Tag Archives: cooking

Canada By Car: Leg 4 – Living in Eastport

As we drove up the laneway to Eastport Organics there were people lounging about on the lawn after a hard days work. We met Jason, who owns and runs the farm and Meghan and Cuchulain who were staying on the farm and helping out. We went blueberry picking in the late afternoon in the abundant bushes down the road and cooked up an epic feast of local cod, fresh vegetables from the garden and cheesecake. Dinner was also served with good conversation which was awesome. I knew in the first couple of hours that I was going to enjoy staying here very much.

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The Glorious Eastport Organics 🙂

The next day was the first one getting to work. I planted two and a half rows of lettuce plants, picked some raspberries, and watered and weeded sections of the garden. Gardening is something that I have always enjoyed and I started to learn a few tricks of the trade here. Namely on the first day about compost tea that used compost and seaweed from the beach harvested and kept in a big drum of water that is used to water the garden so that it is full of nutrients. We ate kaplan fish sticks and scallops for dinner which was delicious. My back and hands hurt from the hard work but for the first time in a while my tiredness felt hard earned. I slept very well that night and was super relaxed.

On the farm lives quite a few animals that I quickly came to adore. There was Marley, the cheeky golden retriever, Kota, the black labrador, Zeus, the black and white cat and a couple of horses. We spent the morning hanging out with the animals and taking pictures with them. They are too cute. We had another new arrival on the farm in the form of a German girl, Wiebke. We weeded and watered for the afternoon, picked some blueberries and raspberries and then we cooked up and ate an epic feast of scallop and cod mornay with cheesecake for dessert.

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Chillin on the couch playing guitar with Marley

In the afternoon I watered, harvested zucchini and served customers. There were so many zucchini going about the place that I made stuffed zucchini for dinner. We sat and watched the fireworks over the property outside that they had down the road and then headed off to our first ever Newfoundland kitchen party.

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Stuffed zucchini for dinner, too many zucchinis….

Now I had not really heard too much about these before arriving in Newfoundland but apparently they are an institution and one that should not be missed. So down the road we went to Chad and Thea’s house where we all sat around in the kitchen eating fish and brews (a local dish traditional at Newfie kitchen parties) and playing musical instruments and singing. It was a heap of fun. I don’t know why more people don’t have kitchen parties to be honest.

The following day led us even further to living off the land. We spent the morning planting lettuce and picking raspberries before going mussel diving. The unfortunate thing about this was that there were too many jellyfish and not enough large mussels to make it worthwhile for dinner so we decided to come home with sea urchins instead. After harvesting the roe, also known as uni and a Japanese delicacy, from the middle we decided to make a pasta sauce with the uni for dinner. Adventurous… it kind of has a taste like lobster but with a really buttery type of texture. While it was good, we didn’t have enough uni.

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The sea urchins with the orange uni inside

After working the morning the following day, we got a visit from Chad and Thea at the farm. Chad was building a makeshift pizza oven on the beach from the clay and sand in the area and was curing it for the evening so we could go and have a pizza party. They were to bring the dough, we were to bring the vegetables. And so we went down and sat on the beach with beers and a guitar eating vegetable, uni and blueberry pizzas (not all together of course) and singing some tunes as we went. It was the most glorious day and I was starting to feel really at home in Eastport.

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The makeshift pizza oven on the beach

In the coming days the zucchini continued to get out of control and I spent my days harvesting and chopping zucchini into small pieces and putting them into bags to be frozen. I took Marley to the beach in the afternoon to play fetch and the defiant puppy decided that when I was done he wasn’t and ran away on me. I spent most of the afternoon chasing after him and trying to get him to come home. What a pain in the butt! But I still adored him anyway.

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More zucchinis….

My last day round one in Eastport was spent getting stung by a bee whilst hanging out washing and spending the rest of the day chopping zucchini. In the evening we drove down behind the new land that is being cleared to expand the farm and started up a giant bonfire with all of the scrap wood that was cleared. We sat around and cooked sausages on sticks and played guitar and sang songs. It was a lovely way to spend the evening and I was feeling more relaxed than ever. But it was again time to hit the road for a couple of days and see what the rest of Newfoundland had to offer in the south.

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Friends chilling on the beach playing music

To see what I got up to on my southern Newfoundland road trip, check back in next week!

5 Different Ways to Challenge Yourself Daily

“There is nothing like a challenge to bring out the best in man” – Sean Connery.

Most people reading this aren’t off in the grand world traveling and constantly having different challenges thrown at them everyday like I usually do. And I currently am not off gallivanting around the world with all the wonder that change and the road offers right now myself. But there are different things that I do at least one of everyday to challenge myself and keep the stagnant at bay! Try to incorporate these small things into your everyday lives to challenge you, keep the boredom at bay and help you feel great!

Experiment With New Food

One of the biggest things that I miss from the road is all of the incredible food that is on offer. That said, I came back from Europe with a huge list of foods I had eaten that I wanted to try and replicate at home. While some of these have been a disaster, I have managed to stumble on some amazing recipes for different foods such as Hungarian Paprika Chicken, Spanish Tortilla, Polish Bigos….. and so the list goes on. So I encourage you as a part of your daily challenge to once a week, pick a country, find a recipe for something you haven’t tried before and cook it. That simple! If you aren’t too much of a fan of different world foods, maybe try a new cook book or a different recipe for something you already cook. Variety is the spice of life! So start your week by challenging your taste buds and cooking skills!

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Trying my hand at beetroot soup in Poland.

Do A Puzzle

Everybody has heard of the saying “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”. And this is true of the neural connections in your brain. Scientists have discovered that when you are a small child, in the first five years you develop billions of neural connections that are designed to function for the rest of your life so that you are able to perform different tasks. Many of these neural connections will sever with age if you do not continue to stimulate these pathways as the brain attempts to conserve energy. Never fear though, with brain training and neuroplasticity, we can continue to stimulate our neural pathways, sometimes making new neural connections with the right kind of training. This is important, especially as we get older, to ward off brain diseases such as Alzheimers’ and dementia. When I was living in Toronto, I used to go to The Centre for Brain Health at one of the hospitals and they used to pay me a little bit of money to do puzzles and other activities whilst either wearing an electrode cap to measure my brain waves or being on and MRI machine to detect the highest functioning areas of the brain whilst doing particular tasks. Some of the information they gained about memory, brain function and degeneration was incredible and I will write another post about my experiences with this at a later date (so follow me if you want a notification!)

Doing a puzzle or two a day will help to keep you sharp. The key to choosing your puzzles though is to choose different ones. Right now I have a small crossword puzzle book and I do a crossword each night before bed. These are great for stimulating recall pathways and associations. I also bought an IQ test book on the road with hundreds of different types of puzzles to challenge spatial awareness, mathematical skills, language skills, memory and logic. There are many different programs that you can find on the internet that help stimulate brain growth and neuroplasticity as well so get jump on them. Just don’t fall into the age old trap of doing sudoku after sudoku after sudoku. Once you have learned the techniques required for solving a sudoku, it no longer poses an adequate enough challenge to keep the brain growing. So keep it mixed up. Do different types of puzzles and crosswords to keep you thinking.

Exercise

Many people go to the gym and fall into the same standard routine of exercise every day they go. Exercise is about betterment of the self. And to get better, you need to set small goals and slowly work your way towards achieving them. Currently I do Crossfit, a constant daily challenge with yourself to be stronger, faster and fitter. The people I train with are super supportive and we will often compete against each other in a friendly way to help push each other to be better. It helps when you have a partner to train with. So if you train on your own, maybe try starting up a conversation with someone you see all the time at they gym and ask the train with them. They will keep you honest and make you work harder.

My current challenge is to get to be doing strict pull ups with my own body weight by the end of the year. In February when I started I was using twice as much resistance as I am using now, so I am working towards achieving that goal, slowly but surely. Everyday though is a small challenge within the larger challenge. Today I do one or two more reps than I did yesterday. I try stringing more together at once than I did yesterday. Eventually it gets easier, and you can move to the next small step within the push towards the greater goal.

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Lifting like a boss. Crossfit 14.5 Open Workout

Start up a conversation with a stranger

It is easy in this technology-driven world that we live in to get caught up with what is online and not what is in front of you. I challenge you every day to look up and put the phone away. When you go into a coffee shop and order your morning coffee, instead of texting/checking emails/standing around not speaking and waiting, start up a conversation with your barista or another person in the queue.  Ask them how their day is going and make a joke. Pay them a compliment. Trust me when I say that you will feel better about yourself and your day for having made a small effort to strike up a new conversation. That person will also most likely feel better about themselves if you can make the simple effort of saying something to make them smile. Who knows, with time you may even end up with a new friend. And it will certainly help you develop some awesome conversational skills.

Do A Kind Deed

We have covered challenges that are good for the body and good for the mind. It is also great to incorporate challenges for the soul. No matter how small or how insignificant it might seem to you, try and do at least one kind deed per day. This could be something as small as helping somebody pick up something that they have dropped on the ground. I am a grand believer in the idea of paying it forward. Over the years I have met many amazing people that have bestowed incredible generosity and kindness upon me during my travels and in life in general. I am so grateful for the amazing help and support that I have received that I feel it my duty as a human to pay this amazing kindness forward. Whilst I was walking the Overland Track, a six day, 90km hike in Tasmania, I met two guys who were transiting back through my home town. So I went out for dinner with them, showed them to a local pub with original music for the night and in the morning I picked them up and drove them around to see some of the sights before I dropped them off at the airport. Something I have had others that I barely know do for me and I have appreciated it hugely. That and I also find great enjoyment in meeting new people and helping them to enjoy my hometown. While your daily kindness doesn’t have to be of such a magnitude, every kind deed regardless of size is important.

I honestly believe that if people work towards being kinder to one another and towards being more grateful for the things they have in this life, then the human race together will be working towards being a better species. And it starts with you! So help someone. Make them smile. And then hope they too will pay it forward.

So venture forward into your week! Do something out of the ordinary, cook something new, do a puzzle, help a stranger and have a chat to them and push yourself when you exercise to be better. Be a better version of yourself! I challenge you…..