Festivus Turkeyvus

This weekend marked the pass of another lovely Canadian Thanksgiving and Oktoberfesting holiday. Four relaxing days filled with family, gorgeous weather, beer and your typical turkey and stuffing feast.

I regrettably can’t say I took any photos of the feasting, or the festing.

Is it crazy to say that, with the #Instagram #trending#phase, it seems as though #pointandshoots #reallifecameras#digitalphotography are becoming obsolete?! Okay, maybe not obsolete, but I feel practically ancient whenever I pull out my non cellphone camera.

Clearly I need a cell phone upgrade.

Side note over. Everyone knows what a turkey looks like anyway, right?Turkey-Platter-Center-Cookie

[Photo from here. How cute are these!]

I can show you some of the vibrant sunflowers present for decoration.IMG_3704

can show you the type of sheer joy that Oktoberfest evokes. 1375971_751335011558788_808662955_nAnd I can say that, although there have been some years past in which this holiday hasn’t ended up being quite as lovely as I would have hoped, THIS year was a flawless treat. Made going back to the grind this morning extra tough! And also reinforced how thankful I am to have such a wonderful family :).

While I didn’t manage to have anything turkey dinner inspired to show, I do have a few other funky eats from recent days worth noting. 

The computer tech guy at work brought steamed pork and shrimp buns to share with us one Saturday afternoon, and tried to overload my stomach with these greasy, chewy pillows. He succeeded. So many delicious steamed buns were had that day.

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The next weekend, I stuck to a salad. Chicken and berries complements of the grocery store produce section.IMG_2199

I’ve also been experimenting with some eggplantIMG_3503We have some Babaganooch dip, which I hate to say I’m not sure where the recipe came from (I had it jotted down in a note in my documents), but is essentially a Baba ganoush recipe with a “cheesy” twist from the addition of nutritional yeast.

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And then we have some baba ghanoush SOUP (prepped and frozen to reheat on a rainy musthavesoupnow kinda day) from Eat, Live, Run. Get it HERE.

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Or how about a giant pan of pearl barley, lentils, chickpeas, onion, zucchini and cherry tomatoes, simmered in vegetable broth? Simple, bland according to my family, but delicious according to me. Guess we know who’s eating these leftovers for lunches!

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Naturally I’m now buying squash at every grocery trip. Feast your eyes on this perfectly dry, crumbly specimen. They seem to be really hit and miss for me (not a fan of the mushy, watery ones) but this one below is exactly what I was aiming for.

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Even though the oven has been getting a good workout, there’s still enough warmth left in the air to keep the green smoothies in regular rotation.

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As long as they’re paired with hot, black coffee, of course.

That being said, their status has been slowly bumped down from daily staple, and oatmeal is starting to make an appearance. The fact that I ran out protein powder probably had something to do with this as well.

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And one final food winner of the week? These sweet & salty popchips. I waited patiently enough to spot these in stores, and nabbed them at first sight. Worth it. 

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And there we have it – Some noteworthy eats, an especially noteworthy holiday weekend… and a shortened week ahead. Woop!

Happy (belated) (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

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Camp Times

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about the cottage (or as we like to call it – Camp) is so enlightening.

Maybe it’s the carefree relaxing, the lack of work, the mental rest.

Maybe it’s the fresh air, the water, the sunshine.

Maybe it’s the family company, the great food, the constant laughs.

Maybe it’s the memories. Maybe it’s not one thing. Maybe it’s everything.

It’s definitely everything. 

A weeklong stay at my grandparents’ cottage was the perfect way to wind down the summer. Now back to reality I feel a little sad that it’s over, but refreshed and renewed. And tanned, definitely more tanned.

The days were well spent reading, swimming and sauna-ing, eating, visiting and celebrating. My cousin’s wedding topped off the ending of one very lovely week. One is never quite enough, but I had a good fill.

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One of the pluses of an early morning flight – Sunrises like this:

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I dropped the ball on photographing most of this trip. I’ll chalk it up to just enjoying the moments as they happened, with my own two eyes. But that’s a bit of a cop out, I wish I had taken more. Guess that just means I’ll have to go back!

Obviously I couldn’t miss out on capturing early mornings on the dock, though. Lakeside coffee = bliss.

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And we can’t forget “Halloween” on the lake. Trick or treating in boats? Genius. The little monster was all ready for his candy collection (and we slightly older kids may have reaped some of the benefits).

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New baby love kept everyone quite entertained. There is little more adorable than a fresh cooing cousin getting bathed on the deck in a metal basin. Ohemgee. Clearly that is not a metal basin in the picture, but my brother was pretty fond of holding this little munchkin.

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The main event of the trip fell on Friday – Wedding Time! Congrats Craig & Jackie!

They had a perfect day for it. The weather couldn’t have been better.

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A party bus took them around the city for photographs after the ceremony. While the wedding party posed their poses, I let the professionals do their job and instead captured some brilliant surfing parasailers flying through the air and catching the waves. So. Awesome.

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Then it was time to get our Party Rock on. And Party Rock was definitely in the house that night. All. Night. Long.

Last minute touch ups in the hotel room and then it was off to the gala!

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Table 16 was a winner.

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And it was there that we indulged in a menu (aka dancing fuel) of:

Creamy Mushroom Soup

An unidentifiable but tasty salad of asparagus, spring mix, feta, olives (I tried yet again to enjoy one of these but I couldn’t do it. No dice on the olive love) and a creamy dressing. Variation on Greek?

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Chicken stuffed with asparagus and sun dried tomatoes, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans.

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A luscious lemon tart with whipped cream, berries and custard…

IMG_2100… complete with hearts!

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And then of course there were the ever-flowing drinks. Let’s not talk about how well that served me the next morning. Open bar + rarely drinking anymore = recipe for disaster.

But it sure was a blast that night. My sparkly dancing shoes were going full force.

And now with a fresh and rested mind, it’s time to use this mental energy to start thinking about some changes that need to be made. Let’s get a move on, Life.

Thanks TBay and my lovely Fam Jam for the great times and memories. Until next time!

Vroom Vroom

How do you jump casually back into a blog that’s been neglected for months at a time, sustained by hardly a bi-yearly crumb?

Just like this…

So it was a weekend. A three-day weekend to be exact. What a deal!
Friday was right about the perfect day to be free of the indoor work world. Warm but fresh temperatures, clear blue skies, wispy, picturesque clouds (aren’t I visual?) – conditions that could only be soaked up properly with a nice long trail walk to start off the day.
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 Post walk “glow” and some al fresco fuelling, then mission #2 of the day – Car shopping.
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Can’t lie… car shopping is a chore! Especially when you’re used to driving decade-old vehicles. Oh my precious clunkers… this whole process has made me a stress ball. Then again, let’s be honest…that’s nothing out of the ordinary.

Played with a few photo effects along the country roads while heading to my car browsing destination. Who needs $$$ camera lenses when your point-and-shoot can do the FISH EYE?

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IMG_1790While car browsing, I found myself a cute little peppy ride that I kind of loved and kind of hemmed and hawed over… a lot. Decisions, decisions.

My brain worked hard and all that thinking activity needed some re-energization via Costco’s chicken fajita thin crust pizza (and by thin I mean thin. This was essentially on a tortilla. Fitting with the fajita theme I suppose)  and kale salad.

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The rest of the weekend was a non-threatening and non-destructive whirlwind of working at my “side gig” (Hi Dad :)), gym time, clothes shopping, car test driving, and wearing my vocal cords thin with incessant chatter about car choice pros and cons. I had two final, neck and neck contenders who were both throwing a mighty series of punches. My family is likely already dreading the next time I have to make some moderately large life decision. Sorry fam!
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Naturally there was lots of smoothie action in the long weekend mix. Two protein powders in one shake….living on the wild side.
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So my long weekend came and went, I changed my mind 2074 times, and after many a sleepless night (Okay just one. And it was more like a sleepless hour, but it felt long), I finally purchased a car and finished up the million other steps that went along with it. If all goes well, I should have it pedal to the medalled by tomorrow evening, and I’ll no longer have to drive around fearing that the whole bottom of my car is going to fall out upon every hit pothole.

So why does my chest still feel like it’s being crushed by a large concrete block?! Introducing some kind of mediation routine into my life might not be the worst thing I could do for myself…

This week, I also happened to start a seven day “cleanse” that involves a lot of fruit, vegetables and protein. I’ve done it before and felt great. Not been feeling so great lately, so no time like the present to see what kind of magic bucketloads of nutrients can do again.

That being said, last time I was all about sticking to it to a T. This time I’m much (much) more lax.
Monday was fruit day. So I ate 2x my weight in fruit….
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…and some leftover egg noodles at lunch. And some roasted chicken at dinner. Wait…chicken’s not a fruit?! My mistake…
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Whoever thought starting a cleanse the same week as making a large decision was a good idea (umm…I guess that’d be me) is severely cracked. Chicken becomes fruit, french fries become vegetables (hey, at least they were baked), and little chocolatey balls made of dried fruit and nuts become… shoved down pie hole with reckless abandon.
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But even with chocolate balls, and french fries…and sugary peanut butter…. I’m still eating ridiculous amounts of fresh stuff for the majority of my intake. At least Monday to Wednesday so far.

Drive along and cleanse on!

Realizations

Over the course of my new working stint so far (which I have still neglected to talk about – sorry about that. One of these days…soon…I hope… However, refer to #1), I have realized a few things:

1. I suck at blogging – Yeah really.
“Oh yeah, I’ll be back to regular blogging soon!”
“Oh yeah, I’ll write this, that, and the other thing about my new work scenario.”
Oh yeah… didn’t happen. I also apparently make false promises. MY BAD.

 

2. I suck at taking pictures of my food. – Yup, I essentially quit doing it. Once upon a time it was a fun hobby. And then everyone and their mother got a food blog, and a fancy schmancy camera with 10 different lenses, and fancy schmancy light box setups for optimal food photo lighting, and customized layouts to make their blogs sparkle and shine…etc etc etc.

And I did none of that. Hello simplicity. Hello tumbling downward into food blog oblivion. Hello not being excitable enough about the whole trend to do much else about it.

(Not knocking all of the stellar fancy schmancy food blogs out there. It’s pure admiration only, dears. I just don’t quite care enough to go that far myself… at least not right now!)

3. I CAN, in fact, become an early morning exercise superstar.Before, I never quite understood how people could drag their buns out of bed and find the energy enough to get a workout in before the sun rose. But it’s all mental, people. Mental and restful. Get a good night’s sleep (aka reduce your bedtime by an hour or two) and convince yourself that you want to work out in the morning (it’s ridiculously nice to have the workout DONE and the evenings completely FREE) and you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Early morning pre-workout coffee helps too.

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(A beach to run on would also be nice)

 

4. How to make the easiest, fastest poached egg EVER. – I don’t remember where I learned the technique (I’ve read at least 12 internet tutorials for poached eggs over the last year) but here it is:

Take a small ramekin or glass bowl. Fill it halfway with water and add a splash of vinegar. Crack an egg in it and poke the yolk with a fork. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Put in the microwave for 45 seconds. Check it, then put it in for another 10-15 seconds. (If I put it in for a minute straight it gets too hard.). Remove from the water with a spoon. Break that egg seal and let the yolky goodness run free.

Voila Breakfast!

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A good, ol’ flash in the pan runny egg does the trick too.

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5. No amount of green smoothies or citrus fruits can cure my invincible cold. – I’m probably the most hated person at work. I’ve had an undying cough for over two weeks now. I don’t think that’s normal. If I laugh… it immediately turns into a coughing fit. Running… I stop every two minutes to clear out my lungs.

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Why so many false promises, green drink of not-so-glory?

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Why are you not working your magic, Mr. Orange?! Such a jip. Vitamin C my tushy.

I’m going to try to squeeze myself into the doctor’s tomorrow… by this point I think meds are my only option.

 

6. Baking is one of my favourite pastimes.Okay fine, so I had this realization a long time ago. But it has only been solidified by the fact that now, even though my free time has been reduced, a good chunk of it still goes towards whipping up some of the many (many) recipes bookmarked on my computer.

Muffins!

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Chocococonut Style

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Guess who got my brother to eat BEANS in his dessert…and LIKE it…Katie did! With her Deep-Dish Cookie Pie – a MUST make (I halved it and used a normal cake pan and it turned out perfectly…and was gone in a day).

 

Well folks, the fact that I actually updated this thing is PROGRESS. And in my opinion, any progress is a good thing. So here’s to progress… and hopes upon hopes for more even better progress to come.
(I do miss this but I also hate my suffering-from-senioritis laptop that I still have yet to upgrade. Goal for the next week or so – Buy a MAC!).

Oh oh, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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