Inside every sane person there’s a madman struggling to get out – Terry Pratchett

Day six without coffee. I have made the switch to tea and I feel much less reliant on it to get me through the day. By the end, I was drinking a coffee first thing in the morning and then switching to tea, but not really enjoying that first coffee. I was mostly just using it to get to my first tea of the day, but knew I needed it if I didn’t want to suffer a headache. Kind of like back when I was smoking and the first thing I would do was grab a coffee from the kitchen and head right out and light my cigarette. I enjoyed the sunrise, and the quiet, but I never enjoyed that first smoke of the day. It always tasted terrible, but I needed to get the terrible one out of the way to get to the good ones later. If I didn’t have a smoke first thing, and had one after I had gotten ready to face the day, then THAT one would have been gross. Who wants a gross cigarette after you’ve already resolved to take the world by storm? Not this fella!

Eventually I learned that if you don’t smoke any of them at all, none of them taste terrible , and once you hack, cough, and dislodge everything you’ve firmly smoked into your lungs, you feel a lot better during the run of a day. Kicking coffee lovingly, and gently, to the curb has brought me back to a very simple concept that I continually forget. Which is, if it’s not working for you, doesn’t serve a legitimate purpose, and/or has more cons than pros….step away. Granted it’s not always that easy, but sometimes it is. On occasion it’s as easy as simply saying “well, that’s over and done with,” and continuing on the trail you’re currently blazing. Doing so doesn’t mean that what you are walking away from is wrong, or bad, or any other negative word you can throw at it. Walking away just means that you have grown from, and past, the experience and are ready for whatever comes next. That you have gleaned some valuable insight into what you want or don’t want moving forward, and are able to adapt your plan of attack accordingly.

I used to always say that cigarettes were a great conversation starter, because it afforded me the opportunity to meet people without walking up to them awkwardly (at that point in my life, I did most things awkwardly…still do) and sparking a conversation was as easy as “have you got a light?” It always seemed that I met really interesting people in the smoking section at VFS. Sure, it may have taken me longer to find them if we didn’t all smoke, but I would have crossed paths with the ones I was meant to. It was the same with coffee. We would all crowd around a table, the aroma of freshly ground beans swirling all around, and the day was that much better for it. You can sit in the same circle and steep tea while steeping your soul in a pool of conversation and camaraderie, with the same end result.

It doesn’t matter so much what you do, but who you do it with. No matter what you choose to drive down life’s highway, there are countless twists and turns, and a myriad of back roads you can take. The journey is, truly, what you make it. That being said, there are a finite number of seats, make sure you’ve got the best people to fill them.

 

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We’re like, in the end of “Die Hard” right now, only it’s our actual life! – Schmidt (21 Jump St)

To the answer the question you’ve all been asking, No, I haven’t forgotten about you. Not a day went by that I didn’t think “I wonder how those people who read about my life are getting on without me?” The answer to that query can be found below when you write a comment about how you’ve been doing since I skived off.

The past post was about a chicken cordon bleu roll-up, which was superb, but it was also eaten far too quickly to take pictures of. I switched out the ham that normally goes inside with fried onion and mushroom, and the pre-bread crumb dredge consisted of egg, almond milk, and dijon mustard. I’ll post the complete recipe in an hour or so when I get my computer back.

Two friends have come to visit from Vancouver for 2.5 weeks and since it is only 5:34AM Vancouver time, they are still asleep.

I obviously have some catching up to do, which means I’ll obviously miss some things and post them as I remember.

The Highlights:

It’s become far too hot for my morning coffee which saddens me, and I don’t always feel like making iced coffee so, I finally tried something that I’d been working on in my brainpan for a long while…I made coffee popsicles. But not just normal run of the mill popsicles because I knew it needed something sweet so they weren’t bitter. I took some popsicle moulds (I got mine at the dollar store) and poured a little bit of Hazelnut flavour syrup in the bottom, a little more than it takes to cover the bottom, and then filled the rest with coffee that I let cool down so it was warm, but not cold. The reason for this is I feel that once coffee gets completely cold, the taste changes and it can be rather unpleasant, so a little bit warmer than room temp is your goal, folks.

This was the result:

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I understand that coffee is not for everyone, and I also get where the coffee purists, snobs, are coming from as well with the mindset of “coffee should only be drank hot, and black!” That is all well and good, but in the dead heat of summer, I will take a coffee popsicle over a steaming cup of joe any day. I was even able to get my dad to try one and he really liked it, which surprised me because, other than milk, he doesn’t like much done to his coffee.

HERITAGE PARTY!

my good friend Ashton threw the First Annual Heritage Party on Saturday and I have to say, it was a lot of fun. We had a pot luck of Canadian dishes, and we had 5-6 people who were not from Canada so it was all new to them. Of course poutine was on the menu and, being lactose intolerant, I made my own version and brought it with me. It’s a very simple tweak on the normal recipe but at the same time quite different. (again, no picture, I’m sorry)

Rather than just bake the fries, I put some EVOO in my copper bottom frying pan and put it on low. Once it got up to temp, I threw in the fries and got them coated and let them cook for about five minutes, I then threw in my new culinary weapon…

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it’s great on everything, and it’s the perfect pick me up for fries without getting into prepackaged seasonings, not that there’s anything wrong with them, they just aren’t for me. I get this at the local farm market, and it is one of my culinary staples.

BACK TO POUTINE!

I kept the temp low and let the herbs imprint themselves on each and every fry, once they were about 5 minutes from being done, I went to work on the gravy. I didn’t make it from scratch, I used a can of heinz mushroom gravy, but I love the taste and a lot of people were very surprised it came from a can. Once again I used Daiya Dairy Free cheese and, since we live about 20 minutes away from Ashton’s, I mixed it all together in a casserole dish, covered it in tin foil and we were off. By sealing it all in, and reheating it later to eat, it became a poutine casserole and I got a lot of compliments on it.

When you’re a person with many dietary restrictions, it always feel good when people who have the option of eating “normally” and still choose your dish.

After the pot luck we all went into the barn where the screen was set up to get to the main reason we were all there, watching all 74 Heritage Minutes and having a Canadian Trivia night to prep for Canada Day, but also to prep those non-Canadians with the knowledge needed to make the transition. Important things like Great Big Sea, Stompin’ Tom, Alanis, Donairs and Dulce.

It was an excellent night and our team ALMOST won the much coveted Golden Inuk Shuk, hopefully the people will still know we were there.

Ok Emily, as promised, the recipe for Any Meal CasSurreal.

Yes, I had posted it before, but I’ve made several tweaks to it since then, and I believe I’ve got the best recipe/system for this beast. The reason it’s called the Any Meal CasSurreal is because it can be eaten at any meal because of the assortment of ingredients, and the bread that is on top, loses it’s “breadiness” through the egg wash and the cooking, kind of like french toast, which is where the surreal portion comes from. You want proof it can be eaten for any meal, you say? Fair enough, when I made it a few days ago, I realized around 10PM that I did, in fact, eat it for every meal.

You can put almost anything IN this dish, my staples are onion, green onion, mushroom, and a coloured pepper (normally red). The amounts also vary depending on how much variety you’d like your CasSurreal to have.

General rule of thumb is as follows:

8×8 pan

1/2 onion

1/2 pepper

3-4 mushrooms

1-2 stalks of green onion

This dish is also a good way to make use of last night’s leftovers. There was some chicken from supper that had been BBQ’d so I diced it up. I noticed it was kind of dry so I used science to rectify the situation. If mushrooms release a fair amount of liquid while cooking, and chicken tends to absorb the flavours of what it’s cooked with, then combining them in the pan should do the trick. I cooked the veggies at a low heat, onions and peppers first, and once I saw some colour on the onion, tossed in the chicken, let them mingle just enough for the chicken to take on some of the pepper’s red tinge and tossed in the mushrooms, mixed them all around and let them sit for a bit, letting it all cook down. The result was very moist chicken, and somewhere a Science teacher, who I told I’d never use anything he taught me, smiled to himself.

Once the veggies are all cooked place them in your 8×8 pan, now comes the egg and bread portion.

bowl

wax paper

8-9 eggs

4-5 slices of sourdough

small circular cookie cutter

sea salt and herbs

place a sheet of wax paper on the counter, big enough to rest 12-13 circles of sourdough and crack 7 eggs in your bowl. Add as much sea salt and herbs  as you wish to the eggs and beat the ever loving crap out of them. Once they are well mixed, start cutting circles out of your sourdough, the number of circles is entirely up to you. I tend to use 12 and place 3 rows of 4 across the top of the casserole, this makes it easier to cut as you can use the circles as indicators of portion size. For the sake of being artsy fartsy I used 13 today just to make a design, this is also completely acceptable as you’re the one you need to impress, I unfortunately can’t come over.

Once your sourdough is circled, take 3 at a time and place them in the bowl of egg and push them to the bottom, once they float back to the top, take them out of the bowl and place them on your wax paper.

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Now that they are all eggy and wonderful, pour the rest of your egg into the pan with your veg. This will ALMOST cover it, but not quite. Which is where the other two eggs you were wondering about come into play. Crack them into the bowl, whip ’em up, and toss them into the pan as well. Then it’s back to your handy dandy SS&H, henceforth this means Sea Salt & Herbs, it’s too long to keep typing haha. Sprinkle it across the top of the egg and veg, and them mix it all together so that it’s all laying somewhat evenly in the pan. Then comes the fun part, placing or tossing the bread circles on top o’ the feast.

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At some point during this burst of creative energy, you’ll want to set your oven to 350 degrees. I usually start getting mine to temp around the time I start dredging the bread. Now all you need to do is cheese your CasSurreal. As I mentioned before, I’m lactose intolerant, I use Daiya Dairy Free cheese which is soy, gluten, and dairy free and is tapioca based. It melts like cheese and tastes like cheese. It’s the only non dairy alternative that does cheese any justice. For those willing to give it a try, this is what you’re looking for.

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so what goes into the oven will look like this –

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and will come out looking like this –

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Hope you enjoy your Any Meal CasSurreal!

Let me know how yours turns out =)

in closing, I didn’t want a Grad Ring from NSCC, these are my Grad Chucks, designed by me. What better way to graduate from Business Admin – Marketing Concentration =P

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Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Snowmen Fall From Heaven Unassembled

Just finished watching the newest episode of Next Food Network Star and it’s safe to say I’m slightly completely ticked.

We bid farewell to Judson, and Marty stays to take her team to the bottom for another week.

I met up with Fiona this morning and went for coffee in Mahone Bay. We didn’t stop talking from the time I got in the car to the time she dropped me off at  Sam’s. A clear indication that we will be doing that much more frequently as the summer continues. Sam and I did some editing on our most recent movie review and since she finally had the day off we spent the bulk of it wandering aimlessly around town. My boss gave us all a $50 bonus to take our respective ladies out for a meal as they’ve put up with all of us having our faces firmly glued to our computer screens for the last month. I made good use of mine and took m’lady to our favorite restaurant in town, Waves Seafood & Grill.

 

The Chicken Club was perfect, the fries tasted just a titch beyond amazing and, as always, the coffee was just right. Plus, given the amount we walked today, I think we canceled out the meal haha.

After lunch we popped in to our local tattoo parlour to make a piercing appointment for both of us for tomorrow. I’m getting my conch done in both ears, and Sam is getting her tragus in one and conch in the other in an attempt to even out the metal in her head =P

Tis far too late to be eating supper (10:21PM) but we ate lunch late and then went to a meeting for a super top secret event taking place in September, so we’re going to whip something up now.

 

I leave you with this:

Go see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. it’s an amazing film!