Friday, December 20, 2013

Doing happy dance.

My babies are coming home!!!

One daughter should be home tonight, the other tomorrow. WOOT!

And it's snowing to boot. WOOT!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A little surreal.

This week has gone by so fast it's almost surreal. 

It's Wednesday night and I don't know where the time flew. I didn't really do much of anything this weekend other then to veg out. Went shopping on monday with my gf.  Went to Carrefour Lava [as my gf's auto correct says]. We went early morning around the time the stores were opening. Thank God. By noon we were both ready to kill a few people. 

I swooned. They opened a Vans store in Carrefour Laval. I'll have an easier time getting my favourite Vans. I know there is one downtown and I went once or twice, but their layout was really not conducive in me finding the right shoes. I wonder if there will be a boxing day sale at the Vans store.. Swoon.   I can't explain why I like skater wear, but the past 10 years or so, I wear Vans running shoes and the past 5 years it's been Billabong dresses.  And last summer one of my favourite combo's was the Vans with the hot pink laces, and a Billabong dress with hot pink detail, seen in the scenic photo below.

In August 2013, at the lookout on Mont Royal.
Old Navy had some of my favourite long sleeved cotton tops for $5 a piece. I took 5 home of different colours. The purple, burgundy and hot pink one were v-necks. the Monet blue, and charcoal grey are extra stretchy and scoop neck.

Work has been so busy for me. Usually the week between my interns I have to set up equipment for them.  Anyway I'm realizing many of the systems don't have windows 8.1 on them.  It's quite the task to set them all up.  But trying to make sure each intern has 2 systems available to them fully configured.  Dunno if I will succeed. Maybe they will just have 1 that is and one that isn't that will get rotated out once I have others done.  I have work for weeks, doing it between other tasks.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Vitamin C ice cubes

I've been complaining that I'd just realized that my favourite cough drops now contain aspartame and I really don't want it in my body. I'm sensitive to all sort of additives, this one is probably no exception. Probably one of the causes of my night time headaches.

So my buddy in Ireland suggested boiling citrus with cloves and adding honey to make some form of beverage to help my throat.

Perrier and Vitamin C cube.
I took his suggestion first washed 1 grapefruit, 2 clementines, 2 oranges and 2 lemons.  Once well scrubbed, I cut them into small quarters without ever peeling them. Put it in a pot cover will water, and I added 40 cloves. It actually has a bit of a cloves taste. You can also add cinnamon stick and ginger as well, both are also helpful, I personally don't care for either.  I readded water a few times.

The pot in my photo was my first batch. Hadn't put enough water or cloves in that one.  Once I deemed it cook, I let it cool down. Then I drain it, so there are no more clove pieces or peel/pith pieces of the citrus fruits.

I then put it in ice cube trays and froze them.  So when I need a cough drop, I put one or two squares in a mug, warm them up in the microwave and either add to perrier or my tea. Of course you can just use it as ice cubes to cool down your drink or even suck on.  Most would find them really bitter as I added no sugar. Most would add honey to the mixture when using. I like it as is.

Since using 2-3 cubes a night, it really helps my throat and keeps me away from the cough drops.

Vitamin C ice cubes.

Friday, December 13, 2013

I know what I want.

I can wait forever to get what I want too. I am far happier single and most of the summer I was so busy hanging out with friends I didn't have the time to be lonely.

The guy I met on Twoo, it turns out was too fascinated by his own dick. Other then sending me dick pictures at 2 different times, he also wanted to send me a video of him masturbating. Really? So Wednesday night I sent him this message "I don't think you're the right guy for me. You aren't what I am looking for. I hope you find a woman that meets your expectations, but I know it's not me. " 

I would rather hang out with friends and/or my daughters. Maybe I'll find a lover again one day but it wasn't this week. 

From a little girl who definitely was not brainwashed

Here is an interesting post quoting a little girl not brainwashed... The comments are also interesting.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gluten free fig squares

Grape seed oil & black mission figs
I am a Larabar addict and it is a costly addiction.  So I decided to try to find a homemade alternative that would be as delicious, as healthy, and a mix of nuts and fruit. This is my first creation. It's still not perfect but quite edible.

This recipe is high in protein and the only sugar is the sugar found in the figs and the banana. The recipe I modified to make these used honey instead of the banana. 

Gluten free Fig Squares

1 bag of dried black mission figs [it was 375g]
1/4 cup of grape seed oil
1/4 cup of Nuvel margarine
1 mushy banana
1/4 cup of almond milk
3/4 cup of almond flour
3/4 cup of coconut flour
1/2 cup of gluten free rolled oats
1/2 cup of coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt.

1 - preheat oven to 350F. Put figs in small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn of head and let figs soften for 5-7 minutes. Do not drain.

2 - Lightly coat an 8x8 dish baking pan with coconut oil. In a small bowl, mix almond milk, banana, margerine and oil. In a medium bowl, combine flours, rolled oats, coconut flakes, baking soda and salt. Add wet ingredients, then mix well.

3 - Remove softened figs from water and place in a blender or food processor. Add 3 tablespoons of the re-hydrating water and puree until smooth

4 - Place half of the oat mixture in the prepared pan and spread evenly across the bottom. I use a spoon to tap it down evenly. Spread figs evenly on top. Add teh remaining mixing on top of the fig layer. Pat with a spoon to flatten.

5 - Bake for 20-25 minutes [Depending on your oven]. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool cut into 16 squares.

Vegan, gluten free fig squares

NOTE: You can substitute 1/2 cup of coconut oil instead of grapeseed/canola mix. That worked fine, though may try with 2/3 cup coconut oil for the perfect texture.

See updated recipe for better crust.

Pig feet stew with meatballs.

One of the recipes all the women in my family seemed to be able to make when I was growing up was my great-grand-ma's Pig feet stew with meatballs recipe. Over the past 10 years I've become a pro at making it.  This time I even cooked it differently so it could all cook after coming home from work on Monday.

Meatballs, meat broth and roux ready to join the pork hocks after removing bones and fat
While the pork hocks were cooking, I made the meatballs, and browned some flour. After which I put everything in the garage on top of the freezer over night.  Monday I warmed up the meat, and removed all the bones, the fat, and anything that didn't look like meat. I re-added the broth, warmed it, then added the browned flour, stirred it well, and then the meatballs. I let it cook for hours. I was sure I turned it off at midnight, but my friend staying with me turned it off at 3 because apparently I'd left burner on.  Yay distraction. I took pictures at midnight, but apparently forgot to turn it off.

Pig Feet stew with meatballs
Recipe posted here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Would you believe Windows 8.1 is a teaching OS!

I'm going to call it an OS for dummies.

Here I am installing Firefox on one of my test machines. Towards the end of the install I have a pop up from windows that informs me "You have new apps to open web pages"

Really? NO WAY!!! OMG I am so thrilled. Like OMG I never thought this could happen,  I mean I installed a browser. Never in a thousand years did it ever occur to me that I could use it to browse the web. OMG. I will be more intelligent now that Windows 8.1 will tell me about my software! I was a little bit disappointed that it did not acknowledge my install of flash.

I also installed VLC the other day, and Windows 8.1 did not skip a beat. As soon as the install finished it told me I could use new apps to play videos. I was stunned. A new app? Wow. My friend Rick, bless his soul, would have said "slap me silly and call me Berniece". It would never have occurred to me after installing a media player that it could play media!!!

This feature will probably go the way of the "desktop icon" cleaning tool. Because EVERYONE needs to regularly clean their desktop icons. Did you not know that? And it would periodically tell you that your icons were old and you needed to clean them up [Because if you use say Firefox, 4 years later, you might think the icon is old?!?! even though it opens the right software????] Or another amazing feature, the Vista gadgets. How can we ever live without those????

Monday, December 09, 2013

Mixed vegetable salad

From the book Mezze, in the Love Food collection of Paragon books

Mixed Vegetable Salad [Serves 4-6 as part of a Mezze]

1 1/2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove crushed to a paste with 1/4 tsp of salt
3 large, ripe tomatoes
2 red or green bell peppers
1 cucumber about 7oz/200g
2oz/55g fresh flat leave parsley leaves, finely chopped
1oz/30g fresh mint leaves. finely chooped
salt & pepper

To serve

Romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry
warmed pita bread.

Mix the lemon juice, oil and garlic  together in a large serving  owl and set aside

Halve and seed teh tomatoes, then cut the flesh into 1/4 inch/5mm cube and add to the bowl.
Halve and seed the bell peppers, then cut into 1/4 inch/5mm cub and add to the tomatoes. Halve the cucumber and use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds, then cut into 1/4inch/5mm dice and add to the other ingredients. Add the herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the salad together with your hands. Serve immediately with romaine lettuce leaves to scoop up mouthfuls of salad, and warmed pita to mop up the juices.

So Google makes photos auto-awesome?

So Google took this photo and made it into auto-awesome.

It's a little weird to see the sun and the snow...

I'm not sure how I feel about this feature

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Fruit and nut tabouleh

This recipe I found in the book Vegetarian planet, by the Harvard Common Press.

Fruit and Nut Tabouleh

1 cup fine bulgur
2 1/2 cups of boiling water
2 seedless oranges
1/4 cup of lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups of chopped parsley
1/2 chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 currants
1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste
fresh-ground pepper to taste

1 Put the bulgur into a medium bowl. Pour the boiling water over. Cover the bowl with a plate, and let the bulgur sit for 20 minutes. Then drain it with a fine mesh strainer.

2 Meanwhile section the oranges with a paring knife: First cut away the peel and pith, the cut out the flesh by sections, leaving the membranes. Cut the sections in half and add them to the bulgur. Then add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, onion, cucumber, parsley, mint, walnuts and currants and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the tabouleh at room temperature.

As a variation you can add 1/2 cup of crumbled feta.

Alternatively if you want to make this tabouleh gluten free, replace the bulgur wheat by quinoa.

1 cup quinoa [I like mixing white and red, or white and black]
1 1/4 cup of water

and step 1  Bring water to boil, put Quinoa in boiling water and turn heat down, cook until all water has been absorbed. Then fluff out your Quinoa before going to step 2.

I've yet to meet someone who didn't like fruit and nut tabouleh, whether I made the original recipe or the gluten free variation.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Chickpea salad

From the book Mezze, part of the love food collection by paragon books

Chickpea salad [serves 4 to 6]

1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
about 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
about 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2  tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dry thyme
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
pinch of ground tumeric
14oz/400g canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed and shaken dry
salt & pepper

To serve

2 tbsp chopped fresh dill, parsley, cilantro, or mint, plug extra to garnish
1 pomegranate, halved.

 Melt the butter with the oil in a heavy-botomed skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Add the onions and cook over medium head, stirring, until well coated in teh butter and oil. The reduce the heat to low, put a damp, crumpled piece of wax paper over the saurface of the onions and cover the skitter. Let the onions sweat for 20 minutes, or until very soft and pale pink but not brown.

Meanwhile, mix 3 tablespoons of oil, one tablespoon of lemon juice, the thyme, spices, and salt and pepper to taste together in a bowl. Stir in the chickpeas.

Transfer the onions to a plate lined with crumbled paper towels and pat dry to remove the excess oil. Add to the chickpeas and stir together. LEt cool, then cover and chill in teh refrigirator for at least 1 hour.

Remove the chickpeas from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving to return to room temperature. Taste and add extra lemon juice or oil, as you like, then stir in the chipped dill, parsley, cilantro, or mint. Hold the pomegranate over the salad, cut-side down and tap the top with a wooden spoon until the seeds fall out. Repeat with the other half, then stir together, transfer to a serving bowl and serve. Garnish with the remaining herbs.

I lead an exciting life.

After work yesterday I went to Canadian tire to pick up some posts to put to indicate where my driveway is.  When I got home I hammered in 3 posts into the ground and banged on the one that was still there I put up  a month ago. Last year the snow clearing guy kept hitting my smoke bush near my driveway. This year I decided to mark my driveway clearly.

I also changed the light bulb on the light in the middle of my  lawn as it was dead. Which I found weird as I changed it as recently as July.

Today I took apart  my humidifier, cleaned it, de-furred it and put it back together. It's purring right now. Needed to add humidity to the house it was getting way too dry.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Garlic Sauce

From the book Mezze - from  Paragon books Love food collection

Garlic sauce [serves 4-6 as part of Mezze]

Many recipes for this pungent sauce are made with ground almond or walnuts, but this recipe, using boiled starchy potatoes, has a slightly milder flavour. This sauce goes well with beet salad or broiled sardines and it can also be served as a dip.

2 large starchy potatoes, scrubbed
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with 1 tsp of salt
about 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice or white wine vinegar
about 1/2 tsp of salt
about 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
white pepper

Put potatoes in a pan and pour enough boiling water to cover and return to a boil. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender then drain and let cool.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel away the skins and mash using a masher or potato ricer. Don't be temped to mas the potatoes in a food processor - the texture becomes gluey rather then fluffy.

Add the garlic, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and white pepper to taste to the potatoes. Slowly beat in the oil , a tablespoon at a time, making sure each addition is well incorporated before you add more, until no more can be absorbed - the exact amount you will need will depend on the texture of the potatoes. Taste and add extra lemon juice and salt as you wish. Set aside to cool completely then transfer to a serving bowl, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Serve the sauce with a platter of prepared vegetables and warmed pita if desired.

To serve:

2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large large cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 greeen bell pepper, seeded and sliced
warm pita bread (optiional)

In memory of December 6th, 1989

December 6th in Montreal always brings mixed feelings. Most of us still remember the Polytechnique massacre. I wrote on December 6 1990 this poem in memory of those who died....

In Memoriam of December 6th, 1989

You are gone forever but not forgotten
The memory of your tragedy lives on
It is a pity that you were attacked and killed
For just fulfilling your potential

There is a malaise in society
That was created long before you came to be
It will not go away so easily
Perhaps your death will make the problem clearer

There were those who looked on in disbelief
Those who were confused and deeply hurt
How can someone decide the fate of others
Is there no justice for the living?

The work of a madman for sure
But there is a madperson in all of us
Some say that he was just a marginal exception
But how can we learn to trust others again

Perhaps this incident will make people think
Of all the injustices committed towards women
Perhaps the next time she cries injustice
Society will believe she her complaint.

The answer does lie within each one of us
To forgive him who focused his personal anger on women
To help others learn to love and help themselves
And make this world equal for both men and women.

In your memory: Genevieve Bergeron, Helene Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Havierncik, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, Maryse Laganiere, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay,Sonia Pelletier, Michele Richard, Annie St..Arneault, Annie Turcotte

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Musicians eh?

I've realized that I have a thing for musicians, in particular it seems bass players. At the moment my world is full of bass players. Not that this is an issue, it's just amusing. The female friend I've had the longest, plays bass, my buddy in Ireland who's company I really enjoy, plays bass. Just to name 2 obvious ones.

I met a guy on Twoo, someone willing to chat for a while to get to know me and also interested in a friends with benefits type of relationship. And of course he's a bass player. Bonus, he's 5 years younger and also born in December. Other Sagittarius and in general fire signs rock.

Of course in general most of the men I date play a musical instrument. Heck both my grandparents played instruments, my aunt played an instrument. My step-dad played guitar. I was one of the rare ones without much talent for music. But it doesn't mean I don't appreciate music or that music isn't running in my head 24/7.

And it's not like I'm a groupie and go looking for musicians, I am just naturally drawn to creative types. Those around me who don't play musical instruments are often incredibly creative in other ways.

Beet salad

From the book Mezze, part of the Love food collection of Paragon books

I love beets cooked and seasoned like this recipe. I miss beets and most people don't care for them. 

Beet Salad [Serves 4 to 6 as part of a Mezze]

2 lbs/900g of beets
4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 scallions, chopped
coarse sea salt
garlic sauce to serve

Wash the beets and remove the roots without cutting the skin. Put the beets in a pan cover them with water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat slightly and cook for 20-40 minutes, depending on size until the largest beet is tender when you pierce it with a long metal skewer or knife

Meanwhile put the oil, vinegar, scallions, garlic and salt in a jar with a screw on lid and shake until emulsified, then set aside.

Drain the beets and run under cold water until they are cool enough to handle, then peel away the skins. Thickly chop or slice the beets and then put them into a bowl and pour the dressing. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

To serve gently toss the salad, and put it in a serving platter. Serve with garlic sauce on the side.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Sesame sauce

Recipe from Mezze, from the Love food section of Paragon books. 

Sesame sauce  [serves 4-6 as part of a Mezze]

1 large garlic clove crushed with salt
4-6 tbsp water
4-6 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 1/2 oz/150g of sesame seed paste [tahini]
1 tbsp of very finely chopped flat-leaf parsley [Italian parsley]
warm pita to serve

Put the garlic in a bowl and stir in 4 tbsp of water and 4 tbsp of lemon juice. Use a fork to whisk in the sesame seed paste, then season to taste with salt.  Taste and add extra sesame paste and lemon juice as you wish until the sauce has a smooth, pouring consistency. Stir in the parsley. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Serve with warmed pita bread of cover and chill in the refrigerator until required

Tip: the sauce is very thin and running when first made, but thickens while it chills. If it is too thick when you get to use it, thin it with all little bit of water or lemon juice.

I was told mine was too thick. It was very runny before I put it in the fridge. so it needs to be adjusted before serving.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Chile Shrimp

This delightful dish I found in the book Mezze, in the "love food" section of Paragon books.

Chile Shrimp  [Serves 4-6 as part of a Mezze]

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fresh red chile, chopped or 1 tsp dried chile flakes
5 tbsp olive oil
1lb 5 oz/600g large raw shrimp
lemon wedges to serve [optional]

Put the garlic, chile, oil and salt to taste in an ovenproof serving dish or individual ovenproof bowls. Break off and discard the shimp heads, then peel away the shells. Devein the shrimp by using a small, sharp knife to make a shallow cut along the back then use the tip of the knife to life out the thin black vein. Add the shrimp to the oil and use your hands to rub the marinade all over. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450F/230C or its highest setting. Stir the shrimp well, then bake in the preheated oven for 6 minutes, or until the shrimp turns pink, curl and are cooked through when you cut into one. Serve straight from the oven in the dish or bowls with lemon wedges for squeezing over if using.

Got my winter tires on

It helped they had been in the truck for the past week so I could put truck in garage. I went during "lunch" time yesterday. Don't know if I'll be going back to the Monsieur Lub to get my tires changed again.

First off when I arrived the guy said he could take me right after the guy he was going to finish, in about 10 minutes and it would take 45 minutes.   It took over 2 hours. They tried to say it's because it takes SO MUCH LONGER to balance 18" wheels. BULL. I've been out of there in about 1 hour with this truck and those tires.

There was at least 2 guys working on my vehicle, but they were going obviously as slow as they could. So when it was finally finished, I get the usual, "We noticed XYZ" about your vehicle, to which I answered "I'm getting maintenance done at my dealer next week". Get into the car, and found the cabin filter in the passenger seat and the glove compartment opened.  To which I was told "See the filter is dirty". Yeah it has a few leaves, I'm not worried about that. In fact now that I know I can access that filter via the glove compartment, I can take it out again, shake it free of stuff, and put it back in. They didn't even bother shaking it. No, they would have charged me an arm and leg to change it and taken another half hour.

I dunno that I'll be going back to this Mr Lub. I've been going to get tires changed there for years, but the level of their incompetence this time and the time it took, is not making me feel that comfortable.

When I got home I rolled all 4 tires to my back shed and put them in. So my car has it's winter tires on 2 weeks before the deadline. Usually I set off to get them put on after the deadline!

I also washed dishes for hours last night.  I really miss my dishwasher.  Need to get that fixed already.  Still have more dishes to wash tonight, but it should be the end of it.

Monday, December 02, 2013

More Mezze dishes

Chile Shrimp
Recipe here

Chickpea salad
Recipe here

Rosemary chicken
recipe here

Grilled cauliflower
Recipe here

Recipe here

garlic sauce
Recipe here

hummus balila
Recipe here

sesame sauce on the right, hummus on the left
Sesame sauce recipe

Tomato tabouleh, made with white and black quinoa, so gluten free
Recipe here

Fruit and nut tabouleh, made with white and red quinoa, so gluten free
Recipe found here

Beet salad
Recipe here

mixed vegetable salad
Recipe here

batata harra
recipe here

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Lebanese Mezze for his Birthday.

I decided to cook a Lebanese Mezze for my ex hubby's birthday. Every year I used to try to find a Lebanese restaurant so he could have the taste of home, and often that would fail miserably. This year I decided to try to do it at home. I made 12 dishes and 2 sauces.

Does it look yummy?  Yep made this much food in 2 days.  Will be posting close up photos of each dish with name later. Right now I just want to sleep :)