I am just a tad behind on my work posts – even though my next few work updates won’t necessarily be the freshest in freshly freshed freshmakers, please bear with me as I try to get caught up.
This past summer I helped my dear friend Marie-Eve Best update her very popular blog, which also happens to be one of my favourites: Lake Jane. If you didn’t know already, Marie-Eve is incredibly talented in many areas: interior design, fashion, cooking, diys, writing… I could go on. Her blog is a lovely mix of personal stories, recipes and fabulous fashion and design discoveries. She recently started up an interior design consulting business and I speak from experience when I say that she is a power-charged dynamo that flies into your space and whips it into shape before you have time to blink – all while remaining affordable and creatively re-using what you already own. She’s currently helping me finish my office space so I’ll be sure to share the end result when we’re done. Marie-Eve has flawless taste, so I was a little bit nervous about fulfilling her expectations – but lucky for me, she is also a fabulous communicator and I’m really proud of the end result!
To keep the content front and center, we developed a look that was light but distinctive. A subtle grid design, soft watercolour grays and a little hint of mint brought everything together.
If you haven’t yet gotten hooked on Lake Jane, go on, take a gander and enjoy! And thank-you, Marie-Eve, for the great project – it was such a delight to work with you :)
Fall daydreaming. Best performed on a carpet of crunchy leaves, listening to the squirrels and taking deep breaths while the sun shines down and warms your
fur face. Have a lovely weekend, everybody!
Today’s groundhog-like emergence from blog hibernation is for one very important reason: cookies!
Said hibernation was disappointingly due to chronic illness – when health issues become too big to handle, I need to re-prioritize, and social media fun therefore comes to a halt. Things are slowly on the upswing so hopefully I’ll be popping in here a bit more often from now on. But, I digress – this post is not about illness, it’s about cookies. Delightful, scrumptious, stuff-your-face cookies. When you’ve eaten nothing more than a few plain meats and even less vegetables for months on end, the possibility of cookies is truly glorious.
These aren’t “ordinary” cookies in the sense that they are grain free, gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for a sweet treat, I know, but you’d be surprised what deliciousness can come from restrictions – in fact, one could argue that when challenged by a swarm of “can’ts”, the most triumphant kind of yumminess can result. I can safely eat a small mountain of these and not feel ill for days afterwards, so these are the best cookies in the whole world, currently.
You can make these cookies with other nut butters. Cashew butter is quite expensive; it’s just what I seem to be able to handle best right now, and it’s reeeeally delicious, so that’s what I use. I tried two different brands of cashew butter, and got two very different results:
My first (and favourite) batches were made with this cashew butter. It’s a raw cashew butter with no other added ingredients – it is soooo yummy. The resulting cookies are sweet and chewy with an almost caramel-like flavour. They have a slight crust to them when they are fresh from the oven, but over time become almost Dali-clock-like in their pliability. I think that if one were to use sugar instead of honey as sweetener it would help with this, but since that’s not an option for me at the moment I will just enjoy my Dali clocks and twirl my imaginary moustache.
The second cashew butter I tried contains dry-roasted cashews and sunflower oil, and resulted in a very different cookie. They didn’t spread out as much while baking, the texture was more dense and the flavour was completely different: tasty, but less sweet and totally missing the caramel-ish flavour. I suspect it’s the dry-roasting that’s responsible. And, they were a little bit greasy on the fingers. I actually wanted to like these ones better because this cashew butter retails for almost half the price of the first one – but when it’s one of the only things you can eat, I guess you just gotta splurge sometimes.
The recipe I’m including below uses the first kind of cashew butter and is inspired by this recipe. These cookies are also Paleo and SCD-friendly. Flourless nut butter cookies are infinitely Google-able so I encourage you to experiment – I think these would taste amazing with chocolate chunks or diced dried fruit, but I can’t eat either of those things just yet. Which is pretty tragic, yes. But don’t worry. I have cookies.
Cashew Butter Cookies
makes: approximately 30
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 shakes of cinnamon
1/3 cup honey
1 cup cashew butter (or, one 227 g/8 oz jar of Artisana Raw Cashew Butter)
slivered blanched almonds or other (chocolate chunks, dried fruit, chopped nuts)
Preheat your oven to 350F. Line 1-3 cookie sheets with parchment paper (I use 2 cookie sheets and just rotate them so I don’t use up too much parchment paper). Combine first six ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together. Add cashew butter and mix well. Using a small cookie scoop (a bit less than a tablespoon per cookie) drop them onto the cookie sheet, about 9 per sheet. Sprinkle slivered almonds on top. Bake them one tray at a time on the middle rack for 8-10 minutes, until the tops are lightly golden. They brown quickly at the end so keep an eye on them. Allow to cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes. Eat one. Grin with delight. Make a pot of tea and have some more. And don’t forget to share :)
A little freedom. A month ago I slipped on some black ice and broke a little bone in my left wrist – ouch. Our amazing neighbours gave up their Sunday to drive me to the hospital, which is about as generous and sweet as you can get. The doctor said it’s a bone that doesn’t heal well and I’ve been on meds for my IBD that have weakened my bones, so I’ve been crossing my fingers for four weeks hoping that there would be no complications. As of a few days ago, the cast is off, yay! There is still some pain and we want to rule out ligament damage so I’m starting physio next week. More fingers crossed that the pain subsides. I’ll be busy catching up on a mountain of email and giving Christian lots of extra hugs for all his help this past month. In the meantime, I don’t have to shower like the Statue of Liberty anymore! Yay! Happy weekend everyone!
A very furry mini side-project! As promised. All Panda, all the time. I’ll be posting several times a week with a mix of old and new at mydogpanda.com. Happy snowy weekend everybody!
It’s the perfect day to come out of blog hibernation: it’s time to celebrate our second Pandaversary! Two years ago we met – last year we celebrated year 1. I can barely remember what life was like before Panda – she’s such a constant, happy, sweet, goofy presence in our daily lives. Her joie de vivre makes it really easy to appreciate things you would otherwise be groaning about – like mountains of snow in February. It comes as no surprise that Panda brings smiles to just about everybody she meets – she’s a real cheerer-upper, so if you’re having a low day, drop by my Instagram and prepare to smile. After some advice and requests from friends I’ve decided to start a Tumblr so that you don’t have to wade through the rest of my pesky life to get your Panda fix, so stay tuned for that. Here are a few ways that you can celebrate Pandaversary:
- Take a walk outside.
- Take a nap.
- Share kisses and hugs.
- Smile at a stranger.
- Eat some carrots.
Those are all on Panda’s agenda for today. We love you Panda! Happy Pandaversary!!
Don’t forget to support your local shelter. Thank-you Frontier Animal Society.
Getting back into things after a few months away! Howdy and nice to be back. Everybody needs a little break now and then. Speaking of breaks…
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
See what I did there?
Actually I’m not cranky anymore. But the past several days have been a little trying. Of course, it’s all because Christian was out of town – nothing like a change in your schedule for things to suddenly go wrong. And then, just like that, a bunch of good things happen and everything turns around. Funny, that.
I lose my medicare card. Generally not a big deal, but for someone who regularly visits doctors and pharmacists, it’s kind of a problem. I’m pretty sure I lost it while walking along a trail in Hudson (I’m thinking it fell out of my bag when I pulled out the camera) so I go to city hall to see if anyone has brought it in but no such luck. They give me the phone number of the trail maintenance crew and suggest I wait a few days and then call them.
Power failure. Last time Christian was away, we filled up the fridge with tons of food for me and then we had a 21-hour power failure that forced me to throw everything out. Luckily this one only lasts 2 hours but I spend every second thinking about all the food in the fridge.
When the power comes back on, I take Panda for a walk and come home to what looks like the hot water tank leaking (which would have been another kind of disaster). There’s a huge spill on the floor… oh wait… is it MOVING? ANTS. A CARPET OF ANTS ON MY FLOOR. COMING FROM THE CLOSET. I get the vacuum and spend the rest of the afternoon, evening and night vaccuuming anything coming out of the gap in the closet floor every five minutes. I’m afraid to stop and go to bed. Luckily the army stops its onslaught sometime around midnight, and when I come back down again around 6am, there’s a manageable little gang of them waiting to get sucked up.
Exterminators arrive in the morning. Tell me it’s the best case scenario, that they’ve seen way worse, that there are worse ants to have. That it’s good I called them because if we deal with it now it won’t become an epidemic that would send us to a hotel. Well that’s good. It’s time to spray the house. Do I have somewhere I can go for four hours? Hmm… I pack up some water for Panda, put Blue in the back yard with her water bowl, and off we go on foot to wander around Hudson for 4 hours. Did I mention it was 36 degrees Celsius with the humidex? And that we were out during the hottest four hours of the day? I try to make the best of it so we walk down to the beach, sit in the shade and watch kids and dogs play in the very low, very soupy lake water. We sit there way past the boredom stage, then I finally give in and let Panda sploosh around for five minutes. Then it’s off to cool down at the drugstore, thank goodness Panda is welcome there. I slowly examine every item I can. Another stop at the health food store, then the hardware store, then it’s time for the half-hour walk home. The house stinks to high heaven of cooked cabbage – that’s what the anti-ant chemical smells like. It’s 36 degrees, I’m blistered and slightly heat-stroked, I’ve just spent several hundred bucks on a bunch of ants and my house smells like cooked-to-death cabbage. I realize I’ve forgotten to eat today. I feel entitled to a little wallowing.
Those five minutes I allowed Panda to sploosh in lake water? Deadly. She has bad hotspots on her lower tummy and back legs. If you don’t know what a hotspot is, it’s a very itchy rash that quickly spreads and becomes raw and very angry as your dog tries to lick away the discomfort and takes away all their fur in the process. It’s so awful. Poor Panda. No more lake water in the summertime. I make an appointment for the vet, briefly consider driving her myself before ruling it out (I’ve only got my learner’s permit) and make arrangements with the local cab company to pick us up. Panda gets antibiotics, anti-itch steroids and tons of cookies. A few hundred dollars later, we are back home in our cabbage-stinking house. Feeling pretty defeated at this point but there’s a little glimmer of hope: Panda has lost 7 pounds! Way to go Fuzzbucket.
My medicare card arrives in the mail! Some kind thoughtful person found it and dropped it in a mailbox. Then the nice folks at the post office mailed it to me with a little note. Such a relief. My dear friend Marie-Eve comes by for a visit and I get to hold baby Theo. I try a new recipe for lunch and it’s delicious. Well well well. The tide has turned. Ants are gone, Panda is feeling better, my medicare card came home, and the smell is fading… a bit.
So – how was your week?
A birthday party! It’s my lovely Mum’s birthday on Tuesday so my dear sister and sis-in-law came in from Ottawa yesterday and we had ourselves a little walk, a little lunch and a lot of dessert. I made Aran’s trifle with strawberries and peaches and it was deelish. Happy birthday dear Mum, I love you! Have a great week everyone!
Other people’s garbage. Guess what we came across as Panda and I strolled through the rain earlier this afternoon – a stack of trimmed hydrangea branches waiting for the compost pile. Hello, free bouquet of flowers! There’s not much I enjoy more than fresh flowers, so when they’re free to boot… yes. I may have to go back to the pile and get some more. Thank-you neighbour! Have a wonderful weekend everybody!