Monthly Archives: February 2013

Single Lady Solo Date Night!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

I have a confession: As a general rule, I kind of (TOTALLY) hate Valentine’s Day. But for nearly every year since I started dating back in high school, I’ve either been half of a couple or resentfully single on Valentine’s Day. This is the first year I’ve been quite happily single, and it turns out that’s the switch I needed to feel pretty giddy about this love fest.

Why, you might ask? When I’m part of a couple, I feel pressured to find a great gift and spend lots of money. I am not a gifty person; it’s not how I show love, so this annoys me greatly. However, all of a sudden, if I’m resentfully single, all I want is someone to put all that pressure and expense on me because I JUST WANT LOVE, DAMMIT!

Now? It’s a blessed evening to myself that is costing me exactly $21.85 in grocery money. I’m going to celebrate by making Single Lady Stew (aka a spicy, soupy “stew” that contains no meat) and these heart-shaped cookies by Shutterbean for dessert, which will be consumed in front of the TV while watching Grey’s Anatomy and cuddling with the dog. My roommate will be out with her Boyfriend-Like Person Who We Don’t Call Her Boyfriend, and I get the house to myself!

In case this happens to sound like someone else’s perfect recipe for a single lady solo date night, I wanted to share my recipe for Single Lady Stew.

Photo Source: Eat, Live, Run

Single Lady Stew, aka spicy stewed kale & veggies

Adapted from Eat, Live, Run’s Spicy Lentils with Sweet Potatoes & Kale


1/2 cup quinoa (or lentils, or other favourite grain), rinsed
1 large carrot, peeled & diced
1 yam or sweet potato, peeled & diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small onion, diced small
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of kale, chopped or torn
3 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Generous pinch or two of dried rosemary
1 tsp sriracha, or to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil for cooking


Heat a little oil in a medium pot. Once hot, add the onion, celery, carrot and sweet potato and cook for about six minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and kale and continue cooking until kale wilts.

Add the quinoa, bay leaf, rosemary sprigs, chicken stock, sriracha, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until quinoa is tender and has absorbed much of the liquid.

A note about the chicken stock: I prefer this dish to have a slightly soupy texture to it, so I use more stock than the quinoa will absorb. If you don’t prefer this, use 2 cups of stock instead of 3.

Remove the bay leaf before serving. Serve with crusty bread. And because this dish is basically a big pot full of health, you should have cookies for dessert for a properly balanced diet.

January Highlights & February Intentions

I remember looking back over 2012 at the end of the year and having a hard time remembering some of the small but still important things that happened over the course of the year, particularly the earlier months. So I’d like to start doing recaps of what transpired each month so that I’ll have a record of how I’ve spent my time, both the big and small moments. I would also love to set intentions for the coming month. Now that we’re well into February, it’s high time I get this posted!

January Highlights

  • While I did not stick to all my Clean January rules all the time, I succeeded in breaking below the 180-lb plateau and reframing the way I think about food. I find myself really thinking of pasta and sweets as treats now rather than everyday fare, and I actually want to keep eating mostly vegetables and healthy stuff for my meals.
  • I had a really magical dinner experience: I was invited to have traditional Malaysian-style hotpot dinner, cooked by Malaysian friends, in a floating home at a marina. We couldn’t have been luckier with the weather and we were treated to the most incredible sunset view out the window over the water.
  • I had a really wonderful month in my relationship with my mum. I’m quite close with her but we often don’t see eye to eye on many issues and tend to get under each other’s skin. We argue quite a bit, but not this month. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun with my mum.
  • Saw Life of Pi 3D in theatre. What an incredible, beautifully made film. Is this a story you love?
  • Went snowshoeing! What a blast. It’s a nice winter alternative to my preferred summer “sport” of hiking.
  • Got a small raise and increased my contributions to my TFSA, RRSP, and loan repayment.
  • Bought an ankle brace and finally feel secure that I won’t sprain my ankle while hiking.
  • No cavities at my last dentist appointment!
  • Bought a ticket to Bloggers in Sin City and to see Shania Twain live in concert while I’m there in May. Shania was the driving force behind the decision to attend BiSC… seeing her perform live has been on my bucket list for over a decade and I’m so thrilled this is finally happening!
  • Read three books: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. My favourite of these was Code Name Verity – review to follow.

February Intentions

  • Host an Oscars viewing party
  • Book my flight to Vegas in May
  • Declutter my bedroom – do a big sweep of my stuff and cull anything that needs to be donated, sold or put in the trash. Get it out of the house.
  • Replace my black cardigan and buy some new lingerie
  • Get into a green smoothie habit – that is, if I can find any good spinach and kale!
  • Do yoga 2-3 times a week

Well, there you have it! Cheers to a happy February.

33 Lessons Learned on my 33rd Birthday

Today is my 33rd birthday and I wanted to share with you 33 lessons, observations, and truths I’ve learned along the road.

  1. Your parents will fail you in some ways. This is because they’re human. You must learn to find the different types of support you need from the people and places who can provide it. This will sometimes be your parents, and it will sometimes involve actively leaving your parents out of it.
  2. Scary things are only scary because they’re outside your comfort zone. Your comfort zone always has room to expand if you just find the courage to press against its walls and stretch them out.
  3. On that note: Overwhelmingly huge goals can seem quite manageable when broken down into small steps. You should take one small step toward something that’s important to you every day.
  4. Life without carbs is not very much fun!
  5. You should not take the advice of someone who doesn’t share your values relevant to the issue at hand.
  6. Set your alarm clock 5 minutes earlier than the time you think you’ll need to get up.
  7. Clothes that must be ironed are essentially disposable. Ironing boards are purely for extra shelf space.
  8. Trust your intuition. It knows what’s best for you, even if it’s not what you want to hear.
  9. Do not give up what you want most for what you want right now.
  10. A grateful,  positive attitude goes a long way.
  11. Pay yourself first and save a little more than you think you can manage (you’ll surprise yourself and manage it just fine). And don’t wait until you’ve paid off every penny of debt you ever incur to start saving. You’ll never save anything that way.
  12. On haircuts: Call me boring, but stick with what you know works.
  13. The way your body looks does not actually matter all that much.
  14. Read everything before you sign. Don’t sign something you don’t understand.
  15. Not everyone is going to like you, and in general you won’t like the people who don’t like you. This is not a problem, it’s a natural screening system to help you find Your People.
  16. Having a practical skill or two will save you many dollars. Learn to change your own car oil, cook a great meal, hem your own pants & skirts, do your own web design, or SOMETHING.
  17. Travel. It will enrich your life in ways you cannot imagine.
  18. If you can’t afford actual travel, read a book and you can be in far away lands in mere moments. Bonus points if you can read in the sun, or on a beach.
  19. Friends are the most precious resource you’ll ever have in life.
  20. Puppies are the cure for EVERYTHING.
  21. Your job doesn’t need to be your life’s passion. (But it needs to not actively make you miserable. That is toxic.)
  22. If a person’s words are out of sync with their actions, pay attention to their actions.
  23. Don’t grind your teeth.
  24. You will not always agree with the decisions of others. If it doesn’t actively affect you, stay the hell out of it. Live and let live.
  25. Most of the obstacles you present as reasons to lose your shit because you’ll never achieve your dreams are completely surmountable. (Not that I had a recent temper tantrum worthy of an overtired toddler because I kept spraining my ankle and would NEVER! HIKE! AGAIN! When all I needed was an ankle brace. That would never happen)
  26. 4:59pm on Friday is the best moment of the week.
  27. Keeping an old car that’s fully paid off is a good financial decision, until it reaches that point that it becomes a money drain due to repairs. At that point, get rid of that sucker ASAP.
  28. You will hurt people if you reject them, and you will hurt them even more if you try to soften the blow by giving them hope that things will work out when you know they won’t. Sometimes it’s cruel to be kind. Just be respectful but blunt and tell them it’s over.
  29. A walk in nature will connect you back to yourself if you feel out of sorts.
  30. Life is a constant game of trade-offs.
  31. The sexy 4 inch heels that you can barely walk in and pinch your feet will never see the light of day. BAD IDEA. ABORT MISSION.
  32. It will make you feel really old to know that kids who were in kindergarten when you were in college are now in college. Despite this…
  33. 33 is not old. I’m not really sure how it happened that I became a 33-year old person. I swear I was just in high school, and then I blinked and I was here.