Friday, December 17, 2010

The holiday season is upon us...

During this past weekend I was finally able to dig out our Christmas tree and decorations. This year there are a few special ones on our tree :)))

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Veggie Garden: Year 1

Since this past weekend was a logn one thanks to Victoria Day on Monday, my hubby and I decided that it was time to give our veggie garden a GO! We bought a whole lot of plants and black earth and compost to remedy the clay-like earth we've got going on in our backyard.

But, as some of you may know, the weather did not exactly cooperate this weekend. No, it did not rain, BUT the humidex was at an unbearable +38C! What's that about at the end of May?! We worked a bit in the morning: hubby was digging, while I made our flowerbed in the front look decent. In the afternoon, however, while Andre slaved away in the heat, pregnant me stayed inside till about 5 pm.

That's probably why we ran out of time and energy to plant all of the stuff we bought. And as I mentioned previously, we bought quite a bit:

- tomatoes
- peppers
- cabbage
- beans
- lettuce
- cucumbers
- zucchinis
- celery
- parsley
- asparagus
- mint
- basil
- tarragon
- chives
- seeds of radishes, carrots, and beets... I think there might be more?...

For now, this is what the half-finished product looks like:

I'll keep an update on whether we'll actually get to taste the fruits of our labour this summer/fall.

Monday, May 17, 2010

To Kill a Dandelion

Here's how it goes: after a few fruitless attempts to fight the explosion of dandelions on our lawn, my husband went and bought a weed eliminator for $30. I gotta say - it's worth EVERY PENNY!

Although not all of the weeds come out that great, this one here had a root of almost 100 cm (or 39 inches, we measured)! Must be all our good Canadian soil... BUT finally, the dandelions have met their maker, he-he...

{ click on image to enlarge }

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ready? Set... Cook!

Okay, so before I forget. I was going to share this with you awhile ago, but you know how it is sometimes - good thoughts come around at oddest of times; mine usually when there is no computer around.

A few months ago I realised that I'm sort of obsessed with buying cookbooks. Most with pictures, some without. I've got about 7 of them now, different topics, of course, but all interesting in their own rite. I have vowed to make at least 1 recipe from each of the books, and so far so good!

My latest acquisition came from Costco (and let me tell you, it's probably the best place to buy books if you're not looking for something in particular cause their selection always changing!). It's name is Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.

I've watched the show by the same name and at times was disgusted and even angry at the way some people eat and even worse, let their children follow. I grew up eating homemade meals every day AND it was all Russian cuisine! Mmm, delicious! I don't know how my mom found the time to do all of that, having 2 jobs and 2 kids to raise by herself, but she did it somehow. Now, living in Canada, I'm realising that some many people here are missing out on some many great possibility when it comes to food. Pizza, McDonald's and other fast food joints were never a part of our diet. Actually, the first McDonald's opened in Belarus in 1996! And it ain't that popular...
Okay, so back to Jamie's book. My husband is Canadian, so his tastes and mine a somewhat different (to say the least!). He is the pizza-fries-and-coke kind of guy. Me, I eat whatever and will try almost any kind of food (my thought is - what if I like it?!). Keeping that in mind, I flipped through the main course section of the book and picked to do Jamie's Good Old Chilli Con Carne. The prep wasn't as tedious as I thought it was going to be. And after the first 15-20 minutes, you just leave it mixing occasionally.
RESULT: the house smelled delicious, the chilli turned out great AND more importantly, my husband took seconds!!! Also, since I got pregnant, I just can't stand the smell of ground beef cooking or eating it. This chilli was totally different - I loved it. Oh, quick tip though - the recipe portions don't seem like a lot, but it made SO MUCH chilli, it lasted us for almost 4 days (I was taking some for lunch too)!
So, I hope you'll check out the book. Oh, and I'll be sure to take a picture next time.
Happy Cooking! :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

11 Years gone by

This morning marks 11 years since I've stepped on Canadian soil for the first time... The time really does fly, especially when one is busy! Only now I look back and realise that in these past 11 years I only saw my family 3 times... This makes me sad. Family is sooo important, even if you aren't close, you always know that these are the only people that will always have your back, no matter what. Of course, friends could be part of your family too. I've got 1 best friend like that, whom I've known from over 20 years; but her too, I only saw 3 times in these last 11 years.

A lot has happened since May 10th 1999 - graduated from Canadian high school (oh the horror of 13-year duration!), graduated university and obtained a Masters degree, married, bought our first home, expecting our first child... Lived on my own since the tender age of 19... And yet, somehow, managed not to think about the fact that real family isn't here, isn't close by. Maybe I'm getting old and nostalgic, or something!.. When I had all the time in the world to go back and visit, I had no money. Now that I can afford it, I've got no time. Ironic, isn't it?!

The most selfish thought that I've had for a while now is bringing my family here, to live. Why selfish, you might ask? It's because I am established here now, but for them moving here would mean starting over, later in life.

But then again, where there is a will, there is a way. Isn't there?

Friday, May 7, 2010

What a SLOW day...

Today is Friday and although I usually look forward to it, this afternoon is just dragging. So here I am, on my blog, realizing that I haven't posted anything in 2 months!

Well, the big news is that I am expecting our first baby this October! I'm excited and equally scared... of unknown, I guess. Like your first day of school, your first time with someone, you first day at work, your first anything and everything really. This one is a BIG one, of course.

For now I'm just counting down the days till we find out if it's a boy or a girl!!! 10 days left...

I'l keep you posted :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's Day

March 8th - although I'm working today, I would still like to celebrate this day and wish all the women around the world a happy and healthy Women's Day! :)))

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day to be proud

I don't get to be proud of my country often, but today I am beaming. Belarus finally won an Olympic GOLD medal, for the first time ever at the Winter Games!!! And at a sport I really enjoy watching - freestyle aerials.

We were so disappointed to see the world leader (another reason to be proud as he is also from Belarus!) not even qualify due to a daredevil jump and no landing... And yet, yesterday, Alexei Grishin did us all proud! Of course, given a stupid snow storm, we didn't get to see it (yet another pro for cable versus satellite TV), but nonetheless, this win also marks another first - first time Belarussian athletes will bring home more than 3 medals!

Way to go guys (and girls)!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Public Transit Etiquette

Majority of people around the world use public transit (if available, of course). The city of my origin Minsk, Belarus, has an excellent transit system, which does not compare to those in North America... Hands down! Everytime I come back from Belarus I feel cheated in Ottawa, where the charge definitely outweighs the service I receive.

Majority of people using public transit in Ottawa have no clue about how to behave to make the ride pleasant for every passenger. Here are some of the "rules":

- You only paid for one seat, so use one! Don't flop your bag next to you like you're entitled to something (and some only move it after being prompted, sometimes more than once!).

- People - MOVE TO THE BACK!!! If you prepare for your stop in advance, other people will let you off the bus. C'mon already! Just this morning 3 people were let standing in the cold because the bus driver thought the bus was full. Well, the back was empty! And that's just irritating since all of us have places to go.

- Respect priority seating - that applies more to the younger generation that continue to sit there with their iPods in their ears pretending to be "sleeping". Give that old lady/gentleman your seat!

These are some main points that all of us public transit users could improve on. Maybe then we would feel that our transit system is actually worth the $100 we pay every month...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Warm bowl of soup on a cold winter day

I have been following one particular blog for a while - Closet Cooking (see Blogs I Read on the left).

Yesterday, totally by chance, I wondered onto this one recipe that intrigued me: the Spinach, White Bean and Turkey Sausage Soup. I thought, hmm - spinach, bean & turkey sounds like one healthy combination! And in line with a promise I made to myself on New Years (I refuse to call in "resolution!) - being a little selfish in eating only those foods that I get something out of. In addition, given that I live in Canada, having a hot bowl of soup ona cold winter day is just what the doctor ordered :)

Needless to say that this recipe was easy to follow, only took about 25-30 minutes (and that includes preparation!), and it tastes delicious. I even took a photo of my soup - it looks just like the presentation. I'm proud of this little achievement and plan on expanding my cooking horizons further. With every successful recipe, a little confidence is gained :)

And what have you done lately?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Let's try this again, shall we?

Yesterday I once again decided to start blogging. I don't even know how long this urge to write will last... Because blogging is sort of like keeping a journal (and sharing it with the world), which I have never been able to do. Only with blogging there are advantages too, I guess. Venting and ranting, for one.

So this is what I'll do, at first at least. Airing out my frustrations can, after all, be theraputic :))) And, of course, when better thoughts come over, I'll share them there as well.

Well, world, I present you with the beginning of my blogging journal.