takin' a break

Well, folks, it's been fun, but this will be my last post.  I'm takin' a blogging break.  I might be back in a month, a year, or never.  Who knows?  If I get really inspired maybe I'll post my thoughts, or a favourite recipe; we'll see where my inspiration takes me.

It's been fun, and I've really enjoyed having a creative outlet, however, I feel like I really need to focus my energy on other areas of my life.

Thanks for coming on this adventure with me, it has been fun!




waddya know, joe?

Meet my new fashion obsession:  Joe Fresh.  You might have seen these clothes in your nearest Superstore, or if you're lucky enough, you may have even visited the brand-new stand alone store on Granville which opened this past fall.

After some googling light research, I realize why I love this label so much.  Joe's Creative Director, Joseph Mimran, was also the co-founder of Club Monaco.  This all makes perfect sense as Club Monaco is one of my all-time favourite clothing stores. 

I'm so happy that we finally have a place to shop for chic clothes, without spending a fortune. For example, I recently purchased a great cardigan from Joe fresh (in a bright and fresh coral colour with a cute roll-up/button detail on the sleeves) for only $29. Seroiusly, how can you go wrong for that price?

If you haven't yet checked out the Joe Fresh clothing line, I urge you to do so soon.  You won't be disappointed!

PS:  Am I right in assuming that the label is called Joe after it's Creative Director?


an artful artist

Ever since watching the film "Pollock" in highschool, I have been fascinated with the painter, Jackson Pollock. I know that many people will argue that all Pollock did was drip and splatter some paint on a canvas, and that doing so doesn't constitute "real" art. However, what is "real" art? Isn't all art subjective? Isn't art whatever you want it to be? For me, when I look at a Pollock painting, it's not about what I'm looking at, it's about the feeling that I get from the painting.

Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist)
In fact, I think that evoking a feeling from viewers was what Pollock was going for. Pollock started by naming his paintings, but then decided to simply start numbering them. He wanted to end the viewer's search for representational elements in his paintings, and to "look passively and try to receive what the painting has to offer and not bring a subject matter or preconceived idea of what they are to be looking for."

The feeling that I get from my favourite Pollock piece is warmth and security; whenever I look at it I feel like I'm laying on a warm, sandy beach in the middle of summer.  That's the feeling that I'm getting today, anyway.  Tomorrow, or next year, the feeling might be totally different.

Right now, our tiny apartment doesn't have much art; the things on our walls are wedding photographs, prints from Ikea (I think everybody has at least one), and Hubby's commissioning scroll.  However, as we grow older, I look forward to collecting some original art pieces for our home; even though we'll never be able to afford a Pollock doensn't mean we can't enjoy the beauty of other art.


i'm stuffed

In my search through my many cookbooks for an easy weeknight meal, I recently came across orzo stuffed peppers.  Sounds delicious, eh?  Not to mention, I thought that I could probably use this recipe to get Hubby to eat zucchini, he's not a fan.  So, I made them, and they were delicious, and really easy to make.

Orzo Stuffed Peppers
(adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)

1 (28 oz) can Italian tomatoes
2 zucchini, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups orzo (rice shaped pasta)
6 sweet bell peppers (red or yellow)

Preheat over to 400F.

Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and break apart using your hands (or kitchen scissors if you're scared to get messy).  Add zucchini, basil, cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Add orzo and cook for 4 minutes;  the orzo should only be partially cooked.  Use a fine mesh sieve to transfer the orzo to the large bowl with the other vegetables (you need to save the chicken broth as you will be using it later).  Stir the orzo into the vegetable mix to combine.   Transfer the warm chicken broth to a baking dish (big enough to hold 6 peppers, and deep enough to fill with the remaining chicken broth).

Slice the tops off the peppers and remove all ribs and seeds.  If needed, cut a very thin slice from the base to help the peppers stand up.  Spoon the orzo mixture into the peppers and place them in the baking dish with the warm chicken broth.  Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove foil, sprinkle the top of each pepper with cheese and continue baking until the cheese is golden, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the stuffed peppers to a serving plate.  Enjoy!

PS:  If your carnivorous husband is insiting that there be meat in the stuffed peppers, check out my sister-in-law's recipe here!


my great gf

In the past number of months, I've been thinking about all the relationships in my life;  relationships with my parents, brother, Hubby, family, and friends.  It always seems funny to me how my circle of friends seems to always be changing and evolving.  I do, however, think that most people have this one friend in your life that they know will be there with you till the end of time.  For me, this is my friend, Jenni!

She's not family, but I know that many, many years from now I'll still be able to call her up for a coffee date.  She is undoubtedly one of the best people that I have ever met in my life.  Ever.  Seriously, she's awesome! 

She has stood beside me though every single moment since we met in Grade 8.  In highschool there would be times when we would drift apart a little bit, and in adulthood we've had our share of hard times together, but I'll always know that, no matter what, things will always work out between us.  If it wasn't for her, my wedding wouldn't be half the day that it turned out to be, she helped me sooooo much and I hope to one day return the favour.  I don't get to see her as often as I would like (darn school and work always seem to get in the way), but when we do get together, it's always good times.

at my stagette, oh what a night!

I love this girl so much.  She is one of the sweetest, funniest, and most honest people that I've ever met;  I could search the world, but I don't think I'd ever find somebody just like her in a million years.  I love you, Jenni!  Don't ever stop being you <3


gettin' saucy

As you know, this past weekend was Hubby's birthday.  As part of the many birthday celebrations, we invited our family over last night for dinner.  As lasagna was Hubby's favourite dish growing up, I, naturally, decided to serve lasagna.

left overs always make the best lunches!

The lasagna recipe I decided to make called for home-made tomato sauce which was to be mixed with a bechamel sauce to make a rose.  I know that I could have bought jarred tomato sauce, but why?  So, on Saturday I made a batch of home-made tomato sauce.  It was DELICIOUS!!  In fact, it was so delicious that I kind of regret mixing it with the bechamel as it really muted the fantastic flavours.  Oh well, next time!  This is such a great base recipe that would be great with other veggies (like mushrooms) or meat added to it to make it a more substantial sauce to pour over cooked pasta for an easy weeknight meal.  I'm never buying jarred tomato sauce again!

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 can plain tomato sauce, optional*
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

In a Dutch oven (ha-ha!), heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.
Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour portions into plastic freezer bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.

*After processing my sauce I still found it to be a little thick, so I added about a 1/2 can of plain tomato sauce, which thinned it out nicely.


hubby birthday

Today is Hubby's 27th birthday.  I love having a day to celebrate him, and make him feel extra special!

still young at heart

Nothing super fancy or over the top (sleep-in, breakfast, and a night out with friends), but it's a chance for all those in his life to celebrate what a great guy he is.

Happy Birthday, Hubby!  Thank you for being my love, best friend, protector, and kitty daddy.  I love you to the moon and back!


dine out date night

I love Vancouver.  I especially love late January/early February in Vancouver.  Why?  Each year during this time, Tourism Vancouver puts on a city-wide celebration of food and British Columbia Wine known as Dine Out Vancouver.  If you live in the Lower Mainland and you've never participated in Dine Out, I urge you to try it out this year.  Tourism Vancouver's website describes Dine Out as:

"giving you the chance to taste Vancouver's hot restaurant digs, new hit eateries and neighbourhood favourites all for a reasonable prix-fixe price."

Simply, Dine Out is awesome!  This year, Hubby and I have combined Dine Out with date night and we're doing  "T&A Dine Out Date Nights".  This allows us to have our much-needed date nights, but keeps us within our monthly budget. 

This year, we're trying two new restaurants:  Salt Tasting Room ($28 menu) and Poor Italian Trattoria & Ristorante ($38 menu).  I've wanted to check out the Salt Tasting Room ever since I saw it featured on a Food Network program about Vancouver eateries, and Hubby always says "I want to try that place" whenever we pass the Poor Italian.  So, Dine Out is a perfect way to experience these restaurants, yet not spend a fortune.

Are you participating in Dine Out this year?  What restaurants will you be trying out?


squashed dinner

Sometimes, you don't feel like having dinner for dinner. Sometimes you're not hungry enough for a full dinner, and you just want to snack on something. That's the great part about being an adult. You can eat what you want, when you want! That was me last night. I didn't want anything big for dinner, so what did I do? I squashed dinner (literally!) and made zucchini fritters!

My mom found this recipe about a year ago from a magazine (I can't remember which one), and I wanted to share it because we like it so much! Enjoy!

  • 2 zucchini, grated
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • generous pinches of salt and pepper
Pre-heat oven to 400F. After grating the zucchini, dump onto a couple sheets of paper towel. Cover with more paper towel and press to remove excess moisture. Transfer to medium bowl and sprinkle with cornstarch, mix until incorporated. Add cheese and onion, and mix some more. Whisk egg white and add to mixture, along with salt and pepper. Mix until combined. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, and drop 1/4 cup of the mixture onto the parchment to make fritters, until all the mixture is gone (I got 9 fritters). Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and bake again until golden and slightly cripsy (about another 8 minutes). Let stand a couple minutes before serving.

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Mix all ingredients together until combined. Add more or less of anything to suit your taste!

PS: Even if you're not a zucchini fan don't be scared to try these, you can't really even taste the zucchini, just the cheese and onion.

PPS: The sauce is really good, you can eat them without it, but I don't recommend it. The recipe makes WAY more sauce than we actually used, so I will half it next time...


wonderful wedding moment number ten

Lately, it seems like everybody that I know (around my age, that is) is newly engaged, married, or having a baby.  This is the "fun" stage of life, the stage where all the big events happen; seriously, there are few events in our lives that top (for some people) getting married and having a baby.  Being surrounded by all these nuptials has made me reflect more and more on my own wedding day.  Thus far, it was the best day of my life. Ever.

Since I've been reflecting so much, I wanted to share my thoughts and memories with you!  To make it fun, each month, from now until our second wedding anniversary in September, I will be counting down my ten most cherished moments of my wedding day.

So, without further ado, I bring you number ten:  The Preparation

I loved getting ready for my wedding.  Being surrounded by my Mom, Dad, and closest girlfriends as I got ready for one of the biggest days of my life made me feel so loved.  After not being able to sleep very well the night before, I thought I would be a hot mess the morning of the big day.  I wasn't.  I was just so relieved that my wedding day was finally here, and in a few hours I would be a Mrs. 

After hair and make-up appointments, Mom, the girls, and I went back to my apartment to get dressed.  After slipping into my dress, I remember looking at myself in the mirror and feeling like a bride;  feeling that this day was already speeding by too quickly.  That being said, I still couldn't wait to jump in the limo and head to the church to meet my Groom.  The limo couldn't go fast enough.  I was anxious, not nervous, and excited for what was about to happen.

We got to the church and I got so excited just knowing that I would walk into the church as a single girl, and walk out as a married woman!


admiring audrey

If there was one person that I could sit down and have a lunch date with, I would go back in time and share a soup and sandwich with Audrey Hepburn.

Ever since I was a kid, Audrey was, by far, my favourite movie star.  Something about her just screams elegance and self-assurance; she is the definition of a strong woman.  I admire the fact that she always seemed to know just exactly who she was; she embraced her femininity, yet was still able to remain strong and let her voice be heard.  She also always seemed to see the good in life, rather than all the negative.  These days, we are constantly surrounded by bad news, and heartbreaking stories; Audrey is always reminding me to search for the light in the dark times.  The thing that I like about her the most, however, is that she just seems like a genuinely kind person, she seemed to love and accept everybody for who they are; I really admire that quality.  Audrey Hepburn, a kindred spirit, and my role model for love and life.

"I believe in pink.
I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.
I believe in kissing, kissing a lot.
I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.
I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.
I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles."
Audrey Hepburn


movies that moved me

Hubby and I have been to the movie theatre twice this year, and we're only five days in!  I couldn't eat anymore popcorn if I wanted to.  The two movies that we watched were The King's Speech and Black Swan.  VERY different movies, yet both were really well done.

The King's Speech was such a good movie that I'm still thinking about it many days afterwards.  I saw this movie advertised last month and it really interested me, and when our friends saw it (and raved about it) we knew that we needed to see it.  We had high hopes, and we were not disappointed at all.  It was one of those movies where time flew by; it honestly felt like we were in the theatre for 5 minutes.  Colin Firth as King George VI was AMAZING, I would be extremely surprised if he didn't get an Oscar nomination for his performance.  Go and see this movie, now!

Black Swan was different, to say the least.  If you watch the trailer, you'll get a good understanding of the tone of the movie.  I know that this movie won't be for everyone, but both Hubby and I found it, for lack of a better word, entertaining.  It was creepy and dark, but Natalie Portman's performance was awesome, and there was so much symbolism that we were completely engrossed in the film and discussing it the whole car ride home.  That's what, to me, makes a movie worth the admission price.  Yes, I could see a mind-numbing romantic comedy, and I would enjoy it, but it wouldn't spark the conversations that a movie like this would.


gettin' gifty in the new year

Ah, January 4th, or otherwise known as my first day back at work since last year.  I was excited to come back to my desk after the 12 day Christmas break; I need structure and order in my life and sitting in my pyjamas until 2 p.m. makes me crazy.  Not that I didn't enjoy the time off, but getting back to our regular routine is always nice.

To make this day even more exciting, I came into work to find a gift on my desk from the firm's Partners.  A gift?  Why?  To mark the firm's 100 anniversary, of course!  I completely forgot that this year the firm is celebrating its 100th anniversary- quite the milestone, if you ask me!  I love being part of something that has been around for so long and has such a rich history.  I've pulled a brief history from our firm's website, so if you're interested, here it is:

John Arthur Clark and Alexander Wilson were boyhood friends who grew up together in Vancouver in the early 1900’s. In 1909 the young Clark and Wilson helped establish the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders infantry regiment of Canada. And by 1911, they both began the practice of law.

During the outbreak of World War I, Clark and Wilson led their regiment through some of the most pivotal engagements in the war, including the Battle of Vimy Ridge, where they played a key role in some of the defining moments of Canadian history.

Both John Arthur Clark and Alexander Wilson survived the war and returned to Vancouver where they resumed their practice of law. General Clark went on to serve in World War II and on his return formed the law firm Clark & Clark with his son Don. In 1951 they were joined by John Shrapnel Maguire, and the firm became Clark & Maguire.

Alexander Wilson and his partners practiced under the name Wilson & White, and they occupied the adjoining offices next to Clark & Maguire. It was said that the door between the two firms was never closed. In April of 1952, the two firms merged as Clark, Wilson, White, Clark and Maguire.

The current firm name of Clark Wilson is said to have been chosen by a receptionist who was too busy to use the full name. She shortened it to "Clark Wilson & Company" in order to speed up telephone calls. Today, one hundred years after Clark and Wilson began the practice of law, we have emerged as one of British Columbia's pre-eminent law firms, with over 80 lawyers and 140 staff.

my prezzie, so thoughtful


in one year and out the other

We are just over twenty-one hours in to 2011 and, so far, the year has been AWESOME.  Hubby and I rang in the New Year surrounded by good friends, slept in, ate a delicious breakfast (also with friends), watched a Disney movie, and had a yummy family dinner.  Oh, and I took a nap; so far this is the best year ever!

I love the start of the year, everything always seems brand new; old problems are forgotten, and everybody gets a fresh start.  I always feel like making resolutions is pointless, does anybody ever really follow their resolutions?  I certainly don't.  I find that I make resolutions just for the sake of making resolutions.  So, this year my resolution is to not make any resolutions; I want to start 2011 with no expectations.  I want to take the year as it comes, to enjoy the ups and downs (with hopefully more ups than downs), and ride the roller coaster of life with Hubby holding my hand tight.

Welcome, 2011, I can't wait to see what you have in store for me.