Archive | April, 2010

Tomorrow, tomorrow. (orange poppy seed breakfast muffins)

29 Apr

Today was a … blah day.

I had taxes to do, history to do, reading to do, cleaning to do, and for some reason I couldn’t muster up any sort of motivation to  be excited about these things.

I dragged my heels, and got my taxes, some history, writing, and baking done. Once again the cleaning will be left for tomorrow.

Although, tomorrow is going to be a fun day in Vancouver, so the cleaning might have to wait until… Friday :S Well, perhaps when I get home tonight I’ll be able to squeeze a little cleaning in.

These muffins were one of the best things that happened today.

Orange Poppy Seed Breakfast Muffins

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup boiling water

2 3/4 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 nutmeg

2 tbsp soy flour + 2 tbsp water

2 tbsp oil

1/4 cup honey

1 cup soy milk

2 tbsp poppy seeds

the zest of one orange

First, preheat the oven to 375, and grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan with reusable muffin cups.

Soak the raisins for five minutes in 1/4 cup of boiling water, and set aside.

Put the rolled oats into a food processor or blended to create a coarse flour, you will need two cups of it.

Mix the coarse oatmeal flour with the rest of the dry ingredients and set aside.

Strain the raisins and keep the water. Put the raisins into the food processor to chop coarsely, or chop by hand.

In a separate bowl, beat the soy flour and water (egg replacement) the oil, and the honey together, until smooth.  Then stir in the soy milk, the raisins (and the water), the poppy seeds, and the orange zest.

Add the wet to the dry stirring until it is just mixed well. Spoon into muffin cups and bake for about 15 minutes.  You’ll know they’re finished when the tops are a crumbly yellow, and the bottoms are golden brown.

Serve warm.

yum.

Peace.

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Natural Life Magazine

28 Apr

This magazine is very interesting.

Subscribe to Natural Life Magazine

http://www.naturallifemagazine.com/

It has loads of information on alternative lifestyles, recipes, and new ideas you may have never heard of… composting toilet anyone?

Definitely thought-provoking.

The TO-DO list.

27 Apr

Sometimes, if I’m organized enough, I get my act together early in the day and set to work ticking things off my to-do list.  Most of the time however, I start the day slowly, make my to-do list, and tick off one or two items.  This really has to start changing.  I’m going to try to create my to-do list in my journal before I go to bed the night before, so that I know what I’m going to do from the minute I finish my bible reading in the morning.

Today my to-do list was a lazy day one 😦

It reads as follows:

– sweep kitchen and bathroom floors

– plant parsley and raspberry plants

– bake bread

– work on history

– TAXES

-the “laundry issue”

-email my outline for a youth talk

I feel like this should be doable, and with the exception of getting those plants in the ground, I think I will be able to succeed in the rest. (fingers crossed)

What takes time?

27 Apr

“Time was – and not long ago – if you wanted to live in such a way as to be warmly connected with other people, the world supported your efforts.  Today that really is not true.  If you want community in any form, or family, or home, you just about have to invent it.  Your version will be unique with you.  But the first and all-important step is to dig in where you are and make a place.  When I suggest that we think of ourselves as pioneers, I’m not being quaint.  Ware on a frontier, surrounded by wilderness, and the job at hand is to make a clearing – to clear a space and determine that what goes on within that circle will be a prototype of the world as you would like it to be.  The thrilling thing is to see those small circles begin to touch upon one another here and there, and overlap – sturdy outposts, ground for hope.” – The New Laurel’s Kitchen

What takes time in our every day lives? Preparing good wholesome food takes time. Keeping a tidy house takes time. Preparing and tending a garden takes time. Preparing for social gatherings takes time. If you have kids, that takes time. Everything that goes in an around keeping a house takes time.

However, what my generation and a few before have been bred to believe is that we must work 9-5, five, sometimes six days a week to attain financial security.  I think most would agree that your family eating wholesome food in a comfortable home, with a providing garden, and lots of friends and children around is a pretty idealistic living situation that is now so counter-culture, it is nearly impossible.

A fabulous loaf of homemade whole grain bread can’t be whipped up in 20 minutes, and real meals of grains, vegetables and legumes take hours of cooking and preparing.

Why is that we agree that what we want is a more peaceful healthy home, but what we do is work more to pay for meaningless conveniences?

Scared of being freaky.

26 Apr

Often when people become conscious of whats going on in the world, how every decision we make, every thing we buy directly affects many other systems and people, it’s an eye-opener to say the least. You start with maybe not buying plastic water bottles anymore, then you start trying to eat a bit more locally, then you start a compost bucket for vegetable peels, then you’re conserving water, and the next thing you know you’re not flushing the toilet unless you absolutely have to.  These are very mild environmentally conscious symptoms, is this freaky?

Tell me whats freakier, the fact that 852 million people (13% of the world’s population) won’t have enough food to eat today, or the fact that a vegan doesn’t eat any animal products because they think that the amount of energy and food used to feed the animals would be better used to feed the starving people? Or the fact that 144,000 trees are cut down in Canada each day (trees that give us oxygen and prevent global warming) or that an environmentally conscious person stops using kleenex and paper towel and adopts their cloth equivalents?

I’m thinking that our definition of whats “freaky” in our culture, has got to change. Is wasting the planet really worth that small bit of pride that not being “freaky” is worth?

I believe that nearly all paper products could be eliminated from the home, and yes, according to society, it would be freaky, but you’d know that technically the way that our society is run is freakier.

Here’s a list of common paper products that most people buy regularly for their homes:

Paper towel, facial tissues, feminine hygiene products, paper napkins, note paper, printer paper, paper lunch bags, cardboard cereal boxes (and other food boxes), disposable dishes,  and many other things.

I’ll work through the list and provide more friendly options for each, where I may not have a solution to completely eliminate all of them, we could definitely reduce the impact we have by using less.

Paper towel: Paper towel is one of those inventions that really did nothing for the average consumer, unless you see throwing a dish cloth in with your laundry once a week a major inconvenience. Paper towel is being marketed at us, to not only clean up spills but to literally scrub and wash dishes.  Not only is paper towel completely horrible for the planet, it’s not even half as efficient as a cloth or sponge for kitchen use.  For use on picnics or other outdoor occasions, paper towel may seem like a convenient alternative to a cloth, but here’s were being freaky comes in.  You know the damage paper towel has on our planet, therefore pack a cloth, use a bit of water from your water bottle and scrub your hands, your children’s faces, and the table with that, once against the cloth will prove to be much more efficient than a flimsy piece of paper towel, and it will only be slightly more inconvenient for you.  For more information on paper towel check out http://kleercut.net/en/ResponsetoKC .

Facial tissues (aka KLEENEX): When did having a hanky become gross, and instead using multiple pieces of paper tissue become more hygienic? If we saw the gross factor not in the boogers that have to boiled out of hankys and more in the amounts of trees being cut down to support our paper habit… then there’d be a lot more hankys.  PLUS what’s not cute about a personally embroidered hanky, and a little box to store them in?  So yea, you may look a little bit freaky with a hanky in your purse, but whats freakier, your future children not having a forest to hike in, or the hanky? For more info check out http://money.cnn.com/2006/09/26/magazines/fortune/pluggedin_gunther.fortune/index.htm.

Feminine Hygiene Products: Okay, so I’m guessing here’s where you think you’d like to draw the line right? Where I haven’t gotten this freaky yet, I am definitely looking into it. Tons of feminine hygiene brands, including Kotex and Tampax test on animals, and they also use an abundance of BC’s old forests.  One animal dies every 12 seconds in the UK alone, due to animal testing.  The freaky alternative? Well, you just look it up on google, and while you do keep in mind that,  “Over 12 BILLION pads and tampons are USED ONCE and disposed of annually, clogging our overburdened landfill sites. An average woman throws away 250 to 300 pounds of tampons, pads and applicators in her lifetime. The great majority of these end up in landfills, or as something the sewage treatment plants must deal with. Plastic tampon applicators from sewage outfalls are one of the most common forms of trash on beaches,” (http://www.mooncupsandkeepers.com/environment.html).

Paper Napkins: Ah, the useless paper napkin. This is definitely easier for my mind to get around than the previous alternative… CLOTH NAPKINS!  Cloth napkins are more efficient, they come in all sorts of cute designs and colours, they allow for cute environmentally friendly napkin holders, and… the best thing is that you can reuse them as much as you’d like (depending on how many times you have spaghetti… up to one week) before washing, and they aren’t going to take up very much space in an average load of laundry, just put them in with your colours and your dish cloths.  We don’t use paper bath towels, and cloth doesn’t seem all that inconvenient when it comes to a face cloth… so why with napkins? Wouldn’t you love to see these http://giverslog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/cloth-napkins-screenprinted.jpg at your kitchen table?

Note paper: This ones simple.  Most of us own a cellphone with a calendar or notification setting, learn how to use them and keep your notes electronically, or if you don’t have access to an electronic note system, almost everything we buy has some sort of cardboard or paper in the packaging, use the back side of it to write on, or even easier, junk mail can make excellent note paper.

Printer paper: Most printer paper can be eliminated through emailing documents, and requesting to pay bills online, however if you must print something out (ie papers, and such) print double-sided, and if it’s for home use, don’t forget to recycle it as note paper before you throw it into the recycling bin.

Paper lunch bags: …cloth lunch bags… you can wipe them out… they’re not inconvenient, I prefer them.

Cardboard cereal boxes: Most healthy cereals come in bulk, which you can then buy in a reusable cloth bag from the bulk section and store them in a funky thrift store find tin, or a plastic container, and most cereals that aren’t good for you come only in boxes.  I’m thinking that with this switch you would also get physically healthier. If you must buy cereal in boxes try to reuse the  box for kids crafts, scratch paper etc, before recycling. You may want to see if the local elementary school or preschool would want extra paper and cardboard for crafts as well.

Disposable dishes: No one likes a picnic where you’re cutting something on a paper plate, and it cuts right through the plate. Wrap your dishes in a towel, and use them.  It may be a bit of an inconvenience, but it truly is much less freaky than the amount of trees that are being cut down.

I hope these suggestions spark some motivation to cut back on paper products!

Peace.

Once a week crawl. (scrumptious vegan chocolate chip cookies)

25 Apr

                                                                                                                                                                        Once  a week I leave my cozy home nestled in the hill of  ever-expanding Mission City, and make the commuting crawl in to the city of Vancouver to work at my aunts store, My Best Friend’s Closet.

This little commute, is not much compared to the amount of commuting the average person commutes, however, it is still horrible for the environment. I figure, it’s one day a week, not five, and that it isn’t “so bad” right?

Anyways, you’d think on  a Sunday morning that the free way would be a breeze, but nope, it took me a full hour and twenty minutes to get here.  On a day where there’s no traffic, I can get here in an hour easily.  Sometimes my ride home can take up to three hours. Therefore it’s my “once a week crawl.”

My crawl does give me time to think though.  I can listen to books on CD, sing out loud to songs, write songs, or just ponder big questions I’ll never have the answer to. Today I was consumed (while listening to a book that I wasn’t paying much attention to at that moment) with why we North Americans don’t have accessible systems in place that would recycle water throughout the average home, for example, the water than you shower your body with, would be routed to the toilet, dishwasher, and washing machine.  The water we use and flush that was used to clean something is referred to as “gray water” and I don’t see a point of not using it. Hopefully soon it will become common place, just like energy-efficient light bulbs and toilets with less water per flush.

Sometimes I enjoy the big crawl, and sometimes I have to fight to stay awake.

Lately I’ve been completely obsessed with my “future kiddies.” I can’t stop thinking about what they’ll look like, how old we’ll be when we’ll have them, how we’ll raise them, where we’ll play, what we’ll play, what I’ll bake for them, what we’ll have for supper, where we’ll go for walk, what songs will I sing to them, what will be their childhood memories.  Things like that.  To be a momma, is my biggest dream. Another type of thought that my mind becomes enamored with on my crawl into the city.

Today I arrived feeling incredibly tired at work, I got to work about 20 minutes early and slept in my car until it was time to open the store.  I was all groggy, and clumsy, then I put on the radio and there it was, Donovan’s “Preachin’ Love.”  That song will never cease to make me happy, if even for just a little while.

My goals this week are to:

1. Eat more whole foods, and begin to take out all processed foods.

2. Begin to cut sugar from diet.

3. Get my taxes done before the 30!

4. Continue to eat vegan, reduce garbage waste, and carbon emissions through daily decisions.

5. Study music history.

6. Cook some great meals that I can freeze or refrigerate for future use during the week.

7. Begin to become a locavore through small daily choices.  (Lovacore = eats seasonally and locally)

Here’s a recipe for when the week gets hard, and the non processed, no sugar,  thing goes on the shelf to be taken off another week.

Scrumptious Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

These will make you forget you’re vegan, and make you feel super indulgent.

What you will need:

1 cup whole wheat flour (may be substituted for white flour, but why would you want to do that?)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 cup unrefined sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup
1⁄4 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
1 1 1⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp canola oil + 2 tbsp peanut butter
1⁄3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line one cookie sheet with parchment paper or reusable baking paper. This batch will make about 11 cookies, depending on how much dough you eat while you make them, and how big or small the cookies you make are. Mix the dry ingredients well in one bowl, and the wet in another.  I like a little hint of peanut butter in my cookies, that’s why I have the “canola oil + peanut butter” deal, but if you don’t like that, just use 1/4 cup of canola oil instead.  If you want more of a peanut butter cookie, experiment with the ratio the other way around.

Mix the wet into the dry and add the chocolate chips. Mix! Mix! Mix! Roll the cookies into 1 inch balls and slightly flatten them with the palm of your hand on the baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating about half way through the baking process.

This recipe is so basic, you could easily add all sorts of other things, oatmeal, raisins, nuts, whatever you want, just make sure to even out the ratios of all the other ingredients.

You will feel super bad for indulging in these “cruelty free” cookies. (only truly “cruelty free” if the ingredients are local… so more like “cruelty to animal free”).

Have a good Sunday get some rest. Bake cookies. If I had kids that’s what I would do.

Peace.

A good morning, a good breakfast. (maple banana oatmeal yum)

25 Apr

 

I woke up this morning with a bit of an upset tummy.  I’ve noticed that recently when I do eat deep-fried foods, my stomach feels way more sick than it used to before I went vegan.  Not fun.

However, I was hungry and I needed fuel to get me through the 50% off sale at the local thrift shop, the international spring bazaar at church, the library, and to see the  high school’s performance of Grease that evening… I was feeling overwhelmed just thinking about it.

I decided on a fabulous classic, oatmeal, but I changed it up a wee bit! This is a perfect breakfast for getting you up and ready for a big day, when you’re not feeling absolutely fantastic.

Maple Banana Oatmeal Yum (makes 2 servings)

You will need:

1 cup quick oats, 1 cup soy milk (sweetened or unsweetened), 1 cup water, 1/2 tsp of salt, and one banana thinly sliced.

Add everything to a small sauce pan and give it a stir! Set the stove to a medium/high heat and continue stirring until the oatmeal is cooked and the bananas are “whipped.”  Serve in two bowls and top with a drizzle of maple syrup and soy milk to cool it down.

You could try adding nuts, raisins, or other dried fruits as well.

It was delicious, and although I’m still not feeling 100% better, it got me through the day with a smile on my face.