Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Biking to Work

Tomorrow is June 1st and I will start biking to work. It should be a short ride, about 15 minutes. The only part I'm worried about is going up the hill on Peel. I have a feeling I'll be walking up part of the way for the first couple (what I really mean is 12 or so) times.

Will let you know how I do tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Something I won't be making again

Made yet another recipe from Eat, Shrink & Be Merry last night. This one though isn't a keeper. Called "Livin' on the Vedge", it featured lemon couscous (fine), mixed with roasted vegetables (fine) - but when you mixed the two together it wasn't so fine anymore. Hm. And of course, it made loads and loads so you know what I'll be eating all week.

Oh well, sometimes this happens.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sore Sit Bones

This weekend we had the ultimate good weather. Warm, little breeze, low humidity. Perfect for all kinds of outdoor activity. Well, OK, not exactly swimming weather for me, but still. I managed to get outside without a jacket.

Yesterday Mom and I went on a bike ride and from what I was able to figure out from the map, we biked about 30k. It was beautiful biking along the Lachine Canal, La Grande Jetée and then back home along the river. We even got to stop for a well deserved tasty sorbet treat! We were both tired and a little sore in the legs and bum by the time we got home. The worst for me was after dinner, having to get back on my bike to make the short 10-minute ride home - I really discovered how sore my sit bones were. I was tempted to ride home standing up but the lack of strength in my legs had me sitting down pretty fast.

This morning is no different. After doing my exercise dvd at home, I was stretching and found out just how sore I still am as I leaned forward on one set of stretches. The sit bones they are making themselves know. Ouch. Think I'll just walk home tonight.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Latest Cooking Exploits

More apologies ... last week was a little hectic for me so I didn't have a chance to let you know what I had cooked. Call this 2 posts in 1.

This weekend was a long weekend for us, so I finally found an extra hour and made some chocolate chip cookies. Most of which I've been able to parcel off to various friends and family (and my ass thanks you!).

I also managed to make a great vegetable pot pie, with a sweet potato crust. I made one big dish for this week, and even a little one serving dish for my dinner on Sunday night. It was perfect. With all the horrible rain we've had it was the best meal! What else? Oh yeah, I marinated some portabello mushrooms and grilled them then topped them off with some feta cheese. Pretty yummy, and great in a toasted sandwich the next day.

Then last weekend I tried out another couple of recipes from the Eat, Shrink & Be Merry cookbook. I made some tortilla wraps that were OK. They tasted somewhere between Mexican and Thai food. I love both, but not necessarily mixed together, you know what I mean? I also roasted some vegetables with homemade bread crumbs and a little parmesan. Red pepper, mushrooms, red onion, tomatoes, zucchini. That was fab! And it made enough for me to have 3 meals out of it.

On the Sunday (for Mother's Day) I made a delicious chocolate cake, called La Vida Mocha. This was awesome. Served it for dessert at my parents house to celebrate Mother's Day. It was a big hit.

That's it for now. I'll have a look through the cookbooks this week and see what I can find to tempt me for next weekend.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Results

Sorry for the delay in announcing this.

And the winner is ...

Not Mom, but it didn't matter. It really was cool to see her up there among so many other women who all have made a tremendous impact in their community through their dedication and hard work.

I had planned to go on a little about the evening, but it was a week ago already and I've kinda forgotten what I was gonna say. Suffice it to say - it was a great night. Really empowering for women.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


In February 2006 I spent two weeks in Panama on a humanitarian trip to help out at a girl's home. One of the girls, Elizabeth, who lives there has been battling cancer for a few years now. While we were there, she was living in a cancer hospice and seemed to be doing quite well. This week I found out that she is not doing well. Her last bone marrow transplant failed and she is apparently in the last stages of the disease. She is probably 18-19 years old.

Please think of her, send positive energy, pray ... do what you need to do. This girl has nothing else, no family, just her life.

Tonight's the Night

Tonight is the 13th Annual Women of Distinction 2006 gala. My Mom is up nominated for her work in the community. I'll be there too and am excited to see how it all goes.

Good luck, Mom!

Monday, May 15, 2006

No More Procrastinating

A week or two ago I said I would give my oral appliance one more attempt. I said I'd start using it again on May 8. Well, by May 11 I still hadn't started with it again so I said "Enough!!!" (yes, with 3 exclamation points). Wrote myself a post-it note and managed to force myself into wearing it Friday and Saturday night. Can't say I slept well with it, but at least it didn't hurt my jaw. Took Sunday night off. I plan on doing another 2 nights with it tonight and tomorrow.

I'd been asking myself why I wasn't using it every morning last week, as I saw that blue box in my bathroom cabinet. My excuses ran the gamut from "oh, I forgot (again)", to "well, I'm still working on that big project at work" (why that should have anything to do with using an oral appliance is beyond me, but this is really what I've told myself), to "it's going to hurt my jaw again", to "after ..." whatever excuse I can think up.

Here's what I know though - whatever the excuse, they are all just excuses. Either I want to give it another try or not. Either I want to improve my sleep or not. What do I really want out of this and how much do I want it? Obviously this is applicable to anybody, not just myself, in just about any area of life. Losing weight, finishing school, training for a triathlon ...

I have made a lot of changes to my lifestyle in an effort to sleep better. Some of these changes have worked better than others. And that's fine - I have to find out what works for and realise (and accept, hoooooo that's a big one!) that not everything will work. But more than anything right now, the one thing I have to do is try once more to sleep with this oral appliance. Starting with one night on and one off. Then 2 nights on, one night off. Working my way up to 5 nights. I think it may also be helpful to not think too much about my past experience with the appliance. Yes, I know it will be uncomfortable. Yes, it has even been painful. But I have to find a way to get around this type of negative thinking because I think in some ways, it may affect the results I'm having with it.

Enough procrastinating. I know that this is what I've been doing. I managed two nights without any problems, I can handle another two.

Friday, May 12, 2006

New Emily Giffin Book in June

The author of one of my favourite books has a new book coming out in June!

I read the excerpt of Baby Proof on Emily Giffin's web site. I'm intrigued now and can't wait for the release.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Exactly one year ago today I started blogging.

Monday, May 08, 2006

New recipes

This weekend I tried out a couple of new recipes. One dish (the zucchini one) my mom has made a couple of times and I liked it so much I got myself a copy - yesterday was the first time I made it myself. The second is from the Eat, Shrink & Be Merry cookbook (3rd in a series from the Canadian Podleski sisters). Click here to try a couple of the recipes from the book.

Both have great taste, are pretty easy to make and both I'll be sure to make again. See the recipes below:

Tourte aux courgettes et au feta (Zucchini and Feta Tart)
Serves 6 to 8 people

750g (1 1/2 lb) zucchini, washed and coarsely grated (about 4)
250g (8 oz) feta
4 eggs, beaten
30ml (2 Tbsp) nuts of your choice, roasted and coarsely chopped
30ml (2 Tbsp) dill, finely chopped
30ml (2 Tbsp) fresh parsley, finely chopped
75ml (5 Tbsp) grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

In a frying pan, cook the zucchini for a few minutes until they "sweat". Put to the side.
Pre-heat the oven to 190C (375F).
Butter a 20cm (8 inch) pie dish.
Soak the feta in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes. Drain the cheese. Using a fork, crush the feta until you get a smooth paste consistency. Add the zucchini as well as all the other ingredients (reserve 1 Tbsp of Parmesan) and mix it well.
Pour the mixture into the pie dish, sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top and put it in the oven for 45 minutes.
Check that the pie is done by inserting a knife, when it comes out clean, it's done.
Serve immediately.

Notes from Stef: I just mashed the feta until it was a small crumbly mess. I used sliced almonds, toasted them (didn't chop them) and also put some on top of the dish (with the Parmesan). There was no fresh dill at the store, so I used fresh basil instead.

All set for the next one?

Tongue Thai'd
(Pad Thai stir fried rice noodles with shrimp and tofu)

3 Tbsp each freshly squeezed lime juice and Asian fish sauce
2 Tbsp each ketchup and brown sugar
1 Tbsp each grated gingerroot and reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or hot pepper sauce
8 oz (227g) rice stick noodles, ideally 1/8 inch wide
2 tsp peanut or vegetable oil
1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onions or shallots
2 tsp minced garlic
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced or thinly sliced
8 oz (227g) uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup diced extra-firm tofu
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts

First, gather all the ingredients you'll need for this recipe and get them ready (i.e., chop the red pepper, peel the shrimp, etc.). Once you're ready to go, the meal comes together very quickly. You don't want to be hunting for the bean sprouts while the shrimp burns!

To prepare the sauce, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, gingerroot, soy sauce, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Place rice noodles in a large bowl and pour boiling water over top. Let soak 7 minutes. Drain.

While noodles are soaking, heat peanut oil in a large, non-stick wok. Add onions and garlic. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until onions are tender, about 2 minutes. Add red pepper and cook 2 more minutes, stirring often. Add shrimp and tofu. Cook and stir until shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes. Add reserved sauce, noodles, bean sprouts, green onions, and cilantro. Toss and cook until mixture is hot, about 1 minute. Add peanuts and toss again. Serve immediately.

Per serving: Calories 308, total fat 7.3g, saturated fat 1g, protein 15g, carbohydrates 47g, fiber 2.8g, cholesterol 57mg, sodium 990mg.

Notes from Stef: I used teriyaki flavoured tofu, and added some broccoli because I didn't have any shrimp.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Concert announcement

Here's what I had planned to post last Friday.

Radiohead is playing in Montreal on June 10 and 11. Am I going?


(Well, only to the show on June 11 because Anna had to go and get married on the 10th and I've already said I'd go to that.)

However, due to circumstances beyond my control, that is not what I'm going to be able to announce. Here's what actually happened:

12:00pm - start hitting the refresh button on the admission site, start dialing their phone number as well.

12:01 - Keep getting the same message on the web site telling me that they have reached their maximum number of online users, please try again in a few minutes. Keep getting "access denied" message on the phone.

12:02 - 12:08 - Same

12:09 - Actually get a busy signal on the admission telephone line. One more try and I manage to get through to an agent. Relief was short lived as she was only able to sell me one ticket to the Saturday night show. Nothing else was available. I bought the ticket and hung up. (I bought the ticket knowing I wouldn't be able to go that night, but figured I'd be able to sell it to one of my brothers.)

12:10 - 12:40 - Kept trying to get through online, while managing to produce work (talk about multi-tasking).

12:41 - Gave up. Knew the tickets were gone by then.

Am disappointed in this turn of events. I feel for the fans who patiently stood in line for several hours at an admission kiosk waiting to buy tickets, only to have the first person in that line find out that there were no tickets left at 12:01. I feel for the fans who tried desperately to get through by phone or online who were rewarded for their persistence with nothing. Honestly - as much as I do love technology, I really think that in this instance it would've been better to go back to the old way - everybody standing in line overnight, signing their name on a sheet and being sure to get tickets to a concert.

I really don't understand how all those tickets got sold so fast. This really sucks.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Pasta with Tomatoes and Ricotta

Monday night I made this.

My comments: The recipe called for diced tomatoes and then told you to puree them - why not just buy pureed tomatoes? But I didn't read that before hand. In the end I decided to just puree them a little bit because I like chunks of tomatoes. Couldn't find orecchiette at my local grocery store, so used some nice big (whole wheat) rotini instead. And because I'm watching the calories these days, I used a low fat ricotta. It was a very easy, simple and quick recipe, but a touch on the bland side. Maybe I didn't use enough salt & pepper (or maybe it was because of the low fat ricotta, or maybe it was because of the pasta, as mentioned in the comments about this recipe). Think I'll keep the recipe and try it again sometime with different pasta and a better cheese.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Kinda late on this post.

Spent Saturday afternoon at "il balletto" with my Mom. She managed to get some free tickets (I'm still not quite sure how) a week after I'd asked her what she knew about this particular ballet and the story of Giselle.

The performance was incredible. Forgive me, but I must repeat myself. It was incredible. The music was beautiful, the dancing awe inspiring. Just thinking of the practice required to have 20 people dancing the same exact movements, the strength and stamina necessary for this was incredible (sorry, I gotta start using the thesaurus). The dancing was truly sublime.

This version was done by the Houston Ballet company. The only other live ballet I have ever seen was The Nutcracker (and this only last December).

All in all a thrilling afternoon. Am so glad I got to experience this.

Mmm ... yummy!

The problem with eating a free chocolate bar in the middle of the afternoon is that once it's gone, I want another.

Monday, May 01, 2006


Managed to get a couple of things off my "To Do" list this weekend. Other than do a tonne of laundry (I'm embarassed to say how long it's been since I did laundry) and clean my condo (more embarassment), I did actually buy a security system for my window and with the help of my Dad, manage to install it. It doesn't look too horrible and it does seem very secure. Hopefully this will help with some sleep related anxiety.

While I was busy with my laundry, cleaning and running out to two hardware stores, it was quite late in the day on Sunday when I finally got around to my groceries. So although I didn't get to make the nice new dish I had planned on, I was able to improvise a little and make one of my favourite old stand-bys.

I originally saw Martha make these Stuffed Peppers and later found the recipe in Everyday Food. I modify it to suit my taste and eating habits. First of all I omit the olive oil and just use some non-fat cooking spray. Next I replace the chicken (meat, whatever) with more veggies, or sometimes add tuna. The recipe calls for diced tomatoes but I usually add a little of whatever other veggies I have around too (chopped mushrooms or zucchini, grated carrot). Finally, I usually just use whatever cheese I have in the house, but particularly like parmesan. The original recipe was quite high in fat (16.5 grams!) but I think my version is less than that (no oil, no meat, or if I use tuna that has less fat). These stuffed peppers are surprisingly filling - a half pepper is sufficient for me if I'm having a large salad on the side.

Sorry, didn't have time to make the chocolate chip cookies I'd promised last week, but now I that owe my Dad some cookies (for helping install the security system), I'll be forced to make them really soon.