A glimpse into the life and times of Julia. Loving, learning and growing my way through it all.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Say Cheese-Rewind to January

I haven't posted any Iphone picurtures in a while.
Like I said, I've been busy.
I thought I would go back to the beginning of the year and share some of my favourite pictures.
 Visiting with the Evans girls in Oakville. Going for a walk in the park so you gotta bring your babies!
 I always get so excited when I see the food drive baskets in our local Starbucks stores!
 Picking a new winter hat. Option #1. (Winner)
 Option #2.
 Me and Flowie in NY to celebrate Grammie's 90th birthday. We got in big trouble for driving in a snow storm. Heh heh.
 Ice fishing with the cousins on Pleasant Lake. My favourite place in the whole world.
 All suited up for a big YSM event. Ready to take over the world!
 Meeting the amazing Gordon Pinsent at a YSM video shoot for Coldest Night of the Year.
 Toronto Actor, Ennis Esmer lends his talent to our cause. He's one funny guy!
 The first flowers Mr.Wonderful gave me! So beautiful.
 The second flowers Mr.Wonderful gave me. A dozen pink roses delivered to my office.
Is he a keeper or what?
 Meeting Mr.Wonderful's family for the first time at a Chinese banquet. Complete with Chinese Karaoke. Wow.
 On the radio promoting Coldest Night of the Year. Mom always said I had a face for radio!
 Super cute sweater that I got from the Nathalie-Roze & Co. Uber-Swap.
Starbucks. All in a day's work in the land of Julia!


Timing is everything.

If you haven't already read the beginning of this story stop right now!
Go here.
Read that part first and then come back.

As I reflect on new years eve I wonder to myself what it was about that night that made me see Mr.Wonderful in a new light.
Something had changed for me. But what?
There was a definite shift from friend to the potential for more. But why then. Why that night?
Was it the conversation I had with Ali Raney the day before?
I don't really know how or why it happened then. Why it wasn't a year ago or a year from now.
But as I "say" that out loud I realize that I do know why.

It was part of God's plan.

It was the perfect time where we were both ready and willing to take a huge leap of faith and put ourselves out there.
To risk.
To try.
To be bold.
I'm so glad that we did.

Stay tuned for more details.


It's been a while

It's been a while since I posted.
Bad blog etiquette I know.
I apologize.
I've missed you and I know you've missed me.
But I have a valid excuse, I've been a busy girl.
A very busy girl falling in love!

To say that my life has changed in the past four months would be the understatement of the century. My world has been turned upside down in the most wonderful and unexpected way ever.

Let me start from the beginning.
On new years eve 2011 I started hanging out with a guy, let's call him Mr.Wonderful.
I'd known him for a few years. I guess you could have called us friends. We had hung out a few times in group settings but nothing more than that.
So I knew that he was a nice guy.
I could see that he was handsome.
It was obvious that he was the kind of guy that everyone likes because he is so kind, giving, caring and fun.
I was intrigued.
There was something about him that night that made me want to get to know him better.
I think he felt the same.
This is where it all began. The first picture of us together.
Stay tuned for more of the story. It's a good one, trust me!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

You're so granola

I have found my breakfast love.
Granola, yogurt and some kind of fruit.
It's the best breakfast because it's delicious, keeps you full for most of the morning and is good for you.
Actually it's not only good for breakfast. I ate it for lunch today. Yum!
I used to buy my granola from the grocery store but I would always cringe because it's so stinking expensive for a half full box.
A few years ago my amazing friend Joanne Jones brought a huge jar of homemade granola when she came to stay with me for the One of A Kind show.
Side note: Joanne is an amazing artist who makes beautiful purses and bags out of recycled clothing, check out her company, Mined Recreations but she lives outside of the city so my house has become the unofficial B&B of Mined Recreations for the OOAK in Toronto!
I had know idea how easy and inexpensive it was to make your own. Joanne shared her recipe with me then and today I've adapted it a bit and make it for myself all of the time.

Check out the recipe and step by step instructions below for you to make it for your family to enjoy!

6 Cups-Oats
1/4 Cup-Unsweetened shaved or flaked coconut
1/4 Cup-Pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
1/4 Cup-Pecans or walnuts, chopped
1/4 Cup-Almonds, chopped
1/4 Cup-Flax seeds, ground
2 Tbls-Sesame seeds
1 Tbls-Coca Powder (optional)
1 Tbls-Cinnamon
1/2 Tbls-Nutmeg
1/2 Tbls-Allspice
Pinch of salt
2 Tbls-Vanilla extract
1/2 Cup-Canola or Vegetable oil
1/4 Cup-Pure Maple syrup
1/4 Cup-honey
1/4 Cup-Molasses (Optional)

1 Cup-Dried Cranberries
1 Cup-Apricots, chopped (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl mix the first 12 ingredients.

In another bowl whisk together the wet ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix very well until everything is well coated.

Pour mixture onto two cookie sheets and bake for 30 minutes or until granola is golden brown stiring very often, at least 3 times during the cooking. Stay close to monitor progress as you may need to lower the temperature of your oven if the granola begins to burn.

Once cooked remove from oven and leave to cool on cookie sheets for about 10 minutes. When the granola has cooled slightly transfer to a large clean bowl and add the dried fruit and leave to cool fully.

Once cooled transfer to an airtight container. Granola keeps for over two weeks, if it lasts that long!

How delicious does that look? 

Let me know how your granola turns out.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What does that even mean?

So yesterday I went to see the gastroenterologist to get this pancreatitis thing figured out.
I'm so thankful that she was able to fit me in so quickly. She has a 6 month waiting list.
We chatted about how I was feeling, my medical history and all that good stuff. Seemed to go pretty well...until she told me that I need to go on a no-fat diet until it gets cleared up.
"You basically can't eat anything you didn't make yourself," is how she broke it down.
No fat?
What does that even mean?
Doesn't everything have fat in it?
I've been processing this for the past 24 hours and I am sad and excited by the challenge all at the same time.
Food is such a huge part of my life.
I cook when I'm happy and when I'm sad. The idea of not being able to cook the food I love makes me really sad.
But the new ideas are a brewing in this head of mine. Maybe some great will come out!
The other part is that most of the social things I do revolve around food. Not so much anymore.
I don't want to miss out on the fun because I can't eat out right now.
Guess its time to start thinking outside of the box friends!
All this to say I'm super glad to be on the path to recovery so I will do my best to stick to it and put a smile on my face.
And I guess if I lose a few pounds in the process that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oh the horror!

I'm sitting in the waiting area at Women's College Hospital waiting to see the gastroenterologist.
It's not pretty in here.
Sort of looks like the beginning of a bad horror movie.
Big empty hall ways.
No one around.
A rattling sound in the distance.
If the fluorescent lights start flickering in so out of here.
Man I wish I knew how to kill zombies.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fare il brodo

In Italian the words fare il brodo mean make broth. And boy do the Italians like their broth. They make it often for things like tortellini in brodo, pastina, soups and many other things.

When I lived in Italy I made my fare share of brodo for The Nonna. She sure did like her pasta in brodo. I always felt strange making such a simple dish for the woman who used to make the most amazing food for our family and restaurant back in the day.
Remember when I told you about Nonna's amazing talent here?
But pasta in brodo was what she wanted, so I made it.
My Dad taught me how to make broth when I first arrived and my Italian wasn't perfect yet.
I'll never forget the first time I went to the macellaio or butcher by our house to buy the stuff to make it. I asked the butcher, he knew me at this point because I had been in a lot with my dad, for a piece of chicken to make broth. "Chicken?" he said, "your Dad always buys gallina or hen". I was super confused because I thought a hen was a chicken but I guess in the world of the butcher it is different, I told him that I'd take whatever my Dad usually gets and I was on my way. The broth turned out great then, the many times after that when I made it in Italy and now I make it here at home.

Sure it's easier to buy some OXO cubes and throw it into your recipe but there is nothing like the taste of homemade broth.

This morning I went to the St Lawrence Market and was inspired by all of the beautiful root vegetables in the north market to make stew. Well stew needs lots of delicious brodo so I decided to make some this afternoon. I had a few beef bones in the freezer from another stew I made a few weeks earlier so all I needed was some chicken or hen, oh who knows. I went to Upper Cut Meats and almost asked for gallina hoping that the the lovely young man who helped me would know what I was talking about. I asked for asked for chicken to make broth instead and he totally hooked me up with a bag of 3 chicken carcasses for only $1, score. I learned later that he did speak Italian so he totally would have know what I was talking about. We spoke a little Italian, I got nervous, said something dumb, blushed and said ci vediamo dopo, but that's another story for another time!!!.  :) Lost of butchers keep bones and such for that very reason so be sure to ask.

I wanted to share the recipe with you with step by step instructions so you can make it too.
I really hope you like it and use it in lots of different ways over our long cold winter.
If it ever actually gets cold!

A large piece of chicken  (or hen) with bones
A large piece of beef on a bone
A few large carrots
A few pieces of celery & tops
A large cooking onion
A few cloves of garlic
Bay leaves


Put bones into a large pot.

Wash and cut up vegetables into large pieces.

Make sure you use the tops of the celery with the leaves, they have lots of flavour!
These vegetables are going to be discarded after cooking so you don't have to get too picky about sizes etc.

Put the veggies into the pot with the meat.

Add the bay leaves, peppercorns and salt.

Fill the pot with cold water and turn the heat on to high.

Bring the liquid to a boil and then turn it down to low and let it simmer for about 2 hours.

You may need to skim the sludge (there may be a more technical word for it but I don't know what it is) off the top while it is cooking because it will make your broth cloudy and kind of  yucky (another technical term!).

After a few hours your broth should look like this!

You will know that it is done when it smells delicious and all of the meat and bones are falling apart.

Let it cool for about 15-20 minutes.

Take the big pieces out and put them in a large colander over a bowl to drain.
Once they have dripped off all of the delicious broth discard the vegetables and bones.
You can pick apart the meat and reserve it to put into whatever you are making later but it will be very dry and flavourless.

Pass all of the liquid through a fine colander or even cheese cloth if you have it.

The fewer particles the clearer your broth will be.

Put  your broth in a container for refrigeration or freezing.

The broth will last for about a week in the fridge and about 6 months in the freezer.

That's it! You made broth. You are so good!

A few tips:
-When you take it out of the fridge or freezer to use it there may be a layer of fat on top. You can easily remove it while the broth is still cold by skimming it off with a spoon.
-You can freeze broth in an ice cube tray and then transfer the froze broth cubes into a freezer bag. The broth cubes will add tons of flavour to pasta sauces and other dishes and will melt super quickly.

Let me know how your broth turns out.