Sunday, April 29, 2012

Honorary Norwegians for a Night

Kari (my aunt) hosted a Norwegian themed party last night – it was going to be in March but hockey changed her plans. She had her house decked out with flags, photos, bunads, trolls, and everything else Norwegian (except I thought they were really missing a Fjord horse!). The guests came in costume, and I have to say that everyone put so much effort into their turnout. Viking hats were everywhere! Thor’s hammers, axes and other weapons of war were brandished about. It was a blast!


Kari served a traditional Norwegian eve supper (or at least traditional for our family), complete with ludefisk, lefse, gytost, and some food for the gringos. She had also made a number of traditional Norwegian cookies. I honestly don’t know where she finds the time or the energy!


We are still having strong winds, but thankfully today it was sunny enough to tempt me out for a good walk with the dogs. We did the normal hay field loop but also headed down into the lower pond paddock. I thought there might be trouble with the chicks, but I kept the dogs from hunting around too much (meatballs in my pocket!). I would have liked to poke around myself, so perhaps I’ll go down there by myself tomorrow. I imagine the chicks have left the nest though.

It is amazing to see how quickly the grass has gone green and growing. Carm’s going to have to get out there with the lawnmower soon.


I beat my record on the treadmill today – 4 miles in 60 minutes with a 500 calorie burn. I really had to push myself (and I mean really), but 3 weeks ago I wouldn’t have had a chance. I feel pretty good!

Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it.
Winston Churchill

Friday, April 27, 2012

Art for Art’s Sake

Thursday noon we picked up Maggie and Abigail from their hotel and headed for the Art Gallery where Carm was dropping us off. If you can believe it I’ve never been to the gallery so was really happy to accompanying the ladies on their visit.

aThe building is impressive. It has a very fortress like feeling, but with a lightness from the windows overhead. Of course the display rooms are properly lit and not from art destroying windows! We missed the entrance to the Canadian section and ended up in the middle of the Contemporary section. It was interesting, but I’ve got to tell you, I am a philistine when it comes to modern art. Sure it was fun making up stories about what the artist was saying… but it wasn’t long before we were looking for the Canadian art section.

This was more my speed.

The museum has a large collection of Canadian art on display, starting from the earliest aboriginal art to current. Yes, I saw the “Voice of Fire”, the one million dollar commission made several years ago… and was underwhelmed by the experience.

Next on the agenda – the clock exhibit. This was a film made up of thousands of clips of movies showing clocks. The neat thing about it was the clocks were all sync’d to real time.

Catch the Canadian premiere of Christian Marclay's most ambitious video installation to date. The Clock evokes the wonder and illusionism of more than a century of cinema through a captivating 24-hour looped video that plays in real-time. This remarkable production compiles thousands of film references to time and timepieces creating a compelling moving image illustration of the minutes of a passing day. The Clock won a Golden Lion for best artist at the 2011 Venice Art Biennial.

Our final time at the art gallery was spent in the Early European collection. This was most certainly more my speed. I even recognized some of the author’s (Gainsbourgh, Renoir, Degas, to name a few).

When we were all done Carm picked us up and drove us around the city a bit (past 24 Sussex, we stopped for a walk at the Governer General’s residence, through Rockcliffe), and we ended up at a mall food court for a quick meal before dropping them off at the airport.




It was a fun day – one I’d like to repeat some day – perhaps they’ll come back for another visit? I would have loved to show them some of rural Ontario, it is so different from Alberta. And it would have been good if the weather had been better. Maybe some warm sunny days would have made a better impression!

Art is a harmony parallel with nature.
Paul Cezanne

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


We had a great time last night. At 5pm we picked up Abigail and Maggie at their hotel. Maggie is my great uncle's son's wife and Abigail is their daughter. I had only met them both briefly, years ago (1996) when I was in Alberta for the cattle drive so I wondered how our evening would go. As  it turns out from the moment they got in the car we got along famously. We had an instant connection, perhaps because of shared experiences (they live in Buffalo Alberta which is one of my most favourite places in the world), or perhaps it was just because they were nice. Or could being related, however distantly break the initial ice. I think perhaps it was all of the above.


It was rush hour, and rainy, but Carm drove us around the city so we could show them some of the sights. We saw lots of tulips, yet to blossom ; the university campus, much grown since the last time we were there ; the falls over the geographical fault line ; the arboretum and experimental farm... We finally ended up in Little Italy where we stopped for supper, at a Thai place (thanks Maggie). After lingering over supper, and gabbing for ages, we wanted to reciprocate so took them down to the market for a decadent dessert. A perfect ending to a lovely evening.

The dessert seemed perfect, but oh my, it kept me awake most of the night. I shouldn't have had that coffee, but the sugar from the dessert did not sit well with me. I should have only eaten 1/2 of it but after spending $$ I was too cheap to leave it - stupid. A night awake wouldn't be a problem for most people, but one the most common bipolar triggers is lack of sleep. Luckily I seem to be okay and will make sure I get a good nights sleep tonight.


I would have loved a quiet day at home today, but it ended up being a day of 1000 errands. First we stopped by the accountant to see what the result of our taxes (we get some back - hurrah), then on to Ikea to buy a few more chargers and plates so that I have a place setting for 6 (I like that kind of stuff), a quick stop at Jiffylube for an oil change (where they sort of ripped us off - we'll stick with our regular mechanic from now on), then to Costco (trying to find a place to park was ridiculous - aren't people working?), then PetSmart to  see if they had canned tripe (they didn't, but it was fun to watch the dogs playing, and we came out without a new toy for Spike - his toy box is packed), then to Critter Jungle where they did have the canned tripe, we swung by Carm's mom's but she wasn't home, and then finally... HOME... ahhhh... home sweet home.


This afternoon on our walk in the lower pond paddock the dogs flushed a bird - I didn't get a real look at it. Bella was acting strangely so I walked over to see what the trouble was, and there on the ground was a nest with 4 chicks. They were maybe 1/2 the size of a chicken chick, all fluffy and alert looking, not like parrot or robin chicks. I wonder what would be hatched this time of year (remember we had snow 2 days ago). (I did some searching on google - perhaps they are American Woodcock?)



Here’s something you might find interesting if you are a soda drinker:

There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.
Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Roasted Green Beans with Preserved Lemons

20120423_green-beans_001I made a new recipe last night and it was yummy, and simple to make. The recipe that I adapted it from called for boiling the green beans, as well as much more olive oil. I think roasting them gave a nicer result. And of course I reduced the oil – 1 teaspoon was plenty. I served it with lentils. Another low-fat vegan dish to add to the rotation! It would also make a nice side dish, and is good enough to serve to guests.

star4Green Beans with Preserved Lemon, Almonds, and Rosemary

Serve these beans at room temperature or chilled as a summery salad. Notes: You can buy preserved lemons in specialty food stores, or you can make your own (prepare them at least two weeks before using).
Yields: 2 Servings


1/4 cup sliced almonds roasted
1 pounds green yellow, or purple beans
3 Preserved Lemon 3 or 4 wedges (see notes)
1 tablespoons rosemary leaves fresh finely chopped
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil  (was 2T)
1 cloves garlic minced (optional)

1. Move oven rack to lowest position. Preheat to 400.
2. Toss green beans with rosemary, garlic and oil. Spread out on 2 trays lined with parchment.
3. Roast in oven for 5 - 8 minutes, until tender, shaking once or twice.
4. Rinse preserved lemon thoroughly under running water; discard seeds and pulp. Finely chop lemon.
5. Mix preserved lemon and almonds with green beans. I do it right on the cookie sheet. Can be served warm or cold. If serving cold wait until serving to mix in the almonds.




Monday, April 23, 2012

The Quality of the Light

I knew as soon as I opened my eyes this morning that it had snowed. There was a harshness in the light coming into our room. Sure enough a look out the window revealed an inch or two covering the earth. Poor, poor tulips. Poor, poor birds. I hope the robins find something to eat. The dogs and I still ventured outside for a little walk, but with the wind and rain coming down it wasn't pleasant, at all. But still, it's good to feel alive isn't it.

Last night I had a dream that I was in a jet. I was strapped in my seat, Spike's crate was belted in beside me. The jet took off and then suddenly it was pointing straight down. We were crashing. Strangely, in the dream I felt at peace. I was saying a mantra - the words "earth angel" was in it and I felt relaxed and calm. In slow motion the plane hit the ground and I could see it disintegrating in front of me, but just before I was engulfed, I woke up. I didn't feel upset, that strange calm was still with me. Isn't that weird!

Carm had to spend more time of the phone with Bell Canada getting our bill sorted out. They are the WORST!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Turkey in the Straw

I can't believe how fast time is speeding by.

I was reminded again the other day just how much I love this place. I was in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher (ho hum) when Spike started growling at the window to the backyard. I looked out the window and there was a big tom turkey! Right in the backyard! Later in the day we saw a bird that we've never seen before (Northern Flicker), and then still on that day the kingfisher came back for a visit as well as a pair of mallard ducks. Of course there are also tons of robins (one is building a nest on the drain spout under the eves just outside the kitchen window), there are grackles, and sparrows, and the geese. Some days we see a red tail hawk overhead,  or maybe the turkey buzzards. All outside my kitchen window! No wonder I don't mind being in there. It's wonderful.



The  weather has been really crappy the last several days. Some days it is raining so much I don't get the dogs out for their walk. Tomorrow they are calling for snow. And I had hoped that we would get out for our first camp in April.

Yesterday was spent cleaning the house (I really miss our house cleaner), it was cloudy and grey - not my favourite time for cleaning. Thank goodness that Carm pitches in and does a good portion of it. Then at 1pm I started cooking. We were having friends over and I wanted to keep the meal within my  diet guidelines but didn't want them feeling like they were in a rabbit hutch. It wasn't a particularly complicated menu, but gosh everything takes so long to make. Carm was a great help - he is a pretty good sous chef. As we neared the end he commented that he never would have had any idea about what goes into making such a meal if he hadn't been helping. (thanks honey).


The discovery of the day was the dry roasted chickpeas. They were good! And really easy to make. The roasted asparagus were also great - and oh, so easy. We also served kale chips - every last one of them (3 trays worth) got eaten up. People were surprised at how good they are - this time I just used olive oil, sirracha and salt. I love sirracha and sometimes think of putting it on everything.

The world is slowly turning more and more green. Green day is getting closer – perhaps a whole week early this year.  20120420_property_001

The greatest pleasure of life is love.

Some Recipes from Last Night

Rookno17_vintage_cooking_food_clipart_40s-1These are a few of the recipes that I cooked for Jo Ellen, Deirdre, Don and Chris. I also did kale chips (which were a big hit), the Quinoa black bean burger and sweet potato fries (which didn’t turn out at all – any tips on getting them crisp?). Everyone was a very good sport about the diet/vegan type fare. Tomorrow night I’m going to try a green bean with preserved lemon recipe – I can hardly wait!

star4Roasted Asparagus & Creamy Tahini Dip

Serve as an appetizer course or as nibbles before supper. Really tasty. Lots of dip, enough for another bunch of asparagus, or perhaps some pita chips.
Yields: 8 Servings


1 bunch Asparagus
1 teaspoon Olive oil
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Tahini
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
1 teaspoon Honey
1 clove Garlic minced
1/4 teaspoon Cumin

1. Stir tahini with lemon juice, honey, garlic and cumin in a small bowl.

2. Gradually stir in 1 to 3 tablespoons water until smooth.
3. Position rack in bottom of oven. Preheat to 400F.
4. Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus. Toss with oil and salt on a rimmed baking sheet.
5. Bake on bottom rack of oven, stirring halfway through, until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes (yes just 5 minutes)
Serve with tahini as a dip.


star4[1]Roasted Chickpeas

"A delicious, high fibre snack, these roasted chickpeas are a crispy, crunchy alternative to bland, mushy chickpeas."
Yields: 4 Servings


1 can (12-16 oz), drained
garlic powder optional
cayenne pepper optional

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Set rack to middle.
2. Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper, if using. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Watch carefully the last few minutes to avoid burning.


star4[2]Zucchini & Kidney Bean Burger

Tasty in a whole wheat pita with a chimichurri sauce, or the spicy avocado spread (avocado, 1/2 tsp sirrachi, lime juice). They aren’t much different from the Quinoa & Black bean burger. Next time I will try adding more zucchini and beans.

Yields: 6 Servings


1/2 cup zucchini grated (unpeeled)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup onion minced
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup kidney beans
1/2 cup quinoa cooked
1/2 cup millet cooked
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
optional garnishes: lemon

1. Cook the millet and quinoa (1/4 cup each with 1 1/2 cup water/stock) together in microwave for 25 minutes. You may need to add extra water near the end.
2. Place the grated zucchini into a strainer in the sink or over a bowl and rub the 1/2 teaspoon of salt into it. Let it drain for about 20 minutes.
3. While the zucchini is draining, sauté the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, until they are browned.
4. Then, in a large bowl, smash the red beans with a fork until they form a thick paste. Then add in the other ingredients for the cakes: zucchini, onion, garlic, quinoa, millet, and lemon juice, and then season with salt and pepper.
5. Once all of your ingredients are combined, form the mixture into small patties. Makes 6 1/3 cup patties.
6. To cook the patties, heat up a couple of tablespoons of the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the cakes, as many as will fit comfortably in the pan, and cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side (until they are browned). Be careful when you're flipping the cakes, they can fall apart easily if you're not gentle with them.
7. When they're cooked on both side, transfer to a plate and garish with the optional lemon juice, parsley, or sesame seeds. Serve warm.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Peace & Happiness in the Grocery Isles

What a lovely day. Sunny and a bit warm. We had a nice visit and lunch with Carm's mom. I brought mine as I'm Trying to really stick to the diet - I even said no to CAKE (this is something for me).

After lunch we started our grocery shopping. First stop, MidEast Market - such an interesting place to visit. We were there for another huge bag of lentils, but picked up a few other things to try: preserved lemons, jumbo chickpeas, tomato paste in a tube, spelt flour gnocchi and tofu. It is almost impossible to come out of there without something interesting (note to self, remember all the exotic flours).

Then we went next door to St. Laurent Fruit & Vegetable to load our cart up with... just guess... fruit & vegetables. I love seeing our cart fill with all that healthy produce. And walking around the store passing fragrant stands of mint (oh that smell is so lovely), towering piles of orange oranges and purple eggplants, is so satisfying. I left the store with a profound sense of peace and happiness. Some day's I'm easily made happy - I hang onto those days like crazy.

Costco was another stop - their produce can be super nice. Luckily for me the sampling people were few and far between - I only tasted a tiny amount of granola, but found it too sweet. It wasn't long before we were home and trying to stuff all that food into the fridge. Produce takes up a lot of room! It's a good thing we don't have to fit soft drinks and beer in the fridge anymore.

A few days ago I created a new recipe for my morning smoothie. I was finding that just the blueberries, banana, flax & water didn't leave me with enough energy, and I'd be starving my lunchtime. So, I investigated the nutrition of some other ingredients and ended up with: 1 cup frozen blueberries, 2 cups spinach, 40 g soft tofu, 2 T ground flax, and 1T blackstrap molasses. I know, it sounds really gross, but it tastes great and powered me for an hour on the treadmill. I think the recipe is a keeper. The surprise ingredient is the molasses but it is full of iron and calcium!

Little Spike hasn't been feeling well on and off the last few weeks. It's nothing wildly noticeable - you'd have to know him really well to notice, he just doesn't want his breakfast, and this morning had trouble with our little walk. We'd take a trip to the vet, but have nothing to tell them.

Happy Tails/Trails!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dandelions and Other Fancy Stuff

20120414_property_010We saw our first dandelions last weekend, Sunday I think. This is the earliest by far that they've ever been out. At least that we noticed. Last year it was in May! We were tramping around checking on the oaks that we planted last spring, and there they were, in all their yellow glory. And since our grass is less lawn and more pasture, we were happy to see them.

All manner of growing things have been sprouting and showing their colourful heads. The periwinkle has some blooms. A solitary tulip has sprung up in an unexpected spot, it's red head bright among the undergrowth. The peony's are poking their burgundy stems through the earth. Some are starting to look quite tall. The poppies have started growing through the gravel path just like they do every year, we'll take an alternate route again this year. Leaves are unfurling from delicate buds, there will soon be leaves on the trees. I think "green day" may be a little early this year.



We took advantage of the sunny weather today to get some digging done in the garden. I think we all enjoyed basking in the sun.




I've been really grooving on the treadmill the last few days - I know I'm aging myself here, but the B52's album "Good Stuff" really rocks me along at a good clip with lots of energy. I did 60 minutes today with their help!  In keeping with my new active life, yesterday Christina and I went for a good walk before our tea. We would have walked longer, but the wind was practically blowing the hair off our heads! Not conductive to good conversation.

As I was standing at the kitchen counter cleaning brussels sprouts I noticed the the (new) Kingfisher was back in his tree. Sure enough it wasn't long before he darted down into the pond and came up with a bright orange fish. He flew to a tree across the pond. We could see him wrestling with his supper for quite a while. I just love the wildlife our pond attracts. What better place to do kitchen chores :-)

To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.
David Viscott

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Days Meld into One

Not much has been going on for us the last little while. I've been focusing on exercising and healthy eating, which involves looking at all my old diet recipes and trying to find some new ones. Here's how boring it is around here - this afternoon I ordered two new cookbooks (both Vegan and both written by Dreena Burton) and I'm so excited to get them! It will be a long week or two waiting.


I've been spending way too much time on the calorie counter site. I've been sitting at my computer in the morning planning out the day's food and trying to get the nutrition to add up, all without eating any dairy, or meat. I've pretty much got the iron thing worked out, but calcium, that's a bit tougher. I'm thinking of adding some yoghurt, but I've read some things about dairy products leaching the calcium in the blood into the urine, so I'm not too sure. I may try to stick with soy for now, at least until I can find some more research. I'm also going to try adding some blackstrap molasses to my morning smoothies - apparently it is super high in calcium. Anyway, I've played around, and even with dairy and meat, you have to really pay attention to what you are eating to meet all your nutrition requirements. I'm pretty sure I rarely ever have. If you are eating pre-packaged foods it is even more likely that you aren't meeting your requirements. We are an amazing species in that we can live so long on crap!


Yesterday we deeked out for a short trip to an open house by the guy who fixed our trailer a few years back. He has opened a (nice) new facility just for fixing rv's. You may recall that we took our rv there last year for the leak test (where he found a few minor leaks). Having already fixed some water damage it seems like pretty cheap insurance to do the test! After that we looked at the models for Morewood homes. They are built inside, in modules which makes them super high quality. We almost bought one several years back, but found Nick Canci. Nick did a terrific job building our house - we felt very lucky to have found him. The models were nice, but I love my house so much more. The funny thing is, one of the models that we went into was the base of the floorplan for our house. I moved every single wall in the house! And shuffled the rooms around. There is nothing in common now.   20120416_spring-property_010

I’d like a chocolate bar…

If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.
H. G. Wells

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Kale Chips–are you kidding me?

I’ve read several recipes for kale chips and since I was looking for a salty, crunchy treat that falls within my diet guidelines I thought I would give them a try. They are a bit fussy to make but OH SO WORTH IT!!! Both Carm and I were surprised/shocked to find them quite yummy. And that’s saying a lot… Carm was not really fussed about the idea but bravely gave them a try. Five star rating from him (and me)! Who woulda thunk it?

star5Kale Chips

These are unbelievably tasty - quite a surprise!
Yields: 6 Servings


1 large bunch of leafy red kale
1 tablespoon Olive oil
sprinkle sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne

Preheat oven to 375. Wash and completely dry kale.
Pull the woody stems from the leaves and break up into bite-sized pieces into a bowl.
Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle some fine sea salt and the cayenne.
Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment, just one layer.
Bake at 375 for about 8 minutes. Take them out when they’re nice and crunchy and slide easily from the cookie sheet.

I tried one batch with 1/4 tsp of chinese five spice, it was good, but we both preferred the cayenne. Try with garlic powder next time.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

teaparty vintage image--graphicsfairy009Let's start off with the good - I had lunch with Jo Ellen. One of the things I miss most about working is the social time spent with friends. I was lucky enough to make a few really good friends over the years and it is joy to catch up with them. Now for the bad - time spent at the dentist for a cleaning. Not such a big deal except I'm having trouble with one of my teeth. Which leads me to the ugly - I have an appointment with a specialist to see if I need a root canal. I've gone all these years canal free, but I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later.

It was weird visiting my old office building. They have done renovations since I was there, but it still feels the same - it is still the building that I worked in for 29 years (yes - you read that right - 29 years!).

After all the visiting, Carm picked me up for the long trek home, with grocery shopping on the way. First stop St. Laurent Fruit & Vegetables where we squandered over $35 on just fresh stuff. Then on to Costco - there it was a much bigger bill, but still (mostly) healthy food. We did buy some olive oil that was on sale - since we are in diet mode we only use a teaspoon or two a day, if that. There is something about a cart full of healthy,  whole foods, that makes me feel so virtous. What didn't make me feel that way were the taste temptations dotted around Costco. I telll you - I would have gorged, but luckily there weren't many taste tests and those that were there were (somewhat) healthy. Not healthy enough for me to include on my diet though - everything has so much SUGAR.

You MUST watch this version of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” – brilliant!

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Aldous Huxley

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's a Beautiful Morning

I had the loveliest walk this morning. It has been grey and raining for the last few days but this morning the clouds cleared and the sun came out long enough for me to have a pleasant walk. The sun was shining, the grass is turning green, I could see some buds with tiny leaves peaking out on some of the trees, the birds were singing , there must be 20 different kinds of birds singing their songs. Oh it was so lovely, I could feel that wash of contented "all is well with the world" feeling.


Yesterday was not as nice. The rain held off long enough in the morning for me to get my 20 minutes in, but the wind was blowing - yuck. When the time came for our afternoon walk the rain was steadily coming down.

I've been looking at the camper in the laneway the last few days with the thought of getting out there and getting it all cleaned up and ready to go for our first trip. If the weather gets a touch better we might be out there in just over 2 weeks! The winter went so quickly. Every now and then I think that maybe we've had enough of camping and then I step into the camper. A feeling of contented relaxation hits  me as soon as I step in the door, much like the one I experienced today on my walk. I'm not ready to give that up!

I scanned an old photo from when I was 19 to put on the treadmill for motivation. I can’t believe I thought I was so fat! I may never look like that again…

We've been sticking pretty closely to our diet. It is fun (?) to track the nutrients in the caloriecounter program. You have to eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables and beans to get all the required nutrition. I'm having a problem getting enough iron and calcium, although I've read studies that show you need much higher levels of calcium if you get it from dairy as it leaches out in your urine. If that is the case I'm probably okay. Tonight we are having bok choy which is very high in calcium but still my levels are low. I’ve experimented with adding a 4 oz piece of beef to our supper, but even that didn’t add much iron so I took it out and added 1 1/2 cups of lentils – that fixed up the iron numbers nicely. I’m trying to avoid meat, red meat especially.  It makes me wonder just how nutrient deficient I am when I’m just eating “regularly”!

We are always the same age inside.
Gertrude Stein

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter and got the requisite amount of chocolate.

Last night we were at Carm's brother Joe's for supper (my that's a lot of 's in a row!). It was nice to see family, unfortunately not everyone was there. We missed the hub bub of such a large crowd. On the plus side though we had a better visit with the people who were there. It was nice with just Sandy and I puttering in the kitchen, we had some real girl talk :-)  Spike was invited guest - he and Sunny love to play and have a grand time when they get together. Spike doesn't have the energy of Sunny though and was ready to go home after a couple of hours. I think next time I'll bring his little mat so he has somewhere to settle.

Aside from supper last night we've been sticking to our diet which is basically fat-free vegan. I signed up with a calorie counter site and am putting all our food into the log - aside from finding out how many calories are in everything, we are also better able to see where we are short nutrients. I don't know how anyone gets enough iron in their diet without eating sides of beef every night. It will take me at least a few more days to formulate a diet plan that includes everything we need. Lentils are quite high in iron so I foresee way too many of them in my future.

20120409_weight-jars_002The other thing I did diet related was from an idea posted by Ruth in her Pintrest board. I set up 2 little jars, one tagged "weight to lose", the other "weight lost". In the “to lose” jar, for each pound that I want to lose, I put in a glass weight like those used in flower arranging. I'm pretty visual so I hope this will motivate me. However, after 3 days of being really careful with diet and exercise, one jar is still empty...


I've been playing around with having something other than soup for our lunches. Yesterday's lunch was: 1/2 avocado, hot sauce, lemon juice, 1 cup baby spinach on 1/2 whole wheat pita - very yummy but high in calories with the avocado. Today we had: homemade hummus (made with canned chickpeas, 2 T famine, lemon juice, 1t ground cumin, 1t ground coriander, 1/2 t dried chili peppers, a bit of water as required - makes about 6 servings), the hummus was spread on 1/2 whole wheat pita which was then stuffed with baby spinach (at least 1 cup, maybe 2). Both lunches were really tasty and full of nutrients. We'd be better off ditching the pita bread as it is a processed food, but there are limits ;-)


Of all things visible, the highest is the heaven of the fixed stars.
Nicolaus Copernicus

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Chinese Brussels Sprouts

Last night I tried a new recipe from the book I bought a few weeks back (Best-Ever Vegetarian – The Definitive Cook’s Collection). Unfortunately I didn’t look at the book closely enough – many of the recipes call for cheese, white pasta and other foods that we are avoiding. However there are a few recipes that have caught my eye, including this one. It was an excellent change in flavours and will be going on the menu plan rotation for sure. I served it with Brown Rice & Lentils for more fibre and protein. I calculated that the whole meal was 262 calories. And with some oranges for dessert we were satisfied Smile

star3Chinese Brussels Sprouts

Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish

1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
2 Spring onions sliced
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 tablespoon Light soy sauce

1. Trim the brussels sprouts, then shred them finely using a large sharp knife or a food processor.
2. Heat the oil and add the sprouts and spring onions. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, without allowing the mixture to brown.
3. Stir in the five-spice powder and soy sauce, then cook, stirring, for a further 2 to 3 minutes, until just tender. Serve hot with other Chinese dishes.

I served this with a mixture of brown rice & lentils. It went perfectly. Next time I’ll try a tad less 5-spice powder as I found it a bit strong, although Carm liked the flavour (he gave it a 4 star rating).

Today I signed up for an account at It lets me create meals, add recipe ingredients, and then use these to create a daily food log. I’m going to try it for a while and see if it helps me to stick to my plan. Unfortunately its focus is on calories, but I figure that it wouldn’t hurt to see how many calories things have, at least for a little while. I think it also tracks weight watchers points, but I’m not positive. There is also a page to enter your activity which it then tracks against your daily food log for the entire picture. Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Please Don't Label Me

Yesterday Carm bought me a labeller. Be still my Virgo heart. The dogs are worried as they see me running around the house putting labels on anything that doesn't move. I've actually only labelled a few things, but only because Karen came over today for a visit and a walk. Tomorrow I'll start in the workshop. All that good organizing that we did a few months back can now be completed. I bought a few little bins to help with sorting out the bins of miscellaneous stuff and now with the labeller I'll be able to identify the contents of those, as well as other bins. There is something so neat and tidy about bins with labels neatly arranged on shelves.

Yesterday we headed into town to have lunch with Carm's mom and for my doctor appointment. While in town we made our usual stops at Costco and St. Laurent Fruit & Vegetable. We are provisioned for the long weekend! And of course a trip to Costco wouldn't be complete without buying other non-food related items... we never seem to get out of there with less than $100 bucks worth of stuff.

At St. Laurent I picked up some lemon grass, a hot red pepper, green onion and some mint. I already have some cilantro and coconut milk. I'm hoping to find a recipe for something vegan and Thai. Yummm those flavours sound so good. So... tonight I made a quasi Pad Thai rice... ummm,  ummm, good.

    Cook 1 cup brown basmati rice.

    Chop 1 hot red pepper, 2 spring onions, 1 tablespoon ginger, 3 cloves garlic. Cut into strips 5 small zucchini, 1 large carrot. Sautee vegetables & set aside. Sautee garlic  mix. Add rice with 1/2 cup coconut milk, cook for a couple of minutes. Add vegetables back and stir. Add chopped fresh parsley, cilantro and if desired mint.

   Serve with bubbles ;-)

Can I put a label on that?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Sunny Walk on the Property

We are so blessed…








For every person who has ever lived there has come, at last, a spring he will never see. Glory then in the springs that are yours.
Pam Brown