It’s been a scorcher of a week here and we’re getting a little bit of a cool down/some relief this weekend. The construction on our new fence started a few days ago so our whole yard is exposed to a high foot traffic area. I haven’t been doing any ice baths out back lately haha. The work is continuing over this weekend, so we’ll be heading out for some hikes, and maybe into NOTL for a little park hang with the doggies and a nice coffee. It’ll be a nice break from yard work anyway.
I hope that you’re keeping well these days and taking care in all of the ways available to you. I’m really leaning into a soft and calm summer as much as I can, and it feels good :) If you have questions for next week, DM me on Instagram, email me, or you can comment below.
5 Things I’m Reading:
- Stranded on the dark roads of Wet’suwet’en territory with CGL security
- The Aspects of Manifestation We Shouldn’t Discount
- Go Ahead and Make Your AI Recipe. It Won’t Be Good.
- A guide to meditation for people who think they can’t meditate
- How to have a mid-year reset to get things back on track
5 Things I’m Enjoying:
- Using my Hario Cold Tea Brewer every single day to make delicious herbal iced tea.
- Really into Imber Sun for chill down and focus music lately.
- LOVING the Why Women Grow podcast (thanks to my pal Jessica Murnane for recommending it to me 😘 )
- I’ve implemented The Frustration List to help get my life stuff in order and it works. I love Ben Meer’s System Sunday newsletter.
- John Oliver’s episode about farmworkers.
- What’s your favourite thing to cook when it’s too hot to cook?
I don’t mind grilling when it’s hot out, so anything grilled is up for grabs. Aside from this, I really just enjoy celebrating summer produce with simple salads and grilled veg. I’ll make up a couple salads–usually one is lettuce-y or greens-based and one features a certain seasonal produce more heavily. With either, I’ll work in a simple plant-based protein (grilled veggie sausage/tempeh/tofu, beans or legumes, thawed edamame) and some sort of carbohydrate like rice, quinoa, fresh bread, or some potatoes/sweet potatoes in one of the salads works too. It’s really free form!
- How do you cook tempeh to disguise the horrible bitter taste?
I recommend steaming your cut pieces for 10 minutes before proceeding with marinating, sautéing, grilling etc. I call for this step in almost all of my recipes. One thing that’s important to note with tempeh is that the way you cut it is really important. It’s a fermented soy cake that is packed really tightly with soy beans, sometimes grains etc. This tight packing doesn’t allow a lot of opportunity for flavour to get into INTO the tempeh. You’re really relying on the flavour coming from what’s being applied to the surface. So, if you’re sensitive to the taste of tempeh, I recommend steaming and slicing really thin before applying a very flavourful sauce. My almond butter tempeh stir fry is a great example!
- What do you bring to a summer potluck?
If I’m going to a potluck BBQ/picnic situation and I know that I’m one of few plant-based folks there, I usually try to bring a dish that has veg, some carbs, and protein too–something complete that I can fill out with other options that may be available! Go-to’s for me include versions of this picnic salad, lemony pasta salad, pesto orzo salad, or sometimes I’ll do a simple appetizer that I know everyone loves like guacamole or my vegan onion dip.
- Why do you think some restaurants are still so resistant to good plant-based options?
Honestly I think it might be a matter of time and work involved, and also whether it’s financially sustainable to keep items like this on a menu. As someone who has worked in hospitality, I can say that restaurant workers in general are super busy and going nonstop for their entire shift. There’s a feeling of there always being too much to do and not enough time. If you make a reservation at a spot that leans into plant-based cuisine days/weeks out and note that you require vegan options, I think it’s reasonable to expect something. But if you’re showing up the night-of to a restaurant that doesn’t seem to historically cater to dietary needs, that’s tough. Also, if customers aren’t buying possible plant-based offerings on a menu, there’s less incentive for restaurants to keep them on. From here, they might just opt to offer the standard stuff (featuring ingredients that can be worked into other dishes). It’s a tough thing! We don’t dine out very often and we’re really selective when we do for all of these reasons.
- What is your declaration process when grocery shopping over the border?
This is a really area-specific question and I love it! We live close to a US border crossing (not as close as we were in our old house, but still close enough) and hop over there from time to time to get some grocery items that we can’t get here. First, have all of your receipts ready to go before pulling up to the border crossing. Usually when you roll into the customs booth, they’ll ask for the “total value” of goods coming back into Canada. So I tell them that number, and then they’ll do a follow up question to determine what type of goods. At that point I’ll tell them the value of groceries and the value of everything else (I call this “miscellaneous” or “household goods”). We rarely get brought in to pay duty on groceries (it helps that we don’t buy too much other miscellaneous stuff and we never buy alcohol/cigarettes). I think if you’re spending a huge amount on groceries, they’ll call you in and have a customs official look at your receipts to determine what can be taxed. General best practices: don’t buy commercial-level quantities of goods and always be honest!