Monday, April 29, 2013

What's on the Table this Week? GOT Feast!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but my middle daughter and I are avid fans of "Game of Thrones" -- the books the HBO TV series, the merchandise, any shape or form of GOT is great with us.   Molly's birthday is on the 30th and we always get together on Sunday evenings for the latest installment of Season 3. So, amidst bathroom renovations, working 2 jobs, feeding 2 Asians and exercise class, I decided I should create a birthday feast inspired by our favorite series.

I instructed those invited to "wear the black".  Her boyfriend forgot, so he because the self-appointed photographer. 

Chief cook at the castle, the Faire Maiden Molly and 2 scurvy knaves were all more than happy to partake of feasting.

The feast was amazing.  From the top left and working clockwise -- Lemonsweet; wines from Dorne, Lys and the Arbor; honeyed chicken; Cersei's green salad with apples, pinenuts, pomegranate seeds & feta cheese; meat pies and (missing from the picture due to much gorging of selves) spiced squash, buttered carrots, Sansa's lemon cakes and Arya's fruit and cheese tarts.
We took a couple of hours to eat with resting in between courses!

And what's a "Game of Thrones" party with a dragon, right?  This was our attempt at creating Drogon, the largest and most fierce GOT dragon.  Elly said our Drogon looked like a very old dragon because of his huge hairy eyebrows; but he was quite delicious nonetheless.

This week, it's back to healthy, moderate eating.  And there might be an extra exercise class or daily walk fit in there to offset the wonderful feast food.  Thank goodness for fair spring weather.  
I'm once again able to do my daily after-work garden meandering.  I love seeing how much things have grown while I've been away for the day.  And you know, as soon as the cold weather ended and the sun shone, those pesky little Asiatic lily beetles came out of hiding, so it's my joy to hunt down and squish the little varmints!

I hope spring is bringing you joy!  What ya' been eating lately?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Herbed Spatchcock Chicken

What countries inspired our weekend eating? 

Well did a little hop to Mexico Friday night for spicy nachos and a Japanese fusion hot top salad --- salad topped with grilled chicken & veggies with terrikaki dressing.  I think Friday night nachos always taste better with a cold end-of-the-week beer (Sleeman's red).  And the girls think Friday night nachos go better with diet coke and  Skip-Bo.

On Saturday, we cleansed our palettes with a gorgeous Japanese soup.  The stock contained sake, mirin, soy and kombu; then you add chopped bok choy, edamame and cooked diakon radish.  It was so delicious with the subtle sweetness of the mirin and the lovely crunch of the edamame.

But the highlight meal of the weekend was Sunday's 
Herbed Spatchcocked Chicken 
via England and Jamie Oliver.   
As Jamie says:  "Batter and bruise" some herbs of your choice - marjoram, rosemary and parsley; "smash" in 5 cloves of garlic and add 8 Tbsp of olive oil.

Rub this over your spatchcocked chicken (whole chicken that's been cut down the backbone and flattened out), grate 2 Tbsp fresh ginger root over the top, and let this marinate for an hour or two in the refrigerator.

Bake at 425 deg for 30 min, grate another 2 Tbsp fresh ginger root over this, lay on thinly sliced lemon and add 1/2 cup of white wine to the pan.  Cook for another 20 min and let rest 10 min before serving.
I served this with roasted potatoes and carrots and boiled green peas.  It was utterly divine!  So moist, fragrant and delicious.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sending love to Boston

Another senseless tragedy happened today in Boston!  Who?  What?  Why?  So many questions.  So many tears.  

Please know that your neighbors to the north are crying with you and praying for you.  We care.  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Yes, in between eating, I thrift!

It's Thrifty Thursday where we get to share the thrifty purchases we've all made lately.  I made my purchases during my Halifax trip last weekend.  But I didn't just find thrifty during my Value Village stop; I actually found thrifty at the mall where I dropped the girls. 
Let's go to Value Village first.  I had a 30% off coupon which is always fun!  (I'll show the clothes at their discounted prices.)

Great orange cotton shirt from Joe Fresh -- lovely pop of color ($2.80).

This pretty sheer ruffle front blouse in navy, white and coral ($4.20).  I wore it to work this week with my navy pants and orange bead earrings.

These 2 t-shirts (from one of my favorite stores):  $3.50 for the pink and $4.90 for the blue which was new with tags on).

I wish these fit me!  I bought them for Elly because they're an excellent brand name (Indigo) and are so in fashion now ($7.00).

A larger bamboo steamer (for my favorite Korean dumplings) - $4.20.

Now my new mall purchases.  I adore buying thrift clothes.  But each spring, I like to buy a couple of new items -- things in white or black, for instance, which can turn  yellow or grey once worn for a while.  One of my favorite stores is Reitman's  (not sure if my US readers have that chain) ... and I probably wouldn't have made any purchases at all if it hadn't been for those 4 racks of "Take an extra 25% off the lowest ticketed price".  How can a woman resist this! 

I focused on buying tops and not pants or skirts as I'm still working on trying to go down a size. (4 lb and 1 inch off so far!).  I believe lace is still in style this year; and I was lucky to find some nice "under" pieces -- pieces to be worn under cardigans or blazers.  

These are matching sleeveless shells. ($13 each)

These 2 pieces are similar -- the white has a short sleeve and the black has a cap sleeve; the white has a plain t-shirt back and the black has buttons up the back -- but they'll look so nice with some of my bright summer jewellry.  ($23 for the white and $18 for the black) 

I love the colors in this and the way it drapes.  ($21)

So there it is!  A little casual; a lot of work related items.  And certainly more money than I'd figured I'd spend on Saturday, but still money well spent.

  • What have you bought lately? 
  • What colors do you look for?
  • What's your favorite shop for clothing?
  • Have you found any good online shops?

Happy thrifting shopping everyone!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I'll have the Sushi and Ribs please!

Yep!  I was eating my way round the world again this weekend.

First stop was a return visit to Japan.  After 2 months in Canada, Elly and I took Ayaka to The Ikebana Shop in Halifax where she was surrounded by familiar things -- Bento boxes, Totoro stickers & t'shirts; beautiful porcelain rice bowl and sake sets and these -- Haori, a type of short over-jacket.  

Elly's and Ayaka's don't look as striking as mine does because of the muted colors and the lack of contrast, I think.  But take it from me:  they were equally as beautiful.  Elly's is polyester ($59.95) and Ayaka and I are wearing 100% silk ($79.95).  Wouldn't that orange jacket be amazing with black pants, skirt, dress or just plain jeans?  So, I've decided to put aside $20 a month for it, domo arigato! どうもありがとう  

Then we headed to our favorite sushi restaurant - The B-Well Cafe. The food is always so good there and offered at such a good price.  Ayaka was very happy; and when her Unagi bowl arrived, she peered into it and sighed and said "Hello unagi:  I've missed you!"  
Grilled chicken with soba, BBQ'ed Unagi (eel) bowl, edamame & a green tea latte, and ( top right) the amazing Yam Dragon Roll -- warm, crispy yam tempura wrapped in avocado and drizzled with sweet soy sauce.  Sooo delicious! 

I then dropped the girls at the shopping centre while I headed to ...... yes, you're right!  Value Village.  I know they aren't as inexpensive as they used to be.  But I still find them economical, I'm probably not going to be found wearing what everyone else is wearing AND I did have a 30% off coupon.  (Pictures later this week.)

Then we were off to see Jurassic Park in 3D on an Imax screen; and although we were in the front row (Can you say whiplash?), it was so much fun to see those huge dinosaurs and the amazing detail in the leaves on the trees, etc.  

Last world stop before we headed home for this hungry crew was Montana ..........................
..... or I should say "Montana's Steak and Rib House".  The lines at the theatre were much too long for popcorn; so we were hungry little wranglers.  Mighty hungry!

Elly had steak & wonderful spicy shrimp; I had ribs and Ayaka had salmon.  The girls also had virgin straw-melon slushies - yummy!

While we waited, Elly showed off her artistic skills.  Here we have Ayaka on the left ... eating the bunny rabbit Elly first drew.  And Sandy is on the right where Elly is literally putting words in my mouth.  (But there's a lot of truth in those words.)

We had such a fun day together.  Eating together is about so much more than food, even when it's really good food.

I am truly blessed!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Easter Fun 'n' Food

The morning of Good Friday was spent in quiet reflection and calm as I thought about what Christ had done for me.  We don't hold a service at our church, but home with the kids still in bed was a nice place to be.  

That evening, my daughter and her boyfriend came for supper because they were spending Sunday with his family.  We had a delicious chicken lasagne.  And after dinner, we played Phase 10  and SkipBo.  Elly filled the table with her Korean snacks -- they were completely demolished by the games end!

Molly -- who NEVER wins at cards and is frequently quite verbally frustrated about it -- decided to adopt a positive attitude that evening ........................... and she won!  

Saturday afternoon while Elly was with friends, Ayaka and I prepared dessert for Sunday's meal. 

 I could only find hollow eggs at the Dollar Store (and you know how I feel about inferior chocolate!).  But we made do, and it was great fun to fill them with cheesecake and strawberry mousse.  The richness of the fillings made up for the chocolate egg.  Yummy!

There were six of us for Easter dinner and an extra friend joined us later for dessert. Dinner was delicious!

Prime rib, mashed potatoes & gravy, salad w/ strawberries & sunflower seeds, warm rolls & butter, and a lovely Butternut Squash Gratin.  I served dessert on my devilled egg dish but they were pretty heavenly tasting!  Everyone thought they were great.

All the chocolate bunnies have been eaten; so there's nothing to tempt me any longer.  But it was delightful to be with friends and family and to indulge.

Now, let's get on with healthy eating and with spring!

What was that white stuff on the ground this morning, Nova Scotia?


  Sorry! I thought I could return to a normal schedule. But my sense of 'normal' has changed. After the past 5 years of various ailm...