Category Archives: Lunch

Potlucking

My department at work had a potluck yesterday and the theme was sort of ‘foods from our heritage’ — dishes you grew up with or are popular in your culture. Our team has a pretty diverse mix, which I love because I learn something new every day, and I especially loved it for the potluck because it meant eating all the different kinds of foods. We were eating the world!

I’ve been looking for an excuse to make my Nana’s pierogies for a long time, so I spent two evenings doing that. They’re not difficult at all but they are super time consuming. But worth it. So worth it.

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The recipe for those is here. For some reason mine didn’t turn out quite as good as the last time I made them. I think I needed a bit more onion in the filling, and I don’t think I rolled my dough thin enough. But they were still delicious!

My pierogies were a nice complement to the Jamaican beef patties brought in by my friend Frances, whose dad grew up in Jamaica, and the homemade sausage rolls brought in by Rachel the Aussie.

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The sausage rolls were a highlight for sure. They were so good.

My coworker Ciara is from Ireland and brought quiche and four kinds of homemade bread.

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Mmm, bread. They were all delicious, but the cheddar onion bread was my favourite.

Our manager Karen is from the east coast (Newfoundland) so she brought in lobster tails!

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Complete with melted butter. Ahh it was so good! And it was cute that a few people had not tried lobster tails before. They were difficult suckers to open though, and the room we were eating in was really hot, so I was getting all sweaty trying to break into them. I still wouldn’t mind having lobster every day for lunch though.

I think the award for most interesting dish (but also really good) goes to Cathy from Uganda, for her bananas in peanut sauce.

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But not like sweet bananas, and not plantains — they’re green cooking bananas. It’s a savoury dish, not a sweet one. Cathy was telling me the nuts for the sauce are not actually peanuts, they are just similar so that’s what she calls it here. But they are a ground nut only found in Uganda, and she has her family send them to her or picks them up when she is visiting. I have tried this sauce before when Cathy has brought it in for lunch and I really, really, like it. Although I admit it doesn’t look the most appetizing in photos. I sent a picture to Evan with the text “bananas in but sauce!” and of course I meant to say peanut sauce and somehow it autocorrected. He just wrote back “…butt sauce?” It made me laugh hard.

We also had this spread, which I’m pretty sure isn’t from anyone’s family culture but I do love a good cheese, cracker and olive spread so no complaints.

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And those pears with nuts were a nice addition.

And we had a really great salad.

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Because someone had to bring it.

There was also some Chinese fried rice that my coworker Evelyn brought in, and it was as amazing as Chinese fried rice always is.

For dessert we had a Dufflet lemon vanilla cake (from my coworker from Slovakia, and though I am disappointed I wasn’t eating goulash, I do love me some cake), and homemade ginger cookies!

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So good. I loved the potluck, and I think the theme was a great idea. I was ridiculously full and happy for the rest of the afternoon.

I got a call from the vet letting me know that Winnie’s paw print was ready for me to pick up, so yesterday I stopped by the vet to retrieve it. And then I hugged it to my chest and sobbed in my car before driving home.

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I love it and I am so glad we have it. I will cherish it forever. But (and I feel ridiculous for complaining about this and I hate that there’s a but!) that isn’t her natural paw print. It looks like they spread her little paw out. I understand why they did that, because otherwise it would just be a little blob of cat paw, but…I was really looking forward to having that little blob of cat paw. I was talking to Evan about it and I guess we can tell ourselves that this way it’s like she was stretching. I’m trying not to think about it too much because there’s nothing I can do about it now, but I do wish I had inked her little paw at some point. Oh well.

In other news, I am so glad it’s Friday! This week has felt exceptionally long to me. Have the best weekend!

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Delicious Things I’ve Eaten Lately

I have been very, very busy with work the past few weeks, and when this happens my blog tends to suffer. I am sorry about that. There are so many things I want to talk about but I am just not making the time to sit down and write, so I don’t know if it will happen. But rest assured I have still been eating delicious things. So, this is totally a filler post, but who doesn’t like to hear about food?

A couple of weeks ago Evan took me out to this Turkish restaurant in Vaughan called Sofra Istanbul. I got the Meat Saute with beef and I was super impressed.

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Beef cooked with onions, green pepper, mushrooms, tomato, herbs and spices with tomato sauce, and rice on the side. It was SO GOOD. I don’t know if I have ever had Turkish food before, but I will definitely be having it again. I loved that plate.

A couple of weeks ago I went for a catch-up lunch with my former coworker but forever friend Brian, aka Lord Byron (and he calls me the Princess).

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Lord Byron and I at a work event a few years ago

I miss seeing him all the time. Actually, I miss my whole office family very much. We went to a pub near my work called the Pump House Grille that I have been to several times with my current coworkers so I know it’s really good. Their salads in particular are amazing. Huge portions. When I was out with Brian I ordered the grilled chicken taco salad and it did not let me down.

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When I broke down the walls of that taco shell it nearly overflowed on my plate. So much salad and it was so good. My only complaint was the salsa. It wasn’t the best, but it got the job done.

My first event last Monday was at the Royal York Hotel downtown Toronto, and leading up to this I had nearly daily conversations with my contact at the hotel. During this time we decided we like each other quite a lot. She is close to my age and we have a lot in common, so whenever I talked to her about event related things we ended up having a grand old time on the phone. I don’t even usually like talking on the phone. Anyway, I was dropping by for a site visit prior to our event and she offered to take me out for lunch at the Royal York restaurant EPIC. I will never, ever say no to a free lunch. Ever. Especially not a fancy lunch.

Not only did she offer to take me out for lunch, but she insisted that we go all out, three course meal it up. If you insist. I started with the Ontario farm fresh salad with goat cheese. My new friend also insisted that I add scallops to the salad because they are very good. I am not one to argue the addition of scallops on anything ever, so I complied.

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And I agree, they were VERY good scallops. And that goat cheese was plentiful and delicious. Now that is how you do a goat cheese salad! Take note, Sandals.

For my main I ordered the lobster pasta, because lobster. And because pasta.

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Better than I was anticipating. Best pasta I’ve had in recent memory. The chefs there know what they are doing, I tell you what. I think I need to hit up EPIC more often, because it was EPIC. Dessert was epic too. Creme brulee!

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Three different kinds. I don’t remember what kinds they were but they were all delicious.

My old work building had a Druxy’s deli downstairs and I used to rave on and on about how much I love their salads. I have really missed not having them so conveniently close to me. Last week I Googled locations near my work and I saw there was one not far away inside a hospital. Not convenient at all, probably the furthest thing from convenient. But I love Druxy’s so damn much that yes I will visit a hospital so that I can go there.

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It’s been so long!!! Druxy’s, I love you!

The hospital parking wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be… It is pay parking, but apparently if you are under 10 minutes you can get back out with your ticket without having to pay. So I will be going back. But even though I didn’t have to pay, let it be known that I would pay an extra $3 in parking for a Druxy’s salad.

This Monday I had an event in Vancouver, so I was away Monday and Tuesday. I was in Vancouver for about 24 hours and it was raining so I didn’t even really go outside. But I ate! Ohh I ate. After the event on Monday I roped a few of my coworkers and also a fine young chap from Edmonton with a fantastic mustache who was attending our event, to come out for dinner. We went to the restaurant at the Four Seasons (where we were staying), Yew. I went there last year after an event too, and I can’t remember what I ate but I do remember liking it. This year my coworker Kelly and I split this amazing seafood platter.

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The seafood tower for two. Yumfest for days. In that pile of deliciousness is fresh local oysters, crab salad, shrimp, albacore tuna and scallops. Yes yes yes and yes.

The next morning I ordered room service before my flight back to the T dot.

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I love a good poached egg.

This has all been going out food, but I have been eating pretty great in as well. Evan has been just killing it in the kitchen lately. Turkey with roasted vegetables.

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We are both on a huge roasted vegetable kick right now. It is fall, so tis the season.

And curry.

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Evan’s curry is the best. That is lentils, beef curry, two different kinds of mixed pickle chutney, rice and a popadom (this little crusty tortilla thing made from lentil flour).

And pulled pork burritos.

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(put pork in crockpot with soup stock, garlic and onion – cook all day, pull the pork, add to burritos and top with rice, cilantro, cheese, squirt of lime juice, salsa. Toast burrito between two pans to make crispy. This seals the wrap so it stays together). I like.

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Sandals Bahamas: The Food

Alright, food time! Yeah, I’m really dragging this out. Last Bahamas post and I’m all done. Probably.

It must be said, the food was very good. When I was in Cuba I had this vague not-quite-right feeling every time after I ate, and everything just tasted a bit off from what we gluttonous North Americans are used to. It was fine, but it wasn’t GREAT. But not here. I felt fantastic after eating. On the other hand, the Sandals Royal Bahamian did not have quite as much variety as I experienced in Jamaica, but everything available was delicious. We were not there for very long so I tried to eat as many things as possible so I could report back on my findings.

I found the pizza stand on the beach immediately after we arrived. I went there even before checking out the ocean. I was hangry (but still happy) after our flight.

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That did the trick. The pizza was so good! And so many varieties. You could order a whole pizza, or just by the slice. And the handiest thing, they had a little carousal filled with warm pizza slices that was replenished all day long, so it was very convenient to grab some walk-by pizza. I walked by and grabbed pizza several times, every day we were there.

The snack bar was right next to the pizza stand and you could also just run over and get snacks to bring on the beach.

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Again, handy-pandy.

Our first evening there we had a big group dinner at the Italian restaurant on the resort called Casanova.

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This would be the “kids” table

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I loved Casanova. We all thought the food was amazing. They had a nice antipasto and salad bar that I hit up…twice.

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I love that sort of thing. And I think everyone at our table ordered the same dish as our main. The steak.

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It was amazing. Really, really good. Melt in your mouth. And dessert:

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Also amazing, and I was skeptical. Also, for some reason I don’t seem to have the biggest sweet tooth on vacation. I just want salt. And all the meat and all the carbs and all the cheese.

We ate breakfast every morning in the one buffet, and nothing to really report there but they had lot of variety and everything was very good. I did not find long grisly hairs attached to the skin of my bacon, so that’s a win. I cannot say the same thing about the buffet at our resort in Cuba… Also, I highly recommend the omelette station. I had one of the best omelettes of my life on our last day.

Evan and I had a quick lunch in the buffet on day two, and there was a pretty good selection.

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Nothing too elaborate, but scalloped potatoes! It’s been so long! Not the best ones I’ve ever eaten, but not too shab-alicious. The chicken cordon bleu though, that was very good.

But no pasta bar! At least there wasn’t on the day that we were there. And on this resort there is actually no dinner buffet, only the a la carte restaurants, so no pasta bar for dinner either. I was very disappointed about this. I really love a good pasta bar.

We ate that before our massage and I didn’t want to eat a ton because I was going to be lying on my stomach while someone vigorously rubbed me for an hour. Being overly full for that did not sound like a good idea.

But I was kind of hungry afterwards, so we had a second lunch later. Or an early dinner. Whichever. We got room service, which is included at Sandals all-inclusive (of course it is).

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I had just gotten out of the shower when it arrived so yep, I ate it in my robe. That would be the jerk chicken wrap with plantain chips. Very good. And I loved the mini Heinz bottles. Definition of fancy right there. I wanted to steal them.

That evening we were on our own for dinner, so Evan and I made reservations for the French restaurant, Baccarat. I had read reviews that it was the best restaurant on the resort and it did not disappoint. I started with the escargot.

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Escargot, my car go, one sixty, swiftly

I don’t think I have ever had escargot before and I can’t say that I have ever really wanted to either…but when in the Bahamas. I actually really enjoyed those little snails. Or I maybe just enjoyed the garlic butter they were soaking in. Either way, j’adore. Evan got crab cakes and he really liked.

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My next course was mushroom soup and it was delicious but did not photograph well. Evan got the seafood bisque and said it was the best seafood bisque he’s ever had.

Next I went for the goat cheese salad, and, I cannot lie, it was a disappointment.

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I was under the impression that there would be goat cheese on my goat cheese salad, but the goat cheese was actually spread on the accompanying bun. I don’t know what Baccarat was playing at with that nonsense. More goat cheese less salad next time please.

And for my main I ordered lobster.

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Delicious. Just amazing. Could not get enough of that.

I am embarrassed to say that Evan and I were both too full for dessert, or maybe we were just antsy to get out of the restaurant and see everyone, because at that point we had been there for nearly two hours.

We were at the private island around lunchtime the next day, so for lunch we went to Stew Fish, the seafood restaurant.

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I started with the conch fritters.

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Delicious. So much better than I was expecting. Loved those.

My main was the pulled pork sliders.

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Ehh, ees okay. The buns were not the wonderful carby deliciousness that I had been anticipating. Something was weird about them. So it was only fine.

And because we hadn’t actually eaten at the snack bar yet, and it was Evan’s dream, we went over there for a double lunch when we got back to the island.

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I liked the salad bar.

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Particularly the feta. Makes it betta.

They also have REALLY good chips and salsa in the snack bar. Very good. So we got a pile of those. And for my second lunchtime main of the day, I ordered the grilled cheese.

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Pretty much what you would expect in a grilled cheese.

On our last evening together we had a group dinner off the resort. This was actually an accident as we had reservations at the French restaurant again that were dropped at the last minute because a wedding party wanted to have their reception there. Bitches. So took a couple of van cabs to the Poop Deck, an authentic Bahamian seafood restaurant in Nassau.

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The Poop Deck was an interesting place. Laid back but also a little fancy.

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I am not sure who it was catering to, locals or tourists, because it was very casual, but the prices were quite high (like at least $25 an entree). Our cab driver on the way home was saying that he didn’t think most locals who worked at the casino or were a cab driver, for example, would be able to afford it. I’m sure they get a lot of business from the resorts.

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Interesting selection of shots also…

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I regret not ordering a Nut Washer.

The Poop Deck definitely had a nautical, ship theme going on (would have been good for Emily’s bachelorette party!) and we all sat on the patio, which was open to the water.

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I ordered the Fisherman’s Plate: half a lobster tail, shrimp and grouper, with market vegetables and rice.

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It was very good. The lobster wasn’t QUITE as good as what I had on the resort, but still good. And that grouper was amazing.

It was such a fun and hilarious dinner. Actually, our whole trip was fun and hilarious. I really loved our group.

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I was so proud of organizing that photo until I realized that two of my closest coworkers were in the bathroom during it.

Anyway, that’s it! I am sure I will have many more eating adventures to tell you about next week because it is THANKSGIVING!!! Have a great long weekend my beautiful fellow Canadians! Eat lots!

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Back At It

So after about a month and a half hiatus, I am back at the gym. The last time I talked about this Evan and I were doing the Couch to 5k and I was all “We are doing this! We are not half-assing this! Couch to 5k every day!” and then we kind of quit. Well not quit, exactly, but over Christmas and then leading up to my big work event we definitely took a break. There were no active activities. Evan was kind of active because his job is kind of active, but I was not. My job involves sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day. It is very sedentary, and if you do nothing but sit all day it starts to show.

Now that things have simmered down for me I have no excuse. The gym is literally at our doorstep. I timed myself last week, and it took 6 minutes for me to get from my door to on a treadmill. And I had to wait a few minutes for the elevator that time, which is uncommon. So it is basically a home gym but they have ALL the equipment. The only thing they don’t have is Body Pump, which is a bummer because it’s my favourite class, but otherwise it’s a pretty sweet setup (and I’m saving about $50 a month on a gym membership, so that’s a win right there).

Normally I go into active adventures with no concrete goal, just aiming to be healthier. That has not worked for me in two years. I will start off strong, but then I will taper, and then I will stop. So I actually have a goal this time, which hopefully will keep me at it. I want to lose 10 pounds. I am not usually big on weighing myself but I need to have some kind of goal and “become svelte” isn’t a good enough one. I need something measurable. I think 10 pounds is a good number that will not require me to do anything drastic. Slow and steady, friends, slow and steady. Lifestyle changes and all that. I am tracking my calories for the first time in years, and my goal is to make it to the gym at least three times a week, but four is a bonus. I think what kills me the most is this used to be my every day life. Eating well and being active was just a habit for me, and I kept it up for almost two years. And then I totally got out of it and slipped back into the habit of being lazy.

So far it’s been two weeks of gym and almost a week of calorie tracking and I’m feeling pretty good. It also helps that I have gotten Evan on board with this so I have a partner in crime. He was huge motivation at the gym this week, especially in the weight room because I really enjoy having a buddy. We have also added each other as friends on My Fitness Pal, so I can fully stalk him and see what he ate for lunch (only half kidding). We are going to Cuba at the end of March (can’t come soon enough!!!) so I’m hoping to be a bit more toned by then.

For the gym the routine has been warmup, weights and then cardio, and it’s working out quite well. For the cardio sometimes I’ll do the couch to 5k program with Evan, or I’ll just run on the treadmill on my own.

And for the calorie tracking I am aiming for about 1850 a day, and so far so good on that. I know I post a lot of unhealthy food on here (poutine after poutine), but I do eat pretty healthy in my daily life. No one wants to see pictures of my breakfast oatmeal every day.

I am usually only unhealthy if I am doing something out of my routine. Yesterday, for example, the girls at work took me out for lunch for my birthday (TOMORROW!), and when you are out for lunch for your birthday, you don’t mess around. We went to Collossus, a Greek restaurant in Port Credit, and it was awesome.

We started with saganaki, fried sheep’s cheese, which comes to your table on fire…

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And was the best cheese I have maybe ever tasted. It was SO GOOD. Also to start we had a plate full of all the delicious Greek things.

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I would have been happy with that as my entree because snack foods are just the best, but I can’t say no to chicken souvlaki.

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I love Greek food so much. It was such a great lunch.

And tonight is AYCE sushi. So no, there is no deprivation going on over here. If I want to eat fried cheese I will eat fried cheese. Not every day but once in a while? Juan Pablo says ees okay.

So, that’s it. I am trying to get back into the whole healthy living thing. But if I start posting pictures of myself flexing on gym machines and using all the #fitfluential #ffcheckin #justeatrealfood ridiculous hashtags, please someone call me on it! Don’t let this go to my head! I don’t want to become an obnoxious gym goer! Merci 🙂

Have a great weekend!

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Food Stuff…and stuff.

I haven’t talked about food very much on my blog lately, which is interesting as this originally started out as a food blog… But I abandoned being a

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long ago.

But rest assured, food is still my favourite, and I am still eating. A lot. Over the holidays it was way too much, but hey, that’s what the holidays are for.

No, but really it was too much. I am talking chocolate balls for pre-breakfast (and pre-lunch and pre-dinner), drinking nearly every day (not to excess, but at least a glass of wine usually), and eating like every meal was my last. Temporarily this is all well and good, but if I carry on with this in my every day life we would have a bit of a problem.

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I’m trying, pants, I am.

Soo naturally I have a couple of New Year’s resolutions revolving around being healthier. Because who doesn’t.

Usually for my New Year’s resolutions I really embrace simple ones like this:

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Thank you to my Bestie for sending this to me. (source)

But this year I just feel very good about 2014 and there are several small improvements that I want to make life-wise. Some not food/fitness/health-related…

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Something like that…

But one thing was to start bringing my lunch to work at least four days a week. I eat oatmeal nearly every. single. day. for breakfast but I have gotten very lazy about making my own lunch. I used to almost every day but then one day I just stopped, and then it isn’t long before you’re out of the habit, and all of a sudden you’re never making lunch again and it’s quick things you grabbed until the end of time. There aren’t even that many lunch options near me anymore, so it was either the grocery store to pick up a salad or a sandwich (but I would always, always have to get some kind of unhealthy snack for the afternoon, so going there was a bad scene), or Tim Hortons, which does not have a lot of healthy options.

Enter: Operation Healthy Lunch.

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Salad with a bunch of good stuff, olive oil and vinegar dressing, and this even included a bed of quinoa on the bottom. While I was making it I was singing to Winnie: “I want to layyyyyyyy you doooooown on a bed of quinoa,” but I’m digressing.

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This was actually an afternoon, or post-lunch snack, and it included homemade hummus made by Evan (chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice + food processor).

And my favourite lunch this week…

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Quinoa salad, also made by Chef Evan (three kinds of quinoa, black beans, cherry tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, S&P = HEAVEN). That is for lunch again today. Evan, by the way, has just been on a cooking mission all week long and it has been fantastic. You may be seeing the phrase “made by Evan” on here a lot.

And so I have made my lunch every day this week, and it feels really good to be back into doing that. It almost feels like a habit again.

I also got this bad boy over the holidays:

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Because I am continuing my resolution to drink three litres of water a day and that is really helping me out. It’s a glass bottle with a little cage in the middle where you can put any kind of fruit or whatever and it infuses your water with delicious flavour. Or you can take the inner cage out and use it as a regular water bottle. I do both and I’ve been using it every day. It’s from Kitchen Stuff Plus if you’re interested (link there, NOT affiliate link, just a regular ol’ link).

Anyway, that’s what’s new with me on the lunch front. I know you were all dying to know.

Here is another New Year’s resolution of mine that I hope to be able to achieve…

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Working on it!

Have a great weekend!

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Just a quick update and also MERCI!

Thank you so much for all your beautiful heartfelt comments (and texts and emails <3) about Winnie yesterday. She has a little pep in her step again and is doing much better, so I am confident we chose the right option. Like I always say about my Nana, I think the most important thing in recovery is a positive attitude, and Winnie genuinely does have that.

I also really need to thank Evan and Brotherman. Neither are very cat-savvy, but both of them were Googling things we could do for Winnie to make her life a bit easier, and just about her issues in general. It warmed my heart. Both them and even Ian have been a big help in looking in on her and giving her snuggles. It’s so nice of them and I am grateful.

Working from home yesterday had its perks. Brotherman was working in another condo in the building and was in and out a couple of times and he made me breakfast and also lunch. Probably only so this would be on the blog:

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It was the best lunch I’ve had in a while. Zucchini noodles in coconut oil and red Thai curry paste (and he added salt, pepper, garlic powder and toasted sesame seeds) with a fried egg on top. He got one of those vegetable spiralizer things on Amazon, and the zucchini noodles actually compared to the ones at my new favourite restaurant near my work. They looked really easy to make too. It was so good!

Anyway, just wanted to give you a quick update and say merci beaucoup!

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