Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Day Off Fun

When I started planning my vacation, I imagined an abundance of time with my girlfriend.  We would sleep in late, cook elaborate breakfasts, ride our bikes through our local parks, and head off on adventures in the city and across the province.

I did not imagine weddings.  And multiple family gatherings.  And all kinds of things that involved people other than just the girlfriend and me.  In the end, we've had much less time to spend together than expected.  Until today!  There was no wedding to attend, all of the family has flown back to their home cities, and my girlfriend had a mid-week day off.  Bliss!

We started the day with a very large breakfast at an old-school diner.  The diner is only a few blocks from where I'll be working starting next week, and it's right in the heart of the inner city.  A lot of people avoid this part of my city because it's associated with gang activity and drug use, and they worry that it isn't safe.  While these are definite issues in the neighbourhood, in reality most of the members of the community are good people who are just trying to build their lives under sometimes difficult conditions.

And there's great food available at low prices.  (If you're not familiar with the deep fried pockets of goodness on the right, they're perogies, which are a staple in diners in my city.)

After breakfast, we headed across the street to a Thrift Store to search out some bargains.  My girlfriend found an assortment of $0.50 CDs, including the Sound of Music and a few classical CDs, while I scored big on knitting needles - six pairs for only $0.25 each! 

(Please do not put any needles in here)

While a big part of my motivation for going to thrift stores is to save money, it goes beyond that.  In our wasteful society, I think it's important to look for ways of reusing things and reducing how much we send to the landfills.  It's also a great way to support charities such as Mennonite Central Committee, which focuses on relief and peace-building efforts across the world.  And there's something really satisfying about making a great find (like six pairs of knitting needles for $1.50).

(End of soapbox)

After the thrift store, we went to almost every bike shop in the city to look for a bike for my girlfriend.  She's been using a second-hand bike from her brother for almost ten years, and it's probably well past the time when she should have bought one for herself.  She's looking at a cruiser bike, and I think she's finally settled on the one she wants to buy.  (At least I hope so, because I think I might ram a kickstand through my eye if I have to look at another bike.)

After the bike shopping, we headed to a local farm to pick up our Community Supported Agriculture share.  (I could wax poetic about CSAs for days, but I think the thrift store paragraph was probably enough sappiness for one blog post.)  The people with whom we've been splitting our weekly share are away for the next few weeks, so we have an even greater abundance of produce than usual.  I have no idea how we're going to eat ten cucumbers, five zucchinis, and four bags of kale in the next week.  Any suggestions?

And that was our day.  My girlfriend got a last minute invitation to a free play, so she's off watching that while I read and blog and try to fit copious amounts of produce into our tiny apartment fridge.

Life is good. 


  1. Oven roasted kale.

    Cucumber-yogurt salad/raita.

    Just plain sauteed zucchini with onions as a side to anything.


  2. Kale Chips FTW. Soooo good. (Maybe the same as oven roasted kale?) Kale is also good in portuguese sausage kale soup and isn't too bad in salad.

    A zucchini bread recipe that uses a lot of zucchini (we have several recipes-- one we use when we have way too much and one we use when we have a reasonable amount). The bread/muffins can be frozen or given away if you make multiple loafs. (We usually give a bunch away.)

    In addition to quick pickles and spears, cucumbers are surprisingly tasty stir-fried. We have a cucumber beef recipe (like broccoli beef) that is delightful.

    1. Do you have recipes that you'd be willing to share?

    2. The Victory Garden Cookbook is the best veggie cookbook ever written: https://books.google.com/books?id=-FoWhxSLKJMC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=zucchini&f=false

      It goes in and out of print-- if you can pick up a copy do so!

      The cucumber beef recipe is from Help! My apartment has a kitchen, but really you can use any brown sauce stirfry recipe and sub cucumber chunks in for the veggie.

  3. I like this kale salad recipe from Self magazine http://www.self.com/food/recipes/2012/12/kale-salad-with-dates-parmesan-and-almonds/

    Fridge pickles are super easy too.

    My go-to recipe for zucchini is fried Korean zucchini. Basically cut the zucchini into coins. Dip into egg. Dredge through flour. Fry in oil. Eat with soy sauce.

    I adore perogies. Nom nom nom!