My reviews: Reese’s Outrageous, and it is outrageous because this is the world we live in.

Not going to lie, I was drooling when I saw this beauty on my desk thanks to Jess, my gym sister!

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My absolute favourite chocolate ever is the Reese’s with mini Reese’s pieces embedded in it. AMAZING. Any shape- Xmas trees, the flying saucer, whatever. The best. Man. Ever eaten something that was so good, it felt like you were breathing for the first time? THAT.

But then every month (week, or hell, day…) I get in this weird existential crisis. A new day or month or whatever is a chance for a fresh start. Part of me wants to be ‘good’ and eat like, vegetables, fruit, water…And the other part of me is like, ha, no. Pass me the Reese’s! (Or Mars, or Snickers, or whatever. I don’t discriminate!). So, as I eat this fabulous bar, studded with mini Reese’s, draped with caramel…I think. How long do you really want to live? Plus, since I can’t really eat French fries, or apparently home-fried doughnuts anymore without puking…I figure I am falling deeper and deeper into the clutches of Big Sugar. And I like the sweet embrace. (my teeth however beg to differ).

So anyways, in the daily battle between ‘good’ me and ‘bad’ me…This bar is worth it! Is it better than the original Reese’s big cup with mini Reese’s pieces? No! Blasphemy! Nothing will match it. It is peerless! I think the caramel kind of ‘muddies’ the water a bit here, so to me, a low-quality chocolate purist (hah), it is delicious and worthy of being eaten, but NOT better than the originals. Not to be confused with Reese’s ‘Nutrageous’ which is…something different I guess?

It’s only a matter of time before I ruin his life: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ha, the title seems grim but totally isn’t- I found it and found it amusing! I don’t think I am out to ruin anyone’s life, unless they are really not into horses, rabbits, dogs or running. Then maybe I would be ruining their life!

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My friend Sarah made cupcakes- she is a professional eh?? 

Anyways, this Valentine’s Day sees me taking the day off the barn, to enjoy a movie with my husband. I was treated to a LOVELY Valentine’s day cupcake at work (yesss!). We had protestors outside this morning, which was fine. I respect the right to representation, and they were polite and calm.

Though it may not seem like it, I have also been doing a TON of riding. The vibe is still…Challenging…right now, and I was in full rant mode about some things I learned about my fellow riders (not my stablemates, other folks who I know), and the theme for this week is twofold:

  1. People do not learn.
  2. People do not change.

At least four people I know this week (god, if not MORE), are stuck in this weird hamster-wheel of logic. If you do the same thing all the time with the same people who are treating you badly, or it’s a negative environment, or whatever…You are going get the same results. Over and over. Rinse, repeat. And then complain/whine/etc loudly and repeatedly how you are the wronged party. HAH!

I would honestly laugh if I wasn’t also concerned about the animals involved. Jeesus.

Otherwise? Oats has been good, if a bit unremarkable this week. Last week felt pretty good, accomplished, this week…not so much. Not bad, he’s still my best baby, but just kind of lacklustre. His jumps last night- we moved our jump lesson to next Wed as my trainer was sick- was just ‘eh’ all around. Obviously I need lessons! Stat!!

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A red velvet cupcake at work. YUMMM

Long weekend coming up, and boy, I think I need it, and a lot of others too!

Happy V-Day 🙂

My reviews: Dolfin Pink Peppercorn Chocolate

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That’s right, thanks to my dear friend Sarah, I was able to try this unique chocolate last week. The packaging is a very attractive rose-pink, in kind of a laminated ‘pocket’, where the chocolate is also wrapped in a plastic sheeting with what I can only guess is ‘chocolate-making supplies’ dotted across it. It’s all very seasonal and Valentine-y looking.

I think Sarah said she got it at Quality Foods, so I can’t comment on price but I do know that dark chocolate is expensive. The scent off the top is intriguing- kind of a chili-forward smell, with a cocoa under layer. It’s not offensive at all, and it goes one really wondering what exactly peppercorn chocolate tastes like??

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I’m here to tell you…Eh.

Like, I am a person who does not discriminate on chocolate. Milk, dark, cheap, expensive, I like all of them! (obviously). But I have a real fondness for what I describe as ‘volume eating’ and dark chocolate…Not a good volume eat, at all. Trust me on this. So this chocolate bar, upon first bite, tasted lightly smoky, with a very subtle peppery nose – like wine! However my gripes with this bar that led to my rating of ‘eh’ were as follows: Smells better than it tastes, the peppercorn flavour is more crunch and textural than flavour, and the dark chocolate itself had a weak mouthfeel with none of the richness of say, the Lindt bar that Melissa got me at Christmas.

To sum up, it looks good, smells lovely, and tastes flat. More crunch than flavour. If you are a heathen that likes eating chocolate cold or frozen (I know, I was gasping in horror when I learned that people do that!), then this might be the chocolate for you. For everyone else? Pick a different bar, this one has flash and style but no substance. It kind of reminds me of an item being ‘soulless’- usually described as evil people, bad music, or bad corporations, but in this way, I mean that it lacks depth, integrity and interest.

(or don’t listen to me, I also dropped a piece of a fabulous chocolate chip cookie on the carpet at work this morning, which I KNOW does not get cleaned, and I still ate it…)

 

I luv the valley, oh!

Finally I had a fun weekend!! After the hassle, stress, drama and fear of last weekend I had one that I truly deserved. It was an extremely challenging week- health issues, a snow storm with ice, plunging temperatures, family drama, and oh, we can’t forget work, now can we?

And then I drifted happily into a lovely weekend, I am happy to say! I had a ride on Friday night (it was FREEZING), and then a lesson on Saturday morning (went well! funny enough we were working on ‘wide hands’ because I was bracing my chicken-wing elbows against his neck, and my shoulders hurt the next day!), and then shopping and dinner at Fiamo for ‘Dine Around Victoria’ celebrations.

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I bought a bunch of stuff from the GAP that is closing out downtown, and then my friend Jess and I enjoyed an excellent seafood-based menu at Fiamo. We chose the $30 menu, and had a warm ‘salad’ that was more of a soup based meal that had char-grilled

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Seafood antipasti platter

squid, kale, feta and olives in broth, and a seafood antipasti consisting of grilled octopus, salmon, tuna tataki and vegetables. It was delicious! I had a glass of prosecco, and for dessert we had the chocolate ‘salami’ which was unusual but very tasty.

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Dessert: Chocolate salami

The next day I got up and went for a quick jog, because it was time for Sea Cider’s annual Wassail event! They did not have it last year, but I’m glad they brought it back for this year. The ticket prices did go up- $3, from $2, but you don’t pay for entrance fees (which are a TOTAL MONEY GRAB and I HATE THEM). So, it’s a win!

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Raise a glass!

We enjoyed a new cider- the Cherry!! I loved it! And the food was excellent. I had the chicken/cashew curry, the cornmeal-spiced apple cake/muffin thing with whipped cream topping, and the maple bread pudding with whip cream. Delicious! A great day with good company.

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Cornmeal muffin things. Good!

I then rode Oats, and headed home (at like 4:30. Whoops long day!).

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Sausage rolls- I didn’t try these but I heard they were good!

And best of all- good times with good friends, and the weather improved! It was like close to 10 deg yesterday! We’re back, baby!

Merry Holidays~

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Our gingerbread train! Sweet eh?

From me, while I am back at work! Boo! But don’t feel too bad for me, I certainly enjoyed a big chunk of time off. I got to sleep in!! (yes!), go running! (and hurt my knee again!), lots of riding lessons- good and bad, and eat a ton of good food, drink some great wine, cider and tequila, and spend time with family.

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Merry Christmas from the critters! 

I am a bit sad that Xmas – and let’s face it, my time off- is over, but I did make the most of my time off and got in a lot of fun activities, so I can’t get too bummed now, can I? I think Oats prefers when I am at work, because then he gets days off too! Hahah.

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Gidget looking polite, even though she had a meltdown too. 

My jump lessons were both ok and not great- like, not terrible, he was still a good boy, but I felt a little jumbled and all over the place. My first lesson in my time off was NOT great- it was a dramatic windstorm complete with pouring rain. Honestly it felt like a tornado! Oats lost his ever-loving mind. He was bolting, trembling and freaking the eff out. Strange for him…. The vibes were clearly not to his favour. I 100% was sure I didn’t want to have a lesson, get on my horse who is having a panic attack and jump, but by the end of my lesson guess what I was doing? Jumping a small course of smaller fences! Hah! Never say never I guess? We still couldn’t get near the side of the arena that he was afraid of though…

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My sister in law got this for me- isn’t it adorable?

And for my dressage lesson the next day, he was perfect! Go figure eh?

Christmas was good, lots of family time (which is good and bad…), and we did some family activities, and made a gingerbread train too! Both Gidget and my husband had meltdowns though, ahhh. I managed to really rack up my knee running, how I did it is anyone’s guess but I had this really sharp and intense pain under my knee cap. I managed to limp home, and now over a week later I have trouble going down the stairs. FML. AGAIN!

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My friend from Ottawa sent this to me- it’s a chocolate postcard! So cool eh??

I had another jump lesson on Boxing Day, and it was ok- but I couldn’t like, get my knee to stop pinching….And our straightness was an issue too, unfortunately. I had a dressage lesson the next day and it was definitely not quite as lovely as our lesson the week previous. Why is it that when I have a FABULOUS lesson, the one immediately after it, the one were I am actually expecting to be great, sucks?? Riddle me this!

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We played a game with balloons- these were the balloons I bought. Funny eh?

Oh well! I did my trot fence practice yesterday too, and while the arena was bizarrely busy (5 horses on a Sunday? WTF??) It went really well! Good Oaty! Bareback ride tonight, he gets tomorrow off because I have NYE plans, and then lesson on Thursday again like normal. I guess returning to the routine has it’s benefits.

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My secret Santa NAILED IT! This weighed about 10lbs, and was so good I almost died eating it! 

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Some of the amazing gifts I received this year! 

 

Ow, my sinuses

I’m well into week three of the death flu, UUGHH. While I am fundamentally ok, I have had ongoing terrible sinus pain, headaches, crushing fatigue, post-nasal drip and subsequent coughing since…oh, Friday? I HATE IT. When does the sickness go away? Jesus.

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Oats got a Christmas treat from his big brother Donato! 🙂

I also had a real run of parties starting last week- and I love parties!! I went to all of them, and all my holiday lunches as well, and by Saturday, after party #2 in two days, I could barely get out of bed. I was flat out exhausted. Dizzy, lightheaded, exhausted. I felt weird, like I’d been awake for 48 hours or something. I really do think it’s the flu that keeps dragging me back down, well into week three and freaking counting.

I basically got up, felt terrible, went riding (Oats was a freaking saint who kept me propped up on his back), came home, went back to bed, got up for my parents to come to dinner, entertained and felt completely wiped out, and went back to bed. And never really felt that much better ongoing to today. Yay.

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Oats and Donato in the summer together! 

So I feel a bit grouchy and bummed that I feel so miserable STILL going into my vacation and holiday. Merry freaking Christmas to me, I want to dig my sinuses out of my face!!

Otherwise, terrible sickness aside, I had a fun weekend! Parties, horseback riding, nice weather one day, cold weather the next. Critters were good, lots of fun was had, along with great holiday junk food and booze. Yummy!

I even had a chance to do some jump schooling with ol’ Oaty yesterday and he was a good boy! I can’t call it my ‘homework’ because I cantered most of the fences- my homework day is trot only, and I have to be strict about it because it’s harder for me than cantering fences, which is kind of like cheating…Hah.

Bareback ride tonight, and 1 zillion chores to do after work. 1 day down to go!

A two-time Nerds review!

I bought these at a small candy/ice cream shop in Cowichan Bay, so I am absolutely unsure of where you can find them anywhere else…But they sure are fun! They had such cute illustrations too, a Nerds tribute to the Mexican wrestlers ‘luchadores’ so maybe that’s where these were from??

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Approximately the size of a Halloween-sized package of Nerds, we picked up two flavours: Mango-Chile ‘El Mango Fuego’ and Guyaba (Guava) ‘Guyaba Solitaria’ Nerds. They were overpriced at .45 cents each but a novelty sooo…

So head-to-head, which ones were the best? Hands down the Mango-Chile Nerds. They were really good! The flavour was very close to the sweet, musky tang of a decent Ataulfo mango (get out of here with those Tommy or Fat Cats…I’m Ataulfo all the way!) and the chile was mild but enough of a zing to let you know it’s there and spicy! It was a bit spicier than the M&M Jalapeno, which I appreciated. And now that I think about it, spicy candy really was better suited to Nerds/sweet fruit than chocolate M&Ms.

And the Guayaba? Eh..It tasted like pink Nerds. You know what I mean, like how pink Starburst kind of taste like ‘pink’ but not really a remotely discernible flavour? That. I mean, it’s good but does it taste at all like guava? Nope!! And trust me, I have bought and eaten giant blocks of guava paste when we were on the San Blas Islands in Panama. The Nerds just tastes like a pink Nerds. Sweet, tangy and crunchy. I still enjoyed it but it doesn’t hold a candle to the vastly superior Mango-Chile. Yummm. Now I wish I had bought more, or I knew where to get them. I can’t be the only one concerned with the rapid lack of diversification in candy (I’m looking at you, Halloween!) that seems to be plaguing our store shelves these days. Where is the variety? Spice of life? Newness??

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Ah, the popcorn cake…

Also when I was looking at my food photos, I was reminded of a popcorn cake I made a few years ago. Man, that was great. I need to revisit this cake…