April Recipe Recap

Can you believe that April is over? This is crazy to me.  What’s even crazier is that it’s still snowy and crap outside.  Hello spring?! Where the FRIG are you?!?!

Well, if we can’t have spring at least we can have muffins. How those are a trade off I’m not sure.  But I made some yummy ones this month so I’m going with it.

Raspberry Oat Bran Muffins – Peas and Thank You: A couple of weekends ago I woke up feeling domestic.  I got out of bed, did the dishes from the night before and made these muffins all before the Boy got up.  I woke him up to let him know how I had spent my morning and his response “Wow, you’re such a great wife.”

It’s true.  I am.

Anyway, that was Sunday and by Monday I was informed that while the Boy and I eat very well – apparently he is not getting enough fiber. This will not do.  My response? Make more muffins.

Morning Glory Muffins – Spilling the Beans These I just made this week.  And they are quite possibly the most filling and awesome muffins ever.  Packed into each deliciously moist bite, red lentils, sweet potato, apple, raisins, coconut and I even snuck in some extra bran in there – just to make sure things keep moving! 🙂 I cut the buttermilk and used Almond Milk instead. It made 18, I made them on Tuesday night. We have 6 left. They’re really good.  AND they were a really great pre-yoga snack this week. SOLD!  The Boy likes them too although he did mock my excitement by saying “You’re right they’re so good we shouldn’t eat anything else EVER!” 😐 In truth he can be as snarky he’s eating more than nothing for breakfast this way, so I’ll take it.

I already mentioned the Corn Chowder – from Cooking for Carnivores.  Some other recipes I’m looking forward to from there include Buckwheat Waffles, and Fajita Quesadillas. I’ll be sure to report in May.

I made my own brilliant recipe with pasta, and sauteed portabello mushrooms, red onions, sun dried tomatoes, grape tomatoes, spinach, a little red wine, a little balsamic and a little fresh basil. Topped with crumbled goat cheese – quick and DELICIOUS! A perfect combination.

I rediscovered the felafels that are in our freezer from Peas and Thank You cookbook.  I wasn’t a big fan of them as felafels (a bit dry) which is probably why they’ve been in the freezer for 6 months.  But as crumbly goodness on top of salad – yummy.

Last but CERTAINLY not least, Peanut Butter and Jam Nanimo Bars. OMG Angela from Oh She Glows.  I love her. These were SO amazing.  They are miraculously still in our freezer since they have nuts so the Boy can’t take them to school for snack.  I offered to use sunflower butter instead of peanut butter but since I had already made the crumb that has 1/4c of almonds in them – he wouldn’t take them.  So I didn’t bother altering the rest.  Stupid nut rules at school! So frustrating!!

Oh well, leaves more for me!

Like the pictures? Can you tell I’m practicing taking the camera off Auto?! 🙂

Learning takes time.

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Who ordered this?

It’s snowing right now. As I type this I am looking out the window at possibly bigger flakes of chunky wet snow than we had all winter. It looks cold. And grey. And wet. And it’s cold in my bones. I knew when it was 30C in March that it was too good to be true.  The Boy and I even discussed it – the possibility for snow to come. Turns out it really doesn’t matter that I told myself to expect it.  I’m still bitter.  It’s the end of April. I’ve started walking to work.  I’m done with winter.

So I made soup. Corn Chowder – specifically. And it was delish.  Even the Boy agreed. From Vegan Cooking for Carnivores, with a little added Meaghan tweaking. I don’t know what Old Bay Seasoning is, but I know what spices are on my fridge – so I added some of those.

Chowder is just the thing on a snowy evening in April. The heart can’t take much more of this – but soup helps.

Onion, celery, garlic, a bit of flour. Stir. Add veggie broth. Spices – I used some Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Thyme, Cayenne, Bay Leaf, Red Pepper flakes, salt and Pepper.  Corn, simmer, puree half.  Add Potatoes, simmer, eat.

Mmmm…. Chowda’

Hello Rock? Hard Place? How ya doin’?

Bah! That is all I would like to say on this topic, but apparently I need to get it out because if I have this cyclical argument with myself one more time I might just scream. No. I will cry. Yes, that’s much more accurate, I’m a total crier.
Do you know what I hate about being a grown-up? Decision making. Decision making and money. “Managing finances” is something that I am neither good at (that’s not true we actually do very well) nor interested in. BORING. Here’s a little fun fact about me, I like need to feel like I know what I’m doing before I make a decision. It requires a lot of processing on my end, but once I’ve made that decision I get INCREDIBLY frustrated when the universe does not listen and allow me to move forward with my decision. Hence – BAH!
So, here’s how it is. The Boy and I have been married for just over 7 months. (Can we take a moment and say – seriously the wedding was 7 months ago! OMG it seems like yesterday). I’ve been working at my new job for 6 months, the Boy has had a very steady year of daily supply teaching and has basically worked almost every day. Yay! We have banished ourselves of credit card debt, we have a savings system in place, we have a rough plan as far as when we would like to start thinking about thinking about expanding our little family (it’s not any time soon so calm down). And we actually have money in savings.  Great.
We also have two expensive brains and that means school debt. We live in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment. We live in an area where real estate prices are ridiculously through the roof.  Seriously, we saw a cute tiny little 2 bedroom house for sale on a walk the other day, we came home to look at it on MLS and it’s listed for $499,000. Sure it’s a monster lot, but come on. That’s absurd. Do you know what’s even more absurd – the bank would probably give us the money and probably take 5% down because it’s our first house.  Hey banks in Canada! Have you learned nothing from our neighbours to the south?  This can’t go on. It can’t.
So the Boy and I made a decision.  We would look for a rental that we could feasibly stay in for the next 3-4 years. We’ll wait out the market figuring it has to crash eventually, and if Macleans magazine is anything to go by (and it typically is) something like 30% of people cannot afford to stay in their homes if interest rates go up by 1-2 percent. Ideally, they will need to sell at a reasonable price and we will swoop in to pick up our very own home for what it’s worth instead of some ridonculous amount of money.
Sounds like a great plan right?
We thought so – so we made a list of our must haves (just like on TV)
  1. 2-3 bedrooms
  2. Laundry (preferably private)
  3. Pet friendly
  4. Outdoor space
  5. Utilities included – or a reasonable amount for rent if they are not included – or willingness to negotiate.
  6. In our neighbourhood or at least South of highway 9.
Do you know what we’ve found?  Nothing. No, sorry not nothing. Dog patch.
We find semidetached bungalows that are everything we want except they are north of highway 9 which is affectionately known to locals as “The Dog Patch.”  I don’t know much but I know when you mention “The Dog Patch” to locals, they make BIG EYES and say “Meaghan YOU CAN NOT LIVE THERE!” I know of people that have lived there who witnessed people involved in a fist fights on their front lawn on a regular basis.  And I know when I drive through and look at the houses and think “it’s not that bad”  something inside me says “Sure it doesn’t look that bad – but I’m pretty sure one of these sketchy people is going to steal your stroller one day”
This week we found a BEAUTIFUL apartment, 2 bedrooms, private laundry, pet friendly, outdoor space, rent + hydro (water and heat and cable included) and in our wonderful neighbourhood.  Sounds perfect right? Right! It is! For now.  The Boy and I would be blissfully happy there, but if we were to bring in a little, I think we would be falling over each other quite quickly.  The bedrooms are teeny tiny. And I’ve heard a rumour that kids come with a lot of stuff. BAH! It’s not somewhere that I think we can stay for 3-4 years. More like 1-2. And then, what’s the point?
So what do you do when you live in a shoe? Move to a boot? Or go back and forth a million times on whether you’re making the right decision or not, and whether what you want actually exists.  Right now we’re experiencing the latter.  If we could find somewhere to stay long term, we could put the contents of our savings account and pay off a  chunk of school loan. But if we can’t, we’re going into a mortgage that is inflated or with a weak down payment only to feel financially strapped for the rest of our lives. We just got off that train, we’ve taken that tour and I’d rather not get back on for a while – ever if I can help it.
So now what. Tell me universe what is your brilliant plan? Are you saving the perfect rental for us until the summer is over? Are you telling us to forget it all and go to New York for a splurgey vaycay? Maybe we should just go to Europe? Forget our cares, live in our little space for a little longer and then your master plan will unfold when we least expect it?

Only one problem with that brilliant plan.  I suck at patience.  And I really suck at “the universe will take care of it when it’s time.”

We’re planning on revisiting the only possibility we’ve seen next week.  Cross your fingers we come up with brilliant storage visions.

Setting the Stage

There was not a lot of DIY in our wedding but there were a lot of cool details that I was wishing I could blog about before, but didn’t want to ruin the experience for our guests. So I stayed silent.  Now I’m left with a whole bunch of detail information that seems silly to share but since I know there are those out there following along looking for detail help – I’m doing it.

I didn’t want to go crazy with the crafting. Which I don’t think I did.  But I did want those personal touches – of course, everyone does, that turn the wedding into our wedding.  It started with the colour scheme, Orange and Gray as picked by The Boy.  We got so many complements on that choice and I would like it to be on the record that I gave him full credit every time. I may not be big on the crafty crafty ideas but I do LOVE typography, so I included a lot of that, which I wasn’t sure people would notice, but apparently they did.

Again, trying to figure out the most logical way to present this, I think I’ll take you on a virtual tour of our venue.

The yarn balls – unfortunately in the 1000+ photos we have, I don’t have one of the front entrance where they were hung, but imagine them in two bunches flanking either side here.Awesome photoshop skills!

As guests came in they were greeted by our two lovely bridesmaids, BFFs Kristyn and Kate, and encouraged to drop any cards in the orange bird cage, and “leaf” their print on the guest tree.  We had our bridal party and all those at our rehearsal dinner preprint using red for VIPs everyone else had their choice of orange, yellow or green.  I loved how this turned out btw, it is awesome! Instant art that we will love forever. I have visions of it hanging in a kids room one day – you know, kind of a product of all of this love kind of thing. I got it from Bleu de Toi on Etsy, Love love love. For now it hangs in our living room – the Boy says he likes that it will help him remember our anniversary.

Leaf your Print!

Now, I had made the decision about the tree, and Sista and I decided that guests shouldn’t sign their print because if they did that’s all you would see when looking at it – black scribbles everywhere = boo. And while the Boy agreed, he was pretty adamant that guests have something to sign like a traditional guest book.  I hate traditional guestbooks. I don’t think you ever really look at them again and if he was going to insist I wanted something cool.

Enter The Lover’s Dictionary.  This was a book Sista found at Anthropologie that is a novel, but written as dictionary entries.  Each entry if read on it’s own is a quirky definition of love.  Awesome right?  Well, almost.  It turns out that because we bussed most people in from the hotel, having two things to do in the line was confusing and causing quite the backlog.  So most people skipped the book.  Some did sign it and we love the messages they left.  I’m considering carrying the book around with me for the next year and getting people to sign it as we see them.  Love the book in theory, and in practice the messages that we did get are really sweet.

While I stationed Kristyn and Kate at the guest book/tree table I knew that some might skip it and come back to it later, so I wrote a little poem about how the whole thing worked.  I don’t actually think that many people read it but nonetheless here it is.

From the front entrance people I presume made their way directly to the bar where they were greeted by our wonderful bar staff and a complete list of all that was available for their enjoyment.

And given the length of time they spent in line and the beautiful weather outside, many (I’m sure) headed directly to the bathroom to freshen up.  There they found baskets with various odds and sods to help them on their way, as well as more poetry.

Drink and appetizer (didn’t get any but heard they were delicious) in hand guests were encouraged to head on in and find their seats.  An alphabetical list of names and corresponding tables was at the end of the guest table, as well as a seating map, (Sorry no picture of the map – I was overzealous in my throwing away post-wedding and didn’t think to take a picture of it first!)

The tables were named after all things the Boy and I love (besides each other of course – barf). I may have stolen the idea from my cousin Stacey’s wedding but ours were less lovey, zen and peaceful (like her) and more alcohol, sports and knitting related (like us)!

Can you tell which tables belonged to whom?

  • Kiki and Denba
  • Lucky Cans
  • Steamwhistle
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Anthropologie
  • Sugar Maple
  • Richmill Farm
  • Urban Farmers
  • Western Mustangs
  • The Twenties Roar
  • Birdie
  • The Color Purple
  • Come Here Often?
  • Hand Dyed Yarn
  • Muscle Beach

Inside was a whole lot more orange and gray… we’ll get there, next week.

The Countdown is on…

T minus 20 days people. D-day is coming.

May 7. This girl turns the big 3-0.

30 means a few things.

1. I am old – (I’m actually not that freaked out – I just like to be dramatic, don’t tell the Boy)

2. My twenties have come to an end.

3. (And this is the most important) The Twenties Roar is no longer appropriate.

On Saturday night while the Boy was watching “Bering Sea Gold” – one of the more quality shows on Discovery – (read: it’s ridiculous) I started to think about turning 30. Do you know what I found out? thedirtythirties.wordpress.com is taken but not active. Balls. I could go legit and become thedirtythirties.ca but this hiccup in my plan gave me pause to try and think of something else.

I’ve gone over why I think The Dirty Thirties works: the thirties are all about kids (eventually) and kids are all about poop and poop is dirty – and that’s funny.  Plus another historical reference – history + consistency = awesome. Third, if the twenties are all about everything being exciting and new, then maybe I can anticipate the thirties being all about getting down and dirty (get your mind out of the gutter) – I’m married, I have a job, I’m now making decisions on how I want to live my life – for reals.

But on the other hand…

The Dirty Thirties lasts me another 10 years. And while yes, that’s likely an ample time frame – part of me thinks I should be thinking of something that’s permanent. Brandable. Won’t solicit viewers that are looking for porn.

But here’s the issue – I can’t think of another option.

So – fellow bloggers… I’m not looking for you to give me a new title (though if you’ve got something brilliant please feel free to share) rather, how did you name your blog? And did you have to change the name of your blog – my God how did you do it?

Go.

Quick Before I forget – Fast Five Friday

Last night I marched myself down to Henry’s and took D90 101 through their School of Imaging.

Without the cryptic Canadian code – I took a camera class.

It was good.  I feel like I learned A LOT – but what I will retain? Time will tell. To help with that retaining piece here’s five fast things I learned in my camera class – warning I knew nothing, so this is pretty basic.

  1. Shutter speed stops action (yours and your subjects movement) – higher shutter speed, clearer capture of movement.
  2. Shutter speed brings in light. On a bright day with lots of sun, think red head – get out of the sun quick! Quick shutter speed = fast! Dim day, low light – think Olive complexion, they can handle staying out in the sun for longer. Long shutter speed = slow!
  3. If you’re at a party use the “Close Up” Scene selector – it will focus on one subject but will lack depth, blurring out the drunkards to the sides and focusing on the one drunkard you’re interested in.
  4. Shooting a hockey game? High ISO, and maybe think about shooting it on a 3D auto focus – it will follow a colour and blur everything else – so if Timmy is wearing red and skates behind the goal – it will keep the red in focus and blur out what’s in front.
  5. AF-S – Single Slow Static moment. – Aim Lock Move Shoot. Want to take a picture of the dog? Aim the focus on her eyes, then move the camera to set up your shot, then shoot your picture.  Magic.

And now you know as much as I do.  Something tells me I’m going to be referencing this post the most of anyone!

Do you think this qualifes me for a fancy camera bag/purse? As in an Epiphanie?

Pre and Post Snacks

Hey Blogosphere I need your help!

I just came back from another week of flopping to the ground in a sad attempt to Chaturanga with my hair once again not staying in a perfect ponytail. That I can handle. Kind of. What I’m struggling with is what in the world to eat pre yoga and post yoga.

Thoughts?

A yoga class.

A yoga class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So far I have been eating dinner post yoga, for fear of feeling too full while yogiing, and because yoga is at 7pm – a little early to have dinner made, eaten, and digested all before I leave at 6:30.  But this isn’t working for a few reasons. 1. I’m hungry during yoga and I’m thinking this is not helping my balance (sometimes I feel a bit nauseous even) 2. I don’t get home until about 8:45 and by then I find I’m either beyond hungry and pretty much skip on dinner, or I’m so hungry I could eat a whole antelope and by the time I’m finished making something and eating it’s 9:30 which = too late.

So give it to me peeps. What are your suggestions? I’ve tried having a small snack before, toast and cheese, dates and almond butter, or fruit. Yesterday I tried to spread out my snacks during the day and ate my afternoon snack a bit later in the afternoon. No dice really.

Hit me up with the ideal pre and post workout snack.

*Tips on perfect hair and miraculous chaturanga skills are also welcome.

Wedding Wednesday – Modelling

Whoever said modelling was easy…

Was right.  The next 2 hours of our W-day were spent having our pictures taken.  Over and over and over again.  And while the candid snap shots that Brian from Cross Hatched Productions took of us while David from West Photo was changing lenses or brainstorming may look like we were really distressed or bored through the whole thing.  I assure you,

We were not.

These are some of my favourite pictures from both photographers.  We LOVE all of the traditional shots that David took, and my gut instincts about my love of the barn turned out to be completely true – the light through the old barn walls was awesome.  But the shots that Brian got of David taking pictures complete the whole story I think.  So enough yapping.

Here are some of my favourites.

Behind the scenes from Cross Hatched Productions:

In front of the scenes from West Photo:

In the meantime my lovely parents fulfilled my hunger needs and brought enough Subway to feed an army.  While mom told dad not to get any kind of dressing or sauce on them, he apparently wasn’t paying attention – so I very carefully and delicately scarfed down some food before I passed out in hunger.

One of the smartest decisions in our planning process was getting ourselves a big yellow school bus to take our guests from the hotel to the reception and back.  We didn’t have to worry about anyone drinking and driving which was more than worth the 5 million conversations with the bus driver we (okay mom) endured.

What we may have forgotten was to do a head count of the number of people that would be coming from the hotel, and we ended up needing 2 trips to get everyone there.

It didn’t really matter, it just meant there was some waiting around for family photos but in the end Mom and Nanny got what they wanted, all 10 kids and half of the grandchildren.

Randomness to Catch Up

The last week has been busy… but not… but yes.  No excuses really, just a list of random things to catch up on my whereabouts in the days gone by.

1. BFF Kristyn and I are still yogiing. Every week I hope it’s going to get better. And every week it kills me again.  I’m still hoping that one of these days  I’m going to come out of it not feeling like I’ve been through the ringer… one day.

2. Speaking of yoga – specifically to those ladies that are in my yoga class that keep their hair in a neat ponytail all the way through, and don’t look sweaty and gross by the end. I know I’m not supposed to be judging myself against others – but seriously, how do you do that? I look like a hot mess by about 15 minutes in every week.  Bah.

3. I went to a fundraiser for my old work last week.  I assure you they’re doing really well without me. I couldn’t believe all their accomplishments in funding and fundraising in the last 6 months. Amazing! It made me happy to be able to support the organization in a different way, and to have come from such a great little organization.

4. Grandma Shirley (the Boy’s Grandma) is sick.  We spent half the weekend in the hospital sitting with her and making sure she knows she’s loved.  Grandma is so sweet and funny, even when she’s not feeling so great right now.  We arrived Thursday night and she told me they had been talking about me. About 10 minutes later she asked if I was pregnant yet.  I told her no, but I would let her know when the time comes.  She was clearly disappointed.  The Boy and I don’t have baby plans anytime in the near future and we definitely want her there – so if everyone could say a little prayer for Grandma we would appreciate it.  She told me this weekend she’s loved me for 10 years.  I’ve loved her for that long too.

5. I was in charge of dessert this weekend for the Boy’s family Easter dinner.  I felt the pressure. I went back and forth on what to make.  I thought about lemon meringue cupcakes since they would be easy to make ahead and assemble once we arrived. Then I considered Angela’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups in a Jar but the Boy must be catching on and know that only delicious but vegan things come from my blog recipes. Without even seeing the secret ingredient (tofu) in the ingredients list he had this to say, “Nothing weird Meaghan. Okay? Just make something normal. Like pie. What’s wrong with pie? How about just regular pie. And make sure there’s enough for everyone. You better make two.  Nothing weird. Pies.”  You’d think I’d tried to poison him or something?  So I made pie. 2 Lemon meringue pies.  From scratch. Pastry. Lemon curd. Meringue.  They didn’t set. But they were delicious. Grandma agreed. She’s on a strict diet, juice, ginger ale, water, and pie.

6. I played my first golf game of the season.  It did not go well. I’ve got a long way to go if I’m going to beat my legitimate score of 124 by 10 strokes. Yikes. It was good to get outside though and good times were had by all.  The Boy says he didn’t shoot well either… but “not well” of 84 doesn’t count in my books. Bugger.

7. I was playing with the BMI calculator on my work’s wellness page. My BMI is okay – it could be better though. The Boy’s is on the higher end of normal. This was more arsenal for the “we really need to be more active” campaign.  Last night we went for a walk and the Boy asked if I wanted to run home.  I knew I wouldn’t make it all the way home without stopping. I was right. We did three mini runs, totaling just under 0.5km.  I wouldn’t say it was a good first attempt, but it was a start. We need to figure out how to run together if we’re going to do it. The Boy’s casual jog is my RUN. Suggestions?

8. The Boy and I are thinking about thinking about moving.  We I found a BEAUTIFUL three bedroom semi, but it’s in what the locals call “the dog patch” as in the sketchy part of Northern Ontario. There are some nice spots in the dog patch, but this was not one of them.  Darn. The Boy said he TOLD me it was in the dog patch I just didn’t want to believe him.  It’s true. Anyway, I was talking to a realtor friend of my parents and she asked if I was working with anyone. She wasn’t impressed with my answer of “Kijiji.”  She’s now on the look out for us too and she told us this mind-blowing information.  “Meaghan, you know you always negotiate the rent price right?” Um…. what?! No. I did NOT know that. So we’re all on the look out and she’s going to help us with our negotiation skills.  Fingers crossed!

9. And finally, the prayers to St. Anthony must have worked.  Or the Boy just is better at keeping track of things than I am.  Tomorrow Wedding Wednesday returns.  The photos are not lost forever – hurray!

10. What’s randomly up with you? And did you know you can negotiate rent? The Boy says he knew in theory, but wouldn’t do it – would you?