Month: October 2012

Fall Foods

For the last couple of days the weather here in Waterloo has been quite chilly! Now I’m not one to complain about the cold because it only means that winter is coming- and that means I get to play in the snow. Winter is my favourite season for many reasons, speciality drinks at Starbucks, scarves and mittens, snowflakes but most importantly- ’tis the season where I can eat as much soup and stews as I want without being judged! In the last year I have been adapting my diet and decided to become a vegetarian in order to discover more healthy and inspiring options for eating. Now I don’t know about anyone else, but I absolutely love chili on a cold, windy day and that is just what I decided to make for dinner last night!
After browsing the internet for a delicious yet hearty vegetarian chili, I came across Jamie Oliver’s recipe and it definitely inspired me to give it a shot- with a few minor adaptions! My favourite thing about chili is the beans and so I incorporated a few other kinds than the recommended ingredients, but to each their own! Not only did I make enough for dinner, but I expanded the recipe slightly to make a bigger batch, which I then put into separate containers to freeze for another frosty day.

Ingredients

1 large onion
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 chili pepper
2 sweet potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
2 cans of chick peas
2 cans of red kidney beans
2 cans of diced tomatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper
herbs de provence
frank’s red hot sauce (because I put that shit on everything)
chili powder
cinnamon
aluminum freezing containers

Now I know that most people enjoy specific directions as to how much of each ingredient to use, but being a very impatient cook and slightly adventurous, I decided to stray slightly from the norm and not read any further with Jamie’s instructions (despite his clear experience in the matter and my lack thereof). Beginning with the sweet potatoes, I peeled, washed and cut each up into bite size pieces then put them into a medium sized bowl. After doing so I added olive oil, cinnamon and herbs de provence to give a little flavour, and then I transferred the mixture into a pan and placed it into the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes. While the sweet potatoes were cooking, I chopped up my onion, peppers, garlic and allowed them to cook in a pot on the stove for about ten or so minutes. Allowing the vegetables to cook, I opened my cans of beans to wash them thoroughly before adding them, along with the diced tomatoes into the pot on the stovetop. Once my veggies were cooked, and beans as well as tomatoes were added, I left the mix to cook on the stovetop for about 25 minutes and then I removed my sweet potatoes from the oven and added them to the pot.
Your kitchen will smell amazing, and in just a short while you will have made one of the most delicious fall vegetarian chilli recipes you could find! After allowing the chilli to cool down slightly, spoon it into a large bowl (or mug as I prefer) and add salt, pepper, Frank’s Hot Sauce to your own liking, and VOILA! So the next time a chili craving strikes, all I have to do is pull out my excess chilli from my aluminum freezer containers and pop it into the oven- how convenient! If you’re anything like me, you’ll curl up in a warm robe, grab a book and a big bowl of chili to end your night on a happy and warm note! Enjoy!

Catch Ya On The Flip Side!

I am thankful today. The rest of my day is dedicated to positive thinking and clear memories. I’m not going to dwell on the possibilities but instead focus on what is good right now and right here in my life. I sometimes tend to forget to appreciate who I am and why I am here. So for now I just want to float through day with a smile. It’s just one of those days.. with no direction or intention, but it doesn’t matter what I’m doing because today is going to be a good day. I can be whomever, whatever I want to be today. It’s my day. Make yours!

Need Gold to be a Golden Hawk..

To understand today’s topic (aka rant), you’ll have to know a little about me. I’m currently in my fourth year at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo studying English, Philosophy and Religion. As many of you may scoff because I am strictly an Arts student, to you I only have to say- we’ll talk in ten years. Trudging on however… Upon returning to school this year, I have noticed many changes around campus and not many pleasant ones. For instance, the number of students when I came to Laurier in my first year was significantly smaller than the running total of 12,000 we have here today. The reason I chose Laurier was because of it’s size and I believed with less students, the more attention I would be given by my professors, advisors or teacher’s assistants. In four years I have never been more disappointed as I was when I walked into my tutorial. In first year we were divided into groups of fifteen to twenty students per T.A and yet today in a course that is considered a second year class, there were almost thirty. I find this to be distressing because in the entire time I spent within this room (which we all barely fit in) I was never given the opportunity to learn anything from my T.A because she was too busy with the other students. As a fourth year, I do not particularly need the attention of the T.A but for first or second year students I find this troublesome as they may not receive the proper instruction necessary to progress through their academic careers. 

Not only have I been disappointed through the lack of appropriate attention given to the students here, I am appalled by the new approach the school is taking to the student life on campus. Working on campus was a favourite past time of not only mine but many other students, however due to the increase of students that have been accepted in the past two years it is almost impossible to find somewhere to do your work. The concourse, 24 Lounge and the library are overflowing with students either lounging or doing work, either way the ratio remains the same- not enough space. I understand the need to expand or promote our school but not at the cost of the current students- Laurier needs to remain in touch with not only it’s first and second year students but the upper level students as well. 

Lastly, as most problems today deal with money- I must criticize Laurier on the rise of costs on campus in consideration to both food and beverages. As a student who supports myself in both academic and living terms, I find it appalling that in order for me to go to the dining hall I have to pay anywhere from eight dollars to twelve dollars to not only just ENTER the dining hall but as a general fee to eat there. So this means there can be no take out unless previously ordered and this also means for a student wanting to just get an apple or salad quickly cannot do so without being massively overcharged. In order for their new “all you can eat” meal plan, students must leave their bags in a locker outside the dining hall and only then may they enter. A place that was designated for studying, meeting, interacting, visiting and may other things has become a place strictly for first year students, as upper year students often do not have meal plans in their budget. Paying twelve dollars for a salad and possibly a slice of pizza is, in my opinion, ludicrous. After realizing this scandal, I decided to check out the Terrace only to realize that it would cost me around the same to order a quesadilla from Union Market (more specifically around ten dollars). To be so strict on students being able to eat what they want, when they want or even where is a concept so foreign to me because the Laurier I’ve attended for the last four years has always been a place where I have chosen what I wanted, not the other way around.

I understand the need for change or progression for the future, as the younger generations are “our future” but not at the cost of our current students. What purpose do these changes serve, other than to benefit a place that already is receiving far too much money in tuition, membership, medical, and countless other fees from it’s students. I have never regretted my decision to attend Laurier University, however I am very glad that this will be my final year here, as it is no longer the haven it used to be for me and many others. 

Remembering…

“Do not deny growing old, it is a privilege denied to many”

Today I wanted to write about a friend of mine who was taken from this world much too early. Three years have passed and I cannot begin to describe to you how much this world misses our angel.. I admit I attempt to block out what happened and try to continue on with my day but if I’m honest with myself I could say that I will never truly accept that she is gone.

She touched all of our lives in ways that we never understood, at least not until she was no longer here to do so.. I grew up knowing she was different, she could make anyone smile, laugh or turn someone’s day around.

I can’t be selfish and wish that she were still here for me, and yet I constantly find myself wishing she were back here.. I want to express my deepest condolences that on this day, for the rest of their lives, B’s family will always remember her last moments with them and that they have to spend eternity waiting to be rejoined with her.

B I wish you all the peace in the world, and I wish I could say something that might help ease the pain of today for everyone, but more importantly I wish three years ago I could have said something that might have helped your pain. Loss isn’t easy, but just know that losing you was the hardest thing for our town to go through, and your death affected every single member of our community. You will never be forgotten, you’ve impacted way too many lives for that. I am sorry that you never got to go on a proper date, attend prom or graduate high school. I am devastated that you will never experience college, or your first true love and that I will never get the opportunity to see you in a beautiful white dress. But you taught me so much about what it truly means to live, and that I should never take anything for granted. I hope that I can make you smile from where you are, and that I’m not letting you down.

The pain of losing you isn’t so immense anymore B, just a tingling reminder to live each day as if it were my last.. as if I never knew what was going to happen tomorrow.

Read a Book a Day…

Have you ever felt like you could get lost in a book? I don’t know what it is about literature, but for some reason opening a book and turning the first page can be one of the most thrilling feelings in the world. For those of you non-readers (aka non- geeks) please just play along…. Close your eyes, imagine you’re no longer in your room but instead living a completely different life, country or in an entirely different era. Reading isn’t supposed to be work, rather think of it as a chance to find another you that is just hiding beneath who you are during the day. This isn’t a better, smarter other you, but instead an adventurous version of yourself. You can travel across the seas, across miles of land in a blink of an eye without even moving from your bed. This whole opportunity has opened up for you to experience something you might never get to, or something you never imagined you wanted to.

I could get lost in a book.. Any kind really, I could read mystery, biographies, children’s novels, scary, romance, academic… It doesn’t matter the genre, what is important is the words that you are soaking in on this adventure. Sometimes I think that if I could I might hop into a book and never come out.. But I suppose that would really be opposite of what I wanted- entrapment in one world forever.

Literature isn’t meant to be boring, or some kind of chore that students are forced to do in order to progress from grade to grade or from year to year. I beg you to experience reading in my set of mind.. Really immerse yourself in what you’re reading and block out all other distractions around you and I think that it might be possible.

My biggest dream in life is to be a teacher, and not for the pay or the summers off (which is going to be amazing, let’s be serious) but I want to impact just one child’s life, the way I was changed by my teacher. When I was young I wasn’t a strong reader, and it took a lot of work to keep me progressing at the rate that I should. Children these days- adults even, sometimes forget the importance of learning to read, learning to comprehend or even learning to understand the significance of the learning process. I want to be the teacher that inspires children to pick up a book without being told. I want to help children realize that reading can be fun, that learning isn’t something that has to be painful..

As children we remember our parents reading us night time stories, telling us tales that we never had even imagined in the deepest parts of our imaginations.. So please, take yourself back in time and allow the child in you to read the next book you happen to pick up.

Rainy Day Blues?

In my opinion there aren’t a lot of things better than a rainy day.. And here you all thought I was going to say I had the blues- but not a chance! Rain means a fresh start.. endless possibilities! I like to think that rain can wash away all the bad things of yesterday and bring on a new shine for today. You can be whoever you want today- brave, bold, shy or secretive but when you wake up that’s your decision and no one else’s. 

So what if you have to walk around smelling worms that have come out to play, this is your opportunity to  romp around in the rain as if you were five years old again. So throw on a raincoat, grab an umbrella and take a walk on the wild side.