Join the supper club: The Boateng House fine dining experience!

My mom won a contest offered by the Langford community bimonthly magazine, ‘GoWest Langford’ for a long-table format five-course fine dining extravaganza. She invited me and we went on Friday.

In short: It was INCREDIBLE~ The food was amazing, the community atmosphere, and chef Castro and his fellow chef were friendly and outgoing. We had a lovely time.

Without further ado, on to the food:

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African pulled pork.

We had a few appetizers, consisting of Beef Wellington (delicious!), salmon tartare in a cone, melt-in-your-mouth, a soup spoon of smoked eggplant ratatouille, tasted just like baba ghanouj, and ‘African sushi’ that was lighly spiced pulled pork in a sushi wrapping. Divine!

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Mini Beef Wellingtons

Next up was our bread-and-butter course. The butters were spruce tip, plain butter and orange butter- sooooo good. Fresh bread too, yummm! We didn’t want to eat too much of it, because the salad course was up! Salad was lovely, fresh spring greens (mesclun maybe?) with a large beet slice and a generous dollop of goat cheese. Divine!

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A very nice salad.

And then we were on to the soup course, and it was a showstopper- lobster bisque with two very healthy-sized scallops and shaved radish on top. It was amazing.

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Lobster bisque…And you can see the scallop I took a bite out of! 

Next was the main- rack of lamb (perfectly done, meaty and well rounded flavours) resting on a bed of large pearled couscous, accompanied by roasted root vegetables. It was a delight!

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Rack of lamb with pearled couscous, root vegetables.

Finally for dessert, we had chocolate mousse with a caramelized sugar curl on top and cooked pear shavings and minted whipping cream. Divine! We had an amazing time, and the food, company and chef were a true delight. I would recommend this style of eating- and chef- to anyone for a luxurious and amazing evening out.

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Chocolate mousse, with pear and minted cream.

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Cobble Hill 10k- VIRA race recap! (nothing hurts like a bruised ego)

Going in to this race I was unreasonably cocky. I was feeling good for once! No nasty chest cold, no coughing my lungs out, no rib muscle injury from coughing, no groin-tendon pull, it was smooooooth sailing and therefore I was owed a new PR!

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Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell of Ceevacs Running. The face of success! Not. 

*newsflash to me* that’s not really how running, racing or life works.

Sadly!

I think because I ran a surprisingly good race at the 8k while still being pretty sick, I indeed thought that a new 10k PR was basically in the bag. HAhh. I ran this race and felt pretty darn good for oh, 2k. And then I started feeling the drag, and it was then a pretty miserable slog for the rest of the race. I just couldn’t get over how much I had to fight for my time- I was working really hard? For what? Jeesh.

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The one time a 43:38 netted me a second place age group. Hah. 

I kind of wanted to give up and walk, to be honest. Be a bit of a sore loser. But then I remembered that racing is hard, that the line between a new personal best and getting a slower time than last time is razor thin. It was tough, I was gasping for breath, my legs felt uncooperative and like lead. Just..ugh. So ugh. No sprint, no victorious feelings, no rush no nothing. Just pain train.

So it was a sucky, hard race where I thought I could waltz in and like, smash my record. I don’t really feel that bad today, but my ego sure did hurt yesterday and friend, nothing hurts like a hammered ego!! 😉

My tendon injury was also tugging a LOT yesterday and ached last night. Sighhhh love it when that flares up. Oh well, the weather ended up being pretty darn good (chilly but no rain) and the food and snacks after were lovely! Except my rotten dog got sick of me leaving her in the car so she ate some of them. I came back from my cool-down run and found gingersnap crumbs all over the backseat and she had gnawed on a really nice large pretzel. Bad dog!

And a big thank you to the over 60 volunteers who make the run series- and this race- a safe, fun and enjoyable experience year after year! 🙂

Don’t buy Kashi Joi Energy Nut Butter Bars: They suck! A review.

A review that I wish I didn’t have to write- overwhelmingly negative one about one of my favourite food items- nut butter + chocolate+ granola bar. What can go wrong? I mean, it looks great right?

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Jess (who is my gym sister and gets the granola bar thing almost too well) got me the new Kashi Joi Energy Nut bar in chocolate espresso and I was soooooo excited to try it. Yum my favourite things, almond nut butter, chocolate, espresso, nuts!! Just like one of those amazing Clif Nut-butter Filled Bars – and I LOVE those ones, they are incredible. I took a big bite of the new bar and literally gagged in surprise. Wha? It was more than horrible it was appalling.

Bitter, gritty, chemical aftertaste? Gagggg.

I actually unwrapped it to examine what exactly was so wildly offensive about this bar. I have eaten a lot of granola bars/energy bars…A lot. And while there aren’t many winners, there aren’t really any losers either, they’re just ok. But this one is actively bad. I saw on the bar it had these clumps of what I can only assume is ‘nut butter’ in these strange greasy little pockets, not well blended into the bar and not ‘nut-butter filled’ like my fav Clif bars. Just..there, and greasy and pretty tasteless. Ever tried icy squares by St. Moritz? Yeah, that, but with less flavour. Ick!

The bar itself had ground up coffee beans and boy did it taste like it. Gritty, bizarre and I felt like I needed to brush my teeth after eating because the mouthfeel and flavour was so offensive. Coffee breath? More like coffee mouth after eating it. Yuck!

To be completely unbiased and fair, I did buy the banana-chocolate nut energy bar last night to see if it was just the chocolate-espresso one that was so terrible. Big.Mistake. I took one bite and left it with a note for Ian- You can eat this, I hate it!!!

It tastes exactly the same as the miserable espresso chocolate one. Right now to the weirdly gritty mouthfeel, extremely bitter/chemical aftertaste and gross greasy pockets of ‘nut butter’ ha yea right. How????

Leave this one on the shelf, friends–it’s Joi-less. Your tastebuds and calorie budget will thank you. Next time Jess, we’ll stick with Clif!!

The bar itself had ground up coffee beans and boy did it taste like it. Gritty, bizarre and I felt like I needed to brush my teeth after eating because the mouthfeel and flavour was so offensive. Coffee breath? More like coffee mouth after eating it. Yuck!

To be completely unbiased and fair, I did buy the banana-chocolate nut energy bar last night to see if it was just the chocolate-espresso one that was so terrible. Big.Mistake. I took one bite and left it with a note for Ian- You can eat this, I hate it!!!

It tastes exactly the same as the miserable espresso chocolate one. Right now to the weirdly gritty mouthfeel, extremely bitter/chemical aftertaste and gross greasy pockets of ‘nut butter’ ha yea right. How????

Leave this one on the shelf, friends–it’s Joi-less. Your tastebuds and calorie budget will thank you. Next time Jess, we’ll stick with Clif!!

Forever is a word

So this week I finally had a jump lesson where I felt pretty darn good! No horrible cough/cold, no rib injury (that is healing very well, phew) and I just could focus on riding, rather than feeling miserable.

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He is also a good husband babysitter! 

And my jump lesson went really nicely- quite simple but focused, work over a few short courses and then strung together into a 9-jump course. I was able to work on holding my shoulders, even into a deeper spot. Success! This in turn helps Oats with his jump style in deeper spots as well. Plus we had the rocks back as fillers, in a circle jump. Oats was a bit surprised by it but he is such a good boy, he jumped it fine. 🙂 Love him.

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Oats: Okay guys, let’s get this show on the road. 

Even when we set the jumps up higher, he was surprised but just gave it a LOOK and jumped very willingly – ok he clanged it pretty darn hard with his hooves- but it stayed up and he was so good about it. My trainer laughed and said it’s the same with him and his giant doppelganger Donato- they just have exactly the same attitude, OH this got bigger! Well ok!

Love love love riding him. He’s just so willing these days, and well behaved and I feel like my riding/jumping position is getting much stronger. I do think the two weeks in a row focusing heavily on my release paid huge dividends, and it’s something I really should do more often!

Plus Oats now gets ridden on Tuesdays by a fellow adult amateur who has a horse recovering from an injury and I hear from her that he is such a good boy for her lessons too! Yay!

Put the days away

Had a dressage lesson last Friday and I was feeling sooooooooo tired, low energy, blah, you know the draggy fatigue I’ve been complaining about for oh, 3+ weeks now? It was kind of a hard sell, particularly on a Friday night (hello hang out on my couch time!) PLUS I was dog-sitting my friend’s dog, so he came over just before my lesson.

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Mr. Oats learns some fancy moves! I wish I was sitting up more…

But anyways, despite the myriad excuses of why I didn’t want to, I did. And it was great!! Not perfect, ha are they ever? But just genuinely good. I learned some really interesting exercises and have since practiced them on my own with Oats.

I have been wanting to improve his counter-canter and work towards flying lead changes- clean and proper ones, not grab-and-leap ones. So on that note we worked on canter-walk transitions, which have historically been a challenge for us. Walk-canter? Sure! Canter- walk? Nope!

We developed the canter-walk by coming in on a circle, using a touch of shoulder-fore and then spiraling in to the walk. Like, circle, coming in using shoulder-fore and 1-2-3 WALK.

It was cool! On the left he was super! On the right= struggle bus. Ahhh well.

We used the basis of that exercise to then go large and focus on walk- pick up counter canter- go straight along the long side in counter canter and then walk, pick up true canter for the short side, back to walk, counter canter and rinse, repeat.

It was really neat! We were getting it!! 🙂

So pleased with how Oats is really learning his stuff through these exercises. And we’re not like, drilling him to death on it- a few run-throughs, he gets the idea, more importantly ‘I’ get the idea, and we’re good!

I even practiced it a bit yesterday and was quite happy with how our amateur fumbling went. Whee!

Trophy Daughter

Jump lesson update! Again, I wasn’t really sure how things were going to go- I haven’t been doing that well this week, due to a lot of pain from my pulled rib muscle. I went to bed super early on Wednesday, feeling flu-ish and in pain and just generally really crappy.

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It was a very painful week.

Luckily my ribs started feeling much better on Thursday, so my jump lesson was a go! Small motions like trying to pick up barbells/hand weights were painful, but on the whole breathing/sitting/standing and walking things were much better.

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From when we were first back in the indoor…Now my life. Ah well! 

I was tentative in my lesson though- I wanted to jump (obviously!) but was wary about straining my injury. I shouldn’t have worried though, things were fine! Some aches and my ankle  now hurts for no reason, but overall pretty darn good! 🙂

We worked on a very simple course- a line of two jumps (3 strides), oxer on the diagonal, a vertical on the diagonal, and a line of jumps (4 strides, vertical to oxer). It was actually really good! I am LOVING how Oats is moving these days…So nice. I did get an awkward spot to one oxer after I kind of spurred him hard, and he protested, whoops! He was pissy, like hey, I said I AM GOING you jerk!! Ah, sorry Oats!

Bonus- our work on isolating his neck/shoulders in dressage might be paying off! He came the closest to a clean flying lead change in my warm-up than I have *ever* gotten from him. YES!!

Bad note though- he still has his back lumps and one on his butt too. WTF are these?

Burn me: Race Recap Pioneers 8k!

To be completely honest, I did not have great expectations

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At the start. Photo courtesy of Ceevacs Lois D’Ell. 

leading up to this race. I felt exhausted, beat down from near-constant coughing at night and in the morning. *It was truly horrendous just ask my husband, yuuuck.

Anyways, I was tired, feeling wimpy, coughing my lungs out and just…tempered my goals for this race. I couldn’t really even remember what my time was last year, just that I remembered it being a pretty decent time on the new course, during heinous rain and freezing temps.

Well, I am happy to say after a weekend spent coughing my lungs out and basically sitting on the couch/alternating with taking my dog out on walks, I was ready to race! The weather was GORGEOUS!! Oh man, polar opposite of last year in every way. Sunny, warm, no wind, not rainy, just amazing. I was so happy with that, I kind of figured ehhh we’ll see how this race goes.

My cough had somewhat subsided a bit to a low irritating hack every so often sooooo success?!! I trawled my way to the start and waited with my husband in the squish of other runners. It was pretty crowded, a bigger race attended by quite a few local elites and Olympians. We were off, and I zipped off. I definitely got lulled a bit by the pace- because there are so many fast runners, I didn’t realize how fast I really was going- everyone was sticking super tight. In other races, I tend to lose runners/get passed/some give and take. In this one? Boxed in for close to the entire race, at a pace that I am definitely ‘not comfortable’ at.

My first KM was ridiculous, and I misread my watch (I thought it said something like 4:56, instead it was 3:56..yikes). So I thought ok either way I’ll hammer through (people were sticking to me like glue by this point so I figured it wasn’t that fast). My next was something like 4:16? Ok ok…I see where this is going. Fast.

I lost a lot of impulsion (ha using horse terms here) on a very slight rise going up to 4k and the turnaround, leading to a 4:24 or so. The turnaround came up and I felt pretty darn good!!

And then hit a very gentle hill and lost all of it again, ha. 4:32 for that one. Ahhh well.

I held it pretty strong until like 6km..and then I felt like I was dying. I couldn’t believe how rough those last 2kms felt, oh man. My cough was dormant, but I had this sneaking feeling that if I breathed too deeply or started coughing, I would not be able to stop. As it turns out, I was right about this!

I hung on by my freaking fingernails, knowing my pace in the early parts of the race were indeed too fast and boy was I paying for it! I got passed- a lot. My finish was weak, and as soon as I stopped I couldn’t catch my breath and felt like I was going to puke. Instead, I started coughing horribly and couldn’t stop for oh, and hour or so. Lovely.

We had some awesome pizza and chocolate milk as our after-race snack (thank you for hosting, Prairie Inn Harriers!) and I was coughing my lungs out the entire time. God. As it turns out, I pulled an intercostal muscle in my ribs from the coughing and am now in a fair amount of pain when I cough, sleep, move too much, ughhhhh.

I just hope my next few races aren’t this rough, jesus! I haven’t had a smooth race in quite a while, haha. Injury, illness and now a mild injury part #2. Shit!!

Oh well, that’s life I guess. I was happy with my time though! 🙂