Things I Love Thursday – Vicarious trips to Japan. #TILT

JC is in Japan right now (for work), so for the last few days he’s been on the other side of the world, and I have been in Toronto. While I would have loved to go too (and wish I had,) I had agreed to cat sit for a friend, we’re in the middle of making plans for our new home, and of course someone has to tend to Kes & Emmie, & a bunch of other excuses like money and meetings and projects and all that usual boring day-to-day stuff. View Vegan in Japan – Customized for my favourite human in a larger map Before he left I put together a tiny list of vegan friendly places for him to potentially visit around his hotel. I’d been given the impression from almost everyone that I asked online that it was difficult or impossible to find vegan food in Japan, and thought that seemed a little strange. And also thought… “I used to hear the same thing about Alberta.” Which PrairieVegan has proven isn’t true!

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Things I Love Thursday – Being home and the idea of home. #TILT

Time flies when you’re having fun, and this week back in Toronto has completely flown by. I enjoyed my time in Edmonton greatly, but it’s so good to be back home. I’ve been thinking a lot about “Home” and what that means lately, maybe because I was working on writing wedding vows, maybe because at some point I’ve put roots in Toronto, and maybe, it’s because, after a few months of searching, JC and I found a house and fell in love with it. I’ve always felt very transient. Couchsurfing and hostels and vagabonding around the world  seemed like the ideal way to exist, working from “home” or rather “wherever I had my laptop” allowed me to do this for a few years, but then… here I am. With a desktop computer & a netbook. It’s almost symbolic of my inner thoughts, I’ve got something static, and also something for running around with (and for some increased symbolism… I’ve started to use my desktop computer more.) Recently though, maybe since getting a little older, and finding a nice human to spend time with, I’ve been feeling okay with staying put for long stretches of time. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is here. JC and I found a house in a neighbourhood we love, on a quiet street, close to a giant park, and a giant lake.  But now we wait. We wait to sell the place we live now, we wait to move into the new…

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Things I love Thursday on Friday – Edmonton Edition. Earths General Store, The River Valley, Yoga, Food.

There are so many things I love, and so many things I could be talking about, but this week, I’m relishing my time in Edmonton. It’s been a little under a year since my last visit, and at some point last month I realized I missed my family & friends, and it was time for a visit. So there has been food, and fun, and lots of catching up. I’ve really enjoyed it. Everything is novel, and I’m a tourist in my hometown. I’m comparing notes, I’m remembering old haunts, and realizing they are completely gone. I’m discovering new and interesting places, and old and interesting places, and exploring the city through a whole new lens.

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Things I love Thursday – Books, Vegtoons, Veg-friendly kids events

Books – An Everlasting Meal – Tamar Adler I read a lot of books, usually non-fiction, sometimes (okay – often) about food. A fellow TYFPC council member recommended An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. When she recommended it, I immediately got it on my Kobo so I wouldn’t forget, and I’m glad I did. As someone that loves the process of food, finding out where it comes from, and how it was produced, to chopping vegetables, baking, boiling, everything, this book was a lovely tribute to that. It’s part guide, part romantic mindfulness exercise, part experiment, and I haven’t read it all. I skipped some chapters and pages entirely in this book, since I care very little about romanticizing the boiling eggs or cooking chicken (friends, not food.) But I’ve also found myself highlighting entire passages that resonate with me. Making meals from empty cupboards is something I’ve had experience with, and incorporating someone else’s philosophy on developing instinctive cooking. The chapters on vegetables and the making the most of everything you buy – including scraps and leftovers – is something that I can really get behind. I can already feel the books influence on me, and I haven’t yet finished it. But I am completely enjoying reading through it. Another book that has had an impact, albeit a while ago was the Elements of Cooking by Mark Ruhlman, I was raised in a house where salt wasn’t celebrated, it wasn’t added in the process of cooking, it was added after…

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Things I Love Thursday – Food, Love, Cats, and Vegan Pledge #TILT

There are lots of things I love this year so far, it started off in a lovely fashion, I’ve started knocking things off of my 101 in 1001 list, and we started fostering kittens with Toronto Cat Rescue again. Meet Corwin. He’s about 12 weeks old, and a shy, but cuddly purrfactory. I haven’t really gotten to know him very well yet, so I can’t really write anything other than he’s a sweetheart already with a bit of frost bite on his nose. He’s recovering from being neutered, he’s got a bit of a quarantine, and then he’ll be ready for adoption. People don’t appreciate how hard it is to take a non-blurry picture of a kitten. They’re always in motion, always seeing something that they want to play with, or nuzzle, or chew or hey look over there…. The Goathouse Refuge in North Carolina I saw a post about Siglinda Scarpa‘s (mostly) cat rescue called The Goathouse Refuge in the New York Times today and it made me smile. Siglinda Scarpa is an Italian-American potter and artist with an affinity for animals, she started the no-kill cat rescue in 2007, and has been the primary benefactor of the organization ever since. There is a full time staff, and volunteers, but it relies on donations and funds from the sale of Scarpa’s art work. Here’s a video: (connect with The Goathouse Refuge on Facebook)

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Things I Love Thursday – Surprise Birthday Trips to San Francisco

Bright and early yesterday morning we were on our way to the airport, since JC gave me an incredible birthday surprise – a trip to the sunny southern part of the USA. It was my birthday yesterday, and despite spending 5 hours of it on an airplane, it was amazing. We had dinner at Millennium, with a 5 course tasting menu, wine pairing, and finally, a custom made cake for the occasion. By far the best and most absurdly wonderful birthday surprise I could have ever imagined. I’ve been to Millennium before, so I had some idea of what to expect, but I’ll have to write up a full review eventually. Overall it was a great experience, and the food was wonderful (though I will say the hostess was the worst.) Considering Toronto was blanketed by an inconvenient layer of snow yesterday, I’m glad we’re in the slightly (okay, a lot) warmer sunny beautiful San Francisco, replenishing our Vitamin D stores, and walking more outside than we’ve walked in a long time.

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Things I Love Thursday – Middle of June edition.

Sometimes without my reminder on twitter that it’s #TILT day, I would forget it was Thursday. This week has gone by quickly, quicker than usual, for better or worse. Earlier this week I met up with an Edmonton friend at the Pearson International Airport while she was on a layover back from Cancun. I hadn’t realized how much I missed her, and also relatedly – how much I miss Edmonton itself. JC and I had been planning on going to Defcon in Las Vegas this August, but I think we may just go visit my hometown. It’s been nearly two years, and there are so many things about the city and around the city that I want to show him (in addition to Calgary and Banff, maybe Jasper). Plus I’m sure there are new and exciting things going on, and I want to find them. Other than the potential travel at the end of next month, I’m looking forward to the Dufferin Grove Farmers Market today (3-7) and sending out my Foodie Penpals Swap and my Vegan Food swap Packages very soon. More stuff I love:  Squatting 240lbs at Totum yesterday. It’s getting kind of amazing to me how powerful running/walking legs can be. I ran a quick mile and a half on the treadmill, and then thought… I should go home… but instead went back up stairs and did a little bit of weight training. Fitocracy is keeping me motivated. Good Dinners. Businesses involved in supporting organizations and individuals that…

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Things I Love Thursday – Wedding Edition.

I’m going to take a break from reminiscing about the very awesome lovely Boston trip we had and all the fabulous things we ate, to talk about something that I keep getting asked about all the time… When is the wedding? Do you have a date yet? How’s the wedding planning going? etc. Short answer, it hasn’t really been going, and I’m okay with it (until of course I get asked the questions, which then start me on the road to questioning my identity as a proper bride that should be obsessing about these things… not so much.) I’m not sure why people ask, and I’m certain their intentions aren’t malicious, but the question already got old a few months ago. But this is supposed to be a positive TILT. I love that wedding planning has sort of come together in the last 48 hours, and we’ve got a potential venue, and I might have some dress shopping in my future, we’re working on menu ideas, and I found a decent florist (that works with local and organic flowers.)

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Things I love Thursday – Hot and Sour Soup

Well, Vegan MoFo is over, and I started writing a goodbye post on October 31st… but then Halloween got in the way. What I wanted to say is how much fun I had, and most of all, how much I appreciated discovering so many new people most of which I’ve added to my RSS feed and great recipes which inspired me and helped me make great meals and snacks in October. This week I’m sick with a cold so after yesterday’s day of no appetite, I’m thinking of the various potential comfort foods that I could make myself (and inevitably, for my partner for when he starts feeling sick too.)  My favourite thing when I’m sick is hot and sour soup and a nice cozy blanket. I’ve been lucky because I’ve lived near places that have vegan hot and sour soup, like at Oriental Veggie House or Padmanadi in Edmonton or the giant “small” bowls at Greens Vegetarian in Toronto. But today I decided to make my own. Recently I acquired The Vegan Slow Cooker from Kathy Hester, after finding her blog as a result of VeganMoFo. Conveniently she has a great and simple recipe for hot and sour soup (on her blog and a slightly different version in the book). It’s nice to have such a simple and straightforward collection of recipes that are made for the slow cooker, complete with pre preparation instructions (for the night before) and helpful tips, I’m definitely a fan of the format and the…

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