Environment… Activate! Throwback Fort Mac.

I purchased two things today. One was to protect my brain. The other to protect my home.

The first, I wont say much about; I bought a helmet. I do way too much cycling in a city where drivers shouldn’t actually have drivers liscences to be wearing a helmet with a crack in it from about 1970. Not cool. So I got a new one. It’s pretty. And keeps my noggin in tact.

The other was a membership to the Wilderness committee. This is not in fact what I had set out to do this morning, but they had such good sales tactics, how could I not. Their brains are CLEARLY in tact. An environmental activism group set up in the lobby of MEC in North Vancouver, and they are handing out fresh baked cookies AND they are two hot guys?? Really, I mean how could you not stop and chat at least. So I stopped, he gave me his shpeal, and I walked away with a membership.

On my way home however, I thought a bit about what we had chatted about. I told him I was from Fort McMurray; he asked about it; I gave him some insight on what it’s actually like up there, or at least what it once was like, and dispelled the propaganda he was living by. It was fairly successful. But me being me, and being a bit slow, I kicked myself a bit, because I realized there was more that I should say. SO I’ll write it here instead….

Yes, Fort McMurray is a drug and crime ridden town, and yes there is some shit that goes down there. But where doesn’t shit go down? And doesn’t most of Alberta and Indeed, many other places besides have similar ideas about what oil’s role in the world is? Do you drive a car? Do you buy ANYTHING with plastic packaging. Do you paint your walls? If you live in a city, it’s highly likely that you and your idealistic ideas about oil can just go straight to jail, do not pass go and do not collect 200 dollars. Because you and I are a living lie. I try to be good. I fail a lot. I get plastic bags at the grocery sometimes. I bought a helmet made of PLASTIC AND STYROFOAM today for petes sake. But…one step at a time. My point is this….

its great that groups like the wilderness committee are promoting environmental activism, and its great that they are trying to save the BC parks and wilderness, but where does the water that feed this wilderness come from? It comes from the same place that the oil comes from: The Mackenzie Watershed and the Athabasca River feeding into the muskeg lands of Northern Alberta and making its way into the Canadian Arctic into the ocean, and Voila! into our tap water. Hmm…intriguing. So yes, it is great that we are aware here in BC where it is relatively easy to keep our easy-growing rain-forest lush and beautiful, but what about the fragile north; what about the frozen tundra; what about the delicate wetlands; what about the barren alpine regions; what about the southern Alberta desert? It is more important that ever to keep these way-points clean and working. And the way to do that, as we are seeing is to have people who are aware, and actively care about the environment living in these areas. In my opinion, if they don’t the problem will likely just propagate, the social structure will diminish, the health and wellness of citizens will decline, and the whole caring about the earth thing will just go straight to shit. It’s what has happened in good old fort Mac I am quite sure. When I lived there, there was nice young families, people taking care of the trail systems, and recreating and being healthy. Not so much now, and I believe this is because it got too hard. I am partially to blame; I left. I cared about that area and I left. And other people took my place, who don’t care. I even encouraged my friends to leave as well, who also cared. And people took there places who didn’t. We left because it was too hard. We wanted to be around people who also cared, and go to those places that were easier to care about. But it’s so much more important up there! I am truly worried about it. The Wood Buffalo Region is truly beautiful, and deserves to be treated as such. It deserves people to be using the land for healthy activities who respect it and enjoy the area for all it has to offer. And we cant expect the people working in the oil sands to treat this area well if they don’t care for it. How do we do this?

It starts with caring for yourself. Be active; use the landscape to keep you active. Run up a hill. Reduce morning traffic by riding your bike or carpooling. Care for the food you put in your body. Make sure you know where it is coming from and how you prepare it. Chances are if it is healthier for you, it was healthier for the land it was reaped from.

Care for your home. Keep a nice house and situate it around your friends. Make sure it is easy to get places by foot, bus or bike. Build yourself around your community; dont expect your community to build itsself around you.

If you care for your home, you will probably want your community to be nice as well. You will pay more attention to issues at hand, and be more involved, thus leading a more active, social lifestyle, be more aware of social justice issues, and more concious of your environmental choices.

Travel. You never know how to care for your own area if you dont see how it is affected by everything else in the world. Because it is. And I mean everything.

I think it is so important for a community to be aware, and to be invested in its future. It is for this reason, I encourage you to settle somewhere that maybe there are not like-minded people to yourself. Be a pioneer. Start the change in the community of your choosing. Sure, its lovely living in a place like Vancouver where everyone is all nice and hippy-dippy-trippy. But I challenge you to be a pioneer; start a revolution. Its got to start in the dirty oil mining towns. Skim off that layer of oil and see the beauty in the town!

And buy a helmet. I know they are made out of plastic, but they will save your brain, and we need brains like yours to go out there and make a difference 🙂

And with that, I will leave you with the recipe for my lunch. Its a beautiful sunny day, and I’m craving a drink. Instead I settled with procrasti-blogging and making a delicious drink inspired salad. Bottoms up!

Mojito Salad

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Half a cucumber

Half a Nectarine or peach or stone fruit of your choosing

5 leaves fresh mint, minced

2 tsp Hemp hearts

2 tsp shredded unsweetened coconut

zest of half a lime

Juice of half a lime

sprinkle of sliced almonds

Mix er up, down that salad, feel good about yourself, and go be active!

Cheers,

H

A Solitary Siesta… And Lemons because Who Doesnt Like Lemons

Well, I’m doing just great with this whole “lets start a blog” thing. I think its a great idea, and then the problem is, I get so caught up in the fun and stress of actual life, that I don’t bother to sit down and write some things up for a blog. Ah well, it must just mean I am having too much fun for my own good.

Anyways, I thought I would use this post to write a bit about a recent trip that I took to Saltspring Island. I have been wanting to do a solo bike trip to Saltspring for a while for a couple of reasons.
1. I need to get out of the city periodically
2. I love Saltspring and it holds quite a few childhood memories for me
3. I wanted to see what travelling alone is like and it seemed like a good idea to go somewhere familiar for the first one.

My travel Buddy Maurice waiting for the ferry with me.

My travel Buddy Maurice waiting for the ferry with me.

Turns out, I love every single part of travelling alone. Well, not completely alone; I had my trusty steed Maurice along with me the whole time! And what a good travel companion he turned out to be!
Travelling alone is not so lonesome as one would believe it to be. I had time to be with my own thoughts, and work some things out in my head (One of the reasons I generally like running, biking etc alone), I didn’t have to wait or hurry for anyone, and if things went wrong I had only to blame, and only myself to be responsible for. It was at this point of things going wrong that I realized; This is the reason I get stressed out over pretty much anything. For instance, when I drive, I never road rage when I am in the car by myself, although frequently when driving someone else somewhere. When studying, I am fine by myself, but get frustrated quickly when trying to understand something with a study buddy. I always liked individual time trial starts better than mass starts or relay races when I ski raced. It goes on…

A solitary breakfast. The best way to start the day

A solitary breakfast. The best way to start the day

And from this, what have I learned? I like to think that since this “revelation” I have become a slightly more tolerant person, and less concerned about things that happen that may be out of my control. I’ll just let it happen, because if I was by myself that’s what I would do.

Take a chill pill, Hil! That’s the motto of the day! Easier sad than done, but since my little soul searching trip I figure it seems to work! Why? Well, I seem to have made a number of new friends and acquaintances since then, be getting along better with my family, and being less stressed throughout the day.
It may not work for everybody, but for me, why not?

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And with that, I will leave you with a recipe that I am in the process of creating. Please try it out, let me know what you think, and help me out! I am trying to recreate a lemon loaf at a coffee shop that I like to frequent. It has been taking a bit of a chunk out of my wallet lately so I have been experimenting with my own. It turned out a little bit dry, so next time I think I will cut the flour out completely and add a quarter of a cup of ground oats. We’ll see…

1/2 C Soft Margarine
1/2 C Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 C Applesauce
Grated Rind of 1 lemon
1 C Flour (Cut this out, and add 1/2 C ground oats)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 C Milk
1/2 C Millet
1/2 C Shredded Coconut

Mix wet together and dry together and combine in a bowl. Bake in a 350 degree oven in a parchment lined loaf pan. Pour glaze over hot cake and let it sit for a while.

Glaze
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/3 C Granulated Sugar

Like I said mine turned out a bit dry, most likely because millet likes to suck up all moisture ever. Please try this recipe out and tweak it yourself; then let me know what you did and if it turned out!

Cheers!
-H

Hot cross buns and sad rainy days

I love Holidays. I love traditions, I love fighting with my family, I love going home (When I actually get to), and I especially love the food.  I have been feeling a bit stale lately. I’m kind of sick of where I am living, I am bored of school, I am frustrated with having to take the bus everywhere, I’m starting to resent my job, and my usual recipes are getting boring, and I’m not trying new things.

So, after a horrendous midterm this morning, and a walk through a monsoon to get to the transit, I decided it was high time I took a day to spend at home baking. SO I went home, found a recipe and got going. Coincidentally, I also managed to find one that used:

a) my favorite ingredients of all time (Earl grey, cherries, and citrus)

b) Healthy stuff

c) something new… YEAST!

Now, although I bake a ridiculously large amount, I don’t actually ever

bake with yeast. It’s new to me, and to be honest a little scary. But I made it work! Granted, it didn’t all go as planned, but when do things ever do in the kitchen? The recipe called for a wet, sticky dough and mine was definitely firm, and floury, and not at all what it was supposed to look like. But it somehow managed to work!

It’s what I love about baking; even if you screw up royally, you can usually figure out some sort of fix…unless you’ve gone and put something moldy in there. That shit’s not gonna fly. Don’t do that. I didn’t, for the record. I’m just saying. Don’t do it.

So I made these Hot cross buns. And they were glorious. Just the pick me up I needed. Took me all day, and managed to get some readings away and finished in the wait times! Perfect!

I found this from 84th and 3rd. Thanks for the amazing recipe! Check out her amazing blog Here:

http://84thand3rd.com/2012/04/03/sour-cherry-orange-and-earl-grey-hot-cross-buns/#

Cherry, Orange and Earl Grey Hot Cross Buns

Ingredients:

1 c boiling water plus extra water as needed
1 earl grey tea bag

1 packet dried yeast [7g or 2 1/4 tsp]
2 c organic unbleached white flour plus 1/4 c extra
2 c organic stone ground whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cardamom [or 1 tsp each cardamom and cinnamon]

1/4 c neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil

2 eggs

1/2 c dried sour/tart cherries, diced or quartered
1/2 c orange peel from 1 large orange, diced

For crosses:
1/4 c unbleached white flour
2-3 Tbsp water

For glaze:
2 Tbsp marmalade

I changed a couple of things. I added some chopped pecans, more cherries, cu

rrants, and lemon peel. I also changed the cross to have some sugar, vanilla and lemon juice in it, and in the glaze I added some sugar, lemon juice and vanilla, and put it on 10 min before I took them out of the oven!

Go to http://84thand3rd.com/2012/04/03/sour-cherry-orange-and-earl-grey-hot-cross-buns/# to learn the method, and new kneading techniques.

Here is the finished product:

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Mmmmmmm…..prefect end to a not so perfect day. A cup of tea, and a hot cross bun.

Happy Rain day!