Food & recipes

'Sup? (Or, A Mish-mashy Catch-up Post)

I feel like it's time for a catch-up post. Here's what I've been up to, in no particular order...

Working out. It's been almost seven months since I've started working out and folks, it's still happening! Aside from a few two-workout weeks I've been exercising three to four times a week for 27 weeks y'all. TWENTY-SEVEN weeks. Expect a check-in post soon.

Creating digital art. Open app, open photo(s); a swoosh here and a tap there and BAM! Art. Mobile photography is one of my most satisfying forms of creative play. It's quick and intuitive, but still challenging because one must know how to use the tools at hand. When I start, it's easy for me to forget all about time and get lost in a tizzy of creative flow. Bliss.

Stairway @ the MMFA, mobile photography, created using some of my favourite apps    © 2018 Stephanie Guimond

Stairway @ the MMFA, mobile photography, created using some of my favourite apps

© 2018 Stephanie Guimond

Working. My day job is taking up a lot of space and energy these days. On some days I fall into flow, just like I do when I'm creating digital art. On other days I leave feeling tired and overwhelmed at the amount of tasks on my to-do list. Either way, every day I am engaged and love what I do. I've waited a loooong time to say that I enjoy my work and part of me is afraid of admitting it, should "the other shoe drop." But OMG it is a gift and every day I count my lucky stars that I get paid to do something I enjoy doing. I love my work. How freakin' cool is THAT?

Reading. Art books. Fun books. Magazines. A Julia Cameron book I've never read that I am thoroughly enjoying (goodness I love her stuff). And I just requested eight books about Project Management from the library. Watch out!

Trying out new recipes. Moroccan spiced cauliflower soup (meh on the overall soup, but YUM on the roasted cauliflower pieces that went in it), maple curry chicken (yes), stuffed peppers (with quinoa), taco seasoned beef, cauliflower and sweet potato curry, smoky potato chickpea stew (yes!) and the latest - a sure keeper, a crustless bacon, broccoli and cheddar quiche. I bought the Yum & Yummer cookbook at Costco before the Holidays and vowed that I'd actually try the recipes that were in it, the same with the recipes I save on Facebook (you know you do it too!). Lo & behold I'm trying them and it's fun. I highly recommend it.

Meal prep allows me to try new recipes AND helps me get my workouts in. From top left, clockwise: baked chicken fajita mix, brown rice, taco beef mix, shredded cheddar.

Meal prep allows me to try new recipes AND helps me get my workouts in. From top left, clockwise: baked chicken fajita mix, brown rice, taco beef mix, shredded cheddar.

Renewing my wardrobe. It's spring. I've been adding a little bit of happy to my usual palette of black and charcoal. There seem to be a lot of flowers. It feels good. Renewal. Fresh. Yes.

Escaping. Last month D. and I took a weekend trip to Montreal. We took the train, ate chips, chocolate and watched the Olympics in the hotel room. We savoured the overpriced hotel buffet and sipped coffee from the sleek white "restaurant" cups. We got out for a visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, or MMFA, one of my happy places. An interesting note about expectations: I was tired when we left and it took me most of the weekend to accept that it was OK to relax and be exactly where I was - tired and craving rest instead of bustling adventure in the big city. It was OK to not force myself to spend a "night on the town" when all I felt like doing was curl up in the white terry cloth robe that hung in the hotel room closet. I spent an awful lot of time feeling guilty about that. The moral of this story?

Sometimes expectations get in the way of enjoyment. We gotta let that shit go.
A snippet of Matisse's  Seated Woman, Back Turned to the Open Window  @ the MMFA. I love how one side of hair is a reddish brown and the other is a much darker brownish black.

A snippet of Matisse's Seated Woman, Back Turned to the Open Window @ the MMFA. I love how one side of hair is a reddish brown and the other is a much darker brownish black.

When I lay it all out here I see that even when I hunker and think things are slow there's a lot going on.

What have YOU been up to lately? I bet it's more than you think.

In spirit of discovery,

Stephanie

xo

Birthday List Love Day 1: Favourite Recipes

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I'm jumping right in with some favourite recipes because, well, who doesn't love good food?

Some of these are weekday go-to's, others are a little more labour-intensive, but well worth the effort. All of them happen to be vegetarian and all of them are GOOO-OOD!

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1. Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato, and Kale Soup

This is probably my favourite go-to soup. It's comfort in a bowl and perfect for icky, rainy or snowy days. Its spices blend into a flavourful whole that'll cure what ails you without overpowering. I often use chicken broth because that's what we have on hand (we're not vegetarian), and substitute spinach for the kale since I usually have some handy in the freezer.

2. Braised Coconut Spinach & Chickpeas with Lemon

This is a brand new recipe for us – like, a few weeks ago new – and oh. em. gee. The recipe suggests serving it over a baked sweet potato, but I didn't want to take the time to do that so I piled the chickpea/spinach/coconut milk mixture over rice. Rich and sweet with a soupçon of lemon to perk it all up at the end. Oh. Em. Gee.

3. Maple Baked Lentils with Sweet Potato

Think baked beans with a twist. It's a perfect Sunday dinner that, in our small household of two, leaves us with plenty of leftovers for weekday lunches. Hearty, comforting and simple to make, it's one of our colder weather go-to's. A tip: plan for more time than called for in the oven, just in case. No matter how tiny my sweet potatoes are they seem to take forever to cook.

4. Chunky Portabella Veggie Burgers

This recipe came with very high praise from a friend and it did NOT disappoint. It's by far the best veggie burger I've had. Because they're fried in oil and include a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese, the burgers are a perfect combo of crispy and gooey. The dark green bits from the minced broccoli add a delightful colour – not to mention texture – to the whole thing. We used button mushrooms instead of portabellas because it's what we had on hand, but I'm sure the portabellas would be just as good.

5. Black Beans and Rice

Nothing fancy, but a quick, reliable recipe that's easy peasy to get together on a weekday. That makes it a winner in my books. I've nothing more to say.

6. Spicy Tomato Chickpea Stew

Despite the fact that this is my second chickpea recipe on the list, I'm really not a huge chickpea fan. But when it's smothered in garlic, onions and tomatoes seasoned with cumin, coriander and paprika... how could I not be? Dish this stew over a bowlful of sweet smelling basmati rice and call it a meal to delight the senses – an easy, weekday meal to delight the senses. That’s the best kind, non?

7. Kahlua Pecan Brown Sugar Baked Brie

The title says it all: one cup of brown sugar simmered in one cup of Kahlua, enhanced with pecans and poured over a baked wheel of Brie. One of the sweetest, richest treats I've ever tasted. Like a butter tart, but with cheese and alcohol, it's the type of decadence that's probably best kept for special occasions. The recipe recommends serving it with crackers, but we enjoyed it with a thinly sliced baguette that soaked up the Kahlua syrup nicely. Invite friends to partake in this one, they will love you for it.

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Voilà, this birthday's collection of favourite recipes. Let me know if you try any!

Stay tuned for Birthday List Love Day 2, where I might be talking about books, or art, or something entirely different...