Here's what's making July a happy month for me.
Discovering a new writer and an old inspiration
It's hard to imagine a person who embodies the virtues and attributes of being a Canadian quite like Terry Fox. Fox became a renowned athlete and cancer awareness activist after his devastating loss of a leg to bone cancer. He set an audacious goal to first run across Canada, and then to raise one dollar for every person in the country. With a prosthetic limb that was never designed for the rigors of long distance running, Fox set out on a "Marathon of Hope", running an average of 26 miles a day as he made his way across Canada.
At the Museum of History's special exhibition on Fox's life, we learned so much about his struggles on and off the road. How in the early days he was splashed and nearly run off the road by trucks. How he struggled with his new celebrity status as the run gained momentum. And his secret worries about his health. It was a story I thought I knew well, but what I hadn't realized was that Fox was a prolific writer, taking solace in his diary. At the end of brutally exhausting days that combined running and public appearances, he would chronicle his experiences in his diary, sometimes writing pages at a time.
Terry Fox was always an inspiration to me but to see him in this new light, as a writer, makes me admire him even more.
Celebrating Canada Day!
There's only one place to celebrate Canada Day and that's here in Ottawa! This year, we mixed things up a bit and detoured away from the traditional celebrations downtown and instead visited the small community of Navan, just outside of Ottawa. Patriotic spirits were running high there as well - until they were nearly drowned by a spectacular thunder storm. Let's hope spending the afternoon in a movie theatre counts as celebrating, because that's exactly what we did when it was evident that Mother Nature wasn't letting up any time soon!
Speaking of movies... I went to a drive in!
Can you believe I had never been to a drive in movie theatre before? We took the opportunity to visit one in London, Ontario, called the Mustang Drive In, and it was a lot of fun. I was amazed at how many people were there and how many vehicles had such an elaborate set up - it reminded me a bit of tailgating at a football game! The concession line was brutally long but the popcorn was hot and fresh - always my number one movie priority!
Saying goodbye to some old "friends"
When we go camping, we don't catch our own fish or chop our own wood. No, instead we eat snacks and play board games - lots and lots of board games. And some we love more than others. So this month, we're clearing away some of our old 'friends' by selling them online with Varage Sale - and hopefully making enough money and clearly enough shelf space to discover some new games! PS: Ottawa friends: We're selling "New England" for just $25! See it here!
Becoming a culinary master
Since discovering "Chopped" and "Chopped Canada" while recovering from a bout of jet lag, I've come to the conclusion that I too could be a culinary genius. Afterall, who gets more inventive with nachos than me? I figured, being all geniusy, I should start at the top and become a master of Hollandaise sauce. Turns out, you don't have to be a genius at all! You just need to be attentive and organized, something even I can master for about 10 minutes or so.
My recipe is an adaptation of Tyler Florence's recipe, which can find at the Food Network, and it's the perfect amount if making Eggs Benedict for two - or for just one person who really, really like to dip things.
2 egg yolks
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp water
Pinch each of cayenne pepper, freshly ground black pepper, and crushed tarragon
1/4 cup melted butter
Get your double boiler (or a homemade version using a sauce pan and a bowl) ready to go - you want the water simmering but shallow enough that the bottom of bowl doesn't get wet (if the heat is too direct, you'll scramble your eggs!). Place all your ingredients but the butter in your bowl and whisk your heart out - you want them to double or even triple in volume. Gently set your bowl on top of the sauce pan and keep whisking like a maniac. Slowly pour in the melted butter, still whisking, until the sauce thickens. Careful, this happens much more quickly than you imagine! And there you have it - blender free, package free, homemade Hollandaise sauce. Way to go, culinary geniuses!