Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wha Wha Wednesday

Whatup Wednesday.

Warning - I am fighting something - so don't come too close. Not really sure what it is - but it's in my throat - I am thinking positive - trying to stay healthy and just tell myself that the bug can't stay in my body. I have no room for any sort of flu/cold in my life. Chris is also fighting a cold. His started as a bad bout of allergies and has turned into a cold. Poor guy. 

Ok that's it for sick talk. No sick talk here.

Life is busy this week - I have been trying to find a dress for a wedding in May. I found something the other day - spent too much on it - and I don't love it. I am thinking of bringing out a favourite from the closet and shortening it a bit. I was pretty happy to see that it still fit - I can't breathe in it - but it looks nice :) We'll see - I have a couple of more weeks. I do, however, need to look nice for the day. Not only b/c it's my good friend, Tracy's, wedding and I like to look special for her :) - but I am the MC. OMG!!! I am the MC. Oh god - I just panicked a bit. MC in the HOWWWWSE.  Tips are welcomed. Please send them.

I just made 2 big batches of Tiger Fudge. We are having a Silent Auction for Power to Be - and I made a big slab of it to be auctioned off. I hope that someone bids on it - or I will run off with the whole thing - eat it - and probably get sick. Not b/c it's not good - but I don't think that one should eat a slab of it in one sitting. 

Alright friends - just a short post - nothing too exciting to report. I hope you are well.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Power meal, shenanigans, and pizza.

We got this in the mail today! I LOVE getting mail (hint) and I LOVE getting wedding invitations - especially ones that are as beautiful as this. I had to share. I am starting to think about our invites - and thinking that I may try and make them - we'll see how things progress. 

Day 2 after the big race - oh I wasn't supposed to be calling it that - anyways I'm feeling great. I felt so good when I got up this morning - spent about an hour sitting at my desk and got up to make my oatmeal - and all of a sudden I felt the 10K. My hips were a little tight - but as the day went by it got a bit better - and after a long dog walk tonight I am feeling back to normal. What a treat! What a concept! To train for something so that when you do it, you don't want to cry b/c you can't move. I did the 10K quite a few times walking of course - and the next day my feet were always so sore. Not today my friends, not today.

I was really conscience of what I was going to eat and drink the day before the run. I knew that I didn't want anything different or anything that was going to be harmful to me the next day. So, I decided on a light dinner that had protein, vegetables and carbs. Turkey soft tacos. Super easy, super healthy, and super deelish. 

Soft tacos

1 pack of ground turkey
1.5 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 red, yellow and orange pepper - chopped into small bits
1/2 cello bag of spinach
2 tbsp of tomato sauce

Toppings: guacamole (avocado, plain yogurt, Epicure guacamole seasoning, 1/2 of fresh lime); fresh tomatoes, shredded cheese and plain yogurt (instead of sour cream)
Try whole wheat or flax seed wraps.

In a large skillet, add the meat and the seasonings. Brown the meat for about 7 minutes, add the peppers and continue to let the meat simmer. After another minutes add the tomato sauce and the fresh spinach. Let the meat and vegetables continue to simmer until the spinach is at the consistency that you like and the meat is cooked.

Once the meat and vegetables are all ready - start the Taco assembly line and enjoy!!

I had to share these pics - this is a little 'something' that happens on a Sunday night (usually) after dinner. Chris has tried his hardest to avoid the dogs while eating - and then after dinner - the shenanigans are busted out and all **** breaks loose. 

Jozie is not as fond of this as Magnum is. Plus she is hoping that I will drop something for her. I didn't.

And now for something to end the night with - I was watching a bit of the cooking channel before I weathered the hurricane winds with the dogs and they were talking about 2 pizzas that I am going to try. The first one is a thin crust potato pizza. Yes!!! I know - potato pizza. So - stay tuned for that. The other one is a chocolate pizza. Hello!! I am going to have to break out Joc's (hi Jocelyn, I love and miss you lots) pizza dough recipe and just do it!

Alright Monday nighters - I am going to wrap up this party and do a little R&R on the sofa. Or couch. I usually say 'couch' not sure why I said 'sofa'. Is it more sophisticated to say 'sofa'. Whatever.



Sunday, April 25, 2010

Running for my life.

Race Day 2010. 

I am not sure what I am more excited about today: is it that I finished the race like I set out to do after training for 14 weeks; or that race day has come and past and my 'running anxiety' is over. I think that I am going to go with that I finished the race. 

I have to admit that this week was really hard for me, every time I thought about race day I was giving it so much negative energy. I think that when I ran the 10K two weeks and struggled so much - that the 10K today was going to be the same. Thankfully it wasn't. I enjoyed myself - I still struggled, but embraced every minute of it.

I started out waiting in anticipation for the race to begin. I started the race with my running friends - and decided as soon as I passed the Start line that I would do what I could do. And that is exactly what I did. I enjoyed the music, watching for familiar faces, and focused on trying to push myself just a bit further each time. I set my intervals for 10 mins and 1 min. I didn't fully do a 10 minute run- I normally made it to 7 mins and then would need to walk for 30 seconds or so. Before I knew it, I was at the 2 K mark. And then the 4K. And then when I thought that I should be coming up to the 5K I was surprised to see that I was at the 6K. And when I thought that I should be coming up to the 7K, I was at the 8K. And at that point, I knew that I was almost done. The last K, like last year, was a hard one. My shoulders were so uncomfortable - I think that I was resembling how I pictured myself - running hunched over - wishing for a back brace (oh wouldn't have that have been attractive?). I would run 1 minute and then need to walk. When I knew that the finish line was so close, I could barely make myself run and then Lisa surprised me from behind and put her hand on my shoulder and said 'Let's do this'. It was like my guardian angel sitting on my shoulder giving me the encouragement that I needed. We ran together and just before I started to try and sprint - I heard 'Yay Cheryl!!! Go Kiddo!' - it was Donna. Then when it was all over I found Jules in the crowd waiting for me to come in. She is my number 1 fan - and it was so nice to have her there. Watching the clock and trying to sprint across and just running through the Finish line - was worth everything that I had worked at for the past 14 weeks.

Those are the moments that I will remember. They won't be how I thought that I would wet my pants at the start of the run; or how I thought that I might wet them during the last 2 K; or that a 4 year old little girl running with her mom whipped my butt; or that I had to wait in a long line up after the race for my cookie and chocolate milk. 

I think that I have realized what I need to take from this - that I can run on my own; that I still need to push myself farther than I have and that I need to not be so hard on myself.  The finish line came regardless of how fast I went or how much I ran and how little I walked. I know that I can do this - so instead of focusing on how well or how fast I do it - that I can do it - and the rest will just happen in time. 

I am dedicated to keeping the running going this time - and learn how to push myself to the limit. I am dedicated to run for my life.

I am so proud of my friends who went out there and ran like the wind. They are all such strong women and I feel oh so privileged to know them.



PS - I just checked my time and I did it about 30 seconds faster than last year! I am so happy about that - not a great time - but on my own and just a tad bit faster. :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

No Canuckula here!

Vancouver Canucks 7. LA Kings 2. Whoop whoop boys!!! Great game - they played hard and it paid off. I like to call Chris 'Canuckula' when his team isn't winning and he is not happy. 

It's a Friday night - almost time for bed, but I thought that I should take a quick trip to confession and spill my guts. Problem is, I don't have too much to confess. So, I have decided to talk about my Pork tenderloin dinner with cranberry sauce and how I bailed out of running tonight. 

I will get to the good goss first. PTC. Pork Tenderloin and Cranberry sauce. Oh my friends, this dish was delicious. I 'stole' the recipe from The Pioneer Woman. Click HERE for the recipe. I wish that I had taken pictures of this b/c it was so beautiful.

The only thing that I altered about the recipe is that I ended up using a hole can of cranberry sauce. I will be excited to try it when I have a fresh batch of homemade cranberry sauce. I think that if you make your own - that the amount that PW used would be enough. I also added a bit more chicken stock - probably 1/4 extra. I also needed to cook the sauce more than what PW has cooked it for - probably another 10-15 mins longer. In addition, my pork took longer than 10-15 mins. I should have seared it longer than I did - but I don't like the outside to be too crispy. I just had to cook for about another 15-20 mins. In the end - the extra bit of cooking time was well worth it. I loved this dish - and Chris did too. It was definitely a 5!!

My usual Thursday night run did not happen last night b/c I had a work dinner. We were supposed to go for a run tonight but my running friend Donna is not well. I could have still went - but the sun the moon and the stars just weren't inline, so I decided against it. I am thinking positive thoughts for her - b/c I really want her to be able to rock it out on Sunday. She has worked so hard - and is going to do so well on Thursday. 

Alright weekend friends - I don't have an action packed weekend - but got some stuff happening. I am on the hunt for something to wear to a wedding, we are meeting a photographer for our wedding, time for positive thoughts, picking up race gear, possibly a hockey game and hopefully a dinner out. 

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend. Be good.



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Take a picture it lasts longer.

Do you ever visualize yourself doing something? Or being somewhere? I hear people all the time saying 'visualize you doing it' or 'visualize what you want'. Typically when I am trying to visualize myself doing something - my mind wonders to stuff like chocolate, or what should I make for dinner tonight, or I would like to buy something new to wear. And sometimes in my mind I say stuff like 'visualize this*'. *the not so good finger.

There are other times when I try to picture/visualize (oh man, I can't even get the term right) being a mom. Having a child - walking with it, carrying it around, feeding it - all the stuff a mom would do. Sometimes it makes my heart hurt - I want it so bad - it's one of the things that I can visualize. I have faith that if I visualize it enough - that it will happen. 

So, last night it was the 2010 finale of Sole Sisters. Our 13 weeks have come to an end. This experience was very different for me this year. It wasn't as emotional; it didn't seem as hard although I know I had definite struggles. I think that the unknown was more familiar to me this year - and each week I think that I was recognizing the progress. I always know that my 'Running for my life' will always be a series. I really wish that I had kept up the series like I did last year - I love not only reading the physical journey that my life was taking but the emotional one too. I am not going to stop running like I did last year. I am going to continue making running be a part of my life. As much as part of me shutters when I write that - there is a part of me that has excitement to carry on this journey. 

Alright, so back to our last night. Mena asked us all to close our eyes and kind of talked us through the TC 10K on Sunday. She asked us to visualize ourselves out on the course. This is where I struggled. Oh man - my visual of myself was ugly. UG-LEEEE! Picture this (make sure you use my face) - me running; very slow; hunched over at the waist kind of leaning to the right side a bit. Neck is bent over, but the head is up - with a look of desperation as if I am not understanding the language that is being spoken around me - you know the 'huh?' look. For some reason I have cotton jogging pants hiked up at the waist and a light pink short sleeve tshirt tucked in tightly. My hair is pulled back in a pony tail. I have all white runners on. I seem to be really fixated on my posture. And, I wonder, why the heck can I not visualize myself standing up straight - running with confidence and at least wearing something that I would normally wear when I am out on a run? Why do I have to be so hard on myself even when I am visualizing myself? Why couldn't I picture myself being 125 lbs wearing a really cute outfit, running like a breeze and being so light on my feet?

So - over the next couple of days - I really need to work on this. I need to give myself credit where credit is due. Do my best - and push myself. I don't want to give up before the race gun even goes off.

On the bright side and to change the subject - I don't think that I mentioned this before - but we have set our wedding date - November 27th! That means that in just over 7 months we will be married! Hoorah! And I know that the next 7 months are going to go by so quickly. Way too quickly. I love it - b/c everyone who asks me about the date - they all say the same thing - have fun! Enjoy it b/c it all goes by so fast! It seems that it already has gone by so fast - and I really don't want any sort of 'panic-freak-out' to happen. We have meetings with a DJ and a photographer this weekend - and I feel that once this is set - we can focus on the stuff that I love - the stuff that to makes a party. 

For tonight's dinner - I made THIS. I HEART the Pioneer Woman. I will report on this recipe next time. It was delicious - but I altered it slightly as for me the measurements were off slightly. 

I do have a recipe for tonight though - it was Monday night's dinner - and it was a good'n.

Taco Salad

I make this salad quite a bit - I love it. I love the spicy chicken with the vegetables and the spice and having a dressing that isn't made up of oils and vinegars. I switched it up a bit this time - and think that it turned out pretty good. This recipe made enough for Chris and I to have a hearty salad for dinner and another one for lunch the next day. 

4-5 chicken breasts - chopped into small pieces
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lime

Two tortillas 
Cooking spray

Romaine and/or head lettuce (I prefer the crispness of these lettuces)
1 pint of grape tomatoes
1 green pepper
2 yellow peppers
2 orange peppers - all chopped into bite size pieces
Shredded cheddar or mozzarella

Plain yogurt

For the taco bowls - all  you need is the flour tortillas, cooking spray a baking sheet and aluminum foil. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Cut two pieces of aluminum foil and scrunch them lightly to form a ball - it can be a very loose ball. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, place the aluminum balls. With the cooking spray - lightly spray one side of the tortilla and then the other. Place the tortillas loosely on the balls - so that they will form a bowl (or something that may resemble that) as they cook. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes - or until the tortillas are crispy and not burnt :)

In a large skillet, add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the chicken and season with the garlic powder and cayenne pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Saute until chicken is fully cooked. Add the fresh lime juice, mix together and set aside. This should take about 12-15 minutes.

Prepare all of your vegetables. 

Gently take your taco bowl - add the greens, the vegetables, the chicken, the cheese, and the toppings and you have a fancy and fun salad. 

I took a picture of this and thought that it was so lovely - but not practical to eat out of. So - I put it all in a bowl, gave it a good toss and then broke up the tortilla to eat along side the salad - it was still delicious.

*Guacamole - I love guacamole. I have an awesome seasoning from Epicure that I always like to have on hand. To make the guacamole, it is very easy. I use two avocados, juice of half a lime, 1/2 cup of plain low fat yogurt (it calls for sour cream but I like the yogurt better) and then the seasoning. If you don't have any sort of seasoning - you can use garlic powder, cayenne pepper, chili flakes - really whatever you like. Mix it all together so that it is creamy - and that's it!

Well friends - I am just finishing this up and watching the Canucks on PVR - please don't phone me to tell me the score. I know that they will win tonight - I have faith.

Until next time - be good.



Monday, April 19, 2010

Remember when...

You could do anything without hesitation? When, if you had fear about pushing yourself, it lasted for a minute and then you just moved on? Remember when your thoughts were consumed by hanging with your friends, riding bikes, eating ice cream without guilt, sleepovers... If you can't remember - go back, go way way back. 

Today I asked a question to my co-workers - prompting them to think back to their youth and remembering a time to share with the group. I have been thinking of a story all day - in the process I remembered the freedom of being a child. Where if I had to do something that challenged me, I just did it. I remember being nervous and hesitant - but it was so much easier to risk everything back then, than it is now. Now, I realize that trying to do flips on the monkey bars at 8 is a lot easier than doing them at 35. But that feeling of having no reservations, no pressure, be the best that you can be. This is how I remember a lot of moments. I know that they weren't all like that - but for my memories - I feel that I managed with whatever was thrown my way.

I have been working on my psychi (not sure if that is even a word) for Sunday. Race day. 10K run day. A day of running with 15000 other runner/walkers. See how I'm doing that? Taking the pressure away from thinking of the 10K as a race. Huh? huh? What do you think? *sniff. Ok, well really I just thought of that - but will try to do a bit more of that. I have an easy 30 minute run tomorrow - that will be a good run - and the entire time, I will remember that I can do this - I will do this - I am doing this.

I think that it's so important to be able to go back to a place where we felt strong, smart, proud of ourselves, confident and try and remember how we can get back to that place to get through whatever challenges we need to face.

Alrighty - I made a full on veggie meal last night. I did Barley Risotto - love this dish. Super easy - and so delicious. I also made stuffed sweet red peppers and some slow roasted Campino tomatoes. 

Stuffed Sweet Peppers

I picked up these beautiful peppers at The Rootcellar this weekend. They are so sweet and crisp and taste just that little bit better than a regular red pepper. They came in a pack of three - but this recipe would be enough to fill 4.

3-4 red sweet red peppers
1 zucchini
1 yellow pepper
1 onion
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup minced Italian flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Cut the pepper down lengthwise - cut the top 1/4 off - so that the bottom 3/4 can be used to hold the stuffing. 

With the remaining top piece, chop them into tiny pieces. It's good to keep things small so that they can easily be stuffed into the peppers.

Ok - I have to be honest. This was the first pic I took of the chopped peppers - notice the background? I took the pic and realized the jumbo M&M bag hiding in the back. Chris gave me these for Easter and he opened them on his week off and he and my sister gobbled them down this weekend.

Chop the zucchini into small pieces too. I like to cut the zucchini into 3 pieces. Then I place a flat side down and cut four strips one way and then four strips the other way - and then I lay the pieces down flat and chop into small squares. It's super easy and you can get your pieces in a uniform shape.

Once you have chopped your vegetables - in a large saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil, saute your chopped onion. When your onions are golden, add the minced garlic - don't let it burn. Add the zucchini and saute for about 5 minutes. Then add the chopped red and yellow peppers. Continue to saute for another 5 minutes. Add the chopped flat leaf parsley and some black pepper. When the vegetables have softened - not mushy - remove the pan from the heat and add in the crumbled goat cheese and mix. Spoon out the mixture into the peppers. Top with the parmesan cheese and then the panko breadcrumbs. 

Bake in a 350 oven for 20 minutes - or until top is nice and brown. 

They are not only so beautiful (I think) but so delicious. 

Ok - my lovely fiance is home - and we are off to watch the hockey game - we have PVR'd it and are hoping that our boys do well.

Tomorrow is a new day - a day for taking care of business. I made taco salads tonight for dinner with a crisp tortilla bowl - and will share it with you tomorrow night. 



Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sweet Sunday.

Dear Canucks, you are welcome at our table, any time.

Oh Sweet Sunday. I love Sunday's - I have ever since I was a kid. I am not too sure why really - as it is the sign of the end of the week - and it all starts over again tomorrow. It's a day for taking that deep breath in and enjoying the end of a weekend. I think that it always has signified 'family' time for me too. We always had big family with dinner guests for dinner lots of Sunday nights growing up. We almost always had roast beef with yorkshire puddings - probably the reason why I don't eat roast beef now :) And now - I try to have family over whenever we can on Sunday nights - and if there isn't family there - it's pretty much always the night that Chris and I sit down at the table together and have our dinner - placemats and everything. :)

Well on this fine Sunday - I am having a bit of a guilty conscience. I really know that b/c it is so beautiful out that I should be embarking on weedfest 2010 and starting to clean up the gardens. Instead, I am sitting out on the deck listening to my neighbours dogs bark instead. Hmm... they sure have a lot to say today. I have no desire. I know it needs to get done - and when it's crunch time - i.e., the pots need to be planted and my small veggie garden needs to be loaded up - I will get 'er done. For today - think that I may just sit on my Royal Canadian and 'think' about doing it instead. 

The weekend has been a good one. We went to 'Date Night' with friends Tracy and JR on Friday night. I thought it was a funny movie - but mostly loved my 'Hollywood Husband' Mark Wahlberg - he had like a 3 minute role in total - and for me, he made the movie. Saturday - we slept in. Can't believe it! 9:45 - then made a delicious smoothy, then took the pups on a big long hike - and then went on an hour long bike ride. Chris bought me a bike for my bday last year - and sadly, I have not used it. Yesterday it was christened - and it did very well. It was a nice ride - thankfully we live right close to the Galloping Goose - so it's a great trail to ride - no traffic. Chris loves biking! He kept insisting that if I was going down a hill that I should keep my legs moving at all times and that I should be peddling backwards - each time that he insisted this - I used more and more curse words - pretty sure that about 1 min before we got home, he realized that we had different 'styles' of biking. 

Callum and Debs came over yesterday for dinner and to watch the hockey game. Dear Canucks - you played well - and tomorrow night will be  your game - don't fret. 

I made, which I think were my best ones to date, ground chicken meatballs to have in souvlakis, with homemade tzatziki sauce and greek salad. It was an easy dinner - and something that I will definitely be making again. 

I wish that I had taken a picture of all of the ingredients for the meatballs - but the camera was out of juice. I just added - 3 small packs of ground chicken, one egg, 1/3 cup of panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan, 1/3 cup of finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, 1 large garlic clove (minced) and pepper. I have never used the parsley before and it was so delicious and so colourful. The garlic was from my running friend's, Donna's, garden - and it was so awesome. There really isn't like anything that is freshly grown like that. I sauteed them for about 10 minutes and then just added them to a casserole dish to keep warm in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes. They didn't dry out - and they were so flavourful.

I make this often - usually different ways - but last night's turned out really well - so I wanted to make note of it. I used fresh dill - and it made all of the difference. Sometimes you may have read that I would like to marry something b/c it is so good. Yesterday after a trip to the Rootcellar - I had a big bunch of fresh dill in the back of the car - and the aroma that it was exuding - was fabulous. And when I got into the car after a short trip into Safeway - I wanted to marry the dill. I can't say enough.

Ok, I digress - let's do this.

325 grams of plain yogurt - half a large container
1 large garlic cloved - finely minced
1/2 a large english cucumber - grated
3 tbsp fresh dill - finely chopped 
Fresh ground pepper

After the cucumber has been peeled and grated - place it in a coffee filter or cheese cloth - inside a strainer and let it sit for as long as you can. I let mine sit for about 30 minutes. When the cucumber has had some of it's moisture strained out - add all of the ingredients together - cover and let sit (if you have time) so that all of the flavours can marry - see everyone wants to marry dill - he's so popular. 
I used some great souvlaki pitas that I picked up at the Rootcellar this week - I really like them. They are thin - and pretty big - so one is definitely enough per person. With finely chopped lettuce, chopped tomatoes, the meatballs and the tzatziki as the grand finale - you have made yourself a delicious and relatively healthy dinner.

For dessert - we had fresh strawberries - and the most amazing yogurts. If you haven't tried Liberte yogurt - please do. Trust me, you will NOT  be disappointed. We had lemon and a new flavour that we found - coconut. This stuff, to me, is better than ice cream and better than whipped cream. If you are calorie counting - don't look at the measurements on the label - just try it and know that when you have it - that it is a treat for being so good.

For tonight's dinner - I am making old favourites: Barley Risotto, Stuffed Sweet Peppers (I have made them before, but I can't find them in my recipe index, so will ensure that I post) and slow roasted Campino tomatoes on the vine. 

Alright - I think that I am going to try and sit back and enjoy the rest of the day - and try and talk myself out of going for both a run or a bike ride. Chris will be home shortly and I know that he'll be eager to go. Perhaps if I start walking with a limp now that he think that I am too injured and understand that it's not worthwhile that I go. :) What??? Is that wrong?

Have a great rest of your Sunday. Enjoy the sun - summer is almost here and there will be so many more days like this.



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Is this really a food blog????

I sat down with my laptop when I got home from work today - normally I don't do that until dogs are walked, dinner is made and dishes are done - but this week, since Chris is on holidays he is walking the pups and making dinner. Anyways - I sat down in search of a wedding photographer, checking a few of my favourite sites, and I was thinking - I have a cooking blog and I haven't posted a recipe in forever. What's up with that? Well - a couple of things. After Easter dinner last Monday, I really haven't cooked much. When we were in Summerland we made pizzas on the Friday night and a whole wheat (kid friendly) pasta on the Saturday night. We did poached eggs and buttermilk pancakes for breakfasts. The kids were really good eaters, thankfully. I think that I will try and post some 'kid friendly' foods - healthy dishes - and post them someday soon. Is there anything that you are wanting your kids to eat - but they won't? Maybe I can help. (Please don't say liver)

So, I haven't cooked - but this weekend I plan to change that. I have a key lime pie recipe that I will make and post - and I think that we're having a crew in for the Saturday night Canucks game - and I think that I will make some sort of souvlakis - we'll have to see how those develop.

The babies stay so close to their mamas. I loved watching them.

On Monday, my brother took us to a Cattle Auction. If you never been to one before -  you should go. I love cows. Some of the big bulls were close to 2000 lbs. And there were wee babies with their mamas - and if I could I would have brought them home with me - and made them a little paradise in my backyard. I can just picture it though - my neighbours dogs would bark, my backyard neighbour would knock the fence down for them to come for a visit and they would get bored of my little yard and run away. Run away cows can't be a good thing.

Hello Baby. Stay near your mama. The babies sent to the homes with their mamas - they were never separated. 

So instead of bidding on one - I just watched and listened. The Auctioneers were so fun. They did a lot of 'heaybibida bibida heyohbitta' - which translated to something like 'we have a big bull, and we'll start the bidding at $.70 a pound'. They can talk so fast - and amazingly these ranchers, farmers knew what they were saying. In the midst of all the bruhaw - my brother and SIL bought two cows! TWO COWS!

Mama protecting her baby - and in much need of a good bath.

Now - if you are against cow meat - then please do not read this paragraph. I am not a red meat eater - but Chris loves it. My brother has purchased these cows so that he can feed his family - organically raised meat. Part of me is devastated by the process - and then part of me feels so much more comfortable knowing that the meat that they are raising is free of any thing that could potentially be so bad for you. I am not going to get attached to them the next time I go for a visit - I will probably pet them, and take pictures and probably try and feed them an apple and maybe even see if I can get a saddle on one of them or put a leash on one and go for a nice walk - BUT - I will not get attached.

Cow gang. 

So we are just home from a trip to Costco. This is what normal couples do during the week together - just hang out, I think. Right now Chris is cleaning the kitchen - and there is quite a bit of huffing and puffing b/c I am not helping him. Welcome to my Wednesday nights brotha.

Tomorrow night - Canucks vs. LA. Game 1 of the playoffs. Where your Canucks gear and cheer them on - unless you are going for LA and if you are - tsk tsk. :) It is also run 2 this week - I am going to do 3 this week and work on my head game. Dear Mind - please don't ruin my running career. 



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Run like the wind.

What does cursing, heavy breathing, discouraging thoughts, memories of your pup Maggie, a beautiful evening, an emotional evening and a lot of sweat have in common? If you said 'sounds like my last date' you are incorrect. If you said 'a practice 10K run on the TC 10K route' then you are correct.

Oh friends - it was a hard night. Actually parts of it were really hard, and then other parts not so bad. I think that my main struggle was just being on my own and pushing myself. I struggled with the first 10 minutes - my breathing was a bit out of control. My poor running pal, Lisa, I think that she was worried that I was going to keel over. Lisa - if you are reading - you did incredible tonight - I missed you at the end - I did make it though - slow as molasses but I made it.

I had that whole mind game going on. I just didn't push myself. And I think that the reason that I am so upset with myself is - is that I know that I can do this. I know that I can run 10 minutes with a 1 minute walk. I think that what is different from last year is that I didn't really believe in myself. I know that I can do this - I just wish that I knew that tonight. It wasn't an inspiring evening for me - but then all of a sudden I got to the 8K marker and it seemed like it all went by so fast. Don't get me wrong, I was NOT fast tonight. 

My last 1K as I was just about to run in front of the Parliament buildings - my girls (I am not sure if they know that I call them that, but I do) Donna and Judy - were walking towards me to meet me and run the last couple of minutes with me. I couldn't believe it. They did so awesome tonight - they ripped up that course and applied all of their training to have a successful run. It meant so much to me - I had to do my best not to get emotional. That is what I love about this clinic this year - I have made great friends - so supportive - and I hope that they know that they are incredible ladies.

I am going to get in the zone - and I am going to work on preparing myself for race day. Whether I choose to wear my iPod, or leach on to someone and pretend that I am visually impaired so they feel worried and guilty and choose to run with me - that is what I will do. Ok, the latter - probably not - it's probably wrong on a bunch of different levels. But, I will work on what I need to work on to ensure a successful and strong run. I will do that. Check.

After a long day and a long run - I am still missing my kidlets in Summerland. I really missed them this morning - and just want to have them close by all the time. I will see them in the next couple of months - and can't wait!

Alright Tuesday night fans. I appreciate you listening to my rant about my run. Life will get better - this funk will pass - and I have to just remember that I ran/walked 10K tonight - when I could have been sitting on my Royal Canadian at home.

Run like the wind.



Monday, April 12, 2010

Home is where the heart is? I think...

Home Sweet Home! Home Sweet Home, but missing our weekend home. We are just home - and we had the best weekend. I am just looking at all of our pics - and I miss my nieces and nephew so much. We had such a great time hanging out with them, shuttling them around to their activities, playing with them, listening to their stories, watching their faces light up to just about anything... it was just so great.

My youngest niece, is the most lovely little sweet angel. We just love her to bits. She was so good - a 15 month little baby who doesn't really know us - and she was so good - she just was incredible. And she LOVED Chris. And he loved her too :)

My other niece and nephew were so great too. So fun! They just are full of life. They were so good too. I think that they really had a fun time with us - they too loved Chris - loved using him as a jungle gym and gave him a new name of 'Mr. Cut-in-half'. My nephew thought that is what he said his last name was. So darn cute!!!

We were there for two nights on our own with the kidlets - and it was a lot of work. Good work though. We loved it. I had a little time (not a lot b/c I was super busy - 3 kids people!!!)  to think about how hard work it is taking care of little ones. I can't even explain how much love and respect I have for all of the mothers that I know. I find it amazing that someone can take care of one, or two, or three or twelve children everyday - unselfishly, wanting the best for their children and giving them everything that they can. 

I am not a mom. I hope to be some day. I loved this weekend and having the little ones to hang out with. Having the older wee'ins cuddle on my lap and just be. And having the wee baby snuggle in and rest her head on my shoulder. I can imagine how the never ending job of being a parent can be so worth it. Just to have them run up to you and give you a hug and be so happy to see you, or to have them fall asleep in your arms - is just unexplainable. It makes my heart hurt; in a good way. 

Summerland is lovely. My brother and SIL's place is gorgeous. I am really wanting to move there. Like, badly. But, my fiance is not interested. I am trying to convince Chris that he would love it there. We could be surrounded by amazing lakes, wine, beautiful landscapes, small towns, fresh produce, beautiful weather, family... who wouldn't want to move there????  

Here are a few photos of our trip. 

Seriously? How cute is she???
Sweet Kobe!
Love this one.
Us out in the Cherry Orchard for a little stroll.
Miss Ballerina.

Although I am so happy to be home - happy to have our pups with us (PS - they were spoiled by Uncle David) I just can't help but wish that I was still in the land of Summer. 



Thursday, April 8, 2010

Whattup 3 day work week?

Hi friends. I don't want to sound too excited or anything - but today is my 'Friday'. I quite enjoy this 3 day week. In fact I LOVE it. I love a lot of things: my Fiance, my dogs, my family and friends, chocolate, cauliflower, kosher salt - I love a lot. And today - I am loving a short week and long weekend.

I just got home from a run. It was a good run. 10 minutes times 5. I ran with Donna. I heart Donna - I have ran with her a couple of times and she is so great. When I met up with her tonight I said - 'are we going to do 10 or 9?' - totally hoping that she would say '9', but she said 10. Although 10 was scary - it turned out well. It started out pretty good - I stopped at about 6 minutes and had to walk for 30 seconds and then again just before the 10 minutes was up. The following 4 intervals were stellar - a little slow but there was no stopping and no thoughts of dying. Not thinking about dying when you are running is always a bonus. 

I know that running is a struggle most days - and I am not really any expert - but I do know that bad days happen - and good days will happen too. It's important to remember the good days - and be proud of yourself for accomplishing something that is difficult. This goes for anything - not just running. It's so important to remember that anything that we do to better ourselves - is good. Just simply good. 

On our run tonight - we met Jazzie. Oh no. She was being walked by a volunteer from the SPCA and is currently up for adoption. I think that I may heart her. I came home and showed her to Chris. Check her out HERE. She seems like a loving little bundle. She is older - and it breaks my heart to think of someone giving up their dog at a later stage in their life. I am going to sleep on it - and see what happens. Tracy - has been trying to bribe me to get another dog for quite some time - I told her that 3 dogs is hard - she thinks that it is as easy as having 2. 

My dad always wanted a Basset Hound. I always felt so badly that I brought home a family pup that was the exact opposite of a Basset Hound. I brought home something very similar to the Chewbaka or the Shaggy DA. Although I wouldn't have changed our Maggie for anything in the world - I always had a bit of guilt that my dad never got the dog that he wanted. Sigh. I know my dad never had regrets with Maggie - he loved her and she him. So part of my just always wants to adopt one someday to fulfill one of my dad's dreams. 

Alright - I am taking a bit of a road trip this weekend. Chris and I are jet setting off to Summerland - aka Land of Summer - well I really don't know if that is true, but it is fun to say that. We are taking a quick trip up to hang with my nephew and nieces while my brother and SIL take off for a little time together for the weekend. We are super excited - I am so looking forward to some good one on one time with the kidlets. Uncle David is coming to stay with the pups. He loves the pups and the pups love him.

I will try and post while I am up there - just so I don't go through withdraw. 

I hope you all have a great weekend - be good to yourselves!



Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What is 9x7?

Did you guess 63? If you did, you are right. But, if you guessed what we ran last night, then you are even more right. Before I ran last night, I was having difficulties doing math - and I thought it was 56 - whatever! I obviously don't practice my timetables as much I should. I used be so good at math - basic math. Quiz me! Just kidding! Ok - so last night we ran 9 minutes with a 1 minute walk in between - 7 times. That is 70 minutes in total! At first I wasn't thinking that it was going to be so long - but hello - 70 minutes is a lot!!! Whoa.

I started out slow. So slow. I stayed slow - but after the 2nd interval I no longer felt like I was dying - which is always a bonus. I was a little defeated last night - I knew I was slow and it bothered me. But then in the end - I did it - I finished it - ran my heart out and finished what I had started. I had great support from Leader Linda - and got to run a bit with a new running friend - Lisa. In the end - the entire group did their best - and it was a healthy night full of exercise and the fresh air!

So, as many of you know - Magnum went missing - but is now home. We missed him so. He is happy to be home - he likes his new dog tag that has his name and phone number on it - and he likes that life is back to normal. One thing that he missed completely when he was on his scary adventure, was Penny. Oh sweet Penny. Penny is our friends Tina and Jon's 11 month old Vizsla pup. She is a bundle of energy at one moment - and then a lap dog at the next. 
Penny is a sweetheart. Magnum likes Penny - but he is quite protective of his surroundings when other pups are around and pretty much just follows them around to see if they do anything that he hasn't done before. 

Ogre - Penny's nemesis - he is so proud of himself.

Penny ran like a deer on our dog walks as we searched far and wide for Magnum. Penny needed to be carried like a puppy to avoid Ogre the cat. Penny laid on my lap to snuggle up as much as she could. Penny laid in our bed whenever she could. Penny woke me up at 6:30Am to sneak out of her kennel and jump in our bed. And Penny was a pure delight. She is welcome any time.

I wanted to post one of the dishes that I made for Easter. Nachynka. What is that you say? Well, it is delicious and it is a Ukrainian dish that Mrs. Sherstan used to make each Easter. I remember my mom always loving it - so I wanted to surprise her with it. I didn't have Mrs. Sherstan's recipe - but the one that I found on the net was very close to her recipe. 

Nachynka is similar to cornbread - but creamier and not as heavy. It's more of a side dish - I guess slightly similar to polenta. I never tried it at Easter before - and am so wishing that I did - b/c I want to know how it compared to Mrs. S's. 

1/2 cup butter
1 cup cornmeal
3 cups of milk - I used 2 cups of cream and 1 cup of skim milk
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Butter to lightly grease casserole dish

Pre-heat oven to 350.

In a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add cornmeal and stir thoroughly to warm up the cornmeal. Slowly add the milk and stir continuously to ensure that the mixture is blended. 
Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Then beat in the salt, sugar and baking powder. Add a small amount of the milk/cornmeal mixture to the eggs and stir to temper the eggs. Once it is all mixed together, add the egg mixture to the cornmeal mixture. 
Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and bake until golden brown - about 30 minutes. 

I did make this ahead of time and let it sit until I was ready to put it in the oven. I think that this is ok to do - but if you do it this way - make sure to give it a good stir before placing it in the oven as the egg mixture will settle. 

It is a delicious dish - and I dare you to try it. NO!! I triple dog dare you. 

Tonight's dinner was a leftover turkey lurkey. I made a big turkey pot pie. One of Chris' absolute faves. You can find the recipe HERE. I also triple dog dare you to try this recipe. 

Ok friends - life is good.  I hope that you are enjoying your week. 



Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Feaster.

Magnum and what he does best - carrying his monkey around 

Well, the Easter weekend is over. It's amazing how different it turned out from what I had planned. In the end, it has all worked out divinely - our wee Magnum is home; Easter dinner was shared with friends and family; and some quality time with my fiance (I still find it funny saying that). 

I will forever think of April Fool's Day and Easter 2010 as the time that Magnum went missing. I will also think of it as the time that Magnum spent a night in a horrible storm by himself. And I will think of it as the time that Magnum went on a road trip with a stranger. But with all these sad memories, I will remember that Magnum was reunited with us and we will never let him go again.

So our weekend ended up being great. I had my sister and my phews over for lunch yesterday - a little Caesar salad and chicken wings. A nice visit. It's amazing how they are growing up so fast. Connor is 15 almost 16 - and he is so different. He is still a loving boy and he and his brother have my heart every time they are around; however, he is in 'discussions' with me about bringing a 'date' to our wedding. If you see him on the street or at the baseball park - please pass this message on to him for me. 'NO'. Thanks.

Why is the oldest guy - smiling like an oddball?

We did our Easter dinner tonight. I was up early. I mean early. 7AM. I think that my body thought that it was a work day - and didn't want to let me keep resting. So, I started early - and by 3:30 I literally was done everything. Love it when it all works out that way.

On the menu:

Mashed potatoes
Stuffing with sausage
Turnips with red pepper flakes
Sauteed corn with red, orange and green peppers
Layered salad*
Nachynka (will post next time)
Strawberry cake - delicious - thanks to Tina!!
Carrot cake muffins

*The layered salad that I made was a favourite from having dinner with the Sherstans each Easter. The Sherstans were our family friends when growing up. Mrs. Sherstan was an amazing cook and I think that a lot of my love of cooking and entertaining comes from her. She always threw the greatest parties and always had the best food. When I look back, I think that I watched her closely - I watched how she entertained and took mental notes. :) 

Anyways - she made this salad each Easter and it is delicious. It is easy. Very easy. But it looks amazing and is always a hit at each dinner.  It can be made the night before - how perfect is that? And then, the next day it's one less dish to have to make. 

The pic doesn't do it justice.

Mrs. Sherstan's Layered Salad

1 iceberg lettuce - chopped into small bite size pieces
1 small romaine lettuce or bunch of spinach - chopped into small bite size pieces (I didn't add this, this time - but it is a nice addition)
1 1/2 cups of frozen peas (uncooked)
6 hard boiled eggs - sliced
3 stalks of celery - sliced really thin
1 bunch of green onions - chopped
1 small tin of water chestnuts - sliced
8-10 strips of bacon - crisp and crumbled into small pieces
1 cup shredded cheese

In a rectangular casserole dish - I use one of the clear glass pyrex dishes - layer the salad in the order as they are listed below. 

1 cup of mayonnaise
1 cup of sour cream
1 tsp of sugar
Fresh cracked pepper

Gently spread the topping on top of the salad - and that's it! Let it sit overnight or for at least 4-6 hours. It's fresh and crisp and delicious.

These are the cupcakes that I made. I make them every year - they are my favourites. I use a carrot cake cake mix - add walnuts, fresh grated carrots and raisins and bake. For the icing - I use a pack of softened cream cheese and icing sugar. And then broil coconut and gently put on top of the icing to make it look like a little nest. They are cute and delicious. 

For dinner - not only did we have a good feast shared with friends and family, but we also had Jules and Chris dancing in the kitchen to Slipknot. Oh my. Jules looks likes she is really enjoying herself - she doesn't really know who 'Slipknot' are. And she doesn't really know that Chris is trying to mosh with her. Oh my. Let's hope that they don't do this 'number' at our wedding. You should see the video. 

Although Slipknot is playing - I'm sure Jules is hearing 'Old Time Rock 'n Roll'
Uh, Chris - don't dance like that with my mom.
Pretty sure Jules has her eyes closed.

Well I hope that you all had a good weekend and a good Easter. 

Life is back to normal - just the way we like it.



Saturday, April 3, 2010

Magnum is home safe and sound.

Our boy is home - I could have taken pictures of him all night!

Our missing boy has been found. Magnum is home. He is home - safe and sound - and without any harm - well physical harm. He seems really good - he was very happy to see us - and seems really tired and is not letting us out of his sight. I hope that he is not thinking that we left him.

On Thursday night when I was out for a run, Chris took the dogs for a walk to our usual hike. They were approached by a couple with 3 big dogs. The dogs all greeted one another and were sniffing - and all of a sudden one of the big dogs picked up Magnum by the scruff of the neck and started whipping him around. The owner picked up his dog and flung him to the ground. Magnum was whimpering, ran off a bit but seemed ok. Then, one of the other dogs started running after him and chased him off. Chris turned and started running after him - and Magnum was gone. Completely out of sight.

Chris stayed for around a half an hour looking for him. He came home quickly, dropped off Jozie, grabbed our neighbour, gumboots and something to cut the branches as he walked through the trails. When I got home, there was a note that read 'Magnum is lost' - and then gave the spot where it all went down. 

We spent the night looking for him. We came home and got warm clothes - and stayed until about 11:30. Our friend was at the park the next morning at 5. We spent until about 1:30 on Friday - putting up posters and just walking around and calling. We were there again in the later afternoon for another walk. We decided that it didn't help us being there anymore. 

Not only was our little guy lost but we have the worst weather - the worst storms since 2006. It has been winter cold these past couple of days. 

This morning we received a call from the CRD - who I left more than one message - and they confirmed that he hadn't been found by them. He suggested that I call the Saanich Police non-emergency line. I did - and 5 minutes later I got a call from a police officer who had received a report from the day before of someone who had found a dog matching the same description in the same area. I knew right away that it was him. After a couple of hours and only two messages - we got a call from Mark who confirmed that he had our dog. I broke down. He was such a nice man - and was able to completely empathize b/c he had a dog too. 

After much anticipation - we picked him up this evening at 6:30. Mark and his girlfriend took very good care of him. He was bathed - b/c when they found him he was so dirty from running through all of the mud. They said that he had been trapped between a shrub and a fence. He had stayed out the first night of the brutal storm. They said that he was such a good boy - and Mark - a tall, strapping young man - said that he was missing him already. He was meant to be found by this couple - we are glad that it was them. 

We are just so happy that he is home. We are so relieved. We feel that we can rest - we have that secure feeling that life is back to normal. I know that some people may think that he is only a 'dog' - but he is more than that to us. He is a member of our family - and I can't even explain how scary and sad it was. I just knew that he would be found. I knew that he would be safely returned to us - but there was a small part of me that didn't want to think that he may not come home - but it was hard not too.

So, we can rest easy tonight. We can share our bed with two dogs - and although I sometimes complain that Magnum pushes me to the edge of the bed - tonight I will not be complaining about that.

Thank you to everyone who helped and contacted us wanting to help. You have no idea how nice it feels to know that you are loved.

Thanks to all of you.



Friday, April 2, 2010

Magnum is Missing!


Magnum – Black & White Shih Tzu

LAST SEEN – 6:30 PM THURSDAY, APRIL 1st Along sidewalk at Admirals and highway

Please contact me if you have seen him. 

Please contact any family or friends if they live in the Tillicum/Gorge area, asking them to be on the lookout.

We are missing him so much already - and just want him home safe and sound - warm and with a full belly of biscuits.