Month: February 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Super Cook Sunday

I am sitting on the couch trying to drink a particularly bad Hungarian wine. My Hungarian neighbours gave it to us for Christmas and we finally unscrewed the top and helped ourselves. It tastes like a cross between sweet apple juice, tart grape juice, and pure alcohol. But it sure is pretty in the glass.

Hungarian wine, through the glass

Hungarian wine, through the glass

As I pondered the wine – well really, as I pondered why I was drinking this wine – I thought about throwing it out. And it occurred to me, as I grimaced with every gulp, that this was a gift. A gift from neighbours I don’t know well, giving a gift of pride of their country, given when nothing was required.

I shut down the negativity and remembered: this is a gift. A gift of good intentions and kindness. And I was sitting here in my own home, after spending the weekend cooking and buying Starbucks and getting free cookies, with the clothes washer pounding out a background backbeat, and I was overcome with a realization I am very blessed.

2 Starbucks drinks and a free cookie from Garage, Church St

2 Starbucks drinks and a free cookie from Garage, Church St

I bought a leather jacket yesterday for just $10 – I have access to affordable clothes.

$10 American Eagle Outfiitters leather jacket from Black Market

$10 American Eagle Outfiitters leather jacket from Black Market

I have clothes to wash, I have food to eat. I have so much food, I can cook for days. The TV is broadcasting the Bronze medal game of the Scotties curling tournament (how Canadian!). My phone works.

sweating the celery

sweating the celery

A freezer full of food

A freezer full of food

I have heat in my home and bad wine in my belly. My hard cover Patti Smith book sits across the room waiting patiently for me. I have a wife who loves me, and a steady job. I live in a community that respects my sexuality, and my political stripe.

International Women's Day, 2016

International Women’s Day, 2016

I have choices and comforts not available to most people in this world, and I am grateful and humbled.

A change of habit

In the last couple of months, I decided to experiment with my food habits. I’d read a lot of headlines about how dairy and gluten could cause inflammation in the body, and got the gist of it through a teeny bit of research, mostly on dodgy web sites. I finally figured out what they meant by “inflammation”. My knees would crack and pop and crunch all the time (I sounded like a bowl of cereal every time I walked down the stairs). My ankles were no better. I haven’t been able to look over my shoulder in at least a decade, without turning from the waist. Now THAT is inflammation. I just thought I was getting older, you know?

I was also getting insanely painful acid reflux, which I was told 25 years ago was a side effect from full body radiation. But something I read said that a gluten intolerance could cause this.

So I cut back on gluten and dairy. That meant no more eating cereal with milk every morning , no more cheese with every lunch. Switch those delicious Frappuccinos from whole milk to soy milk (but I still get the whip cream sometimes – I am cutting back, not cutting out). I switched my rye bread for gluten free white bread for my daily sandwiches, cooked crustless quiche and generally tried to limit the intake of gluten (mostly wheat/flour, but other things have gluten in them).

The change was barely noticeable, not because it wasn’t happening, but because you don’t really notice when things stop hurting. But I noticed, maybe 3-4 weeks in. My knees were quiet, and they didn’t scream in pain every time I knelt on the floor to play with the cat. My ankles were like silent ninjas. And I could finally check over my shoulder for traffic. Ta da!

But I like to be sure about things. Maybe something else was happening, maybe it wasn’t the gluten and dairy reduction at all. Maybe I was miraculously regenerating. So I upped my gluten and dairy again. Pizza? Oh yea. Croissant? Yeah baby. Cheese and crackers? Regular white bread? Bring it on!

And now my knees ache and crackle, the acid reflux is bad and sometimes I have to resort to prescription medicine to stop it, my ankles hurt and I can’t turn my head without stiffness and a bit of pain.

Fortunately, I think I have just the thing for that…

Drinking a soy Frappuccino

Drinking a soy Frappuccino

A Bit of Snow

urban winter sunset with moon

urban winter sunset with moon

Allen Gardens in snow

Allen Gardens in snow

Jarvis

Jarvis

Maitland

Maitland

Super Cook Sunday (and Monday)

pulled_pork_poutine

I tried that horrible root beer pulled pork, and needed some way to deal with all the leftovers. So I tried pulled pork poutine (with a blend of Italian cheeses, since that’s what I had). Delicious! Baked some McCain’s 5-Minute fries, put them in a casserole dish. Covered with pulled pork, sprinkled on some cheese, and baked. Threw on a green onion after it was baked, and I am done. Good food, just can’t find the recipe again.

 

homemade_cottage_pie

On Sunday, I baked the ultimate cottage pie, which is “Shepard’s Pie” but only with beef.  I got this recipe from the BBC, and halved it. Yes, it really does take 2 1/2 hours! I did not skimp. Used fresh carrots, celery and onions (was out of garlic). I peeled the potatoes, used butter and 2% milk, and that same Italian mix of cheese. That. Was. Amazing. So much better than store bought shepard’s pie. So glad I tried the “real deal” from England, it was worth the cooking and prep time. Really.

green_and_sable_grapes

Also bought some seedless “Sable” grapes, along with some green grapes. Really great little treat. Prefer them over green (and just say no to red grapes – too bitter!)

 

upgraded_ramed_noodles

 

Lastly, an upgrade to Ramen noodles, courtesy of Martha Stewart! You read that right! Can’t find the link, but here’s what I did:

  1. Made a stock from a prepared BBQ chicken carcass, some celery and onions (bits from when I was prepping my cottage pie) so I didn’t have to use that nasty flavour packet that comes with Ramen noodles. That was 2 hours in the slow cooker, but it cooked while we were out, so no biggie
  2. Kept a cup of chicken, cut up, from the BBQ chicken
  3. Boiled Ramen noodles in the strained stock
  4. Into 2 bowls goes the chicken, the noodles, a tablespoon of peanut butter (Kraft Smooth Light, in my case), and a tablespoon of soy sauce

Mix it up as best you can, and enjoy. Thick peanuty flavour, pretty good for Ramen noodles!

Why is donating considered an “event”?

Just tried donating to Durham Regional Cancer Center, in memoriam of a friend in our extended circle. Turns out, it’s Lakeridge Health and you give through their Foundation. Ok. Go to donation page. There is no”donate” button. There is no “donate” link. Their obvious link at the bottom of the page takes me right back to the page I am viewing. I clicked on another link “I’d Like To Make a Donation”. This is the page I was taken to. WTF? The “event” is closed? I even tried it 3 times just because, I don’t know, it doesn’t make any sense.

Lakeridge

A Quiet day in the Gay Village

rootbeer

I woke up this morning and tried a new pull pork slow cooker recipe with root beer. Worst idea ever. Just don’t.

 

donation

The local queer bookstore, GladDay, is helping build a library for Canada’s first transitional housing for LGBTQ youth. We donated some books (mostly lesbian, some for gay men, some generally queer) to GladDay for the library.

ella on the box

Ella insisted on helping us move the books. (yes, that is a concrete statue of Pan in our home). Light enough for a couple of old gals to carry up a flight+ of stairs to GladDay, maybe 20 books or so, and they gave us a $10-same-day credit. We picked up an LGBT wedding magazine 🙂

 

us

Then we headed to the Churchmouse and Firkin for a pitcher of Blue and some burgers.

 

axe

This Axe billboard was across the street from the Churchmouse. Who doesn’t love gay ads?

ThrowbackThursday

My #throwbackthursday is a bottle of wine. Kelly and I used to get together in our younger years, like, a million years ago, with friends and have wine parties. Instead of bringing good wine, we’d have a theme. Most interesting name, most awesome animal on a label, that kind of thing. Someone once brought this bottle to a theme on wine labels, and I remember wondering what the hell the design was. I thought it was an out of control skier, someone else thought it was an EKG. So disappointed to find out it was a grape vine.  I probably just really insulted the artist.

Baron Philippe de Rothschild Pinot Noir

Baron Philippe de Rothschild Pinot Noir

After a crappy day, this is wonderful!

 

After a

Truth Tuesday

On a cold winter morning, I like to sit down on a streetcar seat someone just got out of, because it’s still warm. #truthTuesday

 

A snowy day in Toronto

A snowy day in Toronto

Super Cook Sunday 

Crustless quiche. A slice of ham in a ramekin, egg beaten plus milk, green onion and cheese. Bake 30 minutes. Damn good.

   
 

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