Driving Chronicles reboot and cherry pie

So, Mother Nature decided that the Lower Mainland is now allowed to have summer weather. We are in the mid 20‘s and not a cloud in the sky. It was a gorgeous day. I was finally able to make use of my wonderful Banana Republic wide-brimmed straw hat that I got on sale last month, and it was hot enough for one of my many sundresses to be worn. I actually ended up switching dresses midway through the day because I was in MEC and found a really lovely sundress called the Twirl and I liked it so much that I wanted to wear it out the door. So they scanned the tag on me, cut it, and out I went.

Not only was today a big day because of the weather and the subsequent wardrobe happiness it provided me. Today was also a big day as I am now allowed to learn to drive again – thank you, ICBC. The Driving Chronicles go back to me at age 16 and are a long story for another post(s), but I feel the need to share that I have re-obtained my learner’s permit because I am very proud and very determined to get my “N”, or rather, the first license in BC’s graduated licensing program before the end of the year. Sharing this is my way of holding myself accountable.

On to cherry pie. Or almost. I am sitting at our friend Geoff’s beautiful new wood dining room table with a lovely glass of 2007 Ste. Michelle (Washington) Cabernet Sauvignon thinking that I should have had Sean bring the rest of said cherry pie – it turned out quite good. But that means more for us at home.

Sean just arrived and Geoff is running around cleaning as he is having us and some others over for a belated mini-housewarming. I am relaxed. Hear my sigh of contentment. Okay, now on to cherry pie.

A couple weeks ago, a recipe for cherry pie landed in my inbox from one of my favourite blogs, Not Without Salt. I capital L-O-V-E cherries so this was very exciting for me. I filed it away for when I happened upon some cherries worthy of a pie. It’s cherry season so I didn’t have to wait long. Last week, Whole Foods had some lovely Okanagan cherries.

I grabbed a couple of bags and the next evening, I started pitting cherries while Sean made dinner. If you’ve ever pitted cherries, you may have a cherry pitter (which is now on my list of things to buy), but apparently even that’s almost as messy as doing it by hand with a butter knife and my fingers – like I did. (My fingernails and the surrounding skin are only now starting not to look like I did a poor job of cleaning up after committing mass murder.) Either way it’s time consuming, but oddly satisfying.

Those cherries didn’t stand a chance!

Next time I make this cherry filling – which was really, really, good – I will make the pastry recipe that was posted with it. It’s a bit more complex and I didn’t have all the time, so I went with what I knew (from Kraft.ca – makes the BEST apple pie EVER) but baked for the time on the NWS recipe.

Not my best pastry lattice work but by that point, it was getting late. The pie was good, so that’s really what maters. 🙂

And now, time to have some red snapper with the guys. Happy Sunny Saturday, everyone!

0

Alberta Bound (and Arrived)

I am sitting in a beautiful house watching the Canucks kick the Oilers to the ground. I’m just outside Edmonton sitting my with Canucks jersey clad hubby and his Oilers jersey clad cousin Ward. And I’m feeling rather smug.

Why, you ask, are we in Alberta? Purpose: Operation Surprise Ward. Sean’s cousin and one of his best friends. He was best man at our wedding and his birthday is on Tuesday. We coordinated with his wife and he was so surprised and happy to see us. As were his adorable children. And the pets are thrilled to have new people to mooch food and affection from. There are few people in the world that I would brave the Alberta cold for and they are so worth it.

We hopped in the new VW last night to drive to St. Albert, AB. (Sean recently traded in his VW City Golf for a diesel Golf. It’s (for me) pretty and blue but is still a standard, so when I finally get my license, it won’t that be fun to learn how to drive. One step at a time I suppose…) We left at 10:30pm and Sean drove us through the Rockies and a couple of snow storms (that I am so happy I slept through). He slept the evening before and has been high on coffee since we left.

During my awake hours, the scenery was beautiful and Sean woke me up so I could see the sunrise. It was slightly cloudy, but it’s hard not to be impressed when you are surrounded by such majestic landscape. The Rockies (or Rocky Mountains) are gorgeous. Neither my camera phone nor my Canon did them any justice from inside the car. But I tried.

20120219-083538.jpg

20120219-083558.jpg

20120219-083621.jpg

20120219-084052.jpg

20120219-084345.jpg

We stopped in Jasper for breakfast on the way to St. Albert. Sean has made the drive to and from Edmonton quite a few times and there is a bakery that he loves called The Bear’s Paw (4 Cedar Ave, Jasper, AB). It is apparently world famous and has been featured in Oprah’s magazine. The baked goods are well worth the hype and the wait in line. Sean had a raspberry white chocolate scone and I had a fruit filled bran muffin.

Jasper is not quite a resort town. It’s a tourist town. It’s a ski town. But it’s not Whistler. Oh my gosh, I’m a West Coast snob…

20120219-090800.jpg

20120219-090827.jpg

20120219-090845.jpg

20120219-090904.jpg

20120219-092226.jpg

Upon walking back to the car, it was no longer beautiful and blue. The highway was not friendly – full of mud and slush. It had to happen sometime.

20120219-092258.jpg

20120219-092416.jpg

Back on the road, we continued through Jasper National Park. And we saw a pack of moose on the side of the road. And then a deer. And then a mountain goat. They were beautiful. and I was beyond thrilled. Sean kept pointing them out and I could barely get my camera going fast enough. And then we got out of the park and all of a sudden, everything was flat. We were officially in the Prairies.

I’ve been watching the Canucks game and he ref just called no goal for what could have made the game 3-0 for Vancouver, but I’m not worried. Time for a soak in the hot tub and another glass of red. I’m willing to brave the cold for 10 seconds for a chance to soak my travel weary muscles.

Drifter = love
0

Home stretch!: Lessons learned

The project managers at work go through a thing called “lessons learned” after a project closes. Well, as of midnight tonight, this cleanse project closes (yay!!!) and I want to share our lessons learned and some tips for surviving this or any two-week cleanse.

(I’ve realized that I haven’t posted the actual cleanse to this blog. Click here for cleanse details; as provided by Claire’s naturopath.)

Tip/Lesson #1 – Be prepared: The timing of this cleanse was a bit last-minute so I prepped as much as I could. But you don’t really know until you get into it how your body will react, how you will feel and/or how to substitute almost everything you eat. Find recipes, make a meal plan, and do a big shop one or two days before starting the cleanse. Here is a sample list of items to keep on hand:

PANTRY

  • Canned chickpeas – 4 cans
  • Organic (sugar-free!) vegetable broth – 6 packs
  • Dried lentils – 6 packages
  • Extra virgin olive oil – 1 bulk bottle
  • Brown rice flour
  • Spelt flour
  • Kamut flour
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Yams (for yam fries and mashed yams)
  • Onions – large size
  • Honey – 1 L bottle
  • Trail mix – no peanuts!
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Sunrype fruit bars – all natural and have 2-3 servings of fruit in each bar; some have veggie servings in them as well. An excellent snack.
  • Multi-vitamin supplement (make sure that it is all natural with no traces of dairy, gluten or any of the other no-no’s; Genuine Health Multi + Daily Glow is mine and I swear by it)

$$$ Saver: The bulk food sections at Save-On and Whole Foods are great. Buy food storage jars/containers from HomeSense or IKEA to keep flour and other dry ingredients fresh. Also, London Drugs sells cranberry juice, canned goods and organic sugar-free vegetable broth. Whole Foods, Choices, etc are the best places for the wheat alternative flours and dairy replacements. Tetra packs of soy milk and juice are cheaper than the cartons.

FRIDGE

  • Fresh berries (for baking and munching)
  • Apples
  • Lemons or lemon juice
  • Baby spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Red and green peppers
  • Fresh thyme, parsley, cilantro, rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Flax seed meal (egg replacement)
  • Deli turkey or chicken
  • Whole chicken or turkey to roast
  • Real juice (cranberry, guava, etc.) – no sugar or additives!
  • Soy milk
  • Kamut or spelt bread

$$$ Saver: Visit your local for fresh produce. They tend to have better quality and better priced organic and non-organic produce.

FREEZER

  • Frozen berries and fruit (for smoothies) – this is a cost saver all in itself as fresh berries can add up in cost. Make sure the packages contain just the fruit and no preservatives or sugar.
  • White fish filets (halibut, basa)
  • Chicken breast

$$$ Saver: Costco!

Time and Stress Saver: PREP, PREP, PREP. Plan and make your day one (and two!) meals the night before your first day of cleanse. That way you have snacks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner all set for what is, mentally, a super stressful day.

Tip/Lesson #2 – Google is your friend: Google has always been my friend and it certainly went to bat for me this last fortnight. I found some great recipes (most posted in previous entries along with a couple past/present go-to recipes).

Tip/Lesson #3 – Listen to your body: As previously mentioned, our bodies were baffled by this adventure. The key to dealing with it is sticking to the program but knowing your limits. We are active people and have high metabolisms, so we had to tailor the last week of the all of this to include protein all the way through. And while we stuck to adding one grain back in per day, we added fruit in general back in after the vegetable saga. I added my multi-vitamin and omega 3 back in because I felt really horrible without.

Tip/Lesson #4 – Hydrate and chew gum: Seriously. Do it. Water (at least 2L per day) is your friend and gum will save you from wanting to haul out the chocolate stash or hit McDonald’s for french fries (my weakness).

  • Craving Preventer: Hide the junk and not alouds and forget about them. Out of sight, out of mind. Hide them, give them away, eat them all the night before cleanse starts, whatever – rid the junk from your cupboards and fridge/freezer.

Tip/Lesson #5 – Enjoy but don’t overdo: The night before cleanse starts, have a great meal with wine/beer and a fabulous dessert. But when it’s all over, don’t gorge on all of what you missed for two weeks. You will make yourself sick. I have my whole tomorrow planned in terms of breakfast and lunch and we are hitting Cactus Club for dinner; but as much as I am looking forward to my bagel and carbs, baby steps are important otherwise, my body is going to revolt.

Tip/Lesson #6 – Don’t abandon the healthy: Incorporate the healthy aspects from this cleanse to your regular routine. We were relatively healthy before we started the cleanse, but we discovered and re-discovered some great alternatives that we are going to keep in the food repertoire.

I am really looking forward to my bagel tomorrow morning and I am so done with spinach for a while. Happy Sunday, all!

0