Monthly Archives: May 2011

Good to Wow Week 21: Looking Up (and Down) SOOC

This week’s Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit theme is Looking Up. I am so happy that it’s stopped raining for the sun to come out. It was definitely missed last week!

Speaking of rain, it’s time to do a bit of looking down. This weekend we went out to my parent’s cabin to burn some stuff now that the fire ban is over and to see how flooded the basement was.

The waters reached up to two feet on Friday or Saturday, but went down to 6 inches by the time we got there on Sunday afternoon. Before anyone freaks out – the basement is unfinished and has lasted through floods before (note the insulation missing from the bottom – that’s from the flood in 2005) and the only thing that got damaged were some boxes of my sister’s stuff that she forgot to take upstairs. Thankfully they were rescued when there was only a few inches of water, so we only had to dry out a couple boxes of books.

I’m not posting this for sympathy as everything is quite alright and that sympathy should be forwarded to people dealing with tornadoes, fires and actual floods. Please take this as a word of caution about buying a house built on a flood plain even if there is a good dike!

The river itself is in flood, but had already dropped a couple feet:

Of course, what’s a trip down to the river without throwing a few rocks?

Now it’s time to wait for the next flood – this one was due to all the rain we’ve been getting, but there’s still a ton of snow that hasn’t melted yet so we’re not holding our breath.

What are you looking up or down to?

 

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Bean’s Trip to Europe – Part 3

I realized yesterday that Mr. Bean and I got back from our trip to Europe a year ago, which reminded me how I never actually finished my recaps. (Whoops!) I don’t really want to do them in full, but I will share some highlights with a few photos in another few posts. This following post I actually wrote last year but never published it.

You can read the first two parts of the saga here: Part 1 – Stockholm and Part 2 – Motala.

Göteborg

Or why I’m happy that I live in a land locked province.

After Motala, Mr. Bean and I packed up our Volvo S40 and headed to Göteborg (or Gothenburg in English.)

The weather in Goteborg wasn’t spectactular when we first arrived. We walked maybe 10 blocks to a restaurant and I was soaked, even with my umbrella. Once we got back to our hotel, I spent two hours under our duvet with all my sweaters on (plus toque!) in an attempt to warm up. I’m really a pansy when it comes to being cool and wet – you think that since I’m Canadian I’d be better with the cold, but I’m a prairie girl through and through and I have difficulty dealing with and being out in non-stop rain.

The restaurant, Smaka, was quite good – Mr. Bean got to enjoy a lot of traditional Swedish food. Like Pickled Herring:

And Swedish Meatballs:

Goteborg has a lot of really neat museums, such as the Universeum. It’s essentially a science centre that is perfect for kids with ADHD (in my opinion) as the exhibits are interesting, varied and there is even an exhibit that is “learning through and with physical activity.” Plus, there were lots of animals and sea creatures.

In front of a Sami tent
The most awesome bird ever.
The Husqvarna Shark

Another museum we visited was one that first made me very happy that I live in a landlocked province and secondly instilled in me a new level of respect for people who work in the navy. Yep, it was a Maritime museum, where we were able to tour through about 15 different ships.

Ahoy Land!
Anyone get the reference for this?

One of the ships was a submarine. This is how I feel about them:

But, the best thing about this particular submarine is that the crew got to sleep next to their torpedoes.

I can’t sleep without my torpedoes!

It was quite a novelty, but by the 15th ship, the diesel smell, all the ladders and all the weird doorways I definitely was very certain about how I felt about boats. I am SO glad that I live in a landlocked province!

We also took the trolley out to see the North Sea (unfortunately not the angry trolley though.)

Eurotrip-112

Eurotrip-110

There we have it: the recap from Gothenberg. It’s always interesting looking back at photos from a while ago to see how much you’ve changed: I’m so glad that I’ve lost weight and I think I like my hair a bit longer.

How do you feel about looking at old(ish) photos of yourself?

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Questions

You know when your life just feels like one big question mark? That’s kind of how I feel at the moment. I feel like there is a lot of uncertainty in my life and I don’t like it. I know I’m supposed to trust that God is in control, but it’s difficult especially when I want to be the one holding the reins.

I would appreciate some advice from you regarding some of my questions:

  • I have recently been approached by a website of someone who appears as a health expert on a TV show for a partnership: if I provide a link in support of her website then I will be compensated through books, advertising or something along those lines. Eventually later this summer I would participate in a blogger spotlight program where I would share some of my expertise on vegan/gluten free/allergy friendly cooking and the like.  It’s sort of a “if you send me traffic, I’ll return the favour” type thing.
    While I am quite excited to be noticed and have someone who wants my knowledge and I know that it could be a great opportunity for me and my blog, I am hesitant to make my blog into an advertisement for someone else. So, I wanted to ask you, my lovely readers, what you think about this?
  • Related to that is that I have also been approached by some companies to do reviews of their products. What do you guys think about product reviews and giveaways? (Rest assured that I will not become a sponsored blog with every second post talking about product x that company y gave me to review. )  I have been somewhat tentative about doing sponsored reviews, but I have agreed to review one company’s baking mixes because I have seen it in my local health food store and I thought it might actually be helpful for those of you who don’t have time to make things from scratch. So expect a giveaway soon!
  • I am debating whether or not I should continue volunteering at CUPS. Sometimes it can be quite fun as I like interacting with a whole bunch of the clients and it has been excellent for helping me to build boundaries, but it can also be quite stressful and I can’t really show my servant’s heart without being taken advantage of. I guess that is the reality of dealing with homeless, addicted and broken people in such a situation. I also feel torn because I know that the people who work there really appreciate my help and I was the volunteer they used in their annual report to help encourage others to volunteer at CUPS as well, so stopping would be somewhat … hypocritical. haha.
  • I am still unsure of what I want to do with my future in terms of employment. I realized that I’m still incredibly hesitant about jumping into an engineering job because I’m afraid it’s going to be a repeat of my internship. Honestly, I don’t want to wake up every morning dreading going to work and then pretending that I like it. Not fun. On the other hand, in my studio portrait photography course the instructor talked a bit about opening your own photography business. For the last year or so I have thrown around the idea of opening my own photography business at some point,  but I’m afraid and I don’t know whether this is the time to do it or not. If it is, then it opens the Pandora’s box of things you need to do to open your own business, which is scary enough on its own!  Like choosing a name. Funny that I usually get caught up on things like that. So, do any of you know anyone who has made the jump to professional photographer and would be able to give me some advice?
  • After going to this spiritual healing course at the beginning of May, my belief system has been challenged as all the lies of the devil I’ve believed in are being revealed by God’s truth. I am glad this is happening, but the two battling belief systems are creating a lot of confusion.

Thank you for reading this and I appreciate any and all thoughts and advice! 🙂

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Mostly Raw Gluten Free Vegan Coconut Tarts with Berries (GAHIGF)

You know how sometimes you get a bit ahead of yourself and decide that you’re going to make things without a set recipe? This is one of those recipes. I needed to make something for a birthday party Mr. Bean and I went to yesterday, but I was unsure of what to make. This month’s Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free hosted by A Gluten Free Day has the theme of “Garden Tea Party,” so I used that as my starting point. I asked Mr. Bean what I haven’t made in a while and he said flan or tarts with flan in them. Since I’ve been on a bit of a raw kick, I couldn’t decide whether or not I wanted to make them raw or not, so I did both. Over achiever much?

Since I didn’t use a pre-set recipe, I want to share who I received my inspiration from (Other than my new Raw cookbook.)

Strawberry Icebox Pie from Pumpkin’s Pantry
Fruity Coconut Cashew Cream Tarts from An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
Lime Tarts with Coconut Almond Crust from The Lively Kitchen

Oh man, were these an adventure. First, I learned why when recipes call for a vitamix, using a magic bullet doesn’t cut it (especially since overheats after about 10 seconds.) Secondly, I learned that you shouldn’t stick cans of coconut milk in the freezer as both the cream and clear liquid freeze, which means that the frozen chunks that you think are cream aren’t, so it didn’t whip up the way it was supposed to. Duh. Now that we established that, these wouldn’t have nearly been as time consuming had I not done those two things, so please do not be discouraged! Everything is fairly straight forward if you have the correct equipment and techniques. I’m not saying that this is impossible with a magic bullet, but it will save you so much time, frustration and agony!

Thankfully, these turned out very well, so it made it worth the effort. I made two different crusts and two different fillings. It’s hard to say which combination was my favourite, but it’s probably the raw crust with the raw coconut filling. Feel free to use whatever kind of berries you want!

Note: I did use one fresh coconut for this recipe. I cracked it open using the first set of instructions here, cut out the meat by cutting triangles and prying it out and used a vegetable peeler to remove the remaining husk.


Raw Macadamia – Almond Crust

1 c. raw macadamia nuts
1/3 c. almonds, soaked for an hour
2/3 c. fresh shredded coconut
3 tbsp. coconut oil
2 tbsp. raw agave nectar
Pinch Salt

  1. Process macadamia nuts and almonds together in a food processor until crumbly.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and process until combined. Don’t process too long as you might end up with nut butter!
  3. Take a heaping tablespoon of mixture and press into individual tart holders. It should make 12 – 14 tarts depending on how thick they are and their size.
  4. Store in fridge until you need them.

Coconut Almond Crust (Inspired by Elana’s Coconut Almond Pie Crust)

1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 c. dried shredded coconut (Or you could use coconut flour like I did in my banana cream pie.)
2 tbsp + 1 tsp. coconut oil
2 tsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  1. Mix together almond flour and coconut.
  2. Over low heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the agave and vanilla and whisk until combined.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until combined.
  4. Take a heaping tablespoon of mixture and press into individual tart holders. They should make between 5 – 7 tarts.
  5. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly golden brown. The bottoms do kind of puff up a bit, so don’t be alarmed when they do.
  6. Remove from oven and cool before filling.

Raw Coconut Filling (Inspired by Matthew Kenney’s Coconut vanilla cream from his Everyday Raw Cookbook.)
1 1/2 c. fresh coconut
3 tbsp. agave nectar
2 tbsp. coconut oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
6+ tbsp. coconut water from coconut (may not be needed if you have a vitamix or any good blender)

  1. Add all ingredients to your blender and process until smooth. (Mine never got smooth but it was still okay!) Add some of the water from your coconut to adjust consistency if desired.
  2. Cool in the fridge for an hour or so or until it is the consistency that you want.

Coconut Cream Filling

Coconut cream (taken off top of a can of coconut milk – see instructions here)
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tbsp. agave nectar (or more to taste)

  1. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whip on high speed until peaks form.
  2. Store in the fridge.

Strawberries
Raspberries
Blackberries
Blueberries

To Assemble:

  1. Drop a spoonful or two of your desired filling into the tart crusts. (I used two for the raw crust and one for the baked crust.)
  2. Decorate with your desired berries.
  3. Store in the fridge until ready to be served.
  4. Enjoy!

What is your favourite kind of tart?

Submitted to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop 49 and Gluten Free Wednesdays. You can also see one of my photos on foodgawker!


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Selfie Saturday: Magic Collaboration

As promised, here’s Jenny and my self portrait collaboration (click to see larger):

I can’t decide which one I like better – if I had a bit more time, then I would play with it a bit more until I am completely satisfied. This might not be the last you see of this!

You can see more collaborations here.

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