Experimenting with Cooking :D

The past week I have been hard at work – in the kitchen! I love looking up recipes and recreating them.

Individual Meat Loaves

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Yes, I know what you guys are thinking – those are MEATBALLS! Nope! 🙂 I don’t have a loaf pan yet in our new place yet and we had a crap ton of ground beef, so I improvised and made mini meat loaves with mashed potatoes. It was a hit and my boyfriend really enjoyed it! It’s a recipe from my godmother who has since passed a few years ago, so this is my way of paying homage to the woman who brought me up with my mother. I’m sure she would make it twenty times better tasting, but just eating something from her is enough of a sweet walk down memory lane ❤

Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki

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So it’s a blurry picture. I know. I was too hungry that day to care, and boy was it tasty as ever! I made a bit too much sauce – yep you can make homemade teriyaki sauce – but the chicken thigh meat was SO TENDER THAT IT BASICALLY MELTED IN YOUR MOUTH. I could feel my eyes roll back as I took a bite after bite. My boyfriend liked it a lot and I liked the fact that we were able to use up some green peppers lying around the fridge.

Loaded Fried Rice with Homegrown Green Onions

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So I’ve been on a gardening kick lately – I love gardening things that are easily harvested and regrown. We are currently in the summer months and I can’t wait for my plants to produce more luscious greens for us to eat! I love knowing that we have the power to grow sustainable, environmentally friendly food right off our balcony.

Before moving out, I’d never cooked before. That’s right, I’m a cooking newbie, and more importantly, I’m a baking newbie though. But I’ve got my eyes set on bigger things (our stomaches!) and can’t wait to get cracking in the kitchen even more! 🙂

What have you guys been cooking recently? What are your never fail foods that you always make when you’re in a pinch!?

Balcony Garden!!!

*Insert granny scream here*

Since I was a little girl I always wanted to play house and do all the household work that comes along with it. One of my biggest dreams was to own my own garden, since I grew up on an acre’s worth of garden and lawns at my parent’s home. It was marvellous. My parents would pluck produce from their vegetable garden every spring and summer and it would be so delicious – I so looked forward to every spring to pick cherries and such.

Now that I have my own little home, I have my freedom to do whatever I wanted! Unfortunately I don’t have the luxury to have an acre’s worth of yard and gardens (we have a balcony), but I am DETERMINED TO MAKE IT WORK! *fist pump

As stated in my previous blog post, over the past weekend we visited our neighbour’s home next door and he literally built a mini jungle in his home – there were plants everywhere and he even installed a vertical indoor garden – which was GENIUS! He is huge into gardening (not sure about Lisa..!), and it was so amazing. You can’t help but to put a smile on your face when you walk in!

We face North East and get a shot of Vitamin D in the morning. It’s glorious. Except sometimes I would like to sleep in a little longer on the weekends, but it’s still glorious. Sometimes I like to stand on my balcony in my PJ’s and sun my office tan a little before getting ready. We have a decent size balcony, nothing too large (we rather have a larger indoor space), perfect enough for a grill, some patio furniture and a vertical shelf garden with maybe enough room to stretch. We still haven’t purchased any outdoor furniture yet so it’s completely bare (although sometimes I enjoy daydreaming about our furniture layout outside).  I dream of growing two rows of vegetables on the bottom, and two rows of flowers on the top. My boyfriend’s favourite flowers is the Pansy and mine is Lavender, so I’d like to grow lots of those.

Do you have a balcony garden? If so, what kind of goodies do you grow? I’d like to get some tips on growing your FIRST EVER GARDEN!! *continues screaming

Getting to Know Your Neighbours

The boyfriend and I are new to strata living, and have always lived in our parent’s houses where we really only see our neighbours in passing, and not really even knowing their names. Back in my parent’s house, I never really knew anyone who lived on our cul-de-sac, which felt very sad because we have been there for more than 20 years. My boyfriend, although he knows some of the people on his block, again only knows his neighbours by face and not by name and we would just duck into his house after we drove in his garage.

I’m a huge advocate for knowing your neighbours and having a sense of community, because not only can you help them in times of need, but they will most likely be happy enough to help you out when you’re in need!

Take for example just this weekend, we bought some furniture that needed to be transported upstairs. I, being the tiny girl that I am, could barely even lift up the box, let alone carry it to the elevator, and into our unit. We are pretty close with our other corner suite neighbours, Mark and Lisa and after one text from Mark, we met in our hallway and he actually helped out! Of co Not only that, since our layout is pretty much the same but flipped, we gave them a house tour of our place and Lisa invited us over for snacks and their house tour as well. We ended up staying over for two hours – the boys were talking about home renovation projects they’d like to work on and Lisa and I ended up shopping online together LOL. David returned home first and I didn’t leave until it was time for me to cook dinner XD

That made us feel so much better, knowing that we have actual friends on our floor instead of just knowing the person by face. Whenever they need help with something, we’ll also be more than willing to help out.

Do you know your neighbours as well? What is the nicest thing that your neighbours have done for you/ you’ve done for them? =)

Kitty Cat Loves

Recently my boyfriend’s cat has become super clingy ever since moving in with him.

For example, I took the entire weekend off last week (bunkered down in my apartment with pjs on all day, did not go out one bit) and I LOVED it! Except… my cat loves to walk all over me during sleepy time, cuddle on my shoulder/arm WHILE sleeping thus creating a mini portable heater (and when she leaves, her little spot on the bed is sooo warm!!), and when I plop on the couch after work she 100% has to jump on me and knead.

It was annoying at first but it’s been so cute – recently, she’s been even RESPONDING to her name when I call it on the couch and she comes running to knead my belly XD its the darnest cutest thing EVER. E-V-E-R.

We’re also trying to incorporate wet food into her diet. She’s been eating dry food her whole life and at age six, we think it’s about time ~ we may feed wet food to her once a week~ for my kitty cat readers, how often do you feed your cat wet food? How often is TOO often or do you even feed your kitty wet food every day?

My boyfriend says that she owns me and is using me as a pillow, but I like to think that she loves me and wants to be closer to those she loves XD

Groceries, Lovely Neighbours, New Office!

Groceries and the Never Ending Budget

The boyfriend and I take turn paying for groceries each week. We used to do one big sweep at the local grocery store for the week and call it a day, but lately we’ve been trying to space out our groceries by going to more frequent trips at the market. Our goal for this new plan of attack is to eat fresher foods and create less waste. Of course, we’d like to see our grocery bill lower a bit as well, but we usually average about $70/wk which is pretty good for the two of us.

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This is a general grocery haul full of our regular staples =) We have here:

  • A variety of pasta sauce bases, red and alfredo. We usually like bulking up our sauce bases when we do make pasta to make it extra hearty!
  • Two “fun ” purchases for the boyfriend and I. This week, it’s a pre-canned pasta in Disney Princess shapes for myself (yes, I realize I’m an adult… lol) and some goldfish snacks for my boyfriend.
  • White bread, apple danishes, and pasta noodles (we like capelini!), and this is my first time buying quinoa. I’ve only tried it once a while back, hopefully I can incorporate it more into our daily meals~
  • Strawberries, bananas, grapes and delicious pineapple juice! Essential for surviving a 8 hour work day.
  • Chicken thighs, 2% milk for baking and making omelettes and eggs
  • Bok choy, green beans, lemons, mushrooms, and tomatoes ❤

So far, we’re doing good with using up what we have and eating our old food before buying new produce. But sometimes we forget to do a refrigerator scan before going to the market… lol. Does anyone else have this problem too?

Lovely Neighbours ❤

I’ve been loving living in a strata environment! I’ve always been a people person and I love being able to meet new faces and such in my building community. Recently, one of my neighbours gave us a tupperware full of macaroni and cheese, and it really helped us for a dinner when we were strapped for time! It was such a lovely surprise to get their text on a weekday night. We are definitely friends now and have been for quite some time now, but that just totally brightened our moods ^.^ I just love living next to friendly neighbours.

New Office Space

I’ve been a receptionist my entire life and haven’t really been given the respect that I craved in my career. I quit my last job in a cushy downtown tower for one that’s not in a fancy tower, for a better work environment. Not only was I given a desk away from the reception area, I was given my own personal office today! It’s such a huge change from the day to day noises and I can actually focus on getting work done. This is the job that called me a Thursday for an interview, and I kept debating and only called back on the following Tuesday. Needless to say, I know now never to judge a book by it’s cover. I’m totally enjoying my new office!