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“Pretty Ugly” dinner?  That’s quite the oxymoron, isn’t it???  (thank you google images!)

The long weekend is here.  Bring it on!!!  Know what else is here??  Phase one of my Warrior Training for the Warrior dash next summer!!!  (aka: Warrior One Phase – I guess from the photo below, I’ll be working on my balance more during warrior three phase.  Just an observation…)

Over the next three months, I’ll bore regale you with the highs and lows of my 3-4 times per week cardio workouts, my “pointified” recipes, and how my “Warrior Roar” is coming together.  (note to self: do NOT practice Warrior roar in public! :) )

All that said, there will be lots of fun along the way!  ‘Cause really, A life without fun is a life not well lived.  (oooh…profound!)

However, that is tomorrow.  Today was a fairly “status quo” workday.  And my menu was fairly status quo as well.

Breakfast was a bagel thin (omg…is this package of bagel thins EVERY going to end???  :) ) with weight watchers cream cheese and some of my blackberry jam.

I took some blueberries and yogurt for the morning snack,  but only ate the yogurt.  Not sure why, I LOVE blueberries but this morning, they just didn’t do it for me.

Lunch was a “clean out the fridge – bits and pieces” bento box.  I put a couple of tbsp TJ’s spinach/kale dip (that we bought over the border a couple of weeks ago), 2 light laughing cow wedges, a few slices of shaved turkey, a carrot, 2 mini slider buns and 1 tbsp dried cranberries in, and called it lunch.

I took two rice cakes and 1 tbsp almond butter for my afternoon snack.

Cheers to the weekend.  Here is a glass of wine that I had when I got home.

And dinner was “pour une” tonight, as Dennis was out.  This is likely one of the UGLIEST dinners I’ve made in a long time, but it was oddly tasty.  Like lunch, I decided dinner would be a “clearing out the fridge” meal.  I made a big (albeit unattractive) salad with leftover quinoa, broccoli slaw, one of Sally’s mom’s tomatoes, light feta, dried cranberries, almonds and a dressing with olive oil, rice wine vinegar and some sweet chili sauce mixed together.  In some ways, gross!  In other ways, yum!  I put it beside the ugly troll, ’cause we all know, ANYTHING looks better when it’s beside Ugly Troll! :)

OK, enough dazzlingly (good word!) awful meal pictures.  I’m off to start my weekend.  With the couch, Neva, and a couple of magazines.  Hope all of YOU have a wonderful labour day weekend, whether you are labouring or taking it easy!!

Neva can usually be described as a PRISTINE white cat.  USUALLY.  But lately the side that is the opposite of the photo below has been looking a bit, well, unkempt.  (we call her back legs her “pantaloons” because they’re fluffy and “pantaloon-ish”) We decided that a little clip around the general vicinity would return her to her pristine state.

You’re going to clip WHERE????????????????????

Trust me Neva, I enjoyed it less than you did!!!!!   Sigh.  It’s a pretty uneventful day if the blog opens with a paragraph about clipping the cat’s backside pantaloons.  sigh.  (but I thought the photo above WAS cute!)

Before that ripping excitement (well, it was actually clipping, not ripping, but that’s beside the point) I had a breakfast of a bagel thin with 1 tbsp almond butter and a banana.  (today’s mascot is “London Girl” in honor of the London Paralympics)

During the morning, I snacked on a cup of blueberries and a little container of greek yogurt.

My lunch was a small bun with ham and light cheddar, mustard and arugula.  I took one of Sally’s Mom’s tomatoes to slice and add too.  I also had a few other cherry tomatoes, some carrot sticks and a peach.

We had another birthday celebration for one of my colleagues.  I had a little piece with some green tea.

And later on, I had 2 rice cakes with light laughing cow.

My back was REALLY REALLY sore today.  Not sure what I did to irritate it, but decided to pass on Thursday circuit class, and go for a long walk instead.  (I wondered if I’d simply been sitting too much over the last few days and thought the movement would help.  It did to a point, but I think I’ll still be A535’ing later on.)  Here are a few shots that I took along the way.

Our “urban sand castle” in the neighborhood now has a solar panel and little LED lights around it.  I’ll have to go back in the dark one day soon and see it illuminated.

The same artist who makes the sand sculptures makes rock sculptures around it.

I love this shrine that sits outside of a little church not far from here.  I also love the way the sun was hitting it, and the little bench in front was casting an interesting shadow.

I ran into a very friendly, flirty cat.  The caption to the photo below – where he/she is looking a bit shocked – could be “WHAT???  You clipped your cat’s WHAT????”

“OMG!!!!!  I just can’t look at you any more.  Poor Neva!”

(very silly!!!!)

I also found a VERY odd mushroom/fungus on a tree.  This one looks less like the ‘brain’ one we saw last week, and more like…well…a ufo or a clam.  What did you think I was going to say??? :)

On my way back, I picked up some thai food for Dennis and I.  We had a “kids order” of spring rolls (they’re small, and the order only has 2 rolls), some yellow curry with chicken on jasmine rice, and some pad thai.

So that’s it for Thursday.  VERY happy that it is a long weekend coming up.  Bring on Friday and let’s get the weekend started.

Fairly quick post today, it’s later than normal…the day got away from us a bit.

Per normal Wednesday, I met Michelle for a coffee before work.  I had a muffin this morning too.  (note to self: Check Starbucks nutritional info BEFORE ordering…wow…their baked goods are high in points!)

Wait a second….where is Michelle’s finger?????

HERE IT IS!   Michelle was running a bit behind this morning, and her finger was a bit sad because of it.  (silly)

During the morning, I split a bagel thin, 1 tbsp almond butter and a banana with one of my co-workers.  It wasn’t appropriate to take a photo, but you all know what that looks like! :)

I had a lunch planned with my warrior friend Sharon today, but unfortunately, she had to cancel.  (we’re both starting on our training on Saturday).  Dennis was in the ‘hood, so he and I had lunch together at the last minute.  Handsome date, don’t you think?

We had miso soup…

…and my standard sushi choices, a California roll, spicy tuna roll and “BC Blaze” roll.

It was a bit of a funny day, so we decided to have a funny idea after work, and had a margarita and some multigrain nacho chips with salsa.  Not the most point friendly choice….but today, just had to happen.

I was happy to pose my little Mariachi band around the “Wednesday Mexican Fest”.  Ole!!

Dinner, at a ridiculous “almost bedtime” hour (as I said, it’s been an odd day) was a salad with arugula, blueberries, light feta, scallions and Bolthouse honey mustard dressing, a few roasted nugget potatoes with fat free sour cream, and a grilled beef kabob.

There you have it, a “fly by” Wednesday post.  Hopefully more detail, more vegetables :), and more news will follow tomorrow!

After I hit “publish” last night, I got cracking in the kitchen and made another batch of blackberry jam…and THIS!!!!!  Blackberry Curd.  (I know this photo just looks like a jar of purple “blop” but it’s quite a lovely color in real life, and I’m excited to use it soon.)

I found the recipe in the June issue of Cooking Light.   The curd itself was part of a “blackberry curd tart” recipe.  Here is the “curd part” only…

3 cups fresh blackberries

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 large egg yolks

1/8 tsp salt (I omitted)

1 tbsp butter (I used light butter/canola oil blend)

1. Combine berries, sugar and juice in saucepan.  Bring to boil over medium high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer 6 minutes.

2. Place mixture in a blender, let stand for 5 minutes.  Blend until smooth.  Strain the blended mixture through a cheesecloth lined sieve (I just used a metal sieve myself…it worked fine) pressing on solids.  (discard solids)

3. Wipe pan clean, return strained mixture to pan.

4. Combine cornstarch and egg yolks, stirring until smooth.  Whisk egg yolk mixture into berry mixture.  Bring to boil over medium low heat.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. (I cooked a little longer ’till it thickened a bit) 

5. Remove from heat, stir in salt and butter.  Scrape mixture into a bowl, cover surface directly with plastic wrap.  Chill

I’m not sure what we’re going to do with it.  Maybe I’ll make some pancakes on the weekend, maybe we’ll use some leftover angel food cake that is in the freezer, or maybe I’ll mix it with greek yogurt.  I’m all ears, any other suggestions what I can do with the curd that won’t break the weight watcher’s point bank??

That was yesterday, today I started my day with a savory breakfast.  It was 1/2 sandwich thin, 1 tbsp weight watchers cream cheese, a slice of ham, one of Sally’s Mom’s tomatoes, a bit of arugula and balsamic reduction.

I had a banana with my coffee at work.

Lunch was a massaged kale salad with sun-dried tomatoes, light feta, nutritional yeast and a fresh peach.   I wonder if/when I’ll tire of massaged kale salads.  I’ll keep you posted on that….but can’t see that happening any time soon!

I also had a few figs.

And later in the afternoon I had 2 rice cakes with a light laughing cow wedge.

I met my good friend Janice for “girl’s dinner” tonight.  We have a little hole in the wall, healthy place that we usually go to if we go for dinner together.  Tonight, our plans were changed….not by choice.

Closed today only????  YOU BASTARDS!!!  kidding….

So we found a “plan b”.  I had a “Boozy Sangria” and some fish tacos.

Great to see you Janice.  We’ll do it again soon, hopefully next time our little “Wallflower” is open.  And now this post is “closed”.  “See” you tomorrow!!

….By Roz Christian Anderson (that was the first famous Fairy Tale Author that popped into my head – and thank you google images for assistance in story illustrations.)

Once upon a time, my Monday morning started like this…..

….looking at and taking photos of a beautiful sunrise from our deck. How relaxing and what a lovely way to start the day.

But then…all hell broke loose.  I had a meeting at the ridiculous hour of 7:30am.  (seriously, who schedules meetings at that time????  ESPECIALLY on a Monday????).  Anyhoo….the meeting came and went and I was still REALLY early returning to my own office.  I walked in, and the alarm goes off.  Loudly.

Guess who doesn’t know the code to shut it off?  OMG…I had to run DOWN 7 flights of stairs to try to find our building security, with no luck, I ran back UP 9 flights of steps to find one of my colleagues on another floor who I’m hoping a) is there and b) knows the code.  I find him, get the code, run back DOWN two flights to the 7th floor….de-alarm the place….and carry on with my day.  I’d say that was worth an activity point, no??  :)

I then went to the kitchen to make myself a big press of coffee.  Guess who forgot she used the last of her coffee on Thursday?  sigh.  I cry a little inside….not really, but it adds some drama to this story!

While I’m in the kitchen, one of my colleagues arrives – she asks me if I know who turned off the alarm. sigh.  I had to bite my tongue but was thinking “Gee, I’m IN the office…who do you think turned off the alarm???  The alarm fairy who had a meeting at 7:00am???  Before mine!?

Clearly, I needed coffee.

She then proceeded to whine and tell me its her turn to take recycling down to where it is picked up, that she’s tired and had a migraine over the weekend, and blah, blah, blah and she didn’t think she could do the chore on her own.  (we all take turns, and she was just being a baby…the rest of us manage to do the chore on our own, but that’s beside the point)  Being the little team player that I am (most days) I agree to assist her.  I also happen to know she has coffee in her office….so being the sly negotiator I am (HA!), agree to help, and wangle myself a couple of tbsp of grounds, make my press and all became better in my world.  Win/Win, she got help, I got coffee.  The end.

That story was very exciting, not for the description of the events, but the fact I could use the word “wangle”!  Opportunities for that don’t come along every day! :)

And we move on to a quick day’s menu recap.

I toted breakfast with me this morning, it was some blackberries, blueberries, 1/2 peach and 1/2 cup greek yogurt.

I met my friend Sally for lunch today, I had a veggie wrap with a small gazpacho. (every time I have gazpacho, I think “I should make some” then forget…sigh.)

Sally’s Mom has a REALLY green thumb, and she shared some of the fruits of her labour with me.  I wish we had “smell o post” because these smell, well, like fragrant, just picked tomatoes.  Funny that!!!!  (thank you Sally and Sally’s Mom!!!)

I had a few figs during the afternoon, and 2 of my colleagues and I split a little pack of Twizzlers.  I had 4 “ropes” and I’m counting them as 4 points.

When I got home, I had a glass of white wine and a couple of rice cakes with Sally’s Mom’s tomato sliced on top, with arugula and balsamic reduction.  I could have eaten about 6 of these, the tomatoes are THAT good.  But I didn’t….

Dinner tonight was leftover turkey burgers from last night in sandwich thins with relish, mustard and arugula, a cob of corn with nutritional yeast and lime and a scoop of potato salad.

I’m now venturing into my kitchen to make another batch of blackberry jam before these gajillion berries I picked on Friday either go moldy or ferment into Blackberry port (hmm…maybe I’m on to something!)  Hope all of your Mondays were alarm free and coffee filled!!!

I know I don’t own a dog, but I love dogs, so to all dogs and dog owners, “Happy National Dog Day”.  Neva is a little choked it’s not National Cat in a Box Day! :)  Maybe one day soon Neva, maybe soon…

We started out our morning with the exact same breakfast as we had yesterday, coffee and a sandwich thin with weight watchers cream cheese and my recently made blackberry jam.

We had lunch at the new home of my sister-in-law, niece and nephew.  Here are Holly and Ryan.

And Katie.

And Lucy.  (Happy National Dog Day Lucy.  To you and your giant ears)

Her ears really are amazing!!!  Is it bad that I “posed” them for several photos?

We had mimosas and a cheers to the new home!

(notice Lucy was hanging around during the “cheers”)

Holly made quiche and salad for lunch.  So good, thanks Holly!!!!

And we had ice cream sandwiches.

Dennis and I had a few errands to run after lunch, and also decided, since we were relatively close to a park, we’d stop in and check out “Deep Cove Daze”.  (yes, that is spelled “daze”)

This is the actual “Deep Cove”.

Dennis and I took a walk along the pier above.  Look what we saw!!!!  COOL!!!  I’d never seen a jelly fish this big and up close except in aquariums.  This would sting!!!  (and this photo doesn’t really show how big and pink it was – trust me, it was BIG and PINK!  (capitals and exclamation points))

Dennis and I plan on going back and renting a kayak for two at some point soon.  Looks fun!

Paddleboards look fun too!!!

We liked the humour of this sign.

At the festival park itself, there was a kids “box” race.  I guess they’d made/decorated and taped boxes and turned them into boats.

The crowd clapped and made noise each time a boat came back in.  Cute.

There were human hamster balls, gladiator bouncy games and velcro suits for the kids.  (truth be told, I really want to try the velcro suit! :) )

Various artists and vendors….

….which apparently did NOTHING for this sleeping man.

On the way back to our car, we saw another sign it was “National Dog Day” (ok, that’s silly…)….

….a fountain with faces….

…a bubble tea cafe with a functioning train going in and out of the shop….

…a funky old car….

and a funny little display by an ice cream vendor.  This kid’s face is silly.  IMHO!  There, I said it.

When we eventually got home, we decided to pretend we were in Mexico, and had some salsa and “Late July” sweet potato chips and a spicy margarita.  Ole!

Dinner tonight was grilled turkey burgers on sandwich thins (with mustard, relish and arugula) with some oven “fries” and balsamic ketchup.

I’m a little in denial that the weekend is over already.  I didn’t quite get everything accomplished I’d hope to, but it was a lovely few days anyway.  Onward to a good work week for us all.

I did a REALLY dumb thing this morning.  I had a fitness assessment booked at our gym for first thing this morning.  I am getting a set plan for my warrior training that starts September 1st.  Um….guess who FORGOT she had an appointment.  OOPS.  I HATE when that kind of thing happens – usually I’m sharper and more on top of things than that, and I get mad at myself for doing that.  sigh.

As an aside, I had a sandwich thin with 1 tbsp weight watchers cream cheese and some of the blackberry jam I made last night when I realized my appointment had passed.

I did however remember I had arranged to meet cousin Helen at her place to go over some family tree info and pictures.  How fun!!!!  Helen has done some great research, and like any family, it seems we have some interesting characters in our tree.  We’ve only scratched the surface of the project….I look forward to digging further into our past with her.

Helen made me lunch while we were there.  Ham buns, fruit, greek yogurt and tea.  Thanks Helen!!!

We also had small pieces of a meringue roll.

Later in the afternoon, Dennis and I had a little snack, hummus and some crunchmaster crackers.

We then set out to a bbq at our friends Doris and Ed’s place.  They live a good hour east of Vancouver, but the highway was nice and clear and we were out there in less time than we’d expected.  Here are a couple of shots from the car, because I thought they were pretty.

And we had a GORGEOUS view of Mt. Baker, which is over the border in Washington State.

Here is Doris and Ed’s dog Milo.  He is LOVELY, so friendly, so playful and Dennis and I would take him home with us if we could.  AWW.  Doesn’t he look like he’s smiling in this photo? :)

Here are Doris and Dennis.  (I had a glass of the white wine in the photo, but I forgot to take a photo of that)

Chef Ed, our colleague Joseph and their tongs!

Here are the rest of the gang….

And Milo and I having a vigorous game of “tug the stick”.  WOW….Milo is STRONG, I’m sure I earned a couple of activity points working out my upper body in this game.  Fun.

We had a great feast, bbq beef and pork, coleslaw, corn (that was just picked this morning), and I took my famous kale salad.

I had a little shot of blackberry port with dessert…

Dennis and I split small servings of two desserts.  (bad photo, but it was dark…)

Voila, busy and fun Saturday done.  Check.   Now bedtime.

I had a vacation day today.  And I spent a couple of hours of it doing something many hate…but I LOVE, I picked blackberries.  Summer just isn’t summer for me without taking some containers, heading out and gathering fruit.

YOWZA….today, the thorny bushes were HEAVY with fruit.

I guess the recent heat wave really ripened them up well.  I’m not “unscathed”, I’m a bit scratched up, and I can’t get the purple out from under my nails.  Oh well….

But the scratches were well worth it.  I weighed these on my bathroom scale, and looks like I picked close to 15 lbs.  I’ll be sharing, that’s a lot of berries!!!

I have BIG plans for these….I’ll be making a couple of batches of jam, a batch of blackberry curd, will be making some blackberry ‘sauce” to stir into plain yogurt and many will be put in ziploc bags and into the freezer for later uses.  FUN!!!

This was the view from my “pick zone”.

Not ugly is it? AND…an actual functioning train went by.  My camera was locked in the car at the time, so I didn’t get a picture, but it looked like this:

Well, minus the person throwing something in front, the steam and the teeter totter! :)

Before my “pick fest” I fueled up with some scrambled egg whites, 1/3 cup shredded weight watchers cheese and 2 pieces of high fibre, extra thin toast.

I also tried a “new to us” product that we grabbed across the border a couple of weeks ago.  Ketchup with balsamic.  The balsamic is VERY subtle…tasty, but not sure if I’d buy it again.

When I got back, I had a bite or two of leftover pizza from last night, and some hummus and crostinis.

I also fluffed around watching afternoon TV, including a repeat of a show with my favorite boyfriend Anderson Cooper.

I made Dennis and I a spicy margarita to have with dinner.  Sadly, this batch wasn’t spicy like they were last week.  Note to self: go BACK to the hotter peppers to infuse the simple syrup.

Neither of us felt like cooking tonight, so we “threw together” a grilled cheese sandwich, heated some carrot soup that I made a few months ago and was in the freezer and cooked a cob of corn which we topped with lime and nutritional yeast.

That was Friday….and I have a really full weekend ahead.  In the meantime, I have a date with my berries, some jars, some pectin and MAYBE another margarita!!!!

Hope all of you have a great weekend!!!!!!

It’s no secret that Dennis and I lead busy lives.  We work hard, but we also play hard and LOVE events, spending time with friends, experiencing new things and having good times. We are very grateful for our lives, and that will never be lost on us.

However, lately, we’ve both been feeling just a bit “overbooked” and really need a little down time.  Tonight, we were invited to attend a gathering for a couple of our friends who were recently engaged.  Both Dennis and I felt really tired at the day end, and decided it would be a wise move to just stay home, relax, make a nice dinner and hang here together.  We used the “something had come up” line and spent the evening here.  No guilt….

On another note, WOW….look at this “mushroom-y/fungus” we saw growing up the side of a tree.  Looks like a big yellow brain.

I had a TERRIBLE sleep last night, so this morning, I was dragging my a*&.  I had a couple of pieces of thin, high fibre toast with 1 tbsp almond butter and a banana for breakfast.  And coffee.  Quite a bit of coffee….

During the morning, I had a cup of blueberries and about 1/3 cup greek yogurt.

I had ZERO energy this morning, so didn’t make my lunch today.  At lunchtime I was starving…and had a vegetarian chili and a ham “mini” sub.

I also had about 1/3 of this ridiculously fattening and delicious cookie that was given to me at work.  (I counted this as 6 points….)

When I got home, Dennis and I clinked to the day with a glass of white wine.  We are also clinking to a long weekend, I have a vacation day tomorrow.  YAY!!!

We also shared some crostini and hummus.

I decided to make pizza for dinner with some whole wheat dough I got at Trader Joe’s last week and anything else I could find in the cupboard, fridge and freezer.  I should probably name this “Melange Pizza” as it has bits and pieces of all kinds of things.  Namely, pesto, artichokes, finely chopped kale, onion, leftover chicken, light cheese (from Trader Joes), bbq sauce and sun dried tomatoes.

Quick post, and now I’m going to wrap this up and do what we had planned tonight.  Time for some R&R.

Today was a day I was very glad it was my first day of the “point counting” week, because I used a good chunk of my weekly points today.  You’ll see why in a bit.  I was also VERY well hydrated.  You’ll see why in a bit too.

My breakfast this morning was a bagel thin with Trader Joe’s fig butter.  I also had my first cup of coffee of the day.

Being Wednesday, I met Michelle for a pre-work coffee.  Michelle’s whole hand appears today, in shock as she read that Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger are engaged.  Huh????  Who knew they were even dating????  I had my second cup of coffee there, and a big honkin’ ice water.

During the morning, I had a little banana.

I met Melisa for tea during the morning too.  And I had a HUGE (unphotographed) green tea.

I had lunch with my friend Andrea and her son Alec.  As you can see from the photos, it was a very serious time.  NOT.  Here is Alec with his edamame.

And here are Andrea and I.  Andrea asked that I “fix” her sunglass tan, so I just used pic monkey and put her sunglasses back on.  While I was at it, pic monkey covered up my dark under eye circles too.

I had several MORE cuts of green tea, some miso soup, and a spicy tuna roll, a california roll and a BC Blaze roll.

NOW comes the bit about using the weekly points.  Tonight, Dennis and I had passes to the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition).  Dinner was “fair food” at its finest.  We went to the barbeque competition pit….I had a pulled pork sandwich, Dennis had a few ribs, a bit of brisket and some beans.  It was ABSOLUTELY delicious, though NOT point friendly.

I also had an apple cider (Dennis had a beer).

It was NOT gross!! :)

Here are a couple of photos of the barbecue “pit”.

The REAL reason we went to the fair tonight is that a buddy of Dennis’ is in a ZZ Top Tribute Band (yes, you may all snicker, even laugh out loud at that!) and they were playing tonight.

Can’t say I’m a big fan of ZZ Top, but gotta give these guys credit, they were true to their inspiration!

We did NOT have either of these…..

Dennis was thirsty.  (not really, but he lovingly obliged me for this photo!)

And we BOTH were silly in this shot….

Great color….

Sand sculpture contest….these are just three of about a dozen sculptures.  It was very hard to pick a favorite.


The answer to that question?  NO!!!  OMG…you should have seen how high this was, how long the people sat up and the top, and how quickly they spun around once they got going.  I think if I was on this, I’d either pass out, vomit, poop my pants or die.  Or maybe all of the above.  My knees felt wonky just looking up at these people.

Here are a few other ride pics. (none of which we went on)

Climbing walls and human hamster balls.  (I’m a poet! :) )

Much color in the “carnie” area.  The toys of choice this year?  Rastafarian monkeys and bananas (really??), phallic chili peppers and more monkeys wearing bananas on their heads.

Cows and horses and chickens, oh my!  (OMG, I did NOT say that…well, I guess I did)  And there were bunnies too! :)

And we ended the night with a walk around the Star Trek Exhibit.  (Marion, Carlo would be lost in here for HOURS!!!!)  Dennis is a “trekkie” and LOVED it.  (we weren’t supposed to take photos, but I snuck a couple.)

And this is a “picture of a picture” of us being “beamed up”.

OK…WAY past bedtime for a “school night”, so I’ll close with a simple “Live Long and Prosper”.

August 2012
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