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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos. 'nuff said.

sundays are family days in mia famiglia. usually always based around too much food, plenty of drinks, card games and lots of laughing, we start the party early in the afternoon and end up crashing and burning on the couch in our sweatpants by 7:00pm. 

rule #1: do yourself a favour and wear pants with an elastic waist, otherwise they will end up undone.

this past sunday we got together at my brother matty and his girlfriend christina's house. my dad caught wind that we were coming, and told me we weren't invited unless we made stuffed jalapeno poppers. i can't blame him, these poppers are probably the best on the planet: they're wrapped in friggen' bacon. i figured that with the super bowl happening this weekend, i would share the recipe that is so good, 
it's the main reason i get invited to my family functions. those assholes. (for the record, i found the recipe on pinterest. surprise, surprise)

rule #2: don't let the old man know you are attending sunday dinner, unless willing to make poppers.

how we do: bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos
{makes: 20 poppers}

prep time: 20 minutes 
cook time: 20 minutes 
eating time: 30 seconds

you will need:
10 jalapenos
2 hot italian sausages
10 strips of bacon
4 cups of cheddar cheese
sour cream for dipping
heat your oven to 400°. start by washing your jalas, cutting them in half and removing the insides. 
i like to make paulie do this job, even though he always touches his eyes after. this time, he wore latex gloves, the pussy. 
we also like to leave a few seeds behind, the hotter the better. 
once your jalas are good to go, you can start working on your stuffing. remove the casings from your sausages (or saseech, as nonna calls them) and empty the pork into a bowl. i chose not to photograph this step as it always makes me puke in my mouth a little bit. grate your cheese with the finest choice on your grater, and add it to your saseech. mix it up real good. if you wanted to make a vegetarian version, you could use black beans instead of sausage, and skip the bacon. but that would be silly.
now you can start stuffin'. take a pinch of your saseech and cheese mix, and fill the jalas. we like to stuff the shit out of them 
so they're good and full. slice your bacon strips in half and wrap each jala, securing it with a toothpick.
even raw, your jalas in a blanket are drool worthy. place them on an ungreased baking sheet and pop them in the oven for 20 minutes, until the saseech is cooked, the cheese is melty and the bacon has crisped up. you may want to drain off any grease about five minutes before they are ready, this prevents them from getting soggy.
i promise you the finished product will have you invited back to sunday dinner. every sunday.
rule #3: eat quickly, even if they're scorching hot, otherwise you ain't gettin' nothin'. you snooze, you lose.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

30 by 30.

for the past six months or so i have been working on compiling a list of 30 things i want to accomplish by my 30th birthday, which, in my little pea brain, seems a million miles away. in reality march 2nd will make me 28 years young, so i have two whole years to complete my list. it's sort of like a bucket list, but with a little more heat behind it. with a two year deadline it almost lights a fire under my ass to get shit done. and because i'm a self diagnosed 'lister', and find the practice of writing things out and then crossing them off to be therapeutic and fulfilling, i thought there was no better way to embrace the unfortunate, inevitable, 'dirty thirty'. it even sounds wrong.

i finished writing the list yesterday and thought i would post it as motivation to actually cross off as many items as possible. not all my selections are life-altering or profound, but mean enough that they've become a priority -- at least priority enough to complete in the next two years. so here it is. as each item gets eagerly crossed off, i will be sure to share the process and any lessons learned (well, maybe not each item). and because this list has been in the making for some time, i have already had the chance to accomplish some of my "must-do's".
  1. buy and move into “big boy & big girl” home.
  2. visit scotland.
  3. sing karaoke solo. drunk or not. preferably both. {completed 10.12.2011}
  4. have nonna teach me how to make her homemade sauce, meatballs and pasta. {sauce & meatballs completed 02.20.2012}
  5. plant a garden with nonno. {completed 05.20.2013}
  6. take a photography class. {completed 03.31.2012}
  7. save for and plan a surprise weekend away for paulie.
  8. get hip tattoo touched up and new one on wrist. {completed 12.27.2011}
  9. learn to crochet.
  10. try sushi. {completed 03.2.2012}
  11. make a huge ass photobook of the honeymoon.
  12. take home the oldest pooch up for adoption at the humane society.
  13. go on a motorcycle trip to port dover for 'friday the thirteenth' with my old man. {completed 07.13.2012}
  14. master hollandaise sauce. {completed 03.09.2013}
  15. condense and organize all craft supplies. {completed 02.22.2012}
  16. go camping and sleep in an actual tent in the actual woods.
  17. go skinny-dipping. alone doesn’t count. {completed 06.08.2012, 06.09.2012 & 06.10.2012}
  18. teach india to play dead.
  19. learn the proper use of “than” vs. “then”. for good. {looks promising: completed 02.13.2012.}
  20. take a dance class.
  21. visit and photograph the ‘comfort maple’ each season, then frame the series.
  22. visit 10 new wineries in the region.
  23. read ‘the great gatsby’ already. for christ sakes.
  24. spend a day on toronto island. {completed 08.25.2012}
  25. buy a sewing machine and learn how to use it.
  26. spend more time with oma.
  27. learn how to play euchre. {completed 03.16.2012}
  28. have mom teach me her homemade chicken soup recipe. {completed 11.25.2012}
  29. learn how to do a fishtail braid on myself. {completed 04.02.2012}
  30. not get pregnant. if that happens, make a new list.
*should be on the list, but i'm a weiner and never thought i could accomplish it: see oprah winfrey live. {completed 04.16.2012}

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

hearts & crafts: cute shit you can make for valentine's day.

i know how some people feel about valentine's day. that it's a 'hallmark holiday', overly marketed, smarmy, not necessary and blah blah blah. clearly i don't agree, and am willing to take the extra lovin' that comes my way that day, all day. it's a holiday where one of the official colours is pink, acceptable in any and every shade, how could i not love it. yes valentine's day, i will take you in all your cheesy glory.

in preparation for this perfectly exorbitant day, i have started working on a few hearts and crafts that have made me a very happy girl. i had pinned this valentine's wreath a while back and contemplated how i was going to make it my own ever since. i liked the idea of the bunting and using felt and yarn, but wasn't sure how else i was going to pull everything together. a trip to 'michael's' later, and i had a bag of red and pink shit to play around with. this is what i came up with.
and it makes me very happy.
if you want to make one of your own, you're in luck: i have a tutorial! shout out to my assistant paulie, who helped me with some of the photographs. he seems to think he is better with the camera than i am. whatever makes him happy and gets me what i need.

how we do: valentine's day wreath
this is everything you will need. well, almost everything. once i got started, i realized i forgot to include a glue gun. 
because the only one i own is hideous and absolutely covered in glue, i chose not to take this picture over.
 once you gather your supplies, you can giddy up onto the fun stuff. i started by tying the white yarn to my wreath form, and began wrapping it around, making sure to use enough tension that the yarn stays in place, but not so much that you cut into the form. this part is the most tedious of the project, but once you get your yarn wrapped around a few times, you will get into a groove and will be done lickity split.
i wanted to have one small section of pink yarn to add some interest to the wreath, so once i finished with the white yarn, i tied it to the pink and continued on until i was finished. if you want to do blocks of colour throughout, just follow this process.
wrapped and ready to rock.
time for the details. hearts are a dead give-in for v-day, so i cut out doubles of various shapes and colours from my felt, 
making sure to have them as exact as possible. these would become my little heart pillows.

sewing is not really my forte, but this is simple enough that india could do it. 
sew both hearts together with your embroidery floss (it's thicker than thread and shows nicer) and leave an opening towards the end. stuff your cotton balls in until it's as full as you desire, and sew up the rest. ta da. easy peasy lemon squeezy. make as many of these as you see fit. they are super quick, and would be really cute for the fridge if you hot glued a magnet to the back, or a safety pin to make a brooch.

hot glue all your bits and bobs wherever you like. at this point, everything you are working with is so damn cute, 
you could close your eyes and throw it at the wreath and it would look perfect.

the goods. i am so happy with how it turned out, and after asking paul six times if he liked it, he muttered how cute it was under his breath. 
i love forcing him to say nice things to me, after all, isn't that what valentine's day is all about?

total costs: $22
total time: 1.5 hours
total # of "fucks" said due to glue gun burns: 4

Monday, January 23, 2012

niagara lovin' at the ice wine festival.

canadian winters can be crazy brutal. so cold that your nose freezes within minutes of being outside, your toes curl up like you're being electrocuted and you immediately want to turn around, and head back inside where you can warm up. however, when almost half the year is friggen' freezin', you can't hermit it up to rot in your house, only to become vitamin d deficient and paler and paler by the minute. sometimes you have to get your parka on, a couple pairs of socks, your waffle long johns and your toque, and brave the great outdoors. with the ice wine festival rolling through niagara this month, it's easy to stay warm outside with a glass of frosty riesling sparkling ice wine in your hot mittened hands. amazing how that happens.

this past weekend, i was lucky enough to enjoy the fun of the festival with my friend nataschia. she was asked to photograph the event (she is a fabulous photographer and can photograph the shit out of anything~love her here) and invited lil' ol' me to tag along and help her out. we made our way from vineland, to st. david's and then through niagara on the lake, stopping at some of my favourite tried and tested wineries, and getting to experience others for the first time. it always blows my hair back when i discover a little pocket of wineries i never knew existed before. living in wine country has its perks, and with over 75 wineries in niagara, i almost feel obligated to try each one at least once. it's a shit job i know, but someone's gotta to do it.

the ice wine festival kicked off this month, and with so much to do, see and drink, it's worth a few trips, even in the cold. each of the participating wineries offer some fun activities while you sample their wine, from roasting homemade ice wine infused marshmallows over a fire, to sampling wine at an ice bar in a vineyard. and if you want to be catered to, bus and limo tours are worth the money to have you and your friends drunk asses hauled from stop to stop. if touring from winery to winery isn't your bag, you can just make your way to downtown niagara on the lake, where the main street is chock-a-block with pop tents of the best vendors in the region sampling gourmet food, dessert and of course, ice wine. if you are local and in need of some winter fun, check out the festivals site, get your crew together  
and your long johns on.
roasting homemade marshmallows over the fire at flat rock cellars in jordan. 
ravine vineyard is my favourite winery in the region. 
the view is almost as good as the riesling. almost. 

some downtown niagara on the lake fun. 
loving the sunset at peller estates. 
the only pic i got of nataschia and i. i'll take it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

pretty pinterest things.

this week was an exceptional one on pinterest if i do say so myself. i found lots of inspiration for valentine's day hearts and crafts, stumbled upon two new blogs that i am loving, this nail blog and this diy blog, and started a new board dedicated to beards. because who doesn't love a 
sexy as all hell, perfectly trimmed, manly beard.

these are a few of my favourite pinterest finds of the week. 
happy weekend!
double waterfall braid. an edgy half moon mani. using maps to wrap gifts; great idea for 
honeymoon & moving gifts. fennec fox. the world's smallest fox, can be domesticated, and i want one.

*speeding ticket update: i am happy to report that i have only broke the speed limit once twice since getting my speeding ticket two fucking fridays ago. this is a serious accomplishment for me, and although i am proud, i have to say, that my car has never had its ass rode so hard in all it's life. i am pretty sure there have been a few times when the car behind me was so close while driving, we were actually connected. like a train. if i drove a beater, i would slam on my breaks and make the asshole drive into me. the whiplash would be worth it.

so now i have to wonder: is driving the speed limit and not getting a ticket (once in 12 years) worth the annoyance of having my poor little car's rear end violated on the regular? i'm leaning towards no.

ps-my father found out about my ticket, and has referred to me only as "andretti" ever since. greeeaaaat.

Monday, January 16, 2012

home bittersweet home.

as i mentioned in an earlier post, the house we live in now is not our forever home.  le sigh.
finding our house was an absolute fluke. paul had started working for a shady company building locomotives in the boonies of welland, and one day, after taking me on a field trip to see where he worked, we came across a beautiful old home in a lovely neighbourhood off the main street. because curiosity always kills the cat, i went straight home and onto 'mls' to creep it out. before i could even find the house i was crushing on, i stumbled upon our current humble abode. i booked a showing the next day, fell in love four seconds after walking through the front door, and we bought it two days later. a 30 day closing, three lawn chairs as seating in our family room and my double bed later, and we were moved in and as happy as a dog with two dicks. life was good. paul had a seven minute commute, i had a garden to plant and we were clueless as to how ghetto our neighbourhood really is.

because nothing ever goes as planned, paul was offered a job five months after moving day. in toronto.
his cushy little drive to work turned into three hours of highway driving a day, starting in the wee hours of the morning, the move had actually set us a half hour farther from his new job. almost five years, 400,000 km's and about the same in coffees later, and we are ready to face the facts; it's time to start looking for something permanent. this has proved to be easier said than done. as rick (one of our best friends, who happens to be our real estate agent and has curly hair) would say "it's time to put on your big girl socks and take off your underwear". clearly rick's curls are too tight and he shouldn't attempt saying things like this in public. especially to clients.

the fact that i'm head over heels in love with my house (if i could pick it up and move it to one of the neighbourhoods we love, i would) makes me do the stutter step into finding our "big boy and girl house". the one we want to raise a family in. the one we want to grow old in and are forced to move out of by our children when we're too old to care for it ourselves. i have been told a few times that when we find our barbie and ken dream home, i will finally let go of the one i love now...but i have a hard time believing that. with a list of stipulations, expectations and preferences, i know that finding a house that feels like home will take some time. paul says i rush into things, ahem buying a house after being in it for four seconds, where as he likes to take his time, think things through and really let it sink in good before he commits. this time around, his foot is down and we are not going to settle for anything less than "this is the fucking one". 
while out for breakfast yesterday, we wrote a list of all the things we want in our next home, and have come to the conclusion that it has to be out there. at least something close to it. rick convinced us to go to an open house for a home in one of the neighbourhoods we like. he said it would "motivate us" to continue the hunt and make the move. so there we were, paul, rick and i. i'm pretty sure the real estate agent thought we were some hippie threesome looking for something cozy with a large master bedroom and extra-large tub. 

it was the first big step. and i'll admit, it scared me. it kind of excited me. 
but it mostly made me want to put my big girl socks on and take my underwear off. 

no baloney. call simioni.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

coconut oil: not just for cooking anymore.

when it comes to growing long, soft, healthy hair down to my waist, i am willing to do just about anything. i have been growing it out for over two years now, and am two shakes of a lambs tail away from fully liberating myself of the burden and shaving that shit clean off. i have been patient, dedicated and faithful, yet i feel like if paul didn't cut his hair for six months, it would be a foot longer than mine is and look ten times more fabulous in a messy bun and headband. he's more of a girl when it comes to his beautiful thick hair than i ever could even dream of. if he had it his way, my hair would be chin length and brunette for the rest of my life. tough titties.

last week he came home blabbing about how his boss and his wife have fully changed their lifestyles, and have started cooking only with coconut oil. without going too in depth about it's chemical composition (i got a 70 in science) coconut oil is over 90% saturated fats, which scares people into not using it. i let paulie do some research, and although those saturated fats are present, the main acid that make up the fat is very good for you. i don't need to know anymore than that, nor do i care to. it smells like heaven and i want to slather it all over myself like you're buttering up a thanksgiving turkey.

beyond the health benefits that coconut oil possesses, are the beauty benefits that have me so excited i had to share. you can use it to remove eye makeup, as a moisturizer (i love how it smells like tanning oil) and as a massage oil. one of the world's best kept beauty secrets, coconut oil is like crack to your hair and scalp. skeptical when i read this as i had come to understand that your hair doesn't benefit much from applying products topically, i was always under the impression that you need to ingest the nutrients that will affect your hair, i did more research. turns out, indian women have been using coconut oil since the dawn of time to add nutrients and moisture, leaving their hair shiny and soft. and god knows, indian women have princess jasmine hair that i pay a lot of money for in the form of extensions. it will help if you suffer from dandruff and dry scalp, and the proteins in it will nourish damaged hair and promote re-growth. i told you i did my research.

so when paul walked through the door last week with a gigantic tub of coconut oil, i snatched it from him and claimed it as mine. i 'you tubed' a coconut oil hair treatment that you can watch herethat was easy to follow and is clearly working for the girl. she does a start to finish tutorial and has many videos on other treatment methods. a tablespoon of coconut oil, two hours and a head totally wrapped in saran later has me walking around like i'm jennifer anniston. it feels like when you get your hair freshly cut and dyed, extra soft and full of life, i can't keep my fingers out of it. i make paul run his hands through it every chance i get...i feel like a real girl. i plan on doing the oil treatment twice a week until it's as healthy as i can get it, and then take er' down to once a week. too much protein can cause adverse effects, stripping your hair and leaving it dry and brittle. i honestly pictured removing my saran turban, washing my hair out, and discovering i am bald as a bean.

if you're desperado for the hair of your dreams, buy a tub of virgin coconut oil. best $15 you'll ever spend.
the oil is pressed, so scrape a little out with your finger, 
and the warmth of your hand will melt it within seconds.

Friday, January 06, 2012

happy fuckin' friday: the time i got a speeding ticket.

so my first post of the year is going to be a bitter one. 

i got my very first speeding ticket this morning. let me rephrase that, i got my very first ticket this morning. it's friday, so there weren't many cars on the road and i was actually going to make it to work with a minute to spare, i was innocently singing along to fleetwood mac, 
in my own little world, just cruisin' along. 

i came around a bend on the stretch of highway about 100 meters from my exit, and all of a sudden it was the fourth of july in my rear view mirror. i almost didn't pull over because i didn't think he was coming for me; but he was. hoping that a young gentleman, preferably of the handsome variety, who maybe got laid last night or even better, this morning, was going to step out of the car, i turned "rhiannon" down on my ipod and said a little prayer. 

no dice.

i rolled down my window and was greeted by an officer with an uncanny resemblance to j.k. simmons, you know, the guy who plays the dad in "juno". i used to like him. he was around my father's age, so unbuttoning my shirt was now a sick idea and was not going to help...i would have to play another card. he looks me in the eyes and begins his spiel:

"ma'am, do you know why i pulled you over?" -juno's old man
to myself: do i look like a ma'am? i hate when people call me ma'am.
"ummm...honestly? i have no clue"-very unhappy me
"well, you were going 100 in an 80" -juno's old man
to myself: no shit. only 100 eh?

i shook my head. 

he asked me for my licence, registration, yaddy ya da, and told me he would be back in a few minutes. i rolled my window back up and pretty well shit myself. a thousand things ran through my brain: wtf, it's friday for christ sakes. are they even allowed to give tickets out on fridays? i don't think they are, i'm looking into this...definitely not going to tell my dad about this...ew, the picture on my driver's licence isn't going to help my cause, he's totally going to ticket me just for having a hideous pic. thank god he's not hot.

i could see him stepping out of his car to come bring me the news, 
a lovely sunshine yellow piece of paper in his hand. 

"well, i looked into your record and see that you have never had an issue in the past" -juno's old man
"riiiiight" -very scared shitless me
"so, i am going to reduce this to only 15km over, that way it doesn't affect your points. i know what that can do to your insurance. the fine is for $37 and you have 15 days to pay it" -juno's old man
cue amanda bursting into tears.
"thank you so much. if i had points put against me, my husband would divorce me"-very relieved me

the cop giggles. i wasn't being funny.

happy fuckin' friday everyone.
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