Friday, July 29, 2011

yay summer!

My office has moved to Richmond and it takes me five times longer to get there, it's in the middle of an industrial area and well, it's in Richmond. There are two pros to the move.
1. windows, lots of them, big and sunny.
2. an amazing farm market on my way home.

I got these treats this week.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

waste not.

This month's National Geographic has an interesting article about food waste, I read it on the flight home from LA a few weeks ago. It opened my eyes to how I purchase food for home, I pay more attention to quantity, especially with fruit and veg and anything that will spoil quickly.

From in.gredients (I love what they're posting - great stuff):
According to National Geographic, by 2045 the population will likely have grown from 7 billion to 9 billion people. With climate change, limited arable land, and water, how do we plan on feeding our growing planet? The article emphasizes the importance of diet adjustments and a need for research. Julian Cribb, author of The Coming Famine, says higher yielding crop varieties and more efficient farming methods will be crucial. So will waste reduction.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

tasty treats.

We had lovely relaxed meals on Galiano Island, tasty dinners with wonderful wine, an unexpected dinner party with new found friends and picnics on the beach.

1. openfaced grilled salmon with yogurt, fennel fronds, lemons, peashoots & avocado with sumac slaw
2. hole in one with tomatillo salsa, cojita cheese, cilantro and bacon
3. slow roasted tomato, fennel, grilled mushrooms, organic italian sausage pizza with fresh mozzarella and arugula salad 
4. wild mushroom ravioli with sage butter and parmesan 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I've fallen in love with another island.

We were only on Galiano for three days and three nights, so it might be a bit early in our relationship to say I'm in love, but I think I'm going to go for it - I love Galiano Island. It could have been that we were there for the the hottest days of summer so far, it could have been the beautiful property we were on, the wonderful company, a perfect day spent on the beach while we swam and collected pebbles, it could have been so many things, all in all it was perfect. We don't get to spend much time with Matt's parents just the five of us, it seems that other people are always around when we see them. It was nice for once to just be the five of us, on vacation, in an island paradise.

I always feel so happy on the islands, so settled and at peace. Matt and I have tried for years to figure out how we can move to one of the Gulf Islands and live there for awhile. It feels it won't happen any time soon and it breaks my heart a little. Matt is working on his career and it seems foolish to leave it now. Maybe in years to come it will be a possibility, but for now we have to settle for vacations on the island. I know we're so lucky to even be able to have that time.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

packing again!

We're off to Galiano Island tomorrow afternoon for another Gulf Island vacation, this time with Matt's parents at a cabin a private beach. We're on dinner making duty and I've been to Commercial Drive, Whole Foods and Choices today getting everything we need for dinners. We're packing up the car with a portable crib, cooler, beach blankets and all the fun things that make a summer vacation successful. I love getting away, but food planning and packing rank pretty low on my list of favourite things to do.

We were on Galiano a few years ago with our friends and really liked the island. We stayed at a cottage away from the beach and it was really nice, but being on the water this time around is what I can't wait for!

Here's a few photos from our last Galiano trip.

Monday, July 18, 2011

J Pod


On the fourth day of our vacation the orcas arrived. We saw a far away glimpse of them the first day we arrived and earlier in the morning on the fourth day, but around noon we saw a show that in my life I doubt I'll ever see anything like it again. 

For about an hour and a half the J Pod whales jumped, rolled and danced in front of us. We followed them around the point to cliffside. I was as close as a metre and a half away while one swam by upside down in front of me. It was truly magical, I single teared a couple of times, laughed, clapped and oohed and ahhed like I was eight years old. Easily one of the most amazing moments I've ever had. It was a combination of the whales themselves, Hannah in my arms, my best friends there with me, on my favourite island, on a sunny day - perfection. 

Our camera battery didn't cooperate during the whale show, but our friend Peder took amazing shots and those are what you're looking at.

After doing some research online, reading through people's accounts of the activity it looks like we saw the J Pods and at least 15-20 transient whales as well.

Taken from The Whale Museum
A pod is an extended family containing maternal groups composed of mothers and their offspring. Some of these family units have as many as four generations traveling together. The resident killer whales in the San Juan Islands have three pods: J, K, and L.
J Pod is presently composed of 27 individuals. One of the oldest matriarch orcas, Granny (J-2), is in J Pod. They are seen most frequently along the western shore of San Juan Island and are the only pod seen on a semi-regular basis throughout the winters in Puget Sound proper.
K Pod is Composed of 19 individuals, K Pod is most frequently seen during May and June when they patrol the western shore of San Juan Island almost daily in search of salmon.
L Pod, with 42 members, L Pod is the largest of the Southern Resident pods. Because it is such a large pod, L Pod frequently breaks off into separate subgroups. It is relatively rare to see the entire pod traveling together.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

the food we ate.

I love cooking on vacation, in a different kitchen with shaky cutting boards, tight quarters and limited ingredients. I get most creative when there's a challenge. We had great food on Saturna last week. Here are some highlights.

1. Sesame crusted tuna tacos with sesame rice wine vinegar slaw
2. Green onion and black sesame hashbrowns with toast, bacon and egg - fresh local strawberries
3 and 4. 48 hour marinated flank steak tacos with cumin lime slaw, guacamole and fresh salsa
5. Whole wheat buttermilk pancakes with stewed nectarines
6. Satay grilled tofu kabobs with tomato salad, roast potatoes and yogurt sauce
7. Olive bread toasted with aged gouda, avocado and bacon
8. Vegetarian quesadillas with tomatillo salsa and lime sour cream with garlic green beans
9. Mushroom and sumac scrambled tofu with yogurt sauce
10. Mushroom, black sesame and feta salad with candied salmon and dolmas
11. Grilled corn, chicken and zucchini salad with fresh spinach pasta

Here's the recipe for the steak marinade - it was crazy tasty.

48 Hour Marinated Flank Steak

1/8 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
juice and zest of a lemon or lime
1 flank steak, we used a whole flank and it fed 3 very hungry guys and 2 normal appetite girls.

Pour marinade ingredients into a large ziplock bag, add steak and refrigerate for anywhere from 12-48 hours, turning over a few times. Ours marinated for 48 and it was very much worth it!

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, place steak on the bbq, grill for 4 minutes a side or until desired doneness. Let rest for 5 minutes and slice very thinly across the grain.

home again.

We are home from one of the best vacations I've ever had. We had sunny days with some of our closest friends at our favourite place. We laid on the beach, played crokinole at night, drank gin cocktails, skipped stones, went on morning runs with deer, saw feral goats, watched otters scurry by our cabin, saw an eagle try to steal a crab from an otter, went on hikes to secluded bays and waterfalls and ate amazing food. But above and beyond all that I had one of the most amazing, incredible and awe-inspiring experiences of my life - orca whales. Dozens of them, some as close as a metre and a half out of arm's reach. They were jumping and rolling and swimming upside down right in front of us. It was pure magic. 

Friday, July 8, 2011


We leave for a week long vacation to Saturna Island tomorrow. I am so excited to be there for a full week with great friends and a dog. Last time we went Hannah started sleeping through the night and this time we have high hopes for walking. 

I've made a few treats for Hannah for the next few days so that I won't have to worry about cooking for her. So far her favourite is the muffins. I threw everything together and crossed my fingers that they would turn out and they did and are super tasty!

Broccoli Cheddar and Ham Muffins
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup grated old while cheddar
1 cup steamed broccoli, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped black forest ham
1 green onion finely chopped

1 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper

Preheat oven to 375° and grease muffin pans.
In a large bowl whisk eggs, milk and cheddar. Add broccoli, ham and green onion - mix well.
In another bowl mix the flour, powder, oregano, salt and pepper together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mix and stir until just combined. Spoon into muffin pans and bake on middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean of the middle of the muffin. Makes 12 muffins

These are a cheesey protein rich muffin!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

my parent's garden

As I get older I love my parent's garden more and more. I never understood the effort it took to create the beautiful oasis that they've made until I started gardening myself. I love how the backyard is always cool under the canopy of trees on even the hottest of days. There are so many little hidden treats; stone birds nestled in with hostas, terracotta angels mounted on the huge evergreens, wrought iron gates with ivy growing up them, stone birdbaths all over - It's a special place. The rabbits are getting a little out of control, but Hannah loves them so it's all good.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

it's worth the hype.

I finally had my first ever IN-N-OUT burger while I was in California. I was super hungry and that could have clouded my judgement but I swear, it was the best burger I've ever had. I'm not a big burger person, I'm not even really a big meat eater - but I'll just say, I'm really happy that the closest location is really far away. It was way too tasty. Perfect bun, crispy lettuce, pickles, cheese, fried onions and a mustard cooked patty and spread.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Home from a quick trip to LA for work. It was hot, sunny and the fourth of July. 
I took the photos while in Irvine.