Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Breakfast in a Cup. Beware Coffee.


Breakfast is an absolute mainstay in our house. We need the energy and when you're constantly working with family full stomachs make it all the better. I know my mood improves after a meal. Therefore, breakfast cannot be skipped at our table but it can be tweaked.
 
I came across this recipe for Crunchy Breakfast Cups and it was an instant success (to make and eat). Also, the main ingredients are what you would have on hand for a typical breakfast omelet but served up in a delicious, crispy tortilla.
 
It is a nice change from our regular egg, bacon, toast and hash browns fare, but it isn't a laborious dish to make, making it a favourite of mine (hey, my mood is already improved just thinking about it!) 

CRUNCHY BREAKFAST CUPS

Prep: 15 mins. Cooking: 20 mins. Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:
  • 6 small whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup of cut bacon, not cooked (ham works too)
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup light cream cheese
  • 1/4 shredded Asiago cheese
  • Chunky salsa (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400'F (200'C) and gently push tortillas into large muffin tin. Put to the side.
  2. In a large, frying pan, melt butter over medium heat and cook onions, peppers and bacon for three minutes or until softened.
  3. Add eggs and stir into the pan.
  4. Mix in cream cheese, continuously stirring for about three minutes or until egg is set (remember this will also be baking in the oven).
  5. Spoon into tortilla cups and sprinkle with Asiago cheese.
  6. Bake in the oven for ten minutes or until tortilla's are golden and cheese bubbly.
Remove from muffin tin (gently twisting the cups help un-stick them from the tin) and serve with a dollop of salsa for the brave.

 Recipe from Dairy Goodness.



Wednesday, 24 July 2013

It's Quiet, Too Quiet...

Our cows have been on holidays for three months (and counting) and I'm beginning to get a little jealous.
 
These photos are of our dry cows (because, quite literally, they are 'dry' or not milking as they prepare to have their babies).
 
I took these on the day that the paddock attached to the barn was opened (in the late spring--hence the clouds). This means, during the interim months of their pregnancy our dry cows are resting and relaxing with 24/7 access to a spacious field for their grazing pleasure.
 
Maternity leave at its best if you ask me.
 
With our barn numbers down to about a quarter (we also have our heifers out on pasture until October, weather permitting) the change is definitely noticeable. I think it compares to kids going to camp: life at home (barn) has become quieter, tidier and the fridge (feed bunk) stays full a little longer with fewer mouths to feed. But when they do come back, rosy cheeked (glossy coats), refreshed (rotund) and with stories to share you can't help but welcome them home with open arms...the increased workload aside. 
 
 
On nice days, especially when the gentlest of breezes is blowing and there are mouthfuls of grass to be had, all our dry cows can be found outside, leaving the free stalls and feed bunk eerily empty. While they stroll and lay about in the field I can't help but remember the saying 'party until the cows come home.'
 
But, on this farm, no one can outright party while three quarters of our herd is still in attendance but, at the very least, I'm sure we can have an appy hour.
 
Cheese and crackers anyone?
 
 
Do you have any comments or questions about this post? Write below and I would love to get back to you. Have a great Wednesday and, if you can, soak up some sunshine.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Park de Triomphe

Following in the wake of this year's Tour de France my Dad and I embarked on our own journey around the ever-lovely and currently in full bloom, Stanley Park.

I'll argue that our vistas were just as stunning as those in France.

We had the prodigious North Shore Mountains, like the bold strokes from Mother Nature's paintbrush, sweeping upwards against the blue canvas of the sky. Sail boats were rocking gently out on the rolling sea. Steep cliffs and trees hugged one side of our paved bike path and the ocean was on the other.

Happily wedged between a rock and a wet place, so to speak.

As I peddled around Stanley Park I did note a few similarities and differences between our excursion and France's infamous one. There were a handful of other bicyclers all moving in the same direction (courtesy of a separate biking lane and directional arrows) and, even if not necessarily a team, we were all enjoying the salty breeze whipping off the water and the spectacular landscape unfolding before us.

Our journey did not quite last as long as the Tour's twenty three days, more like an hour of leisurely cruising, and there were no victory laps around the Arc de Triomphe but a few hills did require some extra stamina to get up and over (a triumph in itself).

Upon completion there was no one standing beside our vehicle (which meant we still had money left on the meter, thank goodness). Neither of us was wearing the sacred canary yellow winner's jersey (I had dressed in red and he in tie-dye) and there was no award or medal to be hoisted proudly above our heads.

But not to worry, all this pedalling was not in vain because the scenery of Stanley Park is absolutely winsome.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Having High Hopes

They arrived in a box much smaller than I anticipated. I tentatively sliced open the packing tape with scissors to reveal an even smaller, tightly rolled bag inside. 

Had I gotten the wrong size?

Photography skills courtesy Mom

They looked tiny.
 
I unfurled them with great care, and watched, in apprehension, as they took shape before my eyes. The legs unrolled, the waist band expanded and like unfolding a piece of origami, instead of holding a minutely constructed figurine I held a pair of jean capris that appeared to be my size.
 
Now what about fit?
 
I unsnapped the side closure with care and pulled them up...waaayyyy up, and that's how I knew I had found a winner. The capris rested happily at my natural waist (locked and loaded as I like to put it) and hit my calve at the most flattering place. Sometimes I find, at least on me, where the cuff of a capris ends can make our break how they flatter your shape. And of course I must pay my respects to the high-waist of these capris, my original reason for purchasing them. They are ideal to tuck tops into but look just as well untucked and need I mention that they are a summer staple?
 
I had high hopes for these pants and naturally they rose right up and met them!
 

Collar Top: Denver Hayes
Capris: Modcloth
Shoes: Keds
Sunglasses: found at any drugstore near you!






Like this post? Check out my online shopping adventures or meet my absolute favourite pair of high-waist pants. Who knows? Your hopes might soar a little higher, too. Happy reading!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Razzle-Dazzle Berry Bars

I just picked our first ripe crop of raspberries from our backyard plants and the way they are growing I think I can also anticipate a second and a third harvest. Admittedly, I am more of a strawberry type of girl, something a little sweeter but I've decided raspberries should also feel the heat (from the oven, that is).

So I rolled out this recipe and some oats, nicknamed the berries Razzle-Dazzle because anything beats rasp and added one cup of brown sugar instead of a half. The end result were these tangy and tasty Berry Bars.

Strawberry who?


INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup whole wheat flour

1 Cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 Cup all-purpose flour

1/2 Cup brown sugar

1/2 Tsp. ground nutmeg

Dash of salt

1/2 Cup of coconut oil melted

2 Large egg whites

2 Cups freshly picked raspberries


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat over to 350'F. Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Stir together all the dry ingredients and then add coconut oil and egg whites until a moist dough forms.
  3. Keep 3/4 cup of the dough aside. Press the remaining dough along the pan bottom until evenly spread.
  4. Mash raspberries in separate bowl and spread over the dough in the pan.
  5. Crumble remaining dough over the top of the raspberry layer and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
Enjoy!


Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Jumping for Joy

In the warm up ring--warming up!
I attended my first horse show a week back at Thunderbird Equestrian Show Park. A venue  that is as fancy and lovely as it sounds. With its numerous towering, white barns, outdoor and indoor arenas and sweeping manicured lawns you can see why it is the place to compete in British Columbia. But until now I never had a reason to go.
 
My own brief equestrian experience never took me to Thunderbird, let alone into a ring, winning a ribbon (or two). However, during this week long competition, Bailey and her horse Quattro competed in daily jumping classes and placed in each one. Like any true fan it is impossible not to cheer (or clap, as is the way with horse shows) from the stands and say "I know her!" and find yourself blogging (or is that bragging?) about it.
 
From the outside looking in jumping is NOT for the faint of heart. Truly, you should see how tired horse and rider can be after completing their set but also the logistics of it all: literally leaping over a jump with a gigantic horse (none of those thoroughbreds are small) and managing to stay in the saddle. Heck, if I was judging that deserves a ribbon right there. But, of course at the jumping level which Bailey and Quattro are at, the stakes are higher. The class we watched the jumps were somewhere between two and a half to three feet in height which, when I first heard that did not seem high, but when you realized what has to make it over (a 1,000 pound horse and rider, all hopefully at once), it can put it into perspective. 


The arena where the class happened. This photo only shows half of the jumps.

And then there are the faults: penalties (deducted from your points) are given for knocking down poles, being too slow (time fault) or missing a jump altogether. Which can totally happen. The course changes per class. When the horse enters the ring it must be for the first time. The rider may have been able to walk around the course before, or at least look at a map, but it all needs to be memorized. 
 
As we were briefed on the above, our hearts pounded as Bailey entered the ring on Quattro. The announcer read their names and a buzzer sounded.
 
They were off!

 
Vaulting over the jumps and cantering around the arena as an easy team that had practised and practised to get to where they are now. And the focus. As they went around the ring, other buzzers from neighbouring arenas are going off, the announcer is giving a play-by-play on how the course is going, music is playing mingled with quiet clapping. When she finished I asked Bailey if she heard any of the background noise but she hadn't.
 
Competing requires complete concentration. The rider is anticipating the jump ahead while listening to their horse and the horse is listening to the rider--an important aspect in any type of teamwork.
 
Thankfully, Bailey did hear her name being called as she went to collect her fifth placed ribbon, but no fear, there were fourth, third and second placed ribbons to be gathered as well. That can make anyone jump for joy.
 
 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Towing the Line

I have finally entered the world of online shopping. So far I have only been filling my "shopping cart" with clothing, from one store. My first two purchases were summer staples that I have been meaning to add into my wardrobe: I really needed a pair of neutral, classic sandals to go with anything (my last pair were a patent yellow which were sometimes limiting, and very casual) and a sundress.
 
Following photos taken by Mom
 
This is where I find online shopping to have the biggest edge: I have a variety of clothing styles at my finger tips that are not necessarily "in" or "hot pieces" of the moment. Which is what shopping is all about: finding something a little different or unique.
 
The rare times when I cruise through a shopping mall I find that if floral sundresses are in all you see are floral dresses and that's all you can buy. The mall is definitely handy, especially if you need that piece du jour but when you want something else, or a whole lot of something else, going online opens up racks and racks of clothing that you can narrow down by typing in a search word.
 
 
So I have jumped on the online bandwagon and am awaiting the arrival of my second order but that hardly means I am going to stop visiting brick and mortar clothing stores--especially the vintage ones. There is something about physically rifling through a rack of clothes, stumbling upon a rare find that you were not expecting, and that lovely thrift store smell that will keep bringing me back through the door each and every time.
 
 Happy Sunday!


Dress: Modcloth
Purse: Vintage
Sandals: Modcloth
Necklace/Accessories: Gifts

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Making Cents of it All

En Gard! The spirit of surging ahead , whether it be like Frank Ney or as a freelancer. This picture
 was taken on our recent cruise.

Today in the mail I got my first payment for my writing. I broke the seal of the envelope with a little trepidation while silly thoughts swam about my head such as, instead of a cheque there would be a rejection slip telling me that my articles were not up to par, or no cheque at all, maybe just a scribbled face laughing manically.
 
But no!
 
First off, I told myself, catching those flyaway thoughts and firmly pinching them under my mental thumb, the paper has been printed, and my articles were in there. I saw them with my own eyes. And that was ink they were printed in, thank you very much. Also, the editors of the magazine would not send out that sort of thing. They have been much too encouraging to pull the rug from out under my feet.
 
Still these little insecurities wriggle in there, like unwelcomed worms in a perfectly good apple. Even though my worries are on the grandiose end of the spectrum they source from my own self-doubt. I worry that my writing has a very 'young' tone, that my vocabulary is too 'very' and 'high school English class' and that I am not quite grasping all the technicalities and functionalities of assembling a succinct, thorough piece.
 
The above might very well be true, for sure being a young writer is because I am, and I have only been actively freelancing for four months. I cannot expect to have it all nailed down at once. Truthfully, my writing should not be polished and pristine like a coddled antique car because, if it was, where do I go from there? How would I become better? How would I make mistakes and learn from them?
 
When I read  what I feel are exceptional articles (or even blogs) by other people I start pinning to write just as well, and may feel a little discouraged because my writing is not at that level. Yet. But I am going to keep going, keep writing and try my absolute best to keep getting better because I love doing this and hope to do it for a long time.
 
And if worse comes to worse I'll fall back on that cheque I got in the mail today. Because it was a cheque, made out to me, for my first three pieces I had published.

It was not for a crazy, six-figure sum (because I did not write a six-figure worth of words) but the editors and owners of the magazine felt it was good enough to publish and I thought my articles were worth writing about.

That is knowledge I can take to the bank.