Monday, December 26, 2011

It's All In The Quiche

Another Christmas has come and gone. The build-up is over, the garbage bins are packed full of tossed wrapping paper, Santa gets to head south for a well deserved holiday and we're all exhausted. I had a quiet, yet lovely Christmas here and am happy to announce that it's snowing again! I didn't think that the snow would keep up the way it has and I am so very glad that it did. Plus someone made an amazing little snow Santa in the backyard here but it's been covered in fresh snow so taking a picture to show the world wouldn't truly express the greatness of this miniature Santa snowman.

Like I said, Christmas was pretty low key but enjoyable. Chris and I went over to his parents to open presents with the entire family and we later had a delicious supper there as well. Later on I got to Skype with my entire family which was exactly what I needed to end the day. They were all gathered at Pam's house for supper so we scheduled a Skype date while they were all together there. It definitely made me homesick - especially seeing my adorable niece dressed in the outfit I sent to her for Christmas, plus the dogs jingle jangling in their jingle bell collars and my other sister threatening me to never miss another Christmas again. But it made me super happy to see them all and be able to chat with them all at once.

But something was missing.

While I was sitting there at Chris's parents house yesterday afternoon, I was thinking that something wan't right about Christmas this year. Yes, I wasn't at home and was missing my family tremendously...but there was something else that I yearned for that I was being deprived of which was making the whole Christmas experience incomplete. Then Chris mentioned the words "finger food" and it came to me.

Quiche! I was missing my Christmas quiche! In our family traditions, Christmas Eve is the main event when all of both sides of the family gather to my parent's house to eat, drink and be merry. There is always a ridiculous amount of food in which there is also always a ridiculous amount of leftovers. My favourite leftovers is always my mom's homemade mini quiches. Oh man...waking up on Christmas morning and popping a bunch of those in the oven to snack on is just the best. Yesterday, I was missing my quiche. Today, I made some in hopes that eating them would make my Christmas complete. Flaky handmade crust filled with bacon, onion, cheese, eggs, cream and spices, baked til hot and golden brown. What is not to love?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Snow Therapy

Today is the first day that I have felt that specific warmth in my heart that happens during the Christmas season. I have had a lot of trouble finding it because every Christmas that I have ever experienced has had moments or memories that I relate to Christmas and all of these moments always occur back home in BC. Not being in BC means that I am not able to see, feel, hear, smell or experience any of these moments that ignite Christmas in my heart.

Today, it was the snow. I woke up to a light blanket of snow and seeing the white covering everything made me smile and instantly feel a sense of relief. For me, snow = Christmas and the world here has been so green which makes it that much harder to get into the spirit. The feeling of connection between snow and Christmas was, as I said, a relief because something inside of me clicked and I felt a major spark ignite within me which reminded me of what the holidays are about. Beauty and peace.

There is nothing more beautiful or peaceful than the snow. It falls so gently and perfectly and makes everything around us sparkle and glow with beauty. It's calming and seems to make the world quieter. One of my all-time favourite things to do is take the dogs out for a walk late at night when the streets are empty and the snow is softly crunching under my feet. No cars or fellow walkers to share the world with - just me and the dogs enjoying the way the snow lights up the dark night.

Me, Riz and Splash enjoying a difficult hike up Thunder Road

Jess and I took advantage of the perfect winter day and went for a nice long walk in the woods. Even though we had no dog to appreciate our surroundings with, it was exactly what I needed on a day like today. I have been working a lot lately and haven't taken any time for myself to enjoy where I am and absorb the natural beauty around me. The snow brought out that sense of need of getting out there and looking at the perfection of the trees all blanketed with snow and encompassing myself with the splendor that winter brings. How people can hate this season is beyond me. I say to Winter: "Bring it on!"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

To Tree or Not To Tree?

It's the 21st of December and most people who are planning on having a Christmas tree have had theirs up now for weeks. I had no desire or intention on getting a tree this year, mostly due to the lack of spirit in my heart, the fact that I have been working so much and haven't had the time or energy to get and decorate a tree, plus that I own only one Christmas tree decoration (which my mom surprisingly sent me in the mail!) But Chris wants a tree. Even though I told him that I didn't really want to have anything to do with it and it's too late to get one, he took it upon himself to go out and get a tree. I was in the worst of worst moods yesterday so Chris reassured me that this tree would be his undertaking and that I didn't have to do anything. So. This poor tree that sacrificed its life for a few days of enjoyment has now been sitting in the living room for 2 days without an ornament or light to call its own and Chris has been too busy himself to have a minute to decorate it.

I have 2 choices.

1) I can be the stubborn jerk that I tend to be in situations like this and just sit back and stare at the tree while holding anger in my heart knowing that this poor thing is going to die through no fault of my own. I said I wouldn't be a part of it and stick to my guns and be an asshole and just not do anything.

2) Get over myself, suck it up and start decorating the tree. I am angry that he got such a big tree because we just flat out don't have any ornaments to even begin to cover this thing. But I should honour the life of the tree and give it a few days of Christmas love, even if it's sparsely decorated and laughable to look at. I know that I will get up in a few minutes and start decorating it.

I hate being so stubborn and I wish I could turn off my stubbornness a lot more often than I seem to be able to. I know that I am blowing this way out of proportion and the whole thing is just stupid stupid stupid and I feel shame for admitting to my pettiness. Chris is just excited about the holiday and wants to do festive things and it's not his fault that I can't fully shake my Christmas funk. I just feel like a parent who's kid wants a dog and promised they'd look after the dog and take it for walks 3 times a day, only to be the one stuck walking the dog in the pouring rain and cleaning up the poop. I'd muchly prefer a dog though.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Aspenglow Warms the Heart

It's been a week since my Christmas funk blog post and I will admit that I am a bit better than I was last Saturday. I think the Christmas lights in the windows have brightened my evenings quite a bit and I even managed to wrap all of my presents the other night so that I wouldn't be scrambling to get it done only days before the 25th. While wrapping I listened to John Denver's Rocky Mountain Christmas (a Kotyk classic), plus lots of Burt Ives and Bing Crosby - all of which made me both homesick and comforted at the same time. Either way, my spirit has risen a bit and will hopefully improve more as the holiday draws closer.

So I survived the detox and began eating normal foods again on Monday. I'll admit that on Sunday I was sneaking a few bites of sweets at work and even had a glass of Crown Royal that evening while sitting in a restaurant. But overall I was quite true to the cause and am proud of myself for the restraint that I had for those 2 weeks. I had a few people ask me questions such as "would you do it again?" and "would you recommend this kind of thing to a client or friend?" Being a Nutrition major and knowing the importance of a quality diet, I was and still am, a bit torn by my answer.

Would I do it again? Yeah, I don't see why not. Even though my diet was restricted to a lot of kinds of food and I lost more weight than I ever expected to, I ate quite well during the 2 weeks and was able to have enough variety in my meals that I wasn't going crazy. If I were to do it again I would definitely plan a bit better, especially if it were to be longer than just 2 weeks. I definitely would have bought a good protein powder or something of the sort, to ensure that I was getting enough protein in my diet since I was omitting meats and soy products. Would I recommend this detox to a client or friend? Depends on the person for sure and if they had any ailments, but I mean, it was only 2 weeks. As long as the person did lots of homework on how to eat properly, planned their meals/snacks and made sure that their diet was complete and gave them enough nourishment, I'd say go for it. You might learn a lot about yourself in the process and even figure out what's been causing all that gastric discomfort. I'll admit that my guts were much happier during those 2 weeks that they have been in a long time and I never would have imagined that I could have survived all that time without chocolate. On the flip side of that, I felt a lot of fatigue and my muscles were much more sore than normal, especially after a workout. I would strongly advise against running any marathons while doing this kind of thing.

I would like to end this post with a bit of an "I told you so!" I have had a theory for many years now that the computer game World of Warcraft is a fantastic game to play if you want to no longer have a girlfriend and/or boyfriend.  I know of many relationships that have ended because of this game or have nearly ended and the player gave up playing in sake of their significant other. No joke! I think it's brainwashing and addictive and I cringe when I think of it. Then I saw this commercial the other day and laughed at it's perfectness. I told you so!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Funk

It is already the 10th of December and even though all of the shoppers are out buying presents and the city is decorated to the max and stores are crammed packed full of Christmas decorations and blaring festive music - I'm just not feeling Christmas this year. Every so often I get this burst, this surge, this moment of excitement that the holidays are here. For an hour or so I am pumped and decide to go out shopping and look for gift ideas and look through recipe books for festive foods to make. Then the sensation dissipates and I'm left feeling with a sense of emptiness that I have never had before during the holidays.

People keep telling me they understand the feeling and it's because we have no snow and the weather has been so incredibly warm. But I know the main reason for this is the obvious fact that I am not going home for Christmas and it pains me every time I think about it. It's the little things that make Christmas special to me, like the way the house glows when I wake up in the morning and the only brightness in the house is from the lights on the Christmas tree. Or the comforting warmth that envelopes the house when everyone is gathered together to celebrate the holidays. I feel like all of the Christmas traditions that I have spent my lifetime celebrating are on the other side of the country without me and I have none of my own to have here. I know this is sounding all very "poor pitiful me, my life is so terrible", but I think I'm allowed to be homesick right now. I also know that there are so many amazing people here that I am lucky enough to be able to spend the holidays with, but they can't replace the warmth of a hug from my dad or the content of walking the dogs early Christmas morning before the gifts are unwrapped, or the happiness I will feel while watching my niece tear apart the wrapping paper and become overwhelmed with excitement for whatever treasure is underneath. I am sad to miss these things and I know that my family is also sad that I cannot be there either.

So, today I decided to try to get out of this funk that I have been in by being more festive and start to do some things that I normally do in BC during Christmas. Things I am doing to try to solve this:

1) Uploaded Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" song onto my phone and put it as my ringtone
2) Today got a copy of "The Santa Clause" and "White Christmas" which are 2 of my favourite Christmas movies, and plan to watch them in the next few days
3) Bought all of the ingredients to do some Christmas baking. I have not done the baking yet due to the detox which will be over in less than 2 days.
4) Paint my nails red and maintain them throughout the holidays.
5) Go out and buy some Christmas lights and put them in the windows in the living room. The one thing that is holding me back a lot with getting in the spirit is that I own no Christmas decorations and am not hugely wanting to go out and spend a huge amount of money on decorations to pimp the place out. I think that lights will make a huge effect on me because they are so bright and cheerful.

That is what I have so far. If anyone has any ideas of how I can de-funk then I encourage you to post a message and leave me some suggestions. Thanks!

Monday, December 5, 2011

No Thanks. I'll Have Water.

Detoxing while beginning a new restaurant job plus it be the first 2 weeks of December is proving to be difficult and is testing me to the max on a minute-to-minute basis.

Being a new person at a restaurant is always challenging, especially if you're not familiar with the menu and haven't tasted anything on it yet. Customers ask for suggestions and ask me the one question I hate the most, "What's good here?" and all I can reply is, "Um, I'm new and haven't tasted everything yet, but I can tell you what seems to be popular!" And the food looks truly delicious but I just can't have anything! A place called Outriders Cookhouse isn't known for their delectable vegetarian gluten free entrees - but for their bacon double cheeseburgers and strip loin steaks. I feel like a jerk for not eating anything off the menu but I know that in a week I will be able to start tasting some things and finally be able to make personal recommendations to the patrons.

Also, last night when we closed down the place, a bunch of the staff were sitting around having a few drinks and having a good ol' time just chattering away. There's a comradery that is built within a group of people when the beers start flowing and the stories start pouring out. It's especially important to be able to join in that group and be able to fit within the close knit group, especially when you're the new kid in the block. But no. I could not join in the beer drinking and had to sadly sip my water while eyeing their cold glasses of Keiths... poured from the tap... with condensation building on the outside of the glass... so cold and delicious and just begging for me take a sip... just one sip....

Another reason it sucks to be me right now is the boxes of chocolates being passed around in every room of every business. People are getting excited about the upcoming holiday when they see the boxes of Christmas chocolates being stacked a mile high in every grocery store, they feel the need buy some for people at work where it get passed around from person to person, everyone eyeing up their favourite one. Then it gets to me. I look at the box longingly, sigh deeply and pass it to the next person. Then I get the question, "You don't want any chocolate?" OF COURSE I DO YOU JERKFACE! Wow, that a bit more hostile then I expected. Just posting that picture of the box of chocolates there made my mouth water.

The last reason it sucks to be me at the moment is because I've also been working a lot of Christmas parties at the Culinary Institute which means lots of booze, rich dinners and luscious desserts. And where do all of the leftovers go? To the staff of course! (apart from the booze obviously) Not being able to dig into a giant plate of roast turkey and bacon onion stuffing is torturous. You'd might as well just tie up my legs and feet and pull me in opposite directions by 2 cars.

The reactions I am getting from people when I have to explain this whole cleanse idea is always one of two:
1) Wow, that's amazing that you can have that kind of willpower! Good for you!
2) Are you crazy? Why would you do that? Especially during this time of year?

The first one makes me feel good about myself while the other reminds me that I am crazy and makes me wonder why I am doing this to myself. As the scent of Chris's coffee lingers in the apartment I am wondering myself that exact question.

Friday, December 2, 2011

New Month/Job/Apartment

After 4 days of complete chaos, I finally have the time to sit for a minute and type out a quick post. We have moved into the new apartment and nearly all of the boxes have been unpacked and its contents placed lovingly in their new place. Apart from the living room which is still in minor disarray, the place looks habitable. We would have the last room complete if it not were the minor setback of the entire contents of the spare closet coming crashing down when the shelving unit detached from the wall (pulling down some drywall along with it). So now we're just waiting to get that put back together so that all of the extra (junk??) can be shoved and hung back up inside. So close to completion. So close.

After only one day off from leaving the restaurant on Sunday, I was offered a job at Outrider's Cookhouse which I was trilled to accept. I have previously worked with a couple people who work there and I was happy to be able to work with them again. By Tuesday morning I was starting my first shift and being thrown into the thick of it. They must like me because after 3 shifts I'm still employed and going back for more. Unfortunately I began my job there on a week in which I was moving and already have 4 shifts at the Culinary, so I'm working til 2:30 at Outriders then rushing home to get to work at 3 at the second job. Then get home at 10:30, go to bed, up at 6am for hot yoga then back to work at Outriders to start it all over again. Now that we're unpacked I am starting to feel more sane and the stress load has come down a bit.

Oh yeah, plus there's the factor that I've been doing this detox/cleanse for the past 5 days as well. Only 11 more days to go! The first 2 days were complete hell because I was moving and doing lots of lifting and driving and walking with little time to sit and have a proper meal. Not having the caffeine to help me along the way was torture enough but add not having any sugar as well and my brain wanted to explode. It took 2 1/2 days for the headaches to subside but now that they are gone I am starting to feel more normal. I'm not feeling any better or any worse so I'm not sure what the really means as this point. I am enjoying the hot yoga even though class is so early in the morning! Today I actually have the morning off from work and even though I wanted with all of my being to be able to sleep in, I still had to get up to head to Dynamic Fitness to sweat my arse off.

I am contemplating a nap right about now. I really don't enjoy napping but it might just be the ticket to get me through the day. Dare I do it? I just might try.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

So Long, Farewell R&R

Today is a sad day for me. I made a promise to keep a secret for a couple weeks, but today I can announce that the restaurant I work at, Rufus and Rory's Finer Diner, has closed its doors forever. I wish that things could have turned out differently and even though we fought like hell to stay open, there just wasn't enough business from the locals to keep the place going. This is a cruel town to open a restaurant in because people don't want to break away from their "tried and true" places they've been going to for years. The restaurant only opened just over a year so and the summer was really quiet for all businesses so it was a hard first summer to be open for when a lot of restaurants rely on huge tourist summer sales to get them through the hard winters. Also, Cora's closed nearly a week ago which is a popular breakfast restaurant in town, and we've been getting a lot of their business the past few days...if only we could stay open a little bit longer to see if we'd be able to pick up enough of their business to stay open. Either way, I am truly sad to be not only out of my job but also that the city lost a fun little place to go to eat and also work. We made some really great regular customers who relied on us to provide a delicious meal day after day, so I know that a lot of people are going to be upset when they go there to have a meal only to find the doors locked. Personally, I will miss Dave's amazing daily homemade soups and baked beans.

But on a more positive note, we are about 60% moved into the new apartment and I am so excited to finish up the moving tomorrow and settle in. The landlord has put a lot of work into fixing up the place and it looks so nice - I can't wait!

On a less positive note, I stare my detox tomorrow. I am slightly frightened since the only fruits I am allowed to eat for 2 weeks are granny smith apples, lemons, limes and 100% pure cranberry juice. I am a fruitaholic so this part alone will be very hard for me. It will be good though because it will get me into eating more veggies which I need. When I want a quick snack I always reach for the fruit because it's a tiny bit easier, so having to stop to cut up some veggies will be an improvement on my slackness with snacking. Plus I get to go to hot yoga tomorrow! It's been a while since I've been up so early but I am looking forward to getting up really early to start my busy day of packing and moving. Suppose I should try to find a job as well.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Vanity Insanity

I had a highly enjoyable day today! It started early and was busy from beginning until end, but it was busy in the good kind of way that makes you think that you accomplished things that really need to get done. I had a list in my head of things that I wanted to get done today so I crawled out of bed early to make sure that I could use the car before Chris headed to work at 11:00am. I bought a concert poster off eBay a couple years ago from a Tool concert (my favourite band) and I have been meaning to get it framed since the day it was delivered to my door. But as most stories go, I never seemed to get around to doing it. Now that I have moved and plan on moving again in a few days, I have begun to stress out about it getting damaged from the moving and hanging process.
So I was at Michaels craft store by 8:09am to buy a poster frame for my beloved poster. All I can say is that people are nuts! That store was packed full of crazy Christmas shoppers! I did not understand what was going on when I got there but soon figured it out. There is this huge 3-day sale going on in which people can save something like, 80% of their purchases. It was quite terrifying actually. They were practically foaming at the mouth with the thought of getting that Build-A-Bear Princess Bear Kit for such an amazing price. Anyway, I got my frame and got the hell out of there as fast as I could. I am very happy to finally see my poster safely bound within the frame for my viewing pleasure.

After that I did some grocery shopping to get ready for my 2-week detox that I am going to begin on Monday. I have been volunteering with a local nutritionist, Rachelle Wood, and she is working with Dynamic Fitness to offer a 2 week long cleanse which includes hot yoga 3 days a week (at 6:30am...yikes!) and a diet to help detox the body of all the foods which are known as major allergens (wheat, dairy, soy..etc). Anyway, as support for both Rachelle and Dynamic Fitness, I agreed to come aboard and give it a shot. I'll freely admit that I am not one who really believes in detox unless you're ridding the body of known allergens that are negatively affecting your health, but I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a try. I'm #1 when it comes to stomach problems so who knows, maybe I'll actually feel a bit better from it all. Plus I love love love hot yoga and haven't been attending any classes lately so it will feel great to get in there again.

After an afternoon of hitting the gym and working a few hours, I went out for a lovely meal with my good friend Jess, then we hit up Nakai spa to attend this highly enjoyable evening they were putting on for friends and clients. Basically it consisted of getting an in depth tour of the spa, learning about the services they provide and even getting mini spa sessions in the rooms. They were giving everyone services like neck/back massages, foot scrubs, arm wraps (like a body wrap but only on the arm to demonstrate), hand massages and hair styling. It was a great way of promoting the business and the products they sell there. Plus there was snacks and drinks to boot!

One of the major highlights of my day was taking a minute to enjoy a little bit of personal vanity from a complete stranger and realizing that I made a good choice. A couple weeks ago I was torturing myself with the decision of whether or not I wanted to grow my hair out. The wig I wore for Halloween made me want long hair so badly that I was willing to go through the horrible stages of growing my hair out for the long-term benefits of having long hair. I have had short hair now for 16 years and envy every girl (or guy) who has long beautiful hair. We want what we don't have but having short or long hair is something that I have complete control over..but I ended up cutting it off again and keeping the same old look. Today I had a complete stranger look at me with a heart-filled expression and said, "Your hair is so amazing," and that completely made my day in every way. Even though it drives me bat-shit crazy nearly every day due to its rebellious nature, I do get a lot of compliments about my hair and my vanity gets a little stroke of acceptance when I hear something nice about it. Somewhere in the past year or so, my hair has become a sort of trademark or something of a distinguishing factor. "Yeah, the girl with the short blond hair." That's me! I would be hard to give up a part of me that makes me stand out from the crowd. I stare longingly at the wig which hangs just a few feet from where I am sitting.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pizza = Vegetable = Huh??

I will begin this post by officially declaring my landlords to be the most petty and greedy people ever to rent apartment space to other human beings. We now have to go to court on Friday morning because these people are appealing the decision that keeps us tenants from having to pay for the bed-bug extermination. Aaarrgggg! I am so frustrated and annoyed with this whole situation and I cannot wait to be out of this apartment and into the new place as soon as possible. We get the keys to the new apartment on the 26th which means that I will be lugging in boxes that afternoon :)  Never have I been so stoked to move.

On a different note, I feel that I have to comment on the huge issue that has ever nutritionist, dietitian or health conscious person fuming with frustration. The US congress passed a bill this past week stating that the mere amount of tomato paste on pizza will count as a serving of vegetables, therefore pizza is officially classified as a vegetable for school lunches. The new USDA guidelines to increase fruit, vegetable and whole grains and reduce the amount of potatoes and sodium in the schools was beaten out by instead deciding to make pizza a vegetable. A VEGETABLE!

The more I think about this the more enraged I become. What also gets me going a bit is that Mrs. Obama has become famous for her Let's Move campaign which focuses on fighting childhood obesity. I'm thinking Barak isn't getting much lovin these days considering he's the one running that country.... I guess this just shows who is really running the country these days. Big Food companies. Money money money. So if the new guidelines had been passed then it would have changed the laws to make it so that a 1/2 cup of tomato paste would have been the amount needed to be considered a serving of vegetables. This means that all of those pizza producers would have had to go back to their kitchens and substantially increase the quantity of pizza sauce on their pizzas, which would not only taste less than desirable, but also cost a lot of money to create and produce. Poor poor rich companies. I was just reading in the New York Times that these big deal food companies have spent over $5.6 million to rally against these proposed laws.

Bad tasting pizza + expensive pizza = no one will want to eat it = it won't be sold in schools cause the kids wouldn't eat it = kids might have to eat the other foods, such as fruits, vegetables and other more healthy options provided by the school = possibly healthier kids!

It is just really unfortunate that everyone is thinking about money and not the big picture in all of this; creating healthier children.

Maybe we need to start some intense reverse psychology on these kids.
Parent- "Honey, eat your vegetables?"
Kid - "What vegetables? All we're having is pizza?"
Parent - "That's right. Pizza is now a vegetable."
Kid - "But I hate vegetables!"
Parent - "Well, that's what we're having for dinner."
Kid - "Can I have something else instead? I don't like pizza anymore."  End Scene.


Parent- "Honey, eat your vegetables?"
Kid - "What vegetables? All we're having is pizza?"
Parent - "That's right. Pizza is now a vegetable."
Kid - "But I hate vegetables and this is delicious! Are other vegetables as good as this? Can I eat more vegetables please?"
Parent - "Of course you may."    End Scene.

Don't even get me started on the fact that tomatoes are technically a fruit.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Justice Prevails!

I cannot believe that it is nearly the middle of November already! Plus, this is only my 3rd post this month which reminds me of what a slacker I have been the past couple of weeks. In my defense, I have been working a lot the past week so when I get home I really want nothing more to do then sit on my butt and watch episode after episode of True Blood. Well...that only worked for so long since I have now watched all 4 seasons and feel extreme guilt for spending so much time doing nothing but watch brainless TV and swooning over Eric Northman.

But can you blame me?

So good news! After waiting for 2 months, the rental board has officially sided with us for the whole bed-bug situation. As of right now, we do not need to pay for the extermination fees that the evil landlords wanted us to pay. I say "as of right now" because in less than 48 hours after getting the letter telling us that we're off the hook, we got another letter from the rental board saying that the landlords wrote out an appeal saying, and I quote, "we disagree with the ruling." Hmmm.
Well, that sucks but really, what more proof do you need that this is not our fault? If they try to take us to court again and try to fight this even more, I might just have to hire some thugs to shake some sense into these people! I mean c'mon! This amount of money is so insignificant to you people who seem to own nearly every apartment building in this city, whereas it's a decent chunk of cash to me and Chris who don't even get full-time hours these days. Move on and deal with the ruling please. I beg of you. Just move on. I was worried that we would have to pay for this even though our chances were good considering that they needed absolute proof that we brought the pests into the place - which is basically impossible. It felt good for justice to prevail in our favour.

Speaking of moving on, we are moving to a new apartment at the end of the month. It's a larger and much prettier apartment to say the least. The landlord is completely renovating it which is wonderful for us! Some of the perks to the new place is that we actually get to control the heat, have a designated a parking spot, closets in the rooms and doors with doorknobs! One would think that most apartments would come with these things, but not us! Oh no...not us. I am really excited to be at this new place. I hate moving but it will be worth getting out of this apartment. Also I don't want to give our current landlords any more money. Let someone else pay for this sauna.

Monday, November 7, 2011

For Instant Success, Delete From Playlist

This is a rather unusual post for me to write but I read this article on MSN and it just made me laugh so I thought I would share it with all of those who missed it. I dislike about 99% of "Top 40" music and my stomach turns instantly sour every time Hinder comes on the radio. Music has lost something over the years. Talent is actually the first thing that comes to mind. Well, the people who are responsible for manipulating these "artists" voices to make them sound "good" hold a lot of talent.

So this article was The List of the top 10 music acts that you should never admit to liking on the first date or on any date for that matter if you want to get laid ever again.

10) Britney Spears - Can never come back from the damage she inflicted upon her reputation
9) Lil' Wayne - No comment.
8) Katy Perry - At least she's hot
7) Creed - Bahahahaaa! I think we all know why.
6) U2 - Yawn
5) Coldplay - Ultra yawn
4) Ke$ha - I don't even know what her voice actually sounds like. It's people like her that send the kids of the people who invented the Auto-Tune right through grad school
3) Lady Gaga - I think she got on this list because she's just so over-the-top. But the girl at least puts on a great show.
2) The Beebs - Poor little JB. So innocent...or is he? Do we believe the tabloids or not?
1) Nickleback - This made my day! Haha! My own personal despise for this band hangs above me constantly like a halo, so seeing them at the top of the list was great.

Writing this post makes me petty, no doubt about that. But every so often it just feels a little good to be petty and to remind the world to please actually stop and listen to the garbage they are playing on the radio these days. Actually listen to the words and really think about the message you're getting from these people. Also, if you find yourself yawning uncontrollably while listening to any music (unless it's a hypnotic CD to cure your insomnia), you probably shouldn't include the artist on your playlist.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Two days into November already and I haven't even posted my Halloween pictures! Where is my head these days I wonder? Halloween was a fun time this year - I highly enjoyed it. Since Halloween day was a Monday, that meant that all hard partying had to occur on Saturday the 29th.
Chris has been planning out and building his costume for months now and I don't think I have ever seen him more excited about anything as much as he is about this costume. He's a major history buff, especially Ancient Greek history, so it was more than fitting for him to create a Greek Hoplite costume. My attempt to chose a costume that "matched" his was a Greek Goddess costume. My favourite part of my costume was by far the wig. My least favourite part was by far the huge amount of glitter. I am still picking it off of me.

That night a group of 6 of us headed to Hunters Ale House where we partook in Halloween Trivia! An evening of guessing questions all having to do with the spooky holiday proved to be a very fun time. I loved that I got to spend the time with some friends that I very rarely get to see any more. It was great to be able to talk to them in a smaller group before heading out to the loud house parties that we were inevitably going to visit that night. Also, we won second place! Chris was in the running for Best Costume but some chick dressed up like Mystique ended up taking the prize. I mean, yeah she looked awesome but it was pretty much just a girl wearing a blue (store bought) leotard, red wig and yellow contacts. Chris should have won for the huge amount of energy and ingenuity that went into his costume. I might be biased...but he should have won! 

After Hunters we went to a house party which had pretty much all of my closest and most wonderful friends. I don't get to see these people enough anymore! After that party we went to another house party down the street (the one good thing about this town is that it is so small, therefore parties are close by when driving is not an option for a single person attending!). As you can see by the picture below, my friend Jo had a few too many at this point. But she sure looked hot!

Two nights later on the actual day of Halloween, myself and a small group of friends dressed up again and went out for a couple drinks to celebrate the night. To our surprise, no one else in this bloody town was dressed up! Where is the spirit? But that's ok. We had fun anyway. Plus I got to wear my friend Jess's Knife Thrower's Assistant costume which was awesome since I got to wear creepy makeup (the knife thrower missed, stabbing me four times in the torso). Heheee! Oh, and no I'm not naked in this picture.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Great Grapes!

Thursday night I worked at Holland College where they were hosting a private wine tasting for most of the restaurants in Charlottetown and surrounding area where wine is a large priority to the restaurant. It was an "invite-only" kind of situation and there were 36 different tables of people all displaying their wine and providing samples of their product for the owners and/or head chefs of the invited restaurants. Obviously the goal of the night was for a vendor to win over the taste buds of at least one of the invitees so that he/she will buy their wine and sell it at the restaurant.

I have had a distaste for wine since the first time I ever smelled it. My dad used to make his own wine in our basement and during the fermentation, the basement would stink so much and I would avoid the house until the stinky process was complete. Gross. I have also never enjoyed the taste and even though I would take a sip here or there of someone's wine, I would always just turn away after that one sip and head back to my beer. It just never physically appealed to me at all.

The thing about that though is that I want to, so badly, enjoy wine. I can appreciate the depth and breadth and complexity that wines can have. I love knowing that some wines compliment certain foods and there are endless factors that can alter the taste of an given wine. I think the science behind wine is fantastic and I wish that I could like wine enough to learn all of this first-hand (by drinking it!). But alas. It just doesn't taste good to me.

THEN! Last night I was talking to one of the vendors for quite a while and we got into talking about all of this.  I explained to him how I wish that I could go into a restaurant and order a lovely glass of wine to accompany my dinner and appreciate the product for exactly what its experience gives me. His product is called Quails Gate and he persuaded me to taste one of his wines.

I guess I should mention that during the last 30 minutes of the wine tasting, us servers were allowed to go around and taste some of the wines if we didn't drink to the point where they were carrying us out over a shoulder.

So I tasted one of his wines, and didn't hate it! It was such an extraordinary moment for me. We talked about the flavours I was tasting and how they go about creating the wine. Before I could even take my second sip he was pouring me another kind of wine, a dessert wine, which I also was to taste. And guess what? I didn't hate that one either. I definitely am not much of a fan for the sweeter dessert wines, but it wasn't that bad at all. I wasn't allowed to buy his wine so it's not like he was in it for that. I think for him, he liked the fact that he was slowly converting me into someone who might someday drink wine and he wanted to educate me with what he knew. So after this I decided to mosey around a little more and taste a couple more wines from a couple different vendors. Not gonna lie. I didn't hate any of the wines that I tasted.  There might be hope for me still. I am going to make a conscious effort to try more wines when they are offered to me and even possibly buy a bottle every now and then in hopes of learning more about what I enjoy and what I can pass on.

When the Quails Gate man was packing up, he handed me one of his company pens and said, "So you remember who gave you the first glass of wine that you didn't hate." I looked at the pen and guess what?? His winery is in the Okanagan. A good man from BC gave me the first glass of wine that I didn't hate. I love life sometimes.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Got 'Er Done (Plus Some!)

Today was one of the most productive days that I have had in a really, really long time. I guess I just woke up with a fire-cracker in my butt or something.  Well, actually I realized that I have been putting off all of the things that I needed to get done by the weekend (aka, tomorrow!) so I was determined to not be horribly lazy and actually finish the to-do list. I am proud to say that I destroyed my to-do list and accomplished far more than that paltry, ridiculous little list.

My first, and most favourite accomplishment of the day was this guy:

I woke up and thought to myself, "I have to get that pumpkin carved!" I am quite proud of this dude. He makes me smile. I just immensely enjoy carving pumpkins and when (if) I ever have my own garden I plan to grow lots of pumpkins so that my property can be littered with these festive creatures every October 31st. You just never know what it's going to look like until the last knife slash is complete. And the bonus to carving pumpkins are roasting the seeds. YUM! The house was jammed packed full of great smells today. Here are all of the things I cooked/baked today which created the tangle of scents lingering in the air in this apartment right now:
- Roasted pumpkin seeds
- Cooked some brown rice to accompany left-over curry for Chris's lunch
- Boiled Beets--> which I made into a tasty baked beet salad for dinner
- Fried haddock and mashed potatoes --> later to be make into potato fish cakes also for dinner
- Steamed green beans
- Roasted onions
- Vanilla chocolate chip cupcakes

Today would have been much easier to get through if I had a dishwasher. Three different loads of dishes were washed today. Cooking would be far more fun if there wasn't a mess to clean up afterwards. Other things I did today:

- Went to the gym and had a pretty great workout
- Watched an episode of True Blood
- Walked to Sobey's and got a few groceries
- Altered my Halloween costume for tomorrow
- Went for my hair appointment
- Wrote a blog post!

And it's only 8pm! Like I said, I'm quite proud of myself at the moment. Days like this just don't happen. Generally I get about 2 things done and then it's time for bed. I guess not having to go to work helped a bit :)  Having a day off was a major bonus for sure.

So tomorrow I need to get lots done as well except I don't have the luxury of having the day off. It's going to be a long day for sure. Since Halloween falls on Monday this year, Saturday is the party night so I have to gear up to go out and have tons of fun, only to have to work at 9am the next morning. Gulp. I have spent way too much time and money on my costume to not go out and truly enjoy the evening. Plus I have had to endure the insane amount of glitter on this costume so just putting up with that will be worth going out for! I have been picking glitter out of my clothes and off of my skin for a week, even though the costume has been kept in a bag in the far closet since it got into the apartment. This should prove to be an interesting weekend. Stay tuned for pictures of my full costume and the madness which I like to call my best good friends.

OH yeah! I had someone order some of my Halloween cupcakes for a party they are having on Sunday! I felt so proud of myself when she asked me to make some for her! My next task will be finding the time to decorate them in the next 36 hours.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Halloween 2011 Begins!

If there is one thing I love, it is making and decorating cupcakes and cookies. I just love it. I especially love making Halloween themed desserts because they tend to be extra awesome since you get to choose from so many different characters and creatures and use tons of colours and designs. I made my Halloween cupcakes a bit early this year because I was so excited to do it. I've been in a bit of a funk the past few days so when I got it in my head that I was going to make cupcakes this year, I couldn't get the excitement out of my head and had to go buy everything and just make them before my head burst.  It was an expensive and messy project but well worth it in the end.

I got most of the ideas online from other people's amazingly imaginative brains, but I had so much fun I really didn't care that they weren't original creations. Here are some pictures of them,

I am just really into Halloween this year. My next mission is to go pick a pumpkin and do some mad pumpkin carving. Stay tuned for those creations! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Consideration Criticism

For the past 4 years I was using the UPEI gym because all students who go to UPEI are forced to pay a student fee which includes full use of the gym - so since I was being forced to pay I was definitely going to use the facility. As long as I avoided the 3-7pm rush of all the macho guys who like to work out loudly (grunting and breathing heavily) and stare at themselves in the mirrors, then I highly enjoyed the UPEI gym. Lots of room, lots of equipment and friendly people who mainly stick to themselves and let you work out peacefully.

Now that I no longer go to UPEI, I have joined the gym at the Delta, mostly because it is only 1.5 blocks away which is hugely convenient. It's a very old gym with very little equipment and caters quite horribly to the female race since it doesn't have many lighter weights to cater to our delicate lady muscles. Some 12.5 pound dumbbells would be awesome! I mean, the Delta gym is fine for what it is and I get along there nicely. The people are very friendly (a little too friendly in some cases) and most of them seem to be over the age of 60 which is a nice change from all the students swaggering around in their tiny clothes and/or giant muscle egos. These people are there to stay active and be social at the same time. The one thing that bugs me is that they tend to be a bit...inconsiderate at times. I know this sounds a little backwards since it's generally the younger people who can be more difficult to manage, but a hand-full of these seniors like to do what they want and not really care about what you're doing. Obviously this is relating to a select few who are regulars and feel they have some kind of seniority or something since they go there every day.  A lot of them don't wipe down the machines after using them. Gross.

There is this one dude who comes into the weight room, turns off the TV (even though the other guys were watching Sportsdesk in between reps) moves everything around even though if you were using some benches or weights or whatever it may be, puts his favourite blue stationary bike in the middle of the room and starts peddling away.  The first time he did this, I was like, "HUH? Seriously? Just like that?" But he was a bit frightening so I didn't say anything. He has lightly coloured buggy eyes and longish white hair...maybe he's a war veteran or something. Now I just expect him to do this ritual and not even blink an eyelash.

Then there was this one guy yesterday who came into the cardio room and cranked up one of the televisions to full blast (you know, to drown out the music that was playing over the speakers) so that he could watch his 11am soap opera (no joke) while walking on the already noisy treadmill. There were 3 other people in the room, including myself, and we all gave each other the look. The, "Are you seeing this too?" look.  After about 10 minutes I was able to zone out the blasting television but it was just seemed really rude to do such a thing. If you want to watch a television that loudly than I recommend buying a treadmill and sticking it in your living-room.

We all use the gym and we all deserve to have an atmosphere that we can all tolerate and enjoy the use of.  People need motivation to get their butts to the gym so creating an environment that is distracting and not enjoyable is not a great way to promote motivation. There is this thing called "Gym Etiquette" which most people understand and live by, but others are completely oblivious or just don't care. I searched for a good website that outlined the rules and the best I found was at

Here's a quick run-through:
- Return the weights when you're done with them
- Don't hog the machines
- Wipe the machines down after you're done (please!)
- Don't drop the weights --> we know how strong you are...dropping the giant weights for the world to see just how much you lifted is not impressive.
- Spot those who need it
- Don't give advice to others
- Talk sparingly --> Keep it simple - I don't want your life story and I don't want to share mine
- Don't hit on every babe --> I have never been hit on so obviously all of the men I see at the gym are following this rule. . . . .
- No cell phones
- Pick up after yourself
- Don't grunt loudly --> This one makes me oddly uncomfortable. I don't know why.
- Smell good --> I guess the whole BO thing grosses people out
- Be considerate of the water fountain --> That means don't hog it or spit in it or stand there and fill your entire giant water bottle.
- No foul language --> and I also don't want to the story about your sexcapade on the weekend which you speak way too loudly about to your buddy.
- Don't walk in front of the mirrors

Happy Gyming!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Is This What It takes?

So I read in Food Politics today that in about 20 years there may be a dramatic drop in chocolate production due to global warming. Apparently with just a temperature increase of only 1 percent (which is what they predict by then), the areas of the world in West Africa that produce the plants that supply half of the world's chocolate will be unable to produce adequate cocoa due to depleted growing conditions.

As an avid chocolate lover, this causes me great distress. For two reasons. No wait, for three reasons.

1) I love chocolate and I hold great fear in my heart knowing that there may come a time in which the chocolate that I know and love will be either unavailable or only able to come in my possession by paying an obscene amount of money. Neither of these will result in a good outcome.

2) They will now need to create a genetically modified cocoa plant that will be resistant to the adverse growing conditions, such as drought, which will cause a giant uproar for all of those opposed to GM foods.

3) It could be something such as the loss of chocolate to make the world wake up and realize that the impact of global warming is affecting something close to home - your sweet cravings! What I mean is that it seems that is just isn't enough that we're gobbling up fossil fuels and destroying our planet at an accelerated rate in a way that people realize that it is affecting them personally. I mean, yeah, global warming is affecting our climate (daily temperatures, storm patterns and intensities..etc), causing major melting of the earth's ice causing changes in ocean/sea levels, acidification of the oceans, causing droughts which affect crops and cause more wildfires, and even screwing up some animals migration patterns. But really, how does this affect me?? That is what most people think since they can't see these things first hand.  It might take something like the loss of chocolate to make people smarten up and do something energy-saving for once. That's sad.

Could they just start growing the plants in areas that are 1% lower in temperature than the new temperature? Travel a little more south with the plants and see how they survive down there?  OK, it would be much better to just slow global warming way way down, but it was just a thought that crossed my mind. Anything to make the cocoa plants survive!

Take a peek for yourself at:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apple Love

If there is one type of food in this world that I know I will never ever get sick of is the wonderfully perfect fruit, known as the Apple,
and I have decided to dedicate this post to this lovely pomaceous fruit. I eat at least one apple a day and have been known to eat 2 or 3 if the mood strikes me. Apples are one of my staples around here so I tend to get a bit twitchy when there are none in the house, or if we get really low. I have an abundance of apples right now since I went picking with a couple friends on Saturday afternoon, so having a couple every day is just my way of contributing to the prevention of them going bad before they all get used up!

What makes the apple such a great food is that it is incredibly versatile. First of all, there are thousands of known varieties and just think of everything that we can do with them! An easy crunchy snack, applesauce, ciders, stuffed and baked, pies, cobblers, crisps, pastries, cakes, jellies, apple butters, paired with meat (think applesauce and pork roast or stuffed into a tenderloin), salsas, cut up and tossed in salads or grilled in a panini with some brie. YUM! I made an apple danish this morning which I think is my #1 favourite dessert. When I would find out that mom was making danish, my day became better by about 500%.

Tip of the Day: Did you know that adding sliced apple can soak up excess salt in your soup? Adding salt is easy but removing it is nearly impossible. Add some apple slices to your pot and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes to draw in the excess salt away from the soup.

Next, think of all of the historical apple reference made in the last few hundred (even thousands of) years.
Adam and Eve got into a lot of trouble just from sharing one in Eden. Sir Issac Newton discovered gravity by watching an apple fall from a tree (aka, the Apple Analogy). There have been apple remains found in the tombs of many famous people all over the world (Iran, Greece, Egypt) which are thousands of years old. The apple must be a pretty important choice of food to want to spend eternity with it.

Now I would be a terrible nutrition graduate if I did not include the wonderful health benefits associated with the apple. I mean, there's got to be reasons why they told us that eating one a day would keep the doctor away, right? It is packed full of vitamins and minerals like potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A and vitamin C. The regular consumption of apples have been proven to reduce the risk of developing some major diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. The skin especially contains amazing antioxidant and other cancer fighting compounds. It also holds a lot of the fiber, so don't peel and discard this highly nutritional part of the fruit since fiber helps to promote healthy bowel movements and lower cholesterol levels. Apples can also help to prevent diabetes and even combat weight gain and asthma as well. Lastly, it seems that if a pregnant woman consumes apples regularly throughout her pregnancy then she can inhibit tumour growth in the fetus. Miracle fruit? I think so!

Boyer, J., & Liu, R. H. (2004). Apple phytochemicals and their health benefit. Nutrition Journal, 3(5), Retrieved from

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mo Money for Mo Sat-Fat

I was delighted to hear that someone has finally stepped up and placed a tax on fatty foods. Denmark has created a "Fat Tax" meaning that all people who buys foods which contain 2.3% saturated fat or more will have pay an additional price to take it home. They say this adds up to about an increase of $3.00/kg of saturated fats in our foods (foods such as butter, cream, cheese, oils and certain meats) which they are hoping will lead to people buying less of these heart damaging products and possibly helping to create a decline in obesity rates.

What I find incredibly interesting about this whole thing is that the USA has an obesity rate of 25% (yikes!), Canada's is 23% (also yikes!) and Denmark's obesity rate is nearly half of North Americas with 12-13%. A country that has a much lower percentage of obese people is the one coming forward and taking the initiative to improve the health of its people. Denmark admits that they eat way too much butter and fatty meats and after seeing the immense benefits from the ban of trans-fats in their country, they hope that this new tax will improve the health of its citizens even more. I applaud them.

One downfall: The fat tax does not discriminate against some foods that people may truly need which contains sat-fat levels that meet or exceed the 2.3% mark. For example, homogenized milk contains very high levels of sat-fat (25%) so this will be taxed for sure. This will then effect families of young children who need the high-fat milk to promote normal growth and health. Now that sucks especially since milk to already to expensive as it is.

Just a step back here. Yes, making people pay more for foods that cause us long-term illness is a good thing for sure and I hugely appreciate that this is the first step in a long and convoluted campaign and process to fight obesity. My big thing is something that I brought up just a few days ago and that is the combination of healthy eating and exercise to promote health. I think that if they're going to increase the price of foods that are bad that they should take that money and put it back into the system in a way that is good for us! Such as a subsidy to reduce the price of gym memberships or fitness classes. I just think that turning people away from buying a block of butter or fast food burger is just half the battle considering that people are so much more sedentary these days than ever before. Just a thought.

So the big questions is, will it work? Will people take a step back when they see the increased prices and think, "Hmmm...maybe I shouldn't buy this now that it costs more?"
To tell you the truth, I really don't know. Inflation has become such a normal occurrence in our regular trips to the grocery store that I can't say if people will even consider why they are paying more and will just pick up that frozen pizza and toss it in the cart like they do every day. I went and bought a coffee yesterday and had the money all ready (cause I already knew what it would cost) and when she told me the new price (an increase in $0.11), I just said, "Oh, the price went up," and reached into my wallet for some extra coin. In my head I wasn't impressed that the price went up but I've just become accustomed to paying more for stuff every now and then when they jack the prices up. It's really unfortunate that we don't think about this anymore and just accept paying more for everything. I hope that the Fat Tax works is so successful that they make all this extra money then all of the rest of the countries take notice and impose the tax as well, causing them to be able to reduce the cost of fresh fruits and veggies! One can dream right?!?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Killer Carbs? No Way!

It's nights like Saturday night that make me both happy and also frustrated that I have a nutrition degree. I have said it before but sometimes I feel like this field of knowledge is just a large group of intelligent and well educated men and women all banging their heads against a wall, hoping that someone in the far off distance will hear the faint thudding sound and come looking to see what's going on. The people who want information about health are going about it the wrong way (such as by watching Dr. Oz or Googling topics such as "lost weight fast", or "what to eat to be more healthy") and consistently dismissing trained dietitians who are more than happy to teach you what you need and don't need to improve or maintain health.

Case and Point: I was working at Holland College on Saturday night and got talking to one of the girls I work with. She told me that her boyfriend lost 100lbs because his personal trainer told him to stop eating carbs! ARG! What makes me the most angry about this is that this guy wanted help to become more healthy and he got his nutrition advice from a personal trainer. Now, let me step in and say that there are most definitely lots of personal trainers out there who know a lot about health and fitness and are qualified to tell someone what to eat to promote weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. But this person obviously knows very little about how the body works and what fuels our muscles to be able to perform effectively when activity levels are high.

I feel I should step in once again and address all those people who eat the "high protein-low carb" diets and had tremendous success with them. Yes, they work. But anything with the term "Fad Diet" anywhere in the same sentence or description should really take notice here. Atkins is a fad-diet because it promises fast weight loss, and yes, people lose weight fast eating nothing but bacon, burger patties and pads of butter at every meal. But really, do you want to eat these giant amounts of protein for the rest of your life? Most people get bored with these unpalatable diets and stop it, which equals instant weight gain! I would much rather find an eating plan that not only helped a person to lose weight effectively but also provided foods that can be enjoyed for the rest of their life. Doesn't that sound a bit more appealing? I am really happy that this guy had lost 100lbs but I fear that he will go out to dinner at a family member's house and indulge in a large plate of spaghetti, only to enjoy it immensely and get sucked into a spiraling marathon of non-stop pizza, pasta and bread eating which will go on for weeks and even months because his body is craving the carbs. Then guess what? Instant weight gain.

I am a huge fan of carbs. They make me very happy and knowing that they are good for me makes me even a bigger fan. Carbs feed our muscles (including the brain!) and we need them every day to maintain and prevent damage in the muscles, so please, please don't give them up if you want to lose weight in hopes of creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself. Please do the proper research or ask a professional about the myths and truths about healthy eating and dieting. Email me if you want! Just don't swear off carbs from your diet. Learn what are the good kinds (whole grains and complex carbs!) and what ones to steer clear of (refined or simple carbs) and take the steps needed to introduce them into your daily meals in a way that works for you.

I have a confession to make. I am this close to signing up for personal trainer certification courses because I hear this story over and over again and I want to help people and give people accurate information that they can use until the day they die. I want to go into deep detail with these clients about how carbs work and how calories are measured in food and all the stuff that they don't teach you when you sign up for fitness courses at the gym or local studio. Fitness and food go hand in hand. They run along the beach together and comfort one another at the end of a long hard day and make sweet sweet passionate love to prove just how devoted they are to one another.

Did I go too far? I just wanted to prove my point with a graphic mental image. I bet you're totally picturing the scene in your head right now. Am I right?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Java Justifies!

We're always trying to justify the things that we know are wrong so that we can convince ourselves that it's OK to do it again and again. For instance, eating a giant bowl of ice cream after a long hard day at work because, "I worked hard all day! I deserve this treat!" Or the one I do every so often, "There's beneficial flavonoids in this dark chocolate which are good for my blood vessels." Sure the same flavonoids are found in other, much more healthier foods, but my justifications help me a little when I need that boost of chocolate.

One food that people always assume is a "bad food" is coffee and consequently feel guilt after drinking their morning cup(s) of java. We were always told that coffee is bad for the body, but we as society need the coffee to get us going in the morning since we live these hectic lives that destroy our sleep patterns and leave us lethargic. Our justification is that coffee is needed to get us through the day.

Well I have a new justification for you! I read in the Boston Globe this morning that coffee may decrease a person's risk of developing depression. Doesn't that make you happy?

...get it?...happy?...depression......

What's cool about this is that they're saying that long-term use of caffeine (10+ years of more than 1 cup a day) is affecting brain receptors associated with depression, and that these are the same receptors involved with Parkinson's disease. There's tons of research going on that caffeine can reduce one's chances of getting Parkinson's, which is amazing.

I just want to sum up by saying that coffee does not dehydrate like we all were led to believe and does not cause heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. Coffee actually counts towards our daily total water recommendations (2.7L for women and 3.7L for men) and it is not the problem here when it comes to the other health problems. It's the giant dollops of cream and sugar that people add to their mugs when drinking it that contributes to the onset of heart disease and diabetes. If you need helping reducing your intake of cream and sugar from your coffee, read this and see if you can try it for yourself. I did! I no longer put sugar in my coffee and it makes me so happy to be able to accomplish that - even though it seems so little, it's a pretty big deal for me.

I love coffee. I drink it for the taste and not the caffeine buzz that most people crave to get them on with their day. My main problem with coffee is that I need to find proper justification for the amount of money that I spend at Starbucks. The addiction lives on.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Seed Stereotyping

Here is an interesting story that I read this morning that really made me sit back and think about human nature and what strangeness is happening in the world. The world's largest sperm bank, Cryos International, is no longer accepting "donations" from red-headed men. Apparently the demand for red-headed babies is so low that the company has decided to just stop taking donations that may produce a baby with red hair.


I keep having to stop typing and think about what I want to say on this subject because I guess I just find it so strange that this is even happening. I mean, a part of me definitely understands it in some ways. If a single woman who had really dark hair and eyes wanted to have a child on her own and the baby came out with super red hair and light light skin then she may feel that since the child does not look like her and there was no father to prove where the colouring came from, then she may not feel she has a physical connection to that child. But on the flip side of that, I bet that having a baby grow inside of you for 9 months would create a rather strong connection to that baby, no matter the colouring of hair or skin. Plus there are women who have red hair who are either single or cannot have children with their husband/partner and want a child that resembles herself or her partner so the red-headed donor would be very much needed.

The article also talks about how people with red hair are stereotyped in a negative way (like they have no soul, are untrustworthy and/or have bad tempers) and they do not wish to inflict this reputation upon their child. But then they turn it around and say that when asked, people with red hair would not change their fiery mane if given the chance because it is a part of their identity. Plus there are the good stereotypes that come with being a red-head too! Whenever I think of red-heads I think of my childhood friend Amanda who is this amazing, fun-loving silly person who I just adore. Plus I was envious of her dark red head of hair. Those the the qualities I first think of when I think of a person with red hair. Back in high school I was so angry at her when she put large blonde chunks in it because it took away the uniqueness of her hair.

I also feel that not having a child in fear of him/her being teased or stereotyped is senseless considering people get teased no matter what! A person can be tall, short, fat, thin, big nosed, small eyes, large forehead, flat chested....etc..... People are mean and have low self esteem and they will unfortunately always find fault in other people. Depriving the world of physical diversity is not the answer. It's trying to cure the ignorant that should be dealt with first. I say deny the ignorant and prejudice people from donating well before the Gingers. Cause, I mean...where do you draw the line at who can and cannot donate their sperm?

"I'm sorry sir, but it seems that you eyebrows are a tad too bushy to donate here. We wouldn't want children to resemble any character from Sesame Street now would we?"

Lastly, my boyfriend is a red-head (a very stealth one, but still a red-head) and I think he's super sexy. There are tons of sexy Gingers in this world and I think that a HUGE amount of people would be devastated if they slowly disappeared from society. Hello? The disappearance of Christina Hendricks alone would destroy so many men's fantasy lives. So there!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thursday night I started my new serving job at Holland College. It was a banquet for about 220 people and it was a huge change from the kind of work I have been doing lately. It was so fast paced and there was so much to get done before the event started. Plus everyone was all flustered since the school was juggling this event and one of the dinners for the Shellfish Festival which they were also helping to cater for. It was a 5 course meal which included 4 different wine pairings. So much cutlery to many wine glasses so clean! But the guests were incredibly appreciative and the night got a raved review (plus a standing ovation from the crowd).

The following night was a big wedding of 230 guests and I really enjoyed this event a lot. I was feeling really run down since I didn't get out of there til quite late the night before and was dragging my feet considerably when the tables all had to get set and the glasses all needed polishing; but once the reception started and people started to come and the atmosphere lightened up, I was able to have a good time. Plus I recognized some of the faces in the crowd and was able to chat with a few of the guests during the pre-meal appetizer/drink mingle before the bride and groom arrived (I was walking around offering people Moonshine Punch). During the main reception meal, we are not allowed to clear any dishes or really do anything when any speeches were being given, so after standing around and listening to speech after speech and story after story about the newlyweds, I started to get all emotional as though I knew these people and I had shared these precious moments with them. I think it was somewhere after the home video slideshow that I started to become related to these people. I found myself laughing at jokes I didn't even get just because everyone else seemed to know the punch line. I'm lame.

This was my favourite part of the speech of the Father of the Groom - "When we drink we get drunk. When we get drunk we fall asleep. When we fall asleep we commit no sin. When we commit no sin we go to heaven. So let's all get drunk and go to heaven." It's a famous Irish toast but I'm not Irish so I've never heard it before.

I think my favourite part of these two nights is the time spent in the kitchen in which I got to watch the culinary students and their instructors prepare and plate up the meals. It took me back to when I was in culinary school and we were putting on these giant events and having to over-plan and over-prepare every single detail of the night. Would people suddenly indulge the important detail of having an allergy? Or would there be an extra vegetarian meal needed? Or maybe the lady on table 23 suddenly decided she didn't want any garlic in her food. Then what would we do? I remember the feeling of having to have everything look and taste beautiful and the apprehension of not knowing if people would enjoy the part of the meal that you were in charge of. And your chef barking orders and wiping splashes off of plates and telling everyone to step it up! Or keep up the good pace!

I remember one event in which I was in charge of the dessert and I made over 250 cream puffs which were in the shape of swans. Each little swan was placed in a pool of vanilla cream and strawberry sauce was spread around the pool as well. Was it Valentine's Day perhaps?? YES! Because we also made tons of red tuile hearts to place on the plate as well. Anyway, I made an enormous mistake and well under-estimated the amount of vanilla cream needed, or someone had used too large of a ladle when measuring. Either way, I had no time but needed several liters of this cream made up. So myself and another student made 2 huge bowls of instant vanilla pudding to use as the cream pools because the real stuff needed hours to prepare. The problem with this is that we needed to use hot water for this particular pudding mix, so to get them chilled at an accelerated rate we sat in the walk in freezer with the bowls on our laps and whisked and whisked until our arms nearly fell off. No literally. My arm nearly disconnected from my body.

I guess I went off on a bit off topic there with my walk down memory lane, but the point of the story I guess is to share that I appreciate and truly understand all of the hard work that people in the food industry do to have these amazing functions go off successfully. Those who attend rarely know the amount of coordinated time, energy, talent and man-power needed and what really happens back in the kitchen. I love that I have been on both sides of the table, the cooking/plating and the serving, because it makes me respect it that much more.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Without Warning

Autumn has arrived on PEI. I constantly made the joke that Mother Nature decided to go from Spring and skip straight into Fall, which is what seemed to have happened. The locals I have talked with agree that this was the rainiest and dreariest summer they have seen in a long long time, and there are plenty of other areas of Canada that had the same kind of summer months. BC had a horribly wet summer as well (worst in 20 years I think I remember reading) but they are fortunate enough to be hit with some hot hot weather now to make up for some of it. Thirty-five degrees sounds pretty nice right now. When September hit, PEI went from 23 degrees to about 12 overnight and stayed well under 20 ever since. Sigh. "Summer" is done. Bring on the snow.

On a happy note, I got a part-time job doing some serving at Holland College a few nights a week. All of our hours at the restaurant got cut back since tourists have all headed home and the restaurant business never thrives much in the off-season. I felt that finding a little extra work might be helpful for that reason. I feel a bit out of my element with this new job considering I've only been a server for a little less than a year and am now going into full-on formal dining in a few days. We're working a 270+ wedding on Friday night which should be a bit of a gong-show but I am looking forward to seeing how it all works out. I'm still having no luck with finding jobs related to my very expensive university degree which is making me re-think my entire life plan these days. I would hate to think that I wasted 4 years of my life going to school only to have to go into a different field because no one wants to give me a chance and even offer me as little as an interview. I also don't want to go back to school for another 4 years to get a new degree because I love nutrition and I think I'm pretty good with it. But, money rules the world and the only way to get money is to get a job and the only way for me to get a job is to get an education that people want to hire for.

Ugh. Woe is me.