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An Open Letter to the (Possibly Drugged Out) Man at the Library

12 Dec

To the (possibly drugged out) man at the library today,

Let me start by saying that I try to be a compassionate person; I try to empathize with others, as I believe one of the things that our society lacks today is exactly that; compassion and kindness, a willingness to be there for others, be it family members or strangers.

I had just joined the public library and was happily flipping through a book on gardening in Northern BC, when you startlingly came at me in the aisle, attempting to press your body against mine. I quickly looked around and no one else was within earshot. Maybe you knew, maybe you didn’t, but you had immediately forced me into ‘flight’ mode. I was (both your fault and to a degree mine) instantaneously the one with less power in that situation.

I’m sad that I allowed your physical dominance to intimidate me. I’m frustrated with myself for giving up my power so quickly and easily.

You called me ‘beautiful’ and ‘sexy’ as I walked away from you, and you seemed upset that I didnt accept those ‘compliments’ with a smile.

You cat called at me from the upper balcony alongside your friends as I checked out my books, head down, eyes down. You seemed angry that I was leaving.

I left as quickly as I could because you had soured what was meant to be a pleasant afternoon.

You followed me out of the building, so I hid in a crowd until you left.

Instead of being intimidated, instead of feeling like I was the one who had to take responsibility and remove myself from the situation – I wish that I had called on some inner strength (that I hope I actually have) and told you that I had not asked you to talk to me like that.

I did not ask to have you follow me. I do not owe you a ‘thank you’ for for your empty, shallow ‘compliments’. I am not an object for you and your friends to admire and discuss openly as you see fit.

This isn’t only your world. It’s mine too. And I deserve to be able to walk in it freely, confidently, knowing that I am not going to be objectified and intimidated (at a public library, of all places).

As a woman, I can say that sometimes walking out the front door feels like arming yourself for battle. I have to gear up in order to take what may come my way.

Of course this isn’t everyday, but some. And hopefully fewer as time goes by.

The only way I can see it getting better is if people like you stop treating others this way, and if people like myself stop scuttling away into the shadows and stand up for ourselves.

Next time, Mr Man at the Library, I will not scurry off. I will not lower my eyes and politley smile. I will (hopefully) take a deep breath, channel my inner lioness and roar.

DIY Christmas Decorations

9 Dec

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Mint, Asparagus and Potato Ravioli

16 Sep

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These days I’m trying hard to be proactive in my food choices – for the most part this means planning ahead, consciously choosing ingredients that can be sourced locally and following or creating flavourful, veggie filled recipes.

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Dinner from last night was definitely one that’ll be repeated… we picked up some locally grown potatoes and asparagus at our farmers market over the weekend. I was scratching my head,  wondering how to combine them in something more interesting than your usual roast potatoes and plain old asparagus, when lo and behold I stumbled over this gem of a recipe in one of our Jamie Oliver books.

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I haven’t included the basic pasta recipe – that’s for an upcoming post – but it is something I make often. Once you know how and if you have the right equipment (a kitchen aid and pasta attachment!), its so worth the extra twenty minutes.

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This was a super easy dinner to put together, even though it sounds and looks way more complicated than it is! Give it a try, I promise you won’t regret it.

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I halved the recipe as I was only cooking for two, but you could make the whole thing and freeze them for another night – which in retrospect is what I should have done 🙂

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Ravioli of Minted Asparagus with Potatoes & Mascarpone

Ingredients

  • 225g potatoes, peeled
  • 680g asparagus, bases trimmed
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 good handful of mint, leaves picked and chopped
  • fresh pasta
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of mascarpone cheese
  • grated parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Cook potatoes in salted boiling water until tender and drain.
  2. Remove tips of asparagus and set aside.
  3. Finely slice the asparagus stalks and fry with the garlic in a little olive oil until tender, placing a lid on the pan.
  4. Remove from the heat, add the potato and mash together. Season and add half the chopped mint.
  5. Fill your ravioli with a heaped teaspoon of filling (I’ll write more about this in a later post) and cook in salted boiling water with the asparagus tips for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Drain and toss the ravioli and asparagus tips with the butter, mascarpone, parmesan and the rest of the mint.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

How to Make Your Own Lip Balm

12 Sep

I  made this infographic a while back in order to help simplify the process of making your own lip balm. Click on the image to get a clearer/larger picture 🙂

How to Make your own lip balm

 

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Something Incredible…

12 Sep

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For the Love of Bacon – Potato & Egg Bake with Bacon & Onions

15 May

Over the last couple of months I’ve been trying to get my diet to look more like a vegetarian one – 20/25% carnivore, 75/80% veggie. My main reasons are fairly straightforward:

  • The industrial food system is flawed. It’s exploitative, inhumane and just doesn’t produce the happy, healthy, hormone and antibiotic free meat that I want to eat. The problem is that the local, pastured, organic alternative is pretty pricey and that doesn’t exactly work with my wallet. Veggies are however, my budget’s best friend.
  • If we all ate meat, for every meal, of every day, our world would implode in a catastrophic ball of fire, similar to a super nova. (OK, maybe not that extreme but you know what I mean. It’s just not sustainable.)

For the most part this hasn’t been too difficult to achieve, except for one thing.

Bacon.

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It’s indescribably tasty and nothing really compares. I’ve tried the chicken and turkey alternatives… they just don’t cut it I’m afraid. So here’s one of my favourite (and easy) recipes for getting my bacon fix… Potato & Egg Bake with Bacon & Onions.

Super quick and no fuss, plus it’s delicious and fills you up (and it’s pretty easy on the wallet too).

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Potato & Egg Bake with Bacon & Onions

Ingredients

  • 5 or 6 potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp cornmeal
  • 7 or 8 strips of bacon, roughly chopped
  • Half a red, yellow or white onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 or 4 spring onions, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your over to 420 degrees
  2. Parboil your potatoes in a large pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes
  3. Drain them and then place back in the pot and toss with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper (to taste). I add about a tsp of cornmeal, which helps add a bit of a crunch
  4. Transfer your potatoes to a baking tray (I line mine with foil to prevent anything from sticking) and spread out evenly. Place in the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, tossing halfway through
  5. While the potatoes are in the oven, place your chopped red/yellow/white onion and bacon in a skillet and fry until cooked through. Set aside until almost ready to serve
  6. After you remove your potatoes from the oven (make sure they’re cooked through by piercing with a knife, if they’re not done, continue cooking), crack your eggs into gaps between the potatoes.
  7. Place the tray back into the oven for approx. 5-7 minutes, depending on how well done you like your eggs (I like mine runny, so I tend to let them only go for about 5/6 minutes).
  8. Once your eggs are done, remove from the oven and spread the onion/bacon mixture over the top, followed by the spring onions
  9. Serve and enjoy!

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Falafel Burgers & Rosemary Garlic Pitas

22 Apr

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I’m always on the hunt for delicious veggie burger recipes. They’re always super easy and full of whole foods, plus they taste soo good.

So last night I decided to make some tasty falafel inspired burgers and I went all out and made some rosemary garlic pita breads to stuff them into. They went so quickly I didn’t have time to photograph the finished product 🙂 Always a good sign.

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My favourite thing about this recipe has to be the fresh parsley and mint – I’m a fan of fresh herbs and I really think they make all the difference. You could totally substitute though if need be.

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You could also sub out the rice – I wonder what these would be like with cous cous or quinoa?

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The recipes are included below.. don’t be put off by the many steps it takes to make pita bread, it’s so much easier then you would think! To add to the basic pita recipe below (borrowed from the fabulous kitchn blog), I just threw in some minced garlic and rosemary while kneading. Worked like a charm!

Falafel Burgers

Ingredients

1 tin Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans

1 Garlic clove

1/2 cup Parsley

1/4 cup Mint

1 Egg white

1 cup Cooked rice

Salt & Pepper

Spices such as: Cayenne or Cumin

Olive oil

 

Instructions

1. Add all your ingredients to a food processor or blender (you could even just mash it up with a fork).

2. Once you’ve got a smoothish (lumps are OK) mixture, form into patties and place on wax/parchment paper and place in the fridge to firm up for about 20 minutes.

3. Gently heat some olive oil in a pan and once it’s hot, add the burgers.

4. Fry until they are golden on each side (about 5/6 minutes per side).

5. Serve either in a bun, pita or on their own!

 

Pita Bread

Ingredients

1 cup warm water (not hot or boiling)
2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
2 1/2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1-2 teaspoons olive oil (optional)

Instructions

1. Form the Pita Dough: Mix the water and yeast together, and let sit for about five minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour (saving the last half cup for kneading), salt, and olive oil (if using). Stir until a shaggy dough is formed.

2. Knead the Dough: Sprinkle a little of the extra flour onto your clean work surface and turn out the dough. Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface, but try to be sparing. It’s better to use too little flour than too much. If you get tired, stop and let the dough rest for a few minutes before finishing kneading.

3. Let the Dough Rise: Clean the bowl you used to mix the dough and film it with a little olive oil. Set the dough in the bowl and turn it until it’s coated with oil. Cover with a clean dishcloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it’s doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.

At this point, you can refrigerate the pita dough until it is needed. You can also bake one or two pitas at a time, saving the rest of the dough in the fridge. The dough will keep refrigerated for about a week.

4. Divide the Pitas: Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and gently flatten each piece into a thick disk. Sprinkle the pieces with a little more flour and then cover them with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap wrap until you’re ready to bake them.

5. Shape the Pitas: Using a floured rolling pin, roll one of the pieces into a circle 8-9 inches wide and about a quarter inch thick. Lift and turn the dough frequently as your oll to make sure the dough isn’t sticking to your counter. Sprinkle with a little extra flour if its starting to stick. If the dough starts to spring back, set it aside to rest for a few minutes, then continue rolling. Repeat with the other pieces of dough. (Once you get into a rhythm, you can be cooking one pita while rolling the next one out.)

6. To Bake Pitas in the Oven: While shaping the pitas, heat the oven to 450°. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to heat. If you don’t have a baking stone, place a large baking sheet on the middle rack to heat.

Place the rolled-out pitas directly on the baking stone or baking sheets (as many as will fit), and bake for about 3 minutes. I’ve found it easiest to carry the pita flat on the palm of my hand and then flip it over onto the baking stone. The pita will start to puff up after a minute or two and is done when it has fully ballooned. Cover baked pitas with a clean dishtowel while cooking any remaining pitas.

7. To Bake Pitas on the Stovetop: Warm a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until a few bead of water sizzle immediately on contact. Drizzle a little oil in the pan and wipe off the excess.

Lay a rolled-out pita on the skillet and bake for 30 seconds, until you see bubbles starting to form. Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. Flip again and cook another 1-2 minutes to toast the other side. The pita should start to puff up during this time; if it doesn’t or if only small pockets form, try pressing the surface of the pita gently with a clean towel. Keep cooked pitas covered with a clean dishtowel while cooking any remaining pitas.

8. Storing the Pitas: Pitas are best when eaten immediately after cooking. Leftover pitas will keep in an airtight bag for several days and can be eaten as they are or warmed in a toaster oven. Baked pitas can also be frozen with wax paper between the layers for up to three months.