One thing to another – transformations

To have and to hold:  use a simple business card, fan or napkin holder for books and magazines:

napkin holder
useful for reading recipes
plastic business card holders for some books
A stand-up on typical fan holder

So you love Joan Rivers and you love jewelry – now you can have both!

I bought this hardcover book for a friend who has an appreciation for good humor and jewelry. She makes her own too.

The fan holder works for holding a cookbook open or holding your tablet.

Simple and Satisfying – easy as pie

KEY LIME PIE

I don’t know where the term “easy as pie” comes from because as a rule the crusts are never so easy to make (still working on it) – only the fillings.    I think you`ll find this one surprisingly simple and one of the best tasting.

I picked up a basic recipe in Key West Florida – the birthplace of “key limes” but made it my own.  While key limes are always the best to use they’re a pain to juice and you can’t get the exact same ones here.  Substitute using Persian or regular limes.  They’re less acidic so the recipe is adjusted for taste. Approx 6 large and a couple more for optional garnish.

 Recipe:

Graham Cracker Crust:  ¾ cup of graham cracker crumbs, 2 Tbsp. of melted butter and 1 Tbsp. of sugar.  Mix together in the bottom of a 9” pyrex pie plate.  Pat down and refrigerate.  (this is the same crust used for making new york cheesecake).

Filling: 5 oz of lime juice (if you like it less tart then use 4 oz.)                                               1 can (14 oz.) of sweetened condensed milk                                                                          4 egg yolks                                                                                                                        Grate zest from limes and reserve

With electric mixer combine milk and eggs, then slowly add juice and some of the zest.  Mix thoroughly.

Pour over top of the graham cracker crust.  Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Refrigerate.  Usually best made the night before.

Top with meringue (made with the leftover egg whites) while filling is hot or with whipped cream when cold.  Top either with grated lime zest and decorate with sliced limes and some fruit for appearance sake.

**TIP: Did you know that you can freeze limes?  First zest them and freeze the zest in a separate container so you can use it when you need it.

 

If you make it let me know how it turns out.

Scene in the City: Not to be Seen

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be blind or to have limited vision?              If you had the opportunity to dine in complete darkness would you?  Are you looking for adventure?

Introducing Vancouver’s New Extra Sensory dining Experience:

Already a hit in major cities like London, Paris, New York, L.A. and Montreal, blind dining is finally coming to Vancouver, offering a unique opportunity to experience dining a whole new way – IN THE DARK.

An evening at Dark Table will take you on a culinary journey through uncharted territory, where the familiar – food, drink and friends become a wonder to be explored and discovered, as if for the first time.  Without the sense of sight; the sense of touch, taste, hearing and smell are intensified, allowing a new perception of reality.

How it Works – Upon arrival in the lite lounge, take your time and choose from a first-class menu rivaling some of Vancouver’s best restaurants.  When you’re ready, you’ll be led to your table in the dark dining room by a blind, or visually impaired server who has been trained to ensure your comfort at all times.  Once seated, you’ll have the opportunity to adjust to the darkness and truly give yourself to this extraordinary experience.

No light producing technologies are allowed in the dining room, including flashlights, cellphones or luminous watches.

ABOUT:

LOTS OF SURPRISES ARE ON THE MENU:

So when are you making a reservation?

aWay with Words – colorful quotes and words of wisdom

Fiction was invented the day Jonas arrived home and told his wife that he was three days late because he had been swallowed by a whale – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

From one of my favorite authors – Columbian born GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ.

warning: this post is longer than usual but totally worth the time.

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”

What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” Gabriel Garcia Marquez

aka Love in the time of cholera

All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.”     Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, a Life

Injections are the best thing ever invented for feeding doctors – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“sex is the consolation you have when you can’t have love” – Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

excerpts from some of his most famous books:

“The world must be all fucked up,” he said then, “when men travel first class and literature goes as freight.”― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

“The adolescents of my generation, greedy for life, forgot in body and soul about their hopes for the future until reality taught them that tomorrow was not what they had dreamed, and they discovered nostalgia.”
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Memories of My Melancholy Whores

 “In all the houses keys to memorizing objects and feelings had been written. But the system demanded so much vigilance and moral strength that many succumbed to the spell of an imaginary reality, one invented by themselves, which was less practical for them but more comforting.”
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

 “Although some men who were easy with their words said that it was worth sacrificing one’s life for a night of love with such an arousing woman, the truth was that no one made any effort to do so. Perhaps, not only to attain her but also to conjure away her dangers, all that was needed was a feeling as primitive and as simple as that of love, but that was the only thing that did not occur to anyone.”
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

“Tell me something, old friend: why are you fighting?”
What other reason could there be?” Colonel Gerineldo Marquez answered. “For the great Liberal party.”
You’re lucky because you know why,” he answered. “As far as I’m concerned, I’ve come to realize only just now that I’m fighting because of pride.”
That’s bad,” Colonel Gerineldo Marquez said.
Colonel Aureliano Buendia was amused at his alarm. “Naturally,” he said. “But in any case, it’s better than not knowing why you’re fighting.” He looked him in the eyes and added with a smile:
Or fighting, like you, for something that doesn’t have any meaning for anyone.”
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

There is good reason why his books have been translated into almost every language.

 “لا ينتسب الإنسان إلى أرض لا موتى له تحت ترابها”
غابرييل غارثيا ماركيز, One Hundred Years of Solitude

 “El secreto de una buena vejez no es mas que un pacto honrado con la soledad.”
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

 “but he only found her in the image that saturated his private and terrible solitude.”
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

“Tell him yes. Even if you are dying of fear, even if you are sorry later, because whatever you do, you will be sorry all the rest of your life if you say no.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

 “Amputees suffer pains, cramps, itches in the leg that is no longer there. That is how she felt without him, feeling his presence where he no longer was.”
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

 “He was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.”
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

 “To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else’s heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.”
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

– The magic and wisdom of words –

B Well – time to spice things up!

In the kitchen that is…with the healing properties of spices!

Fall is here and winter is right around the corner so we all need to avoid getting colds.  Spices can help us from getting sick.

If you’re anything like me then you love to cook and eat ethnic foods.  Thai, Italian, Indian and Mexican to name just a few.  For Chinese and Japanese we tend to mostly eat out but you can create some great little dishes at home (more in an upcoming recipe post). It’s fun to experiment.

By Drs. Mehmet Oz & Michael Roizen

WHAT DO SPICY INDIAN CURRY, ZESTY ITALIAN PESTO AND MEXICO’S RICH CHOCOLATE MOLE SAUCE HAVE IN COMMON?  For starters they sure get your taste buds dancing.  But they do a lot more than that.

Tasty ethnic cuisine all-stars like these deliver a heap of phytonutrients that make you younger by avoiding cancer, heart disease, high blood sugar, dementia and more.  Time to visit ethnic street fairs and make creative use out of the herbs and spices hiding in your kitchen cabinet.

 Don’t just eat ethnic sometimes – you can sprinkle more of this good stuff on the foods you eat every day.  Think outside the box, as Dr. Mike does.  He dusts steamed broccoli with cinnamon and spreads bright yellow-mustard (a great source of the super healthy spice tumeric) on everything from celery to grilled salmon.

 Giving your spice rack a workout ranks up there with eating fruit and veggies as “brilliant.”

Take Oregano.  Prized in Italian and Greek cuisine, these tasty little leaves boast 30 times more polyphenols than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges and four times more than that powerful antioxidant called blueberries.  Even a pinch of this herb packs a wallop.  A tablespoon of fresh oregano’s got as much antioxidant power as a medium size apple.

There are others too numerous to mention in this blog but try Tumeric, Cinnamon, Ginger, Garlic and Rosemary for starters.  They are super-spices!

 Our lesson?  Spice things up with whatever you’re cooking tonight.

 *Useful tips: try adding a touch of cinnamon to your coffee in the morning

**Of course to really spice things up you can always wear lingerie while cooking.

Oops…wrong photo!

While we’re on the subject of health:  WHO DOESN’T WANT MORE HAPPINESS?

For the foremost up to the minute health information listen to “Transforming Health” with host Brad King –  live every Wednesday noon (pacific time) and 3:00 p.m. (EST) for the best interviews with leading health professionals in their respective fields.  All on Voice America.com – the leader in internet media.  Learn to double your happiness at:

 http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/64054/double-your-happiness-learn-keys-to-double-your-happiness-no-matter-what-curve-balls-life-throws

 

 

Personal Pinboard – The joy and beauty of books

One of my favorite authors

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face.  It is one of the few havens remaining where a person’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.  ~Edward P. Morgan

I love beautiful coffee table books too and the covers are what always attract my attention at first.  At some point I’ll have to stop collecting them but they’re always captivating to look through.

Here are some of my favorites:

Photography

 

Mapplethorpe photograph of Grace Jones
Mapplethorpe shoes & fishnets
by Kevyn Aucoin – THE makeup artist of his day.

My mom bought me this book by makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin when it first came out years ago.  I  couldn’t make it to the book signing in New York which was unfortunate as I really wanted to meet him.  At the time I was studying esthetics and  makeup artistry at George Brown College in Toronto.

The transformations found inside this large hardcover book are unbelievable. Kevyn was ahead of his time but the same principles apply today.  He made up all the top models and actresses – the photos are gorgeous.  To this day Cindy Crawford credits him with teaching her everything she knows about applying makeup application.

Jessica Lange (the art of makeup)

you can double click on photos to enlarge

Tango and Poetry – same thing
from “TANGO”            the book in both English & Spanish
Travel Books
Cuba
cookbooks that remind me of places
and memories (by the author)
Coffee Culture  filled with interesting information and coffee recipes.

Here’s one I can really relate to – a book about what else?

Coffee! 

Books by Brad King

If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.  ~Toni Morrison

 

 

Okay, maybe not exactly coffee table style but my brother Brad wrote all of them. 

I keep them on my book shelf.

 

Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once.
Audrey Hepburn

I am a drinker with writing problems Brendan Behan

 

INtrigue INsider: back to basics

The Basic Legging

What are leggings?!  We know why women love them but let’s find out what men think of them.

“Leverage your Leggings” by Shaaz Nasir

In the last two years I have witnessed the rise of leggings among North American women. At first, leggings were brushed aside as a mere fad like UGG boots. Then lululemon solidified their popularity.

Ladies, we are going to give you a guy’s perspective on leggings and whether you should wear them. I warn you that my honesty might be perceived as rude. But it’s tough love. Just accept it.

After days of research I still don’t know what they are. Pants? Tights? Soft-core public lingerie? I have come to one conclusion: like financial derivatives, leggings don’t actually have a universally accepted definition. But I will still try my best to show you how and when to leverage your leggings.

Back in University, whenever I approached a question in my international finance class I would always ask myself: “What players are involved, what is the end goal, and what are the basic variables/externalities?” Let’s apply this mindset when approaching leggings. There is a difference between your end goal and what every guy actually perceives. In short, we are going tell you what guys don’t want you to know and what women don’t want to accept.  I am softening the blow you are about receive in the rest of the article. Just breathe and think.

What are the point of leggings?

They look really tight and uncomfortable, but I am told that they are comfortable and easy to put on. Their simplistic design allows women to pair leggings with anything from a basic t-shirt to all out layers/blazers/accessories.

Easy to wear and comfy? What’s not to love!

Let’s be honest. Leggings are an invitation to stare at your ass. For a guy, leggings are like a woman walking around with a sign saying “look at my ass; look at me when I bend down”. Now, I am not saying I do this, but go and ask the average guy. Yeah, you’re just asking for us to stare at you.  (more at link below).

me: Okay, okay enough already.  Better to not ask a guy because it will all come down to sex.  Leave our leggings alone.  What woman who is not a sex trade worker would have the gall to actually wear tight leggings out in public with just a bra top anyway?  Oh…is that so! Well I will still defend my leggings as they are a true wardrobe staple and great for days when I’m feeling just plain lazy casual.  They keep me warm when its cold outside.  I’m sorry to say I’d be lost without them. 

Guidelines

If you wear enough clothes on top with the right length, you may escape accusations of being an attention seeker. Leggings can be partially covered by wearing a large t-shirt, long blouse or fully covered by an outer garment such as a full length skirt.

Garbe Basic Legging

Shaaz is the founder and President of Mindthis. He was born in America, raised in Canada, lived in England and is of Indian heritage. He has work experience from the Federal Government of Canada, Advocacy Groups, and Global NGOs. Currently, he is a Social Media Strategist for Shopify. He is building his career around marketing, economics, and business development at corporations, financial institutions, and marketing/pr agencies around the world.  http://mindthis.ca/leggings/

Every household needs a humble handy helper named Susan

One thing after another, after another…….

As a pre-teen I was hoping to solve exciting mysteries just like Nancy Drew. My mom had kept all of the original hard cover collection and read them herself as a teenager. I was fascinated by this teenage sleuth and read the whole series like there was no tomorrow.  One electrifying story after another.

Now….there is one domestic mystery I want to get to the bottom of and no one seems to have an answer – the case of the Lazy Susan!  

WHO WAS SUSAN, AND WAS SHE TRULY LAZY?  Does anyone know?

Logic dictates that some time long ago, a sloth named Susan inspired an entire galaxy of twirling servers. Who was she and why did she invent these turntable trays that link her forever with an insulting adjective?

It’s a great mystery,” says Sarah Coffin, head of the product design and decorative arts department at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. “I have no idea who first came up with Lazy Susans, although I’ve wondered.”

Keep all your condiments together for easy access.  Looks like I can use one more.

Oh great – still no clues!  So to the best of our knowledge the ‘Lazy Susan‘ as we know it was originally referred to as dumbwaiters, a term today applied to a small elevator for transporting food.  It may have become popular at a time when household servants were in declining supply. In the absence of maids or footmen to refill wine goblets and deliver condiments, diners were forced to reach across the table or interrupt conversation with “pass the crumpets and clotted cream please.” The Lazy Susan helped to solve that problem.

Henry Ford, the car company founder, loved camping out with friends but thought it unseemly to truck his full contingent of servants to the wilderness. Instead, he transported a 9-foot diameter dining table with an immense Lazy Susan mounted on top, so guests could serve themselves. Photos of his 1920s outings, and the table itself, are in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.

The Lazy Susan is now commonly used in many Chinese restaurants among other places to facilitate dishes being shared communally.  Yet no matter how long or how hard the Lazy Susan works, people rarely notice. They’re more interested in what’s on it.

This on fridge top shelf makes it easier to access jams & spreads.  No reaching behind.

How many do you own and how often do you use your LS?

Simple and Satisying – if you build it they will love it.

 FABULOUS FLATBREAD

Thin crust flatbread is healthy too

There is no actual recipe in making these delectable tasting appetizers.  Much like a pizza you can put whatever topping you want.

The trick is getting a thin crust bread or even pita for that matter to start with.

Begin by painting on a thin base layer of either tomato or pesto sauce and build it from there.

Cut into wedges, squares or triangles for serving.

Here are a few recent examples of vegetarian ones I’ve made – both delicious.  Remember there are No Rules.

Pesto:  Pesto sauce (use store bought if you don’t have fresh), sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, artichoke hearts, roasted garlic, parmesan, chilli peppers, lemon zest and olive oil.

Greek: strained tomato puree, thinly sliced onion, pitted kalamata olives, fresh spinach,  fresh tomatoes, sprinkling of pinenuts, feta,  dried oregano and olive oil.

Have fun making them and then receiving lots of compliments.

Scene in the City: Let’s celebrate

Street fairs and festivals.  Vancouver is in fair festival frenzy.  This past Saturday alone there were two good ones. So how come there was little or no advertising and then why two in one day?

Not that I’m complaining as I’m always looking for a party but it cut my day in half as I noticed a fair while on my way to a festival.  Here’s a recap:MexicoFest in conjunction with Independence Day in Mexico took place outdoors at the new downtown Vancouver Convention Centre.  Many people and what seemed like all of Vancouver’s Mexican population were there for the live shows (best mariachi I’ve heard in ages), food, arts & crafts and dancing.  It was a wonderful opportunity to discover the diverse cuisine, musical tradition, artistic heritage, and tourism destinations of this fascinating county and its people.

It was a beautiful series of cultural, culinary and social events with a big centre stage and many rotating performances.  I’m sorry to have missed the ballet Mexcaltital as I’m sure it was excellent.

View from Convention Center – Canada Place
Kids enjoy making street grafitti- this is how it all starts.

West End Fest (formerly called Davie Days) took place all along Davie street which was closed to traffic from Burrard to Denman.  White tented vendors lined the streets and there were several music stages with live performances and lots of food.  Tiny bubbles, roller blading, buskers, animals and kids.

Kid at heart

It’s always interesting along Davie at the best of times so this just made it that much more FUN.

Then it was off to Enigma restaurant on West 10th to see Sybil Thrasher, our local entertaining jazz/blues singer extraordinaire!  Our own Billy Holiday.

Until next year….