Monday, May 30, 2011

Hawaiian Food. And Why I Don't Eat Mexican.

As I've mentioned - I love Maui.  I've been trying to pin point what I liked best, but it's basically impossible on account of everything about that place is unbelievably awesome.  So rather than picking a favorite, I'll just talk about food.

We went to a lot of restaurants while we were there.  I had so much incredible pineapple and coconut it was like a dream come true.  I had pulled pork and fresh mahi mahi and umbrella drinks out the wazoo!

There was one restaurant that we kept walking past on our way to other restaurants.  For some reason my boyfriend didn't want to eat there and we ended up walking right past it most days.  I don't know why he didn't seem interested because the whole premise of the place is that you take your seat on the patio and instead of having concrete or tile or something on the ground, there is soft white Hawaiian sand under your feet.  I mean - what a great idea! 

Eventually I convinced my boyfriend to take me there.  And let me first say that the whole sand thing turned out not to be as awesome as I'd thought.  Don't get me wrong, it was still a whole lot of fun but it made the tables and chairs all wobbly and I don't think the waitresses looked very stable either.

But that would all have been forgivable if it weren't for one tiny detail:

That's right.  Every dish had cilantro in it.  Even the ones that didn't explicitly state that they were full of cilantro were just laden with the stuff.  And this happens every once in a while.  You sit down at a restaurant unknowingly subjecting yourself to the whims of some crazy chef who thinks that cilantro is the new basil or oregano or rosemary or any number of fresh herbs that don't taste like feet and now your meal is ruined.

And you know, I'm not generally a picky eater.  In fact, I've spent most of the last 10 years of my life learning to like foods I would previously have turned my nose up at.  I love mushrooms now when I used to think eating one was like chewing on a rubber tire.  And after years of telling fast food cashiers "No pickles and mustard" I actually enjoy pickles now and will pick them off my friends' burgers and add them to my own.  And a nice Dijon is quite pleasant - although I'm still working on that bright yellow stuff.

But cilantro I can't even tolerate.  Can't even choke it down.  And never mind trying to pick it off.  That stuff lingers!

For years I thought I hated Mexican food.  Every time I ate at a Mexican place I would leave dumbfounded.  Meat and cheese and lettuce and tomatoes, wrap it up and sprinkle with hot sauce - how can you go wrong?  How could I possibly not like Mexican food?  What is going on!?  Many years later I was able to make the connection between the vile little green weed and that horrible taste and I haven't been to a Mexican restaurant since.

And I know I'm not alone either.  It turns out cilantro is just one of those things - one of those flavors that some people love, others don't really notice and the rest of us gag over.

Just ask these guys:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Maui Adventures - A Teaser

Well, we made it home safe and sound.  Maui was incredible.  I'm still trying to figure out how I can feasibly move there.  I get the feeling there isn't a big market for crocheted clothing down there, though.  I'll have to think on it some more.

I'm completely exhausted from traveling and still trying to adjust to the time difference.  Okay so it's only 3 hours, but I'm a wimp.  What I'm trying to say is, here are a few photos to hold you over until I have the time and energy to write more.

My first day at the beach.  Check out the little girl bailing on her butt in the background.
Just enjoying a windy, windy day.  Actually, it was windy there every day.

Craggy trees and craggy rocks. 

An Inukshuk in Hawaii!  Who'da thunk it.

Red sand at the red sand beach.  Which was really more of a red sand tiny cove.

At some point there was a woman selling pineapples from a van.  $7 USD.  But the best seven bucks you'll ever spend.
 Stay tuned for more stories, adventures and photos from Maui.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What I'm Packing

I'm going on vacation today.

I won't get back until next Saturday.

I'm going to be in Hawaii.

I couldn't be more excited!

These are the books I'm bringing:

Killing Yourself to Live:  85% of a True Story - Chuck Klosterman

Naked - David Sedaris

And the bracelet I'm wearing to the wedding?  It's pictured below.  For the colors, I was inspired by this cute little french restaurant we visited in Nanaimo a few weeks back.  I'm loving the blue and red with white details.

And I also made a quick case for our new camera!

Because why would you buy one when you've got a little leftover cotton yarn and a great big fabulous button?

I don't know whether there will be internet access on the beautiful island of Maui.  It is just so remote.  They may not even have electricity there!  Or . . . we might be too cheap to pay the hotel for a wireless internet connection.  Either way, there may be a lack of posts for the next week.

The good news is - there might be some AWESOME posts when I get back.  So stay tuned . . .


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Minestrone. Not Mediocre.

As promised here is my minestrone:

I have made minestrone enough times that I don't use a recipe anymore.  You don't really need one because it's the easiest thing ever.  Here's what I threw in mine this time:

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
1 zucchini
1 tomato
1 red pepper
A couple of handfuls of green and yellow beans
1 can of kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
3 cups of homemade chicken stock
A few dashes of thyme, marjoram and rosemary
1 cup of little pastas - I like orzo, but you can use whatever shape you like.  You can also break spaghetti into smaller pieces or use quinoa even

So that's my recipe.  All you really need to do is chop everything up into bite sized pieces, sautee the onions and garlic for a few minutes on medium heat until they're soft and add the other veggies.

I like to add the spices before I add the really wet stuff (stock and tomatoes) and let them sweat in the pot for a minute or two.

Once the spices become fragrant you can add the tomatoes, beans and chicken stock.  You should simmer on low for at least 20 minutes, but it doesn't seem to matter if you simmer longer.  Just make sure you put the pasta in near the end.  Small pasta usually takes about 7 minutes to cook.

I have a love of soups.  This is probably my favorite one because it's the only time I ever enjoy eating vegetables.

What is your favorite soup recipe?  I am always on the look out for new and interesting soups.

The Laziness Catches Up

I knew this day would come.  The day when I'm sitting on the couch staring at the beautiful sunshiney day outside the window and doing nothing about it.  At this point it has become clear that it is not possible for me to be productive, every day for an extended period of time if I have no real obligations. 

So I'm resorting to Facebook polls.  That's right - if you go over and "Like" my Facebook page Reeja Roo's Fibreworks, you can vote on what you think I should spend my day doing.

It may be a cop out - but without some motivation from others, perhaps I can get a project finished today!  Or at least go outside for once.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mmmm Orange . . .

In case you missed seeing my bracelets on here - I've got a new one for ya!

This was made with one of the new ties I bought a few days ago as well as some lace weight yarn I got from Michaels.  They finally started carrying more than just worsted weight, acrylic yarn so I have somewhere nearby to shop for supplies.  If anyone knows of a yarn store in Burnaby or New Westminster so that I don't have to drive all the way out to UBC to get decent yarn I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday Already!? Here's Some Stock.

I've been struggling to come up with something to write about.  I'm so excited about our impending trip that I can't really think about much else.

But I did eventually think of something.

On Sunday we went grocery shopping like we always do.  Chicken breasts were on sale, but you had to buy them with all the skin and backs attached - those nicely prepared boneless, skinless chicken breasts were twice the price.  So being thrifty (read: cheap) we bought the boneful, skinful ones.

I'd like to take this moment to say that I'm the world's worst butcher.  Or maybe I'm the best?  Because I totally butchered those chicken breasts trying to get the backs off!  But in the end, I succeeded and ended up with a pile of bones that looks like this:

Ew.  So now what?  There's still meat on there and stuff so I shouldn't waste it.  Then I'm thinking about how I'm trying to cut back on sodium and how I was going to make minestrone on Wednesday and even though that store-brand chicken stock has 20% less sodium than they normally put in it, it's still quite a bit of salt.

So I'm gonna make stock.

Step one is really just get some bones.  Easy enough, I should think.

Step two is to cut up some onions.  Oh and here's a tip:  Cut your onions on a cutting board over the stove top (make sure the elements are off!) and turn the exhaust hood on.  This cuts down on the crying part quite a bit.

Now you're gonna heat up a great big pot.  I used to always heat my pots on high because I thought that would make things go faster.  I just ended up with burnt food every time.  So now I turn it down a bit.

Waiting for pots to heat up is boring.  So you can take this time to eat some fruit salad.

Great!  Now we can add the onions.

Oh yeah, there's canola oil in there, too.  Now we wait for the onions to get soft.  Probably 3-5 minutes depending on whether you have the heat cranked or not.

Now's a good time for some more fruit salad.

Ok!  Now the onions are nice and soft so we're gonna transfer them to a bowl and put the chicken backs in the pot to brown.

 Ew they're so gross!

Once they're brown, add the onions back in.  Now this is gonna cook for 20 minutes so that the juices from the chicken can seep out.

While the chicken is seeping, boil some water.  It helps if your kettle is cute and red.

Okay, so once the chicken is done seeping, add the water to the onions and chicken backs and throw in a couple bay leaves.  Then simmer on low for another 20 minutes.

Eat some fruit salad.

Then just drain out all the large bits by dumping everything through a colander or whatever.

Ok and that's it.  I don't have a picture of the final product because my boyfriend was home by then and I was distracted by telling him about my awesome day and how I made my own chicken stock.  I'll post a picture when I make the minestrone.  How's that?

So yeah, if you have to hack up a chicken breast anyway, making stock really isn't so hard.  You might want to add a little salt to yours - I didn't add any (as per above) but I think it would really bring the flavors out.

I based my instructions on the recipes from this site.  I used method 2:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Blog Post For The End Of A Week

Ok a few housekeeping things:

A bunch of my blog posts are in the wrong order now ever since the big Blogger debacle.  So . . . that's really just to let you know that I honest to goodness did know what day it was when I wrote this.

Actually, I guess that's really only one housekeeping item.

And this is a short post because today was a bit weird.  The sort of day where you have leftover moussaka for breakfast and take a nap at 6:00 in the evening.

Ok here goes.  We're leaving for Hawaii in less than a week.  I can't wait!  It's my first time and I have been looking forward to this trip for about 2 years now.  We're going to a friend's wedding and I basically started saving up for and planning this trip ever since she told me they told me they were engaged.

I got a dress for the wedding, too.  It looks like this:

I however, do not look like that.

The other thing I did was go to the library.  Now I finally have the book that I've been meaning to read for months:

When The Game Was Ours - Larry Bird and Earvin Magic Johnson

I don't know a single thing about basketball.  I don't give a single care about basketball.  But there is something so touching about two grown men, different in every possible way, who share a deep and profound connection.  I can't wait to read this story and learn all about how that connection developed.

Alright, so that's it for now.  I realize this blog has been a little book heavy lately.  I promise there will be more crafting to come.  Like the incredible bracelet I'm going to make to match my dress for the wedding.  And the really awesome idea I've got for some new necklaces and possibly earrings.  Stoke!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wednesday - What Should I Read Next?

I love books.  But most times, I don't finish the books I start.  My bookshelf is overflowing with books I've mostly read, half read, started or not even opened.  I just love books.

This morning, I stumbled across this awesome website:

Just type in the title of a book you really enjoyed (or in my case, a book whose first few chapters you enjoyed) and it will suggest more titles for you.  This is perfect for me, because now I can buy even more books to fill my bookshelf with and not read.



I just found this!  I think I died and went to heaven:

Original link

This site provides another great way to choose your next book based on what you're in the mood for:

Speaking Of Books . . .

Since we've been talking about books, I wanted to share this:

The World's Most Beautiful Libraries!

I'd also like to point out that my very own favorite local building made the list - Vancouver's Central Branch.

Photo Credit:  The Book Wurrm

I have spent many hours in that library - it is indeed incredible inside and out.  Many of the other libraries on the list are phenomenally gorgeous as well.  I might have to add a few of these cities to my must-travel list.



Blogger has been down and a lot of things are missing.  I have lost an entire post about libraries and every single person who was following my blog appears to have disappeared from my friends list.


My Current Booklist

I just realized I didn't write anything on Wednesday OR Thursday!  What a sloth! *

So to make up for it here is a list of books I currently have active bookmarks in:

Absolute Sandman - Volume 1 - Neil Gaiman

This book literally and figuratively weighs 6.5 lbs (I weighed it with my figurative kitchen scale).  The artwork is breathtaking and the stories are delightfully fantastical.  Last night when I couldn't sleep I read one about dreaming cats.  I recommend the series if you're a fan of comics or graphic novels.  Just don't get the Absolute edition - it's way (weigh haha) too heavy to read comfortably in any position.

A History of God - Karen Armstrong

If you've ever noticed that God seems like a different guy depending on which book of the bible you're reading, this will help you understand why.  As with anyone, the authors of the bible were influenced by the cultural and religious traditions of the communities they lived in.  No matter your religious orientation, this is a fascinating read!

The Alienist - Caleb Carr 

I just started this one.  Well, I just started it for the second time.  I have a tendency to start books and then stop reading them for long enough that I need to start again.  But I'm enjoying it so far!  It's about an alienist (which is apparently olde-timey speak for psychiatrist) who tries to catch a killer.  Maybe I'll write more about it later, or maybe you like the cover so much you'll go out and read it yourself and then you can tell me about it ;)

Okay, now you can enjoy your Friday!

*UPDATE*  - I knew I wrote a blog post on Wednesday!  It's back now.

Friday's Blog - During Which We Learn That The Dipstick Saga Has Concluded

So, I thought yesterday would be a wash because I was in one of those moods.  But it ended up being rather productive!  The dipstick saga came to an end.  Which was both a relief and a bit sad because I was starting to really enjoy calling the mechanic every other day.  Or maybe I wasn't.

Also!  I bought 4 new ties for making bracelets.  The Sally Ann had a whole bunch this time and even though I usually don't shop there for reasons I won't get into, I couldn't pass them up.  Don't you agree they are fabulous?:

And today is beautiful and sunny and I'm in a great mood despite a terrible sleep.  Can't wait to get crafting.

I added a new bracelet to my shop as well.  Here's a link:

Visit Listing

Also, for all you crocheters out there - I found this tutorial for adding a bit of spice to your designs:

Have a wonderful Friday!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday - I Tackled This

Craft blogging can be really exciting and inspiring.  It can also be depressing.  Like when you're browsing other craft blogs and start to realize people are working in spaces like this:

By: PinkFriday

Or this:

By:  Ishtar Olivera

And yours looks like this:

That's right.  I do all of my crafting from the couch, on the coffee table - in front of the television no less.  It's awful, and I hate it.  But when you live in the lower mainland, space is at a premium so you make do with what space you've got.  Furthermore, when you're a scatterbrain like me, it doesn't take long for it to become strewn with half-finished projects and to find yarn coming up from in between couch cushions.

Thankfully I was in a cleaning mood and now my living room looks like this:

Ahhh much better!  Although, there may or may not be a few things behind those couch cushions - but I'll never tell.

I also did my desk. 


Now to mess it all up again ;)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday - I Made This!

I needed a new listing for my Etsy page because the last one was 5 days old.  Unheard of, I know.

I wanted something simple because I didn't have a lot of time, but still unique and pretty.

This is what I came up with:

It's a set of 3 matching, yarn wrapped bangles.  The nice thing about these is that the knots twist around the base of the bangle naturally, so as you wear them, the look changes.  Very cool!  I can't wait to get some new yarn soon so that I can try out some more color combinations.

What colors would you like to see?

How To: Fix An Icky Lunch

Last week I made an icky stew.  It wasn't planned - that was just how it turned out.  Bland, and brown and boring.  Here's a taste for you:

So since my better half won't touch it, I'm forced to eat the leftovers for lunch every day until they're gone.  Lucky me, right!

Here's how I saved myself from its mushy mediocrity today:

Step 1 - Add cheese

Voila!  Fixed.  Cheese to the rescue again.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I love breakfast.  Actually, I love cereal.  I definitely eat too much of it!  Here is my post-stagette Sunday morning:

First - fill your bowl with delicious, heart-healthy berries.  Blueberries are best for you, but I really hate them so I cover their flavor up with my favorite - Raspberries!  Raspberries were also my grandmother's favorite and eating them reminds me of her.  Which is especially good on Mother's Day!

Second - Add plain, organic yogurt.  I know, it's plain.  But if you're gassy like me, it'll be worth it.  Trust me.  Also - top with hemp seeds.  They are so much fun!  Full of protein (and calories - go easy!), taste all buttery and with two added bonuses.  1 - It makes you feel like a badass for eating them because they're hemp.  2 - They end up in the little nooks and crannies of your mouth so it's like a scavenger hunt making sure you got them all.  Fun!

 Third - Top with cereal!  This is Kashi Go Lean Crunch.  SO GOOD!  And very, very crunchy.  I'll be honest - I added a lot more after I took the picture.  It didn't look as pretty by then, though because you couldn't see the berries anymore.

Fourth - Lug your 25lb copy of The Absolute Sandman into the living room, sit in the morning sun and enjoy your brekky while you read.