Posted on October 19, 2013
In and out of sleep, thoughts, ideas, details about work have conquered the entirety of my brain early on a Saturday morning. I look at the clock – six something. Tossing, turning, I grab my phone and email myself the ideas swirling around in my head, in hopes that writing it down will have the same effect as Dumbledore’s pensieve, clearing my mind to make room for falling back asleep.
I thrash the covers back in frustration and head out into the living room, grabbing a blanket to wrap around my shoulders on the way. Maybe the couch will be better. Then I catch a glimpse out of the french doors, into our backyard and beyond.
Complete stillness. Not a movement. Fall coloured leaves hanging still off tree branches. Morning sounds muffled by the fog that’s enveloped my favourite statuesque evergreens. The world is still. The world out there doesn’t care. In the grand scheme of things, the work I do, the things I was fussing over, really have no relevance. There are billions of people in the world. Billions.
I am reminded of my complete insignificance, and it’s a comfort.
Out of the mist comes forth the smallest creature, whose little presence embodies the exact opposite of stillness. My friend, one of our neighbourhood hummingbirds. He sees me sitting on the other side of the window, darts back and forth at my now seated level, his wings fluttering and heart beating over a thousand times a minute.
And this small, equally insignificant little creature makes me smile. He leaves me in awe every time. And I feel my head clear as thoughts about work are pushed back into a semi-conscious compartment of my brain. Exactly where they should be on a Saturday morning.
Posted on October 10, 2013
Posted on October 7, 2013
I had the pleasure of attending the Fraser Valley Food Show this weekend. It was my first time at the event, which was held at Tradex in Abbotsford, Friday Oct. 4th – Sunday Oct. 6th. The exhibitor list was diverse, with businesses ranging from wineries to cheese producers, from gluten free bakeries to candy makers.
In addition to the rows of booths where plenty of free samples were offered, attendees could also purchase food tickets to sample appetizer- sized dishes from local restaurants. We indulged in pesto penne from Frankie’s Italian Kitchen, jerk chicken roti wrap from Jamaican Jerk Pizza and Montreal smoked meat sandwiches from Dunn’s. Delish! Although I love a smoked meat sandwich, I’d say the winner of the day was the jerk chicken roti wrap – it was fresh and hot, both perfectly spiced and satisfying.
As with every show we attend, a few exhibitors stood out from the pack:
Amoda is an artisan tea company but with one unique difference – they deliver monthly tea tasters, right to your door! With over 500 subscribers so far, Amoda sources teas from all over the world through their suppliers so that we can experience unique flavours at home. Their business model is all about discovering something new every month.
For $12 you receive 3 sample-sized blends in a beautifully branded box that fits right in your mailbox – no need to run to the post office. Each monthly delivery comes with descriptions of each tea supplier and tea blend you’re receiving so you can learn a bit more about what you’re about to enjoy. A monthly subscription would make a great gift for any tea lover in your life!
Republica Coffee started in 2007 and officially incorporated just 2 years ago. A family business, they began sourcing from plantations in Mexico and roast their beans close by in Fort Langley. Their coffee is both free-trade and organic, and based the samples I tried, bold and flavourful. You can tell that they are passionate about what they do! Learn more by visiting their website, where you can also shop online and get delivery of freshly roasted coffee to your home.
Kitchening & Co Macarons
I’m a sucker for french macaron, so whenever we come across a bakery selling them, we must buy at least half a dozen to sample. Kitchening & Co’s did not disappoint – after Bel Cafe at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, these are our second favourite in Vancouver. They sell in a number of specialty grocery stores in the lower mainland, including Whole Foods and Urban Fare.
Other great local companies to check out:
- Hopcott Premium Meats – we sampled their honey garlic pepperoni and couldn’t resist bringing some home. No added hormones, steroids or antibiotics, local and AAA grade.
- Cloud9 – Specialty, gluten free bakery. You can purchase their gluten free flour mix for use within your own baking.
- Trugs Gourmet – I was really impressed with the creative combinations of sauces, jellies and jams on display at the show.
- Candy Meister - delicious, natural, gluten-free candies made in Germany. Many unique flavours to try and they take their sweets on wheels by selling out of a van/track that travels around Vancouver.
Posted on October 5, 2013
I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired lately. It happens every now and then – the daily hustle and bustle interferes with ‘me’ time. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a morning to sit down, catch up on blogs on my feedly reader, peruse magazines and recipe books, pinning as I go. When I’m in a slump like this, it shows at home. Cooking is done just because we need to eat. There’s no stack of books on my bedside table. No meal plans for the week. No on-the-go improvement or craft projects. No plans for dinner parties. Outside of the home, you can also tell when I’m in need of an injection of inspiration – I won’t have posted on ‘things i’m loving’ as frequently!
Yesterday I had day off, and finally took the time to catch up on the things that give me balance. The laundry got done, the house got cleaned, I wrote, posted and scheduled some blogs, did some yoga and went for a walk in the crisp fall air. Lists were made and things were pinned for trying later.
One thing I’ve been meaning to check out is Jamie Oliver’s YouTube channel. I’ve followed him for a number of years, back when his cooking shows first debuted on Food Network Canada. I think everyone would agree it’s hard not to have an affection for that man! Great sense of humour, talented chef, natural in front of the camera, he has an infectious passion and always seems to be his authentic self. I finally had the opportunity to browse some videos. Would encourage you to have a look- this is free, quality content as it’s finest. Who needs cable anymore when you can get everything you need online. Love it.
On my list to try is Jaime’s “Perfect Pork Loin Roast with Crackling”. It looks like a delicious meal for fall- roast pork loin, browned first then covered in balsamic vinegar and served on beans and greens. Yum! Have a watch, below:
I’m also looking forward to attending the Fraser Valley Food Show this weekend at Abbotsford Tradex. That will surely inspire some delicious baking and cooking around here. If you live in the valley and love eating as much as I do, it’ll be worth a stop in! Check back here for a highlight of my favourite finds at the show.
Posted on October 4, 2013
This past spring, my best friend moved to pursue a work opportunity in Seattle. It’s been hard having her live in a different city, but at the same time it’s allowed us to explore and discover new places. And when we do visit we get whole weekends together, which is a treat!
On her moving weekend back in March she took us all for brunch at Oddfellows Cafe, a restaurant recommended to her. It was a great experience and I had the pleasure of bringing my family back two weekends ago.
This place is popular and extremely busy, so while waiting for our table we wandered over to browse other shops and learn a bit about the building they’re located in.
The Oddfellows Building, located at 915 East Pine Street was established in 1908, as evidenced by the inlaid tile on the front stoop. It was transformed in 2008 to restore the architectural integrity of the building and to modernize the systems. The tenanted areas we spent time in – Oddfellows Cafe, NuBe Green - have a similar aesthetic. Warm and well-used wood floor, white walls, industrial lighting, steel fixtures, exposed brick and refurbished furniture. We couldn’t help feeling inspired after our time exploring the building, viewing the wares and having a delicious brunch. You can’t go wrong with anything on their menu, by the way, but definitely ask for an order of their beignets for a sweet treat to share.
Thought I’d post some photos from our visit, as they may inspire you as well!
Happy Friday! Enjoy the weekend ahead.