I bought mayo a few weeks ago and it was shrink wrapped with a package of vegetable soup mix. The mayo was already on sale ($2.99) and the soup mix is normally $1.50 or so, so it was a surprise deal. And also a welcome suggestion: make some dip! So I made the famous spinach dip, but left out the spinach. So this dip is just vegetable soup mix dip, which is really amazing. I have been serving it with vegetable sticks or rippled chips and this dip makes both things even better. YUM!

All you need for this dip:
1 container sour cream (500ml)
1 cup mayo
1 package vegetable soup mix

Mix all together and wait a few hours for the vegetables to hydrate and the flavours to sink in. Enjoy!

Posted by Jen B On Friday, April 17, 2015 2 comments
I have a large group of friends who are artists: actors, musicians, designers, writers, painters, and dancers. It makes for a lot of fun when we all get together. In our history together we've thrown theme parties for no reason (we got to dress up!), participated in a fashion show where we designed and modeled the clothes, and wrote and practiced choreographed routines to music that we preformed for the rest of our friends. We've had a lot of fun over the years.

So last week when the following viral video was going around, I could relate to the fun these women were having. This was another fun video to watch (and sing along with). Enjoy!

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, April 15, 2015 4 comments
Holy crap I have been Blogging for five years! My official anniversary was yesterday, having made my first post on April 12, 2010. WOW!

For my Bloggerversary I thought I would re-post my first post, as I still like it very much and I think it sets a nice tone for what I think my blog is about. Enjoy!


A Lesson in Perseverance.  Originally posted on April 12, 2010.

About a year ago my parents moved from the family home they had lived in for over 32 years.  It was a two month process of organizing, sorting, and getting rid of all the junk that had accumulated over all those years of living in one spot. The easiest day during the whole process was moving day, though it was not without its hiccups.  My mother's Christmas Cactus, which had hung in the living room my entire life and had previously belonged to my Great Grandmother Reid, got jostled during the move and fell out of its pot, damaging it and exposing the roots. 

Stressed to the max by the move, my mother said: "Before I change my mind, I'm just letting you know that I am going to throw this out."  That wasn't what she wanted but in the heat of the moment she didn't see another option.  The Christmas Cactus was over sixty years old, and throwing it out would be a tremendous loss.  "John's good with plants" I told her.  "John will fix it."

So I brought the Christmas Cactus home with me and John re-potted it, gave it fresh soil and water, and nursed it back to health.  Over the past year it has shed some dead leaves, had ample new growth, and has made it's will to live quite clear to all of us.  At Christmas time, when it is supposed to bloom, it didn't, but we weren't too surprised.  "It had a pretty traumatic year" Mom agreed.  "Maybe next year."

This morning when I woke up, the Christmas Cactus was blooming!  It is almost mid April, so not quite on schedule, but it has been roughly a year since we started taking care of it.  I patted the Cactus and told it "Good for you!" and I called Mom to let her know the good news.

A Flower of our Christmas Cactus

I can't help but think about the life of this amazing plant.  Over its sixty years it has had at least three different care givers, lived in three separate residences, and as recently as a year ago, almost died.  Not even a year after it's near death experience and it is blooming again.  This plant is teaching me that despite the set backs and traumas we experience in life, we can always bloom again.  Even if it takes a little longer than we thought. 

Posted by Jen B On Monday, April 13, 2015 4 comments
When we've gotten a doughnut craving lately, we've gone to the local Coffee Time in Elmvale. I used to be a Tim Hortons or nothing kind of person, but since I stopped drinking coffee, I realized the treats are similar at other doughnut shops and sometimes even better. The Coffee Time doughnuts are a little bigger and to me they taste like doughnuts you might purchase from a fair. They are really quite good. I got really into their Walnut Cruller, but they didn't have them the last time I went, so Boston Cream was my next choice. Really, really good.

Posted by Jen B On Friday, April 10, 2015 5 comments
Since I realized I love playing Skyrim I have played a lot of Skyrim. I have had a lot going on in the past few weeks, so it has been nice to focus on something fun that makes me feel very accomplished. If you haven't played before, these tallies won't mean much to you, but just interpret them as all adding up to a really good time.

Current level at time of this posting: 48

Number of horses I've owned: 2 (both tragically killed by bears)

Number of in game days played (at time of this posting): 210

Number of in game hours spent sleeping: 917

Average amount of sleep per day: 4.36

Number of skills that are at 100: 2 (Smithing and Alchemy...I love crafting)

Skill training sessions purchased: 170

Number of potions brewed: 678

Number of poisons mixed: 349

Number of ingredients harvested: 1607

Number of Stones of Barenziah found: 24 (all of them)

Number of houses owned: 2

Number of dragons killed: 30

Number of people I've said "Hey, have you played Skyrim?" to in the past three weeks: 6

Number of people who said "Yes" and then let me talk about it for quite some time: 3

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, April 08, 2015 5 comments
It's been Spring for a few weeks, but it finally feels like it's actually here. Temperatures are above zero (during the day anyway), and we had a good amount of rain that has taken away a lot of the snow. There is still a lot of it hanging around, but I can feel it leaving. It feels good.

I experimented with colour and cake and made a multi-layer cake with Spring colours. I normally like really bright cakes, so I had to really hold back when adding the gel colour. The colours weren't exactly what I wanted, but that just means I get to experiment more (and eat more cake).

Posted by Jen B On Monday, April 06, 2015 4 comments
In trying to find a good #FoodPic for today, I went back through my photos to find some shots from various Applebee's lunches with mom. We haven't been lately, as this winter was hard for various reasons. One or both of us was too sick to visit (stupid colds), the weather was too cold for cars to start (stupid temperature), or the weather was too snowy for driving (stupid snow). But it is definitely spring now, despite the still chilly temperatures that are sticking around (but I'll take -5°C over -25°C any day!).

So I found some food photos from last summer and I'll hopefully collect some more over the coming months of good weather.

Appetizer: Onion Petals with chilpotle mayo and signature sauce (both great for dipping).

Main: Oriental Chicken Salad. This is a favourite when I hit the Bee's. Must try making it at home at some point.

Posted by Jen B On Friday, April 03, 2015 4 comments
I'm participating in the Goodreads reading challenge, which I've done for the past two years. I set my goal this year for thirty books, in line with my past results (2013 I read thirty-one books, 2014 I read forty-one). For 2015, I am already way behind schedule (five books behind, according to the helpful widget on my Goodreads profile.) According to my stats, at this point last year I had read eight books, and by this time the year before I had read five books. So far this year I've only finished two, but am almost done a third.

This year I've read:

Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower #5), 925 pages

Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower #6), 544 pages

The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower #7), 1050 pages, of which I've read 700 pages (so far).

So it's not that I haven't been reading, it's that the books I'm reading are super long, and I'm so into the Dark Tower series, that I kinda don't want it to end.

But I have to finish it! Not only do I want to know what happens, but a new book came off hold at the library (that still has multiple holds on it) and I have to read it within three weeks as books that have holds can't be renewed. I am so close to the end of the Dark Tower that I don't want to put it down to start something new...I just have to finish it so I can start something new. So I'm going to end this blog post and clock some time with Roland Deschain as he completes his quest for the Dark Tower, and I complete my quest of finishing this book series.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, April 01, 2015 8 comments
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Jen has read 0 books toward her goal of 30 books.

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