Archive for the ‘Hobbies’ Category

Over a year ago now, Benji & I ordered both the Easy Green Sprouter and the Green Star 2000 Juicer to start a new healthier lifestyle (remember this and this?). We used the juicer quite a few times initially, juicing mangoes, apples, mulberries and carrots to name a few, but after a number of weeks, the excitement wore off, and the juicer went into hibernation on the kitchen counter…

The sprouter suffered a similar fate. I unsuccessfully attempted to sprout some old broccoli seeds we had kickin’ around and subsequently gave up, and the sprouter has lived since, caked in dust, on top of the laundry cabinets.

I can’t remember exactly what spurred my latest round of enthusiasm, but I finally went ahead and ordered 10lbs of organic wheatgrass seeds online, and when they arrived I was excited to get going!

So I started them on Wednesday (I think) and here’s what they looked like on Day 3

Day 3

Day 4

The Easy Green Sprouter comes with a timer that you can set to mist the sprouts automatically on whatever schedule is appropriate for the crop you’re growing. It really makes it super simple! I think I read that wheatgrass takes about 10 days before the sprouts are ready for juicing. It’s so amazing to watch the sprouts change and grow every day! I can’t wait to try some new varieties for juicing & salads once I get the hang of it!

Will keep you posted!

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Maybe I’m just lazy, but trying to find somewhere that sells seeds, or bulbs is more trouble than I’m prepared to go through to get started, let alone trying to sprout something myself. So most of the gardening or “growing” that I’m prepared to do has to be pretty simple…and it really doesn’t get more simple than this:

  • Cut off the bottom of an (organic) onion (the rooty side) with about 2 inches of “meat”
  • Let it dry out for a few days…
  • Stick it root-side-down in a pot of soil (or the ground, whichever) and cover with about 2 inches of soil
  • Water as needed
  • Once it develops a few leaves, pull it out of the soil and remove the old onion scales
  • Separate the plants as needed (more than one plant may develop from a single original root)
  • Replant and trim leaves by about 2/3
  • Harvest as green onions, or allow to mature fully

green onions, separated

I got my information here, btw.

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I LOVE sourdough bread! I could eat it all day, toasted with a good lick of salted butter** Yum! Today on the drive home, I wondered to myself why I’ve never tried baking it since I love it so much, and plus it’s so hard to find in my food store…

mouth watering...

So, as I always do when I have a question, I googled that shit (!!) and found this extremely informative and useful article. (Thanks S. John Ross!)

Apparently, what makes sourdough bread so special (and delicious!) is that it is made without added yeast. Instead, you basically breed your own wild yeast! This process is supposedly very simple. All you do to get your “starter” going, is combine a cup of flour with a cup of warm water in a glass jar, and let it do it’s thing for a few days. The naturally existing bacteria in the flour and air will begin to breed and eventually you will have your own personal colony of pet yeasties!! Seriously though, you even need to “feed” them a steady diet of flour & water!!

this is what I imagine my pet yeasties look like

Thusly, I broke out an old glass container, mixed up my flour & water and crossed my fingers!

I’m not going to get into the whole process of “proofing” or even baking the sourdough bread yet, cuz who knows if my starter will be successful, but if so, you can expect some more posts on that!

**speaking of butter: did you know it was THIS easy to make your OWN butter?! I’m doing it. Soon. Updates to follow!

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I dunno if I’ve mentioned it before, but Benji & I are buying a house! My (late) grandmother’s house! From my Dad! In 6 months-ish (when his tenants move out…) And we’re really really really really excited! :)

The house is in a neighbourhood called Harmony Hill (cute, right?) and we really love the feel there, and the location. It’s super central to all the amenities one could need, and not so far east that we have to battle an hour of traffic every weekday (we’re good & sick of that routine…) That traffic is so bad, it’s actually the reason why we invested in scooters; cuz you can just zip right down the middle of the 2 lanes (cautiously of course cuz scooters are pretty dangerous…)

my red rider :) and benji's in the background

Speaking of dangerous, yesterday, Benji actually had a little accident on his scooter. He was going down the first hill leaving my neighbourhood, and there were these pigeons in the road, and you know how pigeons always wait til the last second to flit out of the way? Yea, well this one didn’t move, so Benji overreacted and slammed on brakes (instead of hitting the damn thing), and lost control of the bike, was thrown from it down onto his shoulder, did a lil army roll and caught himself. Thank goodness he was wearing his $500 helmet, or who knows how much worse it could have been! But he was really shaken up nonetheless, cut up his palms pretty bad, and says he heard his shoulder “pop” when he hit the ground :(

grim reaper?

So he went to the doctor and had an x-ray and turns out he has a sprained acromioclavicularAC joint, and just needs some anti-inflammatory drugs and some rest. My strong man will be back to lifting heavy things in no time ;)

Wow, anyway, I got way off topic! The reason I was writing this post was to tell you that yesterday we met with the structural engineer at the house in Harmony Hill about the renovations that we want to do! He (Adrian) was really cool, and seems to have a good understanding of our vision for the property. We also told him that we want to renovate as green as possible, and he was pretty excited about that! As soon as the stupid, ass-backwards Bahamas passes the new energy policy, legalising the use of alternative energy (can someone explain to me what sense it makes for solar panels to be illegal in the Bahamas??? where we have over 300 days of sunshine annually?! ugh!), my house is gonna be covered in PV (photovoltaic) panels!! I’ve even been researching wind turbines to see how viable an option that might be for supplementing our power usage. And of course we’ll practice rainwater harvesting and I’m looking into these wastewater treatment and reuse systems so that we can recycle treated wastewater for use in irrigation or flushing toilets, etc.


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For some reason, this evening, I had the urge to bake, but only on 2 conditions:

  1. whatever I bake can’t be too unhealthy
  2. I have to have all the ingredients on hand (I hate going to the food store)

So I looked around in my fridge and pantry for inspiration, and came up with carrots & oatmeal and instantly thought muffins! Muffins can be (relatively) healthy & yummy, and so I googled, as usual, and found quite a number of recipes, each a bit different. I like to read over several and then come up with my own variation, using their measurements and cooking times as a guide.

MY recipe for Oatmeal Carrot Muffins is (more or less) as follows:


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I didn’t have any so I omitted it, but I’m sure it would have been good! Vanilla is in all baked goods!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup grated carrots


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all the dry ingredients together (first 9 ingredients) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients. Add the chopped walnuts & grated carrots to the wet mixture, and finally, add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Mix until everything is incorporated, and spoon into muffin cups. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees and bake for about 20 mins or until a toothpick (or similar) inserted into the centre of the muffin, comes out clean.

all mixed up

This recipe made pretty much exactly 12 muffins (filled quite high) so probably could have been stretched to make more like 15-ish, but my muffin tray (and most trays I’m guessing) only holds a dozen, so why dirty another tray?

ready to pop in the oven

And the finished product:

all done!

That muffin in the far left, centre row looks a little crazy cuz he has a glob of brown sugar that I obviously didn’t mix properly…oh well!

Benji is eating one now, hot out the oven, and he says they’re an A+! :) Even though they’re not sweet, they have great flavour, a nice chewy outside and soft, moist centre. I can’t wait to try one myself!

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So these are those super cool solar lanterns I ordered:

i got the "pearl" ones

Then, here are a couple crafty ideas I found on www.marthastewart.com that I’m gonna make for my bday party…

seashell string lights!

shell candles!

collecting jars to make these

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Pretty, pretty beach themed party :)

sand dollars

sea shell sugar cookies

more shell cookies

beachy centrepieces

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So yesterday I showed you my basil cutting growing roots, as well as the pot I decorated here, but here they are together!

pot o' basil

Also, the pomegranate tree that I planted back in September 2009, finally has its first fruit!

Update: Benji is disgruntled that I did not give the others involved any credit for this pomegranate. My bad. Benji & I bought the pomegranate tree (really more like a bush) together, and subsequently had my dad arrange digging a hole and actually putting it in the ground.

perfect pomegranate

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In less depressing news…I have stuffs to show you!

First of all, I read up on how to prune basil, and learned two things:

  1. aggressive pruning leads to greater leaf production,
  2. you can propagate basil by cutting off a branch and suspending it in water. in just a few short days, it will have sprouted its own roots! ready for planting!

my propagation set up

look at all ze roots!

So now you may be wondering what I’m going to plant my new basil plant in…Well. I have an answer for that too! Ta Daaaa!

shell pot! a pot with shells!

And yes. I glued all those shells on myself. Crafty, aren’t I? :-)

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Well, if you haven’t already heard, I’ll just tell you upfront: Brees didn’t make it.

Now the details…

Brees and I had a really wonderful time traveling together. I was such a proud mummy. Brees was so well-behaved, without even having to be told. He stayed at my side, didn’t pull on the leash or try to sniff everyone. He allowed everyone to touch him and stroke him; a little 1.5 yr old boy ran over and threw himself on top of Brees, and all Brees did was lick his face. It was like a dream. I wish I could travel with him every time I go away.

sweet boy in the airport

JetBlue was really great, and gave us the whole front row of the plane to ourselves, so Brees had plenty of space to lay at my feet. They even upgraded us to those larger front seats at no extra charge! I’m not sure if that’s standard practice when you travel with a service dog, or if it’s just because the flight wasn’t very full; but either way, it was awesome!

When we arrived in Fort Lauderdale, my cousin, Steph, and her boyfriend, John, picked us up from the airport and took us back to their place. Steph has a Boston Terrier named Scooter who is about 1.5yrs old. When we first arrived, Scooter was super excited and had to let Brees know that we were on his turf, but after that, they got on just great. They had a few playful battles over various toys and rawhides (seeing who could stack the most items in their corner) and generally just enjoyed each other’s company.

The next morning (Monday), we had our appointment with Dr. Fanning at the Hollywood Animal Hospital, bright & early at 8.20am. We were seen at about 9am, and explained all Brees’ history and symptoms and medications to Dr. Fanning in addition to giving her his official medical records and x-rays from Palmdale Vet Clinic (here in Nassau). She said they were going to run a slew of tests as well as take some radiographs (x-rays) and do an ultrasound, but that we would be able to pick him up later that afternoon, and we could discuss the results of his tests then.

So Steph and I bid Brees a quick farewell (he always gets so upset when I leave, so I tried to make it quick), left a deposit for the tests, and went to breakfast at this awesome diner called Lester’s. The rest of the day we spent running a few errands and doing some shopping (I love me some Target) and then returned home to rest and have a nap before going back to pick up Brees.

I guess it was around 4pm when Dr. Fanning called to give me an update. On his bloodwork, the most notable thing was his low levels of Albumin. Albumin is a protein in the blood (from what I gather) and his levels have been consistently decreasing since I admitted him to the hospital last Wednesday. Not a good thing. She said it meant he was leaking it from somewhere (how-I have no idea) and that he also had a lot of fluid in his abdominal cavity, which was very unusual.

The radiologist, after looking at the x-rays, felt that the “angry” shape of Brees’ small intestines indicated a linear foreign obstruction, ie: a piece of string, or something of that nature stuck somewhere in his G.I. tract. So Dr. Fanning was suggesting opening up Brees’ abdomen for exploratory surgery to try and find the suspected foreign body, and also just to take a look at his other organs and make sure everything looked right. This really freaked me out. Really! They were going to have to put him under anesthesia, which is always risky, but even more so for a dog with an already compromised liver (what happens if they can’t wake him up from the anesthesia?). And, they were going to be cutting a 6-12inch (12 inches!? That’s a FOOT!) incision into his belly. Into my puppy’s belly. I was so scared, but what could I do? This was the only option…

She told me that she was about to scrub into the surgery which she expected to take no more than 2 hours, and that she would call me as soon as he woke up from the anesthesia. However, she also warned me that if anything went awry during the surgery, that she would be calling me sooner. She said she didn’t expect this to happen at all, but she just had to warn me, in case. I said ok, and wished her good luck.

It couldn’t have been more than half an hour later when my phone rang… I recognized the phone number, and it was Dr. Fanning. I answered, bracing myself for bad news, and she gave it to me. Brees has multiple extrahepatic portosystemic shunts; too many to even count. In addition to that, his other organs, especially his small intestines, were small, shriveled and sick looking. She told me that with this many shunts, his condition was inoperable, and also not treatable with medicine or supplements. She needed to know what I wanted them to do; whether I wanted them to stitch him up and try to wake him so that I could say goodbye, or just put him to sleep while he was already under anesthesia…I was stunned. How could this happen? My puppy was fine (outwardly) when I left him with you this morning. Last night he was playing and eating and being perfect. And I love him so much. And you’re telling me he doesn’t have a chance at surviving?

Anyone who has ever had to make this decision knows how devastating it is… I told her I needed to speak with Benji before I gave her an answer, and would call her back. So I called Benji (barely coherent, as you can imagine) and tried to explain the situation. We were both on the same page. There was no sense in trying to wake him up just so that I could say goodbye. I can’t even imagine how difficult that would have been for me or Brees. Brees has always had the worst anxiety about me leaving him, even if I just walk out of the room for 30 seconds. I couldn’t imagine putting him through that again, especially in his delicate condition.

So I called Dr. Fanning back and told her that we had decided it would be best not to wake him up, and I asked her if it would be possible to cremate his remains so that we could take him back to The Bahamas with us. She said of course, and that they would take care of it. I just couldn’t imagine leaving my baby in a foreign place, where he would probably just be disposed of without respect in a dumpsite somewhere. It hurts my heart to even think about that…

And so. We’ve lost Brees. The most soulful, loving, emotional and intelligent dog I’ve ever had. He really was like my child, and my chest physically hurts when I feel the loss. I knew him and loved him from the day he was born, anxiously awaiting the day I could take him home with me. We had so many wonderful memories with Brees, and quite a few painful, scary experiences…ending, finally, with this one.

I try to take consolation in my belief that, although his life was far too short, it was a good life. We did everything we possibly could and spared no expense in our fight to save him. I don’t think my connection with Brees will ever be matched; he was a one in a million, special dog, and I will never forget him.

R.I.P. baby Breesy. I love you.

7 January 2010 – 12 July 2010

forever at my side, and in my heart

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