Festivals! Part 2 – Multicultural Fest

The Multicultural Festival was a couple of weeks ago. It took place the week after Greek Fest, actually.  And again, it was another beautiful day!

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There was a plethora of food options!  It was so hard to decide what to eat!  Did I want Indian food?  Or Chinese?  Or Caribbean?  Or African?

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Mexican won.  I couldn’t resist the tostadas.  You know it’s going to be good when the booth has a line-up and people come up to you while your holding your food and ask where you got it because it looks so good. I also tried their horchata, this milk/rice drink concoction.  It kind of reminded me of cold chai because of the cinnamon in it.

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Again, there were too many dessert options!  I ended up choosing this German variation on shortcake that had berries and whipped cream on top.  I devoured it too quickly to get a picture.  Michael opted for the softest, most delicious ginger cookies.

IMG_5132And what would a trip downtown be without a Theodore sighting?

Happy Wednesday!

 

Summer 2013 To Do List

Last year I made a summer to do list.  Of course I waited until mid-July to post it.  And while we’re about a week away from the official start of summer on the calendar, although Mother Nature doesn’t seem to be cooperating just yet, it’s probably a good time to start thinking about one for this year.

I was reminded of this idea when I saw this post on Dine and Dish.  Love her idea of making a board for it on Pinterest!
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So this is what I hope to do this summer…

  1. Eat baklava at Greek Fest
  2. Have tacos at the Multicultural Festival
  3. Go to the beach… a lot!
  4. Get croissants at Two If By Sea
  5. Have drinks on a patio in the afternoon
  6. Get macaroons from the market
  7. Recreate the Blue Caribbean drink from Antigua
  8. Make sangria
  9. Make mango margaritas
  10. Teach yoga
  11. See the buskers
  12. Get ice cream from Frosty’s
  13. Try lots of new burger recipes
  14. Make homemadeice cream
  15. Get together with friends
  16. Eat outside on lots of patios
  17. Spend a weekend at the cottage with my family
  18. Go for a ride on a boat
  19. See fireworks
  20. Watch sunsets
  21. See Matchbox 20 and the Goo Goo Dolls

What’s on your summer list?

Pina Colada Ice Cream

We’ve already re-visited my love of Boy Bands, now let’s re-visit my other musical tastes of the late 90’s/early millenium, shall we?

During the long, dark drive home from my parent’s cottage, I was bored and still had an hour to go.  There was nothing good on the radio and I was tired of listening to the same songs on my iPod.

That’s when I remembered my CD collection that lives in my console.

This CD collection is housed in one of those zippered books that had pockets in it for CDs to slot into.  It is also adorned with a sewn on moon patch.  Remember when sun and moons were all the rage?

This CD collection is a treasure trove of mixed CD’s that represent various time frames of my late high school/ early university years.  You know, like back before people stopped burning CD’s because everyone got MP3 players or iPods and didn’t need to anymore.

I picked a CD at random and put it in the player and my ears were delighted by such tunes as “If You Could Only See” by Tonic, “Boys of Summer” by Ataris, “All You Wanted” by Michelle Branch, and “I Will Buy You A New Life” by Everclear.

It was great because I had absolutely no idea what song was coming next!  And the memories!

Man, oh man… there’s nothing like a good mixed CD to take you back.

I remembered high school parties, driving around in my friend’s station wagon (well, her parent’s), going off to university, and struggling through Calculus assignments.

You know, back when life was simpler.

Anyway, that CD collection turned my boring drive into a trip down memory lane, and made it much more enjoyable.

Ice cream makes life more enjoyable too.  Especially when it is pina colada flavored.

Summer’s almost over, but it’s not yet, so I’m going to keep living in full-blown summer mode for as long as possible!

Pina Colada Ice Cream

(adapted from Savory Sweet Life and The Kitchen Witch)

2 cup whipping cream

3.4 cup light coconut milk

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp rum extract

1 tbsp vanilla

1 tsp coconut extract

1 cup crushed pineapple, drained (pretty much what’s left after draining a 14 oz. can)

Combine all ingredients except crushed pineapple in a shallow pan over medium heat.  Stir.  Heat until just starts to lightly bubble.  Take off of heat and stir until all the sugar dissolves.  Let cool to room temperature.

Freeze in ice cream maker per manufacturer instructions.   My insulated freezer bowl style is about 30 minutes.  Add the crushed pineapple during the last five minutes of freezing.

Transfer to a bowl and ripen in freezer about four hours.

Have a great long weekend!

In The Words Of My Old Navy T-Shirt…. Take Me To The Beach!

Last weekend I was lucky enough to spend another fabulous weekend at my parents’ cottage.

Sunsets were seen.  Coffees were drank on the deck.  Beach sitting was done.  Insurgent was read.  Ocean was swam in.  No sharks were seen.  Cupcakes were eaten.  Mini family reunion was held.  Frosty’s was visited.  Ice cream was consumed.

It was a very good weekend!

I just had to share a few more beach pics!  I hope you don’t mind.

My view while doing yoga (above).

Nothing brings a smile to my face like the sight of the ocean.

That’s a direct quote from me.  Feel free to reference it.

Grilled Lasagna

Did you know you can make lasagna on your BBQ?

I tried making grilled lasagna last year, and sort of burnt it.

This year, I figured I’d do better, but rain thwarted my attempts twice, and then the third attempt almost didn’t happen because of a bee.

A HUGE bumble bee.

I almost didn’t see it because it was just chilling on the floor of my deck right outside my patio door, and I almost stepped on it.  I thought it was dead at first because it didn’t move for ages.

But it wasn’t dead.  And it wasn’t flying away.

And I wanted lasagna.

So what did I do?  I called Michael.  Since he is deathly scared of bees, I figured he’d know what to do.

Solution: Spray Windex at it through the screen.  It worked!  The bee flew away, and I was able to grill my lasagna.

And it was very, very good.  And not burnt this time.

Bonus:  You just throw away the tin foil.  No pan to clean.

Grilled Lasagna

(from Food Network Magazine)

1 1lb ball fresh mozzarella, halved and thinly sliced (I used the slicing side of my box grater)

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Pinch of red pepper flakes

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 tbsp olive oil, + more for drizzling

3 tomatoes, 2 sliced and 1 grated

12 oven-ready lasagna noodles

Water

8 cups spinach

1/3 cup low fat ricotta

1/3 cup fresh herbs, chopped (I used a mixture of basil, parsley, and oregano)

Preheat grill to medium.  This is where I went wrong last year.  DO NOT grill on high or they will burn!

Combine mozzarella, parmesan, red pepper flakes, and all but 1/4 tsp of the garlic in a bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss.

Get your foil ready.  Arrange four large pieces of foil on your work surface.  Drizzle foil with olive oil and place one lasagna noodle on top of each piece of foil.   I was using the long rectangle ones, so I snapped my lasagna noodles in half and placed them side by side to make more of a square shape.  If you’ve already got a square noodle, leave it as is.  Drizzle 1 tbsp of water on top of your four lasagna noodles.  Divide half of the spinach, tomatoes, and cheese mixture between the four packets.  Top with another lasagna noodle and 1 tbsp water, and repeat layering steps: spinach, tomatoes, cheese.  Top with another lasagna noodle and 1 tbsp water.  Drizzle with a little olive oil so they won’t stick, and fold up the tinfoil, crimping the ends to make four foil packets.

Grill packets until noodles are tender, about 10 minutes each side.  Set aside to rest for five minutes.  Mix the tomatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil, and leftover garlic in a small bowl.

Open foil packets.  To serve, top with tomato mixture, ricotta, and herbs divided among the four lasagnas.

FYI: The leftovers make a great work lunch the next day.  Just don’t heat up the foil in the microwave.

Ahoy Matey! The Tall Ships Are In Town

The Tall Ships Festival is currently in Halifax.

It’s another one of those things that I’ve always thought would be cool to go to, but never put the effort into actually doing it before.

Since I’m now a festival-goer, as evidenced by the fact that I went to Greekfest and the Multicultural Festival, and I’m making an effort to make my everyday life more like it is while I’m on vacation, and because I put it on my summer to-do list, I had to go this year.

But first, my weekend started with strawberry beer at Finbar’s patio in Bedford.

Did you people know there is such a thing as strawberry beer?  I didn’t.  I don’t even like beer.  But I liked this.

So anyway, the weather on Saturday was perfect!  Sunny, but there was a breeze so it wasn’t unbearably hot.

Michael and I started out by getting Cows ice cream (mmm… Wowie Cowie!).  I swear the smell of that place is like a drug.

Then we basically just walked around, took in the sights, looked at some boats.

Saw my buddy, Theodore.

Found some pirates.

We ate supper at the Hart and Thistle (again).  It’s just in such a prime location!  The patio is right on the water!  And the food is good.

Plus we got to eat next to a unicorn.

Sun and water and tall ships.

If you’te in Halifax before the 29th, stop by the waterfront and check it out!

Summer To-Do List

I know we’re over half way through July, and we’re well into summer, but here are the things I want to do this summer:

  1. GO TO THE BEACH! (I’m not checking this one off because it’s ongoing)
  2. Go to Citadel Hill
  3. Go to Greek Fest
  4. Go to the Multicultural Festival
  5. See the Tall Ships
  6. See the Buskers
  7. Grill pizza on the BBQ
  8. Make lasagna on the BBQ
  9. Make a mojito
  10. Make mango margaritas
  11. Go mini-golfing
  12. Have a bonfire
  13. Do yoga on the beach
  14. Watch the sunset over the water and watch more sunsets in general
  15. Make more ice cream in my ice cream maker
  16. Go to the market
  17. Have drinks on a patio
  18. Go whale watching
  19. Go to Lunenburg
  20. Visit a winery

So it turns out I’ve already crossed quite a few things off the list.  I guess it’s OK that July is half gone.

What do you hope to do this summer?

Summer Ravioli Pasta Salad

My thyroid is crapping out on me.

I had my follow-up with the radiologist this week and he told me I’m now in the borderline treatment group of having hypothyroidism.  My poor little thyroid gland just isn’t making as much thyroid hormone anymore.  Apparently this commonly happens around the two year mark (which I’m not quite to just yet).

And they told me this could happen.  But they didn’t say it would happen so soon!  I figured that maybe years from when I had the radiation my gland would conk out.  Not in just two years!  I’m still waiting for all my hair to grow back to chin length!

I know it’s not a huge deal.  It’s very easy to treat, and when the time comes, I’ll take a pill every day to fix it.  And hypothyroidism is a very common condition.  I dispense Synthroid like a billion times a day, so I’m not alone.  I have family members who have come by it of “natural causes.”

The thing that bums me out is that if I’d never had the lymphoma, I would never have had the radiation, and my thyroid gland would be producing all the thyroid hormone I need.  I shouldn’t blame my thyroid.  It’s not its fault.  I’m an overachiever who wishes she could say her thyroid gland gave a good fight and lasted longer than the norm.

Plus why didn’t they just tell me to expect this at this point if it’s so common!  Then I would have been prepared.  I don’t like the unknown.  I don’t like not being in control of the situation.

I even braved the hospital in a torrential downpour on my own this time, as Michael (or as my doctor calls him, my “partner”) was in Cape Breton for work.

In my attempt at shock aversion therapy I went shopping and spent way too much money, but I got three cute new dresses!  I also met up with some old friends from pharmacy school and had a specially prepared coconut mochaccino concoction from Starbucks.

So enough with all the glandular/hospital talk.  There’s a long weekend coming up folks!  If I were a “real” blogger I would have made some spectacular creation with maple leaves all over it or something.

But I am not.  I am a “wanna-be” blogger.

The best I can offer you is this pasta salad recipe that you can make for your BBQ get-togethers.

It’s easy to make, and I think you’ll like it.

Summer Ravioli Pasta Salad
(slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine)
 
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
350 g package fresh cheese with spinach ravioli
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of half a lemon
1 clove garlic, finely grated
Pepper
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
 
Place onion in a bowl of ice water and let soak for 20 minutes.  I’m thinking this is to take that onion-y edge off them.
 
Meanwhile, cook the ravioli per package directions.  When done, drain and rinse under cold water.
 
Whisk olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, and pepper in a large bowl.  Add pasta, tomatoes, and herbs.  Toss to combine.