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Archive | February, 2015

A Shameless Plug

27 Feb

Alrighty, so I don’t talk too much on this blog about my acting. I might mention an audition or class or something every now and then but that’s about it.

Not todaaaaaay. 😉

Today I am talking acting, specifically, I am sharing with all of you that Saturday night (Feb 28, 2015) I will be on tv! 😀

I filmed an episode of The Untold Stories of the ER and it airs Saturday, wOOt! wOOt! It is Season 9, Episode 15, is titled Twist and Shout and is on TLC. It airs at 9PM but that is my time zone, I don’t know what time it will be on wherever you are.

untold stories of the er

There are a couple different stories per episode, mine is the one with the patient who ends up wearing the football helmet, I’m a nurse, the one who is holding the dish the patient pukes blood in to, ick! I do more than just that, but that is a fairly noticeable situation so should help you figure out who I am. If you watch I mean, which don’t feel obligated to at all! I’m just so excited I wanted to share the news lol 😀

Sidenote: I was told it is Episode 15 but the website says it is Episode 18

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40 Bags in 40 Days

27 Feb

Have you heard of “40 Bags in 40 Days”? My mom told me about it, there are a couple facebook pages dedicated to it and I’m sure if I bothered to google it I would find plenty on it. Rather than google I am going on what my mom told me, she’s better than google. 🙂

40 bags

Basically, the goal is to remove 40 bags of stuff from your house in 40 days. It ties in with Lent which is where the 40 days comes from, in case you were wondering. Now, within these 40 bags you are not including your normal garbage and recycling, and it is not necessarily 40 bags of extra garbage. The bags can be filled with items you are selling at a garage sale, or donating somewhere, or…um…that’s all I can think of right now lol As long as the items are leaving your place and not coming back, it counts. And no, I don’t mean leave your house and live in your shed or garage or rental property or whatever, it must be gone.

I like the idea, it can really help with decluttering your space and providing you with that extra little bit of motivation to sort your spare closet or organize your drawers or wherever it is you store your extra stuff. The only thing I have an issue with is the number, 40 bags, that’s a lot!

I live in a super small apartment. Yes I have more stuff than I need, mostly books lol, but 40 bags worth of stuff? I don’t think so!

However, I’m sure I could find a combination of bags and projects that I’ve been putting off that equal 40, or maybe 30…for sure 20! 😛

So I decided that since I like the idea I am going to tweak it to fit in to my world. 🙂

For starters, I am taking away the 40 bags in 40 days thing, I think I’ll turn it in to 30 projects and or bags in 40 days. Why am I giving myself 10 extra days? Simple, some of my projects will take more than one day, like my photo album project, that sucker will take who knows how many days. Also, some of my projects will require money and I’ll want to spread those out amongst multiple paycheques.

Then of course is the addition of projects, not limiting myself to only removing bags of stuff from my place.

I’m not coinciding my trying this idea out with Lent, I’m just doing it when I feel ready to start. Hopefully I’ll start it March 1st, it all relies on my getting my list of projects figured out in time lol

Those are all the tweaks I can think of right now, as I compile my list of projects I may come up with more tweaks, we shall see! One thing that I’m certain will change is the number, the number of projects and because they are connected the amount of days to finish. I look around my place and see a lot of random projects I keep meaning to do but never get around to but as I mentally tally them I’m thinking I’m far away from 40, or even 30, it is hard to tell though…

I’m looking forward to this, mostly because these random projects that I keep putting off have been annoying me lately but even with that added level of annoyance I still haven’t gotten around to doing any of them. Why? I don’t know. Also, some of them will require some creative thinking, and I like projects like that, they get your brain working not just analytically but creatively, the end result can sometimes be a surprise, hopefully a happy one! lol

Don’t suppose anyone wants to join me in this little organizing project? Challenges like this are always more fun to do with a friend! 🙂

A Healthy Muffin

26 Feb

Someone I know from work is following Weight Watchers and she was telling me about a muffin recipe she has, from Weight Watchers, that tastes good, is only two points per muffin, and the best part is the muffins are a decent size so you don’t feel like you’re wasting those two points.

She sent me the recipe and I gave it a whirl, it is dead easy! I’ll make a page for it under the recipe tab up top for easy reference but I’ll write it out here also so you don’t have to go searching for it today…

Chocolate Raspberry Weight Watchers Muffin

Prep Time 10 minutes, Cook Time 22 minutes, Serves 12, Weight Watchers Points per muffin is 2

Ingredients:

1 Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil’s Food Cake Mix

1 Cup Raspberries

8 oz Unsweetened Applesauce

2 Small Zucchinis

5 tbsp Water

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400F

Spray a 12 cup muffin tin, or use two 6 cup muffin tins. Place dry cake mix in medium bowl. Grate 2 small zucchinis and squeeze out moisture. Add 1 Cup of raspberries and the grated zucchini to the dry cake mix. Mix thoroughly. Add 8 oz of unsweetened apple sauce and 5 tbsp of water. Mix well.

Use a 1/3 Cup measure to measure batter in to muffin tray.

Bake for 22 minutes. Let muffins rest 5 minutes then take them out of the muffin tin and cool on rack completely.

Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

Voila!

Chocolate Raspberry Muffins you don’t have to feel guilty about! 😛

Pretty decent size, don't ya think?

Pretty decent size, don’t ya think?

So ok, they aren’t the prettiest things but meh, it all looks the same in the stomach lol They are an extremely moist muffin, as in super moist, I’m thinking because of the zucchini. Even though I pressed the grated zucchini to within an inch of its life and took out a lot of it’s moisture I think I could have taken out more. I was worried about taking out too much, I have learned that is not a valid concern lol You don’t taste the zucchini or the applesauce, which was a pleasant surprise.

I made some slight alterations, well, just one come to think of it. I didn’t use the Betty Crocker brand of cake mix, and can I say, buying a boxed cake mix felt like cheating! I never bake using a box, I always bake from scratch, so that part didn’t sit right with me but the first time I use a recipe I try to follow it to the letter and I guess they were going for the easiest possible baking experience, instead of you know, actually baking…I tend to think of using a boxed cake mix as more science experiment than baking but ok, I’ll stop my little rant about that now lol

Anyways! I bought a different brand, called Compliments! The exclamation point is part of the brand name, not because I’m so excited about it lol It is the “healthier version” provided by Safeway. You can find Compliments! foods all throughout the store, burger patties (which I have and omg they are sooooo delish!), I’ve seen it as cookies, um, crackers and I’m sure many more things. I checked the nutritional information and it was slightly more healthy than the Betty Crocker version so I opted for that, figured any little way to make it an even healthier recipe has to be a good change, right? Oh, and it was cheaper lol

I took the majority of the muffins to work and the reactions from people were positive, everyone was really impressed with how moist the muffins are considering they are a “healthy” muffin. I’m going to make a second batch, use up the rest of the applesauce cause no way I’m going to eat that as is, ugh, and freeze them. That way I’ll have an easy to grab food item stored in the freezer when I’m in a rush. 🙂 I was originally thinking I’d use them as I was dashing out of the house in the morning if I needed a quick breakfast but they are a tad rich for a first thing in the morning food, in my opinion, so I’ll probably end up eating them as an afternoon snack or dessert which is not a bad thing at all. 🙂

Haydn, Bartok and Beethoven

19 Feb

Monday is my Friday, weird right? Well that’s what happens when you work weekends. I work Fridays through Mondays and generally by Monday evening I am stupid tired. I usually don’t do anything more active than going home, making something to eat, watching tv and zoning out until bedtime on Mondays but every now and then my social life intervenes with my laziness and I end up out there in the world, being social.

This past Monday I met up with a friend for dinner and an outing to the Orpheum Theatre to enjoy the musical talents of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Fyi, they are awesome! 🙂

My friend KL had a gift card for The Keg so that’s where we went for dinner. I had a first experience on Monday, I ordered a steak for dinner and omg why have I not been eating steak all this time? Oh so good!

I know nothing about steak so the poor waiter had to educate me on what exactly I was choosing, lucky for me he was patient. 🙂 Basically all I took away from it was that a sirloin is full of flavour but not as tender and a fillet will have less flavour but be more tender. I wanted tender more than I wanted flavour so I ordered a Manhattan cut New York steak with shrimp, scallops, asparagus and Bearnaise sauce. Technically I combined two different steaks. The Manhattan cut New York usually comes with caramelized mushrooms, onions and peppers and is served with a demi-glace but I liked the sound of the toppings that came with the Sirloin Oscar so I swapped out the toppings that I was supposed to get with yummier sounding ones. Gotta love tailoring your meal to what you prefer! 😀

Manhattan cut New York with shrimp, scallops, asparagus and bearnaise sauce

Manhattan cut New York with shrimp, scallops, asparagus and bearnaise sauce

As you can see I chose the baked potato as my side and the restaurant automatically puts the sauce on the side, which I appreciate. It may not be proper etiquette to dip food but I’d rather dip the cut pieces of steak in to the sauce than pour the sauce on to my dinner. My friend poured the sauce she got with her dinner and used the whole thing, by dipping I used about half of what I was served and while it may be ridiculous to be trying to save some calories when eating a meal like this it’s habit by now to dip rather than pour, shrug.

I was impressed by how many shrimp and scallops were on the plate, I envisioned getting fewer and feeling slightly ripped off lol

I asked for help from the waiter with deciding how the meat should be cooked, I knew I didn’t want lots of blood, ick, but I wanted it to be tender, definitely not chewy! The waiter suggested the steak be cooked to medium, he thought medium rare might be a little too red for me and well done would be too chewy. So medium it was!

what the inside of a medium steak looks like

what the inside of a medium steak looks like

Because we were splurging we split an appetizer and a dessert, so much food! Mmm!

The appetizer was Baked Brie with basil pesto and red pepper jelly, served with crostini. That dish alone is worth going to The Keg, so so so yummy!

baked brie with basil pesto and red pepper jelly, served with crostini

baked brie with basil pesto and red pepper jelly, served with crostini

The above picture isn’t mine, I forgot to take a picture when the appetizer came and once we started eating it no way was I going to pause so I could photograph it lol

Then dessert, my favourite food group! I left it up to KL to choose what to order, we were torn between the cheesecake and the fudge brownie. She chose the cheesecake which made me a happy camper because that was what I wanted lol It was a generous size, extremely creamy and thankfully not overwhelmed in sauce, they let the flavour of the cheesecake stand out, Mmm!

cheesecake, super delish cheesecake

cheesecake, super delish cheesecake

I got more than my fair share of the cheesecake because KL wasn’t feeling very well and she only wanted a couple of bites. I felt badly about eating more than my half but no way could I stand leaving any on the plate. I know it makes me a glutton but it was so good, to leave any of it uneaten would have been a crime against taste buds everywhere!

After the most scrumptious meal we walked to the Orpheum Theatre, a beautiful place. I only got a couple of pictures from inside when waiting for the show to start, and they aren’t great pictures…

2015-02-16 19.58.10

2015-02-16 19.58.34

The performance consisted of:

Haydn Symphony No. 99 in E-flat Major

I. Adagio – Vivace assai

II. Adagio

III. Menuetto e Trio: Allegretto

IV: Finale: Vivace

Bartok Violin Concerto No. 1

I. Andante sostenuto

II. Allegro giocoso

Beethoven Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36

I. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio

II. Larghetto

III. Scherzo: Allegro

IV. Allegro molto

Now Beethoven I am familiar with, I listen to his work often but I was unfamiliar with Haydn and Bartok. There was a violin piece by Bartok that has quickly become a favourite piece, it is beautiful. The emotion felt when listening to the music, the story the notes tell, I don’t have the words to properly describe it, I only know it resonates within me, which I feel is what music is meant to do.

Here is the Andante sostenuto…

I could listen to violin music all day, if ever there was an instrument I wish I could play it is the violin, sadly, I have no musical ability, so instead I just listen and appreciate the talent others have. 🙂

All in all, an awesome Monday evening. I wish KL had been feeling better, she enjoyed the music but got sicker as the night continued and by the end felt horrible. Hopefully we can go again and she’ll be better able to enjoy the experience.

A Teeny Tiny Fire

14 Feb

Bright ‘n early this morning I was on the water enjoying my dragon boat practice. It was cold, but I loved it, weird I know lol 😛

Then, I came home and proceeded to get ready for work. Part of my getting ready process was making lunch – to eat before going to work, not to take with me.

I wanted something substantial, and well really, I wanted something with eggs lol but I’d had two hard boiled eggs prior to practice and that is one egg more than my daily egg allowance sooooooo no egg dishes for moi. Instead I popped a Ricotta and Spinach stuffed chicken breast from M&M Meat Shops in to the oven and boiled some whole wheat pasta. I don’t know why I made pasta as the side dish instead of veggies, shrug, I just seemed to want pasta. Probably cause I had bought a jar of alfredo & garlic sauce and really wanted to try it lol.

Anyways! It was time to drain the pasta so I did what I’ve done countless times, I took a towel wrapped it around one side of the pot and used it to protect my hands from the handles since they had gotten hot. I have used a towel every time I’ve needed to pick up a pot with hot handles for years and never had a problem. Well, this time I had a minor incident…

See, the towel slipped and touched the burner, big deal right? Wrong! The towel touched the burner and all of a sudden…fire! Actual fire! Not just singed, there were flames, flames! So there I am, holding a towel around a pot full of cooked pasta and the towel is on fire, not exactly a situation I expected to be in lol I didn’t want to lose the cooked pasta so I ever so gently put the pot down (on a different burner) then put the on fire towel in to the sink and soaked it with water. Yay for water solving the problem of my towel being on fire! Boo for ruining my towel.

I’m kinda bummed, I really like that towel, it is part of a set that my sister bought me two Christmases ago. Now it looks like this…

My scorched towel.

My scorched towel.

You’d think the damage would look worse considering there were flames involved. Even though the damage doesn’t look that bad the towel is ruined, sigh. Is it weird I am more upset about the towel being ruined than causing a fire in my kitchen? I think this just proves my point that some people aren’t meant to be in the kitchen and I obviously should be wealthy so I can have a cook, it’d be safer for everybody! 😉

Some Recipes To Try

14 Feb

I was reading a food article the other day and found three recipes I want to try, I probably never will lol I have an unfortunate habit of collecting recipes and never using them, but in case any of you also like to collect recipes, or actually ya know, try out recipes, I thought I’d share them. 🙂

They all require a slow cooker, consider yourself warned! lol

 

(1) Eggs In Purgatory

Eggs-in-purgatory

Serves 6

1 tbsp olive oil 
large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
796-ml can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
eggs
2 tbsp chopped parsley
thick slices bread, toasted (optional)
Instructions:
  •  Heat a medium frying pan over medium. Add oil, then onion. Cook until onion starts to soften, about 3 min. Stir in jalapeno, garlic, paprika, cumin and salt. Cook 1 more min. Transfer to slow cooker insert along with tomatoes and tomato paste. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low.
  • Make 6 wells in tomato mixture with the back of a spoon. Crack 1 egg into each well. Cover and increase heat to high. Continue cooking until eggs are done as you like, 15 to 25 more min. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve over toasted bread.
Nutritional Information:
Calories 145
Protein 8 g
Carbohydrates 12 g
Fat 8 g
Fibre 3 g
Sodium 432 mg
Excellent source of Vitamin B12
(2) Cheese and Mushroom Strata
Cheese-and-mushroom-strata
Serves 6
Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
227-g pkg sliced cremini mushrooms
5 thick slices day-old Italian or sandwich bread, cut into 1-in. pieces (about 5 cups)
2 cups grated gruyere or Jarlsberg cheese
eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp finely chopped thyme
1 tbsp Dijon
1/4 tsp salt
Instructions:
  • Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium- high. Add oil, then mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are soft and liquid has evaporated, 5 to 6 min.
  • Line bottom and sides of slow cooker insert with 1 large piece of foil. Lightly spray with oil. Cover bottom of insert with one third of bread. Evenly scatter half of mushrooms over bread. Sprinkle with one third of cheese. Repeat with half of remaining bread, remaining mushrooms and half of remaining cheese. Top with remaining bread.
  • Beat eggs with milk, thyme, Dijon and salt in a large bowl. Pour over bread. Season with fresh pepper. Gently press down bread to soak up more egg mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and cook 8 hours on low.
  • Open lid and let stand for 15 min. Use oven mitts to lift the foil holding strata out of the slow cooker. Transfer to a serving dish. Serve with Simple Salad.

Nutritional Information:

Calories 191
Protein 14 g
Carbohydrates 20 g
Fat 5 g
Fibre 1 g
Sodium 638 mg
Good source of Zinc
(3) Gingery Chicken Congee
Gingery-chicken-congee
Serves 6
Ingredients:
4 cups water
900-ml container chicken broth
3/4 cup jasmine rice, rinsed
skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-in. pieces
2 tbsp minced ginger, plus more for garnish
1 tbsp dark sesame oil
green onions, thinly sliced
tamari or soy sauce, optional
crispy shallots, optional
Instructions:
  • Combine water with broth, rice, chicken and ginger in slow cooker insert. Cover and cook 8 hours on low.
  • Scoop out and discard any brown foam around edges of congee, then stir in sesame oil and green onions. Season with fresh pepper. Garnish with additional minced ginger, tamari and crispy shallots.

Nutritional Information:

Calories 191
Protein 14 g
Carbohydrates 20 g
Fat 5 g
Fibre 1 g
Sodium 638 mg
Good source of Zinc
All of these recipes are from www.chatelaine.com under the Recipe Tab, they are all considered breakfast recipes but I don’t see why you couldn’t eat them as any other meal, food is interchangeable right? 😉

Campbell’s Thai Chicken Vegetable Soup

13 Feb

Don’t do it, just don’t. Avoid the soup, save your tastebuds! lol

I bought one of those meant-to-take-to-work-packaged Campbell’s soups that you can pop in to the microwave for a quick and healthy meal. I bought it because (1) it was on sale, (2) I like soup and (3) I’m lazy and will try anything that means I don’t have to cook. 😛

This evening at work I was supposed to get dinner from the kitchen but my lovely salmon dinner sat out for a couple hours, not heated, while I was busy working and thanks to that FoodSafe course I had to take I now know just what might be growing in the salmon when it is left on the counter…I couldn’t bring myself to eat it. I’m sure I would have been fine but nope, couldn’t do it. I hate I have this knowledge in my head now lol

My unwillingness to eat the salmon and risk food poisoning meant I was super hungry by the time I got home, which sucked because the majority of the food I have in my kitchen requires at least 40 minutes cooking time, well, the protein type foods anyways. Then I saw the soup on the shelf and yay, problem solved! I love soup, this only requires 1 minute 45 seconds to heat in the microwave, can’t get better than that!

campbells thai chicken soup

In theory my plan for having the soup for dinner was great, in reality my taste buds may never forgive me. Ugh.

The herbs, despite the soup being heated, were hard, it felt like I had small sticks in my mouth. The only time I should be pulling food out of my mouth while eating is if I am ridding my mouth of cherry pits/seeds or if I am eating fish and a teeny tiny bone was missed. In a chicken and veggie soup I should not be having this problem…

Then there was the taste. I don’t even have the right words to properly describe the disturbing flavour that is this soup. There were some bites that had almost no flavour, sad. Other bites had a bit of a BBQ flavour, which I thought was odd but since I love BBQ I was kind of ok with that. Then there was the third flavour, the one I tasted most often, the one I don’t have words for…it was, well, not pleasant. Seriously, I don’t have a descriptive enough vocabulary for that flavour lol And before you say I didn’t stir the soup well enough, I did, trust me on this. 🙂

The soup wasn’t all bad though, the pieces of veggies were nice and large, and there was quite a lot in that container. I poured it in to a bowl and it filled my bowl so you’re definitely not getting jipped portion wise. But really, if the best you can say about a soup is the portion is large and so are the veggie chunks well, that’s not saying much.

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