Archive for ‘inspiration’

April 30, 2012

I’m Martha Fucking Stewart

by Robyn

Well….not really. I’m more of the anti-Martha Stewart, as in I can’t cook. My past attempts have seen me forgetting major ingredients in cookies, adding way too much butter to homemade mac & cheese (that was a boiling hot buttery mess), as well as screwing up a “just-add-water” recipe. However, since I’ve started tracking my calories using the myfitnesspal app, learning how to cook is something that has been really important to me. I’m 25, it’s about time I learn to make something other than pasta or chicken caesar salads.

Last week, I was mystery gifted a slow-cooker by someone at work. Whoever gave it to me must have heard me talking about wanting one, because Tuesday morning I had gift bag sitting in my office.

So after watching various videos on youtube, I put my slow cooking skills to the test Sunday. I slow cooked myself a pork butt to make some tasty pulled pork sandwiches. Playing it safe since it was my first time, I just cut up a red onion and added a container of chicken stock, some salt & pepper and set it to a low simmer while I went to work.

Nine hours later I pulled out the pork butt, shredded it, smothered it in Dr. Pepper , piled it high onto two hamburger buns and dug in. So tasty. Definitely something I will be cooking again in the future.

My skills are still very basic. Mixing spices scare me. I considered doing a pork rub, but sadly I don’t trust myself to do it right. I also don’t think I had all the necessary ingredients, like mustard powder or cayenne. I’m more a salt & pepper, seasoning salt kind of gal.

I have been successful in a few other meals as of late. In the past month I’ve made stir-fry multiple times. It’s simple, allows me to load the dish with healthy vegetables, add beef or chicken, and choice of noodles or rice. I can also mix it up when it comes to the types of sauces I want to use, be it teriyaki, orange ginger or barbecue.

I picked up the recipe off the internet the other day for bacon wrapped chicken. This is a dish I’ll definitely be making again. It was so moist with a nice crispy. Not exactly “healthy” but it’s home cooking, and far better than me ordering pizza.

Cooking a lot more the last month has been really challenging, but also really rewarding for me. Since taking on the no spend challenge, I’ve had to be more creative because I can’t just pick up Subway on my way home from work anymore. This next month is going to be fun with my new slow cooker and I can experiment with different recipes.

Oh yea, I also cooked rice for the first time last week. That’s how I roll.

Have you ever really messed up a recipe? What’s your favourite dish to cook?

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June 29, 2011

Meeting people on the road

by Robyn

I love talking to travellers, like-minded individuals, who I can really connect with. None of my friends can really connect with that aspect of who I am, nor  do they share similar travel passions to the degree that I do. Several of my friends have never travelled. Or if they have, it’s one of two extremes.

They’re either the luxury travel type staying at all-inclusive or nice hotels. Not the type who are even willing to stay in a hostel, let alone camp. Or they are the polar opposite. Friends who have been in various bands for years and travelled all over the country on tour, living in a van. Too bad everyone I know who’s done the latter has pretty much retired from living that life. My current boyfriend is paying his way out of debt from having lived that life in his early 20’s.

While I was in Toronto I met a really adorable couple at my hostel over breakfast. We made the usual casual travel chat “where are you from?” “where are you travelling?” etc, etc.

On my way out of the hostel that day, I left them, (Charlie and Mark), my phone number and email address, and told them to hit me up if and when they came through Winnipeg. I would give them a place to shower and if necessary, somewhere warm to crash for the night.

I was pleasantly surprised to open up my email on Monday evening to see an email from Charlie letting me know they were going to be arriving in the city on Tuesday and were hoping I could lend my shower. So of course I said yes, and email them back immediately.

They were at my place last night for about 3 hours. They showered and we chatted about our travelling experiences, and shared movies from our hard drives. I’ve been unable or for the most part, unwilling (aka: scared) to live and travel the way I want to, so it’s always gives me a little boost to talk to people who are currently on the road.

Charlie and Mark, I envy them. Charlie herself has lived, worked and travelled all over the world. Originally from England, she’s lived and worked in France, Denmark, Greece, Australia and Canada. She’s travelled to South East Asia and has done the coast to coast Canada tour thing once already. And now she and her fiance are doing it again.

When I met them, they had just landed in Toronto and were looking to purchase a van with which to travel the country. They have since purchased a van, converted into their home and have travelled from Toronto to the far east coast, then back across Canada en route to Vancouver to cherry pick for the summer. Then they are going down the west coast where Mark is meeting family in Las Vegas while Charlie will be joining up with two other travellers and continuing south for the Burning Man festival.

Talking to these two was invigorating. I am so excited to put more money into savings so that one day I’ll get on the road and pursue my dreams of long-term travel. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I’ll befriend an amazing travel companion, but if not, I’ll be just fine on my own. For the present time I can revel in the fact that I have new travel friends and connections in far off places.