Saturday, September 25, 2010

No trouble

There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.

~Bernard-Paul Heroux

Friday, September 24, 2010

Must be

This must be what it feels like getting punched in the stomach...

This is what we like to do

Eat lil' chocolate chip cookies, munch on popcorn, sip tea, watch a scary movie and squeeze onto a couch together... ♥

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It was only time

The "tea" shirt is amazing, isn't it? I'm not sure how the whole tea cup thing works or how I feel about it yet. Still, I had to share it with you.

[Still on the radar...]

Just in case you were wondering, I've had two cups of Cinnamon Heart (my favorite morning tea right now!) and a White Malibu iced tea latte today, so far. (I ♥ tea!) xo

The power to evoke...

"Photographs get at the essence of things. They have the power to evoke, inform, and inspire. Photography is a democratic medium- global, inexpensive, and accessible. We like the immediacy and clarity of photography: we read photographs quickly, if not instantly, and know straight away whether we like or dislike them. Photographs are seductive, they feed our imagination about what we want to look like and how we want to live. They fire our aspirations. Photographers bear witness to events for us; they inform and educate us through their eyes. The camera preserves things that are now past, allowing us to see things that would otherwise be unseeable".

- Susan Sontag

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

First day of Autumn

The weather today was so strange - it was a mixed bag of humidity, overcast skies, refreshing breezes and sun. It was kind of like Summer trying to hang on as Autumn was trying to move in.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before but this is really my favorite time of year. To me, it feels like more of a new beginning now than in January. It just doesn't feel right to start something new when people are hibernating indoors all bundled up, waiting for the snow to melt (or maybe that's just me?). Anyway, this season feels like the start of something new and exciting. I hope yours is, too. xo

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beef Bourguignon

As many of you know, I am very fortunate to have a husband who not only enjoys cooking but is also very good at it. Lately, however, J has been busy working on a number of different film projects and no longer has the time. Normally, the thought of being in charge of feeding the family would be quite scary but thanks to a number of inspiring blogs (especially this one), I have been really intrigued and excited about the whole idea.

I've been fixated on the idea of making a pot roast - the kind I used to make many moons ago. So, I began scanning the web for new variations of the recipe when I came across a very fool-proof method that I just had to try only it wasn't for pot roast but for Beef Bourguignon (did I spell it right?).

I ran around buying the ingredients - cuts of beef, a bottle of red wine, broth, pearl onions - and also made pit-stops along the way. I went to David's Tea (sadly, their Pumpkin Spice blend was sold out), Cobs (they have a delicious sesame bread that J loves), Max's Deli (their homemade salsa is amazing and they also have Cape Vessey cheese) and a health food store to buy nutritional yeast flakes and veggie sausages for J. It was so nice to be out and about today with the sun shining. It was also quite warm (26 degrees).

The recipe, while quite easy in its execution, took 2 1/2 hours to cook. The kitchen smelled amazing but the dish was even more spectacular. Here is the recipe I used (courtesy of

1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1/4 c. butter
5 slices bacon, diced
2 lbs. beef (boneless), cut into 2-inch cubes
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
1 peppercorn
3/4 c. beef stock
1 1/2 c. red cooking wine
1/2 lb. whole sm. white onions

In a large pot, saute mushrooms in butter. Remove mushrooms and liquid, and set aside. Fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside. Add beef to bacon drippings. Brown it well. Blend in flour. Then add sugar, salt, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorn. Add beef stock and wine. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add onions, mushrooms and bacon. Simmer 1 1/2 hours longer. Add more cooking wine if liquid evaporates.

Serve over rice. Serves 4.

I was getting quite impatient at about the 2 hour mark but honestly, if you're able to wait an extra 30 minutes (or even longer) then you will end up with beef that is more tender and dare I say, more dang delicious. Trust me - wait. (The beef was tender enough to slice with a butter knife!)

So that was my little adventure today. I thought it was a good way to celebrate the coming of Autumn. I have a little feast planned for Thursday which will be all vegan so the three of us can enjoy it together.

Hope you're having a good month. And in case I don't talk to you, Happy Autumn Solstice to you! xo

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First day of school

I still can't believe it's already the first day of school! I'm really going to miss spending time with H during the day. We've been having lots of fun watching movies, baking, playing Boggle, laughing together, having lazy days and just being in each other's company. I hope we'll always be this close. ♥

Corndogs and other surprises

To celebrate the last day of summer holidays, I took H on a mystery outing. I gave her a few hints about where we were going which included 1) there would be a little bit of everything that she liked there, 2) we would probably eat, at some point and 3) she wouldn't be disappointed. She then asked, "Does it have anything to do with cheese?"

We took the subway and then a streetcar which I was sure would give away the final destination but luckily didn't. H mentioned during the ride that this streetcar passed by Ontario Place and the CNE but I guess didn't think I would actually take her to either of these places. When it was getting pretty obvious that we weren't getting off until the last stop, I tried to make up some excuse saying that I had missed the right stop. I even went so far as to start back-tracking by walking away from the CNE but finally let out the surprise. H was so happy and excited and she squeezed my arm several times as she thanked me.

We didn't actually go on any rides but just wandered around the grounds and to Exhibition Hall. We ate corn dogs and fries, bought cotton candy and the "ice-cream of the future" (Dip'n'Dots, I think they're called). We spent the most time at the games trying to win prizes. I was both annoyed and intrigued by the carnies as they tried to manipulate us to spend more money and make us forget that we required change back through their obvious distractions. They're a skilled breed and I was mesmerized by their fast talking.

One of the highlights of the excursion was finding wooden spoons. I'm not talking about those huge spoons that come in salad sets but the size of teaspoons and tiny dessert spoons or the kind used for eating chestnuts. I first saw them on the site of one of my favorite bloggers and have become obsessed with them since. It was a very happy day for both H and I. :)

J missed out on all the fun since he had to work but was nice enough to pick us up to go to H's next surprise - dinner at The Real Jerk. H told J all about our day and then gave one of her prizes to him (a stuffie of one of the South Park kids) which was very sweet and touching.


Monday, September 6, 2010

So this is camping...

J and I are totally not the camping type. For us, the idea of staying at a hotel and climbing into fresh, cool linens beats the thought of sleeping outdoors in a tent any day. Of course, this might have to do with the fact that I can't imagine even assembling a tent, let alone sleeping in one (I fear that I'll be ripped to shreds by raccoons or bears as I'm fast asleep). However, J thought that it would be a good idea to take H to a campsite and "rough it" because he vaguely remembered camping as a child and thought it would be a good experience for her. As a compromise, we rented a teeny-tiny cabin at a nice little campsite. H brought a friend along on the adventure.

Here were some of the highlights:

Drive-in Theatre
I'm still not convinced that this was a coincidence but J claims that it was. Whatever the case is, we all loved going even if the movie wasn't the greatest (The Sorcerer's Apprentice). We brought all kinds of snacks and drinks with us and cozied up in the car. We put the seats down in the back so the girls could spread out while J and I sat in the front. During intermission, J asked if the girls could have a look at the projector which the projectionist graciously agreed to. I wonder how many times he's been asked this. I'm sure it hasn't been many as we had a very lengthy and descriptive review of the projector including its history and that of the films and reels used (even J thought it went on a bit too long).

J took the girls to rent bikes and then booted around the camp. (He's such a fun Dad!)

We were so lucky to have the last three hottest days of summer! The girls were thrilled they could go swimming every day and listen to their favorite tunes blaring in the background.

Or rather, learning how to start a barbeque. :) Now that I'm back on meat, I must say that I was thoroughly enjoying the hamburgers and hotdogs on the open grill. We also had some big, fat juicy veggie sausages and barbequed corn. Mmm.

Walking in nature
The girls took us on a tour of places they discovered around the site. It reminded me of when I used to live in Vancouver and go hiking every weekend. (And yes, I really did that when I lived there.)

The Fire Pit
What's camping without a fire?! Of course, we roasted marshmallows and made smores. (Who would've ever thought to roast marshmallows? Genius!) We also took turns adding kindle to the fire and poking it. Good times.

H had been asking us to take her fishing during the year so we were excited to learn that we could rent a boat and some rods. J picked up some juicy and feisty nightcrawlers which I placed onto the girls' hooks while J rowed out to the middle of the lake. It was so peaceful as we were the only ones out. It was also really beautiful. The girls didn't end up catching anything but they did get some nibbles on their lines which was just as good for them. H was so happy to go and absolutely loved it. My only regret was not taking any pictures. We were sure the camera would get wet. (Sigh) Next time... :)

Mad Men
We agreed to let H and her friend watch a movie on my computer in the cabin while J and I cozied up in the car to watch Mad Men and Hung on his computer. (Oh, did I mention there was also Wi-Fi at this camp? Heh heh. We really didn't log onto it much but the fact that it was there was quite comforting.)

J, H and I agreed that we would come back again to the little cabin again next year since we all had such fun. And this time, we'll know not to bring so much food and I won't be scared about not having a bathroom in the cabin. :)