At Least it is Premiere Week

This past week I flew to Montreal to visit my sister who had recently moved there with her boyfriend.  I was really looking forward to an escape from my daily routine and a change of scenery. I’d been to Montreal once before with my dad a few years back and was excited about exploring the city again with an ‘insider’.

One day in, I caught the flu. I most likely picked it up on the plane, the bus, or the metro. I rarely take public transit because of my dislike of crowds and fear of germs. I’d like to think that I’m an incessant hand-washer but I definitely lost this battle. I was so disappointed. I hate being sick!

So instead of sipping lattes at the corner café or packing a baguette into a picnic basket to take to the park or strolling down the cobblestone streets by the St. Lawrence River in the navy and white striped shirt I brought particularly for the occasion, I stayed in my pajamas and whined in bed. Thankfully it was premier week and there were some good shows for me to distract myself with.

But I don’t mean for this to be a pity party (trust me, I had enough time dedicated to that already). Rather, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on some of the shows I ended up watching.

Modern Family 


I think Modern Family has become my new favorite show. I just wish it lasted more than 30 minutes! Fortunately last week we got a double dose of the laughs with two back-to-back shows.

I can never quite decide who my favourite characters are. I find them all relatable at times and yet they each stand out in their own way. The writing is just fantastic and I find myself laughing at almost every line. I suppose this explains all the recent Emmys. The new Lily seems to be cute but it always takes me a little while to adjust to a new actor playing the same character. It will probably feel normal within a couple weeks.

Can’t wait until the next show!

Pan Am

I was really intrigued by the concept of this show. In fact in University, I once had a project where I designed a suite of conference materials for a mock convention targeting post-WWII airline stewardess recruits. How’s that for a coincidence?

I thought the dialogue was a little clunky in parts and some of the scenarios a bit clichĂ© but the visuals were whimsical and pretty. I’m not sure if the show has quite settled out on an identity yet but that is to be expected in the pilot episode. With a bit of tinkering, it could prove to be quite a hit. Conversely, it could turn into a bad attempt to jump on the coattails of the hugely successful Mad Men. I look forward to see how the show pans out (sorry, bad pun).

Cake Boss


After spotting some past clients at a Thai restaurant in Chelsea and then viewing the Lakawana Centre amongst the New Jersey skyline during our trip to NYC this summer, I’ve felt even more connected to the show Cake Boss.

I’ve always liked the balance between culinary creations and the big family drama. A Christening, a new factory, a collapsed chandelier cake and an anniversary, this season seems to be another serving of the same goodness I’ve come to expect.

Grey’s Anatomy 

I was a huge fan of Grey’s Anatomy when it first premiered eight years ago.  I’ll admit that I jumped off the wagon for the last couple years. I really liked the comedy in the earlier seasons of the show and felt it got a bit too forced and dramatic. However, I figured I would give it a shot again despite not fully understanding where the storyline left off and not exactly knowing all the new characters.

I liked that the show focused more on the original cast, probably though because I relate to them a bit more. Of course there was the usual Meredith/Derek drama (which I wish they could finally sort out -- too much back and forth for my liking). Christina had to face a similar situation as in the earlier years but I’ve always liked her character so didn’t mind the repeat. Bailey is still her outspoken self which was fun. I’m hoping this show will return to its roots and be another regular on my PVR line-up.

So, what shows were you looking forward to this premiere week?


Lemon Coriander Cake

This cake started out as pork chops. Seriously. I was looking through our spice cabinet trying to decide what sort of seasoning to put on our chops when I pulled out the coriander. Can you put coriander on pork I wondered. So I read the label.

"Ground Coriander Seed has a slight lemon flavour. Rub on beef, chicken, pork, fish and lamb. Excellent in cakes, cookies, gingerbread, biscuits, and apple dishes."

Forget the chops, I'm Making Cake!

I found a basic vanilla cake on 'All Recipes' and made a few modifications*.

- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flower
- 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup milk
* 1/2 - 1 tsp coriander
* 1 Tbsp grated lemon zest

- Preheat oven to 350 'F (175 'C). Grease and flour a 9x9 inch pan. (I used two small 6'' round cake pans)
- In a medium bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla, coriander and lemon zest.
- Combine flour and baking powder, add to the wet mixture and stir well.
- Add milk and stir until batter is smooth.
- Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan(s).
- Bake for 30-40 min in the preheated oven (I baked mine for 27 min).
- Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting. 



Take Me Out to the Ballgame

This past weekend was Labour Day weekend. I was really pleased to learn that Danny wasn't going to be on call those days and that we'd get some time to spend together. Initially I had hoped we could pack a picnic lunch and get out of the city to visit one of the many parks or lakes surrounding us but the weather forecast wasn't exactly promising. So we decided to spend our time closer to home rather than battling the packed highways in the rain. It was probably a smarter choice.

So what did we do? We headed to a Baseball Game! Blue Jays vs. Red Sox. It was my first-ever professional ball game and I was excited to get in on the action. 

It was overcast and windy but the rain held off (thankfully). We grabbed some extremely overpriced nachos, a hotdog and a drink and sat down behind first base. 

Even though I played little league as a kid, I'm definitely no expert when it comes to baseball and had to ask a lot of questions. Which hand-signal means ball and which one means strike? Why can't he steal a base now but could during the last play? What's a Bull Pen and why are there so many pitchers? Fortunately the game was pretty easy to follow and I could even participate in the cheering when there was a big play.

During the '7th Inning Stretch", we all stood up and sang the classic "Take me Out to the Ball Game" song. There was another song with actions to go along with it but I just watched and listened to that one, haha. The Snowbirds also flew overhead a few times as there was an air show going on at the Harbour just a few blocks away. What an added treat!

The game was fun but the score was still 0-0 at the bottom of the 9th. I was getting a little chilly and wondered how long the game would go on in extra innings. We stayed to watch the 10th inning and although there were scenarios that couldn't be played out more dramatically in the movies, there were still no runs on the board. We decided to leave. (Hey there was a football game starting on TV and I didn't want to miss that either).

We grabbed some hot coffee at Tim Horton's on our walk home.  It was then that we learned that Toronto had just hit a home run and won the game. Shoot! I missed it! But then again, I was much warmer now and we didn't have to deal with the big crowds exiting Roger's Centre.

I'm glad that I was able to check another item off my 'Toronto Bucket List' and maybe if I'm lucky we'll be able to go to another game soon!


A Hearty Fall Soup


My mom was a school teacher so going 'Back to School' was always a big event for the whole family. Normally, in the last weeks of summer we'd be soaking up the last of our holidays at the cabin, preparing our backpacks with all the necessary school supplies, playing in the school gym while my mom set up her classroom and... harvesting the garden.

We my mom would grow carrots, peas, potatoes, lettuce, beans, tomatoes and the occasional zucchini. We had some raspberries, strawberries and a rhubarb patch and two very plentiful apple trees. Needless to say, there was no shortage of fresh produce when we went back to school.

So while deciding what sort of things to make for dinner this week I immediately gravitated towards a hearty vegetable soup. I had never actually made one before but I researched a few recipes and tried to remember what would be brewing up in the kitchen as a kid. I made a list and fortunately our neighbourhood grocery store had more than enough options (no garden for me yet).

I followed my instincts and although the soup wasn't 'exactly' how mom used to make, I'd say the end result was pretty good. I learned what worked well (saute the veggies) and what I could do a little differently next time (less pepper). Danny seemed to like it too so I feel encouraged to try again!

First Fall Soup!

- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 medium white onion
- 3 celery stalks
- 3-4 large carrots
- 1 large potato
- 2 ripe tomatoes
- 1 cup shell pasta
- 2 bay leaves
- salt & pepper to taste

- Pre cook shell pasta in boiling water, drain and set aside.
- Dice and slice the veggies doing your best to keep the pieces consistent in size
- In a large pot, melt 1 Tbsp butter, add onion, celery and carrots and seasoning. Mix well.
- Add chicken broth, tomatoes, potatoes and bay leaves. Bring to a boil
- Let soup simmer until vegetables are fully cooked. Add pasta and enjoy!

Bear with my directions, they're obviously just from memory, but fortunately this soup is very flexible. You can add more or less broth, try other veggies and seasonings (zucchini, mushrooms, parsley) or even add some chicken or rice. I'm sure there will be many iterations to come!