26 February 2011

Orange You Glad?

If you have never tried a Cara Cara orange, you are missing out on something amazing and beautiful.  

I can appreciate a sweet juicy navel orange.   I usually seek out the bluebird variety but one day my life changed.   Shopping on the Drive,  I happened upon an organic pile of brilliant orange Cara Caras.  I took a gamble and bought six, not knowing if they were any good.  I don't know about you, but my luck with organic oranges have usually ended with a tart taste in my mouth.  These oranges did not disappoint!  I was blown away when I cut into one to reveal a deep orange.  I was already in love at this point but the experience just kept getting better.  The flavour was purely sweet carrying a hint of ruby red grapefruit.  Needless to say, Cara Cara oranges are a new staple in my grocery basket.  

Shady West Coast Gardening

The weather has been very cold on the west coast.  It's snowing out side my window as I write this post.  Not really a typical Vancouver winter day.  The past few weeks has offered up some beautiful sunshine despite the frigid air.  This brings me to my garden, which is frozen solid at the moment.  I went out yesterday to check a bag of soil and it was rock hard!  I guess I won't be planting any time soon.  

I drew up my garden plan and thought I would try a few new plants like fairytale eggplant and gold rush zucchini.  I'm even going to attempt a green bean bush variety.  I am probably setting myself up for failure as my garden doesn't get as much sun as the plants probably need but I think it never hurts to try.  Who knows, maybe it will do well....

Tried and true are my wonderful lacinato kale plants.  They grow all year round and in fact are still going despite the cold spells we've had this year.  Coxing salad greens to grow in my garden makes me pretty happy.  Now, if I could only get that darn squirrel to stop digging up my garden!  (I lay awake at night cursing the little vandal.)

21 February 2011

Creamy and Delicious

I've been craving a creamy pasta dish for the past few weeks and as most of you know these are two things I just can't eat.  I find it challenging sometimes living a gluten and dairy free life.  But my craving got the best of me and I had to make something....And it turned out just as good or better!  

 Creamy Cashew Basil Sauce with Portobello Mushrooms and Spinach
Wow!  I need to share with someone because it was sooooo good.  

Creamy Cashew Basil Sauce:
1 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 cup water
3tbsp dried basil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 portobello mushrooms cut in half and sliced
2 cups frozen spinach
2 garlic cloves, crushed 
red pepper chili flakes for garnish
2tbsp olive oil
cooked pasta for 4 people (I used rice pasta but what ever works for you)

1. Start pasta in boiling water.

2. In a food processor or high speed blender, add cashews and puree to a fine crumb.  Add salt, pepper, and dried basil and pulse to mix.  Add the water and blend until smooth.

3. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium heat and saute mushrooms for a few minutes.  Add garlic and saute for one minute.  Add spinach and stir until heated.  Add the cashew cream mixture to the saucepan and stir until it begins to thicken.  Remove from heat.  

4.When pasta is done, toss into the sauce or spoon sauce on top, however you like it.  Sprinkle red pepper chili flakes for a little kick.  


18 February 2011

Photographing You, Photographing Me, Pt.1

I posted earlier about a photo series my son and I are working on where we take pictures of each other taking pictures of one another.  We took these photos at the observatory in Los Angeles last November.

We usually only take one or two photos of each other but we took quite a few this time!

17 February 2011

Happy Mat

This is my beautiful new yoga mat!


 I've been using the same synthetic PVC filled yoga mat since 2002.  My grey nike mat seemed revolutionary at the time as everyone seemed to have either a thick floppy purple or green mat.  Even the yoga instructor, who jumped on my mat, took it for a spin and was impressed.  

Lately in my yoga classes I've notice my hands slipping a lot even when I'm not sweating.  I should never be slipping in a Hatha class!  And the thought of PVC's or other toxic chemicals releasing gases all around me leaching into my hands and feet hasn't been sitting very well.  
I did a little research and settled on Jade Yoga mats for their use of natural rubber, all made eco-friendly right in the U.S.  Apparently every Jade Yoga mat that is sold, a tree is planted.  

Well, to my surprise, I was handed a midnight blue yoga mat for my birthday the next day thanks to my husband.  Come to think of it, he was responsible for my first mat too.  

I used it this morning and am happy to say I am no longer slipping in my Hatha class.    

It was my birthday a few days ago and I officially joined the 30 club.  It signifies official adulthood for me.  The thought of turning 30 during my early twenties made me cringe a little but now that I am here I feel more established in my character and more confident in where I am headed in my life.  I like how 30 is fitting.  It's not an end to my youthfulness but an extension into a more refined sense of self.   

06 February 2011

Photo Shoot!

We took advantage of a sunny day last October and went on a photo shoot.  We walked around our  little east side neighbourhood, looking for great spots to take photos.   

My son and I are making a series of photographs where we take pictures of each other taking pictures of one another. 

We definitely got a few good ones...

01 February 2011

Moroccan Mint Tea

I love mint tea.  I love mint itself.  I am obsessed with it.  I grow several mint patches in my garden.  My first sip of moroccan mint tea was actually at a restaurant in Hong Kong.  My husband took me there for our four year anniversary and the food was amazing.  After dinner, a small silver tea pot appeared on our table with an even smaller glass tea cup.  The tea was intoxicating.  I was instantly addicted and need more, more, just a little more.  Since then I have been on the quest to make the perfect cup of moroccan mint tea.  Last summer I even bought a  species of mint called moroccan.  My winning combo is a lemon grass and green tea bag steeped with a large, very large handful of mint leaves from my garden (stems and all), and a generous helping of maple syrup.  Beautiful.  It even tastes good with out the green tea.  

Now that I have been to Morocco and tasted a variety of mint teas, very few of quality, I have come to realize I like my moroccan mint tea the best.  I know it's organic and pure.  Most of the "mint tea" in morocco is actually low quality green tea, very bitter, with a few fresh mint leaves thrown in for good measure and copious amounts of white sugar to make it taste like something.  

One thing I did learn was to add orange water to give that certain -I-don't-know-what-zing.  

On a different note, the oranges in Morocco were amazing.