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Friday, September 20, 2013

More TV For Me!

So, I've definitely mentioned before my little side project, the MFSBA(.org). My partner and I, both military spouses, endeavor to foster an environment of cultivation for small business owners who identify as part of a military family. We put on networking and sales events, hold instructional webinars (our members are spread out across this great country of ours), and, the most exciting for me, join forces as a community of sorts to raise funds and/or support for various charities, alternating between community-based and military-focused.

Ashley and I had the amazing opportunity to appear on a local morning show to discuss the event we hosted this past Saturday and the work we do for our members.

       

As for the event, we made some great contacts and developed some great ideas for other events this year. We're looking forward to all that's in store!

Do you identify as part of a military family? Check out our site: http://www.mfsba.org. :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Masterchef Finale - Spoiler Alert!!

****Spoiler Alert****

If  you've been watching Masterchef S4 and haven't seen the finale, a) don't read this, and b) what is wrong with you?? This is one of the most epic seasons I've seen yet! So if you're ready to discuss it, scroll down and let's do it!!


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Sorry for all the extra work in reading today's post, but I know for a fact my husband hasn't seen the last three episodes, so I didn't want to spoil it for him. I had actually entitled this post "Nice Guys Can Finish First" but realized that was a spoiler in itself.

All season I rooted for Luca above the rest? Why? Was it his dreamy blue eyes, his disarming accent, his ever-professional appearance? No. It was because he was nice. He has to be the nicest guy I've ever come across on a reality show. He was confident without being cocky, competitive without being sly, and refused to stoop to the levels of the ones who demeaned others. He had no problem piping up when someone was being unfair. And twice (not once, but twice!!), he gave ingredients to people who had forgotten them, stating simply (paraphrasing), "I don't want to beat them because they were missing something. I want to win because my dish is better than theirs on the whole." That always impressed me.

Check out this classic example (it starts at 11:50):


That being said, I expected Natasha to win. She was strong throughout the entire competition, and most people seemed to think she was a shoo-in for the title. So, going into the finale, I expected her to win, but I WANTED Luca to take it.

He worried me a little with his menu - I think he worried the judges a bit, too! Duck liver, short ribs, followed by a basil panna cotta with tomato jam. The judges thought he was crazy - until they tasted it!

When they brought out his father and sister, I cried. When they called his name at the end, I literally shrieked with happiness. Luca, I'll be buying your cookbook when it hits the shelves! I hope it will have lots of that amazing pasta that I drooled over this season.

My favourite Luca moment? Definitely this one:


Did you watch? Who were you rooting for?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I'm Totally Crushing On...

So... it's been awhile. I've been busy with my side project - more on that later this week.

This is Monday! My favourite sort of post, when I get to visit the lovely Stasha and pick up a prompt for my listicle. This week, it's 10 Things I Have a Crush On. Hmmm, just 10?? Actually, as excited as I get about pretty much everything in my life (or that I'd LIKE to have in my life), I had a hard time nailing down ten items for my list.

 But I managed! So here it is: 10 Things I Have a Crush On


This is near my house!

10. Water - My friend and I talked today about living near the water. I live in Nova Scotia - where you can never be an hour from the ocean, which, in my opinion, is pretty stellar. I can't actually see the water from my house, but I can about ten feet from my driveway, which works for me (for now).





Isn't this beautiful??


9. Annabelle necklace in rose gold from Stella & Dot - I got to wear this gorgeous necklace for a television interview last week and I fell in love with it! It was so delicate and pretty, just sparkly enough, and you can wear it long, or wrap it twice and wear it short. I've shown it to Ryan and instructed my friend Erika to call him close to Christmas and harass him about it!








Yummmmm...


8. International Delights Coffee Whitener, specifically (or at least most recently) the Southern Butter Pecan flavour. It's so good! I've been known to carry a bottle of this around with me, haha! I should be buying stock in this company, the way I convert people!









So calming!

7. Scentsy - I love this line in general, but this is the first warmer I purchased, and I love the glow of the light from within! Even more, though, I love how I can choose what I want my home to smell like, and can change it as often as I'd like! I'm partial to fruity scents, like Paradise Punch, but also love warmer smells like Dulce de Leche and Sticky Cinnamon Bun. 





6. JC Chasez - I can't exactly explain it, but I have been head over heels for him since 1993 when I discovered the new MMC. The first time I saw the "I Want You Back" video, I stood in front of the TV, trying to figure out how I knew him because he was so familiar. Then I obsessively listened to everything 'NSync recorded, even the unreleased stuff (which were my favourites... ever hear 'Here and Now'? Hands down, my favourite song ever - great message!). I watched the "reunion" (<- those are BIG air quotes, by the way), but I only noticed one guy on the stage.

One of the last songs he recorded was one of his best, and I continue to hope he'll get back into music. I would listen!






5. Food - Yes, this is pretty general, but it has to be - I love food in general! My (now) dear friend Ashley first invited me to go somewhere as her +1 because, and I quote, she remembered that I said I love a "free dinner." Isn't it great that that was the most memorable thing about me! :) At an event Saturday, I had no less than three conversations about how much I enjoy food. No joke.


However, I can also get pretty specific about certain foods I crave:


4. Root Beer Floats - Is there anything more refreshing than one of these?  I always put the ice cream in first because I love the foam that appears when the pop is poured over it. I actually love floats in any flavour! Cream soda, cola, grape, lime, anything is good with vanilla. With 7Up, you can add any flavour of ice cream: cotton candy, chocolate, moon mist, the list could go on and on. And now I'm craving a float and, of course, we don't keep pop in the house. Bummer!



Andes cake = Must try!
3. Chocolate - Cake, brownies, truffles, squares, ice cream, mousse, even liqueur... I love it all! There is a reason that Ryan and I had a chocolate-themed wedding. :) We are chocoholics! And now I must try this cake I found. I love Andes mints, this looks like Andes in cake form!






This day was a blast.
2. Learning - As brown-nosy as that sounds, I love learning constantly. I google at least ten things a day (how did I ever function before the internet??) and am constantly trying to increase my knowledge base about anything and everything. One night recently, my husband had taken our kids for a few nights (=divine, haha) and I actually had time to sit around and play with my new (this year) DSLR. I discovered I could attach the lenses from my 35-year-old F2. Imagine, a heavy, metal, ANALOG lens on a D3100. I played around with it while on vacation and got some images like this! 

And #1? Isn't it obvious what I love above everything else?


That's right! I love my handsome husband, my beautiful children, and the amazing life we share. 

What did I miss? What would you add?


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Summertime... and the Living is Easy...

This week's listicle topic is 10 THINGS I WILL REMEMBER THIS SUMMER BY. Having just returned from my brother-in-law's wedding and a week straight with his family, I'm ready to post this! 



In fact, I got a little help from the family in filling this out.

Family - This goes without saying! One brother lives in Montreal, the other in Scotland - we haven't all been in the same room in six years. Throw his parents into the mix and we obviously had a blast.

Wedding - The last brother to marry = the biggest celebration! 



Pool - This one only needs one word: Cannonball!!



Beer and Wine - With this crew, it goes without saying that there was a fair bit of consumption. 

Monday Surprise - The girls cooked up a surprise for the boys as one last event we could do together before we go our separate ways. I'm sure pictures of that are to come!

Friends - We all saw people we haven't seen in ages, and we really solidified the fact that we're not only family, but friends who enjoy spending time with each other.

Bonfires - We love our bonfires! Half the fun is figuring out what to burn to keep it going. This is what Ryan came up with when sent into the woods (in pitch black) to find fuel for the fire:



Baseball - With our oldest in his first year, and Ryan with a few more than that under his belt, we spent many evenings at the ball diamond. 



Sunsets (and sometimes sunrises) - We saw some beautiful sunsets (in keeping with the fantastic weather) and countless stars!

BBQs - We had some legendary food this trip. Beef tenderloin that just melted in your mouth, caesar salads, pasta salad, and beer can chicken. We definitely didn't come home hungry.



What was your favourite summer moment?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Not Such a Great Deal

I'm a compulsive reader. And spelling errors stick out like a sore thumb. At least once a week I debate calling a restaurant to notify them that they've spelled 'caesar' wrong on their sign (I never have). And I often take note of quirky things...

Would you think anything of this sign? This sign is down the street from my place, and the first time I read it, I started chuckling. Don't see why? Keep reading:







Is it just me, or is this funny? 

The wording made me think of this:






Via Vanz
That doesn't really strike me as a great deal... if I were to get something waxed I'd be disappointed if they didn't do 100%!

Have you seen any signs that have made you laugh?



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Classical Music is Alive and Well!

My absolute favourite classical piece is Gymnopédie No. 1 by Erik Satie. This has been at the top of my list for many, many years. It's not as common as, say, Fur Elise, but it's pretty recognizable. Whenever I hear it I just stop what I'm doing and totally relax. If I've just pulled into my driveway, I have to sit and wait for it to finish. It always puts me in a wonderful mood. Because it has this effect on me, when it's playing during a TV show I'm watching, I can generally remember the exact moment I heard it.

Tonight, I was watching Saving Hope, and they had a conversation about it! Then they played it later, and by then I was thinking, 'Well, that's three shows in recent memory... time to do a blog post in tribute!' Sadly, Satie passed away in 1925, six short years before his first composition aired on the big screen. From 1931 to 2013, his work is alive and well. IMDb.com has a huge list of TV shows and films that feature his pieces. I am about to share three television moments that, for some reason, didn't make the list.

First, any regular reader of my blog knows that I <3 <3 <3 Community. In one episode, Jeff tries to throw Abed a surprise Pulp Fiction party (if you're familiar with these characters, you'll understand this!!). Abed has plans of his own, playing homage to another movie, My Dinner With Andre, by taking Jeff to a fancy restaurant and having a deep and meaningful conversation (which, of course, totally took Jeff by surprise). I mention all this because in the clip you'll see the obvious Pulp Fiction references, and, I was surprised to learn, this song was actually featured in the original My Dinner With Andre.


Did that sound familiar? My next example is short and sweet, but totally exemplifies what this music does to me! Courtesy of How I Met Your Mother:


Lastly, the incredible representation of GymnopĂ©die No. 1, from Season 2 of Saving Hope. If you're not watching this show you should be! It's pretty amazing. I don't think there's any spoilers in this next few minutes of video. 


What do you think of this song? Do you have your own song that you react to very strongly? I'd love to hear it!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Warning: This List Will Make You Hungry!

This week's listicle is 10 Favourite Meals. Just seeing the topic made my mouth water a little! I thought it would be a great opportunity to share some blog love and link to my favourite recipes. Of course, I asked Ryan for a little input too.

Roast Beef - In looking for instructions on how to make pan gravy (one thing I have yet to master), I stumbled on this recipe, and the seasoning sounded so good I just had to try it! I have to say, the worst thing about this recipe is that my house smelled so good after it was in the oven for five minutes that by the time it was ready to eat, our stomachs were eating themselves! And the gravy had GREAT flavour.


Pancakes - We love a good breakfast for dinner, and we love a good pancake! I love this recipe, and have used it many times.



Sweet and Sour Chicken - One of my all-time faves, this is an easy slow-cooker version. It won rave reviews at Sunday dinner.


Bacon Chicken - This is a rare treat, mostly because you can feel your arteries clogging with every bite, but it is just so good!! I'm not even a bacon fan, but I enjoy it in this dish.

Bacon Chicken

Beer Can Chicken - I don't even want to know how this came about, but I would like to thank the person who invented it! Adding butter, garlic and spices to the beer before inserting (to put it politely) in the chicken ensures the interior of the chicken is coated in moisture for the entire cooking process. This results in a chicken that is both moist and delicious! Great on the barbecue too.

Beer Butt Chicken Recipe

Tacos - A lifetime favourite of mine, I'm hoping to pass the love down to my kids! This version, courtesy of Paula Deen, is divine, implementing fresh cilantro and making that little sodium-filled taco seasoning packet obsolete. The best thing about this recipe is that the meat simmers in its own sauce. Ryan doesn't like salsa or sour cream, and always ate his tacos dry (I can't even imagine!!), so this recipe was a breath of fresh air!


Irish Cream Truffles - Now, who did I think I was kidding when I said I was making this a list of MEALS? Anyone who knows me knows I have quite a sweet tooth. I've been known to start dinner with cheesecake (that was just last week, haha). I did many of these for Christmas last year - they're always a hit! I could eat the whole batch, they're so good.

truffles 2

Guinness Chocolate Pie - I first saw this and thought of Ryan. After all, it combines his two favourite things: chocolate and beer. I made this for him the day he returned from his first sail with the Navy. In fact, I texted him and told him to hurry home because I made something with his two favourite ingredients. He joked, 'beer and chocolate?' He was quite shocked when I told him that was it! We enjoyed the pie, with its salty pretzel crust, rich chocolate centre, and beer-flavoured marshmallowy top. Sprinklebakes has been the source of a great number of recipes I've tried for special occasions. Birthday cakes, homecomings, just because...


Root Beer Float Fudge - Another Erin classic. Never mind that it's nearly impossible to find root beer concentrate locally, so this being made totally depends on my stumbling upon an acceptable substitute at the local bulk store. If you visited me at the Military Family Entrepreneur Club Expo this past March, you probably sampled this! I was actually on the local news and you could see the guy at the next table sneaking it off mine. :) When you see it, you're not sure if it's brown sugar or maple or chocolate, and then you put it in your mouth - the flavour shocks without fail!

Root Beer Float Fudge Recipe

Pizza - We all love pizza in this household, but leave it to me to not be able to figure out a number 10 until I ask Ryan. We are not picky about our pizza! We'll get it from just about anywhere. This is my favourite recipe for homemade, though. We make them in minis and everyone gets to pick their own toppings. This is especially useful in our house, where Ryan likes only meat and I prefer mostly (if not all) vegetables. 

Personal Pizzas

As expected, this has made me hungry again! What's your favourite meal? Have you tried any of these recipes before?