Spinach, Ham and Cheese Strata and My Other Half’s Big Win!

By Monday, November 15, 2010

I am incredibly excited… I just started receiving Canadian Living magazine (which has some of the best recipes ever) and I love it!

I just got an irewards card from Chapters (to help finance my book club purchases) and part of the deal is that you get discounted subscriptions to all magazine offered by Rogers, and Canadian Living was one of them. I’ve wanted a subscription for ages, so I’m so pumped! It’s like getting a new cookbook each month! And the subscription was only $22 – a steal! That’s less than $2 per magazine!

Chateauneuf du Pape, my parents’ favourite wine

So my first creation from the magazine was Spinach, Ham and Cheese Strata – something I’d never had before or attempted to make. Thankfully I was able to find all the strange ingredients – such as sourdough bread… I don’t even know what it is – and whipped it together in celebration of My Other Half winning a massive sales competition at work, which means we’ll basically have unlimited shopping at Future Shop for the next few years at least. And like I’ve said before, he loves anything baked with cheese, so I knew he’d like this one.

Recipe was good, pretty easy… don’t over-do the Dijon (I found it a bit too powerful, but I went a little crazy with it) and maybe do half cheddar and half Swiss instead… I’m not fond of Swiss and neither is My Other Half, so that’s a personal opinion. But overall it was a nice little casserole with a hint of class.

Funny story – I’m at Loblaws and trying to find sourdough bread. I go up to a lady and ask, and she says “No, we have none today, oven is broken” in a thick accent – most likely Hungarian or Russian. I realize I have to have some type of bread, but since I’m unfamiliar with the texture/taste of sourdough, I go up to her again and say “Do you have anything close to sourdough bread?” and she repeats herself: “No, we have no bread today, only this bread,” and she points to some “bought” bread that has obviously not been baked on site. Relentless, I try again “OK, but do you have anything SIMILAR to sourdough bread?” She looks at me, pauses, and then walks about 5 feet, picks up a big loaf of bread in a paper bag, and hands it to me. “Sourdough bread, here.”

It was sourdough bread. The label said so. I said “Oh! Great! Thanks!” and walked away happy.


I mean, obviously I’m thrilled I got the right bread, but… I’m actually laughing out loud as I type this. That woman confuses me to the core. Why didn’t she just look in the first place? Hahaha… oh my.

Regardless, I got the bread. And I’m going to be using it to make garlic bread to accompany My Other Half’s homemade spaghetti sauce thing evening. Can’t wait – yum!

The Book of Awesome

Also, I might as well share with you what else I did for My Other Half in lieu of his big competition win. I am, as you all know, a huge reader, and I spend hours – literally – every week in Chapters. I am totally on top of Heather’s Picks (that’s the CEO of Chapters and she “picks” all the good books) and sometime in the summer I found The Book of Awesome. As far as I know, it’s written by a guy who lost his dad, his job and his wife divorced him all within one year, and then to cheer himself up he began the website/blog www.1000awesomethings.com where, obviously, he began listing awesome things that made him happy. Little things. Such as… the smell of freshly cut grass. The cold side of the pillow. That one really good pen that never gets lost. Eventually someone discovered the blog and decided to make a book out of it. Anyway, I told My Other Half about this book, showed it to him, and he loved it.

One of the things in the book that is decidedly “awesome” is nailing your parallel parking on the first attempt. So every time My Other Half had to parallel park (which is often outside my building) and he nailed it, we began saying “Book of Awesome!!!” It became our inside thing. So clearly, when he won a bajillion dollars to Future Shop, that was AWESOME. So I got him the book and wrote in the front:


After opening it, he sat on the couch giggling and smiling to himself as he read the “awesome” things in the book. He agreed with all of them. It’d kinda freaky, but My Other Half and the author might just be the same person… they seem to have everything in common. What a successful gift!

Oh, and I also go him the bottle of wine shown at the top, which we’ll obviously save for a VERY special occasion.

All in all, it was a great night… and once again, it all began with great FOOD!

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