Eggplant Parmigiana

A few years ago my husband and I visited his family in the south of Italy.  It was in August and it was crazy hot.  This was our view most days.IMG_0841

While we were there, Carlo’s Aunt cooked up a storm for us.  The stand out meal was Eggplant Parmigiana.  I had never had it before and it was intense.  It would be faster to describe what wasn’t in the dish.  I was grateful for her generosity, but a hot, heavy meal was not what I was craving in that heat.  

Ever since, I have been dying to recreate it in the cold Canadian winter when a warm plate of goodness is perfect.

I always thought it was called Eggplant Parmesan because of the cheese that’s in it, but Carlo pointed out that it is more likely because of its origin in the region of Parma.  It does have the cheese as well, but it’s named for the region too.  What came first?

 

Our version of the dish has fried eggplant (duh), homemade meatballs, ham and hardbolied eggs all layered with homemade tomato sauce, breadcrumbs, mozzerella and parmesan cheese.

It was sooo good.  We made an extra one to freeze and I can’t wait to dig it out and eat it up too!

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Salad in a jar

A while back, my sister told me about salad in a jar.  I thought it sounded strange, so I looked it up.  It was all over Pinterest.  And then I forgot about it.  Last week, in an effort to eat more veggies I thought I’d finally try my hand at it.

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Taking salad to work can be a pain because it needs to be fresh to taste good and my salad dressing always spills in my bag.  Also, I am not great at packing my lunch every morning.  Anything to make it easier is a good thing.  I loved it!  It was easy to prepare a few salads in advance and tasted great for lunch.  The key for me is using a grain at the bottom to absorb the dressing and putting the greens on the top.  When you pour it into a bowl, it’s perfect!

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I see a lot more salads in my future.  And any reason to use mason jars is a plus for me!

Mini Staycation

Carlo and I did not get much time off together over the holidays, so last weekend we had a mini staycation.  We both took a few days off work and 4 days off together.  I had grand plans of getting things done and going places, but in the end we mostly stayed close to home.

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We did make it out to the new Ripley’s Aquarium at th base of the CN Tower.  The price tag is pretty steep at $30, but neither of us had been to an aquarium in a long time, so we took the plunge 🙂

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Going on a weekday was great as there weren’t too many people and we could wander through at our own pace.  The central sight is the “Dangerous Lagoon” with the underwater viewing tunnel and it was my favourite part.  It has sharks!  It even had a moving sidewalk so that you could look around and not worry about bumping into people and waiting your turn to get to the front.

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Carlo also made us Danish donuts, or aebleskiver.  We received a donut pan from Carlo’s mother ages ago but had’t managed to put it to good use.  My mother-in-law is Danish so these delicious little donuts were a staple in Carlo’s house growing up and are still a favourite.  As a true Canadian, I smother them with real Maple Syrup!

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There was also a lot of TV watching and napping, it was lovely.

Last Saturday, I also had the opportunity to attend a rehearsal of the play Night by Human Cargo .  Two years ago I was the Assistant Stage Manager on this production as it travelled to Calgary to appear in the Magnetic North Theatre Festival.  It’s about to embark on a new tour to Canada’s north and then the west coast.  It was fun to see everyone involved again and get a chance to see it as I was always backstage.  Safe travels everyone!

Lazy weekend

This weekend was an indulgent lazy weekend, my favourite kind.  Carlo doesn’t often get Saturday and Sunday off so spending two days together felt special.

We started off the weekend with a musical.  We saw Once at the Royal Alex.  I loved it.  We were way up in the nosebleed section, but it was still a great view.  I’m a big fan of the original movie and I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy hearing the actors sing the music because I love the original so much.  Not a problem.  The actors were very good and extremely talented.  I loved seeing them dance with their instruments while singing and creating the scenes within the setting of an Irish pub.

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After the show, we had a very cold walk home, so we stopped and had a sausage and a pint at Wurst.  I thought it was just a hotdog place, but it’s a very cool restaurant/bar and it was packed!

On Saturday and Sunday, there was a lot of TV watching from the comfort of the couch in our pjs.  We finally watched the last episodes of Breaking Bad.  That show was so good, I didn’t want it to end.  I found myself holding my breath at times because I was nervous to see what was going to happen next!  Now we need a new show.  I’m hoping to catch up on Season 3 of Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey is on TV again!

We also got in some post-holiday sale shopping, I can’t believe we went to a mall on a Saturday, it was crazy busy.

I started a new book on Sunday morning.  I decided to join in with A Beautiful Mess on their book club.  I haven’t been reading much lately, and I thought that some external motivation would be helpful.  We are reading The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.  I was aided by a cup of coffee in my new Bowie mug and enjoyed one last morning by the Christmas tree before taking it down.

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We also started up our New Year’s tradition of collecting memories in a jar.  I saw the idea on Pinterest last year and we gave it a try.  I loved it.  Throughout the year, anytime something memorable happens, write it on a piece of paper and put it in the jar.  On New Year’s Day, we got to read about our year one memory at a time.  It was a great reminder of how many fun things we did.  It ranged from big things like my sister’s wedding, to little inside jokes or a nice dinner at home.  We’re definitely going to keep this one going in 2014.

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Our jar already has a few papers inside.

First Step

I read a lot of blogs.  I really enjoy peeking  into the lives and homes of others (but not in a creepy way).  I have often considered starting one myself and then don’t.  Why would anyone want to read about me?  I know that’s silly because I always enjoy reading about other people, so why not me?

I am a total procrastinator and I have never felt that I had the knack for writing.  Starting this blog is a little out of my comfort zone, but I think it will be a good stretch for me.  Even if no one reads it, I think it will be an outlet for my creativity and help me document my life.  I often find myself envying the lives of the bloggers that I read about, knowing full well I have plenty to be grateful for.  I hope writing about my life will help me think about the great things that I do have.

It’s a little scary to think about putting myself out there, but it’s exciting too.  We’ll just have to wait to see where this little endeavor takes me.

Happy 2014!

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