Thursday, 25 February 2010

I may have become obsessed...

Anyone out there watch True Blood? Anyone out there read the Charlaine Harris books that inspired the show? I've become obsessed with the Southern Vampire Mystery series. I started them in the summer and I enjoyed them, but didn't really feel the need to read them all one after another but the books just keep getting better and better! I think it might be because 99% of my books are currently packed up so instead of reading the books I already have, I just keep running out and buying a new Sookie Stackhouse book.

I finished Book 7, "All Together Dead" last night and thought I could last a few days before moving on to Book 8. After finishing the book last night, I sat down to read "The Nobody" by Jeff Lemire (which was awesome!) but it wasn't very long...so I started to read "Lenny Bruce is Dead" by Jonathan Goldstein...it was good, but not very long either. So there I was, in my chair in my pajamas at 8:00 at night with nothing to read. The only other book I had in the house that wasn't packed up is "Under the Dome" but I haven't felt like starting to read it yet, because that means that I would have to drag it around with me.

So I had to make a decision. Do I leave my cozy little situation at home to run to Chapters and pick up "From Dead to Worse" or do I wait and do it tomorrow and have nothing to read tonight. I'd already blasted through all my magazines that had piled up too...what to do...

Of course, being the rational person I am, I decide to go. So, out in the snow I go. I don't bother to change out of my pajamas because really, why would I? Of course, I can't just hop in my car and whip around the corner. First I have to clean the snow off my car...mildly inconvenient, but I can handle this. So I pull out of the parking lot and head down the block. Oops, it's a little slippery out and I almost skid through a stop sign. It's okay, this book is going to be totally worth it. I continue along down the street until I have to make a left-hand turn at an intersection. While waiting to turn, the light turns yellow. Because there's snow on the ground, the next car goes through the yellow light. I keep waiting for it to be safe (did I mention that I work in traffic court? I'm a pretty cautious driver.) The next car tries to stop for the yellow light but starts to fishtail. So there I am, in the intersection, car careening towards me. I try to evaluate the situation - I know I won't have enough traction to make a quick turn in front of her, so I just sit in the intersection while the light turns red and wait to see how she makes out, figuring I'll be able to advance through the intersection and avoid her if she slides too close to me. Luckily, she manages to bring her car to a stop before she enters the intersection (although she was facing the wrong way) and I can complete my turn.

So now I'm starting to wonder if this is all worth it...should I have stayed home? No, I must stay the course!

I get to Chapters and feel triumphant. I march my jogging pant-clad self back to the Fiction-Fantasy section to get my book. Of course, I can't just go to Chapters for one book, I have to wander a bit. Now, I don't wander at Chapters alone very much anymore. Usually Jagger comes with me, so I have someone to help control my impulse purchases. Not so this time. I wander through the bargain books section, new releases, crafts, cooking, you name it. I wandered dangerously close to the teen vampire book section, but steered myself clear. I was there for the grown-up vampire books in my pajamas after all, I wouldn't want people to think I was crazy!

I make my way to the graphic novel section and grab Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's Wolverine to study up for the graphic novel meeting on March 13th. A quick steer past the super adorable notebooks (don't look directly at them!) and I end up in the magazine section.

Now that I'm totally over the whole wedding thing, house magazines are my new addiction. Last week I got Dwell and Architectural Digest and today it was Fresh Home. Who knew there were so many options?!

Finally, I make my way up to the cashier. I try not to look too conspicuous in my jogging pants as I hand the young man my vampire novel, graphic novel and house magazine.

He starts to ring them in and holds up the Sookie Stackhouse book,

Chapters boy - "Do you watch the show too?"
Jogging pant wearing me - "Oh yeah, it's great."
CB - "Are you obsessed?"
JPWM - "Um, I just left my house in my pajamas to get this book. So I'm going to go with maybe."
CB - "It's okay, I'll bet half the people in here didn't even notice you were in your pajamas. Maybe even more than half. At least you're comfortable."
JPWM - "Um, yeah. I don't know if that makes me feel better."

But, I returned home triumphant and unscathed. I almost bought the ninth book while I was there, but it was only in hardcover and I didn't want to make too many crazy decisions at once.

What about you? Any odd adventures this week? It seems strange that on the day we sign the paperwork to close the deal on the house, I choose instead to blog about a trip to the bookstore. It's the little things, after all.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Why is there duct tape on this handle?

You might wonder why someone would have duct tape wrapped around a door handle. You might also wonder why large pieces of paint are missing from the door area surrounding the door handle.
The answer is Gibson.

Don't let that cute face fool you - this cat is a grade-A asshole. He's discovered that he can stretch out and swat at the door handle to flick it. Did I mention that his favourite time to play this game is at about 3:30 in the morning? We are pretty sure he's trying to escape the apartment, and at this point we're pretty close to just letting him go.
At first we taped a washcloth around the door handle to try to deter him. Eventually, he just worked it off.
Then we tried taping the handle down to the door so he couldn't move it. Now aside from this being very safe in the event of an emergency, it also started to pull paint off the door.
The picture is my preferred method - a tube of duct tape around the handle so when he swats at it, it's too sticky for him. This was working for a while, until he realized that all the other doors in our apartment have handles too. Sigh. The move can't come soon enough.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Award!

Well, it's quite an honour! The always entertaining Friendly Neighbourhood Palindrome has chosen to present me with the Honest Scrap Award!



How lovely! Now, apparently with this award I'm to share 10 embarassing facts about myself and then pass it along. Here goes.
1. I can be shockingly clumsy. Just a few weeks ago while trying to put on my shoes, I clunked my head on the wall. This is why I don't play on my husband's dodgeball league.
2. Probably my most embarassing moment was when I had to ask what "aka" stood for. "Also known as," my mom told me. "Yeah, but what does the 'k' stand for?" Yeah...
3. I have been reading V.C. Andrews books since I was about 9 years old. It's gotten to the point that every book basically follows the same formula, but I just can't walk away from them.
4. I am and always have been an obsessive list maker. When I was a kid I would make a list with things to do just so I would have things to cross off. Things like, "Wake up, get dressed, brush teeth,"... you get the idea.
5. I'm a court reporter, so my work is either being in court and typing what's going on, or typing transcripts afterward of what has happened. Because of this, I sometimes think as though I'm typing a transcript and visualize myself typing words that people are saying.
6. I also sometimes narrate to myself in my head.
7. I have learned that I can't listen to any of Kevin Smith's SModcasts in public or else I end up being that crazy person who is walking around laughing.
8. I always talk to my cats when I get home from work.
9. I have probably read the book "Gymnasts Go For The Gold!" more times than any other book in my life. (I tried to find a link or a picture of the cover of this book, but couldn't find one. Basically, it's a series of books about gymnasts kind of like The Babysitters Club. This is the final book when they go to the Barcelona Olympics in 1992).
10. On the weekends and after work I basically dress like a six year old boy - jogging pants and comic book tee-shirts are what I live in.
There you go! That's all the embarassment I can handle for one day! Thank you again to Palindrome for thinking of me!
Without further ado, I present the Honest Scrap award to the following...
Things I Yell At You - Joan Crawford
Sonshine Thoughts - Sonshine Music

Friday, 19 February 2010

Chicken and Sweet Onion Sandwiches with Mixed Greens Salad


This marks the last meal in this meal planner! I'm so impressed that we went all week without going out for dinner or taking the easy way out and just heating something up out of the freezer. We have a new meal planner and I think we're going to do it again, but I was thinking that maybe we would wait until next Thursday or Friday to start it and just coast for a few days.

Serves: 4 Prep: 10 min Cook: 45 min

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
4 kaiser rolls, split and toasted (we used cheese buns because they're exponentially better than just plain kaiser rolls)
Grated peel of 1/2 lemon plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 cups mixed greens (about 5 ounces)

1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
2. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes; transfer to a bowl
3. Pour the chicken broth into the pan, scraping up the browned bits, then pour into a measuring cup (this part seemed weird to me, but I just went with it)
4. Using the same skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and cook, turning once, until cooked through and golden, about 8 minutes; transfer to a plate
5. Pour in the reserved chicken broth mixture and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes
6. Divide the onions among the toasted roll bottoms, then top with the chicken.
7. Dip the cut side of the roll tops into the skillet, then set on top of the chicken
8. In a serving bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the lemon peel and juice; season with salt and pepper. Add the mixed greens and toss; serve with the sandwiches.

We checked the recipe pretty closely to make sure that we didn't miss the instruction to cover the whole thing with cheese, but apparently Rachael didn't want us to do that. I didn't miss the cheese too much, but everything is better with an excessive amount of cheese melted over it.

I was a little leery of the whole dipping the top of the bun in the juice part, but it ended up turning out really nicely. It kept the whole sandwich really nice and moist and hot. It actually reminded me of that episode of Friends when Monica is explaining her amazing Thanksgiving-leftover sandwiches that she makes, which features "the moistmaker" - a slice of bread soaked in gravy in the middle of the sandwich. No, I do not watch too much TV.

Also, an official Nonsense blog retraction must be made - I misquoted Jagger when he said that "Rachael is the boss". What he actually said was, "Rachael is in charge". I have no idea how I could have made such a mistake, but there it is.

Happy weekend everyone! I've got Olympic action to watch!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Shrimp-and-Corn Quesadillas with Avocado Salad


I picked up the new Rachael Ray magazine today with a new menu planner. I wasn't sure if we would want to start another week of Rachael telling us what to eat, but apparently Jagger thinks that Rachael is the new boss of us, so we might keep this up for a while. I'll keep posting recipes as long as people want to read them, but expect lots more randomness coming your way soon!

Serves: 4 Prep: 15 min Cook: 20 min

1/2 cup chopped red onion plus 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper
grated peel of 1 lime plus 2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
8 large flour tortillas
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 avocados, chopped

1. In a medium nonstick skillet, cook the chopped onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
2. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook until just opaque, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Let the shrimp cool slightly, then coarsely chop
4. Toss with half of the lime peel, lime juice and parsley
5. Place a tortilla on a work surface and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Top with 1/4 cup corn, one-quarter of the shrimp mixture and another 1/4 cup cheese, season with salt and pepper and set another tortilla on top. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, cheese, corn and shrimp mixture to make 4 quesadillas (I didn't do this because it sounded like it was going to be an obscene amount of food. Maybe my tortilla shells were too large, I don't know. I had the large size shells like the recipe calls for, but I found it worked better for me to put the fillings on half of the tortilla, then fold it in half. This worked much better for flipping in my opinion. If you used smaller shells, then it would probably be easier to go with the technique in the recipe.)
6. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add a quesadilla to the pan and cook, turning once, until crisp about 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and quesadillas. Let cool slightly, cut into wedges. (The olive oil does wonders to make the outside lovely and crispy and brown. I love how olive oil does that. I make our pancakes in olive oil all the time, it makes them super crispy. Seems like it would be gross, but it isn't - trust me!)
7. In a medium bowl, combine the sliced onion and the avocado. Toss with the remaining lime peel, lime juice and parsley, season with salt and pepper. Serve with the quesadillas.

This turned out nicely, I was pretty happy with it. I found the quesadillas to be a bit bland though. I'm not a spicy kind of person, but I wanted a different flavour in there. The next time that I make this, I might try adding some black beans to it and make sure there was salsa and sour cream on hand. I would be more likely to experiment with some spices with the shrimp as well. The avocado salad turned out good, but I found it was way too many onions. The lime helped to cut down the onionyness (yes, that's an official cooking term) but next time I think I would just add a few onions to taste, rather than have them as a main part of the salad.

I'm quite proud of myself for this meal - if only because of the fact I made it all the way through cooking them and eating them without a single Napoleon Dynamite impression.

Tomorrow is the last dish on this meal planner - Chicken and Sweet Onion Sandwiches with Mixed Greens Salad!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Broccoli-Chicken Bowls


I only have two meals left after this one! What will I do then? Quizno's might be calling my name...

Tonight's dinner turned out well - it was pretty simple and was very tasty. I of course had to make things more difficult on myself by not buying boneless, skinless chicken thighs and instead fought with my bone-filled, skin-covered chicken thighs. (But they were cheaper!)

Here's the recipe...

Serves: 4 Prep: 10 min (plus standing) Cook: 20 min

1 1/2 cups rice
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (Can I just mention that whenever I see "garlic, thinly sliced" in a recipe I immediately think of the scene in Goodfellas where Henry is talking about what their food is like in jail and how the one makes this amazing sauce because he slices the garlic super-thin with a razor so that it just melts when you cook it. Seriously, this scene runs through my head as I slice garlic. I might watch too many movies.)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
salt and pepper
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch broccoli - broken into florets and stalks trimmed, peeled and thinly sliced
2 scallions (Green onions!!), white and green portions thinly sliced separately

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the rice and 3 cups water to a boil; lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. (Or just cook some Minute Rice like I did. It's a lot easier.)
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together half of the garlic, the soy sauce, sugar and 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch; season with salt and pepper
3. Add the chicken and toss; let stand for 20 minutes
4. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup water and the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch (I have no idea why this direction is this early in the recipe. If you whisk it now, it'll settle and harden by the time you're ready for it, so I don't know why they don't just tell you to do it later.)
5. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and the remaining garlic over medium-high heat.
6. Add the broccoli stalks, season with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute
7. Add 1/4 cup water and the broccoli florets, cover and steam until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Transfer the broccoli to a plate
8. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and heat until hot. Add the chicken mixture and scallion whites and cook, stirring, until the chicken is just cooked through, about 2 minutes
9. Stir in the broccoli, then stir in the remaining cornstarch mixture.
10. Cook until the liquid thickens, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the scallion greens. Serve with the rice.

This was good, we both really liked it. I think it might be tight to feed 4 people though. I had one serving, Jagger had like 1 1/2 servings and there's a bit leftover for me to have for lunch tomorrow. The next time I make it, I think I would mix it up with some more veggies in it for some variety - mushrooms and cashews sound divine.

Tomorrow it's shrimp and corn quesadillas with avocado salad. I'm pretty stoked to see how it turns out!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Mushroom Turnovers with Spinach Salad



Tonight's dinner was a bit of a fiasco...I'll explain along the way...
Serves: 4 Prep: 30 min Bake: 20 min
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound white mushrooms, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 scallions, thinly sliced (Here is the first problem. I didn't know what scallions were - although I was sure they were similar to green onions. A search of the grocery store revealed no scallions, so I thought I needed a fancy grocery store instead of the Price Chopper I was standing in. A quick search of wikipedia revealed that scallions are green onions; they're just called scallions in the States and green onions in Canada. Argh.)
Grated peel and juice of 1/2 lemon
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into small pieces
One 17.3 ounce package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 cups baby spinach
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.
3. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.
4. Transfer to a bowl along with the parsley, scallions (green onions!!) and lemon peel
5. Season with salt and pepper
6. Stir in the cream cheese and 1 teaspoon lemon juice
7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 puff pastry sheet to an 11-inch square, then halve it. (Okay, there are two problems with this step. Problem one is that apparently when a recipe says "roll" they mean to bust out your handy-dandy rolling pin and go to town. Problem is, I don't have a handy-dandy rolling pin. I do, however, have a can of Habitant soup covered in tin foil. I've never cooked with puff pastry before, and sort of thought it would be like Pilsbury dough and just pop out and be ready to go. Not the case. The second problem is the same problem with all these recipes - they're all too American! Give me some metric here! Eleven inches? I can't picture that! Argh.)
8. Repeat with the other pastry sheet (using either a rolling pin or a can of Habitant soup, whatever works)
9. Arrange one-quarter of the filling crosswise on 1 half of each piece of pastry leaving a 1/2 inch border.
10. Brush the borders with some egg, then fold the pastry to enclose the filling.
11. Cut two vents into each turnover and crimp the edges, transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet (Again, no parchment paper here, but tin foil worked fine)
12. Brush the tops with more egg
13. Bake until puffed and golden-brown, about 18 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. (This part is important - I neglected to let the food rest - as I so often do - and ended up with a burned roof of my mouth...again.)
14. In a serving bowl, whish together the remaining lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and petter
15. Add the spinach and toss. Serve with the turnovers.
The spinach didn't turn out the greatest. I didn't have enough left and had too much dressing made, so it was a little wonky. The turnovers were great though - lovely and flaky with yummy creamy filling. These turned out to be enormous though - be hungry when you make them! We have lots left over for lunch tomorrow though!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Shrimp and Andouille Stew




Serves: 4 Prep: 5 min Cook: 55 min
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
one 12-ounce package andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1 inch thick (it said that you could use turkey kielbasa instead to give it less heat. That's what I used, not only because I didn't want the heat, but because I have no idea what andouille sausage is)
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
one 28-ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
one 16 ounce bag frozen sliced okra
1 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat
2. Add the sausage and cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a bowl
4. Add the onion to the pot, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 7 minutes
5. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, then stir in the cooked sausage, the tomatoes, okra and chicken broth
6. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened (about 30 to 35 minutes)
7. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the shrimp and cook until opaque.
8. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the parsley
I cooked it for longer, because it's a stew and stews should be able to just cook until you're ready to eat them. I used cooked shrimp too, so I just had to take off the tails and throw them in. I added them to the stew about 20 minutes before we were ready to eat. We gave this one about a 7 or an 8 out of 10. It was good, but it needed something - maybe it was missing the heat from the andouille sausage. I also wasn't crazy about using the crushed tomatoes. I think next time I would make it with stewed tomatoes so it was a bit soupier rather than the way it was. It was almost closer to a sauce. In fact, it even suggests using the leftovers as a sauce on pasta.
Tomorrow is Mushroom Turnovers with Spinach Salad and I'm pretty excited. Anything made with puff pastry is okay by me.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Instead of dinner...

No dinner pictures tonight...we were getting over-run with leftovers, so we just ate those instead. The recipes will resume tomorrow with a yummy looking stew. I'm excited!

Instead, here's some pictures of the current state of our living room. We close on the house two weeks from tomorrow, and it can't come soon enough. The cats are enjoying the box jungle though!

Hope everyone got spoiled for Valentine's Day!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Turkey Meatloaf Pie with Sauteed Swiss Chard



Here we go, night two. This turned out really good, I was really impressed with it. It was very easy and super tasty. We have lots of leftovers now though, so tomorrow might end up being a leftover dinner and we'll stretch out the 7 dinners of 8 nights (or maybe more at this rate). Sorry about the picture, I forgot to take one right away! It smelled too good!

Serves : 4 Prep: 15 min Bake: 45 min

1/2 kaiser roll, finely ground or 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup of milk
1 large egg
1/2 cup ketchup
1 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper
1 onion grated, plus 1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch Swiss chard - tough ends trimmed, stems chopped and leaves torn into 1-inch pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg and 2 tablespoons ketchup; crumble in the turkey and stir in the parsley, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Mix in the grated onion and soaked breadcrumbs. (Be careful not to leave the breadcrumbs soaking too long - I did and they got all solid and hard, so I had to add more milk)
4. Spread evenly in a greased 9-inch pie plate and brush withe the remaining 6 tablespoons ketchup.
5. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 45 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat
7. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened, about 6 minutes
8. Add the Swiss chard stems and cook until tender, about 4 minutes
9. Add the chard leaves and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes, season with salt and pepper
10. Serve with the meatloaf!

Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Artichoke, Tomato and Spinach Pizza



So, here's a little background. A few weeks ago I picked up a Rachael Ray Everyday magazine for the first time. I like her show and have one of her cookbooks and always like her recipes, so I thought I would check it out. Inside the magazine was an insert with recipes for 7 dinners, complete with a grocery list of everything you would need. The whole idea was that the groceries for 7 meals would come out to under $100 - $98.14 to be exact. We thought we would give it a go and try out some new meals. So, for the next week I'll post the recipe and blog about how it turned out.

We got the groceries last night and were pleased to see that the groceries came out to be about $130 total, and that was with some other things not on the list that we just usually pick up. We thought the difference would be a lot more considering the American/Canadian exchange, so it was a pleasant surprise.

Up first, Artichoke, Tomato and Spinach Pizza.

Serves: 4 Prep: 20 minutes Bake: 20 minutes
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper
1 pound refrigerated pizza dough (I used Pillsbury pizza dough)
2 cups shredded mozzarella
5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
one 13.75 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups baby spinach, chopped

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, place an inverted baking sheet on top and preheat to 500 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic and parsley; season with salt and pepper
3. Using oiled hands (I didn't, I just stretched it out, but that's what the recipe said) stretch the pizza dough to fit a parchment paper lined baking sheet (I didn't use parchment paper, I just put it right on a cookie sheet)
4. Spread 3 tablespoons of the garlic mixture on top, leaving a 1/2 inch border, then sprinkle with the mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan
5. Toss the artichokes, tomatoes and spinach with the remaining garlic mixture and arrange on top of the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons Parmesan on top (I also added more mozzarella on top. You can never have enough cheese.)
6. Place the baking sheet on the inverted backing sheet in the oven and bake until the crust is crisp and golden, about 18 to 20 minutes.

This baked up really quickly and turned out just awesome! I quote Jagger - "This is ridiculous."

I would definitely try this out again - I would love to follow the same idea with the garlic spread and change up the toppings, maybe with the artichoke hearts, spinach and black olives and throw in some goat cheese. Really, goat cheese should go on everything

Try it out, I hope you like it! Tune in tomorrow for Turkey Meatloaf Pie with Sauteed Swiss Chard!

Meet Jeff Lemire


Hey - if any of you are comic fans (and you should be) and you're in the London, Ontario area (and why wouldn't you be) you should come down to L.A. Mood to meet Jeff Lemire. Jeff will be present for the Graphic Novel Group meeting at 11:00 a.m. for a Q&A session. We've been reading his epic Essex County collection for this meeting and it's going to be awesome to get to hear him speak about it. Seating is limited, so get in touch with L.A. Mood to reserve your seat. Jeff will also be sticking around from 12:00 until 3:00 for a signing and will do sketches for $15. Check out the L.A. Mood blog for more info and to find out how to contact them about reserved seats. Also, check out my friend Dan's article about Jeff here. This is a great opportunity to meet an amazing artist - don't miss out!

Do you like stuff?

How about free stuff? Stuff you can win? If that's your kind of thing, check out Falen Formulates Fiction and follow her blog. You'll be entered to win a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card! Now, being a Canuck, we don't have B&N here, but I'm assuming that I can use it online when I inevitably win...I'm on a streak, having won a contest over on Stacey's blog earlier this week! (Yes, one win counts as a streak.)

Thursday, 11 February 2010

V-Day


Well, it's almost that time of year. Valentine's Day is on Sunday. What do you think of Valentine's? Myself, I don't really observe Valentine's Day. Sure, there was a time when I was younger and did - who doesn't like to get presents and food? Now, not so much. It's not like I staunchly reject the holiday. I don't go around preaching about how it's a Hallmark holiday, invented only to get us to spend money. If you like Valentine's Day, then more power to you! We just don't really celebrate it.


See, the winter is rough. I go from Christmas to my brother's birthday and hubby's birthday in January, then my mom and both of my sisters have birthdays in February. Doesn't leave a lot of room in the old pocketbook for Valentine's Day.


This year Valentine's day falls on the Sunday of a long weekend (yay for Family Day!) so we'll probably just be taking it easy. Maybe catch a movie, who knows. I'll probably spend a great deal of the day in jogging pants, as per my usual weekend routine.


Instead of trying to be romantic for one day, I'm lucky enough to have a hubby who does lots of little (albeit strange) romantic things for me all year round. For example, other people might not find it romantic to have someone attempt (but never quite succeed) at cleaning up the dishes after dinner, or having someone take out the garbage for them, or someone who will always treat them to lunch, but I think that stuff is pretty darn romantic. He keeps me well-fed and with an ever-growing supply of Blu-Rays, so what's not to love?


If you do celebrate Valentine's, I hope you get treated right. And if you don't, I hope you still have a perfectly lovely weekend (especially if it's a long one, like me!)

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Season 6

Today is the first episode of the final season of LOST. I don't think I'll get into any sort of speculation or analysis of LOST on this blog, that's better left to others who do it so much better. (Check out Nikki or Jo or any number of the other blogs out there)

I don't think I can begin to explain just how excited I am for tonight's episode. Obviously, I'm having a terrible time focusing on work right now. Last night to prepare I watched "Pilot" and "The Incident" so I'm feeling pretty ready to get the ball rolling for tonight's episode. I have my snack all ready to go (Crunchy Cheezies...I only eat them for LOST premieres and finales. I'm pretty sure they're basically orange coloured toxic waste, so I try to limit myself on eating them, but they're my favourite) and will no doubt be sitting there in my Dharma sweatshirt yelling at the TV. Poor Jagger has to run off and hide so he doesn't have to put up with me tonight.

I don't know what it is specifically about LOST that makes me love it so much more than any other show. It's something about the combination of community, mystery, amazing storytelling and characters that has sucked me in from my first viewing.

To anyone else watching it tonight - I look forward to analyzing with you all for this final season! For anyone who doesn't watch LOST, don't mention it around me unless you want to get pulled in to a full-on discussion, complete with charts and graphics.

Monday, 1 February 2010

The Apartment

Just for comparison's sake, I thought I would post some pictures of the apartment so people would have an idea of just how much of an upgrade this house is. We've lived here for nearly three years and I'll be sad to see us leave. I'm aware of how tiny it is, but it's served its purpose and so just so darn cute.
Here's our living room/dining room/office area...

That's Fender peeking out from the couch. This is going to be the biggest adjustment, having our living situation go from completely centering around our coffee table to having a separate space to eat, relax and work. Not shown in this picture is the large pile of boxes beside the TV.
Here's our kitchen. Oh, this kitchen. It's adorable, I love it in that aspect. But, what you see in this picture is the extent of my counter space.

That's it. The racks for the wine glasses really helped to clear up my cupboard space, but it completely robbed me of precious counter space. It's going to be so weird being able to have other people in the kitchen with me when I cook.

And that's our bedroom. Nothing too fancy here, I already talked about the floor bed situation (which I still love). Again, there's a lot of stuff in the bedroom that you can't see that doesn't need to be in here. It'll be so great to have room for everything and not have to keep drawers full of knitting projects in the same dresser as my clothes.
There you have it, our apartment. One month from today we take possession of the house, so our days here are definitely numbered. Hey, if you're looking for a cheap and super cute apartment in Wortley Village, this one will be available April 1st!