Friday, July 28, 2006

*Stolen goods*

A night out with some special ladies was an excellent way to spend my last night out East.
However, I stole a mug.
The older woman sitting to my right was disgusted in my vigilanty behaviour and was on the verge of telephoning the Hamilton authorities (i don't blame her - you have to do something with the youth these days).

I have some excellent photos of Emily (aka best sister on the planet) Brittany (best laugh EVER) and myself.

I am exhausted and totally ready to hit the road!!
Giant goose here I come.

this is a side shot of some last minute toe art and Emily on the phone with Andrew.....
"don't take my picture, don't take my picture" (pose).

As far as vegan food reports go, the winner of the last week of noshing goes to MY MOM!!!
She made THE BEST broiled veggies and fu...way to go mom! You are the best vegan mom on the planet.

I had a little creation of my own tonight.
Here is the receipe - enjoy!!!
Leaving the Hammer Jimica (pronouched Heemeeeeeca or something along those lines) and Mango Salad
1 massive Jimica (I think this might be the wrong spelling)
3 mangos
Slice it all up and slam it in a bowl
Throw it in the fridge while the rest of dinner is cooking and you have yourself a kickin and cool appie or main.
You could throw some lemon or lime in this baby and it would be delightful.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Headed out.....
I swear I was going to get the plane....but see, I was watching TV and there was the goose, and some other big items that I knew I just had to see along the way - and hey! I am a teacher after all - what is the summer for if not for a little holiday? Right? Right!
So tomorrow at 4 am - I start my journey towards the west, towards the tofu rodeos and seitan stampedes. Can't wait.
Taking a place on a phone call is not advised, but it will do, it will do (Updates and photos to follow).
So, I have my first Calgary observations -
The folks are so very friendly - so friendly and helpful.

This vegan cowgirl has started to get a little choked up about things; saying goodbye is a little more difficult than I had imagined. Sarah, Kate and Emily by the far the most difficult. However, haven't tried (or even thought of) saying goodbye to my mom yet. Cowgirls are allowed to cry though right? That is a part of what makes them so cool right? That and their rabbit shirts? My mom is taking me out for my goodbye/happy birthday shopping spree and lunch (hopefully I can eat). This time next week I should be in my school setting things up and getting down to the scratchy of it all.
Speaking of scratchy - I was in a Chinese Grocery shop yesterday and one of the products they were selling was called:
Men's Pocky - now, 'pocky' is a most excellent desert (thank you mike and louise for my first pocky experience) but, I wasn't so aware of it being seperated by gender...interesting. It was quite neat to be at that shop yesterday and see SO many items from the grocery stores in China - very surreal.
Oh, one more foodie/out west item to relay - had a really wonderful lunch with mamere and jim yesterday - la luna's on brant. The food was great (fatoosh salad and a falafel for 9.95), but the company was amazing. I doubt I will be able to write from the road - and it might be a while before I get settled enough in my new Renfrew neighbourhood to find the time to write - so this will likely be it for a wee bit (not that anyone is reading this puppy). My last post as an ontario I go....

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Birthdays, Updates and Delicious Deserts!

So much to talk about, so much to write....where to begin? Where? Where? There have been a lot of 'where' questions in this world - one of my favourites would have to be the Sharon, Lois and Bram query:
"Where oh Where is sweet little Mary?"
But enough about Mary and her escapades......the second part of my last post is still owing.
I have made a decision about a new 'leaf', a new sprig of soya if you will, that I want to turn over, and it goes a little something like this:
I want my body to be really clean, really pure (a word that if used too much can smell as funky as a face cloth that was once wet that is now dry and hard, curling itself into a fetal-like position next to some equally as funky soap on the rim of my wash basin - yuck). What I mean, is that in a manner that is as far away as possible from a "dolphin songs heal the ozone layer and I want another pair of hemp underpants" kind of way, I want to be good to my body; I want to put only yummy things into this body (or this temple as one shitty jerk once refered to my body as), and I want to rid myself (body, mind, and heart) of as many impurities as I can without moving to a diet of strict air and sunshine.
SOOOO, part of my move to cow country will include a step up in my already trying-hard-to-love-my-bod lifestyle. I also need to learn to relax...this is being screamed at me by those lovelies in my life that have conquered their own stress demons and see me turning myself into a hot, steamy ball of stress lines and ugly energy.
yoga, organic, local, sleep, happy-work, focus, peace - those are the words I am going to make my students make a word wall for. yeah right.

Okay - food. Yummy food.
Many reports, many yummies.
Thursday night saw the kick off of my 28 years of livin' it up birthday rompus - and it is all about Affinity Vegetarian Restaurant on John Street in the Hammer. The juxta-position between the vibrant mural of an Eastern European pastiche that is a vestige of the previous (and well established) Budapest, and the delicate Chinese wall art (traditional paintings, calligraphy and some ornate carvings) sets the tone for this deliciously tossed up restaurant whose menu has a little bit of this and a little bit of that (what song is that from)
There is a hint of Toronto's famous veggie hut - Vegetarian Haven (please bow down) - but done positively Hammer style (enter the wacky mural that, rather, then being surplanted to complete a Toronto-acceptable decor, is actually the focal point for any dinner who sits facing North in the large dining room).
On the first visit to Affinity (and yes, there were two visits this birthday weekend - hey! its my birthday, I get to pick!): I enjoyed the crystal wraps (rice paper wrapped around a massive portion (maybe a bit too much) lettuce, soy-ham and carrots), complete with a sauce that smacked of coming out of a bottle and a bit on the too sweet side for me - but yummy none the less. My fine, fine dinner companion enjoyed two ordered-appetizers (bbque buns and curry pastry) and one that accompanied his main entree (soya nuggets). One thing is for sure - the portions are as large as the mural (relative folks, relative) - the bbque buns looked awesome, and the curry pastries were reportedly not only hot, but satisfying.
My main was the sweet and sour soup - perfect! Go and taste it. (I had it both evenings - sometimes too much choice can be overwhelming for me .....)
Almost the entire menu is presented as vegan - and I can't think of one dish that couldn't have been made vegan!!!! Feast your hearts out.

Oh, the owners are from Taiwan and the tea is excellent!!!

Tonight I dined like a duchess on a homemade meal of roasted veggies, grilled fu, Whole Foods Guaach, WF vegan birthday cake (chocolate), hemp ice cream (fantastically nutty/earthy taste) and berries that were organic and ever so nice!!!

The meal was made with love, which just made it that much more wonderful. Thank you Anne, Jim and Russell.

Watched The Aristrocrats last night - whoah. First time in my life I actually managed to watch gilbert gottfried for more then ten consecutive seconds and not contemplate suicide.

I am loving red house painters and everything neko case. I think they will travel well to the west.
SPEAKING OF THE WEST ---- drum roll please. Heck, wait...I should make this a new entry.
wait maybe I are to wait with baited breath for the next entry.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Yummy in my Tummy!
Just wanted to share two things:
1. A really great recipe that I am calling Orange Feet Delight (please ask me why)
2. A recent new lifestyle choice that I am adding to my already 'freakish nature' (thank you mom).
1. Okay, so house sitting is always full of interesting opportunities in the world of food. You are left with a foreign kitchen, any variety of condiments, some rotting produce and, depending on whose house you are sitting, a HUGE motherload of dried goods (so my current summation is that housesitting for vets/doctors/dentists seems to be the way to go).
So you have this mismash of 'stuff' at your finger tips - and in my case you have a wack of time. This translates into going to the gym for long periods of time and working out so much that the car barely makes it into the drive way free from bite marks (I admit I was still killer hungry EVER AFTER stopping at the crappy Zehers for an apple and some FRESH dates). So hungry and equipped with a great kitchen, loads of food and a bunch of creativity I made a wicked little vittle that I want to share (or at least post so as not to forget).
Orange Feet Delight
4 carrots (peeled and chopped up however you like em')
1 or 2 sweetie pie tatters (peeled or unpeeled and diced up real good)
green onion
ginger (I used this fancy gourmet paste)
cilantro (see above)
curry paste (vegan)
hot sauce
soya sauce
I boiled the heck out of the potato and carrots and when I could pierce them with a fork and they had yet to dissolve overcooked goo I added the spinach and let it wilt.
I then drained the water, turned the burner to low and added all the rest of the yummy mess and let it cook for about 1 minute (remember how hungry I am here....) and man, oh, man - it was delicious! Just delicious.
Has any seen Ice Harvest with John Cussack? Awesome.
I will have to get back to the second part of this post tomorrow morning (when I leave one house sitting situation for another!!!!) Ohhhh...and I have a trip to the market tomorrow morning to look forward to!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

With autumn leaves and gasoline.....says John-something-or-other from Spirit of the West.
Their album Open Heart Symphony is most excellent and is currently spinning with the hopes that their full and celtic sound with cure the head spins and stomach ache that is currently haunting my body.
Dating a psych PhD student in my own grad year lead me down a very seriously incorrect path - he told me that studies reveal humans to have deep affection and like for symmetrical faces, and that babies are considered more ugly if they have one eye larger or smaller then the other (imagine my discontent when considering my bodies tendency to produce a significant proportion of my many freckles on the right side of my body. Oh my!) However, spending the last five days with a one eyed cat has righted in me the falsehood that had kept me up nights on end dreading the day when I gave birth to a doomed to be unloved one legged girl named cynthia. This little fellow (who, like me, will be permanently a little fellow) has a side of his face in a perpetual squint. His left eye was born a little too early - premature I suppose for it was ever too small and needed to be closed for good. A loving human mother who also happens to be a loving vet removed the forever-infant eye and closed the lid with a stich or two.
I have loved many a kitten, but none this well. His cuddles and eye crusties have been equally as endearing and I will just hate to leave his side.
I think my mission of finding a location in the C-dot is closer then my worried stomach frets. I have had three really great contacts today and I feel much closer then I did this time a couple of days ago. It will all work out for this little cow poke and her wonderkat.

But for vegan fare fellows I have some wonderful news - though it isn't of the western canada variety. Rather, it is guelph ontario that satisfied my buds this afternoon (after a wonderful run). Oh, and I don't think that it is the food that has turned my head to the world of nausea - I think it is more from drinking only tomato juice yesterday.....
So, Wild Organic Way, is located on carton Street, just a ways up from the Carden Street Cafe and next to the old Aquarius Cafe (me thinks they are the same owners). WOW as it is otherwise and almost a bit too kitchily (is that a word) known is a small cafe, with an even smaller patio (two tables with a total of six chairs) and a cute little bar inside. The menu is inconveniently located on the wall, written in the hideously 80's style neon wipe off marker that is just as difficult to see when looking at it straight on as when trying to cran one's neck around to see it from any of the second hand tables scattered in the small space. Despite the menu and the decor this restaurant is redeemed by the most important elements of any dining experience - the wait staff and the food itself.
For dinner and lunch options patrons can choose from a raw/organic/vegan menu of about 6 options plus a daily special (which they didn't have available today). I enjoyed a combo platter of one falafel ball, 1/2 of a quesdilla and a lovely garden salad. I was amazed with the raw falafel -wonderful. The cashew inspired 'cheese' in the quesadilla wasn't really my cup of tea, but overall this was a great lunch (if not a bit too much moooola...but hey, its raw and vegan and organic..can't complain for all that health can i ?) But, the wonderball of the meal was the 'cheese cake' that I had for desert. The almond paste and oatmeal crust was awesome!!! and the raspberry culle that topped the cake was so organically-tasty that I licked the plate!! yes, I licked the plate....but what can I say? raspberries are THE worst for retaining the taste of pesty-pesticides and the organic really makes a difference when it comes to raspberries. wow. Great meal, great service (the chef came out to say hey and ask about the lunch). It cost me about 20 dollars with tip.
I must mention that yesterday I enjoyed the banana-date-almond milk smoothie from WOW and it was WOOOOOOOOW. Great, not too much date, just enough nanner.

By the way - Spirit of the West is playing August 12th in Calgary....need to check that out!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sure to be a stampede favourite!
Well, as I wallow in the new turn in my life: NOT FINDING A PLACE IN CALGARY, I have been experimenting with some new yummy-in-the-tummy sandwiches.
I would like to make the daring postulation that if eaten by a steak loving stampeder there would be a carrel of folks screaming for more!
Enjoy these bad girls with a healthy helping of garlic-laced guacamole and veggies (carrots, celery and you know what is great with guac?? APPLE slices)

Ingredients for Sizzling Tofu Stampeded sandwiches
1 loaf of crusty vegan bread
2 zucchini (sliced length wise)
1-2 tomatoes (sliced)
green or red pepper (cored and sliced)
hummus or vegan dijon mustard
brick of extra firm tofu - cut the brick in half and then slice into 1 cm slices
olive oil, soya sauce, salt, pepper and ANY other spices that you dig (I did rosemary, basil, oregano)

Okay - so know you have all the goodies and you are ready to impress the mouths of many -

dredge tofu, veggies and bread (easy with the bread, and don't bother with the lettuce)
through the olive oil, soya sauce and spices.
Slam the whole lot on a bbque or a george foremanesque grill (or the frying pan!)
Grill/fry until the veggies/fu is the way you would like for sandwich munching (I decided to go crispy)
Grill the bread for about 1 minute until crispy, spread with the hummus or mustard (or BOTH if you are feeling special)
Pile everything onto the bread (now let the lettuce play) and close that puppy right up!
Now - you can opt out of the bread option by taking all of these yummy ingredients and making them into a fantastic salad - saving some of the grilling sauce as a dressing.....yes!!!! for multitasking!

Enjoy! and hey, if anyone has any space to share with the cutest little vegancowgirl this side of the latest Chinook then give me a yodel.

Watch out! If you don't enjoy one of these stampede delights there is no guarentee that this bull over here isn't going to throw you right off your feet.