Archive for January, 2010

Local Harvest.

Yesterday morning, I dragged my man out of bed at the crack of dawn (also known as 8:00 a.m. in our house) and dragged him to the local farmer’s market.  We’ve been before but never went early enough to score the good veggies and were left staring at a few tables of brownish bananas and wilted spinach.  I never gave the market very much credit after that but decided, on the urging of a co-worker, to give it another shot.  And guess what?  Fabulous.

The Rock is unique for a lot of reasons, one of which being that the soil isn’t very deep (it really is a rock), so there are a lot of vegetables and fruits that simply can’t grow here.  However, there are a lot of vegetables and fruits that definitely can and I came home yesterday with a shopping bag full of them.  Observe:

Unpictured is the dozen organic eggs that I bought from the same farmer.  Cost-wise, the market was no real difference from the grocery store…maybe a few dollars more, and about double the price in the case of the eggs.  However, I got to chat with the farmer and his wife and they told me a bit about their farming practices and what they would have  next weekend, which was cool.

What wasn’t cool was realizing that I have WAY too much stuff in the fridge, so I had to get a bit creative there.  Carrots in the butter compartment.  Oh well.

It was a beautiful day yesterday.  After the market, we went for coffee and then made our way back to our apartment, which we attacked with sponges and soap until it was sparkling again.  We haven’t given it a really good clean since before Christmas and it definitely needed it.  I also put in some more time with The Shack because I’m super anxious to get to the next book in my pile!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!


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I have not eaten one bowl of oatmeal in 2010.  How odd.  I blame this on the fact that I returned from Canada with THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL TIME, which now dominates breakfast in our house.  We blend our breakfast.  This morning’s concoction was the greenest yet:

  • banana
  • KALE
  • a whole orange, peeled
  • a whole lime, unpeeled
  • a big spoonful of spirulina

Very…tropical.  I loved it.  Carlos called it “peely”.  Whateves.

Today was a crazy day at work.  I got called upstairs in the morning by the big boss to work on a “quick little project” which I still hadn’t finished by the time I flew out the door at 5:30 to meet some friends for dinner.  I’m thinking it will eat up most of tomorrow as well.  At least it’s interesting and kind of fun. 

I’m falling back into old habits and building up quite a huge virtual shopping cart on Amazon.  Why is Amazon so convenient?  Why do they have to already know my credit card number and all information so that ordering books, quite literally, requires no more than a click or two.  So easy…but so bad.  Bad because I have bookcases full of books that I haven’t yet read, all purchased under similar circumstances…that way too easy click.

On the topic of books, I’ve gotten involved in my book club again.  I say “again” because last year I read one book, attended one meeting, and then flaked out completely during  a month where the book was total crap.  So, I committed back in December to re-join for January’s meeting and anxiously awaited the e-mail announcing the book.  The big winner?

The Shack, by William Paul Young. 

The verdict?  The Crap.

I feel like this is another Eat, Pray, Love situation.  Everyone RAVED about Eat, Pray, Love.  So, obviously, I bought a copy and settled in to read it on a flight from Ottawa to Victoria.  I read as she whined her way through Italy and India and by the time she was whining her way into Indonesia, I was SO over it.  Here is a woman with this amazing gift of having the resources to do whatever the hell she pleases for an entire year, and all she does is whine about it.  I’m not sure I’ve found any written character so annoying.  Ever.

So, back to The Shack.  Another book with huge press and four-thousand-and-something reviews on Amazon (not all of them good, mind you), and claims that it was life changing by people whose opinions I really do respect.  To be fair, I never actually read anything about the book.  I had heard about it and seen it in stores, but never picked it up to read the synopsis and had no idea what it was about.  Ergo, I had no idea that it was a religious book.  The first half isn’t, but the second half is a whole lot of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and to be honest, I can’t get through more than 3 or 4 pages without feeling as though my mind is drifting off onto other things, like taxes or the pile of laundry that is waiting for me.

Maybe, like Eat, Pray, Love, it deserves a second chance.  Though, Eat, Pray, Love wasn’t any more endearing the second time around.  In fact, I don’t even think I made it all the way through India.  Ah, well.

Next month’s read is The 19th Wife: A Novel, which I’m looking forward to.  Big Love is back on TV (season 4 started this month) and I do love those crazy polygamists.  Though, I don’t think that this book takes place in the suburbs.

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My computer and WordPress, it would seem, are not the best of friends.  For almost a week, I’ve been unable to access my profile on WordPress and, consequently, unable to update.  No idea what was going on there, but I tried this morning and as you can see…it worked. 

I’ve got a couple of trips coming down the pipes…the first one being a trip to Grand Cayman in March.  I was in Cayman for work last year and was really impressed by it.  It’s similar to our Rock in a lot of ways, but very built up and Americanized, with a lot of comforts of home, such as fast-food restaurants (not super exciting for me, except for the Baskin Robbins), real movie theatres, normal-sized roads (with normal-sized cars) and good friends who we haven’t seen in awhile.  I’m really looking forward to it. 

After that trip was booked last Thursday, we made a quick decision to follow it up with another trip taking place just two weeks later.  On Monday, I booked us tickets to New Yooooooork (concrete jungle where dreams are made of…) to see some friends of ours from Canada and spend a few days wandering, eating and drinking wine.  There may or may not also be some shopping in my plans.  Not going to lie.  I’m so excited.  We haven’t been back to the Big Apple since our Easter trip in 2008, so this is overdue.  Like I said, there are only two weeks between the two trips, which isn’t ideal but we got amazing deals on the flights, so we’re doing this fairly guilt-free.  And then we’ll be here on the Rock for the majority of the summer and maybe even the Fall…enter Rock Fever.   Yikes.

I’ve been doing some cooking lately.  I made another pot of soup on the weekend (Curried Chickpea) from Rebar, yet another winner.  I’ve made it before, but I must have missed something the last time because I don’t remember it being this GOOD.  Seriously.  Bowl-licking good.

Tonight, I have a Thai red curry with shrimp planned.  It’s a new recipe (kind of a hybrid from two cookbooks), so we’ll see how it goes.  I’m on a curry kick lately…must be the dismal weather.

Curry cravings.

 I’m gulping down the last of my green smoothie before getting ready for work.  This morning’s creation was simple:

  • bananas
  • strawberries
  • ground flax seed
  • Amazing Grass (unflavoured)
  • KALE
  • filtered water

Nothing exciting, but delicious nonetheless.  Carlos has gone from being ambivalent about them, to asking for them, to having seconds.  A convert!  Excellent.  I think my BlendTec won him over when it whipped up an amazing batch of salsa with just a few pulses…amazing.

Have I mentioned how much I love my blender?

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My legs are shaking and my arms feel like jelly.  Why?

I got my ass kicked tonight by Jillian Michaels and her evil 30 Day Shred.  I haven’t done it in awhile and guess what?  It’s like I never did it at all!  It was BRUTAL.  And that was only Level 1.  I was doing great until those dang side lunge things with the weights…which I cursed my way through, though I missed a few reps.  Oh well.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  According to my heart rate monitor, I burned 279 calories in about 26 minutes…not bad!  Actually, that’s more than I would have burned jogging/running for the same amount of time.  

I just know that I’m not going to be able to lift my toothbrush in the morning.  I’ve got a painful Thursday ahead of me!

To lessen the pain, I have lunch and dinner plans, which means two restaurant meals in one day.  Not so great for calories, but I’ve already taken a peek at the menus for both restaurants and figured out what I’ll be having and there are definitely healthy choices available.  Not always the case on this, the Island of Fried Everything Served with Mayo.

Tuesday’s Goals went pretty well, though I didn’t manage to do either the walking or the run after work because of the weather.  I didn’t have time to set goals for myself this morning, but here is what I’m planning for Thursday:

Thursday Goals:

  • no coffee
  • no baked goods (i.e. no white flour, no sugar)
  • green smoothie for breakfast
  • herbal tea when I get a sugar craving in the afternoon

That should do it for Thursday.  Night!

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Tuesday Goals:

Start the day off on a healthy note….CHECK!  Check out this greenie:

Banana, pineapple, unsweetened shredded coconut, lime juice, kale, filtered water.

Yum.  Greenies are the best way to start the day, in my opinion.  They have replaced my morning coffee most mornings and get my energy up before work…which is important because I usually have to utilize (at least part of) my brain from the moment I walk in the door of my office.

Tuesday Goals:

  • 2L of water during the work day.
  • Avoid cookie-bearing co-worker.
  • No coffee.
  • Weather-permitting, go for a walk at lunch (there was a casual monsoon-type weather system hanging out on the Rock over my lunch hour yesterday…Blue Monday appropriate, no?)
  • Weather-permitting, hit up the track after work for 45 minutes of running, walking and gruelling stair climbing.
  • Get into my new Book Club book (The Shack)
  • Figure out how to put a blogroll in my sidebar.  Am I missing something?

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

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Blue Monday.

Did you know that the third Monday in January is apparently “Blue Monday”, the most depressing day of the year?  I didn’t, but that would explain why I woke up yesterday morning feeling less than stellar.  The reason it’s named that way is because this is where New Year’s resolutions start to fail, holiday visa bill has arrived, and there’s not a long weekend in sight until April.  Who can put on a happy face in the face of that?  Anyways, I made the most of my Blue Monday, being (somewhat) productive at work, meeting some girlfriends for (an unpictured) sushi at lunch, and putting together a gigantic pot of soup after work that will last us through the rest of the week for quick dinners after work.

I love having soup on-hand.  Coming home and not having to think about making dinner is so nice sometimes.

Yesterday I ate:

Delicious soy latte - my first of 2010!

1L of water...I drank 2 of these.

An apple stolen from the lunch room. I couldn't resist and I'm *pretty* sure it was up for grabs...

A few bites of a cookie from my co-worker. Peanut butter and chocolate are my nemeses. Epic fail on the "avoid white sugar/flour" goals...

As I mentioned above, lunch was unpictured.  The sushi restaurant we went to was very dark, so photographs would have been a) tricky and b) VERY obvious if I’d used my flash.  Oh well.  I had spicy tuna salad, salmon sashimi and miso soup.  Deeelicious.

And dinner?  African Yam & Peanut Soup from my beloved Rebar cookbook.  If you don’t have this cookbook, I would recommend that you drop whatever you are doing (after you finish reading my blog) and go buy it.  Now.  It is fabulous.  Vegetarian, creative, amazing.  I wasn’t going to post the recipe but I just googled it and found it on RecipeZaar, so I guess it’s “out there”.  It takes a bit of time (lots of chopping/mincing) but the results are so worth it.  I made a slightly larger batch than average because Carlos is a double-serving type of soup eater.  Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce. 

I normally make this on the weekend so making it on a weekday night felt a bit rushed and I was staaaarving by the time I finished it up, so a photo was the last thing on my mind.  But, guess what I’m eating for dinner tonight?  Photo to come.

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If you have ever seen the (fantastic) A&E show, Hoarders, you might have seen the one about the woman with 79 dead cats in her house…AND SHE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW.  Well, while I would hope that I would know if I even had one dead cat in my house, I kind of understood where she was coming from.  There are a lot of things in my house – a relatively small one-bedroom apartment – that I’m not aware of.  I was aware of them when I bought them, brought them home and put them wherever they are, but so long as they are not in my direct line of vision during my day-to-day activities, they get forgotten fairly easily.  This is most often the case with groceries.  For example, last year I went through a period where I was convinced that we were out of capers.  So, every time I planned to make something that involved capers (more often than you might expect), I would grab a jar when we went grocery shopping, only to come home and find three identical jars in the cupboard, all purchased under similar circumstances.  I don’t think that my caper hoarding is on par with 79 dead cats.  I’m just saying…I get it.

Tea has become a similar issue in our house.  I always feel like we are running out of tea when we are not, in fact, anywhere near the point of running out of tea.  However, when I see a new flavour or a tea I love on sale, I grab it.  I’m a tea hoarder.  Despite plenty of eye-rolling from my significant other, he loves his evening pot of tea as much as I do, so he can’t really complain about having multiple varieties to choose from.

My love of tea has grown as quickly as my stash of teabags, and so I brought some boxes to work.  However, my beloved loose tea had to remain at home, since I didn’t have one of those hanging ball thingys that brews a cup of loose tea…in the cup.  True, I could have picked one up and solved the problem for under $4, but on a trip to one of my favorite grocery stores in my hometown with my Mom while I was home last week, I spotted THIS:

Libre Glass 'n Poly Tea Glass, with my beloved Davids Tea...ready to go.

This is my Libre tea glass.  It is amazing.  The outside is BPA-free polycarbonate, and the inside (the part that holds the tea) is glass.  The top has a little filter in it so that you can scoop in your favorite loose tea, pour boiling water over that and brew as is, or you can turn it upside-down and brew it that way.  I’m not sure if there’s a difference in the brewing performance, but obviously I wanted to try the upside-down style.  It worked perfectly:

The tea filter.

...add a scoop of my beloved David's Tea...

Flipping for maximum brewing power.

While it was brewing, I took my new Libre out for a walk down to the beach.  It was perfect.  And when I got home, the clean-up was a breeze.  I love this thing!  So clever.  Definitely one of my favorite things at the moment.

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