a peek inside the fishbowl

The other day I bought a gigantic ham to bring to my inlaws for dinner. It fed five adults and two small dogs, and the rest was carved up and divided between the two households. We have been eating ham for DAYS ever since, sometimes lunch AND dinner. Piper has also been eating ham for every doggy dinner.

When we finally got tired of fried ham, and ham sandwiches, and cheesy cauliflower casserole with ham, I made the chowder pictured below. Hoo boy, it is the perfect dish for the kind of weather we’ve been having in Ottawa lately. This chowder is creamy! It’s hearty! It contains SEVERAL FOOD GROUPS, and best of all, it uses two cups of leftover ham.

Ham and corn chowder!

Here’s the original recipe. It’s definitely a keeper and like many of these kinds of chowders and stews, tastes even better the next day.

Maybe worth noting: I used frozen corn because I didn’t want to bother with shucking/extracting kernels from slippery cobs. I also used half the prescribed amount of sour cream and a dollop of light cream (5%) I had kicking around in the fridge. I topped my bowl with bacon and green onion. Mark topped his with bacon and cheddar cheese.

It was delicious and immensely satisfying.

Let me know if you try this one!

14 Jan, 2019

What do I need?

By andrea tomkins in Misc. life

Thanks to everyone who reached out to us following the recent bus crash at Westboro station. We are all ok, thank goodness. Mark is the only one of us who takes the bus on a daily basis and that bus isn’t one he’d ever take. The bus station itself, however, is close to home and I pass by it regularly. I’ve been glued to the news and it’s entirely possible that I’ve now consumed too much at this point. I’ve tried to take a step away from social media today too. Facebook and Twitter don’t necessarily post items in chronological order, and those first reports and posts (“Oh my god there’s been a terrible crash in Ottawa”) have been appearing in my feeds on repeat. There is more news coming out every hour, it seems. They released the names of the three people who were killed. My heart just breaks for the victims and their families.



One of the best things about being an adult is that I’ve had a lot of time to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t, and what I need to do in order to be a happier person. If I’m feeling crappy I can usually figure out what I need and (er, water, food, sleep) and make it happen. That is, of course, unless the thing that’s sinking my ship is stress or things outside of my control, in which case this makes “getting over it” a little harder.

I want to tell a little story that’s related to this.

We bought new windshield wipers for our car recently. Our old ones were functional, but barely. They always left streaks across the glass (which, of course, were often directly in the driver’s direct field of vision), but the worst thing is that they almost always made a bone-rattling BRRRRAAAAAP sound whenever they were deployed in light rain, which was almost always.

Well, the other day, one of them came off and so Mark replaced them both. The new wipers are a DREAM. (I never thought I’d describe wiper blades that way, but there it is.) The windshield is now perfectly clean and streak-free. What’s more, the wipers are BLISSFULLY SILENT. I didn’t realize how much the old wipers were stressing me out until they were replaced. And now I wonder (a) what took us so long to replace them (b) what other small changes can I make in my life that will result in a big improvement to my mental health?

12 Jan, 2019

Weekend reading:January 12 edition

By andrea tomkins in Weekend reading

On the nightstand: Cloud Atlas

10 Jan, 2019

The January reset continues

By andrea tomkins in Misc. life

The other day I posted about some promises I made to myself and we are ten days into the month so I wanted to share a small update. To summarize: so far so good, on all fronts. My January is still a Dry January and the scale is finally heading in the right direction.

I’ve had a mild cold for the past couple of days, which makes it hard to gauge exactly how WELL I am feeling now that I’m not drinking alcohol and eating next to no bread and sugar. I will say, that the day before the cold hit me I felt pretty darn amazing. I had so much energy I hardly knew what to do with myself. In between stretches of work I spontaneously vacuumed and cleaned the house (including all the toilets, thankyouverymuch), did two batches of dishes, bought groceries, put away groceries, dropped off one large box and two bags to charity, made a great dinner (using not one but THREE new recipes), “salted” the driveway, and speed walked for 40 minutes, uphill, on the treadmill.

I don’t know whether this sudden whirlwind was a direct result of my cutting out booze and afternoon coffee or better eating. All I know is that I haven’t had that much energy in months and I have to keep this up because I want MORE whirlwinds.

I do know that for whatever reason, sugar and bread doesn’t agree with me and that I can’t eat them every day. I am definitely not celiac but something just isn’t right about how my body processes it. When I cut these two things out the weight, bloat, and sluggishness slowly dissipate and my mood and energy improve. I want to be strong enough to save them for special occasions or when there’s something really good on offer. Life is too short not to enjoy a  slice of birthday cake or a croissant once in awhile.

In other news, I picked up a new pair of eyeglasses (and a new prescription, because I’m old). I got such great service at the Bayshore Lenscrafters when I first got glasses three years ago that I decided to go back. This was one of the things on my List of Things I Don’t Want to Do but Must Do. It’s hard for me to check these things off. Next one: to sign my organ donation card and mail it in. And make a doctor’s appointment. Ugh.

08 Jan, 2019

Things I am loving: David’s tea sampler

By andrea tomkins in Oh! Things!

It seems unfair to single out one Christmas gift of many lovely gifts, but I wanted to share this because I am really enjoying this David’s tea sampler right now and I think many of you would too.

I should qualify this all by saying that I like tea well enough but I’m definitely not a tea aficionado. I have even attended a guided tea tasting with an expert and although I was suitably impressed (turns out there is a LOT to know about tea) it didn’t change my habits or result in an upgrade of my purchasing habits. The teas I drink include some of the usual brands you find at the grocery store and STASH brand peppermint tea. Peppermint tea is good for the tummy and as far as I know, this brand is the best tasting and has a lovely sweet finish. But I digress.

When I unwrapped this sampler pack of David’s top 12 teas on Christmas morning I was pleased… and intrigued! I’d tried a few teas from David’s but never really settled on a favourite and hated the idea of buying a whole can of tea I might get tired of. I find it weirdly intimidating to go in there too.

The sampler flavours have all been great so far. I really enjoyed Budda’s Blend, Cinnamon Rooibos, and Super Ginger. Most recently, I cracked open the Cold 911 blend. I was saving it for a sore throat and sniffles and unfortunately, today was the day. I can’t honestly say whether it’s destroying my cold (one can only hope) but it was definitely an enjoyable tea!

Each little container has enough tea for two cups. For some of brews, I was able to use each batch of leaves twice, making this a pretty decent value.

I would love to know if these little guys are refillable too. I have an email in to their customer service, so I hope to find out soon. Do you have a favourite tea? Hit me up! I’d love to hear about it.



Have a great summer at Saunders Farm!

Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

Click me!


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • lose weight: Divorce,drama, loss of a job, health problems about yourself or someone you worry about - these items happen. ''For starters, the way the Diet Solutio
  • Claudette: I love your little list every weekend! As I've mentioned, I too have started doing something similar, and some of my followers are commenting how much
  • Misty: I also have trouble with the things I need to do, but don't want to do (including a new pair of glasses) I did finally check off submitting a warranty
  • Claudette: That is wonderful to hear! I'm the same with wheat and sugar, so if I plan a spaghetti dinner i know that all day that day I will not have any wheat p
  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive The January reset continues - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] other day I posted about some promises I made to myself and we are ten days into the month so I wanted to share a small update. To summariz
  • Jinjer: Ohhhhhh!!!! The little jars/tins are so cute and I love the box! All those tea flavors sound tasty. I definitely want this and my Mom DID just ask me
  • Claudette: My 16yo niece all the way out on the west coast loves David's Tea stuff. So I get her gift cards from there...pretty good gift idea for a teen, don't

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


E-book alert!

Shopping Embargo e-book promo

My right hand is actually a camera

Connect with me at these places too!

Piper is on Instagram

On the nightstand

All hail the mighty Twitter