Aside

Babies!!!

My best friend in the whole world, my cousin-in-law (who was a great friend first, then a family member!), and my dear photographer/runner/adventurer friend all had babies last week! Liz has Baby Davis now, Alison has Baby Eland, and Elisabeth as Baby Genevieve, and it’s been such a joy to hear about the little ones and see their faces via Skype, text, and Instagram. My goal for the end of 2014 and all of 2015 will be to visit all these babies — in Colorado, Northern California, and Southern California, respectively!

As a married woman of 28-almost-29, Huggies commercials are making me cry. I’ve got baby fever, but it will be awhile before Sean and I are ready for our own. For now, I’ll enjoy the photos and get some baby cuddles ASAP!

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Finding My Guru

I graduated from the Vancouver School of Yoga’s 200-Hour Teacher Training on October 17. I decided even before finishing the six-week immersion course that post-graduation, I would be in search of a yoga mentor. Being new to Vancouver means that my first step is finding my “home” yoga studio and/or a regular yoga instructor whom I learn from regularly. So far, I have only practiced at Semperviva’s studios. There are a couple of teachers whom I like very much, but others whom I found aloof, pretentious, or simply ineffective. There are many other yoga studios in Vancouver, and a few that I want to check out are One Yoga for the People, the Chakra Wellness Centre (a sivananda studio), and the Iyengar Studio in Kits.

Back in California I was spoiled. I had so many excellent instructors whom I miss dearly. Now I’m in a new city, one that is infatuated with yoga, so I’m bound to find teachers with whom I click. It’s not necessarily about the teacher’s qualifications or experience; it’s really just about who speaks to me on a deeper level, whose teaching style melds with my practicing style, and from whom can I learn.

The word “guru” means “teacher” or “master” in Sanskrit. This word does not specifically mean a hatha yoga teacher, of course, and I when I say I’m seeking a guru I’m not looking for just a hatha yoga teacher. I also seek a spiritual guide — and I mean that in the most secular way possible. I have a burgeoning meditation practice, so I seek someone who can help me on my meditation path, as well as my physical yoga path.

In the meantime, I also need to keep up my teaching chops! So I’m in search of private yoga students (who could pay me with healthy paleo cookies or something)…

And my yoga journey continues.

Please comment below if you know of an awesome Vancouver yoga instructor I should meet, or if you are interested in private or semi-private lessons.

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Copy Cat Miso Sauce

Heirloom in Vancouver is a classy, hip, and rather expensive vegetarian restaurant ($19 for a veggie burger — really?) which serves an admittedly incredible appetizer called Miso Brassica, described as a “medley of broccoli, cauliflower, and kale – tossed in a miso sauce”. It is heavenly — salty, hearty, and slightly creamy. At $13.95 it’s no bargain, but during their Half-Off Appetizers Happy Hour (4-6PM Monday through Friday), it is!

Still, $7 plus tip is probably overpaying for the dish, regardless of its savoury dreaminess. I am attempting to recreate Miso Brassica at home, and I think I’m getting closer. So far, I’ve made three different sauces for roasted veggies, all with a miso base. The first one’s sauce was too thick and not flavourful enough, the second one had tahini in it and was tasty but not accurate, and the third was my best attempt thus far.

Miso Sauce. What could be in it besides miso paste? My best attempt (pictured above with a variety of veggies that veers from the original dish) had a sauce with miso paste, veggie broth, garlic, and olive oil. It came out a little too watery, not quite oily enough, and a tad too sweet. Plus, Miso Brassica at Heirloom does not have onions. Sean and I adore roasted onions, but to get the right flavour and to cut the sweetness, I’ll omit them for my next attempt.

Now that I’m really thinking about this, I recall a quote by Anthony Bourdain from his book “Kitchen Confidential”:

“In a professional kitchen, we sauté in a mixture of butter and oil for that nice brown, caramelised colour, and we finish nearly every sauce with it (we call this monter au beurre); that’s why my sauce tastes creamier and mellower than yours.”

I love that Mr. Bourdain points out right away that of course, his sauce is better than mine. I’m sure it is, which is why I think butter — or more specifically beurre monté — will be part of my next miso sauce. Thomas Keller, the head chef at The French Laundry in Napa (which Anthony Bourdain deemed “the best restaurant in the world, period”), contributed his recipe for beurre monté on Food and Wine‘s website.

I will report back after Attempt #4!

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The Salmon Run at Sunnyside

Almost three months ago now, Sean and I tied the knot on his family’s shared property in Port Moody, BC. Sunnyside, the name of the property, is bisected by Mossom Creek, where hundreds of salmon come each Fall to swim upstream, spawn, and die. The life cycle of a salmon is really quite fascinating, and the idea that fish that hatched in Mosson Creek four years ago can find their way back to spawn and die in the same place is one of the miracles of nature. This was my first time seeing the annual salmon run, an event that my husband witnessed every year growing up. It was very special to him to share the tradition with me!

Sean’s dad’s cousin’s husband (got that?) lives at Sunnyside full-time and volunteers for a hatchery nearby. He volunteers to assist salmon in their procreation and to release the offspring into Mossom Creek each Spring. He guided us along the creek to the Burrard Inlet (Pacific Ocean), where elderly salmon (four years of age) were making their way out of the salt water and into the fresh, where they’ll lay thousands of eggs and then parish.

They enter the creek, against the current, with shiny silver scales; but as they make their way into purer and purer fresh water, their scales begin to molt and they take on a muddled appearance with splotches of white, pink, purple, and green.

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Bears are especially fond of salmon heads, so it is not rare to find a brainless salmon carcass on the banks of the creek. Notice the fangs on the skull below: only males develop a hook nose like this, and only in the last few months of their lives.

While at Sunnyside we were sure to also check on our wedding tree. We planted it on our wedding day, and it is thriving! It’s an ornamental Japanese maple tree, and it’s leaves are changing for the season; we’re confident it will survive the winter this year and for many to come.

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