Thursday, May 31, 2018

Patio Wines

Not that I stop drinking in the winter time (quite the contrary around Christmas) but when the weather warms up and we are sitting outside more often, nothing beats a good glass of wine.   Here are some of my patio favourites:

Most Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand are pretty good, but the two I like the best are Matua and Oyster Bay.  I always like to have these around when we have guests.

And for a more friendly price point, the Monkey Bay is pretty good too.

Also on the Sauvignon Blanc train, a pretty good local option (particularly if you're buying wine at the grocery store where they only sell Ontario products), this one from Trius.

I'm not a big red wine drinker but I do like Pinot Noirs.  Most of the ones from Ontario are pretty good, like this one from Pelee Island. And bonus, it has a bird on the label.

Here is a little tip for you wine buyers out there. At the LCBO and I'm sure in other provinces, the sugar content and a small description of the wine is on the price label on the shelf.  So depending on whether you like dry or sweeter wines, you can check the label to see what it may taste like.  This was useful for me when I was buying wine for someone else.  They like a sweeter wine and since I never drink it and was not sure what to buy, I could check the label and pick one based on the sugar content.

See this example, the brackets in the bottom centre right, it says (XD - 3G/L) which means Extra Dry, with only 3 grams of residual sugar per litre.   The XD category means between 0 and 8 grams of sugar so a 3 is pretty low.  This would be what I prefer.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

What we're eating this week...
Sunday -We were out, I had a chicken curry
Monday - Cajun shrimp and quinoa casserole
Tuesday - Pasta with turkey meatballs
Wednesday - Grilled chicken and sweet potatoes
Thursday - Turkey Burgers
Friday - Salmon
Saturday - Not sure yet

What I'm reminiscing about...
I was graduated from law school in 2007 and called to the bar in 2008.  The articling student at my firm just finished up and our summer students just started; it is fun to think back to those first days of working at an actual law firm.

What I'm loving...
We put a bunch of herbs in this year, particularly lots of mint for mojitos.  We need to stock up on the rum and then it's game on!

What we've been up to...
Recovering from multiple forms of illness - we had stomach bugs, laryngitis, undiagnosed cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease, and just some general ickiness.  We were very healthy all winter so I guess we were due for something.

What I'm dreading...
I can't think of too much right now, which is great!

What I'm working on...
Like last month, I am back to checking our restaurants for Chicago.  I just booked a reservation at a french place before we go to see Hamilton. 

What I'm excited about...
Spending some time in our backyard this summer.  We were lucky to get it done in the fall which meant it was all ready for us when the weather got nice this year.  The tree house has been redone, we have a lawn, and lots of nice places to sit.  We are excited to enjoy it and welcome lots of friends.

What I'm watching/reading...
We are watching The Handmaid's Tale, Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why, and I guess I'll try watching this season of The Bachelorette.  I'm not overly excited about Becca, but we'll see if it keeps my interest. 

My book on hold at the library is "in Transit" so I should be getting it soon and I'll start it.

What I'm listening to...
We had free access to XM Radio the past two weeks so I was listening to a lot of 90s on 9 and Pop 2K.  Love it. 

What I'm wearing...
These shorts from the Gap.  I got two pairs last year in navy and khaki green, and this year I picked up a pink pair.  I love the length, as I am not a teenage girl and prefer my shorts a little longer.

What I'm doing this weekend...
T-ball, water fights, BBQ with friends

What I'm looking forward to next month...
My birthday, my trip to Chicago, my mom's visit, the last day of school, golf, and camping.

What else is new...
I got a new phone last week.  I got the iPhone 8, which seems almost identical to the 6S but with a few differences.  I am now in the market for a case.  I never got a case before because I loved the rose gold and didn't want to cover it up.  Now I have a gold phone and I don't care about the colour as much, and considering this one is made of glass and I drop my phone at least once a week, I need to get a case this time!

What is your favourite summer salad?
I linked to these 3 salads in 2015 but they are all still very good.  I particularly love the pasta one. 

Linking up with ShaySheaffer, and Mel.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Weekend Recap

 Summer is here!  We enjoyed our hot weather!  Since my dad was in town we took the opportunity to go out for dinner on Friday night.  We went to two places in Little Portugal and both were fabulous!

Enjoying some wine and oysters at Midfield Wine Bar.

Then onto Branca for supper.  We sat on the patio and enjoyed the wafting smell of the BBQ.

To start we had the octopus carpaccio and stuffed zucchini flowers.  For our mains we shared thee short rib, grilled octopus and french fries. Highly recommended!

On Saturday morning we got up early and went to High Park to watch E's t-ball practice.  Here is his cheering section.

Silly guy

Watching big brother!

Q and I walked back home and picked up some groceries while Dave and E stayed to watch a baseball game and got lunch at Bread and Roses on the way home.  When they got back I rode my bike up to vote and do some other errands.

The pool in the backyard was in full swing when I got back.  The neighbours came over for a bit too and played.  We are so happy to have our backyard ready for this summer. 

Quick pita break after nap time.

I made tacos for supper - a flank steak, chicken, fried onions and peppers, cheese, lettuce, jalepenos, guacamole, and salsa.   

The same neighbours that came over to play in the pool then invited E for a sleepover so off he went after supper.  An early night for Dave and I meant we could watch a whole movie without me falling asleep, haha.  We watched All The Money In The World.  

The next morning I went for a run to High Park, and then Dave went for his run.  I took the boys to church where E was lighting the candle.

Beautiful flowers in the sanctuary.

After lunch and a trip to the grocery store for me, and a trip to Canadian Tire for Dave, we set up the pool again for a water fight.

We went to The Swan for dinner with my dad and then tidied everything up to get ready for the week.  Phew!

Monday, May 28, 2018


I'm going to make this short and sweet - if you live in Ontario, get out and vote in the upcoming provincial election (June 7).  I don't even care who you vote for as long as you get out there.  For some of you (ahem, white men) you may not think much about this privilege since it is something you have had for a long time.  But I think about how women, and minorities of all sorts, fought for the right to vote, and are still fighting (and dying) for that right in other parts of the world.  Not only do we have the right to vote, we have safe places to do so, and lots of opportunities.  I voted in the advance polls this weekend and just rode up on my bike, was greeted kindly, checked in with no issued, and quickly cast my ballot.  After making a "vote early, vote often" joke, I was on my way. There are very few valid excuses for not voting, so do it!!!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Friday Favourites

I'm not sure why 4 day weeks seem longer, but this one did!  Glad it is Friday and that the weather is nice!

Here is another photo from last weekend that Lucy sent along. Q was clearly on the run here.

Dave and Q joined us for family track night on Wednesday.  I was still the only one doing the workout, but it was good to have the support!

I picked up some nice things at H and M last weekend and can tell I will get a lot of wear out of them.  This dress is one of the things I got, along with a few tops.

Avocado toast sort of gets a bad wrap for being cliche, but I love it.  I particularly enjoyed it with some boiled eggs this week for my lunch.

Dave and I celebrated our anniversary on Wednesday and tonight we are going out to celebrate.   We are trying two new places in a new area of town (although still on the West side of course!) - Midfield Wine Bar for drinks and apps to start, and then onto Branca.  Both recommended by a friend at work and we are always excited to try out new spots!

So our bank just got the ability to cash cheques by taking a photo and uploading it the mobile banking app.  Since cashing cheques was basically the only reason I ever visited a bank, I am excited about this!  (If your bank already had this, let me have my moment!)

Linking up with AndreaErika, and Narci for Friday Favourites
and The Blended Blog for Friday Loves. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Meal Plan Update

I thought I would give you an update on the meal plan Dave and I started five weeks ago.  We completely stuck to the plan for Week 1, with the exception of a piece of cake at the baptism we attended, for me, and a glass of wine for Dave.  Week 2, although we followed along fairly closely, I had a lunch with a friend at Pizzeria Libretto of actual pizza (although with spelt crust) and a biscotti (but no wine!).  Week 3, Dave and I were both sick, so we actually didn't eat much of anything for a few days.  I had a carton of chocolate milk and plain chips one day in an attempt to settle my stomach (which I think did help), and then was back onto the recommended meals and snacks after that.  Week 4 started with Mother's Day where I enjoyed a lovely homemade breakfast of eggs Benedict and a cookie.  And in the afternoon we had a couple of beers and snacks at Bandit Brewery.  I also ended Week 4 with a couple of meals out, and some wine.  I kept active with my Hiit and Barre classes, yoga, and running.  Dave did some running and biking.  Being sick did take a lot out of us though and we were not as active as we would have liked.

Here are some comments:
- I did lose weight.  The most weight came off in the first week, probably just from not drinking alcohol and not snacking at night.
- It is possible to attend social events without deviating from the plan.
- I feel like I have a lot more energy than I used to (except for the days I was sick).
- Eating at restaurants is difficult because everything has so many calories.  The times I did go out, I would usually order chicken or fish tacos, as they seemed to be the best options.
- When you're not following your usual habits, you can really see what you would be eating (i.e. four slices of pizza at a work lunch, a beer at lunch, sweet treats with your coffee, etc.).
- Spending time in the evenings prepping food is time consuming, but really worth it the next day when you are hungry and everything is ready for you.
- I was never really hungry, except if I stayed up too late.
- When I would get out my homemade snacks or meals around other people, they were always curious about what I was eating and how it was going.  I think there is a real shift towards healthy eating and lifestyle.

A surprisingly good snack of hummus, cucumber and boiled egg.

This is a rough outline of our days:

Breakfast - Eggs and vegetables (grilled or in an omelet), shake made with vegetables, or oatbran cereal with flaxseed

10:00 AM Snack - Vegetables and hummus, greek yoghurt and berries, sugar free muffin and almond butter

Lunch - Small portion of a vegetable and lean protein based dish - salad, soup, sandwich made with spelt bread, leftovers from the night before

3:00 PM Snack - a different version of the 10:00 snack

Supper - Fish, shrimp, chicken, or chick peas, and lots of vegetables.

Super Food Salad

You can check out some of the recipes here.  If you are local, I would really encourage you to come and work out with us.  The classes are amazing and the instructors are very supportive and provide great encouragement and inspiration.  It is not just about your body, but also your mind and well being.

I think we will continue to roughly follow the plan but perhaps with some more leeway in the meals we eat and the treats we enjoy.  Now that I know what we can accomplish, I can make some better choices than I used to.