And then this happened…

Hey you guys. Today started out pretty great. No class, no alarm set. I got some laundry done, and didn’t mind too much that the washer didn’t get all of the soap out, or most of it, for that matter. I had some pizza for lunch, and set about supergluing a plate I broke a few days ago. Can you see where this is going?

That’s right.

I superglued my fingers to. each. other. Sooooooo not okay. I know. It’s a total first world problem, right? Yeah kinda. Except when it’s YOUR fingers that are stuck together and you’re whining on the phone with your mom about what an idiot you are and she’s 500 miles away, so all she can do is offer up vague suggestions like “hot water!” or “nail polish remover!”  Because I do still call my mom sometimes when I don’t know what else to do.  Unless it’s about a splinter, and then I call my aunt.

The super glue package is not very helpful. Why should I expect anything else from glue I bought at the dollar store? “MAY IRRITATE EYES. MAY IRRITATE SKIN. DANGEROUS FUMES FORM WHEN MIXED WITH OTHER PRODUCTS.” Okay, cool. “Do not get on eyes or mouth or on skin.” Could you BE more helpful, superglue package? “Do not breathe fumes.” I wasn’t huffing glue. I was trying to fix a plate. Which by the way, is still not entirely together. Unlike my fingers glued firmly together. “Keep out of reach of children.” Nope, no children here. 23 year-old college graduate and I managed to do this entirely by myself, to myself. “FIRST AID TREATMENT:” Now we’re getting somewhere… “Eyelid bonding: see a doctor.” Okay, now even I wasn’t that dumb. Probably a good rule to keep superglue away from your face in general, including but not limited to your eyes. Or nose or mouth. And ears. “Skin bonding” – that’s me! “soak skin in water and call a Poison Control Centre. Do not force apart.”

I won’t even stop to comment on the British spelling of Centre. The do not force apart part brings me to visions of shredded skin, lots of blood, and screaming. I will not be trying to force my fingers apart. Which means I can’t take my ring off if I want to. And I can’t properly give the finger. That’s the real injustice of your ring and middle fingers being stuck together. At least I won’t have to drive anywhere anytime soon!

Fast-forward half an hour… after I ran my fingers under warm water, then soaked them in warm water, and finally, acetone-based nail polish remover, I unglued my fingers. Thank God! I think I’ll save plate fixing for another day. Fingers are regaining feeling. They’re fine, if a bit shell shocked.

I’m sparing you guys the pictures of my fingers in various stages of being stuck. Because I did take them. Here’s a picture of some poutine and avocado fries from Old Montreal instead. (Poutine was great, avocado fries were a little mushy.)

Enjoy the relatively warmer weather this weekend!

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Liebster Award Nomination!

Hi everyone!  I know I’ve been absent from the blog-world for a few days, but with good reason.  I had family visiting over the weekend, and with all of the frolicking we did, there wasn’t any time to post.  I will have to catch you up another time about all the fun we had and upload some yummy food pictures!  Most of the time we ate out, so there aren’t any new recipes, but there was a lot of yummy Montreal food that I don’t always go out and experience.  Since the family left yesterday morning, I’ve been catching up on schoolwork and snoozing in bed – somehow with all of the touristing (can that be a word please?) we did in the sub-zero weather and sleeping in the same room with two snorers, I seem to have caught a little cold.  (The fun was totally worth it though!)

Even if I’m a bit under the weather today, I am definitely in good spirits!  Yesterday started out with some great news in the form of a wonderful surprise!  I woke up to find a WordPress notification on my phone letting me know that Debbie over at The Mountain Kitchen nominated me for a Liebster Award!  Thank you, Debbie!  If you haven’t made it over to her blog yet, you really should.  I love her recipes and the pictures she posts, as well as the stories she shares from her corner of the world!

Liebster Award

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Liebster Award, it’s a way for up-and-coming bloggers to get to know one another and show admiration for each others’ interests.  This is the first award I’ve been nominated for, and I’m really excited!  I love the time I spend blogging – it’s a nice change from writing papers for school,  and I love that I get to share some of my interests (mostly food) with anyone who wants to read it.  I’m honored that people actually are reading it!  The more I’ve blogged, the more WordPress has started to feel like an actual community that I love being a part of!  I’ve “met” some great bloggers out there, and I love reading about all of your stories as much as I love sharing my own!

That’s enough of my rambling on and on…  Here are the Liebster Award nomination rules:

  1. You must link back to the person who nominated you.
  2. You must answer the ten Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
  3. You must pick ten bloggers to be nominated for the award with fewer than 200 followers.
  4. You must come up with ten questions for your nominees to answer.
  5. You must go to their blogs and notify your nominees.

Here are the ten Liebster questions given to me by The Mountain Kitchen:

  1. Cold or Hot?  Cold, because you can always add more layers or blankets to get warm.  I would love nothing more, however, than to be on a tropical island right now.  Is it me or has this winter felt like an eternity?
  2. River or Ocean?  Absolutely Ocean.  Love the beach and going down the shore!
  3. Sweet or Spicy? Sweet.  I don’t abhor spice, but I think I like it less than most people do.  Also nothing creeps me out more than spicy cheese.  If I wanted something spicy, I wouldn’t be eating a dairy product…
  4. Jetsetter or Homebody?  A little bit of both?  I love to travel and explore new places, but I also enjoy being at home, cooking with family and friends, or just reading a good book.
  5. Cats or Dogs?  Dogs in general, my cat in particular.  If you know me you know I’m obsessed with her.
  6. Book or Movie? Book.  Movies always ruin the books, too.
  7. Sitcom or Reality TV? Sitcom, even though I have developed an unhealthy addiction to TLC lately (the TV channel, not the 90s girl band).
  8. Early to Rise or Night Owl? Night owl.  I would love to say I’m a good waker-upper but I’m just not.
  9. Beer or Wine? Wine all the way – I can’t hide the fact that I think beer tastes like feet.
  10. City or country? A bit of both.  I love all the city has to offer, but I dream of having a cow one day, and cows don’t live in the city.

When I read the Liebster rules yesterday, I was excited to have an excuse to spend more time looking through WordPress than usual.  I got to revisit old favorite blogs and learn more about ones I was following but hadn’t spent much time reading.  After a few happy hours spent reading blogs, I came up with this list of nominations:

http://26dot2withtoddler.wordpress.com/

http://dairygoddess.wordpress.com/

http://akitcheninhitchin.com/

http://puttingdownrootsme.wordpress.com/

http://zandersveganmama.wordpress.com/

http://theherbdiaries.wordpress.com/

http://persnicketybiscuit.com/

http://sevenoaksfarm.net/

http://kjbrad57.com/

http://darkcreekfarm.com/

Thanks so much to you guys for writing interesting posts that keep me coming back for more!

Here are the questions I came up with for my nominees.  I just realized the vast majority of them have to do with food.  Maybe I just think about food most of the time.  Feel free to answer in your own way.  You can claim both answers or come up with your own if it’s more fitting:

  1. Candlelight or Flashlight?
  2. Pancakes or Waffles?  Or Crepes?
  3. Beach or Snow?
  4. Chipotle, Qdoba, or Moe’s?
  5. Where is your favorite place in the world to be?
  6. Coffee or tea?
  7. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
  8. Brownies or cake?
  9. Appetizers or desert?
  10. Soymilk or regular milk?

That’s all for now!  Time for me to make dinner.  Thanks again to The Mountain Kitchen!

One Pot Mac and Cheese (with Broccoli)

Have I mentioned lately that it’s absolutely freezing here in Montreal? Today we got to experience another day where the “feels like” temperature hovered around -20°F. Obviously I wanted something warm and gooey for dinner, without the hassle of making it, so I pulled out my go-to one pot mac and cheese recipe. I found it here a little over a year ago, and I’ve definitely put it to good use. The only problem I have with it is that cleanup can take a while because the pot gets so cheesy.

Tonight I tried to add broccoli instead of as much pasta, which worked for the most part. If you only add as much broccoli as pasta, and not three times as much like I did at first, you should be fine. Here’s the recipe as I made it tonight:

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta (I used whole wheat rigatoni. Original recipe calls for one pound but I halved it to allow for the broccoli).
  • 8 ounces uncooked broccoli florets
  • About 2 cups milk, enough to cover broccoli and pasta
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese finely chopped or grated; 1 cup mild, 1 cup sharp. (Feel free to adjust as you like it.)
  • As many bread crumbs as you desire.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • I didn’t use any butter, and you definitely don’t need it. The fat from the cheese is enough.

Directions:

  1. Rinse uncooked pasta and broccoli under cold water and drain in colander.
  2. Add to pot, along with milk.
  3. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently to keep the noodles from clumping together. Make sure you watch your pot pretty closely so it doesn’t boil over.
  4. Turn down to low heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until milk is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile, toast breadcrumbs in a frying pan. You don’t need any oil for that either, just stir them and don’t let them burn.
  6. Add the cheese and stir.
  7. Top with toasted breadcrumbs and enjoy.

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The Metric System is so not my friend.

You guys, I got tricked by the Metric System again.

I know, I know. I’ve been here in sunny Canada for almost two years. I should have a handle on this metric system thing.

Probably. Especially since Americans are the only ones who don’t use the metric system. I should be more in tune with the rest of the world or something. But here’s the thing. While I have a vague idea of what Celsius works out to in Fahrenheit, and thanks to countless 5k runs I know about how long a kilometer is, the kilogram is used a lot less in my world, and ever so much more confusing. Intellectually, I know it’s about 2 pounds plus some (actually, I thought it was 2.4 lbs, until I just googled the conversion to fact check myself and found out it’s 2.2. Shows you how much I know!). Usually it works out okay, even though the grocery store weighs produce and meat by the kilo but sells it by the pound (I can buy .304 kilo of ground meat for $3.99 a lb). How does that even make sense? Pick a unit of measurement, any unit of measurement, but please be consistent. It’s virtually impossible to check the prices of what you buy at checkout, too, because even though the signs around the store advertise in price per pound, they ring up at price per kilo.

I wasn’t overcharged tonight. That’s not today’s metric system problem. Tonight I made salmon and risotto for dinner. Delicious, healthy, basically all you could want in a meal. When I picked out my salmon, the smallest piece they had didn’t look as perfect as the next biggest piece. So I went for the next biggest piece. I checked the weight: .360 kilograms. Here’s the problem; in my head that was about half a pound, a large but manageable portion. You’re probably shaking your head right now.

Eating dinner, I thought the salmon looked awfully large. Larger than I remembered it. But I finished my plate, because I didn’t want to waste, and because salmon is not a food that gets better with age in the fridge. And then I googled it. I couldn’t understand how I was so full from half a pound of food. And there it is. My aha moment. I ate over 3/4 of a pound of salmon at once. Confirmation that after a good year and a half, almost two years in a foreign city, I still don’t fully grasp the metric system. I’m beginning to think that perhaps I never will. It’s probably going to remain unused in the back of my mind, next to 24 hour time, aka military time. That can be the topic for another post, though.

So here I sit, completely stuffed. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten that much salmon at once. Plus the risotto! But I will make myself a nice mug of hot milk before I go to bed, and maybe, just maybe, I will find room for the last piece of cheesecake I have sitting in my fridge.

What do you all think? Are you metric system fans? Do you have any conversion tips?  God knows I need them!

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Step-By-Step Homemade Bread, as made by me

You guys, it’s cold out! So cold that I skipped my trip to the gym that I had planned for earlier. According to the news this morning, with the windchill it feels like -26°F outside. No thank you. Instead I stayed in and decided to make a loaf of bread. (Or two). I’m sitting pretty much as close to the oven as humanly possible without being in it, and it smells amazing! Is there a better smell than homemade bread in the oven? I realized I haven’t blogged a proper bread post, step by step, so today is the day!

Here we go! Gather ingredients from pantry, canisters, etc. I used the recipe from the booklet that came with my KitchenAid. Today I just wanted the machine to do the work.

  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I guestimated)
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine (I use butter, again I guestimated. Still can’t get the hang of cutting my butter from a giant block)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (or 4 + 1/2 teaspoons for those of use who buy yeast in a jar – it’s so much cheaper and keeps for months in the fridge)
  • 1 + 1/2 cups warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour (I ended up using about 5 + 1/2, which was probably a little bit much. 5 would have worked. Also, I snuck in a cup of whole wheat flour. Now that it’s healthy I can eat the whole loaf at once, covered in butter, right?)
  1. Heat milk, sugar, salt, and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm. Is that lukewarm? I guess so… 
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  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl (I warm my bowl by running it under hot water and then dumping the water out). Yeast is not completely dissolved, but if I keep dissolving, lukewarm milk mixture might drop to less than lukewarm. Must add milk to yeast!  20140121-155155.jpg
  3. Add lukewarm milk mixture and 4+1/2 cups flour. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer (oops – my bowl was already in the mixer when I dissolved the yeast). Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 1 minute.20140121-155207.jpg
  4. Continuing on Speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl, about two minutes. (I shut off the mixer when I add flour, otherwise flour would be everywhere).20140121-155223.jpg
  5. Knead on Speed 2 about 2 minutes longer, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough will be slightly sticky to the touch (having made this recipe a few times now, I think their definition of slightly sticky feels very sticky, if that helps at all).20140121-155233.jpg
  6. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top (I dumped some olive oil on top and rubbed it around).20140121-155240.jpg
  7. Cover (preferably with a cloth towel, though I used paper towels), let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. (I use my microwave as my warm place. As long as you remember not to use it while the dough is rising, it works quite well). Wash dishes. Vaccuum apartment, which happens to be the world’s dustiest. Despite the fact that I vaccuum every day (with a Dyson that basically has a jet engine attached), I am constantly finding dust and dirt (including mounds of sesame seeds – how many bagels do I eat?, and hair from a cat that lives in a different country) in every and all of the nooks and crannies. Talk to Mom on the phone. Clean out dead stuff from refrigerator and take the garbage out. Walk laps back and forth across apartment (all 10 feet of it) in attempt to bring Nike Fuel above -2.20140121-155245.jpg
  8. Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf (kinda), and place in greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 greased loaf pans (I only have one of those, so I used an 8 x 8 brownie pan for the other loaf). Cover. Let rise in warm place (microwave), free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Seriously consider starting reading for class on Thursday, as there are a few hundred pages to be read. Agonize over sending an email and the proper language to use. Fight with Google Translate. Consider usefulness of Spanish Dictionary versus Google Translate and vice-versa. Seriously consider taking a shower, but then remember that just yesterday you managed to blow-dry your hair for the first time ever without the end result looking like a Muppet, and that showering would most definitely ruin that result. Sit down to read for school. Decide catching up on WordPress happenings to be a much better use of time.20140121-155255.jpg20140121-155302.jpg20140121-155334.jpg
  9. Bake @ 400°F until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Read other people’s blogs. Smell bread. Google Madrid. Daydream about living there again. Think about favorite Spanish things. Think about Corte Ingles. Think about the American dollar to Euro conversion ratio. 20140121-155341.jpg
  10. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks (No one wants soggy bread). Flip bread easily out of 8×8 pan, curse at loaf pan for not being so easy. Use a combination of potholders and pointy knife to pry bread from pan. Start eating glorious bread. Wonder if the miniscule amount of whole wheat flour in the dough actually has any health benefits. Wonder how many slices of bread are reasonable to eat at once. Banish thoughts of portion size from mind…20140121-155351.jpg

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*I should mention that I noticed in the KitchenAid recipe book a warning not to make any recipes using more than 8 cups all-purpose flour or 6 cups whole wheat flour when making dough with a 4 1/2 quart mixer… This is the mixer I have and I’ve always been fine (not sure why they would include a recipe they don’t want me to use), but use your judgement, not mine.

**I also have no idea why the font got so big and wonky for this post – sorry about that!  I think I just fixed it, but if not, thanks for suffering through it!