Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I went to the doctor's office today for a routine check and my flu shot.

A couple came in with their nine-month old son. The mother went to check in while the father settled his son into the play area.

Dad tried to teach his son how to use the pop up toy. "Look - press it!" He pressed all four buttons. Then he reset it. Little boy wasn't strong enough to press the buttons down so dad helped him out. "You need more pressure! See?"

Then Dad showed his son the beads on the wire. He showed him how to move the beads around and shoot them in different directions. Little boy tapped on a couple of the beads. Dad continued to play.

Mom came back. "Look - he loves this toy! He's totally into it!"

Hehe - I'm pretty sure Dad was more into it than the kid. No wonder people procreate.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baked: Big Soft Ginger Cookies

Continuing the fall theme, I thought I'd take a stab at these ginger cookies. OK, I suppose ginger cookies are more of a Christmas thing, but anyway. It's a great comfort cookie.
Whoops. That would be a ginger cat.
Small oven -> Small cookie sheet -> Square cookies
I tried replacing the ground ginger with a few tablespoons of grated fresh ginger, but it still wasn't gingery enough for my liking. So I wouldn't recommend it.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My first 5k!

This morning, I ran my first 5k race! My chip time was 32:47.5, which was better than the 35:00 that I expected. (The race time was 32:54.7 because I started in the middle of the pack. I'll take the chip time, hehe.)
I positioned myself in the 30-35 min pack
So far, I had completed up to the end of week 4 of the C25K program. The next step - week 5 day 1 - was to alternate running for 5 minutes and walking for 3 minutes.
And we're off!
I decided to push myself a little harder for race day. My goal was to run at least 1k before I took my first walk break.

To my pleasant surprise, I made it almost to the 2k mark before I decided to take my first walk break - almost 11 minutes! This was a nice milestone because the first batch of firefighters were waiting at the 2k mark to pass out water (tee hee).

See the firetruck?
Sunnybrook Park was an absolutely gorgeous course! The fall colours were at their best, and the weather was perfectly brisk.

Another batch of firefighters greeted us at 3k.
In total, I ran probably somewhere between 3.5 to 4k out of the 5k course. I'm feeling optimistic that I'll be able to run the entire 5k within a few weeks. If I can do that, and if I start my next race a little further up in the pack and pace myself against someone faster, I should be able to break 30 minutes.

According to the lap times I tracked on my iPhone, I did the following:

Run 10:53
Walk 1:45
Run 6:37
Walk 1:37
Run 8:21
Walk 0:27
Run 3:18
The mister, and my friend Lena were cheering at the finish
A picture with Mr. Peanut for good measure
The race was great fun and I look forward to the next! Thanks to everyone who encouraged me!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baked: Classic Apple Pie

Yes, I was excited about the 3 lb of Golden Delicious apples that I picked up in Kensington Market. But I was even more excited about the opportunity to use this contraption:

Medieval torture device? Nay. Modern-day deliciousness device!
It was a wedding gift from another engineer/scientist couple who decided that it would be perfect for both the food-lovers and engineers that we are. It was.

Step 1: Load up the apple
Step 2: Crank that handle
Turn, turn, turn
Step 3: Pop off the neatly peeled and cored apple
But wait! It's also sliced into a neat spiral!
All I had to do was make a single cut down the middle to get a perfectly sliced apple. Awesome.

Anyway, I unfortunately made the rookie mistake of forgetting to put a cookie sheet under the pie pan. So the pie leaked and now there's a sticky sweet mess on the bottom of my oven waiting to be cleaned. Sigh.

But it was worth it!
With pretty fluted edges
I was too impatient to wait for it to cool so I sliced into it a little early. That's probably why it's soupy - Whoops. 

I can't figure out how not to achieve that cave-like effect. I know that the apples shrink during baking, but how do I avoid the top puffing up OR make the pastry sink down with the apples? (I don't actually know what happens to cause this.)

But how could you resist that flaky crust??
Nonetheless, my craving for apple pie is well satisfied. The Golden Delicious apples were absolutely perfect for pie - just the right blend of tart and sweet, and they held their shape nicely. And the crust was nice and flaky. Mmm.


Old-Fashioned Apple Pie

Prep: 30 minutes Bake: 45 minutes Cool: 2 hours
Pastry for Double-Crust Pie: Stir together 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in 2/3 cup shortening (I used 1/3 cup shortening and 1/3 cup butter) until pieces are pea size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat, using 1 tablespoon cold water at a time, until all the dough is moistened (6 to 8 tablespoons water total). 


  • 6  cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples
  • 1  tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2  cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4  cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash  ground cloves
  • 1 recipe Pastry for Double-Crust Pie (see above)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Milk (optional)


1. In a large mixing bowl toss apples with lemon juice. Combine granulated sugar, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add to apples and toss until apples are coated. Set apple mixture aside.

2. Prepare Pastry for Double-Crust Pie. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 ball of dough into a 12-inch circle. Ease pastry into a 9-inch pie plate.

3. Transfer apple mixture to pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter or margarine. Trim pastry even with pie plate. For top crust, roll out remaining dough. Cut slits in top crust. Place top crust on the filling. Seal and flute the edge. Brush with milk, if desired.

4. To prevent overbrowning, cover the edge of the pie with foil. Place pie dish on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil; bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or until the top is golden brown and apples are tender. Serve warm with cheddar cheese, if desired. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ah, love

I work at a university, where I encounter lots of young students every day.

Sometimes, as I did just now, I encounter a young would-be couple flirting with each other.

She is all dressed up today. He asks her a question. She blushes and giggles. He leans a little closer, ever so slightly, and tries to say something witty. They don't even notice me walking by. Then they part - in 30 seconds, they've made each other's day.

I love witnessing these encounters. They remind me of our early dating days and all those lovely feelings.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Apple season

Today I came across these beauties in Kensington Market:

I bought 3 lb of Golden Delicious (top of picture). Tomorrow (or at some point this week) they shall become pie. Apple pie is one of my favourite fall things. Mmmmm.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Mr. Ringy just sent me this link. It's a recipe to cure your own bacon.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Breakfast Blunder

This weekend, I made the worst food-related blunder I've ever made in my life.

Not in some exotic country with some obscure delicacy. Nope - but in Columbus, Ohio.

Our hotel offered complimentary continental breakfast. We decided it would be a good idea to eat up before the game.

It was a nice spread. Along with fruit, yogurt, and a scone, I found a big pot of oatmeal. I used the giant ladle to make myself a bowl. It was a little thick, so I went over to the cereal station to add a little milk. Then I took a container of honey for sweetener, just in case.

I mixed it up. I tasted it. It wasn't oatmeal.

"Honey," I said. "This isn't oatmeal."
"Yeah. It's like... cream soup. With little bits of meat in it. Cream of... breakfast sausage??"
"Maybe it's an Ohio thing."

I ate a few more spoonfuls before setting it aside. Later, I asked Sarah about it. She had no idea, until:
"Was it... gravy?"

The scone wasn't a scone. It was a biscuit. And I had eaten half a bowl of gravy for breakfast. (It honestly never occurred to me that people eat biscuits & gravy for breakfast. And the gravy was white!)

And for a final kick of irony: I went to the breakfast buffet the next morning to take a picture (so that I could retell this story) but this time, the pot actually did contain oatmeal!
You can tell because of the brown sugar and raisins.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Actual conversation with the Mr. on Monday night:

Me: Hey, isn't there football on tonight?
Mr: Is there?
Me: Yeah. It's Monday. Isn't there Monday night football?
Mr: ... Who ARE you?

It seems I've caught some sort of football bug (I was NEVER into pro sports before).

This afternoon, we are heading down to Ohio State University and tomorrow, we will experience our first Buckeyes football game! We are totally excited for the experience... you just can't find that kind of school spirit here in Toronto.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kudos to teachers

Today and tomorrow, I'm running a workshop to teach concepts of simulation modeling to a group of strategy and business analysts working for one of the hospital networks in Toronto. They plan to apply these skills in developing solutions to improve wait times for diagnostic imaging (MRI, CT scans, etc.).

I've spent more than a week preparing for this. And getting nervous. End of day one - I am drained.

A big kudos to those who do this every day!

In other news... this weekend, we attended the wedding of our friends Angela & Jeff, a great couple who have been together for over eight years. It was a gorgeous wedding, but my favourite was The Legend of Zelda theme as their recessional (played by yours truly).

The gorgeous cake depicting Bluewater Bridge (a feature of Sarnia, the groom's hometown), the Toronto skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Chinese word for "love". They're engineers. Engineers like bridges.
The lovely couple's first dance