ENGAGED!!

Well the title sorta gave it away huh? Guess I coulda come up with a more vague one… Nah, big news can be abrupt!

Ryan and I are engaaaaaaged!

I thought maybe it might be fun to put up some blog posts now and then through the wedding planning process that has now arisen! But before that I should prooooooobably share the engagement story! (*Spoiler alert, it’s super cute)

So Ryan and I had a hike planned in the Whiteshell Provincial Park for Saturday March 11. The park is about an hour and a half away but we like to go out there when we can to do some hikes and had been trying to get a winter hike in since like January, but I don’t get many Saturdays off work. We’d also just gone two weeks ago to hike around a different area, so heading out there didn’t seem suspicious to me at the time!

We’d planned ahead where we wanted to go hike because it’s a large park and I later discovered that last Sunday Ryan had secretly gone out with his dad (never hike alone kids!) to scope the area out and pick his spot! So on Saturday we’re driving through the park and we pass a sign for one of the lakes and Ryan says, “Oh I think McGillivray Falls is just after this lake, can you keep an eye out for the sign?” (sneaky sneaky sir, you were there less then a week ago…) so we spot the area and go to turn in. Well the parking lot isn’t plowed and in a Manitoba winter if the parking lot isn’t plowed you’re not parking in the parking lot so Ryan’s going, do you think it’s fine to park on the shoulder here? Should we drive down and see if there’s somewhere to park? and I’m like, nah, shoulder is fine, we’re out of the way, it’s not busy, we goooood (He’d parked in the exact same place less than a week ago, sneaky sneaaaaky…)

So we kind of casually make our way through the hike, up alongside the frozen waterfall and Ryan is somehow subliminally directing me to his spot (I had no idea he was guiding me there haha I thought I was choosing our turns!!). So we arrive at this very pretty vantage point where you have a view out over the lake and can see the frozen falls down to the side and the trees lining the banks and it’s all pretty and snowy and everything and Ryan (who was standing behind me) says, “Look, someone’s initials are carved in this tree!”

I turned and looked and sure enough RW and BW are carved very clearly into the side of the tree we’re beside. So I was like, aww cute! (And in my head am thinking those could be ouuurrrr initials one day!  What a funny coincidence! Yes, I can take a while for things to click) But I didn’t say aloud that they would be our initials because I didn’t want to seem presumptuous, I mean, I’m a lady! Ryan says, “Like Ryan Watson and Becca Watson…” and something in his face or his voice checked me and it suddenly clicked what was happening and then he started getting down on one knee and then he propooosedddd to meeeeeeee!

And, of course, I said yes!

So there we are, our planned adventure for the day became an adventure for a lifetime!

 

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A Beginner is Cooking: E is for Easy

Yesterday was not my favourite work day so today when I woke up I decided I needed comfort food. Typically that means soup and sandwiches, or perogies, one of my easy fix meals, but today I had to adapt it to involve cooking. I found a recipe for Chicken Caesar Pasta salad and chicken caesar salad is basically one of my favourite foods so adding in pasta just seemed destined to make it better!

Now I realize there’s minimal cooking involve in this recipe, I cook up some pasta which I then don’t even have to try to keep warm while I time the rest of the recipe, cook the chicken, which again doesn’t have to be cooked in time with the rest of the food as it too can cool, and make a salad. Now I may be speaking too soon but this seems like it should be a cake walk.

(This leads me to wonder where the phrase “cake walk” comes from? A google search has informed me that, “the American English term “cakewalk” was used as early as 1863 to indicate something that is very easy or effortless, although this metaphor may refer to the carnival game of the same name in referring to the fact that the latter’s winners obtain their prize by doing no more than walking around in a circle.” x)

This time when making a recipe involving parmesan cheese I checked to make sure we had it first, which we did, phew! In fact we had all the ingredients except baby tomatoes and I don’t even like tomatoes (I’m a picky eater about strange things, okay) so it worked out perfectly!

Once more I bravely strayed from the recipe (this is becoming a habit, my goodness!) I remembered that one of the commenters on the original recipe of last weeks Lemon Herb Chicken said that they liked to use leftovers on salad, a good idea! So I threw in some lemon juice while cooking the chicken like the recipe called for last time. Caesar salad is often served with a lemon slice on the side, it must be a thing!

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They say pride cometh before a fall (“they” originally being the Bible) and due to the clear simplicity of this recipe, I was bound to make a mistake. I didn’t read the recipe carefully enough and began sautéing the chicken, like was needed last week. Now I’m sure in the long run this wouldn’t have been a big deal, cooked is cooked, doesn’t really matter how, but the recipe said to grill and grilled chicken is definitely better looking on a salad! So I saved the chicken from the pan and threw together a grilling set up for it in the oven. This, however, meant I hadn’t preheated the oven, so it was a good thing that timing is all higgledy-piggledy for this recipe!

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In the meantime, I couldn’t screw up cutting lettuce and getting salad stuff ready so I did that, yo, at last, a task I can handle!

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The chicken survived, I discovered that I don’t know how to make grill/char lines using an oven and was too hungry to bother figuring it out, and made mah salad. Comfort food to the max. I love this salad. This, this is a good salad.

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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.

The Cataclysmic Commuter Competition

Today I hung out with school friends outside of school. I feel like this means I officially have school friends now. We had a commuters board game party at someones house and, as the title of the party would suggest, played lots of board games! and card games… and video games… Mostly just games! Technically it was called the The Cataclysmic Commuter Competition but it wasn’t reaaaaaally a competition, I mean there was no overall winner.

I got creamed in Catan – it’s been a while since I played – but it was really fun hanging out with everyone outside of school and just getting to chill =D

And I’m actually glad I went! I’m not really a big partier normally, I don’t like hanging out in large groups, it’s a little out of my comfort zone, and especially after a long day! (I had had church all morning and then worked all afternoon and then came straight to the party, wasn’t home at all). I often use that as an excuse not to hang out with people because, as an introvert, I find it often is very draining, however that’s not a good excuse and I figured, hey, this doesn’t happen very often, I need to put myself out there, stretch myself a bit! And it was very fun, 10/10, would recommend, would do again ;D

-B