Thursday, June 21, 2012



Slept in, made coffee, eggs...and have nothing else on the agenda till tonight.

What a lovely morning!

Today is our third anniversary - it's been three years of the normal ups and downs of marriage - mundane and yet glorious. So happy to be able to put our regular schedule on pause and just celebrate and relax together. 

My heart is full today. Thanking God today for all these gifts I'll never deserve...

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Happy Cooker

I really enjoy cooking. Eric might say otherwise, since he often sees me stressed out of my mind trying to put something together last minute for company, but I really do.

I like experimenting and reading cookbooks and food blogs…so fun!
This week, for example, we made a watermelon salad – a mix of sweet, spice, and salt that was quite nice. We found the recipe in the Free Press – and we tried the blended watermelon drink from the same edition for our guests on Friday. I also baked a banana cream pie for my Dad's birthday - delicious! (not gluten free though - if you're going to bake pie, may as well go all the way..)

I also (usually) enjoy the challenge of looking for ideas that are gluten free and don’t involve trying to replicate a wheat dish with 10 different starches and other suspect ingredients. We made a gluten free “pizza”with a mashed cauliflower base recently (another recipe we served on Friday) that turned out quite well. It's not really pizza, but it's still pretty tasty.

One delicious dip!
I found this food blog recently and love it! She has great ideas - we have her refrigerator oatmeal for breakfast every morning and I've made her bean dip (though not in the fancy margarita glasses like she did) and it's my new favourite dip recipe. Three of us plowed into it with chips and fresh veggies and it made a great supper all by itself!

Monday, June 11, 2012

When Monday is a Relief

This weekend was very busy, and the most social weekend I've had in a while.

Friday we jumped straight from the gym to a birthday party (me) and a late late night at the Niverville Fair/RED concert (Eric). Saturday was early to work (Eric), farewell breakfast, Love Winnipeg (me), out with my sister to St. Andrews for tea/lunch (both of us - together at last!), and then an evening with Abra (both of us). Sunday was church, groceries, much-needed nap, and then out for dinner with the MBCI crew and their men at A Taste of Laos.

It was a good weekend, with lots of tasty food and good conversation. It was especially good to see Abra again - she's moved back to the 'peg and is living in the area.

And, A Taste of Laos might just be my new favourite - I had a fish dish that was DElicious...and I ate it african style, as I was advised by the server (though I guess it was Laos style) - ball up your sticky rice in your fingers, with a little dimple in the centre, and use it to scoop up a chunk of tasty, saucy fish. Took me back to my childhood in the village.

I'd definitely go there again! I'm going to be having fish cravings all week!

After all those late nights and early mornings, it felt nice to get our breakfasts for the week ready last night and hop into bed at a normal hour.
Catching up with friends is good. Meandering conversations over food are good. Getting back to routine is good.

In other news, I'm getting excited for our vacation next week! Next Thursday to Canada Day I'm off work. We're heading out to a (rented) cabin for some of it, and will laze around at home for the rest. I've already planned a menu and a shopping list....perhaps I'm a little over-eager! Looking forward to marking our third anniversary and spending some downtime together!!!!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Book Notes: Louise Penny *Love*

Louise Penny is another mystery novelist that I've discovered this past year and loved loved loved.

She's Canadian too, which makes her pretty darn cool. AND, her books are set in small town Quebec, which is doubly cool.

I'd seen her name around the shelves, thought 'I should probably read her someday', but got my push to actually do it when I read about her on the CBC website. I really enjoyed the first and read the rest of the series in such rapid succession that I'm sure Eric wondered when he'd get his wife back.

Of course, once you've finished all the published works, you have to WAIT forever for new ones! Her latest, The Beautiful Mystery, comes out in August...and I'm super excited.

I love learning about Franco/Anglo relationships and history, and about her perspective on light and darkness in humanity. I love the way she describes food - everything centres around food - crisp baguette with soft cheese is almost its own character in the books. If you're not hungry when you start, you will be partway through your read.

I also loved her detective. It's very important to hang your mystery on a detective that people like and can relate to. Her Chief Inspector Gamache is a kind, warm, grave person. Not flashy, but with real depth. He listens to people, sees people, and gets to the heart of the mystery that way.

I dropped out of took a "Detective In Film and Fiction" English course at CMU some time ago. The prof was very interested in how death was portrayed in the books we read. The "cozies" - Agatha Christie being a prime example - were almost entirely bloodless. There wasn't much grief or horror at finding a body, it was just a plot point - the introduction or start of the puzzle to follow.

These books are different. There is death, there is evil. They are very serious. We see their ramifications playing out over many books. There is also light, love, and hope. Looking forward to August, and wishing every success to this very admirable Canadian author.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Book Notes: My New Obsession with Lee Child

I do love a good thriller/mystery/intrigue. I was raised on Sherlock Holmes (We had the complete set - a book so huge you can't hold it up to read. Laying it flat is the only way), Agatha Christie (Poirot only, please), Tom Clancy, Dick Francis, and probably others I'm forgetting.

But this genre is akin to fantasy in that there's a lot of badly written stuff out there. I should know - I did spend all of high school devouring any fantasy that I could get with little discrimination. I've since become a bit more selective. I'll read it if it looks interesting, but if it sucks, I won't read the rest of the series (because in fantasy-land, it's almost always a series).

With the thriller/mystery genre I tend to do the same. Find an author I like, become a crazy person and rip through all the books they've ever written, and then wish that there was more once I'm done.

I first took Lee Child seriously when Macleans did a write up because they're planning a movie based on the books. I'd seen his name amongst the stacks of course, but dismissed him as yet another over-hyped serially-pumping-out-the-crappy-books author. Like (Which is such hypocrisy because there are authors I love that do exactly that, but I love them anyway.)

I decided to give him a shot, and I'm so hooked. So hooked. I've read the first three of the series, and have two more sitting waiting for me (I've promised myself to read the 14 other books that are due earlier before I dive into them)...

Jack Reacher - the main character - is just so cool. Do I like improbable dangerous-but-caring alpha males? It seems I do.

He's like a modern day, military, less-smooth Bond. He's a former Military Police officer who's quit the army, and is now wandering around the States, getting to know the country he's from but has never spent significant time in (an army brat, he grew up on various bases around the world). With no family and no commitments, he's free to roam as he pleases.

I guess the part that strains credulity (other than his exceptional fitness, reaction time, and his clinical detachment that lets him analyse a fight as he's in the midst of it) is that wherever he roams, he stumbles into a mysterious and dangerous situation. And there's always a beautiful woman.

It may be a sad, tired cliche, but I don't care. I love it. I love the writing, I love his voice, I love his perspective, I love being inside his head (some of the books are written in first person - a perspective I don't usually love).

There's a compelling immediacy to his writing - he's one of the few authors where it's sometimes just too intense, like - OH MY GOODNESS WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN??!! I get this with mildly suspenseful movies all the time, but rarely with books.

Can't wait to finish my other more "worthwhile" "literature" and jump into this pure pleasure read again!