Thursday, November 5, 2009

swaggin' and sighin'

yeah, it's late... and i should try and sleep soon. i'm just not ready yet. usually, i'm watching a random series on surfthechannel. but, there just isn't anything that i want to watch right now. ok, not true. i would really like to watch either "community" or "head case". however, they aren't available in full series... just a few random episodes. so, instead i'm kinda watching jimmy fallon. and doing random internet searches. there is a good reason for that though...

see over there... you might have to scroll down. but, over to the side i have a link for "swag bucks", there is also something over there called a "swidget".

about a month ago, i was reading emily's blog who writes under1000permonth. she's broadened my view on saving money, interesting ways to be frugal, and making money doing something that we all do each day. ah yes. swagbucks.

pretty much all you have to do is sign up, and then use their search engine to... search. randomly you are awarded with "swag bucks" and after a while... they accumulate. once you have 45, you cash them in for $5 gift cards. or save your bucks for bigger gift cards, or for clothing... or whatever! i wasn't sure about this whole thing... but, i find myself searching for recipes, blogs, or when i'm helping siobhan with her homework all the time anyways so i figured it was worth a try. i signed up the 25th of october and i already have 44 bucks! you also get swagbucks from finding codes... and paying attention to the swagbuck facebook page.

i didn't know the best way to tell people about it. but, i figured this was a pretty good way. so, go on... sign up. and if you have any questions, just ask me! :)

other news. all the immigration paperwork was sent!! wooohooo!! it was received at the case processing center mississauga (CPC-M) on october 30th. which was way before my original deadline. i've been on a canadian immigration forum like crazy these past few days. everyone posts questions.. and always includes their time lines. from what i see... the average processing time for sponsorship is 21 days. even though the cic website says that it is 35. so, hopefully aderito and i will know whether or not i have been approved to sponsor him by november 20th. if i am approved... our case will then be sent to buffalo. where they will do extensive background checks, go over his medical check, and read through everything that we sent proving that our relationship is real, genuine and continuing. oh!! in the immigration forum, i asked whether as a sponsor i need a job or not. the response was that because i am sponsoring my husband, i am exempt from the financial aspect. i pray constantly that this is true. there is a system that is set up online that allows me to check and see where in the process they are with my paperwork... it's called ecas... i don't remember what it means. anyways... i am tempted to sign in all day long to see if they have even opened my case yet!! however... i will be patient. i will.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

the sugar bear.

i don't remember how it started. there must have just been a box of it in the back pantry. but, at the moment i can't get enough of kashi golean crunch cereal. it's offically the best i've ever had. there is a very specific reason why i feel so much love towards this cereal. it doesn't get mushy. unlike aderito, who soaks cookies in milk and eats it. i need my cereal crunchy from my first bite to the very last. kashi golean cereal stays crunchy. and it tastes like... sugar crisp. remember that cereal? apparently, it's only called sugar crisp in canada and in the states called golden crisp. after just doing a bit of reading about sugar crisp, it is said that 50% of it's weight is sugar. goodness. no wonder i liked that so much as a kid! kashi still has 13g of sugar per cup. but, i'm ok with that at the moment. after eating a cup of it i'm usually not hungry for hours. which is my kind of tasty crunchy cereal.

jobbing. it's like jogging, except you only use your fingers. seriously, i need a job so very bad. there are places that i've sent my CV to that i never thought i would. suzy shier?! yes. pumpkin patch?! yes. chicken factory?! yes. everywhere. i sent it out about 6 more times yesterday, and will again on monday when all the new jobs are posted again. there has been prayer without ceasing for a job... which i need... immediately.

there is loads of paperwork that needs to be filled out for immigration. it's almost there. monday i will finish the rest. put it altogether. look it over 3 more times. make sure it all has been photocopied 2 times. the thing is though. is that i need a job. they need to know that i am able to support both of us. even though, aderito could potentially work in bermuda for another 2 years. he makes amazing money there. i don't think that it is going to be difficult for us to find a job anywhere though. we are willing to go wherever a potential job needs us to go. preferably not anywhere northern... so, almost anywhere. in the meantime however, or i guess... as soon as possible, i need to work. agora.

fall isn't my favourite month. i appreciate the leaves, how beautiful it all looks. i even have this strange affinity towards it... in my head i think that if i was to match any season it would be fall. it makes my red hair seem to flame, and my fair skin glow. yet. i don't really like fall at all. i have a theory however as to why i might feel this way. "the fall of freddie the leaf: a story of life for all ages". after my dad died, someone... probably a grief counsellor gave my mom this book. it made sense, i was 12, erin was 9, and jim was 8. a book was a very good way to explain death when adult words don't make sense. but, this book is about freddie and his leaf friends. they are born in the spring, grow big and strong in the summer, but when the fall comes they all die. that's it, the life cycle. leaving me, for the rest of my life to resent fall a little bit. fall, my kindred in colour. every year when autumn comes... i find myself watching all the little freddies drift onto the ground, i sit looking out the window watching freddies blow across the yard. i'm already looking forward to spring.

kelly is going to be here soon. we are going to bake pumpkin scones. i made them about a month ago, and it's time to bake some more... i've missed them. my mom and i bought ourselves scones from starbucks last week. they were wretched. the scones we once looked forward to driving and buying, we no longer think about. only the delicious homemade ones. mmm. i'm also excited to hang out with kel. she's a pretty cool chick!

Monday, October 12, 2009

not me monday...

during my obsessive blog reading over the past month... i've decided that my absolute favourite new one is mckmama. seriously, how could a blog about a family with 4 small children all under the age of 4 not be incredibly entertaining? and, as i could only imagine being a mother of so many small children you would occasionally have to do things you would have never imagined as a childless adult. in mckmama's words this is why "not me monday" had a purpose... "born out of my desire to admit some of my imperfections and reveal a few moments i'd rather forget. you may find it therapeutic to join in and do the same thing!"

this is the first monday since i've been been following her blog since i read it from the very beginning. so, i thought that perhaps i should participate. you know, clear the air... and get out any possible antics that i most definitely... did not do!

my mom, siobhan and i went on an excursion to the grocery store. we needed just random bits of stuff for thanksgiving dinner. you know... parchment paper, baking soda, icing sugar, bread for stuffing. while my mom was off looking at the bread. siobhan i did most certainly did not sneak in a huge tray of cream cheese iced cinnamon buns into the cart... and say nothing at all until my mom noticed!! why would we want something so delicious and tasty as that... when we are going to have thanksgiving dinner the next day?!

my mom invited a few extra people on thanksgiving. they brought along with them loads of food. a pumpkin pie, marinated cheese, and a broccoli casserole. later on in the evening when asked how much i enjoyed the broccoli casserole i most certainly did not lie... and say that the broccoli casserole was absolutely delicious. who in the world would lie about broccoli? in casserole form?! not me!

after enjoying thanksgiving dinner... i was in the kitchen cleaning up the many bowls, plates, glasses and pieces of silverware... on the way over to the dishwasher i most definitely did not allow my sister's bulldog ruby lick the potatoes, turkey, and gravy off the spoons!! noooo way! i would be in so much trouble if i ever did something like that!!

mckmama is right! it does indeed feel good to get all that stuff out in the open!

Friday, October 9, 2009

comida ... estilo português!

i'm a total and utter blog reading addict. seriously. i don't even remember how it started, or why it started, or where in the world i've been finding all these blogs to read! but, when i do find a good one... i go all the way to the beginning and just read. and read and read and read. until i've caught up, and then can just follow day to day. i suppose it's cheaper than buying new books... and when it's about real people... it makes it even more interesting. i'm pretty excited to follow the new blogs, and see where they all go next. i know that emily from under1000permonth is going to have a baby any day!! umm... kristi from poopinginpeace has 3 young girls, and just wants to be able to poop in peace. mckmama has 4 small children all under the age of 4... you just never know what might happen next with the mckfamily! the red pen, who writes itotallyforgotyougohere, lost her boyfriend a few months ago in a plane crash... and is bravely blogging through her grief. the pioneer woman, dooce, amalah, and jorge are all really cool too... and all make me laugh! which i very much appreciate.

so, now you know what i've been doing. i felt like it would be nice of me to tell you... seeing that i said that i would post more "tomorrow". and well... that was quite a few tomorrows ago. sorry about that. i'm still going to tell you about the food of randomness that i ate on sao miguel.

let's see... well. we didn't go out to nearly as many restaurants as i was hoping. however, aderito's mom made many different traditional acorean dishes. unfortunately, my portuguese is equivilant to that of a 2 year old. there are some words, that i must think are very important and i can still remember them! however, they aren't going to help much at all. i do remember what we ate in restaurants though!

the second night on the island we walked down to the beach... the beach has been named 'praia vinha d'areia'. which, from what i understand mean vineyard sand beach. anyways, the restaurant we went to is called praia restaurant cafe. it was beautiful! i had asked aderito about the seafood many times... and he always said that we would eat lapas. and, so we did!! they were... cooked. the taste was a combination of an oyster and a clam. squeezing fresh lemon made the lapas very palatable!

i may have mentioned this in the past... but, i turned 30 in portugal. i went into this vacation with fairly grand expectations for my birthday. loads of ideas of where i wanted to go, what i wanted to see... where i absolutely had to eat! however, what i wanted... and what ended up happening were two completely different things. the day after my birthday was my niece matilde's baptism. so, the week leading up to it we cooked and prepared and got ready for the baptism festivities (i spent a week planning, cooking and preparing for my wedding... and i'm fairly sure that they spent waaaay more on this baptism than aderito and i did on our wedding!). the day of my birthday i spent quite a bit of time sweeping and then peeling 100lbs of potatoes. it was a blast. in the evening i managed to pull aderito away from it all... and asked nicely if we could please go out. alone. without family and children or potatoes. i just wanted to relax with him. so, we went back to the praia restaurant cafe. i had a fresh cheese and tomato salad... and delicious baby clams in a lemony broth. oh yum! i think that one of the reasons i wanted to go back to the same restaurant so quickly was because they start off your meal so well! they call it, couvert. which in english just means cover charge. but, when in portugal it means a delightful dish filled with various bits of food to get your palate ready...

fresh cow's cheese (usually make just the day before), fresh butter, tuna (which is canned just down the beach), and black olives... in portuguese. azeitonas pretas. this was E2.50... not too bad!

there was always fresh fish (peixe, in portuguese) available. vila franca do campo is fairly well known in sao miguel for being a fishing town. mae natalia (aderito's mom) made something with fish every night. sometimes it was a tasty potato and cod (bacalau) casserole. one time we had these little fish... they were really crispy and salty... they tasted so good. but, i had a stomach ache for 3 days after. oh yes, mae natalia made tuna rissoles... they are like perogies, filled with tuna, coated in bread crumbs and fried! oh my! aderito and i both requested that we eat them our last night there! one afternoon after going over on the boat to see ilheu vila franca do campo (a very small island just off the coast), aderito and i went to a restaurant (restaurante o jaime) that over looks the fishermen's boat launch and enjoyed super fresh swordfish (espadarte). i've had swordfish here in canada, and it was always kinda tough. i don't know if it was because of the extreme freshness... but, it was unbelievable!

one of the first things i noticed while on sao miguel was that there are picnic areas everywhere. each of these areas has about 5 cement barbeque pits. most of aderito's family all got together for a picnic the last week we were there. there was loads of food!! we grilled potatoes, pork, sausages, hamburgers... and my favourite: sardines! i don't have any pictures of the actual food cooking... however, one when they had just started the fires... aderito is happily whistling and building, and little jonas loved the fires... and would not stay away!!

lastly... queijada de vila franca do campo. little cakes that are only made in vila franca do campo. apparently people (including me) have tried to make these cakes... but, there is no possible way to recreate them! i brought back 2 boxes, and dissected them... and tried to figure out what the ratio of butter:sugar:flour:eggs could possibly be! i have no idea. i tried to find recipes online... there are none in english! and the portuguese versions are well... in portuguese and when i've attempted to translate... the outcome was nothing but sad. i don't get it... i tried to translate the one recipe i've found... i'm pretty sure that it's telling me to make cheese. however, after eating many of these little cakes... i can assure you... there is no cheese!

aww... aderito was so excited about these cakes!! he had told me about them the first christmas we were together... and then returning to bermuda there was a box of the cakes from his mom. it had been a year since he had any, so he was so happy! so, at christmas last year... i decided to show him my mad portuguese translation/baking skills... and whip up a batch of what i thought was queijada de vila. aderito was very sweet, told me that they were good. but, that they were most definitely NOT queijada de vila.

i made sure to take a picture of him outside the building. ugh... how adorable is he?!

the above picture is of the little cakes... after they have been baked. before they get a heavy... and i mean HEAVY dusting of icing sugar. mmmm....

whoa. i think i pretty much covered the important food events. i think that the only other extremely good eating experience was the pineapple. however, i was so pumped to eat it... that i forgot to take a picture. they are not like the pineapples we get here in canada. there is almost no acidity to them at all!! which is strange... because the soil on the island is highly acidic. perhaps, that doesn't effect the pineapple. also, most of the time the pineapples that arrive in canada (or at least ontario)... have travelled from quite far, and are never at thier ideal ripeness. oh the pineapples. next time, i'm definitely bringing some back!

well... i think that this concludes the food portion of my acorean adventure.

what could possibly be next?!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

back from the island...

it's really late. and i should just go to sleep. but, the past few nights i've closed my eyes... and started thinking and thinking and thinking. so... perhaps a good 'ol post will get whatever is in my head out... and then sweet sleep will arrive quickly.

yes. i am back. i made it... all the way to the beautiful island of sao miguel and back! i don't even know where to start... or what to say about my time there. honestly, i kind of felt like we took off in toronto... and landed on an entirely different planet. i don't know if it was the everyone around me speaking in portuguese... and i only understood a handful of words. or, if it was the really narrow roads... the complete lack of vegetables... or, that children and babies were NEVER expected to be buckled into their car seats... and said car seats were never buckled into the car.

it was a gorgeous island. i was enthralled with the scenery when we were in cuba. but... sao miguel... was waaaaay more beautiful. it was green. and the buildings were so white. the hydrangeas were the most insane colours... blue, red, purple. the sand was black. aderito's friend down the road grew bananas, pineapples, limes, incense... i hadn't ever seen fruit in it's natural growing state!! especially pineapples. seriously... i had no idea how they grew until joao opened the door to the pineapple greenhouse... i was amazed. and slightly embarrassed by both my excitement... and by the number of pictures i had taken of a pineapple. i took over 1200 pictures during the 4 weeks we were there. and when i got back, and put them together... i was still a bit disappointed... and felt like there was a whole lot of the island i didn't capture.

it wasn't a quiet island. nope. loud. very loud. for various reasons. every day started with 3 different vehicles letting it be known that they were coming... they were outside your house... and they were leaving and going onto the next street. i think that the fruit/vegetable man came first. honking and playing music. then the bread man came... honking and playing music. and then the tinker... well... the man with the housewares, clothing, whatever-else-you-may-need. yes, he honked too... played music... and once in a while over is loud speaker announced that he had boxers! and socks! in portuguese! this was all before 9am. everyday. then because it was summer vaca... the nieces and nephews arrived shortly after the honking vehicles were gone. and the accompanying mothers. this was just all at his house!! when we left it was noisy everywhere too...

i was pretty excited when we finally agreed to rent a car... if only for a few days. i wanted to go somewhere!! i wanted to explore!! i wanted quiet!! i wanted to drriiiiive! so, we took the bus (which every time made me crazy pukey) into ponta delgada. i had asked for a compact car. for 2 reasons, my car is little... i'm used to little cars. and because the roads are so small, and right up against buildings. was the car that we picked up small? nope. it was huge... a european made ford focus station wagon... diesel! geez. i immediately decided that i was not going to be intimidated! i was going to be just fine. unfortunately aderito... turned into a very nervous old lady. he was so nervous... that he refused to speak to me while i was driving. we drove plenty. all the way around the island in one day. 8 hours of driving. with his mom... and niece patricia. the next day we went out and about by ourselves. with very little talking... the exception being aderito telling me that i was driving too close to the his side of the road. oh, and telling me to slow down. i'm fairly certain that unless i was going downhill i usually drove at about 40km/hr.

i know for certain that it was amazing seeing aderito in his... natural environment. watching him interact with his 4 sisters. watching him play and laugh with all his nieces and nephews. being there as he was reunited with old friends... and the rest of his enormous family. as much as i was occasionally frustrated that i didn't understand what was being said around me... it was nice for our roles to be reversed. he had to translate to me what was going on, what the menu said, where were we going next, why his sister just punched the other sister in the head. yes. that really did happen. he was just so relaxed. being with him on his home turf magnified a very generous side... there was only one homeless man that i saw on the island. he always sat along the water in ponta delgada... close to where the bus picks people up to take out of the city. everytime we saw this man, aderito asked when our bus would come and be sure to give him a handful of change. very sweet. i suggested that because the man was never wearing shoes that perhaps we should buy him a pair... aderito informed me that he doesn't like shoes. huh. ok. oh yes... for the entire time that aderito and i have been together, it's been pretty clear that he doesn't really like conflict. but, seeing him with his sisters, and mom... totally confirmed that he was the peacemaker. there was loads of family conflict that went down while were were there. aderito always made sure that after whoever was fighting, each side was ok... that they had their side heard... and to let them know that they just needed a few minutes to calm down and everything would fine. there was plenty of opportunity to see how much aderito babies and children. there were so many times when adults would gather and chat... aderito was generally with the kids... kicking around a soccer ball, flying them around like airplanes... or walking around the house trying to get 1 month old matilde to go to sleep. if matilde was laying down on our bed napping... aderito would usually tiptoe in, lay down and take a nap with her. oh goodness. no more talking about aderito and babies... my ovaries are getting itchy.

let's say to be continued for now.... i'll post a few pictures tomorrow... and perhaps tell a story or two...

ohhh... and and the food!! i can't forget about the food!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

see you... in september...

the time is almost here...

tomorrow, aderito will land in toronto. and we will start our 5 weeks together.


(that was a sigh of relief)

i'm ready to spend time with aderito. i'm ready to hang out, watch movies, walk random places, laugh, go to the market, kiss, take pictures, and just be with him. It's time.

saturday night, we fly off. landing in ponta delgada at 7:20am on sunday. aderito's sister... paula and dana will pick us up... at off we go to vila franca do campo... to stay with momma natalia for 28 days.

i'm going to try my very hardest to keep a blog while i am there... i'm not too sure about the internet situation, so... i'll post them when i get back...

or, after aderito flies back to bermuda... until christmas.

we waited 199 days this time...

94 will be nothing!

Monday, July 27, 2009

how many days?


aderito and i are going a bit nuts.

we miss each other so much. 6.5 months apart. actually... 189 days apart to be exact. it's offically too much. 4.5 was managable. we were both ok... held our shit together fairly well. the extra 2 months added to it... is making us both a bit intense. it makes me cry. a lot. it makes him super cranky. i've had enough.

i'm trying to keep my mind busy. i went through all aderito's clothes, and packed all his stuff. then packed our shoes, baby stuff for my sister-in-law's new baby girl (who's name i still don't know... why can't men remember these very important details?!). i packed all the clothes that i have bought to take with me... and a lot of other stuff. we are about 80% packed. i have a bunch of appointments in the next week... haircut/highlight, sugaring, manicure, pedicure. that should keep me pretty busy.

i made a decision this summer to not tan. even though i had tons of time on my hands to do it. i've started getting freaked out a bit more about skin cancer. but, i didn't want to land in portugal being super white. so... well... i've been using self tanner. i'm not even joking. and, i like it. i did some research, and aveeno continous radiance was what i decided to try. it was a very good call!!! i love it! except for the smell. it's not as bad as most self tanners... but, it's not pretty. so, i've been using it mostly at night. i don't look whitewhite... and don't look orange. just like i've spent a bit of time in the sun. perfect.

oh! yes... and if you haven't went and checked out the pioneer woman's TASTY KITCHEN site, you must! it's a lot of fun... a lot of really good recipes. i check it out often throughout the day... because it's updated with new pictures and recipes often. i've added a few of my favourite recipes. most recently, a recipe for cherry clafoutis souffle. i had a whole lot of cherries. i had heard of a dessert called cherry clafoutis in the past... but, didn't know for sure what it is. so, i googled. it's like, vanilla custard with cooked cherries in it. it wasn't quite what i wanted... so, i used the recipe... but, whipped the whites and folded them in... making something closer to a souffle. the finished product? amazing! i will have to remember it again next cherry season.

ok. 10 sleeps to go.

we all need to pray that the time flies by.

Monday, July 6, 2009

the worst distraction... of all time...

while everyone else was celebrating canada day... my family and i attended a funeral. it was for my grandfather's best friend. percy. he was a pretty cool guy. just as percy and my grandfather grew up together, they made sure that their children grew up knowing each other. and every summer, we would go to his house for a big pye/blackman family reunion. we would swim, play games, eat eat eat. but, i think that most of the children would all have one specific memory. he let us drive his riding lawn mower. we would usually hook up a wagon, sled, another sled to the back of the tractor... and would pull all the kids around his huge yard.

i hadn't been to a funeral in a while. i did pay attention. and listened to the pastors speak. and say the prayers along with everyone else. and thought lots about percy, and the time i spent with him.

there was one big bad distraction, however. the organ. every time it was played...which, was quite a lot. i cringed. and then decided. i don't want an organ at my funeral. or anywhere near me for that matter, when i die. from there... i created a mental picture of my own funeral. all the things that i wanted. so... here is my list, thus far.

1. no ORGANS! hopefully some of the organs inside of me will be donated. and the musical instrument needs to be far far away.

2. i would prefer it to be outside. nothing crazy and formal. like a picnic, or a barbeque.

3. music. i'm not a very musicy person. however, i would like everyone to sing one hymn. wonderful grace of Jesus. all the verses. without any accompaniment. just sing it. and, if for some reason... someone absolutely needs to sing amazing grace... i only want the 4th verse.

4. nothing from the book of ecclessiates. preferably, ephesians... romans... phillipians. encouraging, light, but with the message of Jesus' wonderfulness, grace, love.

5. the cheapest casket possible. or a burlap bag. whatever is the most environmental. if nothing is possible... then that is what i would like. no cremation.

6. seriously, ridiculously good food. i can't even explain how good the food should be. i want loads of bread, cheeses, fruit, cured meats... mmm... and wine. gewurtztraminer and cabernet franc. if stratus is still making wine... i want that.

i think that's it. and, i don't think that it's going to change very much. i have a feeling that even when i'm like 99... all those things will still be very important to me!

there really hasn't been much going on lately. just lots of hanging out. oh, and list making. going to another country for a month is stressful! i've done loads of research trying to find out what is easily accessible on the island, and what i definitely need to bring. the list of things i still need is so tiny. it makes me feel pretty good. now, i want to pack. however, i think that perhaps i should wait a bit. maybe a week before we leave i can start? we are each allowed 50kg... so, 110lbs. not including our carry ons.

that's a lot of stuff.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

sorry. no muffin recipe.

everyday, i think.... hmm... perhaps i should blog today. there was always something going on. but, when i sat down to write. there was nothing. perhaps all that nothing... will accumulate to something this time.

before i signed in... i read the first bit of my last post. geez. it was full of motivation, eh? i'm not quite sure where it went. i do know... that my last post was on the 31st of may. and that on the 2nd of june i went to see my doctor for my annual visit. at the end of the visit, the doctor decided to stab me with a needle. for my dpt shot. diptherea, polio, tetanus. ugh. it hurt. a lot. for 4 days my arm ached. which then made me reconsider my desire to have natural childbirth. seriously... if/when i have a baby... i would like to do it without any meds whatsoever. but... if i can't handle a shot. how in the world am i going to be able to deal with a baby coming out of my vajayjay? yikes. in conclusion. i think that my motivation went to sleep when i was unable to use my left arm for those days.

not too long after that... my car exploded. kinda. the transmission. died. i still have the car... affectionately called... lucy. she's in the little driveway we don't use. i look at her everyday. i even put her up for sale on the autotrader website. for $300! 4 people called about her. but, none have actually wanted to buy the car. so... yeah. i guess i might have to call the scrap yard... and ask them to take her away. rumor has it, they will give me $50. sweet. the tragedy that is lucy... has led me to purchase a new car. well. not new new. but, definitely new for me! the highlights of this new car? well... it has 4 doors. there is air conditioning. and the power steering. definitely the power steering. i didn't know what i was missing out on! it's wonderful. pulling into parking spots is an entirely new experience. i can only imagine how much easier parallel parking is... and 3 point turns. imagine. i'm not about to actually try. nope. the only issue i am facing with this new car... is a name. i need a name. it's definitely a girl. it's a silver hyundai accent. that's all you should need to know. please help. any suggestions will be taken into consideration. unless you are siobhan... then i will not. i refuse to name the car anything that has to do with guinea pigs or twilight.

however... esme might work.

have i ever told you about my right eye? in grade 9, i went to see the eye doctor, he did tests... and informed me that my right eye wasn't as good as it should be. and that i needed glasses. so, i picked them out... and wore them for some of grade 9. but, then realized how absolutely ridiculous they looked on me. so, i stopped wearing them. when i went to get my G1 the first time... they said that i needed to wear glasses. ok yeah... sure. i had them to wear, but didn't ever. 5 years later, i hadn't got my license yet. i had to go back and get my G1 again. when they did the eye test this time... i could see perfectly fine! with both eyes. the woman at the DMV even asked if i had laser eye surgery. it was a miracle! i carried on for years... with an eye that healed itself. until the past... ohh... six months. it changed again. getting fuzzier and fuzzier. yesterday... i decided to call and make an appointment. thankfully, they had one for me today. i went in... i had to do 3 different tests on slick machines. they were really cool. and then, the last part was going in and seeing the doctor. we did the usual looking at the letters test. at the end... he told me that my left eye is perfect. 20/20! sweet! my right eye however... bad. bad bad bad. he suggested that i get contacts. well... actually... a contact. yep. just 1. in my right eye. i laughed when he told me this. a few years ago... when i moved into the wee apartment with tiffany, i remember laughing at her. because she only had 1 contact. in her left eye. and now... i need 1 contact in my right eye. between the two of us we have one really good set of eyes. and one really bad set. tonight we were chatting... and decided that on our donor cards we would write down that our eyes were to be donated as a pair. i also had an issue remembering how to spell... donar. hahaha. if it is donAte. why don't we spell is donAr? sheesh. so... i came home this afternoon with a contact in my eye. i left it in for 4 hours. the entire time... it watered. so, i took it out. and decided that tomorrow we would try for 6 hours.

as of today, there are 6 weeks to go. 6 weeks until aderito and i are together. ahhhhhhh. that was a sigh of relief. i really can't wait to see him. really. it's going to be wonderful to be able to just look at him! everyday i tell him that i just want to look in his eyes. sometimes he laughs... and tells me to look in the mirror.... cause we have the exact same colour eyes. other times... his response is a bit sweeter.

i haven't really learned much portuguese. i know random words. a lot of them. kind of like french. but, putting them together to make a sentence... is difficult. ah well.

tomorrow... my motivation is going to wake up. for 6 more weeks.

it can go back to sleep once we hit portugal.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

the starbucks bribe...

perhaps not to you... but, to me it seems like forever since i've written. then again, there really isn't anything spectacular going on to share. just... well... the usual.

on the 25th of may, i went for my monthly weigh-in at curves. i really didn't want to!! eek!! but, i walked over to the scale... and when i saw that it had only went down 1.5 pounds, i felt ridiciously discouraged. i went on with the measure. at the end, the trainer and i counted up the inches i had lost... in one month... 9 inches!! woooohoooo!!! that's almost 20 inches altogether. but, only about 7 pounds. ugh. the best measure was my waist... back in january, my first measure was 35 inches... and now, i'm down to 29. i can handle that. the weighing and measuring always make me a wee bit nervous... but, when it's finished... i always feel motivated to keep working!

this afternoon, my mom and i went to lococo's. it's a vegetable warehouse! i didn't feel like going... but, my mom convinced me that it was a good day to get out... and she bribed me with a starbucks. so, off we went. we walked around... filled up the cart with all the vegetables imaginable! and then.... i saw... rhubarb. big beautiful stalks. i love how it smells. and tastes. (if i had icewine to pour all over it, i would have been in complete bliss.) i picked out 6 deep red, yet crisp stalks. then drove home as fast as possible! as soon as i could, i started gathering ingredients for... strawberry-rhubarb-apple crisp! of course. i will now provide you with a recipe. there is a warning though... there is sugar. real sugar. because, i haven't had it in forever. and because i didn't want to ruin the rhubarb. it deserves only the best.

strawberry-apple-rhubarb crisp

1 pint strawberries (small, half. large, quarter)
6 stalks rhubarb (cut into same size pieces as the strawberries)
10 medium apples (cored, and sliced. leave the skin on. it's good for you.)

cut up all your fruit, put in into a large bowl.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 quinoa flour (ok, or regular)
1/4 cup of butter (cubed)

this will go into the bowl with the fruit... give it a good toss. the pour the fruit into a large baking dish. i always use the clear glass dishes... then i can see what's going on in there. the dish will be fairly full, but that is ok... the fruit will cook down considerable.

preheat your oven... 350F.

into the now empty bowl...

1 cup butter (cubed)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oats
1/2 cup quinoa flour (or again, regular)

with this... go to town!! smash, mix, knead and rub all these ingredients together. make it into a delicious crumble. go by feel. and taste.

next goes on the crumble. crumble it around evenly. into the hot oven goes your creation. i baked mine for 45 minutes. but really... all ovens are different. try 30 minutes first. look at the bottom the the dish... can you see all the tasty juices bubbling yet? is your crumble getting nicely browned? if yes... to both... take it out. if not, keep it in for the rest of the time. when it is done, let it rest for about 15 minutes. if you can. this will let juices thicken a bit more. and it's good for your patience. a little bit of waiting now and then is good for you. when we finally dug into the crumble it was soooo good!! i'm glad that i used sugar. it was worth it.

snack of the month!! i could not wait any longer to tell you about this one!! these little guys are incredible! pamela's products simplebits... seriously. i can't believe how tasty these little guys are. especially the ginger snaps. i haven't been able to find them in a grocery store. only in health food stores, or over in buffalo. if you see them though... just pick up a bag. and then one day... or night... try one. without a doubt, you will eat a few more! they aren't sugar-free. they are gluten-free. and dairy-free. they are now in my cheat day list... when i want to eat a good ol' cookie. mmmm!

the count down?

67 days... aderito and i will be together!

69 days... we fly off at night... to wake up in the morning ... 4 hours ahead... and on the wee island of sao miguel. that's going to be a rough night. please, don't let me forget to bring gravol!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

all i can say is...


preferably tonight, for your dinner. however, if you don't have the ingredients... i understand. make it tomorrow night then. once you take a bite... you will have wished that you didn't wait an extra day. seriously. it's ridiculous.

portobello mushroom stroganoff.

gather these ingredients. now. hurry!

2 tbsps butter (or olive oil... but, seriously... use the butter)
6 large portobello mushrooms
2 shallots, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1 tub fat free cream cheese
1 cup fat free sour cream
2 tsps thyme
2 tsps black pepper
1 tsp salt (or to taste)

oh, and noodles. whatever kind you want. they make really good whole wheat egg noodles. or gluten-free egg noodles. or i suppose, just regular ol' egg noodles! whatever you choose... make sure they are cooked... and ready for this sauce!!

now what? well...

start with the portobello mushrooms. turn them so the stem is up, gently pull it off. toss it. next, the brown skin on the top of the mushroom... can be gently peeled off. please do this too.
cut up the mushroom... aim for mouth-sized pieces. put these to the side. have your shallots ready. put a sauce pan on the stove... medium-high heat. warm the butter up... till it's foamy. add shallots, cook till tender. add the mushrooms. cook... you will notice that the mushrooms soak up all the tasty butter. this is when you need to add that wine!!! and then stand nice and close and breath in one of my favourite smells. mmm. ok. now, you can add the thyme and black pepper. cook this down till the pan is almost dry. push the mushrooms to the sides of the pan... making a little well. into well put the cream cheese and sour cream. stir it up, getting it nice and warm... once soft and melty... stir in the mushrooms. cook this... make it all hot and bubbly. however, don't boil it. never a good idea. ok... so, hopefully by now you've tasted it. and decided whether or not it needs more salt. and once it's adjusted accordingly... toss it on some of that pasta you've cooked... and EAT EAT EAT!!! and then i really expect you to tell me how good this is. more good news, it reheats very well.

jim came home after work... and ate it, and then ate some more. and then ran into my room to tell me how good it was. he didn't even ask where the beef is. which is what i expected when i made a dish that traditionally involves beef... and not mushrooms.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

the pansouffle.

the past week has been filled with unnecessary drama. i was going to get into it... and rant.. and rave... and unload. but, i think that it's one of those situations where i should just close the chapter. and really carry on. it's drama that has nothing to do with me, at all. however, one part that does effect me... is that i won't be hanging out with alex anymore. i'll miss his craziness... i won't miss the drama.

today was lovely. i went and worked out. i did laundry. jim and i went and looked at dishwashers. we've promised our mom a new one... hopefully friday we will.

oh, and i made ricotta and quinoa pancakes. mmm. i'm eating more carbs. but, virtually no gluten. so, the quinoa flour has replaced flour in all my recipes. i really like it. recently, i read elizabeth hasselbeck's new book... the g-free diet. i'm a huge fan of 'the view'. when i watch the show, i'm not usually a big fan of elizabeth. she did a fantastic job with this book though!! i've learned most gluten-free food also has a lower glycemic index. which is what i want. foods that are lower in the glycemic index are digested slower, produce a slower rise in blood sugar, usually control your appetite and delay hunger. i've found in the past that when i eat certain carbs, sugar, usually anything that has a higher glycemic index... it makes me... irritable. like, i can never satisfy my cravings or hunger. so, i've cut out a lot of sugary stuff... and have allowed myself to have gluten-free carbs. i've felt a lot better.

right... ricotta/quinoa pancakes. these bad boys tasted so good that once i thought about taking a photo to share... it was too late. the recipe however? here it is...

ricotta and quinoa pancakes

4 eggs, separated
1 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup quinoa flour
2 tbsps agave nectar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vanilla

in a bowl, put... yolks, cheese, flour, agave nectar, lemon and vanilla. mix, till flour is incorporated. in another bowl, or your mixer... whip whites till almost stiff. take about 1/4 of the white and whisk it into the ricotta mixture. fold in the rest of the whites. now... the cooking part. i found that these pancakes liked lower heat. medium heat or lower. mmm... slow-cooked pancakes.

and, well.... i feel like they should be called pansouffles. they are cooked in a pan... but, they aren't really cakey. they are light... definitely like a wee souffle. i made a mixed berry sauce to go along. oh yum!

snack of the month. i'm kind of disappointed that no one has asked what it is. i highly suggest that everyone go to the bulk barn as soon as possible. walk directly to the dried fruit section. find the natural dried mango. open up one of those baggies... grab the tongs... and fill up that bag. hopefully you are getting up off your chair... scanning the room for your keys, and walking out the door.

seriously enjoy the mango. you can thank me later.

Monday, May 11, 2009

muito encantador, de fato


that pretty much sums up how i've been feeling. since thursday i've been on the constant cusp of The Sickness. i worked out, and tried to eat loads of healthiness. however yesterday, i succumbed to it. waking up this morning feeling quite dreadful... i tried to go along like everything was peachy. but... felt drained. so, instead of working out and keeping busy. i ended up sitting in my bed, and ate muffins. hopefully tomorrow when i wake up, my energy will have returned. and i can bike ride, go to curves, do my strength training.

oh yes. i went and bought weights. and i found a few work out online that i've followed. i kinda like it. the one video is called, "tank top arms". huh, that's what i would like. please.

i'm getting more and more excited about going away in august. and more and more nervous.

everyday i go to a website that has a live weather camera of ponta delgada. the largest city on sao miguel. it's about 22 km from aderito's hometown... ribiera seca. it's so cute. like a postcard. the weather there in the spring, summer and fall is similar to what is like here. their winters however, are never as cold. it might get down to about 8C... but, that's it. never freezing. sheesh... must me nice. anyways, this is what ponta delgada looked like tonight...

it's enchanting. isn't it?

Monday, May 4, 2009

yet another muffin recipe...

usually, i take my time posting a new recipe. but, this one is soooo incredibly good. i can't wait!!

last week, i made squash muffins. it was a pretty easy way to eat an extra serving of vegetables. the flour that i used was soy and some salba. so... didn't feel too bad about eating them! it also inspired me to think about other veggies i could put into a muffin... carrots, zucchini... umm... i think that's it. when i put together my grocery list, i made sure i wrote down zucchini so i could try out as soon as possible.

i found a decent regular zucchini cornmeal muffin recipe... and i followed it, substituting my healthier ingredients for the typical ingredients used in baking. i'll give you the recipe i used, and in brackets the regular alternative. i've been using gluten-free products and sweetening with agave nectar in pretty much everything i bake. the past few baking experiment i've used soy flour. this time around, i thought i would try quinoa flour. it's lighter. i like it.

zucchini cornmeal muffins
(preheat oven 300F)

1 1/2 cups quinoa flour (or, all purpose flour)
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

put all these ingredients into a large bowl.

and, into a small separate bowl... these ingredients:

1/3 cup agave nectar (or, honey)
2 eggs, beaten
4 tbsps becel oil
3/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini

give the ingredients in the wet bowl, a little pre-mix. then, make a little hole in the center of your dry ingredients, pour in wet ingredients. stir slowly, mixing together... but, don't over mix!! into greased muffin tins, fill each cup 3/4. bake, for 30 minutes. mmm... enjoy!! they are sooo good nice and warm!

i've ate 2 already. siobhan, ate 1/2... she said they weren't sweet enough. jim, ate 2... and siobhan's uneaten 1/2. i think that if i was going to bake these for small children, and wanted to disguise the vegetably goodness... i would use yellow zucchini, and puree it (raw). as for the sweetness. add extra, if you like. oh goodness... i'm having to use some serious self-control. all i want is to run to the kitchen and eat another 2 more!

my curves, biking, eating healthy is going well. i didn't go to get weighed and measured in march. so, i knew that i had to go in april. i was dreading it!!! ugh. so, last monday i went. the weighing made me sad. i had only lost 3 pounds since february. however, when i was measured... i was down a total of 10 inches! it boggled my mind. so, i am toning... the fat is leaving, and the muscle is growing. i suppose that's ok. i had to go and do a bit of online research to completely understand what happened. on one site they explained that 1 pound of fat... is like a 1 pound bag of popcorn. while, 1 pound of muscle is like a pound bag of rocks. the popcorn is going to take up a whole lot more room. and the rocks are going to weigh the same, just take up less space. ok. i'm ok with that. i just would like the scale to go down. please. on saturday... i was happy to have a few minutes to talk to my favourite athletic therapist... kelly. i asked what else i could do to make the fat GO AWAY. she suggest lifting weights. just 5 pound weights. it's not going to make me huge or muscly. just more toning. i'm good with that. i also bought a skipping rope. i just need to figure out a good place to use it.

94 more days till aderito is here.

96 till we go to ribiera seca... the wee little village he grew up in.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

parque atlântico

my butt... really hurts. the incredible weather we've had the past few days have been perfect bike riding weather. i've been biking about 15km each ride. i think that's enough... for now. it would be ideal if the weather stays nice... because then i won't have any excuses not to go out.

on friday, it was so beautiful out i was inspired to make a nacho dip. i found it online a while ago, and it was a perfect way to celebrate the warmth! it's a summery meal... light... loads of flavour. and most importantly... healthy! i had to modify the recipe a bit... because, that's what i do! and i HAVE to share this one with you. it makes a lot! perfect for a party... and little does everyone know how good it is for them!

never-ending nacho dip...

first layer... the bottom...

1 can of white beans(rinsed)
1 cup low-fat sour cream
2 tbsps taco seasoning

second layer...
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach (thawed, and the water squeezed out)
1 can of green chilies (drained)
5 avocados (just the flesh, please)
1 shallot (roughly chopped)
1 tbsp cilantro
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp taco seasoning
salt and pepper (season to taste)

third layer...
1 container of whipped cream cheese
1 cup of low fat sour cream
1 tbsp lime juice

fourth layer...
1 jar of salsa (i used pace... mild)

fifth layer...
1 napa cabbage shredded
1 cup of cheddar shredded
and.. whatever else you like... red peppers, olives, scallions...

first layer...
into a food processor put... beans, sour cream, and taco seasoning. puree till smooth. pour into a large glass baking dish. cover. and refrigerate, while preparing the second layer.

second layer...
into the food processor put... spinach, avocados, shallots, green chilies, taco seasoning, lime juice, and salt and pepper. pulse till smooth. spread this over the bean layer. and then, back into the fridge.

third layer...
into a bowl (or the food processor) place... cream cheese, sour cream, lime juice. mix till smooth. pour over guacamole layer.

fourth layer...
pour salsa over the creamy cheesy layer...

fifth layer...
and whatever you choose... layer it over the salsa. lettuce, napa cabbage, other veggies... and the cheeeeese!

there you go!!! a super delicious... and what seems like never ending nacho dip. seriously... i've had it for the past... 4 meals. and my mom has had quite a bit as well... and we are only 1/2 way through it. it's tasty though... i'll have it for dinner tonight for sure!

i went shopping again today. sheesh. i went through my closet... and realized that i don't really have a whole lot of clothing. not even any t-shirts. so, that was the goal today. my mom, siobhan and i made the trek to buffalo. we were quite successful! i picked up another light dress to wear in sao miguel, and a HUGE beach bag! perhaps, i should go through my closet... and get rid of the stuff i don't ever wear. yep. that's what i'm going to do.

i found the name of the mall in ponta delgada. and then i found it's website. and then... was able to see the names of all the stores that are there. and then go to the websites... and look at all the super cool and very different clothes, shoes, bags, accessories they have. oh goodness.

102 days till aderito and i are together.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

one more time.

on sunday i attempted to make a rhubarb berry crisp. and failed miserably. i wanted it to be the healthiest version i could make. i didn't want to use butter, flour, oats, sugar. i've been gathering healthier versions of those things... but, apparently didn't quite know how to use them.

instead of sugar... stevia and agave syrup. instead of cornstarch... arrowroot. instead of white flour... soy flour. instead of oats... wheatgerm.

i'll give you the good recipe.

2 cups frozen mixed berries
1 cup frozen rhubarb
1 tsp stevia
2 tbsps arrowroot
2 tbsps cold water

all this into a pot, cook over medium heat... when the fruit is no longer frozen add the stevia. cook this for about 10 minutes... a quiet simmer. mix the arrowroot and water together. slowly stir into the simmering fruit. it will thicken up the juices. pour into your chosen crumble baking dish.

1/2 cup becel margarine
1/3 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup arrowroot
1/4 cup soy flour
1 cup wheatgerm

mix all these ingredients together in a bowl. the mixture will be like a thick cookie dough. spoon evenly over the berry rhubarb mixture. bake at 350F for about 30 minutes... or until the crumble mix is golden.

the bad crumble i made on sunday... was eaten for the most part. usually for breakfast with cottage cheese. i can't wait to be able to eat the GOOD version for breakfast tomorrow! mmm!

nanny duties have been trying lately. alex is a super good child when it is just the two of us. we march in a big circle... clapping our hands. we see who can push his truck the farthest down the hall. we share my lunch everyday... cause it's always far more exciting than his! but, as soon as his mother is around. he's a big huge handful. he hits her, a lot. he has only hit me once... as soon as it happened... he was promptly put on the naughty step. and sat there, and cried. he's never hit me again. but, when he hits his mom... she slaps both hands twice and yells... "NO"! i'm far from knowing much about parenting. but... here are my thoughts on hitting. if your child hits you... and you hit him back. doesn't it send some sort of sign that hitting is ok... even when you are yelling "no" at the same time? i've been struggling with saying nothing. but, today... i spoke up... and suggested instead of yelling and smacking his hands... try the step. she was responsive to this... until he started crying. and then went over, picked him up. well... maybe next time? good news... tomorrow is going to be beautiful! and that means... we are going outside! i'm not quite sure what we are going to do... perhaps we will make some playdough... and he can go sit outside and make a big bad mess.

aderito and i countdown together everyday. except i do the real count... and he keeps saying that there are only 100 days. i think that perhaps he doesn't want to start counting till we are at... 100. there are 105 days to go. i've continued the slow shopping... this time.. a cute bag.

one more thing... my wedding ring no longer fits. before, it was only when my hands were really cold. now... it's falling off all the time. what am i going to do?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

punching, heaping, baking...

since it's been so incredibly nice out... i thought that perhaps, i could put my curves membership on hold... or cancel it. so, i went in and tried to figure something out with the manager/owner. i left with an overwhelming desire to punch her in the head. she told me that it was no way possible to do either thing. i came home with a huge headache... from sheer frustration. i was going to go to the bank this afternoon and try to stop payment. but, i'm fairly sure that somewhere in my contract it says that i'm not allowed to do that.

and then this morning i had this thought... well... if this is becoming very complicated... perhaps it's a pretty little sign that i should just keep going. and also do the outside exercising too. so, i was ok with this part. but, i was still feeling quite a bit frustrated with that woman. apparently, not only does this situation make me think that the extra exercizing is necessary... perhaps, it was also time for me to take part in a little bit of coal heaping. "if your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. in doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you." proverbs 25:21+22. this is my go-to verse when i'm pissed off... and all i want to do is be a brutal wench. this afternoon when i walked into curves, for about the first minute i was there... i wasn't very pleasant at all. but, it didn't make me feel any better. and then i thought... that is totally what she is expecting... me to be mad and frustrated for not allowing me to put my membership on hold. but, me being a bitch isn't going to get it done either. instead, i will continue to be fun, witty, pleasant, perhaps i will bring her in a tasty sweet potato muffin. i will heap burning coals.

ohhhhh... and guess what i made today? super healthy and ridiculously tasty sweet potato muffins!! oh yes!! i had a lot of sweet potato puree left over from easter dinner. and i was checking out the pioneer woman's recent muffin adventure... it made me sooo jealous!! i want to eat tasty muffins. and then i realized that i could. i just had to be smart about it... and use healthier options. this is what i came up with in the end.

the sweet potato puree is this: sweet potatoes (with the skin left on)... cooked in water until soft, drain... toss into a food processor... puree, along with a bit of becel margarine, fresh grated ginger, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and a bit (about 1 tbsp) of agave syrup to sweeten it. chill this mixture before making the muffins. i suppose, that you could always just use canned pumpkin puree. it would be a whole lot easier!

now, the rest of the recipe...

1/4 cup of becel margarine
1/4 cup of agave syrup
1.5 cups sweet potato puree
1/3 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 tsp baking powder

mix all of this together. till smooth.

1 1/3 cup soya flour (or any type of flour you want... )

add this to the wet ingredients.... stir just enough so it is incorporated... but, not over mixing. the mix should be enough for about 12 muffins.

i made a crumble for the top too... a handful of whatever cereal you have kickin' around (i used special k protein cereal), 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 2 tbsps sliced almonds, and 1 tsp stevia. i put all of these ingredients into a ziploc baggie... and broke up the cereal with my hand. then sprinkle it all over. it made a really good crunch... good contrast for how moist the muffins are! into a 350F oven... for about 40 minutes.

aderito offically has the tickets to sao miguel in his hands! and i've started my vacation shopping! so far... 1 dress, 1 pair of sunglasses. all tucked away.

113 days till we are together.

115 till we fly off...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

please, get off the table.

having children hasn't ever been at the top of my to-do list. i think that there was a very small period of time when i thought that perhaps it would be fun to have a "van load" of kids. but, that didn't last long. i was mostly of the frame of mind that i wouldn't have any. so, in thinking that i wasn't going to have children... i didn't really give much thought to anything that comes with having children. back when siobhan was a baby... i didn't put any thought into how she was being raised, or disciplined, or what she was eating... i just had a lot of fun with her. she was a new little mind to mould.

being married, i've allowed my mind to start thinking about kids... in a different way. like as in... having one. which will eventually happen. i figure... may 2012.

since i've been hanging out with alex though... i've started to realize that i just might be the "bad" parent. the one with rules, the one that enforces the rules, the one that is more likely to say no. that's no fun at all. when alex and i come to my house... there are very specific rules that we have. no touching the plants. no touching the bird cage (and surrounding areas). sit down on the little stool when having a snack. sitting on the big stool when eating lunch. rolling the ball on the floor, and not throwing it. saying please when you want anything. and when we are done eating... the face and hands WILL be wiped down. pretty easy, and he follows all of them. no problems. at his house? oh goodness... it's a free for all. there are no rules. there is a lot of throwing, food anywhere and everywhere, climbing. ohhhhh the climbing. i walked into the house a few mornings ago... and he was sitting on top and in the middle of the kitchen table. my child... will never ever be on the table. ever. the highchair isn't used... he is fed wherever. i've been slowly migrating the rules into his house. i really, just can't wait till it warms up a bit more... he needs to go outside. run around, breath in all that fresh air, throw stuff, climb trees. i guess i just didn't know that deep down inside i had some sort of parenting-style established. and i know that it most definitely not the same as...

oh yes, of course.. the never-ending update...

17 weeks to go, till aderito arrives in toronto. 12 weeks have passed since aderito left. not quite half way yet. april 29th is the half-way point. something to look forward to. i've started picking up a few things for the trip... most recently, a super cute dress to wear to the beach... ahhh... the beach. in the massive amount of reading i've been doing about sao miguel, one of the interesting facts i learned... was to not wear any light coloured swim suits at the beach. the sand is black. this would be because all the islands that make up azores, are formed from volcanoes. scary. there are a few that are still active, but there hasn't been any activity in quite some time. 1988, i think was the last time there were any tremors. there are 5 volcanic type systems on, or around the island of sao miguel. most recent, last known eruption... 1880. that's a while ago. it should be fairly safe while i'm there.

i haven't cooked anything incredibly exciting lately... a yummy red thai coconut curry... with spring wheat pasta. that was tasty. ohhhh... and for the first time in a very long time i ate yukiguni sushi. the best sushi on earth. it was so tasty. i still haven't had any processed sugar... i have been eating dried no sugar added fruit. mangoes, peaches, apples. they are a perfect treat. i haven't had a single cadbury creme egg... or cadbury mini egg...

and i don't miss them at all.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

brownies... black bean style.

when siobhan was born, i was 16. when i moved to kitchener, she was almost 4 years old. so, i was there all throughout her baby and toddler years. she was a really good baby... never climbed up and over everything... never ran around like a wild child... usually pretty happy to have people around, and books read. well... alex, the toddler i've been watching is the complete opposite. he is one busy little boy. spending most of his time running. yesterday.... alex and i were running around my house... when he smashed into my legs, and then whacked his face on the floor. there was blood. in the end everything was ok... and the mom wasn't mad at me for breaking her baby.

since purchasing my pretty little food processor... i've been looking forward to baking black bean brownies! partially because i thought it would be cool to try out... and partially because i miss eating brownies. or any sugary snacky tasty food in general. yesterday, i told siobhan that all i wanted to eat was a doughnut and french fries between two big pieces of soft chewy bread. according to siobhan, it didn't sound very appealing. i searched for a recipe that included ingredients that i already had at home. the first recipe that i wanted to make required agave nectar... unfortunately i don't have any yet (for sure buying some tomorrow!). i found another recipe, to give me an idea of what i needed... of course i tweaked it a bit.
this is what the recipe ended up being... it's doubled from the original recipe. fitting perfectly into my pyrex cake dish...

2 cans of beans (i used 1 can of navy, and 1 can of black... rinse them!)
6 eggs
6 tbsps becel oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp stevia (or 1 cup splenda/sugar)

you can use either a food processor or a blender. blend the beans first... till smooth. then add in eggs and oil. blend again. then add in cocoa and sugar. blend once more. at this point, i threw in a handful of cashews and cocoa nibs... for a bit of crunch. pulsing it, to break down the nuts a bit. pour into a greased pan. and into the oven... 350F for 25 minutes.

after trying the brownies, my mom and i decided that they needed an icing! so... i used about 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate, 2 tbsps of sour cream, and 1 tbsp of peanut butter. into the microwave for 1 minute... and then spread it all over the warm brownies. it made them pretty tasty! i figure the wee bit of chocolate on the brownie is ok... as long as i don't only eat the icing and not the rest of the brownie!!

dinner tonight was soooo good too... asparagus, roasted sweet potatoes, and parmesan crusted baked chicken. super good. and lots of leftovers. love it!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

a nanny and a cupcake

not working... is boring. sure, i've been working out, cooking, doing all sorts of recipe finding. and of course... getting more sleep than ever before. too much.

when i heard that a past co-worker was looking for someone to watch her little boy, i thought... i can do that. make a little bit of extra money (shhh!), have a reason to get up... other than to go pee, and without a doubt i would be busy and moving all the time.

monday was my first day with alex. he's 19 months old. and loves to say, NO WAY. he's been pretty good for me so far. no tantrums, minimal crying, and he plays well. we have loads of fun... building stuff, making weird noises, and watching dora. the plan of action today is to come back here... i want to make dinner, and hang out... i think a change of scenery will be nice. it will be ideal once the weather is nice again! and we can go and hang out outside... go to the park or go for a walk. yeah!

this weekend that just passed was a busy one!! kel came over and we put on our creative hats!! and made cute and whimsical cupcake bites. we had a blast! there were sooo many!! a few months ago, kel pointed me towards many cool blogs... one of them being bakerella. after a few months of reading her blog, and then watching bakerella and the pioneer woman get together and make them. i thought... if they can do it, kel and i can for sure!!! and so, we did...

kel made this one!! it's beautiful! i'm pretty sure bakerella would be proud!!
we took them to our friend jen's baby shower. that was a lot of fun too... oh babies! there are so many coming into the world this year. hopefully the school systems get prepared for the great baby boom of '09!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

stevia rebaudiana

this week, we've had to make a few changes. you see... momma karen has been seeing this super cool mind and body doctor. the doctor suggested that my mom should take all processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and carbohydrates out of her diet. no more diet soda, splenda, little packets of flavour for water, bread, pastas, decaffeinated beverages, chocolate, chips, candy... you get my point. right?

so, on tuesday... i did a major... and i mean MAJOR clean out. well... it was pretty easy, there really wasn't a whole lot of carbs in the house to begin with. siobhan and momma karen were already eating everything that i've been eating for the past few weeks for dinner. so, it was just other bits of crap that was kickin' around. gone. into the composter. all the other stuff that wasn't opened was sent away with my brother... to his girlfriends dorm room! all the healthy food that we will be cooking with was moved into pantry in the kitchen. the other food, that we don't need to see, think about, want to eat... was put into the back room pantry. perfect.

i made butter chicken that night too!! oh my!! butter chicken is usually really rich, creamy, and oh... buttery. but, my mom had been watching a cooking show. and these women created a much healthier version of it!! it's terrific.... and tasted pretty stinkin' close to the real stuff. of course we ate it with whipped cauliflower! it was just like eating it with basmati rice. it soaked up all the tasty sauce. mmmm!

in the comments section of the previous post, my friend jenn mentioned stevia. this stuff is magic!!! go and check out their website... and read about the benefits in length! here is a little blurb from the site though...

"Benefits of stevia: Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a wonderful dietary supplement used for over 1500 years as a sweetener and for medicinal purposes. Since the 1970's, stevia has been used in Japan as the main alternative to sugar, used instead of the banned aspartame in diet soda, gum and other food and beverages. Stevia is also being used as a sweetener in other countries after extensive studies proved it's safety. Stevia has been used with success to treat many ailments including diabetes, high blood pressure, gingivitis, digestion ailments, addictions, topically for acne and other skin ailments and also as a wonderful weight loss aid. Safe for diabetics as it does not raise blood sugar!"

so, i went out and bought some. i was excited to start experimenting with it!!! one of my mom's greatest disappointments about no more artificial sweeters was no more diet pop. she doesn't drink lots of it... but, likes something fizzy to drink once in a while. so... i created this for her:

fizzy berry soda
2 cups frozen berries (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry)
1 cup water
2 tsps stevia
put everything into a pot, over medium-high heat... simmer for 20 minutes. stir occasionally. blend with stick blender. then pass through a fine sieve, into a container. chill. then put about 1/4 cup of the sauce into a glass with a few ice cubes and top with club soda!!!

according to my mom... it's pretty good! i haven't had any yet... but, on april 1st... when i can have fruit again. i will definitely try it out!! i think that i'm going to make mango sauce... and a bunch of other different kinds. it will be refreshing when it gets warm out!

5 more days till i have some fruit.

133 more days till aderito arrives in toronto.

135 more days till we fly off to vila franca do campo!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

porto won

putting the lime cheesecakey stuff in the freezer was a bad choice. it was good last night, slightly chilled. this afternoon... it was rock hard. so, i put it into the fridge. and then it went grainy. i'm going to have to tweak the recipe... and also try it out with a different flavour. lime was ok... it was good. i think that perhaps tomorrow i will try it out in berry. the labne (greek goat cheese) i made turned out well. its more like a cream cheese. which is fine with me!! it has incredible flavour. which is all that really matters at this point and time.

aderito only worked half a day today!! wooohooo!! i love sundays!! at around 1:30pm we chatted a bit... he said that he was going to nap for a little bit. and then, asked if i could wake him up in an hour and a half. i thought... how sweet! aderito doesn't want to sleep his day away... he wants to talk to meeeee!! aderito then told me that he had to wake up to watch soccer, porto was playing. oh. well then. we had lots of chats today though... enough to get me through another week of him working at night. i ask questions all the time, about his family... because there are SO many of them!! he has 5 siblings, 2 older sisters, an older brother, and 2 younger sisters. his mom and dad come from huge families as well. but, i was asking about his grandparents today. i can never remember who is alive or not. only his mom's mom is still around... so, i asked what her name is. it's natalia maria... the exact same name as his mom! imagine my mom decided to do the same thing? erin, siobhan or i might be karen ann jr.

going back to the casino is offically no longer an option. the manager called this morning, to ask if i would be returning. i told him that i would like to, but that i wanted to be honest and let him know now that aderito had just booked our flights to azores. he says, "ohhhh... that's not good. nope. that's not going to work." i told him that aderito hasn't see his family in 3 years, that i have never met them. and also that we didn't know if i was going to be called back because of the racetrack situation. and so we went ahead and booked it. the manager's response, "so, i take it you are going to go to azores then? it's either go, or come back to work... because you can't do both." how in the world was i going to respond to that? there was a definite moment of silence. and then i slowly replied, "ok... i guess i'm not going back?" sheesh. he finished the conversation with a good 'ol... "well... i wish you the best." gee thanks.

since i've been out of the kitchen... i've been watching a ridiculous amount of the food channel. i'm ok with it. most of the time. i can't handle the chicks that make all those desserts at the moment. iron chef is good. the wild gourmet is insane!!! seriously, they shot and roasted squirrel the other night. i think that i have watched every food network challenge. and ohhh... the ace of cakes. i will never ever be able to have cakes that come anywhere close to duff's. i will try. i'm up for a challenge! who's birthday is next?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

almond flour, labne, and bill murray.

the amount of healthy south beach recipes that are available these days makes this chick... pumped! the last time i went through this... sure, there was a book available with recipes. but, i definitely don't recall the recipes being this good... and i didn't ever think about looking online for more! this time however... wow!! the sheer plethora of recipes available is overwhelming. i don't know where to start... or what to make everyday. this time around seems to be so much easier.

this morning, i decided that i was sick of eating eggs. ugh. so, i searched for phase 1 breakfast recipes. what did i find?! almond meal pancakes!! woohoo! i don't usually have almond meal (but, last year i made elderberry pies. and i used almond meal to thicken the elderberry juices). anyways... they were really easy, and i think that they tasted pretty good. siobhan on the other hand... didn't enjoy them quite so much. hahaha!! she tried... but, in the end couldn't deal with the texture. in the afternoon... i made a whipped lime cheesecake. seriously. sugar-free lime jello (dissolved in a bit of warm water. no fat cream cheese. and non-fat nutriwhip. mixed them together! till thick. yuuum! i put it into the freezer. it's the closest thing i've had to ice cream in quite some time! ohhh... and dinner. white bean and turkey meatloaf. loved it. looking forward to having leftovers tomorrow! i also started to make labne. it's a greek cheese... like a fresh mozzarella. the recipe called for greek nonfat yogurt. but, when i went to the store... i could only find greek goat yogurt. it's a good thing that i love goat cheese! the yogurt is mixed with a bit of salt, then into a strainer lined with cheesecloth (over a bowl), covered and into the fridge for 48 hours. tomorrow afternoon it should be done!! all i have to is ball it up, and i might roll it in italian seasoning. mmmm.

early this morning, aderito called me. we have been trying to keep the phone calls to only at night... so, when my phone ran and it was aderito i was surprised! so, he just wanted to let me know that it had been raining all morning... but, that it was sunny and he was going to go to work. i noticed that something was strange... it was like he was down a hole. he was sounding much farther way than usual. so, i mentioned this to him... why do you sound so far away? aderito's reply? oh well... my phone jumped in the water. nikki's reply? WHAT? he explained that this morning, he was already up and ready to work when his foreman called to tell them men to stay at home. so, aderito decided to go and get coffee and breakfast. on the way there... his phone fell out of his pocket and into a puddle while he was driving. i love the translation!! it made for a good laugh all day! it also made me think about when aderito and i go to azores... there will most definitely be a few people that will try to talk to me... in english. and without a doubt... there will be a few things lost in translation.

10 more days without all starchy sugary carby stuff.

138 more days till aderito arrives!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

the great and powerful garbanzo!

have i recently mentioned my complete love for snacks? i do. i snack all day long. but, taking sugary snacks out of the mix has been difficult. that kettle corn i was eating earlier this month... loaded with sweet crispy sugar. honestly, i think i ate about 15 bags of it. one morning however... it was the first thing i thought about!! mmm... how long until i can open a bag of that deliciously addicting popcorn. so, i stopped that asap. and now... need to fill that ridiculous void. this is my third day sugar-free. all is well... except that i think about sugar all freaking day long, and i have a raging headache. i just took 3 ibuprofen. hopefully the dull pounding will be gone by the time i hit publish.

last night, as i was laying in bed... ready to go to sleep. this unreal craving for chickpeas hit me! i all of the sudden wanted to eat them... in any form possible! except for straight out of the can. nope. can't bring myself to do that. so, this afternoon... after i had vacuumed and wet swiffered the front entrance. i got out my wee little food processor. this baby is so small! i could only fit 1/2 can of chickpeas in it! i have a feeling that it just might be in my best interest to purchase a much larger food processor. ohhh... imagine all the hummus i could make then!!

yes, carrying on. the glorious hummus recipe...

1 can chickpeas (rinsed)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (real or fresh)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (or about 2 cloves)
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt/pepper

so, i threw the chickpeas into the food processor... and whizzed them around till they were chopped up. then added the garlic and cumin. whizzed it around a bit more. keeping the food processor on at medium speed... drizzled in the olive oil (just enough till it becomes smooth). while the processor is still on, poured in the lemon juice till pita/cucumber dipping consistency. then add in your salt and pepper. whiz around once more... then taste it!! is it good? add a bit more olive oil... or lemon juice if you want. its going to be different for everyone.

i ate this for my mid-afternoon snack. with cucumber. it was perfect! and then... as i was enjoying the crunchy cucumber... i remembered seeing somewhere a recipe for roasted chickpeas. and i thought, yes!! i can snack on those bad boys later on while watching lost! so, i looked around... and found a recipe that was ok... and i took a few ideas from it. but, in the end... this is what i came up with...

spicy moroccan roasted chickpeas.

preheat oven to 400F

1 can of chickpeas (drained)
1/4 cup olive oil

into a bowl add:
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice (optional, unless you have it kickin' around the spice rack)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder (add a bit more... if you're the spicy type!)
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon sea salt

add the chickpeas, toss around in spice mix. add oil... toss till well coated.
put it onto a baking sheet... and into the oven for about 40 minutes. about half way through, give them a bit of a shake. and at the end of the 40 minutes... taste! if they are still soft, back in they go! you want them to have just a little bit of a soft center. when they cool... they will crisp up more.

i love how cinnamon, allspice and cloves manage to create the illusion of sweetness! it's magic.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

pissed off and psyched out

the no sugar thing... is brutal. however, about 65% of the time i'm feeling pretty good about this decision. i was unbelievably exhausted last night. and slept better than i have in weeks. i woke up and had some cottage cheese and plain yogurt... and strawberry/orange/banana crystal light with wheat grass ice cubes. yeah. in a very local health food store, i found frozen wheat grass juice!! far too exciting. and they make excellent ice cubes! i drank more water today that i did in all of last week. which makes my body very happy... and my bladder a little overexcited. there were many dashes to the bathroom throughout the day.

i went and worked out. and worked extra hard, because i'm pretty pissed off. let me tell you why. about 2 weeks ago, i went to work out. usually after every workout, i have a chat with the owner. she's pretty cool... and has been very interested in helping me find a job. this particular day she asked me if i was interested in working for her. i was thrilled!! it's what i need at the moment. to be immersed in the healthy. and away from a kitchen stocked with tasty tasty food... and sugar. so, the next day... i brought in my CV, and told her that the only experience that i have is in the kitchen. she seemed to be alright with this. so, we didn't talk about it at all that week. last week... i took the week off. on the friday of last week though, i went onto the local job finding website. i check it out every single day to see who is hiring... and try to send out a few resumes. anyways, what do i see? only one posting for fort erie. for a personal trainer. at freaking CURVES!! i was kind of offended. so, what did i do? i immediately sent her a strongly worded email. well... strongly in the kindest way possible. letting her know that i was interested. so... yesterday, i went in and she wasn't there. but, i had the chance to talk with one of the other trainers to find out what the situation was... and i asked her to leave a note for the woman asking for her to call me. which then brings us to today. still no phone call. no reply to my email. and when i saw her, she asked me how i was... but, she wasn't able to look me in the eyes... because her head was turned and she was headed back out the door. i will go and work out tomorrow. but, i think that i'm finished being aggressive about this particular job. it's her turn.

for lunch, i made a tasty salad! arugula, parmesan cheese, a light grainy mustard dressing, and topped it with 2 perfectly poached eggs. yum! this afternoon, i just relaxed. made sure siobhan did her chores. and took a few surveys that were sent to me. i do probably 2 a day. its fun. gives me something to do. and, for some reason leads me to believe that my opinions on toilet paper commercials really do matter. todays survey? the topic... SUGAR. oh, how i wish i was joking. more specifically.... candy. what my favourite was. how i feel about licorice. every question possible about delectable satisfying, comforting candy. i made it through the survey. and sipped on my crystal light.

oh! dinner.. yum! i made tomato and white bean soup. it was pretty effin' good. and easy. and there are leftovers! i think that tomorrow, i might add some ground chicken to the leftovers. and it will be like a loose tomatoey sauce. and bake spaghetti squash... and eat it like pasta and meat sauce. i feel like i'm constantly trying to psych out my palate... and make it believe that all this food is rich and filling. like a big bowl of gnocchi with brown butter. oh goodness.