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Leslieviller

Hellloooo from Toronto!!

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Or, my new ‘hood Leslieville :)

Sister Sara took the bus with me from Ottawa yesterday and we immediately came to my neighbourhood and hit up a place called Ceili Cottage.

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SO many good restaurants in my area, but we chose this place because Sara raved about their caesars.

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Rimmed with seaweed!!

They had a lot of neat traditional fare, which varies day to day based on their weekly roast. Thursday’s special was a Peameal sandwich + salad.

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With fresh Irish brown bread. OMG. So good.

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We split the above sandwich and a smoked salmon plate. Salmon was freshly smoked too. I can see myself coming back here a lot!! Apparently they roast marshmallows sometimes??

Once our bellies were adequately full, we checked out the apartment situation. I came with only three suitcases and a sleeping bag, so my room is pretty bare at the moment.

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Unfortunately the apartment wasn’t cleaned before we moved in, so it needed to be scrubbed down right away. More pictures to come once we get the place spic and span!!

Seeing as yesterday was Canada Day on top of moving day, drinks were in order!!

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This GIANT beer is called the Leslieville Lager at Stratengers pub, although I’m told it may be Big Rock Amber or the likes. There was a lot of muscle contraction happening bringing that giant glass to my mouth.

I ordered an un-pictured salad (vegetables!!) but Sara ended up with something that was very  blog-worthy.

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A gargantuan enchilada. Look at the cheese!! It was cah-razy. And wonderful. All at once. Check out Sara’s thumb in the back. She ate maybe a third of it. The rest is currently cheesing up our new fridge.

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Yay! Sisters!! Sara has been so helpful throughout all of this. It’s not even worth going into because I won’t do her kindness any justice!!

Giant beers were followed by giant fireworks.

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Fireworks must be watched on Canada Day. I think I missed them last year due to my job at the time. Happy to be here this year instead :)

We ended up going to bed too late, and were up too early. I’ve got a lovely cough happening right now which will hopefully be cured with a good night’s sleep tonight. I’ve been putting my poor body through quite the wringer lately!!

All hopes of running this morning were put aside. Sara and I rolled right from bed to the Leslieville Diner.

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It’s everything a diner should be, from the endless coffee refills to the raspy-voiced waitress who knows everyone by first name.

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You can’t go wrong with a $4.85 breakfast special. Yes, you could get egg whites, or fruit, or some other upgrade, but y’all know I really wanted the bacon and whole eggs.

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Hey, at least I went fro whole wheat dry toast ;) And yes, I did eat all THREE eggs. It kept me full for 5 hours.

The lasting power was needed today, as Sara and I embarked on my first ever pilgrimage to IKEA.

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The one-way trip required a bus, three subways, and a special IKEA shuttle to the store. Yes, a shuttle.

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It was worth it though, we managed to get a mattress, bed frame, two small tables, two drawer units and a small bookshelf for a very very reasonable price.

I’m told any trip to IKEA must include a trip to its restaurant.

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This was definitely an experience in itself. I of course had to try their famous Swedish meatballs.

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Ummm, pretty frickin’ good!! I really liked the mild gravy on top, and the balls themselves were nicely spiced. I must say though, I still prefer making meatballs at home!!

Sara and I split the above, as well as the below…

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Cinnamon rolls count as a meal carb… right?? Right?? :P Okay, this was so not necessary, but holymoly it was divine. My sister and I are self-proclaimed cinnamon roll and sticky bun connoisseurs, and this one definitely makes my Top 5. Lots of cinnamon sugar and super soft.

Currently, I’m drinking a DC (blame the hot weather and illness).

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While blogging from what is likely to be my new favourite coffee shop.

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Comfy chairs, good music and date squares the size of my hand. I have a feeling I’m going to like Toronto :)

 

Blogging will be sporadic until I get internet on Tuesday, but there are still more amazing blogger interviews to go up. Thank you so much for joining me on these last couple months of being a vagabond, I’m really excited to unpack my bags and set up a new life here. Now, if you don’t mind, I have an IKEA delivery due in 15 minutes ;)

Drunk With Courage

It’s Monday.

I have one more day of living at my mom’s house, where I’ve been living since moving away from my old university town one month ago.

One more day of living in my hometown, home province, and the Maritime region of Canada of which much of my identity comes from.

One more day before I embark on a journey with Holly and Karen through the Canadian Rockies.

One more day until I begin the next chapter in my life, which includes eventually settling down in Toronto.

What better way to signify this than by making one of the most intimidating dishes I can think of. 

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Yes my friends, I am talking about poached eggs.

Ooohhh, how I love those little yolky pockets of goodness. I tried making them when I was around 12 years of age, but ended up with scrambled eggs. And not the good kind.

Since moving back to my mom’s, I go to bed every single night telling myself that tomorrow will be the day. But then I wake up, and in my morning grogginess, chicken out and go with a breakfast that is tried and true.

Not today. As of now, I’m all about grabbing life by the horns. Taking on a sense of adventure. Naturally, my first call of action was to poach those damn eggs.

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I followed Jenna’s step-by-step tutorial for poaching eggs. She lived in France, so I immediately consider her an authority on the subject.

I brought my water to a low boil, added my teaspoon of vinegar, and lightly slid each egg into the pot. After two minutes, my water started to break the surface with a boil, and I got nervous. I held the pot ever-just-so over the burner for the last minute, terrified my precious eggs were going to get mangled.

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Lo and behold, they came out okay!

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There were a few egg-white casualties, but much of the egg was still retained. Better yet, the yolks were perfectly runny.

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Don’t let these photos fool you. I do not eat my poached eggs on top of toast. Ohno.

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When poached eggs are involved, the bread must be dipped into the runny yolk. Brownie points if the bread is homemade Irish soda bread ;)

By the bye, I had a blast reading through everyone’s favourite kind of bread! Sourdough, french/crusty and naan were probably the fan favourites. Although, Madeline mentioned her favourite is Irish brown bread. This is most certainly next on my bread-baking list. I think soda breads are a good transition to yeast breads. Sister Sara – I hope you’re up for some bread baking when I get to Ottawa!! ;)

Okay, back to the topic at hand.

After my poaching success, I began to get a little drunk with courage. I reeeeally wanted to run today, but rain was in the forecast, and the skies were most definitely reflecting that. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a bit of a running Goldilocks. I typically don’t run outdoors unless the conditions are just so. But today I strapped on my running shoes and camelbak and took to the soggy trail!!

The first 15 minutes were great. The temperature was perfect, and the cloudy skies made for good visibility.

Then it started to rain. And it was actually really fun!! It was only a light rain, just enough to soak through my shirt a little. If anything, it was kind of refreshing! Ended up running for 50 minutes in total, finishing with a strong 5-minutes sprint. Felt gooood.

I was positively starving by the time I got home. It called for more soda bread.

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Topped with tuna salad and cheese.

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Then toasted to melty perfection. This may have been the best tuna melt of my life. Homemade bread makes a world of difference.

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Veggies to round out the meal!

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I put the rest of the tuna salad on top of sliced cucumber. I’ve been snacking on this combo in the evenings as well. It’s awesome.

Afternoon snack featured my last Homemade Wholegrain Maple Oatmeal Scone. *tear*

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Toasted, then topped with blueberries and vanilla yogurt.

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Ohmygosh. I love the combination of a baked good with fruit and yogurt. Maybe I will need to make scones when I go to Ottawa as well?? :P

We had some extra buffalo meat in the fridge, so I offered to make meat balls with it for dinner.

I couldn’t decide what kind of meatball I wanted, or what recipe I wanted to use. So I ended up combining Danica’s Healthy and Spicy Meatballs with Canadian Living’s Classic Italian Meatballs.

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First, I soaked 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs with 1/2 cup water for a few minutes until it was absorbed.

Then I added:

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp hot sauce

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Frank’s for the win.

After all that, I rolled up my sleeves and mixed in 1 lb lean ground buffalo meat.

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I really love mixing up meat with my hands. I swear I used to be a vegetarian.

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Rolled the mix into little balls (I got 31 balls) and browned in a frying pan. It took two rounds of frying, then I transferred to a baking sheet, drizzled with more Frank’s, and baked at 350F for 17 minutes (I’m all about the uneven numbers apparently).

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While that was going down, I prepared a garden salad.

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And a dressing of laughing cow cheese + buttermilk + Frank’s + herb seasoning blend.

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Zee ballz!!

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A feast for three:

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The step-siblings are only here every other week. Although, I think they totally would have dug this meal. Please note that is not my red wine. I despise the taste of wine. But alas, my new place in Toronto is above a home wine-making shop, so these things could change.

My plate!

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Or bowl, rather. I opted to eat my meatballs on top of a big salad.

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These were really, really good. Much better than my last attempt! Not only did they get another “gold star,” but Mark confirms they are great for dipping in ketchup, barbecue and plum sauce. He would know, he tried them all ;)

Mom said the meal was so good it required a coffee afterward.

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At least it’s not a cigarette :P

And then I took pictures of Archie just because.

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Even though his wet nose wakes me up at 7am everyday, I still love the furball.

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If there is anyone out there experienced in Grand Theft Poodle, please let me know.

 

Well that’s all she wrote!! I will be back tomorrow with a short update of sorts. I say short, because I have to be up at 4am to fly out on Wednesday. I also have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll be so excited I won’t be able to put together a cohesive sentence.

I will have you know though, I am so far doing good on my Goal for June.

With a lot more smiles to come :)

 

Question of the Day: What is one thing that has made you smile recently? I’m watching How I Met Your Mother – the one where they all take up smoking. Barney said “Yeah and the coughing really works my abs.” I laughed. Hard.

My Favourite Restaurant + An Early Flashback

Tough day.

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Watching cars drive by all day.

Barking at the occasional dog passing by.

I only joined him for part of it ;)

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I dunno you guys, but I’ve been waking up every morning dreaming of runny eggs on toast.

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I tend to go through phases with breakfasts, where I’ll eat the same thing everyday for a couple weeks.

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Except for that period in high school – when I got up and made myself french toast every day for a couple of years. Seriously. I think it lasted over 700 days.

I met up with my dad today for a noon hour spin class! My dad is what I call an “h-core cyclist.” He’s been road and mountain biking for as long as I can remember, and bikes to work everyday only to change into a suit after.

His office building has a gym in the basement with a spin set-up. It was kinda cool – the instructor set one of those light-up disco balls on the floor and shut off the lights. At first it was off-putting, but ended up being fun because no one could see me dying on the spin bike! 40-minute class, and got my heart pumping. Lots of low hovers over the seat which kills my glutes.

Afterward, my dad and I hit up my fave restaurant in town, Calactus. It’s vegetarian/vegan, which works out well now that I’m off the dairy!

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I opted for the special, which started with a squash and lentil soup.

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The main dish was a hummus and olive flute with a side of their amazing tabbouleh. The “flute” is essentially a wrap in their homemade (and to die for) lavash bread.

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Dad got their burrito which I ordered here.

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And his favourite chocolate banana soy smoothie. I had a sip. It’s dang good.

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Me and the old man! I think he may have kicked my butt at spin today ;)

Came home to a message from a gym in Toronto who want to set up an interview for a personal training job when I get there! Yayyy! Even if nothing happens from it, it’s at least nice to finally get a callback from all those resumes I sent out :D

Took the puppers for a walk in my new hiking shoes, and my feet were happy campers. So weird that my feet are fine running, but I get shooting pain after long walks. No picture of that walk though – my hands were full with the two leashes ;)

Supper was a smattering of leftovers.

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Leftover egg noodes, eggplant chicken tomato soup, and spicy buffalo buffalo meatballs. 

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Had to make up for that vegan lunch somehow!!

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Lots of carrot snacking on the side. Will be orange by 2011.

My mother keeps (and has always kept) healthy food in the house. 

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Except, I keep finding boxes of specialty chocolate in the back of her fridge. Dangerous for a person like me!

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I always say that I like dark chocolate, but sometimes a melt-in-your-mouth milk chocolate can’t be beat.

After dinner, I went up to my old middle school to see my step-brother in a school play. Walking in, I realized it’s been ten years since I last walked through those doors. I was only there for Grade 8, but it will always stand out in my memory as a fun and formative year.

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Mind the blurry cell phone photo. I tracked down my class on the wall and had to snap a pic. We don’t own these school photos, so it was fun to see my 14-year-old self immortalized on the wall :)

 

That’s all for this fine Thursday – I have to go get some guest posts ready! I’m going to Halifax this weekend to visit my Best Friend Forever (BFF). This weekend will be the start of a Blogger Interview Series that I’ll be posting during all the moving and travel madness over the next month. Y’all are in for some great stuff – so many fun bloggies to feature!

See ya with a trip recap and goal check-in on Sunday!

 

Question of the Day: What was you favourite age/school grade growing up? Grade 8 was definitely fun for me because I made some new and great friends. Grade 6 will always stand out too – my friends and I used to take off on our bikes for hours, and then always end up at the local ice cream shop :)

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