Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cupcakes and Stragglers

Do you have any friends that are super talented?  They have a skill, a small business or a talent that is just out of this world and you would be so happy to just see them succeed?  I am lucky enough to have met a few friends in the past year that fall directly into this category.  I wanted to take a moment to recognize them and give them a free plug for what it is worth.

Sweets by Ashley

When most single women go out to a bar with their friends they usually try to find the best looking single man in the bar and try to work their womanly ways on him.  I on the other hand go to a bar and pick up a girl that makes cupcakes.  If I have to choose between a stinky beer drinking boy or a retro Cupcake Fairy I will choose the Cupcake Fairy every time.  And this is how I came to be friends with Ashley Burt of Sweets by Ashley.  Ashley works part time baking and creating cupcakes and other desserts that are out of this world.  Imagine a cupcake with a Reese's Peanut Butter cup baked into the bottom.  Yep, Ashley did that.  Not only are her cupcakes to die for, her eye for design and artistic ability make her creations as beautiful as they are tasty.  I have ordered cupcakes from Ashley on several occasions for both personal events and for my Social Committee at work.  Everyone always raves about how yummy her treats are and I just can't argue. 

So, if you are craving a cupcake fix be sure to stop by Ashley's website and order a dozen or two.  You can always share your leftovers with me.  I won't mind.

The Stragglers

Truth be told I don't really listen to a lot of mainstream music.  I tend to like my music acoustic and depressing with a dash of heartbreak thrown in for good measure.  However, I had the pleasure of meeting Mark this past summer and learned that maybe I should expand my musical tastes just a little.  Mark is the lead singer in a local punk band called The Stragglers.  Just to be clear, I do not normally listen to punk music but Mark invited me to a show this summer and I was more than happy to support him and his band.  And, you know what?  I actually really enjoyed the show. Mark is a talented singer and the rest of the band is equally skilled.   

The Stragglers play local venues and shows when they can and have recently released an EP.  I believe it is so important to support local talent...especially in the music industry.  So, check out The Stragglers the next time you feel like expanding your musical library.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

PBG Recipe: PB & J Sandwich Cookies

To be honest, this is not so much a recipe as it is just a really, really good idea.  Peanut butter.  Jam.  Cookies.  How can these three things together ever be wrong...well, they can't.  Just take a look...

This recipe is super simple but it will please all of the Peanut Butter lovers in your house, I guarantee.  Simple bake up a batch of your favourite sugar cookies and let them cool.  Cover one cookie with your favourite nut butter and another with your favourite jam.  Sandwich them together and voila!  Cookie awesomeness is born.

Need a closer look? 

Now, go make these yourself.  Do it!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

PBG Recipe: Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I adapted this recipe from several I found on my favourite food sights.  I used half whole wheat flour for some health benefits and replaced half the butter with almond butter because I am a sucker for nut butter.  The end product is crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.  Perfect for breakfast as a snack with a glass of milk. 

1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, softened
1/2 cup Almond Butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together.
4. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture.
5. Stir in the oats, cranberries and walnuts.
6. Chill the dough for 20 minutes in the fridge and then scoop cookies onto a sheet. The cookies should be two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
7. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in). Take them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top.
8. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sick and Tired

Things have been very hectic around here the past couple of weeks.  I am working on a major project at work that has insanely tight deadlines.  Plus, playing Dodgeball on Monday night, Book club on Tuesday night, All Sort of Sports on Wednesday and I have a Floor hockey double header for two different teams tomorrow night.  Phew.  And to top it all off I got a solid elbow to the cheek last night playing Floor Hockey with my All Sorts of Sports team.  So far my cheek is only red and a little swollen - I think the only bruising is on my ego this time.

I think my body is starting to rebel against my very busy schedule.  I woke up feeling groggy with a headache and stomach ache this morning.  I decided to call in sick and take the day to rest on the couch with some tea and a good book.  I am sure I will feel better in no time.  I know that my body is telling me to slow down, so I should probably listen to it.  But, there is just so much going on and so many new friends to meet that I can't bring myself to rest just yet. 

Just last night I had a post game celebration with my All Sorts of Sports team.  I am new to this team and really only knew one of the girls before I started.  The team is awesome even if they are a little crazy.  As an example of their overall craziness our team name is the Super Mega Ultra Turbo Sharks...SMUTS for short.  Too funny!  We had some Gretzky Pasta (don't ask) and garlic bread while I supplied Celebration Cupcakes and Two Bite Brownies for dessert.  We chatted, watched a vampire movie, had a few drinks and headed home.  I am so happy that my team mates are awesome.  I have played on teams in the past that I did not really bond with and it is just not as much fun. 

So, I have a double header of Floor Hockey tonight to finish off my sports for the week.  I am hoping to go to the movies on Friday night and will be participating in a Games Night on Saturday night with some friends.  Should be a total blast!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

PBG Book Club: The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb

We read this book for my book club.  It was not my favourite book.  It seemed like more of a "story" than a novel.  I also found it a little confusing keeping all the the characters straight.  I thought it was interesting and tells an important story bur just not very compelling   It also gave me a new perspective on what is/was happening in Vietnam which is a country I know very little about.


The next bookclub read is The Orphan Sister by Gwendolen Gross.

Some books on my shelf I have been meaning to tackle:

When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
World War Z by Max Brooks (yes, this is about Zombies!)

I just love a good book.  What are yu reading right now?  I am always looking for suggestions.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day of the Undead

How is your weekend going so far?  So far mine has been ok. 

Something pretty cool happened to me last week.  A stranger recognized me from my blog.  I could not believe it.  I was waiting some my team mates to get into the gymnasium where we would be playing floor hockey.  I was just subbing on this team for a friend so I did not really know everybody.  As we were making the introductions I got to chatting with one of our players.  After a couple of minutes he asked me if I wrote a blog.  I said I did and he said that he was actually readiing my blog recently.  So random and so exciting!  This brief interaction inspired me to start writing again.  Knowing that there is someone out there who is no my mom or my best friend that is reading my blog is kind of exciting.  Very Cool! 

I had a little too much fun with some friends on Friday night so yesterday was a bit of a write off.  I think this is just a sympton of my recent unexpected feelings about the anniversary of my break up this week.  The last time I did this to myself was the weekend my ex moved out.  Notice a pattern?  Clearly not my best judgement.  A friend gave me some great advice recently.  She said, the first year after a break up is the hardest because all of your memories surrounding birthdays and special days probably include your old partner.  But, after the first year is over, you have made new memories that do not include him.  These new memories are what you can look back on going forward, and maybe not feel quite so alone or sad on what are supposed to be special days.  

I have a birthday coming up in a couple of weeks for the first time in my life I am not looking foward to it.  I am thinking about things that never used to cross my mind.  I think about how old I am, and just getting older.  I think about the fact that my life is not what I expected it to be at this age.  I worry that I am getting too old, and that time is running out for me to meet someone and have a family.  I know all of my friends and family try their best to convince me that I am not THAT old, and that I don't need to worry.  They are all certain I will meet someone and find the love that I deserve.  How can they be so sure?

Despite my hangover and personal funk that I have been in I did manage to make it over to my brother's for some awesome home made lasagna and Ceaser Salad.  It was amazing, as usual.  My brother is a very talented cook.  We also watched the movie Win Win last night.  It is a lovely and inspiring movie about a man (Paul Giamatti) who is a little down on his luck who establishes a relationship with the grandson of a man he is helping out. Spending the afternoon with my brother and sister-in-law (and my parents who also stopped in for a quick visit) was exactly what I needed yesterday.  My brother and I did not always get along growing up.  But, as an adult he has become my strongest supporter and my loudest cheerleader.  He would do anything for me, I know he would.  And I love him for it. 

My game plan for today includes a shopping trip with my mom...woo hoo!  And also pizza and zombies with my friend Drew.  As it turns out he is also a fan of the AMC seris The Walking Dead.  As I do not have a television I was worried Imight not be able to watch the season premier on tonight.  But, thankfully Drew came through with an invititation for pizza and a mini zombie marathon tonight.  Sweet!  I can't wait.

Have a great lasy Sunday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Lot Can Happen In a Year

It's been too long since we talked.  Sorry about that.  Life got in the way.
I am supposed to be sleeping right now.  It’s late, I am tired and I have to get up and go to work tomorrow just like every other weekday.  But, I can’t sleep.  This week, despite my best efforts, has not been a good week.  I was a year ago this week that a significant long term relationship ended.  I thought I was OK.  I thought I was dealing with it – not over it, but dealing with it at least.  As it turns out, I was wrong.
I have spent this week in a funk.  More tears than usual, in fact, more tears than I thought I had left in me over this relationship.  I know for certain that I do not miss this individual and do not want him to be a part of my life.  But, I guess I am still grieving the loss of daily companionship and friendship.  I miss having someone around.  I miss having a built in movie date on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  I miss the strong confident woman I used to be.  That is what I am grieving.
I did not like the person I was when the relationship was finally over and it is taking me a while to find the old “me” again.  This last relationship really changed me in ways that I am not proud of.  I lost who I was.  I spent all of my time and energy focusing on his life, his dreams and his needs and when I couldn’t make him the center of my attention anymore it all fell apart.  So, when it was all over, I didn’t know how to be my own cheerleader anymore.
There have been a few things that have really helped me in the past year.  I have made new friends, re-established my social circle and had some really great times this summer.  In fact, the friends I have made in the past couple of years are some of the best friends I have ever had.  They are kind and loving and a whole tonne of fun.  They were there for me (when I finally let them in) when I needed them the most with hugs and words of kindness.  They are here for me now with dating advice – some good, some not so good.  And I really hope they are around for years and years to come.
If it had not been for the support of my friends and family this past year I am not sure I would have made it this far.  I don’t think they know how important they were/are in my (ongoing) healing process.  I hope they read this and realize how much I love them for their kindness.
So, with this post I am here to announce that I am on my way back.  Back to the blogsphere, back to being me and back to my life with positive intentions and looking towards the future.  It’s going to take some time but I will get there.  I hope you are with me when I arrive.