Fitness, Musings, Personal advancement, Pets, Recipes, Running

The future of this space

I have been wondering for a long time what to do with this space. And, like many other hobbies and interests of mine, the challenge of transitioning from amateur/casual/painfully irregular to comfortable/confident/habitual has been tricky. I think my tactic will be to just start. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I have owned about a dozen domains that have all fizzled out over time, due to lack of motivation, time, inspiration, <insert excuse here>. What’s the answer? Just write. My favourite blogs are the journal-style ones; the ones in which the writer shares intimate thoughts and relatable musings.

I’m in the midst of a career change and I’ve been immersed in myriad productivity and self-advancement content. Yep, me, who has been eye-rolling at best and bitterly critical at worst of self-help style books and blogs – ME! I am trying to find answers as to how this ol’ noggin works best. Task-switching has been a problem for me in the past, as has long-term project-based work. I’m thinking long and hard about time management, what I want to learn, and where I want to be in one year, two years, five. I have some big life problems I need to solve (budgets, family time, fitness, romance, pet care and training). I have hobbies I’ve let go, even though they mean the world to me (music, running, photography). What’s inspiring this introspection? I have two jobs for the foreseeable future. I’ve moved in to a new and exciting role but have no one to replace me in my old position. I need to be mindful of my time and energy, because when I’m not, it’s… bad. I have trouble managing sleep and energy levels at the best of times, and when I fall off the rails, I tend to let everything go. So, here’s to the cognizant tracking of my thoughts, ideas, goals, and time. There is so much I’ve wanted to record, dear internet friends. Things I’d like to cover soon:

  • the books I read in 2018. Best reading of my life. Fascinating, soul-bending literature
  • fitness goals and progress. I love reading “normal” people’s journeys to better health. Personally, I’m competitive and ambitious and I want to quantify my sports achievements
  • pet training. My reactive dog has come so far, and her only hindrance is me. Building our relationship and confidence one positive reinforcement at a time.
  • single career lady stuff. I have a lot to say on this topic
  • where I am with core values and philosophy. Let’s be real, since 2016, the political climate has been bonkers. I have been a bit all over the map, from marching in my Pussy Hat, to trying to consider Jordan Peterson’s perspective (seriously), to thinking hard about how we solve the problems with #MeToo (you guys, I believe women, you know that… but how to fix our legal system for objective fairness??). These are big, heavy questions. I wanna talk to people about these things
  • What I’m cooking and eating. As always, this topic is dear to my heart

So, you will be hearing from me, and hearing from me regularly.

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Recipes

Cape Breton Fish Cakes

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Cape Breton Fish Cakes

The first of many recipes of my ancestry! I have a few drafts on the go of other family recipes that I can’t wait to share. Please excuse the terrible main photo but I wasn’t planning on posting this recipe. My aunt Moira, currently living it up in Australia, requested the recipe so I figured posting it here would make it sharable and easy for me to retrieve in the future.

This recipe is one of my favourites to enjoy at my grandparents’ house. My Nana is from Chéticamp on Cape Breton Island and this is a traditional recipe of the Acadian people of the East coast of Canada. There are many variations – some are only fried in flour, many call for the addition of the herb savoury – but this is how we always had them when I was growing up.

This recipe is EASILY halved, which I recommend for 2-3 people. As written, this recipe serves 4-5 people.

***Cod must be soaked overnight before beginning this recipe!!**

-1.5 lbs of boned salt cod (I used two 340g bags of the cheaper salt cod pieces – no need for whole filets)
-6 cups of mashed potato (about 5-6 medium potatoes peeled and boiled til falling apart)
-2 eggs, beaten
-1 Spanish onion, finely diced
-1/4 cup butter
-1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-Freshly ground pepper
-Minced flat leaf parsley (optional – not in my family’s traditional recipe but this would be a great addition)
-50/50 mixture of coarse breadcrumbs and flour, for dredging (about 1.5 cups)
-Neutral oil for frying
-Finely sliced green onion, for serving
-Lemon wedge, for serving

  1. Soak the salt cod in cold water the night before you will make the fish cakes. Change the water a few times over the course of the evening and following day.
  2. Boil the cod and potatoes. In a large pot, add the potatoes and water. Don’t salt the water – the salt cod is going to bring all the salt this recipe needs, even for salt lovers! Boil until potatoes are beginning to fall apart, about 20 minutes. At the same time, bring a pot of water to boil and add the cod. Boil for 15-20 minutes, until easily flaked with a fork. Drain the potatoes and cod and allow to cool a bit.
  3. Meanwhile, add the butter, olive oil, and onions to a pan and sauté until soft.
  4. When the cod is still warm but cool enough to handle, crumble it in to little pieces using your hands. Mash the potatoes.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the cod, potatoes, beaten egg, butter and onions, and pepper. If you would like to add parsley, add it now. If you won’t be frying the cakes right away, it’s still a good idea to make this mixture while the ingredients are warm, to allow the flavours to really mix and meld.
  6. Shape the mixture in to cakes, about the size of small, thick hamburger patties. Meanwhile, add enough oil to coat the bottom of a large cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan.
  7. In a shallow bowl, add the breadcrumb mixture. Press each side of the cake in to the mixture and then roll the sides so the whole cake is covered.
  8. Add the cakes to the hot skillet and fry until deep brown and crispy on both sides.
  9. Serve with sliced green onion, lemon wedges, and fresh pepper

Another not-so-traditional addition: I made a lemon horseradish cream sauce by mixing dried chives, 1 tbsp of horseradish, a splash of lemon juice, and 3/4 cup of sour cream. I used to a spoon to drizzle a little of this on the cakes for serving.

These cakes are wonderful served with arugula salad for some nice balance.

I highly recommend serving leftovers with a poached egg. Add some hollandaise for true decadence!

Instant Pot

Instant Pot Ontario Harvest Kale and Chorizo Soup

Ontario Harvest Kale & Potato Soup

Modified slightly from Ontario Harvest Kale and Potato Soup by the Toronto Star.

 

Ugly photo of Harvest Kale Soup

 

 

1/2 lb – 2/3 lb. (225 g-340 g) fresh chorizo sausages (or other spicy pork sausages)
1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 lb. (450 g) potatoes (about 3), scrubbed, thinly sliced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
6 cups (1.5L) chicken stock or water
1/4 cup (60 mL) apple juice
2 tsp (10 mL) kosher salt + more for seasoning
3/4 lb. (375 g) kale (about 1 bunch), thick stems removed, leaves finely sliced
Freshly ground black pepper

Prick sausages with a fork; turn on Instant Pot to Saute mode. Let it get hot, then add the olive oil and chorizo. Cook until sausage is browned. Remove sausage from pot and slice thinly.

Add onions to Instant Pot. Cook, stirring, 8 minutes. Add potatoes and garlic. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add stock or water, apple juice and 2 tsp (10 mL) salt. Let the soup come to a simmer. Press Cancel.

Put the lid on the Instant Pot. Ensure the vent is set to Sealing. Press Manual and set the Instant Pot to cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. Perform a quick release when the pressure cooking is complete. Mash potatoes to purée with a potato masher or wooden spoon. Add sliced sausage. Press Saute on the Instant Pot and let it simmer 5 minutes to warm through. Stir in kale, in batches. Simmer, uncovered, 3 to 5 minutes. Greens should stay bright green and slightly crunchy. Taste; season with salt and pepper if desired.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.