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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“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

First off, I want to thank everyone who came to visit me last night at my booth during Afterglow. I had many great conversations with the lot of you and it was great to be able to share what I know about living dairy free, and very encouraging to have so many people excited to try my recipes.

Those who attended last night’s event got a bit of a preview that you folks have not yet been privy to, a few days ago I made Panko Crusted Stuffed Meatballs and posted a picture on both Facebook and Twitter. That resulted in several people asking for the recipe and I decided to include it in those featured at my booth.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Since some of you were geographically unable to attend, and others either couldn’t make it out or the rain killed their copy of the recipe, I’ve uploaded a PDF version of the pamphlet I handed out with all three recipes included. Simply click the link and you’ll have access to them in all their glory. Tony’s Recipes – Afterglow

I look forward to hearing feedback from those who give these recipes a go and, as always, if you’d like to send me an e-mail with pictures of your creation and a write up on what you did, I would love to post them on here. My goal for this blog is to replicate the atmosphere found when sitting with a group of friends in the kitchen, swapping recipes.

Happy Cooking!

A father is someone who carries pictures where his money used to be.

I’m back! I didn’t forget about all you lovely faces I’ve yet to see, and some I have!

Father’s Day took roughly three days to plan, since Sam and I thought we’d be in Vegas. I must say, I’m honestly kind of glad it fell through because Father’s Day could not have gone any better. But I’m getting ahead of myself, Saturday came before Sunday, and that was a lot of fun too.

Our town has a Farmer’s Market, and I have a friend who plays music, when you add those together I had a friend who was going to be playing music at the town’s Farmer’s Market which meant I was going and so was Sam.

Patrick Thompson is a VERY good musician and one hell of a nice guy, I met him through a coffee house I hosted and he has been incredibly supportive and gung ho about the other events I’m working on within the town, which include a bi-weekly or monthly coffee house and a few top secret projects (deets to come). To the best of my knowledge he doesn’t have a music site, but this is his facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/patrick.thompson.144 His CDs are $10 and while there may be only 5 songs I haven’t taken it out of the stereo and they are all originals.

We didn’t go to the market alone, oh no, we brought one of our nearest and dearest, Ms. Brittany Francis, or B-Fran as I like to call her. She is an absolute gem and a recent culinary arts grad. We picked her up around 10AM, drove back into town, stopped at the parkade and walked the rest of the way (lots of walking Saturday) Apart from Patrick’s CD, I didn’t spend too much money, I bought some AWESOME homemade granola bars and some really awesome mint lemonade, heavier on the mint than the lemonade as they grow their own.

A lot of networking was done for the aforementioned top secret events, and I will be teaming up with B-Fran for some culinary expressionism for one of them. =)

Speaking of culinary, while intimidated, I like cooking for B-Fran because she is always cooking and its nice to give her a break. When we got back to my house I made the Any Meal Cassurreal (what I’ve decided to call it from here on out) that I posted in a past entry

MEMORY JOGGERNAUT

I used Sourdough for the bread this time around and I feel that it worked much better. It was a huge hit, and she wanted the recipe. I, of course, directed her here.

For Mother’s Day, Sam and I cooked for my mom, her mom, Nancy (back up mom) and Sam’s grandmother and the men were sent to Sam’s to fend for themselves (they didn’t make food, just drank rum and coke). But we ended up making the dessert while they ate their main, which stressed us out a bit. We wanted to make the dessert beforehand this time, we also wanted to make “Manly Cupcakes” so Saturday night we made Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with a Rum Buttercream Icing for…

FATHER’S DAY!!!!

psssssst, the one with the tie

Pete, Sam’s dad

True to form, I’d yet to get a card for either my dad or Sam’s and the presents we had got for them were still in transit as we were late to order them online, best children ever, so we hit the ground running once we rolled out of bed. We decided we needed to get them something that we could give at dinner along with the cards we were going to get. We got all the gifts no problem, the dads loved them, but the cards were a bit more difficult. Having done the same thing on Mother’s Day you’d think I would have learned and planned ahead, but if you know me at all, you know that I would do no such thing. We went to the Mall, we thought we’d have to fight off hordes of people to get good cards, but the mall was fairly empty. I was surprised, we were the only two in the card store, I don’t know if people are just better prepared for Dad Day because Mother’s Day comes first, or if dads are just more lackadaisical about the whole ordeal so people don’t put forth as much effort.

Regardless.

Sam and I spent a good 30-45 minutes looking through all the cards to get the perfect ones for our dads and dads-to-be. On that note, there are no damn Father-In-Law cards! Trust me, we looked, not even any backers for where they would be! They have Daddy from Daughter, Daddy from Younger Daughter, I’m sure they probably have Daddy from child who just discovered they were their own father. But not one single frigging Father-In-Law card. That meant trying to find cards that were Father’s Day cards without saying “To My Father” which is no easy task. We finally found the right ones, and stocked up for Sam’s mom’s b-day and my Dad’s  (July 15th and 12th respectively). Oddly enough I ended up with a Dad thank You card for my dad, but it was perfectly written for the relationship we have so I couldn’t pass it up.

The card store’s debit machine was on the fritz so we were there for a good chunk of time talking to the lady behind the counter about the dinner we were making, the dessert we had made, and what we had done for Mother’s Day. After she suggested that we should open our own restaurant, do catering, or come to her house anytime we want to cook but aren’t hungry, the machine came back online and we paid. As we were leaving she said  “just remember, 221B Baker st” (not her real address), waved, and went about her business.

We came back to mine and got all the groceries ready to go to Sam’s and cook, the dads decided we should do a big family meal rather than just them and have the moms go do something else. We had made enough cupcakes so that I could take some to the meeting I couldn’t attend due to cooking, so Sam iced those whilst I got my soapy soap on, showered, so I was presentable for the upcoming event. We decided to take two cupcakes to Anne, the lady from the card store, since we knew her address and figured she’d appreciate it. As fate would have it, we had found her street two nights prior while out for our nightly stroll.

She was elated to receive them as she was obviously not expecting us to show up, cupcakes in hand.

Everyone at the meeting seemed to appreciate them as well and Jason went so far as to describe them as “individual servings of life-changing deliciousness.”

The recipe was also requested, so at the bottom of this entry I’ll post the recipe to both the chocolate Guinness Cupcakes and the Rum Buttercream icing.

Supper was a rather grand affair, Pete, Sam’s dad, had been requesting that Lisa make tacos for at least the past month, so that was of course what was on the menu. We used extra lean ground chicken as the meat, and opted for soft tacos rather than hard shelled. He was also very happy to find out that if he buys “healthy stuffs” she’ll make him tacos.

Given that both Lisa and I are lactose intolerant we had all the usual topping choices, lettuce, tomato, onion, salsa, cheese, sour cream, plus Daiya cheese, and lactose free sour cream.

My mother and I share the curse of IBS and she can’t eat tacos so we made miniature versions of what we made for Mother’s Day, which were essentially mini shepard’s pie in muffin tins.

*this is where the picture would go, but I don’t have one*

Don’t they look good!?

We also cooked up a crap load of asparagus as everyone in the family loves it.

They seem to love mine and my father’s cooking method which is very simple, but has excellent and consistent results.

spread asparagus on baking sheet.

drizzle with olive oil, making sure to cover the tips as they’ll provide the best crunch.

sprinke with cracked black pepper and sea salt.

cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

devour.

The night was topped off by three rounds of washer toss, which Sam and I lost to our dads, and everyone sitting around the fire talking until almost 11.

All in all a good night and a great day.

And the Icing

Word to the wise, keep the icing refrigerated until use, the rum will melt the icing when it’s at room temperature.

Enjoy and most importantly, don’t cupcake and drive.

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!