14 April 2014

Chick-a-go Part One

Hello people of the interwebz! Well, two weekends ago I had my very first experience with deep-dish style pizza. Where did this, as they say, go down? uh-DUH..Chicago!

When Lester suggested that we road-trip over to the town of the Big Bean, I was happy, but I didn't think very much about it. My only recollection of Chicago had to do with Josephina, my hispanic American Girl Doll...which I was given because I am part hispanic, and yet, do not at all appear to be. (The relatives call me blankita.) Anyways, enough about identity crises.

We left Windsor in an excited mood, anticipating the chance to shuffle around the city sans snow boots in the warmer weather. I began to realize something was amiss, though, when the sky only seemed to take on more of a grey tint as we pulled closer to Chicago. Sure enough, by the time we were at the hotel it as pretty darn froid, with bitter winds a blowin'. Looking down at my piddly (...yes, I did) scarf and thin pea coat, I sighed. Not AGAIN! Winter would not have the last laugh this time, however. As it turns out, we would have an unexpectedly amazing time in this Windy little City. 

                              When I think I am being chic and photogenic...
                     This is what happens.... AHA.

                                 On another note, I would love to work here!

I must admit that I had no expectations for Chicago and was definitely caught off-guard by how truly delightful it was. Those wide streets were so clean, the architecture so varied and handsome, and the crowds so light and lively that I was shocked! 

And of course, the PIZZA. Ladies and gentlemen, here you are:

     My verdict? YUM! The cheese itself, which seems to be about 75% of the pizza, was seasoned and tasty. I also thoroughly enjoyed the lil onions, mushrooms and peppers tucked into the mozzarella. Tasty little jems!


     While it was delectable, I do prefer my normal style pizza. I simply yearn for the chewy/crunchy crust, the layer of cheese that sinks into the bread, the little drip of oil that trickles onto your hand as you fold. I enjoyed D.D.S.P. (got lazy right thur) but I will be forever faithful to my tomato pie.

     These last pictures are from the Purple Pig, which was absolutely fun and crowded and everything a wine bar/tapas place should be. We sat at the communal high-top and even made some friends! And by that I mean my husband made friends. You see, he is able to spot people hailing from his homeland a mile away and has no problem interrogating them about his suspicions. Turns out, they were indeed Taiwanese and many pictures and peace-signs ensued. Kidding, but not really.


Sitting here looking at these pictures makes me smile because I am still a little bewildered at the coolness of the Windy City. Who knew, I ask you, WHO KNEW?! In any case, I have more adventures from our second day to show y'all and I can't wait to share! :)

                                                       Bonne semaine à tous!

21 March 2014

With Hints of Peat Moss

            Hello! I'm back to share some memories of a trip to Toronto. I was able to skip over to the big city and see one of my besties! She is adorable and hilarious and we never fail to cause a bit of a ruckus :) 
            When I visited most recently, we went to a little gem of a restaurant called Sheherzade Dizi and Grill. I can’t recall ever having Persian food before and my foodie soul was excited to discover a new cuisine! Lo and behold, t’was a good idea. Our food was deeeelectable!! My friend and I both ordered the “dizi or abgoosht” which is sort of like a deconstructed stew. The main elements of the meal were each separated: the red, savory broth of the stew in one bowl, the tender, spiced lamb in another ceramic container, and generous slices of soft flatbread laid over the top of the broth. I know nothing about Persian food, but Sheherzade’s dizi was quite wonderful to me. I definitely want to eat more Persian food!! Amidst chatting and dipping our little flatbread into the silky broth, we recalled a time a few years ago wherein we decided to try "raw" chocolate. Yep.

            Near the end of the spring semester, in Montreal, I had gotten word of this little vegan joint that apparently sold raw chocolate. Well, you know what needed to happen. I needed to experience these raw chocolate shenanigans and I needed to experience them quickly. My friend was immediately down for the excursion and we set off in the Plateau to find this nouveau chocolate. We made it to the shop and walked into a chic, bright and clean space. Lovely! In typical Caitlin and M. style, we threw caution to the wind and wound up ordering a chocolate shake to go along with our big chocolate bar. 


After securing our purchases, we sat down at a classy wooden table and smiled at eachother; YAY we’re gonna have some raw chocolate!

           Do you know what happened?

            Oddly enough, we don’t know either. You see, the thing that we had bitten into, a supposed chocolate bar, was quite stunningly, not a chocolate bar. All I can say is that, alfalfa sprouts and peat moss came to my mind as I stared at my friend in confusion. But…I…I just don’t….underSTAND!
            No words were needed for communication as we just stared at each other while slowly chewing. Actually, my friend is not at all very talented at masking disapproval and one look at her face was enough to tell me all I needed to know. She had tasted the peat moss, too.

          Within about 2.8 seconds, raucous laughter flowed. We may not have known what had happened to our “chocolate” but we did know that it was downright hilarious. I’m pretty sure we didn’t speak during this time, but just laughed and laughed at our plight. We were caught completely and hysterically off guard. 
          Soon, though, our eyes strayed towards something looming near the side of the table, something forgotten. Our big chocolate shake. With wide eyes we looked at each other. Again, laughter abounded. 

Luckily at Sheherzade, there were no traces of peat moss. Of course, there was still lots of ridiculous laughing (how hilarious was this night, M?!!? major lols.) and the obligatory ordering of dessert which was...rosewater sorbet! At first, it was like eating perfume, but then the flavor deepened and became creamy and luscious. Wow, stunning, surprising, and delectable. 

I don't get to see my friends super often now, but when I do, I'm smiling for days! 
Bonne semaine!

22 February 2014

A Thought

     I have been thinking recently about the idea of humility. If there ever was an elusive characteristic, humility is it. How does one actually be humble? It seems to me that if one believes themselves to be said humble, then that individual is not, in fact, humble. Humble people do not think they are humble. At the same time though, humility is something one has to make an effort to achieve. If there is anything I have learned in this season of my life, it is that humility does not happen upon a girl by accident. While deliberately trying to be humble, I cannot acknowledge it, should I attain it. Right? Not right?

     In light of my circumstances (unemployed, uncertain, slightly overdramatic) I have come to learn that one tiny part of humility is still being confident despite my circumstances. Yes, I said confidence! Being confident that what God says about Himself and what He says about me is still true despite what I am tempted to think. I think it may be humble to trust God and continue to hope in Him, even when your mind tells you that it is useless. To be able to say, Yep, this happened! and then… move on. To keep doing whatever it is you need to do. What in the world would it look like for me to accept my circumstances and not let my pride get in the way of seeing what can be born out of my current place? 

     Yeah, I have definitely not mastered this. Not even close. But, I’m just saying,
what if?

                                    “But I will hope continually,
                                    and will praise you yet more and more.”
                                                Psalm 71:14

20 February 2014

When the Dog Bites!

*I originally wrote much of this post weeks ago but for some reason it would not publish! Figure I might as well share it anyways...better late than never as my mama says! 

Today, I am sitting cozily on my little futon/sofa whilst my orange-scented Yankee candle is a burnin'. (Remember my friend, I am less than one year removed from college and am allowed, therefore, to still own a futon.) Our little apartment is filled with its lovely scent and my curtains are drawn, allowing me a panoramic view of the greyscale afternoon. I can't say its an extraordinarily invigorating day, but I am happy because all is calm. Also, I have been thinking lately about things that make me absolutely happier during the winter months. After all, I am in The Great White North and the winters here can be amazingly LONG. I really do believe, though, that my love for winter has grown since living in Canada. Bravo to the people organizing all of the festivals, food and restaurant escapades, concerts and other cultural events that keep everyone engaged during these frosty months! Even more than these wonderful things, though, I believe I have come to find that my favorite part of these quiet days are simple things.

So, à la Ms. Andrews, these are a few of my favorite things!:

1. Pretty details- Part of what inspires me on a bone-chillingly cold and bitter day, is surrounding myself with beautiful things.  They do not have to be grand, flashy or expensive, but they does have to lift my little spirit when I survey them around me. Candles are a bit of an obsession for me and bring a cozy ambiance to my apartment. I also strew cute objects like my vintage-looking Paris calendar and brightly-colored cook books around my space to make me feel happy to be home.

2. Books, books, books! Let me just ask you one question: what activity is better than being totally captivated by a book's entirely new world? Not many things my friend. Unlike clicking and flicking like a mindless bot (too much?) through Facebook, reading is instructive, engaging and absolutely exciting! I read a lot less now than I used to, so this year I am trying to read a new book each month. I finished "Cold Mountain," by Charles Frazier in the fall, and WOW, what a beautifully crafted story.

3. Nail polish-So, the thing is, I could never stay "in the lines" whilst coloring in preschool and I believe I am experiencing similar defeat in my nail painting life. Wearing bright colors like red becomes particularly amusing when I go rogue in my painting and it looks a bit like a I have just skinned something with my bare hands. But oh well, it still makes me feel pretty and polished on a dreary day.

 Oh hellooooo

4. Movies-No need to explain this one-watching movies is a delicious little indulgence which Lester and I probably give way to once a week. It sounds like a lot, but I can't help it! Escapism at its finest. Also, I recently watched Singing in the Rain for the very first time! I know, ridiculous, but I loved it!

5. Cooking!- Get your little self in the kitchen and whip up a beautiful little meal. This absolutely cheers my soul. Better yet, invite some friends or family to cook with you and set a pretty table around which you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. My favorite things to make during the winter are robust and warming soups, breads both savory and sweet, slowly braised meats, and deliciously seasoned winter greens! I love Food52 for inventive recipe ideas and blogs like La Tartine Gourmande for ambiance inspiration.

6. Reading my Bible! Did you see this coming? hehe. I have recently taken to making my coffee early(ish) in the morning and then spending time reading my Bible and journaling. While I love all of the things I mentioned above, I realize that none of those things can provide me with total refreshment and satisfaction. My hope and strength really do come from remembering who God is and what that means for me! He is a faithful God, promising to protect and provide for us in many ways, and forgive us for the times when we make mistakes. Which is honestly quite often for me. I am thankful for a God who is gracious! A simple but powerful verse is this:

"On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased."
Psalm 138:3

Bonne semaine! 

22 January 2014

à la taïwanaise

Hellllo! Today I am sharing a few little photos of my forays into Taiwanese/Asian cooking. To be completely honest, it is always a bit of a risk when I try to cook Asian food. I often have no reference point for what things are supposed to taste like, which I am finding, is less than ideal. In addition, my knowledge of Asian ingredients is comprised of...soy sauce. I should let you know, however, that I can hold my chopsticks like nobody's business. I didn't say pick up food, mind you, just hold. Gotta start somewhere my friends.

Anyways, somewhere in the midst of my little cooking escapades,  I began to notice a suspicious little trio that seem to crop up in many a Taiwanese recipe. The select players in this group were sesame oil, oyster sauce and my beloved little soy sauce. I began to see that they were often at the base of many sauces and marinades. I do believe that this has been the discovery of my year. Mix these three bandits together and you can lift any lonesome chicken cutlet, any longing noodle, any moping morsel of beef to new heights. With some fresh herbs and a pair of pretty plates, you have got yourself one classy feast.

Not the best photo, but so yummy and simple!

Also, one of the loveliest things about lusciously marinaded chicken or beef is that the leftovers can be used in a variety of ways! An eclectic salad perhaps? Actually, that's one of my favorite ways to make salad; just add a small amount of last night's ingredients to create an exciting and healthy meal.

Oh and also, I should confess one thing before closing. I have developed a slight addiction. The cause of this obsession? D-U-M-P-L-I-N-G-S. Yes, OH yes. Dumplings may be, in fact, some of the best savory little mouthfuls on the planet. They can contain a multitude of things, but my favorite are pork and vegetable dumplings. Uhm, YAH, really good. The thing you need to know, my friend, is that you can buy them. Yes, it's true! My dumplings of choice are a type of pre-made, frozen dumplings. I can hear the cries of protest, but I promise that you can find delicious frozen dumplings. You just have to commence the search. Mon ami, you will not regret the decision. This particular afternoon, I made a silky carrot soup and paired it with the pork and veggie dumplings. Et voila, Bon appétit!

Try something creative in your kitchen this week so that you stay interested in your cooking!
Bonne semaine à tous!