pumpkin granola with cacao nibs

west van & granola (14)west van & granola (3) The west coast smelled like fir trees and cedars – likely due to a small wind storm that hit shortly before our arrival, but I’m happier romanticizing it as part of Vancouver’s charm. On a too-quick trip to hug my aunt and cousin, we managed to climb most of the way up a mountain, see a couple shows, try a bunch of beer, and enjoy some impressively sunny November weather.

West Van seemed even prettier than I remembered (“Oh my gosh, you can see the mountains from here! And the ocean from here!” etc, etc…). Or, maybe it is so beautiful out there that I just can’t help gushing. With coniferous breezes and palm fronds waving by the seawall, it seems instinctive to inhale as deeply as possible. (Woah, did I just get a little yogic/life coach-ish on you? Blame Vancouver.)

So, four days on the other side of the country did us good. Vancouver smelled like firs and cedars, and fresh baked granola every morning.

I credit my aunt with introducing me to homemade granola a few years ago. It comes together so quickly, and is such a versatile thing to bake that it quickly became a staple in my kitchen repertoire. Variations are endless, which is part of the fun. This warm spiced pumpkin and cocoa nib combination is one I have been enjoying a lot lately. I hope you do, too.west van & granola (5)

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early fall [tomato & sourdough soup]

Without the back-to-school rush in September, there was less of a definite seasonal shift in my head. A little less excitement, less novelty, less homework, less sense of impending doom. A freeing feeling for the most part, but occasionally one that I let stress me out when thoughts of future plans (or lack thereof) get the best of me.

Of course, classes or not, the learning never ends. Working Continue reading

late summer [melon berry juice]

late summer (6)

Dewy, hazy, sunrises by the river. Any excuse to be outside. Lingering on patios, on the porch, with the pooch, with friends, with family. One night in a tent, not enough time on the tennis courts, learning how to bat, and picking as many raspberries as possible. Summer flip flops between feeling luxuriously languid, and disappointingly fleeting. According to the calendar, the summer months are over; make sure you squeeze out every last drop. Click for recipe

Snow Pea Slaw

There is a jungle of tomatoes in our backyard. Raspberries are ripening at a rate that is hard to keep up with (though we are happy to try!). Herbs are running wild and the apples seem promising enough to look forward to. But the snow peas are done. Their tendrils climbed quickly for a short little while. I’ll be filing this recipe away for next summer’s crop. Continue reading

home again, home again

hometown glorybackyard peonyThe more I see of this world, the more connected I feel to it, and yet the bigger it seems. The more I jump around, the more I appreciate the comfort of having a place and a city and people that feel like home, and the more I yearn to leave it to see other places. It’s thrilling to be far away from everything familiar and realize that we share things in common with people half way across the world. But, eventually I’m thrilled at the thought of coming back to the stillness of what I know. Travel is full of paradoxes. …not an original thought, I’m sure.mum&dadmusical ride Just as I was starting to feel a little bit weary of living out of my bag, we landed back home in Ottawa. Admitedly it’s totally premature Continue reading

Halifax & Hemp Hearts

From Andrea Joynt, photographer-extraordinaire.

From Andrea Joynt, photographer-extraordinaire.

peggy's coveFor Christmas, my friend Andrea surprised me with one of my favourite gifts. There are five of us, all smiling and probably suppressing giggles (except Young, mid-laugh attack), hair windblown, sitting almost too-close-for-my-comfort to the edge on the rocks at Peggy’s Cove. This was our attempt at a seaside self-portrait; it being a weekday toward the end of tourist season and having ventured away from any crowds at the lighthouse there was no one else around to press the shutter button. So we piled our jackets and purses on a rock above us into some kind of makeshift tripod and gingerly placed Andrea’s camera atop it. After several failed shots – closed eyes, mouths mid-joke, blurs – we had our “selfie”.hemp hearts & halifaxlunenburg Back in September, five girls met in Halifax. Friends since high school, we’d been meaning to visit Kylie since she had moved out to the East coast almost two years ago, and we finally made it happen. Halifax was wonderful, but we could have been anywhere. Those girls make the destination. Continue reading

stage cues & déja vus

currently.

currently.

stage cues& deja vus (2)chai spicesSo much changes in 365 days, and yet I feel like I’m in almost exactly the same spot as last year. (Recap: Jamaican vacation feeling like a different lifetime ago, catching up on school work, time for a musical!) I joined Orpheus onstage for the first time last year, and had such a ball that I auditioned again this season – it’s another very silly show: Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, and we just had our third show today (!!). If you happen to be in town, there are six more shows and you can get tickets here…let us entertain you!

Surprise flowers on opening night from the lovelies co-workers.

Surprise flowers on opening night from the loveliest co-workers.

There are rainbows in the costume department.

There are rainbows in the costume department.

And like last year, I find myself enamoured by these bright March days. Still cold, but the sun shines longer and it’s glorious– I’m always reminded of this Dickens quote during these end of winter days.NGCstage cues& deja vus (1) Continue reading…

Mondaze [Ottolenghi’s Eggplant]

ottolenghi eggplanteggplant blahg (1)There’s one day a week that my boyfriend and I both have off from jobs and school, so it’s become our de facto weekend. We have a long list of fun things to do and places to go on Mondays, and there’s just one rule: no alarm clocks. Despite our to-do lists, by the time this one day to sleep in rolls around sometimes our ambitious plans get discarded. That’s okay though; for most of January I was busy studying for an exam and we sort of fell into a lovely, lazy routine of waking up late, walks at the dog park, some Ottawa-exploring and kitchen fun. These eggplants were one such Monday kitchen adventure. It’s a super easy recipe, and they’re described in the cookbook (one of my favourites) as “rustically elegant”…I think that about sums it up.eggplant blahg (7)eggplant blahg (6)Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preseteggplant blahg (2) Click to continue reading…

Cardamom and Cloves [Moroccan Carrot and Red Lentil Soup]

c&cCardamom and Cloves brings a world of spices to Ottawa’s Little Italy. Nestled among the restaurants on Preston Street, Jodi Samis’ shop has pretty much every spice you could ever think of needing to get cooking.
SONY DSCSONY DSCWith jar upon jar lining the shelves you’re also bound to find ingredients you didn’t know existed, but Jodi will be happy to educate you. I met my parents at the shop last week for a workshop dedicated to a spice that’s ubiquitous in many kitchens, but that I honestly couldn’t have told you much about: cinnamon. As we sipped our apple cinnamon infused water, Jodi cooked and taught us about some of the history of the spice, the differences between “true” cinnamon and cassia, as well as some of it’s lesser and more commonly known health benefits. Jodi has a whole bunch of great workshops (only $10!) lined up this fall, AND (bonus!) there’s a great little deal on Groupon right now — go spice things up!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSONY DSC Click to continue to recipe