Tuesday, January 31, 2012


** There is a box of Special K Vanilla Almond in the cupboard above my fridge. And often eat a bowl drenched in soy milk while laying in bed watching Firefly/Castle/HIMYM/FridayNightLights before falling asleep.

** I have made next-to-no progress on the painting of my base boards. That whole “base boards are thisclose to the carpet” situation has proven to be a giant pain in the azz. (Yes, I bought the little tool…but it’s still a pain).


** Sunday night I made a pan of Rice Krispie Treats as snacks for the week.  Yesterday I threw them away because they didn’t turn out.  How do you eff up cereal, melted marshmallows and butter?

** You may find a case of Diet Ginger Ale in my fridge.  Sometimes it’s OK to drink artificial sweetener.  Like when you read 8,001 food blogs that feature cupcakes and chocolate covered bacon and you need something to stop your sweet tooth from jumping off a bridge.

** I didn’t shave my legs the entire time Michael was in Costa Rica. What? It’s not like it’s skirt season around here.  (He’s home tonight BTW!)


The second post for the #CanadianBloggerSeries is up over on Heidi’s blog.  This week’s installation comes from Lisa at Smores N More and she tells us about her love of Ontario and a great snowshoeing adventure.  Pop over and check the girls out and tell us what you love about Canada.  :)


Got any confessions you just HAVE to get out and tell me??

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Consider January Joined!

Two days left in the month and I can safely say I hit my workout goals for January! 

What were those goals?  Well, I didn’t want to scare myself away from the gym again so I kept it simple…

  • Some kind of activity at least 4 days per week.
  • Preferably at least 3 of those days at the gym.
  • Basic cardio with lots of stretching.

Aside from the fact that I got the plague immediately following Day 1 and ended up a little delayed at the get-go…I did it!

If you count the next two days (which obviously I do!) I completed 19 activity days in January.  13 gym days, 5 extra walks, 1 at home yoga session.  Not too shabby, eh?!

I do have to admit that this last week started out a little shakey…I lost my motivation for a few days at the beginning of the week, but on Wednesday I did drag my buns out to walk the dog and from there on it was all good!

Wednesday – doggie walk to the park…


Thursday – quiet early day workout…


Friday – happy to burn off some calories in anticipation of dinner


Saturday – rare weekend trip to the gym (20 extra minutes!)…


Sunday – rainy day walk through the dog park and along the beach.  Chibi was pretty stoked to be soaked!  :)


So, two more days of this January cardio build-up then we get into Fit February.  This means the re-introduction of strength training.  Guess I’d better get to work on that plan!

Any other January Joiners hold it up through the month?  What’s your motivation?  or is anyone in need of a little motivation?

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tweetup Meatup


So yeah.  I think I’ve said about a dozen times now to anyone that would listen that I wanted to try to get away from restaurant reviews.  No real reason other than that I was starting to feel obligated to say nice things, drag my camera everywhere, and annoy my friends and dates by getting pictures before anyone touched their meals.  It’s cumbersome you know!

But here’s the thing.  Sometimes restaurant adventures are definitely worth mentioning.  If it’s particularly delicious, or especially fun, or something a little different it might warrant dragging my bigass camera out for the night.

Case in point: a Tweetup of food loving Victorians at a newly reopened local BBQ joint.  Smoken Bones Cookshack.


I’m pretty sure the rest of the world thinks Victoria is full of West Coast hippies that eat a lot of granola, and kale, and fresh fish…but oddly enough our little city has become home to a wide variety of barbecue these last few years.  We have multiple places to get our hands on pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, and macaroni and cheese. 

Smoken Bones has recently moved from their suburban home in a strip mall to a spacious new location downtown in The Hudson building…and has taken to social media in a grand fashion.  All it took was a handful of tweets and overnight a Tweetup for Meat was born.


Here’s a tip.  You want great service and special attention at a local eatery?  Arrange a party with 25 other food lovers who like to tweet and blog their faces off.  Scott and his staff looked after us like we were rock stars.


He arranged a few pre-dinner snackies for us and brought us a round of bacon cocktail shots.  Yep, bacon cocktails.  They make their own bacon vodka, mix it with roasted pineapple puree and a weeeee bit of serrano pepper and call it a margarita.  The C’moniwannaleia.  And it’s delicious. 

He also took us for a tour of the rest of the construction zone under The Hudson and told us a lovely rumour that next to the new 2% Jazz Coffee there just might be a local bakery going in. 


And then we dove into dinner. 

Smoken_Bones (16)

This ain’t no dainty dinner spot.  Bring your short sleeved shirt, your ponytail, and your appetite.  You are going to have BBQ sauce on your nose and meat stuck in your teeth.  And you are going to love that.  I opted for the pulled pork sandwich because that’s my favourite barbecue joint meal to try…and for something completely different I ordered up the pan-fried cabbage as my side.

That sammich was LOADED.  Pulled pork was falling out from every side…to the point where I was eating up the meat with a fork.  Then I rolled up my sleeves and dove in for the first greasy bite and was whisked off to juicy, flavour heaven.  I’d call it the second best pulled pork I’ve ever had.

And that cabbage.  It created a mess of butter in my dish and made me feel guilty for eating my vegetable this way but it’s a fun and tasty option for sure. 

Smoken_Bones (17)

As for portion and pricing I thought this meal was just right.  My basket was $10, it wasn’t ridiculously overfilling, nor did I feel like I could eat more.  Paired with a beer it’s a good meal.  Sure, it’s not healthy but if your are heading to the Cookshack I suspect you weren’t hoping for kale salad and quinoa now were ya?! 

While we stuffed our faces we also kept our fingers clean and tweeting during a round of #Cookshack BBQ Trivia.  Scott posted rounds of questions for us to answer and the player with the most points won a gift certificate to the restaurant.  Second runner up got themselves a pair of tickets to a Victoria Royals hockey game.

Of course, no restaurant tasting would be complete without trying out dessert.  Especially when the dessert is what got us all talking about going to Smoken Bones in the first place.  Bacon Ice Cream.  WHAT?  You thought the Bacon Cocktail was the crazy item on the night’s menu didn’t you?


Caramelized bacon wrapped around vanilla based ice cream.  I think my friend Jen described it best when she said the bacon reminded her of that almost-burnt-marshmallow-taste.  You know, when it’s thisclose to overcooked and damn near perfect?  That was the bacon.  Smoky, candied, super fun.

Smoken_Bones (15)

So yeah.  Now you can see why I just had to haul James Dean with me and report back to you all on this particular restaurant.  A great time was had by all, the staff looked after us well, the food was delicious, and the cocktail is worth a second visit.

Note:  The Tweetups will likely become monthly events so if you missed this one, follow @smokenbones411 on Twitter and watch out for the next one. 

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cheap & Tasty Kale Pesto

I don’t know why I’ve not thought to do this before now.  I spent five pretty fun years working in a funky restaurant in my late teens where one of my favourite things to eat was a grilled cheese sammich with pesto…and somehow I have not had one since.  Really?!

How did this happen?!


Probably because I’m too cheap frugal to make real basil pesto and it’s not something I think would be good from a jar. 

I’ve made spinach pesto in the past so I thought kale would probably work too.  Turns out I’m right…it’s super yumm-o!  Of course, it also turns out that I did indeed see the idea on Pinterest, so I can’t claim full recognition for this genius idea.  Dammit.

But at the very least I whipped up my recipe before I looked at my boards and confirmed my suspicions that I truly don’t have any original ideas. :)


Kale and Almond Pesto

yields 8 servings, 1/4 cup each

inspired by Raw Food Recipes


  • 1 large bunch fresh kale, washed, trimmed from stems, and torn into large pieces (approximately 8 loose cups)
  • 1/4 cup whole almonds, pan toasted
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup pecorino cheese, grated (parmesan or asiago would work too!)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • optional: pinch of cayenne


  1. Using a food processor or good blender chop the almonds.  Remove and set aside.  In the same processor chop the kale. 
  2. Add the almonds back to the processor along with the minced garlic, lemon juice and zest, a liberal sprinkle of salt and pepper, and cayenne (if using).  Whirl in processor until well minced and mixed. 
  3. Set processor to low speed and drizzle in olive oil slowly to saturate.  Scrape down sides if necessary, then add grated cheese and whirl just to combine.

Note:  I kept the olive oil quantity light to help keep the calories down, but if you want a true wet pesto add more oil.

MyFitnessPal tells me this recipe works out to around 135 calories per serving.


Personally I think the almonds are what make this work, but the fresh, rich taste of the kale lends itself quite well to the mix too!  Whatever it is I think I might like it better than regular pesto.  It’s probably because almonds and kale are a fraction the cost of basil and pine nuts.  Cheaper tastes better!


Now my mind is spinning with ideas for this bowl of green goodness.

Start by mixing a large scoop of the pesto with a spoonful of olive oil mayo, then slather it on your favourite bread (you know mine was Squirrelly) with a layer of old white cheddar and make yourself the bestest grilled cheese EVER.

Yes, EVER.  Possibly better than that dreamy sammich of my teen years.


What are your favourite uses for pesto?

I plan to make pasta with goat cheese, pesto bean dip, and about six more of those sandwiches.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012


is National Peanut Butter Day.  How do I know?  Because it’s the hottest topic among food bloggers on Twitter!  Oddly I actually bought peanut butter for the first time in months today.  Only because my Trader Joe’s almond butter is nearing it’s end and I haven’t managed to talk anyone into trekking across the border to replenish it for me.  PB will have to suffice.  I suppose.


I’m making Kale Pesto.  I feel like this is brilliant.  And cheaper than real pesto.  If someone else thought of it before me please don’t ruin my fun by telling me.  I like to think I come up with ideas on my own.  I plan to smoooosh it into a grilled cheese sandwich.  See!  Brilliant.

I am tackling the first of the to-do projects I gave myself for the New Year.  Painting my base boards has only been on my to-do list for about 14 months.  Not that I’m counting.  It involves a lot of painter’s tape and crawling around on my floor…not to mention moving my couch, TV stand and desk…so we’ll see just how much of this project gets done before Michael comes back from vacation and I enlist him for the heavy lifting.


the first post for the #CanadianBloggerSeries went up over on Heidi’s blog, The Balance Project.  For obvious reasons I love her blog name.  For other obvious reasons I love this blog series.  Proud Canadians in the house!  Today’s post is all about Saskatchewan and courtesy of A Dash of Meg.  Stay tuned for posts every Tuesday, including one by yours truly next month.

I want a cupcake.  That is all.

What did you do today?

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Monday, January 23, 2012

I’m still a January Joiner

Are you?!  How is your healthy lifestyle holding up now that we are a few weeks in?  I’m struggling to see results and let me tell you it’s annoying, but I’m keepin’ on keepin’ on!

Another week of cardio…this time with RUNNING.  Oh lordy.  I decided to up things from my speed walking and get my heart pumping so hard it felt like it would pop out of my mouth.

Monday – new workout – basic HIIT…


  • Warm-Up = 3 mins (3.0 – 3.5mph)
  • 8x 1 min jogging (4.5mph), 30 sec running (5.5mph), 1:30 min walking (3.5 mph) = 24 mins
  • Cool down = 3 mins (3.5 – 2.5 mph)
  • TOTAL = 30 minutes

Wednesday – same workout – new playlist…


Saturday – same workout – forgot my socks!


And since yesterday I spent my morning fighting a harrowing windstorm on the highway home from a friend’s house I decided I wasn’t going out in #yyjWindpocalypse again and did some yoga at home.

Sundayyogadownload.com – Shoulder Opening Flow…


This week is more of the same with the addition of the rowing machine.  Preparing my upper body for the return of strength training in February.

What’s your favourite treadmill workout?

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Hour


After starting a Friday afternoon off with a cider tasting with dear friends you can’t very well just call it a night.  More plans must be made.  Especially when an important birthday has just passed without a celebration and several bottles of sparkling cider have just been purchased.


We can’t let Tiffaney get away without a girlie birthday dinner!


Unpictured: herby cheeeeese, mixed olives and crack-crackers.

Bigass roasted beet and apple salad with candied pecans and fresh orange juice dressing.

Butternut squash gnocchi with brown butter and sage from La Piola.


And homemade birthday cake…complete with sour cherry buttercream. 


Also unpictured (geeee, how did that happen?): mass quantities of Sea Cider.

Our potlucking skills have become excellent.  Talk about team effort!

Happy Birthday Tiffaney!!

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sea Cider Friday

Well I think I’ve figured out how a Friday afternoon should be spent more often.  A little early exit from work, a short drive, a crisp Winter day, some good girlfriends, and a wee cider tasting.  Sounds good, no?


Shockingly I have been holding on to a Groupon for Sea Cider for almost a whole year.  I guess “we’ll go sometime this Summer” means “we’ll go before it expires”.  Thankfully I was not alone in my slacking so there were two Groupons to be used up which meant four of us gals could take part.


Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse is just a short drive out the highway where it sits on a lovely little piece of land complete with a gorgeous view.  Even on a foggy snowy day it’s crisp and peaceful.


Choosing to go late on a Friday afternoon worked out quite well…we pretty much had the place to ourselves.


Included in our great Groupon deal was a little local snack plate…breads, cheese, chorizo, salmon, chutney and hazlenut brittle…all from local foodie artisans.


Good thing for that bread and cheese…we needed it for our long flights!  Eight ciders to taste and a sample of Hot Buttered Rumrunner.  I was glad to share!


I have tried several of Sea Ciders specialties before and was hoping to walk away with a new favourite…but turns out I’m a creature of habit.  Still pretty much in love with Pippins, which is strong and off-dry but has a lightly sweet fruity touch to it.  Rumrunner is still a close second but because of it’s stronger flavours I like it with dessert (or you know, in front of a roaring fire…if I had a fireplace).  :)


A perfect way to launch into a busy weekend…now if we could just make short Fridays happen on a regular basis.   


Wouldn’t that just be the life? *sigh*

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Snowpocalypse Chowder

Well, our snow appears to have stopped falling from the sky but is showing no intention of leaving the ground any time soon.  I ventured out to the gym yesterday and was shocked that so many of the roads are still so bad.  Driveable but gross!  Slushy business.

Nice time for my darling boyfriend to head off for sunny South America, no?  I knew that whole business of trotting off to Greece without him would come back to haunt me.  Next time I need to be smart enough to book my warm and lovely vacation during Victoria’s annual snowpocalypse.


Alas, someone’s gotta stay home and pay her mortgage so instead of snorkelling with tropical fishies I’ll stay here and eat copious amounts of soul warming chowder.  Take THAT silly sunny vacation.


Roasted Butternut Squash Chowder

yields 6 servings

adapted from Food for my Family (thanks Pinterest!)


  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 baking potatoes, peeled and diced into bite-size cubes
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage, chiffonade
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • pinch cayenne
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 carton (900 ml) chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups roasted butternut squash, pureed
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp cold water

Tip: Add water 1-2 tbsp at a time to help the process of pureeing the squash.


  1. In a large pot, cook bacon over medium heat until browned and becoming crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pot to rest on paper towel. 
  2. In the same pot add carrots, celery and onions.  Stir to coat and sauté until al dente.  While vegetables are rendering down stir in garlic.
  3. Add potatoes, sage, paprika, cayenne and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Stir to combine and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Stir in chicken broth and water, cover and bring to a boil.  Once boiling remove the lid, reduce the heat, and simmer until potatoes are fork tender…approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in pureed butternut squash and whipping cream.  Taste for seasoning and adjust if desired.  Add corn starch mixture, stirring continuously while returning chowder to a light boil.  Reduce heat once bubbling begins.  When desired thickness is reached remove pot from heat, stir in reserved bacon, and let stand 5 minutes before serving.


Don’t nibble on the bacon while you are working on the soup!  You need it.  If you are a bacon monster, make extra.


Fill your belly full of this delicious creaminess before pulling on your fuzzy lined boots and your devil horn toque and your big red mittens and your puffiest Winter coat to take your hairless dog out for her business.

It wards off the cold.

Almost as good as a trip to Costa Rica.


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