Monthly Archives: July 2013

Summer Fun

We went through a heatwave two weeks ago where temperatures went up to 40 degrees Celsius with humidity!  It was insanely hot and were advised to stay indoors when possible.  Since then, it’s been a busy three weeks so I finally had some time tonight to put together a rundown  what I’ve been up to:

I can’t believe how quickly this summer has gone by, August is this week!!

Rather than explaining my experiences, they are being depicted by pictures – enjoy 🙂

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Time to Relax

This was the first weekend in a long time where I could just relax.  It’s very hard to just slow down and take some time for myself, especially when there are so many things to see and do in the summer time – plus the summer season is so short that I want to maximize outdoor time. However, I do realize that there needs to be a time to just not have anything planned and just to enjoy the day. That is exactly what I did this weekend.

Saturday was spent wandering around downtown with the BF where we purchased two carboys for homebrewing and then splitting up for the rest of the weekend. We both went to the same birthday party at different times, since he was with his best friend and I had another event to go to. It was interesting when I showed up solo because everyone just asked where my other half was.  I just told them I had no clue since last I heard they were a bar somewhere. It’s usually the answer I give to everyone since I don’t need to keep tabs on where he is, he will get a hold of me one way or another when he needs to 🙂

The second half of the evening was spent at SpiritHouse. It’s tucked away at Adelaide and Portland so it wasn’t as busy or pretentious as I thought it would be. It was my first time there and I was delightfully surprised by the attention to detail and care the bartenders took to make our drinks and took the time to educate us on where the alcohols were from. We ended up sitting at the bar and my friend had been there a handful of times, so he knew the bartenders and they knew him. It was great because they were showcasing gin this month and it’s one of my favourites. I didn’t know what to order so I just told the bartender, Terry to make something with gin and he concocted something called Therapy. Not sure if it’s an industry name or something he came up with, but it was delicious! The cocktail list as well as whiskey lists were very extensive – full list can be found here. It was a great relaxing evening spent with friends.

SpiritHouse Menu

I spent most of Sunday by myself, which is something I seldom do anymore. I went for a swim in the morning and then did groceries. It’s been so long since I’ve gone out to get groceries and actually plan meals that it was very relaxing and exciting to be making my own food. This week’s menu includes:

Breakfast

  • Bacon
  • Egg whites
  • Mixed veggies (green peppers, onion, mushrooms and zucchini)

Lunch

  • Salad (green leaf lettuce, red onion, mushrooms with homemade dressing – garlic, olive oil, honey mustard, lemon juice and pepper)
  • Broccoli slaw (shredded broccoli/carrot/cabbage with dressing – mayo, honey mustard, lemon juice and pepper)
  • Zucchini patties (zucchini, Parmesan cheese, chili flakes, bread crumbs, egg and salt/pepper)
  • Spaghetti squash with a ground beef tomato sauce (I added zucchini, mushroom, onion, garlic, green pepper to a can of tomato sauce)
  • Possibly tuna cakes – but haven’t made them yet.

Dinner

  • Burger patties (extra lean ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, onion, mushroom, green onions, pepper and soy sauce)
  • Broccoli slaw
  • Salad
  • Zucchini patties
  • Baked salmon

Snacks

  • Nuts (almonds and cashews)
  • Fruit (pears, apples and mangos)
  • Raw veggies – forgot to pick up some celery and carrots, will do that tomorrow
  • Greek yogurt with flax seeds

I realized today that it’s pretty easy to make variations of foods with a few core ingredients. Cooking and prep work took about two hours but it was very rewarding at the end because now I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to eat for this week. This is something I like to have control over during the weekdays. It’s often too easy to go out and buy lunch. Not only is it unhealthy for the body but also the wallet.

Other than cooking today, I tackled some receipts sitting in my room. This was a daunting task because I try to keep track of my expenses so I hold onto receipts but I end up just tossing them onto my nightstand. As they accumulate, it looks more and more overwhelming so I end up letting it pile up to the point where they fly off the pile and I get fed-up with it that I spend an hour going through all of them and recording them.

All and all, it was nice to have time to myself this weekend. I feel more relaxed and ready to tackle this work week.

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Brewing Beer

This is a follow-up to last week’s post. I finally had the time this weekend to upload pictures.

Full Instructions can be found on the Brooklyn Brew website.

We start off with the grains and malts, shown is Bruxelles Blonde from the Brooklyn Brew Shop.

Brew Kit

You then add water to the grains and let it boil for a while. When that’s done, you strain out the grains and pour hot water over it a couple of times to extract more sugar from them.

Mash

You are then left with the liquid called “wort” (pronounced “wert”).  You then boil the wort and add the hops at specified times. The hops used in this beer are Syrian Golding Hops.

Wort Hops

Once you are done the second boiling, you move into the fermentation phase. The boiled wort is transferred to a carboy and is sealed with an airlock (it allows the CO2 to escape from the carboy but prevents other bacteria from entering).

Fermentation

After two weeks, you then bottle it. We are approaching our second week but the BF wants to try a variation so half of the beer will go into second racking with fruit and the other half will not.  Stay tuned for more pics and updates!

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Canada Day Weekend!

Happy Canada Day!

This was a very fun and wonderful long weekend. I just can’t believe it’s already been a year. Our charity’s golf tournament has always fallen on the Tuesday after Canada Day so I spent a late Friday night at the office trying to get everything done so I didn’t have to go into the office during the weekend. Everything is done, so it’s a matter of getting through the golf tournament tomorrow – fingers crossed that everything goes well.

On Saturday morning, I went to have lunch with my grandparents. This was nice and we have been trying to see them at least once a month or every two months. We often find ourselves too “busy” to take time out of “busy” schedules to do anything and often don’t end up doing everything we want to do but I have been trying to spend more time with family this year. It’s so important because I now realize that not only are my grandparents getting older each year, but my parents are also getting old – so no matter how busy I am, there’s always time to spend with them.

I had a first this weekend. The bf has been really into home brewing in the last couple of years and we have been talking about making our own beer but had not found the time to do it until this weekend. We spent Saturday late afternoon brewing beer, the Summer Wheat from Brooklyn Brew Shop. It was surprisingly easy to do since all the instructions are posted their website and it’s  matter of having a couple of hours and patience to do it. The bf had all the equipment so, it was a matter of taking the time to do each step correctly and waiting another 4 weeks to bottle and then enjoy some homemade beer 🙂 Also, it’s completely legal in Ontario to brew as much beer as you want and give it to whoever we want – the only thing you can’t do is sell it.

After brewing, we went to the new Amsterdam Brewhouse located by the water in downtown Toronto. A much anticipated trip since we had been running along in the area and seen the construction for the past couple of months. Definitely had a lackluster experience. The service was just not up to par (given that they have only been open for two weeks). We waited over an hour for our food, which was delicious when it arrived – I got the smoked burger with fries and the bf got fish and chips. The beer selection was limited and we didn’t get asked if we wanted to try a flight of beer. There was a different menu for that, it can be seen on Blogto’s review. We really wanted to like it since it was a beautiful space and yummy food so we’re definitely going to go back!

On Sunday, we baked cookies before heading out to the Pride Parade.  Since we had the mash leftover from the previous day’s brew, I wanted to make cookies with it instead of just throwing it into the compost. We found a recipe on The Rowdy Growler and made around 4 dozen chocolate chip beer mash cookies. They were delicious!!! We took them to the Pride Parade (the bf’s first time) so that we will have a snack while watching the parade as well as were going to bring them to a friend’s place for drinks after the parade.

The Pride Parade was awesome! The floats and people on them as well as most participants have so much energy and are so enthusiastic to be a part of the celebrations. As the bf describes it, “it’s like Halloween celebration but in daylight”. It’s one big party and everyone has a great time. There were so many rainbow-coloured signs and balloons. One of my favourite parts is when people squirt water at other with waterguns – I think we’re going to have to get some next year and spray the paraders with water. It was also really refreshing since we were standing in the sun for 2 hours. Afterwards, we went to a friend’s place who lives in the penthouse with a huge rooftop patio and had a couple of drinks and ribs.

Monday morning was a tough one…events from the night before were a little blurry but I ended up in the right bed with the right person and I didn’t sleep with my contacts in so it was a win 😉 For Canada Day, we went to the beach with my siblings and played some beach volleyball and just hung out. It was a great day to play because it wasn’t too hot and sunny. I also realized that my shoulder has not been doing well, it was hurting a lot to just serve the ball overhand so I’m going to try and book a massage in the next week or so and have someone undo the knots in my shoulder. I can barely lift my right arm above my head without being in pain.

With that said, an amazing long weekend and a golf tournament tomorrow that will go well, as it always does and a short work week!!!

—-I will try and post photos later this week, too tired right now—-

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