What are you Thankful for?

It is easy to look for the things we don’t have. That white Coach satchel that screams “buy me” whenever you walk across their store; that lucrative government job at City of Vancouver with pension, health benefits and 2 months of vacation or that limited edition green leather couch for your plain living room. The list goes on.

"I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks."  -William Shakespeare

“I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.”
-William Shakespeare

We want to have answers. We want to feel accomplished. We want to have more.

While we  have unfulfilled desires, unexpected problems,unfinished business and seemingly unanswered prayers…

The questions we need to ask ourselves are…

1. Have I taken the time to be “thankful”?

2. Have I really looked into what I “already” have?

3. Have I ever been content?

Perhaps we have been taking for granted the things that have always been there. The bright early morning sunshine; the clean fresh water we drink; the bus driver who arrives at your stop on time; the newly washed clothes ready to be worn and that warm oatmeal you had for breakfast.

It’s about a paradigm shift.

From being so negative and always lacking… to that of living in a perpetual state of grace.

It is not easy. But it is also not impossible.

And so…the next time you have that tendency to be in a grumpy, whiny and  complaining mode,

think of all the things you are thankful for.

It works every single time (=



Secrets of Pickling

Last Wednesday, June 19, 2013, due to the fact that I was able to cook Siomai (at around 1 am in the morning for my husband’s lunch) for tomorrow, worked 6.5 hours for a side-line and then headed to Edmonds Community School by bus (for the first time) to volunteer for another Burnaby Food First hands-on workshop (Thank you dear path-finder ^^,) I felt very, very productive. IMG_9815
From 6-8pm, we joined the savvy Andrea Potter- a Red Seal chef and a Registered Holistic Nutritionist-and learned how to make pickled foods using fermentation.
I thought it was great!
We talked about how fermentation (more commonly known as “pickling”) traces its roots way way back in time!
From the Korean “Kimchi” to the Japanese miso soup, Greek yogurts and classic Hamburger pickles, it sure has a special place in our palates.
It is also good to know that the “probiotics” in these pickled foods not only are good for your digestive system but they also fight off germs and viruses.
After our mini lecture, we then proceeded to our ‘hands-on session’.

Yup yup yup! We had take home samples!
Thank you for the fresh local kohlrabi, carrots and radishes Urban Digs Farm!
In about 2 weeks or so…
we will see how these “pickled” veggies turn out (=

Thank you Biggest Little Garden in Town!

The Gardening Saga continues (=

After our first attempt to plant, God has blessed us with ALL the necessary equipment we need to start our patio paradise FOR FREE!

The purpose of Fraserside’s Biggest Little Garden in Town (BLGT) project is to increase food production in urban settings. The BLGT is a container garden project which teaches and encourages individuals and the community in general, to utilize small areas to grow vegetables.

Thank you Biggest Little Garden and thank you Wilf and Vicky for going being patient with my husband’s constant e-mail request to be a BLGT member and for going great lengths to deliver this awesome Starter kit from New West all the way to our home here in Burnaby (=

BLGT Starter Kit (includes watering jug, trowel, cultivator and a selection of assorted vegetable seeds  that grow well in containers)

BLGT Starter Kit (includes watering jug, trowel, cultivator and a selection of assorted vegetable seeds that grow well in containers)

What a wonderful sight to behold! This Little Garden Guide is a 60-page booklet that provides tips and tricks on how to plant, care for, harvest and prepare vegetables grown in containers)

What a wonderful sight to behold! This Little Garden Guide is a 60-page booklet that provides tips and tricks on how to plant, care for, harvest and prepare vegetables grown in containers)

2 bags of organic potting soil


BLGT Apartment Garden (includes 3 cedar boxes, base, lattice)

BLGT Apartment Garden (includes 3 cedar boxes, base, lattice)


Can you believe that these are just the left-over roots that we chop off green onions???


BIG THANKS to these wonderful people!

Diary of a Newbie Patio Gardener

Joseph and I have zero experience in gardening.
(Well, I guess Joseph has about 2% edge-due to his plant-watering skills way back when) but in my case, okay…let me explain…The thing is…I’ve always had an aversion to frogs. The mere thought of them jumping out from a hole whenever I start digging the soil makes me cringe!

First Basil

First Basil

Mr. Alex Mc Naughton patiently answering questions of newbie gardeners

Mr. Alex Mc Naughton patiently answering questions of newbie gardeners

The husband looks really accomplished (=

The husband looks really accomplished planting that zucchini (=

The good thing is… I haven’t seen one here in North America and I doubt if I will ever find one here in our patio! (=





Burnaby Food First sponsored a workshop called Apartment Gardening for Beginners. Plant genius Mr. Alexander McNaughton treats his plants like a “person” with human feelings. (e.g.If you water them regularly, they will be happy; Be careful with the roots because they will get hurt and not make more babies) Who knew that you can go down to your local grocery store for free milk crates and coffee sacks and grow food in small spaces using these containers?! Not me!

But yeah…it did. (=

There is nothing more rewarding that seeing your very first plants grow…

First Harvest! (Snap Peas)

First Harvest! (Snap Peas)

and using them in your recipe at home (=


Homemade Pesto Pizza with patio-grown snap pea leaves

Thank you Mr. Alex Mc Naughton for your passion for plants and of course, thank you Burnaby Food First for another successful Workshop!

The Ultimate Chicken Shawarma

In doing one of my homeworks in the second Coursera Class I took called Child Nutrition and Cooking, my husband and I found our new favorite!

Chicken Shawarma with Cliantro and mayo drizzle

Chicken Shawarma with Cliantro and mayo drizzle

While it takes a bit of time to do it all from scratch, I would say that it is all worth it! Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish of garlicky meat or poultry served on pitas. The carbohydrate component of this meal is the pita bread; which is made from organic whole-wheat flour. According to Saad Fayed, Pita bread is served at just about every meal in the Middle East. It can be used for dipping, or to make delicious sandwiches in the pocket. In the Middle East, pita is made in brick ovens, where very high heat can be achieved. It is very hard to duplicate in a home kitchen, but this recipe, combined with high heat, comes very close. (although I can’t tell you how many times I have used the abaniko to turn the fire alarm off ^^p)

Pita Bread Ingredients:

1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast

1/2 cup warm water

3 cups all purpose flour( I substituted this with 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup APF)

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 cup lukewarm water

Pita Bread Preparation:

  1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.
  2. Combine flour and salt in large bowl.
  3. Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.
  4. Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until elastic.
  5. Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.
  6. Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated.
  7. Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
  8. Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to also preheat your baking sheet.

    Balls of Pita Goodness

    Balls of Pita Goodness

  9. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick. IMG_9149
  10. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes.

    They really are puffy!

    They really are puffy!

  11. Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.
  12. Take spatula and gently push down puff or slide them into halves.

    Hello to "pockets" of endless meat + veggie combo possibilities

    Hello to “pockets” of endless meat + veggie combo possibilities

On the other hand, the protein comes from the minimally processed mozarella cheese and free-range grilled chicken tenderloins marinated in garlic, curry, lime and other interesting spices.

Shawarma Ingredients:


2 T fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. curry powder

2 t EVOO

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

3 garlic cloves (I usually double the amount because we are garlic-fans)

 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into 16 (3 inch) strips


1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek Yogurt

2 T tahini

2 t fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1 garlic clove, minced

Remaining Ingredients:

Oil to grease baking sheet

4 (6-in pitas)

1 cup chopped spinach

8 (1/4 in thick) tomato slices

Shawarma Preparation:

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. To prepare chicken, combine the first six ingredients in a medium bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss well to coat. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.

3. To prepare sauce, combine yogurt and next 4 ings.(throw 1 garlic clove), stirring with a whisk

4. Thread 2 Chicken strips onto each of 8 (12-in) skewers. Place kebabs on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side until done.

*What I really find amusing is the grilled lines (and smoky flavor) formed after you flip those chick-fillets. Oooooh! They look soooo yummy!

*What I really find amusing is the grilled lines (and smoky flavor) formed after you flip those chick-fillets. Oooooh! They look soooo yummy!

5. Place pitas on grill rack; grill 1 minute on each side or until lightly toasted. Place 1 pita on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1/4 cup lettuce and 2 tomato slices.

in Pockets

in Pockets

or just one whole pita

The sweet and sour property of the tomatoes combined with the slightly bitter taste of the dark green leafy spinach not only balances the flavors of the whole dish but their rich vitamins also makes it very healthy. To top it off, I drizzled some Japanese mayo and tiny pieces of dehydrated fresh cilantro leaves in the fridge to save it from completely decomposing. ^^p It was so rewarding! Yay homemade meals! Yay to homemakers who love real food for their families! Yay to Cooking Light and About.com for this awesome recipe  and Yay to Maya Adam for bringing us all together! (=

Customizing Koi: 129 Twig & Vine

This is very very interesting!

With a little bit of tinkering, it is doable.


The WordPress.com Blog

The past several months, we’ve highlighted a number of sites that use some of the popular free themes available on WordPress.com — Oxygen, Bueno, and Sight to name a few. Visiting a site is a bit like walking into someone’s house, and as you poke around, you’ll notice someone’s personal style and accents. With custom touches, the users we’ve featured so far have truly made these sites their own.

Sue Schlabach warmly opens the door to her online home, 129 Twig & Vine: a stylish, vintage-inspired blog on art and life in central Vermont. She has completely transformed Koi, the playful orange theme you can’t miss in our Theme Showcase. Here is Koi’s out-of-the-box look next to Sue’s site:

Before-After Koi

Sue, an artist living on a hillside in a rural area, evokes the artisan lifestyle with 129 Twig & Vine‘s paper craft-inspired look and antique touches. She liked…

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