Friday, April 27, 2012

Cream of (insert vegetable here) soup

So you guys know Ive been on a crusade to learn how to make as many things at home as possible rather than spending money to buy it in stores (cut costs, cut sodium, cut un-pronouncable and undesirable ingredients) and soup seems to be a huge one.

Not for myself, that is, but for many people. There are millions of types of soups on those shelves, and every single one of them can be made at home into cheaper and much healthier versions. I was very lucky that I grew up with a mother that knew how to pinch pennies, and knew how to make soup. Thus, without even knowing it, my mom taught me that homemade soup is the way to go.

I call this recipe the cream of (insert vegetable here) soup. This is how I picture cream of vegetable soup, not like what you get on shelves or in restaurant. My fresh, light, and low-calorie version has nothing to do with the mucusy thick, barely-any-vegetables-there soups that places like Tim Hortons carry. This is so easy to make, so cheap to make, and so healthy to make. And I didnt even mention the tasty aspect. This cost MAYBE 3$ for at least 8 portions of 1 cup to make. So there is NO reason not to try this (and automatically fall in love with it) at home.

  • 1 head of cauliflower (or broccoli, asparagus, medley of veggies, whatever you have) 
  • 1 onion
  • 2-4 potatoes (depending on size)
  • 2 liters of chicken broth (you can use water and add powdered broth as well afterwards)
  • desired spices (I used pepper, a bit of cayenne pepper, and parsley this time)
  1. Roughly cut up your cauliflower, slice your onions, and dice your potatoes. Put into large pot.
  2. Add chicken broth and top with water until pot is full and veggies are submerged.
  3. Boil away until everything is tender (took me about 20 mns)
bubbly wubbly

4.  Strain about two cups of the veggies and put into seperate container. Mash with fork. Reserve. We will later add this to have texture.
mash it real good
5.  Puree with hand mixer or food processor the contents of your pot until it is smooth and without lumps. Add reserved veggies and stir.
6.  Taste and add spices to your liking.


                                               should look something like this

Voila, c'est fini! Easy, no?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday GJE

  1. Hearts in crisp tomatoes
  2. The smell and fresh beauty of a cut lemon
  3. 8.5 months of baby bump in a close friend
  4. puppy playful whine
  5. the crsh-crsh sound of grinding peppercorns
  6. sprouts, sprouts, SPROUTS!
  7. flowers still fresh two weeks later
  8. bursts of laughter at a really silly mistake (DOH!)
  9. a friendly gift of really useful purpose
  10. old/new pantry that will facilitate jam storage

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Poem - Late Night In Zion from Matisyahu

I love Matisyahu. I love everything he writes and produces, I love what he sings for, and how he doesnt give pretense. His rhythms, his lyrics, everything. When I listen to his songs (especially this one) I feel like falling on my knees and just giving thanks and love to God for putting me on this earth to live and see. I feel like this song examplifies the daily fight I have with faith and myself. Its raw, and real. How beautiful to know that although we are so low in our hearts and minds, there can always be grace, safety, and love if we just allow ourselves to trust and give in. Funny how a Chassidic Jew is teaching me about love within faith.

We're the reflection of imperfection,
We come from the infinite place of limitation.
Rejoice in these days, make a correction,
We're the completion.
Lights out, down for the count, can't get up
Meanwhile the enemy screams the boy is stuck,
and the legs of the king are dangling in a rut
Falling pieces, lost sparks, hearts cut.

We're not alone in the madness,
if we're here, then so are you,
Deepest caverns underground,
we've been taken for the truth,
Srape my knees, on the hurdles, face down in the puddles.

The only one who'll get us out of this mess,
The one who put us here.
I've got a spear driven through my ear,
Can't you hear the sound, crystal clear,
Pistols smashing chandeliers.
Long for brooks of water like the dear.

A man is just a man,
Filled of faults and weakness,
Four A.M. Jerusalem all alone and speechless.
Nighttime, nobody's home, roam streets in darkness.
I feel I'm just a man, flesh and bones, homeless.

Planting seeds, they won't sink in.
I'm dried up, like the desert earth, how could these seeds give birth.
Water me down, liquify, I will not be cursed.
From one into a million disperse.

Wisdom reigns like water from heaven to below.
Crush my earth, seeds grow, garden start to grow.
You know you've got to rise, though you like to flow.
You can't keep staring out the window.

Earth, water, wind, fire we stay low while getting higher.
Spark igniter, fighting tired
Stay wired, enlighten loads.
Stay alive, weep wail chant, cry, let out a sigh
Energized, give out my last dime, life shouldn't pass me by.

Rise, to the occasion.
Keep these hearts all blazin.
Build your life on a river of wax.
Melt into space, we've been here since the beginning, not going away.
Not going away.....

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Greek Good Friday

For the first time in my memory (because I'm told I went when I was much younger) I attended Greek Good Friday service. This was quite honestly the most beautiful service I have ever attended, and I think I will be remember it forever.

First of all, I hadn't been to that church (St-Dyonisis) in awhile, and although I love the church of my youth, this was still where my father's service was and the place stirs emotions Id rather not submit myself to regularly. So when I walked in with my grandmother hanging tight to my arm, I was already feeling a little shaky. It was the same as always, with the entrance layed out in the same way.

On the right are the candles you can light when you come in. You cross yourself and light a candle, then head over to the right to the first little altar and kiss an icon of Christ with a Holy Bible under. This Bible is extremely old, and came from Greece, and it has this most beautiful ornate gold cover. Then you head a few steps to the left to a second altar where there is another icon (equally as old and beautiful) and you cross yourself again and kiss it as well. Now you may enter the church proper.

The lights were shut completely off (apart from a small light at the end where the singer was) and the place was dark enough for me to not be able to see completely. There were people sitting in the pews, but everyone was silent, not a word could be heard. Apart from the singer who was singing the Bible. The atmosphere really was filled with sadness, but also anticipation. I had never felt the Bible come to life like this. We walked up the aisle right up the steps to where a huge altar was layed out. On each side were two girls dressed in white, they were angels guarding the tomb of Christ (called the Epitaphios). We crossed ourselves and kissed the central icon, and the ones on both sides, and then backed away until we reached the stairs, where we went down and sat in one of the pews. All in silence. All in the utmost respect for what we had in front of us. My grandmother had to walk back down to go talk to some relatives, and I stayed there and just looked. Looked at the beauty of what was in front of me. Along with the altar, there was a huge wooden cross directly in front of me, with a candle on each of its end. All there was to be heard was the sound of the singer lamenting His death. It was the most beautiful, the saddest, and the most transcending thing I ever saw and felt.

Afterwards, the service began in earnest and there were so many special things laden with solemn beauty. There was a four part stanza (which took about 40 minutes by itself) that lamented the death of Christ and affirmed our belief in His Resurrection, a procession of the little girl/angels, and then we went outside and walked around the block (each of us with a lit candle) with the Epitaphios and the cross and threw petals. Back at the Church, we passed under the Epitaphios, and then the Pater gave his sermon (which was excellent). Afterwards we lined up and each received a handful of the flowers that the Epitaphios was made of.

I feel like this ceremony reaffirmed something inside of me, as well as filled me with reverence for mystical beauty and dignity. I had been giving much thought to the idea of converting to Catholism because of the fact that I lived my life technically more as a Catholic than as an Orthodox, and understood more about Catholism than Orthodoxy. But this service showed me how lucky I am to have been a part of this, that I am proud of my heritage, and that time and time again (apart from the very few churches with traditional mass) I am shown that there is a let down of the sactity and beauty involved in a service. This is how service should be, not a 30 minute rushed affair with cellphones going off.


                        Christos Anesti, Allithos Anesti!

The flowers I received in my crystal bowl (heirloom from my grandmother)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Im in the spirit of the new

So keeping up with trying to get a fresh start, I gave a technical face lift to my blog!

On the right, I have permanent link-ups to NomNom Goodies, to the Leek Geeks, and to my Pinterest.

I reined in all my labelling and confined them to about 15. Much easier to classif everything I write about if they dont have all their seperate labels!

I also want to give myself a schedule. Or attempt to at any case. I already use Wordless Wednesday (I would like them to be images that I have taken, as much as possible), and Sunday GJE (gratitude journal entry). I want to bring back Thursday's Three Small Successes, and also keep up with poetry entries once every week or two. All these things I love to write, read, and most of all express myself with.

I honestly see myself using this blog much more than Facebook, especially in the future. I dont think I would ever delete Facebook (for the communication opportunities with my sisters, and business wise as well), but I like the idea of having this place where I control all input and output, can express my ideas and thoughts and developing philosophy without barriers, and really just diminish the drama that inevitably comes with free speech.

To freedom of expression and a brand new start!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Food Intro

I just want to take this time and blog space to express my extreme happiness at cooking in my kitchen. I cannot find enough things to cook and bake.

I make myself banana bread toast with orange juice and yogurt and strawberries for brekkie, then a steak and fried onions with baked sweet potato and crudites for lunch, and for supper Im preparing chicken stir fry with rosemary sea salt dinner rolls and apple crisp for supper. And as a thank you for Jeff's family for helping us move I made a big pot of cream of broccoli soup with cheddar chive bread.

I am so so thankkful for this space, and its true what they say, about realizing how lucky you truly are when you go without for awhile. Hallelujah!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Finally moved in and settled! We are constantly surprised at the amount of space we have, and I honestly hope I never become jaded at this, and think we need yet more (unless of course we start our family). Its so wonderful to have something as simple as a door closing bring you joy and a happy thought. Ive been walking through our rooms just so I can close the door behind me and later burst out of it to jump on Jeff saying how I havent seen him in so long LOL! It just feels good, liberating, cleansing even to get out of that tiny space into something we can truly breathe in and just live. I want to clean, I want to keep it organized, and I want to do so many things with this space. I think that it is truly important to live somewhere where you can envision change and never to lose the want of being present.

I also feel like Im learning about myself by seeing what I want to do with the space that I have, the colors I want, the decorations and beautifying I want to make, and especially what I dont want. I have a theme and color scheme for every room, and envision it becoming beautiful in my eyes. This may happen in the next month or in the next year, who cares? As long I see it.

My bathroom will be have blues and the ocean as its scheme (funny how I originally thought that was so qu├ętaine, and truly it is), my bedroom will be bright with green, yellow, and blues (almost spring-y). My living room will be warm with a mixture of dark furniture, yellows, oranges, and beige. Plants everywhere. A wall of frames filled with people that we love and bring joy to our lives. My library/study will be a soft shade of eggshell, and it will be cozy. And my art room will have everything and nothing in it, all colors and none, if that makes sense. My backyard will be filled with flowers and a herb bed (the soil is not good for planting edibles, so I will have a plot at the community garden up the street again this year). And best of all? My kitchen. My beautiful kitchen where I can finally move. My last one literally measured my arm span in its entirety. My new one has windows for light and brightness. And an abundance of space. I can walk and turn around and even run if I wanted to. It makes me want to bake and cook and experiment and can even more. I love my home.

Throughout all this space, there is a reccurent color, though it is not a color at all. White is everywhere. White is clean and bright and pure. White is new.White makes colors bounce and liven up. And most of all, white makes the dark just a tad bit better, and emulates light when there is none.

As soon as it is unpacked a little more, I will post pictures!