Thursday, May 29, 2014

I’m alive! I swear!

Oh my gaaaaad, guys.  Where has this week gone??  Where has this MONTH gone?!?

Life is… busy.  I honestly have no clue how people with husbands and kids do it.  I’m having a hard enough time getting my grass cut and my own mouth fed, for crying out loud!

But today, I’m making an effort to blog.   My poor wee blog had been abandoned long enough.

Here’s some random crap that I’ve got goin’ on right now:

  • I think I might actually be cheering for the Montreal Canadiens.  It’s taken me almost three whole rounds, and they are still on the brink of elimination against the NY Rangers, but… Tuesday night, I finally realized my heart was in it.  I wanted them to win.  Imagine that.

habs win

  • I kinda think part of the reason why I want them to win is because of Jimmy Fallon.  Being a New Yorker, he’s got a bet going on with the Habs, and if he loses, he has to wear a Montreal jersey for one of his monologues.  And I think that’d be pretty fun to watch.


  • Mosquitoes.  They are BAD this year, guys.  My good buddy Stacy has already blogged about it, but these suckers are seriously monsters.  I got eaten alive this past weekend.  When I open the front door, 12 more come waltzing in.  They are my ultimate nemesis.
  • This past weekend was our Canada Day Committee’s Annual Golf Tournament & Steak Supper.  Not only was it the first time in years that I didn’t golf, it was also the first time in years that I didn’t drink… and I had a great time anyways!
  • Except for the mosquitoes, of course.
  • Oh, and also except for the fact that I couldn’t stop eating cake.  Seriously, dudes, I have a problem.  This food addiction thing is killing me.  I did so well with my healthy eating last week.  SO well.  Even on Saturday, I resisted deep fried delicacies at the golf course, and even packed my own healthy snacks and water for the day.  And then… then the cake came out at the hall afterwards.  I ate one piece.  I ate two pieces.  Hell, I might’ve eaten six pieces, I’m really not sure.  I became blinded by icing.

best layer cake 3

  • The next day, when we returned to clean up at the hall, I discovered leftover cake.  I ate a whole bunch more.  AND took some home.
  • I think I’m going to vote that at our next event, there should be NO cake.  Clearly I can’t be trusted.
  • So yeah.  Back to square one with that whole Bikini Project I was so devoted to last week.   Dammit. *sigh*
  • This coming weekend is Relay for Life.  This will be my third year participating, walking again in memory of my dad.  I have been totally blown away by the support I’ve received from family and friends in my fundraising efforts.  I’ve raised the most money I ever have – over $1000 – and I’m so very grateful!!  I can’t wait to walk with my Slipper Sisters on Saturday night!  Full report to come next week…  :)

To close this post out, here are some of the pics from CDC Golf Tourney this past weekend!


Ryan in his patriotic golf outfit!


Susie & I working the ticket table


Mitchel, Morgan & Chelsea working the bar


Adam, Cowan & Ryan


Jello, anyone?!?


Shots! Shots! Shots!


You know it’s a good party when someone ends up in a grocery cart… in a town that doesn’t even have a grocery store… ?!? LOL

Have a great weekend, dudes!!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thursday Things

Ah, how I love a good ol’ short week! Thursday already!

Some random musings for today…

· On Tuesday, I shared that “The Bikini Project” was officially back on track. I know I’m only two days in, but so far, so good, folks. Every time I feel sad about the fact that I can’t just run to the store for a Drumstick ice cream cone, or hover over my jars of peanut butter and honey, or make that cookie recipe I printed out last week, I remind myself… This will be worth it.

· My birthday is July 28th. That’s really not that far away. I’ve gone almost a year and a half without eating poutine, and over a year without going to my beloved McDonalds… at one time, I’d have thought that impossible. So I can hang tough for a couple of months with limiting treats, right? Totally. I got this.

· Pancakes. I’ve been thinking too much about pancakes. You see, after giving up sugar for Lent, I swore I’d have a big stack of buttery, syrupy pancakes on Easter Sunday morning. Instead, I had a waffle with fruit and syrup at the restaurant my family goes to for brunch after church. The following week, I had their hotcakes. Similar to a pancake, but smaller, and not quite what I had been envisioning in my pancake fantasies. In my post-Easter gluttony, I never really did fulfill that pancake dream. So if I’m successful with The Bikini Project, I’m going to reward myself with a plate of homemade pancakes soon thereafter. (But just not maybe that morning, because I don’t need pancake bloat when I’m wearing the damn thing…)


· This coming Saturday is our Canada Day Committee’s annual golf tournament. Used to be a day that I looked forward to because I always went on a wild rip and partied my butt off all night long. I still look forward to it, but I kind of dread the fact that I’ll be up past my regular bedtime. I really have turned into an old lady…

· So that means I’m going to make a big effort to still have an awesome time, even though I won’t be joining the rest of them in two-fisting drinks and dancing on the tables. ;)

· You know, everyone rolls their eyes at me in the winter when I’m gushing about how much I love the snow, but here’s the truth: I’m glad the snow is gone, of course, but I would GLADLY shovel a foot of snow once or twice a week (takes me max 20 minutes to shovel my walkway) rather than having to take over an hour at LEAST once a week to mow my stupid lawn. God, I hate cutting the grass. And right now, it should technically be getting cut twice a week. Who the hell has time for that?! It is growing

· The next three weekends coming up are jam-packed with activities. Golf Tournament, Duck Race, Relay for Life, Book Club, Sunday School Picnic… is it bad that I’m already fast-forwarding and looking forward to my next “free” weekend, which isn’t until June 14th-15th?

· Have to keep reminding myself to live in the present, soak up the fun times with family and friends, and just ENJOY these busy spring & summer weekends! Don’t begrudge the activity… embrace it!! J

Happy Thursday, friends!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Bikini Project: Back on Track

I know everyone gets plenty sick of hearing about me and my weight loss/health/fitness goals, but guys…it’s time for another one of those posts. For my own accountability’s sake.

I’ve been slippin’. Big time.

To be honest, I don’t feel like I’ve been fully on-track since before Christmas with my healthy eating practices. I’ve had some good weeks, I’ve learned a lot about clean eating and going sugar-free, and I’ve still never missed my daily Shakeology. But overall, I’ve been treating myself far too often, and letting my portion control fall by the wayside. Since Easter, I’ve been one big ol’ fat failure when it comes to diet choices. Willpower = zero.

And it’s starting to show.

Slowly but surely, the pounds have started creeping back on. The size of pants that I was SO excited to finally fit into 6 months ago are growing snug again. I can feel myself sliding back down that oh-so-slippery slope…

All of those promises I made on the one-year anniversary of my weight loss journey, back in early January? The vow to be “harder, better, faster, stronger”? The goal of being able to wear a bikini on my 31st birthday, on July 28th?

All of that has faded. Fast.

And I can’t let it continue. If I do, I know what will happen. I will be 230 lb. Jill again.

I don’t want to be 230 lb. Jill again. I can’t let it happen.

This past Victoria Day weekend, I did a lot of soul-searching. Thinking about what I want to achieve in the weeks and months to come. What I think is realistic. What I legitimately think I can do.

I also did a lot of eating. I decided that if I was going to zone in again today and re-focus on healthy eating, then I might as well get it alllll outta my system on the weekend. I made a giant, cheesy, delicious platter of nachos for dinner on Friday night. I ate out three times over the weekend (St. Louis Wings Saturday night, brunch on Sunday, and my first trip to The Keg on Monday night). I coerced my mother into making my all-time favourite of BBQ’d cheeseburgers (with a side of potato chips) for dinner on Sunday night. I ate buttery popcorn and desserts and ice cream and even enjoyed a Starbucks treat, telling my friend Sharon to surprise me when she suggested stopping in there and I volunteered to wait in the car with Baby Sam – “Just make it sugary and full-fat and full-whip and all the good stuff. Go big.” (and she delivered with a Caramel Macchiato).

But this morning, I awoke with new resolve. Especially after stepping on the scales and seeing how my weekend of indulgences has effected that number.

I have officially gained 14 lbs. since registering my lowest weight, back before Christmas.

And I refuse to let that number rise even 1 more ounce.

The goal back in January was to be in a bikini by my birthday on July 28th, and I’ve decided that’s still an achievable goal, despite this latest set-back. If I really focus and make smart food choices, combined with my regular exercise routine (about the only thing I’ve had going for me lately, oddly enough, as I started jogging again last week and I’ve continued to maintain a 6-days-a-week workout schedule), I think I can still maybe get there…

OK.  That’s it. Enough of the maybes.


(unless it snows. God forbid.)

Let’s do this, people.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

10 reasons why I’m OK with being single and childless. (for now)

A few weeks ago, I was gettin’ my hairs did at my hairdresser Lisa’s when the subject of housecleaning came up.  Lisa was lamenting the fact that, with two young kids, she feels like she’s cleaning steady – toys, crumbs, fingerprints on everything.  I commented that I guess that’s one good thing about being single and living alone – I don’t have to clean all that often (thank God, because it’s one job that I detest and usually put off far too long!)

Lisa said, “Oh, Jill, enjoy it.  When you find a man and have kids, everything changes.  In a good way, but there’s a lot of stuff you can’t do anymore.  If I were you I’d just soak up the great things about being single while you can.”

So, we’ve established lately that there are many reasons why I need a husband.  (Mainly for the nights when I decided to flip head-first off the end of the bed and almost break my neck, naturally.) 

But today, I thought I’d try to make myself feel better about my current lot in life by listing the top 10 reasons why I’m OK with being single and childless (for now).

Here we go:

10. Freedom to work out when it suits me.  I hate getting up super early in the morning, and I seem to have more energy when I work out later in the afternoon – right after work seems to suit me best.  I often wonder how people with families are able to balance it all while keeping up with workouts.  I know for many, getting up really early before the kids is the only time that it works, and I suppose that someday, that might be an adjustment I’ll have to make.  I mean, you can’t very well make little kids wait for supper while you go for  a run, right?  So I’ll just enjoy that I CAN do it now!

9. Getting to watch Disney movies in bed.  Yes.  Weird.  But lately, I’ve really been digging the ol’ Disney classics from my childhood, and since I have a VCR in my bedroom, it’s pretty much the only place I can watch those old tapes.  I’m assuming a boy would find this super not-cool.  Whatever.


8.  Learning to be more self-sufficient.  I used to whine and complain over the fact that I can’t do boy jobs!!!  But somewhere along the way, I decided to buy myself some tools and learn to do some of those boy jobs myself.  It sucks having to ask your brother or brother-in-law or male friends or uncles or co-workers to do the boy jobs for you.  There’s still some things I won’t tackle on my own, but for the most part, being single has taught me to be more self-sufficient.  And that’s pretty rad when you think about it.

7. Getting to crank whatever tunes you like and sing at the top of your lungs while you work in the kitchen.  Ah, yes.  One of my favourite things to do.  Get a big pot o’ something simmering on the stove, or get my bake on, and while doing so, blast the Bruce Springsteen or Counting Crows or Adele or Pink and just siiiing.  I know I could still do this with a man and kids around, but they might laugh at me.  Nobody laughs at me right now.

6. Not having to share the chocolate or cookies or ice cream.  I hate sharing.  I’m not good at it.  And I KNOW that once you have little people around, they.take.everything.  But… JILLY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD!!!!  I can so see myself being that bad mom who hides her chocolate bar in a secret location to keep it away from the greedy little paws of her children…


5. Not having to clean/do chores every single damn day.  That’s right, the point Lisa made that started this whole thought process.   With kids, you’re constantly cleaning and doing laundry and picking up toys and doing dishes.  Constantly.  I mean, I have to do those things frequently enough, but if I decide to leave the supper dishes for a day, it’s not the end of the world.  I do laundry once a week.  I run the dishwasher once every couple of days.  And I usually have to see evidence of dust bunnies giving birth in the corners before I force myself to do a good house-cleaning.   And I’m good with that.

4.  Getting to sleep in.  I like my sleep.  I always say that when I DO have children, I need them to be magic babies that sleep 12 hours a night.  And who don’t get up until at least 7 AM.  By “sleeping in”, I don’t mean noon – I rarely sleep any later than 7:30-8:00 anymore – but I don’t function properly before 7 AM.  I need a good hour to “wake up” without anybody talking to me after my alarm goes off in the morning.  I have no idea what I’d do if I had little people to attend to.

3. The freedom to eat weird things for supper.  When you have kids, you have to make sure you’re making food that’s semi-healthy, and yet also stuff that they like and will eat.  That can often take some thinking and creativity.  I usually throw something together haphazardly at the last minute that kids would probably not eat.  For instance, last night was a grilled avocado, scrambled egg, and cheese panini with a spinach salad on the side.  Delicious, by the way, yet I assume the little monsters would curl up their noses.

2. Just… freedom in general.  I can do what I want, when I want.  I don’t have to work around a boy’s schedule.  I don’t have to worry about getting kids off to school or daycare or sporting events or dance classes.  I mean, sure, I have commitments – work, volunteering in the community, etc.  I’m not completely footloose and fancy-free.  But for the most part, I’m flexible.  And I like it that way.

1.  Peanut Butter & Honey.  I can hover over the jars of PB & honey standing at my kitchen counter with two spoons, and there’s nobody around to judge me.



So, yes… of course I still want the man and the babies.  More than anything.

But every now and then, I have to remind myself that there’s an upside to being single and childless, too.  I’m a creature of habit, and I like my routine.  Might as well embrace it all now, while I can!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Outta sorts… and into chocolate.

I’m totally outta sorts this week.

I think it’s partly from my “episode” on Friday night.  I mean, I’m fine.   Absolutely fine.  My neck isn’t even all that sore now - more stiff than anything, and even that’s not so bad.  After hearing about a terrible car accident in our community yesterday that claimed the lives of a well-known local pharmacist and his wife, and left a local nurse critically injured, it really made my unexpected and confusing summersault out of bed Friday night seem like small potatoes.  Seriously small potatoes, dudes.

I suppose the tragic events yesterday might be contributing to my down-in-the-dumps feeling this week, though.  I feel unsettled.  Discontent.  Just… not myself.

Coincidentally – or perhaps not so coincidentally – I’ve noticed that I can’t seem to stay out of the chocolates and sweets this week.  I keep dipping into the bag of chocolate chips I have stowed away in my fridge.  I can’t seem to stay out of the can of cookies I have down in my freezer.  Last night when I was at my mom’s, all I could think about was the pan of ice cream dessert left over in her freezer from Mother’s Day.


It’s never been more apparent to me that I’m drawn to the sweet treats when I’m anxious or unhappy.  Food is comfort to me.  And this week, it’s chocolately comfort that I’m seeking.


I guess the good thing is that my neck has recovered well enough that I’ve been able to resume working out sooner than I expected I’d be able to.  So at least there’s a little somethin’-somethin’ balancing out the chocolate and sweets.  I went jogging on Monday night for the first time since last fall, and while I did have to slow to a walk for a few stretches, I was impressed with how easily I got back into the jogging “swing of things”.  Then last night I did the Les Mills Combat Warrior 1 Lower Body Lean Out workout, and a 10-minute TurboFire Ab workout.

Still.  Doesn’t make me feel any less guilty about the cookies and the chocolate chips and the ice cream.

cookies and ice cream


I keep reminding myself there is good stuff to look forward to.  Like, a long weekend coming up.  And a night out with the girls to celebrate my friend Sara’s birthday on Saturday.  Good times with family and friends can always lift my heart and make me feel better.

This funk will pass, I know it will.

I just need to ride it out. 

And try not to gain 20 lbs. in the meantime.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What would I do without my mom?

I know I’m lucky to have a wonderful mom.  But this past Mother’s Day weekend, I was feeling extra grateful for my mom.  I really don’t know what I would have done without her!

I’m still not 100% sure what happened to me on Friday night.  After a crazy-busy week at work, I had been so happy to unwind by going out for dinner with my mom, my sister, brother-in-law, niece & nephew.  We had a great time at Wing Night at the Norway Bay Golf Club, then I went home and watched some TV before going to bed around midnight.  I was looking forward to getting up the next morning to do some yoga, clean my house, get my grass cut, and make an ice cream dessert for our Mother’s Day dinner on Sunday.

About an hour after falling asleep, I wakened in the midst of what I can only assume was some sort of sleep-walking/night terror incident, finding myself already in the motion of rolling out of the end of my bed, summer-sault like, with my head landing on the floor and my entire body weight being catapulted forward, my neck bearing the brunt of that weight.

I lay there for a few minutes in sheer panic, absolutely certain I had just broken my neck.

The next scrambly, panic-filled moments found me realizing that I was able to move my hands and feet, so I knew I wasn’t paralyzed, even though my neck felt like it was seriously injured.  I felt the urgent need to get to the bathroom, so I got to my feet, but doing so made me feel very nauseous, and the next thing I knew I was coming to on the floor in the hallway.  I had passed out and landed on my face on the floor just outside the bathroom.  After lying there for a few more seconds (minutes? I’m really not sure, time seemed to be standing still) I managed to get to the bathroom, where I realized I had a small scratch between my eyes, and blood coming from my nose.  By that point, I was shaking all over, my neck was throbbing in pain, and I had broken into a cold sweat.

I imagine if anyone could’ve seen me, I was pinging around the upstairs in mad circles, crashing into walls, sobbing, spiralling out of control, before finally pitching myself back on to my bed.  I lay there crying, trying to decide what I should do.  Try to go back to sleep?  But what if I really had done something serious to my neck and by morning it was too late?  What if I’d already moved around too much and done more damage by not just lying still?

When you’re lying there sweating, panicking, in pain, what else is a girl to do but call her mom?

I remember thinking that I really didn’t want to, because I knew a call in the middle of the night would scare her.  But I honestly didn’t know what else to do.

So I called Mom.  And she came down to my house in less than five minutes.

By that point, I had managed to get myself downstairs to the couch (I don’t actually remember going down there, but that’s where I was when Mom arrived).  She said I was soaking wet with sweat, and she immediately told me she thought she should take me to the hospital.  I didn’t want to go, but I felt with a neck injury that I shouldn’t fool around, and so I agreed.  We quickly decided that we didn’t want to call an ambulance – I had already been walking around, what was a trip out to the car? - so she helped me do so (even though walking made me feel like I was going to vomit) and we hurried to Shawville.

This is only the second time in my life that I can remember making a trip to the hospital in the middle of the night.  The last time was about 10 years ago when I woke up having a gall bladder attack and I thought I was dying.

I had the same doctor then as I did on Friday night.

And even though my mom felt this doctor was legitimately concerned, I got the same vibe from her as I did ten years ago – You’ve woken me in the middle of the night for absolutely nothing.

She basically told me that since I was able to walk and move around, she didn’t think there was much wrong with my neck, but that she wanted me to stay the night and have x-rays taken in the morning to be on the safe side.  I wanted to go home.  My mom and the doctor convinced me that it would be better to sleep there for the night, have the x-rays done first thing in the morning, and then if all was well we could go home then.

All I could think was that it wasn’t fair that my poor mom had to stay with me in a hospital room all night.   She assured me that it was OK, that it was for the best, and it was no big deal.  The doctor even told her she could sleep in the other bed in the room because it was a quiet night up there and it was free.

A few fitful hours of sleep later, the ER started coming to life, and I eventually had my xrays taken shortly after AM.  Half an hour later, the doctor had returned to confirm that my neck was going to be fine, that it was just a bad sprain, and I should go home and rest, keep heat on it, and take Tylenol or Robaxacet.  She removed the neck brace they had put on my when I arrived, and I was free to go.

The incident scared me.  Shook me.  It wasn’t all that long ago that I wrote a post about how I was afraid of being alone and falling down the stairs or something like that – like a little old lady or something – but never in a million years did I imagine a sleep-walking-summersault-out-of-bed incident like this could happen.

All I know is that I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have my mom to call!

So yes.  I know I’m well blessed with a wonderful mother who has always been there for me, and who I know is always there for me if I need her.

But this past Friday night was a bigger reminder than I ever expected to get.

And all I can say, from the bottom of my heart, is… THANK YOU MOM!!!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

My Top 5 Favourite Disney Classics

I mentioned last week that I feel like I’m reverting back to a child-like state, especially when it comes to my desire lately to re-visit all of my favourite Disney flicks from my youth, and to buy them on DVD.

I mean, it was a little disconcerting to realize on Easter weekend that it was the Saturday night of a long weekend, and I was in my pj’s at 9 PM watching Aladdin.  And yet, I really didn’t want to be anywhere else!  I’ve been thinking a lot about Disney movies lately, especially after discussing them at book club a few weeks ago and how frustrating that darned Disney Vault is… I hate that I have to wait for a movie to come “out of the vault” to buy it!  (Thank goodness Amazon has some ways around that!!)

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know that watching movies is one of my favourite things to do.  But I didn’t get my love of movies from my own parents.  I mean, sure, we watched movies at home from time to time when I was a kid, but they were usually my dad’s choice, which meant that I did not enjoy them.  Westerns.  Cowboys and Indians.  Not a little girl’s idea of fun…

I credit my love for movies to three different sources:  my friend Stacy who had a huge collection of movies on VHS and often let me borrow from her; my cousin Patti who frequently invited my brother and I along when she was taking her boys to the theatre; and the McCann girls who lived next door to us when I was really young, who sometimes came over with the latest Disney Classic for us to watch in my basement.

I still love Disney movies, especially the ones I grew up with.  So today I’m sharing my Top 5 Favourite Disney Classics.  (Which, by the way, is not an easy list to come up with, because there are SO many to choose from!)




This is my first memory of watching a Disney movie, and I remember the McCann girls letting me borrow it when I was little.  I watched it over and over again.  It was pure magic to me.  It makes me smile to know my niece Danica watches it now and gets that same feeling of magic.


Beauty & The Beast


To be honest, when it first came out, it wasn’t my favourite.  I don’t think I truly appreciated it until I saw it as an adult.  I bought it for Danica’s third birthday, and she didn’t love it right away either – but I know after she went to Disney World this past winter, seeing Belle in person was a highlight for her!  (and it would be for me too, if I ever get there!!)   I guess Beauty & the Beast grew on both of us. ;)



Aladdin cover

I remember Patti taking us to see Aladdin in theatres when I was  a kid, and it was instant love for me!  I also remember playing the video game on my brother’s SEGA.  Re-visiting it a few weekends ago was a trip for sure.  I gained a new appreciation for Robin Williams as the Genie.  He really did an amazing job.  Plus, Aladdin’s a friggin’ stud.


Robin Hood

robin hood

This is one of the few I remember watching at home as a kid.  Do you remember when they used to have Disney Family Night on Sunday nights on TV, back when we only got 2 or 3 channels?  They always aired a Disney show or movie, and sometimes, if we were lucky, my mom would let us take our Sunday night steak supper in to the living room and eat in front of the TV.  If Robin Hood was the movie on, I’d beg her to let me watch it.  It’s still one of my absolute favourites.  And I think those were the few nights that I actually didn’t mind eating steak! haha!


The Little Mermaid


OK.  Confession time:  Prince Eric?  He was one of my very first crushes.  Yes.  You read that right.  I had a crush on an animated character.  It was between Prince Eric and Chachi there for a while.  My very first loves.   But it was more than just Eric… The songs, the story line, the characters, Ursula as one of the greatest Disney villains… The Little Mermaid had it all for me!  It remains my all-time favourite!

Do you see now how hard this list was to compile?  Have you noticed that I’m missing Disney masterpieces such as The Lion King and Snow White and Sleeping Beauty?  Bambi, Pinocchio, The Jungle Book?  Pochahontas, 101 Dalmatians, Dumbo?  Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and The Tramp?  Tarzan, Toy Story, Mulan?   The list just goes on and on!!

So… can you do it?  Can you pick a Top 5?  I’d love to hear what others choose as their favourites!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The recipe I pulled out of my butt.

OK.  That may not be the best way to start out a recipe post.  Not the most appetizing description in the world.  I do apologize for that.

But it’s not very often that I fabricate a recipe for something I’ve never made it before, and have it be successful.  So I was rather pleased with myself when I pulled this one riiiiight outta my ass on Saturday afternoon!

It was a gloomy, rainy weekend this past weekend, and after a week of craving split pea & ham soup, it was all I could think about on Saturday.  I picked up the ingredients and decided to give it a try  Even though I didn’t have a ham bone or a pork hock.   I read up a couple of different recipes, mashed ‘em all together, and ended up with a thick, hearty, delicious soul-warming soup that was exactly what I had hoped for.

And whaddya know… it’s easy to make on top of it all!

Here’s how to make Jill’s Super-Easy Split Pea & Ham Soup:


2 1/4 C. of split peas, rinsed

5-6 slices (1/4” thick) of cooked ham, diced into big chunks

1 C. diced red onion

1 C. diced carrot

1 C. diced celery

6-8 C. of chicken broth

2-3 bay leaves

pepper to taste


  • Melt a little margarine in a large pot, and then throw in the chunks of ham to brown them up a little bit over medium heat (about 10 minutes).  My mom tells me this step was unnecessary, but I thought letting the ham fry up a bit in the pot would add to some of that flavour I’d be missing by not boiling a ham bone in the soup all day.


  • Add the split peas, onion, carrots, celery, and bay leaves.  Give them a few good stirs over the course of a few minutes sitting on the heat.


  • Then pour in the chicken stock (I ended up using all 8 cups).


  • Bring it to a boil, then simmer for an hour over low heat, stirring from time to time.  After an hour, the peas should have broken up into mush.
  • Remove the bay leaves, and add your pepper to taste.  Then, if you’re like me and you like your pea soup a little more thick and gloopy, give it a quick whir with the trusty ol’ immersion blender.


Ta da!! Jill’s Super-Easy Split Pea & Ham Soup!

For people who have been making pea soup all their lives, you’re probably thinking I’m a nut bar for even sharing.  But I was a total pea soup newbie, and I was sort of daunted after researching how to make it.  I was really happy to discover it wasn’t as hard or long a process as I thought it might be.  And it was extra-good with some saltines broken up into it.


Of course, I know that “the real thing” is still more flavourful, and a bit more of an endeavour.  But I’ll be quite happy with my shortcut soup recipe in the future! :)

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The Tuesday Random

It’s Tuesday!  The perfect day of the week to get a little random…

  • Did you know I’m being introduced to some music that I never would have found if not for Jimmy Fallon?  My main late-night man has some musical guests that I couldn’t care less about… but sometimes, he gives me these little gems.  Acts like The Avett Brothers and Nickel Creek and Jake Bugg.  Wouldn’t have known about them if not for Jimmy!
  • OK, that’s not entirely true.  My brother-in-law Chris made me listen to Jake Bugg before Jimmy had him on his show.  But I didn’t download him myself until after I saw him perform “Me & You” on the Tonight Show.
  • Speaking of the Tonight Show – last week, I shared the clip of Jimmy & Emma Stone’s lip sync battle (which was, in my opinion, the most epic of any of the lip sync battles I’ve seen yet).  I didn’t think I could get more excited about something on Jimmy’s show that week.  That was, until he shared a news clip in his monologue the very next night from our very own local news broadcast!  Check it out:
  • So yeah.  Not exactly something to be proud of, I guess.  Bad enough that he rails on Rob Ford pretty much every single night.  Now we’re famous for having a flasher named “Popadick”.  But you just can’t help but laugh, right?!
  • I was so excited to see our news anchor Graham Richardson on Fallon that I think I watched it three times in a row!!!
  • I love me a good superhero movie, but I admit that all of the remakes and reboots in recent years have left me a little bit lost and confuzzled.  My co-worker (and superhero fanatic) Jared has tried to explain it all to me, but I just don’t get it.  I mean, I was there for all those Tobey McGuire Spiderman movies, but when the newest ones came out with a different guy playing Peter Parker, I lost interest.  Until…until… I saw the new dude, Andrew Garfield, this week on – you guessed it – Jimmy Fallon.  I found Mr. Garfield to be quite charming.  A lovely young chap.  Then I saw him again hosting Saturday Night Live.  And I admit, I’ve become quite smitten.  Now I need to go back and see these Amazing Spiderman flicks, because I need more Andrew Garfield in my life.


  • By the way, I rarely ever watched Saturday Night Live until I saw Jimmy host the Christmas episode this past holiday season.  I’ve PVR’d it ever since.  But I don’t ever watch it on Saturday night.  I watch it on Sunday morning, before church, snuggled up on my couch with a big mug of coffee.  Like a grown up.
  • This has kind of turned into the Jimmy Fallon randoms, hasn’t it?
  • Here’s a Jimmy-less random for you:  I randomly decided at 8:30 PM on Saturday night to bake cookies.  Instead of just chocolate chips, I also added the Carrot Cake M&M’s that I bought for Easter but didn’t end up loving as much as I thought I would.  They were really good in the cookies, though.


  • You know you’re living a wild life when you’re baking cookies at 8:30 PM on a Saturday night.  In your pajamas.

I think that’s all I’ve got for this Random Tuesday, friends.  Have a good one!

Friday, May 02, 2014

A few Friday Confessions

Happy Friday, dudes!

Let’s get on with the confessions, shall we?

I confess… that I’ve been thinking about renting a movie all week long again, after doing so for the first time in ages last Friday!  I’m thinking we’ll go with funny this week, though.  I’m done with scary movies again for a bit.


I confess… that I got back into a bad habit of mine over the Easter break and into the week that followed: snacking at night. I had my niece for a sleepover on Good Friday, and so we went to the store and picked up some “treats” – which means she got a giant bag of “yellow cheesies” (aka Corn Twists), of which she ate a very scant handful and I ate the rest, and I picked up a bag of plain chips with dill pickle dip, AND a bag of Doritos.  So yeah.  I ate most of that over the course of a few days, and then last Friday night when I rented my movie, I couldn’t resist picking up a big bag of Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn.

I confess… that I don’t know why I let myself do that, because it is SUCH a hard cycle for me to break once I’m doing it again.

I confess… that I’ve been good all week – REALLY good – when it comes to food choices (easier now that the Easter treats are all gone!) – but as my Friday movie night approaches, I could already feel myself twisting my own arm, convincing myself I deserve another reward after a long, busy work week.

I confess… that I think I’ve come up with a perfect solution:  a popcorn maker!  When we were kids, we used to pop our own corn all the time, and we LOVED it.  Somewhere along the way, we got out of the routine.  I mentioned it to my mom the other night because I wasn’t even sure she still had her popcorn maker, but sure enough she did and she dug it out of the cupboard for.  Fresh, healthy air-popped popcorn pour moi tonight!  Can’t wait! (at least, I hope… it’s a really old machine, fingers crossed that it still works!)


I confess… that this totally made my week:

Sometimes it really is the little things that get you through, right?

Have a great weekend, my friends! :)

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Oh, how my tastes have changed!

Yesterday, I mentioned that as a kid, I hated bananas.  Despised them.  I mean, I literally think I might be the only person in the world who would have cringed at the words “banana split”.


Still not my #1 pick when selecting an ice cream treat, to be honest, but I’ve made peace with the banana, for the most part.  I’ll eat them now, and kind of half-ass enjoy them.

I’ve realized over the past year and a half as I’ve delved deeper into the “healthy eating world”, that my tastes have certainly changed.  And definitely for the better.  I was a junk-food-lover, and when it came to non-junkfoods, I was extremely picky about what went in my mouth.

It kind of amazes me now to realize that I consider pineapple and mango a special treat.  That I eat bananas and spinach and peppers and sweet potatoes on a regular basis.   That I look forward to salmon and mild-tasting white fish.   That goat cheese makes me drool.


I even ate steak on the weekend – something that I’ve claimed to loathe – and you know what?  Slathered with HP Sauce and piled with fried onions, it was actually palatable.  Maybe not even a teensy bit healthy, but… palatable.

Who knew.

I honestly think the only things I really still can’t wrap my head around are mushrooms, liver, and wild game.

And I’m not sure that will ever change.

But anyways.  Yes.  My tastes have changed.  In a big way.

And this week, I’ve been reminded of just how much.

You see, this past Sunday evening, I was at my mom’s and I asked her what she was having for supper.  She replied that she was just planning to have a bowl of soup, would I like one?  I said, “Sure, what kind is it?”

And then she kind of made a face, and said, “Pea… which you won’t eat.  I’ll have to look for something else for you… I think I have some other soup in the freezer that I can dig out that you’ll eat…”

I’m sure she almost hit the floor when I interjected, saying, “No, no, that’s OK, I think I’d like to try the pea, actually.”

I have no idea why – a soup that I detested and refused to consume all of my life, and suddenly… suddenly… it sounded really good.

And it was really good.  Like, really really good.

No hell to look at, mind you.  A bowl of green, gloopy soup probably won’t win any prizes for appearances.  But the flavour… Mmmm… after one bite of the the thick, hearty soup and a taste of the salty bits of ham…

pea soup

I was completely won over.  And I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

Here’s the problem:  I’ve been so enchanted by the thoughts of split pea & ham soup this week, that on my lunch hour the other day, I started googling for recipes, thinking I might make myself a big pot this weekend.  And apparently, if you would good authentic split pea & ham soup, you need to have a big ol’ ham bone kicking around.

I seem to be fresh out of big ol’ ham bones dammit.

Anyone know if you can just cut up chunks of ham and make it still taste good?  Anyone know if there’s some easy way of doing this?  Mom?  Anyone?

I need me some more of that soup!!!  STAT!!!

Happy Thursday, friends :)