08/31/11

Finding A New Perfume

I’m a good shopper, except when it comes to finding a new perfume. I have the hardest time finding a scent that’s fresh and not too sweet but still girly. This is why I wore Cool Water by Davidoff for a solid 10 years; nothing else seemed as good on my skin.

For the last few years, I’ve worn perfumes that I’ve bought and that were given to me, but none have been amazing. And I can’t go back to Cool Water, because wearing the same scent for a decade was pushing it. Time to move on! Grow up! Smell different!

On Monday, I meandered over to Murale on Stephen Avenue to solve this scent dilemma. I told the woman helping me about my mild obsession with Cool Water, a fragrance she described as “clean” and “flirty.” Yes, that sounded about right. Knowing what I was after, she suggested I try a D&G fragrance called 3 L’Imperatrice.

Here’s how the Sephora website describes the perfume:

“3 L’Imperatrice is a confident, charismatic, boundary-shattering blend with a top of rhubarb, kiwi accord, and red currant; a heart of pink cyclamen, watermelon, and jasmine; and a base of musk, sandalwood, and grapefruit wood. The impression channels a successful, compelling character that is neither male, nor female, nor unisex, moving with dynamism to the free, edgy style that marks the D&G fashion empire.”

Here’s how I describe it: nice.

Okay, here’s a bit more: at first sniff, it seemed clean, feminine and not overly strong. I tested some others and, in the end, decided to give 3 L’Imperatrice a try.

Now that I’ve worn it for a couple of days, I find it comes off a touch more fruity than I’d planned on, but I’m liking it more and more. Besides, I don’t expect my Cool Water habit to be broken overnight.

~Michelle

08/30/11

When We Grow Up

We made it, folks!

We rolled into Victoria Sunday night after a hard weekend of driving. Let’s pause, please, and have a moment of thanks for Tim Hortons coffee.

We’re here for next month while the boy finishes more training. I came along because I want to live here when we grow up.

When we first started dating, we started a game called “When We Grow Up.” We knew then that S. had at least six years of tough training ahead, possibly more. While all our friends were getting real homes and moving on, our lives stayed in a holding pattern dictated by the strict regimen of his surgical training. “When We Grow Up” keeps us sane. We lie in bed at night and talk about all the things we’ll do when we grow up. We tolerate our small condo and crazy work schedule by planning our grown-up house (near the water) and grown-up weekends (pancakes at home), our vacations (New Zealand) and dog (called Ritter after the chocolate bars.).

We always choose Victoria for the city we’ll live in when we grow up. It meets all our requirements for a livable city. Ocean? Check. Warm winters? Best in Canada. Great bike routes? Yessirree. I bought a new bike rack for this trip just so we could bring mountain and road bikes to the coast.

After one day here, I’m adding a new must for “When We Grow Up.” We must have walking access to a great pub with a patio.

Our temporarily home here is right across the street from a fantastic brew pub, Canoe Brew Pub.  It’s like Disneyland for beer buffs and so close to our house that we can run up for a sweater in between sips.

Doesn’t that look like something to aspire to when you grow up?

~Chris

 

 

08/29/11

Cauliflower “Don’t Knock It Till You’ve Tried It” Mash

This looks like mashed potatoes, doesn’t it?

It’s actually mashed cauliflower, which I made to accompany our grilled chicken, zucchini and corn dinner on Saturday night at the cabin. It was super simple: I steamed it, mashed it and added olive oil, salt and pepper.

If you love cauliflower, then you probably like this idea, as is. If you’re not so fond of the veggie, then you may want to try a fancier, tastier cauliflower mash — one that I often make at home. The recipe comes from John Berardi’s Gourmet Nutrition cookbook. As John writes, “if you like mashed potatoes but worry about the high-carb content, worry no longer. Mashed cauliflower tastes just like mashed potato but has fewer calories and packs a bigger nutrient punch.”

Here’s how his Coconut Cauliflower Mash goes:

  • 3 cups cauliflower (rough chopped)
  • 1/4 cup cashews (crushed) *I omit these because, as anyone who knows me will attest, cashews are one of my worst allergies. Me eating them = not pretty.
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
Add all the ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer for 15 minutes and then remove from heat. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time, if necessary to get the mixture moving. Serves 1 large or 2 small.
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And there you have it. It’s a great, healthy side dish for almost any entree.
My parents, who are accustomed to their mashed potatoes, seemed to enjoy the simplified cauliflower mash. (And if you were faking it, padres, gracias.)
Here are some shots from our weekend, which involved great meals, painting the cabin (hence the beautiful footwear), boating, skiing and — what I loved most — catching up.
I hope you all had an excellent weekend, as well, lovely readers.
~Michelle
08/26/11

Things We Like Fridays

It’s a weekend for road trippin’. Michelle is heading back up to her cabin this weekend after driving down on Tuesday for breakfast with Chris. And Chris is heading west to Vancouver Island after a brief stopover from Ottawa.

Got all that? Good.

On our list for this week:

  • Son of A Bad Man. Amazing road trippin’ tunes. Check out their version of Barton Hollow.
  • For more road trippin’ tunes, listen to CBC’s Radio 2 Drive. Happiness for your ears.
  • If you’re not road trippin’, go for a shroom pizza at Without Papers. A must for anyone who loves mushrooms…and pizza.
  • Or try Skoah’s Hydradew Mask. Michelle slathers it on at least twice a week because it’s such a great, hydrating treat.
  • Nars Cyprus eye shadow. It’s Chris’ must-have eye shadow. And Michelle asks about it every time she sees it.
  • From one of Canada’s wine experts, here’s how you should pack your grape juice to bring to the beach.
  •  Toque Girls get-togethers. After weeks apart, we had a wonderful visit over eggs and toast at Over Easy Breakfast. Michelle will be thrilled when Chris is back for good at the end of September and is looking forward to regular workout and sushi dates. (Chris adds: Aw, that’s nice of you to say.)

Safe travels and have a great weekend!

~The Toque Girls

(Photo from here)
08/25/11

Mike’s Naked Burgers And Other Tasty Treats

Last weekend at the cabin, we ate our share of tasty summertime treats.

Troy made his famous Macho Nacho dip and it was exquisite, as always. I’m convinced if he could somehow sell this in little takeout containers from a food truck in Calgary, he would be a kazillionaire. (I know that’s not a word, WordPress. Fuggedaboutit.)

Anna — she of the To Market, To Market blog we recently added to our Friends list at right — made yummy apple and cinnamon scones. (She also blogged about the lake here.)

I made one of my all-time favourite dishes, spaghetti squash with sausage filling. You can find that recipe here. If you give it a go, I recommend using spicy sausage and sauce. And don’t worry about stuffing the spaghetti squash shells; to make the recipe even easier, I just keep the filling in a big, oven-proof skillet, grate the cheese on top and throw it in the oven. Easy peasy.

Mike mixed me a Bulldog, which I loved. The ingredients? About a cup’s worth of low-calorie margarita mix and a Corona. More Bulldogs are in my future.

But let’s get right down to the real reason you’re reading — Mike’s naked burgers. Here’s what happened: Mike and Troy had a bet going, and the loser had to barbecue burgers for the lake crew. To make things more interesting, the loser had to barbecue said burgers naked.

Mike lost the bet and, being the good sport he is, donned only an apron to barbecue a burger feast for us on Saturday. The cheese-stuffed patties were amazing. The photo ops were even better.

Thanks for the food and the laughs, team.

~Michelle