Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Club - In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

" 'Happy New Year Miri, I hope someday I have a daughter exactly like you.' He ruffled her hair.
'I am your daughter' Miri told him inside her head.
'I know.' Henry whispered, as if he'd actually heard what she hadn't said."

" 'It's going to be a great adventure.' Rusty whispered.  Miri never thought about her mother being adventurous.'

" 'So long Cowgirl,' she says softly.  'I'll see you in my dreams.'
'Not if I see you first.' "

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume is a big favorite of mine, so this has been on my list since it was announced.  This is for the Female Author category in the reading challenge.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Instagram - 90 books reviewed

I took a long hard look at some of the books on the shelves, and got rid of the ones that I knew I would not cook from - the old retro books and charity sale ones that I bought just to buy something, a few I held on to because I thought I "had to" - but really, no one is going to notice, and Marti is not going to show up and be furious with me because I no longer have the cookbook she bought me as a housewarming gift 8 years ago.  Marti probably doesn't even remember buying me that book.
By the end, I got rid of a lot of books - easily 40.  I was glad to see them go.

A few notables that have left - a book on sandwiches, a raw food cookbook that I bought when we were moving from Calgary, God knows why, and Nigella Summer, which shocked me a bit, but this book and I have never really jived.  It has some great sounding boozy desserts that I wish I'd tried before I stopped drinking, and a wonderful ice cream section, but I don't have an ice cream maker, so out the door it went. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Something I Like - Zoku Slush and Shake Maker

The Mother In Law bought The Boy one of these in the Spring - a Zoku Slush and Shake maker.  
It's basically a cup you put in the freezer ahead of time and then 
when you're ready to use it, you put the frozen cup in the holder, add your liquid and 
soon enough you've got a slush or shake for one or two people.  
I vividly remember having a Donvier ice cream maker for a couple of years 
when I was a kid that was the same thing on a bigger scale.  
And since I still harbor dreams of one day owing an ice cream maker again, 
I was excited to see how this would work.

Here's what you get - the outer cup holder, the inner cup that gets frozen, and a spoon.
The only downside to the cup is that the inner cup needs to be frozen in advance, 
so you can't have it sitting in your cupboard and then decide you want to use it right then.  
But since it doesn't take up much room, ours just sits in our freezer all the time.

Out of sight, out of mind is how 6 year olds work, so it took us quite a while 
before we remembered to try it out, and our first choice was a good old coke slush.  
It was of course super easy to make, and The Boy thought it was fun to do. far that's been it!  I'm sure we will get more use out of it, 
and I'm very interested in trying a small batch of ice cream.  
This is a cute, easy to use gadget. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book Club - Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

"A half moon had come up, and the light was bright enough to pick out the leaves of the mallow plants growing on the roadside, but the shadows in the clefts of the rock could hide anything."

" 'I told you that the Blessed Sacrament was not alone, for you were there.  But what of you, ma chere?  Were you alone?'
I stopped and looked at him for a moment before answering.
'No,' I said.  'I wasn't.' "

"Not a gift, but a trust.  Fiercely to cherish, softly to guard.  The words spoke themselves and disappeared into the groined shadows of the roof."

Also for the Summer Reading Club - A Book Over 500 pages.  And it was.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sunday Dinner - Burgers and Vegan Cookies

This was a Sunday Dinner organized at the last minute - so we went with premade burger patties from the store, with salad and green beans, and cookies for dessert. 
The burgers were President's Choice brand, and they were really really good. 

I am in love with cold cooked green beans this summer; we've been (hee hee) having them at least once a week. My method is simple - a large pot of water is brought to 
the boil, a few spoons each of sugar and salt are added to the water, 
and the whole beans, ends removed, are added for 4 or 5 minutes. 
 Just until tender crisp. When done they are drained and shocked in ice water,
 and then put in the fridge until dinner time. 

These cookies were real winners from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz 
and Terry Hope Romero.  Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cookies.  
Very good, and very easy to make.  
I didn't think the raspberry was evident in the cookies,
 but my tastebuds don't work so well any more, so maybe it was just me.  
They were a hit at home and at work. 

Recipe here.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Club - Gumboot Girls

"Living on or by the Pacific Ocean is a sort of sanctuary.  The Sea is moving and constantly changing.  It is my home.  Dan's still down there, somewhere on the bottom, too deep for recovery."

"Life leisurely focused on survival.  It took time but there was no sense of urgency.  The land and sea provided."

" 'I was so much older then.  I'm younger than that now.' Bob Dylan"

For the Summer Book Club - By a BC Author.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

40 days of yoga starts now

Last year I started practicing yoga to try to curb my severe anxiety. 
 It helped so much that I practiced daily, joined a studio, bought a good quality mat, took a subscription to a yoga magazine. I was hooked. 

This Spring I got sick, then I got really sick and ended up with pneumonia. Then when I was on the mend with that I fell while holding The Girl and further injured my arm/shoulder which had been mildly sore for a few months. 
 My anxiety had slowly started becoming worse, and by the time I was feeling ok enough to resume practicing (about 2 months after first getting sick) I hit a metaphorical wall so hard that even contemplating going to class sent me into a panic attack and crying. 

So I stepped back, requested a medical leave from the studio and tried to focus on walking and other forms of exercising. Maybe my time with yoga was done?
We recently took a holiday to the island and I spent as much time as I could barefoot by the water. 
I saw the sunrise most mornings and enjoyed the calm of the water. 
And I thought that maybe I wanted to go back to yoga. 

This morning I practiced for the first time in about 4 months. 
It wasn't a long practice. Some moves didn't feel too great, and I have lost a lot of flexibility. 
 My arm ached a bit. But I did it. And I'll do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and so on. 

I'm aiming of 40 days of yoga to get back into my practice and start feeling better again. I placed the rocks and stones that I had collected on one of my island walks when I was thinking about yoga with my mat to remind me of how much I wanted to start up again. I added a sand dollar because I love them so much. 
Not sure these grounding items will stay the same, but it's another thing I'd like to add to my practice. 

I'm nervous, I'm excited, I'm hoping to really do this.  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

MYOR (Make Your Own Ramen)

We are super duper late jumping on the ramen train.  But better late than never, right?

We've eaten ramen out only a few times - once here in town, and a couple of times in Vancouver.

Making it at home seems like such a hassle - some of the recipes I've read are so complicated and long and quite frankly, too many expensive ingredients.

We picked up a couple of instant ramen packs when shopping a few weeks ago, and made a quick, um, healthy-ish lunch with them.

I'll tell you about the boys first, since there are no photos.
Seasood ramen, cooked to package directions.  In the last minute of cooking, some small cooked shrimp were added to the pot, along with some baby corn.  The mister added finely chopped onion and green onion to his bowl.  They both slurped it down.

Mine was a package of "original" ramen, cooked to package directions, then I drained off about half the water before adding in the seasoning packet.  While the noodles were cooking, I chopped up some leftover curry chicken and put it in the bottom of my soup bowl, along with some leftover green peas and a couple of handfuls of frozen spinach.  When the noodles were cooked and the seasoning was added, I spooned the noodles and broth over the meat and veg in the bowl, then left it to sit while I chopped some fruits and veg to go with the soup.  After about 10 minutes, I stirred it up.

It was so good!  All the flavors went well together and the veg made me feel better about eating the noodles and soup base.  :)
I was happy we'd given it a try, and we will definitely be doing more ramen experimenting at home.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Book Club - Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs

 "When Summer arrives in Montreal it flounces in like a rumba dancer: all ruffles and bright cotton, with flashing thighs and sweat-slicked skin."

"Years of his criticism had never broken me of the habit.  Separation has its advantages.  Now I can fidget to my hearts content."

" 'A la prochaine' I said to the summer night."

Book club and the summer reading club - this one is for Out of Your Comfort Zone.  I do NOT enjoy crime or grisly books, or horror any more.  It was a good book, but I'm not sure I'd read another in the series.  

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Eating better, and peanut butter toast with blueberries

I am trying very hard to keep up the good habits I've slowly built up over the past 
year and a half, but I'm slipping.  
Why?  Why now? 
 I made it through transitioning back to work, being super sick for 2 months, 
but now all I want to do is eat potato chips and cookies.  

I've refrained, from the cookies.  But only because we don't have any.  
I know, because I checked. 

I'm trying to get back to more fruits and veggies, more water, 
more leaving the chips at the store. 

This was a delicious breakfast of peanut butter toast with blueberries and some smoothie. 
 I bought some of these Naked smoothies from Costco.  
They are ok, but too sweet for me, so I dilute them with water.  This works perfectly as they are then less sweet, and bulked up with water to fill me up.

I struggle with all meals, but especially breakfast.  Toast or a bowl of cereal is never satisfying enough, and I end up over-snacking in mid morning.  I prefer savory breakfasts to sweet, but can never think of things to make.

I recently tried fancying up my own yogurt - I started with a recipe that added peanut butter and honey to plain Greek yogurt, which I had bought to marinate some chicken in,
and I added some instant coffee, because the flavor reminded me a bit of
the cappuccino yogurt I loved years ago.  Strangely, it made me very
thirsty - maybe the peanut butter?

It was fun though, to customize your our yogurt.  I'll have to pick up
some more plain stuff and do more experimenting.

What are your healthy go to breakfasts? 

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Kid Craft for Father's Day

Get a jump on next Father's Day and start planning to make these simple adorable cards. 
I've had this craft saved for years and shockingly I remembered about it 
a few weeks before Father's Day, so this year I made it happen. 

All you need is some M&M's and card stock (I used scrapbook paper) 
and some ribbon to tie around the middle of the M&M's. 

 I got The Boy to decorate the inside of the cards 
(Made one for The Mister and one for The Grandpa) 
and then I tied the bags with elastic bands, taped them with some dollar
 store craft tape, and stuck them on the cards with packing tape. 

 Both Dads loved them! 

See the easy instructions here

Friday, August 05, 2016

Sunday Dinner - Nicoise Salad and Cookies

Blogger wants to correct Nicoise to Nicotine.  I laughed harder than was necessary at that.

So, another Sunday Dinner!  We planned an easy cold dinner for a hot day, and then the day turned out to be rainy and windy and cool.  But the dinner was still delicious.

We made my mom's Nicoise Salad dressing, and went with the flow on the rest of the salad.  
Beets, potatos, green beans, eggs, olives, artichoke hearts, tomatos, red onion, and tuna.  
Delicious crusty bread on the side.

Everyone seemed happy with it, and the boy even tried an artichoke heart, although it
 got "2 thumbs down" from him while he struggled to chew and swallow.

Dessert were The World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies from Baking: My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, and the woman ain't lying:  they were the BEST chocolate chip cookie I've ever made.  

Recipe here.

I went with one of the suggestions in the book and added coconut.  I left out the nuts because we are not big "nut in cookie" fans.  Frankly the coconut added nothing to rhe cookies at all - when I asked the family if they like the coconut in it, none of them had even noticed it!  
So next time I would leave that out, and just make delicious, delicious, chocolate chip cookies.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Book Club - The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

"I turned around to see them one last time.
It would have been better to just go."

"But let's be fair.  If women faced prison because they refused to wear the veil, it was
 also forbidden for men to wear neckties (that dreaded symbol of the west),
 and if a woman's hair got men excited, the same thing could be said 
of mens bare arms, and so wearing short sleeved shirts was also forbidden."

"I finally understood what my Grandmother meant - if I wasn't comfortable with myself, 
I would never be comfortable."

"At one of the demonstrations, a German journalist took a photo of my mother.  I was really proud of her.  Her photo was published in all the European newspapers.  And even one magazine in Iran.  
My mother was really scared.  She dyed her hair, and wore dark glasses for a long time."