A quiet return with Creamed Spinach

Well, as you might have inferred from my lack of posting over the last (oh my) two months, I have been crazy busy. I think I have also been crazy tired, meaning that coming home meant schlumping around rather than whipping up tasty treats and posting them here! I have been feverishly working on finishing my Masters, as well as scrambling at work getting a couple big projects underway. All to say, sorry for the unbelievably long absence. I wanted to come back with something INSANE and PUNCHY, but this is a subdued, yet delicious recipe. I have some punchier things in the wings, so no fear. But let’s ease back into this.

I’ve missed NotCrocker, and I felt so terrible about my terribleness that I haven’t even been to the blog myself much in the last month or so. Avoidance is a bizarre strategy for coping, so here I am, posting and coming back, and making whatever promises I can that I will not run away again! Work is going to keep going like mad through the next two months, and my paper is top-priority in my off time, but NotCrocker will not fall by the wayside again. I love posting great dishes, and will continue to do so. Who needs to sleep?! Not this lady!

CreamedSpinach

Continue reading

Balsamic Roasted Yams

For the first time in a long time, I felt lucky yesterday. I was walking home with some takeout Vietnamese food, enjoying the crisp fall air and I just thought how lucky I was to be walking home through a city I love, to an apartment I love. I have a great job, a loving family, and really incredible friends. Of course, all this came to me just two days after the year anniversary of my dad’s death, a day that didn’t make me feel lucky at all. But as I walked home, I knew that dad would love a day like this, a day when you could feel the weather changing; when everyone looked just as happy as me to walk around in a city that he also loved.

I thought to myself, feeling as lucky as I did in that short stroll home, I lost my father and thirty more years of his wisdom and humour and love. BUT, I was so lucky to have had 25 years of it. Some people don’t even get that. Some friends of mine didn’t even get that. And I got 25 years filled with immense love, wonderful though occasionally questionable wisdom, and truly I am my father’s daughter, so he gave me so much of what makes me who I am, that I will see little pieces of my dad for the rest of my life.

So, as I sit here looking out from my beautiful little apartment on the rainy, windy, cold morning in Vancouver, I am okay. I know that a loss is only as great as the love felt. And so I know that both the love for my dad and the pain of losing him will reverberate through the rest of my life. A sweet melody of sorts.

And I am okay.

BalsamicYams

Continue reading

Crispy Fried Fish with Homemade Caper Tartar Sauce

I am really looking forward to a trip to the Yukon this weekend to visit mom and Chloe. I haven’t been home since last fall, and it will be good to be back. I know it is going to be hard to be in our home without dad but I also know it will be wonderful to be with mom in the summer, our family’s favourite time.

FishSticks

Continue reading

Tomato Marinated Shrimp Skewers

I am sadly still sick but have found a medicine/oregano oil/water regime that has kept me functional. The weather in Vancouver is insanely gorgeous and I’ve been really enjoying my walks too and from work, looking forward to when I am feeling well enough to start tackling Stanley Park and the beaches. I hope all of you are getting the sun you need and want! I am really looking forward to a quick trip north we are planning for the first week of August. We are going to do some camping and some fishing and deck-drinking with mom and Chloe, I am really looking forward to it! I also got an awesome bunch of plants to brighten up our apartment! On my way home from work I often pass Heather’s The Flower Shop and yesterday I was forced to slow down in front of the store by a group of pokey tourists. I took a glance at the offerings and saw an incredible number of gorgeous little cacti. I ended up getting a cactus and aloe plant. The owner (not named Heather I believe) was so fantastic, gave me thorough advice on keeping them alive and then gifted me a gorgeous basil plant! I am so thrilled to have basil again and I am determined to keep my basil living straight through the winter… I hope!

shrimpskewers

Continue reading

Beer Bread Revisited

I’ve corrected the error on the original cover page. Get Beer Breading!

As I sit here sipping on a glass of wine (thanks Uncle Jim and Auntie Karen!) I begin to think about all the things I appreciate in my life. It was my parents’ 30th anniversary yesterday. I thought about it all day, as I sat on the plane from Toronto and when I got home late at night, getting ready for bed. I am glad my parents had almost thirty years together, but know that them and their love deserved another thirty. I appreciate the time I had with my dad, though I too would’ve appreciated at least another thirty. This last week has been both wonderful and very sad in this way. I received the Kenneth Le M. Carter graduate award at a board of directors dinner in Toronto on Monday night. As I took to the stage to accept my award, I thought of how important my parents were in my success, but also how proud my father would’ve been. Similarly, whenever I get a new job or internship, or at a new university, my dad was always the first person I sent an email to with my new address. These little moments that I would like to share with my dad have been whisked away. Now I stop and think of him, bringing both joy in memory and utter sadness in realization of the fact that he is gone.

I muscled through Father’s Day without much trouble as I was busy tooling around Toronto with two wonderful friends. The next day was my awards dinner, and then my parents’ anniversary on the following day. All moments of happiness and sadness rolled up into the neat little package that is my life. Speaking to my mom the day after their anniversary, it was clear that she felt the same roller coaster of emotions. I am so happy that my sister and nieces can be there with her through this first summer without dad. Yesterday, they left for the first camping trip of the season. An event that my dad eagerly awaited, I know that this first trip would be hard and was thankful that it would be made easier for all by the presence of my sweet and funny nieces and my sister.

Anyway, I had an absolutely incredible time in Toronto with my beautiful friends Heidi and Lauren. The R.Kelly sing-a-long was magical (a fairytale some may say… I may or may not have lost a shoe for part of the show). The girls took me around town, we drank great beer, enjoyed the sun, and I really loved getting to know their city. Another highlight, on my last day Heidi toured me around the Coach House coach house and Lauren gave me a thorough tour of her beloved Trinity campus, I certainly better understand the magic.

27411434a137abdcce03ee443dd8924d

Continue reading

White Bean Dip

I just returned from a wonderful work trip to Montréal on Thursday. What an amazing city! I loved all the walk-ups and the diversity of restaurants and shops packed onto the busy streets. The traffic was insane! I am certainly not used to the weaving in-between cars without signalling, the lack of lines or any sort of lane order, fortunately our cab drivers seemed pretty comfortable… My entire office (except our wonderful intern sadly) took the trip out for the national meeting of the NFB’s English Program. What an inspiring week: between the in-production and launch reels, and the incredible passion of each person speaking, I left feeling like I am truly part of something special. I can’t wait to see the full projects as they are launched and completed!

Returning to Vancouver was easy because I definitely missed Gen, but I would’ve love a few extra days to explore all the Montréal has to offer! I have one week back in Vancouver before I head out again to visit my friends Heidi and Lauren, and go to accept my scholarship at a board of directors dinner in Toronto. I am really looking forward to this trip as well, but am terrified of the extreme heat and humidity that I experience the same time last year. I should do some sauna-training this week so that I am conditioned!

aee325745da290a37d07c42af0db5c32

Continue reading

Absentee Blogger! Dad’s Salsa

Hello! I am sorry I’ve been fully MIA for the last two weeks. It’s been a busy month at work with a shoot going out, lots to organize there, and then at home I had to organize and host all the people coming over for the Spring Sprint! Speaking of the Spring Sprint, it was a wonderful success! About 300 people came out, our team made up 20 of them, and the weather held. We raised about $5000 and the entire Vancouver event raised about $98,000 which is absolutely incredible! So, thanks to those who supported us and thanks to you folks who kept coming back despite no new posts for so long!

As summer closes in on Vancouver it is still snowing in parts of the rest of the country. I am so happy to have some sunshine, nice breezes, and potential for sandals! I do really need to get a new pair of sandals, my current options are a little big/stretched out and very worn in.

c139434e3a00e9d7a737839ab2e74410

Continue reading

Curried Cauliflower Salad

My mom was here for a visit all this past week and we had a wonderful time tooling around the city, eating out at some lovely restaurants and just generally enjoying each other’s company. Mom proved invaluable at trivia, answering lanolin and others correctly, though let it be known that she was unable to produce Princess Diana’s maiden name. She fell in love with Game of Thrones, bought two pairs of shoes, and bought us a lovely bouquet of tulips. Mom seemed content to sleep on our ancient couch but was very troubled by our loose toilet seat. I have also been troubled by the loose toilet seat but found it was easier to strategically sit than to try to figure out the best way to go about fixing it. After work on Friday, after mom had left for Whitehorse, I set about tightening the toilet seat bolts.

It should be known that the toilet is already kind of strange. It is a low-flow toilet that has two buttons, one for the little stuff and one for the big. It is all one piece, the tank is part of the whole. And the frigging seat is a slow-close miracle that is unlike all the diagrams that I have looked at online (yes, I researched proper toilet seat tightening protocol). So, Friday after work I set about tightening the darn seat. I had studied the diagrams and understood the mission. Find the caps near the hinges, pry them off, use my pliers to tighten the bolts, replace the caps, and voila, a sturdy sitting experience. No such luck. I stared at the seat, perplexed by the lack of caps that EVERY toilet seat tutorial made mention of. OK, new strategy, pry the seat off the obviously hidden caps, right? No. Some desperate tugging, prodding, crying, and excessive (or not) hand washing later, I was back at the computer trying to figure out how to solve this mystery. I Googled, “slow close toilet seat fixing no caps” and many variations of that general combination of words but all the tutorials suggested that there should either be caps or an easy-release button somewhere in the general vicinity of the hinges. But our toilet seat is smooth with no visible access points. I squeezed the sides in an attempt to release it, I gently and not-so-gently tugged at it, I peaked into the bowl to see if the bolts were accessible from there, I started to cry. I was so frustrated at the seemingly impossible task of tightening the frigging toilet seat that I sat at my computer, staring at pictures that did not look like my toilet seat, and just cried. Then, an hour or so after starting this ridiculous journey, I marched into the bathroom, slapped my hand on the side of the bowl and felt a frigging bolt. Reaching around the other side I found the matching bolt and realized that I had not looked in the most obvious place, the outside of the bowl. A quick couple of turns on the plastic nuts and the seat was secure. I washed my hands and forearms (I felt too close to the toilet not to) and schlumped on the couch, totally embarrassed that I let a toilet seat bring me to tears.

It’s hard to segue from a toilet story to a recipe, but it must be done.

This salad is pretty amazing. (Smooth transition, right?)

669621022c5a710bfb97f2020581aeca

Continue reading

Simple Saturday Side, Roasted Asparagus

The rain has dampened my enthusiasm for cooking, thinking, doing stuff this week. I had an incredibly exciting interview on Tuesday, and email for another exciting interview for next week, and then spent the rest of the week in brain-melt mode. I was able to be mildly productive but nearly as productive as I wanted/needed to be. My goals for next week are big and shiny and will make up for the lost time of last week’s slump. Some sunshine would really help motivate me…*coughcough*mother nature get on this *coughcough*. Fun fact, apparently Elton John, when in a hotel in Germany, was so bothered by the wind while he was trying to sleep that he asked his agent (or manager) to do something about the weather. I am with Elton on this, somebody please correct the weather (preferably the weather in Vancouver, not Germany… I mean, clear theirs up too if you want).

RoastedAsparagus

Continue reading

Fresh Homemade Tzatziki- dress up chicken, veggies, a spoon!

Well thank goodness Vancouver! I woke up this morning feeling drowsy, I noticed the blazing sunlight and figured I had slept through the morning. Feeling terrible about wasting my day, I pulled myself out of bed to discover that it was 8:30am! What an incredible day! I cruised outside for a stroll, lingering in the sun. It is not summer-warm yet, but it feels incredible and I am once again thrilled to live in this city! Feeling summery I am back on track with bright and fresh food, this dip is no exception!

Tzatziki

Continue reading