Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Happy Wednesday! I thought I'd start off this What I Ate Wednesday with a photo of the adorable emoji cookies my daughter made this morning. She is 10 and she has started making vegan chocolate chip cookies regularly all by herself. Today she decided to decorate them with emojis. Considering it was her first time, and we used a new icing recipe, I think they are pretty darn cute!
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
I am still focusing on purging, rather than buying. As I go through all my stuff bit by bit, I come across some gems that simply must stay in my possession. Like these little goodies from my childhood that I found among the items stuffed into my old jewelry box. Whether valuable or not, I have developed a fondness for these pieces. I remember I was for a time completely enamoured of this sweet cat charm, which I believe has a jade belly. I also loved my Christmas tree pin. (I need to remember to get it out next Christmas!) And the gold cross was a gift from my mother - apparently it was given to her by a suitor long ago.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Generally we try to go away on one longer road trip per summer - often it has been to Nova Scotia, once it was to Cape Cod and, last year, it was to New York City. This year we decided that our main vacation would take place right here in Ontario. There are many beautiful spots in this province and it makes sense now and then to put the money into accommodations and save on travel expenses.
We rented a cottage for a week on Lower Buckhorn Lake with my husband's cousin and her family. Just a couple of hours away, it was a pleasant drive to the cottage, mainly along rural roads. We didn't exactly pack light. In fact, we pretty much stuffed the van to the gills. I decided to buy all of our groceries at home and pack them in coolers and boxes, because I'm sort of picky about which products I like and you never know what you'll find in smaller town grocery stores. We left the dogs at home with a dog sitter so we didn't have to pack any of their stuff. But we managed to fill up every crevice anyhow.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
We had so much fun hanging out with friends at our cottage rental all last week. And we ate lots. And drank a bit too. Sometimes I get bored of cooking, but it was so nice to get together with others in the kitchen and each make different parts that came together beautifully as a whole meal.
One day we were out and about exploring and somebody suggested we stop for pizzas on the way home. I wasn't going to have any, seeing as I don't eat cheese and vegan pizza is not often available in small towns. But I decided, what the heck, I might as well ask what they could do. And they made me a lovely small pesto pizza topped with spinach, black olives and sundried tomatoes. Others actually ended up jealous of my pizza. I washed it down with a Long Island iced tea. Life was good.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Do you like pancakes? Dumb question, right? There's just something about pancakes - they always feel like a special treat no matter how often you have them. And we have been having them a lot lately. The pancake griddle we got as an engagement present over 16 years ago recently broke - one plastic leg completely gone.
We couldn't have a three-legged pancake griddle and I briefly debated buying an expensive new one. But then my little girl and I spotted this Rival "Short Order Chef" at the thrift store for $3. We plugged it into an outlet and it heated up - that's pretty much all it has to do, so home it came. My girl had a desire to make pancakes on her own and she has been doing so even before I get out of bed in the morning, with the help of this griddle and some purchased pancake mix. It also makes waffles but she's not quite ready for that yet - she attempted it one morning and pretty much all the batter stuck to the griddle.
Monday, July 20, 2015
I'm now well into the third month of my 4-month household purge. With the kids home and lots of summer activities planned, I have been a bit off track this month. There are still plenty of items to sort through in the basement storage area and in my own closet.
For those items that I'm looking to sell, I'm turning to VarageSale, a free marketplace app that allows you to buy and sell affordable secondhand items locally in your own community. Like most people, I have lots of clothing, children's toys, dishes and assorted household items that are still useful but simply aren't getting used in our house. Like this wallet that I listed on VarageSale. I think it's super cute, but it has never been used simply because I received a few wallets as gifts around the same time. Since I don't change my wallets until they are worn out (and I mean worn out!) I haven't gotten around to using this one yet.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
I am writing this What I Ate Wednesday from our cottage rental on Lower Buckhorn Lake. We have been spending time pedal boating, canoeing, swimming, playing bocce, napping and, of course, eating lots of yummy foods. Although we don't want to be slaves to the kitchen, cottaging also calls for good eats.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
I had the most awful chair in my home office - a terrible blue chair our neighbour left at the curb one day. I should be grateful - it was free and it served me well for a time. It just wasn't attractive. That's why I snagged this vintage swivel office chair from my parents' house last time we were there. I gotta confess, it isn't all that comfortable (and I've got the bruised elbow to prove it!), but I like the look of it so much better! It has character, unlike that office-y chair that reminded me of the boring office environment I worked in before.
Somehow I have to make it a bit more comfortable though - maybe a nice, thick cushion or some kind of supportive, posture-helping type thingy. Oh, and I want to paint it (or re-stain it) a colour that suits my office - but don't tell my dad - he does not believe in painting any wood. He even has a wooden toilet seat!
Monday, July 13, 2015
We are fortunate to have many great theatre venues available to us in Southern Ontario. One of the most famous is the Shaw Festival in beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake. Inspired by the work of Bernard Shaw, this annual festival has been bringing top-notch theatre to audiences for more than 50 years.
The 2015 Festival features 70 actors in 10 shows over a 7-month period. There's truly something for every taste. Recently the family and I visited Niagara-on-the-Lake to see the Shaw Fest production of Peter and the Starcatcher, a captivating prequel to Peter Pan.
Friday, July 10, 2015
If you are in the Greater Toronto Area for the Pan Am & Parapan Am Games, be sure to make time to visit Headwaters, a "2,534-square-kilometre quilt of genuine Ontario country," comprised of the rural communities of Caledon, Dufferin County, Erin, Mono and Shelburne.
In the spring, I went on a press tour of this idyllic area, which I had previously known little about. We sometimes visit relatives in the Town of Orangeville and we once hiked over the striking Cheltenham Badlands, but the tour gave me a new appreciation for just how beautiful this area is - a pastoral paradise just an hour from Toronto.
Having recently read and enjoyed Vanessa and Her Sister, a fictionalized account of the relationship between Virginia Woolf and her sister, Vanessa Bell, I was pleased to move straight on to another fictional tale of a famous writer. Miss Emily: A Novel, the North American debut of award-winning Irish writer Nuala O’Connor (Nuala Ní Chonchúir), looks at a short period in the life of one of America's most beloved poets, Emily Dickinson.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
I love to eat out at restaurants, so when we're road-tripping I always find out what restaurants are on our route - bonus points if they are vegetarian/vegan! On the way to visit my parents this past weekend, we stopped in my hometown of Hamilton to munch on vegan goodies from Democracy on Locke. (That's my girl waiting for our food, above.)
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
As I am in the third month of my 4-month purge, the thrift store is probably not the best place for me. But I couldn't resist popping into the Salvation Army this past weekend while visiting my parents. Mom came with me and we both admired this 3-tier silver serving tray. Mom said she has one and has enjoyed using it. It is one of the few vintage serving pieces she hasn't yet passed along to me in fact. (I also picked up five of these little Ikea lidded jars. Because I just know they'll come in handy for something. Are you with me?)
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Although I always look forward to picking strawberries during our blink-and-you-miss-it strawberry season in Ontario, that doesn't mean that picking day is always idyllic. Far from it. Last year, while we had a nice time in the picturesque strawberry fields, I recall that there was some fighting among the children on the car ride home.
So this year, when brother and sister started beating each other up not two minutes from our house, the husband and I gave them a warning (which they promptly ignored) and then returned the kids home. Now that they are big enough to stay by themselves for short periods we chose to pick strawberries in peace. Mind you, they called me about 10 times on my cell phone until I told them, "emergencies only."
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Do you like to grab your groceries as fast as possible or pick up lots of tempting products from the shelves and read each and every label? I'm definitely a label reader (and a slow grocery shopper). I like to read the ingredients (because it's pretty important to know what we're putting into our bodies) and I also like to check out the Nutrition Facts table.
Recently I attended an event geared to helping consumers better understand the Nutrition Facts table and what it can do for our families. The table provides a clear and simple way for us to make more informed food choices and achieve greater health.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Happy Canada Day to my Canadian peeps! I hope you have a fun-filled day with friends and family and lots o' good food! We are just over a week into summer and it has been a whirlwind of activity already. We must take advantage of warm weather when we can! And there will be rainy days on which to relax (from the looks of it so far, quite a few rainy days!). Hence the soup.
This What I Ate Wednesday, I'm starting with a photo of the minestrone soup I made recently on a chilly, rainy day. There wasn't much in the house in terms of groceries, but you can always whip together some sort of soup, right? I used small spelt pasta shells, yellow peppers, carrots and spinach. Plus I had slices of fresh baguette spread with hummus on the side.