Monday, February 25, 2013

kale + mustard seed skillet scones (veganized)

Oh, scones. You feel like such a treat with your flaky layers, your crunchy nooks and crannies.

These scones certainly are a treat, but in amongst the crunchy, flaky goodness hides all sorts of healthy ingredients. Whole wheat flour, kale and coconut oil come together like old friends. Mustard seed shows up unexpectedly and makes things interesting.

Coconut oil is the perfect substitute for butter. If you haven't given it a chance, well, what are you waiting for? Almond milk and vinegar do a good imitation of buttermilk and make this whole shebang 100% vegan.

This is one of those health-i-fied recipes that's not just good enough, it's seriously good.


2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
 4 tbsp solid coconut oil
1 cup finely chopped kale
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp white vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Put your cast iron skillet on medium-low heat (or skip this step and just use a baking sheet).

Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Add coconut oil and combined with a pastry mixer, two forks or your fingers. Mixture should be crumbly.

Add vinegar to almond milk and set aside. Add kale and mustard seed to dry mix, coating kale in flour. Slowly add milk mixture until the dough comes together. It should be shaggy and a bit sticky.

When your skillet is heated, drop dough in mounds into the pan, first around the edges and then one in the middle. (Or, if your skipping the skillet, drop in mounds onto a baking sheet.)

Remove pan from heat and place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 8-10 minutes or unitl scones are golden.

Makes 6-8 scones.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

the count of monte cristo










I am currently reading the Count of Monte Cristo for the first time. I know...have I been hiding under a rock this whole time? How did I miss out on reading this classic earlier in life? I have no excuses. But, now I am thoroughly embroiled in the suspense, the agony, the love and cold-served vengeance of it all.
If you think you are unfamiliar with the tale, think again. Alexandre Dumas' epic tale has been made into over 40 film adaptations and is, unavoidably, referenced in many contemporary tales of revenge (including that Revenge TV show).

If you also been hiding under rock and have never read this French treasure, curl up and settle in for a thrilling 500 page ride through 17th century high society.

Friday, November 2, 2012

day of the dead

Today is Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead for many Mexicans and other cultures around the world. It's also the beginning of the Wiccan New Year, following the celebration of Samhain, another tradition focused on the observance and  honouring of the dead. As we head into short days of winter, take a little of these traditions with you and remember to celebrate the darkness.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Baking Bread

you rise
from flour, 
and fire.
Dense or light,
flattened or round,
you duplicate
the mother's
rounded womb,
and earth's
How simple
you are, bread,
and how profound!
You line up
on the baker's 
powdered trays
like silverware or plates
or pieces of paper
and suddenly
life washes 
over you,
there's the joining of seed
and fire,
and you're growing, growing
all at once
hips, mouths, breasts,
mounds of earth,
or people's lives.
The temperature rises, you're overwhelmed
by fullness, the roar
of fertility,
and suddenly 
your golden color is fixed.
And when your little wombs
were seeded,
a brown scar
laid its burn the length
of your two halves'
you are 
mankind's energy,
a miracle often admired,
the will to live itself.

-Pablo Neruda

Just a little one-minute montage project with music by Nick Joy. 
Happy Fall, Happy Sunday, Happy Bread-Breaking.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Back to School









It's that time of year. Back to school time always holds a certain level of excitement and transforms some part of me into my ten-year-old self. There is comfort in returning to old friends, and mystery at what the new year will hold. The air is cooler, the inner atmosphere cozier.

Oh, to forever be a student and never lose that nervously hopeful feeling of expectancy.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Kale + Spinach Pesto

Did you know that you can make pesto out of pretty much anything? It's true. Pesto just means "paste" in Italian. All you really need is some fresh ingredients and a way to grind them up together and, bam, you have pesto.

Now, traditionalists will tell you that pesto contains fresh basil, pine nuts and parmigian cheese. Personally, I don't go in for the whole "traditional" thing. Nor do I go in for the whole, "cheese" thing or the whole "forty-dollar-a-pound-pine-nut" thing. I make pesto my way and this week that meant making it with kale, spinach and reasonably-priced cashews.

Ok, you wanna know the truth? I had a heck of a lot of kale on my hands. I was forced to harvest our entire crop after aphids thad their way with my sad little brassicas. I also had a bunch of lovely local spinach from my friends at Bounce Back Farms. And as usual, I had some olive oil, garlic, lemons and cashews kickin' around. So, this pesto was inevitable.

And you know the best thing? Pesto is good with everything. Pasta is just the beginning. Pesto loves sandwiches, salad, pizza and chicken. It's also amazing when paired with this other versatile wonder and scrambled.

This recipe makes a generous two cups. Too much? Go ahead and half it. Or, you can do what I did: put some in a jar in the fridge (which will last about two weeks), and put the rest into ice-cube trays, pop out when frozen and save for later use.

The traditional way to make pesto is with a mortar and pestle. Unless you have a giant mortar and the desire to get a great arm workout, I'd use a food processor I were you.

4 cups packed fresh kale
2 cups fresh spinach
1 handful of fresh parsley
3-5 cloves of garlic (depending on your taste)
1 cup whole raw cashews (or the nut of your choice)
1/2-1 tsp sea salt (to your taste)
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Juice of 1 whole lemon
1/3-1/2 cup Olive Oil (add more/less for thicker/thinner pesto)

Coarsely chop kale and process in food processor until sem-fine. Add in spinach and parsley and repeat.

Add garlic, cashews, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Pulse until fine and crumbly, being careful to not to let the cashews turn into a paste.

With the lid on you food processor, turn on and slowly add olive oil until desired consistency is obtained.

Store in the fridge for about two weeks or freeze for about two months.

Put your pesto on some baguette with a fresh tomato, goat cheese and balsamic reduction. It will change your life.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Top 5 Reasons to Buy Vintage

Even someone like me, who dabbles in vintage selling, often wonders: why do people opt for vintage clothes when these days it seems easy to find "vintage inspired" look-alikes everywhere, from urban outfitters to walmart.

I figure fans of vintage style must ask themselves, "why would I buy this 'used' when I could buy it for the same price or cheaper brand new?"

Well, there are all sorts of reasons to buy vintage and each retro dresser probably has their own set of top 5. Maybe it's an authenticity thing, or being into "the story" behind an item once loved by a stranger. Whatever the reasons, all you have to do is look around Etsy to discover there is no shortage of shoppers who believe "real" vintage is the way to go.

Here's my top 5 list. What's yours?

5. Quality
When grandpa says, "they don't make'em like they used to", the man speaks the truth. I'm sure you've heard this one time and time again. Back in the day, things were just made better. Clothes were made with sturdier fabrics, stronger stitching, and more conscious design.

Nowadays, clothes are made to deteriorate with just a few wearings and washings. And why not? The powers that be want you back in the stores, buying up the latest trends faster than you can say "high-wasted-geometric-neon-romper."

4. Thrill of the hunt

Shopping should be fun. You know what's not fun? Trolling though rack after rack of the same shabbily-made crap, searching for anything but "this season's" colours that flood every store and offer no alternative to the mainstream. At least, I don't find that all too enjoyable.

What I do like is going into a store and hunting down the perfect item. I like feeling that I've discovered a treasure, like I'm getting away with some devious deception by getting my hands on a good deal.

Though many vintage shops are well-organized spaces, they still offer that thrill by having something unexpected on every rack. You never know what you might find at the back of the store or on page 456 of your Etsy search.

3. Be original
Speaking of the same crap in the same colours, I've never understood why people want to dress alike. I understand trends, but why you would want to wear the exact same dress/shirt/hat/tiny mustache necklace as your best bud is beyond me.  Isn't it supposed to be embarrassing to walk into a party wearing the same dress as someone else?

It's true that vintage has become an unstoppable trend, but that doesn't mean you can't make your look original. Sure, when all your friends saw your super-cool leather-fringe bird-vest, they all rushed out to buy the modern copy at the mall. But, does theirs have the original, authentic native beading? Does theirs have a grateful dead patch where a hole has worn through? Does theirs smell sweetly of tobacco and suede? No, they do not. And therefore, you, and your vest are totally way cooler.

2. Shop local

You like to buy local vegetables, right? So why not local clothes too? Sure, the vintage you buy probably wasn't made in your town, but if it's being sold at a local vintage shop, that's almost as good. Many independent vintage shops source their goods locally, so you know it hasn't traveled from China any time recently. And for that matter, it likely never traveled from China at all, since clothes used to be made on the home front a lot more often than today.

What's that? You don't have any local vintage and that's why you shop on Etsy? Well, be happy that your doing your part to support a small business and help their community thrive in the meantime.

1. Support the little guy
Speaking of supporting small business, what's most appealing about this for me is not supporting some soul-sucking, money-grubbing, human-rights abusing, all-round-not-very-nice corporation. Guess what! There is a reason that leather bag at urban outfitters is only twenty bucks. It's because it was made by small hands for almost no pay and marked up about five hundred percent.

Don't get me wrong. I am no saint when it comes to this stuff. Sometimes, you can't resist the sale. Sometimes, you have to shop at the dollar store. But, if you choose to buy "real" vintage from independent sellers who actually share your passion, it's a win-win for everyone.