Stretching My Skills with Sally

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. Most of the people in my life asked why I was doing this, thankfully there are people like Abbey! I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

It is so cool that when Kathy read about Abbey’s and my challenge she decided to join us so make sure you go read about her baking adventures! They always look professional and yummy!

The June baking challenge was for ice cream sandwiches. Now I love creamy deserts so this sounded really good even if it had chocolate in it.

I knew this weekend would be busy so last weekend I whipped up the brownies. Just like Abbey, I had to cook mine longer and they still were a little gooey in a few places. I was just hoping the freezing would help. The only difference in my brownies was that I used Bob’s Redmill 1-1 Flour and Earth Balance vegan Buttery Spread. The brownies were easy to make and I had no trouble spreading them like Sally did.

The most difficult part of this recipe was finding enough dairy free ice cream without going broke. Now o don’t keep ice cream in the house and usually just go to the local ice cream parlour when I have a craving, so when I looked in the frozen foods section it was a shock! The cheapest option was fourteen dollars and it only went up from there! There was no way I was spending fourteen dollars on ice cream for a recipe when I had already had to buy sugar, cocoa and pans! I checked out three different grocery stores and finally found some Breyers Dairy free that was an acceptable cost, though it was vanilla with peanut butter ripples. I thought it would be okay as peanut butter and chocolate go together.

I smooshed the ice cream onto the bottom brownie, though I really should have let it sit out longer first, and then topped it with the top brownie and popped it into the freezer overnight.

This is what came out of the freezer. I took these to work for my crew of friends there and they inhaled them. One friend did say they were very rich, but everyone raves about them and they were easy to make. I would count this baking challenge as a success.

Now for my Saturday:

Exercise:

I wanted to start out my holiday on a good note. I stepped on the scale to face reality and then headed out for a run with Sarah. We were running Hyde Creek again (where we ran into the bear last week), but decided to do the other side of the river. We were going along great until 2.44 when Kula, the dog, went crazy. We couldn’t see the bear, but decided to just turn around and tack on at the end. It turned out to be a slow but nice run:)

House:

I have spent most of the day doing the last of the laundry and packing. I have packed way too much and still think I’m missing some key things- like shorts! Oh well, my dad always said to pack half the stuff and double the money and thankfully I’m going somewhere with stores and laundry this year.

I did take a little time out and walked over for an ice cream. I’m really going to miss my ice cream treats while I’m away. I got ice cream two days in a row because I couldn’t figure out how to take some with me.

It was a lovely treat to sit on this rock and enjoy the ice cream in the sunshine. Callie was so sweet to give me a little taster of some of the other vegan kinds on top of my raspberry pistachio.

Reading:

I have started a new book today called Beach Read by Emily Henry. This book was recommended to me by Mildly Granola. I’ve only hit chapter four, but so far I am really enjoying it!

Well I’d better go get my garbage and recycling out since I’m being picked up very early tomorrow.

Have fun!

AJ

A Pretty Perfect Saturday

It was a pretty great day, but nothing like my usual.

Shopping:

After being so tired last night, of course I was up super early this morning. I was super ready by the time my colleague Liane picked me up. The city next to ours had decided to do a Fall city wide garage sale, like the one in May, so of course we had to partake in it. We hit about 16 garage sales but definitely weren’t as successful as we usually are in the Spring. I ended up with some items for the price bin at work, along with an Ivivva tank top, a pair of shoes, an aloe Vera plant and a bankers lamp for $9. I think that’s decent:)

We are hoping that it was just slow because it’s the first time it’s been held. It was an absolutely perfect day for garage sales!

Socializing:

After a quick stop at home, I met up with my friend Anna for a walk to the park with her two little boys. It ended up being a longer trip than I had planned, but was still awesome. It was such a perfect crisp, sunny, Fall day and I couldn’t have asked for better company!

We couldn’t get over their stamina!

Knitting:

I have managed to finish one sleeve completely and am ready to start the fancy hem on the second sleeve. I have had to use the extra skein of yarn as I only got to row 73 on the second sleeve and I ran out of my original skeins. I’m so glad I had the new one sitting there waiting! I had actually already started the hem of the second sleeve, but messed it up and had to rip it out. I figured I had better wait for tomorrow and a clear head to tackle the last 32 rows.

Reading:

Since I didn’t have the brain power to knit, I decided to read instead and finished another NetGalley book. I do wonder why my percentage stays at 80% when I have provided a review for every book I have been given. I wonder what else it is based on?

Today I finished the book, An unforgettable Christmas by Ginny Baird.

The story of Sam Singleton, a jewelry store owner who is a workaholic and bordering on Scrooge. He doesn’t even recognize how amazing his accountant Angie is until he falls and hits his head and suffers from amnesia. This was a very sweet, romantic story that surprised me. I wasn’t expecting Sam to become such a different person during his convalescence. It was a neat take on a classic Christmas story.

I greatly enjoyed the story and thanks to Ginny Baird, Hallmark and NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Eating:

I think I get to colour in another square on my calendar. I’ve had:

2 rice cakes with Pb & j ( I should probably get this down to one)

Grapes

Mac and cheese

One scoop of vegan maple walnut ice cream

Red peppers and dip

Anna had warned me about going for ice cream in advance so I tried to make the rest of my day healthier so it would make up for the ice cream. It wasn’t unplanned so I think it’s okay. If anyone disagrees let me know. I don’t want to be too easy on myself!

Well, I’m done and going to sleep.

Have fun!

AJ

Knitting

It was a day of exercise, knitting and friends.

Exercise:

It was cool this morning and felt so good to get out in it for a run. I was planning on 2km as I was a little seat sore from my bike ride yesterday, but it felt so good that I did just over 6km. This was a good start to my wish to up my mileage.

Baking:

I’ve been trying to use up all the blackberries before I leave so today I got busy making some blackberry muffins from the cookbook I am working from right now

These were supposed to be blueberry swirl muffins, but I figured blackberry was close. I have made them before with blackberries and had the note that they were yummy. They looked good and tasted okay, but I made them too big and the top collapsed down.

Knitting:

My friend Cori and her daughter came to knit with me again today. Tavia is doing amazingly and so we worked on her joining a second colour today. Hopefully it will add some interest while she continues to practice the basic knit stitch. I’m thinking next time we’ll start a dishcloth so she can practice increasing and then decreasing.

I tried on my sweater for them and they told me that I shouldn’t tear it out. I have continued on and finished the sleeves. I have just torn out the bottom ribbing and plan to add onto the bottom. I forgot I’d have to pick up over 200 stitches though and I so dislike picking up stitches!!!

Outing:

When we were done our knitting lesson for the day, Cori’s husband two boys joined us and we walked over to a new ice cream shop, Vashti Rose Ice Cream. This is a cool little cafe that is in the front of a gym. The guy makes his own ice cream and offers both vegan and dairy options. I got to try all of the vegan recipes and finally decided on a flight including peanut butter with blackberry jam, cookie dough and peach blueberry. It was amazing, but definitely too much ice cream! Thankfully there was a teenage boy around to help me out with that🤣

Well I’be packed and I’m going back to my 200+ stitches.

Have fun!

AJ

Walking, Walking, Walking

Sorry about no post yesterday. I actually fell asleep sideways across my bed and didn’t wake up until this morning!

Reading:

I finished Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish by Grace Burrowes yesterday morning.

What a great read! Lady Sophia Wyndham has schemed to have some time alone before joining all of her family for Christmas. Of course this alone time flies out the window when she finds herself with a baby and a man as houseguests.

I love how Lady Sophia is a strong, capable and sensible character who also has honest emotions. She’s a complicated character who is realistic. Com Charpentier, our hero, is also multifaceted and who can resist a man who is capable with a baby?!?!

The background characters are also wonderful! I’ve always loved the Wyndham family with their scheming. They seem so high and mighty until one of their own needs a nudge to have a happy ending:)

Vim’s family is just as sweet in this book though. His aunt and uncle have schemed to get him back to the family seat and they are determined to help him have a happy ending.

The characters take centre stage in this book and make it a wonderful adventure to read.

Thank you to Grace Burrowes, the publisher and NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I met up with two friends and we walked the seawall from downtown to Granville Island. This is just over 5km. We had lunch at a new spot on Granville Island called Poppino. It was good, but the only thing I was allowed was a cheeseburger without the cheese. Oh well, it was yummy and I was in a beautiful spot with great friends.

We looked around the market and the netloft but none of us bought anything.

As we were starting our walk home, we went by the water park and one of the ice cream places I follow on Instagram was there! I finally got to try Hello Sweets! I had really wanted to try their ice cream sandwich, but they were sold out so I had their most popular flavour of ice cream which is marshmallow. T was super yummy, but also super rich!!!! It’s definitely worth a tasting if you come across them.

After walking back, enjoying the sunshine I came home and fell asleep. Lol a nice day, but obviously not exciting enough to keep me awake!

Have fun!

AJ

A Little Change in Plans

Today has definitely not gone according to plan!

Running:

I had a run this morning at Crystal Falls with my running buddy. It was great to have company and be out on this gorgeous trail. Crystal Falls is a forest trail that leads out to a small waterfall. It is obviously uphill going out as you are following the Coquitlam River. The trail has recently been widened and cleared so it is quite accessible, though there are still streams you have to make your way across. The  log barriers that the mountain bikers use now have trails you can take around them. This trail was a great choice for today as it was several degrees cooler (a nice break from the super hot day).  Of course on this hot day when I wouldn’t mind a refreshing foot bath, I managed to stay completely dry, but on a cold, winter day I always seem to manage to end up in the water🙄.

Unfortunately this run was my only exercise for the day:( An epic fail😫

Eating:

I was supposed to be making a batch of apple chai scones today but a friend called me up and suggested lunch before the craziness of school starts up again. We met at the John B Pub on Austin avenue in Coquitlam. The waitress was super knowledgeable about allergies and made sensible and clear suggestions of what I could order. I ended up with the celiac stir fry with scallops and prawns. It was absolutely delicious and looked just as lovely with big pieces of veggies and seafood.

My indulgences didn’t end with the lunch however as my nephew and I hit Matteo’s Gelato in Port Coquitlam tonight. This is my absolute favourite ice cream store in the area because out of fifty flavours of Gelato, 38 are gluten free and 18 are dairy free. There are so many options that I feel overwhelmed!  img_8711.jpgI also love how you can have as many flavours as you want in each size. Today I tried five different flavours- coconut, chocolate peanut butter, salted caramel, chocolate covered cherry, and mango. I would have a very difficult time choosing a favourite as they were all amazing!

Events:

My friend and I checked out IKEA for back to school items. I went in looking for nothing but came out with magazine holders, an aloe Vera plant and some kitchen scrubbers. At least at IKEA when you go crazy, it’s still cheap:)

I’ve done a little bit of knitting but still have half a sleeve to complete. I am babysitting my nephew tonight so ended up in the pool with him and am now watching the Mayweather/ McGregor fight with my brother’s company. Definitely not what I planned to do tonight! Lol I can’t even knit because they smoke! As well, this cutie keeps getting on my lap and chasing the needles. 😂IMG_8718

Oh well, I suppose it’s days like these that make life interesting!

Have fun!

AJ

Kitchen Adventure

Today has been a quiet day- not even a run since I had a massage this morning, though I did get out for a walk tonight. I try to enjoy having a looser body for twenty-four hours.

I have been knitting on the Nubby Knit Turtleneck a lot today and may just finish the front tonight, or maybe tomorrow:)

I have definitely noticed lately just how goal oriented I am. Today I noticed that when I sit down to knit, I always try to do five rows and when I was working on my Montreal album, I realized I always have the goal of doing ten pages. I wonder if this is a good thing ???

The most exciting things I’ve done today have been in the kitchen. First, I got my spices organized. About a year ago I had bought small containers at my local dollar store and put my spices in them, but I had left lots of big containers of spices too. Today I decided I didn’t need big containers, just the small ones as the spice would need to be replaced long before I got to the bottom of a big jar. So I transferred what I could to the small containers, labelled them and threw out the old, big jars. I love organizing things (not events)!

I am trying out two different organizations for the jars to see which works better.

The second thing I did in the kitchen was to get busy cooking! It felt so good to be back working in the kitchen. I knew I needed to use up the apples so I decided to start with making Apple Pie Ice Cream from my new cookbook, Paleo Eats by Kelly Bejelly.  I had to hit the store for maple syrup and a second can of coconut milk so the recipe cost me approximately ten dollars to make as I had all the other ingredients already. It was an easy recipe and only took about ten minutes to prepare and then twenty minutes to churn in the ice cream maker. I like what the ice cream looks like and it has good flavour, unfortunately, I find I don’t like the texture. It is grainy or powdery and I’m not sure why. IMG_8675At this point, I would definitely say that the carmelized pear ice cream, from Food52, that I made last year was better!

( https://food52.com/recipes/14430-caramelized-pear-ice-cream)

Well I must get back to knitting if I want to finish Nubby by Sunday!

Have fun!

AJ