Seeing double

I'm a bad person. I'm supporting the destruction of the earth by Chinese manufacturers. But damn, they make cheap spectacles!

Recently I got hold of a deal that included an eye exam and a free pair of glasses at an Optometrist just down the road from my house. Obviously the free glasses available were from a limited selection, but when I say deal, I do mean deal, and it would have been ridiculous to not take advantage of it. $69 for the exam and the glasses, all in! Consider that I also get $60 of the exam covered by my health plan at the university, and it turns out the exam and glasses only cost me $9. Hells ya! Plus I did find some glasses with a slight fun factor, so it was all good.

So here are pics of my old glasses, which I still like and aren't that far off my new prescription:

And a picture of the glasses that were included in the deal. They are thin silver outlines around the eyes and have bright blue metallic arms. (Whoa, weird chin, Mego.)

Then I finally followed up on a tip that The Duchess gave me a year or more ago: China makes cheap glasses! I ordered from Zenni Optical, filled in my brand new prescription, and my PD which the optometrist measured for my new glasses and jotted down for me; I quickly had two more pairs of fun glasses winging through the post. Note, you can also measure your own PD (pupillary distance), as Marko did when he ordered from Clearly Contacts.

They arrived today! Super fast, barely over a week to arrive. One pair that are black outer with lime green interior, and a slight kind of horn rim.

And the most fun pair of all, slightly translucent (slightly unfortunately pink) and black checks in a more square frame. These babies will be pulled out for fun times and conference presentations, for sure. (Whoa, rabbit teeth, Mego.) I don't think they look this pink in person, more like light grey and black checks.

Apologies for the crappy photo quality, but photobooth is the simplest way to take and load pics quickly on my laptop. I've been wearing glasses part-time for many years now, and have had the luxury to take them off whenever I want without walking into open manhole covers. But lately I've been wondering if I shouldn't be wearing them all the time, because I can't read the number of the bus approaching, and because Rocco has to fill in the gaps for street signs and the like when we're out and about. So, moving into the world of constant glasses (and not prepared to try contacts yet), I wanted to have a supply of designs and colours that I can choose from day to day. Well, got 'em! And the out of pocket total for all three glasses (including the eye exam and shipping) came to $45! That's $9 for the local pair and $36 for two pairs plus shipping from Zenni Optical. Crazy. Now all I need is a nose tree to display them on at home when I'm choosing my specs each morning.


I heart CBC!

On November 23rd, Stephen Harper’s secret plan for the CBC was revealed when the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage mused publicly about killing our public broadcaster! You can hear the audio for yourself here: http://www.friends.ca/news-item/9854

On Dec 6th, the matter of the government’s plan for the CBC was raised in Parliament. The Heritage Minister was asked to disavow his Parliamentary Secretary’s idea of cutting all funding to the CBC. Twice Minister Moore was asked to dismiss the notion that the government should kill public broadcasting. And, twice he refused to do so. You can see the exchange in the House of Commons here: http://www.friends.ca/news-item/9872

It's widely known that Prime Minister Harper exercises extremely tight control of his government’s messaging. None of his Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries or MPs speak out without prior approval from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The threat posed by Harper could be the most serious peril CBC has ever faced. Now is the time for all of us who love and depend on the CBC to stand up and be counted.

Please sign the petition at the link below or fill in the embedded petition in this blog post, and encourage all your friends to do the same:





More quinoa baked goods

This is an invention, based loosely on time spent wandering the echoing hallways of cornbread and quinoa recipes online. If it doesn't suit you, maybe you'll be more interested in trying this one by Heidi Swanson, or a sprouted quinoa recipe over at Pattycake, or the simplest of simplest provided by Whole Foods.

Quinoa Cornbread II

0.75 cup quinoa, rinsed
1.5 cups hot water
pinch of salt

1 cup coarse cornmeal
1.25 cups milk
1 Tbsp white vinegar

1 cup whole wheat flour
0.5 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar (or less, to taste)

2 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp oil

0.3 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)
0.3 cup chopped scallion
2 Tbsp butter

There are a couple prep steps to this recipe. First, cook the quinoa in the water, with a pinch of salt. This involves rinsing the quinoa for a couple minutes under running water. Then toast the rinsed quinoa in a hot saucepan until it smells nutty (only a couple minutes). Add hot water and salt, bring all to a boil, then cover, reduce to simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes.
While that's happening, mix the milk and vinegar, and pour over cornmeal in a bowl. Let this sit while you do the rest of the prep and the quinoa is cooking.

In a dry bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and sugar. In a second bowl, whisk eggs and oil together. Once all the prep is done and the quinoa is finished cooking, heat your skillet pan in the oven at 375F with the butter. While the butter is melting, mix all your various bowls together: dry ingredients, milky cornmeal, eggs, and corn and scallions. Pour into the hot skillet; the butter might sizzle and run up the sides around the mix - do not stir! Top with a couple grinds of pepper if you like, then pop it back in the hot oven for 30-45 minutes. I realize that's a big window, but all ovens are different and it's worth checking to make sure your bread is done perfectly. The edges should be brown and crispy, and the centre should be set.

We'll be eating this tonight with beer-glazed black beans and steamed rainbow chard on the side. Perfect meal for the blustery wintry night out there!


I like some squash in my blossom

This seasonal pasta recipe looks amazing! Published on the Globe and Mail online site, it features zucchini and zucchini blossoms in a light cream sauce, which would be updated to be a lemon cream sauce, or maybe even by adding a little thyme. Mostly I'm copying it here so I have it to hand when guests are coming over next week. I'm praying for zucchini in the CSA but can hit up a farmer's market if needs be.

6 ounces fresh fettuccine or dried spaghetti cooked al dente
12 baby zucchini with flower, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, chopped finely
1/2 clove garlic thinly sliced
1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 ounce butter
salt and pepper to taste
1. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
2. Warm enough olive oil to amply cover the bottom of a large lidded sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add shallot and, with the lid on, sweat them off (cook until translucent but not brown), stirring occasionally.
3. Add the zucchini rounds and, with the lid off, cook until somewhat soft, approximately 6 minutes, flipping the rounds halfway through.
4. Add the butter and the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to the pan, stir it in and turn up the heat to medium to let it thicken into sauce.
5. When the salted water comes to a boil, and while the sauce is thickening, add the fettuccine to the pot and cook until it is al dente, according to the instructions on the package. It will not take long.
6. Once the fettuccine is cooking, add the zucchini flowers and a tablespoon or two of the pasta water to the sauce, and give it a stir. Season to taste.
7. Drain the cooked pasta, incorporate it into the sauce, and serve immediately.
8. Fall in love.

The amounts listed only serve 2 as an appetizer, so keep the ratios in mind when you scale up to feed more salivating mouths.


The Muffin Myth

Time to add a new food blog to your blog roll! My friend Katie has finally got her new blog project up and rolling. The Muffin Myth will dispel some of your false conceptions about healthy and not so healthy foods, and provide delicious recipes featuring fresh, seasonal, ripe produce. The first drool-worthy post is about her bran muffins which are more than famous around Vancouver, soon to be a staple in Stockholm and in your freezer! There's only the one post now but it will soon be updated with more and more slobbery delicious recipes and info. Go check it out! I've also added it to the right sidebar here for your convenience.

PS. I know the exciting news about The Muffin Myth threatens to take you away from Liminal Me immediately, but don't miss out on my Quinoa Bread post below!


Quinoa cornbread

I riffed on a basic cornbread recipe tonight to make it a bit healthier. Turns out that quinoa in bread makes an amazing crumb texture, and the bread stayed moist even with the changes in flour/grain. This makes me think you could use just about any flour at all (being careful to adjust the overall moisture level to account for denser flours), I just haven't been very adventurous that way in my baking or cooking before now.

Quinoa cornbread
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1.5 Tbsp white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk + 1 Tbsp white vinegar (or 1 1/4 cups buttermilk)
2 eggs, beaten
(optional) 1/2 cup chopped green onion

1) Mix vinegar into milk and set aside to curdle
2) Preheat oven to 375F
3) In a food processor or blender, blend quinoa and millet until they are mostly flour. Some whole grains remaining is fine.
4) Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix only until combined. If you want to use it, stir in the green onion.
5) Put 2 Tbsp butter into a 9" cast iron skillet or pie plate, and put it in the oven until butter is bubbly.
6) Pour batter into melted butter, sling the whole thing into the oven, and bake for about 30 minutes. Edges should be brown and top should be fully set.

Let cool a few minutes before cutting. Serve with butter, although it was so moist that we didn't end up using any extra butter.

So Yum! And pretty damn healthy since quinoa is one of the fantastic foods of the nutrition world.


High tech running

After reading Dora's post about her new gadget (Go Gadget Go!), I thought I'd post a link to some of my run stats, which are available in a really fun form. My Garmin Forerunner 305 (a much earlier model than Dora's 110) has been my tried and true running companion for a few years now. I unfortunately have never used it to the full extent of its capabilities, like the "virtual running buddy" who has remained bench for the entire lifespan of my 305, and I can't even remember the last time I also strapped on the heart rate monitor. But I do use the built-in GPS obsessively on trail runs, and for most if not all of my road runs in the city. Today it came in extra handy when J and were lost on Cypress Mountain, somewhere in the vast trail network, since I was able to pull up the map feature and identify what direction we should be going in and an estimate of how far we had left to cover in order to get back to the car. Don't get me wrong, J and I agree that getting lost should be (and is!) a regular portion of every run since adventure is the stuff of life, but it was reassuring to get feedback that we're still on the same mountain we started out on, and that the car should probably be in sight if it weren't for all the fog getting in the way.

Blah blah blah, back to the run stats. Here's a link to the data gathered by the 305 during my trail race last weekend. I ran the Summer Solstice Half, which is actually 25.5km, on the North shore. The race starts at Cleveland Park near the Grouse Grind, winds along the Baden Powell trail a little bit, until it climbs an asshole of a trail straight up the blasted mountain called Skyline Trail. $#$^&$@* And that's all I have to say about the climb. The downhill portion was FUUUUUNNNN!!!! All technical, all awesome, super high-footing adrenaline grin-spreading FUN! Then there was some less fun but necessary terrain to cover to get back to the start/finish area. But enough from me, you can see it for yourselves on the Garmin Connect player here. Tips: Push the > play button then scroll down to view the whole map; choose Satellite in the top right corner of the map for the best view. I love how the steepest ascent of the race causes the speed graph to go off the chart since essentially the Garmin thought I was standing still rather than climbing about a foot a minute. The race took me and my friend D (a different D) 3:51:10 - trail running is soooo much sloooooower than road running, and I was pushing myself pretty hard, faster than I'm used to running trail.

Anyway, a bit of fun with gear. Have fun playing with the player! And Dora, good luck kicking that tech addiction!


Birthday trip and late breaking news

Rocco and I returned home Monday night, grubby and exhausted after a terrific weekend away camping on Galiano Island.

We had a fantastic time, and the weather really came through for us - three days of sunshine and temps upwards of 20C. We camped at the provincial campground Montague Harbour, where we've previously stayed on a cycling trip, but this time we were car camping. You know, the kind of trip that allows for all the best parts of camping, like cold beer and camping chairs.

We did an awful lot of sitting around in the sun and in the shade, reading books we bought at the island bookstore first thing Saturday morning as we drove off the ferry. I swam in the ice cold ocean while Rocco laughed at my cringing, and we pointed out every deer, arbutus tree, and dead crab the island had to offer. Sunday we hiked in to Dionisio Point, the northern-most area of the island that has a campsite accessible by boat, pedal, or foot only. We were promised seals though, and didn't see a single seal, but the area is simply stunning.

And without further ado (or additional threats from "friends"), here's the news. We're getting married! I know there are a couple people who might still read this blog that I haven't had a chance to tell personally, but word is getting out so I might as well make it public. We've already got the marriage so we might as well throw a party, right?! Part of the reason to visit Galiano this time was to scout possible locations for the wedding. And wow, you're spoiled for choice on the island! Check out the view from this possible ceremony site at Bodega Ridge Resort:

and the cabins where many of you could stay on the property:
Nothing is for sure yet, lots of decisions remain to be made, but we've pretty much decided to have the wedding in BC, next summer (2011). I don't know yet if that means May, July, or September, or on an island or in Vancouver. You'll hear about it as plans firm up, but I do promise you one thing sincerely, this blog will NOT morph into a boring, tedious wedding planning blog. You know me better than to fear for that, I hope. Also, I promise a gooooood party, because with friends and family like you guys, how could it turn out to be anything but?

It was a fabulous trip. This image of the sunset over the shell beach should sum it all up for you - peaceful and utterly relaxing!


Dinner plans

The best big sister is coming over for dinner tonight and I'm stoked because I haven't cooked for guests in WAY too long. It's been very busy around these parts with Rocco doing his professional exams at break neck pace (he just keeps passing and passing!) and I wrote and submitted the first article that will be a chapter in my thesis. YAY! That was a bit of a breakthrough for me and it feels so good that I just might ride the momentum and write and submit another one in June. Yes sir, that's the plan. But all that to say we haven't had anyone over for dinner in...months! How unlike me! With Annie coming over tonight it's reigniting my food synapses and All Recipes is getting a workout.

So here's the menu and a recipe:
Bean croquettes (probably white bean, or lima bean, onion, parsley, cumin, breadcrumbs, rolled in egg and panko then baked at 400F for 20 minutes until crispy and golden)
Saffron yogurt (recipe blow)
White rice with peas and chive blossom
Salad made of lettuce, chard, radishes, and flower petals with a light oil and vinegar dressing

I planted my deck garden the first week of May and this year decided not to plant any vegetables at all. We bought into a CSA for the summer so there will be more than enough veg to go around. Last year we joined a CSA mid-way through summer and suddenly all the veg on the deck became redundant. I had string beans up to my eyeballs and we couldn't eat them fast enough, what with them coming in the CSA box and growing like wildfire in two containers on the deck. So this year I only planted herbs and edible flowers on the deck, and our salads and other dishes will be gorgeous with a rainbow of bright petals. So far we have marigolds and nicotiana ready to eat and looking lovely, and eventually the nasturtiums will also grace our plates. The chives have been growing since February so I've been cooking with chive blossom for weeks already. You pick the large purple flower head, then separate each small blossom that is about the size of a grain of cooked rice, and use them in sautees, on salads, in baked dishes, mashed into potatoes, etc. Delicious!

And finally, here's the recipe for saffron yogurt that will be a dipping sauce for the croquettes. I got the idea from Belgian Fries on Commercial Drive where one of their mayo options to have with the fries is a saffron mayo. It shouldn't work, but it's so SO good. I can't bring myself to serve a mayo dipping sauce with an otherwise healthy meal, so I hunted down something similar made with thick yogurt. Now I have to hunt down the yogurt, because I'm not prepared to strain my own. Off to the greek deli!

Saffron Yogurt
550 mL plain yogurt (a little over 2 cups)
2 Tbsp boiling water
pinch of saffron threads
6 cardamom pods
3 Tbsp caster sugar

  1. Pour yogurt into a nylon sieve lined with muslin and leave in refrigerator overnight to drain.

  2. Put saffron and water in a small bowl and leave to soak for 30 minutes.

  3. Tip drained yogurt into a bowl and stir in saffron and its soaking liquid.

  4. Put cardamom seeds in a mortar and crush lightly with a pestle.

  5. Stir into yogurt with sugar.

  6. Serve chilled, decorated with lemon zest and cardamom seeds.
Notes: I'm buying thick yogurt, not straining regular yogurt. I'm using ground cardamom rather than crushing pods. I'm hoping to not use all the sugar recommended since I really want to avoid the sauce being too sweet. And who needs sugar? Not us.


For only the manliest of men

An ad on Kijiji for Tom Selleck look-a-like Ford Explorer. Replicated here for your pleasure, but feel free to visit the original ad.

"OK, let me start off by saying this Explorer is only available for purchase by the manliest of men (or women). My friend, if it was possible for a vehicle to sprout chest hair and a five o'clock shadow, this Ford would look like Tom Selleck. It is just that manly.

It was never intended to drive to the mall so you can pick up that adorable shirt at Abercrombie & Fitch that you had your eye on. It wasn't meant to transport you to yoga class or Linens & Things. No, that's what your Prius is for. If that's the kind of car you're looking for, then just do us all a
favor and stop reading right now. I mean it. Just stop.

This SUV was engineered by 3rd degree ninja super-warriors in the highest mountains of Japan to serve the needs of the man that cheats death on a daily basis. They didn't even consider superfluous nancy boy amenities like navigation systems (real men don't get lost), heated leather seats (a real man doesn't let anything warm his butt), or On Star (real men don't even know what the hell On Star is).

No, this brute comes with the things us testosterone-fueled super action junkies need. It has a 155 HP engine to outrun the cops. It's saved my bacon more than once. It's got special blood/gore resistant upholstery. It even has a first-aid kit in the back. You know what the first aid kit has in it? A pint of whiskey, a stitch-your-own-wound kit and a hunk of leather to bite down on when you're operating on yourself.

My price on this bad boy is an incredibly low $2500 but I'll entertain reasonable offers. And by reasonable, I mean don't walk up and tell me you'll give me $500 for it. That's liable to earn you a Burmese-roundhouse-sphincter-kick with a follow up three fingered eye-jab. Would it hurt? Oh yeah. Let's just say you won't be the prettiest guy at the Coldplay concert anymore.

There's only 290,000 km on this four-wheeled hellcat from Planet Kickass. Trust me, it will outlive you and the offspring that will carry your name. It will live on as a monument to your machismo.

Now, go look in the mirror and tell me what you see. If it's a rugged, no holds barred, super brute he-man macho Chuck Norris stunt double, then email me. I might be out hang-gliding or BASE jumping or just chilling with my lady, but leave a message and I'll get back to you. And when I do, we'll talk about a price over a nice glass of Schmidt while we listen to Johnny Cash.

*To sweeten the deal a little, I'm throwing in this pair of MC Hammer pants for the man with rippling quads that can't fit into regular pants. Yeah, you heard me. FREE MC Hammer pants.

Rock on. "
*truck does not actually include MC Hammer pants*"


Birth Control - a little help?

Here's the solution! Shit My Kids Have Ruined blog. Here's a little teaser:

Caption: "New tub of Desitin + new tub of Vaseline + new container of powder+ extra long “nap”= reminder to get a tubal ligation"
Please let me know if any of you breeders upload your own horror story to the site!


Easy dins

Basically, this is pan roasted potatoes below a bed of steamed greens, topped with a soft cooked egg. Here's the "recipe" even though it's more of a guideline. This is for two eaters and the amounts can be adjusted easily for more or fewer mouths.

1) Chop 1 large potato into bite-sized chunks (smaller chunks cook through faster). Heat small amount of olive oil in pan over medium heat, pan roast spuds until browned (stirring regularly). Sprinkle with some s&p and chili flakes. [Make sure the potatoes are actually cooked through. Larger chunks might brown without softening enough. You could always do this step in the oven: 375F for ~25 minutes]
2) Meanwhile, wash and chop 2-3 cups of greens (chard, kale, spinach, anything!) then steam in a steamer pot for about 5 minutes (less for spinach). Toss lightly with a dash of lemon juice to retain bright green colour.
3) Cook two eggs until whites are set and yolks are runny (poached, over easy, sunny side up, any way you like it!) You could even poach the eggs in the water used to steam the greens. Or lightly fry them in the pan used for the potatoes.
4) In 2 bowls, layer potatoes, then greens, then egg. S&p and hot sauce to taste.

And that's it!

I loooove this meal. It's super tasty and healthy, easy on the wallet and easy to pull together, and it responds well to adaptations. For instance, tonight I threw in chunks of portobello mushroom to cook with the spuds (about halfway through spud cooking), and topped it with scallions and sesame seeds. Varieties of peppers go well with this; you can always add onions or garlic at the beginning; grated cheese on top is delicious; add your favourite spices to the potatoes or toss the greens with some Braggs, etc. I'm sure this would be great over rice as well, but potatoes are rich in potassium so it's a great recovery meal after a full day of exercise. The soft egg breaks over everything else, making the dish quite creamy. **Slurp**!



Dimension fun

See the little guy wearing red and blue glasses in the left top corner of your Google Map streetview? Yep, if you click him, your streetview becmes 3D. I'm serious. Serious as a heart attack. Here are steps you can use to build your own 3D glasses (it boils down to "colour clear plastic with red and blue sharpie"), or buy a box of cereal advertising 3D glasses in return for 3 UPCs (or fair facsimiles), then load up the intertubes, find an address you might be interested in (I suggest the art intervention viewable here, and information about it here), then get your freak on!

We had to experiment quite a bit with the colours. The blue lens had to be almost dark teal, and the red really had to be orangey-red, not pinky-red. We only had limited success, to be honest, but it was fun trying. And that's what really counts, doesn't it?
Here's an image to try it out on:

Flexing the tendons

Well, besides the fact I'm getting physio on my wrist for triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC), I've been wanting to get a toque finished for my neighbour/landlords downstairs who are expecting their first child. Luckily, the knitting didn't seem to bother my wrist much, unlike washing my face at night or turning right while driving (who can predict these things?). So I managed to finish what might be my cutest knitting creation yet: Fraise Heads! Strawbabies! Fruit suit!
Soooooooooo cute! I'm feeling like I've got this particular baby toque NAILED. It's always the Umbilical Cord Hat from the Stitch N' Bitch book of knitting patterns, but I've started playing with the colours and pattern a bit to mix it up.It's not pink! It's red. Couldn't get a photo that really did the colours justice.
I'm not being original here; lots of folks have thrown twists at this basic toque pattern, and there are multiple lines of fruit hat wear out there for knitters to whip up. I've seen eggplants, tomatoes, apples, etc., and I'll get around to trying out a lot of them, if willing models continue to show up. But it's fun to shop for yarn and imagine the finished product, then sit my butt down in front of a movie (12 Angry Men (1957)) and start and finish a hat in one go.

Fun with yarn!

UPDATE: Turns out Kathy had a baby boy 12 hours after I finished the hat! Three weeks early but everyone is doing fine. AND I gave the hat to the new dad and he said the one thing they were missing was a hat to bring him home in! Too perfect.


Great news! Or at least a validation.

Many runners drink, and some improve their running performance

For some people, running is seen as a way to counterbalance the effects of consuming alcohol or puffing the occasional cigarette. When you’re training hard, you’ve earned a night out once in a while, the thinking goes. And there’s no doubt runners enjoy a night out at the bar. A 1996 study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that recreational runners drink more alcohol than their sedentary counterparts. As well, a 2008 poll sponsored by Runner’s World magazine found that 2 per cent of the 2,500 respondents smoked but kept it a secret from their running friends, while 4 per cent made no bones about lighting up. But as much as running may seem like an excuse to indulge vices, experts say alcohol can hurt performance and impact training for much longer than some runners may think.


A runner’s performance can be greatly improved by relaxation and occasionally easing up on a strict training schedule, says John Hill, a past winner of the Vancouver Marathon and coach of the Vancouver Falcons Athletics Club.

“That definitely benefits [runners],” Mr. Hill says. Getting away from a rigid schedule or self-imposed demands to perform, whether by training in a less structured way or going to the bar with friends, can take the pressure off and help runners find renewed motivation. “Whether it’s physical balance or other things in your life, it’s absolutely critical,” Mr. Hill says.

These days I'm taking a hiatus from the bottle to tone up a bit for my sister's wedding in the first week of May, but otherwise this story rings true for me. Especially during long runs when I start craving strong drinks like tequila margaritas or dry martinis. Strange, but delicious and hard earned!


Big bad blog alert!

I'm not so good at posting these days...
But I am pretty good at surfing.
You might find that I am posting things that I have surfed to.
You might find that you enjoy them

Tiny Art Director, a blog by a guy with a daughter who is an itsy-bitsy critic and art commissioner. Try reading from oldest to most recent since it started when she was two or three, and now she's maybe five or six. That's when they get pretentious and bossy. Trust me. I know.


Wasabi avocado salad

Oh my gosh - I'm so going to make this soon! Avocado Wasabi Salad!
Lolo over at Vegan Yum Yum makes beautiful, healthful food. She's got a new cookbook out that is surprisingly affordable, and I'm drooling over it not just a little bit. For the Alberta carnivores, please don't be put off by the vegan designation. I guarantee there is still food pron on that site you'll be attracted to!

I made a quick mock up of the dressing for this recipe last night for salad sharing with friends. Blended in a blender: 1/2 an avocado, 1 clove garlic, about 1/4 cup soy milk (would be fine with cow's milk if you're using it right away), 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, couple shots of Tabasco. Sooooooo creamy-licious with a tiny bit of kick! Tossed with a mass of greens, some seeds, some thin pepper strips and grated carrot. But definitely I'm planning to make the salad from Vegan Yum Yum as written this week.

Happy in the kitchen! And sometimes barefoot!


Project Intimacy

I know a number of friends who would love a little public privacy, and a number of people who could use it. These beautiful, wearable vestibules of privacy are designed by GAIA design group to provide intimate space for you and possibly yours in places that otherwise don't afford it. In GAIA's words:

"The project is based on three keywords: isolation, intimacy and ornament. It consists of a set of wearable objects that can be converted into means of isolation, to create a personal intimacy in any environment. The idea derives from a reflection on the change in our relationship with the domestic environment, due to the effects of our increasing mobility, and how this has affected our concept of intimacy, creating new demands. This led to the design of four accessories, screen for four different parts of the body: eyes, ears, face and upper body, expressing, through their shape and colour, our desire for intimacy at any time, any place, on various levels.

"An ornament that can be worn.
A gesture to transform it.
A secret place for personal intimacy.
A reminder of our exterior aspect.

"A strong, dominant exterior that conceals a fragile, personal interior."

PS. I bet you'd like me to STOP posting now, wouldnja?



Available here.


Hitting you with the big guns!

Since I was on hiatus for far too long, I'm taking this Sunday opportunity to hit you with MASSIVE BLOG OVERLOAD! And now, for something very clever: An abridged history of modern wars as told by food.

A cheat sheet of what the food is and thus which country it represents is here. A complete description of the battles represented in the short film (and the original video link) is here

I've seen some comments claiming the film trivializes the death toll of these battles, and some comments thanking the film maker for finally making clear to them who was in bed with whom during the various conflicts. I agree with the first comment that when the film gets around to the most recent conflicts that I remember well in my life time, the screaming fries just can't do justice to the massive loss of human life and the ensuing suffering. But, it's an incredibly clever and well-made representation of the wars we have known and have learned about, presented in an engaging way. Thoughts?

Hiding the veggies

Sure we had a gorgeous couple of months there while we "welcomed the world", but Mother Nature appears to have exhausted herself and Vancouver has descended once again into a cold, rainy spell. Time for comfort food! Just before you look at the longish list of ingredients I'll point out that you can also really simplify this recipe by omitting the spices (except s&p) and the garlic. And I'm sure you can get away with only using cheddar instead of also using parmesan.

Butternut Squash Mac N' Cheese

1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded, and grated (about 3 cups)
1 cup broth
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp smoke paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound whole wheat spirals or elbow macaroni (this was the whole package for me)
4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 ounce)
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil
Olive-oil cooking spray, to grease baking pan

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions on the package but minus two minutes so it's a little underdone. Drain and set aside after rinsing with cold water.

Combine squash, stock, and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and blend until smooth. I used a hand blender and it got very velvety. Stir in nutmeg, paprika, cayenne, pepper and salt. Beat egg in a small bowl, add to hot liquid and quickly blend again to incorporate egg.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine pasta, squash mixture, garlic, grated cheddar and 2 Tbsp of grated parmesan and mix well.

Lightly coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer noodle mixture to dish.

In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and oil; sprinkle evenly over noodles.

Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 20 to 40 minutes more. Serve immediately. Makes 8 medium servings or 6 big servings.

Ok, yes, you can taste the squash, but it loses a strong veggie taste and the dish is just velvety, creamy deliciousness. Because you replace most of the traditional cheese in homemade macaroni with squash, this is also really light in fat and has truck loads of healthy fiber. Go Go Gadget colon!


I've got one word for ya

Alright alright alright! Enough harassment! I'll blog already! But you're only getting one word out of me.
This list has been doing the rounds and it's a bit of a challenge* to answer all the questions in a single word, so I'm giving it a shot. Nothing like a challenge to get me into action!

Where is your cell phone?


Your hair?

Your mother?

Your father?

Your favorite thing?

Your dream last night?

Favorite drink?
G&T (that counts as one word, doesn't it? Can't have one without the other, anyway)

What room are you in?

Your hobby?

Your fear?

Where do you want to be in 6 years?

Where were you last night?

Something that you aren't?


Wish list item?

Last thing you did?

What are you wearing?

Your pets?


Your life?

Your mood?

Missing someone?


Your car?

Something you're not wearing?

Your favorite store?

Your favorite color?
294PC (http://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone/colorfinder.aspx?c_id=6046)

When is the last time you cried?

Where do you go over and over?

Five people who email me regularly?

Favorite place to eat?

Favorite place I'd like to be right now?

*Yes, I'm fully aware that my "challenge" is also a great way to wuss out of writing an actual blog. Consider me reprimanded and keep your mockery to yourself! :-)