Monday, August 31, 2009

Getting ready for SF

Today has been a long day. And it's barely over! I am preparing for my 2-week trip to San Fran starting tomorrow, so there was a bunch of preparing and packing that needed to be done. Part of the preparing consisted of making some meals for Mr. Milk to have while I am away. While he is perfectly capable of looking after himself, I figured it would be nice if he had some home cooked meals for those long work days where he can't be bothered to make something (and would most likely pick up the closest take-away menu).

One of the dishes I came up with as I was staring in the refrigerator was a tuna and chickpea salad for dinner tonight. We are lucky to live in a building in Vancouver that promotes community living, and has an organic vegetable garden in the back which is accessible to all the residents. We had some fresh heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, and parsley from the garden so I combined these with a small tin of tuna (packed in olive oil and dolphin safe of course!) and made this salad.

All you need are the following ingredients:

A can of chickpeas (or garbanzo beans)
A medium sized tomato, diced
A can of tuna
A tablespoon of chopped parsley
A medium zucchini (diced, lightly sauteed in light olive oil till golden brown, and cooled)
Salt/pepper to taste
Juice of half a lemon
A tablespoon of olive oil
Mix all in the ingredients in a bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour or so before serving.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What does one have to do to get a ring around here

Mr. Milk and I are mostly in agreement about what's important for our wedding day and marriage. Flowers are beautiful but they don't last, the wedding dress can be gorgeous but chances of wearing it again are slim (at least not the same one!), so spending a ton of money on these things seems a little pointless. What we don't want to be too budget conscious about are our wedding bands and our photographer (more on him coming soon in a later post) since these are the things that last from your wedding day. 

We have been perusing stores for wedding bands in the last few months, trying to decide what we both like, if we want matching bands or not, and so on. Mr. Milk finally found a band that he was excited about from none other than Tiffany's (which I love, but then again, who doesn't, little blue box and all).

So we went to the store to ask about prices only to find out that this particular band is being discontinued. Tiffany's will no longer be making it therefore the only sizes you can get it in are the ones that the stores already have in stock. Well it turns out that Mr. Milk has a very common ring size! I have spent most of the morning calling a bunch of Tiffany stores in an attempt to see who has the ring in his size. Apparently there are only three (yes 3) left in the US market! And a few more internationally! The other issue with this particular ring (yes we try not to EVER take the easy road) is that because of its shape and style, it is very difficult to resize without leaving marks (or so we have been told by two separate sales people). Well, when the Tiffany jewelers are telling you that resizing is difficult you sit up and listen! Needless to say we want it even more now that it is hard to find and will be discontinued! In Mr. Milk's mind he will have a very unique ring in the years to come.

So I have called four different stores (and had a fifth one on my list) leaving my contact details and being told how difficult this is but that the sales people would do their best. I LOVE the customer service at this store. No matter who you are, or what you look like when you walk into a Tiffany store, or whether you buy anything or not, they treat you with courtesy and are super friendly. Well... the call finally came! The lady helping me at the Bay Area store called back to tell me that she had found one and was having it delivered to the store next week ready for me to go pick up! So happy! Although don't want to get to overexcited until its actually in the store and she has called me to say so. But still can't wait for my upcoming trip to San Fran to get it!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Engagement Photos

I lived in San Francisco for five years, completing my Psy.D. I LOVE that city! I met wonderful people, ate amazing food, and my only real complaint is that it's too windy! To top it all off, Mr. Milk proposed to me in my little apartment in North Beach! A few weeks after he proposed we started to talk about having some engagment photos taken. We decided that we wanted some pictures that would showcase San Fran and that we could look back on once we (or I) moved back home.

I began an internet hunt for an engagment photographer who not only met our location requirements - we wanted to be able to take pics in several locations across the city - but who also met our budget. All I have to say is thank god for craigslist! I was able to find a very talented young photographer by the name of Gabriel Beszeda, who was trying to make a transition from landscape photography to wedding/engagement photography and had a special deal advertised. We communicated back and forth through email, and we finally met one lunch time at my workplace (so nice of him to do) so that he could show me some of his work and discuss our needs.

We arranged our shoot to be on Valentine's Day 2008, which was a weekend Mr. Milk would be in SF. We had a wonderful day taking pictures followed by dinner at Palomino's. Who knew that being models for a day would be so tiring! We took photos in 3 different locations around the city and here is a sample for you to see.
A favorite (above)
Another favorite (above)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Home-Made Pizza

Cooking is something I love to do. I find it relaxing, creative, and you are typically left with something yummy to eat! I love to bake too, although I admittedly do less of this, and when I do bake it’s with chocolate in some form or another. Now that Mr. Milk and I are living in the same location, I’ve found that I enjoy cooking that much more. Let’s face it, it’s not a lot of fun cooking for just one!

This past weekend Mr. Milk and I went on a bike tour of the Fraser Valley with Slow Food Vancouver. We biked from farm to farm in the beautiful countryside tasting cheeses, ice-cream, salmon, baked goods, and fresh fresh produce! We were lucky and had great weather on both days. One of the “slow stops” was Anita's Organic, selling organic flours, whole grains, legumes, bran, and flakes. While we were there, I got the idea to buy some flour and make home-made pizza from scratch. We bought the “White Whole Wheat, Fresh Fine Grind” flour, and last night we made some pizza. I decided to be a little creative with it and use mostly non-traditional toppings. Here’s the recipe for the dough and our toppings, although you can put pretty much whatever you choose on it :)


 ½ teaspoon sugar
1 package dry yeast
½ cup warm water
1 ½ cups flour + extra for flouring surface (we used the white whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

1. Dissolve the sugar and yeast in warm water in a bowl and let it stand for 5 mins
2. Add the flour, salt, and oil to the yeast mixture and stir until it forms into a dough. If it sticks to your fingers add some more flour.
3. Knead for 5 mins
4. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray (or spread a small amount of olive oil if you don’t have cooking spray) and place the dough in the bowl, coating it with the oil
5. Cover and let it sit in a warm place for 45-60mins
6. Punch dough done and form into a ball, and let it sit for another 30mins, covered.
7. Place some flour on your countertop to prevent dough from sticking and roll it out into whatever shape you prefer.
8. It’s ready for toppings!

So now the fun part! I made the pizza on a large baking sheet and decided to top it with roasted eggplant, roasted yellow peppers, roasted asparagus (cut thinly, place on a cookie sheet, add salt and pepper to taste, olive oil, and bake for 15mins at 400°F. Let cool before placing on pizza), mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, prosciutto, fresh basil, red onions, shredded mozzarella cheese, and dried oregano sprinkled on top. For the tomato sauce base, I bought a can of crushed tomatoes and used that.
Place your pizza in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 40mins or until crust is golden brown and cheese has melted.

Here are the end results. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Starting to plan the wedding

So like I said, one of the main reasons I started this blog was to write about my wedding planning. Therefore, it’s only fitting that I begin with a little background info. My fiancé, who I shall call Mr. Milk, and I are both from the small island oCyprus in the Mediterranean. Our relationship up until now consisted mostly of long distance, with him living in Vancouver, Canada and I in San Francisco. The proposal came Christmas morning 2008, after all our other "insignificant" gifts were opened. He knelt down on one knee and popped the question with the ring I had always wanted! To be honest, I don't really know what he said. All I remember is that I thought it was a joke until I saw the ring, and then at some point, after many tears, he said "well?" and all i could do was nod. 

So this past July I made the move from San Fran to Vancouver. Most of our family lives back in Cyprus and so we are in the process of planning our wedding there. We recently got back from a 3-week stay in Cyprus which ALL revolved around wedding plans. Our main goal was to get a date and venue secured. Neither of us knew how difficult this would be! Apparently, in order to have options, you need to book 2 year in advance! Two Years! I didn't even know I was getting married 2 years ago! We went from hotel to hotel (as most wedding receptions take place in hotels in Cyprus) only to hear that they had no available Saturdays in Sept or Oct of 2010. We debated over changing our day to a Friday or Sunday, but neither Mr. Milk nor I liked that idea, feeling it would be less convenient for our guests. Then we thought about pushing it to June or May of 2011 (we wanted a summery wedding), but that seemed too far away, and we didn't have the time to make more hotel rounds to check date availability. There were plenty of times when I thought and said, lets just go to Vegas!

But literally hours before our flight back to Vancouver, we secured a gorgeous venue with a beautiful small church on the grounds, where we are to be married on Sept 25th 2010! Here are some pics of the location.

The Church
The Hotel

Our ceremony and dinner will take place at the InterContinental Hotel at Aphrodite Hills. Technically it's in Paphos, west of Limassol, but really its on the boarder, 20-30 minutes away from Limassol.

Advice for those of you wanting to have your wedding in Cyprus and who might be living abroad (for Cypriot weddings I mean, cause its much easier for those who just want a destination wedding in Cyprus): start early! Very very very early!

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Post

So I recently decided to start a blog (obviously this is my first post!). I’ve been thinking about this for several days now and finally decided to go for it for several reasons. First, I have plenty of time on my hands at the moment. Secondly, I am in the midst of planning my wedding, and although I am not very creative, the wedding has forced me to tap into my creative side – usually reserved for cooking. Thirdly, I have been reading and looking at some other people’s blogs, and have become inspired by them.

I guess I never realized how much work it actually takes to create your blog and be happy with the design. I spent about half the day today looking for templates and borders, until I came across this three-column one on this bloggers site and loved it! So now that I have this all set up, hopefully I will keep up with it. I picture my blogs focusing around the wedding planning (will tell you more about it in another post), cooking and recipes, and anything else that comes to mind.