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Things to Come

“Great things are in store for you.”

This statement has been running through my mind constantly…when my eyes open to daylight, when I throw off the covers, when I eat, when I tuck myself to bed at night…Great things are in store for me. And I truly believe it. I have to believe it. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to survive.

I’ve never been a very optimistic girl. I used to wake up every morning with a blasé attitude, thinking: Blegh, yet another day I need to endure. Unless there was some special event going on that day, each day was just a boring routine. Wake up, go to school, eat, poop, sleep. Over and over again. Blah blah blah.

When I had my ED, it only got worse. I woke up with dread smothering me, thinking: Shit. Am I still freaking alive? And all I could foresee for that day was yet another struggle with food and weight.

But these days…I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I seemed to have flipped over to a whole new page. I wake up with a huge smile on my face, excited to start the day. Oh, I’m not a total grinning idiot. I know there are lots of challenges ahead. I still have to wrestle with the ED devil, and a few nasty surprises and conflicts here and there…

But I also believe that great things are in store for me. And when I commence my day with that faith, suddenly everything is seen in a whole new light. Even when I’m faced with challenges, I meet it with a fighting spirit. Like a track hurdler, I view it as just a hurdle I need to leap over to reach my goal. And as I sprint over, I relish the rush of sweet triumph, feeling the muscles on my “legs” flex and ripple.

It’s freaking amazing how a little change of attitude and perspective can do to your life. A single day, even when riddled with problems and “misfortunes”, can instantly be turned into a good day when viewed with optimism, hope and expectations. Whatever and whenever, just remind yourself: “Great things are in store for me.” I am once again slapping myself across the head for only recently starting to realize this awesome truth. Damn, I’m slow.

I was also slow in realizing how awesome marmite can be when used for cooking. Anyone know this infamous food product?

MARMITE: Love or hate? They say there’s always two extreme reaction to this sticky, dark brown paste. You either find it extremely tasty and addictive, or find it pukingly-disgusting. I bought this (rather pricey) bottle of marmite out of curiosity. I so desperately wanted to love it, because all those British toasts with marmite and butter sounded sooo well, British and cool.

Anyway, I dug excitedly into it and spread the brown stuff on some toast. But sadly, I found myself puckering my face with disgust at the strong, yeasty taste.

So. It’s been sitting in my pantry for more than 7 months. While reorganizing my pantry last week, I came across this neglected bottle of marmite glaring accusingly at me. I felt guilty, so I decided to give it another try, but tone the bold taste down a bit by using it in my “mix-it-up” bowl. This is what I came up with:

Marmite-Glazed Kabocha with Poached Egg

The base: 2 cups pre-roasted kabocha cubes

The mix-ins/dressing: Marmite-glazed onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and dried cranberries (recipe below) and chopped scallions

The topping: 1 soft-poached egg

Marmite-glazed onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and dried cranberries

1/3 cup chicken broth
1 tsp marmite
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 sliced onion
2 chopped sun-dried tomatoes
handful dried cranberries

Cook the onion, sun-dried tomatoes, and dried cranberries in the chicken broth until the onion turns soft. Stir in the marmite and maple syrup, cook and simmer until sticky and thickened.

After making the mix-ins/dressing, just stir it all together with the kabocha and scallions. Then top with the poached egg.

First of all, it’s got kabocha. Kabocha can do no wrong.

Second, it’s topped with a runny poached egg. My motto is: When in doubt, just top it with runny yolk, and all will be nice and golden.

Third, how can anything so shiny and sticky be bad? The marmite made the sauce really super-sticky in a good way, and tasted like a deglazed steak pan. And with a hint of sweetness, from the maple syrup, it was a hit.

The bites of chewy sun-dried tomatoes and cranberries were really nice and sweet, too. Next time, I’ll add some nuts for extra crunch.

Okay, time for a little announcement: there will be some great challenges ahead for me soon:

Bringing the world together

Hey guys! Welcome to my new home! I’m so glad to see you guys following me over to WordPress! I noticed that a lot of bloggers had been making the transition from Blogger to WordPress. I decided to try it out for myself to see what all the hype is about, so yesterday out of sudden impulse, I found myself importing my blog over here.

So, what do you guys think of my new blog? Any comments, suggestions, or advice would be much appreciated!

I’m still trying to get the hang of WordPress and learn the knooks and crannies of it, so I’ll wait awhile before giving a comparison between Blogger and WordPress. Like I said before, I am a total dinosaur when it comes to technology so it’s gonna take me a while to get the hang of this. But so far, I’m loving the clean, professional, fresh layout, and the page tabs above! I’m thrilled to get to have a whole “About Me” section of my own, as y’all know I just love talking about myself. Also, check out the recipe tab! My own collection of ME-inspired recipes! How utterly…head-swelling. I’m all puffed up with pride over my new blog.

But…the best is yet to come! I am itching to share my two more fabulous versions of my soufflé-omelet and “Mix-it-up” bowl.

I love omelets, but after I discovered the gloriously fluffy variation of the plain omelet in the form of soufflé-omelets, I just can’t turn back. An ordinary omelet will no longer cut it for me. Ah, the happy pain of it! I just can’t get enough of these fat protein “pancakes”, so it’s a good thing there are so many different ways to make it special each time!

The first time I made this, it was spicy with a vegetarian curry filling. The second time round, I went all cheese-happy with four kinds of cheese and roasted butternut squash. Now this time round, I decided to go even crazier and make a sweet version of it.

Here’s what I did:

I ground together roasted almonds and almond milk together to make my own almond butter:

Then I chopped up half a Granny Smith apple and a banana, sprinkled them with cinnamon and heated them up in the microwave for 30 seconds:

In another bowl, I mixed together plain yogurt and blackcurrant preserves, then stuck them in the freezer to firm up:

I made the basic preps for the souffle-omelet with two whole separated eggs, except I mixed in a teaspoon sugar and cinnamon into my egg yolks. I whipped up the two egg whites until firm, then dumped them into my egg yolk mixture:

Very carefully blended them together…

And then spread them over a low-heat skillet to cook. Once slightly cooked on the bottom, I ladled on apples and the blackcurrant yogurt sauce on one side, bananas and almond butter on the other…

Then flipped half the omelet over to finish…

The grand finale: “Best of Both Worlds” soufflé-omelet

With a bit of the remaining blackcurrant sauce and a sprinkle of cocoa powder and cinnamon…

How was it? My response: ………………………………………………………………………

That’s me, speechless.

A picture speaks a thousand words, so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

Okay, I can’t resist saying something at this point. I absolutely loved the contrast between the tangy, cool freshness of the tart apples and yogurt-blackcurrant sauce and the warm, gooey, nutty sweetness of the bananas and almond butter. It was the best of both worlds in one plate, it was perfection, it was total mouth-gasm. Holy, freaking, burpilicious!

Who says you can’t have a balanced, healthy dessert for a main meal?

The tragic thing is, every meal, no matter how magnificent, must come to an end with the last bite…

But that’s not the end of it. Oh no, with my crazy ideas in the kitchen, you can be sure the next meal will be just as good, if not better! And I have to say (as modestly as I can) I think today’s version of my “Mix-it-up” bowl was quite ingenious. Here’s a sneak preview:

Fresh fruits, dried fruits, and nuts…What do you think of with that combination? If you called out “muesli”, give yourself a clap on the back! Today’s “Mix-it-up” bowl was inspired by the concept of muesli. Here’s the breakdown:

”Sunshine Muesli” Pilaf

The base:

1 cup cooked pearl barley, 1/4 cup black beans and 1/2 cup chopped roasted winter squash

The mix-ins: 1/2 chopped orange, 1 heaping tablespoon raisins

The dressing: juice from remaining orange, 1 tablespoon orange zest, dash of cinnamon and turmeric

The topping: big spoonful of desiccated coconut, chopped roasted almonds, dollop of homemade almond butter and sprinkle of dried parsley just for color

I was just going to name this “Muesli” Pilaf, but as I sat in front of this orange pilaf, breathing in the citrus fragrance and having a huge cheesy grin on my face, I just had to add the word “Sunshine” to it.

It sure put a sunshine into my taste buds!

I normally don’t like raisins, but it was a great addition to this dish, as it absorbed the orange juice dressing and plumped up nice and chewy.

And of course the perfect adornment is a good pile of almond butter. I know I always say the perfect way to top of meal is with a runny egg, but that would have been disgusting together with these flavors. Almond butter makes a nice substitution over here.

I dug into this bowl with great gusto…

What a delicious, breakfasty lunch!

I think it’s great fun to try something totally different from typical lunch concepts once in a while. Actually, in my opinion, we ought to have dessert and breakfast for every meal because, come on, what’s better than dessert and breakfast? You see restaurants boasting all-day breakfasts, but have you ever seen a restaurant bragging about its all-day lunches or dinners?

Okay, now I’m off to set up my “About Me” page, leaving you with this question: Can you name all the different fruits in my header? Those who can identify them all will win a shout-out in my next post!

Fair and balanced government updates

The first Martin government budget was released today. There was nothing really earth-shattering announced, but there were some interesting points made and some money well-spent. There was some help given to students with an increase in student loan money and the default ceiling raised. Some people are complaining about a program that is being implemented for low-income families — children born after 2003 will receive money in the form of grants to help the families save for post secondary — saying that low-income families don’t save money and that the answer is to reduce poverty. Personally, I think the best way to get out of poverty is to be given the opportunity to start saving, but that’s just my opinion. People are complaining about the lack of funding for defense, however there was a slight increase in the amount that DND gets AND personnel who are deployed in “hostile environments” are going to get tax breaks (they don’t have to pay income tax for their entire tour!) so I think that balances out. As usual, there’s always going to be someone complaining about something because you can never please the entire country. But it seemed to be fair and balanced and that’s the important thing. I’m happy with it.

Medical Marijuana in Canada

Ottawa has announced a new project that will be starting soon:
Health Canada plans to make government-certified marijuana available in pharmacies, a move that could boost the number of registered medical users.

Officials are organizing a pilot project in British Columbia that would allow medical users to buy marijuana at drugstores.

Currently, 78 medical users in Canada are permitted to buy Health Canada marijuana, which is grown in Flin Flon, Man. The 30-gram bags of dried buds, sold for $150 each, now are sent by courier directly to patients or their doctors.

The department will allow participating pharmacies to stock marijuana for sale to approved patients without a prescription.

That’s right — people who are legally allowed to use marijuana for medical use will now be able to purchase it at their local pharamacy. For months since the legalized-for-medical-use ruling came out, there has been debate over how these people were supposed to get their pot. Now they will be able to just get it at the drug store. This is a great step for Canada, and it’s one that I’m very glad to see the government taking.

Is the world going crazy?

I decided to name this post “why is the world going crazy?” because it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for the last couple of days. The first time that I thought it was when I read this article about how more hate crimes against Jewish people and Holocaust survivors have been popping up in the Toronto area. I can’t imagine the kind of hate that you need to have to torment and torture elderly people who have already been to the depths of hell. But yet that is what is happening in Toronto. Even the dead are not safe, with tombstones and graves being defaced at night. What is going through a person’s mind when they create such a disgusting display? What could possess them to treat people, even those who have gone before us, in such an inhuman way?

Top 10 Canceled TV Shows

There are very few things more depressing than having your favorite TV show cancelled by money-hungry television execs. So many good shows are cancelled every year, not because of a lack of good ratings but because of a lack of support from The Powers That Be. MSN Entertainment has compiled a list of the ten best TV shows to ever get cancelled. Is your favorite on the list? Personally, I was a huge Sports Night fan.

Browser of the future

Now this is a toy that I can’t wait to get my hands on:
Opera Software announced yesterday the upcoming release of a multi-modal desktop browser that incorporates IBM’s Embedded ViaVoice speech technology.

By leveraging IBM’s voice libraries in this version of Opera, users can navigate, request information and even fill in Web forms using speech and other forms of input in the same interaction.

A web browser that responds to voice commands. No more typing in web sites or even having to use a mouse. For us lazy people, it’s the perfect tool. I’ve used IE for years now, but I think that I just might have to switch over to Opera when this is released. You know, just for giggles.

Almost the end of school

I finished my last human resources assignment this morning. I now have two business planning I assignments, one marketing assignment and the entire business planning course to finish by the end of May. Considering I got started a month late, I’m pretty proud of myself to be finishing almost a month early. It hasn’t been pretty, but it’s getting close to being over.

You Call it Easter

If you compare the Christian holiday calendar with the Pagan holidays, you will notice that for every Pagan holiday celebrated there is a Christian one close to it. Coincidence? I think not. It’s a rumor that when the Christian religion was first getting its roots, the bishops and the popes decided that the best way to ease the transition from Paganism to Christianity was to make all the holidays close to each other. I don’t know if I actually believe this theory, but it definitely makes you wonder about when Christ was really born…

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, which is the current holiday of Ostara, and it’s Christian mate, Easter. There are a ton of similarities between the two holidays, the biggest one being their names. Easter gets its name from the Teutonic goddess of spring and the dawn, whose name is spelled Oestre or Eastre. Modern pagans have generally accepted the spelling “Ostara” which honors this goddess as our word for the Vernal Equinox.

The 1974 edition of Webster’s New World Dictionary defines Easter as: “orig., name of pagan vernal festival almost coincident in date with paschal festival of the church; Eastre, dawn goddess; 1. An annual Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, held on the first Sunday after the date of the first full moon that occurs on or after March 21.” The Vernal Equinox usually falls somewhere between March 19th and 22nd (the dictionary only mentions March 21st, as opposed to the date of the actual Equinox), and depending upon when the first full moon on or after the Equinox occurs, Easter falls sometime between late-March and mid-April.

This year, the actual date of Ostara was yesterday, March 20th. However, I didn’t get around to posting about it because, well, I’m lazy. For those of you who are interested, there is more info about Ostara below in the extended entry. I think the reason why I like this particular holiday so much is because it symbolizes the end of the winter and the coming of spring. Out with the cold, in with the warmth. That’s a good reason to celebrate for me.

Spring is here

It’s hard to get into the spirit of spring when there’s still four feet of snow on the ground. Hopefully, this new look for the site will be helpful.

Oh, please also note that over to the side, the archives for.. are now available for your viewing pleasure. I didn’t realize that there was so many until I had to upload them all. Do I ever shut up?