Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pooch Promenade 2007

This past weekend, it was time again for the Burlington Humane Society's Pooch Promenade! It was Simon's 4th time participating and, this year, the walk took place on his birthday! We got a record number of pledges, so thank you to everyone who sponsored us!

When we first headed down to Spencer Smith Park, it was threatening rain, but luckily, it held off and we had great temperatures for walking. There was a big turnout again this year.

Some special participants included Meowzer & Bowzer, mascots for the Humane Society (formerly Animal Aid - which is a no-kill shelter!)

Our MP, Mike Wallace. Now, I've not been a voting Conservative, but I'm actually quite pleased with Mr. Wallace. I've contacted him a few times and I always get a response. The last time was just a couple of weeks ago about an animal abuse bill that is in parliament right now and I got a prompt and very positive reply. I wanted to speak with him after the walk, but he was already gone. I might just have to pay him a visit at his office.

I also spotted this mysterious caped figure. Who could that be?


After the walk, Simon stopped in at the Pooch Pub for a drink!

Here's Jim & Jade along with Simon, checking out all the excitement. We had a great time!

I love this picture of Simon. The wind was blowing and his ears got caught in the breeze. We picked up his goodie bag and headed home. "Someone" was very tired from all the walking and passed out and had sleepies all afternoon. The rest of us headed over to Mama Rita's for a get together and to have a taste of what I recipe-tested for Dreena. Stay tuned for that post!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Special Wishes

Someone VERY SPECIAL is having a BIRTHDAY! Happy Birthday to my boy. Simon is 4 years old today.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Spicy Vegetables with Tofu

A couple of months ago, I was in the staff lunch room reading someone's discarded copy of The Hamilton Spectator. I came upon a recipe that sounded easy and really tasty - and it was vegan! I ripped out the page and brought it home.
I finally got around to making it last week.

This came together in no time! I was really glad I pinched that piece of the newspaper because this was very, very good. I didn't have the chili pepper so I crushed up a dried chili pepper and that worked just fine. The recipe didn't call for bean sprouts, but I had some here, so I threw them in.

To get the recipe, click the picture of the newspaper to enlarge the photo, or better yet, click here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Bit Of Catch-Up

This is a bit of a catch-up post since I've been busy, busy all week. First off....Happy Victoria Day!

Beer is the official beverage of this weekend, but I like this - Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc. What a great wine for summer!

Here's my bruise, 3 weeks later.

It's getting there. The middle of it, where the rack hit, is still sensitive & swollen. I haven't touched the pies since that fateful day.

Our pal, Doug Gilmour, was in the Toronto Sun last week. He's part of an inititive to enhance lives of the elderly. (click the picture to see it bigger & read the blurb underneath). I could pretend to not know how to skate if he'd put his arm around me & hold my hand like that. ;o)

Last night, I was home early and able to make a tasty dinner. I had some veggies languishing in the fridge and wanted to use them up. I got some help from one of my favorite ladies...

The dish I made, is a favorite of mine that I've mentioned before - Cousin Natasha's Everything But the Kitchen Sink Vegetable Curry.

I started by sauteeing some onions until translucent.

Then threw in some carrots, a sweet potato that was on the verge of sprouting, and garlic, lots of garlic!

Then some spices, vegetable broth, chickpeas & raisins. This was starting to smell really good.

After that simmered for a bit, I put in red peppers. Peppers were on sale this week and they were nice for a change.

I don't like cauliflower or zucchini overcooked, so I put those in right near the end and only simmer for about 5 minutes. I also threw in some frozen peas. The beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever vegetables you want. It's never the same - just depends on what I have in the fridge.

Once everything was pretty much done, I added some roughly chopped spinach, stirred that through, put the lid on and turned off the heat. After about 5 minutes, the spinach had wilted and dinner was ready!

I had some frozen samosas in the freezer, so while the curry was coming together, I put these in the oven. They're pretty good. Not too hot. I also had some tofu that I cubed and had simmering away in Patak's Balti Curry Sauce.

Voila! The samosas aren't in the picture. I had them on a separate plate and forgot to put one on the side of this plate for a photo. You know what a samosa looks like anyway.

We both ate a big plate of this. The vegetables are spooned over basmati rice which is by far, my favorite rice. This is soooo good. If you haven't made it yet, you must!

Just to finish, I want to give kudos to the City of Toronto for being named #10 in VegNews' list of Green Cities!

There is a nice little write up, so grab the June 2007 issue and read all about it. Now, enjoy the fireworks because it's back to work tomorrow.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Goodness Me!

A couple of weeks ago, I went with my friend Michelle to Hamilton. She was taking a course at McMaster and had to pick up some papers.

Since the parking charges at the university are horrendous, she parks at a friend's place and has about a 10-15 minute walk to the campus. The day was gorgeous! Clear sky, cool temperatures - and some flowers had bloomed!

You know spring has arrived when you see the daffodils.

Tulips were even showing themselves. This is getting even better.

This is one of the best pictures I've taken in a long time. This tree was at the side of an old, old church. The flowers were such a bright pink I couldn't help but notice them from the sidewalk.

Once we finished at the university, we walked back to Michelle's car and drove to
Goodness Me! Natural Food Market. There is a location in Burlington, but I was looking for something specific for a recipe test I'm doing for Dreena and the Burlington store only had large packages that were quite expensive. The sales clerk told me the main Hamilton store had it available in bulk so I could just scoop as much as I needed. Michelle was game to go, so off we went.

This store was amazing!! They did have what I was looking for and in addition to a cart half full of things I got the following:

I just can't wait for strawberry season, so I bought some of these. They were big berries and very red .

Usually the big ones are not very juicy or flavourful, but these ones were quite good. They got eaten within a day.

I found this in the cooler. I've never seen it or tried it but it looked and sounded interesting, so I bought it. There were different flavours, but I decided on Black Bean.

This will be good for a quick meal, or to top some leftover rice for a workday lunch.


My most exciting find of the day....

I saw these at the checkout and shrieked with delight - I was so excited! Michelle came running to see what I'd found. The first time I had Primal Strips was when Kleo was in Toronto for her nephew's wedding. We met up and hung out for a day and she brought me goodies from California. (She's such a sweetheart!) Once I tried them, I was hooked. They are so FREAKIN' GOOD! I have never seen them anywhere around here and figured they were only available in the USA. But here they were - right in Hamilton! Michelle and I were digging through the different flavours and throwing them into the cart. The checkout girl was quite amused by all of this. The Burlington location of Goodness Me! is about a 5 minute walk from the LCBO, so I'm going over there to see if have Primal Strips. (Oh please, oh please.....I would be so happy). Since I had raved & raved about these, I opened one in the car and Michelle and I ate it on the drive home. Now she's hooked.

This store also had a bakery counter featuring
Dufflet cakes and pastries. They looked too good to pass up, so I got a couple of small ones for Jim & I to share at dessert.

This one is Key Lime. It had a creamy lime mousse in a chocolate shell. Sounded wonderful. The mousse and the shell seperately tasted good, but together - not so much so. I was a little dissapointed with this one.

I also bought a mini bundt. I couldn't pass this up. Ever see My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Jim thought the part with the bundt cake and the flowers in the middle was funny and we always say it like they did in the movie. Buunnndddttt.

The cake was orange-cranberry and very delicious. I would buy this one again.

Stay tuned for my post on the recipe test I'm doing. I'm very excited to try it. I'm confident that it will be da bomb because it's a
Dreena creation.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Are you on this? I am and it's weirdly addictive.

Wanna be friends with me? You can find me on Facebook.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

5 Questions Just For Me

I've been working long days and haven't been getting as much sleep as I should. As a result, one day at work, I wasn't really paying attention and I knocked over a rack of pies I was trying to push into the freezer. On the way down, the rack hit my leg. This is the bruise I got on my shin. It hurts like you wouldn't believe!

Anyhow, now onto something completely different. Shannon, over at Your Sweet Bippy got started on a new meme and offered it up to takers who were willing to be asked 5 questions and then answer them on their own blogs. These are the questions Shannon came up with for me. Some of my answers are kind of rambly (because I'm a rambly kind of person) and I hope in the end that I've answered the questions and that they actual make sense. Shannon, you asked for it, so here we goooooo!

I think Canada is awesome. What is your favorite part about being Canadian?

Well, thank you for that. I think Canada is pretty awesome too. I love my country and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I could answer this real quick and say my favorite part is hockey, maple syrup, butter tarts, or awesome looking, kick-ass Canadian boys. While those things are all great, my favorite part about being Canadian is the feeling of pride I get when I say “I am Canadian.” I am a very proud Canadian. I’ve heard that we’re seen around the world as being “nice.” I think that is actually compassion. We care about our own people – I think we have a pretty good “socialesque” society, and we care about the rest of the world. We’ve had a huge role as peacekeepers and are quite often one of the first countries to pitch in and help those in need. Did you know that in both the first and second world wars, Canada got involved before the US? We do so quietly a lot of times and are not looking for praise. We do it because it’s right. We are blessed to live in a very wealthy, FREE, democratic country that enables us to share with those who are less fortunate. We’re also tough with a strong resolve. It’s “the true north strong and free.” And the hockey’s great. So is the maple syrup, the butter tarts, and definitely the awesome looking, kick-ass Canadian boys.

You manage a wine/liquor shop if I remember correctly? That is wicked cool. I love wine, some would say perhaps a bit too much. And you have a healthy respect for beer, I admire that in a woman. What wine or beer would you pair with a spicy Asian-inspired tofu dish?

I don’t manage, I just work there :o) When pairing wine with a spicy dish, think contrast. An off-dry riesling or an off-dry gewurtztraminer are excellent with spicy. The little bit of sweet offsets the heat in the dish. A German riesling would be a good match. They tend to be quite sweet. As for beer….don’t know. I have a healthy respect, but am not a big beer drinker. (too many beer hangovers as a teenager **shudder**) Maybe a Japanese or Chinese beer might pair nicely. As suggested with the wine, choose a sweeter beer. I find that when stuck, choose a beverage from the country that the dish is from. If you’re having spaghetti – go Italian! I would imagine that’s a good rule of thumb for beer as well.

You seem to be on a mission to find the perfect seitan recipe. What’s the best simmered seitan recipe you’ve tried?

It’s a bit of a tie. I really liked the Vegan Vittles recipe and Sarah Kramer’s from La Dolce Vegan. I tried Robin Robertson’s in the crockpot, and really liked the flavour, but didn’t like the texture. I’m going to try the stovetop method of her recipe. I’ll let you know if that takes the #1 spot.

You love your dog like a child, as do I. Some people might say there are advantages to just having a dog instead of children. Agree? Disagree? Discuss.

OK, not having children was my choice. Is my dog a substitute? I don’t think so. Truth be known, I don’t want the responsibility of a child. I’ve always been able to do what I want, when I want. Is that selfish? Some might say so, but why should I have a child I don’t want because it’s expected of me. Just because I’m female doesn’t mean I yearn to have a baby. The main thing is I don’t want to be responsible for another person.
I love my Simon. He may be considered a child substitute by some, but he’s a dog. A lot of people have dogs. If I had a child and a dog, would anyone say that the dog is in place of child #2? Of course not. So to say they replace a child, is ridiculous. He’s my pet. (Sorry for a bit of a rant there…got off the question). There are advantages to having a dog instead of a child. He can stay at home by himself. I don’t have to worry about daycare, but then again I don’t get any government subsidies. Simon is much easier to look after. And he’s not going to want to borrow the car on a Saturday night. As long as I feed & water him, take him for walks & runs in the park, play with him at home and cuddle up on the couch, he’s content. He offers all kinds of companionship and happiness into my life. When I come home from a shit day at work, he doesn’t whine, have tantrums, need to be driven to swimming lessons or any of that. He’s over the moon that I’m actually home and the excitement and carry-on is so infectious. So for a really messed up, all over the place, not really an answer to a question – yes – I agree - there are advantages. Which outweigh the disadvantages tenfold.

Bryan Adams. What’s the attraction?

I'm sure many ask this question. Oh, Bryan and I go waaaaay back. When I first “met” him in the early 80’s he had sort of a cute boy next door look. The big hits he had in the 80’s & 90’s were perfect music for the time. He seems to be my 'type' - a regular jeans & t-shirt kinda guy - not all full of himself with pretty boy looks. (I don’t really like the pretty boys). I like his raspy voice and the romantic songs. Oh, the romance! Plus I truly believe he’s a good person. He does a lot of charity work, donates his time to causes he believes in, but isn’t looking for a lot of press about it. He’s done so much that hardly anyone knows about. Along with Live Aid and Live 8 and Amnesty Int’l, he’s been involved in Make A Wish Foundation, Children In Need, vounteered his time and photography skills to do work for PETA, he supports Greenpeace’s whaling campaign, Elephant Sanctuary, organized a charity event for the Tsunami disaster, as well as all the work he’s done for breast cancer & other cancer charities. And on and on and on. I guess that’s his Canadian way. He does it because it feels right. (like I mentioned in the first answer) He’s written a gazillion songs that have been recorded by some of the biggest names, he’s sung & performed with some huge stars and he’s been asked to perform for royalty, heads of state and the Pope. But he also travels & does concerts in places like Pakistan, Turkey and he was first to play in Vietnam. I guess I find all of that quite attractive. Yea, he’s done some sappy, crappy songs in his day, but most of his music I quite like (this coming from a rock n’ roll kinda gal) I think he still looks pretty good (he’ll turn 48 this year! Yikes!) Also, he’s vegan, has nice blue eyes and a cute bum. He’s an awesome, kick-ass Canadian boy.

I think you all know by now that I really like You Tube. I was trying to post a clip here of Bryan Adams on a British talk show, but Blogger is doing it's thing again, and it just won't copy over to here. If you would like to view said clip, you can click here. He seems very pleasant and I think he'd be fun to hang out with. :o)

If you'd like 5 questions, zip over to Your Sweet Bippy and I'm sure Shannon can come up with something for you!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

American Idol - Yes I Watch Faithfully

This was early on in the competition and I thought Blake Lewis was really good.

Fast Forward To May 1

I LOVED this performance. Blake Lewis is da bomb baby! He's my favorite on the show. Who do you think will win?