Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What a great movie

Saw the movie Stranger Than Fiction over the weekend. What a great movie. What a great story. What a great Will Ferrell. What a great soundtrack.

The only downside to this experience was the audience. There were about 20 people in the theatre (a plus) but about 6 of them clearly thought this was a comedy in the style of some of Will Ferrell's previous movies. It wasn't that kind of ridiculously juvenile comedy. Why were they laughing like it was some Saturday Night Live skit? They completely missed the subtle and charming comedy. I would like to see this movie again but think I will wait until I can see it in the comfort of my own home. This kind of behaviour is why I have been known to say "I don't like people".

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Why doesn't my butt hurt?

On Monday night I did a muscle toning class at the gym. Tuesday morning I felt like someone had taken a hammer to my butt - I thought for sure I would see bruises - that's how much I hurt. Wednesday I felt mildly better but decided I'd try another of these muscle toning classes. It was with a different teacher and was at a more advanced level. It was a great class - it challenged me and a couple of times I didn't think I'd be able to do the whole set of repetitions. But I made it through and was quite proud of myself. This morning I expected to have a repeat of Tuesday morning's soreness but I don't. In fact the stiffness from yesterday is completely gone. Dare I say it? I feel good. Huh.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanks to Why for inspiring me to provide you with a little smile.

Enjoy a little song about my favourite lady bugs.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dr. Elder

Our family's pediatrician, Dr. John Munro Elder, died last week.

What I remember about him: he always smiled; he always gave us a plastic ring after the check-up; he had a fish tank in the office with cool fish and a deep sea diver; the chairs in his office were white wicker.

Monday, November 20, 2006

More crap from my kitchen

Ugh. What is the matter with me? Or what is the matter with the recipes I'm choosing recently? After last week's disaster I thought I'd try this before feeding it to a big group. It's OK. It's not fabulous. It doesn't make 28 shrimp cakes (using their suggested size). To tell the truth - the best thing about this recipe was the pineapple relish. It's sweet, fresh and delicious.

So I'm back to square one. And at this point I think I'll make my favourite mushroom burgers (recipe to come soon). I can make a whole pile of little mini burgers. They also taste great cold.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Adventures in Babysitting

Babysitting my niece Darcy was pretty much a snap last night. We played for a while, had dinner, played some more and then to bed. No attitude, no problems.

The kid's a riot. While she was wrapping up her dolly in her blankie she demanded that I sing "Rock a by(e?) baby". So while I sang she rocked the baby. Six times of that song was enough for me. Then we played the drums (mom's tupperware collection), pulled Barbie apart and then put her back together again, coloured with markers, played with Play-Doh and made a puzzle.

For dinner she ate 3 bowls of pasta. I was shocked after the third bowl she asked for "mo' pas'a, peez". There was none left! Instead I decided that we could share an orange. Well, so much for sharing. All I got were 2 little segments. She ate the rest faster than I could get them cut up.

Later we played one of her favourite games, hide & seek. For Darcy though this really consisted of me counting, her crouching on the floor beside the mirrored hall closet with her blankie beside her (not on top of her - beside her). I wish I could have a video of this. Her little bum up in the air, plumber's crack for all to see and her eyes squeezed shut.

As I put her on the toilet (who ever would've thought I'd be writing about a kid going to the bathroom ?) I didn't quite get the potty seat on right, so Darcy sort of slipped around and nearly fell in the toilet. I did grab her in time and joked that she'd nearly got soaked in the toilet. Well - she thought that was funny. She told me I was "silly, Auntie 'Tef" and "you funny". At least she didn't cry!

She went to bed without any problems. Even got into her pjs (backwards the first time) all by herself.

It was a fun night. Hopefully she enjoyed herself a little too.

Roasted Tomato & Mushroom Casserole

Made this earlier this week. Thought it might be the dish I bring to our potluck at the office but nooo ...

The bread stays soggy and wet and quite frankly that is not terribly appetizing to me. I couldn't possibly serve it to 50+ people.

This weekend I may try some shrimp cakes with pineapple relish to see if that'll be my item. Anyway - here's the recipe. Maybe somebody can improve on it.

Roasted Tomato and Mushroom Casserole

2 cups each halved grape tomatoes and quartered button mushrooms
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp ReaLemon Lemon Juice (I just used fresh squeezed)
1 Tbsp Corn Syrup
1 tsp each dried thyme and basil
8 cups cubed focaccia bread
8 eggs or 2 cartons/250ml each Naturegg Break-Free Liquid Eggs, well shaken
1 can Nestle Carnation 2% Evaporated Partly Skim Milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
2 Tbsp finely chopped green onions

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Toss the tomatoes with the mushrooms, oil, lemon juice, corn syrup, thyme and basil. Place mixture on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 30 mins., stirring twice. Remove from oven and cool.

2. Toss the cubed focaccia with eggs, milk, salt, pepper, roasted vegetables and any juices from the baking sheet. Place the mixture into a well-greased 9x13-inch glass baking dish and cover with foil. Let stand for 15 mins.

3. Bake the casserole for 35 mins. or until centre starts to set and edges turn golden. Sprinkle evenly with cheese and bake uncovered for an additional 15 mins. or until cheese melts. Garnish with chopped green onions.

Makes 12 servings

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Zero Emissions Trip

Read in the paper the other day about this Vancouver guy, Tim Harvey, who completed an around-the-world, zero-emissions trip in 893 days. Guess he took the scenic route, eh?

This guy cycled, rowed and sailed his way around the world. Pretty cool, I think. But it took a little more time than your standard 2-3 week holiday. He left Vancouver in June 2004 and just got back! It's an incredible story and something I could only dream of doing.

Check out his website here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hershey Recall

For me this is just another reason to stay clear of Hershey chocolate. I'm a chocolate snob and would much rather munch on a variety of gourmet chocolates, preferably Swiss of course. Hershey Canada has recalled a wide range of chocolate products nationwide and closed its Smiths Fall plant after salmonella bacteria was detected in the candy produced there.

Yvette - in your Christmas package I sent a 4-bar pack of Reese Peanut Butter Cups - you need to check the date codes. If they range from 6417 to 6455 - THROW THE PACKAGE OUT!!!

Here's a listing of the products affected by the recall:

Oh Henry!, Reese Peanut Butter Cups, Eat-more Dark Toffee Peanut Chew, Lowney Bridge Mix, Lowney Cherry Blossom (Dad - stay away from these for now!), Glosette Peanuts, Glosette Almonds, Glosette Raisins, Hershey's Creamy Milk Chocolate with Almonds, Hershey's Creamy Milk Chocolate, Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate, Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate with Almonds.

If you really need to you can contact Hershey at 1-800-468-1714.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Catcallers beware!

Ever felt like you can't take one more man (and I use the term loosely) shouting after you "Hey baby, what's your name?" or some variation?

Fear not - HollaBackNYC is a blog started by a group of men and women in New York City last October, that has inspired more than a dozen sister sites across the United States and Canada. Many women say street harassment is a national problem - and they're not going to walk on and ignore it anymore.

We've all experienced this in one way, shape or form. Maybe my attitude has changed (or maybe it's just because of my age) but I do find these occurences happen less often now. Not to say they don't happen. They do. It's never a comfortable situation but at least now I'm old enough not to be intimidated by this kind of behaviour. I have even had my wits about me to respond to a few of these morons. My most memorable experience was actually walking up to one offender and asking if he would speak that way to his mother, wife, sister or daughter. The other guys standing in line (they were queuing up to buy football tickets) all sucked in their breath and looked away, suddenly finding the cracks in the pavement very interesting. As you can imagine, he had no response other than to look down abashedly. "Yeah, that's right, look away, you coward", I said to him. It was quite empowering to walk away that morning hearing the guy's friend say to him "You stupid bloody prat. You couldn't just keep your mouth shut, could you?" Maybe it was the power suit I was wearing, or the high heels - whatever it was something gave me the power to meet that confrontation head on. Score 1 for me.

I say go for it ladies. Check out the various sites in San Francisco, Boston and Texas. And for us Canadian women there is HollaBackCanada.

Monday, November 13, 2006

New Pictures

Took a couple of pictures of Darcy last night. They are up here. Hopefully there will be time for a few more during the week.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I Need to Loosen Up

This morning I went to get my vaccinations updated for my visit to Panama in February. I thought I might be late for work so I sent an email off to my team yesterday afternoon to let them know I might not be in until 9am (15 minutes late - shocking, I know!).

The Travel Clinic opened at 7:30am and I figured it would be a good idea to be there early because I really didn't know if there would be a line up or what. As it turns out, I was 10 minutes early and the first one in line. By the time they did open, there was only one other couple in line. By 7:40am I was out of there and back 7:58am I was at work, at my desk. So much for being late.

Next time I go for breakfast and force myself to come in late.

Darcy's coming!

Nick, Sue & Darcy will all be at my parents' place tomorrow. Sue & Darcy are staying for the week so I'm hoping there will be lots of photo ops.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Open Houses

Went to a couple of open houses in my area last weekend and this weekend. This week I found a couple of beautiful condos. One of them was spectacular but about double what I could ever afford. The other was a little over my budget but otherwise perfect except for the fact that it's two blocks away from the train tracks. With the condo being up on the third floor and nothing to block the noise from the freights going by, it suddenly wasn't quite so attractive to me.

What a drag.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Menu

My friend Vivienne came over for lunch on Saturday and as she is as much of a foodie as I am, I thought it would be fun to treat ourselves to a gourmet menu. So thanks in great part to the Barefoot Contessa, we had a scrumptious meal of Saffron, Zucchini and Herb Couscous, Swordfish with Tomatoes and Capers and for dessert a killer Double Chocolate Pudding. (Still trying to decide how this pudding compared to Martha Stewart's Chocolate Pudding 101, which has been my standard in the past.)

Even better - I knew there would be enough leftover to invite my parents for dinner so they could eat the rest up for me. Dad even went home with the last serving of the chocolate pudding. I slept much better knowing that!

Salon passion chocolat

Made it to the Salon Passion Chocolat yesterday afternoon. All I have to report is that I ate too much free chocolate.

So, yeah, that means it was good. Very, very good.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Decisions, decisions ...

So do I spend my gift certificate from Banana Republic (which has finally opened downtown!) on a darling little blouse, pay a little extra for a cute skirt or pay a lot extra and splurge on the most divine black cashmere turtleneck sweater ever?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Local Events

Two local events happening in the next week that sound to be right up my alley.

This weekend the second annual chocolate exposition, called Salon Passion Chocolat, will take place at Place Bonaventure. The chocolate chefs will present their specialities. Admission is $12.

Next, on Nov. 9 and 10, Quebec wineries are joining with the province's cheesemakers will participate in the Salon des vins et fromages du Quebec. Takes place at Complexe Desjardins from 11am to 8pm, admission $5.

Anybody joining me?