Anyone in a creative field will tell you that it’s easy to get caught up in the thoughts and feelings that everything you think of has already been done. It’s a pervasive thought and one that can take over if you let it. The reality is, most things have been done and that’s okay, because if you haven’t done them, then it’s still something new that you’re contributing. Your lens, so to speak, gives a feeling and voice to creative things that no one else can. It’s certainly something I grapple with from time to time but you can’t let it dampen your desire to create, design, make, and share. I love Tiramisu, full stop. I love coffee desserts, as you know if this isn’t your first time here, but I also cannot resist the siren call of fresh strawberries in early summer. I did a recipe round up featuring strawberries a few years ago and I have since added several other recipes. So when the idea struck me to do a tiramisu/strawberry shortcake type dessert, I abandoned the classic coffee component, and instead looked to herbal tea to make a juicy, summery Strawberry Tiramisu. It’s an irresistible dessert and it’s also impossible to resist calling it Tea-ramisu. (more…)
I was born in a small town in rural southern British Columbia. We had 10 acres of land and to a small child, it was enormous; a wondrous, magical place full of nature and adventure. The property sported a small orchard of beautifully twisted and gnarled apple trees and if you have seen an apple tree you may understand how magical they appear.
They have a particular grayish bark that makes them look ancient and wise and during the spring they burst with soft pink blossoms that later in the summer and fall become perfect fruit. Many a sunny summer day was spent amongst those ancient beauties, climbing, conversing with bees and picking apples, then watching my mother’s hands peel them, slice and spice them, and bake them into perfect pies in our farmhouse’s wood burning oven.
Now I live a long way away from that pastoral life, I’m decades beyond those hazy summer apple-picking days. I can easily stop by a grocery store or bakery and buy a pie, and it would be good, it might even be great. It might remind me vaguely that I once upon a time plucked sun-warmed apples in the shade of hundred year old trees. Or maybe not. Despite time and distance, nostalgia is a potent force and despite it being a seemingly insignificant goal to pick apples and make a pie from them, the action, for me, was soul satisfying. Sometimes simple things can transport us, take us back in time and place and let us re-live a moment, or re-connect with someplace or some one we have lost or moved on from.
Some foods are classics for a reason, because everytime you reach for them you get just what you’re needing and expecting from the experience. Blueberry pancakes on a slow weekend morning are pretty much my definition of the perfect indulgent breakfast. Through the week it’s spinach and frozen fruit wazzed up into smoothies that get the day started but sometimes on a Saturday or Sunday I like to slow things down, get a bit more nostalgic and bring some smiles to the table with these old school treats. And if it happens to be blueberry season, like it is right now, then all the better! Unless I have to pick them myself, you know how I feel about picking fruit! (more…)
I’m new to the world of juicing. I still don’t have a juicer, just a very powerful blender that looks at fruits and vegetables, laughs and then promptly liquefies them. I’ve never understood taking all of the fiber out as a juicer does. The blender method ensures you have a thick, smooth fiber filled drink that has the goodness and benefit of the whole fruit and veg. You might be thinking, “Spinach? No thanks.” But honestly, it’s basically flavorless. What really rings through in this recipe is the lemon and ginger making it a fresh, bright tasting drink that gives you the benefit of a big salad plus fruit, add chia seeds and you’ve got some protein too. It’s fresh and light and a great way to start your morning or to fill the gap between meals. (more…)
How is it possible that we are in the second week of September already? Here in Vancouver that doesn’t quite mean that summer is over in terms of warm weather but it does mean that the pace and timing of one’s life may begin to return to normal: back to school or back to work, vacation memories fading quickly. Whether these few weeks are about ‘normalizing’ for you or not, chances are you’re feeling some sort of pinch, some sort pressure, I know I am. When we’re under stress or duress, even if that stress is “normal” for us, it can be so easy to let slide the most important things for our overall well being: eating well, sleeping, exercising and taking time to actually enjoy your life, not just letting it rampage past, leaving you a dizzy spectator.
I won’t preach on sleep or exercise, two things I’m in no position to lecture on, but eating well and enjoying life can so often go hand in hand – but how do we do so when there just aren’t enough hours in the day?
At our house, when no one wants to cook and take out is leaving us non-plussed, we do an antipasto style dinner, some assembly required: plates of this and that which everyone assembles as the wish. Everyone gets something they want, there aren’t many dishes and with a well stocked pantry and fridge it’s not a nuisance to prepare. Make the selection as simple or as elaborate as you like, just make sure you hit the main categories: fruit, veggies, protein (meat or cheese or both, usually) and some sort of vehicle to get it all in, like bread, crackers, tortillas, even fresh lettuce leaves. Beyond that, add something sweet, something zingy (think chutney and/or pickles or olives) and if you’re really feeling luxurious some hummus or baba ganoush to dip and spread.
So take a deep breath, put on some good tunes, crack a bottle of wine and enjoy the satisfaction of putting out a simple dinner without ever turning on the stove.