Saturday, December 20, 2008

I Did It.


in the absence of a picture of pumpkin pie, i will post a picture of the family horse, who is pumpkin pie coloured. 

After years of irrational fear and avoidance I finally made pumpkin pie puree out of a pumpkin I have had hanging around since Hallowe'en. I had been keeping it in Kai's wagon on the patio, so it was frozen solid when I tried to cut it, and I had to strain the hell out of it because freezing it had resulted in a lot of extra water, but pumpkin pie puree it now is. T'wasn't so hard. 

UPDATE: and the pie, she was good.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How German Vegans...


get Giggy-Wid-It.

I am making the cinnamon star cookies, myself. 
xo.h

pictured above: after a hard hour of piling snow, he will be expecting cookies.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cookie-Tracker 2008


This is more for me to keep track of my nerdy baking life than anything else, but if you are into vegan baking/the PPK/extreme list-oriented nerdiness you may find it interesting to read this growing list of what I have baked for this holiday season. I'll keep updating as I bake, then post a picture of the assorted vegan cookie plate I am going to bring to my parents' place for Christmas Eve. The plan is that I save one batch of everything I make to make an office-party-esque cookie tray. So far the saving part is not going so well, but I can always make more. :) Keep checking back to this post, I won't be making new ones as I add, just adding on to this one...

So, the (to be added-to) list...

1. Sparkled Ginger Cookies from Vegan With a Vengeance *with baking powder instead of baking soda mishap that actually worked out great! they were just puffier and chewier rather than flat and crispy. yum! i used 3/4 cup of sugar rather than the 1 cup. 

2. Buttery Lemon Cutout Cookies from Vegan With a Vengeance *I had problems rolling these out, so I turned them into little rustic circular shortbread looking cookies instead. they are deeee-licious.

3. Gingerbread Cutout Cookies from La Dolce Vegan *i am determined to use the cute mitten cookie cutter that my mom just gave me! i wanted to use them for the lemon cookies above, but no go, so gingerbread mittens it is.  (i hope -- the dough is chilling now.) update: dough was still a bit breaky, so i went with the smaller gingerbread reindeer, which was actually cuter as the dough was a perfect Rudolph Brown colour. I will be using an Isa Moskowitz recipe for the bigger men and mittens which I've used before with success. The reindeer are so good btw -- they use shortening (organic earth balance) so they have an oreo crispy melty thing going on that is rare in the gingerbread galaxy.

4. Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies - from Vegan With a Vengeance. I made them with apricot jam, and am going to make raspberry, too. I used only 1/2 a cup of sugar instead of 2/3 of a cup, but in this case I think the greater amount of sugar would have worked better. I'll be putting in the full amount for the raspberry ones.

xo.h




Friday, December 12, 2008

Handmade Christmas


This Christmas I am determined to stick to my goal of having a totally handmade Christmas. I haven't signed this nifty pledge yet, but I plan to (update: I just did!) This means that I will be buying my presents from Etsy, from craft shows, making them myself or getting into the kitchen and baking them up. 

I am pretty much out of Christmas shopping money already, and I REFUSE to use credit cards for anything anymore, so it looks like I'll be spending some serious time peering through my oven window this holiday season. 

Sometime I worry that people won't want to receive baked goods as gifts, or that they won't be memorable, but then I think back to a birthday I had where I got all kinds of cool presents, I'm sure, but the one present I remember was a huge jar of homemade hummus with a beautiful bow around it! I think, too, that in this day of e-cards and facebook virtual presents, that giving a gift of nourishing or just plain fun food is more meaningful than ever.

I like to include the recipe when I give a gift of food, as well, so the recipient can make the cupcakes, cookies, bread, whathaveyou, again and again and hopefully think of me when they do! 

Consider including some baking gifts on your holiday gift-giving list this year! They're eco-friendly, to boot, as they leave behind very little waste and are as locally made as it gets!

xo.h

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pink Icing

Made with beet juice.

Stay tuned.

update: it worked! and no beety flava! i used the "fluffy buttercream icing" recipe from vegan cupcakes take over the world, and just microplaned about half a beet in batches, picking up about 1/2 a teaspoon of the grated beet at a time and squeezing it over the frosting while it mixed in my mixer (alternatively, you could certainly just add it in at any point if mixing manually.) 

the pink i went with was a very girly baby pink, but there was lots of room to go deeper if i wanted to -- i am excited to experiment with different shades of beet -- purples, true reds -- the one i used was sort of wine coloured. 

i refuse to eat food colouring, so am very happy to have the option of pink icing back in my life. i'm not even a huge fan of not chocolate icing, but i am a huge fan of making girly birthday cakes, so this is a big deal for me. try it!

xo.h


Monday, November 24, 2008

I am almost 30.

It feels different. Like I am supposed to be more helpful or something. 

For now it also feels like carrot cake cupcakes.

xo.h

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Etsy Roundup

I am trying to buy almost all my Christmas presents from local artisans this year, and Etsy is a huge help in making that happen! As a rule, I don't use credit cards, so being able to use Paypal is awesome as my Christmas shopping is staying rooted in the reality of how much money I have to spend. Here are three of my favourite Vancouver based Etsy shops so far...

Track and Field Designs - Beautiful fabric brooches, laptop bags, pillows, pins, you name it, lots of silkscreening and gorgeous vintage fabrics.

Cabin and Cub - Wonderful, whimsical stationary, collages, accessories...

Dear Dodo - lovely, delicate original art and prints

more to come...

xo.h

Thursday, November 20, 2008

p.s.

I thought the blog was looking a little drab with no photos for a while, so here is a picture of me wearing my new Filou sterling silver cloud necklace with a Swarovski crystal raindrop. It was designed and made locally. Filou stuff is featured at the Vancouver One of a Kind Show this weekend. I went yesterday -- it was amazing! This picture also features a sneak peek at my new haircut! Next time I am having a remotely good hair day I will post the whole thing. :)

xo.h

Living la Vida Local

I want to love Langley. 
I really do. 

I want to love it for a few reasons. 

It's where I am. I want to love where I am. I don't believe that in order to get somewhere else that you have to dislike where you are. I know that in the long run we want to be in Vancouver, and we will be, but for now, because of budget concerns we are in Langley, and I want to learn to appreciate what this place has to offer. 

I also want to be able to like living in a small town (ok, I guess Langley is technically a city, but you know what I mean.) It makes me feel so externally focused to NEED artsy cool cafes and a rep cinema and ten million art galleries showing things that are not landscapes or totally serious bird portraits. I want to be more of an island than that. At least I want to be able to do it, then move back to stimuli land.

Anyway, here are a few truly cool things I have found in Langley.

- Their website leaves something to be desired, but don't let that stop you from checking out TAP (The Aromatherapy Place). I actually don't know of a place like this of this size in Vancouver or Toronto. These ladies sell a huge selection of essential oils and synergies, beeswax candles, salt crystal lamp type stuff, sweetgrass, bath and body products, olive oil, dried flowers, diffusers, etc. and run a spa with THE BEST massage therapist ever. I can't remember her name, but I will find out and post it here. Their products are made with great ingredients, they make their own stuff and the store is an utter pleasure to be in. If you come in to Fort Langley, you must check it out.

- The Scoop-N-Save cake decorating store. There are no words. There are no comparisons. I am a vegan, and can't eat some of the supplies in there, but even so, you have to drag me kicking and screaming from this mecca of cookie cutters, chocolate molds, cake tins (for sale or rent), icing tips, cake toppers, etc. I asked the lady at the counter if people ever make trips in from the city just to go there, and she was like "um, yes." 

- The Little White House - This woman is hilarious and her store is awesome. She bought a house in Fort Langley, painted it totally white inside and out, and only sells things in it that are white, or off-white, or once in a while grey or black. Her real house is also all white inside and out. The store is super beautiful and has really nice stuff -- clothes, housewares, antiques. She kept the house totally intact, and just set up the merch like someone is living there, so when you shop you kind of feel like you are robbing someone's house. It's fun. She's one of those people who has a place in Paris and knows how to find the goods.

The owner of Cranberries Naturally fraking LEE-OVES cranberries. You will, too after checking out her store. Fort Langley has a huge c.berry festival every year, and this gal is the belle of the ball.

Come visit!
xo.h

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Perfect Hot Chocolate

I used to think I didn't like hot chocolate. It seemed so wimpy compared to coffee. Coffee makes me feel kind of crazy, but I would regularly pick that feeling over the buyer's regret that would go along with me sitting there with a big mug of watery brown hot chocolate. At some point I saw the movie Chocolat -- I thought the movie was pretty weak, but the hot chocolate making scene stuck with me -- she made it look so saucy and intense and delicious. 

I have tried over the years to come up with the perfect recipe for hot chocolate, the saucy-as-heck kind, and I think I've got it. Some hard-core recipes call for actual chocolate, but I have left that out because 1. hot chocolate is something you want on the spur of the moment or, in my case, every day, and chocolate isn't always lying around and 2. i think if you use the cocoa the right way and get the right kind, you don't need to use chocolate itself. OK. So. Here it is...

This makes 1 cup of hot chocolate. Multiply the recipe as needed.

2 HEAPING-ASSED (your relationship to chocolate will define this for you) Tablespoons (using actual measuring spoons) of Organic, Fair Trade, Dutch Process Cocoa Powder (ie. Cocoa Camino -- widely available at Save on Foods, Dominion, Whole Foods, Capers, health food stores, etc.)

1 cup -1 1/4 cup of unsweetened organic soymilk (I like nutrasoy or silk) Try one cup, add more at the end if you want it more milky.

half a pinch of sea salt

two Tablespoons of organic, fair-trade raw whole sugar cane (like Panela de los Andes), more like 1 T if you are using something like Cocoa Camino sugar or any other sugar that is even kind of refined (brown, turbinado, pretty much most of the sugar that's out there.)

In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa powder, and about 1/4 cup of the soymilk. With a whisk, combine the soymilk and cocoa into a paste. This makes sure that when you add the other stuff that there are no lumps in your precious cocoa. Use a small spoon or a clean finger to go along the bottom edges of the pan to make sure to free up any cocoa wedged in the corners, and whisk that in as well. Make a nice smooth paste. It's looking pretty sexy, amirite?!

OK, so now turn the heat on to medium, and add the rest of the ingredients and whisk again until combined. Stand there whisking gently as it all heats up -- don't walk away or you'll scorch shiz to the bottom of your pot and make me sad. So, whisk away, and as you start to see it getting hot, whisk quickly, incorporating more air and trying to create a froth on top. 

Froth that little vixen up, and then pour into a mug. Now go watch Oprah. 

xo.h


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Green Your Holidays

I have been beginning to look into green holiday shopping options in my hometown of Vancouver and in my for-now hometown of Langley. I'll be posting my discoveries here so that you, too can pick up some lovely, local, environmentally friendly and beautiful swag for your buddies and family this holiday season. 

A store I am really excited about is Granville Island Organix -- they have an  extensive selection of beautiful, locally made clothing in organic fibres, baby stuff, shoes, jewelry, bags, towels, etc. Check out the website -- they have both a "bricks and mortar" store on Granville Island or you can shop online with them.

More to come! Happy Tuesday.

xo.h

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Okay.

It has finally happened. 
I am in studio for the record now.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Delectable Electables.

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

Ours was wonderful and low-key. Every single vegetable I used for the dinner was either grown by ourselves, the farmer across the street, or in a couple of cases, other local farmers. 

We had...

Roasted beets, turnips, brussels sprouts and carrots
Mashed purple potatoes with pink peppercorns and vegan gravy
Crispy tofu cutlets
A VAT of amazing gluten free stuffing
Orange Spiked Cranberry Sauce
and...
Gluten free local Empire Apples apple pie!

All so good...

Then I woke up this morning and marched myself across the street and  voted NDP. 

All in all, a good 24 hrs.

xo.h

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Place to Be.

You should see the looks on people's faces here in Langley when I say I don't own a car.
The transit system here leaves much to be desired (ie. a trip that would take 25 minutes to walk takes 45 minutes on the bus because of all the weird loopdy loops the bus makes up and down random side streets) but I am determined not to give in to the call of the Toyota dealership.

There is a push out here by the few people with any interest in public transportation to have a light rail system reinstated here that would connect different parts of the Fraser Valley to each other and to Vancouver. I hope it ends up happening. The Langleys (both the Township and the City) are a Conservative stronghold and are quasi-rural, so you know what that means -- generally lots of oil being used to push lots of single occupancy vehicles around from one big box store complex to the next. Much of the time my mom's car (with us in it) is the only car in the HOV lane all the way from Vancouver back to Langley (even during rush hour).

I took a walk to go meet a friend the other day, and was so disturbed by how pedestrian unfriendly the whole event was. I walked from 200th and 56th to 200th and 72nd, and the experience was so disheartening -- semi trucks flying by me with nothing around but WalMarts and Winners stores. Trying different routes has proved fruitless. In many cases I am lucky to even get a sidewalk. When there are sidewalks, they often turn into just a line painted on the road with no warning, and no way to cross the street safely unless you walk back a mile.

I live in the only really pedestrian friendly part of Langley City that I have come across. There is a big Opus Art Store across the street, and some cute stores on the Fraser Highway (more like a normal street near where I live). There are beautiful parks nearby, and several bus stops (too bad the buses only come on the half hour at best, though.) My wish for Langley is that it would become a city that feels more like a community, though, in terms of its pedestrian culture -- or even several communities separated by big stretches of highway and Petsmarts.

There is a group in Toronto that ambushes city streets with impromptu bike lane paint jobs. Maybe they would consider a cross country tour. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Nature of Pins.

I spent the afternoon today at the David Suzuki Foundation making "Vote Environment" pins for the foundation's upcoming university tour (several dates of which he will be speaking at). The pins are so cute. I will have to post a picture of one here. To find out more about the tour and everything else they are up to, go to the foundation website

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

life in bullet point form part two

no time for any thing but bullet point at the moment...not sure why...

- Kohlrabi. Grow it. Peel it. Roast it in small cubes. That is all. Who knew?

- Moving to the big house for the fall/winter because the (tiny)cottage is under some very creaky acacia trees and there are some crazy wind storms here in the fall.

- Studio is almost totally cleaned out and decorated. This Saturday I am going to Long and McQuade to rent equipment, and then I guess I record this thing...

- Have temporarily stopped using cookbooks in order to increase my arsenal of recipes that feature food that is totally in season and found either in my backyard, or in the backyard of my CSA farm (which happens to be across the street.) Tonight was tomato-coconut-basil tofu with sides of braised chard and beet greens, roasted kohlrabi, baby beets and zucchini and wild rice with blueberries (from the best, and best priced, organic blueberry farm ever.) Loves it.

- Grey's Anatomy comes back on September 25th. I now think about this every day, so I figured I should make a note of this on my bee-lowg. I don't care what anyone thinks. That show got me through 24 hour a day morning sickness when I was pregnant, and is now my blissful one hour to myself a week. Sometimes TWO hours! Like on September 25th! 'Til series finale do us part. 

- Books I have read so far this summer: The Omnivore's Dilemma (Pollan), Frankenstein (Mary S.W.), In Defense of Food (Pollan) and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Kingsolver). 

That's it for now. Better update with photos soon.

xo.h

Friday, August 8, 2008

life in bullet point form...

Some updates on my life here in manure-topia...

- The lettuce glut has finally come to a close, and we are now able to eat just one big salad a day rather than trying to figure out how to include lettuce as "a part of your complete breakfast."

- Now is the season of (from our farm) continued chard and kale, little spicy yellow peppers that are coming in before all the other peppers, basil, cilantro, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, cherry plums by the dozens falling from the sky, beet greens, chives, early blackberries, etc.

- Right now there are also cute little versions of what will be future eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, all the squash, tomatoes, artichokes, red runner beans, and many more etceteras. I should have bought a deep freeze when I moved here. Next year...

- Something sad. A mother rabbit unfortunately decided one night to build her nest and have her babies in the middle of our strawberry patch which has just come into berries again, and is routinely visited by all manner of probably predatory small mammals and birds. Anyway, one morning my mom and her friend discovered that three of the babies had been killed, one rather brutally, by some sort of small animal -- at the time my mom did not know if these were rabbits or mice or what, but she buried the three and her friend brought the two others to the wildlife society here in Langley where they said they were indeed baby rabbits and that they were both hypothermic (from the cold night uncovered in the nest) and lethargic (from being exposed to 30 plus degree direct sunlight the whole morning before they were found.) The prognosis was not good, but we are going to check in to see if either of them survive. 

- There have been two bear attacks in two days in Burnaby. Freaky. One happened in someone's front yard, and one happened in someone's basement. I have just come into some bear spray in the form of a pen. "Excuse me Mr. Bear, before you eat me, do you think I could have your autogr...ZOINK!!!" 

- This is the part where I say the record is coming along, except what I have to say actually is that it is written, as it has been for a year, and that I am going to be recording it on mostly rented equipment in a garage that I am "turning into a studio" -- the quotation marks are for indicating that in fact I am mostly just picking peas and arranging parts in my head these days. More to come on this. I say this so I feel pressured to actually work. Whoever thought deciding to make a record in the summer was an idiot. Oh wait, that was me...

- Kai is becoming a total beach bum. He even has spiky hair and he's kind of salty tasting.

That's all for now. 
Please send me record making vibes. 

Love H

 

Friday, July 11, 2008

Play Your Chards Right!



Pictured directly above is a big bunch of Bright Lights Swiss Chard that I pulled from the vegetable garden that my mom, my husband Adam, myself and some brown bunnies have been tending to. Also ready for harvest are red and green lettuce, snap peas, strawberries, mustard greens, mesculun mix and the first blueberries of the year. The salad (pictured at the top) featured everything mentioned above, and definitely tasted as good as it looks! Hooray for eating as local as it gets!
xo.h

Monday, July 7, 2008

...and the envelope says...

So here is the short list for the Polaris. I was right about Basia and Plants and Animals, wrong about Hayden, unfortunately. Anyway, that's that. I'll have to listen to the records and see who I want to root for now...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Polaris Prize

I just read the long list for this year's Polaris Prize, and it definitely made it clear to me how out of touch I am with the music scene this year! From the entire list, the only albums I have in my collection are The New Pornographers - Challengers, Sandro Perri - Tiny Mirrors and Hayden - In Field and Town! I am going to be a nerd, though, and still attempt to predict, based on just being around people, listening to the music on CBC3 podcasts and reading blogs and weeklies, who I think may make the short list when it is announced tomorrow.

Here is my very uneducated guess...


So I guess we will see. Do I get anything if I am right? 3/5?

p.s. Keep in mind that the above list represents who I think will get nominated. As for who I think should get nominated, I haven't listened to enough artists on the longlist to say for sure. Hayden is probably who I will be rooting for, though, as I think he is a careful, lovely and painfully underlauded genius. 

xo.h


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bolt from the Blue.

The farm was rocked last night by one of the craziest thunderstorms in recent memory. 

I noticed that the lightning was mostly sheet lightning, as I find it tends to be here in B.C. as opposed to Ontario, where I found that bolt lightning was the norm. I always thought that these were two different types of lightning that occured more often in some places than others. 

Then I found out by searching online that sheet lightning is just a lightning bolt that is hidden by clouds.

I'm an idiot.

Anyway, if you go to this Wikipedia page on lightning, there is a very cool animated picture of cloud-to-cloud lightning which IS different, and which I have only seen once that I can remember, in Dallas, Texas. The page also has pretty much everything else you would ever want to know about lightning, unless you are some really lightning obsessed UFO weirdo or something, then you may want to look further.

xo.h

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

This Much Closer to The Martha.

My Mom has the most crazy-assed collection of Martha Stewart Living magazines you have ever seen.
I would venture to say that she probably has, in mint condition, every single one she has ever put out. 
There are several massive cupboards dedicated just to housing them.
This has been a major score for me because I love The Martha.

While reading a copy of MSL from the 90s, I happened upon an article about The M's massive McCoy pottery collection, mostly of the Butterfly line from the 30s and 40s. I instantly fell in love with the pieces, and vowed to begin collecting it myself.

I walked into the Village Antique Market in Fort Langley, yesterday, hopeful but not too hopeful about finding any McCoy at all, let alone a piece from the line I was looking for. While not too expensive these days, McCoy pieces are highly prized by their owners (especially since their popularity with the late Andy Warhol) and are not easily found.

But what did I find at the very  bottom of a shelf full of chintz, teacups and mini embriodered hoops? A canary yellow McCoy planter from the butterfly line in almost mint condition...for twenty bucks! (PICTURE FORTHCOMING...)

Wait...it gets better.

I got home and decided for fun to see if The M had a similar one to mine on her big shelf of McCoy, and she has THE EXACT SAME ONE!! That makes us BFFs, right?

I am toying with the idea of just trying to collect the ones that she has. That's not creepy, is it?

xo.h


True Patriot Love

Happy Canada Day, everyone! Canada Day is my second favourite holiday, next to Christmas. 

I spent the day in Fort Langley at the big antique market looking at crazy doodads from days past. I also watched the Planet Earth "Fresh Water" episode, made CD appropriate spicy maple tofu (my recipe), and whipped up a huge batch of vegan double berry rosewater ice cream. Now I am listening to fireworks as the baby sleeps -- he's not quite old enough to handle those yet...

I hope your day was wonderful. 
xo.h


Monday, June 30, 2008

Woody.


I generally get my non-self-invented recipes out of cookbooks rather than off the web. I don't have a printer, so getting them off the web tends to involve precariously balancing my laptop on a pot rack or a stack of pans so I can read the recipe off the screen. Once in a while, though, I decide to shake things up a bit and head over to sites like Vegan Yum Yum, Vegan Dad or Yellow Rose Recipes for inspiration (I am one of the testers for the new Yellow Rose Recipes book, by the way!) Yesterday it was time to harvest the biggest leaves of spinach in the vegetable garden, as well as some lettuce and strawberries, and I happened upon this spinach salad recipe on Woody Harrelson and his wife Laura's website which is dedicated to their vegan, mostly raw, eco-friendly musings. I did my own thing salad wise (spinach, red and green lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, toasted almonds, avocado and red onion), but did use a modified version of his dressing recipe (with a whole lemon instead of half a lemon and the stated amount of apple cider vinegar. I also added more balsamic because I loves me some balsamic vinegar like all get out). I liked the maple element to the recipe, and how viscous the dressing was with the use of olive oil. Anyway, even though I tinkered with the recipe, the site is still nice and has a lot of information about all manner of green living. If you enjoy the website, you may also want to check out the Ron Mann directed documentary "Go Further", which features Woody and his crew in the throes of vegan raw foodism, yoga and all manner of woodsy activities.  

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Early Summer Flowers


I am so in love with the ornamental lupins (pictured right) that were all over the farm for the last month, and with the peonies that are all over the farm now, especially the extremely fragrant white peonies. I am such a sucker for fresh cut flowers, and my favourite bouquets are the ones that are picked from my own neighborhood, or in this case, backyard. 

Yesterday I stumbled upon this website for a florist in Vancouver who works with eco-friendly packaging and organic, fair trade flowers. It will be nice to have her as a go-to when all there is left out here in the Langley Township is dried blackberries on the bush and the flowerless rose bushes swaying in the breeze. 



Friday, June 27, 2008

Great-nola Blog By Another B.C.er Who I Hope I Become Friends With One Day.


I am a vegan, and I am gluten free and I am a hippie, and am always happy to find that rare book/blog/magazine/etc. that caters to all my weird sensibilities.

If you are any of those things, or like reading about people who are any of those things and who write about food, then check out Gluten Free Hippie.

xo.h

Things I am Learning About Strawberries

Strawberries and spinach and chard are the first crops of mine that are ready to be harvested in the edibles garden Adam, my mom and I are religiously planting and tending. As I picked a mix of both alpine and garden strawberries today from our two big patches, I had some revelatory moments about this lovely plant which before had pretty much existed to me only in the form of berries in a plastic clamshell.

Strawberries are surprisingly generous.
They are like that friend who you think forgot your birthday, but then you come home and she has planned you a whole surprise party and all your friends are there. One day you are looking at the plant and thinking there may be a pretty scant supply for the summer, but then thte next day you look and you have to carry them in your dress because you can't fit them all in the little bowl you brought.

Strawberries are a lady.
They like to be picked gently off the plant by the stem. I always thought I would be plucking the berries themselves, but they don't roll that way. When I tried to do that they pretty much exploded in my hands, especially the alpine berries. I also destroyed quite a few by power washing them in a colander. I forgot that these are truly ripe berries that need to be handled with care, not the store bought faux ripe ones that you could send through a car wash without incident. 

Strawberries are nomads.
Hey, Strawberry! What are you doing in my lettuce patch? You girls are crazy!

Strawberries are simple.
Before moving here I pictured myself making all manner of strawberry pancakes, pies, jams, and ice creams out of the harvest from these plants, but I have not been able to bring myself to fry, bake, stew or chop even one berry. I'll leave that to the U-Pick berries I'll be getting and throwing into my freezer in a few weeks, for now, this is the taste of early summer at it's most unabashed and stained with pink smears.

picture of stawberries to come...

xo.h

Friday, June 20, 2008

Let's Get Baked.


update: oops, the links in this post need fixing...tomorrow...xo.h
for now, please enjoy the above picture of the cake i made for my mom's birthday.

I planned and hosted a fundraiser last month in Toronto for Farm Sanctuary at the Tranzac Club. It was a wonderful night with a concert and a vegan bake sale, and I was so impressed by the vast array of vegan baked goods! I was too busy to take pictures that night, but if any turn up of the massive spread, I will make sure to post them.

I was inspired that night to post this here -- it's a link to Isa Moskowitz's (of Vegan With a Vengeance fame) "how to bake vegan" page. Now when people ask  you how you replace eggs in things, you can frighten them with your scientific knowledge of alternative sources of binding, leavening, etc. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. You can find hundreds of people nerding out over issues such as the top secret recipe for vegan meringue and "Steven the Vegan" here, on the Post Punk Kitchen forums. 

xo.h

p.s. i am very happily living in Langley, B.C. now, and will be posting all about that soon.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

SOS - Spring Of Smog

What the hell?!
It's only April 20th, and there is a smog advisory here in Toronto.
That's off the hook stoopid!
Happy Earth Day, Smogronto.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bill C-517: Mandatory labelling of GE food


I urge you all to get involved in this very important issue. GMO foods are undertested and owned by major corporations who (yes, corporations are legally a who and not a what...scary) wield their power to destroy the lives of farmers in Canada and many parts of the world. You have the right to be able to make an informed choice about what you put in your and your childrens' bodies.
Please follow the actions suggested by Greenpeace on this site to pressure federal MPs to vote for the mandatory labeling of GMO foods, which may lead to a ban on them in Canada altogether. As of now, if you buy non-organic soy, wheat, corn, animal products, canola, yellow zucchini, potatoes, flax or cotton, you are likely paying for GMOs. The global food crisis is being worsened by this phenomenon, which seeks to limit nature's bounty to a few corporate owned Frankencrops.
Get involved! Everyone is needed for this, and we are so close to achieving victory.
xo.h

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

vancouver toronto

i am moving back to vancouver in less than two months 
and am now just trying to get through this last stretch
with some kindness towards this place that fits me so poorly --
like a housemate you scrape by with for months, then one person is going to 
move out, and suddenly the tone of voice changes, the loudness of the 9 am carrot chopping wakeup calls -- i know toronto works for some people, i also know that i am not one of them.

i haven't yet figured out what my time here was for.
i got a lot out of it career wise, i guess. 
i know i'll understand someday, but for now i am just basking in knowing that i get to go back to  that Best Coast I love so much. 


Saturday, March 22, 2008

reason number 19549382 to go vegan.

I often get asked why I am a vegan, and I balk at giving all the graphic details because I am afraid of offending people. It's really stupid of me, though, because I would not only be doing animals a favor by telling the truth about it, I would also be doing the person a favor because everyone deserves to know where to find information about the facts behind what they eat, not just in terms of health, but in terms of the suffering of animals and their offspring.

The last straw was a little while ago, the shopkeeper at the bulk store I go to said "but why would drinking milk be harmful to cows? We are helping the cow by taking its milk, so it doesn't get sore udders!" I realized in that moment that I am doing nobody a favor by letting them think these kinds of things. If someone knows all the facts about the animal product industry, and still decides to use it, then there is nothing more I can really say, but if they don't know, then am I really being a friend if I stand there and don't say anything when they say something as ignorant as this? It's one thing to slap a milkshake out of someone's hand, but it's another to correct them if they think that the milkshake is super happy to be there.

With that, I post this --  www.goveg.com/whatsWrong.asp a bit of info on some things that are dreadfully wrong with the dairy and egg industry. And buying from organic or family farms really makes little difference -- for me, it kind of comes down to what I believe is ours to take and what isn't, and the inherent suffering that goes along with the taking, regardless of the circumstances.
Don't read it if you don't want to, and don't blame me if you do, and it upsets you. I am tired of not saying anything.

love and respect, h

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Chocolate Ice Cream Cake!


Last Sunday was Adam's 31st birthday, and in honour of the number 31, I decided to make an ice cream cake a la the old 31 flavours.

I used the "your basic chocolate cupcake" recipe from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World", a modified version of the chocolate ice cream recipe from "How it all Vegan" and a double batch the chocolate ganache recipe from VCTOtW.

I modified the ice cream recipe to make it more chocolatey and rich by adding about twice as much cocoa as the recipe asked for, plus about another 1/4 cup of sugar. I find I have to do this alot to any Kramer chocolate recipes because I like my chocolate desserts to be ridiculously chocolatey. I have a feeling Isa (from the other two books) may share my view there, because her recipes never skimp on the cocoa! Sarah Kramer is allergic to chocolate, so we'll let this one go. I also made the recipe in my ice cream maker, rather than the hand mixing method she employs.

So what I did was make one batch of the cupcake recipe in a lightly greased big springform pan -- I am guessing it's about 12 inches. I baked it for the time suggested for the cupcakes, and it turned out fine.

While the cake cooled, I made my ice cream, and let it get to a fairly firm, but still soft serve vibe consistency.

When the cake was totally cooled, I poured the ice cream on top of the cake, still in the spring form pan.

I popped all of that in the freezer while I made a double batch of the chocolate ganache recipe (with bittersweet cocoa camino chocolate, of course.)

After letting the ganache cool at room temperature, I spread it on top of the now cold contents of the springform pan. I finished the whole thing off with a topping of sifted icing sugar, and pressed a snowflake cookie cutter into the ganache a few times once it had firmed up, which gave the top a nice, cracked, almost brownie-like appearance. It looked very bakery-y, especially once the springform pan came off and revealed all the pretty layers! I am definitely going to be doing a gazillion variations on this. Next I want to do a pumpkin ice cream cake with chocolate ganache and a cranberry shortbread crust!

I let the whole thing cool for about an hour, and ate it when it had reached a perfect holds-together-not-melty-yet-not-too-hard ice cream cake texture. I find that with soy ice cream, it is better to err on the side of soft, because with the high water content of the tofu, too frozen can mean ice crystal central, and nobody wants that.

If you make this, and freeze it overnight or something, thawing it for a good half hour (checking on it frequently) should do the trick. My freezer makes things super frozen, though, so you may find it comes out of the freezer fine as is. The thawing time is nice for the ganache, though, regardless, so let it sit a few moments, anyway.

Here's a picture. I wish I took one right away -- this is after the whole thing had been thawed and refrozen a few times.
It was delicious, and fun to make, too!

xo.h

xo.h

Saturday, February 16, 2008

finally.





I finally figured out how to focus properly with my new SLR digital camera.
That means I can now take really close up pictures of tea and babies' faces.
Now I just need to learn to make them right-side-up in the blog.
Shit's about to get crazy.

Friday, January 25, 2008

happy new year

with the new year has come some real Ontarian winter weather.
the kind my mom used to tell me about when i would dare to complain that it was ever cold in Vancouver, where I grew up.

I thought I would list here my top 10 favourite ways to pull myself out of my inevitable winter rut. Here we go...

10. Hot chocolate. I know it sounds like not a big deal, but around my house it is. I take the darkest cocoa, make a paste with some soymilk in a pot, add the sugar, slowly add milk with the heat on ( all of this prevents lumps), then add a bit of rum, a touch of mint extract, some cayenne pepper and cinnamon -- what have you. It is a truly wintery drink that is even better when it is shizzy out.

9. Music. I write more, record more and listen to music more when it is cold out. This is the perfect time to make mix CDs for your friends or sweetheart, to bust out that guitar and write a new song or go to your local indie record store and stock up on new music (right now I am listening to a copious amount of Amy Winehouse and Sufjan Stevens.)

8. Whole grains. I am a grain nerd. This time of year, I am all about the brown rice, the millet, the oats. Mmmm. Make a huge pot all for you, throw some tamari and spicy sesame oil on it and stare out the window contemplating climate change.

7. Movies. For some reason I like old movies during the winter. Maybe because many of them were made when people were looking for an momentary glance away from the pains of war or poverty or oppression of various sorts, so they are lighter, dancier, music-y-er. Perfect to come into after freezing your ass off at the streetcar stop because you just had to wear your new shiny royal blue nylon tights today, dammit.

6. Baking. This one needs no explanation.

5. Feigned denial. I KNOW it is winter out. Stop asking me if I am cold in what I am wearing. It makes me colder. I am trying to make God feel sorry for me, and to remind people of warmer times to come.

4. Clean air. Any time I feel bisquey about the cold, I remind myself that I can go out almost every day in the winter if I am willing to pile the clothes on, and put Kai through getting dressed for it. Not so in the smoggy summer here in Toronto.

3. Baths. This one also needs no explanation.

2. Blankets. They seem kind of useless in the summer, but wrapping myself up in one all womb-like in January saves me thousands of dollars in bad therapy.

1. CBC Radio One. Perfectly imperfectly perfect.

xo