Friday, August 08, 2014

Eggplant and zucchini for dummies


I received a small eggplant and a small zucchini from my vegetable subscription and panicked. But then I hacked together some recipes from Pinterest, mostly this one, and actually made something that tasted good.

Ingredients:
1 small eggplant
1 small zucchini
panko bread crumbs
shredded cheese
olive oil
45 - 60 min

Slice eggplant on diagonal, discard ends, dip both sides of the slices in olive oil, layer on a pan and sprinkle with salt, bake in 400 deg F oven for 10-15 minutes.

While the eggplant is in the oven, slice and salt the zucchini. After 10-15 minutes have passed, wipe the salt and water off - the salt draws out moisture so your dish doesn't get too watery.

Pour some olive oil (enough so that bottom of pan is covered) and sprinkle herbs (... dried basil?) in a pan (e.g. glass 9x9). Plop in the veggies. Sprinkle on enough panko crumbs to cover. Drizzle some more olive oil. Sprinkle a decent amount of shredded cheese.

Bake in that 400 deg oven for about 30 minutes, probably longer if you're using bigger vegetables.



The original main recipe had tomatoes, which I didn't have around.

Edit: Tried it with a few cloves of garlic, also tasted awesome. Because roasted garlic is amazing. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Having fun isn't hard... when you've got a library card!





How much do I love our local library? Let me count the ways:

  1. THE APP. When does the library open? When are my books due? Is this CD in the catalogue? How much closer am I to borrowing the Frozen Blu-Ray or the latest Rainbow Rowell? When does it open again?  Can I renew everything that hasn't been requested by another patron because I was overly ambitious while borrowing?
  2. HOOPLA DIGITAL. Listen to a giant selection of music for free to a max of 10 albums per month? Yes please!
  3. Super cheap DVD rentals. A buck and some change for an adult DVD, two something for a Blu-Ray, and FREE children's movies. You heard it here first: libraries are killing Blockbuster.
  4. I can request materials for pick-up at any library, and return them to any library!
  5. SO MUCH FREE PROGRAMMING.
  6. MAGAZINE TIME. I haven't even taken advantage of Emagazines yet because my book reading list is two miles long.
  7. Preschool reader packs - You can borrow whole backpacks containing pre-selected preschool books!

AND MUCH MUCH MORE. I love you libraries!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Spanakopita


Spanakopita is not actually that hard to make. Would I lie to you? The hardest parts are the waiting (defrosting) and finding the ingredients on sale.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg phyllo pastry (defrost in fridge overnight) - e.g. our compliments or president's choice (PC has recipes and roll-up pictures inside)
  • 1 pkg frozen spinach (defrost in fridge overnight)
  • 175 g (3/4 c) ricotta cheese (most recipes say feta in brine, drained, but I use straight ricotta)
  • 1/2 pkg (125 g) cream cheese (light or regular)
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) or so melted butter
  • ~1 clove of garlic, finely chopped or ~1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • pine nuts are pricy... but 1/4 c toasted & chopped pine nuts if you're feeling rich
I made a triple batch of filling for a double batch of phyllo pastry... and I still ran out of filling.
Don't over-stuff!


Plot:
  1. Defrost the phyllo and spinach in the fridge overnight (or on the counter for a few hours if you don't have that much time)
  2. Squeeze the defrosted spinach to remove the excess water
  3. Mix the spinach, ricotta, cream cheese, and garlic (and pine nuts, you millionaire) in a food processor, or with a spatula and a lot of muscle. If you're muscling it, leave the cream cheese on the counter for awhile to soften it up
  4. Lay out one sheet of phyllo (long side horizontal), brush melted butter across it, and add another sheet of phyllo on top
  5. Cut into columns (4, but you can do more), add about 1 tsp of filling to the bottom of each strip, and roll up into triangles. Brush a little bit of melted butter before the final roll-up to glue it all together.
  6. Brush with melted butter and bake in a 375 deg F oven (parchment paper = easier clean-up) for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. OR, you can freeze them (on a cookie sheet, then packaged up, be careful if they stick together), then to bake, brush with melted butter and bake in a 375 deg F oven for more than 20-25 minutes until golden brown and the filling is hot. You could alternately bake them and then store in the fridge and re-heat later, but they might get a little soggy.

You can dip these in tzatziki... if you can find some. They are pretty decent on their own.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Don't wear dumpster jeans and other life advice

the blind leading the blind - Advice from Alexi, via imboycrazy.com.

A set of life and love advice for the ages. Read with your tongue firmly planted in your cheek and many grains of salt - that is, as best you can while cheering and/or laughing your face off and/or being offended (only if your dark sense of humour is out to lunch).

One warning, there is occasionally some NSFW stuff - just don't blame me if the boss walks by and there's a bare rack on your screen (and not the gun kind, Wayne Campbell).


the blind leading the blind, RRR edition:

  1. don't friend the people you work with on facebook unless you work in different provinces. you will not come across as funny at coffee break if your coworkers figure out you recycle your facebook status updates as punchlines the next day!
  2. if your important possessions are stored in the basement, seal them in rubbermaid containers. we live in a gd floodplain, people!
  3. save save save save your money. but spend some of it on silly, semi-ridiculous things (e.g. fancy shampoo, candy from overseas, multiple trips to fictional vampire locations)
  4. don't pick up hitchhikers, they could be psychos that chop you up! especially don't pick up Quebecers named Frank in Moosomin, who are on their way home to Montreal from cherry-picking in B.C., and definitely don't leave them near the turn-off to Kenora when you're almost in Winnipeg, even if they left their Groovy Aardvark album in the car.
  5. camisoles. in every colour. (except the gross colours)
  6. memorize at least one Klingon phrase to use when the opportunity arises. I like "nuqDaq yuch Dapol" which translates to "Where do you keep the chocolate?"
  7. the best time of day to show off intense yoga poses that push your limits is right when you roll out of bed in the morning. that's when you're at your stretchiest.*
  8. I don't understand the question, and I won't respond to it.
  9. if you have to check luggage at the airport, you're packing too much stuff! carrying it on is 100% less hassle, as long as all your liquids fit in teeny 100ml containers and you leave the kitchen sink at home. checking some luggage on the way home is fine if you did a little shopping, I mean, who cares if it gets lost on the way home, you are returning to a place that already has your underwear.
  10. buying things that are brand new and actually look brand new is the new black! why are you paying extra for jeans that look like they came out of a dumpster?

*that was one of the sarcastic ones, just fyi, don't try this at home

[Originally posted April 17, 2011]

Wide Mouth Mason

I have so many stories that I could tell from these shows. Some stories remain only in my head, some of them have been recorded by video footage, or photos, or long, winding written entries from my teen years and beyond (all properly dated and labelled on my hard drive, tyvm). I used to have a dedicated fan website - myoldself.net, if you were tooling around in the early 2000s.

Beyond the shows I could attend, there are stories about the ones that got away. The Super Bowl party for 18+ at the Wpg Convention Centre - my mom bussed with me downtown so I could listen from downstairs. The Stew CD release party at the Zoo in July '00 - again, just a tad too young to legally attend, and not yet (nor ever) savvy enough to locate a reasonable fake ID. The U of M in autumn '04 - the show my friend videotaped so I could watch when I returned to the city.
Hilarious photo shoot in my bedroom, late '99. Stew wasn't even released until the next summer.

And beyond the shows and the non-shows, there's the before, the after and the everything else. The lifelong friendships born out of staking out front and centre. The roadtrips. The excitement to the point of having difficulty eating and sleeping. The nicknames, the inside jokes, the solo shows, the side projects, the substitutes. The home-made shirts, the signs, the art projects. It was ALWAYS worth the drive.




Show#
Date
Venue
City
Info
28
17-Aug-13
Assiniboia Downs
Winnipeg, MB
Winnipeg BBQ & Blues Festival
27
11-Nov-11
Shooters
Kenora, ON
w/ Big Sugar
26
10-Nov-11
Burton Cummings Theatre
Winnipeg, MB
w/ Big Sugar
25
09-Nov-11
The 40
Brandon, MB
w/ Big Sugar
24
31-Jul-10
Rockin' the Fields
Minnedosa, MB
Rockin' the Fields Festival
25
15-Jun-10
MTS Centre
Winnipeg, MB
Opening for: ZZ Top
24
17-Apr-09
Blush Ultraclub
Winnipeg, MB
23
25-Jan-08
Chrome Showroom
Calgary, AB
22
7-Dec-07
Holiday Train
Winnipeg, MB
with Melanie Doane
21
10-Dec-06
Holiday Train
Regina, SK
with Lisa Brokop
20
8-Dec-06
Holiday Train
Winnipeg, MB
with Lisa Brokop
19
5-Aug-06
Rockin' @ The River
Preeceville, SK
with Jet Set Satellite
18
19-Nov-05
The Zoo
Winnipeg, MB
17
14-Aug-05
Future Shop
Regina, SK
Opener: Northern Pikes
16
22-Jul-05
Sports Arena
Weyburn, SK
Crop Checkin' Tour
15
31-Oct-03
Convention Centre
Winnipeg, MB
Halloween social
14
17-Aug-03
Cue Club
Winnipeg, MB
Heat Magazine release party
13
27-Jun-03
Pyramid Cabaret
Winnipeg, MB
Opener: Burnt
12
9-Nov-02
The Colosseum
Winnipeg, MB
Opener: Rainside
11
23-Aug-02
Power 97 Studio
Winnipeg, MB
10
27-Jul-02
Tourist Centre
Ignace, ON
9
18-Mar-02
The Colosseum
Winnipeg, MB
Opener: Flannel Jimmy
8
1-Feb-01
CCH
Winnipeg, MB
Opening for: Moffatts
7
5-Oct-00
WECC
Winnipeg, MB
Opener: Mood Ruff
6
30-Jun-00
Canwest Global Park
Winnipeg, MB
Opening for: Guess Who
5
4-Dec-99
Pyramid Cabaret
Winnipeg, MB
Opener: Spur of the Moment
4
17-Oct-99
Walker Theatre
Winnipeg, MB
Prairie Music Awards (2 songs)
3
7-Jul-99
Edgefest
Winnipeg, MB
with MGB, Rascalz, Len, Finger 11…
2
4-Apr-99
WECC
Winnipeg, MB
with Leaderhouse, Miller Stain Limit
1
3-Apr-99
Polo Park
Winnipeg, MB



[Originally posted June 11, 2011]

An abridged list of things I have quit

  • Swim lessons (Grade 3)
  • Clarinet (Grade 7, band class)
  • Working at Mr. Sub (Grade 11)
  • Biochem I (2002, second year university)
  • Toastmasters (2009)
  • Twitter (twice, 2012 or 13 and 2014)

For everything else (yoga, drum lessons, voice lessons, journalling, etc), I consider myself to be taking an extended hiatus.


[Originally posted April 1, 2014]

Karaoke Pro Tips

Those who know me, know that I LOVE karaoke. The thing is, I can't sing particularly well. I've never been able to sing particularly well.

A decade ago, I would joke that my voice had the flat and monotone nature of a certain Spice Girl, combined with the off-key growl of a certain grunge queen.


Both of my younger sisters have fantastic voices, which just made me all the more bitter. I've improved a lot over the last few years (right guys? RIIIGHT?), though I'm by no means as good as the people I karaoke with. I get by okay by following these steps:
  • If it's your first night, you must fight. Oh no, wait, that's the rule for fight club. Well, it would be nice if you got up there and sang something. I mean, you made the effort to come out, why not give it a shot? You have nothing to lose. I actually get more nervous giving PowerPoint presentations than I do getting up in front of strangers to sing.
  • Practice the songs you would like to sing. Practice in the car, practice in the shower. Make sure you practice without the music playing as well, because the music can sometimes drown out of the fact that you really aren't hitting those notes like you think you are (I've had this happen). It's not as important to learn the lyrics (unless it is a very fast song), because the lyrics are there, as it is to learn the rhythm of the song. You're following when the words change colour on the screen, not a bouncing ball like a Disney sing-a-long, so you need to know when to come in.

  • Choose songs that are easily in your range - not too high, and not too low. Also know that you can often ask the karaoke host to move the song up or down a key to accommodate your voice.
  • Consider a rap song. No, I'm serious. It can be super fun, and you don't have to worry so much about staying on key. The main challenge is that many rap songs are super fast (which take a lot of breath).
  • Call for back-up. Sing the whole thing with a friend, or switch off verses.
  • When you are singing, please remember that many people are waiting for their turn to sing after you. So for the love of God, try to avoid choosing epically long songs, especially if there is a long waiting list, because that's rude. Someone could sing 3 Beatles songs in the time it takes you to sing the original version of American Pie. Ditto songs with extra-long instrumental breaks.
[Originally posted March 5, 2011]

Movies That Everyone Else Loves, But I Hate

1. Grease. I hate almost everything about this movie. I hate all the songs. I hate the message that you have to change yourself to get your man, and even more so that you have to change from a sweet, sassy, nice girl to a mouthy leather-wearing smoker. (I'll let you take half a second and guess which one I was in high school.) For shame. The only redeeming qualities are the neat outfits and some of the dancing.












2. The Princess Bride. Cue the operatics. ~How could you hate Princess Bride? It's so clever/quirky/funny/wonderful/etc/etc~ NO. It is none of those things. It is boring, and weird but not in a good way, and there are NO, repeat, NO Muppets. 












3. Shrek (all 15 of them). I couldn't even bring myself to find a photo, that's how much I dislike it. The combined sounds of all those famous actors, over-acting in various accents, makes my skin crawl. Mike Myers saying "Duuuunkay" for donkey, for example. The humour is not clever at all. The only redeeming factor is the character of Gingy, because I have an affinity for gingerbread people and things.


4. Lord of the Rings. More like Bored of the Rings, am I right? (*Crickets*) But seriously though, these movies are fantastic, I just don't like them. I'm not a huge fan of fantasy, and they are really, really, really long. These days, I have trouble focusing for longer than 75 minutes on a movie unless it's the Best Movie Ever.

Also: no Muppets.










[Originally posted May 29, 2012]

Monday, June 09, 2014

The Sesame Street Cookbook (1978)

I picked up The Sesame Street Cookbook at a yard sale about two decades ago:



It was published in 1978, and it's very evident. Most of the recipes are pretty nasty. Case in point:

 

Back when it was okay to recommend that children consume raw eggs:


In case you've ever wanted to eat "Snuffy":



For the complete list of recipes and more photos, see the Muppet Wikia.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Simple expense tracker and mortgage calculator

I made these money spreadsheets. Feel free to download them and mess around. They could be useful for making a budget. It's good to know where you've been, so you can figure out where you're going!

Simple expense tracker

Mortgage calculator

*googly eyes added by M.O.*

Monday, May 12, 2014

Heee-hooo: Full circle

Original post: 3/25/2011

Many sounds get on my nerves. Computer noises, from errors jolts to the "blips" when you're chatting - I keep my computer volume off at all times. Certain video games. Sports announcers. A certain someone at karaoke. None, however, tops my hatred for the song of the Black-Capped Chickadee.

What it sounds like, according to this website, which also helpfully plays it in the background, over and over: "The song of the male is a clear two-note whistle that drops in pitch: fee-beee (the last note is often double-pulsed)."

What it has sounded like to me for the last 20 years:


Shudder. But I do have a good chuckle when TGILW texts me if he leaves for work before me: "I heard your friend this morning. Heee-hooo!"

UPDATE: My toddler now imitates this sound when he hears it, and if you ask him what sound a bird makes, he says "HOOO hoooo". Awesome.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Forever

I will stop wearing this hoodie when 1) it falls apart or 2) a stranger questions me about it in public and I say with a straight face "Yeah, my dad's the police chief there". 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

GPOY

This is basically what my childhood looked like, except with 3 kids instead of 2. 


Dr. Seuss, Hop on Pop, 1963. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Disneyland - DLR

The one, the only, the original: Disneyland.



Round-up:
  • Monorail and railroad - decent ways to get around the park, though if you're stroller-less and very mobile, hoofing it by foot is usually faster unless there's no wait. Re: the dinosaur thing you go through on the railroad: I don't even.
  • Saw edible plants and fruit trees in Tomorrowland! Amazing! Still haven't seen an orange tree in person despite staying in the O.C. (don't call it that). Next time.
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage - fun little jaunt in a (not-completely-submerged) submarine. Plus it put my kid to sleep!
  • Captain EO Tribute - WEIRD. One word: "Hooter!!" Happy I got to see it before it takes its final bow.
  • It's A Small World - did not fail to make me smile my face off. My son loved it and got shouty. 
  • Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln - neat little patriotic show and very cool animatronic Abe, though his history as a zombie killer was mysteriously absent
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats - I saw this at night and it had twinkly lights and the miniatures are SUPER adorable. Having said that, I was scared that I was going to fall out of the boat, and the host was speaking at auctioneer speed
  • Mr. Toad's Wild Ride - decent but not as wild as I expected, did half-expect the ride would turn on me, Itchy and Scratchy-style
  • Alice in Wonderland - not bad, a little rough around the edges. Could use a tune-up
  • Enchanted Tiki Room - finally had a Dole whip and it was okay. I didn't think it was as life-affirming as all the Disney crazies on the internet say it is. The show itself was cute and I find myself singing the tiki song every so often. 
  • Many Adventuers of Winnie the Pooh - decent
  • Indiana Jones Adventure - "You're basically in a jeep driving through tunnels. Pirates was better, had more to look at, and lasted longer." - my husband. I didn't partake based on his review
  • Innoventions - my husband enjoyed the Asimo show and my kid enjoyed running his face off in the exhibits. I enjoyed being out of the sun for half an hour. Shout out to the cast member that may or may not have let me change a diaper in the employee bathroom
  • Toontown - Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin was decent and my kid probably could have played forever in Goofy's house.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - AMAZING, one of the best. ILU POTC
  • Jungle Cruise - fun, not as good as I remembered it (I think I mixed it up a little bit with the Jaws ride at Universal)
  • Snow White's Scary Adventures - this should have been called "witch! witch! hey once more it's the witch! end of ride no story resolution"
  • Splash Mountain - fun, though I felt weird intruding on an Australian family as a single rider at the back of their log. worst photo pass ever
  • Peter Pan's Flight - AMAZING, loved riding in the flying ship. Worth the 40 minute wait by myself among a billion cranky preschoolers, though I wish my family had been with me. 
  • Pinocchio's Daring Journey - okay
  • Sleeping Beauty's Castle - enjoyed this as SB is one of my favourite Disney movies
  • Space Mountain - a ton of fun but not as thrilling as I expected it to be. Re-jigged as "Ghost Galaxy" for the Halloween season
  • Dapper Dans - I finally saw them!!! They were jaunty.