Wednesday, 31 October 2012

banana coconut pie

so i wanted to make this traditional banoffee pie, but i wanted to avoid the crazy condensed milk. so i tried to make a new version. i used this recipe for the crust. it was the best crust. i'll definitely use it again. the version i made wasn't toffee-like, but still really good. j was completely loving it. the only thing about this pie is that it takes a while. the chocolate pie i make is so much quicker. 

banana coconut pie:

1/2 cup nut flour (i used almond flour)
1/2 cup coconut flour
6 dates
1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
dash salt
1 tsp vanilla

mix ingredients in food processor until they are sticky. oil and flour a pie plate, then push the crust into the plate. put it in the fridge until you need it again

1 can coconut milk (the whole can)
1/4 cup honey
2 bananas

heat milk and honey until boiling, then simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly, until the volume is reduced by half. it should be sort of syrupy and thick. pour this on the pie crust. put it in the freezer for 30 minutes, or until you are serving the pie.

whipped cream:
1 can coconut milk (in the fridge)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup honey

take the thick part of the coconut milk from the top of the can, place it in a bowl. add the vanilla and honey, and mix well with beaters until creamy. place in the fridge until ready to serve.

when you are ready to serve the pie, take it out of the freezer, add the sliced bananas and a dollop of whipped cream to each slice. the whipped cream gets really hard in the freezer, so leave it in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Monday, 29 October 2012


(unrelated to post topic, though i want one)

so i have a new goal. it will not make me a better person or anything. it is just something i feel like doing. i want to stay in every hotel in newfoundland. i love hotels. i love road trips. therefore i love this goal. a quick browse of tripadvisor tells me there are 92 hotels in newfoundland. i have maybe stayed in seven? so this goal is lofty, but not impossible. i'll tackle st. john's first, and go from there. 

Friday, 26 October 2012


a few more pics from last weekend. the weather feels like fall now. cold and a little dreary. i am cool with that. this weekend we are doing work stuff, then attending a dinner at a nice restaurant, again, for work. we might make an appearance at a halloween party, though we have no thoughts on costumes. it will be pretty last minute. especially as compared to last year, when i had an amazing homemade costume.

on another note, the second pic is of my parents, who have been married for nearly 30 years. i am so impressed with the respect they show for each other. you can tell that they really enjoy each other's company, and they are very affectionate. their marriage and the way they treat each other is easily the greatest gift they could give to me. love them.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

life in a small town: tip #2

read the bulletin board.

when you really search, there are lots of things going on in a small town like ours. but you won't find information about the goings on online. and there is no reliable newspaper that will tell you all the stuff that is happening. but bulletin boards are pretty good. there are three in Gander that we look at all the time: the gym, the arts and culture centre, the town hall. the bulletin board is how i find out about bingo, about plays, about classes that are offered around here, about runs and races. you need to really actively look for stuff to do, but it's worth it. we love being involved and going to community events.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Lower Little Harbour's natural arch hike

J and I love going for little hikes. This particular hike in Lower Little Harbour just outside Twillingate is sweet because it is actually pretty short. I think it is around 4 km round trip, which is perfect for many fitness levels. At the end of the hike is this natural arch made by the force of the water against the rocks.  It is actually really cool. You also see an old root cellar, a few old cottages, and a beautiful beach. I would highly recommend this hike to anyone checking out the Twillingate area.

Monday, 22 October 2012

on the weekend (parents visit!)

(here for an hour, and already doing dishes :) 

(perfect start to a day) 

(on a broken down dock) 

(lobster catching paraphernalia) 

(touton dough dessert at anchor inn

(bowling skills)

we had a sweet weekend with my parents. they are only our second house guests in the year and a half or so that we have lived here. we loved showing them around, and doing the things we love to do with them. 

a few things to do with house guests in Gander (and surrounding area):

-bingo at the Elk's Lodge in Gander
-bowling at Peyton's Pins in Gander
-beers and snacks at Wingin' It in Gander
-Little Harbour hike near Twillingate (around 4 km)
-cod and chips at Anchor Inn in Twillingate
-visit the Silent Witness Memorial in Gander
-dessert at Mystic dining room in Gander

We did all of the above on the weekend, and much more. Such a good weekend. Please visit again, parents!

Friday, 19 October 2012

oh friday

around this time last year we were sitting on icebergs and selecting our wedding song. lately we have been enjoying the sunny and cold fall weather, drinking lots of coffee (with almond milk), and working a lot.

this weekend my parents are coming! so excited to show them around. maybe even take a day trip to fogo.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

renting vs. buying

we rent. we are renters. if you google renting vs. buying, you will get a bunch of articles about the economy and how much interest you pay when you buy, plus closing costs, etc. j and i rent mainly because we don't want a mortgage right now. but i see other advantages to renting. i love that we can move anytime. the most we might lose is a month of rent. no biggie. and i love that when a lightbulb burns out, we call the handyman, and it's fixed in a few hours. same for the shower head.

there are frustrating things about renting, though. sometimes i think a new deck would be so nice. or a nice garden. but there's no use in us investing money into a rental. lately, j and i have been putting up a bit of art, and settling into our home a little more. renting or not, i think it's important to make our house feel like home.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


we watched the documentary, happy, on the weekend. i thought it was really cute. some things the film talked about were common sense, like material things don't really bring happiness. a few things that improve happiness, from the movie:

1. physical activity. running for 30 minutes a day makes me feel so much more calm.
2. social interaction. it doesn't have to be going to parties. sometimes even being with coworkers is enough.
3. flow. this is the thing that happens when you are doing something, and you are so focused that you lose track of time. i am super lucky that i get this feeling when i am working sometimes. j gets this when he is biking.

something one of the happiness experts in the movie said is that our brains only register differences in contentment. so constant happiness wouldn't even feel that good. you have to have happiness mixed with less happy times to actually feel it. so when you are on vacation, you shouldn't lay on the beach drinking mojitos the entire time. you need to maybe go for a run or do some shopping too. i'm into it.

also, just for the record, it snowed here on the weekend

Monday, 15 October 2012

life in a small town: tip #1

go to the library.

when we lived in halifax, we used to visit the library every week. there was never anything there. you could put your name on the wait-list for popular books, and eventually get them. same for movies and seasons of popular shows. but here, there are so many books, and it seems like no one else even goes to the library. i am a huge magazine addict, so i borrow all of last month's magazines, and read them all at home. and we watch tons of movies and shows. i take out cookbooks and sometimes audio books. i love this library. i am thinking many small towns are like this. people don't even realize how awesome the library is, so no one goes there.

bottom line: check out your local library. you might be surprised how sweet it is

Thursday, 11 October 2012

the best banana chocolate chip muffins

I make these particular banana chocolate chip muffins all the time. I find it difficult to eat anything else when I know these are in the kitchen. Which is why I had three of these for supper last night. 

banana chocolate chip muffins:

3 mashed bananas
1.5 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey
4 T applesauce
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup (or more) chocolate chips (sometimes i chop up a chocolate bar)

mix the wet ingredients in a big bowl
mix the dry ingredients in a smaller bowl
add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mix until combined, then add chocolate chips
bake for 15-20 min in 350 degree oven until a toothpick comes out clean

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

hotel review: sheraton, st. john's, NL

The sheraton is my first choice for hotels in St John's. We stayed there here and here, and a bunch of other times in the last year.

(local artwork in the rooms- love that)
(the view from our room this time- i might love the city view more than the harbour view)

(club breakfast)

price: it tends to be around $175 per night. sometimes i get it a little cheaper by looking for deals on their website.
bathroom: nice. renovated and clean-looking
pool: yes, plus a hot tub and a sauna. the sauna is amazing. 
breakfast: not usually. this time we had a club room, which came with this fancy continental breakfast. loved the brie and the grapefruit juice + perrier
wifi: yes, free
tv: yes. we watched an old classic. always good. 
location: my favourite part. you can walk to all the cute downtown shops and pubs. 
parking: free and lots of it
- i love the bar in the lobby. it's just really a comfortable and cozy spot to have a drink before walking downtown for supper. 
- sometimes this hotel is seriously overrun with kids (sports teams, i think). in that case it sucks to hang out at the pool. we tried to go to the hot tub on sunday night, and there were actually 50 kids and 1 adult in the pool area. they were wild. we retreated to the sauna. 
- i wish there were minibars in the rooms. i am such a minibar addict. 
- there is this really good coffee shop across the street. very convenient. 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

on the weekend: a trip to st. john's

(my #1 vaca item: magazines)

(hiking the signal hill trail)

(a little self timer action)

(view at the end of the signal hill hike)

(fall walk)

(fall leaves)

sometimes a trip to the city is the best thing. stuff we did in sj:

- watched looper, which opened for tiff. i liked it. j was not as big a fan
- went to bacalao. soo good. it was a little more expensive than our typical restaurant meals, but we both thought it was one of the best meals we have had.
- watched some live music at nautical nellie's. i loved the vibe.
- hiked the signal hill trail. beautiful.
- ate at manna's twice. the sandwiches are expensive ($8 or so), but they came with a chocolate and some olives. 

Friday, 5 October 2012

happy (canadian thanksgiving) friday

i'm feeling thankful for the beautiful island we live on. we are spending the weekend in the city. looking forward to a meal at this restaurant, and a beer here. and i finally want to check out what this place is all about.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

life lately + embracing fall

(loving the easy homemade bread

(sweet little starfish) 

(taking advantage of the last few weeks of biking weather) 

(ummm, i'm thinking it's moose hunting season) 

(we tried to take a sweet little pound pup for a walk, but he preferred to chill in the weeds)

something i love about fall is that it feels to me like life slows down a bit. it gets a little cooler, and the days get shorter. this fall is going to be a really amazing one. my parents are coming for a weekend this month, then we are meeting up in st. john's in november. also, this fall, j and i are in a bowl-athon (!!). and we are going to live shows of two of our fav canadian artists (him and him). other fall goals: eat at home more (as usual), and run. i always bail on running outside as soon as it gets a bit chilly, but i am going to avoid the treadmill as long as i can this year. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

hotel review: inn at happy adventure, happy adventure, NL

we got a gift certificate towards the inn at happy adventure for our wedding. happy adventure (the name of the community) is about an hour from gander, so perfect for an overnight. 

(the "sandy cove" room) 

(fyi, the green bag is our overnight/weekend away bag. it fits both our stuff. we pack light!) 

(view from the patio off our room)

price: around $175 per night. 
bathroom: stand up shower, modern looking
pool: no. 
breakfast: we got a package that included breakfast. it was a pretty average diner style breakfast (they called it gourmet on the website, but it was the same thing you get at the irving diner)
wifi: yes
tv: yes. we watched littlest hobo while getting ready in the morning
location: right on the water. our gps wasn't able to get us all the way there, but the locals were helpful with directions. 
parking: free
notes: i loved the minibar. there was iceberg beer, iceberg water, newfoundland chocolate, etc. also, we ate supper at the hotel restaurant, chucky's. we loved it. we tried the cod tongues, and they were so good. the cod is caught the same day it is served. we would happily drive out there once a month just for the food. too bad it is only opened 6 months of the year...

Monday, 1 October 2012

Things to do in Happy Adventure, NL

 (biking around the dock...note superstylish bike gloves)

(super white sand at sandy cove beach) 

(hanging out at eastport beach) 

(chilling after a little hike up the high tide trails) 

(crazy herbaceous (i think) teeth at the beaches heritage centre) 

(enjoying the view and a beer) 

 (the view from the lookout at the salvage trails)

things to do in happy adventure:

1. bike around. it is a little hilly, but with really bike-friendly roads
2. hike the high tide trails in eastport
3. eat some fresh cod at chucky's restaurant
4. chill at sandy cove beach (beautiful)
5. enjoy some newfoundland beer at your hotel
6. check out the heritage centre (they have local artist works and also shows sometimes)
7. hike the trails in salvage 

other things: the season is winding down right now, so we weren't able to go kayaking or take a fishing boat tour. but i bet that would be awesome in summer. 

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