Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snug Harbour Seafood Bar & Grill, Port Credit, ON

Across the water from J.C. Saddington Park is Snug Harbour Seafood Bar & Grill.

We stopped in for a drink. The restaurant is all windows and the view is great!

The far tip is where Gord and I were walking.

Here's Gord at the bar ... just about to take a drink of MY Merlot while his beer sits neglected!

We've only been there once before, about five years ago.

Port Credit is definitely a place we want to go back to when the weather is warmer so we can walk around and enjoy it more.

Snug Harbour Seafood Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

J.C. Saddington Park

On our way home from Crawford Lake, we stopped at Port Credit so Gord could pick up some beer at the Old Credit Brewing Company ... you can read what he thought of their pilsner here.

We kept heading towards the water and ended up at J.C. Saddington Park.

We went for a walk. It was a lot colder since we were down by the water.

There's Gord ... you can barely see the skyline of Toronto over his left shoulder.

There were lots of birds in the water and on the ice ... brrrr!

We're not sure what these birds are ... I wonder if my pals, Angie and Rob, know (they are bird nerds).

It was fun climbing on the rocks.

It was interesting to see that the swans are tagged.

This couple was very popular with the birds as they arrived with a loaf of bread.

Walking around Crawford Lake

After lunch, Gord and I walked around Crawford Lake.

Crawford Lake is 1.4 km around and takes less than a half hour to walk around it.

They have built a wooden boardwalk around it to protect the plants and wildlife.

Here's Gord just before we got started with the boardwalk behind him.

Here's Gord about 1/4 of the way around. The lake is frozen but you aren't allowed on it.

It was a nice way to work off lunch.

Snowshoeing at Crawford Lake

Gord and I went snowshoeing at Crawford Lake this afternoon. Crawford Lake is in Milton and about a 60 minute drive from home.

There were 31 of us and it was a Single Horizons' event.

We started off with a lesson in the Visitor's Centre.

Then we headed out to get our snowshoes.
Chia Kitty had a fun time!

Gord's ready to go!

I'm ready to go!

Let's go!

We went for a hike through the woods. It was snowing at some points.

There are lots of trails you can follow.

Here are Gord and I by Crawford Lake.

Afterward, LeeAnn (owner of Single Horizons) had a lunch waiting for us ... sandwiches, salads, tangerines and treats. Here's LeeAnn, Chia Kitty and I.

It was a fun time! We did it last year but it was a lot warmer this time. No doubt we'll do it again next year!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Book ~ "Twenties Girl" (2009) Sophie Kinsella

From Amazon ~ Lara Lington has always had an overactive imagination but suddenly that imagination seems to be in overdrive. Normal professional twenty-something young women don’t get visited by ghosts. Or do they?

When the spirit of Lara’s great-aunt Sadie–a feisty, demanding girl with firm ideas about fashion, love and the right way to dance–mysteriously appears, she has one last request: Lara must find a missing necklace that had been in Sadie’s possession for more than seventy-five years and Sadie cannot rest without it. Lara, on the other hand, has a number of ongoing distractions. Her best friend and business partner has run off to Goa, her start-up company is floundering, and she’s just been dumped by the “perfect” man.

Sadie, however, could care less.

Lara and Sadie make a hilarious sparring duo and at first it seems as though they have nothing in common. But as the mission to find Sadie’s necklace leads to intrigue and a new romance for Lara, these very different “twenties” girls learn some surprising truths from each other along the way.

I've enjoyed Kinsella's other books so wanted to like this one. I didn't like Lara ... she was pathetically trying to get her ex-boyfriend, Josh, to go back to her. And Sadie was annoyingly self-centered.

I felt like giving up after a couple chapters but I stuck with with it. I'm glad I did because Lara stopped being so pathetic and Sadie stopped being so annoying and I enjoyed the story.

Compared to Kinsella's other stories, it's fairly deep and not as frivolous, and long (more than 460 pages).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book ~ "3 Fat Chicks on a Diet" (2006) Jennifer Barnett Lesman, Amy Barnett Buchanan and Bev West

From Amazon ~ Filled with the sassy attitude and sage advice of three lovable sisters from the South who have been fighting the battle of the bulge for most of their lives, 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet tells everyone who has ever wanted to lose a few pounds how to find dieting success. Because every dieter will try most of the popular diets at some point in a weight-loss struggle, the sisters give you the real scoop - as well as anecdotes and wisdom from scores of their online community of women - on the favorites, from South Beach to the Mediterranean Diet, Atkins to the Zone, and celebrity-driven weight-loss programs to Ediets.

You’ll get so much more than just coffee-klatch gossip:

* The pros and cons of each diet
* Guilt-free ways to snack and still stay with the program
* Straight talk for making the diets work for every meal of the day
* Menu suggestions when dining out
* Delicious recipes to try at home
* And much more!

Best of all, the book offers a fool-proof support system of love and encouragement from women just like you who are trying to win the war with their waistlines.

I kind of knew what some of the more popular diets (The Zone, Jenny Craig, Atkins, South Beach, etc.) are about but this book is great in that there is a chapter focused on each of them.

Weight Watchers works for me ... and reading about the other diets (or lifestyle changes) validated that. I'm not a fan of veggies and that seems to be a big factors in the other diets. I'd never survive without carbs!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book ~ "Such a Pretty Fat" (2008) Jen Lancaster

From Amazon ~ Are you tired of books where the self-loathing heroine is teased to the point where she starves herself tiny in hopes of a fabulous new life? Do you hate the message that we women can't possibly be happy until we fit into our skinny jeans?

Yeah? Well, Jen Lancaster is, too.

Jen doesn't find stories like this uplifting; rather, they make her want to hug these women and take them out for fizzy champagne drinks and cheesecake and explain to them that until they figure out their insides, their outsides don't matter.

Unfortunately, being overweight isn't simply a societal issue that can be fixed with a dose of positive self-esteem. It's a health matter, so on the eve of Jen's 40th birthday she decides to make changes so she doesn't, you know, die. Because what good is finally being able to afford a pedicure if she loses a foot to adult onset diabetes?

A different take on one woman's quest to lose weight.

Jen is extremely sarcastic. You are either going to love her or hate her. I enjoyed her writing style and could relate to a lot of what she wrote about. It was funny to read about her experiences with Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers (that's what I'm doing but minus the meetings).

One complaint, though, is that I hated the footnotes on the bottom of most pages ... there are 175 in all. I found it really annoying having to look up and down all the time and it interrupted the flow.

Here is an introduction to Jen and why she wrote this book ...

Day at the doggie spa

Remember how shaggy KC was?

She was sooooo due for a furcut.

So I took her to the doggie spa this morning.

Here she is after her grooming ...

The $70 brownie

Would you pay $70 for a brownie?

I love love love a good brownie but that's too much for me!

From today's Toronto Star ...

I recently paid $70 for a brownie that didn't even have hash in it.

And it was from a mix.

The mix came from Williams-Sonoma and promised to replicate the signature "bouchons" or chocolate "corks" at celebrity chef Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery. A saleswoman promised it would make "the best brownies you've ever had." A one-pound tin cost $26.50.

The necessary bakeware – a black silicone pan not very different from a mini-muffin tin – cost another $45. By buying them together, I saved $8, money I then spent on the required half-pound of butter, eggs and icing sugar.

How good could $70 brownies from a mix be? To find out, I rounded up three other boxed mixes at the grocery store for a comparison in the Star's test kitchen. I also made a batch of my family's favourite recipe, as quick as a mix.

The Bouchon Bakery mix was by far the best, intensely chocolaty and buttery, with none of the chemical flavours of the Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker mixes. It was infinitely superior in texture to the gluten-free Arrowhead Mills mix. It even beat the homemade brownies, which proved too sweet in comparison, although the walnuts were nice.

But the finished product didn't look like the photo and was a pain to make. Plus, it took three squirts of Windex to clean the grease spot from the photographer's table.

It certainly wasn't worth the money, but the $2.69 supermarket mix were a waste as well since those brownies went straight to the garbage.

Next time, I'll take the $70 and apply it toward a trip to New York, where Bouchon Bakery can do the baking and I can do the sightseeing.

Star tested by Amy Pataki

Friday, January 22, 2010

A walk to the park

KC and I took a walk to Trinity Bellwoods Park went I got home from work ... its about a 15 minute walk to the park at KC's pace because she has to sniff every tree and pole.

We went through the CAMH grounds and I came across this bread. I suspect someone had left it out for the birds. But what was funny was that all of the insides were gone.

Weird, eh?

KC and I carried on to the park.

KC had fun running around! Hard to believe she's almost 15 years old!

The CN Tower looked nice with the sun setting on it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Giving the gift of life

I did something yesterday that I've been thinking about doing for a while.

I downloaded the form to be an organ and tissue donor and signed it ... Gord is mailing it for me today.

What it came down to is this ... if I need a heart or a lung, I wouldn't hesitate to have a transplant because I want to live as long and healthily as I can. Because I don't have a problem taking, I should be willing to give too.

Gord knows I want to be cremated so it would be a shame to waste those parts.

Have you signed your donor card?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Joe Badali's Ristorante Italiano and Bar, Toronto, ON

I had supper tonight with Eric, Julie, Laura and Susan. We used to work together ... I left that company in March 2007 (they are still there).

We met at Joe Badali's at Front/University.

I ordered the Penne Pollo All'olio (grilled chicken, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, fresh herbs, garlic and white wine tossed with extra virgin olive oil) ... minus the mushrooms (yuk!). It was good and I ate it all!


And here we are ...

Julie, me, Laura, Eric and Susan

Joe Badali's Italian Restaurant Bar on Urbanspoon

Book ~ "Secrets of a Former Fat Girl" (2008) Lisa Delaney

From Amazon ~ Despite her lack of medical credentials, "Former Fat Girl" Delaney is convincing simply because she has not only lost weight but has kept it off. She has figured out how to go from size 16 to size 2 jeans and maintain a healthy slim figure for decades. Instead of talking diets, Delaney focuses on motivation. It's essential to feel like you have control over your life; you have to believe you can change, she insists. After talking about the Jazzercise class that first gave her that "I can" feeling, Delaney offers some practical advice so readers can go beyond losing weight to realizing a better self-image. Keep your new eating/exercising regimen a secret, she advises, as family and friends may be surprisingly resistant to your changes. Be firm and exclude foods or situations you know you can't handle. Visualize the life you want for yourself. Even if her advice is not terribly new, Delaney mixes optimism and realism in such manageable proportions, she may give readers just the boost they need.

No, her advice isn't new but it is still an enjoyable read. It focuses less on dieting and more on the emotional and mental side of it.

The author shares her seven "secrets":
  1. Forget dieting - get active
  2. Keep it a secret - puts less pressure on yourself
  3. Adopt INO (It's Not an Option) - not exercise or eating something unhealthy is INO
  4. "See" yourself slim - visualization
  5. Remember, you're not like other people - what works for someone else may not work for you
  6. Protect yourself from pushers - don't let well-meaning people push food on you
  7. Happiness lives in the uncomfort zone - try new things
And it's still working for her 20 years later! She's in her forties, has had baby (at 40) and is 117 pounds!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Supper at Mon and Mark's

Gord and I went to Monica and Mark's for supper tonight. They were our next door neighbours and moved a couple years ago (about a 15 minute drive away) .

Here's Mon (holding Chia Kitty ... yes, Chia tagged along) and I ...

Settling in for supper, which was delicious!

Beef ribs (they had been in the slow cooker all day), mashed potatoes, salad and broccoli ...

Dessert was a fruit crumble with fresh gelato. Yum!

Here's Mark and Mon ... aren't they cute?!

Mon played us a tune ... Chia enjoyed it too.

You know how much Gord loves beer! So does Mark! Mark's dad is German so Gord brought six German beer each for them so they could have a beer tasting (Gord blogged about it here).

Here they are having their first beer ...

And here they are having their sixth (and last) beer ...

Mission accomplished!

Since I'm "on track", my drink for the night was a 1.5 litre bottle of water.

It was fun to hang with them as I hadn't seen Mon since April.