If you like books, you’ll love the idea of a little library. I wrote about the concept on the Thrive Calgary blog this week. I can’t wait to paint my own little library this weekend!
Have you heard of Tumblr? It’s this social media site that basically no one is talking about or using. Well, you can now visit my super cool Tumblr space to find pictures and links and quotes and things. I will try to keep the French Bulldog content to a tolerable level, but I’m not making any promises!
I feel like you must be getting used to me saying “Oops, sorry for not blogging!” and I feel bad about that, but the past several months have really been exceptional. A few Big Things have happened since I last wrote to you. For starters, I began my new big-girl job on August 1. This means I’ve been putting all my energy into staying employed rather than cooking exciting things and writing about them.
I couldn’t have predicted how exhausting and all-consuming a new job would be. I mean that in the best way possible, by the way. There are so many things to learn, exciting people to meet, and new routines to figure out. I am truly fortunate to be able to wake up and run off to what I consider to be a “dream job,” and I look forward to figuring it all out over the months to come.
With everything that’s going on I feel like… maybe… I’m an adult now. So, hello from the realm of adulthood. I’m a little sleepy but the pay is better here, so that’s nice. I’m doing something I really believe in, and I get to wear pencil skirts on a regular basis. (Seriously, pencil skirts are my favourite thing to wear, and I always felt out of place wearing them to the library to work on my thesis. My school was really more of a sweatpants and Toms kind of place.)
Nevertheless, despite my life-relayed mayhem, last weekend I NEEDED to be in the kitchen after cooking and eating quickly all week. I took the grocery store by storm and came home ready to prepare some meals to last a few days. My favourite purchase was a few tomatillos. I had never seen them before. I’d only ever eaten them in something without knowing what they look like before they get chopped and cooked. Yes, that’s sad, but you have to understand that I grew up in the middle of rural eastern Ontario where a pineapple is the most exotic produce for sale.
I ended up throwing the tomatillos into an adapted version of this tasty quinoa recipe, but had to stop for a few minutes to get a look at this amazing little things. Aren’t they cool? Please occupy yourselves by looking at these 9 photos until I get a chance to post the few recipes I’ve been stockpiling for you since July.
It’s been a long time since I waxed poetic about the vegan bowl in a public forum, so here it goes: Bowls are the single greatest thing to happen to meatless dining. I know that’s a bold statement (bowl-ed statement?) but I’m sticking to it.
I ordered one at the Communitea Cafe in Canmore last weekend and was so smitten that I promptly pledged to put the bowl firmly in my regular rotation of yummy things to make at home. In this particular dish there was rice, vegetables, tofu and – as far as I’m concerned – magic.
Last week Calgary experienced a tenacious heat wave – you know, the kind that makes you ponder the joys of winter. During this particular heat wave I melted a little. I’m quite serious. I’m nearly certain that portions of my feet and ankles and calves have collected in a puddle on the floor of the Number 3 bus. (That’ll teach me to wear a slip under a summer dress.)
Like many of you, when the weather gets hot my will to turn on the stove is non-existent. I’ll settle for a rendezvous with the toaster – a less offensive appliance that can do its job in three minutes or less. To keep it simple and cool, friends, I must say: The next time you find yourself shedding layers at an alarming rate, wiping sweat from your upper lip, or sitting in very unladylike positions for the sake of your bodily temperature, remember that the toasted sandwich is your best, best, best friend.
While my mom and dad swear by the toasted tomato sandwich, I prefer something with a little more greenery. Enter the avocado.
Equal parts creamy, buttery, and rich (some of my favourite adjectives) the avocado is the most magnificent inhabitant of the produce department. About a month ago I bought eight at one time and found myself munching on them at both lunch and dinner. That was a mistake. I soon realized you can have too much of a good thing, so now I’m back to treating these babies like gold, only eating them when I want to dine like a vegan queen.
The other day – mid-heat wave – I made a toasted, open-faced avocado and tomato sandwich that was the picture of simplicity and summertime happiness. It looked like this:
To make this lunch special, toast two pieces of your heartiest bread. In a small bowl, mash half an avocado with a fork. Stir in a splash of lime juice and spread the mixture evenly over the bread. Top the avocado with fresh cilantro leaves, thinly sliced grape tomatoes, and a dash of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. I think you’ll find that the sweetness of the tomatoes blends nicely with the tangy lime, while the soft avocado complements the crunchy bread like a dream. What’s more, if you eat this sandwich while sitting on your shaded back porch of choice (sipping lemonade and dreaming of faraway beaches) it’s quite possible you will lose your urge to move to Alaska and take up sled dog racing.
And what more could you possibly want from a sandwich?
Stay cool, fellow food enthusiasts. Stay cool.
This is my 150th blog post! Thank you, special readers, for inspiring and encouraging me to reach such a happy little milestone. Here’s to many more vegan recipes (and all the stories that go with them).
I’d like to tell you I’ve always been a good big sister. I’d like to tell you that.
The truth is, my little sister and I didn’t get off to the best start.
The trouble began when she was in utero. Clearly excited for the impending birth of their second child, my parents inquired: “Carly, what do you want to call your new baby sister?”
“Nobody,” I mumbled.
Against my wishes, my parents called her Abbey. I went to see her at the hospital – I wasn’t even three years old – and later, mom and dad asked me what I thought of her. My response could be described as a grunt with a hint of toddler eye roll.
I can easily recall both situations because my dad used his bulldog-sized camcorder to immortalize them on film. Now, usually home videos later go unnoticed, gathering dust in an attic and letting memories like this fade. Our home videos are different. Dad’s collection of tapes was eventually converted into a collection of shiny DVDs to ensure I never forget my raging case of BBSS (bossy big sister syndrome). These anecdotes make for easy party conversation, but I can’t help feeling guilty when they’re brought up. After all, let’s face the facts: I was pretty mean to someone who hadn’t even been born yet. And then I was pretty mean to someone who couldn’t even hold up her own head.
I’d like to tell you I came around quickly to the idea of having a little sister. I’d like to tell you that.
When I look back, though, it probably took me a good 15 years to realize what an amazing person
Nobody Abbey turned out to be. Before that she was cool and all, but my judgement was mostly clouded – first by little-kid selfishness and then by teenage hormones – so I didn’t take the time to notice that Abbey is equal parts funny, smart, and kind. Also, she is quite nice to look at.
I’ve been feeling a bit like Carmen Sandiego these days. Every so often I’ll get a message from a friend that reads, “Where ARE you?!”
I can’t blame these poor, confused people for wondering about me. I’ve had a busy, busy month and I’m far away from where I started.
At least four times, I’ve sat down to write the story of my move. My writing just hasn’t done the journey justice. So instead of writing an epic tale, I’ll give you the bare facts: It has been nearly two weeks since I defended my masters thesis in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Now, I’m sitting cozily in my new Calgary, Alberta, homestead where I’ll spend the next few months figuring out what I’m going to do with my post-grad life. I feel I owe you fair readers a bit of an illustration of the past few weeks. At the very least I should prove to you that I’m not still perched in my apartment (sans furniture) or in the library (typing up a storm). I’m actually beginning a brand new adventure, and I’m so excited about it all!
So, for your viewing pleasure, here is some photographic evidence of my journey.