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The Sandwich Queen

Anyone else out there obsessed with the Food Network as much as I am? The Iron Chef and Good Eats will probably be my two favourite shows of all time, but newer favourites include The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Top Chef, and surprisingly, The Next Food Network Star.

One thing that really intrigued me about the latest season of The Next Food Network Star is that the guy who won pitched the idea of creating a Food Network show all about sandwiches. And no, this is not Joey Tribbiani we’re talking about.

Who doesn’t love sandwiches? They are hands down one of my favourite foods ever. There is so much you can do with a sandwich (or pita, or wrap). But the components always remain the same: bread, sauce, filling. These days I find myself craving sandwiches more than any other food thanks to the chemotherapy. My body wants bread, more bread, and a yummy protein in between.

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This first sandwich is brought to you by my crock pot. My first foray into making homemade pulled pork. Up here in Canada pulled pork isn’t as widely consumed as with our friends to the south.

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This turned out to be SO incredibly easy. I started by slicing up an onion and put it in the slow cooker. Poured in 1 cup chicken broth I had leftover in the fridge (some people use water or soda) then placed a 4-5lb piece of pork butt in there. Set on low and cooked for 8 hours.

After the 8 hours are up, I shredded the meat with two forks and liberally dumped in my favourite President’s Choice Smokin’ Stampede Beer & Chipotle sauce (available in Canada only). I like it better than Diana Sauce now!

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Some recipes will tell you to dump in a whole bottle. Well, this is a 2L bottle, and I’m honestly not that big of a fan of too much sauce. I like the taste of the meat better!

Let the shredded pork and sauce cook on low for another two hours. After 10 hours total of patiently waiting, you can finally dig in.

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See? Nothing to it! And the result is amazing!! I served mine with coleslaw, of course.

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Served on top of a bun. I used the leftovers to make a pulled pork and coleslaw pita and that was even better!

I’ve also been experimenting with the classic grilled cheese sandwich lately. You may remember I went to a specialty grilled cheese restaurant when I was living in Toronto. Suffice it to say I think of that place every time I make my own grilled cheese. It has inspired me to ask myself “How can I make this grilled cheese better?”

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We had some leftover brie in the fridge from making stuffed hamburgers. I started with that flavour and ran with it.

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Adding some raspberry jam and pieces of roasted pecans, then grilled on the ole’ George Foreman.

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Heaven!! It may seem like an odd flavour combo, but it reminded me a lot of a baked brie you’ll see at parties.

Today I am off to the cottage to relax after receiving my fourth chemotherapy treatment yesterday. So far just feeling really tired and a little nauseous. I am also celebrating some FANTASTIC news I received on Tuesday. An x-ray taken two weeks ago showed the mass in my chest “significantly decreased” from 14cm (5.5 in) to 8.8cm (3.5 in)!!! That’s just after three treatments! Hopefully the cancer keeps responding well to the chemo and we’ll have this sucker blasted in no time.

Oh, and also, I don’t have smallpox. That was just me being dramatic. It’s an allergic reaction to something. Apparently my sensitive skin has become even more so while on chemotherapy. It’s clearing up with a steroid cream and some over the counter allergy pills. Another fun side effect to add to the growing list I guess.

Now I ask you – what is your favourite sandwich combo??

Perdue Dans La Belle Province

Today was a wonderfully relaxing day. I have been feeling the need to relax more than usual here in Ottawa. Decompressing after my week trekking through Alberta, and preparing myself mentally for starting a new life in Toronto on July 1st.

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Today was the first day in a while that I woke up naturally after 8 hours of sleep. You know the kind – when you roll over, sigh, stretch out long, and let your thoughts wander to the kitchen.

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Or, my first thoughts are always in the kitchen anyways. I need breakfast in my belly a-s-a-p!! Today’s was a breakfast sandwich with an egg, mayo, and chicken bacon.

I have issues buying real pork bacon. I think it’s because I’m a label reader. No matter how hard I try, I can just never muster the strength to throw a package into the cart.

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Today’s coffee is brought to you by Ottawa’s own Bridgehead Cafe. Ethiopian! It was a little lighter than expected, but otherwise good. I think that’s a wonky heart shape in that mug, or a whale. Or the Twitter bird. Or maybe the Twitter whale? Also, I feel like I can legitimately drink out of an Alberta mug now that I’ve been there. Both my sister and my dad lived in Edmonton!

My body was scrreeeeaming for a rest day today, so I gave it what it wanted. I didn’t even go to a Hatha Yoga class. Nope. I just sat on my butt. Ironically, it’s my glutes that are screaming.

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Lunch was made up of leftovers.

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The black bean burgers were half-cooked from the earthquake fiasco yesterday. I finished cooking them today and stuck them on some pita.

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Worth the wait – these are my best veggie patties yet! Click here for the recipe :)

It poured rain for the first half of the day, but then it cleared up. I was getting antsy from being inside all day, so left on a mission to visit the National Art Gallery.

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This is part of my running route here! Gorgeous scenery! Only complaint is the paved trail, my body prefers soft gravel.

People who know the area may be cluing in to the fact that this picture is not in the direction of the Gallery. Or at least I don’t think it is. I wouldn’t really know, since I never made it there.

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I somehow managed to walk to Hull. I should have clued in when the signs on the giant bridge I was crossing started reading French first. For those of you who may not know, Ottawa borders the Quebec city of Hull. Apparently, it’s really easy to accidentally wander over there!!

Or perhaps I was just naturally drawn La Belle Province with it being St-Jean Baptiste Day and all ;)

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Thankfully, I ended up only about 2 km from the Canadian Museum of Civilization. It’s no National Gallery, but good enough for me!

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Plus, admission is free Thursdays after 4pm!

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Historical museums aren’t really my thing, I’m more of an art gallery or science centre gal. But I did stumble across some interesting exhibits.

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Look familiar? It’s Lake Louise! I was just there!! I kinda miss the mountains already…

Look who else I ran into.

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Bahahaha, I love how it says Flamboyance! on the poster behind him. Pierre Trudeau was Canada’s rock star prime minister in the 60s and 80s.

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These heritage commercials never get old. They were playing the Nellie McClung one, but I think this Superman one is my favourite. “Strong man in tights Joe, but it’ll never fly!” “Fly, no. But he can leap over tall buildings…”

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Some of Ottawa’s tall buildings on my walk back to the Ontario side.

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I think that’s the hill Sara made me run up the other day!! Damn. That was tough. I want to do it again.

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Some nice Dutch lady took my photo in front of the Parliament buildings. I am going to have to come back when Parliament is back in session so I can see our elected officials at work. (*nerdalert*)

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It took me a while to get back what with my unexpected detour and all. I went for the quickest thing ever – tuna salad with hummus and mustard on bread. Notice how I had a sandwich for every meal today? Oops.

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Paired with an apple. Simple, yet incredibly satisfying. Hey, I can’t make boeuf bourguignon every day!! ;)

 

That wraps up the shenanigans for today. I am going to go cuddle up with a book :)

 

Question of the Day: What fitness topic would you like me to cover? It’s been a while since I did a fitness-focused post. Let me know if there’s something you’d like me to explain!

Bonus question for Canadians: What is your favourite Heritage Minute? My second favourite is the one with “Patrick, Patrick O’Neill.” ;)

Lake Louise!!

Hello friends!! To be perfectly honest, I sit here typing up this post in a hostel in Calgary. However, I will likely be at my sister’s place in Ottawa when this post actually goes up.

I’m a tad sad that my mountain adventure has drawn to an end. I’ve had a fabulous time exploring new corners of the world with people I’ve never met, yet already know will be good friends with forever.

My recaps of the trip thus far can be found here, here and here. It’s been an experience I’ll never forget – and I feel the need to recap it not just for my readers, but so I have a record of it all for myself.

Let’s get to it – shall we? ;)

Today’s post is all about probably the most beautiful spot we visited here in Alberta – Lake Louise.

Holly, Karen and I started early Sunday morning after a rocky nights sleep in the tent. We didn’t buy many additional groceries for camping, so I threw together a mishmash of things to make a decent breakfast.

This would be an almond butter sandwich on the Silver Hills bread. with the lovely addition of straight up soy protein powder. Yes, I sprinkled it right onto the sandwich. I’m weird, because I really dug this.

Now please prepare yourself for a slew of earth shattering scenery.

Meet Lake Louise. A lake located about an hour from the town of Banff.

The area is just simply stunning. I love how the mountains on either side come down to frame the lake, and the white-capped glacier in the back. Of course, there’s also the signature turquoise water…

There’s a trail that leads to the back of the lake and you can hike up to the glacier. We ended up walking an hour along the lake, soaking up the sights.

Fuelling up with some Canadian made protein bars along the way ;)

This is the view from the back of the lake. That’s the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise off in the distance. Can you imagine staying there and waking up to this view every day??

The lake wasn’t the only eye candy. The shirtless rock climbers didn’t hurt ;)

By the time we made it back to the other side of the lake, we decided we were much to hungry to wait and find a cheap place to eat. I mean, when you’re at the Chateau Lake Louise, you might as well live it up.

We chose the tea room upstairs to eat, and were seated on the balcony with this stunning view:

Holly, Karen and I all talked ourselves into getting the Afternoon Tea… but appaaarently you need to book that sort of thing in advance. So we just settled on individual pots of tea.

I got the cinnamon apple spice. Usually, my favourite kind of tea, but there was a lot of sweetener already in the tea – honey probably.

Pip pip! (It’s what the English say Holly!!! :P )

We didn’t just drink tea though. Ohno. For we were also here to feast. Expensively.

I went for the Smoke Gouda Reuben: thinly sliced brisket, braised red cabbage, dijon mustard on light rye bread, caraway & ale mustard dip.

When in Lake Louise, right?

SO GOOD. I tried a brisket at the beginning of the trip and was still kinda “meh” about it. But this brisket was smoked. I love any and all smoked meats. Especially on this sandwich.

Soon after we said goodbye to Karen (sadface!) who had a job to return to (jobs?? what are those? :P ) Holly and I trekked along without her.

Starting from Lake Louise, we hiked up one of the side mountains to Lake Agnes. Mostly because there was a teahouse at the top. How cute is that!?

The hike wasn’t that bad. A little steep, but only about an hour long. Let me tell you, nothing like a trail on an incline to remind you just how in shape you really are.

But we made it!!

There was tons of snow at Lake Agnes which made it even more fun.

And a waterfall on the other side pouring down the mountain.

Every mountain should come with its own quaint teahouse at the top.

Holly and I were actually too hot to drink tea and were pretty bummed when we found out they were all out of lemonade. Boo!

We chose the trail less traveled on the way back down. Erm, it may be less traveled for a reason. But we found some new pretty views!

On our way down, Holly and I had a very serious discussion about what to do for dinner back at the Lake Louise campsite. All we had left on us were items we brought for snacks. With our imaginations combined, we came up with grilled pita pizzas.

Ohyes my friends.

On one side we have a pita with an almond butter sauce, topped with green apple and dried apricots.

On the other side we have a pita with an almond butter sauce and chocolate cherry trail mix topping.

Sweet melty action. Omg.

And because a dessert pizza requires a dessert…

Maple fudge!

We then fell back into a food and sugar coma and watched the clouds pass us by.

Another perfect end to another perfect day in the Canadian Rockies!

Thank you for indulging me in my vacay recaps!! I’ll be back with our final day in Banff and a fun blogger meet-up in Calgary. And of course – all the fun goings on here in Ottawa!! I’m in Ottawa until the end of the month before I move to Toronto, so let me know if you’re in the area and up for a meet-up! :)

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite kind of tea? Spiced apple is mine! Chai and peppermint aren’t far behind though.

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