Today I did something that I’ve been wanting to do, and trying to do, for a few months. And I know to some of you, it might seem like a rather silly accomplishment. But to me, it’s huge.
I WENT FOR A WALK TODAY!!!!! And it was a walk with no other purpose, except to get outside and walk. I did not run any errands, I did not purchase anything. I simply walked for almost 5km. I will confess, I was very anxious before I went out. There were heart palpitations and lots of sweating, and I was VERY dizzy. And for the first 10 minutes, I kept thinking that I’d only walk around the block and then head home. But I walked through it and the anxiety passed. I was so pleased with myself when I got home. I can’t wait to tell my Case Manager tomorrow.
Oh! And I finally got approval to join the Recovery Outreach Program. So Wednesday will be my first day. I’ll be participating in a plant care session and a therapeutic journaling session. I’m looking forward to it and working towards getting back to myself again.
In case any of you were wondering, I laid my poor Begonia Rex plants to rest this week. They did not survive the abundance of love and water I showered upon them. I have learned my lesson: DO NOT GET PLANTS THAT ARE EASILY OVER-WATERED.
I did want to share the latest addition to my balcony. About a month ago, I was out walking, and saw this lovely metal thing leaning up against someone’s house.
Lovely Metal Thing
As soon as I saw it, I pictured it on my balcony with ivy and some lovely colourful flowers. Yesterday, I finally got around to making this vision happen. And I love it. I got some German Ivy, Vinca Vine, a dark blue Verbena, and a lovely coral pink flower. Tomorrow I am picking up a better patio chair, and then my balcony will be complete. At least for this summer.
My latest Balcony Garden Installation
And my Beach in a Bowl is thriving. I FINALLY got the second type of palm tree to grow. And I love seeing these little trees get bigger.
My Beach in a Bowl has BOTH types of Palm Trees!
Last summer, during a camping trip, my friend Allison reintroduced me to gin. I can remember drinking gin and tonics with my parents and really enjoying them. But I got away from gin and kind of forgot about it.
Well, not anymore. This summer I came across a mixed cocktail at the LCBO: Dixon’s Gin Fusion. After buying a few cans of this, I got it into my head that I would like to try making my own. So I picked up a bottle of gin (I’m currently using Tanqueray Rangpur but you can use your favourite gin) and got experimenting.
Gin Cocktail with Cucumber, Lime, Ginger, and Mint
Ingredients for 2 drinks (measurements are approximate. You want all flavours balanced)
- 3 oz gin
- 2 oz ginger simple syrup (see note below)
- fresh lime juice (1/2 – 1 lime)
- 5-6 fresh mint leaves
- 1/3 cup sliced cucumber (I left the peel on mine, but you can peel it if you want)
- tonic or soda water to top off
- Mint leaves and cucumber slices for garnish (optional)
Note: I used an immersion blender to make this. But you could muddle your ingredients in a cocktail shaker, or use a blender. Up to you.
- In the cup of your immersion blender, combine all ingredients except the tonic or soda water. Blitz until pureed.
- In 2 glasses with ice, divide the pureed mixture. Top with soda or tonic water, and garnish with fresh mint and/or cucumber.
Note: To make my ginger simple syrup, I used the lazy method. I combined 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of hot tap water, and grated in a couple tbsps of ginger. I stirred until the sugar dissolved, pour the syrup into a bottle and put it into the fridge.
Gin Cocktail with Cucumber, Mint, Ginger, and Lime. Yummy!
I have started working with a Case Manager through the county’s mental health services unit. Today we came up with a plan to help me accomplish my goal of getting out of my apartment with no purpose attached. I mean, I’m now able to leave if I have a specific errand to run (go to the bank, the library, pharmacy, grocery store, etc.) but I still struggle with simply going out for a walk. And I want to be able to get out for non-specific reasons.
So for the next 2 weeks my plan is this: on Sundays, my goal is to go for a walk. And if I feel that I need a “purpose” of sorts, then I am to either plan out and walk a potential running route (since I do want to return to running in the near future), pick a store I haven’t been to here in town and go window shopping, or if I absolutely MUST attach an actual errand to it, then I am to find a longer way to get to where I need to go.
I started today. After my appointment, I needed to go pick up a few things, but instead of walking straight to the store, I wandered around a bit first. I walked through the residential area the mental health offices are in, then made my way to a street that would eventually lead me back downtown. I ended up walking almost 3km out of my way just to go to Giant Tiger.
I will confess to feeling a bit anxious at first. Part of my brain was screaming at me to go get my things and go home. Where I could hide and nobody could see me. But the truth is, I don’t WANT to be hiding. I don’t WANT to be invisible. I WANT to be ME again. And I’m slowly getting there.
When I started making my dinner tonight, I had absolutely no intention of sharing the recipe. Because I really didn’t expect it to turn out. Truth is, I have no money until the end of the month and I am out of fresh vegetables, fruit, cheese, bread, etc., etc. I’m limited to dry goods that are in my cupboard, a bit of yogurt, some frozen peas and a bit of meat in the freezer. So I threw some stuff together and hoped for the best. The result: a yummy, filling dinner that tasted like Mac & Cheese.
Fake Mac & Cheese
- split red lentils, rinsed and drained
- ground turmeric
- cayenne powder
- ground cumin
- ground coriander
- vegetable oil
- elbow macaroni
- frozen peas
- nutritional yeast flakes
- plain yogurt
I apologize for the lack of measurements in this. I really did just pour stuff in the pot.
- In a largish pot, bring some water to a boil. Add in a 1/2 tsp or so of turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, along with 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Stir and then add your lentils (I probably poured in a cup or so). Simmer the lentils until almost cooked.
- When your lentils are almost done, add the macaroni to the pot. Stir and allow the pasta to cook in the lentils (you may need to add a bit more water….you don’t want to have to drain the pasta/lentils so don’t add too much more water).
- When the pasta is almost done, stir in the frozen peas and nutritional yeast flakes. When the peas are cooked, you’re ready to eat. Serve in a bowl, topped with a bit of plain yogurt.
My once Beautiful Plants (specifically the Begonia Rex at the top)
Oh Poor Begonia Rex. I remember the day I brought you home, so full and beautiful. Your colourful foliage made me very happy. I made sure to read up on how to care for you properly. Apparently though, I am doing something very, VERY wrong.
Yes, those are my Begonia Rex now. Even though I thought I wasn’t watering them too much, it turns out I was. Especially the one in the white pot. The poor, sad plant was definitely suffering from too much love. I trimmed off the brown, water-logged roots, changed the soil, and gently re-potted the poor thing. Of course, I am now TERRIFIED of watering it. I did check the roots on the Rex in the blue pot, and they seemed ok. But it is just a very sad plant. I feel like these poor Rex plants might just get chalked up to an indoor gardening experiment gone sideways. All I wanted was to have some plants that weren’t just GREEN. I am going to keep babying these poor things, and see if I can’t nurse them back to health. I’m a horrible plant mom. And I feel so awful.
I am apparently MUCH better with outdoor plants though. It sure helps that Mother Nature does all the work for me. I just get to enjoy the pretty flowers that are blooming. Well, except for my geranium. All the colourful petals have blown off. But, it is putting out new growth, so it’s not dead yet. And my portulaca and outdoor Begonia hybrid, Miss Montreal, are doing AMAZING! I love that my portulaca are multi-coloured. They make me so happy.
For the second day in a row, it has been crazy hot and with no A/C, my apartment hit 34C (93F) this afternoon. There was absolutely NO WAY that I was turning on the stove. Even the mere thought of hot food made me feel slightly sick.
So this salad was born.
Chickpea and Couscous Salad
- 1.5 cups of couscous (I combined the couscous with some bulgur wheat I had in the cupboard)
- 1.5 cups boiling water
- 1 19oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- black olives, pitted and sliced
- couple generous handfuls of fresh baby spinach
- 1/4 cup or so of mustard vinaigrette (recipe below)
- In a bowl, put your couscous and cover with the boiling water. Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes (until the water is absorbed).
- In a second bowl, combine chickpeas, red onion, garlic, black olives, spinach, and vinaigrette. Stir so everything is coated with the dressing. Taste and add salt and pepper if you want.
- Add the couscous to the dressed ingredients and stir to combine. Put in fridge for a couple of hours to allow flavours to blend.
Chickpea and Couscous Salad
When I make salad dressing, I never measure my ingredients. I eyeball things and then I adjust as I go. But I’ll try to give some measurements for you. And this makes a small amount of dressing. I’m just one person. I used this dressing on a couple of green salads before using the rest on the couscous salad tonight.
- 2 tbsps lemon juice
- 6 tbsps vegetable oil
- couple good squirts of grainy dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- dash of dried herbs (I used marjoram, basil, rosemary, but thyme would be good too)
- Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a good sealing lid. Close lid and shake to combine. Taste and adjust as necessary