Training to Live

living and learning, one day at a time

what i brought home on my bike, part IV

in case you missed it, part I is here, II and III were eaten by the universe. i’ll fill you in – there were 13 cobs of corn one week and a watermelon (that was possibly the most ridic) another week. plus all the usuals, of course. peaches, plums, apricots, maybe a few zucchinis here and there, etc. jon had to reinforce one of my panniers the other day because the connection mechanism that holds it onto my bike was getting loose. oopsies! i’m back in business now.

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this is how i do it. big panniers and a spare bungee cord just in case.


the loot:

-cable + padlock

-2 bags of cheese curds from thornloe

-some temiskaming cheese (also thornloe. best cheese place ever!)

-a purple bag filled with my work clothes and other sundries (deoderant, comb, etc)

-2X 1.5L of seedless concord grapes, for a raisin making project

-3L basket of delicious peaches

-a big bag of italian plums for some plumjum (i’m currently making the bellaeats plum cake that we loved last year with my last week’s bunch)

this week i actually managed to restrain myself a little bit. i didn’t get any veggies, so we will probably hit up the saturday market. it was the last day that thornloe was going to be at my market, so they had some killer sales and i stocked up. dill flavoured cheese curds are amazing. is this just a canadian thing? at the HLS, when i talked about eating cheese curds, i remember someone looking at me like i was crazy. also when i described poutine…. it’s delicious stuff! really!

for supper tonight, jon made burgers with some beef we got from his uncle’s farm. these burgers were definitely in contention with the epic burger from chicago.

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ok. they were both really really good – grass fed beef is where it’s at! i couldn’t tweet about the one on the left and have it displayed up on a screen like at epic.


i have to say that was a pretty cool thing for them to have. the top three posts on the left and right columns were my dining companions: stina, mary and dawn. i couldn’t tweet because i didn’t have roaming data on my phone but i did when i got back to the hotel!

i have some chicago posts to catch up on. they’ll come. soon. eventually. i hope. this week has been kind of crazy.

i ran a 15K race last weekend. i have a 10K this week! i’m hoping to splash my 56:08 time out of the water! one more week of work and then i have a whole 5 glorious days off to relax at the cottage and farm. i have some fun projects planned for while we’re out there, so hopefully also some good blogging will come of that too! in the meantime, i better get back to my cake.

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August 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm Comments (6)

celebrating life!

yesterday we attended the funeral of a 24 year old young woman. heart heavy sadness. as with funerals (and weddings), it brought a lot of family together, and i did have the chance to meet many wonderful people from jon’s side. if only the circumstances were lighter… it was a nice service, anyway, and though i never had the chance to meet melanie during her all-too-short life, it seemed to do her spirit right. many happy memories were shared.


jon’s parents sent us home with a trunkload of farm goods: a big bag of yellow and green beans, a sack of new potatoes, beets, zukes, a jar of blueberries and a big basket of red tomatoes. my own little garden patch is bountiful (even a little out of control) with tomatoes, peppers and varied herbs (basil, mostly). i decided that a big pot of pasta sauce would be a delicious way to use up many of the tomatoes and some other vegetables and be a great excuse to try out my newest toy: (whilst at the same time, crossing one thing off of my mighty life list, which i know, i haven’t quite posted my own yet. it’s coming)


the pasta express! it has 12 different attachments for all kinds of different shapes to extrude. it even does pretzels, bagels, and extrusion cookies!

jon’s sister was cleaning up her house last weekend and getting rid of unnecessary clutter. for some reason, this lovely pasta maker fell into that category for her. i happily took it off her hands, since i’ve been wanting to make pasta myself for ages now AND it’s an easy item on the list to cross off! hooray for fun, new (free!) appliances.


making pasta sauce from scratch is fun, but it can get pretty messy! i basically used this recipe.


first you have to score the tomatoes, so they are easier to peel. i used a mix of romas from my garden, littlish rounds (also from my garden) and the big rounds from the farm. although my plants originally came from the farm, the tomatoes that stayed seem to have grown much bigger!

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blanch for a few seconds and dunk in ice water before peeling

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squeeze the seeds and goop out into the compost and squish the flesh

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onions are required. i don’t like them much, but they cooked long enough to not be noticable.

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basil from the yard along with a few cloves of garlique.

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cook down and add tomato

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add a bit of alcohol. wine is good, but i didn’t have any, so i went with a splash of fortified and then i simmered my sauce.


we took a break to visit a nearby farmer’s market for some fruit.
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then it was pasta time!

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i sadly don’t seem to have any pictures of the plated meal. i guess we ate everything up too quickly! the pasta was delicious. it’s hard for me to say whether or not it is better than bought, since i am obviously biased, but jon seemed to really enjoy it a lot! there will be much more experimenting with this in the future. much more.



this is part of our veggie patch (before we finished weeding!!!) taken back in may. tomorrow i will try to get a picture of it now so you can see just how crazy the situation is. i literally have tomatoes coming out of my ears, and those pepper and basil plants in the foreground have been engulfed. my vegetables are a great source of happiness in my life right now.


bike race tomorrow and a 60th anniversary party!

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August 7, 2010 at 8:51 pm Comments (28)

what i carried home on my bike, part I

this has become a bit of a running joke in my office, and i feel like i should make it into a regular blog feature. every thursday (from june to october) at the park up the street from work, there is a little farmer’s market.  i love it and have talked about it here. as i mentioned,  i have a bit of a problem and usually tend to buy more than i need AND more than what i can manage to get home since i either walk/bus or ride my bike. this problem becomes exacerbated in the fall, during winter squash season. squash are big and heavy!

squash aren’t the only things challenging to get home though – summer fruits, while not as cumbersomely large and heavy are pretty fragile and prone to being squished.

this photo is actually from market a week and a half ago (asparagus season is sadly finished now)

my two panniers contained the following:

  • bike lock (cable + combination lock; i leave a U lock at work)
  • pair of shoes (the black flip flops)
  • bike fixing stuff (tube, co2 cartridges, tire levers, etc)
  • 2 pairs of capris (one from my morning bike ride and one from wearing at work)
  • 1 zip up jacket
  • the shirt I was wearing at work during the day
  • various toiletries (comb, deoderant, etc)
  • 1 big head of lettuce
  • 2 bundles of asparagus
  • 1 litre (maybe more?) of small cucumbers
  • 1 quart of strawberries
  • 1 quart of cherries
  • 1 rosemary plant
  • 1 lavender plant
  • 1 large peashoot plant
  • 1 tupperware of cheese
  • my wallet
  • bike gloves (it was too hot to wear them on the ride home)


in other news, i went for a 3K run in my vibrams yesterday and HOLY COW my calves are feelin’ it today. 3K was probably longer than i should have gone for, given that my last “barefoot” run was only 2K long and that was more than 2 months ago. i plan to try and use them more for actual running lots this summer (i mostly just wear them as walking/around town shoes). my next real race isn’t until mid-late august, so i think i’m going to ease off of serious training for a little while.

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June 29, 2010 at 7:36 am Comments (5)

good eats

i did lots of cooking this weekend (and lots of eating!) and not lots of picture taking. oops. everything was food-blog-sourced and quite delicious.

1) hangry pants’ twice baked acorn squash

i used fresh spinach instead of frozen, added chickpeas for protein, extra cheese (a mix of mozz and cheddar). it was good. a for sure make again.

2) kath’s nutty vanilla kale sweet potato soup

i used fresh spinach instead of kale and skipped the shredded coconut garnish. we love this soup and i had some leftover giant sweet potatoes from the apple farm a few weeks ago to use up. 1 potato was 2 pounds and made at least 4 servings of soup. whoa! perfect for the dreary day we had here.

served them with some of alton brown’s buttermilk biscuits, that i had whipped up for breakfast.

3) make it fast, cook it slow – 365 days of crockpotting slow cooker beef bourguignon (adapted from julia childs)

i had a blade roast in the freezer that we got from jon’s uncle’s farm (grass fed, free range yumminess! happy cows are the best). blade roast isn’t a super tender piece of meat so we decided that a long, slow cook in the crock pot would be just right. we left it whole, but i think cubing it up would have been better. the meat was still a little tough at the end. it was tasty though! i thickened the sauce on the stove and cubed up the leftovers for a hearty stew for tomorrow, over my leftover garlic mashed potatoes. i made my own herbs de provence mix, which i have decided i need to make more of! we still have many cuts of beef to eat through.

i also made some of kath’s maple roasted brussels sprouts to which i added some bacon (for extra porky magic) for vitamins.

for dessert, to use up the last of my last half bushel of apples (i got a new bag on friday. HONEYCRIPS!!! jon is awesome. have i mentioned?) i decided to make a big apple crisp. i remembered that we had tried this one last year and it was great (though, everything i get from URB is great!): apple cranberry crisp.

i had cranberries in the freezer. popped it in the oven just as we started supper and it was ready when we were done. we didn’t have any tonight though because jon’s friend sent home these two fancy pastry/cake things home for us from a bakery. i failed to take any pictures, but they were beautiful! bits of gold leaf writing on chocolate, thin slices of crushed-nut brittle, etc. i sent jon home with half the crisp, but i have some for me to enjoy tomorrow!

food blogs rock!

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November 15, 2009 at 10:33 pm Comment (1)

a royal affair

we woke up early this morning to drive downtown for a fun, unique event: the toronto royal agricultural winter fair. i’ve never been to an agricultural fair, and the toronto winter one is the biggest in the country. holy cow, it was cool. there were tons of animals, lots of interesting farm innovations/initiatives, crazy vegetables and lots and lots of people.

the reason for going was to see jon’s cousin amy participate in the 4H junior beef hereford heifer show. although we did get to see her in the parade of 4Hers, we did not catch her showing. the rest of the family is going to be there to see her tomorrow, so hopefully we’ll have more pictures.


we also had to stop by to see our friend jasmin at her energrow booth with the soybean press that energrow designs and sells. the oil can power diesel engines and the meal that comes out of the other end of the press can be used as a feed supplement to increase farm animals’ protein intake. i’ve seen jasmin take her company from a small idea that started on one of her coop terms when she decided she wanted her own business to this big, very real thing. it’s pretty awesome.

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this is a bunch of different beans/seeds that they ran through the press to produce different oils: canola, sunflower, soybean, mustard and flax




these vegetables made me rethink the hugeness of my squash from yesterday! holy wow. 1236 lbs of squash?? this makes 10 lbs look teensy weensy


cutest thing ever. boy lying down for a rest with his cow. you don’t see things like this in the city.

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cute animals

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two of the coolest things ever: bacon biodiesel (from the cigi biodiesel trailer) and an ipod powered by poop! (cow poop, that is. the only one of its kind!)

there was a bull that reminded me of a wild thing (from the movie)


we had a great day. i got to see some rodeo events – real cowgirls riding their horses super fast around poles and barrels and bull riding, which is just insane.

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being a farmer is cool. and. farmers feed cities! don’t forget that.

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November 8, 2009 at 10:51 pm Comment (1)