Journal

You can’t succeed if you don’t try…

Well I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while, but I’m not going to lie, my personal fears have held me back. Will I be good enough, will people want to read what I write, what will I talk about, and the list goes on and on. But today I decided to say “screw it”. How will I know if I never try. If I fail, I fail, but at least it won’t be because I didn’t even try.

First a little about myself. I’m in my early forties and happily married to my highschool sweatheart.  I work full time, struggle with the normal day to day stresses in life, but overall we have a pretty good life. We don’t have any children, but we do have 2 furbabies. A mixed breed dog named Rosco and a Dogue de Bordeaux named Brogan.

I love to cook, struggle with cleaning (it’s not my favourite thing to do), love photography, paddle boarding (or really anything involving water), animals (especially my dogs), reading, and most recently learning about essential oils and incorporating them into our day to day life.

My goal is to share some of my interests and ideas with all of you. Maybe some of my ideas, recipes or hints and tips will help someone else out. Or if nothing else give you a little escape from your reality.

dogs

Brogan’s heart mystery

Brogan has beaten the odds, no one had expectations of him making it for more than 4 months after he was diagnosed. We smashed those numbers and he continues to do well. If I’m doing math correctly it’s been 2 1/2 years since his diagnosis, which is amazing and we are so grateful that he is still with us and doing relatively well. He is now starting to show old dog symptoms, so we have added CBD oil to his morning ritual. It’s amazing how big of a difference that has made for him. He has the puppy “zoomies” more often than he has in a long while. It’s a fantastic thing to see him be such a goof again. I didn’t realize that he had slowed down until we see him act like a puppy again.

His heart still gives him a bit of grief (and a little stress for those that love him). He still has had random dizzy spells when he gets excited, but overall we seemed to have it under control. Then this past weekend he had a bad collapse, this one seemed a little different than the ones in the past. He got dizzy, but then when he collapsed and lost consciousness he lost control of his bladder and also went very rigid. It was more like a mini seizure of some sort than his normal faint. I don’t know what to think about that. He’s rarely lost control of his bladder (but it has happened) and I’ve only seen him go rigid once before and that was right before we diagnosed him. So now the neurological link possibility fits a little better. The cardiologist thought there might be a neurological issue that was a contributing factor to his collapses, but no one was really sure how to test that or if it was all a heart issue. Not that this has confirmed anything for anyone. It is just another piece in the complex puzzle that has become our life with Brogan. His most recent collapse makes me realize that we do really need to enjoy every minute we have with him.

main dishes · recipes

Spring/egg rolls in a bowl

I’m sure by now you have all seen the instant pot recipe for egg rolls in a bowl…I had looked through numerous versions, but none of them seemed like they needed the instant pot, and they didn’t sound as appealing as my sister in laws spring rolls (she is from Thailand and makes the BEST springrolls). I have helped her make springrolls a few times, and I suck at it. They are a lot of work and I’m too slow at rolling them. By the time I’m done making them we would have caved and ordered something ūüôā So I figured I would take her recipe and just make it into the egg roll in a bowl that everyone is sharing on social media. We had them last night, and they were amazing. I also think they are much healthier because nothing is deep fried.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1¬†lb ground beef or pork
  • 2¬†cups bean sprouts
  • 1¬†cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2¬†cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2¬†cup broccoli slaw
  • 2¬†small packages of rice vermicelli
  • 2¬†small pckg of beef oxo
  • 2¬†tsp seasoning salt
  • 1¬†tsp black pepper
  • 1¬†tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1¬†pckg egg roll wrap

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. put vermicelli in a big bowl with warm water for 15min and drain
  2. fry ground pork or beef until no longer pink
  3. add all remaining ingredients (minus wrappers) and fry until vegetables are tender, once veggies are tender add the vermicelli noodles in and mix well
  4. while that is cooking slice the wontons into wide strips, brush with oil and bake at 350 for ~10min until crispy
  5. serve with your favourite spring/egg roll dipping sauce.
main dishes · recipes

Instant Pot Pork Chops

INGREDIENTS

  • 4¬†or 5 pork chops
  • seasoning salt
  • pepper
  • 2¬†cups broth saved from the beef roast recipe
  • 1¬†can mushroom soup
  • (corn starch or flour to thicken sauce)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. season the pork chops well on both sides with seasoning salt and pepper
  2. add 1 Tbsp butter to instant pot, put on sauté and when hot add the pork chops. brown on each side and when finished take them out and set on plate.
  3. add some of the broth and deglaze the Instant Pot using a wooden spatula
  4. once pot is deglazed push cancel to shut it off, add the rest of the broth and the can of mushroom soup to the pot (no need to mix)
  5. put the pork chops back into the pot
  6. seal and set for 12min
  7. allow to natural release for at least 10min
  8. remove pork chops, set aside
  9. thicken with a couple tbsp of cornstarch mixed with water and then added to the pot that has been put back to sauté, mixing until thickened. Or make a roux and thicken sauce that way.
main dishes · recipes

Beef Roast in Instant Pot

INGREDIENTS

  • 5¬†lb blade or chuck roast
  • 1¬†pckg gravy mix
  • 1¬†pckg ranch dressing mix
  • 1¬†pckg onion soup mix
  • 1¬†can beer

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. place the beer in the bottom of the instant pot, then place the roast in.
  2. sprinkle the rest of the packages on top and around the roast
  3. close the instant pot and seal it.
  4. press the meat/stew button and set for a 120min cook time. let it decrompress (natural release). remove and serve.

We have made this recipe with many different cuts of roast, it doesn’t seem to matter what cut you use it comes out melt in your mouth tender.

This isn’t rare or even pink, it’s very well done, but falls apart because it is so tender. I use it mostly for the tougher cuts of meat that would take hours to cook in the slow cooker to get mediocre results. This makes the tough cuts fall apart tender. It is also worth mentioning that the liquid makes the best tasting gravy. I generally make a roux and then make the gravy using that.

I also suggest you save 2 cups of the broth from this recipe to use to make these pork chops
https://commonscentsliving.blog/2019/02/21/instant-pot-pork-chops/

You can freeze the 2 cups of broth to use to make the pork chops at a later date.

Journal

FOMO – fear of missing out

I’m sure all of you have experienced the aforementioned “fear of missing out” or FOMO at some point in your life. I can honestly say that I haven’t experienced it often, because normally if I want to do it, I do, and if I don’t, I don’t, and the decision is easy and I’m okay with it. However, this weekend I understand the term completely. I had surgery a few weeks ago to have my gallbladder removed and that has sidelined me from this weekends snowmobiling. I keep telling myself it’s short term pain for long term gain, because I know in my logical brain that if I push it I will end up further behind and end up missing out on more rides. However that didn’t make my heart feel better when I watched our group of friends all head out on their snowmobiles. I now have a bigger appreciation of FOMO and how that makes a person feel.

I am trying my hardest to stay focused on the positive and keep myself busy so that I’m not watching the clock wondering what everyone else is doing. I know I’m making the right decision, but that sure doesn’t make it easier.

dogs

CBD oil and Brogan

Brogan is 7 1/2 now and he is starting to show some “old dog” signs. I know 7 1/2 doesn’t seem old, but for a dog that is almost 150lbs he is definitely in the senior category. He was sometimes reluctant to get in the truck and often wanted me to boost his bum into the bed. I also noticed that he licked at his joints more than he used to, definitely more than what could be counted as normal grooming. I had a bit of NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) left over from a while ago when he had hurt his shoulder doing who knows what. So I spoke to my veterinarian and since he had recently been examined and had bloodwork done she agreed that it was worth trying. Within a week he was back to his normal goofy self. He wanted to wrestle with Rosco again and jumped into the back seat of the truck and our bed like it was nothing. It was like we had turned back the clock a little bit. I was impressed. But I was also a little concerned that with his heart condition this might not be the best long term solution for him. So I began the process of researching CBD oil. I had heard rave reviews from people who had used it on themselves and had great success. Not as many pet testimonials, but I had heard some and figured it was worth a try. We knew how he felt with NSAID’s on board, so it wouldn’t be hard to tell if the CBD oil was working for him or not.

I’m very happy to say that he is doing amazingly well with just CBD oil and he isn’t even taking the full recommended dose. Now we can keep the NSAID’S in our back pocket for a later date, when the CBD oil just isn’t enough.

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of research on CBD oil yet, even less for pets, and there are a lot of products that aren’t what they say they are. So if you are thinking about trying CBD oil with your pet please make sure you do your research, find a veterinarian who is familiar with CBD and see if they have any recommendations. Also make sure that the CBD oil you choose doesn’t have any THC in it. Dogs are very sensitive to THC and we want to help them not end up in the emergency room with them.

main dishes · recipes

Grilled pork chops with bacon and mushrooms

A friend of ours shared this recipe with us a while back and I finally got a chance to make it. It is a fantastic way to cook pork chops if you you are looking for something different.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 to 4 bone in pork chops
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp cracked pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cups shallots chopped
  • 1/4 cups of white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups of spinach
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. lather pork cops with Dijon mustard and season with black pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano and sea salt. add chops to skillet and let cook for 8 minutes per side.
  2. while chops are cooking, add bacon to wok and cook for about 5 minutes per side.
  3. when chops are halfway done, add mushrooms and shallots to wok and cook for 2 minutes. finally add white wine and spinach to wok and let simmer another 5 minutes.
  4. stir occasionally and finish with lemon juice on top.
  5. once chops are done, add mushroom sauce on top of meat and enjoy.

just as a side note I just barely sprinkled garlic powder on ours because my hubby doesn’t love garlic and they were still fantastic.