knuckles.  
My vows
I knew a month into our relationship that I loved you. I thought for sure I was crazy but with every day that has passed since then I've found something new to love about you. I love you because you make me laugh, you make me feel safe, and you make me feel important. I love you because you genuinely care about how my day was and because you make the best scrambled eggs in the world. I love that sometimes we slow dance in the kitchen and sometimes we end up on the floor laughing. I even love that you know most episodes of mash by heart as well as several movies in their entireties. And I don't just mean scripts, I'm talking describing commercials within the movie and when tape 1 of Braveheart ends and tape 2 begins.
You've been my boyfriend, my roommate, my fiance and in moments you'll be my husband. No matter the title, you'll always be the person I can't wait to see when I get home and the person who knows all of my weird annoying habits and still loves me despite them. You make me happier than I ever knew I could be and you are more than I ever dreamed I deserved.
I promise to be true to you, to always be there for you and to support you in everything that you do. I promise to be your cheerleader, your #1 fan. I promise to watch biologist and extreme angler Jeremy Wade fish for river monsters with you and to only ever watch Jersey Shore or anything with the Kardashian's when you're not home. I promise to try and make you laugh every day and I promise to keep discovering new things to love about you. I'll even let you be little spoon more often.
I promise that no matter where we go or what we do, everyday will be an adventure and that I'll be just as excited in fifty years as I am today knowing that I get to spend my life with you.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Niagara Honeymoon: Part 2

There's nothing quite as enjoyable as spending an afternoon checking out wineries and finding new favourites.
After deciding to try and find a particular type of wine, John and I set out on a wine tour. We picked 4 wineries we had never visited before and plan to do the same thing the next time we do this. With the number of wineries in the Niagara region I don't think we'll run out of new one's to visit anytime soon.
Our first stop was StoneyRidge where we attempted to track down the vidal blanc we'd had with dinner.
Instead, we sampled a few whites and a few reds. We left with a pinot grigio and a bottle of Passion, a very sweet red wine.
The winery has a lovely herb garden in the front and is quite pretty to walk through.
Our next stop was a winery recommended to us by our server - Kacaba. 

It has a beautiful patio where visitors are encouraged to bring their own lunches and eat while enjoying a glass or two of wine.
Kacaba focuses mainly on making reds. John and I sampled a few different cabernet francs (the single vineyard 2008, the Reserve 2007, and a 2010 Reserve that hasn't been released for sale yet).
We were both very impressed with the 2007 Reserve and purchased a few bottles - one for ourselves and 2 as gifts. It was the most expensive bottle we purchased that day but it was worth it as we plan to open it on our first wedding anniversary.
The 3rd stop was arguably my favourite of the day - Megalomaniac.
The winery is atop a hill and the drive up is very scenic.
There are row upon row of grapes everywhere you look.

The winery itself looks like something out of a medieval picture and appears to be built right into the hill.

John and I were very impressed by the assistant wine maker who helped guidde our tastings with honesty and humour.
Megalomaniac makes 2 reislings, The Narcissist  and Homegrown, both of which are two of my new favourites. I think I prefer the Homegrown, as they blend it with icewine which gives it an incredible sweetness.
We also sampled the Frank Cabernet and the Cabernet Sauvignon which we bought a bottle of.
To compliment the bottle of Narcissist and the 6 bottles of the Homegrown Reisling that we also bought.
We decided to take a break from day drinking and enjoy some lunch while taking in the awesome view overlooking the lake and surrounding Niagara area.

If you only pick one winery to visit I would recommend Megalomaniac for both it's view and for it's wines.
Our last stop of the day was Malivoire.

I don't think we gave this winery a fair chance because we were tired, a little tipsy (me), and ready to get back to the hotel for our massages.
The people at Malivoire were all incredibly friendly and knowledgeable.
We left with a bottle of the Musque Spritz for ourselves and two more as gifts.
It has a bubbly feel on the tongue when you first sip it so I'm saving our bottle for a special occasion.
Maybe a one-month-married celebration?