Feel-good Friday: Seize the Moment

The Blue Heron knows how to stand out in the crowdblueheron1

He stands elegantly and silently in wait and so very patient in the momentblueheron2

Nothing seems to bother him.  He’s so intent and focused that he doesn’t even notice his own reflection

He appears to be in a trancelike stateblueheron3

But he can act quickly when the time is right.  He composes himself again as gracefully as he dips his beak beneath the surface

It’s only when he’s ready to move on that he decides to take flightblueheron4

If only we could be more like him

photos/words: d. king

Creativity is the Blue Heron within us waiting to fly; through her imagination, all things become possible.”― Nadia Janice Brown (unscrambled eggs).






Trending: Vinyl

Vinyl will outlast more than CD’svinyl

Another latest fashion trend is wearing vinyl.  I have to give some thought to this look as I’m not totally sold on it although it can be sexy depending on how you wear it and what you wear it with.  A little can add a seductive touch of ‘Belle de Jour’ to your Fall/Winter look. It can appear sophisticated or….otherwise.  

Spotted at shows like Loewe, Dior, Isabel Marant and Lanvin.

From left to right: Nina RicciLanvin et Isabel Marant  (My preference is for Nina Ricci but basically I like what the model is wearing underneath the coat.  The Lanvin trench looks a little goth but the model pulls it off because she’s tall & elegant and the model wearing Isabel Marant can wear anything I mean check out the pants because she has a confident edge and she’s cool).

Fashion is Fun.  It’s what you make of it.  If you own it, you can pull off just about anything.

That’s my fashion advice for the week!

*Seen also at Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, Courrèges, Anthony Vaccarello…

Source: French Vogue


Style: Breathe Easy

Fall is the season for changing leaves, transformation and Galas.

Gala events of which there are plenty, always go to support a worthwhile cause.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is one of them

The Invite
The Invite

CF is a multi-organ disease primarily affecting the lungs and digestive system of children and young adults. Ultimately, most CF deaths are due to lung disease.

I always look forward to going to the Annual 65 Roses Gala because not only does it help fund research and clinical care here in BC and Canada but overall it’s a great evening with good food and a fun crowd where you get to dress up, mingle and dance.

This year we pay homage to the glitz and glamour of the roaring twenties and the Gatsby era. Flowing champagne, glamorous guests (of course) and stunning décor will set the stage for a fundraising event like no other.

If you live in Vancouver and would like to attend there are still some tickets available. Cost is $300 per person.  You can purchase tickets online at www.65rosesgala.com or call 604.436.1158gala2

Or you can send a cheque if you prefer. This is not my usual pattern to ask for cash donations but hey; it is such a good cause I decided to go ahead because I know many of you will and it will be extremely appreciated.

There is no cure, but there is hope!

Help us breathe hope into a world with NO cystic fibrosis.  Then we can all breathe easier.

This was from an event last week at the Vancouver Holt Renfrew – an evening in support of CF.  All the Holts across Canada gave a portion of any shopping proceeds from the evening to CF.  I’m with my friend Colleen (who has CF and received a Heart/double Lung transplant 27 years ago – her surgeon was knighted) acting a bit goofy in a somewhat animated photo booth set up in the store.  So it was fun to have a another good reason to shop.

So thank you in advance for whatever you decide to do to help out.  XO

Food: Spiced Out

The Joy of Cooking with Spicessamantha7

I’m a spice freak.  I mean what would food be like without a little spice added to it?  I use it to enhance the natural flavor of whatever I’m cooking, not to disguise it.  Like a healthy relationship, the two should really complement each other.  I have tons of spices in my pantry and enjoy mixing and matching but lately there are a few one-step-wonder blends that make it especially easy to accompany a wide variety of dishes.

Like the ones my new friend Samantha makes from scratch.

Samantha in the kitchen
Samantha Mcleod in the kitchen

The EATHICAL series. It’s like spice mix for dummies.  You can’t go wrong.  Not only do they make your life easier and smell fantastic but they will improve the overall taste of your meal. You’re making Italian for dinner – grab don’t pinch The Italian.  You’re making fish – go for The Seafood and so forth.  They’re healthful wonderful spices.  For instance The Mango Curry  is made of turmeric, coriander, cumin, garam masala (a spice mix of its own which includes cardamon, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg), onion, garlic, amchur (made from dried unripe green mangoes) sea salt & chilies.

samantha3Samantha is a freelance writer and blogs about foods, sustainability and ethical businesses for The Province, a local newspaper in Vancouver and has her own website.  I met her at a barbeque..of sorts..one which she catered for twenty five people and made nine special courses, ALL from scratch, gourmet style.  Definitely not your run-of-the-mill barbeque even though I like those too (after all I want to get invited to more barbeques).  It was just unexpected and extremely delicious.  And since five people never showed up I picked up some leftovers the next day (only to help out of course).  Then she told me about her spices….which I needed to get my hands on.samantha4

One of the many courses
One of many courses

So I just had to tell you because I get inspired by stuff like this.  Good food and good people mix together very well.

Soon you’ll be able to buy these spices at a local specialty store near you.

Samantha McLeod is a global travel and food writer organizing sustainable, organic and gluten-free culinary tours worldwide.

Check out her website: Eathical.ca

Sidenote: my sister just got back from Spain & Morocco and of course she brought me back saffron and a Moroccan spice mix which I just used (in my new clay tagine from Marrakesh) to make Moroccan chicken.  It saved me a whole lot of time because the spices you need to use are plentiful.

Just before going in the oven
Just before going in the oven
Just coming out of the oven
Just coming out of the oven
Plated on an individual serving tagine
Plated on an individual serving tagine over cous cous.

Spices take you on a little holiday.  Last night I went to Morocco.  Tonight it’s Italy.  Tomorrow, India! 

It’s called Spice Travel!  Where are you off to next?

Hermès at Work – What Lies Behind

Whether it be scarves, handbags, watches, saddles, porcelain or clothing  the world of Hermès is made up of style, art, history and luxury at its finest.

The Trademark Orange Thread
My favourite colour – The Trademark Orange Thread
The Saddle
The SADDLE that brings out the equestrian side in all of us
The Saddle Maker
The Saddler, a designer in his own right

The quest for excellence best describes any Hermès objet désirable…and they come in many fabrications or manières, as the French call it. The incomparable workmanship  requires skillful hands with intelligent minds.  It takes time, material, tools, talent and attention to the tiniest detail to produce anything from this famous French house.

The silk roller meticulously adds the finishing touches with silk thread to every scarf.
The silk roller meticulously adds the finishing touches with silk thread to every scarf
A Silk Print
A Silk Print for a scarf

It comes with a price of course, but anything worthwhile does.

I’ve always been curious about the unrivaled craftmanship behind the name, so it was totally amazing to rendez-vous with some of the experts who help produce the famous scarves, handbags, watches, saddles, gloves and porcelain.

The pop-up traveling exhibition was in Vancouver at the Jack Poole Plaza by the Olympic Cauldron with the beautiful mountain backdrop for only five days, September 21-25th.  Whoever was lucky enough to step inside got a little glimpse into a unique world with live on site demonstrations by authentic craftspeople all of whom are of French descent with cute French accents.

Porcelain from Start to Finish
Steps for Porcelain Plates on their way to completion
The Porcelain Painter. They are decorated near Limoges in France.
The Porcelain Painter. They are decorated near Limoges in France.
The Watchmaker keeps time ticking with hundreds of miniscule components.
The Watchmaker keeps time ticking with hundreds of miniscule components.


I have a new found appreciation for my Hermès silk scarves since I know the steps towards completion are time consuming and numerous.  I have yet to come across a silk scarf so lovely.  Or a handbag, or a multitude of other things come to think of it. 

The Glover
The Glover transforms a Skin into a Second Skin
Finished Silk Scarf
Finished Silk Scarf
The Kelly Bag
The Graceful Kelly Bag

The finished product in all its perfection

Photos: d. king

 Have you seen it?

**And, if that wasn’t enough I got a smile from both Will & Kate and a wave from Kate (a royal bonus) from the car they were in (their window was completely rolled down) when their motorcade passed by on the way to visit Vancouver Coastguard.  I was out walking my dog in the direction of the Coastguard at the exact time they passed by.  I was not with the tons of people waiting by the sign that said “viewing area”.  My dog was sitting down where the cars were passing by wearing his bright red bandana.  I was all in leather.  I think we attracted their attention (I like to think of it that way).  A couple was standing beside us and they couldn’t believe it.  A little bit of magic for our Sunday. So I bought a lottery ticket right after.  If  you don’t see any more posts I’ll be in the Bahamas!  I heard it’s better there.


Timing is everything. I watched this movie entitled appropriately…..About Time.abouttime1

It’s been out for a few years but that’s okay because a few years is nothing when it comes to time travel.  It’s about going back in time to try and correct whatever you feel needs to be corrected.  For some reason this movie struck a chord.  Did you already guess that?

I mean who wouldn’t want to have the opportunity to right your wrongs (providing you have any) – or change the future as tempting as that sounds?

Anyway, I had a really well deserved lazy evening recently  where I scrolled through a long list of movies and this light Rom-Com is the one that appealed to me. It was exactly what the evening called for.

So if you loved “The Notebook”,  “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, “Notting Hill” and “Bridget Jones’ Diary” my guess is that you’ll love this too.

It’s about a 21 year old young man who finds out from his father that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time.  He can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life-so he decides to make his world a better place…by getting a girlfriend. Sadly, that turns out not to be as easy as you might think.

Moving from the Cornwall coast to London to train as a lawyer, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) finally meets the beautiful but insecure Mary (Rachel McAdams). They fall in love, then an unfortunate time-travel incident means he’s never met her at all. So they meet for the first time again-and again-but finally, after a lot of cunning time-traveling, he wins her heart. Tim then uses his power to create the perfect romantic proposal, to save his wedding from the worst best-man speeches, to save his best friend from professional disaster and to get his pregnant wife to the hospital in time for the birth of their daughter, despite a nasty traffic jam outside Abbey Road. But as his unusual life progresses, Tim finds out that his unique gift can’t save him from the sorrows and ups and downs that affect all families, everywhere.  There are great limits to what time travel can achieve.

So is it best to leave everything up to fate..or tamper with it if you could?  Hmmmm……

What do you think about that?


Maybe I’ll watch it again….sometime



Health Benefits of Nori

You know…the Seaweed that wraps Sushi

Getty  (this resembles an ART piece)

although it is also used as a garnish, for flavoring noodle dishes and soups, or as a health supplement. Indeed, as the nutritional value of nori continues to come to light, more and more health food stores worldwide are beginning to sell it in fresh or dried form.

From LiveStrong Website
Photo: LiveStrong Website

List of Health Benefits

And the benefits abound: Seaweed (specifically nori, the kind usually used for seaweed snacks) is a cocktail of nutrients, including high levels of vitamins A and C, and calcium. Vegans can rejoice in the fact that it’s one of the only natural, non-animal sources of vitamin B-12, which is essential for many cognitive and bodily functions. In addition, sea vegetables tout particularly high amounts of iodine, potassium, selenium, iron, and magnesium—unrivaled by land vegetables, as these minerals are especially concentrated in seawater.

Rich in protein – 100 grams of nori contain between 30 and 50 grams of protein, making it one of the plant world’s richest sources of protein and comparable in density to spirulina, chlorella, and soybeans. Protein is needed for building and repairing muscles, building enzymes and antibodies, and cell maintenance and growth.

Lowers cholesterol – According to a study published in the June 2001 edition of the British Journal of Nutrition, when rats that were on an otherwise high-cholesterol diet were fed nori, their LDL cholesterol levels lowered, suggesting that nori plays an important role in stabilizing cholesterol levels. Perhaps this is because nori is surprisingly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are well-known for reducing LDL cholesterol. They also help lower blood pressure, therefore making nori excellent for the cardiovascular system.

Dietary fiber – Nori is comprised of approximately 33 percent dietary fiber, making it an effective laxative. Also, since high-fiber foods have the ability to make you feel full for longer, nori is also a good weight loss food (a fact that is reinforced by its low calorie and fat content).

Lowers cancer risk – A study published in the May 2010 edition of the British Journal of Nutrition found that the regular consumption of nori was linked to lowered rates of breast cancer for menopausal and pre-menopausal women. This is unsurprising, since nori is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C that help neutralize the cancer-causing effects of free radicals.

High in iron – 100 grams of nori contain approximately 88 percent of our recommended daily intake of iron, making it an extremely rich source of this much-needed mineral. Furthermore, a Venezuelan study published in 2007 for the Journal of Nutrition showed that nori, unlike many grains and beans, doesn’t contain phytates, which can drastically lower the absorption rate of iron.

Improves bone health – 100 grams of nori contain 280 milligrams of calcium (28 percent of our RDI) and 300 milligrams of magnesium (85 percent of our RDI). While we all know that calcium is good for the bones and is needed to prevent osteoporosis, lesser-known is that fact that we also need magnesium to help absorb it. Since nori contains sizable quantities of both, it is the perfect bone-builder.

Impressive iodine content – Sea vegetables are the plant world’s premier source of iodine, and nori doesn’t disappoint. 100 grams of it contain approximately six milligrams of this extremely important mineral. Indeed, according to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), one sushi roll wrapped in nori contains 92 micrograms of iodine, which is close to an adult’s RDI of 150 micrograms. Iodine deficiencies are very common in the West and can lead to serious conditions such as goiter and hyperthyroidism.

Aside from the nutrients already mentioned, 100 grams of nori also provide us with vitamin A (288 percent of our RDI), thiamine (60 percent), riboflavin (194 percent), niacin (78 percent), folate (475 percent), as well as impressive levels of phosphorous, potassium, zinc, and vitamins C, E, and K.

Source: Michael Ravensthorpe. He is the creator of the website, Spiritfoods, through which he promotes the world’s healthiest foods.


I use nori as a topper in a homemade miso soup base.  I start with a soybean paste that is GMO free (getting non-GMO is harder to find these days but if you look hard you’ll find it). Sometimes added chicken stock and then add vegetables (baby bok choy, spinach, broccoli, a little soy, rice noodles, shichimi spice and toasted seaweed.  It is fairly quick, nutritious and delicious.  It sure beats the miso soups you get at any Japanese restaurant.

If you want to know the difference between Kelp and Seaweed:

Seaweed is a very, very broad term that is used to describe the many marine plants and algae that live in the world’s waters. Kelp is actually a subgroup of seaweed and is also the largest form of seaweed. Seaweeds range in size from the microscopic to the massive, while kelp are so large and complex that they form massive underwater forests. You may have seen this marine plant at the beach. Kelp is a type of large brown seaweed that grows in shallow, nutrient-rich saltwater, near coastal fronts around the world. It differs slightly in color, flavor, and nutrient profile from the type you may see in sushi rolls. It contains:

  • iron
  • manganese
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • copper
  • zinc
  • riboflavin
  • niacin
  • thiamin
  • vitamins A, B-12, B-6, and C

What about too much Iodine?

The key is to get a moderate amount to raise energy levels and brain functioning. It is difficult to get too much iodine in natural kelp but this could be an issue with supplements.

Do you eat Nori or Kelp?

Feel-good Friday: FALLing

But then fall comes,


kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favourite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.” ― Stephen King, Salem’s Lot.

And then there’s all the colourful Autumn Bounty – Market Freshfallbounty2fallbounty3fallbounty4fallbounty1“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallowsfallbounty5

“Know that transformation sometimes begins with a fall. So never curse the fall.”
―  Yasmin Mogahed, Reclaim Your Heart: Personal Insights on Breaking Free from Life’s Shackles

Photos (autumn bounty): Colleen Kohse

Have a good FALL!

Style: STIRR it UP

What goes around comes around…


Were you lucky enough to remember wearing STIRRUP PANTS in the 80’s?  I do.  I wore mine a lot, usually with a long cardigan over top.

No, this is not me. It's SJP and you know if she's wearing them they're definitely in style.
No, this is not me (as if). It’s SJP and you know if she’s wearing them they’re most definitely in style. 

The Mellau Tights from Totême (New York) look pretty sophisticated.  Wear them with heels and an oversized shirt or pair them with flats and your favorite knit.  I might be ready to embrace this trend once more, especially when I see these women wearing them.  I was so over the stirrup, but what’s nice is that stirrup pants or tights never ride up.  At the same time I think this trend is catching on slowly and I’m not so sure how long it will last.  Still… 

Pretty in Pink Rihanna caused quite a stir on Good  Morning America.

Rihanna arrives to promote her animated movie 'Home' on 'Good Morning America' in Times Square, Manhattan. Photo: Jose Perez
Rihanna arrives to promote her animated movie ‘Home’ on ‘Good Morning America’ in Times Square, Manhattan.  Photo: Jose Perez

Of course she can get away with wearing anything.

For the rest of us:stirrup3


Are YOU ready to join this trend?

FOOD: What’s new with Nori?

If the only time you tend to eat NORI (dried seaweed) is with sushi, you’re missing out.

Sablefish over Nori
Sablefish (marinade is my own recipe) over Nori in cast iron pan

You probably know nori best as the paper-like dark green wrapping that keeps pieces of sushi neatly — and deliciously! — contained.

There was a time when I made sushi from scratch (not the seafood part, but the assembling of it all with rice, nori & wasabi and then rolling and cutting it to make California rolls or tuna maki, etc.  It was a way of being artistic as top sushi chefs are artists of a sort.  Also I wanted to impress my parents after living in Tokyo by making them sushi…..which at the time, they weren’t used to at all.  My mom hated raw fish and spit it out when I wasn’t looking.

However in Vancouver Japanese sushi restaurants are a dime a dozen plus it was costing me more to make it, so I stopped. The other day I marinated Sablefish overnight.  The next day as I was preparing to cook it I realized I had some sheets of Nori that were unopened. Hmmm…..what can I use them for now that I no longer make sushi? Without using any specific recipe I decided to place the Sablefish over top of a few Nori sheets and bake it in the oven.  I knew from toasting nori in the past over a stovetop that it would probably toast in the oven too.  But I wasn’t completely sure of the outcome.  End result: nice & tender perfectly cooked fish with Asian Marinade and crispy seaweed.  The combo was quite yummy and my two guinea pigs were very pleased.

Asian Marinade of
Asian Marinade of soy, sake, mirin, sesame oil, chopped fresh ginger, garlic & a bit of honey, patted dry before baking. Side of steamed baby bok choy & little boiled potatoes with fresh herbs & butter.

So I decided to check into how to use Nori for other recipes.

Nori Sheet
Nori Sheet

How long does it keep, How is it made & Where can you buy it?

These crisp sheets of mild grassy-tasting seaweed last forever in the pantry packaged in an airtight container or ziplock bags and can come in handy when you just need “a little something extra” to perk up a weeknight meal. If they start to lose their crispness, you can re-toast them (carefully!) over the flame on a gas stove (as I have done in the past).

Nori is made by shredding edible seaweed and then pressing it into thin sheets — much like the process for making paper. You can find packages of it at any Asian grocery store, Whole Foods, and more and more frequently these days, regular grocery stores. Nori that is sold as “plain” or “toasted” is the most versatile sort for our cooking purposes.

It also comes with a whack load of healthy benefits.  (I will post this separately – ups).

Other ways to use it:

  1. Crispy Nori Snacks: Crisp those sheets of nori a little more, and by golly, you have yourself some nori chips!
  2. Furikake Seasoning: This blend of nori and sesame seeds makes a simple rice dish taste like it came straight from a restaurant kitchen. It’s *easy to make yourself at home.
  3. Soup and Rice Bowl Topper: Add a little extra crunch to your next bowl of soup or rice. Toasted Nori – These thin sheets of pressed seaweed crisp up beautifully after a few minutes in a low oven or toaster oven, then you can crumble them on top of a bowl of soup. Brush the top with water for even crispier sheets! Slice nori into thin ribbons and sprinkle away. Also try using it over omelets, baked fish, salads, steamed vegetables, and anywhere where you might like nori’s crisp texture.

*Vegetarian Furikake Rice Seasoning

2 sheets toasted nori seaweed
1/4 cup toasted white and/or black sesame seeds.(You can just use whole sesame seeds, but I like to include both whole and ground for added texture).
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Toast the nori over a low flame or burner, waving each sheet over the burner until it crisps and the color changes. Using scissors, cut into small pieces.

With a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder, combine 1/8 cup sesame seeds, salt, and sugar.

Combine nori with ground sesame seed mixture and remaining 1/8 cup whole sesame seeds. Store in an airtight container.

To serve, sprinkle over or mix into rice or noodles.

What other ways do you like to use nori?

Source (for other ways): thekitchn.com

Photos: d. king