Archive for November, 2011

November 30, 2011

Okay, I’ve been slacking. Seriously slacking. Also kinda sick.  My stomach has been doing crampy flip-flops, so I’m on a modified-BRAT diet until our Moms show up tomorrow night!  That’s right – the Hubby’s mom (Mummy-E) and my mom (Mummy-K) are coming to spend a week being touristy around Montreal!  I am so excited.

I have been decorations-crafting a fair bit this week and last.  I made two things, and purchased a few others.  First made-item: a wreath for our door.

Bonne Fête, Jesus!

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November 25, 2011

GF Pizza

I got a bit cocky with how well the gluten-free crepes turned out.  The Hubby decided the other night that he really wanted pizza for dinner.  I could have just called Pizza Pizza, who apparently has a GF Pizza Crust, but I decided to tackle another experiment in getting yeast to rise without gluten.

This time, it was a fail.  I know it doesn’t look like it, and taste-wise it was a win.  But I have terrible skill at getting dough to rise.  I am not sure if my room wasn’t warm enough, or if I didn’t let the yeast activate long enough, or if I simply didn’t have enough flour (the dough was really sticky, but I thought pizza dough was supposed to be stickier than regular dough).  I used this Epicurious recipe, except I subbed a flour mix that had the same types of flour.  Perhaps the ratio there was off.  Regardless of the problem, the dough didn’t properly rise, and then it didn’t pull off the plates it was rising on, leaving me to re-roll it on the pizza stone.  Then getting the cooked pizza off the pizza stone was a huge challenge!  Next time several changes:

  1. Parchment paper.
  2. More flour
  3. Leaving the yeast to properly activate before mixing it in the flour
  4. Setting rising dough on top of the oven (perhaps letting dough rise before rolling it out).

Luckily, the pizza tasted pretty good.  The dough was really dense, but the toppings more than made up for its short comings.  It was definitely Hubby-approved, as he is anxious for us to try pizza dough again 🙂

November 23, 2011

The Great Crepe Experiment

Montreal-ers like their crêpes.  Last weekend when Jm visited, we had them twice (well, the boys had them twice, I had them at the place that had gluten-free options). I have been seeing them on every brunch menu I’ve encountered.  After going to La Crêperie du Marché, and eating their delicious buckwheat crêpes, I decided to balls-out attempt my own.

Savory crêpe - with zucchini, mozzarella, shallots, and pesto. Yum!

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November 21, 2011

Mont-Royal & Vieux-Montreal, Jean-Talon & Saint-Denis

Jm left yesterday evening, and the Hubby and I went home and collapsed on the couch, sore from the crazy amount of walking we did over the weekend. Saturday, as stated, we hiked Mont-Royal and poked around Vieux-Montreal. Sunday, after sleeping off sangria, live music, and late night board games, we went to the Jean-Talon market and then killed time on Saint-Denis before Jm’s bus left.  Here are some photos from the weekend:

"Leroy Jenkins-ing" (i.e. short-cutting) up the hill Mont-Royal

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November 19, 2011

Le Tourist

We’re back to our regularly scheduled cheerfulness after last week’s mini-meltdown. Which is good; I would take being consistently moderately content over wild swings of ecstatic and devastated any day.
Part of the reason for the happy is that Jm has come to stay for the weekend. Nothing beats old friends. They can make anywhere “Home”. His visit is also an excuse to be a tourist. When you live somewhere, it is so easy to get bogged down in making a life, you forget to see the things that make where you live great!
We stayed up super late last night watching the highly under-lauded Alan Tudyk movie Tucker and Dale vs Evil. The premiss is that these 2 rednecks and this group of college kids both think they are the protagonist in a horror film and the other is the killer. Which makes for a lot of gory hilarity. I highly recommend, even if the mechanisms are a bit see through.
Today we slept in, took the Dahg to the park, and then went to climb Mount-Royal. I like “mountains” in this part of the country. They are easily scaleable in 90 minutes time. We had ourselves a hot chocolate at the top, and then wandered down the hill through the McGill campus. I was struck how all college campuses had different layouts but the same buildings. It immediately transported me to UBC, though older and more compact.
We decided to have dinner in Old Montreal. If you get off at Champ-de-Mars, leave the Metro and are transported across the Atlantic to Paris, France. It is crazy! And also pricey and touristy. So, yes, Paris 🙂 And in typical British colonial fashion, a giant column with Horatio Nelson at the top. I’m not a huge Anglo-Navy-phile, but I do love monuments to Lord Nelson, if only because he is always shown sans arm.
We’re sitting now at Shaika, the café bar downstairs, where there is purportedly a Celtic-gypsy-bluegrass band supposed to play. I’m telling you, the thing I will miss most about Montreal is the concept of the “café bar”. Coffee, sandwiches, baked goods, simple alcoholic beverages, and nightly live music. What more do you need?
Tomorrow we’re going to explore Jean-Talon and the Plateau. Farmers market and vintage stores. I’ll post pics Of our excursions tomorrow!

November 17, 2011

Mood Swings

One thing about moving, something I didn’t expect but perhaps should have, was the mood swings I’ve been having! The Dahg, demontrating the manic happy upswing part of moving:
Okay, so I needed a pic and that’s a funny one I took of him yesterday. It doesn’t really apply to the rest of the post.
Basically, life is either amazing and fantastic and exactly what I wanted, or terribly stressful and making me bawl.
I had a bit of a break yesterday. I am trying to get a renewal of a prescription, and I ran headlong into my status-in-Canada issue. I don’t have healthcare, which means I have to pay for services. I expect that, but in Vancouver, we have things like Three Bridges and Options For Sexual Health for people who need very basic medical care. Here, there’s no such thing. Now, if you have Quebec medical, things are great. There’s a large network of private, public, family, and walk-in clinics that are covered by your healthcare. But if you don’t have Medicare, and you aren’t youth, a refugee, or a student, you have to pay full price.
My problem wasn’t paying – I understand it’s just the way things are. My frustration came from calling or visiting 5 clinics, all supposed walk-ins. I explained that I was new, or tried to, and I was rudely bounced around from incorrect referral to incorrect referral. The rudeness, confusion, and frustration at not being able to get a simple thing was what broke me, and caused me to have my first truly homesick moment.
So I found a sushi restaurant and splurged on some salmon nigiri and edamame. Not cheap, and not Vancouver-caliber, but it helped.
I solved the problem, but the mood swings lingered all day. When I look back, I have been having a lot of mood swings lately. It’s very stressful, and I wish it weren’t the case. But my naturally high anxiety has shot skyward lately, and I feel like it’s something I should have expected when throwing my life into upheaval. Alas, I must have blocked it because I wanted the adventure so much!
Luckily, the thing that has been constant is the Hubby. We have basically spent the last 2 months almost exclusively with each other and the Dahg. We had a network in Ottawa, and the C family in Halifax, but have spent more time with each other than without or with others. And not only are we not sick of each other, but we are learning to enjoy more things together. We’ve been learning our instruments together (me banjo, Hubby fiddle) a bit, which is really relaxing, and we have been doing daily exercises. We’ll start running together in the spring when my back is strengthened. And taking the Dahg to the NDG dog park has been a fun excursion. I’m looking into other classes we can take together, too. I definitely married a good one!

In closing, mood swing bite, but I have been trying to focus on enjoying the upswings and not being fatalistic about the downswings. Also trying to predict roadblocks that could cause them, and not beat myself up when I get derailed with them.

November 15, 2011

Gluten-Free Experiments

Over the last few days, I’ve finally gotten the chance to do some serious baking! It feels SOOO GOOD!  I have really missed cooking lately, as evidenced by the fact that between 3 regular meals, 2 baking experiments, and not having dishes, I’ve probably spent at least 6 hours holed up in the kitchen so far this week.  Yesterday, I made bread from a Pamela’s bread mix.  Today I experimented with homemade gluten-free pasta. I also knocked off another photography prompt today, part of documenting my experiment today. The prompt was:

So I introduce you to my buckwheat-chana flour spaghetti:

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November 14, 2011

Lazy Photoblog

The wrongs of last week all got righted this morning.  And they call got righted before noon! We called the Internet company and found out they had actually connected our Internet, but failed to tell us in one of our 3 phone calls on Friday. The ironic part is they call themselves a “communications company”. The fridge repairman was much more timely – he showed up within an hour of calling.  He was impressed with the age of our fridge, though. And fridge repair is not cheap!

Now that I have a medium to blog that isn’t constantly crashing, here’s some lazy photos I’ve been meaning to share from our day out Saturday (lazy photos mean iPhone camera, so low quality):

Crepes! I have been craving them for a few weeks, and they were delicious. Maple syrup, chocolate, AND sweet yogurt on top, and stuffed with fruit. Yum!

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November 13, 2011


Since we have no Internet, I have been trying to blog from my phone. The WordPress app I use has been crashing, hence the lack of posts. I write one, try and add a photo, and then bam! Crash, and naturally before I save anything.
This happened last night when I had a lovely post going about our Saturday. It was a very busy day! You’ll get that overview tomorrow, since I have a few pictures to share., and this app keeps crashing when I try and load them.

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November 11, 2011

Ikea hate!


This week was a time vacuum! I had every intention of doing neat things and writing more, but between grocery shopping, unpacking, some real work, and waiting for the Internet Gods to show up, the week got away from me. Oh, also Ikea. It was not just one night sacrificed to the big blue box, but two. So exhausting!
No matter how many times I tell myself I’ll never go back, I’ll just thrift store and Craigslist it all, it’s just a waste of money, etc, I always end up back there. It’s just cheap enough, and necessary when you just want your bed off the floor.
We went to get a bed, because all the beds on Craigslist and Kijiji were actually more expensive than one from Ikea. We went Monday night, expecting to set the bed up when we got home. We left at 6:00, arrived at 6:30 (Montreal traffic!) and set to wandering the showroom, deciding on a bed (the Lillesand), picking out some other things, having dinner, then heading to the warehouse. Then something happened that I have never seen at an Ikea.
They were out of stock of the Lillesand.
I was so choked. I really liked this bed, and in my mind, it was far more stylish and less “Ikea-looking” than the other beds, but was still a good price. Rather than be deterred, I decided I wanted to go to the Ikea in Boucherville (east of Montreal, just over the river). According the the Ikea website, the bed was stocked there.
Fine, another night at Ikea. We started late, left at around 6:15 for what was supposed to be a quick 30 minute drive. Our GPS decided to take us on a “shortest technical distance” detour, which ended up making the trip take an hour. Then we got lost in the showroom, and had difficulty finding some things we’d forgotten to get the night before. We went down to pick up our bed, and GTFO.
Boucherville was also out of stock of the Lillesand. Fine, back-up bed it is. But we had to navigate the warehouse database in French, and French + Ikea-language is really complicated when you are exhausted and disoriented. Plus we had to find a work-around to our lack of box spring. Ikea has an easy solution, but they don’t advertise it, and it cost $50 for pine slats attached with muslin strips. Sigh. We decided to get the bed and to not get the bed, returned the parts and hunted down the parts, tried to see if we could get the Lillesand headboard with the back-up bed’s side slats, decided we couldn’t do that, pouted (me) and measured everything possible (Hubby), and finally made it through the check out at 8:20. The trip to Boucherville also paid off, because the bed was cheaper there than at the Montreal store (wha?!).
We then rewarded ourselves with hotdogs for dinner.
I have since discovered that we didn’t account for a few things that Ikea could be helpful with (curtains since apparently we’re west-facing, spice rack, hooks, etc) but I will be damned if I set foot in Ikea again.
For at least 6 months.
In other news, my kitchen is about 90% unpacked, and I intend to get back to homemade, gluten-free deliciousness in the coming days. So look forward to that! I am cooking up some of my white-bean chili at this exact moment! Yum!