Tuesday, July 28, 2009


What a weekend! For the first time, I went to Lake Placid to watch the annual IronMan and it was truly amazing. I have started to lay my plans for IronMan Canada 2011. This year, a full marathon. Next year a half IronMan and look out BC.... here I come.

Swimming, thanks to IronGirl, I have actually started to quite enjoy. Although I will have to take a "stay at the back of the pack" approach. I can swim, but would not like being kicked, punched or having someone swim over me. I say no. The bike, I would quite enjoy. I went on a few 9okm practices runs with IronMan, IronGirl and crew. I know it's twice that PLUS the swim PLUS the run, but with training, I am sure I can do it.
The run will be my challenge. I find it boring at the best of times and after everything else am quite sure will NOT be too eager to get up and go. Really, I just want the tattoo and right to brag about it, but it will be exciting getting ready!
Here are a few pics of the CUTEST IronMan EVER in action. Congratulations baby!


And here is IronGirl kickin' her usual ass!

So very proud of you both! See you on the course!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pie, Pudding and Jam

I think I can safely say these are three things most people like. And at $.99 a pound how can you not? Last Thursday, on our weekly gathering, Kitkat presented me with a gift of 11 pounds of cherries. The previous week he had mentioned he found the little red treasures on Spadina for the aforementioned bargain price and asked him to pick me some up.

Faced with a mountain of pitting, I dug out my trusty olive/cherry pitter and set to work. 11 pounds later I am pretty sure I ended up with repetitive stress disorder as I was no longer able to work the little kitchen gadget. Still, I was better of than I was in days gone by when I had no pitter and had to cut out each stone. While I still get the occasional spray of juice, at least my hands don’t look like I spent the day in the abattoir.

I now have pre-measured, and frozen, enough cherries for 3 pies. I also made a batch of jam which only yielded 6 jars. I thought I’d cut more from 10 cups of fruit and six cups of sugar, but apparently not. Oh well. If I can find them for that price again next year I will just double up. Mind you I am still working on last years plum jam so these might be around a while.

There are about ½ a pound left for me to take to work this week to snack on, but the last pound was put to good use indeed. For my birthday, Papi gave me Mrs. Beeton’s cookbook for cakes and puddings. Sure enough, cherry pudding was in there and although it was made in a fashion new to me, CJ and IronMan assured me it was good.

Rather than a crumble or biscuit top, you make what amounts to a milk pudding and then fold in fluffy egg-whites. It is meringue meets a tea biscuit. I need to work on having the fruit itself set a little more firmly, but Mrs. B. is definitely on the right track.

I was down on Spadina today and you can still find cherries for $.99 a pound, but other places had the price creeping up - $1.49, $1.69 and one was even over $2.00! Outrageous. If I wanted to pay that I could go to Sobeys.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lobster Carnage

Having heard some fellow Canadians were in trouble, I, being Canadian myself, wanted to help. Various newscasts, newspapers and other news outlets have recently reported on the plight of Canadian fisherman, especially lobstermen, due to the huge drop in demand thanks to the current recession. Lobster bakes, dinner parties and the like are all being encouraged to help buoy the price of the crustaceans.

Last night, IronMan and I had 10 friends over for what amounted to a lobster massacre. If we had lined them up in a Chicago garage on Valentine’s Day, we couldn’t have had a higher body count. Thankfully the weather decided to cooperate so we could dine outside and not have to worry about the flying shell bits and butter running all about, although in the morning I started to think I should have listened to the voices in my head that told me to build an ark.

A couple people brought lobsters that had been steamed in the store and just needed a quick “dip in the pool”, as we ended up calling it, before eating. The rest however we still kicking when they jumped in with both feet – so to speak.

Kitkat apparently though, is a lobster whisperer. He showed us that if you hold a lobster claws down and rub the tail back down under lobster, the thing will fall asleep no problem. Then the claws and legs don’t try to grab the edge of the pot as they go in. I’ve always thought that would be the way to go….. off to sleep and then you just don’t wake up. Now, I am not saying I want anyone to come over in the middle of the night and chuck me in a pot of boiling water……

Aside from getting them in the pot, the other challenge was buying them. Having picked out our dinner, the fishmonger was trying to weigh them, but they kept trying to get off the scale so the price wouldn’t settle. I felt mildly guilty seeing them stacked on top of each other knowing they would soon be meeting their doom. But then I reminded myself that it was really my patriotic duty.

The lady ordering before us only wanted the tails and claws for her dinner. Next thing I knew, the noted appendages were ripped off and the torso with its eight little legs were on the counter twitching away. I almost cancelled the dinner right there. But I guess if I saw the way chickens, rabbits, cows, pigs, deer etc. met their demise so I could eat, I wouldn’t feel so good either.

CJ foolishly named hers Charlie and felt extra bad when he went into the steamer. At first he probably liked it…”ahhhhh, this is a nice sauna”. Then it turned very Murder She Wrote and/or Remington Steele when someone jammed the door and turned up the steam.

Kitkat and Kerouac decided to abstain from the lobster feast and settled on mussels instead. And when I say mussels, I mean jumbo hotdogs with every kind of condiment on the go PLUS real bacon. I tried to convince them to boil the hotdogs in the lobster water, but it was a losing battle. Apparently there is etiquette when it comes to hotdogs. Who knew? IronGirl reminded me that we used to just wrap a hotdog, bun and all, in a paper towel and microwave the thing for about and minute. Yummy!

All the butter (and maybe the wine) have left me feeling a little, well, greasy quite frankly, this morning. However, I do feel better having done my little part to bolster a Canadian industry.

Friday, July 03, 2009

3 for 1

Okay…. So as usual, I am behind in blogging. Too busy doing stuff I guess. But let’s see if I can catch up.

Pride! Aqua on Saturday had beautiful weather…unlike last year. It was sunny, hot and the sunscreen was flying. The boys were out in their finest swimwear and CJ joined us for the first time. Being the responsible citizens we are, and not wanting to drink and drive, we had a few G&Ts at the dollhouse before mounting our bicycles, Daphne and Josephine) and heading to Sunnyside. Quite pleasant and very civilized really.

With the on-going strike, I was left holding the bag so to speak. There was no access to the pool where one would usually lock up your extra belongings. Oh well, my red PV trunks were accented by a little sailor hat and white flip-flops and that kept the focus off my backpack (which eventually went to live in a corner somewhere). I noticed a trend towards long, surfboard type shorts. That is not a trend I am in favour of…Papi just got me used to shorty shorts! People really need to make up their minds. Kerouac took care of our cravings but pulling sandwiches out of his pockets. Not sure where he was keeping those things, but they were good.

Sunday, the weather was not as good, but it was still a relaxing day. Bit of a walk around the village and then we parked it in a beer garden. It stopped raining just before the parade and then was rather nice until 9:00 when mother nature apparently decided we had had enough and made it pour rain again.

I have officially decided though that I need a pride outfit every year. One year I wear one, find it to be a pain, and the next year I skip it. But then I find I miss having one. I love looking at other people’s get ups and long to have my own. Kitkat says we are attention whores and it’s not the costume we like, but the attention we get. He may be right, but I already have next year’s idea drafted in my head. And that reminds me, I need to start planning for Halloween.

Canada Day! Happy Birthday Canada! I usually view this as strictly a “yay, I am getting a day off” type of thing. But with my brother in a war zone this year, I have to say I did a lot of thinking about him and what he was doing for our country. Just before he left, there was a party for him up in Lindsay and he said that he “truly believed that if we can make Afghanistan a better place, we can make the world a better place”. I know he is working on making it better, keep up the good work. We are very lucky to live where we do.

This is also the day that the Canadian soldiers get their TWO BEERS. That’s it for the year. Two! Not even pints. Just two bottles. He said he is going to keep them on his desk for a while as a memento. I would mail him some extra, but I don’t think they would travel very well.

Cherries! This is light and flaky after all! The season is here and making Agent Cooper’s favourite kind of pie has never been cheaper. Kitkat found cherries in Chinatown for $.99 a pound! At that price, I am getting some to keep for Christmas. I came across Martha Washington’s method for keeping your cherries fresh:

“to keepe cherries yt (so that) you may have them for tarts at Christmass without preserving; take ye faryest cherries you can get, fresh from ye trees, without bruising, wipe them one by one with a linenn cloth, yn (then) put ym (them) into a barrell of hay, and hay them in ranks, first laying hay on the bottom, then cherries, then hay..”

She then says something about sticking them under a hay mattress to keep them warm? I think she got confused with eggs. Between her and Mrs. Beeton though, I am ready to open a retro-housekeeping camp.