a peek inside the fishbowl

09 May, 2015

Weekend reading: May 9 edition

By andrea tomkins in Weekend reading

We have our winners! Thanks for your entries everyone!


I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting to see Disney’s Tomorrowland since I saw the trailer. (You can watch that right here.) I’m all kinds of excited about this one. Not only is it directed by Brad Bird, the guy behind some of our favourite films including Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and The Iron Giant, but it also stars George Clooney. ENOUGH SAID.

If you haven’t heard much about Tomorrowland yet, here’s the official description via the movie folks. (Do yourself a favour and read the following in a deep and raspy “movie guy” voice.)

“Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world — and them —forever.”

I have a family pack of four tickets to give away to one lucky family to the Ottawa sneak preview. (Yes, BEFORE it opens to the public.) It’s taking place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20 at SilverCity Gloucester.

Want to win? Please read on!

  • This giveaway is for four tickets to the Wednesday, May 20 preview of Tomorrowland taking place in Ottawa at SilverCity Gloucester. Please make sure you are able to go before you enter. Note that you need to arrive early in order to get your seats as they do tend to fill up very quickly.
  • In order for your entry to qualify, please leave a comment below. Tell me, what’s your favourite Disney film? Want another chance at winning? Leave a comment on this Facebook post.
  • This giveaway is void where prohibited by law.
  • If you can’t post your comment for whatever reason you can email it to me for posting at andrea at quietfish dot com. Please note, I cannot be responsible if your entry is misdirected or gets stuck in my Spam folder.
  • I will draw one winner using Random.org at noon EST on May 15, 2015. The winner will receive their tickets in digital form via email.

Easy stuff eh? Good luck!

May 6 #dailylunches - The ultimate grilled cheese sandwich

This grilled cheese sandwich was A Most Excellent Grilled Cheese Sandwich. It consisted of:

1) Two thick slices of white, day old bakery bread with

2) two kinds of cheese: cheddar and swiss. Which were placed between the bread and

3) grilled in bacon fat (although butter will do just fine).

4) The secret is to slide a slice of cheese under the bread as it’s browning on the pan. The cheese melts into the bread (!) creating a cheesy crust of fried awesomeness.

5) The other secret is to serve it with a generous dollop of Rootham’s Red Pepper Ketchup. I was thrilled to discover that Kitchenalia sells it, although you can also snag it at the Ottawa Bagel Shop. The Rootham’s a good news/bad news kind of discovery. The good news is that it will add amazing flavour to everything. The bad news is that you will no longer be able to eat ordinary ketchup. (I am not even kidding. I am ruined forever.)

This sandwich was so good I almost made a second one, right on the spot.

I spoke on a panel at the BConnected Conference on Sunday and stayed for the rest of the day. If you were there you already know how what a fantastic experience it was (and you know I don’t say that lightly). I was part of a media panel with some local media rock stars I admire: Katherine Dines, Ian Mendes, Catherine Clark and moderator Christy Laverty. Our 45 minute session sped by and then I had the rest of the day to absorb the wisdom of others.

One of the things I was inspired to do after the conference was brush off my ol’ Pinterest account. For the next while I’ll be spending a bit of extra time cultivating and refining my boards, but here’s the thing … I don’t just want to pin more stuff, I also want to act on them. It makes no sense to keep saving recipes and never actually make anything. And not just recipes, but crafty ideas too!

So every week or so I’m going to pull something from my boards and challenge myself to make it and find out if it’s actually pinworthy. Here’s where you come in. I want YOU can make it too. And if you blog about it or just tweet a photo, please make sure you leave a link so I can see how yours turned out.

My first challenge was this recipe for Thai Cashew Coconut Rice with Ginger Peanut Sauce. I have been eyeballing this recipe for ages. I love how colourful it is, and a quick glance at the ingredients hinted that it would be pretty good. Basically, it has ALL THE FLAVOURS.

The original post doesn’t look quite the same as my batch, close, but definitely not the same. (I’m ok with this.) Here’s mine:

May 4 #dailylunches - Thai Cashew Coconut Rice with Ginger Peanut Sauce

Here’s what happened.

I was originally going to make half of this recipe, but I got a bit excited at the outset and forgot. (It serves 8-10. Ha ha!) I made the proper amount of rice but I used brown jasmine rice instead (and hello, what a great idea to boil it right in the coconut milk!) and used a bit less carrot than was specified. I eyeballed and only grated two carrots in the food processor and it seemed to be ok. But the cabbage. Whoa. The recipe calls for one cabbage and I used about 2/3 of a head I had in the fridge. THAT IS A LOT OF CABBAGE PEOPLE. And when you shred it up you will realize (a) that you’re going to need the biggest mixing bowl ya got and then (b) you start wondering (scratch that, HOPING and PRAYING) your family is going to eat it. I also used half an onion and one red pepper. But that’s the beauty of this recipe. You can improvise a little with your favourite veggies it will still work.

The taste, well, it’s fantastic. It has the right balance of crunch – that’s the cashews and cabbage – and the peanut ginger sauce is to die for AND may result in a Serious Plate Licking. (I hope my neighbours didn’t see me.) I totally recommend this dish for a summer BBQ. It’s vegetarian, but you can also add chicken or shrimp to make it a bit more substantial. Did I mention it makes a lot? :)

So was this recipe pin worthy? YES.

Is it pinworthy?

Want to follow my recipe board on Pinterest? You can do so right here. And if you try this recipe yourself, don’t forget to let me know! I’d love to hear how your batch turned out.

04 May, 2015

Can we work together to make #EveryPlateFull ?

By andrea tomkins in Yaktivism


It is estimated that this summer, 918,724 Canadians will rely on food banks to provide over 26 million plates of food. The sad reality is that donations to food banks decline during the summer and food banks are unable to keep up with demand.

From May 2 to 8, food banks across Canada will come together to participate in the Every Plate Full Food Drive with an inspiring goal: to fill the plates of every Canadian who is hungry this summer.

Every dollar raised buys three meals for Canada’s hungry.

You can show your support by posting a picture of an empty plate on social media with #EveryPlateFull and a link to www.everyplatefull.ca from May 2 to 8. The goal is to have thousands of empty plates posted – fine dining, everyday kitchen, chipped, brand new and even paper. Anything goes! Participants are asked to tag their friends and ask them to post a plate and make a donation through www.everyplatefull.ca to a participating food bank or provincial food bank association.

You in? Show me your plate by leaving a link in the comments. :)

02 May, 2015

Moment of bliss #020

By andrea tomkins in Moments of bliss

The view from here

It was Friday afternoon and I had a list of things I should be doing. Work, or housework, for example. We were having friends over for dinner and there were Many Things Left To Do. And then there was laundry – there is always laundry - but I took advantage of the sunny day and walked down to the village for a coffee instead. I considered turning around and marching straight home but I decided to park myself on a bench and enjoy the moment. With the sun on my face, I watched the people go by and enjoyed my brew. I went home soon afterwards, taking the long route, with nothing but my thoughts and an empty coffee cup.


NAC Ottawa family events

Saunders Farm annual passes for family fun!

Animal Inside Out BodyWorlds, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa

Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

Joan of Arc Academy in Ottawa

Click me!


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects


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

  • Brenda A: Lucky you to see water at the waterfall! We have struck out many times!
  • Ovenbird: Gatineau Park is such an amazing place. So wild, so close. The songbirds are back...and they're loud and clear. The health benefit research is in
  • Lynn: These look amazing- I'm actually ashamed to say that we have never, not once, taken the kids to Gatineau Park. This is going on my Summer of Awesome l
  • Claudette: This is PERFECT. We may come back to Ottawa for a few days this summer to finish visiting the museums we missed last time, and Gatineau park is on the
  • Joanne Lewis: Hello. I worked for Gloucester Childcare Services, now Global for 22 years as an Advisor. I placed young children in home childcare who's mothers
  • Amy: Youville does great work, I was so happy to be able to donate once. I should do it again.
  • binkee: Too bad it's an ADULT event. Wonder why? Science of Nature = Fail

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (15) and Sarah (13). I am the editor of the Kitchissippi Times and a regular contributor to MediaSmarts.ca. 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!


My right hand is actually a camera

Connect with me at these places too!

The #dailylunches project – 1000 lunches and counting

Every day I eat lunch and take a picture. Here's the latest:

Created with flickr badge.

Click the photo for details: what it is, where I ate it (if it's worth a mention!) and how to cook it (if there happens to be a recipe). You can also read more about this project right here.


  • So I was feeling a bit ranty and wrote this post about raising children in an age of zero privacy in the hopes it will start some conversations! Please leave your two cents right here.

    - #
  • My latest post on the MediaSmarts website is up, and it's about family social media accounts. (Yes! It's a thing! And I think it's pretty neat.) Is this something you do as a family? I'd love it if you left your two cents on the topic.

    - #
  • I'm sharing some of my favourite lunch-related items over on the terra20 blog today. Whether you're packing a lunch for work, for your kids, or just eating at your desk at home, I bet there is something there for you. Check it out!

    - #

On the nightstand

... check out past nightstand reads right here.

All hail the mighty Twitter