After reviewing the recipe we want to follow for our wedding favour soaps, and running it through a soap calculator, I realized that the little 15ml bottles of essentials oils that we had around the house just were not going to cut it if our plan was going to involve making almost 20 lbs of soap! I needed many ounces of Essential Oils, not milliliters.
I can sense that Bulk Apothecary is going to be a favourite site of ours into the future. We ran around Winnipeg hoping to find a good price on the Rosemary and Thyme that we wanted to add to our soap... and $15-$20 for a 0.5 oz was not what we wanted to pay. Bulk Apothecary has the same size bottle for $3-$4, or 16 oz bottles (thirty times the oil) in the $40 range... hmmm, $15-$20 for a 0.5 oz or $40-$50 for 16 oz... an easy decision!
This time, knowing that there should only be one box, we had the package delivered to Mike's Parcel Pickup. While it cost $30 in gas, that was far cheaper than paying UPS $50-$70, and much quicker than waiting and running around to do the self-clearing.
While we were placing an order anyway, we added some other oils that we are going to try in the next soap recipe batches for their aromatherapy qualities, soap exfoliants (seeds), soap colouring sample kit (oxides), oils we didn't have to complete our own "thieves oil" blend, caps we meant to get for our bottles from our last order, and some books on our new hobbies.
Our first order from Bulk Apothecary arrived today! The intention of this order was to set the stage for making our own household cleaning products, shampoo, soap (also to be favors for our wedding guests), body sprays, lotions, lip balms, etc... and containers to hold them in.
This order consisted of:
Unfortunately, we had some lessons to learn with this order:
We have been buying gluten free desserts from Goodies for a few years, but had tended to avoid them lately with the switch to Paleo; to keep the sugars and grain flours away. Our thought was to make a Paleo exception for our wedding reception meal and dessert, and our original idea was to order the individual sized desserts from Goodies for each guest and forgo the traditional wedding cake. So we went to Goodies today to order our desserts, and ended up walking out having ordered wedding cakes! What we were surprised about was that the price difference between the individual desserts and wedding cake was really negligible (less than $50). We liked the new trend of not layering the tiers to make one big cake, but rather staging them individually on the cake table. The image on the left represents the basic style that the cake will be decorated with; except that all of the chocolate shavings/logs will be purple. The image on the right is shown just to illustrate what I meant by making tiers on the cake table.
My Maxx Collectibles order arrived today, and I figure that means I've recommitted to an old hobby (on hold of course until after the wedding and honeymoon).
I used to really enjoy assembling, painting, and playing with my Warhammer Fantasy Undead army; but it took the nudging of an old friend and work colleague to re-kindle and solidify these memories, which lead to picking up the Warhammer 40K Necron army shown below.
I also added some Dollarama shopping for paints and glue, hit Canadian Tire for the primer and putty (green stuff), Walmart for a cheap plastic table I can mess up all I want during painting and assembly, and Fabricland for a self-healing cutting mat.
What a great way to spend some birthday money!
While we were wrestling with different music ideas for our wedding, we had quickly settled on playing light jazz throughout the reception/evening. We had thought of harpists and other live musicians for our ceremony early on, but had dismissed the idea assuming it to be too expensive for our humble wedding. Now five weeks before the wedding, we have returned to the harpist idea, and found that (for those we checked out) their prices are actually quite reasonable; circling both sides of $300 for playing a ceremony set.
Here is the list of the Winnipeg harpists that we considered for our wedding ceremony (prelude through to signing and postlude):
Hopefully these links and information are helpful to you if you're seeking a harpist in Winnipeg.
I'll make sure I post updates after we have the opportunity to meet Erica in person, and after the wedding ceremony of course.
I went to get my suit measurements taken on January 30th after Giovanni confirmed that the fabric we ordered was delivered from Montreal. Two weeks later I receive a voice message that enough of the suit was assembled for the first (rough) fitting; wow, awesome progress!
I should have moved quicker when Betty Anne suggested that the glare was pretty bad, but I didn't want to interrupt the master at work as he chalked out the few spots that he wanted to adjust before completing the suits assembly. These aren't the best quality photo's I've posted, but still wanted to share the incredible progress being made.
I wish I had thought of taking a picture of the raw grass-fed kidney; but i think you can still tell how it sort of has a brain shape but with larger nodules. Certainly was an unexpected shape when I opened the package, but it sizzled in the cast iron pan just as well as liver.
The kidney was still a touch frozen, which I felt was a good thing as it made it easier to "butterfly", wanting to reduce it's thickness closer to liver so I could hopefully use the same organ recipe and cooking times.
The recipe I use is from The Stone Age Diet book, and basically goes like this (citing from memory now):
I'm sure I over cooked it because I was seeking to have the meat show a consistent colour all the way through, which isn't possible. As you can tell from the cross section on the plate, the kidney is multi-colour inside; almost resembling a cooked mushroom.
I can honestly say that I did enjoy eating the kidney. The texture of the meat reminded me of eating chicken/turkey hearts, and the flavour was very much like liver, but stronger; and I think this is what makes Thyme the perfect spice to accompany it. Next time I will probably try add the spice while it is cooking.
We had decided before Christmas that we wanted to install a water filter that would help reduce/eliminate the heavy chlorine that would often be in our water. The thought process started with a simple shower-head chlorine filter; but it wasn't too hard to think of other water to filter... so the whole-house filter was the cheaper and biggest bang option.
The entire project cost was under $215 (not counting my dads consumables like flux, solder, etc...):
||The After (1 of 2):
||The After (2 of 2):
I certainly won't miss the chlorine smell, and I'm really looking forward too chemical free water for showers/baths, cooking, boiling water for tea, etc...
Special thanks to my dad for supplying the majority of the know-how, tools, training, and labour!
Today, we tried the beef smokies that came with our 1/4 beef order. All I can say is wow! They were absolutely delicious, seasoned perfectly, and zero grease-in-the-pan type of lean. I wish I had alot more of them; definitely something to add more of on our next order.
We have also tried the hamburger patties which were incredibly tender; I swear this must speak to the dry-aging process that they use. Their taste was also very mild when compared to your average burger patties, which was a nice surprise.
From our steaks, we have tried only some of the chuck and rib-eye. I overcooked the rib-eye (the first I tried to cook) so it was not as tender as it should have been, but was an excellent and delicious cut. The chuck was cooked perfectly and it was hard to imagine it as a lower "ranking" cut of steak; it definitely went well cubed on-top of my salad at lunch.
Still alot more to try from our order, but the initial verdict is very positive. Definitely grass-fed for life!
It really does put a smile on one's face to look upon a freezer of lovely grass-fed meats!
It took a bit of research (made easier by eatwild.com and manitobagrassfedbeef.ca) to compare and figure out where we were going to order from; and in the end we decided to place our first order with McDonald Farm for the following reasons:
We saved up a bit so that our first order could be large enough to start us off in a good position to not need meat for a while. The hope being that we can place smaller (more cost friendly) orders each month to keep our meat supply up. In this first order we have:
We promised ourselves that we would not dive into these meats until we had used up our existing supply of store bought beef and last seasons elk; so I can't make any comments yet on the quality or taste... but that is going to be coming very soon!