These are the ramblings of my new discoveries about food, crafts, fashion and nonsense.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

And so

A new year begins tomorrow, or tonight depending on how you look at it. I'm excited about the new year for many reasons: starting a new, making goals, etc... only not. I guess in reality the new year started for me two months ago. So far things are going quite well. I'm learning new things, exploring my own fashion, learning how to make my hair less ugly and continuing on my ever changing quest with make-up. Wow, how superficial and vain of me.
I've always been so pre-occupied with other people that I've never taken the time to be selfish and work on myself. So last year (2010) I said to myself that I would learn to be more selfish. So far s'ok. I mean I am living at home right now so my mom doesn't feel as lonely - ohkay, ohkay, so _I_ don't feel as lonely. And I really think of others first, but I'm improving. Starting with being a little more vain.

And so in the exploration of Lolita I've realized that a lot of brands I love actually carry a lot of lolitaesque clothing and accessories. Thus my decision to, here and now, list off some of my favorites.

1) Tokidoki - An Italian based designer who takes inspiration from Japan. Go figure that he would have rediculously cute designs that remind me of so many of the super cute cut-sews. Sadly Tokidoki can be very expensive for some one on a budget. Sadly that means that there are a lot of rip-offs of the brand. If you're reading this please visit his website for information on how to look out for said rip-offs! A lot of work goes into his designs and trust me they are worth it. I've found that his clothing lasts for quite a few washes! Sadly two of my t-shirts I've had to retire to PJ status as they are too short for me to comfortably wear in public - this was NOT due to manufacturing defaults but to the fact that I grew. (Slash gained weight.)
2) Kid Robot - Based from the United States, Kid Robot sells a bunch of different designers' cute plushies and plastic toys. Again, they can be expensive but with Kid Robot you're purchasing a piece of art that is usually (more often than not) limited edition meaning there are less than about 1,000 (or less than that) in the entire world. After a while certain pieces, much like Lolita dresses, become of more value and desire to people. Tokidoki has designed a few pieces for Kid Robot and their line of Kosik's labbits are too-cute! Heidi Kennedy's yummy breakfast key chains make nice chunky necklace pieces, or purse decorations and her breakfast plushies are edibly cutesy!
3) The Dollar store - silly I know but when in the hair section there are adorable clips adorned with bows, lace and ribbons! And hoo-boy are they cheap! $1 for 4 clips? Stock up!
4) Pin-Up Girl Clothing - Although waaaaay more sexy than lolita, they sell great 1950 style bathing suits that cover very nicely, cupcake and a-line full skirts and dresses (they have a tendency to be bold colours, but that somtimes can fit in :)) - that with the right pieces will suit lolita quite nicely. They also sell very nice mary-jane shoes on occasion that are super-duper comfortable! They have gloves that are so cute and accessories that can be woven into the right outfit. Sometimes a little expensive but the product is unbelievable! The fabrics they use are very nice!
5) Hell Bunny Dresses - The Hell Bunny brand doesn't have it's own website, so I find it best to google it and see what you can find in your city/country. Their clothing is cute and flowing - more along the pin-up girl style but the a-line and full skirts may make nice separates for Lolita. I really like the brand for their crinolines. AKA petticoats in the Lolita world. Technically petticoats are a full dress flared skirt but I'm not going to get fussy about that.
6) A great source for crinolines is Etsy. There seem to be quite a few people on there selling them in every shape, size and colour. The ones I've found all seem to be the crinoline type opposed to tulle or fabric which go limp quickly.

That's it for today!

Friday, December 30, 2011


Since no one really reads this right now anyway, if it spontaneously change topics no one actually notices until much later. Wow can you saw bad sentence? Please don't shoot me Sherry; should you ever read this.

Recently I've been falling in love (I guess again) with the Lolita style. I e been taking the time to actually learn about it this time. Only to find out, to my surprise, that I've been wearing and living elements of the culture this whole time! I'm definitely a mash up of a few different Lolita styles and a cross over to 1950s bombshell like Rita Hayworth (whom I love!). I even looked into my closet tonight to find that the cute pink dress I bought in Jamaica fits the sweet Lolita style I covet ever so much. I've been admiring Lolita style from what I thought was a far for a bit now. I've always believed that I'd look silly in it being so tall and big. I've learned more about it as while I'm not ever likely to own brand Lolita dresses, skirts or tops I can always just accessorize! The clothes for the most part are one size, not that they ate one size fits all but more of the this is the size if you don't fit it, too bad. I've started following a blog from a girl who posted a great piece on how to be a tall Lolita. She, like me, is well over 5'2". Which means the brand clothes are all mini skirts. Which doesn't work since dressing Lolita means dressing sweetheart like, modest and cute not slutty mcsluteeton. I would post the link to her blog "f yeah Lolita" but I'm posting from my phone which means all my bookmarks are else where. (google her if you're interested cuz her posts are great for a north American Lolita and for older and tall Lolitas.
My goal over the next year is to have even greater pieces in my wardrobe, both Lolita styled and pin up - a contradiction in terms I know, but that's me! Now to the fabric store for lace, sparkles and bows - oh my! Crafty heaven here I come.

But more on that next time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I love food. It's my life, my whole life. I feel like right now I'm loosing a part of myself. I fell off the health wagon again today - and I paid for it. My god there was so much pain. But the cupcake was so good. Buttercream is just so... amazing.
I should try the vegan cupcakes next time, they just aren't as great flavours which make the foodie in me sad.

What do I do now? I know, keep at it. Just keep trying, think of how amazing I feel when I stick to the diet. It gives me the opportunity to try out new restaurants and challenge them on the vegetarian front.
I'm just so tired of restaurant's thinking that good vegetarian dish is composed of roast eggplant, zucchini, pepper and a portabello mushroom. News flash: it's not that good.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


I deviated from my diet plan today. It's been hot out and I really wanted ice cream. Since I had already indulged I made the (bad) decision to indulge. Cream based pasta for dinner, cheese... oh man when I fall off the band wagon I do so brutally. Let's just say bloated is an understatement. Not only did I have lactose, I had cornstarch in the alfredo sauce.
My boss is right, I did feel better these last few days. Although I really need to finish reading my Becoming Vegetarian: The complete guide to becoming a healthy vegetarian book. I had a crash the other day. Oh yes, on top of all of this business I am hypo-glycemic. Last night taught me that not only do I have to watch my caloric intake I need to eat more often with this new diet. They haven't said much about that in the book yet as I'm only on page 100 or so.
The book, however, is actually a really good one. It gives nutritional facts, protein recommendations, and everything necessary to adopt a healthy meat-free lifestyle. I know many people have been worried about becoming vegetarian or vegan because it means adopting a lifestyle filled with supplements and drugs. This book outlines how to dive into this new lifestyle with out pills. That's my kind of lifestyle!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

They put that sh*t in everything!

I think this is one of the hardest challenges I've ever set myself on. Not only is there the hardship of making a safe and smooth transition to vegan (ish) life, there is the psychological battle. It is very difficult to say "No" to myself when I'm craving my favourite foods that contain dairy or corn. Luckily I have lots of support. I have friends who encourage me, family who is willing to try out the foods I'm eating and a boss who is surprisingly supportive. As she said "Just imagine how much better you're going to feel." That statement really helps me, it means that I can keep working at the restaurant. Although how exactly I'm going to do my job is a little curious, at least in my mind, but I'll figure it out. Worse comes to worse I change course and choose to either change careers or find a vegan restaurant and start a new path of cooking.
Either way this is still a hardship.
I spent a good 45-50 minutes at an organic store just trying to find a good tempeh and tofu that didn't have "natural or artificial flavours". Most of the tempeh does, save for two: the 7-grain and regular. All of the flavoured versions, like sesame ginger, bbq etc, all did. Most of the regular, unflavoured tofus were safe; however, all of the simulated meat products like fake chicken, ground round etc, have the dreaded ingredient.

Now I don't know exactly what Natural Ingredients is. From the research I've attempted it's, well pretty much anything edible. That being said, it is possible that companies are hiding meat in vegetarian products. How terrible would that be? As I don't know what it is, or what's in it I'll just be avoiding it to err on the side of safety. The website I've featured in this post has the most comprehensible description I've read. Another post referred me to the book "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser the post said that it has a really good insight into the ingredient in it's capacity in fast food.
Another thing I'm attempting to avoid is the non-descript "spices". I know it is most likely just unspecified spices, so that no one can duplicate a trademarked sauce. However, again, to err on the side of safety I'll avoid it. Luckily most sauces that use the "spices" ingredient also have either natural flavours, artificial flavours or corn of some variety making them easy to avoid.

Thankfully I have the backing of a good arsenal. I am a chef so my ideas and skills are endless - making this process so much more comfortable.

Friday, September 02, 2011


To start, like many children I was raised on cereal. It was my breakfast in the morning before school. With bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, grapes or other seasonal fruits. It was what was comforting after a bad day, the easy thing for a late supper, the weekend morning cartoon snack... A big deal. I was raised with non-sugar cereals - and quite happy about it actually. Although I have tried a bunch of the sugared cereals now I still go back; well used to, to my staples: cheerios, corn flakes, crispix, rice krispies, and spoon size shredded wheat. Cereal is still a staple in my diet, it makes for easy mornings and still comforts me after a bad day.

Many of you know how big "The Great Canadian Superstore" is. For those who don't, think Walmart superstore with mainly groceries. Needless to say, it's huge. The aisles go forever and carry thousands of items. They carry every cereal available in Canada plus ones exclusive to Superstore. I spent almost and hour going through every single cereal to see which ones I could eat. That is to say those NOT containing corn, cornmeal, corn starch, corn by product, natural or artificial flavours. Out of the hundreds of cereals there are three that I can eat.
Three. Spoon size shredded wheat (yes!), Special K Red Berries (yes, specifically. The blueberry, chocolate, vanilla almond, regular, satisfaction etc all contain corn or corn starch.), and Shreddies. To make it worse, I really don't like shreddies. I like them once and a while but they are not my first choice. In fact they are not my choice at all and I won't be purchasing them anytime soon... leaving me with two cereals.

Luckily while living a corn free existance I can still consume granola and oatmeal happily. That is to say granola I make myself and pure stone cut whole flake oatmeal.
To share my enjoyment those two recipes are as follows!

Corn Free Granola
Things you'll need:
honey - your favourite kind. I like creamed honey.
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup stone cut oats (certified gluten free if needed, although I've learned that 15% of celiacs are still affected by oats even if certified gluten free)
1/4 cup each of your favourite seeds [I enjoy using sunflower seeds, flax and pumpkin seeds, they toast nicely.]
1/4 cup nuts (if you want, I personally don't)
1/2 cup bran buds
1/4 cup each of your favourite dried fruit (I enjoy dried cranberries and dried cherries. I have enjoyed dried tropical fruits in the past although I suggest adding them at the end instead of cooking them with the rest of the items as they don't bake well.)
1/2 cup shreddies (I know I said I don't really like them earlier but they are a nice addition to bulk up the granola)

Method of madness
Preheat oven to 350 F
1. Coat a large baking sheet with oil/butter/pan spray (depends on your preference)
2. Combine spices in a small bowl. 
3. Combine all dry ingredients and whatever your imagination decides in a large mixing bowl.
4. Add the spices and toss.
5. If needed, melt the honey in a microwave safe bowl. Drizzle the honey over the mixture and toss to coat. I find it's easiest to get sticky and mix it up with your hands.
6. Spread mixture evenly over the baking sheet, you may be required to bake it in two batches.
7. Bake the mixture for 5 minutes, remove from the oven and stir the mixture. Redistribute evenly, and back another 5 minutes. Continue the process until it starts to brown slightly. Allow to cool completely and test for crunchiness. If not crunchy enough, bake a little longer. Cooking time will vary based on how much you've put in it. Make sure to keep a close eye on it as it burns very very easily.
8. Once cool, if using tropical dried fruits add them now.
Store in an airtight container for up to a year. Hopefully it'll be too tasty and you'll make it frequently!

Corn-Free Hearty Morning Oatmeal -1 serving
This meal is extremely filling - it should keep you full well into lunch. If it's too much food feel free to scale the recipe back to your liking. I'm in the kind of profession where you don't eat lunch until 2 or 3 pm if you eat it at all.
Stuff you'll need
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch cardamom
pinch all spice
2/3 cup raw stone cut oatmeal
1 tbsp dark brown sugar or raw cane sugar (taikoo is the brand i've found in Canada that's pretty affordable)
1 tbsp chia seeds (brand name is salba, there are generic brands out there that are much cheaper!)
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 fresh banana
1/2 cup Silk Vanilla Soy Milk (or alterna-milk of choice)

Method of Madness
1. In a microwave safe bowl place oatmeal and fill with enough water to just cover.
2. Microwave for 1 minute on high. (This may require more or less time depending on your microwave. The ideal time will be long enough for the water to be fully absorbed but short enough that it isn't complete mush.)
3. Add spices and sugar, stir to combine.
4. Add the seeds, fruit and "milk".
5. Enjoy!
You may choose to heat the milk in the microwave if you like a warmer cereal in the morning. I like that the cold milk cools it enough that it's a quick bite, if necessary.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Alternative Milk Beverages

As a, now, lactose-free human being I've been through the trials and tribulations associated with choosing a non-dairy beverage. I've shopped around, I've experimented and come to the following conclusions:

Best alterna-milk for just plain drinking: Silk Vanilla Organic
. o O (It has the best flavour, it has little to no chalk after taste/mouth feel. To me it tastes like a really great old fashioned milkshake. It's thick, creamy and filling. I find the organic is slightly richer and closer to real milk. It is a large bonus that the organic is priced the same as the regular here and it doesn't have any unpronounceable additives, natural or artificial flavours.)
Best alterna-milk for steaming and drinking straight: Earth's Own Almond Fresh Vanilla or Chocolate
. o O (It has a nice simple flavour. Good for mixing with tea or just drinking steamed and warm on a cold night. I like that the mouth feel isn't too slimy like other brands I've encountered. The vanilla has a lovely aroma of the filling of oreo cookies. The chocolate is like chocolate covered almonds and make for a quick hot chocolate, just add marshmallows! [If you're ohkay with corn that is :)])

Best place for soy beverages: Starbucks
. o O (I've tried soy based beverages out quite a bit and starbuck's blend of sludgy coffee sweet syrups and not-so-chalky soy milk make it the best I've tried. The second cup soy choice leaves your throat very dry, timothy's coffee seems to have a bad after taste. Many independent coffee shops use either So Good or Silk. I don't find either other them steam up very well. So Good has a chalky taste to begin with and it's made worse by heating. Silk really doesn't foam very well. It creates more bubbles than anything else and they pop all too quickly. I find that Silk also doesn't hold heat very well. It cools down all to quickly.)

Best alterna-milk for sugared cereals: Ryza Rice Milk

.o O (It has a nice mouth feel and the lack of flavour allows the sugared cereal to take over. I'm not a huge fan of sugared cereal and frankly can't eat any of them now, but I thought I'd include this anyway.)

Personally I enjoy Silk's Vanilla on my non-sugar cereals. It makes spoon-size shredded wheat taste like those stacked vanilla wafer cookies. I find that it gives a unique flavour to my favourites and it has the closest mouth feel to real milk.
All of the above are becoming more widely available which makes life a lot easier.

A buying guide:
Safeway carries Ryza's rice milk, all Silk milks and now the coffee "cream", Earth's Own original and chocolate almond milk.
IGA carries Ryza and Silk.
Superstore carries Ryza, all Silk and all of the Earth's Own Almond milks including the vanilla.
I haven't been to Walmart recently, but last year they carried the Ryza and Silk.

I hope this helps you out on your alterna-milk search.

The Beginning

It is always a hard thing to figure out where to start. I've begun this blog in hopes to chronicle my progress through becoming a sort-of vegetarian. And give recipes, guidance and experience to anyone else forced into vegetarianism.
Now, as a precursor I respect people who have the discipline to remain vegetarian in a predominantly carnivorous world. Vegetarianism is a difficult and life long regime which many people of the population choose wisely. But there are some that are forced into it due to limitations. This is a journey I happily take for improving my health.

This past year I've learned that I have an intolerance to corn. In this world it is not easy to avoid corn. Everything is made with corn these days. Ingredients on every box contain corn starch, corn syrup, modified corn ingredients, natural flavours, artificial flavours - both derivatives of corn - even our gas is supplemented with corn. This intolerance includes anything fed by corn as well. I seem to be ohkay with Alberta raised beef and kobe beef as they are both free-range animals. Recently I've begun to have difficulties with chicken and the generic-claiming-to-be-alberta-beef-but-isn't beef. I've made this connection to the corn problem.
On top of it I used to be what I coined as seasonally lactose-intolerant. From December to June when the cows went inside (in my home area) to eat corn I couldn't drink milk. Now it's full blown lactose-intolerance because I've been without lactose for so long my body simply cannot process it easily anymore.

Thus my decision to pursue a new nutritional path.
To sum up: I can't eat corn, dairy, chicken, pork and to be honest - I can't afford to eat kobe - I don't really like beef or any other red meats. That leaves eggs, vegetables, fruits and fish.
I'm not going to be giving up fish as a life with out sushi really isn't worth living in my opinion. Thus the (almost) part. I don't eat eggs all that often; I eat then IN foods but not on their own so much anymore. Thus the "-an-" part in vegetarian. If I gave up sushi I'd have to eat vegan.
I have opinions about animal abuse but that's not what this blog is aiming to about.

My main opinion is that everyone is entitled to their own.
Yup, that's it for this first entry. My introduction.