My sister and I at the top of the mountain in Fernie
Hi friends! So it’s been a pretty crazy couple of months and I wanted to apologize for the radio silence since my last posting. Things were so hectic that I decided to prioritize the different demands on my time and focus on those things which absolutely had to be accomplished and set aside things that, though enjoyable, may have been adding a little extra stress to an already quite stressed out little me. I want this blog to be a fun adventure, not something I resent doing, so that is why I set it aside for the last couple of months while I got my ducks in a row. But now I’m back and full of beans and stories and adventures and recipes to share with you all. So welcome back to everyone and I’m looking forward to sitting down to a cup of tea and some epic catch up time!
Ah, there we go. I just poured myself a nice cup of Balancing Tea from my new local tea shop, but more about that in a bit. First things first, I think I should probably explain my long absence from the interwebs. Since the last time we spoke I have finished my culinary nutrition program, taught my very first cooking class (check out some of the pics of my happy guests below!), finished up my applied holistic nutrition degree, left Toronto, drove to the east coast on a one day long haul road trip with my bro during which we listened to the entirety of The Hobbit audiobook (the day after seeing it in IMAX 3D. I loved it!) and part of A Game of Thrones. It’s always fun spending time with my younger brother and it was great having him come up to help me move my life out of Toronto. I would likely still be trying to load things up if he hadn’t been there.
I spent the next couple of weeks at home with family during Christmas, which was pretty fantastic since almost all my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents were visiting. There was lots of karaoke, some deliciously healthy and not so healthy meals, a few adult beverages, and lots of games of cards to celebrate the holiday season. I cooked the main Christmas dinner and I think it went off pretty well! I made a version of my Curried Butternut Squash Soup (which you can see here), 3 chickens of two different varieties: one herb roasted and one spicy dry rubbed with separate gravies to match (recipes are forth-coming!), some roasted veg and other typical Christmassy things. Anyway Christmas passed, New Year’s came and went and I got to ring it in with some of my oldest and dearest friends then there was one big paper to left to write (on Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, trying saying that 5 times fast. I still don’t think I can pronounce it correctly) before it was time for my big move back to Saskatoon.
I had planned on driving my sister’s boyfriend out to Saskatoon since he was moving to Fernie, BC around the same time but at the last minute my sister decided she also wanted to move out west so I ended up making a side trip to Fernie. Anyhoo, we drove along Lake Superior and even during the dead of winter the beauty of the landscape absolutely took our collective breaths away. Some highlights include the night we crashed in Wawa, ON at the White Fang Motel, which we chose specifically for its name and which was one of our favourite places to stay. We had a great breakfast in town and then hit the road for another day of driving through Ontario.
Next we hit up Thunderbay where we ended up staying for two nights due to a pretty intense snowstorm which swept across the southern prairies and the north western portion of Ontario, our exact driving route. It was pretty great to play pool and relax after three 13-hour driving days. We tried to get out of Ontario the next day, but again mother nature had other plans and we ended up only driving a few hours before road conditions and several transport trucks in ditches convinced us we should probably stop for the night.
Now at this point we had been traveling for nigh on 5 days and my sister’s boyfriend was getting a little antsy, so we popped over to Wal-Mart and picked up a couple of bathing suits and made him swim off some of his restless energy. Those bathing suits ended up being great purchases, however, as the next night the hotel we stayed in had a waterslide (!!!) and we ended up revisiting our childhood and whirling down the slide several times… and maybe getting a little more miffed at the kids who kept hogging it than any adult should have the right to be.
Well, after 7 days on the road we finally made it to Fernie! The younger brother of one of my most darling friends is living there with his girlfriend so they graciously showed us around and helped us settle in. During my six nights in town we continued our slumber party and stayed at the Snow Valley Motel, which was absolutely amazing. The front desk is managed by the sweetest woman you could ever meet named Janis. She printed off resumes for my sister and told her all kinds of different places to apply for jobs and just had the kindest spirit I’ve encountered in a very long time.
. The day I left she gave me a giant hug and a couple of days ago I received an email from her asking me how a job interview I’d lined up went. Seriously, if you are ever going to Fernie I highly recommend the Snow Valley. Clean rooms, comfy beds, whirl pool for après ski, amazing staff, and great location. Anyhoo, my mini vacation in Fernie was just what I needed to segue into my new life chapter in Saskatoon.
I spent a couple of afternoons at the local library reading some excellent books and admiring the breathtaking views of the Rockies. We adventured out to the White Swan hot springs, which was an amazing experience! There’s something so cool about being high up in the mountains sitting in a little pool next to a river of ice water, warm as can be and smelling slightly of eggs. It was kind of surreal. I also got to go skiing for the first time in ages and the exhilaration of racing down the mountainside with nothing but your breath, the scritch scratch of your skis, and the fresh air around you is unlike anything else.
At one point we were trying to get over to this lodge to get a tea and a hot chocolate and looking at the map decided we could traverse over instead of skiing down and taking another lift up the mountain. Well at some point we must have taken a wrong turn because we ended up in avalanche territory going down a mogul glades run. Now I fully enjoy skiing and I’m not half bad, but I do not LOVE those kinds of runs. However, that being said having been forced to push myself beyond what I would normally do on the ski hill was amazing! It may not have been pretty or the most graceful of runs, but I made it down none the worse for the wear, a little sweaty, a lot exhausted, and completely excited and proud of myself. Having done something I never would have chosen to do and surviving was thrilling and made me feel like I could conquer anything that the universe threw into my path. A lesson that I’ve been trying to carry over into my daily life since then.
All too soon, however, my time in paradise was coming to a close. I kind of wanted to say screw it and stay forever, but something just wasn’t quite right and despite my infatuation with the town and the surrounding landscape, I knew Saskatoon was where I needed to be. So that Sunday evening after a tearful goodbye (which my sister didn’t see because she had to go to work before I got up), I packed myself back up into my car for the nine hour drive back to Saskatoon and I must say, I’ve not been happier in a very long time. The mountains are beautiful and awe-inspiring, but there’s something about the vast openness of the prairies and the immensity of the skyline that just makes me feel free and open and like twirling around barefoot in a field wearing a long floaty skirt, though not now because I’m pretty sure I would die of exposure in about 30 seconds.
It’s been hovering around -25 with windchills of -35 to -40, but the strange thing is, it doesn’t even bother me. I went for a lovely brisk walk in the -36 chill yesterday and it was so bright and crisp that as long as I was bundled, it was completely enjoyable! Well I got back to Saskatoon 10 days ago and had an interview the day after I got into town for a position in the kitchen at a brand new senior living community in town, which is doing some pretty great things in terms of caring for the entire person, body, mind, and soul. I got the job and I’m thrilled with it! The people I work with are absolutely amazing and friendly and just a joy to be around and when I wake up in the morning the only thing I dread is the chill in my bedroom. Is the food exactly what I would be feeding seniors? Of course not, but every meal is made from scratch, they get lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, healthy protein and yes, treats too. I’ve rediscovered a love of baking, but since I’m gluten-free I can’t eat any of the treats I’m baking at work so I’m in the process of developing a ginger spice cookie that I should be posting in the next couple of days. The first batch wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be and I think it has to do with the types of GF flours I’m using, their ratios, and my ratio of date puree and coconut sugar, so stay tuned!
In summary of my super long-winded and rambling retelling of my adventures of the last couple of months, I’m so incredibly thrilled to be home in Saskatoon it kind of takes my breath away. I haven’t felt this at peace in a very long time. I’m exactly where I need to be, doing exactly what I need to be doing and I can’t wait to see what the universe has in store for me in the next few months. It really nails home what I learned at IHN that you can have the best diet and be doing everything technically right, but if your heart and soul aren’t completely happy, you’ll never feel that 100%. That’s why it’s so important to do things that fulfill you on every level and to live in a place and surround yourself with people who make you feel like the best version of yourself.
The people in this city are some of the best I’ve ever met and we’ve already spent some lovely evenings together catching up, eating delicious sushi (I had a wakame salad that I’m still drooling over and will be trying to recreate in the near future to share with all of you!), playing jenga, and drinking tea. I’ve already joined an awesome organic food co op, attended an amazing oneness meditation workshop, discovered a gem of a health food store that has all my weird seaweeds and soup bones, and the home I’m subletting is just wonderful, with a gigantic pantry and a great kitchen that I’ve spent tons of time in working on recipes for my blob 2.0. There’s also a Wellness Expo next weekend that I’ve already booked time off to attend, so I’m sure I’ll have a post up about that soon. Thanks for sticking it out this long friends; I know this was a long one! I’m so looking forward to our upcoming adventures, recipes, and exploration of total health and happiness. Have a wonderfully whimsical day!
PS. I don’t have interwebs at the house I’m currently subletting so I’ve got to steal wifi from various coffee shops around town to do my posting, which is why the times they are uploaded may vary for the next couple of months. You know, I’m kind of digging not really having interwebs. I’ve been reading more, experimenting more in the kitchen and doing more exploring and walking about. It’s been quite fun. Almost like another kind of vacation. We’ll see what I say in April though…