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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dude. You can eat the bowl.

Geo had an idea.
Last night she was going to make biscuits to go with her chili...and decided to use the dough to make bowls.
How you ask?
Well, she made regular biscuit dough (2 c flour, 2 heaping t baking powder, salt, 1/4 c butter cut in with 3/4c milk), threw in some garlic and pepper and cornmeal and then turned a muffin tin upside down, greased it and divided the dough into 6, spreading the dough over top the mounded cups and then baked them at 450 for about 10 minutes.
Result?
Crispy yummy decadent biscuit bowls for her chili.

You have NO idea how good they were. It was biscuit heaven with yummy chili. Only one remains. It is mine for lunch.
Muahahah!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Go Gadget Go!

Every year Easter Seals has a fundraiser in a number of cities where people dress up like superheroes to repel down the side of a building to raise money for their charity.
This year, tomorrow, J is doing it here - and will be going as the one and only Inspector Gadget.
Yes -I am sending the camera along :)

He hee...I'm married to a superhero :)





Later: He made it down all 23 floors!

His job is WAY cooler than mine!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pumpkin scones anyone?

I just made my new favourite thing-a recipe I've been eying up for a while from the Veganomicon cookbook...I just substituted in real butter and milk for their alternates. They are delicious...a little more cakey than traditional scones but delicious and reasonably healthy too. This AM I went to the farmer's market in search of scones, but on sundays there aren't a lot of vendors there and so I came home sconeless...and so I decided to make some of my own. They were really good..

(Preheat oven to 350)
In a big bowl mix:
1 c flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 + 1/6 c sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t cardamom
1/4 t allspice
1/8 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
cut in 1/4 c cold butter until tiny bits and it looks crumbly.

In another mix together:
1 1/2 T molasses
3/4 c pumpkin puree
1 t lemon zest
1/4 + 1/8 c milk
Mix together and then into dry until just mixed. If you like, now is the time to add 1/2 c tart fruit or nuts(recipe called for cranberries - I used finely diced tart apple as J doesn't like them).

Lightly grease pan (I used a baking stone) and place dough on sheet, flattening into a round ~3/4 - 1 inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges pieces and brush with milk and top with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. Bake 25-35 minutes until scones are starting to brown on the edges and a toothpick comes out clean.. Longer = drier scones. I did mine about 28 minutes and they were awesome. Cool 5 minutes and devour the cakey spicey goodness. Yum.

I am now full of scones and coffee.
Life is good.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This one time, at bootcamp...

Ever since I saw a short video inspiring me to do a boot camp at home I thought it would be a cool idea. I miss working out outside. Today, despite being grumpy, and perhaps because I was grumpy (different story...), I figured instead of having my own personal episode of Drunk Kitchen it would be better for me if I got off my ass and go outside and try it.
When I went out it was cloudy and about 20 with a breeze. I figured that would be OK weather...and it was for the 8 minutes of brisk walking I did getting to a nice grassy patch by the river where I planned to do my bootcampy stuff. By then the sun was out and shining and it was probably 25 in the shade (meh)...but I figured since I was out there with my 10Lb weight, water and my list of tortures I should get to it. And, I'm rather proud to say I did it all. I admit that by half way thru I was not particularly enjoying it and it was hot and sweaty and evil, but I was determined and I finished this set of exercises as required THREE TIMES thru. You were supposed to rest 30 seconds between each thing, and I did as needed...sometimes resting in the middle as needed too...cuz it turns out these exercises are WAY harder than they look to do, especially in the hot sun. Even with the patch of shade I found after a few minutes...it was a challenge. Nice to be outside, but still...whew.
Here was the torture...er... boot camp drill from the video I did thru 3 times after a requested 10 minute cardio warm up (counted the walk there and back as the warmup):

25X high knee jumps (both sides)
15X lunge twists (both legs)
25 lateral jumps (over and back)
15 X push ups*
15 X leap frogs
15X crawl push ups**
20X single leg hops
12X inchworm op-ops***
12X boulder burpees ****

Then I briskly walked the 6 minutes home. Yes I could have done more cardio at this point as you were supposed to do 10 at the start and I didn't. Originally that was the plan, but believe me...by this point I was hot and rather cranky at the heat so I just counted the brisk walk carrying a 10Lb weight there and back as cardio.
After a nice cold shower I am now drinking my workout reward super shake, which I must say...is bloody delicious. I'd do nearly anything for this shake. It is my own homemade healthy version of a frappacino that I blend up at home as a post workout treat:
~3/4 c 1% milk
~3/4 c cold coffee
3 iced cubes
1 frozen banana
1 t tahini (you could use peanut butter - I don't like it)
1 scoop mocha protein powder (vanilla or chocolate is OK too)
1/2 t sweetener (stevia powder)

MMMmmm. Seriously delicious. And now...well my shake is done, I'm less cranky and I'm ready for the rest of my day, altho palms are still sore from the workout. I think I'll look into some supper. It's Doctor Who back on again after a hiatus tonight, but J is working all evening, so I am just going to make sure it tapes on the DVR and we'll watch it together on his birthday this week.
I need to be good and work on my data tonight. My goal this weekend is to finish the initial collection and crunching of ALL of it (muahaha), so I can commence with the statistical analysis in september so I can start writing it up. And THAT honestly can't come soon enough for me :)
Later taters...

*Now the first 15 push ups were supposed to be clap ones...but it turns out the I should have worn gloves as my palms hurt from one...what with twigs and bits of pointy ground stuff on the ground...so I also did girly ones. Yeah I know...but there were other push ups and burpees to come and after a few full ones with sore palms I just went with that. Nyeah.
** the whole crawl push up thing? I could not for the life of me figure out HOW to do them After trying 5 or 6 times and ending up with some sort of mutant crawl thing that hurt my legs I just opted to do 15 spider push ups instead...I figure it was kinda the same...ish...
***These are evil. they look deceptively simple. After 5 or 6...not so much. EVIL.
**** In the video I got this from, after the crouch down, hop legs out, do push up, hop legs back in, for the stand up part of the burpee you were to hold a big rock in your hands and raise it up over your head and back down to the ground. I know this is dumb for me to try as I would likely hurt myself...so I used an old 10 Lb dumbbell I brought with me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Know what's better than a bowl? A cone!

I find this whole "My Drunk Kitchen" series of videos to be hilarious...this one in particular...and the baking episode. It's up there with Drunk History videos for sheer amusement of yours truly.

It's sort of like hanging out in my kitchen...only I don't drink and cook so much any more since I gave myself stitches whilst tipsily chopping banana peppers to make guacamole...and there's the whole gas stove thing too.
Yeah. I can hurt myself with a wet paper bag so sometimes...safety first and all that jazz.
It's my day off and I'm waiting for the dishwasher repair dude to come and fix the dishwasher (which hopefully is actually broken and not just dirty and noisy so I'm actually paying the dude to fix it...what do I know about dishwashers? Nothing that's what...). He is not here yet. I am bored. Not bored enough to work on my data...heh.
I feel inspired to pop a cork and make some lunch...
*hic*

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's an art you know

I am perfecting the finely crafted art of procrastination.
Last night I *did* get 3 hours of work done on my data....after procrastinating for 2 doing everything including calling my dad and watering plants. It did help that an old friend came to visit on sunday, so J and I had cleaned the house up before she came so there wasn't too much to do to avoid work. On the other hand, it made my procrastination so much more difficult :) There aren't tasks that I can see to do now as I sit at my computer to work. Just work. Boooooooring.
Ah well. At least I got some work done. And today is time for more I think. I tend to do better with concrete deadlines. Gives my avoidance a focus...makes me work harder. Arbitrary ones don't work...I know they aren't real :). Yes...I'm demented that way...

To reboot my system a bit I got up and sweated out my anxiety at a boot camp class this morning and I feel well nigh invincible at the moment. I survived it...bwahaha!
Must snatch some breakfast and be off to the lab...
Later taters.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Memorials

Went to Bill's funeral today. I have to say...I hope I'm so kindly remembered.
Bill and his family are not at all religious and it was more of a happy wake than a funeral. We gathered with his family and remembered what a great guy he was. People told their memories and there were a few tributes. A slide show of his life.
Then at the end, his wife got up to speak. She was both smiling and crying. She told us the following, and it will stick with me for a very long time. She said she was very glad to have spent her life with Bill happily and openly with no regrets. That their last words to each other were I love you. She told us all to live life fully and to love fully and tell the people we care about how we feel. To laugh. To live. Because you never know when it might end, and there is so much to do in this life.
It's a nice thing to think that someone left the world a better place.
What a great way to be remembered...

:)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday funk

The thing about my MSc project is there's lots of data. Lots.
Sort of like saying the Sahara has a few grains of sand...
Last night whilst working on organizing and graphing my last (!!!) large set of data from my research I realised when my numbers looked ridiculous that I had in fact totally cocked up the organization of them and needed to reorder, sort and graph many of them.
And so, with a sigh, I did so. Good I caught it but I'd rather not have had to spend the time on it.
Slow and steady wins the cupcake and all that good stuff I suppose....

I'm feeling the fall approach...cooler mornings with the sun coming up later and later. It's just eeking over the horizon now when I get up at stupid o'clock to go to the gym. No more shorts to the gym...and soon it'll be dark again in the mornings. The leaves haven't turned yet - I'm looking forward to that a great deal. Although it will mean our front yard will look ridiculously scraggly, the colours along the riverbank *GLOW* in the sunrise in the mornings in the fall and walking thru the trees by the river is like stepping away from the city and into a daydream. Every evening I can step out for 10 minutes and just soak it all in before bed. It is the very dictionary definition of calm and serene with only the rustle of leaves to keep you company.
I love fall.
I know it was wise, for sanity's sake, to return to normality and ignore school for July (and a bit of August) but it is making the return to insanity really difficult. I'm getting back into the swing of things again...building discipline and starting to get things done. I know the end is in sight. It's just round the next bend.
Truth be told all I want is to have a beer and sit in the yard and read a book. It helps my discipline slightly knowing that the book I'm currently reading is dull as hell (The Woman with the Dragon Tattoo is just not going anywhere...I may give up on it) and I am trying to shed the few pounds I gained on holidays...so I am resigned to tea instead of beer (except on weekends, what do you take me for?) and hard work instead of reading it is then.
Harumph.

I shall most likely undo my week of hard work by heading out tonight to Folkfest with J tonight. He got us VIP passes for the evening so we get chauffeured around to all the pavilions and uncluttered, comfortable seating at the pavilions with food and drink from around the world. Yum. That should help cheer my spirits up a little.

And so - good day all. I'm going to have a cup of coffee and try and shake this funk and see what the day brings me. And I shall watch this again...it's a mash up...with video. I only wish I was so talented. :)



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Now we're cooking

I am so proud of J. I am biased, yes, but sometimes the rest of the world reminds him that he is indeed very talented too...:)

Along with many other good things he does at his job (like the awesome local coverage of the fringe...), he has planned and now shoots and edits a cooking show with another guy who hosts it. Together they made it happen. It's been going well - they are on episode 7 now and all have been well received. They've actually been put on the free on demand programming by Shaw for everyone to watch if they want to. It's that good :) I have watched them and enjoyed them. They came up with the idea and pitched it and shot it and brought it into being. They have every reason for being proud of it-it's just them with no budget. Just ideas and the desire to make something new...and it's good.

Yesterday he and his partner got an email forwarded to them by a lady in another province who just wanted them to know her 10 year old son had watched the show and then made them one of the recipes on it for them for supper and is going to try making another one of them on the weekend for them. How cool is that?
When J told me about it his face was just...so...happy. When you do original programming hearing responses like that from people who really enjoy what you do? It makes it all worth while.

I am, as ever, so very proud of him. I like it when he's happy :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

mole sauce...and a beaver...but not together silly

Last night J and I went out with a friend for amazing mexican food. La Bamba del Norte opened near to our place a while back and we finally got out for a meal...I am so glad we did. I really didn't have time, but sometimes an evening off with friends is just as important as work, you know?
The place is small and tucked away in a strip mall on the north end, but don't let that fool you. Inside is cozy and the menu and staff are top notch. I had pulled chicken tortillas with mole sauce (mmm...), while J and our friend had beef enchiladas. Both came with sides of mexican spiced rice and appetizers of fresh tortilla chips with baked refried beans (mmm...). We shared dessert - fried iced cream - which was fabulous. Add to that an agave tequila margarita and I was pleased as could be about the whole meal. Yum. We will definitely be going again...

We went for a long walk by the river after to walk off the meal...and while out on the sand dune that's formed in the South Saskatchewan we saw the moon rise over the horizon and spill out onto the river. I live in a beautiful place :) Walking back through the trees we came across, of all things, a very large, very confused beaver. Apparently it had been injured by a vehicle and a few kind souls were keeping it safe until a wildlife officer and veterinarian could come and make sure it would be OK to release back into the wild. There are a number of beavers along the river here...as evidenced by the thick chain link around most of the mature trees. Without the mesh they fall rather quickly to their nibbly teeth...

All in all, it was a nice evening.
Today I shall be good and work extra hard :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend in words

fondue
lychee martinis
sunny naps
Captain America
lemon crepes
mimosas
science
Bengal tea
yardwork
Grolsh
smiles

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I am not amused

Out of the blue on friday I learned my supervisor from Toronto was in town this weekend. I was a bit frustrated at the lack of info and warning, as it seems to be rather disrespectful to me, but whatever - we talked and agreed to meet this AM at 8:30. I refused to give up my anniversary celebrations and a day of relaxing with J. I did concede to not going out last night to the monthly midnight horror movie so I could be awake this morning...

Now, I am sitting in my lab and am trying not to fume at the fact that she is already 30 minutes late. I will wait a bit more before I call her. I do hope she hasn't forgotten and wants reschedule later today. I have other things to do than sit around, half awake in my lab on a sunday morning.

I am not amused.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cheers

In a quest for a new celebratory martini to go with a nibblefest/fondue, we tried these last night. J loves lychee, so I figured we'd try them out...if you like your martinis dry and strong you would find them more of a girly dessert drink but still - quite tasty. We give girly drinks equal opportunity around here :)
Definitely on our drink list now...

Lychee Martini

1.5 oz vodka
1 oz peach schnapps
1 oz white cranberry juice
1 oz lychee juice (or juice from a can of lychees)
1 lychee for garnish

Shake all over ice and serve in a glass, garnished with lychee.

Cheers!

Friday, August 12, 2011

11

Today, 11 years ago, I told the world I loved one man more than any other. That he made my heart complete in ways I didn't understand.
That I wanted to be with him. Always.
I am very blessed...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Strange day really

I really don't know what to say.
I just found out that my friend Bill died suddenly and randomly this morning. Bill was a happy and kindhearted guy...a sarcastic teddy bear. He and his wife Gwen had the kind of marriage I model mine after - best friends who loved to laugh and be together. He was an amazing person...always ready to listen...share a laugh. My heart aches for Gwen...

It's strange to have to say goodbye.
I just talked to him at work yesterday...
I'm too young for this sort of thing to happen.

And yet I also learned this morning that my friend Lisa and her husband had a beautiful baby girl - Anna. I am (was? are still?) so very happy for her...

What a day...


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Catastrophe averted

Thanks to my friend Trent and a fair amount of time wastage and hair pulling I seem to be OK again on my Mac...a little uninstalling and reversion and a lot of holding my breath was required.
I am saved...for now...
Whew.

To celebrate, here's a sweet little song I just ran across:

Dear Apple - you really suck right now.

You know...I was a big Mac fan until last night.
I have an old Mac Powerbook...runs great...does all I want it to. And an even older G3...they have Office and an older OS but they do what I need them to and I can have my music and internet and all that...so I am pleased.
*WAS* pleased.
BUT now Apple is being a huge dick about their older stuff. And apparently only to people who already own their products.
They are upgrading their new tech and software...and making older things obsolete whether we want them to be or not. Prime exampele - New iPods and iPhones require the new iTunes to work. I didn't care as my older iPods are still OK...or so I thought.
You see NOW I need iTunes 10 in order to access the iTunes store and download new podcasts and buy tunes...BUT it won't run on my Mac because my OS is too old. And I'm not sure if I even shell out the odd $150 dollars to get the OS if it would even work on my laptop or our old G3...AND I am not sure I want the hassle of backing up ALL my MSc work and data, music and photos before I do the update so I don't lose them...all to get a podcast or two and buy some tunes. If I had set up my 500+ CDs and other music stuff on a PC it would be no big deal, as Apple for whatever reason still supports windows all the way back to XP...but as I am actually a supporter of their tech, I am stuck to fume and whine and generally get really grumpy over all this. Once you set up your iPod on a Mac you can't switch it to a PC. So I am, my good peeps, essentially unable to download anymore podcasts onto my iPod. Sure I can do so at work on my PC, but forget putting them on my iPod.
Grrr.
I like my music. It is with me all the time. At home. In the lab. In the gym.
I actually take the time to buy software and legitimate copies of music.
This is how I am rewarded?
Boo.
Gee... maybe I could get a new laptop? Yeah sure...perhaps I will go plant another money tree...

This, my good peeps, is corporate greedy moneygrubbing bullshit.
I just want to download a podcast or two.

Monday, August 08, 2011

WANT!

Grapecat has made me aware of a few things I now absolutely need to order from Williams Sonoma...
especially the pancake molds...
and the spatulas...
and the cookie cutters...

mee hee.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Lemon fresh

After hunting about since may, I finally obtained 21 organic lemons. J noticed them when we were getting groceries this week. And so...I have finally begun my Limoncello project. First attempt...and I am hoping it turns out.

Since you only use the yellow part of the lemon peel (not any of the pith as it is bitter) and soak it in alcohol for about a month I only wanted organic lemons...and they have been pretty sad and shrivelly up until this point. A potato peeler works remarkably well for this. You're supposed to use Everclear for the liquor in this to be traditional, but you can't get it up here in Canadaland, so I opted for a good clean tasting grain vodka instead- Stolichnaya Gold label. I couldn't get any 100 proof vodka...I did the best I could.

And after 20 minutes of peeling and grinning I now have 20 lemon peels and and 1.5 L of vodka steeping in a sealed glass jar in a cold dark place for a 2-4 weeks. Once the peels are colourless and crisp like potato chips I can strain them out and add slightly more than an equal amount of simple syrup...then age a month or so, chill it in the freezer and test it out. I may put a vanilla bean into one of the finished bottles - I've heard vanilla limoncello is rather tasty too...we shall see.

For now I am content to have lemony goodness steeping away in my cupboard. I'll let you know how it goes.