The Tar Sands In Alberta…

I had the wonderful opportunity of seeing Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and advocate on Climate Change, speak with the Council of Canadians at a conference held in town here.  Today his facebook page posted this article  http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Oilsands+research+confirmed/7497652/story.html

Well I am no longer feeling brave about posting such topics on facebook these days.I feel like I’m being loud and outspoken, particularly since I have a few “facebook friends” who either work at the tar sands or have a spouse/relative that does. Bill McKibben’s message is loud and clear – climate change is here and it’s happening quickly.  He pointed to the extreme weather occurance of Frankenstorm Sandy and how climate change  is directly resonsible.  The dirty pollution from the tar sands is adding to the ever increasing carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere.  Depressing really.

It’s time for me to start reading more about this topic.  A topic that quite frankly I’ve been avoiding until now particularly since tars sands could directly impact my local environment thanks to the threat of the Endbridge Pipeline by our Federal government.  I picked up a copy of Bill McKibben’s book Eaarth…wish me luck

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It’s Been Way Too Long…

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I cannot believe a year and a half has past since I last put an entry on here.  But I’m thinking it was  a much needed break as I was running out of interesting things to post.  I am very excited about starting up on here again…it’s been crazy busy but life is good.  I may even rename this blog to better reflect how things have evolved on our end here.  I look forward to writing and sharing photos and links 🙂

The Perfect Cup of Tea

 

I have been something of a coffee drinker for a very long time.  Over the years and along with my move to the West Coast (where coffee seems to be stronger) I’ve become very particular about my coffee.  It’s got to be STRONG.  oh and shade grown, fair trade and organic to boot!!  All of that aside, lately I’ve been finding anything more than one cup of coffee a day has been too much for me to handle!!  I think the stress and business of work and family life has reved me up more than usual.  Yep I am down to one cup of coffee a day.

And then I met Market Spice Tea…and I am completely hooked.   My sister-in-law Jules made me a cup at Christmas and I know we’ve crossed paths in the past…my love of cinnamon would explain the attraction!  So I now frequent local tea shops in search of the perfect loose leaf blend.  And I’ve learned a little bit in the process.  Well first, the tea shop up the street carries a wonderful Rooibos Market Spice blend.  I know there are many health benefits from Rooibos including anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties.  It’s reddish in colour but I do find that it is so fine it comes through my tea ball.

Rooibos blend

I’ve also learned that Market Spice tea originated  from a spice shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1911…the shop still stands and ofcourse I’ve learned this tid bit only weeks after having been in Seattle!! Oh well.  So the original Market Spice tea consists of  black tea with spices (I’ve been told cloves) and cinnamon-orange flavourings.    I think I prefer the black tea blend and it seems to be more affordable compared to the rooibos blend.  Black tea is a powerful anti-oxidant and detoxifier so it has significant anti-cancer benefits. 

Black tea blend

And I am so happy to have found tea filters so that I don’t have to fuss with tea balls and strainers and tea pots.  Two teaspoons of the tea blend steeped for 8-10 minutes seems to make a delightful cup.  I tend to leave the teabag in as I drink my tea so the cinnamon flavour gets stronger and stronger.  Yum!!

 I took this picture of a lone poppy from my garden this morning while the sun was actually peaking through the clouds.   It has just finished hailing out…it is the beginning of May…I cannot believe the weather we’ve been having this spring!!  I think I’ll go finish my cup of tea and read a good book…

How Does Your Garden Grow??

Finally, a nice warm spring day on Saturday.  It’s incredible now that the weather has picked up that the grass is growing so fast we could mow every weekend.  Yesterday the girls and I spent some time in the garden planting seeds that should have gone in a few weeks ago….Easter egg radishes and spinach…they are early crops so hopefully we’ll be enjoying our harvest in early June so I can plant other things in their place.  It also seems like we need to expand our garden to keep up with everything I”d like to plant.  This is how things look so far…

                                              

My garlic is growing quite impressively.  My mom and I were talking today about how easily garlic grows….nothing bothers garlic and you’re guarenteed a good crop!!   And Chloe and Caitlin had a great time helping me plant seeds and pull out tiny weeds from the garden.  We were also quite happy to see the little flowers on the strawberry plants…a sure sign that summer is around the corner…

I’ve been experimenting with inserting photos into my blog…I don’t seem to really have any luck in this department.  I’ll have to do some more figuring.

Happy Easter!!

I would have to say that we are having a nice, relaxing Easter weekend.  The weather was great Friday and Saturday which meant the girls played outside all day and Brian and I worked together in the yard.  Today, Easter Sunday,  has been a rainy,  inside  kind of day.  Though I guess Easter  really isn’t  the same without our extended family…growing up in a Catholic household meant going to mass frequently over the Easter weekend and sharing many meals with family.  I miss that indeed.  High price to pay for living away from family, across the country at that.

Even though Brian and I are raising the kids in a  quasi-Christian/Buddhist fashion, I still like to have some Easter traditions for the kids to enjoy. I started the morning off right by baking some really delicious vegan donuts with maple icing…I won’t write the recipe out here but I found it on a blog called Vegan Yum Yum…the blog’s owner, Lauren Ulm, has written a lovely looking cookbook so I”m sure I’ll be referring to her blog again!  For the egg replacer, I used chia (1 teaspoon chia to 3 tablespoons water) ~ I am loving this substitute because everything comes out so moist and light!!

The kids begged me to do an Easter egg hunt which we did in the backyard…luckily before the rain started!!  This is something I have no recollection of doing as a child.  And then ofcourse we dyed our Easter eggs. I am a bit disappointed with this operation as my intention was to dye the eggs naturally with beet juice and blueberries and while out looking for tumeric for a yellow effect…I found the tye die PAAS egg decorating kit.  The girls were all over it and really it seemed easier for me!! 

Well that’s about it for now.  I’m hoping to pack the family in the car and go to the beach to collect some larger beach rocks for my garden…an inexpensive and beautiful natural border!!  Happy Easter!!

April is Cancer Awareness Month…

April is Cancer Awareness Month…and I cannot believe how quickly April has flown by.  So I wanted to take this opportunity to express my sincerest gratitude to the BC Cancer Agency for the excellent and efficient service they have provided for my husband over the last almost 2 years.  I don’t think one can over express their gratitude but maybe I do??  I also wanted to acknowledge  that we as Canadians are very fortunate for our universal health care because god only knows how much treatment would have cost in the states (actually around 8o thousand).  So thank you thank you.

My thoughts are also with those individuals who are currently dealing with cancer.  It seems like  these days more people are faced with this interesting and life altering challenge than ever before.  I send my positive energies to you all!

Enjoy the beauty and simple pleasures that life has to offer!

Sweet Ginger Quinoa…

This has to be one of the yummiest recipes that I’ve made in a really long time…and it tastes even better the next day…all the flavours seem to blend well so it makes for great take-to-work left overs!!  I recently came across Charmaine Broughton-Dunn’s “Recipes of the Month” section of The Running Room Magazine (which is a free Canadian publication)…and then I found Charmaine’s “MarathonMom.ca” page on facebook which I thoroughly enjoy……what an inspiring woman indeed!!  Charmaine’s recipe goes as follow (and what I love about this recipe is how adaptable it is…both in terms of portion size and type of protein added):

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) quinoa
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) finely diced onion
  • 1 tbsp (15mL) minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 tsp (15 mL) EACH finely grated lime zest and minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) cracked fresh pepper
  • 1 lb /500 g large shrimp, deveined and tail left intact (about 30 shrimp)
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) fish stock or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp ( 30 mL) fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) liquid honey
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) diced red pepper
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh dill

Cook quinoa according to package directions.  Set aside.  Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Cook onion, stirring for 2 to 4 minutes until lightly brown.  Add ginger, lime zest, garlic and pepper.  Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring until ginger and garlic are fragrant.  Add shrimp, stock, lime juice and honey.  Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once (scraping any bits from bottom of pan), until shrimp are pink and cooked through.  Remove from heat.  Toss prepared quinoa with shimp mixture, dill and peppers.  Make 4 sersvings.

**how I’ve adapted Charmaine’s recipe due to household food allergies:  well first of all I double the amount of quinoa so there’s guarenteed leftovers!!  I substitute the shrimp with about 2/3 cups of cubed firm tofu and I use vegetable stock instead of fish stock…and unfortunately yesterday I couldn’t find fresh dill!!

Nutritional information provided  by Amy Snider, PHEC

  • Per serving:
  • calories 188
  • fat 5 g
  • protein 20 g
  • carbohydrates 23 g
  • fibre 2 g
  • sodium 122 mg

ENJOY!!

 

“Be humble for you are made of earth.  Be nobble for you are made of stars.”  ~ Serbian Proverb