Thursday, December 24, 2009

Taking a little break...

My family and I are going Down Under for the holidays so I will not be blogging for the next week or so. I say "the holidays" and not Christmas because we are actually flying right past Christmas. By the time we arrive in Australia it will be Boxing Day (time change + international date line). It's such a strange feeling to miss a day. Even stranger is coming back when the day lasts forever!

Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noel! Feliz Navidad!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lessons from Dr. Seuss

One of my favourite things about Christmas is the movie specials that come on our 4 t.v. channels (aka peasant vision). My top 3 would have to be:

(1) White Christmas,
(2) Muppet Christmas Carol, and
(3) How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the old version...not the newer version with Jim Carrey).

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store?
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?

I think Dr. Seuss got something right in penning this story. It's easy to get caught up in the busyness of Christmas (sales, presents, parties) that we forget what it's truly about. I'm not talking about the 'spirit' of the season/holidays. I'm talking about 2000 years ago...Jesus came as a baby to this earth...he was born to die for us so we could have a relationship with God. That is something to celebrate!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


In Ottawa right now for work. Will be flying home at 4pm on standby (as always...).

Aircraft capacity: 9 executive/64 economy

Seats available: 1 executive/0 economy

Here's hoping no one takes a last-minute leisurely trip from Ottawa to Hali!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Partial Success

Yesterday marked the last of my meatless days. To be completely honest, I don't feel any different. I don't feel healthier...if anything I feel the opposite because I ate more sweets this week. I don't feel like an animal-rights fact, I will probably thoroughly enjoy that first steak/chicken/pork chop I consume.

But before I continue I need to confess something: I ate meat this week. I know what you're thinking. "How could you?". Well, the truth is that I tried but ultimately couldn't avoid it! Thursday I went to a potluck and went for the 'safe' dishes: brocolli/cauliflower with a creamy sauce and pasta salad. I took a bite of the first dish and realized there were little bacon bits hiding unsuspiciously in the sauce. Darn! Next I tried the pasta salad only to find miniscule shreds of salmon that were well-concealed in the dish. I did my best to scrape the meat off. Then yesterday I went to a luncheon where 2 chowders were served: corn chowder (with ham) and seafood chowder. No problem, I thought, I'll have the lesser of the two evils - I will simply eat the corn chowder and avoid the ham. Easier said than done. I avoided all ham chunks except one...and when I bit down on it I inconspicuously spit it out. *sigh* it was harder than I thought.

So, putting my veggie crimes to the side,what did I learn this week?
  1. To have more respect for vegetarians and the challenges they face to maintain their lifestyle.
  2. To improvise when cooking. Yup...those 2 mammoth-sized packages of tofu in the fridge...gone!
  3. That I can give up anything if I set my mind to it. Hmm...what will it be next. Chocolate? Frivolous shopping? Facebook?

The picture below is from my trip to the Smiling Goat this past week where I had an organic chai latte. Pretty fancy, huh? I would have uploaded a picture of one of my veggie dishes except they weren't very pleasing to behold :D.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Elephant & Castle

Today I had my first experience at the new Elephant & Castle in Halifax (5171 George St.) when I went there for lunch with a friend. We didn't start walking with this place in more or less wandered the streets of Halifax until something caught our eye with some vegetarian-friendly menu options.

I was pleasantly surprised. To tell you the truth I was expecting the typical pub grub (i.e. pogue fado, lower deck) but they had a pleasing menu of childhood comfort foods (such as shepherd's pie and chicken pot pie) and then some more traditional UK food (bangers 'n mash, roast-beef stuffed yorkshire). I had to pass this all up for a veggie burger, described as:

A savory blend of vegetables, herbs and spices in a grilled patty, topped with Bruschetta tomatoes on foccacia with pesto mayo.

All I can say is yummmm. I will definitely be eating there again. The atmosphere was welcoming and although the ceiling is high-set, the layout cozy (at least at lunch time).

If you are wondering where the name Elephant & Castle came from, you're not alone. I found this article which sheds some light on the subject, as our waiter was unable to answer the question for us. Hope your culinary experience there is just as enjoyable as mine was!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


After several trials (and errors), I believe I have mastered the art of making peanut butter oatcakes! This is a good thing because I've been addicted to them ever since trying my first one at the Smiling Goat (which, I might add also makes excellent chai lattes). They are completely organic and completely fair trade so you can feel good about what you're drinking!

If you're interested in making these yummy treats you can click the link below for the recipe. And yes, my username for the recipezaar website is 'Asian Sensation'. Do not mock :P.

Not the best chocolate drizzling job...perhaps I will post another picture next time I make them.

Vegetarian week update: still holding up. Tonight I had tofu with a tomato sauce ( Not too bad although the tofu was slightly bland. Currently eating cookie dough and watching LOTR: Return of the King to suppress my cravings for meat.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

No meat?

"Vegetarianism is the practice of following a diet based on plant-based foods including fruits, vegetables, cereal grains, nuts, and seeds, with or without dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat meat, game poultry, fish, crustacea, shellfish, or products of animal slaughter such as animal-derived gelatin and rennet." - wikipedia

Once in a while I give up a certain type of food for a defined amount of time...sometimes it's because I overdose...other times it's because I want the challenge. In the past these food items have included: chocolate/sugary candy, chips/snack foods, pop, oatcakes (that was due to an overdose), and coffee.

This time, I have decided to go vegetarian for a week just to see if I can do it. I usually eat meat every single day so this may be a challenge. Please note that I will be eating dairy products and eggs. Updates to come and maybe even some pics of dishes I make :).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Don't Forget Your Mittens!

Temperature at 6:47am: -1 degrees Celcius
Attire at 6:47am: winter coat, scarf, mittens, leggings, ballet flats.

Can you guess the unwise clothing choice? Yes, the leggings & ballet flats. I realized how ridiculous I looked with the bare flesh of my feet showing the second I stepped out the door and saw a thick layer of frost and patches of ice on the ground. Alas, it was too late to turn back...I was already late for my bus.

The cold wasn't so bad until I was actually stationary, waiting for the bus. That's when it hit me. My feet went numb...then they started hurting. *stupid...stupid*.

I automatically thought of my mom who, before I leave in the mornings says "Do you have your cell phone? Do you have your bus tickets? Don't forget your mittens!" As many times as I roll my eyes and say "Yes mom", I really do appreciate it. This morning her only comment was "It's chilly outside today". Maybe she was trying to be more subtle. Or maybe she just didn't notice my bare feet.

So for now I will continue enjoying the warmth of my office, although I am not looking forward to the return trip home.