Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Indian Cooking Class, Weeks 8 and 9

I miss my Indian Cooking class so much! Here's a recap of our last classes.
In week 8 we made Channa Dal over Rice with Peas and Soya (top of the container), Carrot Apple Salad (bottom right) and Eggplant Bhartha (bottom left).
Can you believe I've made carrot apple salad three day in a row this week for lunch? That's how much I love it. All you do is shred an apple, shred some carrots, throw in some lemon or lime juice (and add salt, but I don't do that part usually). Love it with a capital L.

Here's a semi-closeup of the channa dal which is made with chickpeas. Looking at these pictures again really makes me want to make some of this asap!
Here's the rice with soya chunks. If you've never eaten soya chunks, I wouldn't recommend you to rush out and buy them anytime soon!
On the last class we remade our favourite recipes, including garlic naan. Ohhhh yeahhh.
And now classes are done and every night for dinner all I want to make is Indian food.
Coming up soon... the five course Indian meal I made for husby!

The Dangers of Floor Hockey

Last night was my last floor hockey game of the season before playoffs start. It was rough, let me tell you!

1) No subs, so I had to play the entire game. Very tiring.
2) Got hit square in the face with the ball.
3) Bloody nose.
4) Swollen lip.
5) Slap shot to the crotch.
6) Another one to the knee.
7) Tripped over air and twisted my ankle.

I think that's it. Oh, and we lost by one to the worst team in the league.

What a night!

As a side note, when I got home I looked in the mirror to see the damage. Why didn't anyone tell me I had blood all over my nose still? Seriously.. that's worse than not telling someone they have gunk in their teeth!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sleep Cycle App

When M moved to Chicago he left me his iPhone to use. At first I thought - what do I need this for? Now I think - how did I ever live without this amazing invention?
I love it, I love it, I love it.

There are so many uses for the iPhone (directions, oh heck yes) but my new favourite app is Sleep Cycle. Ever since reading Angela's blog post about sleep cycles, I wanted to investigate my sleep patterns and figure out my optimal bedtime and wake up time. Before I got a chance to do the research, M told me about the Sleep Cycle app.

Healthy sleepers follow a five phase sleep cycle. When you are woken during the wrong phase, REM or deep sleep, you pretty much feel like a zombie and want to hit the snooze button. If awoken during light sleep you (supposedly) feel refreshed and rested.

I had been having a really hard time waking up in the mornings, which is not typical for me, so I figured why not try out the Sleep Cycle app for 99 cents. Here's how it works.

1. When you are ready to go to bed, turn the app on and choose a time to set your alarm.
You will be woken up anytime in the half hour period leading up to when you set the alarm, depending on when you're in the lightest sleep phase. If you set the alarm for 7am, you'll be woken during your lightest sleep phase between 6:30-7am. (This is the biggest flaw of the app in my opinion. What if you're not in light sleep anytime during that half hour period?)

2. Next, place your iPhone on the corner of your bed. The iPhone tracks your movements and from this can determine what phase of sleep you're in.
3. Wake up in a happy mood! Every morning i look forward to checking out my sleep statistics to see how the night went.

This was a good night! Look at all that deep sleep!
I wonder what I was dreaming about this night?
You can see how I was tossing and turning from 5-6am on this morning.
I've used this app a total of 13 nights and I really think it works. It might be all in my head but I have been waking up feeling good every morning since using the app. I would much rather wake up happy, a half hour earlier than I expected, than wake up feeling exhausted.

Thoughts, anyone?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

From Patio to Parka

Patio weather :)

The weather the last few days has been bea-u-ti-ful! Yesterday M and I went to Quartino for dinner and drinks on the patio.
Mmm, sangria! I got M to take this picture to show off my nail polish colour. He thinks I belong in the morgue.
The food at this place is soo good! And cheap cheap. It's sort of an Italian tapas place. We ordered the salumeria tasting with two cheeses, two meats, and three salads. It's a nice place to go with a group of people, that way you can taste a whole bunch of different dishes.
Fast forward 12 hours and now it's...

Parka weather :(

Friday, March 19, 2010

Whole Foods Heaven

I went to the most amazing Whole Foods store last night in Chicago. I was in heaven. It was big and beautiful. Seriously, look at how huge this place is! It has its own parking garage!
One thing that is very different between Canada and the US is the food. There are so many crazy, wonderful options in the States. Especially at a place like Whole Foods where most things are organic, natural, and sometimes locally produced.

One thing I've been wanting to try forever is Greek yogurt. I can't find Oikos, Chobani, or Fage brand Greek yogurt anywhere in Canada. It's so creamy and high in protein and just look at their newest kind:
Caramel! I bought some last night and I can't wait to try it. I also bought a peanut butter and jelly Lara Bar and VitaTops. I was content just to walk around the store and look at everything.

Delicious looking fruit display...
Any cheese you could ever want...
Chocolate of every kind...
A bar. In the store!
There was also all of these specialty bars: salad, hot food, pizza, sushi, soup, trail mix, and about a million more. Heaven, I tell you.

This is the first tourist attraction I'm taking people when they visit :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

St. Paddy's River

Yesterday we went for a walk to see the Chicago River dyed green for St. Paddy's Day. It was a miserable rainy, windy day. I had low expectations and figured since the river is already green it would just be a shade lighter or something. Oh no, it was surprisingly bright green! I found these pictures on the internet because we had the iPhone, which could not pick up the true colour.
They pour vegetable dye in and use boats to stir it all up!
Even Bama wanted to see! How festive.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Crossing My Fingers!

Our condo was on the market for 48 hours and it's now SOLD!! Conditionally for five days, pending the buyers' banking goes through and approval of the status certificate. That's why I'm still crossing my fingers, it's not a done deal yet, but very very close.

Our listing went up on Thursday morning, we had two showings that day, and an offer Thursday night. We countered it this morning with our asking price and they accepted! Wahoo! I can't quite believe it. Real estate in Toronto is nuts.
I think it's going to be a bit sad saying goodbye to this place, but onto bigger and better things, right? If not bigger or better, different, for sure. I never in a million years would have thought my life would be turning in this direction, but you might as well make the most of the opportunities you're given.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Indian Cooking Class, Week 7

In week 7 of cooking class we made butter chicken potatoes with no chicken and no butter. It didn't really taste like butter chicken either, but it was goooood. We also made urad dal, vegetable biryani, and sooji (a sweet cream of wheat like dessert).

Chop, chop, chop.
Double stir action.
Stop to pose for a picture. This is Meena (our teacher) and Susan!
Potatoes for butter chicken.
And that is that!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Too Much Clapping for One Day

A few weeks ago I had the interesting opportunity to be in the audience for a couple of TV shows - "Steven and Chris" and "The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos".

The tickets for these shows are free, you just have to show up! I got to the CTV studio, waited in line for a bit, then eventually got ushered into the studio. While waiting, I had the option of getting my makeup done! Oh la la. No thanks though, I'd rather not share makeup brushes with a million strangers :) The taping for Steven and Chris took over 3 hours, ugh! Way too long, but I think it was this way because they were starting a "Better Choices Challenge" and had a ton of guests. The only guest I knew was Arlene from the Dragon's Den tv show.
The hosts had to do a lot of their lines over and over until they were perfect. That was kind of annoying, not to mention that one of the guys looks like he's made from plastic. What is with that? It was also funny to see the hosts all jolly when the cameras were on, but as soon as they were off, the smiles disappeared. So fake. Ha. The best thing about Steven and Chris? I got lots of swag! Woo!

Next up was The Hour. This was fun.
I heart George. He had no retakes and seems to be the same person on and off camera. He talked a lot to the audience during commercial breaks. I want to be his friend. He had two guests on, a comedian (Gerry Dee from Last Comic Standing) and a FBI/military/political guy.
Overall it was a really fun day, although my hands hurt from clapping so much! Definitely something different and entertaining to do in Toronto if you have the time.

Next up, OPRAH! I will get tickets, I will get tickets...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What Makes Me Happy #3

A few more things to add to my happy list...

11) "God bless you God". Big Brother, anybody? If you have no idea what I'm talking about then you need to start watching Big Brother. This quote from one of the girls kills me every time I think about it. Hilarious.

12) Karaoke in Japan. Trying to sing as many songs as possible in 30 minutes, by ourselves, in a teeny tiny room, with all instructions in Japanese. Oh my.

13) Go Coco Go. Home from my bachelorette by what, midnight? That was a fun night. But please, who put the onion ring on my head? And yes, I'm wearing the same dress as above.
14) The smell of L'air Du Temps perfume on my mumzies. She's worn it for forever and it's a nice, comforting smell that reminds me of when I was little and would sit on the bed, watching her get ready for a night out.

15) Climbing up the Eiffel Tower and seeing its lights twinkle in the dusk. That happened on the first night of our very first trip to Europe. What a way to start!

Heavy Duty Spring Cleaning

I have mixed feeling about this listing agreement we signed last week. I (for the most part) love our condo, but renting it out while we're living in Chicago is going to be too much stress. We'd have to pay all kinds of taxes on the rental income and I feel like I can't trust strangers to take care of the place like we would. I can just imagine what our hardwood floors might look like when we come back.

Selling = cleaning. I have now spent my entire weekend dusting, washing, vacuuming, and windexing absolutely everything. It's hard work. I got overwhelmed last night because there's still so much to do and I'm mad because the weather is beautiful and I'm inside cleaning! Bah!

I started with the outside rooms and put everything I wanted to get rid of on the living room floor. Oh my. Now it's time to deal with the living room and I'm scared.

So, what else to do but take a break and treat myself to a nice breakfast. French toast with sauteed bananas. Yum! I also had some french pressed coffee in my feel good mug.
Do you have a feel good mug? I have one here and also at my parents' house. Whenever I was sick, tired, or whatever, my mom would give me something in the feel good mug. It makes me happy.

Ok, bye.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Indian Cooking Class, Week 6

Week 6 cooking class. Nomnomnom.

In week six we made palak paneer (below left), a mixed vegetable salad (below right), dal makhni (lentils with beans), and rice with mixed vegetables.
I pulled myself out from under my rock and tried paneer (it's cheese, who knew?!) for the first time in my life. Yum! I loved the mixed salad big time, so here's the recipe! So so so easy.

1/2 cup of each chopped: onion, tomato, cucumber, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, radish
2 green chillies chopped
juice of 2 lemons
salt and pepper to taste
handful of fresh coriander

Mix together veggies. Add lemon juice. Add salt and pepper. Eat. Love.

If anyone wants one of the other recipes, just let me know!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Good TV, Anybody?

Why is tv full of such crap shows lately? I have a PVR and rarely use it because there's nothing worth recording! I also have bad ADD when watching tv and have no attention span for shows that are just alright. What I loved about the Olympics was that you could turn on the TV at any given time and have something good to watch.

I need your help! What are you favourite shows? Now that I'm flying solo I have a habit of bringing the laptop into bed and watching an episode of something before sleep. I just finished the second season of the Tudors. Completely different than shows I usually watch but me likey.
Tonight I think I shall start Joan of Arcadia, which I borrowed from M's sister. See how it goes!
What are your fave shows that I could get into?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tamarillo Taste Test

For my wacky fruit of the month taste test I decided to try a tamarillo because it looked pretty at the grocery store. When I got home I googled tamarillo and found that it's also called a "tree tomato". Ew, not was I was hoping for.
After reading a bunch of ways to eat this fruit I decided to poach it - throw it in boiling water for 10 minutes, peel back the skin, add sugar, and eat it! Preferably with vanilla ice cream, which I just so happened to have in my freezer.
Let's just say... never ever ever again! Two bites was enough. The after taste was the worst part. It looks WAY better than it tasted, which is hard to believe since that's really not a pretty picture. Blech! You win some, you lose some.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Scariest Art Lesson Ever

School has been ridiculously busy lately. It seems like everyday there is a special event, assembly, presentation, etc. So much curriculum to get through and so little time. Wait, that's just what the good teachers say. I say screw it, let's have some fun.

Today in art class I taught the kids about Jackson Pollock, who is an artist famous for techniques such as paint pouring and dripping, like this:
I set up a load of newspapers and let the kids go crazy. To be honest, this was just plain scary. Fun, but scary. Paint was everywhere. I stayed far far away. I also made the kids wash the floor afterwards. I hope the parents aren't too mad at me for all the laundry they'll have to do tonight!
The artwork turned out surprisingly nice!

Here's another thing we like to do at my school- eat pancakes in the middle of the grocery store aisle! We're classy like that.
Do you like my photoshop skills?