A Beginner is Cooking: D is for Definitely mostly Defrosted…

Today I decided to be bold. I am not making a one serve meal, there will be leftovers (intentional ones that is, as opposed to last time when I just got too full!). There could be waste. THERE IS MORE PRESSURE! No one but me has to eat these leftovers though so at least theres that. I don’t have to disappoint people!

No cooking happened last week, apologies, situation at work, had to pick up a shift on my day off, ran out of time etc, we move on!

There was meat in the house today, a good start! And I planned ahead enough to defrost said meat, so far things are going very well! I even found a recipe with the word simple in the name which bodes quite well for me overall. Today the mission is Simple Lemon Herb Chicken with couscous and some kind of frozen vegetable that I will choose at a later time… There! I’m incorporating vegetables even if I’m not reaaaaaaaally cooking them!

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So cooking! Mostly this involved putting herbs and lemon juice on the chicken (based on a similar, yet different recipe, I also put minced garlic in the pan with the oil at the beginning and added in rosemary along with the oregano. I am adding things in that are not on the recipe?! Whaaaaat? Getting bold…)

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At this point the amount of sizzling happening was starting to freak me out a little. I mean I know that means its actually cooking but in my mind it sets off sirens screaming BURNING! SPLATTERING OIL! NEAR EXPLOSIONS! etc, so it’s really a thrilling process allowing myself to nibble nervously on my nails and not interfere long enough for things to actually cook through! I flipped the chicken and we hit the time when ideally they should have been cooked through…

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Some of you seasoned chefs (bumdumtss) may have noticed I used the words “ideally” and “should have been” there… That’s right. I do thankfully know enough to cut the chicken through at its thickest point to see if its cooked through before serving up so when I did that this time round I was a little bummed to find that they were noooooooooooot cooked through. Thus I was faced with a conundrum. I didn’t know how long they’d take to cook through or if the outside would burn if I just continued to cook them as they were, so I took the other idea that presented itself and cut ’em in half (and then mauled ’em a bit more to make sure as much pink as possible was touching the pan).

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I had forgotten that in a review of the meal the cook mentioned pounding the meat to even the width or something, which is something I love doing! and I forgot it! So sad… I also maaay not have been patient enough to let it all fuuuuuully defrost (but I think it was definitely mostly defrosted). Anyway, at this point I had made couscous and green beans so they were ready to go and after being fully confident that the chicken was thoroughly cooked (don’t worry, it may have ultimately been overcooked but I was taking no chances!) I plated up a full meal for mahself.

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It looked good, it smelt good, and dang it, it tasted good! It was quite lemony but the couscous balanced it out nicely or something and I was one happy camper! What with this and tuna casserole I can now provide meals for two days in succession, I’m basically building up a repertoire! (Warning: high levels of sarcasm have been found in this use of the word “repertoire”)

So there we go, I am no longer a useless college-aged student living for free in my parents’ basement. Now, I can cook two decent tasting meals.

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Being Brave

Food doesn’t really seem the place for bravery to begin but it’s as good a place as any. I’ve been a picky eater ever since I was a kid. All of grade one I had the same lunch. Every. single. day. I couldn’t eat peanut-butter sandwiches, carrots, and apples for years afterwards – but it was safe. I knew it, I liked it, peanut-butter sandwiches and carrots could never go wrong.

Getting older I refused to try things because I “didn’t like them”. You can’t hate what you haven’t tried? Well, turns out you can… Being real stubborn helps keep you trapped in the box of not trying new things. I remember the first time I had pecan pie. I had never tried it before because there were nuts in it and I didn’t like nuts. Finally tried it. Yeah, like my favourite pie ever. Geez past Becky, it’s okay…

2015 is becoming my year to be brave. I made up my mind to try new things. I’m not sure when I made my mind up to do this but somehow I did and I’m getting less afraid of it. On Good Friday my family went out to a Vietnamese resturant with a couple other friends’ families. Now food that I don’t recognize has always been hard for me, I always ask, ‘What’s in it?” and I am literally asking you to tell me everything that’s in it so I know if I will like all of the ingredients. (Worth noting: this is not very practical when applied to everyday life…) So we get to a Vietnamese resturant. I’ve never been to a Vietnamese resturant. Yes, I’m 21, I’m good at avoiding things I’m scared of okay…? My friends’ mum motions for me to sit and says “Want some mango salad?”

I see no mangos on that plate.

I don’t recognize anything on that plate,

I don’t recognize anything on any of the plates on the table.

I sit down and say, “Yes please”

I think I tried every food on that table without letting myself have a second thought and I didn’t find anything I didn’t like.

I’m trying to learn to step out a bit, to let myself do things that scare my socks off, and it’s hard… I don’t like being scared. Sitting behind my computer in my bedroom is much safer. Eating only peanut-butter sandwiches is much safer. But then there’s pecan pie…

I’m learning to say “Yes, please!” and go with it. Grab Jesus’ hand and step out of the boat. He’ll keep me up if I find I can’t do it on my own. Courage and trust. 2015 is turning out to be a bit of an adventure!

-B

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

 

BUT BAGUETTES

While soup, juice, and hot chocolate are fantastic in general, when you are restricting yourself to that for a time, sometimes you just crave baguettes and butter. And then you can’t have them. And it becomes a battle of the wills…

For now peppermint white hot chocolate will have to suffice.

-B

The Food Court Hero

Today I bused into work and thanks to the lovely bus schedule near my house arrived at my destination thirty minutes before I started work. I work at a mall so half an hour extra time around dinner time means go-to-the-food-court-and-get-fries in my mind, which I did. I got me some delectable fries at NYF, watched them get fried fresh, collected my salt and vinegar packets, grabbed some napkins. Finally the steaming cup of fries was put on my tray and I turned around to find a seat…

Well apparently I turned too quickly because my cup of fries upset and hurled themselves onto the floor. Disappointed I pushed them out of the way with my foot, looked sadly at the remaining dozen in the cup and went to a seat to at least enjoy THEM.

I’d just got my book out of my bag when one of the workers at Arby’s came over and said, “If you tell them what happened, they’ll probably give you a new one.” I smiled and kinda shock my head, explaining it had been my fault, I’d paid for them, I didn’t want put them out asking for another. He said, “well I’ll ask them.” So he did! He went over to NYF and explained the sorry incident he’d just witnessed (aka my immense clumsiness and compact explanation of why I’m not a waitress) and then beckoned me over, they were going to give me a new cup of fries =) I thanked him and the NYF people as much as possible and happily went off to enjoy my new cup of fries! (This time I held the tray with one hand and the cup of fries with the other juuust to make sure!)

They were tasty fries.

-B

I feel your pain taker-of-the-picture-I-found-on-google…

Helping

This morning us interns were volunteering at the church’s weekly foodbank. We helped set up, hand things out, and then tidy up at the end. It was nice to be able to help out. I used to go help periodically when I was a kid because my grandma helped out and my dad would help fairly frequently so my siblings and I could tag along. I’m told my parents used to bring me when I was a baby and I got to be the centre of attention… (Okay, I may have made the centre of attention bit up) But I like going! It’s nice to help people, especially because a quite a few of them probably live in my old neighbourhood.

Growing up in an ehh part of town (absolutely no where near being a “bad” part of town but not exactly a great part) I thought it was normal to never take off your shoes at the play structure because there might be glass and stuff or to get woken in the night by police sirens at the house across the street or to find broken bottles and sometimes blood on the road in the mornings after police visits. It was only when we moved when I was eleven that I realized, that was not normal…

So I grew up in the area where some of these people live, I know their neighbourhoods, the atmosphere. I grew up knowing that not everyone was like us and some people had to go to foodbank to get enough  food to feed their families and we were to help them.

I got to hand out bottles of orange juice today, hopefully people enjoy it =)

When I got home I practiced guitar and now my fingertips are extremely sensitive. It’s been a while since I played!
-B

Flights, Layover, and Delays

Today was the first day of 2014. I spent most of it in airports which I think is an interesting way to start the year: going somewhere, or to be more exact, going home… There’s so many ways I could read into this =D

We were at the airport on time, were ahead of the line through security, found our gate in the one-gate-airport no problem and then we sat and waited. and then the plane was delayed (but only by like ten minutes) because, well, the plane wasn’t there yet…

no plane...

no plane…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once on the plane I went back to reading Allegiant (I made it through almost exactly half on the flights to BC so I wanted to finished it through the flights on the way back).

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We had a three hour layover through Calgary so we landed and went on a quest for food. Amy waylayed our mission in a gift shop buying a gift consisting of (G-rated quote) “crap” (seriously we found, like, the strangest things in the shop…) and then the food mission continued. It was completed (for me) in the food court where I bought some (kind of crappy) pizza and a salad (with unedible croutons) but Amy couldn’t decide what she wanted. In the end we went to the in-airport pub and she ordered a poutine and a beer.

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Poutine candid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The poutine ended up being a HUGE plate of poutine, like a teenage boy couldn’t have eaten the whole thing on his own (okay, well maybe he could, if he was really hungry) but due to the HUGENESS I got to help eat it. I ate all the fries that didn’t touch the nasty ol’ cheese curds. I actually don’t like poutine. I do like fries…
So I picked through for the cheeseless fries sipping from my fastfood cup of root beer feeling slightly out of place in an airport sports bar… and then we migrated to our gate area to settle down and watch Chuck because I’m smart and packed season one in my carryon luggage!

Our flight ended up being delayed about forty minutes which meant I went on a search for junk food. I returned with a mini bag of skittles, airport prices hit you hard man…

I finished Allegiant on the flight home, we arrived at the airport and mum and dad weren’t even there yet because the roads were so awful because Winnipeg’s weather is the same temperature as Mars and there’s snow piles nearing/towering above my shoulder already (and we still have a solid three to four months to go! but hey, I’m not bitter about it all… *twitch*) When she found out mum and dad weren’t there yet, Amy, who was amusingly flustered at no one being there to meet us (I briefly tried to convince her we were at the wrong airport) said (jokingly), and I quote, “My life is ruined!”

Twas amusing… Mum and Dad arrived. Our luggage arrived. we drove home to our igloo through the ice terrain in our sledge pulled by mighty reindeer and were met at the door by our frantically excited tame house-wolf.

Then I finally watched the Doctor Who Christmas episode and wept (all though in general I didn’t enjoy the episode at all, Matt did such a great job, Matt’s great, I love Matt, I cried because now Matt’s gone)
I was excited about Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, I thought it was time for a more visibly “mature” (read old) Doctor, but I didn’t like his few line and now I’m not sure I’ll like his doctor… Why doesn’t he know how to fly his own TARDIS? She’s his, his baby, she’s been with him through time and space since he ran away centuries upon centuries ago, she’s his one friend who’s always been there and now he’s asking Clara “how to fly this thing“? Not pleased Moffat… (I pretty much 100% agree with this article my dad found so if you care to read more not-pleased-with-Moffat type stuff, dig in)

Talk to you tomorrow!
-B

VanDusen Gardens: Festival of Lights

Today us girls got to go shopping with grandma because we got some christmas money that was burning holes in our pockets.

We drove to the nearest big mall (so not really that near) and shopped for like three hours. Now I was really good today, I shopped and I browsed and I was interested in peoples shopping. Normally I shop like a guy: I know what I want, I go get it as fast as possible and I get out as fast as possible. Three hours, I spent over three hours in a mall today.
I bought season 1&2 of Chuck (Lizzy, I’m hooked), Jane Eyre (2011), and Disney’s Robin Hood on blueray (we only have the VHS…), and a new memory card because it was on a really good sale after boxing day and I still haven’t found my old one…

But now I have a now one

So yeah, shopping, successful, oohrah.

After shopping we drove out to VanDusen Gardens where there’s a Festival of Lights, that is, a Christmas lights display all through the garden and you can walk through and it’s really pretty!

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Cousins. L-R: Me, T, Amy

Cousins. L-R: Me, T, Amy

A cool lookin tree

A cool lookin tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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L-R Grandpa, Me, T, Amy, Grandma

L-R Grandpa, Me, T, Amy, Grandma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They had this one section where they had a ten minute show with lights timed to music which was pretty fun. That happened every half hour so we caught two of them.

So yeah, lights show with the fam today. Once we finished the lights we headed to the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. for dinner which was very tasty and I’m sure very healthy and organic =)

Amy and I just finished an episode of Chuck and tomorrow is out last full day here so we need to get some sleep!

Talk to you tomorrow (maybe, New Years, you know!)
-B