Back to Rhubarb

As a privileged, white Canadian I know that I am not the demographic for which last night’s election results are the hardest to swallow. Not even close.

I believe there’s a lot of good in this world, but we must continue to hold our own government to account – on climate change, on Indigenous rights, on social justice – and not fall into divisive and fear-based politics. We must amplify the voices of those more vulnerable, and be better allies.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been telling myself to assuage the knot in my stomach.

I stayed up til the wee hours of the morning to watch Donald Trump’s victory speech (file that under things that feel surreal to type), so ended up feeling a bit like a zombie today. Between sadly watching HRC’s concession speech with coworkers and clicking through countless articles and tweets dissecting the election results, it didn’t feel possible for much else to occupy my thoughts today. (We treated ourselves to ramen, though, which was a bright spot.)

But in an attempt to multitask and focus on something apolitical while watching the coverage last night, I turned to my much neglected drafts and decided that the blogosphere could probably use a drink. So we’re going back to rhubarb…DSC_0335 copy Continue reading

in and out of bloom

I’ve been tracking the summer’s passing in the coming and going of some of my favourite blooms (or the ones I recognize, which, to be fair, are not very many). The lilacs in my parents backyard were some of the first to show off before I noticed their perfume all over town. Next there were the tulips, the peonies, the apple blossoms…all of them seeming to peak and fade before I stopped to smell them.

Then, I was lucky enough to take two classes at Blumenstudio (my dad and I had the same idea when it came to birthday gifts for my mum, apparently). We made dreamy little succulent terrariums and learned about throwing together garden bouquets. When Kat opened her second Blumenstudio in the west end of town, I wrote about it for Ottawa Magazine – and so I happily spent a lot of time around her pretty plants and Klaus the dog.

Then, there were lush little gardens lining streets in Montreal, beautiful blooms on the farm, and tiny doggy flower crowns.

SONY DSC

Then, one of my best friends got married. One of the bridesmaids, Michelle, happened to have worked as a florist for many years (she’s also a brilliant scientist and communicator, there is nothing this girl can’t do) and so she took on doing all of the floral arrangements for the wedding. This also left her responsible for leading the rest of us bridesmaids through making our own flower crowns, something we were super excited about.  Once we actually started, though, I was struck with analysis paralysis (was I making it too heavy on one side? Did the colours clash? Was I crushing delicate blooms?). Over mimosas and Top 40 tracks we crafted our crowns, left them to stay fresh in the beer fridge during last minute prep, and then our friends got married! The wedding was absolutely beautiful and our flower crowns lasted a whole night of dancing – I don’t think I’ve ever cried so many happy tears, or taken so many selfies.

THEN, as I went for a run along the canal yesterday evening, brown leaves fluttered on to the path in front of me and suddenly summer seemed like a blur. There are still another 20 days of summer left on the calendar, so there’s still time to squeeze out every last humid, sweaty drop (and 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

Light & Airy Coconut Cupcakes

I think coconut might be one of my favourite flavours whether it be in a curry or a cupcake (look at that versatility).  Its flavour is distinct but super light and makes me  think of sunny times on an island….which is never terrible. I’ve made my favourite coconut macaroons several times since I discovered how easy they were in December, but I decided it was time for a new coconut dessert in the house and so these coconut cupcakes happened. They were gone the same night they came out of the oven, so I guess everyone liked them!

The recipe from Canadian Living will leave you with nice, fluffy cupcakes. I’m not a huge fan of cream cheese icing as they suggest for the garnish, so I dipped the tops of my cupcakes in melted dark chocolate with some toasted shredded coconut on top. The contrast between the light cupcakes and the strong chocolate is a winner.  I think these are a great sprummer (spring + summer!) treat and would be perfect for a Mother’s Day dessert if any of you are baking for Mum this weekend! Enjoy!

Honey Bran Muffins

Before you balk at bran being thrown at you once again as a great way to get your fiber, let me say that these muffins are truly delicious.  My mum has been making these for a long time, and even as a kid they kind of seemed like a dessert to me (this might be partly because we didn’t eat dessert a lot…).  Now that I’m sure I’ve convinced you of these muffins’ yummyness (I’m just inventing words this morning), I should tell you that they are also healthy (and yes, a great way to eat your fiber). Go make them!

This recipe is a great base, too, for whatever dried fruit/nuts/berries/all of the above you want to throw in.  One of my favourite add-ins are blueberries, but I went for something a little different this time with dried cherries and walnuts. Delicious.  These babies also make very satisfying travel snacks — a good thing, since I’m taking a couple to the airport with me. Have a great weekend! Mum’s muffin recipe

Get Him To The Greek [Tzatziki]

Mum's spanikopita, tzatziki & tortilla chips, complimentary hair colours, and a beautiful cake from our friends!

A few weeks ago some family friends of ours came over for dinner and we went with a Greek menu.  It was lovely to catch up with them and as you can imagine I always enjoy getting ready for a little feast.  I was asked for the recipe for the tzatziki and promised to send it over right away, but of course with my great organization skills during exams that didn’t happen.  So here it is, only three weeks late!

Tzatziki is a traditional Greek sauce/appetizer/dip, depending on how you serve it. We like eating it with souvlaki and grilled meat, veggies, bread and crackers, or just straight out of the bowl.   

Until today I had never actually measured what I was throwing into the tzatziki, so it’s quite easy to just make it to your own taste. If you like Greek food, you really can’t leave out the tzatziki! Tzatziki Recipe