Friday, October 30, 2009

My City

I found this via Wandering Coyote.  I was hoping for Venice, but alas no. 

Your City is Buenos Aires

You are cultured, sophisticated, and quite old fashioned. You believe traditions are important, but you are still quite vibrant.

People don't know you well at all, and if they do, they totally misunderstand what you are all about.

You are more interesting and more intelligent than anyone gives you credit for. You are a bit of a hidden treasure.

You are creative, ambitious, beautiful, and fun. You may have a rough past, but you are always getting better.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Finally! Here's the duck finisher's medal from last Sunday's Rubber Ducky half marathon. Pretty cute.

And here's me pushing it to the finish line, and so relieved that I made it. Phew.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mushroom Mania

The Vancouver Mycological Society held its annual mushroom show that included an extensive display of mushrooms (good, bad, & ugly), people waiting to help you identify any specimens that you might bring in, and several talks given on differenct subjects (we missed the talk on the Pacific Northwest mushrooms because the room was overstuffed with people. It looked like a fire hazard to me. Just kidding).

My photos will say more than I can about the exhibit.
It was nice to finally see a matsutake (pine mushroom) up close and personal.
The green labels meant edible; the red poisonous. There were some labels that were black that said "unknown." I guess no one has dared or bothered to try those. I see that there is a yellow sign in one of my photos, but I don't remember noticing the yellow signs so I'm not sure what those mean. 

Ah the corals!

The fungi at the top of this photo were noted to be 50 years old!

This last photo was taken near our house. These Amanita muscaria are all over this one patch in various stages of development. They keep coming and coming. It's quite cool looking  and is inedible.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

bus trip & hitch hiking stories

 Not only does my bus commute give me time to read or write, or just gaze out the window, but it also gives me a chance to be with a lot of people where I can hear their stories or watch them with their kids or whatever. I love to observe. 

A few days ago while on my commute, two guys got on at the local bus exchange. At first I didn't realize they were together because one guy got on the bus, wearing a woollen checked jacket and had a blue bandana around his head with his blonde hair sticking out of the top, and took up at least a couple of seats to himself at the front of the bus. He carried a large black umbrella with a curved wooden handle. It didn't seem to fit with the rest of his look, but maybe someone loaned it to him because it was absolutely pouring outside.

His buddy hustled for the bus just as it was about to leave. He unloaded his overstuffed full sized pack (camping gear?) onto the seat next to the bandana guy, and paid the driver. This second guy had long dreadlocks (like the ones db use to have, I thought. hehe) and was already pretty damp from the rain. After getting his transfer he set a sign down, made out of a carboard box, on the seat next to his pack that had printed, in black sharpie, "Kamloops. please." There was a drawing of a friendly looking sun up in the corner with eyelashes, gazing down at the word Kamloops and presumably at the snowcapped mountains and fluffy cloud that was also drawn on the sign.  Who actually made the sign? It looked a bit "pretty" for these two guys, mainly because of the eyelashes on the friendly sun, but then again I could be dead wrong (I often am). I tried to imagine them sitting somewhere drier the night before and constructing their sign for the next day's journey.

As the bus sped along the highway, they discussed ramp exits to the trans Canada. They eyed a couple of spots they might like to try because of its proximity to the bridge. I felt like interrupting to suggest that they wait until the end of the route since the trans Canada exit is really close to the skytrain station, but they didn't seem to be ready to get off the bus so I let it be. Also, I felt like I'd be imposing on their journey and their plans that they made.

I thought about Planetwalker and his incredible journey walking across the States without speaking a word. He didn't hitchhike because he refused to take any vehicle that depended on oil for its fuel. I marvel at his life, and the change it took for him to embark on such a journey. It eventually led him to graduate school, culminating in a job in Washington. One man set out to simply make a pilgrimage to raise awareness about the environment, and ended up determining the rest of his life.

I'm not suggesting that these hitchhikers were on such a journey, but it did also lead me to think about adventure. For a moment I missed my hitch hiking days. It was just some nostalgia I was feeling, but I did enjoy hitch hiking when I was young (sp, the teenage years). I almost always hitched with a friend who was a boy because it felt safer, but I loved the adventure of making a plan to go somewhere with next to no money in your pocket and relying on the kindness of others to get you to your destination.

Growing up in rural New Brunswick pretty much made all roads hitch hiker friendly. In the country, if someone picked me up that I didn't know, they almost always knew who I was (the potter's daughter), and they would dutifully drop me at my house as if giving a friend a ride home.

Outside of that community, I hitch hiked into Saint John, to Moncton, or to Halifax. Those were the big destinations. Saint John was a 20 minute drive. The time went quickly. Moncton could be a little trickier. For some reason it was always a little more difficult to get to. There was one turn off that you hoped not to get dropped at because it was like a no-man's-land. Halifax was a long haul, but it could always be completed in a day.

One time two friends and I had hitchhiked to Halifax to see some friends and go to a concert. One friend thought we'd better go home that night! (He may have been under the influence of something). Why did I go along with this? I don't know. I do remember arguing with him, but eventually agreeing to go because the three of us travelled together and we agreed to stick together. Plus I didn't want to have to hitch alone the next day.

We headed out of Halifax at 10 o'clock at night (foolish kids). We got a short drive to nowhere, and were then stuck out on the highway near midnight. Well done. There weren't a lot of cars passing by, nor a lot of anything. Eventually we did get a ride. A middle aged man in a large warm and comfy car picked us up. When he heard our plan, he tried to reason with us. My one friend was pretty determined to go home that night, but eventually the driver got through to him. He offered to let us stay with him and then would drive us to the highway in the morning. Um...we declined. We may have been stupid enough to hitchhike that late at night, but we weren't stupid enough to go to a stranger's house.

When the driver realized that we weren't comfortable with that. He offered to pay for a motel room for us. Still we were hesitant, but we were also tired. We agreed, but I admit that we did share some concerned looks when he pulled off the highway into Truro.

As promised, he bought us a room. It was big enough so we could each have our own bed as well. It was incredibly generous. We did get his info in case we were able to scratch together the money to pay him back. I doubt we ever did. I still remember the complete relief when my head hit the pillow. I also remember the long walk back to the highway the next morning.

Fauna's Anniversary

View the Fauna Foundation's blog for some lovely anniversary photos.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Karmavore offers one-of-a-kind vegan-friendly goods | Vancouver, Canada |

Hey, our store got a little write up in the Georgia Straight. Good to see. We had a full page article in the local New Westminster paper and now this. It's all good.

Karmavore offers one-of-a-kind vegan-friendly goods | Vancouver, Canada |

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rubber Ducky half results

Wow that was tougher than I thought. The race went pretty well. It's a nice loop around Burnaby lake (2 loops actually) on soft trail. I don't run on trail too often so this was a nice change, but also a challenging change. There were very few flat straight-aways.  I was always turning left or right, and going up or down. There was no extreme hills. The biggest climb was up about 7 steps to go over the dam.

It was a fun run, and my finisher medal is in the shape of a duck, which is cute and unique.

I also stopped by the Wildlife Rescue booth to chat with the volunteers and get some info. I signed up to volunteer, but we'll see because there is apparently a wait list to volunteer. I really hope I don't have to wait. I've always wanted to volunteer, but have hummed and hawed over what type of volunteer work I should do, and for whom. When I read about Wildlife Rescue there wasn't any doubt that this is what I wanted to do.

So here are my official results.

Final place: 83/230
Place in gender: 28/130
Place in div. (F 40-49. This is a new age division for me! Very exciting.): 7/43
Chip time: 1:57:47
k/pace: 5:35

Woohoo! I'm pretty happy with those results even though it's not even near my p.b. for the season. This run was tough for me!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gigi and Prima. They're such darlings when they're relaxing. Although I do think Prima has a glint of mischief in her eye.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Rubber Ducky half marathon is on! I registered yesterday for the event this Sunday (that's not too last minute is it?).

I went for a run after work last night and I felt great. Even though my hunger was just starting to nag at me, I went for a short, fast run up the hill, across David Ave for a bit before winding back down through some of the side streets. It felt great, and I was feeling very confident with my abilities for this weekend.

The Rubber Ducky half also raises money for Wildlife Rescue that looks after injured wildlife in the lower mainland area. Maybe you could support them by making a donation from the link on the Rubber Ducky half website. You will receive an electronic tax receipt as well.

As for running, I am still a little choked about not being able to run a full marathon. Right now I feel ready to go the distance, but I'm only half way in my training and the season is winding down. Seattle is just over a month away so that's not nearly enough time. Oh well.

The good news is that I'm positive about my running again. Or more specifically, I'm feeling running-fit again. That's a good place to be because it makes me less hesitant to go out and do it.

Now I'm wondering if I started my season too early last year. The Fort Langley Historic half was in February, and then I kind of pushed myself through March and April for the Vancouver half. By the time I got to the Scotiabank in June I was starting to feel less motivated. There are so many great races in the fall to prepare for that I need to consider for next season. If I can keep the momentum I have now then maybe I can take breaks through the spring and summer while thinking about a marathon for next fall.

Portland? I'd love to go to Portland. I'm sure I've mentioned it before.

Anywho...I'll see how the Rubber Ducky goes and then go from there.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mushrooms again?

October is turning into the month of the chanterelle for us. db and I have been dry sauteeing them and then incorporating them into whatever meal we happen to be preparing that night.

We did give some chanterelles to our neighbours upstairs. After all they served us a nice snack of freshly made samosas.  

Here's a ring of chanterelles around our Sunday night pasta. They were very complimentary to the tomato sauce.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Comfort food

Double Root Veggie Burger with Rice cheese and fried and mushroom gravy.

I know I just recently posted a veggie burger photo, but I thought this required another look.  

Recently, I made this burger recipe with grated beets, carrots, squash and sunchokes, mixed together with almonds, nutritional yeast, and some seasonings. However, my first attempt resulted in burgers that were too moist to properly pan fry. I froze the remaining mixture.

This week I added some quinoa quick oats, oat bran, and then baked them in the oven. They turned out beautifully. I mixed up a lime, basil mayo for these burgers to give it an extra something. Not bad.

It was one of those nights when we were both tired and needed a quick meal. This meal did the trick. I used a shitake gravy mix from Road's End Organics. The ingredients are organic, and it basically has everything I would put in my gravy if making it from scratch. It's pretty good when you need something quick.

Well as it turns out I missed the VeganMofo deadline for submitting my blog address. Oh well. I won't be listed with the hundreds of other VeganMofoers, but I'll keep VeganMofoing through October anyway.

It's turning out to be MushMofo, the Mushroom Month of Food. We went out yesterday into the woods. pw came over from Nanaimo. We picked him up at the ferry and headed out to Golden Ears provincial park. We went there in the summer with my brother and his girlfriend, and the woods left an impression on me, especially when we came to the end of the trail out into the UBC research forest. I thought it'd be a good place to return to; an old growth forest full of possibilities and hardly viewed by others seemed right. Well, it didn't turn out as I'd hoped. Plus, the forest was so dry. We still haven't had a great amount of rain. The inedible mushrooms we did find were quite dried out.

db found some Angel Wings. They are like Oyster mushrooms. They were quite abundant in that area. After filling a paper bag half way with Angel Wings, we decided to head back to our house and the woods just behind our house. After all, db and I did find chanterelles there just last week. We had a little rain this week, but not much. However, we decided to head into the woods near our place.

We saw a lot of silver tufts throughout the park. This was the underside of an uprooted tree. 

pw liked the forest right away. He said it looked promising. We tried a few areas and then headed in the general direction that db and I had gone before. It didn't take long before the first chanterelles were found. 

It looks like a woodpecker has been working hard on this log. I get a little distracted when I'm supposed to be searching for mushrooms. 

We must have spent an hour in one area, searching it pretty thoroughly and filling our bags. pw saw another area he wanted to check out so we headed in that direction. Um...then he said he was starting to get a little disoriented. I knew I was for sure,  but was pretty certain we'd find our way out if we walked towards the sun. That's easier said than done when you're just beating around in the bush. I admit I got a little panicky, only because we were losing light.

We did find our way and as always we weren't that far from a trail that led out to the main road. Phew!

That night db and I cleaned up the mushrooms, that took longer than it did to collect them.

here's how we started

Cutting and brushing, cutting and brushing, we worked through our bags of mushrooms. It gave us a chance to make sure we really had all chanterelles as well. We did. There was one or two we were uncertain about so we tossed them.

This is what we ended up with! Chanterelle heaven. 

Guess what's for dinner. Baked squash stuffed with a mushroom rice filling, served with wild mushroom gravy. More photos to come.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

more mofo

Something I've always wanted to do on my blog is include not just the special occasion meals, but my everyday food. Probably the reason I haven't done this yet is because it might be less "exciting" (if my blog can be exciting. The every day usually isn't).  So this is my morning breakfast.

I did make granola for the first time ever. There was a recipe in the Candle Cafe cookbook for granola that looked simple (could granola be any simpler?), and it was.

It tastes freshly toasted and has a nice crunch. I substituted my favorites for some of their ingredients. I opted for dried cranberries over raisins, and pecans over walnuts. I think I may have used agave as well instead of ??? I can't remember now. Or maybe I did half agave and half maple syrup.

As a kid in the 70s, my mom made her own granola. I remember her spreading it out on a cookie sheet and eating it warm from the oven, going for the bigger pieces of sweet rolled oats. I wasn't that crazy about eating it any other time, but I in retrospect I appreciate the work she put into making good food for us from scratch. I envied all my friends with their processed cheese sandwiches with miracle whip, and their Vachon Joe Louis or caramel cakes. I had whole grain bread with peanut butter, or real cheese & real mayo (I was a little non-vegan then), and some fruit of some kind, or maybe some homemade cookies. My lunches always felt so plain and unexciting.
Now I appreciate what my mom did. Because she made everything from scratch (including yogurt) while I was little, I learned about cooking even if I wasn't doing it myself. I learned that the best things are made in your own kitchen. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

What to do with a free day in my week? Bake cookies of course.

I thought I'd officially kick off my veganmofo with something sweet. Peanut Butter cookies were begging to be baked. We had a chocolate/peanut butter combo that db bought and didn't like once he tried it on his toast. It's been sitting in our cupboard for a while now, waiting to become a cookie. Finally, I faced a new cookie recipe, straying from my usual chocolate chip, and some sort of oatmeal & coconut combo. This cookie has it all. It has oatmeal, coconut (in oil form), peanut butter and chocolate chips.

They turned out pretty tasty. Not a bad start to veganmofo at all.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I almost forgot! VeganMofo (vegan month of food) is here. I can't believe how long the list of participants is this year. Was it that long last year? least I had my foody pictures up for last week. Now I've got veganmofo in mind so this month will be mostly about food.

That said, I'll divert away from food for a moment to talk about the great run I had yesterday. I went 16k and felt great.  It was a beautiful sunny fall day as well. My goal was to just go out and run with the ideal being a 16 k distance, but I put no pressure on myself. The time flew. This came after a horrible run the day before when I started to question my running and the reasons for it. That's never a good place to be. Fortunately, db was with me and talked me through it. We were out on the Pitt River dike. It was absolutely packed out there. There was some sort of biking event going on, but I'm not sure what so there was a steady stream of bike traffic.

Cat Shower 2 (Woody Style, very funny and cute) 修行猫ウッディーのシャワー2

I'm so glad my cats don't drink water like this. I've never seen anything like it.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

A vegan in the woods

I praised the rainfall as it ruined my running days because I knew it was providing the forest with some much needed moisture that would get those mushrooms a-poppin'.

some more coral mushrooms, which seemed to be everywhere this time

I had been thinking all week about that spot we had found where the chanterelles were just starting to show. I knew we'd easily find that spot again, and we did. The signs were good. I actually found a chanterelle not far from the main path just as we headed further into the forest. That seemed too easy, but I took it as a good sign. However, when we returned to our spot there was not one chanterelle to be found. We rooted around a bit until I got a little discouraged. We weren't finding much of the edible variety. We found what I think was a nice Boletus mirabilis, but it had a powdery white spot on it. It was still nice to identify.

Sulfur tuft. It looked almost like it glowed in the forest with its yellowy-greenish and translucent cap. No chanterelles?

db and I saw some other people with a bag in hand and knew that this place was probably well picked over.

We headed up a hill and into the forest, looking for the right trees. It didn't take long. db spotted the first chanterelle, and then we were both finding them as we made our way through the forest. We found one particular spot that had a long row of them poking through the moss. It was very exciting. 
freshy dug up and ready for the journey home. 
There are enough mushrooms in the forest for everyone!

The sun was getting low, and I felt we had reaped enough for one outing, but again I know that that particular forest is full of chanterelles. We headed back down the hill through the brush, and were pleased with our bag being fairly heavy with nothing but chanterelles.

We are just now about to sit down and eat them. I'll let you know how they turn out, but I think you already know what my take on them will be. 

 Prima poses with the mushrooms. 

 ready to be dry sauteed and served with pasta

A yummy week

Taco time. I came home from work one night and had a craving for homemade tortillas.

They're so simple to make and so delicious. db made a refried black bean filling and we added sliced avocado, spicy enchilada sauce, and lettuce to complete the tacos. We also tried it with teese nacho sauce. The teese sauce was okay. I never ate nacho cheese when I was vegetarian, or ever, so this nacho sauce idea was a little foreign to me. I prefer the firmer style teese cheeses. 

Next new vegan cheese to try was the delicious daiya. We made pizza. db make separate crusts since I prefer a gluten free crust. Then we top our pizzas with our favorite veggies that are barely visible under that cheesey covering. The daiya melts really well and it's taste is superiour to all others. I actually prefer it uncooked, sprinkled over some pasta.

My next food adventure this week was to make my own burgers. We had fresh beets in the fridge from pw's garden and I was searching for something new to do with beets (something other than borscht, or roasted beets. or grated or sliced thinly into a salad). I came across a burger recipe in our rebar cookbook. Grated beets, carrots, sunchokes, and squash (these last two I subbed for some other veggies) are blended with almonds (recipe calls for hazelnuts, but I had to use what I had on hand), nutritional yeast, tarragon, garlic, and onions. There were some other seasonings in there as well.

These burgers were fantastic! I also seasoned a little vegenaise (the vegan answer to mayo, which is oh so good!) with lime and tarragon. The picture only tells a piece of the story. We were so impressed with these burgers that we had seconds, which is something we never do, but since we had a little salad on the side we had room for more. They were delicious.

I don't have photos of the stir fry or the apple pie db made, but sometimes I just get carried away eating that I forget to take photos.