Thursday, September 03, 2015

{dill pickle soup?}

We're a bunch of sickies over here, using up a year's worth of Kleenex and hacking up lungs all over the place. (Literally, there are lungs everywhere. I think I just stepped on one.)

It's a whole different ball game, being sick and having to still take care of someone else. I warmly remember days where, when my body started shutting down, I'd crawl into bed for a whole day (or as many days as it took) and just lay there, listening to audio books and podcasts and music while my internal germ fighters got their war on. It's not like that anymore. Oh well.

A perk? I'm up anyway; I might as well make soup.

I googled "the best easy soup", and the one that jumped up and out at me on the results page was a recipe called Dill Pickle Soup. I thought, Well, that's either going to be horrible or amazing, and there's only one way to find out which it is.

So that's what I'm doing right now. Alternately stirring soup and laying face-down on the floor while Sully climbs on my back and legs. He's having a blast, so that's good. (I sneezed just now and heard, from behind me, "CCCAAAAAHHHHHH-PPPPPZZZZZZZTTTTTTHHHHHHHHHHHHTTT!" Which, I can only assume, is Sullivan's best impression of me sneezing. Is that what I sound like, really? Yikes.)

Don't worry, I won't push publish until I've tasted the soup so I know whether or not to recommend it to you. Wait for it...

It's good. Not too pickle-y, very thick and flavourful. We decided that we'd add bacon and corn next time. Four thumbs up and a wee toothy grin. 

{pretend cookies}

I'm not up on the whole groundhog thing, (mostly because he always lets me down so I've just stopped caring about him and his stupid shadow) but I have a sinking feeling that winter isn't going to be over anytime soon. Because I woke up this morning to millions and billions of special little snowflakes, falling in such a way so as to land gently and yet somehow still crush all of my hopes and dreams.

I tried for a moment to pretend that they were flakes of sweetened coconut falling out of palm trees onto my beachfront property on some blisteringly hot tropical island, and that if I ran out there in my swimsuit and tried to make coconut angels on the lawn, I wouldn't suffer severe frostbite and lose all of my limbs. But you can only pretend that kind of thing to a point and then you die.

(Sung) Ohhhh Caaaanadaaaaa.

I think if there were a pie chart for my blog as of late it would show that I mostly complain about the weather, with slivers of conversation about listening to music and being a mom. So, here, I'll throw something craaaaaazy into the mix: a list of things that I've mixed together and baked lately that I pretend are cookies but that aren't cookies, not really, so I don't feel guilty about pretty much pulling the tray out of the oven and dumping them all into my mouth before they've even had a chance to cool.

(Is it still hyperbole if you're not exaggerating that much?)

I found this idea somewhere on the internet a few years ago (with just oatmeal and a banana) and it's one of those things I cherish to this day. So thank you, whoever posted that on Facebook.

My List:

- banana + white chocolate chips + coconut + Craisins
- banana + almonds + peanut butter + chocolate chips + oatmeal
- coconut + banana + peanut butter + sunflower seeds + chocolate chips
- coconut + banana + chocolate chips + oatmeal + cocoa
- banana + peanut butter + chocolate chips + oatmeal + sunflower seeds
- banana + coconut + cocoa
- peanut butter + coconut + oatmeal
- banana + white chocolate chips + cocoa + oatmeal
- probably other combinations I can't think of right now

Obviously, in case you haven't done this before, you need to bake them too. 350 for anywhere from 6-10 minutes. Depending on the differing amounts of ingredients. And the amounts of ingredients depends on your differing cravings and preferences. It's all very scientific. Or not at all.

I've been trying to branch out of the peanut butter chocolate chips rut I've found myself in lately, but not very hard because it's a tasty, melty rut.

If you have any suggestions though, please do, you know, hit me. 

Continuing On...

I wonder if maybe one of my legs is longer than the other? Because a large amount of my vacation pictures are lopsided. They lean, is what I mean.

Or maybe I subconsciously took them that way to emphasize them. Like italics. Like, I really like this building, so I'm going to take this picture just ever so slightly slanted...

That's so smart. What a great idea.

Anyway. Just something to be aware of. The lopsided pictures are extra important and not at all just sloppy photography.

The week before we left for Montreal, a friend who just so happened to be in the city herself posted a picture on her Instagram of a cool-looking wall. I know that doesn't sound like much, but it was a really cool wall. I promise. I decided that I wanted to see it, but didn't know where it was, so this is the very logical and rational way we went about finding it:

We rode the metro to Old Montreal, because we wanted to see Old Montreal anyway, and got off when Sullivan started getting antsy. We came up from the train and I found a lady wearing a vest (because all women who wear vests know everything) (but also, she was sitting underneath a sign that said 'Information'), and I pulled up my friend's Instagram account. I said, "Do you know where this wall is?" and she pointed behind me and said, "Yes, it's just down that hallway."

The wall was cool, and so was the rest of the building (it's the Palais des Congres at the North end of Old Montreal).

From there, we headed south into Old Montreal. There's a very distinct place where the pavement ends and the cobblestone starts. It's like standing on the battle line between old and new, the straight, sleek lines of the skyscrapers over your head on one side and the jagged, turreted skyline of the old city on the other.

The Old Port is, predictably, right next to the Old City. We went there once in the evening when the mosquitoes and tourists were overwhelming, and once in the early morning when there were none of either. I highly recommend the latter. There's a little beach down there on the St. Lawrence River called the Clock Tower that costs $2 to get into and has a pretty sweet view of the Jaques Cartier Bridge and the city skyline.

On Sunday afternoon, we headed to Mont-Royal Park to see the Tam-Tams, a free weekly drum festival around the George-Etienne Cartier Monument. The cool thing about this event? It's not really an 'event' - in that it's not official; it doesn't have advertising, or sponsors or a fee or any kind of rules at all. It's just a bunch of people playing drums and selling stuff from blankets on the lawn. As far as I can tell, you just lug your little drum situation over there and have at 'er. For hours. There are little pockets of drum circles, surrounded by spectators. They start at, like, 10 in the morning and go until they feel like it's time to quit, sometimes late in the evening.

Our home base was right next to Jarry Park. We took coffees there from Cafe Vito one morning and let Sullivan chase birds with the umbrella stroller (kids have weird hobbies). There was a guy with a boomerang, too. I'd never seen a boomerang in real life, but I think now that I would like to own one. We found a little island, accessible only by stepping stones, and we sat on it and threw rocks into the water. So chill.

Let's see, what else...

I can't not mention Place de Castelnau, which was just a block from our house in the opposite direction of Jarry Park. It had two good coffee shops, a game store, an amazing little bread place, the chocolate shop I mentioned yesterday, painted sidewalks, and church bells that chimed every hour.

We also hit up (and quite loved) the Mile End, another place a short metro ride away known for its coffee (and bagels!) and shops. We found a record store and a book store, and I even bought a little French comic book as a souvenir for one of my friends' three-year-olds (but upon closer inspection on the way home, I discovered that it was maybe a comic book for an *ahem* older audience. Oops. Had a good laugh, not gifting it to a 3-year-old).

Aimless Wandering really was the theme of the trip though. We sat and listened to a guy play Pink Floyd and Yann Tiersen on a piano in a park, searched for (and found) crepes in Mont-Royal, poked around the Olympic Stadium a little, stumbled across a country music festival (left immediately; sorry, country music), and explored the McGill University campus. Just enjoyed being away together. Drank copious amounts of coffee. Poured water into our empty coffee cups so Sully would think he wasn't missing out.

We ended up spending a lot of time at our apartment too. Again: we have a kid who naps and goes to bed early (the time change worked in our advantage though - he goes to bed at 7, which is 9 Montreal time. It was nice to be able to do a thing or two in the evening without gouging into his bedtime). So our evenings were low key, but it was nice. We bought a game at the place in Castelnau and had poutine on the terrace and just hung out. Which, luckily, we like doing.

So, I guess, that's that. It was a really nice week. I'd go back tomorrow if I could. Unfortunately, real life is a factor in my decision making. Thanks for the memories, Quebec. You're so fancy.