The Lethbridge Veg

I'm so glad my little sister is blogging! She keeps feeding me new recipes to try, and passing on great blogs and other items she has found along her blogging travels.

Great news for Lethbridgians, Katho found a blog by a Lethbridge woman who is into growing her own food year round, preserving and canning, local producers, and vegetarian eating in Southern Alberta (not a simple thing to accomplish). The author's husband eats meat so some of her blog posts also include references to local meat producers who are doing things the ethical and organic way. Check it out over at The Lethbridge Veg. I was most impressed to see her listing interesting workshops happening in the Lethbridge area and pointing her readers to local independent businesses where you can buy food products you can feel good feeding to your friends and family.

Thanks for the tip, Katho!


Art in the streets

Also, this is amazing:

And this:
See more clever and cool public art here.

Seasonal fun

I've been able to squeeze in a little seasonal fun lately, in between committee meetings and chapter revisions. Por ejemplo: introducing a new person to what we call snowshoeing. 
Miranda and Jacobus on frozen trail
The snowshoe crew, some of whom look more suspicious than others
And the best part of the holiday season, which can also be accomplished any time of year and was also a part of snowshoeing, spending time with good friends.

You might think this was taken when it was getting on later in the evening. But no. Still fairly early in the grand scheme of things.
So strange that I didn't foresee that night at the Alibi Room to be a big night. But oh, it was. And such a fun time was had by all!



*snort* too funny. I'm surprised this wasn't filmed in Vancouver, the yuppiest yuppery ville of socially competitive yoga.


Nothing like kicking around an empty tortilla bag to break a girl's pride

Another blog in response! Abaw posted a great sounding recipe for enchiladas, and I tried them tonight with, as she proposes, "anything you like" tossed in. Well I found myself with a festival squash, a red pepper, a can of black beans, and a bunch of cilantro. And by golly, they were soooo delicious. Here's what I did and what you can do if you want to recreate what I did:

Halve squash, rub with olive oil, place cut side down on baking tray and roast at 400F for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute chopped onion, red pepper, and garlic in 2tsp olive oil over medium heat until veggies are translucent, then add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp red chili flakes.

In a large bowl, mix together:
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup salsa
1 small can black beans rinsed and drained (14oz maybe?)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup corn (frozen then thawed)
sauteed veggies
flesh from half the roasted squash (discard skin)

I used fajita size flour tortillas, and greased a 9X13ish baking pan.
Place a bunch of mixture into a tortilla, roll up and put seam side down into the baking pan. Repeat. Mine made seven rolls but I definitely could have filled them less to make more rolls.
Pour some enchilada sauce from a jar (yep, you read that right) across the tortilla rolls, mostly down the middle and leaving the very ends of the rolls dry. Sprinkle the sauce with enough cheese to satisfy you.

Cover with foil and back at 350F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes.

Ooooooh yeah! We'll be making these again, and soon! It should be said that I had a minor catastrophe with a pack of corn tortillas at first, which resulted in me cursing repeatedly and drop-kicking the empty bag of useless, crumbly, asswipe corn tortillas, which only resulted in greater frustration since an empty plastic tortilla bag really doesn't feel the brunt of a forceful drop-kick motivated by sincere anger. Suffice it to say that the Vancouver city compost is going to be the unwilling recipient of 50 shards of corn tortilla, and that I had to start over again with the rolling with flour tortillas that I no longer think I should be eating because of a suspected gluten intolerance. Blah blah blah, we had amazing flour tortilla enchiladas. Really, really very good. Sorry no pics!
Go make this!

If you're interested, I used the day to prep food for the week because otherwise I resort to some pretty embarrassing eating choices when the week gets busy. So I put half the squash in the enchiladas (more would have definitely been overkill) and made a really simple and really tasty squash and carrot soup with the other half. Here's the deets.

Melt 1-2 Tbsp butter in a large soup pot.
Add 1 large onion, chopped. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and sweat onions for 5 minutes.
Add 3 large or 4 medium carrots cut into chunks. Stir, replace cover, and sweat for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the flesh of half a roasted squash (any variety will do: acorn, festival, kuri, even pumpkin), and 3-4 cups vegetable broth and a dash of nutmeg. If you don't have broth then 3-4 cups water, a bay leaf, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and possibly a drizzle of soy sauce.
Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 or so minutes. Add 1-2 tsp vinegar to taste like white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice.
Blitz until smooth with a hand blender, or in a blender or food processor. Adjust seasoning and viscosity to taste.

So we have a couple enchiladas left over and now a pot of soup that would feed four. Since there's two of us here, we have three meals in a minute to rely on during the week. Better than a kick in the head! Or certainly better than a kick at an empty tortilla bag. I promise.


A blog in response

So hey folks, my sister has started a blog! A Blog About What documents the life of an awesome sister living in Edmonton, who has two freakin cute kids, a fabulous husband, a house, a job (currently on enviable mat-leave), an attitude (a good one!), and an interest in...well, a lot of things! So check it out if you have a minute. This post is in honour of Katho, and in response to her most recent post about pot roast. I hear ya on the warm, wintry foods, but I offer up a vegetarian alternative to the large hunk of beef*. BTW, how many references to your Irish heritage were made when you boiled beef, K? Very classic.

Our gorgeous fall meal tonight began with inspiration from the cutest squash you ever did see, the gem squash. Gem squash is a variety of summer squash, although around these parts it comes into season quite late for "summer". Last week at the Vancouver Farmer's Market - the Winter market, I should add - I found these little beauties, each about the size of an apple. I knew they would find their stuffing, and all I had to do was wait.
All week I've been meaning to make a batch of quinoa carrot muffins as made by Fresh 365. It calls for 1 cup of cooked quinoa, and today, although I didn't have all the ingredients for the muffins, I decided to make a batch of quinoa, save some for the muffins, and stuff the gem squash with the rest of it. Here's how it all went down.
  1.  I washed, halved, and seeded the squash. Gave them a light coating of olive oil and put them cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet, and roasted them at 375 for 25 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile I cooked 1 cup of rinsed quinoa in 1.5 cups of veggie broth (like you would cook rice) for 15 minutes, then fluffed it with a fork.
  3. Also meanwhile, I roasted walnut halves in the toaster oven at 300 for about 8 minutes (a light toasting).
  4. In a bowl I mixed the quinoa (minus one cup) with about 1/2 cup of light ricotta that was hanging around, 1 tsp fresh thyme, 1/4 tsp ground sage, a few grinds of pepper, and the walnuts. 
  5. I stuffed the squash halves with this mixture, topped them with a small sprinkling of cheddar (also hanging around), and returned them to the parchment lined sheet. At this point I also tossed a few cherry tomatoes with olive oil and put them on the same baking sheet.
  6. Baked all this at 350 for 25 minutes. Oozy gooey goodness! [Well, not really oozy. Tasty, but maybe more ooze would be nice. For this I would maybe mix in an egg to the quinoa ricotta mixture, or stir in grated cheese at the same step. Good, and lighter, without those changes, but really I would have appreciated some ooze.]
  7. While they baked, I sauteed green curly kale torn into bite-sized pieces in a little olive oil, and finished it with the lightest drizzle of balsamic vinegar when the kale was almost wilting.
The result is a delicious, nutritious and hearty meal of many veg and huge protein from the quinoa, walnuts, and ricotta. We washed it down with some tremendously delicious wine. Too delicious for a Sunday night, to be honest, but what the hell! A toast to autumn feasts!

*Every. Single. Time I tried to type beef in this post I managed instead to type beer. Freudian much?
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Cookie and Kate

I've stumbled across yet another beautiful food blog, vegetarian and whole grain focused. She also worked for years as a bartender, and the recipes I've read on her site for fancy cocktails could turn any one of us into a foo-foo sippin' fool. If you have a minute, check out Cookie and Kate. I strongly suggest reading her healthful recipes, but if you only have a second then start at her fresh cherry chocolate cake. Omg. (picture by Kate)


Winnebago Man - Not family friendly!

This guy has me rolling in the aisles of my mini winni. Holy shit. Apparently he became a sensation when these outtakes from commercials in which he's the Winnebago spokesman surfaced on YouTube, and eventually someone even put together a documentary on him, called Winnebago Man. I haven't seen the documentary, but I'm thinking it just might be hilarious. Or sad, or hilariously sad. Or... well, you get the picture.

PS. I really want to see the movie Duets. Has anyone seen it? Thumbs up? Thumbs down?


Taquito Tuesday! Or Thursday, or Saturday, or Anyday!

Last night I made taquitos for the first time, and I think it will be a stand by from now on. Moms, I bet this will be a great food for kids too. Finger food with nutritious fillings, and they're baked so can be quite low fat.
I adapted a recipe from She Runs, She Eats. In her taquitos she used sweet potato, which we in Canada would call yam, and in my taquitos I used pumpkin and black beans to get some protein in. Here we go!

First, chop 1 large onion quite small, and three cloves of garlic (or more to taste). Fry the onions in 1 Tbsp of oil in a non-stick skillet until translucent then add garlic for a minute or so. Then add:
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
and stir, and cook for another minute until spices are fragrant. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, mix up the main ingredients for the filling. I used 1 can of pumpkin puree and 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed), but you could use just about anything that will be moist and flavourful. The original recipe sauted cubes of yam until soft, then pureed them in a blender with the onions. In the future I want to make a sweet potato and bean version, or a refried bean and veggies version, maybe a cauliflower puree version with loads of cilantro, you could try mashed peas and soft potato, or even throw in some chopped hard boiled egg. You could change up the spicing too to be less hot, or try Indian spicing, or even Mediterranean. Obviously the carnivores could try shredded chicken or ground beef, but I won't condone such behaviour. ;-)
The point is, in a large bowl, mix up your main ingredients. Add onion mixture and 1 cup of shredded cheese (whatever cheese you prefer). Stir thoroughly.

Now comes the part that I imagined would be tricky but was actually shockingly easy. You get a stack of small corn tortillas. Heat your oven to about 275. Using spray oil, lightly spritz both sides of 6 or so tortillas and lay them on a baking try. Heat them in the oven for about 3-5 minutes. They will get soft and flexible. One at a time, remove from oven, place a heaping tablespoon of filling on the tortilla close to one edge. Roll tortilla up around the filling like a tight cigar. The tighter roll (and less filling) makes for a crunchier and more satisfying taquito.

Place your finished taquito on a baking try and set it aside. Continue this process with the rest of the tortillas until the filling runs out. My filling made about 20 taquitos. She Runs, She Eats has a good series of photos in her recipe post that kind of show how to roll them and what a filled tray looks like. From my experience, it's crazy easy, just make sure the rolled taquito is placed seam side down on the tray, and individual taquitos are not touching. This allows them to get evenly crunchy on all sides.

Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Serve with salsa for dipping, and you're all set with a nutritious and delicious snack.


Werner Herzog reads Where's Waldo

Werner Herzog, the esteemed and very strange film maker, reads a passage on Waldo, our friendly peripatetic man in stripes. You see, nothing is safe from the clammy paws of social theory and fatalist ideology.


More people with too much time on their hands

A story on the Globe and Mail website describes the newest craze: planking. For fuck's sake.

Are you getting pumped for the first ever Global Planking Day? More than 10,000 people who like to lie face down straight as a board sure are.
Planking, a phenomenon that started in Australia, is simple enough: “You must always lay face down, ensuring your face remains expressionless for the duration of the plank. Your legs must remain straight, and together with toes pointed.

Your arms must be placed by your side, held straight and fingers pointed,” according to the “Official” Planking Facebook page. The group also advises that you “must make it known that you are Planking” andd that “safety should always be considered.”
The real fun, however, seems to be photographing yourself planking on just about anything: on top of your fridge, on the sidewalk, on top of a bookshelf, on a pool table, on a store’s counter.
One man in Australia was charged after he was allegedly caught planking on top of a police car. Planking has become popular enough in Australia that police there are cracking down on it.
“Police, authorized officers and transport providers strongly discourage this type of behaviour around public transport and roads areas, and those caught will be prosecuted,” a police spokeswoman told the Herald Sun, an Australian newspaper. On Sunday, after police issued that warning, a man in his twenties fell to his death from a balcony railing while a friend was photographing him planking, the BBC reported. But it's not just a phenomenon Down Under. Enough people around the world are in to it that it’s more than 10, 000 devotees are organizing the first ever Global Planking Day on May 25.
If you’re wondering whether or not Canada will be represented on the big day, just ask these folks.


Quickie, shorty, baby

Many of you don't know her, but one of my very closest friends in Vancouver had her first baby today! Miranda (ok, you might know her as Jen K) brought a baby boy out of her body into the world. I have no more details, but I have sooooo much excitement and happiness for her, Mike, and David! YAHOOOO! Jen's going to be an amazing mom. Just you wait and see!
I'm drinking a margarita in celebration, possibly because it sounds a little like Miranda. Might get to visit the new tyke tomorrow if mom is up for it. Gosh, baby bums! Within reach! Can't wait!!! Oh, AND you'll get to meet them all at the wedding in August! So many babies will be there. Tarrooo tarray!

PS. A cow has apparently moved into our neighbourhood. Last year Dan the Hoarder bought a duck phone and it took us weeks to figure out where the quacking was coming from. Today the moment I heard an anguished "Moo-ooo" I was pretty certain I could blame the same culprit. But I haven't put my finger on it yet, and it still could be the moo of a suburban cow gone rogue. I'll keep you updated as I find out more. I love my neighbourhood!


Ireland 2011

Ireland trip March/April 2011
Here's a link to some photos from our recent trip to Ireland. Shane was best man at a friend's wedding in Dublin, then we chilled for a few days with his folks in Carlow. The following weekend was super busy with parties thrown by both of our families to celebrate our upcoming wedding. Totally fabulous to see everyone, a little odd to be at the centre of attention, and the kind of wonderful holiday that you still need a holiday to recover from once you're home. Hooray!


Canadiana, now comes in Rocco

Rocco at his seat in the throng of 400 new Canadians sworn in at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver yesterday.

Rocco flanked by the presiding judge who granted him citizenship and the Mountie in red serge who oversaw the ceremony.

Post surprise party, trailing balloons that hid in the trunk of the car the night before. Rocco didn't have a clue that we'd been planning the party for three weeks. He was surrounded by friends and family who are proud to count him among our nation's members. As the judge said during the ceremony to all the new citizens, "You enrich Canada remarkably." Hooray!

And my own accomplishment yesterday, besides pulling off a wicked surprise, is that I wore these stunning shoes all morning and managed to not look disabled. Double hooray! Oh boo, the colours aren't really coming through in the picture. They're shockingly bright, I promise!


Another walk in the city

More pics from wandering on Granville tonight.

Excuse, but how amazing is it that someone had the genius notion and the follow through to type, print, and packing-tape secure this banana bread recipe to a random streetlight? I kind of want to say "only in Vancouver" but in reality I have lots of hope that you would find this beauty in any other city. People are fabulous.

Maybe Ouisi Bistro was inspired by this week's Glee episode where Will and Coach go down to the local honkey tonk to let off some steam, are invited to perform on stage (as one is), and belt out this John Lee Hooker classic to great acclaim (btw, the episode is about the perils of underage and binge drinking, and Will pretty much shows up his Glee kids to that effect), but whatever the motivation, I personally find $13.75 Cdn to be a damn good deal for a whole lotta liquor. Pity I couldn't find a soul willing to join me in an adult beverage this Friday evening! L-Boogie, I MISS you! So instead I went home and made up one of these amazing grapefruit bourbon sours. And damn, it is gooooood. Plus it's grapefruit season so it's the smart choice.

Have a fulfilling and surprising weekend everyone!


Cute things adorning cozy spaces

Bad girl! Posting from school when you should be working and when you might get caught by one of the more dedicated (read: anal) students! Oh well, all in the name of funky home design.
Check these out!
What?! Too freakin cute. Scrabble tile pillows available here. Oh, and in honour of this week's meaningless Hallmark holiday, these by the same artist:
Bit over the top for me, but definitely high on the cute meter. Like the Cute Things Falling Asleep site that you wouldn't want to admit you visit.


A great Saturday

Two wonderful things happened in my life today! Early afternoon I finished a full draft of the CIRCUITS paper. Yes, friends, the beast that has been on my back for four years and on my desk for eight months has finally been tamed! I sent the draft to John and expect there will be many revisions, so it's not completely off my desk yet but it is so, so much easier to do ANYTHING once you have a draft. I can't believe it, in many ways, but I'm oh so glad. I believe the appropriate comment here is FUCK YES!

Then Rocco and I went to the next event in the DanceHouse dance series. We have season tickets (expensive but very worth it) and always look forward to the next event. Well this one was incredibly special. Doug Elkins (choreographer) and Friends presenting their piss take on The Sound Of Music, called Fraulein Maria.
Yep, the image does show multiple Marias bum bopping with some of the Von Trapp kids wearing curtains to the "Do A Deer" tune. The piece is a fabulous mix of stellar contemporary dance and breakdancing, true to Doug Elkins' style. Many liberties were taken, like the eldest child who is a woman in the movie, is played by a tall, gangly, and very creepy man in drag in the dance show - which of course means "I am 16 going on 17" turns into a whole new ballgame! The show opened with an emcee conducting the audience through "Do A Deer" in sections, and this kooky emcee kept appearing at odd moments throughout the rest of the show. Including a hat dance he performs with Doug Elkins on a bench - somewhat tangential to the other dances, but so clever and engaging. "Climb Every Mountain" was the most brilliant dance of all. Elkins comes out in a hoodie, basketball shorts, one long black sock and sneaks, and b-boys his way through the piece in grand style. Phenomenal, hilarious, relevant, and captivating.

Ok, actually, I think there aren't enough positive adjectives to describe Fraulein Maria! Oh, and the nuns! Oh my god! I can't possibly do it justice. You'll just have to keep your antennae up in case the show is coming anywhere close to where you live. Doug Elkins and Friends are a New York company but they're touring this show pretty extensively, so you might be in with a chance to catch it. God, it was a great night last night. Yes indeed.

Happy weekend!



We love to mock! We love to mock poncy design! Can't wait for the ungulates mock video!


Thas a fancee meataball!

Going to be making this very, very soon! If you're in the area, you might want to stop by... Just bring the chianti!


walking with camera phones

Just a couple pics from a walk with Rocco, taken this afternoon.
I know this one will appeal to L-Boogie.
So sad! Her accordion! Well, Doran could be a guy, but I picture a lovely, kooky gal who plays the keys on her cow-patterned bellows. I also picture the destitute accordion out on the curb for many days, gathering damp and gloom. My heart breaks for her and the pumps! I hope it turns up and I hope it's in salvageable condition. :-(

Oh god. We're working on making our wedding invitations, and no matter how hard one tries to avoid the massive commercial industry of capital W Weddings, it's shoved down ones throat at every turn. Just looking for paper we can print and cut ourselves, and we should have but didn't expect to find the Bride aisle at Michael's. Rocco thinks this parasol is very fetching and will really suit the climate of Galiano Island in August. Bets on folks: how much did he pay me to pose with this for the photo?

Nice day, nice walk, avoided the rain, didn't find any purchase-able paper. But the accordion ad made it worth it. What happened on your way today?



See my post below, then add your own line so we can make the whole chorus, or hell, even the whole song by editing clip after clip together! Ooo, it's really long, so maybe we'll get through one chorus and one verse? DO EET.

Here are the lyrics:

[Repeat x2]
My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
And they're like
It's better than yours,
Damn right it's better than yours,
I can teach you,
But I have to charge

I know you want it,
The thing that makes me,
What the guys go crazy for.
They lose their minds,
The way I wind,
I think its time

[Chorus x2]
La la-la la la,
Warm it up.
The boys are waiting

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
And they're like
It's better than yours,
Damn right it's better than yours,
I can teach you,
But I have to charge

I can see youre on it,
You want me to teach thee
Techniques that freaks these boys,
It can't be bought,
Just know, thieves get caught,
Watch if your smart,

[Chorus x2]
La la-la la la,
Warm it up,
La la-la la la,
The boys are waiting,

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
And they're like
It's better than yours,
Damn right it's better than yours,
I can teach you,
But I have to charge

Oh, once you get involved,
Everyone will look this way-so,
You must maintain your charm,
Same time maintain your halo,
Just get the perfect blend,
Plus what you have within,
Then next his eyes are squint,
Then he's picked up your scent,

[Chorus x2]
Warm it up,
The boys are waiting,

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
And they're like
It's better than yours,
Damn right it's better than yours,
I can teach you,
But I have to charge


A slow Tuesday night...

And you can take that to the bank. I know I will. And yes, it is really ASL. I put it together myself so it's possible the grammar is a bit off. Fuck it. And yeah, it's short. It was a short-lived experiment.
(Can't believe I'm posting this!)