"My mind sees that I am nothing, my heart sees that I am everything, between these two poles my life unfolds."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"I do not know how anyone can live 
without some small place of enchantment to turn to."

Tuesday greetings! I hope you're enjoying the summer and getting out there every chance you get. The days are flying by - it's hard to believe we are halfway through July already. I thought I'd start off today with a peep in my garden...

This is a small corner of my front bed - I don't have a lot of flowers up front,
preferring instead the low-maintenance of cedar, flowering bushes and grasses.
Beauty is everywhere...
Sometimes you just need to get low and look up...
A week for the pinks :)
Some flowers are just coming into bloom...
While others have already gone to seed...
This is the lane directly behind my home,
there is a field to the right and a highway beyond that.
When you're back here, you could almost swear you're in the country.

Now that it's summer, these are the shoes I quite often wear when going for a walk. I took this pic when we were driving to Winnipeg a few weeks ago. At the time I was reflecting on how much my decision last summer to stop wearing high-heels has changed my life. I am a new woman!

Yikes - does the 'D' stand for Dumb... lol!

This was a huge decision for me (I repeat, huge) and I owe it all to a pair of skinny jeans I'd purchased and then of course needed the proper shoes to wear with. Up to that point I wore only high heels: adamantly and exclusively! I would have worn them to exercise in, if at all possible... Anyways, the instant I slipped my tender tootsies into the above soft-as-butter ballerina flats, something magical happened and the evil spell I'd been under since I was sixteen was broken - it was my own personal Cinderella moment! A few weeks later I bought black leather riding boots and I've never looked back. I can now walk, talk, shop, and chew gum all at the same time: pain and blister free lol! As well, I'm way more relaxed - why I'm practically laid-back at times ;) Additionally, according to a very interesting article I read on Sunday, I'm also doing my bones a huge favor. Here's the link - every woman should read this.

Another healthy choice I've been making lately, is to incorporate more meat-less meals into our diet. (Good for us and the planet.) Here's a light, very healthy meal we had on Saturday night. Homemade hummus and butternut squash soup - two of my favorites and relatively quick to make. 

Butternut squash soup

1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
2 medium onions, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp fresh ginger very finely chopped 
1.2 liters vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
coconut milk

Slowly saute your onion in olive oil on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally until it is softened. Add butternut chunks and continue to cook until they also soften and just begin to lightly brown (watch your heat). Add your spices and continue to cook, stirring throughout, for another 2 minutes. Add in vegetable stock, bring to the boil, turn down and simmer covered for 1/2 hour. Mash and then blend smooth with a hand blender. Salt and pepper to taste. I add a big dollop of coconut milk and a sprinkle of nutmeg to each bowl, which tastes great and looks lovely when serving :) 


I originally found this recipe in "The Mediterranean Diet" book, but have changed it up quite a bit over the years. Hummus is so easy to make yourself, I don't know why people buy it.

1 14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well 
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
2 cloves fresh garlic
Juice from 1.5 lemons (the other half I use later)
1/4 cup milk (I've used cow, soy, unsweetened almond)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley

In blender add the following: sesame paste, garlic, lemon juice, milk, olive oil and 1/2 of the chick peas. I use the chop feature here at first, then blend, add rest of chick peas and chop and blend until you get the consistency you like. 

Ladle into your serving bowl - at this point you can either heat the hummus slightly in the microwave (be careful, it heats up very quickly) which really brings out the flavor, or enjoy at room temperature. Drizzle additional olive oil and reserved lemon juice on top to your liking and garnish with parsley. Enjoy!

I finally got around to another chapter in The Sound of Paper. You may recall I profiled the first chapter and accompanying exercise a few weeks ago (link) This book has turned out to be one of my great 'finds' - it contains practical methods and musings designed to help discover and boost your creativity.

Try this: Set aside one hour's writing time. You may wish to take yourself to neutral territory, a cafe or coffee shop. Once there, settle in to write and to describe yourself as you would a literary character, in the third person. Describe your looks, your attitudes, your perceptions. Try to draw a clear portrait of yourself, filled with telling details. In other words, pay attention to how you are and how you are doing. 

Personally, I would find a coffee shop very distracting - I am too much of a people-watcher to concentrate in such a public arena, so I holed up in my office on Saturday and worked on this. I found it quite challenging to look at myself objectively: Who am I? Perhaps describing oneself as the person they see themselves becoming could be another way of approaching this exercise. 

I love visiting new blogs and stumbled across a very interesting one this week. In one post, Sherrie of Little Home in the Country, discussed the practicality and joys of repurposing items. I was reminded of something I'd repurposed a few weeks ago and have been meaning to show you. This concrete fountain had been languishing in my garden shed for the past five years. A few times I almost got rid of it when we were doing our annual spring clean-up, but now I'm glad I didn't. Turns out it's perfect as a planter. A few vines, some amethyst and tada! Not sure if you are aware of this, but amethyst is Ontario's official gemstone. We used to live in Thunder Bay just prior to moving out west and a 'dig-your-own' amethyst mine is located right outside the city.

That's all for now, thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great week :)

I leave you with a very odd work of art.
If you are a Pastafarian, you are likely still celebrating this week's victory!
What's a Pastafarian you may ask?
Follow this link and find out...



  1. Great post, Jane! I laughed so hard at the high heels section; looks like you're a happy camper in those shoes :) I've been wearing flats for years now; can't imagine going back to heels (the very thought stresses me).

    Your garden is gorgeous! Looks like you've got a lot of beauty growing around you. That concrete fountain turned out to be a beautiful planter; good thing you didn't get rid of it.

    Thanks for the yummy recipes, especially hummus, which I love!

    Thanks for some good reading. Enjoy your day!

  2. So much to comment on:

    Love the garden photos and I envy your lane. It definitely looks like it's in the country.

    Interesting about the high heels. I haven't worn any since I was pregnant with my youngest. The odd time I squeeze into them now its torture. It doesn't help that none of what I own fits anymore. Can one wears Birks to a wedding?

    I love hummus, but have never added milk. I'll have to try it!

    Now I must go put a sieve on my head to start my day. Enjoy yours!

  3. Love the bunny in your garden! So cute. And bravo to you for ditching high heels! And what will YOU be wearing on your head next time you get your drivers licence photo taken? Hahahaha!

  4. Your garden looks wonderful. I love the recipes. I have wanted to make that soup for a long time now.
    I wore a pair of low heels ONCE and said no more!! They were the most uncomfortable shoes I ever wore.
    Have a great week.

  5. I really like your fountain/planter. Very pretty and to think you lots five years of beauty with it sitting in the shed. However all is not lost, its been revived!

    All your flowers are doing so well and a great variety you have.

    A bowl of that butternut soup would set well with me about now, I'm thinking about getting on some dinner....way tooo hot for cooking here.

    I agree that heels have their place just not on my feet much anymore. What a revelation when you abandon the heels for flats.

  6. On behalf of the male perspective we are greatly saddened by this tragic turn of events. (lol)

  7. I have never been a huge heel person, running around in flip flops most of the time, and even my work/dress shoes have a small one to two inch heel on them, so congrats on joining the club :)

    Your lane really does look like the country, a bit magical to have that near the house.

  8. Martha, Thanks for all your kind words. My high heel days (except for special occasions etc) are definitely over!

    Tracy, I was at a summer wedding a few years ago where a number of people were in flip-flops... so maybe Birks would be acceptable! I find the milk improves the texture.

    Debra, I love this guy's sense of humor - and he's just an entitled as anyone else is to make-up a religion - no matter how ridiculous. I find it interesting that he was subjected to a psychological test before this could be approved.

    just sayin', Thanks :)

    Mel, Thanks! This soup is so quick, easy and good :)

    Lorene, Sometimes it pays to hang onto things, most of the time I'd rather purge though. I feel like I don't have enough variety - I need to plant more stuff that flowers later in the season.

    WebDebris, I think the reason men like women hobbling along in heels is it makes us easier to catch lol!!

    Tatiana, Thankfully I have now come to my senses. It's really pretty in the winter as well.


Thanks for stopping by - and leaving your comments! I love reading them :)