Category Archives: Life

New Year’s Resolutions 2014

So today, I went to the gym because I had an appointment with my personal trainer. I was expecting the place to be crowded, what with new year’s resolutions and all. But strangely, it was pretty empty – so easy to get on a treadmill and also a bench in the weights area. Maybe everyone’s resolutions start tomorrow, on a regular non-holiday day?

Personally, I’m glad that I don’t have “working out more” as one of my resolutions this year. For some reason, I think if I had it as a resolution, I would have given up pretty quickly along with everyone else, never to go back again. I like that I just started for no real good reason.

Anyway, here are my resolutions. For fun, I should revisit this post in 6 weeks time (and then 6 months and next year) to see how they’re all holding up.

1) Eat quinoa, salads and/or fruits at least once a day. Rather than say I’m cutting out bad foods, I think it’ll be easier to add good foods. And maybe I’ll be too full from the good food to eat as much of the bad food? Hopefully my skin and tummy issues will improve with all these good foods?

2) Write on my blog (this or Shop With Anna) at least once a week. I need to sharpen my writing skills which are non-existent at worst and mediocre at best. I enjoy writing but I think I give myself a lot of pressure to either write a lot, or don’t bother to write at all. Or write something super interesting and original, or what’s the point? I think it’s better to write something though than nothing, at the very least for practice. I just find that as a I get older, it’s getting harder to find the right words to express what it is I’m trying to say.

3) Finish reading 3 unfinished books on my Kobo and afterwards, read a book once a month. Again, I love reading but for some reason I’ve let it completely slip off my radar. I’m just not reading. I swear I’ve got a dozen half finished books on my Kobo – some I stopped reading because it wasn’t grabbing or keeping my attention. Some I stopped reading because I got distracted.

Ok that’s all I got for now. No great personal changes I’m trying to do. Just be a better version of who I am already. What are your resolutions for this year?

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Thanksgiving Live (ish) Blogging

6:45am: Wake up early because you didn’t prep anything the night before. Make some coffee.
7:00am: Begin making scalloped potatoes. Take out all ingredients needed for scalloped potatoes. Frantically look around kitchen for slow cooker. Double check cupboards, den, secret hiding places.
7:03am: Wake up husband to ask if he knows where slow cooker is. Husband is first panicked to be woken up, then visibly annoyed.
7:04am: Husband points to slow cooker hidden in deep recesses of cupboard beside sink. Husband goes back to bed muttering un-Thanksgiving appropriate curses under his breath.
7:05am: Actually begin making scalloped potatoes.

Scalloped Potatoes Recipe*

  • 9 medium potatoes, peeled & sliced very thin
  • 2.5 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups grated cheddar
  • 3 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2-1/2 cups milk
Grease slow cooker and spread about 1/3 of the potato slices in the bottom as evenly as possible. Sprinkle with about half of each of the flour, salt, pepper, and cheese. Cover this with another 1/3 of the potato slices, then sprinkle with the rest of the flour, salt, pepper, and cheese. Finally, cover with the rest of the potato slices, dot the top with butter & pour milk over everything. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
Makes approx 8-10 servings

7:14am: Remember that there’s coffee in the pot! Pour a cup and relax, reading up on latest Kim Kardashian gossip. Realize that her dress ain’t all that bad. Check out Revolve Clothing to see if there’s anything similar to it for sale.
7:18am: Finish coffee and have to tear self away from computer to go back to scalloped potatoes.
8:15am: Turn on slow cooker and relax knowing that the most time-sensitive dish is cooking. Begin cleaning up kitchen.

Only 6 hours and 59 minutes more to go!

Only 6 hours and 59 minutes more to go!

8:22am: Fill up dishwasher, proud of how awesome the timing has been this morning. Suddenly realize that husband may not appreciate the noisy dishwasher sounds this early in the morning.
8:23am: Close bedroom door of your 1 bedroom & den 700 sq ft condo, hoping to drown out as much noise as possible.

8:30am: After washing the rest of not-dishwasher-safe stuff, settle down to computer and relax.
9:04am: Begrudgingly start on Chocolate Truffle Torte dessert.

Chocolate Truffle Torte*
Cake:
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • 5 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate melted and cooled
  • 1-1/2 cups whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

First, make the cake part. With al electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar on high speed until thick and light in colour, about 5 minutes.

Gradually add the flour, cornstarch, and cocoa powder. Pour into a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan, and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool, run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen, and remove cake from the pan. Slice a thin layer from the top of the cake to flatten the surface. Chop the slice up into crumbs and set it aside. (Try not to eat it.) Put the rest of the cake back into the pan.

Spread the raspberry jam over the naked top of the cake layer in the pan. Pour the cold whipping cream into a large-ish bowl, and beat with al electric mixer until thick. Don’t keep beating it after it’s already whipped because you will end up with butter, which is very nice, but not what you want. Very carefully, fold the melted and cooled chocolate with the whipped cream, mixing gently but thoroughly. A few streaky parts are OK. Spread this over the raspberry layer. Sprinkle the crumbled cake bits over top of the chocolate whipped cream. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours.

Just before serving, remove the sides of the springform pan and place the cake on a plate. You can sprinkle the top with icing sugar if you feel like it. But you don’t have to.

Makes 8 to 10 spectacular servings.

*Taken from Evelyn Raab’s Basic Cooking (see above for link)

9:05am: Looking up how to flour a cake pan. Thank God for google and wikiHow.

9:12am: Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric beater for 5 mins.
9:13am Realize exactly how long 5 minutes of holding an electric beater really is. Arm is getting sore.
9:14am: Still beating. Good God! Arm feels like it is going to fall off.
9:15am: Only 2 more mins to go. No longer have feeling in left arm.
9:16am: 1 more minute and have no resorted to holding beater with both hands.
9:17am: Done! Proceed with recipe.

9:25am: Put cake into oven and set timer. Sit back and relax while looking up best way to melt chocolate squares.

9:52am: Oven timer goes off waking you up from your cloudy state of mind. Where did the time go? Realize you’ve spent 27 mins clicking around on Facebook rather than being productive. So what else is new?

10:14am: Spread jam on to cake.
10:15am: Only manage to spread jam onto half the cake before jam runs out. Uses a different jam. Different flavour, different texture. Wonder if anyone will notice. Convince self that even if family members do notice, it is (practically) illegal for family members to point it out. Instead, family must smile and pretend it tastes good. Please see following instructional video.

10:30am: Finish making filling for torte. Feel like culinary master. Neglect to mention use of Cool Whip rather than real whipping cream on blog.

10:31am: ‘Fess up to Cool Whip on blog. Rationalize that Cool Whip is lactose free and therefore the smarter choice. Smooth out filling on torte.

10:40am: Plastic wrap torte and place in fridge. Reminder to self: remember to bring to Thanksgiving Dinner at Brother’s place tonight. Clean up.

10:52am: Relax because next dish should take approximately 30 mins to finish… maybe?

10:53am: Runs to check recipe for yams.

11:10am: Take off old chipped nail polish. Remind self to try out new Wicked nail polish from Sephora.

11:15am: Take shower.
11:17am: Lather shampoo. Remember that you haven’t exercised since Friday. Briefly consider going for quick run later.
11:18am: Decide that quick run is a sucky idea as who wants to shower again? Keep lathering shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.
11:21am: Finish shower and towel off. Feel pang of guilt about exercise. Lie to self about exercising tomorrow.

12:00pm: Husband offers to make lunch.

12:30pm: Make smoothie to hold off hunger pangs while waiting for lunch.
12:35pm: Finish smoothie. Contemplate chips.
12:36pm: Start painting nails to keep from digging into chips.

12:50pm: Wait for polish to dry.
12:55pm: Still waiting for polish to dry. Still waiting for lunch. Put on “Wizard of Oz” movie to distract self.

1:14pm: Husband finishes making lunch. Am famished and lunch smells good. Husband suggests you wait until nail polish is fully dry before eating. Laugh off suggestion since you’ve been painting nails for how long? You can certainly handle holding a sandwich.

1:20pm: Smudge three nails on left hand. Husband refrains from saying, “I told you so”.

1:35pm: Finish lunch. Remove smudged polish. Remind self to apply quick drying top coat before continuing.

Nail polish accident

Nail polish accident. Gangster pose.

2:11pm: Finish manicure fix up. Finish procrastinating. Begin Holiday Spiced Sweet Potatoes  (Yams).

Holiday Spiced Sweet Potatoes (Yams)*

  • 3 pounds (about 6 medium sized) red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Peel & cube sweet potatoes.  Bring to a boil, approximately 20 mins. Once potatoes are cooked (easily pierced with a fork), drain and place into large bowl.

Add brown sugar, butter, lemon juice, grated orange peel, ground cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg to sweet potato pulp. Using a potatoe masher, mash until mixture is smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Can be made a day ahead.

*Modified from Elise Bauer’s Simply Recipes.

2:15pm: Realize you’ve bought white sweet potatoes instead of orange. Go with it. Theme of day: “Oh Well”.

2:59pm: Potatoes not fully cooked. Add 5 more minutes. Hope to be done soon.

3:15pm: Made world’s ugliest potatoes. See evidence below:

 

World's Ugliest Potatoes. Note to self: Buy orange sweet potatoes next time.

World’s Ugliest Potatoes. Note to self: Buy orange sweet potatoes next time.

 

3:46pm: Must. Nap.

4:15pm: Wake up from awesome nap. Considering skipping dinner altogether to continue awesome nap. Reconsider.

4:45pm: Frantically organize food and face. Leave home for Surrey.

5:20pm: Make it to Surrey in one piece. Own father cuts you off in traffic and proceeds to drive like an old man. Because he is an old man.
5:21pm: Mom begins lecture you about your life and what you could do better. Realize you were better off staying in bed.

5:45pm: Start dinner.

5:55pm: Finish dinner.
5:59pm: Go back for 2nds.
6:00pm: Slip into food coma.

7:00pm: Eat dessert. Realize it’s too sweet and all of that effort was for naught.

7:33pm: Attempt to start a round of karaoke. Thwarted by Wheel of Fortune. Night is still young.

7:45pm: Play Hungry Hungry Hippos while waiting for software updates.

7:54pm: End up doing Karaoke! Night is starting to look up.

9:27pm: Heading back home. Have a good night everyone!

 

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Food coma

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And For My 32nd Birthday…

For my 32nd birthday yesterday, I was given a great present. A reminder of a big life lesson. I was reminded that I need to keep my happiness a priority in life.

By nature, I’m non-confrontational, which may be nicer way of saying I’m a doormat. If someone’s being mean to me, I’ll usually just be quiet and swallow it. I’m not someone who calls you out on your bad behaviour even if I think it’s really shitty.

This was the situation I was presented with last night, hanging out with some coworkers after a few drinks. One of them was being a dick, acting more aggressive and cutting than usual towards me. I was feeling confused and hurt by it, but just tried to shrug it off as me taking things too seriously. (“Just let it go,” I kept repeating to myself.) But halfway through the night, I came to the realization. I don’t have to be there and keep taking it.

So I asked my friend to take me home. I know some of the others wanted me to stay. It was my birthday and the night was still young (not even 9pm). But I didn’t want to stay so someone could keep throwing little jabs and biting remarks at me. I didn’t want to call him on it, but I didn’t need to stay and take it.

So I left.

Because I know I won’t say anything, but there’s no need to pretend everything is fine.

Because my own happiness is important to me.

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