Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesday Loves & Halloweenie Things

Halloween week is rolling right along, and here are a few of the things I’m loving about today…and about Halloween, too!

  • It’s a dark, dreary day.  The rain is coming, and it’s supposed to be a super wet afternoon and evening in these parts.  Am I the only one who gets excited for a rainy day?  The forecast is a perfect lead-up to Halloween, and a perfect reflection of my mood this week.  Let it rain.


  • I’ll be spending my rainy evening cozied up in my house, baking more pumpkin butterscotch chip cookies (they were much better than the first batch of pumpkin cookies I made, and now I need more!) and watching Halloweenie things on TV.  I love this kind of night.


  • Speaking of Halloweenie things on TV… Saturday was Scary Movie Marathon, of course, and I have to say, I think we can chalk that one up as the least scary one yet.  I’m glad I saw Jaws, but it didn’t terrify me. I’m more worried about monsters under the bed and hiding in the closet, and I don’t have to worry about sharks doing that.  I’d seen the other two, The Silence of the Lambs and Pet Sematary, before, so they didn’t keep me up either.  It was kind of nice – a good spooky way to gear up for All Hallows Eve, yet not spooky enough to freak me right out.  Success!  (we may have to up our game a bit for next year, though).

pet sematary

  • I’ve been struggling this week to find more Halloween-themed things to watch that aren’t going to scare the bejesus out of me.  I tried watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Monday and I hated it, I quit half-way through.  I fell asleep watching Hotel Transylvania.  Then I remember I have a Roseanne Halloween Marathon saved on my PVR from a few years ago!! The Roseanne Halloween episodes were the best.  They will provide me with TV entertainment for the rest of the week!


  • Tomorrow night, Zumba is cancelled, so I think I’ll run to the city for one last pre-Halloween shopping trip, to top up on treats and get a few last minute groceries, including the makings for a fun supper and a few treats to have for the weekend.
  • I’m so looking forward to Saturday:  One big day chock-full of Halloween FUN!!  I have to carve my pumpkin and roast my pumpkin seeds, make my fun Halloween supper (right now I’m leaning towards macaroni casserole and garlic bread, if mother concurs), paint my nails orange and black, squeeze in a few more Halloween movies or TV shows, and then head to my mom’s to enjoy our fun supper and greet the trick-or-treaters!!  I can’t wait!!

jack-o-lantern 2014

  • I really am a total kid when it comes to holidays like this.  My excitement builds more and more with each passing day. 

What have you been doing to get ready for the big day of spooks and goblins?  Are you little-kid-excited like me?! ;)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Happy Friday :)

Friday is here, and I’m definitely giving a cheer! It feels like it’s been a long week. Anyone else? I know I’ve talked about wanting to push the pause button on October and enjoying every last second of it, but this week was just a tad too long for my liking.

Glad it’s almost over.

Maybe it’s because I’ve got lots of fun stuff going on this weekend to look forward to. Always seems when there’s great things ahead, the days leading up to it drag by, am I right?

Here’s what I have on tap for this October weekend:

- Depending on what time I get home from work today, I might try out the new recipe I have for pumpkin butterscotch chip cookies. I’m dying to see how they turn out in comparison to the pumpkin chocolate chip “muffin top” flops I made last week!

- Tonight is Paint Nite!! My neighbor Shannon also happens to be a fabulous artist, and she is hosting her very first Paint Nite tonight! I’ve been hearing so much about Paint Nites in the city – people are raving about how much fun they are, and how nice the piece of art is that you get to take home with you at the end. So how could I resist participating when there is one being held literally across the road from me?! I can’t wait!!

- Of course, there is also a kinda important ball game going down tonight, so I’m crossing my fingers that Shannon will have a TV on so we can watch the Jays while we paint. I’m not sure watching a do-or-die baseball game will be conducive to creating beautiful art, but that’s the price I’m willing to pay for my Jays.

blue jays

- Tomorrow morning, my intention is to get up early, and make my 5 lbs. of meatballs for our church’s Harvest Supper on Sunday, as well as a loaf of pumpkin bread and maybe a loaf of beer bread for the Harvest Basket they will be raffling off at the Supper.

- After lunch, I’ll be packing up and heading to Lindsay & Ryan’s for the rest of the day! Why? BECAUSE IT IS FINALLY SCARY MOVIE MARATHON DAY!!! WOO HOOOOO!!! I’ve been looking forward to this day since, like, August. We have three movies picked out to watch: Jaws, The Silence of the Lambs, and Pet Sematary. Our current plan is to watch one of them while Sam is having his afternoon nap. After that, I’m going to snap some family pics for them (fingers crossed that a little one-and-a-half-year-old dude co-operates haha!), we’ll have our yummy pizza party supper, and then watch the other two movies after Sam goes down for the night.

- Here’s the possible dilemma: WHEN the Jays win tonight, it means they will be playing tomorrow night at 8 PM. Which is right smack-dab in the middle of Scary Movie Marathon time. So the back-up plan has been made. We will still watch one of them in the afternoon and one after Sam goes to bed, and then axe the third one in favour of watching ball. Of course. Like anybody’s gonna be missing Game 7!!!! No, not even for Scary Movie Marathon!!!

- Sunday will be church, and then it’s Harvest Supper time! This is one of our church’s biggest fundraiser events, and more than that, it’s a wonderful opportunity to visit with friends and neighbours over a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I will be helping , as usual, as we’ll have all hands on deck serving food, clearing and re-setting places at the tables, serving tea and coffee, cutting pieces of pie, washing dishes, selling tickets, etc. It’s always a nice crowd, and I look forward to it every year.

And then it’s Halloween Week!! Eeeeeeee!!!!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend J

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Weekend Rewind

I don’t have my pictures uploaded from the weekend yet, but it was such a fun weekend, I just have to re-cap!

Friday night was one of my favourite kind of Friday nights.  They let us go early from work, and it wasn’t raining yet, so I got my grass cut!  WOO HOO!!  I’m praying it will be the last time for the year!!  Man, I hate cutting the grass.  Once that was done, I moved inside and got working in the kitchen.  I made spicy roasted butternut squash soup, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  The soup was delicious and the bread was delicious, but the cookies were a bit of a flop.  I didn’t like the “cakey” texture of them, and after doing some research, I discovered this is a common problem with pumpkin cookies – they turn out more like muffin tops than cookies.  In any case, I have found a few new recipes that proclaim to have fixed that problem – no egg is key, so they say -  and I’m also going on a recommendation from my friend Sara who told me to go with butterscotch chips instead - so I’ll be checking them out very soon!

Once the cooking/baking frenzy was over and I was feeling so happy to have spent such quality time in the kitchen (quickly becoming one of my favourite things to do!) – I settled down on the couch to watch the Blue Jays game.  Things didn’t pan out so well for the Jays that night, but with the gentle patter of rain against my window and my house smelling so wonderfully of “autumn foods”, I was just about as content as a cat can get. :)

Saturday morning I was up bright & early to work out and get myself ready for one of my favourite days of the year: CAR RALLY!!!  It is always such a fun day, and after having organized the Rally the year before and dealing with the stress of it all, I was extra-appreciative of being able to just be a regular old participant this year.  My teammates and I had a dilemma on our hands, though – we wanted to do well, but we didn’t want to win (especially not again so soon) – and we struggled to walk that fine line of “trying hard” but “we don’t care”. 

Car Rally 2015

Thanks to Stacy for coming up with the idea and dressing us up as “Guess Who” (the theme was “Let The Games Begin”)

It was one of the toughest Rallies I’ve ever been on, and we took the longest we ever have to complete it.  Our departure time was 11:10 AM, and we didn’t get back to the hall until 5:45 PM.  (the deadline for returning was 6 PM).  The efficient ladies who organized this year’s Rally were up at the front before we knew it, and started revealing the answers.  That’s when I started getting really panicky.  We had too many right answers.  My stomach was in knots and my face was on fire.  I honestly thought I might throw up.  When they started running down the car #’s, starting with last place and working their way up, things got really intense.  We waited and waited for them to call our number, all while my mind raced with the possibility of what would happen if we won again… Needless to say, it was a HUGE relief when they finally called our car #, and we were tied for 3rd place!  PHEWF!!!

Now I can look back on it and be happy.  We did exactly what we wanted to do.  We had fun, we did really well, and we didn’t win.   The IDEAL Car Rally day!  YAY!!!  Sue, Adam, Brenda and Cowan came up to my place afterwards for a few drinks, and we had fun re-hashing the day and how it had gone.  It was a great way to unwind!

Oh, and also, it snowed on Saturday.  !!!!!!!!!!  Just little flurries that didn’t amount to anything, of course – it is only mid-October, after all - but snow makes my heart sing!!!!!!!

Sunday I was flying solo at church, which was a weird feeling – not one other member of my immediate family in attendance! – but it was a lovely service and I was happy to be reppin’ my fam in the pews. ;)  After church, I grabbed my camera and headed across the road to take some photos for my friend Caryl and her family.  This is the second opportunity I’ve had to do family photos for friends, and I really, really enjoy it.  If I ever did decide to take on photography as more than just a hobby, I definitely think doing photos of families and children will be my niche.

After the quick photo session, I was off to my sister and BIL’s for my nephew Caden’s birthday party.  He had a bunch of his friends over for hot dogs, snacks, and cupcakes, then they split up into teams  and played Minute to Win It games.  Talk about entertaining to watch! haha!  I snagged some good pictures there as well.  Sunday was a big day for me and my camera!

I was sad to see the weekend go.  It was a good one!

Yesterday was Election Day here in Canada, so it was an exciting day.  I had never felt so confused or unsure of who to vote for going in to any election, and I honestly think I changed my mind 3 times just driving to the polling station.  In the end, the country decided it wanted change after 11 years under Conservative Stephen Harper, and that’s what they got.  I’ll be quite interested to see how Justin Trudeau and his Liberal party do at the helm of this country now that they have a majority government.

justin trudeau

I’m OK with it.  At least he’s nice to look at. ;)

Oh, and the Jays won last night.  It was more of a nail-biter than I wanted it to be, but they hung on for the 11-8 win over Kansas City!  WOO HOO!!!

josh donaldson

Can’t remember the last time I stayed up til 11:30 PM on a Monday night… that means I’m a little on the groggy side today, but I’m feelin’ good.

Happy Tuesday, all :)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Confessions

Been a while since I had a good confesh sesh.  I think I’m due!

I confess… that one year ago today, I was a basket of nerves.  Like, feeling like I could puke I was so anxious and wound up.  My team had the job of putting together the route & questions for the Quyon Lionettes Car Rally, and I was stressed to the max, and excited for the big day to finally arrive.  It was then that I realized I may never be able to actually get married.  I mean, if I get that whacky over planning a Car Rally, can you imagine how nutso I’d be if I was planning a WEDDING?  I’d probably die.

Car Rally 2014

Pic of the girls and I working at Car Rally last year…so glad we don’t have to do that this year!!

I confess… that I looked at pictures of Justin Bieber’s wanger on the Internet last week.  The unedited pictures.  And it was on my work computer.  But don’t worry, I don’t think I’ll get fired, because one of my bosses looked at them too.  If I’m going down, I’m taking her with me! ;)

I confess… that I’m kind of looking forward to a cozy, rainy, quiet Friday night in tonight.  I want to make this spicy butternut squash soup recipe, and I may attempt making pumpkin bread or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies…  I want to put out my Halloween decorations, and then, I’m going to change the scent in my Scentsy warmer to Pumpkin Roll, I’m going to cozy up with a hot chocolate and blanket, and I’m going to settle in to watch the Blue Jays game.

I confess… there was a time when a Friday night like that sounded BORING.  But now, it sounds like bliss!!  #oldladylife

I confess… that while I’m enjoying the thoughts of the rainy night in, I kinda really need the rain to hold off for an hour or so after I get home from work.  My grass needs one last cut – at least I hope it will be the last  cut – and if it doesn’t get done today, I have no idea when it might get done.  I hate grass. #bringonthesnow

I confess… that I get annoyed when other people hashtag everything.  I have no idea why I did it two confessions in a row… #oops

I confess… that sports are kind of ruining my TV & movie schedule right now.  Typically, I’d spend this evening catching up on PVR’d shows or watching a scary movie to set the Halloween mood… but alas, I HAVE to watch the Jays game! Between them and the Sens, I’m having NO TIME to watch TV or movies right now.


I confess… that I was so pshyched to see Jimmy Fallon unveil his new idea for sportswear the other night on his show – but was quickly disappointed this morning when I googled and discovered that Hands High has nothing for the Sens or Blue Jays fans of the world.  Booooo :(  I wanted to put one on my Christmas wishlist!!


I confess… that I will probably have trouble sleeping tonight.  Just like I do when it’s Christmas Eve or the night before some other big event… BECAUSE TOMORROW IS CAR RALLY & I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!

Happy Friday, gang!  Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thoughts on Thursday

Let’s go a little random today, folks!

  • I know I’ve mentioned a few times that I wanted to share my favourite summer reads list, and that was actually my plan for today’s post – but there’s just too much other stuff going on that I wanted to talk about today!  Summer is long gone, so I guess when it finally does happen, it will be my “suggestions for books for your Christmas wishlist” list. haha!
  • THE TORONTO FRIGGING BLUE JAYS!!! OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS!!!  I admit it – I haven’t been a faithful baseball fan over the course of my years.  I remember getting wound up in it all when I was a little kid and the Jays won the World Series in ‘92 & ‘93 (Wooo Joe Carter!!!).  And I also really loved seeing a game live in TO a few years ago.  But aside from that, I haven’t watched much ball.  My mom is a faithful Jays fan, but not I.  But seriously… how could you NOT jump on the bandwagon this season??  I started paying more attention when they got good this summer, and last night’s Game 5 do-or-die against the Texas Rangers had me – and the rest of the flippin’ country – on the edge of their seats last night!  What a CRAZY game!!!  I still can’t believe the things that happened during that game last night, especially during the 7th inning.  I’m definitely in it now, and can’t wait for the next round to start!  GO JAYS GO!!!

Bautista Encarnacion

  • Here’s the thing… for the first time in my life, it feels like everybody on my Facebook friends list is cheering for the same team.  And it is SO much fun to see everyone getting behind them.  So wouldn’t it be so much fun if we all cheered for the same hockey team, too?  Wouldn’t it?  Now that we’re all in agreement… I hereby officially declare the Ottawa Senators as the team we should all cheer for.   That is now everyone’s favourite hockey team, OK?  OK. GO SENS GO!!!! ;)

ottawa senators

  • One of the guys I work with just came in and asked if I was having a good day.  And I was all smiley like, “Hell yeah!”, still glowing from the Jays win last night.  And he was like, “You should be, you’re first in the hockey pool this morning.”  And I had kind of forgotten that I was even IN a hockey pool.  So I guess I better figure out how to check that…
  • I’m still so frigging flipping happy that it is October.  And that it doesn’t feel like it’s flying by at warp speed.  Yes, the long Thanksgiving weekend went way too quickly, but otherwise, October is taking its jolly time, and I like it.  Halloween is still over 2 weeks away, and there’s still lots of good things to come between now and then.  I’m savouring this month.  Loving every minute of it.
  • I’m on a hunt today to find a new “fall soup” recipe.  Something with squash or sweet potatoes, but isn’t too sweet – something with more of a savoury, spicy kick to it.  Anyone have a recipe they want to share?  What’s your favourite fall soup?


  • CAR RALLY!  It’s this Saturday, and I’m so excited.  It’s one of my favourite days of the year.  I’m interested to see how the day goes for my team and I.  After winning 2 years ago, and having to do the route & questions last year, we swore we’d never even try to win again.  (Putting that damn Rally together is a lot of stressful work, yo!)  But I also know we are all competitive and like being right.  It’s going to be a tricky balance on Saturday… can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

Car Rally 3

  • I’m a little bit obsessed with the changing leaves around here, and taking pictures of them.   It feels like we’re in the peak of it here this week, and no matter which window I look out of at work, I’m surrounded by red & golden fiery flaming gorgeous colour.  I’ve been bringing my camera with me each day and snapping tons of pics.  The Project 365 album is going to be a little heavy on the fall scenery pics this week…

Fall 2015

  • I’ve been following the Lamar Odom story this week, and I don’t even know why.  I don’t even really know who he is, and I’m sure as hell not a fan of the Kardashians.  But for some reason, this story is eating at me and making me very sad.  I’ve even cried the past two mornings when Josie gives her Lamar update on “Josie & the City” on Hot 89.9.  Just such a terribly sad thing, despite the ick factor of how and where he was found unconscious, and despite the Kardashian hype that surrounds the story.  Sad on so many levels.

lamar and khloe

  • With Thanksgiving over, I feel like I’ve finally got the green light to go ahead and get excited for Halloween.  (like I wasn’t already).  It’s finally almost time for Scary Movie Marathon and making plans for treats for Halloween day & night and starting to eat mini Halloween chocolate bars!  Oh, wait… I might have already been doing that since October started.  And I may have seriously depleted the candy stash by stress-eating my way through the game last night. When the chocolate ran out, I chewed on my finger instead.  For real.  I have bite marks on my fingers.  I will have to replenish the stash when I go grocery shopping tonight. ;)


That’s all I’ve got for this Thursday folks!  Hope you’re all having a great week :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Happy 10th Birthday, Caden!!!

This morning when my alarm went off, my groggy eyes peeped open and the first thought that crossed my mind was:

Caden is 10 years old today.

Caden's 10th Birthday 5

When I told my nephew last week that I couldn’t believe he was turning 10, he said, “Why?  Does that make you feel old?”

Umm… yes.  Yes, it does, dude.

I remember vividly the day Caden Christopher was born.  It was a long, long day.  They had gone to the hospital the night before when my sister’s water broke, and I remember waking the morning of October 14th, 2005, thinking, “Today, I’m going to become an aunt!” 

Caden & Jill 2013

And I did.  But it was quite a process before it became official.  In the afternoon, they were transferred from Shawville Hospital to Gatineau just in case a c-section was necessary, and then we sat by the phone waiting for news.  We waited, and waited, and waited… I’m pretty sure my mother and I – and maybe even my dad, though he hid it better - were complete basketcases by the time the phone finally did ring, around 9 PM that night, the new daddy calling to say that Baby Boy Provost had arrived safe and sound! 

He’s the boy that first made me an auntie, and he is absolutely, 100% one of the best kids I know – and I know I’m biased, but I really believe that.  He has such a big heart, a generous spirit, a warm smile and laugh, and still, to this day, does not leave without coming for a hug.   He’s thoughtful and kind and he makes me so proud that he is ours.

Caden's 10th Birthday 6

Caden's 10th birthday 2

Caden's 10th Birthday 3

He’s still just a kid, too, don’t get me wrong.  He can drive me bonkers with the best of ‘em.  He’s a boy, and boys can be little pains in the rear end when they wanna be! haha!

But he’s the best kind of pain in the rear end you could ever hope to have in your life.  And I feel lucky to have him as my nephew.

Caden's 10th Birthday 4

Happy 10th Birthday, Caden!!  We love you, dude!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thanksgiving Weekend in Photos

Ahh, the Tuesday after a long weekend… Always a little difficult to get back in the swing of the daily grind, especially on a rainy, dreary Tuesday such as this… and especially when Thanksgiving weekend was so wonderful!

My title is “Thanksgiving Weekend in Photos”, but I admit that the first half of the weekend, I was a photographer failure.  On Friday night, I intended on bringing my camera to East Side Mario’s to capture my photo of the day at our girls dinner out.  Sadly, I forgot it at home…nobody seemed to mind much, though. ;)  I ended up scurrying around at 11:30 PM when I realized I *still* didn’t have a picture of the day, and ended up taking more pictures of my fall decorations.  whoops.

Thanksgiving 2015 1

Then on Saturday, I joined my sister and the kids at the movie theatre for their school fundraiser showing of “Hotel Transylvania II”, and wanted to snap some shots of the kids before the movie started.  Because it was so dark in there, I had to resort to the flash, which resulted in a whole bunch of closed eyes.  Over, and over, and over again.  I finally gave up.

Thanksgiving 2015 2

Sunday was our family Thanksgiving celebration.  We started out by going to church, of course, and it was a wonderful service.  The church was decorated beautifully, and it was so sweet to watch little Sam toddle up for children’s time all by himself for the first time ever!

Thanksgiving 2015 5

We had brunch afterwards, and then headed back to Mom’s for family time, turkey dinner, celebrating Caden’s birthday, and – you guessed it – some pictures!  So very much to be thankful for!!

Thanksgiving 2015 3

Thanksgiving 2015 6

Thanksgiving 2015 7

Thanksgiving 2015 8

Thanksgiving 2015 10

Thanksgiving 2015 9

Monday morning, I took it slow and savoured the relaxed pace.  I sipped coffee, watched some PVR’d TV shows, ate a light breakfast, cleaned the bathroom, got laundry going… it was nice!  In the afternoon, my mom and I packed up and hit the back roads of the Pontiac with my friend Lolly.  We both got cameras around the same time, and had been wanting to get out on “Fall photo safari” while the leaves were at their peak of changing colours.  Monday was the PERFECT day to go!  We spent a few hours roaming the back roads of North Onslow, stopping to snap pics when something caught our eye, while Mom shared bits of info and history as we went.

Thanksgiving 2015 4

Thanksgiving 2015 11

Thanksgiving 2015 13

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Thanksgiving 2015 18

Thanksgiving 2015 16

Thanksgiving 2015 17

Ma and I returned home for turkey dinner leftovers and kicked back watching the Jays game.  Their Game 4 win over the Texas Rangers was the perfect way to cap off a glorious Thanksgiving weekend. 

I only wish we could go back and do it all over again!

Friday, October 09, 2015


I’m a teensy bit wound up today.

It’s Friday.  My favourite day of the week to begin with, so we’re off to a good start right outta the gate.  And it’s a long weekend.  Can I get a “hallelujah”!?! I’m going out for dinner tonight with the girls to celebrate our October birthdays, and I’m so excited.  I haven’t been to East Side Mario’s in ages, and I’m drooling just thinking about it!

Tomorrow, I’m going on a quick morning shopping trip to find a birthday present for my nephew, then I think I’m meeting up with my sister and my niece to see the movie Hotel Transylvania II.  As everyone knows, the movie theatre is my happy place, so I’m very excited to be going to a movie, and not only that, supporting their school fundraiser – it’s a great deal, $12.00 for the movie ticket, medium popcorn, small drink, and a portion of the tickets sales goes towards the school!  My kind of fundraiser!!


Of course, Sunday we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving, as well as my nephew’s birthday, and it’s one of my favourite days of the year.  I’m looking forward to going to church, then spending the day with family, as we’ll be gathering at Mom’s for turkey dinner and pumpkin pie.  I’m in charge of bringing the Pumpkin Cheeseball, and it was such a hit at book club last week that I can’t wait to make it again! 

pumpkin cheeseball

I love to pause and think of all I have to be thankful for.  I do it often, but I like that there’s a holiday to mark it, and remind those of us who don’t do it every day to really stop and think about it. There was a Thanksgiving five years ago when I sat in church feeling bitter and angry and sad, and thinking I didn’t have much to be grateful for.  I was wrong, of course, but I remember all too well that feeling – that dark gloom, the resentment, the emptiness that comes with loss greater than you can comprehend.

Trees pic

I’m glad that feeling left, for the most part.  I’m glad that I was able to move past it, and move forward with a happy and grateful heart.  I’m glad that when bad things happen now, I am able to take a step back and still look around to find the things I should be thankful for.  Because no matter how bad it is, there is always, always, something to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for my tribe - for the family and friends who have my back and never let me down; for the people who love me despite my crazy quirks.   I’m thankful for a roof over my head, food in my fridge, a place of employment I enjoy going to every day, and for a tight-knit community that I can count on.  I’m thankful for the hobbies that bring me joy – reading, writing, photography… Jimmy Fallon ;)  I’m grateful for the little things in life that make me smile, and the big opportunities that remind me: This is a good life.  And you are living it.

Fall pic

In the walk of life, the bad days are going to come, unfortunately.  But I think I might even be a little grateful for them.  I wish we didn’t have them, but they make me appreciate the good days even more.  Because of those bad days, dark times, grief & sadness….

I can now get super-little-kid-excited about good times such as this.

Look at the leaves.  Savour the turkey.  Gobble down the pumpkin pie.  Soak up the time spent with family.  Take pictures.  Say a prayer for those who are in dark places.  Say thank you if you are not in one yourself.


Happy Thanksgiving, pals :)

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

When In Rome… or Nova Scotia

So, as I mentioned yesterday, the Nova Scotian eats deserved their own post.  And here it is.

I’m a lover of food, plain and simple, so of course I was looking forward to sampling the Eastern Coast fare on our trip.  I was probably a teensy bit too excited about it.  I had visions of fish & chips just dancing in my head for weeks in advance!  The funny thing is, just a few years ago, the thought of seafood anything would have made me curl up my nose in disgust.  For the first 30 years of my life, the only fishy thing I would even think about eating was tuna.  From a can.  Mixed with lots of mayo, celery, and onion.  (Get yo stinky salmon sandwiches away from me!! Tuna only!!)

The shift came when I started eating healthier leading up to my 30th birthday.  When you’re eating healthy and reading up on it, you hear a lot about how fish is a lean, healthy source of protein.  I tentatively tried baked white fish and grilled salmon filets… and found that I actually kind of liked them.  Then, on a whim, out for dinner with the girls for my 30th, I ordered the fish & chips at the Hard Rock Café.

And I loved it.  I haven’t looked back since.  

So yeah… I was excited to go all fish, all the time in Nova Scotia. And that I did!

Before I begin with the food reviews, I must apologize for the pics.  I tried channeling Nicole (my bloggy pal who takes pics of food all the time, and makes me drool when I read her posts!) – but most of the time, I forgot to take a pic before the food was half-eaten, or I’d forget to take one at all.  That’s me, though…always so eager to dive into a plate of yumminess that I don’t even think! haha!

I definitely started out on a bad foot, completely forgetting to take a picture of the delicious pepperoni and bacon pizza & breaded chicken wings with honey garlic dipping sauce from Pizzatown that we ordered in on our first night!  Whoops!  (But trust me… YUM!!!!)  This was  a place that Lindsay has ordered from on previous trips down there, so she knew it was good!!

The first place we sat down to eat at in Nova Scotia was another favourite of Lindsay’s, which we stopped at  for a late lunch on our way home from Peggy’s Cove:  The Finer Diner.  This place had a fun retro feel to it, with a vintage look and hits from the 50’s and 60’s piped in over the speakers.  We sat on the sun porch, and I chose a seat with a view of the boats bobbing in the bay.

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I decided to be adventurous, and ordered a cup of Seafood Chowder to start.  I’d never had Seafood Chowder before, but it came highly recommended by Linds.  Unfortunately, it was just a bit too “fishy” still for me – I liked the creamy consistency, but the combo of lobster, scallops, and haddock was just too much fish in one spot for this kid.  I didn’t hate it, though – I ate it all!  And the warm biscuit they serve with it was wonderful – the closest I’ve come to having a tea biscuit as good as my Mom’s!

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For my main course, I just had to do it… FISH & CHIPS!  It was going to be a challenge not to order it at every meal, because pretty much every place in Nova Scotia claims they serve the best Fish & Chips. ;) At the Finer Diner, they were absolutely delish!  Two big pieces of haddock in a light beer batter, served with tartar sauce, a lemon wedge, fries, and coleslaw.

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The pieces of fish were huge!  I’m glad I didn’t order the “extra piece” the menu offered! haha!

While at the cottage, we tended to have a breakfast shake before leaving the house, a bigger late lunch, and then snacked in the evenings… so you’ll notice my pics are all from lunchtime.

The next day, we were in Lunenburg, and decided to eat at the Old Fish Factory Restaurant and Ice House Bar.  It was right on the harbour, and we ate outside, with yet another beautiful oceanfront view!

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For an appetizer, I ordered the Lobster and Crab Dip, after Lindsay assured me she’d share it with me (just in case… I still wasn’t sure if I’d like it haha!)  It was a creamy mixture of lobster, crab, roasted red peppers, and cream cheese, served with tortilla chips.  Almost reminded me of a seafood version of nacho dip!

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As you can see – so yummy it was almost gone before I remembered to snap the pic!

It was a gorgeous sunny day in Lunenburg, but we were finding it cool out on the patio.  Still, I didn’t regret it, because we got to watch the Bluenose taking off on tour while we sat there enjoying our leisurely late lunch!

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For my main course, I resisted the temptation of Fish & Chips again, and instead ordered the Fish Factory Tacos.  OMG… YUMMMY! I’ve enjoyed several different versions of fish tacos over the past few years, but these rank at the top of the list!  You could choose between white fish or lobster as your filling, and I went with the safer choice of white fish.  Two soft taco shells filled with crispy white fish, chipotle lime mayo, topped with house-made cabbage slaw and pickled wild blueberry onions, finished with cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lime, and a pinch of sea salt.  Served with their natural thin-cut “chippers”. 

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I’ve eaten some good fish tacos in my day… but I’ve literally been dreaming of these ones!!  Savoury, with a bit of kick, and even a hint of sweet… mmmmm… I’m dying here!!

The next day, we were in Halifax, and I finally had a recommendation to bring to the table!  Before we left, our minister Rev. Nancy and her husband Reg had strongly encouraged me to go to Henry House in Halifax.  Nancy attended the Atlantic School of Theology during the summer months over the course of five years, working towards her MDiv., and she claimed Henry House was their favourite Friday night haunt.  I really wanted to try it out, and so Linds and I made our way to Barrington Street for our late lunch that day, and boy, were we happy we did!

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We chose to sit downstairs in the dark pub, but we were right at one of the open windows and noticed tour buses stopping at regular intervals.  Linds googled it on her phone, and discovered Henry House is a National Historic Site of Canada! William Alexander Henry lived there from 1854-1864, and he was a Father of Confederation, a co-author of the British North America Act, a provincial Attorney General, a Member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, a Mayor of Halifax and the first Nova Scotian to serve as a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.   Who knew?!

This time it was Lindsay who suggested starting with the Lobster Dip. I liked it the day before at the Old Fish Factory, so said, sure, why not?  Sooooo glad we tried this one, too!  As good as it was the day before, this one trumped it.  It was totally different – a rich, creamy, garlicky, parmesany dip served with tortilla chips and wedges of flatbread.  I’d go back there just for this dip.  Seriously.

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Now, Nancy had told me Henry House had the best fish & chips, so I didn’t even really bother reading the menu.  I just ordered it.  And they didn’t disappoint!  A nice light beer battered white fish, hand-cut fries, house-made tartar sauce (the best tartar sauce I’ve ever had!) and coleslaw… everything tasted so fresh, not greasy… amazeballs!

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Both Lindsay and I have said if we ever get back down there for another girls weekend, Henry House will be a MUST!!!

Our last full day in Nova Scotia found us on the patio of a little bistro in Mahone Bay called Mateus Bistro, for – you guessed it - yet another late lunch.  We had scouted out all of the little restaurants along the waterfront, and settled on this one because they had live entertainment!  Two guys were out on the patio playing music, and they were great.  It was nice to sit and listen to them while we chatted, especially since service here was kind of on the slower side.

I decided to forego an app that day (I had ice cream on my mind and wanted to save room!), but Lindsay started with their soup of the day – some kind of curry zuchinni something or other topped with homemade tszatziki?? – that she said was maybe the best bowl of soup she’d ever had.

For my meal, I stuck with my “down East go big or go home” theme and had the Crispy Haddock Burger.  Local fresh crispy haddock, with lettuce, tomato & a dill creme fraiche. I subbed the organic greens salad for a side caesar, and of course it came with house slaw too.

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The burger was amazing, and although a similar fish dish to those I’d already had (lightly breaded haddock appeared every day, I do believe!), it tasted totally different because of the dill crème fraiche.  It was a light-tasting, fresh sandwich that I enjoyed immensely!  The caesar salad was also amazing – probably the most garlicky salad I’ve ever had in my life, but so so so good!  Loaded with bacon, croutons, and parmesan cheese, they sure didn’t skimp on this salad!

We spent probably two solid hours on this patio, and I appreciated the vibe at this place.  The two guys playing music were wonderful (I was too shy to snap a pic – it was a small patio, they definitely would have noticed!), and I thought it was cute that there was a basket of blankets at the door for anyone who needed one to keep warm.  (I had dressed for the chillier day, though, so I was OK!)

And that was it!  We actually did make dinner that night at the cottage – well, Lindsay made dinner… her famous pumpkin tortellini, and it was soooo yummy!  So yummy that I didn’t take a pic in time! haha!

My last meal in Nova Scotia was pretty ho-hum – we didn’t make it to the airport with much time to spare, so my last bite to eat on Atlantic soil was a Grilled Chicken Tuscan Panini, a Pumpkin Spice Donut, and a Creamy Chocolate Chill beverage at the airport Tim Horton’s, gobbled down quickly before we boarded. ;)

So yeah… the eats in Nova Scotia were awesome.  I’m drooling right now just thinking about them.  Anyone wanna take me back?? ;)

One thing I noted – nobody knows how to make good coleslaw down there!  I’d take a creamy coleslaw from St. Hubert’s (or my mom’s homemade!) any day.  But since the rest of the meals were so enjoyable, the coleslaw never brought me down lol.

I also never had a meal of lobster, which was one of my goals to check off the ol’ bucket list in Nova Scotia.  Truthfully, after having it in in the seafood chowder, and twice in dips, I wasn’t sure I liked it enough to “risk” a whole meal on it.  I don’t mind it disguised in chowder and dip, but beyond that, I’m not sure… Next time (maybe).

Now you see why the food needed its own post, eh?  I think it’s as long as the original post… maybe longer!! 

What can I say… I love food!!!!!