Monday, December 31, 2012

Love, love you all.

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Another year has come and gone by so quickly. In a blink of an eye - we are passing on this year of 2012 - and starting a brand new one. 2013! Two thousand and thirteen. Wow.

This year has been a great year. I have been blessed with 'better' health. I have been blessed with a year filled with friendship and love from my family and friends. I have celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. We have worked hard and treated ourselves to a brand spankin' new shed (that we adore) and a new truck. And I think that although it wasn't for the full year - I have taken on a new workout/health/nutrition program that I have for the past three months been falling in love with.

This year has been a good one for us. I don't have regrets about things that I didn't accomplish, places I didn't go, races that I didn't run, weight that I didn't lose (I did end up losing 7 pounds - hah!), paintings that I didn't paint, organizing that I didn't organize... I have realized that life is so precious that I can't have hang ups on what I didn't get done - and need to focus on what I did.

I know that I have said this before - maybe in different words - but when I am taking care of myself - life is just so much better. I am not sure how I can explain it better than that. And for me - taking care of myself is eating healthy, working out, getting lots of sleep, drinking lots of water, staying positive, loving those who want to be loved, no stress, and appreciating myself. Those are all simple things that I can do everyday. I have only added things that I know that I can do. And when I do all of these things, then other things will just fall into place.

My new work out regime - is helping me in so many more ways than I thought. I think that the biggest thing for me - is finally taking the time to take care of myself. Spending 5 days a week exercising - is gold for me. GOLD. When I do that - I feel exhilarated. I feel invincible. I feel strong. I feel powerful. I know that isn't the same for everyone - but it definitely is how I feel. I just wish that it didn't take me so long to figure this out.

I have goals set for this year. I am not quite ready to share them. I fear that if I share them and then have to alter them or don't meet them - that I have failed myself. So at this time - I have to change that focus - and instead of already thinking of how I may fail - think of how I am going to whip those goals butts - and celebrate the success.

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I can't handle those faces - they are too cute - and they remind me for every negative their needs to be a positive. For every time they don't come when they're called - they will always snuggle with us in bed at night. 

My new mantra for 2013 is: For every negative thought - you have to have a positive thought to counter it.

Some may say 'Just don't have any negative thoughts'. And to that I would say 'Impossible. Unless we're living on Little House on the Prairie - it's impossible to never have some type of negative thought'. Again, that's for me. With that being said - I am not going to always look for something negative. Trust me. I will just let those pop up whenever they need to.

For example:

Rant: I am taking some pretty heavy duty medication for the sarcoidosis/uveitis right now - that I am not a big fan of - and it sometimes makes me nauseous and I can sometimes feel defeated.
Rave: Today I gave myself my first injection of the meds - instead of having my dear friend Judy do it for me. I will never be a nurse and I am sure that if a nurse saw me perform this today - that they would have cringed - but nonetheless I did it!

Life is grand.

Christmas was lovely. The entire holiday season. I will miss it as I always do. I love the house being decorated - the lights, the tree, the little sentimental things that come out once a year that always generate a ton of memories. I love it all.

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Christmas morning breakfast. Croissants, lox with capers, cream cheese with fresh dill, scrambled eggs and mimosas. 

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Christmas dinner place settings. A little box filled with chocolate. 

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My two lovelies on Christmas morning waiting for their coffee. 

I haven't been cooking too much this season. We did have Christmas dinner and I cooked all of our favourites. What I did cook the other night to go along with our turkey soup were Gruyere Cheese Popovers. I finally used the popover pans that Babs gave me for a shower gift. I loved them - and CANNOT WAIT to try them again.

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Gruyere Cheese and Pepper Popovers

Pre-heat the oven to 375.

2 cups of milk (I used skim)
4 eggs
2 cups of flour
Pepper
Gruyere cheese - about 1/2 cup cut into small cubes - enough for 3 cubes for each popover
Cooking spray

Place the popover tins (or muffin tins) in the pre-heated oven on a baking sheet - and let them get nice and hot.

Warm the milk on the stove. Warm to get hot - but not too hot that it burns.

Whisk the eggs. Add the pepper, whisk some more. Then slowly add in the milk while whisking. Don't stop whisking. Add in the flour - and continue to whisk.

Remove the pans from the oven. Spray generously with cooking spray.

Fill the pans almost to the top.

Place 3 cubes into each pan.

Bake at 375 for 40 minutes.

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Remove from the oven. They will easily come out of the pans. Serve hot.

Alrighty my friends.

Thank you to those who pop into my blog from time to time. I appreciate you all. I love the feedback that you give me - and I hope that you continue to check in. I hope that I can in someway bring a smile to your face, give you an idea of what you can make for dinner, and share my stories with you.

Lots and lots of Love!!! And all of the very, very best in this new year.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pomegranate Love

Tonight when I was out hanging our 'make-shift' Christmas lights - in the dark - and loving every minute of it - someone on my street was cutting their grass. What??? It's winter. Lawnmowers should be tucked away for a long winter's night. I was wearing a down vest, running pants, a long sleeve shirt and gum boots. It's not right. It's winter. I should have been in a parka, my Sorel's, a toque and scarf, definitely gloves - and instead of a lawnmower it should have been a snow blower.

I love winter.

I want cold, snowy weather.

Dear Santa, please bring me snow for Christmas.
Loves,
C.

Enough negativity. It's almost Christmas. It's almost my work's Christmas party. It's almost time to put together a menu for our annual Christmas party. And it's almost time that I think about what to buy for Christmas prezzies. I'm stuck in that area.

Lately, I have been in love with pomegranates. I heart them. I love them in my breakfast fruit/veggie drink. And I even more love them in the salad that I am making on a regular basis. I will share that with you shortly - I need to get a good picture of it - because it is magnificent.

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Pomegranates are full of goodness. They are beautiful. They are lovely gems of love. I love them. Last week we picked up a couple of GIGANTIC pomegranates at the Granville Island Market. They were so large. So full of delicious flavour and juice.

Here is how I like to 'harvest' my pomegranates.

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Cut the pomegranate in half. I recommend cutting it in a bowl - only because the juices can spray out and they may stain.

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Fill the bowl with water, covering each half of the pomegranate.

Then gradually pull the halves apart, and start to pull off the arils (that's the little gem - fancy word) - and let them just fall to the bottom of the bowl.

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When you are have pulled out all of the arils, drain the water out and pull out any bits of the white core (I don't know what that is called).

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Place them in a container - maybe a mason jar - and let the sit in your fridge and ENJOY your hardwork.

Here is a deelish recipe for Pomegranate Crisp.

Alrighty. I am just finishing up a cup of hot cocoa. Enjoying the Christmas lights in my living room and waiting for my better-half to return home so that we just hang.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A great Christmas memory: Christmas Tree Hunting

LSP 2008 304 

 Happy December.

I love December. I love Christmas. For me once December is here - the countdown for Christmas is on. It's a month full of great things. A month of wonderful things to look forward to. A month of celebrations. A month of focusing on friends, family, food, fun, traditions...

I have so many wonderful Christmas memories from my childhood. Many of the traditions that we do now - were things that I did growing up.  I love that my parents made the whole Christmas season so special for us - and that it still means so much to me. And I am so blessed to have created a new family with my love - and he loves Christmas just as much as me.

I wanted to share a funny story of one of our family traditions growing up. I wish that I had pictures of the event - because thinking back - they would have been very good to look back on.

I like to call this story - Christmas Tree Hunting

The cast: My dad, my sister, our dog - Shadow, me and our Bonneyville

Where: Highway outside of Kitimat

Why: It was Christmas and you went out the woods to get your tree - no tree farms in Kitimat

What: Literally - 20 with a windchill probably making it -35. A thermos of hot chocolate and a bag of mixed nuts.

My dad, sister, Shadow and I head out in the two-tone blue Pontiac Bonneville. We are bundled up in warm jackets, toques, scarves, mittens, warm boots. The car is nice and warm. The ground is covered in a beautiful blanket of freshly fallen white snow. The trees are dry - well actually more frozen really. The air is so crisp - and oh so cold. We are tearing down the highway. Sorry, no we're not. My dad is driving at a comfortable 60 km/h. My sister is riding shotgun. I am in the backseat with Shadow. Shadow is excited. She is always excited for a car drive - but she knows that we are going somewhere good. Shadow also knew Christmas. She loved the excitement of it. Seriously!

My dad turns off the highway - probably onto a logging road. Thankfully he knew where to go - so that we wouldn't get stuck in the snow.

We get out of the car. Whimper a bit because it is cold. Instant nostril freeze. If you haven't experienced this - it's not pleasant. We get the saw from the trunk. And we head down the paths trying to spot the perfect tree.

The perfect tree for us was something that was big. Super wide and high enough so that it would hit the ceiling so that we couldn't put our tree topper on.

After 15 minutes, I decide that it is way too cold and that it's time for Shadow and I to head back to the car and warm up with some hot chocolate and mixed nuts. Ok - I have no idea why we had mixed nuts - and why I even remember them, but I do. Shadow and I settle in - pour some warmth and snack on nuts. Are nuts bad for dogs? Shadow didn't think so. She always got treats.

A couple of minutes later - my dad and sister return with the perfect tree. As I watch from inside the cold car - sheltered from the wind - they start strapping the tree to the top of the car with some sturdy rope. They have the windows slightly cracked so that the rope can go through to keep the tree secure. The tree is fastened and my dad tells my sister to get in the car. She tries to open the door - but my dad has tied the rope through so that the door can only be opened 2 inches. She says 'Dad... uh, I can't get in'. My dad looks in frustration and says 'What? You can't squeeze through?'.

At this point, I am finding the entire thing hysterical. My sister is as well. My dad, not so much. Our nicknames, JC and Goddammit, are being used.

My dad unties that part, my sister gets in, and he ties it up again. He gets in and tells me that my job is to hold the ropes, 'TIGHTLY', from the backseat. We head out back onto the highway heading for home.

I am sitting in the backseat full on hot chocolate and mixed nuts. I am holding the ropes tight. And I am singing - which I do often. I am singing 'Paradise by the dashboard lights'. I am not singing quietly - I never do. My sister is just patiently listening and my dad is concentrating on the 60 km/h.

About 4-5 minutes into the trip, I can feel the rope loosening. Loosening ropes = tree falling off the roof.

I say 'Uh dad, the ropes are loosening'. My dad says 'JC - hang on child.' I say 'It's not my fault, they're coming loose'. My dad says 'If you were concentrating and not singing, they wouldn't come loose'. I say 'Uh???'. He is cursing, I am holding on so tight, and I stop singing. Who knows? Maybe singing does make the ropes tying down the tree while driving 60 km/h 'does' make a tree come loose.

He turns into the dump turn off - so that he can pull over and fix the tree. He gets out. He's angry. And he re-ties the tree to the roof. He gets back in the car and we drive off.

Again, I am sitting in the back holding the ropes. My sister and I are laughing uncontrollably. I am mortified at the time because I am worried that if someone saw us pulling out of the dump they will think that is where we got our tree.

We drive home and I cannot stop laughing. We get home, unload the tree and just laugh about the days events. My dad is still saying that if I hadn't been singing that the tree wouldn't have come undone.

The funny thing about my dad, is that he would always spaz - and then laugh about it after. He would say 'JC' and 'Godammit' - but we knew that it wasn't said to be mean - it was the words that he used.

Anyways - the tree went up - and it was perfect - and this is a memory that I will never forget.

I know that as I write this - my dad is looking over my shoulder with Shadow at his side - and he is laughing too.

No new recipes right now - but since it's Christmas - give these a try:

Slow cooker Chicken
Egg Noodle Love 
Blueberry Crisp

I hope that you are all enjoying December - don't stress - take each day at a time and have a cup of hot chocolate and reminisce about your favourite Christmas memories. I would love to hear them.

Loves.

Enjoy!