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!


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.


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...


Thursday, November 20, 2008


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. :)


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!

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. 


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.