Stationary Drifting


Best Of: March

best of March

last of winter

march doggies

flowers & cards

/// quality time in Jarry Park && sun for longer && the last of winter /// Mars and Josie being adorable /// dog parking at Marche Jean Talon /// Consulting the cards /// Spring flowers to brighten grey days ///

I can’t believe its the end of March already! I feel like I just wrote the Best of Feb and Best of Blogs: Feb posts. If this blog is any indication of what my life is like, I pretty much DID just write those posts….March flew by and I have been fighting to keep on track with my life schedule. I didn’t blog as much as I would have liked to unfortunately. It slipped away in a flurry of sewing, applying for jobs, marking, and writing. And a little friend and couple time mixed in.

Here are some highlights:

Life:

march bowling

/// me lovin my new talent. Is it possible to be a bowling alley shark? /// Mars celebrating yet another spare, he is also better at bowling than pool ///

I think the thing I was the most excited about this month (besides sewing) was the oncoming spring. Winter is not my favourite. At all. I get really depressed with all the grey and I hate trying to get around in the snow. Montreal is a walking/biking city, the transit is decent but ALL of these modes of transport are a pain in the winter. Walking is hard, biking is impossible (for me, some people I know still do it), and transit is packed, hot and often late. Because of all of this I stay home a lot, taking my vitamin D pills and trying to remember times when I could go outside without 18 layers. Spring was in the air early this year, and although we got one last snow storm this month it has been warmer, sunnier and the snow is mostly gone. Which pleases me to no end. Also daylight savings means its lighter in the hours I’m awake, which does wonders for my mood. Saskatchewan has it right with the no daylight savings, its the worst.

2 of my favourite friends have birthdays in March. My platonic wife Corrie lives in Winnipeg so I didn’t get to celebrate her like I want to but my longest friend Felicia moved back to Montreal and we went bowling like a bunch of REALLY COOL 30 year olds. I turned out to be a lot better at bowling than pool and got TONS of strikes! It was a black light, jams from 1999 kind of night and we all danced and sang and cheered on each other for hours. I loved it. More bowling on the menu from now on.

Speaking of birthdays, we had a very belated birthday party for Mars on Corrie’s birthday. Since we were out west for his birthday and he didn’t get to celebrate with friends I wanted to make sure that he was celebrated properly in Montreal. An awesome group of people showed up to our favourite Salvadorian restaurant to eat a ridiculous amount of pupusas, then came back to our place for cake (a flourless chili chocolate cake I should post about), tequila sunrises and late night confessions of childhood crushes (mine was Leonardo Dicaprio). It was really lovely and I think my guy had a nice, if very bemused time. The flowers above are the leftovers from the bouquet I got him in celebration. The next day we went and saw a play about Mahalia Jackson. Which felt fancy and was a nice night out for the two of us.

I went to a few great shows this month, including a jam packed with talent show headlined by Invincible (Detroit) and hometown hero Akua. I got to meet a bunch of really talented people and sway to really great music (including my all time favourite MC who jumped on stage for a track <3).

Other than that it was all job applications, academic articles, marking and sick days on the couch. A classic March.

Crafts:

Sewing away to my heart’s content, which I’m planning a whole separate post for. So far I’ve made 3 dresses and 2 skirts. They turned out really well and I wear them all the time! I love planning up new things and trying to figure out how to make them. I’m still pretty impatient when I sew. I want to wear them immediately! I have to learn how to enjoy the process more, and also iron… I’m pretty proud of myself for not using patterns and still having pretty awesome results. I could use access to a serger though, jersey is kind of hard to sew with a regular machine.

Books:

Still reading White Teeth. BUT I’m almost done!

Recipes:

march food

/// my winning ribs before they were cooked, no after picture. I was too ready to eat a million ribs by the time they were done and forgot to take a photo /// one of my favourite, filling soup recipes from 101 cookbooks. Its especially good when sick like I was a few times this month ///

Mid month a group of friends and us had a rib off, where we all submitted a rack of ribs, ate our faces off and voted. I WON!! It was my first time ever making ribs and I won! I’m pretty damn chuffed with myself for it because I had some stiff competition. Also, I’m not usually the come-in-first type so it did wonders for my ego. Everyone’s were really really good though and the real winner was my stomach! We’ve been organizing chosen-family get togethers pretty often these days and its awesome. I love having amazing people to laugh with and talk about real shit with. Makes life so much sweeter.

And because I’m a firm believer is sharing recipes I’m going to post my Keetha’s 2 Die 4 Dry Rubbed Ribs this week!

In the meantime check out 101 cookbooks for the above soup’s recipe, Red Lentil Soup with Lemon. 101 cookbooks is one of the best cooking sites I know. I have one of Heidi’s books [super natural every day] and its great but you don’t need to buy a book (though I recommend it!) to access her recipes. The 101 cookbooks site is incredible, searchable, and super varied. Her food is healthy, simple, seasonal,and delicious. I really like this soup because its so hearty with the lentil and rice, it has greens and is flavoured with tumeric, cumin and mustard seeds. Add a the suggested spinach, and some yogurt or peppers goat cheese and its basically the best ever.  I ate it for 2 whole days when I was sick this month and it made me feel so much better. I actually made it again yesterday and I’m still loving it.

Music:

I’m still obsessed with songza and have been exploring all sorts of genres. My current favs (besides 90ies), are latin lady MCs, reggae, and bluegrass.

Sidenote:

I’m still trying to figure out good ways to post pictures. Sorry if things are weird. I’m struggling with sizing…

March in a nutshell. I can’t believe its over. April is going to have to be a bang up month so that I can catch up!

Advertisements


2 Comments

Best Of: February

best of_feb collage
For such a short month February sure seemed long. I always feel this way about February though, when I’m dying from the cold and grey. February is the month that I most want to hibernate. Its too far past the holidays to still have that excitement in my system and too far from spring to feel like winter might possibly end. I still had an interesting month regardless of that. Mars and I took a short trip to Ottawa, I started swimming a few times a week to beat the trap of living and working in the same place and the inertia that came with that. I started thinking about what it means to be truly happy in what I do (no answers to that yet though, I image it will take more than a month), Mars and I had a really cute, at home, homemade Valentine’s day. It snowed A LOT. I baked a fair bit. February in a nutshell.

Here are some highlights:

Life:

pool triptech

Mars and I drove up to Ottawa for the weekend. He took me on a date to a pool hall and we both discovered we are far FAR worse at pool than either of us imagined (and I had no illusions of being a pool shark). It was super funny and I think we scandalized the other patrons by laughing so much…and kissing.

I’ve been working on creating a schedule for myself so that I am in a routine. Working from home is a trap of constantly flexible time and its easy to sleep in really late, get groceries at 9pm, clean the house at 3pm on a wednesday, etc. I’m trying to create a work/life/play schedule that is regular and consistent. I hear that that’s good for me or whatever. Part of this is getting exercise so I started taking myself off to the pool 3 times a week to swim 45mins of laps. Its a nice quiet time where I can kind of zone my brain out and remind my body that as much as I’d like to be hibernating, I’m not that kind of creature. Mars and I have been huge homebodies this month, partly because we’re broke and partly because its winter. We’re both working away on projects, watching a fair bit of netflix and having couch dates. Sometimes its nice to not go out for a while.

Crafts:

With the exception of massive amount of sewing I started on the night of the last day of Feb (and am therefore counting as a March activity). The only thing I think I made this month was the crochet heart mobile for Mars’ Valentine’s day present. Which I mostly made in January anyway. It was a variation of this pattern but I’m not much for following patterns (with the exception of lace, I don’t toy with those patterns!) so I can’t exactly say out to make it. Basically I made a bunch of hearts of different sizes, then made a crocheted top part (based kind of on this collar pattern). I attached the hearts to the top and to each other with crochet chains. That’s it! It took a while to make, partly because I was hiding it from Mars but it was nice to do in front of tv shows at night (I’m not super good at just sitting and watching tv without doing anything else).

Sorry for the fuzzy phone photo, its all I have.

Photo 2013-03-03 2 19 18 PM

Books:

I’m still reading White Teeth by Zadie Smith on my kobo. I’m going to have to pick up the pace a little if I want to reach my reading goal for the year. I’m enjoying the book but I have been busy with other things (and reading things on the internet). I mostly only read when I’m on the metro.

Photography:

I’ve recently become a huge fan of astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield who is currently in space and is taking absolutely incredible photos of the earth. He posts several a day to his facebook page and I check them every day. They are humbling and beautiful. A daily reminder that the world is a really special place.

Here’s an example from yesterday of the southernmost tip of Canada (click the photo to be taken to the source):

Recipes:

(photo belongs to smitten kitchen. Click to be taken to the site/recipe)

I love soup in the fall/winter and this carrot soup with lemon tahini and crisped chickpeas from smitten kitchen is my new absolute favourite. The lemon tahini is what really makes it. The light lemon flavour and the creaminess of the tahini in the soup is amazing. I had some difficulty with the chickpeas because they kept popping like pop corn in my oven and I was afraid of causing a fire so they didn’t get as crispy as I would have liked them. But still a nice texture. I made it with this flat bread (also from smitten kitchen) instead of pita because its fast and a staple in our house. We eat it a couple of times a week usually.

Music:

I was introduced to songza this past month and have been obsessed with it ever since. Its a curated site of SO many playlists. Basically when I log in it asks me what kind of mood I’m in then suggests playlists that work for that mood. I’ve been discovering lots of new (to me) music in between listening to hours and hours of 90ies jams. I’ve been on songza about a week and have a whole bunch of playlists saved. I think songza is my favourite new music this past month but here are some individual artists that got me toe tapping.

Nerina Pallot

Haim

So long February. Looking forward to March, I can feel the spring in the air….


spring cleanse

(warning: I am not a herbalist or a medical professional of any kind. I’m sharing my cleanse plan because I want to write about it, not because I know that it will be healthy for everyone. Please don’t take this as advice and if you plan on doing this or something like this make sure its okay for you.)

teas

Today is the day that I start my first ever cleanse!! Holy crap this is going to be hard. 2 weeks of a restricted diet, drinking tons of tea and being strong willed. NO CHOCOLATE! I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to drink coffee, I’m not allowed to have cow milk in it though. Deeeeeeep sigh.

I’m kind of constructing my own plan, not without advice though. I went to the see the herbalists at the health food place in the market (Alfalfa) and got a couple of teas, the Flor Essense herbal tea blend, dandelion root and ‘aubier de tilleul’ which translates to limewood (and might be the same as linden? unsure). Anyway, the herbalist recommended this in combination with eating lots of green veggies, avoiding processed foods, sugars, dairy and heavy meats (like red meat) for 2-3 weeks. Both of them said that they are doing this exact thing right now and also eating only green veggies for a week. Apparently spring is a really good time to do this kind of cleanse. I don’t know why exactly but it makes sense anyway.

I’ve also been doing some research online and am planning on having a restricted diet for the next 2 weeks. I’m not going to cut out a large amount of food, just particular types (dairy, wheat flour, junk food and sugars – but not fruits) for a while to give my body a little boost. I’ve been feeling pretty tired lately, and might be getting a cold from my crappy sleep pattern these days so I’m hoping this helps. This on top of my new workout schedule and quitting smoking, I have high hopes to be feeling good this spring.

Maybe I’ll blog about it in particular to see how it goes over time and share what’s going on. I’ve been planning this all week but didn’t start because I wanted to make sure my body wasn’t too stressed by my new workout lifestyle and lack of nicotine first, and I had to finish that pan of brownies I made for Corrie Sunday night! Can’t waste baked goods!

SO here is a bit of an outline of my plan.

– Herbal Teas (2-3 times daily)

Flor-Essence is taken in warm water 30mins before meals for 2-3 weeks

I’ve been doing a bunch of reading about this stuff before I start taking it, to make sure its safe and will do what they say it will do and also because I’m a herb nerd and like to know these things. Here’s what I know about it so far. Its a blend of a bunch of herbs that have an immuno-boosting & detoxifying effect. A lot of websites like it for a lot of reasons, including some traditional medicine ones because it is looking like it might be useful in fighting some forms of cancer, or at least treating it. Here is the information I got from a website called National Nutrition:

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa) contains inulin, flavonoids (including quercetin), lignans, tannins, volatile oils, vitamins and minerals. A strong antioxidant, it is also anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating, and can reduce cell mutations while cleansing and strengthening. Antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral; increases lymph drainage. This burdock root is North American and certified organic.

Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) is an astringent, diuretic and laxative; it also oxygenates tissues and provides immune system support. All aerial parts are used as they contain several effective antioxidants including flavonoids, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Sheep sorrel is a bile stimulant with phytoestrogenic and anti-inflammatory qualities. North American-grown and certified organic.

Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) is noted for soothing inflammatory irritation, especially of the digestive tract, due to its mucilage content. Alkalizes by balancing pH in the GI tract; also absorbs toxins from the bowel and reduces bowel transit time. Contains high concentrations of antioxidants including beta-sitosterol, beta-carotene and proanthocyanidins. Certified organic when available.

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is a heavy metal detoxifier, a rich source of chlorophyll for blood cleansing, and increases the flow of bile for improved digestion. Excellent protection against xenoestrogens and many hormone-related diseases, it contains indoles (also present in cruciferous vegetables), which deactivate excess estrogen and eliminate it from the body.

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is an antioxidant and blood purifier, and facilitates elimination of toxins through the skin, kidneys and colon. Shown to combat bacterial, viral and fungal infections, it has been used for lung, liver and digestive ailments. This legume contains isoflavones that help balance hormones and protect against xenoestrogens. The leaf and blossom are harvested from certified organic plants grown in North America.

Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus) contains a bitter-tasting compound called ‘cnicin’, which increases the flow of gastric juices, thereby relieving indigestion and headaches associated with liver congestion. Blessed thistle is an anti-inflammatory and contains lignans that have proven antimicrobial activity. The flower top is harvested from plants grown in North America. Certified organic.

Kelp (Laminaria digitata) contains alginates, which soothe and cleanse the intestines, and help to neutralize heavy metals and radiation (including electromagnetic fields from TV’s, computers etc.) in the body. Kelp stimulates the immune system and supplies minerals including iodine for healthy thyroid function and metabolism, and to help control pre-cancerous breast lumps. Harvested near Iceland and certified organic.

Turkish Rhubarb root (Rheum palmatum) helps to safely normalize bowel movements, cleanse the liver and detoxify the colon. A safe and effective laxative, Turkish rhubarb also exhibits anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antioxidant and antiviral activity. Increases the flow of saliva and gastric juices for improved digestion. Certified organic when available.

kidney, liver, digestion, blood, thyroid, metabolism, colon, intestines, skin, lung, bowel, lymph nodes, immune system, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antioxidant, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial.

I can use all these things.

Dandelion root, 1/2 – 2 teaspoons, boiled in water for 5-10 mins, strained. 2-3 times per day for 2-3 weeks.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre dandelion root is rich in vitamins A, B, C & D, minerals like iron, potassium and zinc, is good for the liver, kidney, swelling, skin, heartburn, stomach upset, high blood pressure and digestion. Its a diuretic.

From the above website:

Traditionally, dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans also boiled dandelion in water and took it to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomach. In traditional Chinese medicine, dandelion has been used to treat stomach problems, appendicitis, and breast problems, such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. In Europe, it was used in remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.

Linden/sapwood of lime tree, 1/2 – 2 teaspoons, boiled and strained, 2-3 times per day for 2-3 weeks.

This one was a little harder to look up because I only had the french name for it. It translates to sapwood of lime tree, which some places say is another name for linden (sapwood not flowers). From what I can figure out this is good for calming anxiety, promoting relaxation and calmness, sleep aid, liver, gallbladder, soothing an upset stomach, fighting infection, promotes blood flow, and boosting immune system.  (from WebMD & Livestrong Foundation)

I was told the I could take the dandelion root and linden together or separately but in total I should have having some combination of those teas 3 times per day. Not 2-3 times each.

– Food Plan

The herbalist told me to avoid processed foods, dairy, heavy meats, sugar and fat; and eat a lot of green veggies. Which all make sense to me. I’ve been reading up about other cleanses online though, particularly the wild rose cleanse which I’ve heard good things about and I’m going to add this.

Avoid:

  • processed foods
  • wheat flour (gluten)
  • dairy (except butter – I don’t know why butter is okay but I’ll take it)
  • tropical fruits (apparently they have a lot of allergens that the body can react to in the absence of all these other things)
  • alcohol
  • sugar

Eat:

  • lots of green veggies
  • soups and broths
  • beans, nuts and grains
  • almonds, fruit, millet, buckwheat, and brown rice
  • neutral foods like most veggies

So here it goes! Crossing my fingers that I won’t have too many side effects and am able to keep it up. If anyone has cleanse strategies they would like to share I’d love to hear them. Including how to motivate yourself to stay at it, what you ate or didn’t eat, recipes, how to deal with side effects. I’m curious to be testing this out and how my body will react!

Warming the apartment with food

I think every dish I own is dirty and in or near the sink at this moment.

I went hard in the kitchen yesterday. It was a really cold day and I wanted to warm the house with good smells and oven heat. Plus, my partner had named yesterday as the last day of unhealthiness (in his life but I’m going to join him in it for the most part – more on that later). So no more unhealthy lifestyle, including fried foods and baked goods (I’m not giving up the baked goods). To celebrate I wanted to make some delicious things to send him off with.

Omg, the cinnamon buns turned out awesome. And I made a lot, which M can’t eat now, so if you want some come on over! I’ve been following this new cooking website (who knew I’d ever be that type?) called 101 cookbooks. Its really amazing, and is all about healthy, natural eating and cooking. I’ve made a bunch of good things from there and find it pretty straight forward to follow. What I like most about it is that I usually have most of the stuff in my kitchen anyway. I hate shopping just for a single recipe and appreciate being about to use up the stuff I have hanging around. 

Anyway, this cinnamon bun recipe is a bit more involved because I had to let it rise for at least an hour twice, and because the dough needed some pretty long kneading. But it was worth it because they turned out delicious. I was having memories of my g’ma staying with us and waking up to the warm smells of cinnamon buns (which she didn’t put raisins in because I’ve always hated raisins – love you g’ma!). So I got a bit nostalgic on top of it all.

I also did up my twice weekly batch of soup. M and I eat a lot of soup. Its winter, and we need our bellies kept warm, plus its a good way to eat seasonal veggies. Normally I just throw a bunch of veggies in a pot with veg broth and then blend but this time I decided to use one of my butternut squashes I purchased at the market this fall.

I started following a recipe from the internet that wasn’t that good so I’m not going to link it. Basically I roasted the squash for 45mins in the oven, then blended it with some veg broth and nutmeg. That was a far as the recipe took me and it was boring as fuck so I went off trail a bit and fried up some onion and garlic (I always put lots of garlic in my soups, keeps the immune system healthy) with some chilies and carrots, then boiled those in broth and added them to the squash mix. Served with cream and cilantro on top. Not too shabby, and the extra will keep us going for a few days.

Silvie came over last week to hang out and make food. She made a delicious veggie shepard’s pie that has sat in our fridge, untouched, ever since. I don’t know why we weren’t into eating it once it became leftovers but we just couldn’t make ourselves. Ever since my fridge died this summer I’ve been using a mini fridge lent by a friend (who can afford appliances these days?) so space is at a premium. 3 containers of shepard’s pie for almost a week is an unacceptable use of space, we had to do something with it. In came the samosa idea. M (my partner) cooked up the shepard’s pie with a bunch of spices I can’t name. I had made the samosa dough earlier. The deep frying went pretty well, though I did manage to melt a plastic spoon. They were good and shepard’s pie containers were ejected from the fridge.

One more food post about the bread when I’ve seen how it turns out. I’m excited to start making bread at home so fingers crossed!

This gallery contains 7 photos

Fall nesting

2 Comments

 

Its fall! I’m getting so nesty.

Something about the cooler air and darker days makes me want to stay home and make good food that will “stick to my insides”, particularly anything with root vegetables. I also want to put garlic and ginger in everything because no matter how much I love fall my immune system always seems to take a serious dive.

So I’ve been on a mega soup kick. Which is not unusual for this time of year. I made myself a killer potato leek soup last week, and pictured above is a carrot, ginger, parsnip soup that I just made. I love soups because I can basically just throw anything into a pot with some vegetable bouillon, boil it until everything is soft, blend and store enough to feed myself for several days. I also love soup because I can load it up with garlic, and it warms me up from the inside. Take that cold fall germs.

carrot, ginger, parsnip soup

 

Key to this process is having something to blend with though, and lucky for me I was able to go home to my mom’s house for thanksgiving, where my blender has been living since I moved out of the house (I got it from my friends for my 13th birthday, I know, weird). I’ve been blending up a storm ever since getting back.

The reason I got that blender from my friends was because I was obsessed with milkshakes as a child and would ask them to make me one at their houses because I didn’t have any way to blend at home. This obsession hasn’t really changed into my adulthood, though now I’ve switched from milkshakes to blending myself up morning smoothies! I’m so into a good morning smoothie these days. Bonus: I can sneak more ginger into my diet. My favourite combo so far was the strawberry, ginger, almond one with local organic yogurt and fresh pressed apple juice from the market. I love living so close to that place.

strawberry, ginger, almond smoothie

Since I’m on a domestic tear, and was getting worried about nearly all my meals being liquid, I decided today to try my hand at granola. Which presents reason number 2 (in this post) why I love living around Jean Talon. Anatol!! I was searching for a bulk food store near me to pick up ingredients and found Anatol on St Laurent (right next to Milano’s – which I also love). Anatol has everything; spices, nuts, grains, even bulk cookies and candy. Its all so fresh (apparently a lot of restaurants shop there so their stock turns over quickly), and cheap. I came home with all the necessary things and a serious enthusiasm for granola. An enthusiasm that has only grown now that I have the finished product. I will post my recipe later, but suffice to say that my first attempt at granola turned out awesome and I’m pumped to have it with my smoothie tomorrow morning.

I am in love with Anatol

My house smells like delicious soup and sweet granola, the kettle is boiling for tea (chai), and I just finished up the dishes. Now to put some healing salve on this oven burn on my hand…

 

granola!

I need more jars.

granola, soup, granola

the downside

This gallery contains 6 photos