LisaListed

The best things in life aren't things at all


3 Comments

A Year Ago I Quit My Job To Move To Another Country With My Husband

Holy crap – One year ago today, we gave our two week’s notice to our jobs and told our friends/family that we were packing up and moving to the US in two weeks. That was one of the toughest things in the world to keep a secret, as we weren’t sure until the very night before that we would actually be moving.

IMG_3445

We had to list our home and keep that as a secret from our friends, which sucked because if friends wanted to come over we would have to come up with some sort of excuse/dirty lie so that they wouldn’t see the For Sale sign in our lawn. 

We had to figure out if we should sell our house, then we had to actually sell our house when that decision was made (thanks Dad). We had to sell all of our belongings (I was an effin Kijijii ninja), figure out what the shit we were getting into, try and manage the thousands of pounds of paperwork that was coming our way that we didn’t understand, figure out if we should keep our car, if we should hire movers or if we should rent a U-Haul and drive a trillion miles, keep a documented spreadsheet with every single item listed with a value that we had to present to the always so friendly peeps at the border, cross our fingers that our Visas would actually get issued. We were homeless and jobless for a few days and it was utterly terrifying…. yet thrilling!

Everything fell into place for us literally seconds before manic panick mode struck… John’s offer was unconditional on the Friday, our house closed at 11:58pm on the Monday, and we quit our jobs the very next morning so that we could LEAVE the country in 15 days to make John’s start date. Ideally we would have given more than two weeks notice, but we didn’t have that luxury. Our renewed passports arrived the day before we left the country. We both had a sense of relief knowing that things would get a little less hectic after we arrived in Chicago, but little did we know that things were going to get ten fold more hectic once we actually got here. The hectic-ness was just getting rollin’…

I look back at the excitement, fear, and courage on the day where we were able to spill our secret and by golly goodness, I am so damn proud of us for taking one hellllll of a risk. Over the past year, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about taking chances… about how it’s really just about overcoming your fears. I’ve come to realize that every time you take a big risk in your life, no matter how it ends up, you’re always glad you took it.

Enjoy Life,
L

Advertisements


5 Comments

Bikini Butt Friendly Noodle Vegetable Chow Mein

If I could eat Chinese food every day for the rest of my life, I’d die fat and happy.
Sadly, Chinese food isn’t exactly considered healthy… but it sure makes my taste buds dance!

I’m on a vegetable kick lately as we are going to Miami in a couple of months and the very thought of being on a beach with Miami girls makes me feel insecure. So, here is a healthy version of noodle-y, veggie, chow mein goodness that is bikini butt friendly!

IMG_8036

BIKINI BUTT FRIENDLY NOODLE VEGETABLE CHOW MEIN

       Ingredients:

  • 1 large daikon radish spiraled into noodles (can also use a veggie peeler, a knife, or a mandolin, but I use my veggie spiral slicer which I LOVE)
  • 1 carton of shiitake mushrooms thinly sliced (stems removed)
  • 2 baby bok choys chopped up
  • 1 bell pepper sliced
  • 1 sweet onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup of grated carrot
  • 1 heaping cup of snap peas
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 garlic glove smashed and chopped (or grated)
  • 1 tbsp of grated fresh ginger
  • 4 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tsp of EVOO
  • 1 splash of red wine vinegar
  • Directions:
  • To make the sauce, combine ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, EVOO & red wine vinegar in a bowl and stir well.
  • In a wok, sauté EVOO with the onion and garlic until starts to become tender
  • Add mushrooms to the wok and sauté until mushrooms begin to become tender
  • Add the bell pepper, bok choy and snap peas to the wok until the peas become bright green
  • Add in the carrots and spinach
  • Once spinach starts to wilt, add in the sauce and combine everything evenly
  • Lastly toss in those daikon noodles to the party, sauté everything for about 5 minutes until the noodles start to become slightly cooked
  • Serve with sesame seeds and chopped green onions on topTwirl those noodles round and round, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how hearty, filling and delicious this dish truly is!

    Could easily add baby corn and/or brocolli to the dish as well.
    Or chicken, shrimp, ribs… whatever floats your boat.

    Would love to hear what you lovelies think of this butt friendly dish! This one was also husband approved… as long as the noodles are twirly, I have a happy hubby!

    Bon Appetit!

    Enjoy,
    L


3 Comments

Zucchini Pasta A La Lisa

There is something so comforting to me about a big bowl of fresh, warm pasta covered in delicious sauce in the winter months. Comfort food at it’s finest! Unfortunately for me, my hips find pasta a little bit TOO comforting.

So, how to get a bowl of fresh, warm pasta still covered in delicious sauce that is jean approved? Use vegetables as your noodles!

I’m sure you’ve seen this latest “trend” spiraling (pun defs necessary) out of control and you’ve probably thought that the concept seems interesting but there is NO WAY that you will replace your delicious, carby pasta noodles with VEGETABLES!? Stick with me, my fellow Carb Lovers!

Think zucchini is only delicious in loaf form with chocolate? Well you are wrong, my lovely!

First, let me share some health benefits of that silly, little green squash we call the zucchini:

  •  There’s ONLY 21 calories per cup.. HELLOOOO!!
  •  A POWER house of Vitamin C… move over oranges!
  •  Lutein & Zeaxanthin which promotes healthy eyesight… I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW THE RAIN IS GONE!
  •  Manganese… no this is not a “manly” Japanese dish, but a very essential mineral that promotes healthy bone tissue development and helps your body produce collagen. Asta la vista crow lines!
IMG_7849

Have you SEEN more beautiful noodles?!

Now let’s get to it, shall well?

Zucchini Pasta A La Lisa Recipe:

 Ingredients:

4 medium sized zucchini
Splash of olive oil
1 garlic glove diced
1 jar of tomato sauce
1 can of tomato paste
Approximately a cup of diced onions, mushrooms, garlic and bell peppers
Seasoning (I used Italian seasoning, and the classic duo of S&P)

Directions:

> I used my Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer to turn my zuch’s into long and luscious zuch noodles, but you could also use a mandolin slicer, a veggie peeler or simply a knife. I kept the peels on for extra nutrients. And it’s prettier.

> Sautee diced garlic in the EVOO for a minute or two, add the raw zuch noodles to the pan.

> Sautee, toss and coat the noodles in the oil & garlic until evenly coated. Only sautee for a minute or two… the noodles will JUST start to change color. TAKE THEM OUT! You’ll probably be tempted to keep cooking them because they still kind of look raw, but NOBODY likes mushy noodles.

> Remove noodles from the pan, put them in a side bowl.

> In same pan, sautée the diced veggies in a bit of EVOO. After they get a little bit tender, add in the tomato sauce and tomato paste.

> Stir around until heated throughout. Season to your taste.

> Once heated and seasoned accordingly, toss back in the noodles into the sauce bath.

> Toss to coat the noodles evenly and serve immediately. Dig in and be amazed!

IMG_7847

Be prepared to be surprised how full you are off from a beautiful bowl of vegetables that is jean friendly! All comments, tips and questions are welcomed!

Also, this was “Husband Approved” – that’s a winner in my books! Voila!

Enjoy!
Lisa

*** Can also easily be made with added meat or beans!


12 Comments

10 Things To Stop Complaining About Tis This Season

christmas bull dog

Complaining has become a national pastime. It’s been a gradual process, a creep of grumbling and carping that started out kind of wry, then, over time, became full-on obnoxious. We even complain about good things now, because it’s supposed to be cute or coy—implying that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We call our kids “a-holes,” go on and on about our high rents and mortgage payments in our comfortable neighborhoods, bemoan about the weather … IT CANNOT ALWAYS BE EITHER TOO HOT OR COLD!

Seriously, people?

Do we need some outright hardship to remind us of how great we have it?

starving kid

Nothing induces as much groaning and whining as the holidays, which have all the ingredients for the perfect self-pity pie: family, money, subtext and weather delays.

Enough is enough! If you have something to complain about this holiday season that isn’t a grave illness diagnosis, bankruptcy or a surprise serial-killer spouse, then shut up and sit down.

Here’s the list of the top 10 least bitch-worthy holiday gripes:

1. Houseguests

Yes, it’s taxing to have extra bodies crowding your couch, talking at you when you just want to watch TV after a long day, and generally changing the air quality in your home. But how lovely to have people who want to come and stay with you. And a home.

annoying houseguest

2. Family (even if they’re #1, above)

They anger you, they frustrate you, they infuriate you. With a single raised eyebrow or shift in intonation, they cause you to revert to a cranky 7-year-old. But they’re yours, and you’re theirs, and—give or take one (or two of them)—you will miss them when they’re gone. So be grateful you even have a family whether they are near or far.

3. Eating too much

If it’s really a problem, don’t do it.

stuffing face

Just! Stop! Eating!

Simple, right?

But if you’re going to eat—a lot or a little—savor it and start fresh tomorrow. But above all, do not complain because you have too much food. That’s just disgusting. And if you DO have too much food… give some of it away to people who would truly appreciate it.

4. Spending too much

See above. Just don’t do it. You are not actually contractually obligated to spend more than you have on other people. Anyone who expects that from you sucks.

santa collapse

We put that pressure on ourselves. It’s a choice.

Let’s be real… do you even remember any of the Christmas gifts you received three years ago at the TOP OF YOUR MIND? Didn’t think so. But I bet you do remember when Jimmy accidentally lit the Christmas tree on fire three years ago!? Point made.

5. Work parties

You have a job. Shut up.

unemployment

6. Vegetarians/Vegans/Gluten-freegans/Pesca-what’s-a-tarians

Hey! How nice! You have friends!

Friends who have beliefs and care about their bodies!

And who want to come over and eat at your house and spend time with you!

Must be tough…

santa vegan

7. People spoiling your children

But seriously now…people love your children, and children love to be loved and spoiled once in a while. This is definitely not the worst problem anyone has ever had. Some people show their love through expensive Christmas gifts… so thank them, appreciate them and be grateful that there are people out there who like your booger fingered kids.

8. If you’re too old to write to Santa, then don’t even dare writing a “wish list”

But for real… isn’t this the most obnoxious thing about Christmas? Handing somebody a list of items that you want them to buy you?! Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear ALL of your excuses… but none of them are valid. Nope, not even that one… NONE OF THEM! They all suck. And so does your wish list. Go buy everything yourself.

Don’t know what to get your friend or family member? How is that possible… you don’t speak to them and you don’t know their likes and dislikes?! Maybe instead of exchanging wish lists you should actually start by having a conversation once in a while.

If you are REALLY stuck get them a damn gift card – and to all you people who bitch and complain about receiving free money, then why don’t you just give that “awful, thoughtless gift” to the next homeless person you see on the street. At least somebody will appreciate it.

Pissed off that you spend way more money on somebody than they spent on you?  Looks like you need to revisit #4 again

 

holiday to do list

9. Weather

It’s either too hot, too cold. Too windy, too glumy. Too rainy, too sunny. Too much hail. Too much drought.

Complaining about the weather is a full time job… and what exactly do you think complaining could possibly do to change it!?

Especially at Christmas… there aren’t songs about a non-white Christmas! So shut up, suit up and grab your shovel. Or if you live in a land where there isn’t any snow at Christmas time and can roam the streets in your bathing suit… you best be shutting up extra hard.

weather

10. Travel

You have people to go see and the disposable income to buy a plane/train/stagecoach ticket. The crowds are terrible, people behave in direct opposition to the principles of the holiday spirit, and the inner Scrooge residing in your deepest core is stretching and yawning, awake again after a 51-week nap. But that’s what you signed up for when you planned this trip and chose to go somewhere else at the busiest time of year. You’re going because, for better or worse, you want to be with people you care about, who care about you, at a time when our hearts are cracked open just a teeny bit more than usual. You’re traveling to share love—just like all the other millions of nasty-faced assheads standing in the security line behind you. So when your patience is threadbare and you’re stranded on the tarmac at O’Hare with only one granola bar to split among a family of four, try to remember that we’re all in it together…one big happy holiday human stew.

busy airport

Enjoy Life,
L

Adapted from here


9 Comments

Why Ordering A Steak and Finding A Doctor Are More Similar Than You Thought

It happens to everyone… There’s always that one restaurant that gets you…

You’re on vacation in another country and everybody you run into keeps on recommending this one restaurant. They keep telling you amazing the food is. How they use local ingredients. How you just have to go.. just have to try it…

So you cave under the pressure and temptation. You dazzle yourself up and you are already salivating on your way to the restaurant. You walk through the front door, and you’re mesmerized by the ambiance. The smell, the décor, the people… you are so excited to join these people and share in this experience. You patiently wait for your server to seat you. They bring you water, light the candle on the table, and give you the menu.

Finally the menu! You tried looking online to see what the menu would look like, but this restaurant keeps their menu a secret from online lurkers. You smile at your dining companion and share a moment of excitement, and you slowly open up the menu that houses all the great food choices.

At first, you think that your eyes are playing tricks on you but then suddenly you realize that the menu is in a whole other language. You have no idea what these words say or what these symbols mean. When the server comes back, you try to ask questions about the menu while pretending that you can read gibberish, but the server doesn’t offer any tips onto what the menu actually says.

You decide you’ll just order a steak. That’s simple, surely a steak is on the menu somewhere. So you the waiter comes back and you try to order a steak… The server then asks you what kind of steak you would like:

1) Gibberish

2) Gibberish

3) Gibberish

steak

You settle on Option 2 because you like the twinkle in the server’s eye when they explained it in a foreing language you didn’t understand. They then asked how you would like it cooked, so you choose “medium”. The server then goes on a tangent that the chef recommends Option 2 cooked as rare because of “more gibberish….”. So you agree to whatever the chef says.

The server then asks you if you would like to add a whole whack load of side dishes onto your steak, none of which you recognize. You cannot recall what any of the names sounded like so you just say, “just the steak is fine, thank you.” The server thinks you are strange.

The server then asks which sauce you would prefer… again… all you want is the steak, cooked medium, and maybe some steamed vegetables and hell, even a potato too, but you just tell the server to choose a sauce since the chef likely has a suggestion anyhow.

Finally, the ordeal is over and you are left stressed out, panicked, have no idea how much this steak is going to cost you, and you just want to go home. But first with a pit stop to grab a burger.

One of the main questions that our fellow Canadian pals ask us is if we have healthcare. Short answer is ‘yes’, and then they start to ask me questions from there. Short answer to those questions is typically “I don’t know”.

health-jokes

Similar to ordering a steak in the above mentioned restaurant, trying to find a new family doctor is just as confusing and stressful. If not more. Back home in Canada, you can just call any Doctor’s office and ask if any doctors are accepting new patients. If they are, there you have a new doctor. If they aren’t, you continue calling until you find one. Easy as pie.

But here, it is so much more complicated. There are all of these code words, there are special networks that the Doctor has to fall under, you have to research to see if the family doctor meets cost and efficiency quality, they ask you tens of thousands of questions about your health care plan to which none of the answers are on your card. They talk in acronyms and a secret language that a typical Canadian would not understand.

Never in my entire life have I ever had to worry about how much seeing a Doctor would cost… it’s a strange thought to get used to!

“One sinusitis please”
“That’ll be $500.”

 

IMG_1586

no shame

It’s really weird to get used to. And no, I’m not complaining about having to pay. It’s just odd to someone who never used to ever have the thought cross their mind. And please hold all arguments about who has a better health care system, because frankly I’m not choosing a side, nor am I in any situation what so ever to select a side. I’m sure they are both wonderful in their own ways, and both have faults in their own ways.

I called a few Doctor Offices to try and find us a new family doctor. After each phone call, I felt absolutely silly and ridiculous. I tried to be prepared for questions they would ask, but you can’t be prepared for everything that you don’t know. I felt completely defeated in trying to find us a new doctor. It’s like trying to order a steak in a restaurant where nobody else speaks English.

We also have found out that there are three different kinds of places to go depending on what your situation is. I won’t bore you with the proper names of the places, nor does it really matter, so to simplify things they shall be numbered.

Place 1 is where you go if you have a paper cut

Place 2 is where you go if you have a broken bone

Place 3 is where you go if you have been shot

We have been warned that you better not go to Place 2 if really your condition justifies a visit to Place 1. You will be charged an extra premium. You have to know which Place to go to depending on your situation… that is weird. Nor is there a magic list that tells you where your condition falls, these are just things that people know. So if you have a really terrible sprain, do you go to Place 1 or to Place 2? What happens if you go to Place 1 but they tell you that you really should be at Place 2? Turns out that if you are badly injured and/or ill, there is a magic number that you call and they will tell you where to go… but they only tell you one place that you must go to and if you go somewhere else, then pigs might has well fly. But who the hell wants to call some 1-800 number only to talk to some computer who then commands them to go somewhere (when God knows if it is even within a 10 mile radius) when all you want is a gosh darn doctor.  So much to consider. I grew up in a small town where practically everything justified a trip to the E.R… because that was really the only option. So this is a whole new world to people like me…

At the end of the day, I’m still trying to figure out how to order a Family Doctor. If only it was as simple as placing an order for “one family doctor” please. Maybe one day I’ll understand all of these acronyms and secret codes, and if that day ever does come I look forward to it. Until then, I’ll have a medium rare ribeye, with a side of sautéed mushrooms, and a super loaded baked potato.

Actually, my lovely,… hold off on the potato, I’m not sure if I should go to Place 1 or Place 2 for high cholesterol.

potato

** Note: I wrote this back in July and since then we have actually gone to the Doctor, Dentist and Eye Doctor… will spill the goods soon

Enjoy Life,

L