Thursday, February 26, 2009

Listen to your drums - can you hear them?

Tonight I hear the neighbourhood drummer sound, I can feel my heart begin to pound. You say your tired, you just want to close your eyes and follow your dream down. But we made a promise we swore we would always remember. No retreat. No surrender. ~ Bruce Springsteen

Tonight, we committed. We committed to my homework for my clinic - tired and wanting to put it off, we did it anyway. At the end of the run, just like last week, I hear a house at the end of the trail where someone is pounding on their drums. It made me think of this song - the drums always do - and as I sang to it, I thought about what we just did. I made a promise to myself, that tonight would be a run night, we didn't fail, we accomplished what we set out to do. 

I was pretty excited tonight when I was running. I was thinking about my breathing, which I always do, and tonight I wasn't having to concentrate so hard. This may sound strange, but I kind of started to freak out a bit. I didn't have to think about it, and then didn't really know what to think about.  In the end, it worked out well, I finished the 8 intervals - even though the homework was supposed to just be 6.

On my run, when I wasn't thinking about my breathing or lack of, I had a bit of a revelation. I think that when I have set out in the past to do something - the gym, weight loss (this especially), I always have this goal that I want or envision, and when I don't see results, I give up. On my run tonight, I realized that each week I am adding to my accomplishments and I can choose to do what I need to do to succeed, or I can choose not to do it, and then I won't see the success. I have small goals for myself, but they are small - they are realistic and I am not going to pressure myself. 

This is my new mantra for running. Small goals, big success. Setting weekly goals, and learning from week to week, on how success is possible. We can do anything - we just need to be our own cheerleaders - and then have "Chris'" around all of us - to help us succeed.

After our run, we had a toasted cheese sandwich, watched a show - and Chris has just went out for a treat. What is he going to bring back???? It will probably be a piece of fruit, or maybe maybe a soy drink. HA. Whatever. It's going to be a good treat - and it will be worth it, b/c we haven't really treated all week. Bring it home Chris - bring it.

Tomorrow's post will be all about the Giveaway Extravaganza. I was going to post tonight, but I was pretty excited about my new revelation. 

What revelations are you having or have you had? Were they hard for you to recognize or did they come naturally? What are you struggling with - and who can help you succeed?

My pillow is calling my name - and it is going to spoil me with comfort. 

Good sleeps. See you tomorrow.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hump Day, Welcome.

It's Hump Day - I often get an email from my cuz wishing me a "Happy Hump Day" - it makes my week. I'm not going to lie - years and years ago, when I was a youngster working a summer job for the District of Kitimat - Wednesdays were Donut Day - and also Hump Day. For awhile, I could not figure out why these men were talking about 'Hump Day' and how gross they were! Then I realized that the 'Hump' meant mid-week. Another funny 'Hump' story is when Nancy, Margo and I landed in Glasgow. After a 10 hour flight, when we were just leaving the airport with our uncle Ian, I saw a sign that read "HUMPED PEDESTRIAN CROSSING" - now it could have been the lack of sleep, but I seriously thought that this was the funniest thing ever. I couldn't control myself - the others didn't find it AS funny. We were driving down a country road on the way home and I saw the sign again, and lost it. Sigh. Whewwwww!

I spent the day in a Leadership training course today. It was part 2 of a 4 day course. We are doing them over a couple of months. The first part was in September, so there was a bit of catching up to do.

The course is quite good. One of our tasks is to come up with our own Leadership Virtue - for the next session, this is something that I have to work on. I don't want to get into my work - too much - but I think that this virtue exercise will be good for me. It will allow me to think of the leadership role that I want to be in, and if I need to change anything. 

I had a great walk with the pups after the course - and now they are sleeping soundly under my feet. They had an exciting day with Monique - who has transformed our home. I love her. 

For tonight's supper, I am making an old-fashioned comfort food dish. Nothing fancy, nothing organic and nothing that will win an award. But, it will warm my bones on this cold night, it will fill Chris' belly after a very long night of Kunga and it will be ready in just a few more minutes.

Baked Pasta - the easy way - Sims Style
1.5 lbs of ground meat - I am using Chicken tonight
1 onion
3 cups of sliced mushrooms - used canned if you want - probably would be 2 cans
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup of peas
3 cups of whole wheat macaroni
2 cups of shredded light cheese
Any seasoning you like
Parmesan to top

Saute your meat and onion. Boil your pasta. Add your mushrooms and soup to the meat, then add sour cream and peas. Mix well. Before adding pasta to your skillet, add 1 cup of cheese to the sauce. Add any dry seasonings that you love - red chili pepper flakes, dried oregano... Add drained pasta. Mix together. Pour into a casserole dish, top with remaining cheese and grated parmesan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. And that's it!

I am looking forward to this dish tonight - it's a cold, wet and dreary night, and comfort food will hit the spot.

Still stay tuned for the GIVEAWAY EXTRAVAGANZA - more info will follow - I promise. I am just fine tuning the bits that need to be tuned.

I hope you all had a great Hump Day today - that you know what 'Hump Day' means and that you were on the lookout for a 'Humped Pedestrian Crossing'.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Running for my life - part 3.

running
for 
my
life
(the series)

Isn't that funny? The ongoing saga. The struggle with hills. I think that I have something here, but really it would be me writing about my struggles and accomplishments from week to week.

Tonight's run was like the others. I struggled with the hills; I felt like my shins were going to break off of my legs (is that possible?); I felt like giving up just after I started; and then at some point during the run, I was running. I was running! I was free, I felt as though I could do this. My legs had pain, but they weren't stopping me. My breathing was relaxed and controlled. My head was high, and I was running. I used my words that I hear Micki saying to me "Light on your feet". And I was. Our last interval, when the whistle blew, I said to Maegan, "this is our last one, make it worth it". And we did. We started on a hill, and I maintained my pace, I got closer to the ladies in front of me who ran way ahead of me for most of the night, and I was breathing and I was relaxed and I was passing them with confidence. I was running. 

We all have battles with ourselves. I have many. This is normal, and I constantly try to keep my battles in check and try hard to figure out how I can work with them and how I cannot let them win. My battle with running is the little voice in my head that tells me 'oh you're getting tired, you should just stop. You've ran for a bit, now be proud of that and just stop'. I have to get past that little voice, give it a swift kick in the butt, and run through it. I think that we can take all of the advice from people that want to give it on how to work through this, but really in the end, it has to come from within. I think that it's important to get different perspectives from people, but not rely on them to help you battle your demons. I have taken advice from Micki, and I constantly use her phrases that she says to me - I use them always - we all should: "You can do this. You will do this. You are doing this." I take advice from my brother - an amazing athlete and inspiring human being. He has finished several tri-athalons and this past summer finished his first Iron Man. He always tells me to visualize what you want, and you can make it happen.

I guess that what I am trying to say, is that we really can do anything that we WANT to do. There may be limitations, roadblocks or even people telling us that it is impossible, but if we want something badly enough only we can make it happen.

I WANT many things - and I am going to work towards them. I want to be able to declare these to the world, but I am just not there yet. Perhaps it is fear of failure or that I am chicken. What I do know, is that when I succeed with my goals, you will all know. 

Tonight's dinner consisted of Strip loin steaks, the butt end (Not really sure the cut). I just drizzled with olive oil and kosher salt and pepper and then cooked them in our cast iron pan, 6 minutes each side. Served with organic green beans. Although I don't eat red meat, I actually had a piece tonight, and it was really tasty. If you haven't tried your steak this way, give it a try.

Ok friends. I have to call it a night. I do want to share that I have something exciting to announce this week - a little bit of a contest that will result in great prizes. Stay tuned.

Thanks for listening. Stay inspired. Set goals and achieve them. It will happen, because you want them to. You are great. You are inspiring. You are amazing.

Loves.

Enjoy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Welcome to the world little one.

We have a new member of our family - my cousin Mitchell and wife Sam welcomed a little baby girl to the world this morning. How exciting. A name hasn't been selected quite yet. I can't wait to meet the new little bundle.

I stayed home today - I won't get into details but I wasn't feeling 100% - not even 50. It wasn't last night's dinner, if you were thinking - Jules and Chris are fine. I also woke up with a bit of a sinus headache, and it hasn't quite left me today. But that's it - the rest is all good. I got to putter around the house, get things done, hang with the pups and just be.

Chris and I have decided to treat ourselves to someone coming in once every two weeks to help us keep our house clean. It's not that our house isn't clean, but there is so much extra stuff that needs to get done, that I just don't get to each week. Chris and I have one day off a week together, and that day consists of him at Kung Fu for 4 hours - so our time together is precious. I don't want to spend any of that time having to worry about if our toilet is clean or if the floors are swept. And then I have Sundays off - but I want to have a little time to myself to run some errands, walk the dogs, visit with a gf, etc. I don't want to feel guilty about this indulgence, I want to embrace it, and enjoy the little bit of extra time on the weekends. 

Tonight I made a nice comfort food dish. It was easy and really tasty. Try it and let me know what you think.

Chicken and Tomato Stew
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs - try organic if you can
1 onion - chopped
2 large cloves of garlic - minced
1 red pepper - chopped
3 celery stalks - chopped
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 half bunch of swiss chard leaves
1/4 cup white wine (use chicken stock instead if you don't have any on hand)
1/4 chicken stock 
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
kosher salt and pepper

In a large dutch over, drizzle olive oil and the cook the chicken on medium heat for about 4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Add onion and garlic, a couple of pinches of kosher salt and stir to coat in the chicken drippings. Add white wine and chicken stock to deglaze the pan. saute long enough until the onions are translucent. Add the rest of the vegetables (except the swiss chard), the tomatoes and return the chicken to the pot. Add the spices and the sugar. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally. After 45 minutes, add the swiss chard, cover again and let simmer for about another 5 minutes. 

And thats it. Serve over brown rice - which is what I did, and it was really delicious. 

Chris rated this a 5!!

I just had a call from our friend Jon, who is going to be making our built-in desk downstairs. I can't wait. I can't wait to be free of the clutter zone that we have called our computer desk for the last 4.5 years. I can't wait to have organization.  I can't wait for Chris to have his new pc set up. I can't wait. I CAN'T WAIT. I feel that our house is starting to be organized. I just wish that it didn't take us almost 5 years. Oh well, better late than never. 

I just had a feeling that 2009 is going to be the year. The year for so many possibilities, for order, for friendship, for family for it all. 

My love is home - we will enjoy a bit of time before we hit the pillows.

Enjoy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good old fashioned Sunday.


my couch-potatoes

Sunday, oh how I love thee.

We ended our Saturday with a burger and a salad out. It was a nice treat. We ended up heading out in the afternoon so that Chris could get his passport photo and we ended up at Sears stocking up on pillows. Our spare room is almost set for company - well we are totally equipped - but I am hoping to make it little more spa like for when we do have visitors. So you are all welcome anytime. Seriously.

Today I went on a bit of a cleaning frenzy - and I am sure that there is still so much more to do. I got up nice and early, took the pups for an extra long walk - it was such an incredible day - the sun was out, the air was clean and crisp, there were many dog friends to meet - I treated the pups to an extra long walk - and it was a treat for me too.

After Chris was home we headed out for a few groceries. When Chris and I head over to his 'old' store to shop, it's kind of similar to a hero coming home. I kid you not. Chris left the store just over two years ago to go to the University Height store, and still to this day when we go in, so many of the staff act as though they haven't seen him in forever. They all come out of their 'areas' to say 'hello', ask him when he is coming back, how they miss him, and on and on. Although it's so nice to see hat he is loved (I already know that though), it can be frustrating. I like to get in there, whip around the store and get what I need and then get out. After today's shop, when we were finished getting our Starbucks treat, I should have called on Patience but I didn't, and just stood there waiting and waiting. Frustrated and waiting. What a spaz I am. 

Patience called - I have none. 

My mom came for dinner tonight. We love it when she comes over. It's fun to treat her. 

Tonight we had a good feast. We had meatloaf, creamy dill potatoes, roasted carrots and swiss chard. And we finished with angel food cake with a warm blueberry sauce and whipped cream.  

Meatloaf
2 lbs ground meat - I used ground pork
5 italian sausages with basil - taken out of their casings  
1 onion - chopped
3 cloves of garlic - finely minced
1 small red pepper - finely chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp white wine dijon mustard
1 egg white
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp ketchup

Saute onions and red pepper in a small amount of olive oil - with a pinch of kosher salt. Add garlic when onions are about ready. Add the onion mixture to the ground meat. And then add all of the remaining ingredients. Place in a pan lined with aluminum foil and top with the remaining ketchup. Bake at 425 for about 1 hour and 45 mins. I haven't put the ketchup on top before, and we really liked it. I will do this again.

Creamy Dill Potatoes
Ok - these are a MUST to try. Don't look at the 4 ingredients and think fattening - think that this will be your treat for the week - and that you need to indulge every once and awhile. I learned this recipe from my friend Shannon. She told me that her friend would make the best potatoes with dill - so I asked her what the ingredients were and I made my own version. I am not sure if they are the same - hopefully I can make them some time for Shannon and she can tell me if they are as good.

2 lbs of small nugget potatoes - as small as you can get them
2 cups of whipped cream - I know you're thinking "oh god"
3 cloves of minced garlic
3-4 tbsp of dill - it's hard to get good fresh dill right now - so I used Gourmet Garden Dill - I would really recommend this.

Parboil your potatoes until they are almost cooked. Drain the potatoes. In the same pot, add the cream, dill and garlic and a couple of pinches of kosher salt. Cook at a medium temperature and continue to stir. Once the cream thickens slightly, add the potatoes back to the pot and continue to stir. Eventually the cream will thicken into a wonderful creamy greatness and the flavour becomes unbelievable. 

For the vegetables, I lightly sprayed olive oil on the carrots and a pinch of kosher and cooked them in the oven with the meatloaf at the high temperature. Cook for about 20 minutes. 
The swiss chard was chopped and heated in my cast iron pan with a lid. I added about a 1/4 cup of chicken stock and let it simmer. So flavourful.

For dessert. 
Angel food cake - store bought - from Safeway - so delicious.
I placed 1 cup of blueberries in a saucepan and added 1/4 cup water and 2 tsp of honey. Let the berries boil and continued to stir. I removed the berries from the heat and added a tsp of cornstarch and stirred it vigorously to let it thicken. I poured a generous amount over each piece of cake and topped with fresh whipped cream. 

Chris rated this dish a 5!! Jules rated this a 6!!!

I wanted to share a funny letter that I found today. I went through a couple of boxes that my aunt put together for me after my grandma passed away. I haven't had a chance to do this before today. I am so unbelievably thankful for everything that Babs did with all of my grandma's things - and I am so fortunate to have amazing memories and memorabilia of my Grandma. 

In one of the envelopes there was a letter that my dad wrote my grandma when he was in grade 1. It read:
Hello Mom
We are having a party at school on Friday. Please come.
Love your friend Andy.

It made me so sad, just thinking of my dad and grandma - and so happy at the same time. These little "snipits" or pieces of "family history" are invaluable. They mean so much to me - and I will cherish them always.

Ok, we are about to sign off of a great weekend and start the new week with full force. That's right, full force. Patience, positive attitude - I will be a superhero this week - watch me. 

Loves.
Enjoy.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

These are better days...

Baby, these are better days it's true, these are better days baby, better days with a girl like you. 
Bruce Springsteen - I love that song. And today just felt like a BETTER day! I went for a run with my friend/trainer (I can call her that again, b/c I am actually doing some exercise) and it was FRICKIN' FANTASTIC!!! I am so pumped. We started out with a great warmup - I'm not gonna lie, the warmup  tired me a bit, and then we were off. The first interval was up a hill, so I potentially thought that I may fall over, but thankfully I didn't. And then it just kept getting better. Technically the run should have been 2.5 mins of running, 3 mins of walking - but we started out with 3 mins running and 2 mins walking. And before I knew it, we were doing 4 and 2 and then the last run was 5 minutes. 

I have a bit of a hard time expressing to others that I am proud of myself - I always worry that it will come across as conceited, and that is not what I would ever want people to think - but right now - I am really proud of myself. During about the 3rd run, Micki said to me 'I don't want to get emotional here, but this is not the girl that had such a hard time in the summer running 30 seconds outside'. She is so genuinely proud too - she is just that person - always seeing the good in people and brings it out in them. Thanks Micki!  After our run, I whipped home and took the dogs on a great walk - no leashes - about 45 mins. Micki was going to be riding her bike home and then going for a 2.5 hour run! Hello!!! Unreal. She can so do it - she is amazing.

So, funny comments from so many yesterday about the 'engagement'. When I was writing the post, I was pretty much writing it in a joking way - but felt that b/c it was on paper - and there was now a 'paper trail' that it was real. So I am going with that. The unfortunate thing, is, that Chris is a little shell shocked and a little worried that I am taking this seriously. We've had a few laughs. My new 'pet' name for him right now is "Beyonce" because it rhymes with "Fiance" - and "if you like it then you should have put a ring on it". 

I missed posting TFIF!! It was a good one. I put a little wine and cheese together for my team at work at the end of the day. It's a nice way to step away from your desk, chat, and unwind at the end of a long week. I called in "Whine with Wine". We took a pic of our little display.


We ended up going to the movie "Taken" last night - with Liam Neeson. It was pretty good. Very suspenseful. It was one of those movies, that when it is over and you are at home in the comfort of your own home that you are still thinking about it - and how this is something that could really happen.  A little scary - but worth seeing - perhaps a renter.

I LOVE going to the movies. It's in my blood. My granddad ran a movie theater as his career. My grandma used to tell stories about my dad, and how he would take the bus or walk to meet my granddad at the theater and stay for the afternoon and watch movies. My dad loved movies too. When living at home in Kitimat, we pretty much went to the movie every week. We went to see "Basic Instinct" when it came to town. Oh god, I can still see my dad's uncomfortable face during the "scene". Can you imagine? God. I also remember walking from my house to the theater with Craig Sherstan to see "Willy Wanka and the Chocolate Factory" when we were about 8. We were so fortunate to have that freedom growing up. Also walking home on a very snowy and cold night with my sister after watching "Santa Claus".

Chris and I love going to the movies too. We try and go as often as we can. We pretty much will see anything - except horror films - can't do them. 

Not too sure what this afternoon will bring. It's lovely out there. We may take advantage of the "Dine Around" this weekend and try out a new restaurant or curl up and watch the Canucks game and hang with the pups. One thing that I do know, is that I bought an Angel Food cake from Safeway, I have a bag of blueberries in the freezer, and that is going to be some sort of dessert somewhere in there today.

I hope you're enjoying your weekend - and are treating yourself to something - we all deserve it.

Loves.

Enjoy!
 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Grateful.

I am so. I am so grateful for so many things, but on this particular day - grateful for my cousin Margo's email. She sent me a list of all of the things that she is grateful for and it made me remember. It made me remember something that I haven't done in a long time. 

I used to lie in bed at night and think of the things that I was grateful for that day. Something that may only take a minute, that may help you fall asleep - almost like counting sheep, that reminds you of all the good in your life. 

Life is good. Life is what we make of it. We only get one chance - so we have to make it right. Embracing the simple things that we are grateful for will help us get through the difficult times and help us keep a positive attitude. And the only thing that can really happen is that you spread all of this wonderful energy to those around you - to those that you want to be happy, content - who you are grateful for.

Today I am grateful for: a crisp morning, the love of my best friend and partner and how he always makes me laugh, accomplishing my run clinic homework, for the longer days, for two cute dogs and a cat that always are happy to see me at the end of a long day, for chocolate ice cream, for healthy friends and family, for the end of Chris' week, for a homemade dinner, for hearing from an old friend. That is just a few things, and I know when I rest my head tonight, I will have so many more thoughts running through my head.

Need to share a funny story. Chris called me today to confirm the days off that he needs for our trip (41 more sleeps) - he had them wrong even though I have told him about 10 times. Anyways, he starts the call off with "Guess what I'm looking at? An engagement ring! Cindy got engaged...." So of course, because engagement is sometimes not as funny of topic as it should be, I don't say much - it made me a little sensitive. The intuitive man that Chris is, picked up on this right away - I was a little surprised. Ok, so that's not the funny part. When I get home from work, I'm in a rush, but I see on the kitchen table one of those paper ring size charts that you get with any sort of jewelry catalogue and it is on top of a note. The note reads:

I cannot take it anymore!!!!
Pick your ring size here and it will be done.
Do this first - then go to bottom. Got your ring size????
Good. 
(Then a line with an arrow goes to the bottom of the page and the ring chart is covering the bottom of the page - and it reads:)

Will you marry me now?
Circle - YES or NO
Love Chris 

So I guess we're engaged!!! HA. Poor guy, he humours me. He knows that I want to get married and I know that it will happen. He then wanted me to put the ring size chart on my finger and wear it around. 

I get asked all the time why I am not married. There aren't really any good reasons - it's just not something that we have prioritized in our lives. We have the same commitment as a married couple does - we just don't have the piece of paper committing us. I realized that after my dad passed away, for some reason, being married wasn't so important. I always pictured my dad walking me down the aisle, the bag pipes playing in the background and him holding my arm in his, so proud and saying something like "Here we go Poods, don't trip for godssakes". The day will come when we are ready, it will be a party - with friends and family - and lots and lots of love.

Chris made dinner tonight - and I give it a 5! We had turkey soft tacos. Ground turkey with my favourite taco seasoning from the Gourmet Warehouse, whole wheat tortillas, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream and guacamole. It was a really delicious dinner. 

We had a busy night - but it was successful and a good start to the weekend ahead of us. I am proud to say that I finished my running clinic homework and it wasn't a struggle. I actually enjoyed t. I am so grateful for joining this program and grateful that I haven't broken my spirit. 

I am signing off - and thanking everyone for their kind thoughts. You have no idea how much it means to me. 

Until tomorrow - rest well, know that many people are grateful for having YOU in their lives and treat yourself to something decadent tomorrow - and then let me know what it was.

Loves.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

P B & J

I never ate peanut butter and jam sandwiches growing up - it wasn't something that my mom ever made for us. I was never really a fan of jam, for two reasons: 

1. I used to have the WORST car sickness as a child. Imagine sitting in the backseat of a 1973, 2 door Chevy Imapala (aka Bessy) in the middle of your sister and brother. So driving down the road - Dad is driving concentrating on the road, listening to the CBC. Mom is in the front out cold, drooling in her sleep. Brother is on one side - legs on top of my lap and punching me anytime I touch him. Sister on the other side, feet on top of my brother's legs that are on top of me and fast asleep. And then there is me. Sitting in the middle of a car with no air, staring at the road ahead, trying to have a conversation with my dad and not touch my brother. And then it happens. I would yell "I'm gonna be sick!". Sister would yell "MOM!!! Cheryl's going to get sick". Brother would yell "If you touch me, I'll punch you". Mom "Dad - PULL OVER". Dad "Jesus Christ Child!" The plastic bag would be passed back in panic, I would throw up, we would pull over - have to get everyone out of the car - get me cleaned up, and then it was back on the road. Ok, sorry - back on track. So in order to help with the car sickness, my mom would crush a gravol into a tbsp full of jam. I could taste the gravol no matter how much jam was used.  

2. It's too sweet. I love homemade jam - if it doesn't have too much sugar in it. I found a sugar free blueberry jam which I became somewhat addicted to last summer. So good.

Positive Attitude - this is a virtue that came up today at work. On my way home from work, when sitting in traffic at a light on top of the bridge on Tillicum, a young woman passed me walking. I have known this woman by face for many years - since I worked at Safeway. This young woman always has a smile on her face whenever I see her. I wish that I knew her name. She has a developmental disability. Today when I saw her, she reminded me of Grace. Lovely Grace. Grace was a woman I met in Kitimat when I volunteered with the Special Olympics. She too has a developmental disability. I ended up having the pleasure of working with her and spending 5 days a week with her and a few others. Grace came from a very traditional Portugese family and spent most of her early and teen years at home with her parents. It seems as though her parents didn't have the knowledge or resources to have her be a part of her community. She spent many years in the Community Living Day Center, and this changed her life. She had challenges that many of us will never know. She had limitations that many of us will never have to endure. And she had the biggest heart that I feel so fortunate to have known. She always had a smile on her face. She loved the little things - me picking her up and going to get groceries; coming to our house for a visit and having a cooler; helping me walk Maggie; buying a new lipstick. ALWAYS happy. She was always positive. No matter how things were difficult some times, she always stayed positive.  I miss her.
grace
So here I was in my car, thinking of Grace, and how I miss her. She managed to find the positive in everything. How wonderful it would be to keep positive and see the good and always see the light. And then I thought, I can. How come I am focusing on someone else's positivity and thinking that I don't have that quality? I do have this though. I really need to stop being so hard on myself and see the positive in everything. Do you all struggle with that? How can we change it? Do we just try not to think negative at all? Is that realistic? I think I am going to try it this way: whenever I have a negative thought, I just have to switch it and think of how I can make it positive. This is my focus. I will make this a big priority in my life.  We all have Grace in us. 

Bruce Springsteen - oh how I love! Rumour has it, he is coming to Victoria. If this happens - I will wet my pants. The excitement will be too much. I won't be able to contain myself. Thinking of him coming is exciting enough. So imagine how exciting it will be if he actually does come? Fingers crossed the rumour will come true. 

Jules - thanks for all of the lovely veggies: they inspired tonight's dinner. You're a spoiler. Love.

Salad Sims Style  

20 asparagus stalks
1/2 head of cauliflower - chopped into large chunks
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
1 small head of romaine lettuce - tear into good sized pieces
1 red pepper chopped 
1/2 cup goat cheese - crumbled

Boil asparagus and cauliflower for about 5 minutes. Remove from boiling water and add to ice water to stop the cooking. Let sit for a couple of minutes. Add all the veggies to a large salad bowl and prepare the dressing.

Dressing:
3 tbsp Dijon White Wine Mustard*
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar* - I used my favourite - Raspberry Vinegar 
1 tbsp honey*
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano 

*I really didn't measure, but this is probably close to the right measurement. Just be generous and flavour how you like.

Add everything together and whisk it like you've never whisked before.  Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables, and you have yourself a really great salad.

The weekend is coming to us - I can taste it. This weekend is going to be grand. Full of delight. Full of rest, work, fun, love...

Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Running for my life - part 2.

Hello Tuesday fans! 

Today has been a busy day - so many thoughts running through my head. Good ones - exciting ones - deep ones. 

At some point today, I thought about how I have such wonderful friends in my life. They come in all different flavours = meaning - I see some everyday, to some that I haven't seen in what seems like forever, to some that I have known my entire life to others that have become friends within the last couple of years. 

Today I spoke with many close friends - I caught up on what was happening in Dublin; I shared intimate thoughts about relationships, I shared in the excitement of purchasing a condo, I shared tears with the loss of a family pet, I planned my wedding (oh hi Chris - I didn't know you would read this - no everyone we're not engaged - yet. Oh hi again, Chris!), I had many many laughs, I overjoyed in seeing a friend who has come so far and overcome so many obstacles, I shared the sadness of losing a loved one, I was relieved to know that a surgery went well, I heard of travel plans, and that is just a  few blessings that I have had today.

I thought a lot today about just a few of the many wonderful women in my life and how they all mean so much to me and why I value them so much. I really think that good friends are in your life for a reason. I think that good friends help you see things in a way that you may not have looked at them before. They bring out the good in you because they can see what you sometimes can't.  I am feeling blessed right now - and feel the love.

Tonight I ran for my life again. I really did! Tonight I decided to change my group. Instead of running with the 'First Timers' I ran with the 'New Newbies'. We run the exact same distance and times, it was just at a little bit of a slower pace. Each interval got easier and easier. The hills were challenging - but I got up them, no stopping, and no diving into the bushes waiting for the group to return. My last interval, I broke away from the little group that I was running with, and just ran. I had the most amazing feeling. I can't even explain it. But I thought, "You're doing it!" I was light on my feet, my head was high, my back straight, my breathing strong, it felt amazing. Addictive. Emotional. I need to remember that feeling each time I run and embrace it. 

I really feel that we can all do whatever we want and/or need to and that there are times when it is going to be easy and times when it is going to be so tough. I think that we have to remember that the tough times will pass - and in the end, we will prevail. Surrounding yourselves with friends and loved ones will make things that much easier. 

Tonight's dinner was 'not on the table'. After running I rushed home and took the pups for a 30 minute 'pull'. Chris came home minutes after I did and had two bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios and I had a cup of soup with cheese sandwich. Sometimes you just need to have those kinds of dinners. Tomorrow night will be roasted chicken with an amazing salad. Will post fo shizzle - that is my rap talk for - for sure.

Ok, lovelies, good evening. Sleep tight. Love your pillow.

Enjoy! 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Only 44 more sleeps!

Forgive me - I know that counting down something that is 44 sleeps away is a little ridiculous - but I can't help it. 44 more sleeps and Chris and I are on our way to the Mayan Riviera! I can't wait. Neither of us have ever had a vacation like this before - so 7 days of rest and relaxation, 7 days of no work or Kung Fu, 7 mornings together, 7 days of someone cooking for you, 7 days of bevvies, 7 days of surf and sand... see where I'm going with this? I can't wait. 

I think that we really deserve this; Chris more than I. He works so hard all the time. His down time consists of two days off - one of those days being a 4 hour Kung Fu stint and the other, running errands for most of the day. I know that it may take a day or two for us to unwind when we are there - but I know that we are going to have an amazing time.  I will try not to write too much about it before then, but I may not be able to help myself.

It's been a typical Monday - busy - good to see everyone after the weekend. The weekend seemed long this time around - which was nice for a change. 

I have just finished dinner and the dishes. Dinner was something that I have made and posted before - a combo between chili and spaghetti sauce - lots of veggies, navy beans, ground turkey, served with a piece of Naan bread. See here, for the recipe.

I am on the hunt for a new duvet cover for downstairs - I think that I have found one at Ikea - even Chris liked it and used words like 'contrast' when describing it.  You unfortunately can't order it online - so maybe I'll have to take a trip over soon. Anyone need anything?

Ok friends - that is it for me for today. Short and sweet. I hope you have wonderful Tuesdays. 

Enjoy!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Dinner

We have just finished dinner, dishes are done, Chris is prepping for his day tomorrow (he is super organized and has everything - I mean EVERYTHING done for the morning the night before), the pups have been fed, and I am excitedly waiting for the new season of the Amazing Race. 

Chris has a new saying that he is addicted to "Ma Lady". He is pretty much saying it at the beginning or end of every sentence. So something normally would sound like this "Hey Chers, how was your day?" has been translated to something that sounds like "Hello Ma Lady!!!!! How was Ma Lady's day?" Oh Chris.

Today was a great day. It was so beautiful and sunny. Chris worked. I managed to get almost caught up in  Coronation Street - don't think that I have watched it in over a month. Had a nice long walk with my neighbour aka "beside yard Barb" - she has two big dogs, Brodie an Ginger. After our walk, I went to Safeway and picked up a few things for dinner - and stopped at Starbucks on my way out - the usual - non-fat vanilla tea misto. Then I came home with great intentions of cleaning, and I decided not to. I did the bathroom, tidied up the kitchen and that was it. It was just way too nice outside to be inside cleaning. When Chris got home we went for a drive and ended up at Mt. Doug and had another great walk. Jozie was in full alert for rabbits - she HEARTS the rabbits. Magnum is also getting in on this - it's quite funny to watch them. Oh, speaking of Magnum - he tried lifting his leg on the toilet paper package that I hadn't yet put away - I put the kibosh on that very quickly. Naughty dog. 

Tonight's dinner was really good! We started with what should have been the main course, but I switched it around. We had Potato and Leek soup with Cheesy toasts and then had Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart.

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart
                                                                                                                   
Tart: This recipe is from my Auntie Barb - so easy and so good  
2 cups of flour
2 generous pinches of salt
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp sour cream
10 tbsp of unsalted butter - which is equivalent to 2/3 cup
2 tbsp of water

In your food processor, add all of dry ingredients with the butter. Pulse about 10 times until all of the butter is in pea sized bits. Add the sour cream, egg yolk and water and pulse a couple of more times. Check the consistency, it should be able to stick together and form a ball. 
Remove from the food processor and lay on a flour surfaced. With your rolling pin, roll out the dough. Then fold in half and place into your tart pan. When you unfold it, it will nicely cover the other side of the pan. Cut off the edges so that they are even with the sides. Poke a bunch of holes with a fork all over the surface and the sides. Add dried beans to prevent the base from rising. 
Bake at 375 for 20 mins.

While pie crust is baking prepare the onion and goat cheese mixture. 

3 medium sized onions - cut in half and then cut into thin slices
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 cup of goat cheese - crumbled

In your skillet, saute the onions in olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. The onions will take a bit until they are fully caramelized - probably close to 25 minutes. Once they are caramelized, and the pie is ready, transfer the onions to the pie and top with the crumbled goat cheese. 
Bake for 15 minutes at 425.
I think that for next time, I may add the cheese to the onions right before putting it in the pie dish and see how that works. I think that I will also add a bit of stock and a bit of white wine too. Give it a try if you are thinking of making it, and let me know how it turns out.

All in all - it was a great addition to the dinner.

Chris rated this a 5!!!!
Funny story about Chris and the pie - I showed him the pie before I put it in the oven the first time with the kidney beans - I have to admit - I am not a baker - so I was pretty impressed that it worked out. So after we ate, and were cleaning up, he said that he thought that the pie was so good and 'it's amazing that something made from kidney beans could taste so good'. So funny. I have explained the beans at this time. Haha.

I have posted a pic of the Potato and Leek Soup with Cheesy toast and will probably post the recipe on Tuesday - running night - when there will not be a fancy dinner made. 

I hope you all had a great weekend - and are ready to tackle this upcoming week like no other. 






Bring it on!

Enjoy.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sweethearts

HAPPY LOVE DAY

Well, how was it? Have you all had a lovely day? Has it been romantic?  I started to write earlier today and thought that I would post many of the things that I love - then I got busy, and decided to catch up a little later today. So, this is where I am.

Valentine's Day started out early. Very early. 6:44 AM on a Saturday - you know it - Thanks Magnum. We started our early jaunt and we came across our wee pup's, best bud (besides Joz and Ogre) - it's a beautiful cream coloured cat with a grey tail. We found it lazing in our neighbour's tree, and the kitty came down to meet us and they played for so long. He had so much fun. He is so funny - he runs up to the cat and then runs back to me - almost for reassurance. He is such the character. So...I guess for wee Magnum this kitty was his Valentine today. I thought I would share a pic. PS - when Magnum and I were greeting the morning, Chris and Jozie were sleeping. So very tired.
As the morning progressed, Chris made me his breakfast specialty. We feasted on beautifully poached eggs and Starbucks. 

Then it was off for a long dog walk - Chris was off to Kung Fu. After that Jules and I headed out to Home Outfitters and had a great time. We ended up getting some great deals on a new bath towels - made partially from Bamboo - they had the most amazing colours. I ended up getting 4, a bath mat and what I went for - a faux leather bench. If you are in the lookout for one of these - head out there. They are normally @$129 - on sale for $99 and then there is a 20% off coupon this week. Hello! The bench will go in our computer area - once the pantry's have been set up and the built-in-desk has been built - oh I how I hope it happens soon.

We stopped at the Market - I got some free-range chicken breasts, some pork sausages with apple and thyme and a couple of filet mignon's for Chris. I had high hopes of making a delicious and romantic dinner - what got in the way was the 2 hours it took to put an Ikea bed together and an hour of finishing up the books. Thankfully they are both done.

So, I tried to make a balsamic vinegar reduction - it started out so good, and ended up tasting like - burnt. Chris said that it was a definite 1
I made a whole wheat pasta with broccoli stalks and cherry tomatoes.  Check it out:

Whole Wheat pasta with Broccoli stalks and tomatoes
1/2 box of Whole Wheat pasta - I HEART this one
1-2 cups of chopped broccoli stalks chopped into small bite size bits
2 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic - minced
1/2 cup parmesan

Boil pasta until el dante, typically about 10 minutes. In the meantime, saute garlic and broccoli stalks in olive oil - add kosher salt and pepper. Saute for about 10 minutes, add tomatoes. Before draining pasta, use a 1-2 ladles of pasta water to vegetables. Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour broccoli and tomatoes over pasta and add cheese. Stir and serve. 

I love this dish - this is one of our family's good friends - Mrs. Sherstan's recipe. It's light and gives you a good reason to save your broccoli stalks - to me, they're the best part. 

Chris said that for him, this dish was a 3.

I thought that I would share a couple of Valentine's Day stories before I close for the night.

1. When Jocelyn and I lived together in our College years - I made her a brownie valentine cake. It was very decadent, I just wish that I could remember it. It was like a brownie cake, whipped cream, caramel, skor bars - oh god, I want one right now. She gave me a dozen roses in return. Those were the days - she was such an awesome Valentine.
2. Chris and mine's first Valentine was not the greatest. I waited for him to finish Kung Fu - and thought that we would be going out for VD together - it had been quite some time since I had a legit Valentine. So, he came to pick me up with a lovely bouquet of flowers and some Roger's Chocolates, and said that he wanted to stop by his mom's quickly. We both went, we had a visit and then he preceded to make himself 2 roast beef sandwiches!!! 2 sandwiches!!! I had been waiting for him to come and get me b/c I thought that we would be going to dinner. That DID NOT happen. We left, he was full and I was still hungry. We went back to my place and had the VD ice cream cake that I had got him. That's not it. I learned out later that night that he met his ex for lunch and they went to Japanese Village. Can you believe it???? Oh man, there was trouble.

He has made it up over the years. This year we didn't do too much. We just wanted to spend the day together - which we managed to get some good time together. 

I thought that I would post this fun picture of us with matching hoodies. We like to wear matching outfits - not really. 
Anyways friends - I hope you all had a great day - and that your weekend is full of bliss.

Until tomorrow.

Enjoy!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

PS

ALERT  ALERT  ALERT

I just figured out how to set the options for posting a comment. If you click on 'Comment' you can add your comment in the box, and then select 'Anonymous' and that will allow you to post. I hope you do - I so love to hear from all of you. 


Nail time.

Hello friends. It's Thursday night - one more day until the weekend - love weekend. Tomorrow is also Friday the 13th. My cousin Margo says that Friday the 13th is lucky day - so I am taking her word for it - and can only welcome, good, GOOD things tomorrow. 

I am pretty excited. Ok, REALLY excited. Chris and I almost have a week long holiday booked - thanks to my friend Tracy for giving us the idea, and to my Aunt Babs for finding us all the information, we are booking a week long, all-inclusive to a resort in the Mayan Riviera. Neither of us have ever been on a holiday like this before - so it's all pretty exciting. I don't want to jinx it in anyway, so I will post all the deets tomorrow.

Today was my 3 week nail appointment. My nails were getting pretty long - so they are all nice and neat and beautified. I am not blessed with nice nails, so I cheat and treat myself to have them done for me. As a result of having my nails done, I have met a wonderful friend, Lynn. Lynn is one of my close friends. She is that person who you know you can go to about anything. I feel so comfortable with her, and tell her everything. She is without judgement, wise, fun, a wonderful listener, loves animals, and so much more.  I have been going to her for about 7 years. 7 years! I really cherish our appointments and always feel so good after I leave. I feel so blessed to have her in my life - it's so good to surround yourself with people that you love - you're worth it.

Since I got home late tonight - dinner was not homemade. I had a pack of Veggie Patch Broccoli Bites.  I bought them on my weekly shop last week, and I am happy that I did. They are really good if you haven't tried them before. I have had the spinach ones before and they too are delicious. Relatively healthy, something easy to heat up. I dipped them in sour cream. Chris tried them and he said that they needed ketchup. Oh, Chris was out at a soire tonight - he had a dinner out - I had to "Make My Own Damn Dinner" - ha. I would really recommend giving these a try. I think that you'll like them.

We had a treat as well. I couldn't help it when I saw it in the store tonight. We all need treats, right? God, I need to stop with the treats - I need to try and lose 120 before our AI - all inclusive. I'm in trouble. Ok, back to the treat, Reese Peanut Bar - like the cups but in a bar instead. It was a nice treat at the end of the day.

No cooking tonight - I'm sorry, just not a lot of time. I have some plans to cook up a storm this weekend amongst a bunch of other things. I am on the hunt for a duvet cover that I found at Zellers - House and Home Nest - I've been to two Zellers and they don't have a Queen size. It will be for the spare room downstairs - I really want to get that organized this weekend as well, Chris hint hint, so that is on my to do list. I will post pics when it is all sorted.

Ok friends - off to bunk with Chris and the pups. FYI the pups pretty much take up the whole bed. Oh well, who needs more than an 1/8th of the bed at night anyways. Holla!

Ok, soak in your Friday - set your sights for a great weekend - and hopefully you do something special for your VD - the way you want to. Don't get sucked into flowers and choccies (ok we all love choccies) if that's not your thing. LOVE.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My eyes are dim, I cannot see....

I have been doing our "bookkeeping" for the last 4 1/2 hours. My eyes are a little tired. I made a big stir fry feast, did bookkeeping for at least 4 hours and then when we could almost see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we were on the ball, and almost near the year end, the damn PC started to fail us - as a result the program shut down, and I now have to go back starting sometime in April or May. I could cry, but I'm not going to. Well maybe a little, b/c I don't like doing this stuff, but it is my part of the deal. I am HiddenDistance Kung Fu's secretary, and poor Chris, I am not doing the best job.

Just a short blog tonight - I'm a wee bit tired. 

I hope that you are all taking really good care of yourselves, there is a nasty flu/cold bug going around. I KNOW that I am not going to get it. I have been OD'ing on the OJ, getting lots of fresh air, and washing my hands like a mad woman (I usually wash my hands a lot for the record, in case you were wondering) :).

Valentine's Day - or as I like to sometimes call it - VD - is just around the corner. Any exciting plans? I have a heart shaped cake pan that I plan on making something with - I'll keep you posted. I also plan on trying to make the caramelized onion tart this weekend - I am on the hunt for a savory pie crust recipe. 

Anyways - good night to all. Tomorrow is one of my favourite days - let's all embrace it - only 1 more day until the weekend.

Enjoy!

C.

PS - Magnum did a 'jobby' right behind us tonight when we were doing our books. Thanks Magnum. Naughty boy. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Running for my life.

That's what I feel like tonight. Not just because I had running clinic tonight, but I really feel that I need to run for my life. I need to stay positive when I am out on that path, keep my breathing under control, be happy that I am doing something for myself and be proud of my accomplishments. Problem is, I am struggling. I am really struggling. I am struggling with all of it. I need to figure out why I can't get past it. 

r u n


Sorry to be a downer. It was a tough night. If it wasn't for my friend Maegan, I may have hid in the bush until the group returned. I am eternally grateful for her friendship - I really hope she knows this. When we run, she runs ahead and then we when we walk she turns around finds me and walks with me. I am really emotional as I am writing this. I just am so fortunate to have her helping me out. I know that she could be way ahead, running laps around everyone, but she doesn't complain about my slow stride and makes it fun. Thanks Maegan, I really appreciate it. So much.

Ok, I feel a bit better. Whenever I am struggling I think of different things: I think of Micki's voice telling me "You can do it. You will do it. You are doing it". I think of my dad telling me to 'run lassie run' and I think about my damn breathing. That is something that I really need to work on. By the end of the run tonight, I was breathing better, but still struggling. It will get better - I just have to change my train of thought. 

We had a guest speaker tonight, Lucy Smith, visit her here, she is a world class runner and was really inspirational. She has a blog that you can find on the right hand side of the page, so you may find some inspiration if you are looking for some.

r u n

Chris made dinner tonight and a fine job he did. He too, HEARTS, the slow cooker.  

Roast beef dinner Sims Style
1 roast - really whatever cut you like
5 large potatoes - chopped into small-medium chunks
4 large carrots - chopped into small chunks
2 onions - chopped
3 cups of water
Kosher salt and pepper

Put the meat in the pot, place vegetables around the meat, cover with salt and pepper, then pour the water over top. Cook in the slow cooker on high for approximately 5  1/2 hours or auto for approximately 8 hours. 

I made a quick gravy for him. I took about 1 1/2 cups of stock from the pot, added it to a saucepan with 2 heaping tablespoons of flour, stir on high heat with a whisk, reduce heat when thickened, add more stock if needed. I always add white wine to my gravy, so added about 1/4 cup.

I don't eat red meat so I didn't really have any. I did eat the veggies and picked off a couple of pieces of the meat. It was so tender and so tasty. Great job Chris!!! 

So, that is it for me for tonight. I am over and out. I appreciate you listen to me whine - I don't mean to, but sometimes you just have one of those days. 

I know the next run will be easier and that a running is always going be a struggle for me - I have to accept that and work with it to my benefit. 

I can do it, I will do it, I am doing it. Say that to yourself - when things are tough - only we can make things happen for ourselves.

r u n

Loves from C.

Enjoy!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Spoiled..


That's exactly the way I'm feeling right now. I just got home from an amazing dinner with my dear friend Micki. I had such an amazing dinner - great view of the marina, great company and the most delicious dinner. We went to the Marina Restaurant, check it out HERE, at the Oak Bay Marina. 

Micki's husband is the chef at the Marina, so we were totally spoiled by everyone, including him. We started with a Caramalized Onion Tart with goat cheese. Hello! Seriously, unbelievable. Then we had for our appetizer - which was a bed of warmed spinach, that I think had pancetta and then a goat cheese croquette, with mustard vinaigrette. Then, my main dish was Pork Belly sitting on top of lentils that I think had beets and apple and roasted fennel. The lentils were so delicious. the pork belly was similar to pork tenderloin. It melted in my mouth. For dessert we shared a pecan bourbon tart and then 3 different chocolate truffles. The food was just so amazing. I am going to have to try and duplicate those lentils - stay tuned.

Micki is such a great person, and is always so much fun. She is the kind of person that you just can't help but feel so inspired by after spending time with her. I feel really fortunate to have met her and have her in my life.

Chris was home waiting for me with the pups when I got home. He had leftovers tonight - last night's dinner was a hit. I'll be making that one again.

As promised, here is the recipe for Peas with Pancetta.  

Peas with Pancetta 

3 slices of Pancetta - about a half inch each - cut into small peices
1 small white onion chopped
1 clove of garlic minced
3 cups of fresh or frozen peas 
1 cup of low sodium chicken stock
Kosher salt and pepper

Saute pancetta in a non-stick skillet - I used the cast iron. Saute until the pieces are crispy. Remove from the pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat - cook for about 2 minutes. Add peas and stock, salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat for about 5-10 minutes - until the peas have absorbed the liquid. And that's it - so tasty.

Tomorrow is run day - I hope to run like the wind - or at least run. I am pumped for the clinic - I am going to kick some Sole Sister Butt!

I hope you all had a great first day to your week. Tomorrow I have a dentist appt. to hopefully cure the ear issue. Wish me luck.

I am home, I am full, I am comfortable, I am ready for bed, and snuggle with my loves.

Go enjoy your pillow.

Enjoy!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

P.S. I love you.

I have just finished watching 'P.S. I love you', and have managed to stop sobbing. It was a really good movie. It made me think of my dad - and how he left us so quickly. How after he passed, that I felt him around me so many times. I still do from time to time, and think of him everyday, and just miss him so much. 

I haven't told too many people this, but a couple of years ago I went and had my tea leaves read. I went with a couple of gf's, and we made a day trip out of it. I had a private reading by a woman, and wasn't sure what to expect. She picked me to go first b/c she 'could see people around me'. I am not a true believer in 'fortune tellers' but there were a few things that this woman said to me, that struck me. She mentioned a black dog and how the man that was there was telling her to tell me that the dog was there - we had a black lab, Shadow, that was our family dog and meant so much to all of us and we were so sad when she passed. Then she told me that the man was eating peppermints. My dad used to always eat peppermints - not suck on them. We used to laugh that he would eat the mints like they were potato chips. There were other things, but these were such random things that made me think that he was there with me that day. I know that he has been with us all for our major achievements and our sad times. He left us with so much, he took care of us. Oh I miss him so. Dad, P.S. I love you.

Today was a good day - no sleeping in - thanks Magnum. No "accidents" in the house today, thankfully. He did do a lot of whining - I mean major whining. From the time he woke up until the time Chris got home from work. I think that he is trying me - I know that he is a puppy - but he is high maintenance. As I write, he is laid out on his back, legs and arms stretched out. I guess he is comfortable in his home. Magnum, P.S. I love you.

I am going to bring the movie to my mom tomorrow night - Mom, you are going to cry. Get the kleenexes out. You'll be ok - it will be a reminder of dad - remember how much he loved you - don't be too sad. Mom, P.S. I love you.

I cooked up a storm tonight. I made Chicken Broccoli Casserole, Peas with Pancetta and brown rice. I will post the Peas with Pancetta tomorrow night - b/c I won't be cooking. I am so excited about tomorrow's night dinner - I will tell you all about it tomorrow.

Chicken Broccoli Casserole
This was taken from my Cooking Light cookbook - it was super easy - and ended up being delicious.

2 large crowns of broccoli - just the tops (save the stalks - I will have a recipe for them this week)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts - cut in half  
12 ounce can Canned milk
1/4 cup flour
Kosher salt 
Pepper
2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup - light Mayonnaise 
1/2 cup non-fat sour cream
1 can low fat, low sodium Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 tsp Worcester sauce
1/4 cup Sherry - I don't have Sherry in the house so used White Wine
1 cup Parmesan cheese

Boil a large pot of water and add the broccoli to cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the broccoli from the pot with a slotted spoon. Then add the chicken to the boiling water and let boil for 15 minutes. 
Meanwhile, in a saucepan add flour, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper and heat over medium-high heat. Bring it to a boil, and stir with a whisk consistently. Let the mixture thicken until it's smooth. Remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients - reserve half of the cheese. Stir until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
Remove the chicken and cut into small cubes. Add the broccoli and chicken to a casserole dish (I used a 9x12 dish) and pour the milk mixture over top and mix it all together. Cover with the remaining cheese. 
Bake at 400 for 40-50 minutes - until it's deliciously golden brown on top.

Chris rated this a 5+!!
Chris LOVED this dish. I love to cook for him. I feel really blessed that he loves what I make him. He doesn't take it for granted - he is always appreciative. He helps me clean up when we are done, and loves to try and describe the meal in his 'foody' words. I love Sunday dinners b/c we get to sit at the table and enjoy each other's company.

After dinner tonight, just after we finished cleaning up - he played U2's "One" which he says is 'our song - our wedding song' (hold on to your hats - no wedding is being planned - not yet anyways :) ) - he turned the lights down and we had a nice slow dance (aka 3 AM dance - hahah - I heard that phrase the other day and laughed - been there, done that) - not to sound sappy - but it was so nice so comfortable. Then after the song was over he played Van Halen's 'Jump' and had a little dance with Jozie. Chris, P.S. I love you so much. And Jozie, P.S I love you - my girl. 



I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and were able to accomplish everything that you set out to. I hope that you enjoyed yourself and the loved ones in your life. Tomorrow starts a new week - one that has so many good things in store for all of us - we just need to wait and see what they are.

Enjoy!

P.S. I love you all.
 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Who's a bad dog?

MAGNUM!!! That sums it up just about. Bad dog! Although he is so super cute, super cuddly, super fun, he is also going through some sort of not so cute stage where he is finding objects around the house to lift his leg. Hello!?! What is up with that? He has been doing so good, and over the past two days, he has been a little monkey. 
Take yesterday for example, when Chris was sorting dirty laundry on our bedroom floor, and Magnum came over and lifted his leg to relieve himself on the pile. 
Then today, as he was whining to go out, and Chris got up to put him out, he lifted his leg on our big basket in our entrance way. Oh you little guy, that is not good behaviour. It's probably a good thing that I wasn't doing this blog when Magnum was in potty training mode - or should I say, we were in our potty training mode - b/c it consumed my life. He was happy to do his 'bidnid' anywhere he wanted to. I have faith that this is just a stage, and he will return to being a good boy.

Here are some pics of me trying to make him sit tonight. As you can see, I didn't succeed.

I like to call this: I can't see you or hear you
Align Center
I like to call this one: Sorry did you say something?

And this one: NOOOOOOO Jozie, don't do it!!!!

We had a good day today. I was able to sleep in until about 8 which was nice. Poached eggs a la Chris for breakfast, a long dog walk in the sun, a little cleaning, bank appt., grocery shopping, 2 episodes of Californication, and that's about it really. I have been in agony with what I thought was an ear infection - broke down and went to the clinic and they said that it wasn't an infection, but there was some fluid behind the eardrum and to take a decongestant. So hopefully the Advil Sinus & Cold tabs will work on this. Not a good time.

The party last night was so much fun. Chris and I had a great time. I had a few Stella's. STELLLLLAAAA!  I heart them.  There was a great group of people and Heidi threw a great party. Happy Birthday to Michael - today's his bday. I ended up wearing the strapless top with a cute little cardigan that I picked up at Reitman's. Not sure why, but one of the lady's that works in the Reitman's that I visit every once in awhile kind of drives me bonkers. I think that she has an Australian accent and she is so dramatic. When I walk up the till, she's like 'Hello (which kind of sounds like Hellar) and then says 'oh is that all for you - oh I like this - oh this is so great' and goes on and on. I find myself just sort of staring and smiling. I find that I am starting to have little patience for people that are obviously trying to be friendly and nice, but just go overboard. Fine, I know, I'll probably go to hell for this.

No cooking tonight - god. Night 3. We had a late lunch - chicken sandwiches on pumpernickel with tomatoes and cheese. And then, to top it off - DON'T JUDGE ME - I made a quick trip to Dairy Queen for a blizzard for each of us. I just had the craving. The only reason I had the craving was b/c our friend John stopped by to drop something off at our house and said that he was picking up a blizzard for his wife, Tina (get well soon), who is not feeling too well. Damn DQ. Oh well, it was worth it.

Jules is not well either - feel better soon mama. 

I have big plans to cook up a feast tomorrow. I have two recipes that I pulled out of my Cooking Light cookbook. I am going to do a Chicken Broccoli bake and a Pea and Pancetta side dish. They should be tasty - I will report back tomorrow.

So, today my cuz Margo made my day. She called and left a message on my answering machine that made Chris and I laugh. I miss her. She is really more than a cousin - she is also one of my best friends. I have had so many amazing times with her and such awesome memories - we have done dinners on a student budget at the local Pizza Hut, to backpacking through Europe, to a road trip to Saskatchewan with our Grandma, to me having the honour of being one of her BM's at her wedding and so much more. She is a rock - she is kind to all - she is so wise, and a loving mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. One of our future endeavors is to drive across Canada on Harley Davidson's when we retire - so far we are far from retiring and have no experience at all with motorcycles - Jean we have many years to plan for this - and I cannot wait!!!! I do have a little bit of experience on a 'hog' - I once did a 45 min hull (that's bike talk - sniff) on the back fender of a Harley Davidson at 2 in the morning from Terrace to Kitimat. Don't ask. And after reaching our destination, for some reason I thought it was cool to leave the helmet on for a good 1/2 hour. Cool. 

Anyways - I hope you're all enjoying your weekend - unfortunately it won't last.

Enjoy!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I've waited for this day all week.

It's here, it's Thursday. To me, Thursday feels like my Friday. I think it's b/c Thursday is Chris' Friday and it's the first night of the week that we get to have dinner together, hang out, watch a little tele, and spend some much needed time together. Tonight was like one of many - although Chris got home a little late to my liking, ahem :) - he brought home Noodle Box - I had the Spicy Peanut and Chris had the Cambodian Jungle Curry. So delicious! It was a nice treat. Then we curled up to watch a few shows - and then we were supposed to go for a run, but Chris was out cold. Poor guy. He is so tired. And I am chicken to go on the Goose on my own, so it will have to wait until Saturday, but it will be done! 

Today was a pretty good day. I managed to rise on time. I had this weird vertigo going on today and felt nauseous for most of the day - but that has since passed. Thankfully.

We have a party tomorrow night - our friend Michael's 40th birthday party. It's not a formal party, but I have no idea what I am going to wear. I bought a strapless kind of hangy sort of style black top for our Christmas party this year and when I bought it, I had planned to wear it with something over top of my arms - b/c I HATE MY ARMS. But after I got ready that night, I just decided to wear it as is. I thought, screw it, I'm in my own home, with my friends and family and I am just going to feel good. And I did feel good. So, I thought that I would wear that tomorrow night, but definitely not on it's own. So I headed out to look for something - and I think that I am cursed when I go shopping for something in mind. If I am just out, and not needing anything, I can find anything; but, if I am out to find something specific, good luck! Anyways, I ended up buying a black cardigan from the Gap, which does not look good with the top, so I'll have to either leave work a bit early and take a trip to another mall, or wear something that I already have. Sigh.

No cooking tonight - and none tomorrow night either.  I plan on making a few dishes from my Cooking Light cookbook his weekend.  Something different that I haven't made before. I will keep you posted and report back.

In the meantime, I thought that I would leave you with some of my favourite items that I have in my pantry - aka kitchen cupboard. I so wish that I will have a pantry some day - speaking of kitchens, check out my neighbour's new website - I am hoping that he will do a cupboard in my kitchen when he is done the project that he is working on right now. Find some of James' masterpieces here.

Each morning at work I have either Squirrley bread or a whole wheat english muffin with Western Family brand Organic Peanut Butter - it is so good, and is sweetened with cane sugar. I have just started this jar, I usually have Adam's, also so good.  And to that I add a banana. My absolute favourite treat each day is my Venti 1/2 sweet iced Passion Tea from Starbucks. I go every work day to my local Starbucks right near work for my fix. I usually walk over with my friend Tracy and we do a quick stop at Save On. When I went on Monday they were out of Passion Tea - I ordered my standby - Vanilla Tea Misto. 

One of our favourite and healthy snacks is Edamame - we buy it frozen in the freezer aisle at Safeway - boil it for 5 mins, drain, toss in kosher salt, and serve it up. If you haven't tried them before - trust me, you will love them.  I also am hooked on Pink Lady apples right now - hello ma lady! I love the sliced up with some marble cheddar. They are the perfect snack together.

Ok, that's about it for me for tonight. Chris and Jozie are in bed and wee Magnum is chewing a bone at my feet. He will be ready for bed anytime soon too.

I hope you all have a great Friday - it's the start to a blissful weekend.

Loves. 

Enjoy!