Thu 6 Feb 2014

Comfort food

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If someone told me a month ago and I would be calling Kale “comfort food”, I would have laughed. Of course, a month ago, I hadn’t tried Kale. I had heard of Kale, and heard that it was healthy, but outside of the health benefits I had the impression that it was much like chewing grass. Or seaweed. And not seaweed in the tasty sushi form.

Now, sushi is comfort food. Chocolate is comfort food. Starbucks Chai Lattes are definitely comfort food. But Kale? Kale is good-for-you* food and most good-for-you food is not comfort food. Or at least I didn’t think it was. But all that changed when I tried this recipe. It’s gooooood. Really, reeeally good. So good that Abby, who doesn’t like “the green stuff” in salads, likes this salad. Even Paco will eat this salad (you’d think that being a pug he’d eat anything, but he’s usually adverse to green leafy stuff too). And although it keeps in the fridge for several days without losing its crispness, I do think it’s best served shortly after preparation. The other good thing is that it takes about five minutes to prepare, so it’s not like making up a huge batch saves you much time or effort.

I’ve made this recipe twice in the last month. And after a week of dealing with a sick kid (“MOMMA! SNOT!!”), and getting sick myself, I needed some comfort food today. And this totally did the trick. And, just to make sure I was sufficiently comforted, there’s the chai to round it out. 😉

*Of course, while putting this post together I ran across information that Kale is not-so-good-for-you if you happen to have hyperthyroidism. But, as with everything, moderation is key and I’m not that addicted. Close, but still within the bounds of reasonable.

Mon 13 Jan 2014


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Although I’m always grateful when a Chai Latte comes my way, I am truly grateful that I have a husband who can sense when I need one and who surprises me with one. 🙂

Tue 31 Dec 2013

Christmas 2013 wrap-up

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We turned our outdoor Christmas lights on two weeks early but put our Christmas tree up two weeks late. I’m sure that somewhere in the cosmos, everything evened out. And the fact that our tree leaned ever so slightly to the side just added to the charm of it … until a week later when Charles decided that it needed to be straightened – still charming, just more upright!

I started my Christmas baking on Dec 20th and finished it on Dec 24th. I had planned on finishing it on the 22nd, but an ice storm took out our power and kaiboshed our baking, and then I fell down the stairs that same night and so the 23rd was kaiboshed as well. But we needed cookies to leave for Santa, so we soldiered forward on the eve of his arrival! And in reality, that still left plenty of time to enjoy the treats. Although I’m going to admit that after realizing on the 20th that we were out of nutmeg and not being able to find our cinnamon, I substituted garam masala into the spiced nuts recipe, remembering that the internet told me the substitution the other way worked reasonably well. Reasonably well is about all I’ll give my substitution and I promptly replenished our nutmeg supply (and quadrupled my efforts to find our cinnamon, which I did find hiding in plain sight). Charles said they were still tasty. Every year I wonder if I really need to add coffee to the gingerpeople recipe, and every year I do because you just don’t mess with your Grandmother’s gingerpeople recipe! Although I didn’t do anything as drastic as attempt to substitute garam masala into that one, I did have to make one change this year when the cookie cutter passed down from my grandmother broke (for the second time) halfway through the batch. Thankfully ginger circles are just as tasty.


We got snow, and then rain (and then the aforementioned ice). We made snowbeings before Abby swiped and ate the carrot nose off one of them. Clearly we didn’t say Abby, no swiping! quickly enough! Evelyn’s mattress finally got a bed frame beneath it, so she’s now fully transitioned to a Big Girl bed. Although the bed rails stayed since she’s still quite the flopper when she sleeps and we don’t want her to transition back to the floor in the middle of the night. The crafts that I thought (hoped) would last for two weeks were used up in one, filling our door, our window, and our tree. Both girls took it upon themselves to rearrange some of the decorations on the tree, which lead to a few overloaded branches, but only one broken ornament. And no, that was not the original cause of the leaning tree. As part of our crafting extravaganza, I made a modelling clay gnome – surprise!

I didn’t quite hit my goal of finishing my Christmas shopping by December 1st, but I came really close. And I figure that the extra presents that I picked up in the two weeks that followed don’t really count towards that goal since they were extras, right? The wrapping still took until Dec 23rd, but we managed to avoid the fiasco of last year where we didn’t finish putting together the present from “Santa” until 2am on Christmas morning, and then couldn’t get it up the stairs from the basement. This year’s present was meant to stay in the basement since this year Santa brought the girls a drum kit. And yes, Santa is still on our Nice list. Two little guitars and a microphone were also found under the tree with the girls’ names on them so, with the little piano that they got lost year, we now pretty much have a complete band set. All we need is more kids to complete our band 😉 There was also another garden ornament under the tree with my name on it (not a gnome, but just as fun). I’ve decided to call her Petunia.



We took the girls skating for the first time, checked out the Wonders of Winter light display, and discovered the joy that is the Fireplace Channel. There was eggnog and rum, and my new personal addiction: warm apple cider. And, of course, there was the 12 Days of Starbucks, with an extra cup for Evelyn (even though we just put her rice milk in it). We may also be stretching the celebration by an extra day (or six).


Thu 5 Jan 2012

Holiday traditions

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Our holidays weren’t all about our kitchen, although I did get a waffle maker in addition to our new pantry. We also indulged in a few of our favourite traditions.

Although we skipped our usual trek to the tree farm to cut our own tree and instead opted for a pre-cut one, we continued our tradition of the 12 days of Starbucks (and even stretched it to 13 14 15 days), and Abby joined in this year with her own little steamed milk. We had family visit us, and we visited family. We took both kids to the festival of lights – this time Abby actually even seemed to enjoy it, and Evelyn at least stayed awake for it. We hung mistletoe (“kissletoe”) and stood under it every chance we got.

Abby seranaded us for days with her rendition of Jingle Bells. We ate chestnuts. We drank eggnog. Evelyn seemed to enjoy her first Christmas, particularly the lights on our tree. Charles bought me another little baby bird to celebrate the addition of Evelyn to our family.

Charles also continued his tradition of buying me a garden gnome, although he insists that it was just a coincidence that he bought me a gnome last year as well, and that two years in a row does not a tradition make. While last year’s gnome (the white one below) certainly is unique, it is a gnome by name, so I think it counts. Maybe he’s just afraid that he has started something he doesn’t really want to finish. Or I guess more precisely something he’s afraid that I will never finish. My gnome count may be at three, but my “garden ornament” count is much (much) higher.

Maybe “Santa” will bring me another gnome next year. Three years in a row must make a tradition, right?

Sun 2 Jan 2011

Out with the old, in with the new (year)

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It’s always nice to have some time off work to relax and unwind, but even nicer when it comes in the form of almost two weeks in a row. The only downside was that we were all sick in varying degrees, but we still managed to fit some fun and relaxation.

We visited family and friends and were spoiled by their gifts. We drank eggnog and rum and filled our bellies with roasted chestnuts (done in the oven, but still delicious). I enjoyed my Christmas Fanta (the Orange flavour that you can’t usually get in Canada). We watched our pug card tree fill up with cards from around the world. We continued our tradition of the “12 days of Starbucks”.

We took Abby to see the festival of lights at the city park and sipped hot cider as we wandered among the displays. Out Boxing Week shopping, she suddenly decided she would like to walk everywhere (but hold onto our hands as she does). We took her sledding in the backyard. She also took a few spins around the house in her new box.

I had a bubble bath for the first time in probably a year. We embraced our inner couch potatos with a Twilight-a-thon and got sucked into marathon showings of American Pickers, Auction Kings, and Auction Hunters, which made me want to purge the house of unneeded items and then go to an auction to fill it all up again. In between we discovered Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which just made me miss Buffy.

The best moment, though, was on Christmas Day, when Abby spontaneously hugged her one-week old cousin (and then thankfully did it again once I had the camera in hand).

Sat 6 Mar 2010

Double standard

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It occurred to me that we may have a bit of a Starbucks addiction.

Now, anyone who knows me is saying “This is just occurring to you now?!?” but what I mean is that the addiction might be a bit worse than I originally thought. I know I don’t talk much about the ‘bucks here, but if you follow me on Twitter, you will know that my Chai Latte and I are good friends. Very good friends. In fact, the only disagreement we have is that it doesn’t come in a size larger than Venti.

Well, that and the somewhat lacking service that we get sometimes. And I’m kind of a stickler for service. Treat me poorly as a customer, and I will walk. We cancelled our tv service because of poor customer service. I switched ISPs because of poor customer service (and then switched again when we cancelled our TV as they were also our ISP). I’ve blacklisted restaurants (for years in come cases) over poor customer service. The entire Tim Horton’s chain was blacklisted after a few too many mistakes.

But Starbucks seems to have a pass, even though they routinely mess up our orders. And we are routinely coming up with ways to “help” them help us. I have actually even considered, ever so briefly, changing my order to make it easier for them. My latest idea: go in with pre-marked sleeves that I can just hand to them so that they just need to fill the cup accordingly. No fuss, no muss. No water in my Chai.

Perhaps I am just actually embracing our year of Zen?

Fri 29 Jan 2010

Measuring up

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How do you put a value on a person?

My value as a blogger? Probably not high given my frequency (which as we know is infrequent).

My value as a maid is definitely zilch. I’m pretty good at making messes, not so good at cleaning them up, particularly when baking – I’m a catastrophe then. Cooking is only marginally better. Luckily we have a housekeeper who comes in every two weeks to set our house in order.

Facebook tells me that I have 96 friends, so I guess 96 people value me as a friend, or at least want to use me to pad their friends list.

This site sets my Twitter value at $24. That’ll buy you about four Venti Chai Lattes and two lemon loafs, with a bit of change to spare. Or one very nice skein of yarn.

Some people might set my value by how much money I make, but right now I make no money. Actually now all I do is spend money (groceries, bills, baby), so does that assign me a negative value? On Judgement Day, will I be handed a bill showing my balance owing?

How about my value as a mother? As a wife? As a daughter, sister, sister-in-law? As a friend? There are so many ways you can compartmentalize your value and come up seemingly lacking by looking at only one segment.

There is a quote by Michel de Montaigne: “The value of life is not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them; a man may live long yet very little.”

I like that way best.