So…I have a confession to make (Mum, you may need to sit down for this one)…I’ve had writer’s block for several weeks now. Shocking. I know. True, I was busy studying for (yet another blasted) exam until fairly recently, and then my research project went completely sideways last week which has led to a week of constant overdrive, several grand mal melt downs, and the loss of most of my ‘guaranteed’ vacation this year, but seriously, I’ve had writer’s block. Despite being impossibly frantic, the few times I managed to sit down to think of how to start this post, I was coming up with absolutamente nada!
So, rather than focus on the exam and/or useless research project, I did what every other student does to avoid the stack of notes and ever-lengthening To Do list leering at them. I became addicted to not one, but TWO Netflix shows. I’ve been telling everyone I know that they have to watch them. Ipso facto, I’m telling you, dear reader, as well.
Both shows are actually Spanish (though the first show has been dubbed in English). I legit spent the first 10 minutes of the pilot episode trying to figure out the bug in my Netflix connection because the actors’ mouths were not matching the words. THEN and only then did I register that the opening credits had been in Spanish. Sigh…Sometimes, I’m just not that bright.
In any case, the dubbed masterpiece which has set off my Spanish Netflix kick is called Cable Girls. It’s set in 1920s Spain and features an absolutely gorgeous ahead-of-her-time all-around badass Spanish con-woman/thief who is constantly getting herself into (and then out of) various debacles. There is so much intrigue in every episode, you can’t just watch one. I finished that show in about 3 days and now have to wait for the other half of the season to come out in October. Boo!!!!
Clearly following a Spanish theme, I then became addicted to the show Velvet. It has 70-minute long episodes and 4 seasons, so I figured I wouldn’t run out of episodes to watch for a while yet. Ooops…just finished the last episode today.
A different period piece and different type of drama altogether, Velvet is set in the late 50s-early 60s Spain and centres around the lives of the employees in an haute-couture fashion store in Madrid. (Did you know that department store employees used to live IN the department store?! Whodda thunk?!).
In any case, while this show definitely has its fair share of love triangles, unselfish (and selfish) love, sordid affairs, elicit acts (for the times) and other such plot twists one would predict of a Grey’s-Anatomy-level soap opera, it (unlike Grey’s) also has a lot of humour in it. There are three characters in particular who are just so freakin’ lovable, you can’t get enough of them! Seriously! You should all watch it! So freakin’ good.
But I’m not going to sit here and waste (more of) your time with stories of my current Netflix obsessions. So much has happened in the past couple of weeks, that I just don’t know where to start…hence, I guess, the writer’s-block-leading-to-Netflix-binging-leading-to…well…this post!
I guess the first thing that has happened is my studying for and then writing this blasted Manual Therapy exam. You see, even though I’m done classes, physio degrees are actually pretty basic. Once we graduate, we have to pursue additional certifications to really build our own niches in the field. While this means that we can forever adapt the profession to our growing interests, it also pretty much means a lifetime of learning; something I’m also not against. But I’m not going to deny that I won’t miss NOT having to spend my Saturday nights studying until midnight.
Needless to say, the Manual Therapy exam was about as much fun as getting teeth pulled. Testing us on a lot of information we won’t need to know as physios, and which my program never taught me, the exam was like an endless game of darts in the dark! Thankfully, I only need half of the darts to hit the bull’s eye in order to pass. That shouldn’t be too hard. Right? Either way, I’ll find out in a month and a half whether I passed. In the mean time, I’m gonna have to sit around patiently (so NOT my forte) for the answer and hope it’s a good one. Sigh.
Also…while devoting almost all my time to studying (or working on the useless research project I’m supposed to be doing all summer), I somehow managed to get me my first REAL job! I start in November, about a week after I finish my program! (Why didn’t I announce this first you ask? Well…I haven’t actually told many people in my class about it because I don’t want to stress them out or make them feel bad/insecure about themselves if they haven’t found a job yet. I guess I’ve kinda gotten in the habit of not really talking about it. But then the other part of me says, “Helloooo…you already have two useless degrees. After more than 8 years of school, you can finally say that one of your degrees got you somewhere!!! Time to celebrate!!!!” So here I am telling you about it.)
Can you believe it?! (Nearly) 30 years old and I’m finally adulting!! I’m even trying to figure out what car to buy for my 30th birthday/the start of my new job. Since I’ll be spending my time working between two different clinic locations, as well as coaching, and (if possible) working/volunteering as a PT with a sports team, I’m gonna need me a car to get around the island.
And not only did I get a job, but I pretty much got the best job I could have imagined straight out of school! I get to work with active individuals, athletes (possibly some past or future Olympians), and military personnel in a clinic with several (seemingly) awesome PTs; one of which is practically an institution in Canadian Sports Physio! Oh! And, this institution of a physio will also be one of my mentors. WHAAAAAA????
Also…This clinic is not part of a chain! This may not mean much to you guys, but it was one of the things I was REALLY hoping to avoid in my first years as a physio. In case you haven’t been able to tell thus far, I don’t really fit into any mould, let alone one that approximates ‘normal’ (whatever normal is anyway). Working, therefore, for a faceless chain of clinics that focuses more on established procedures (even, and sadly often completely inefficient ones) and their bottom line, is NOT something I can do
very well. The couple of times I’ve tried to work for a chain, I lasted a few months and felt like I had completely lost my soul in the process.
See, I have no problem following rules if they make sense to me and if they jive with how I process information (or if not following them results in things like going to jail 😉 ). But I work much better (and longer and more happily) in a place that lets my creativity and ridiculous organizational skills mingle to create a system that works for me. Naturally, I explained this to my future boss as being one of the reasons I wanted to work for them. She probably thinks I’m nuts. Truthfully, I am. My new boss has NO idea what she’s in for. lol. BUT…She has been warned.
Ok…enough banter. Time to give you guys the REAL news! It’s rhubarb season guys!!!! While that may not seem like news to you since rhubarb recipes have been leaping off my IG for well over the past month and a half, but since Montreal is practically a tundra most of the year, rhubarb (and other tasty plants) are usually weeks behind everywhere else. And apparently, even later this year than previous years because of the whole Montreal-being-under-water-for-a-month thing. So…what does this mean for you dear reader?…Rhubarb ON EVERYTHING!!!! With strawberries of course.
Though you guys may see several Strawbarb combinations from me over the course of the next several months (since rhubarb and strawberries seem to go until September here in MTL), I’m kickin’ sh*t off this year with my Strawbarb Crumble!
AND instead of getting just ONE recipe today, you’re getting TWO! I was going to give you my regular unbelievably delicious recipe for Strawbarb Crumble (complete with a magical ingredient) BUT then I saw the recipe for the Kitchen McCabe’s Lilac Syrup and couldn’t resist using that instead of white sugar…
That’s right guys, Lilac Syrup…
… O.M.F.G guys. I know Lilac season is done now (even in MTL), but seriously consider making this stuff the next time you see Lilacs blooming. This syrup has opened my eyes to a whole new realm of flavours (I am legit using the BF as a guinea pig this weekend to test one such flavour combination).
I didn’t even know you could consume Lilacs!!! I figured they were lethal in some way or another. Like hemlock. (Hem-lock….Li-Lock. Totally the same! Right?) In any case, clearly they’re not, because I’ve eaten this syrup by the spoonful and I’m still kickin’. So… because of that, I’m giving you the option to go with either recipe. Buon appetito todo el mundo!
Paleo-ish Lilac Strawbarb Crumble
Two in one Paleo-ish (vegan) Strawbarb Crumble recipes, both of which will beat out all other recipes you’ve tasted thus far! Good luck eating just one serving…
- Prep Time: 40 mins
- Cook Time: 35-45 mins
- Total Time: 39 minute
- Yield: 6 servings
- 3 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 3 cups strawberries, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
- 1/4 cup of The Kitchen McCabe’s Lilac Syrup (OR granulated sugar)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp arrowroot starch
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 tbsp vanilla paste (OR vanilla extract). Vanilla paste is worth it’s weight in gold but it’s delicious! If you bake even somewhat often, you have to make this part of your pantry. Otherwise, vanilla extract works just as well.
Crumble Topping Things:
- 3 tbsp oat flour
- 3 tbsp arrowroot starch
- 2 tbsp quinoa flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup oats
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp maple sugar/syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (Nutiva butter flavour if you have it), melted
NOTE: IF using granulated sugar instead of Lilac syrup, you’ll also need 1/2 tsp of ground ginger and 1 tbsp of crystallized ginger for the crumble topping!
Macerating the Fruity Things:
- Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, lilac syrup (or white sugar), brown sugar, arrowroot starch, lemon zest, and vanilla paste in a mixing bowl.
- Set aside to macerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Assembling the Crumble:
- Combine oat flour, arrowroot starch, quinoa flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a bowl, and whisk until uniform. Make sure there are no lumps of brown sugar in the dry mix.
- IF USING WHITE SUGAR INSTEAD OF LILAC SYRUP IN THE WET INGREDIENTS: Mix in the ground ginger as well as the crystallized ginger.
- Pour melted coconut oil over the dry mix. Mix with a fork or spatula until thoroughly moistened.
- Pour the macerated fruit (and the juices) into an oiled souffle/baking dish OR cast iron pan.
- Spread crumble topping evenly on fruity mix with hands or a spatula. It may seem like it’s not that thick on top at first, but it gets thicker as you cook it.
- Bake for 35-45 mins, until the top is golden brown.
- Oat flour is technically gluten-free but, as I’ve mentioned before, oats are often grown in fields beside wheat and can become cross-contaminated. SO…people with severe gluten intolerances/allergies may have trouble with regular oat flour if they don’t get certified gluten-free oat flour like Only Oats Pure Whole Grain Oat Flour or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Oat Flour
- If you are the lucky sort who can tolerate gluten, feel free to use 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour instead of the oat flour/arrowroot starch/quinoa flour mix. Similarly, if you are gluten free, but you don’t have oat flour, or quinoa flour on hand, feel free to try this recipe with your favourite gluten free flour. I can’t guarantee it will turn out EXACTLY the same, but the recipe is pretty fool-proof. You WILL need a bit of arrowroot (or tapioca) starch for the fruity filling part though!
- Likewise, if you’re the lucky sort who can have butter, then feel free to use 1/4 cup butter instead of coconut oil for the topping.
P.S. – Garden Project update: Remember when I said there was -A- groundhog? I was mistaken. Clearly, like roaches, when you see one groundhog, you can safely assume that there are several lurking in the hedgerows (or, in my case, my lazy-a$$ neighbour’s garage…like a hobo) because now I have 2 freakin’ baby groundhogs and their ne’er-do-well parents running around my back yard! I would say they were cute if they weren’t knocking tables over to eat the plants that I placed specifically on top to keep them AWAY from the varmints. I’ve also spent several hours constructing a rather stunning (if I may say so myself) make-shift fence around the planters I intend to plant veggies and flowers in. (I have also planted my herbs and veggies in it. Also also…I got the PRETTIEST roses for my flower planter. They smell like apricot lemonade. Yum!).
I’m probably a total moron for proceeding with my garden project given that I have fur-roach hobo pigs running around eating every non-lethal green thing out there, but if there is anyone who is determined to make something work IN SPITE of the hobo pigs, it’s me.
In addition to my fences, I’ve also spread critter ridder all along the fence they crawl under to get to my yard AND have spread blood meal around the veggies I don’t want them eating. If you guys don’t know what blood meal is, use it ONLY when you’re desperate. That sh*t smells like death in a bag because…well…it kinda is. Indeed, I’ve re-named it ‘death dirt’. Doubling as an excellent fertilizer, blood meal is a mix of dirt and blood from some animal or other and it makes everything smell like decomp. (I’ve turned you off your Strawbarb Crumble haven’t I?). BUT it seems to work…so far *knocks on wood*.
I also went to IKEA to get myself a patio set to put in my back yard, AND I’ve gotten me a real Weber BBQ. For the past two years, I’ve tried getting by with my Baby Weber, but that thing just doesn’t f*cking work. WHEN you get it to light, it goes from flames to embers without any stage in the middle where you could cook your food. So you either have to toss your food into a tiny wall of flames (leaving your food looking and tasting much like the charcoal brickettes used to cook it) or you toss it on a warm grill above MAYBE one faintly-glowing orange ember (giving you slightly warm tartare for dinner. Yum…)
In other words, the garden project is actually done (pictures to come)! Huzzah!
In the mean time, WHEN I’ve managed to convince myself to work, I spend hours out there, sitting at my table, slathering sunscreen on, plugging away at my working on my research project, and just otherwise enjoying life! It’s pretty nice. AND…I may (for the first time in nearly a decade) get to the end of the summer and find myself with a complexion that is one (or two) shade(s) above ‘Casper’. Le woot!
P.P.S. – If you didn’t notice in my recipe notes above, I’m trying something new with my recipe cards. I’ve been getting feedback from my non-culinary leper friends that they would like to try my recipes but don’t have the litany of ingredients that I always have in my pantry. SO…I’m giving you guys more common-place ingredient substitutions so that EVERYONE can join the party! Let me know what you think!
Ok…that is that for this post folks! Per usual, if you have ANY questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email! I would love to connect with all of you!