October 28, 2013
If we were chatting over a cup of tea this morning, I’d tell you I’m 26!!! I had a fabulous birthday weekend filled with my best friends, incredible wine, food and celebrations. To say I am a spoiled brat is an understatement. On Friday night, My Other Half took me to Supply & Demand in Westboro (I’ve been dying to go) and it was amazing – definitely one of the best dining experiences in Ottawa lately. I am a huge fan of anything raw and they have an entire raw menu. I hear it made enRoute magazine’s top 10 new restaurants too, which is a huge honour. We normally base our restaurant hit-list on enRoute’s recommendations. We had the kale salad (amazing), albacore tuna crudo, chicharon (francy word for pork rinds – also amazing), pepper spaghetti and pork belly. My Other Half thinks it’s the best pork belly he’s ever had, and it’s his favourite dish. Yum!
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you my friends are so awesome. My Other Half threw me a birthday wine & cheese at our place this weekend and it was a total blast, complete with delicious apps made by my girlfriends, kitchen dance parties and wayyy too many presents. You guys are more than a girl could ask for! I am very lucky to have such fantastic people in my life. Thank you!
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you I spent my actual birthday (yesterday) being lazy and cozy, curled up on the couch or in the tub with a good book. Thankfully this meant I finally finished The Long Stretch (the first novel in The Bishop’s Man trilogy by CBC journalist Linden MacIntyre). I’d been reading it for almost a month, unfortunately, so I am now way behind on my reading challenge. I have exactly one week to read The God of Small Things (Erin’s pick this month) before book club on Sunday! Yikes.
October 21, 2013
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you that the fall is going by way too quickly. I thought it was still summer, like, a minute ago?! Now everywhere I look there are pumpkins and leaves on the group. And pretty trees. It’s freaking me out. Mostly because I’ve started thinking about Christmas (yikes), but also because it’s my 26th birthday on Sunday and I feel like it sorta came out of left field. Do I have to say I’m in my late twenties now? Or am I still mid-twenties? Maybe I should just start telling people I’m a senior citizen because that’s exactly how I act. I met the most amazing old lady (Bertie, short for Alberta – LOVE her) and I connected with her more than anyone else all weekend. Case in point – I’m actually 82, living in the body of a soon-to-be 26-year-old.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d announce I am definitely getting crankier in my old age. I was always such an easy-going person, but know I find myself announcing a new pet peeve each week. For example: fake plants. I loathe them. Especially in people’s homes. All they do is collect dust. And real plants/flowers are so wonderful and easy to care for, so don’t try and tell me you don’t have a green thumb. Or, another example: people who cut their nails in inappropriate places or at inappropriate times. It makes me crazy – save the personal grooming for later. One last one: unswept floors, or, rather, realizing that I must sweep my floors a minimum of twice per day to keep them acceptably clean. I guess that’s one of the joys of cooking constantly. It is a harsh, harsh reality.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea this morning, I’d tell you I have suddenly and recently begun wearing and loving yellow gold. For the first time, like, ever. My Mama has always exclusively worn yellow gold, and as a child I seemingly declared myself a white gold/silver/platinum-only little lady. Well, I’ve noticed something else in my old age – I am slowly but surely morphing into my mother. Yes, I am becoming Barbara Kent before your very eyes. It’s terrifying and hilarious all at the very same time. But I have accepted it with grace and poise because that is exactly what my Mama would do. And I now love yellow gold.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you about the beautiful fall wedding we attending on Saturday in Halifax (and yeah, and if I didn’t already mention, that’s where I am now). My Other Half was standing for one of his best friends. It was a gorgeous October day – almost 20 degrees and sunny – and it couldn’t have gone any better. We are so happy for the new Mr. & Mrs. Geldart!
October 18, 2013
As I have mentioned five thousand times before, during university I worked at a Mexican restaurant named Feleena’s in Ottawa.
The restaurant was like family to me. I have such fond memories of the people, staff and food – ESPECIALLY the food. I still crave it from time to time and don’t return to visit often enough.
I had many favourite dishes on the Feleena’s menu (which you can see by visiting their Facebook page), but my all-time favourite was definitely the vegetarian enchiladas.
One would think vegetarian enchiladas would just be cheese enchiladas, but these were much more than that – they were stuffed with ricotta and spinach and topped with a mouth-watering cilantro cream sauce. Mind = blown.
I decided to try to re-create the dish. I knew I could easily phone up the chef and ask how it’s done, but that would be too easy. I wanted to figure it out myself!
What I came up with wasn’t exactly the same as the Feleena’s version, but it was super close and just as delicious!
Spinach & Ricotta Enchiladas with Cilantro Cream Sauce
8 oz sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
¼ cup milk
1 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 package frozen spinach
1 tbsp chopped canned jalapenos
salt & pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded cheese (I used marble)
1.5 cups ricotta
In a saucepan, mix together sour cream, soup, milk and cilantro. Heat, stirring constantly, and set aside. Thaw spinach and squeeze to take out all liquid. Mix with ricotta, jalapenos, half the shredded cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper. Fill each tortilla with a few spoonfuls of the spinach mixture. Roll tortillas up and place seam side down in a greased cooking dish (I used 9×13). Pour the cream sauce over the enchiladas and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until golden.
October 7, 2013
If we were chatting over a cup of tea this morning, I’d tell you I’m wearing boots. Like, winter boots. For the first time this season. And I’m not impressed. Although the colder weather does mean my fall vacation is getting closer… but I still hate winter.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you about how this BuzzFeed list (22 signs you’re an old person trapped in a young person’s body) is me. Well, not all of it, but most of it. I remember asking for a set of encyclopaedias for my 10th birthday or something. I also asked for books about the history of England (Tudor period to be exact, or the monarchy). I started saving for a house long before my friends showed any interest. And now, an awesome night is a having a few friends over, cooking a fabulous meal with My Other Half, and polishing off a few too many glasses of wine. And sleeping in my own bed. That is a necessity. People say I need to live a little, I shouldn’t grow up too fast etc… but I love the way things are. I love our little house. I love my routines. I can’t wait to come home from work to garden, cook and clean. I’d rather stay home on a Saturday night with a great book and a pot of herbal tea. I know – I am an 80-year-old. But I love it.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea this morning, I’d mention something else I read last week – this blog post on “A Season of Rest”. It hit home. I come from a family who takes on too much. My mother and father are two of the busiest people I’ve ever met. I seem to have inherited this attitude – I say yes to everything, often taking on leadership roles. The problem is (like my parents), I love everything that I do. But every now and then we need to be reminded to slow down. Just a bit. My favourite part:
“No more racing from one thing to the next. No more on the computer till 3am. No more cell phones out during dinner dates. And yes to laughter, novels, dinner parties and church friends. Yes to spontaneous weekends away, to fresh flowers once a week, to less time on the computer, to working in our garden. Yes to learning when to say no and being okay with it.”
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d also bring up this video. I wrote here about how I’ve been trying to unplug more and really live – no more celebrity gossip, no more addicting iPad games. I am still struggling with this. It’s hard to combat all the distractions that eat away valuable chunks of time. We’re all guilty of it. We can’t have a nice dinner without Intragraming our food… when really, we should focused on the person we’re with – being truly present with them. It’s an uphill battle. Technology is only going to get more awesome, more distracting and more enticing. But can we really not have an evening at home without phones, computers and tablets? Or even without TV? Whatever happened to a long walk, a good book, or a board game? My Other Half and I definitely make time for those things, so don’t think I’m saying we don’t. And I’m not saying I’ll never Instragram another picture of my food… but the video was a good reminder of what’s really important.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea this morning, I’d apologize for the heavy subject matter. It’s just what’s on my mind!
And if we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d also have fun, upbeat and happy things to discuss – like how my book club celebrated its third anniversary and first blogiversary! I am so thankful for my book club girls. We had an delicious dinner last week to celebrate. It’s amazing what we’ve accomplished together!
If we were chatting over a cup of tea this morning, I would definitely mention the fabulous four days with spent with my Uncle Ian. He’s a paralympian in table tennis and when he was able-bodied, he was a world-class soccer player. It was wonderful to have him in our home for four days and catch up. After all he’s been through, he’s still the most impressive athlete I’ve ever met. He was always an amazing juggler and he won two gold medals in table tennis this weekend! I am super proud to say my uncle is a national champ.
September 28, 2013
I have a really good memory for dates. Birthdays, anniversaries… dates in general.
I’m the kind of girlfriend who hands My Other Half a birthday card for his best friend a week early and tells him to write in it and mail it (and his best friend definitely knows this, so it’s all good).
I have no trouble remembering our half anniversary, my quarter birthday, our work anniversaries… I even know the anniversary of the day we met, had our first kiss etc.
BUT… there is one type of anniversary I can never seem to remember.
My blog anniversaries!
On August 5th, 2013, it was exactly three years since my first post on this blog. I had a crazy afternoon in the kitchen and felt the story was too good not to write about it. And I was already an aspiring cook (although My Other Half will tell you I had more mishaps than victories back then).
Anyway, something my boss emphasizes is taking time to celebrate and pat yourself on the back along the way. And I have never done that, with either blog (the book club blog turns one on October 5th, and the club itself turns three on October 3rd).
But this year, that’s changing. Today I’m indulging in a day of relaxation, delicious food, gorgeous sight-seeing and quality time with My Other Half. After three successful years of food blogging, that’s my treat to myself – and I am so excited!
Of course, I can’t celebrate a blogoversary without thanking all my readers. The hundreds friends, family and internet pals from around the world I’ve made along the way have inspired and motivated me. Thank you for reading my ramblings and trying my not-always-perfect recipes! The Domestic Blonde wouldn’t be here without you.
July 29, 2013
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you how happy I was that last week was a short week (for me). Work has been totally crazy and every day by about 3pm, my head is spinning. So I was thankful I had taken Monday has a vacation day while returning home from the Beyoncé concert in Toronto with Erin.
Speaking of Erin, if we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you she finally met the parents yesterday. And by “the parents”, I mean my parents! It was weird that one of my best friends hadn’t met them yet, so we had brunch after church on Sunday. I had a really fantastic weekend with my family – way too much food, wine and fun for my own good. It was the first time they really got to enjoy our new backyard, so we dined al fresco two nights. It was heaven! I am always so sad to see them go.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d probably agonize over my book club pick for August. I’ve had about 4 or 5 books planned, and then something happened to make my change my mind. For example, I’ve been dying to read The Light Between Oceans, but then someone told me it was predictable, so I decided not to choose that. Then I wanted to choose Fall On Your Knees because it’s Nova Scotian and the last two books I’ve chosen also were, but I pre-read it and it was too long (although the UBC would definitely love it). Then I wanted to choose my great-great aunt Evelyn’s Governor General’s Award-winning memoir We Keep a Light, but started reading it and decided it wasn’t for us. Now I’m really torn between half a dozen novels and I have no idea what to do. At least I have some time to decide.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you how much more fun it is to play soccer now that I’m back to playing wing midfield! For the past five years (since moving to Ottawa and joining the Ottawa Falcons) I’ve played striker, which was where I initially felt most comfortable. However, I’ve recently been moved to the left wing and am so much more effective there. I naturally gravitate to the wings and like to cross the ball, so it’s a much better fit. It feels good to be playing to my full potential again.
And finally, if we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d apologize for being a major food-blogging slacker last week. I promise to make it up to you with not one but TWO recipes by Friday!
June 17, 2013
If we were chatting over a cup of tea this morning, I wouldn’t know where to begin. As I write this, I am overwhelmed with stories, excitement and happiness. Words like “amazing” and “unreal” and “perfect” are swimming around in my head. But for the sake of my devout readers (seriously, you guys are awesome) I will try and compose myself for this post!
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I would be swooning over Matt & Megan’s beautiful wedding. It was out of this world. I am still in awe of a billion things… first, that the weather couldn’t have been better. Second, that Megan is the master-mind wedding planner that she is. Third, that she looked so picture-perfect on the big day. And lastly, that every little detail came together. Not only was the wedding fun, but it went exactly according to plan. I can’t tell you what it felt like to watch our best friends get married, because there are no words. I can tell you, however, that I was an emotional basket case (I haven’t cried that much in one day ever before, I don’t think). I was so moved to see their dreams come true… and watching a couple in love make it official is truly magical. And they are TOTALLY in love. It’s inspiring. Congratulations to two of my favourite people on the planet! (Oh, and I can finally share the photos of the wedding prep – hehehe!)
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d also tell you that for the last 5.5 years, My Other Half has been hiding something from me. The wedding revealed that he is a GIFTED public speaker. I’m not talking good, or even pretty good… he was a total pro. I was beyond proud that he delivered his speech and reading in the way he imagined he would… but it was better than that. I have no idea why he was so nervous! His hard work paid off. I could tell how happy Matt & Megan were too. Like I said… everything came together. We’re still on a huge high!
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d also tell you about the wonderful family time I had while I was home. A week is never long enough, but I managed to see most of the people closest to me and celebrate Father’s Day with my Daddy, Poppy and father-in-law. I even had lunch with my sister on a rooftop patio, which was the icing on the cake. I miss them so much when in Ottawa, but count my blessings over and over that I see them as much as I do.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you that I haven’t been reading at all. Blasphemy, I know. I started To Kill a Mockingbird on May 26th and I am still only 100 pages in. This lull in my reading regime is seriously hurting my book tally! Thankfully I was a few ahead so I don’t expect to fall behind.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I would tell you that although everything has been exciting and wonderful, we are both so excited to go back to normal – work, soccer, cooking, reading, gardening and relaxing. The small stuff. I am taking a big deep breath and getting organized today, so I can start fresh tomorrow!
May 28, 2013
… there’s a guest blogger you might recognize!
The talented and beautiful Laura is off shooting a wedding in Mexico, and I am lucky enough to be featured on her blog today!
I met Laura – an Ottawa-based wedding and engagement photographer – two years ago when My Other Half and I hired her for a couples session. You can read all about that in this post.
Since then, she’s joined my book club and we’ve become great friends!
Laura does really beautiful work, and she’s a total blast to hang out with. Bonus! To check out her website and her photography, click here.
Thanks for having me on the blog today, girlfriend! xo
May 7, 2013
If we were chatting over a cup of tea this morning, I’d definitely talk your ear off about my amazing vacation with my Mama. It was the perfect balance of sunshine, pampering, relaxation and exploring new places. I’m even happier to come home to such gorgeous weather in Ottawa – it’s almost as hot as the Caribbean! We met some lovely people and make great friends. The food, ship and company was terrific and I cannot wait for my next cruise.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you about competing in Iron Chef on the ship… but I might leave out the part about me losing. In all fairness, my dish won the taste category… and lost because of what I NAMED my dish. I know, ridiculous, right?
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d probably be detailing my gardening to-do list for you. Because it seems like Mother Nature snapped her fingers and made it summer, I was not at all ready. Yesterday I did some lawn repair and planted my annual petunia pots on the front step, but there’s a still a lot to be done, most of which has to wait for my big strong man to come home.
Speaking of My Other Half, I am counting down the minutes until our almost 3-month separation is over. Between his crazy amount of travel for work and basketball tournaments, I have seen very little of him in the last while (I think I counted and days were in the single digits). On Friday he’s finally home for the foreseeable future and just can’t wait!
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you I didn’t read as much as I’d hoped on my vacation. I read one book, The Forgotten Garden, which was 550 pages, but there’s wasn’t time for much else. It was excellent, by the way. Now I’m reading The Sisters Brothers and loving the writing style so far. My book club just picked Gone Girl and I am so excited to read that!