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Well I'm back from my whirlwind trip to Canada. It was such a quick trip so jam packed full of stuff that I got home and was like, wait, did that even happen?!
Thankfully (and weirdly, because it's usually so much worse on this end) I didn't really have any jet lag to speak of coming back. I think that the trip was so short that I never really adjusted, and I did manage to snooze a bit on the flight home. I also decided to chow some of Niko's children's melatonin gummies (we have these ones from Zarbee's and they worked wonders for his jetlag in the summer) which may or may not have helped.
It said the dosage for teenagers was three gummies, so I ate two for two nights just to help my brain remember which time zone we were in. Who knows, an uncontrolled experiment, really, but I'd do it again for sure. Maybe for my next trip abroad (coming up at the end of April!) I'll treat myself to some adult-strength melatonin gummies.
It's wild and crazy over here, I tell ya.
The last couple of days in Vancouver went by in a flash. I went out for a sushi dinner with my parents on my birthday and came home suddenly so tired I lay down on my bed at 8pm fully clothed and woke up at 4am.
My cousin Lance invited me to go to a NHL hockey game with him on my last night, which was an offer I couldn't refuse. Rather than taking the last ferry back to my parent's place after the game and then a morning ferry back over to the mainland to catch my flight, I decided to treat myself to a hotel downtown since the off-season rates were super affordable.
I used one of those last minute booking sites where you don't know which hotel you're getting until you've booked, and ended up with a 5-star hotel for the same price as most of the 3-star hotels in the same area.
So we went for dinner, then the game (which we won, it was so much fun!) and then all I had to do was walk 10 minutes back to my hotel when it was done. I honestly felt pretty sad when I got back to the hotel room, like I'd shortchanged myself from some extra time with my family, but logically I knew everyone would be asleep by the time I got back and it would be a stressful morning getting back to the ferry.
So I enjoyed a delicious sleep instead, and then some time wandering around downtown Vancouver the next morning. I had time to re-up my stash from my favourite tea store and have a really delicious brunch with a friend ('sup, Sureena!!) before I checked out of the hotel and took the train back to the airport.
On my flight back I lucked out with an empty seat beside me for the long flight, and I was in a bulkhead seat, so I took by bag down and put it in the space in front of my seat, so I was able to recline my seat, put my feet up, and actually catch some zzz's on the flight.
Speaking of my bag, I've been wanting to get a new carry-on bag for ages, but it was one of those things that I didn't *need* so much as I wanted. I really wanted a wheeled duffle bag instead of a hard shell after having borrowed one from a friend on a previous trip, but have never been able to find one that was quite right.
As luck would have it, I found this Samsonite wheeled duffle bag on sale right after I booked my ticket, and then a generous benefactor (you know who you are) reached out about said they wanted to get me a birthday gift that was something I *want* rather than something I *need*.
I'm super happy with this bag. Like most duffle bags it has a huge capacity, and this one unclips at the edges and can be filled up even more if you want to check it rather than taking it on board. Plus it was light, easy to manoeuvre, and super stylish.
Another thing that happened on my birthday this year is that, at the age of 41, I suddenly find myself without a driver's licence for the first time since I was 17. I've lived outside of Canada for long enough that I can't renew my licence again (and probably shouldn't have the last time, if we're being honest) and since I come from a non-EU country, I'm not allowed to simply transfer it over here.
I have to do the whole. dang. thing. like I'm some kid learning to drive for the first time.
Getting a Swedish driver's licence is no joke. First an eye exam, then a couple of risk courses. The first one is basically drug and alcohol counselling, and the second is when you go way out to the burbs to where they have a "slip course" so you can learn how to properly brake on the ice and that kind of thing.
Then a monster of a theory test and a practical exam. I'm basically the last of our group of friends to bite the bullet. Of our group, all of us have been driving for well over 20 years, and most of us have advanced degrees. At least 50% of the group failed the theory test or the practical or both on the first try. One of my friends, who has two master's degrees, considers his Swedish driver's license among his greatest accomplishments.
The whole thing is just going to be expensive and time consuming, and particularly annoying since we don't own a car. I'm only getting it so I'll be able drive when I'm back in Canada in the summers, where driving is pretty essential because the place where our parents live is quite rural.
Not looking forward to the process, but I work well under deadline, and now I have a finite deadline coming at me. Ughhhhh.
Paul got me an air fryer for my birthday! I've been wanting one for a while, because a) they look cool, b) I love deep-fried foods but hate dealing with all the oil when you're done, and c) there is an absolute GOLDMINE of SEO-friendly air fryer keywords. #realtalk
He got me this Philips Air Fryer, which I worry might be on the small side, but I'm going to try it out and if I love it and feel like I really need more capacity, I'm gonna upgrade to this XXL model.
So, questions for you, my dear readers. Do you have an air fryer? If you have one, do you love it? What are your go-to air fryer recipes?
I'm gonna be popping my air fryer cherry this afternoon with these air fryer french fries from my homegirl Sarah, followed immediately by these air fryer apple turnovers from my friend Cassie who is OBSESSED with her air fryer.
If you DON'T have an air fryer, worry not. Pretty much everything made in an air fryer can also be made in a confection oven or fried, and I'll always test recipes using more than one technique so that everyone can make everything. I got you, boo.
ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK
This week started off with a reboot of an ancient recipe that was 1200 words of me talking about how I hit the snooze button too much followed by a recipe for kale spaghetti. Now you've got One-Pot Lemony Kale Noodles with process photos, step by step instructions, and a printable recipe card. Yay!
And lastly, everyone's favourite post of the month... Just Between Us.
WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL
Yeah, yeah, we all know that Mung Bean and Coconut Curry is in number one. So let’s look at what else is topping the charts:
1. Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos. Mmmhmm. Again.
2. Indonesian Black Rice Pudding. Making up a batch of this tonight!
3. Turmeric Latte Mix. Seems like this one is an evergreen hit.
4. Chocolate Black Bean Brownie Smoothie. Beans in smoothies. It's a thing.
5. Chia Fresca. Have you see the sweet little video on this post?
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Casper left the following comment and 5-star review on my Vegetarian Caesar Dressing recipe:
Made this up really quick for my salads this week, i’m going to toss it with kale, parmesan, and crispy chickpeas! the dressing tastes really good and i was pleasantly surprised at how much it tastes like regular caesar dressing!
Thanks for reminding me that I'm overdue to whip up another batch of this, Casper.