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Archive for February, 2010

Bag Lady

It’s true, I have a bit of a thing for bags. Purses, satchels, totes, clutches, pocketbooks, packs… the whole schamozzle. Here’s my illustrious bag collection (all 47 of them), as showcased in our front entryway. For years my long-suffering husband Joshua has been trying to instate a rule of “if you want to buy a new bag, you have to get rid of one you already have.” A good idea, I know. But I haven’t done it yet. Why? Because I buy bags when he’s not looking! Do you not love my Simon & Garfunkel purse – bought with much excitement several years ago at one of my favourite Main Street shops, Lazy Susan’s?

Because I have so many bags, I like to try to switch them up around a fair amount. Unfortunately, though, motherhood has meant that I don’t get to use my smaller bags quite as much anymore – not enough room for the burp cloths and diapers, of course. So my darling Smidgebox Designs bag has been getting a fair amount of use. I decided this past weekend (Saturday at 2:30am, to be exact – oh, how life changes) that cleaning it out would be a mighty good idea!

Reading: Ash by Malinda Lo – A retelling of Cinderella, in which the Cinderella character falls in love with the King’s Huntress. Way to go, Cin-baby! I just started reading this, but I love her imagery and language so far.

Listening to: Old Man Luedecke – “Just Like a River” is one of the most perfect songs I’ve heard in a long, long time. It makes me tear up (okay, pretty much bawl) every time I hear it… so poignant and beautiful. Really speaks to me and everything I believe in. I want it played at my funeral, seriously! (And that’s high praise… hee hee!)

Making: A birthday crown for my mum’s 60th this weekend; some embroidered bookmarks, a zip pouch for my friend Janis’s birthday.

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Yesterday

(Love was such an easy game to play… sorry, could not resist.) This was originally supposed to be titled “Today,” but as you can clearly see, for various reasons I didn’t quite get around to posting it yesterday.

A Day in the Life:

Yesterday was a day full of many new things, and it was good.

Coffee in our new coffee maker, featuring the “aroma button” (which allegedly makes a more flavourful pot of coffee – my best friend Heather told me about it) – it was a damn fine pot of coffee. Can I just say that Tanzania Medium Roast from Ten Thousand Villages is the best coffee ever?

Yogurt and granola for breakfast, plus a little patriotism

The maiden voyage of Joshua’s new electric shaver (preceded by liberal use of ‘Lectric Shave’ to, you know, prep the stubble)…

Cat naps

Reading and nursing

A walk in the beautiful sunshine…

And into Olympic madness and mayhem (we figured why not, it’s happening in our city, might as well go check it out)…

Hawt new shoes por moi…

Then happily retreating back home (through streets with trees covered in cherry blossoms) for more reading and nursing, plus an awesome hang-out session with my best friend, Heather – surely one of the most magical, inspiring, fun, fabulous people that I have the honour of knowing. (Blurry photo, so I’ll make it small.)

It was an excellent day.

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Been to Chilliwack & Back

Joshua, Keaton and I just returned from four blissful days in Chilliwack, housesitting for my dad and stepmum while they went on their own little getaway. We like to refer to the Chilliwack abode as “Shangri-La” – the perfect place to relax from the busy-ness of city life. Oh yeah, and there’s always copious amounts of good coffee and Bailey’s to be enjoyed around a fire in the chimea outside, under the gazebo. I find that a weekend in Chilliwack often helps press the Reset button, and I return feeling relaxed, revived and inspired. And after four whole days there? As Simon & Garfunkel like to say, feelin’ groovy.

We spent our days watching lots of (okay, I’ll admit it) Olympics, from the comfort of the leather easy chairs…

Thrifting – the MCC store and the Bibles for Missions in Chilliwack are some of the best, well-organized thrift shops I’ve ever been in. And we had some fun finds, like an embroidered owl tea towel, a 70’s-type coffee table cloth, a Japanese metal serving try, and a cute old sifter. The Bookman (AKA Best Used Bookstore Ever) was also good to us, with some books traded in for credit and some fun finds, like the vintage children’s book, The Curious Chipmunk

Lunch at the Preserved Seed Cafe, where I had the best chai latte of my life (served in a chunky pottery mug, so the whole thing really couldn’t have been any better)  and almost died of deliciousness…

And of course, cuddles by the fire…

And then, driving back into Vancouver tonight, we were confronted with the very immediate reality of, “oh yeah, the Olympics aren’t happening somewhere far away, they’re happening here, in our very own city!” We had left town on the day of the opening ceremonies, so we’d pretty much missed the hubbub. Downtown was insane and there was so much street life going on for a Tuesday – I think that in Vancouver we’re just not used to mid-week revelry.

(Our camera was out of batteries at the time, otherwise I would have snapped a photo of the Olympic-mania!)

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Wheat Strips

Another food post – what is uuuup? I continue to blame it on Food Network, which I just can’t stop tuning in to. So, to make a long story somewhat short, I decided that it would be a good idea to make homemade pasta. Not just plain old pasta, mind you, but whole wheat pasta, to appeal to the blood sugars of my Type 1 diabetic husband. “Who needs a pasta maker?” I scoffed. “Jamie Oliver says you can just roll it out with a rolling pin!”

Maybe whole wheat pasta is a little harder to work with, because my fettuccine came out about one inch thick and refused to cook all the way through. It was more than al dente, let’s just say. Josh and I decided to call them “wheat strips,” and to totally forget the fact that they were supposed to be pasta in the first place. With that in mind, they were actually pretty good all sauteed up with some peas, onions, garlic and white wine. (I probably won’t reprise the wheat strips adventure, but anyway…) Undaunted, I visited the lovely Cardero Bottega (a great little place down the street from me) for some semolina flour to try to make it the non-whole wheat way. And hmmmm… the pasta maker attachment for our Cuisinart mixer is “only” $79.99 (ack, way too steep for our budget at the moment – I think we’ll have to try to do the trick with the good ol’ rolling pin!).

A far more successful recent culinary activity was some granola making. I decided that it would be fun to give some away to some of my favourite people with some cheesy 70s fabric on top of the lids. I must be a total Mennonite in that I love sharing the food I make… I can just hear my Grandma Goerzen saying, “Eat, eat! You are too skinny! Eat more!”

Reading: Anyone Out There? by Marian Keyes – continuing the British/Irish chick lit love. And to think I used to be a complete literary snob.

Listening to: Vampire Weekend. I have a crush on Ezra Koenig. I can’t help myself. From Woody Allen to Paul Simon to Dr. Fleischman, I’ve always had a thing for the Jewish boys.

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I Ate Bacon.

And it was good. Better than good, actually. After 15 bacon-free (and mainly meat-free) years, I had almost forgotten how eyelid-flutteringly delicious it is. That salty, pungent taste. That distinctive, mouth-watering smell as it fried.

I blame the Food Network, which I’ve been a little addicted to since Christmas. All the chefs on there describe bacon as the magical flavouring ingredient, and I see them using it in all these tantalizing ways. Oh gad, I just couldn’t take it anymore! So, after reading much Michael Pollan, and after much discussion with Josh, I decided to go ahead and order some happy pig meat from our organic delivery service. That’s our requirement for the meat we eat: that it was raised humanely, and preferably organically and locally, from a farm that we researched and that we felt okay about eating meat from.

So last night we decided to be all ceremonious as we consumed our carbonara: a lovely bottle of Chianti, candlelight, cloth napkins… and pasta full of eggs, peas, onions and BACON!

And then on Alton Brown’s show “Good Eats” (I told you it’s the Food Network’s fault!), he demonstrated the innovative method of frying your bacon on a waffle iron or griller, which Josh enthusiastically offered to do. Very yum. Very good idea. I highly recommend it. (We even had a little dish for the drippings – I’ll have to find something delicious to do with those!)

So there we go. Many new doors of meaty possibilities have been flung wide open. I still don’t know if I want to sink my teeth deep into a steak, but give me a few days and see if I’ve changed my mind.

P.S. Since when did this become a food blog? I’m all about the food entries lately. Maybe it’s because making food is an act of creation that I can be certain to include in each day.

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Ganache Panache

I’ve always wanted to try making ganache frosting, but for some reason I thought it was an intimidating/complicated process. After perusing some recipes online (like this one), I realised that it was exactly the opposite.

The basic idea is to use equal parts dark chocolate (250g) and whipping cream (250ml) – you bring the cream just to the boiling point, then pour it into the waiting bowl of chopped-up chocolate. I wanted to make some of the yummy stuff to dress up the chocolate cake I made (from Jeanne Lemlin’s fabulous Quick Vegetarian Pleasures). All seemed well as I boiled the cream, poured it over the chocolate, and whisked it up. Hmmm… maybe it was a little thick. But too late: I was already attempting to pour it over the cake in that pretty drippy way you see in the magazines. Except that it was really chunky and I had to spread it. I then realised that I’d only put in half of the whipped cream I was supposed to. Dang. Let’s just say it was really, really rich. My husband and friend Kevin seemed to enjoy it though, with a good chaser of milk. (Milk and chocolate cake is one of the best combinations, anyway.)

So, it wasn’t really ganache, but it was still pretty good. I guess I could call it… Goerzenache?

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