Tag Archives: life

It’s been a while…

…since my last post. I was working lot’s and recently was on course getting my Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors level 2 certification. I’ve been finished work for a week now so I’ve just been taking care of errands I have to do, cooking, and trying to make decisions about the direction of my life. In the short term I am trying to spend some free time in Toronto while in between jobs to catch up with friends, go to good restaurants, attend some Ashtanga classes, and see the final shows at Siesta Nouveaux. On the cooking side I was really stoked on these banana-oatmeal scones I made recently, some are filled with Saskatoon Berry jam, some with homemade apple sauce, one with almond butter, and one plain. They are probably one of the best things I’ve ever baked, up there with the sandwich bread I always make now. I also made what I think was my best go at sushi recently. The rice was well flavoured, the ingredients fresh and tasty, and the rolls were the right size and fairly tight. I won’t be hired by a restaurant anytime soon but it’s getting there.

 

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Fresh From the Garden

So now that we’re into late summer I’ve starting to enjoy the fruits of my garden. The Raspberries are done for the year and so is my first batch of mesclun mix and with the end of those comes green beans, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, and some beats from the community garden nearby. The cucumber is probably the most prolific plant in my garden, the plants are huge and sprawling and the cucumbers are short but fat.

While tending to the garden is nice, eating what grew in it is better. Today I made this stir-fry, baked tofu, red pepper, carrot, onion, mushroom, ginger, garlic, brown rice, and green beans fresh from the garden. For flavouring I made a Chinese five-spice sauce of sorts and it turned out really well.I love stir fries and it would be really tough for me to ever get sick of them.

I can’t get enough from the garden all at one time to make a complete meal but it is replacing some things I would have bought from the grocery store. Regardless, it feels good to be eating home-grown food. Some other recent meals featuring things from my garden have included a Mediterranean-inspired vegetable plate with home grown cucumber, grape tomatoes, and beet-leaves (for quinoa and cranberry dolmas); Sunomono salad and temaki and inari sushi (cucumbers and peas from the garden), tofu scramble with fried green tomatoes, and many salads. My beet leaf dolmas and temaki both tasted good, but apparently I am terrible at rolling things, and next time I try fried green tomatoes I should actually look up a recipe for the batter instead of thinking I can do it myself. Despite those problems the biggest disappointment was finding most of my corn ravaged by raccoons. Even if I don’t get a lot from my garden this year, I feel like I am gaining a fair bit of knowledge from it. Knowledge that I can use in the future for more ambitious gardens and meals, and help me to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

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Farmer’s markets and backyard farming.

So the other day I went to a farmer’s market it the town of Keady, after driving for and hour and a half through fields one suddenly sees cars hundreds of cars and people everywhere.. Keady is in farm country and this was a true farmer’s market, you can get everything from produce, baked goods (from Mennonites), livestock, antiques, and other things I’m forgetting. The draw back of it though was that there was a lot of non-local produce for sale, some of which was obvious like bananas, while there were other fruits that could be local but weren’t. There was also people selling those crappy novelty t-shirts you see at stands in malls along with other odd clothing being hocked. The meal time result of this excursion was a tasty vegan alfredo sauce with fresh Ontario asparagus and peas, herbs from the backyard over whole wheat linguine.

My own attempts at growing food are coming along despite some critter-related setbacks. The cucumber plants are huge and I can actually see baby cucumbers on them and carrots are doing great as well. I still have some corn left that is getting big, and my salad greens will be ready to be picked again soon with more planted to replace it when it goes. I am excited to be able to harvest this stuff in the next month or so. In the meantime I have been picking lots of raspberries from our backyard, and mulberries from nearby trees.

Now if only I could get a job because apparently cooking, reading, doing yoga, and taking care of my plants and going on the occasional bike ride doesn’t pay back my loans which upon a recent check of sit at about $27,000.

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Harvest Time… Sort Of

So one of the things that I’ve been putting my time and effort into this summer is figuring out how to grow my own food. I have started volunteering at some community gardens along with planting some of my own stuff in the back yard. I’ve got some corn, cucumber, beans, peas, carrots, and mesclun greens (a mix of greens used in a kind of French salad) that I planted, along with some herbs (oregano, basil, spearmint, parsley, chives), tomatoes, and raspberries that my parents had already started. The almost none of the beans sprouted, and a bunch of pea plants got eaten by something but most of the stuff seems to be doing ok. The tomatoes are coming along well and should be edible in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I have been able to harvest and eat so far is the raspberries, which I’ve been able to get a couple handfuls from but will should get much more as they ripen, and the mesclun greens. It was a nice feeling eating for the first time something that I myself planted. The first couple meals I made from my garden were Vietnamese salad rolls which used mint from my parents herbs along with my greens, and a big leafy green salad I had for lunch today.

Along with this stuff I’ve also been using the potted herbs my parents got a lot because fresh herbs can really make something a lot better, and just today I went foraging for mulberries on the walking trails near my house. I got a decent amount but a lot of the ripe ones were out of reach. And I apologize for the poor layout of this post, I’m still figuring this out.

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Small town life

In case anyone ever wonders what kind of things I do all alone up here in Collingwood, I thought I would make a post about how I occupy my day in a fairly typical but enjoyable manner So today after getting up and making a soy milk/banana/strawberry smoothie for breakfast I went to a 90 minute power yoga class (similar to Ashtanga or Baptist) which generally makes me feel great for the rest of the day. I will generally then make myself lunch at home, which after a light breakfast is usually something hardy. One of my favourite’s is scrambled tofu, fruit, and sometimes bakes home fries. It’s healthy but I still feel it’s a homey comfort food.

Today though, since it was a nice day I decided to have a picnic lunch at Sunset Point, a rock slab beach I used to come to as a kid when my family made summertime trips up to here visiting family. I had made “egg” salad with tofu yesterday so I made that into a sandwich. It turned out quite well, it tastes similar to what I remember egg salad tasting like but not quite the same obviously. A good picnic lunch in a park by the lake is always good.

The rest of the day will be occupied with doing some household chores, reading in the backyard, having tea, going for a walk, and other mundane but pleasant things (plus looking for a job). I also have a vegetable garden in the works. I am going into this knowing nothing about gardening so we’ll see how it goes. My parents planted got some potted herbs and have strawberry, tomato, and rhubarb plants growing already. And I planted corn, cucumber, beans, peas, carrots, and a mixture of salad greens that have been the first things to pop out of the ground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then later in the evening I will make dinner. I often cook for my parents because I enjoy it and because they don’t always know what to cook for vegan meals. Even though being around my parents all the time can be a bit much I still always try to have a nice sit-down meal at the dinner table with them. A meal from the other night I made that I really enjoyed was this sauce-less pasta dish made by sauteing the vegetables, herbs, and spices, then adding the noodles to the frying pan. I like pretty much all pasta (assuming it’s vegan), and this one I like particularly because the lack of sauce makes it a little different. I was inspired by this recipe, to which I made some variations.

Vegetarianism and healthy eating aren’t the only aspects of food that are important to meal, the social aspect is as well. I also enjoy being able to share something I’ve put effort and sometimes creativity into making, which is why I post food pictures on here, it’s a way for me to share with people I can’t actually be around. Not everything I make turns out great or is really fancy but the improvement in my cooking and diet over the past couple years has been pretty dramatic and I’m proud of that. It’s become an important part of my overall outlook on life, and overall lifestyle; merging with my political and philosophical views, and other outlets for my energies such as my recent yoga practice.

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