Well Hello There

Well hello there.

Thanks to those of you who submitted questions for me to answer! I will be putting together that post with answers later on in the week. Keep them coming so I can have more things to divulge!

ANYWAYS. Hi, there! Remember me?! Need a refresher?? Here’s one:
My name is Jen
I live in Antarctica
Just kidding, Canada.
My dogs shed like crazy
I seriously dislike public transit
I workout like crazy
I like wine and beer. I don’t discriminate. Unless it’s a super hoppy IPA, then I have issues.
That about sums it up.

So what the hell have I been up to these past few weeks, you ask?!! (You most likely know if you follow me on Instagram. Conversely, you most likely don’t care.) Here are some highlights:

1. I had my FIRST visitor to Canada! My high school friend, Amy, flew up from NY for a long weekend. Places of possible interest that we hit: 80th & Ivy for dinner, Canmore for shopping/snow games, Lake Louise to see…umm, Lake Louise, Banff {Wild Flour for lunch, Liquor Depot for booze, Saltlik for dinner, Sasquatch for dancing, Caribou Lodge & Spa to sleep, The Keg for brunch. We also made it a point to spend all remaining money on fudge from The Fudgery, as well as visiting The Fairmont, and the Banff Gondola– altitude of 7,667 ft!}, Brewster’s for dinner,¬† Calgary Farmer’s Market to buy anything/everything to have an at-home charcuterie board.

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2. Went to Pig & Duke for an insane pulled pork lunch/Lost Coast Tangerine Ale.

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3. Started my own personal 30 day hot yoga challenge. I’m not planning on doing yoga for 30 days straight, but I bought a monthly unlimited pass and decided to go 4-5x/week. Pro: It clears my mind and stretches out my hamstrings. Con: They jacked the price to $150. I’m talking to you, Hot Yoga on Crowfoot, don’t make this girl go broke(r)!!!

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4. Tyler and I have been meeting with a kitchen consultant at Home Depot to renovate our kitchen. It’s current status: closet-tiny. What we hope the results will be: open and airy and not obvious that it was originally built in 1981.

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5. Since it was a long weekend and I got bored, I decided to hop on that demolition train and knocked down one of the two walls we plan on removing to accommodate our new kitchen layout. (I’ve since done way more damage than depicted)

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6. I have been obsessed with the Olympics. Ever notice that every Olympic games, the media really focuses on one sport over others? This year, it’s totally Ice Dancing. Cool, but um give me the sports where the guys are wearing unitards. SPANDEX unitards. Also, I have the luxury of watching the American broadcast (Bob Costas, I love you forever) and the Canadian broadcast (where they don’t tell the hockey announcers that they’re still on air and you can hear them humming and clearing their throats. I’m waiting for a fart, though)

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(yeah, that may be a dirty inference. Push it…push it real good)
7. Not to bring up any ill-feelings for Bronco fans, but I went out for Superbowl with a friend and we started the evening by wearing our orange/blue beads and had to switch to green/blue beads by half time. Mostly because Seahawk fans were buying us drinks, so we had to comply.

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8. I still have a $50 gift card for Lululemon from Christmas and I think I FINALLY found what I want to buy. PS: Popped Amy’s Lululemon cherry when she was here. Methinks she might become just as addicted as I!
9. Just when football season ends and I think I get my husband back on Sundays, he goes and sells back all his old video games and pre-orders 4 new ones. To each their own, I suppose. He coincides his game-playing with bread-making. Besides, I’m gone for about 2 hours each night to attend Hot Yoga classes.

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10. I worked out at home and barefoot the other day and the combination of super dry skin + an excessive amount of reverse lunges and plank jacks = tearing the skin off the bottom of my big toe. I’ll spare the picture, just know that it’s gross, it’s painful, and it’s not conducive to all my downward dogging.

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11. I haven’t tried a single new recipe lately. Bad Jen. I need to hop back on the baking wagon. I DID, however, try a new sandwich concoction that proved to be WAY TOO DAMN good. It consisted of some locally baked sourdough, sheep’s cheese (vendor at farmer’s market with very heavy accent sold it to us saying this is ‘cheep’ cheese. Not cheap as in less money, but as in “baa-baaa”), Saskatoon berry jam, bacon, and baby kale. Mmm, mouth is watering.

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12. I finally put blonde back into my hair. And no one has noticed. It took 3 months for someone in my office to notice that I previously chopped off 6 inches, so I’m guessing it’ll be another month or so before I get comments on the color.

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13. Referring back to our adventure at Sasquatch in Banff: drinking age in Alberta: 18. Therefore, most everyone in there was about….18. I told just about everyone that approached us that I could have birthed them. It could ALMOST be true. Also, I saw Sasquatch. He scared me at the coat check.
14. I had Pho for the first time. I called my mom and told her I had Pho and she replied “Mmmm that sounds delicious” and then I asked her if she knew what I was talking about and she said ‘no.’ Sersiouly, does anyone else’s parents act like this? Take another example, holding the phone to their ear while FaceTiming. Ugh.

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15. I have done 2305972309572 different workouts lately and plan on sharing some of them in a post later this week.

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That’s all I have to share for now. Do you feel sufficiently updated? I do.

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In the comments:

Where’s the last place you traveled?

Have any good restaurant experiences lately?

Catching Up…and a recipe!

So let’s do a life catch up. Mainly just stuff that’s happened in the past few days.

-Saturday morning we headed over to the beer/wine supply place to buy a new kit to brew some raspberry ale. To our surprise, the guy gave us quite a few generously poured samples of various wines he had made at his house. They were all fantastic. But he was pouring them fast, so we had to drink faster. Awesome, I got buzzed for free. PS: so excited to try our first home-brewed fruit beer! They’re my fave.

– We then headed over to check out the grand opening of Community Natural Foods in our neighborhood. There, we lucked out with some free sausage samples, so it helped with the wine consumption.

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My opinion of the store? Definitely better than the other local natural foods store, but still not even CLOSE to a Whole Foods or TJ’s.

-Saturday night was a long-planned date night. First stop: Saltlik for dinner. I had been to the location in Banff a few times, but we found that the downtown location had a different menu/ambiance/etc. Not as spectacular (only because the downtown spot doesn’t have scalloped potatoes! ha) but the steak was still fantastic.

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We finished dinner a bit early, so we walked over to another pub and had a few drinks. Then..

– Cirque De Soleil! The tent in Calgary was for the show Amaluna. Tyler had never been to a Cirque show before, but I have seen some in both California and Vegas. I didn’t care for this show as much, but it was still entertaining!

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– We concluded the night with a stupid scary movie that I thankfully didn’t get any nightmares from.

-Sunday, we added a new member to the family- Reggie!

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Reggie is a 4.5 year old Beagle (maybe half pocket beagle). He wasn’t ever in a foster home or shelter, but his doggy mama had to find a new home for him since her son was allergic. We totally lucked out because it is super good- potty trained, obedient, friendly, no health problems. His mama even gave us all his beds and toys and leashes and food and treats.

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So far, so good. He only barks when people are out front or the doorbell rings (same as Layla). And they have been getting along really well. Lots of quiet play, lots of lounging on the patio, and lots of cuddles and treats. Of course, both dogs now have their designated spots on the bed which just so happen to be immediately on either side of me. I was mummified in the sheets last night!

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Only catch is his love of sitting on top of the couch. Still need to figure out the best solution of covering the leather so he doesn’t wear or tear anything.

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I told Layla to blink once if he can stay in the house with us. This was her response:

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I think that’s a yes.

Ok, now onto a really yummy recipe.

SO..I knew I wanted to bake something this morning, but the challenge was to figure out what exactly I could make that didn’t include chocolate or brown sugar as an ingredient (I was fresh out of both and didn’t couldn’t jet to the store since I was in between 2 phone interviews). I fuddy-duddied around the kitchen for a few minutes before deciding on this delicious concoction:

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Peanut Butter Banana Oat Bars (adapted from this recipe)

They’re great because they contain all good ingredients, they’re quick and easy to make, and they keep pretty well (in freezer). Not only that, but the ingredients are substantial, so each bar will satisfy any hunger craving. This really yields about 8 bars, but since it was my initial go with the recipe, I played with the edges before I took any pictures.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 bananas¬†
  • 1 c oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts (I made a mixture of walnuts, macadamia nuts and cashews and pulsed in the food processor a few times)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • dash of salt

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Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper

2. In a bowl, mash bananas. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.

3. Place mixture in baking dish. Evenly spread and press down.

4. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow dish to fully cool before cutting.

5. For additional convenience as a quick snack, cut squares and individually wrap in plastic wrap.

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This recipe is definitely a keeper. I almost always have all the ingredients on hand, plus it’s a satisfying and handy snack!

Question: Have a go-to handy snack? Is it something you make or buy??

Here it is, folks

“I know that one day, Veronica and I are gonna get married on top of a mountain. And there’s going to be flutes playing and trombones and flowers and garlands of fresh herbs. And we will dance until the sun rises. And then our children will form a family band and we will tour the countryside and you won’t be invited!”

…of course you’ll be invited! April 21, 2012: best day ever.

I mean honestly, look at that backdrop… THE MOUNTAINS, people. SO gorgeous! And it was the best weather, ever. Whatta surprise, whatta surprise.

I’m still waiting to get more pictures from our friends who were there, but I couldn’t hold out any longer on posting these for you to see!

Andddd…the ring he proposed to me with wasn’t even the real deal! It LOOKS real, but Tyler wanted to make sure that I loved it before he gave the jewel-man the go ahead. (I get the real mac-daddy in less than two weeks!)

Sure looks real to me.

How convenient that I had my nails painted with glitter on that day?!

Our Saturday (post engagement) was rounded off with lunch in downtown Banff at one of my favorite places, Saltlik

I had a raspberry fizz

And a turkey burger (with only half a bun)

The six of us stayed at Hidden Ridge Resort, and spent the afternoon walking around town, hitting up The Fudgery, the Hot Springs and of course, the liquor store. Lots of celebratory drinks. LOTS.

Dinner was at The Grizzly House. ohmygosh it was fantastic. It was a fondue place that is a must-see when you visit Banff!

I got the Alberta platter which consisted of beef, buffalo, elk and venison.

And I tried rattlesnake, wild boar, and ostrich. YUM!

We really had a great time there. The funny part was that each table was equipped with a phone, and our placemats had a layout of the dining room, so you can dial a table and talk to them!

Obviously, I got really creepy and went to the restroom and used the phone in there to dial my table. “I’m in the bathroom…bwahaha” God, I’m a perv!

Mmm, meat. On a hot stone. Nom nom nom.

Our group! (Thank you so much you guys for being there for that special occasion! It means the world to me)

Not much detail- I like to keep that event in my life a little close my heart, but I shared some snippets!