Saturday, October 30, 2010

The problem with never having time to write a new blog post is that by the time I do, there is so much that has happened that I don't eve know where to start. At this point I usually decide that it's too hard to figure it out and wait a few more days hoping that eventually I'll figure it out.

Last weekend my brother got married!! He's the first in the family to tie the knot so it was super exciting. I flew to Ottawa on Thursday for the big day. My sister and I got to be bridesmaids which was really awesome. I had never even been to a wedding never mind in one. TJ and Lauren are quite possible the best looking couple I've ever seen and they both looked amazing on Saturday. Congrats to you both! I'm still trying to figure out how TJ snagged Lauren but I'm glad he did. If I hadn't waited so long I could have written several long posts about how fabulous the weekend was.

In other news, the mice are back for a second year! When I got home from Ottawa on Monday morning, Sam and Age informed me that they had found some of the food chewed through in the cupboard but that they caught the little bugger already. Last year it took ab out a month just to catch the first one because we tried every humane mouse catching strategy known to man, but this year we went straight to the good ol' wooden mouse traps baited with peanut butter. We've already caught 2 mice, and I'm sure there will be a few more casualties before the end of winter. We have a new roommate moving in next week and I'm trying to decide if this is something he should know before he moves in? I doubt it would be a deal breaker...but you never know.

I haven't been tooo involved in mouse catching this year because I'm never really home. Between school and swimming and work I'm on the go all the time. I typically like being busy, and I promised myself this year would be different and I'd give myself more downtime. I was actually convinced that this year would be more chill, but apparently not. Oh well, only 6 weeks of this semester left and then I'll graduate after next semester. I'm already counting down for Christmas! I can't wait to go home, I've only been home for 6 days since last Christmas holidays. The Christmas Craft Sales, which are somewhat of a tradition for Sam Age and I, start next weekend, which means that it is officially ok to rock out to Christmas music from then on. I'm starting a play list already for my car. I don't think it's so much Christmas that I am excited about, but just being home and having no school for a few weeks. Since I was in Kenya working all summer, I haven't had a chance to just relax and have nothing to do since last Christmas. Not to mention there are a whole bunch of people at home that I've been dying to catch up with!

I'm getting a little ahead of myself...Christmas is a long ways off and this weekend is HALLOWEEN!! I like Halloween, but my favorite parts are seeing all the little kids dressed up, fun halloween baked goods and carving pumpkins. I didn't even get time to buy a pumpkin this year, let alone carve one. I'm working all weekend so I don't have a costume and am not going to any Halloween parties. It's fairly pathetic and a little bit tragic but you gotta do what you gotta do I guess.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halifax Road Trip

Last weekend, Alex and I drove to Halifax to meet up with Mom who was there for some bank stuff. I had to work until 11:30pm on Friday night so I left Charlottetown at 5:30am on Saturday morning, swung through Sackville to pick up Alex and then headed off to Halifax in the Mary Kay. I wasn't supposed to leave until just after 6am but I woke up early and was to excited. I've been really lucky this semester and have gotten to see my family way more than I normally do all semester combined. It's been awesome!

We planned to stop off at Masstown Market on the way through Truro but since I was a little early picking up Alex, we got there before it opened and decided it wasn't worth waiting the hour until it opened. We ended up getting to Halifax just after 10 am which was perfect because it gave us the whole day to shop! And that's exactly what we did. We shopped and shopped and shopped. Took a break to get manicures, pedicures and lunch, and then finally headed back to the hotel, biceps aching from carrying around so many shopping bags all day. I'm not going to lie. Alex and I are spoiled rotten! Neither of us has any actually places to shop in the cities we live so getting a chance to shop in Halifax was kind of a big deal, and likely the only shopping we'll do between now and Christmas.

We headed down to the water front to Salty's for dinner. It was delicious! I had maple and butternut squash soup with a shared order of garlic bread bruschetta as an app, chili rubbed salmon for dinner and we split blueberry grunt for dessert. Yummmmm....

Alex had to work on Sunday so we left at 7am to head home. A short trip but it was well worth it! I got back to the island just on time to go for breakfast with Jess and Sam. We normally go to Linda's every Sunday for good ol' cheap, greasy spoon bacon eggs and toast which is always delish. This week, we decided to check out Rufus and Rory's, a new 50s diner downtown. I had eaten already so I just got some java and a strawberry milkshake (breakfast of champions obviously!). The milkshake wasn't the greatest and I probably wouldn't order one again. It was good, but not what I was expecting. To be fair, I had been warned by Age who is working there, but for some reason I was still expecting an old school shake made with vanilla ice cream, milk and real strawberries versus the strawberry syrup / strawberry ice cream variety. I would be willing to try the actually food there, but I am looking forward to going back to Linda's next week.

Sunday in Charlottetown was nuts! It was the annual PEI Marathon so University Avenue was closed from campus all the way downtown. There were people everywhere; cheering, running, and wrapped in foil blankets. Rufus and Rory's was right in front of the finish line so it was cool to be able to see people finishing. It was windy and raining, so I have to give mad props to those that ran.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thanksgiving and Oatmeal

It's another lovely, sunny fall day on PEI. In the last three falls I've been here, all I can remember about fall is rain and wind and cold. Although I did have to scrap the frost off my car for the first time this morning, something that I hate doing, especially at 5am. On the bright side, today is one of those days where I have a ton I could be doing, but nothing that HAS to get done. Which means I can afford to chill out for a bit before being productive.

Thanksgiving weekend was awesome! After apple picking on Saturday, I made my very first apple pie with the apples. Pie making was a little bit terrifying. Not because pies are so hard to make, but because I happen to come from a long line of superstar pie makers and living up to the family reputation was daunting to say the least. I ended up using a recipe from Michael Smith's Chef at Home cookbook. I haven't used this book a whole lot, but I've heard nothing but good things about it. Speaking of Micheal Smith, I won the first ever Micheal Smith Scholarship this year, and was really hoping he'd show up to present it to me at the awards night but unfortunately he must have had better things to do.

On Sunday, Sam and I went to Amherst to have dinner with Nannie, Grampi, Alex, Dave and Carole. We didn't have turkey but there was no shortage of food! Ham, turnip (my fav!), potatoes, peas, carrots, squash, coleslaw (I had to fight Alex so she wouldn't eat it ALL), lemon meringue pie and apple pie. My pie couldn't have been too terrible because everyone had a slice and seem to be still alive. Either that or they were all choking it down and were just to nice to say anything. I'm not sure I would use that recipe again. Personally I wasn't a huge fan of the crust; I found it a bit to chewy and not flaky enough. Not bad for a first try though! I ended up buying a pie plate since I didn't have one before so now I have incentive to bake more pies.

My First Pie!

For lunch today, I decided to take a break from pie and made up some Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal. I've run into this recipe a couple times online in the last few weeks so I figured I should try it. I love oatmeal, so I was pretty pumped about it and have been meaning to whip some up for over a week now. It was delicious, but very filling! I didn't follow the recipe exactly, and I'm not sure I would add as much peanut butter next time. The peanut butter I used was the all natural kind so it has to be kept in the fridge. As a result, I had to dollop it on the top which meant getting big chunks in one bite and none in the next. I would make it again for sure though, it's especially great to pack in my lunch bag for a quick breakfast in between swim practice and class.

The recipe:

In a baking dish, throw together the following ingredients and then bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 heaping tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • Pecans as topping

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How 'Bout Them Apples?

I love Autumn, It's my favorite season. You get the best of both's warm enough to do fun summery things like paddle, but it gets cool enough to be able to enjoy wintery things like hot apple cider and curling up on the couch with a quilt and a book. Today I got to enjoy fall in all it's glory. Thanksgiving is my all time favorite holiday. Not only is in it the fall, but it involves lots of delicious food, family and friends and fun outdoor activities. As a kid, Thanksgiving weekend meant gathering the whole fam jam together and heading to the Rockton Fair. In highschool, Thanksgiving weekend meant bundling up and freezing my butt off at Turkey Bowl Training camp in Ottawa. In University, I always get to go to Amherst to have dinner with my Nannie and Grampi and my sister and one year my mom. Although it's been WAY too long since I've been able to enjoy my Grandma's turkey dinner and sausage stuffing, I have yet to be disappointed by a single Thanksgiving.

To celebrate fall, and thanksgiving, a few of us girls headed out into the country for a fun filled day of fall festivities.

We started out at the Farmer's Market so Age could get some bread and we could get our Java fix. Then we headed to Wintermoor Orchards to pick some apples.
Ready to apple pick!

We got our stretch on trying to get the best ones.

Then Jess found a ladder!

Mission Accomplished!

We stopped to see some goats on the way to Vesey's for the GIANT PUMPKIN Weigh Off.

We made friends with a Pumpkin.
...and some scarecrows.

We went for a Tractor Ride around the Farm.

The winning pumpkin weighed 1075 pounds!!!

Then Sam and I went to The Dunes for a Farmer's Helping Farmer's Fundraiser lunch. All the menu items were made with locally grown ingredients.

I had Beet and Apple Soup as an appetizer.

Beef and Barley Stew with Roasted Vegetables as a main

And Frozen Maple Mousse with candied ginger for dessert! It looked to good to take a picture of before digging into it so this is just the empty glass.

Lunch was soo good! The perfect ending to a fabulous fall day! It wasn't quite the end...I had to go into work for 6.5 hours but I was so chipper from the great day that I quite enjoyed being at work.

Tomorrow Sambo and I are off the Amherst to have dinner with Nannie and Grampi and Alex, I'm excited already!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Shock Tactics

Should shock tactics be used in health promotion? The UK has just launched an add campaign against childhood obesity, and here is the ad:

Break The Habit - Spec TVC from The Precinct on Vimeo.

I haven't completely decided what I think about it yet. On one hand it seems really harsh and overly intense. On the other hand, it gets the point across. I can't stop thinking about it, which means it's done it's job. I think it would make me feel guilty as a parent, and the thought of eating a hamburger after seeing that makes me sick to my stomach.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Hunger Diaries

The foodie blogger world absolutely EXPLODED this past week after Marie Claire posted an article called "The Hunger Diaries: How Health Writers Could Be Putting You at Risk. (Six popular bloggers advocate healthier living, but are they putting readers - and themselves - in danger?)"

The article profiles "The Big 6"; writers of food and fitness blogs who have amassed thousands and thousands of daily followers. They are being torn apart for portraying unhealthy eating and exercise habits through their blogs and convincing their followers that these behaviors are healthy. The article's numerous consulted professionals state that although no diagnoses can be made based on the blog alone, these women are all at risk for eating disorders based on what they have written about their diets, body weight and health practices, and that their behaviors are being mimicked by die-hard fans and as a result, their followers are becoming injured or developing eating disorders.

Only one of the Big 6 is a registered dietitian and the rest simply have day jobs with blogs on the side. We have been cautioned since the invention of the internet not to trust everything we read online. Particularly with the current popularity of blogs, any one who has access to the internet (which is almost everyone on the planet these days) can go online and write whatever they want about any topic they desire. Why is it that we are treating these 6 blogs any differently? I can understand the outrage; these women are portraying themselves as experts on a particular topic despite perhaps not giving out the best advice. I haven't actually read their blogs, so I can't really formulate an honest opinion at this point, but I feel like the actual content of their blogs is completely irrelevant. Why are these six women being singled out when there are millions of websites and blogs that misrepresent a topic or encourage unhealthy behaviors? Why not pick on the pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia blogs to pick on?

Most people won't go out and try everything they see on YouTube or believe everything they read on Wikipedia, nor would either of these websites be harassed if someone did. I think it is the reader's responsibility to sift through the content they stumble across on the web and make informed decisions about what they read. I know many people don't, but the blog writer can't control what people do or say after reading what they have written. I don't think it was fair that these 6 women were singled out.