The best goldarn sammich buns. Ever

music to read by :: Sandwich (Blue Cheer)

And I am sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the eggs and sugar. Nope. No way.

I have this recipe in my old and tattered bread book by Better Homes and Garden, inherited from my mom, however I am going to write it out in my method, as I don’t use a mixer, and am just a combine stuff add flour kinda bread maker. It is listed as a hamburger bun but, trust me, you will use them for all your yummy sammich needs.

Start with your yeast – 2 tbsp, or two packages depending on how you roll. I buy my in bulk, so 2 tbsp it is. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbsp salt.

Pour in 1/3 cup vegetable oil, then add 2 cups warm water and stir.

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And the winner is …. ! The Princess!

music to read by :: Princess (Moby)


It has been a long hard battle, but in the end, the princess in me has won. Tho, I do have to emphasise  the princess in me may have won the battle, but she hasn’t won the war.

And yeah. It’s the hair thing.

As you probably know,  I have been attempting to be frugal and environmental in my hair world;  going ‘no poo’, switching to henna, no post wash products, and reduced blow drying.  Since February past, I have saved money, used no chemicals,  and produced no garbage with hair care. It was all good.


The princess in me hated it.

Last week I snapped. Big time.

I popped out of the shower, combed out my chemical- free  (yet tangle-free)  hair, and proceeded to glare at my reflection.

Out came the scissors.

Back came the full on bangs.

Then the princess whispered, ever so softly, “You make your own god-damn butter. You deserved to have shiny, red hair. You deserve to have shiny, red, sleek hair. You even deserve to hop into your car, drive to the big box pharmacy, and buy chemical hair dye. Right. Now. I’ll even let you buy it on sale.”

And I am sad to say I listened. I hopped into my car, I drove to the drug store (one might even say, “raced”), and I bought chemical hair dye.

And it was good.

I’m still ‘no poo’, it’s pretty amazing really. I love not using shampoo and conditioner.

But I’ve compromised on the hair colour. I’ll use the commercial stuff, but only get it on sale. And since it comes with deep conditioner, I will use that every week or so, so as not to totally fry my hair, or throw out a usable product that I’ve paid for.

And, most importantly, I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

As my inner princess said, “I make my own god-damn butter!”


Knitting three to get one

music to read by :: Red Knit (Mutsuhiko Izumi with Jimmy W)

I’m a newbie knitter, in that I learned last fall, made a bunch of slippers and scarves, a few hats, some arm warmers, half a sock, and then took a break for summer. Then September rolled around and, Holy Crap! Birthday present time was upon me.

So I pulled out the  needles, bought some birthday present wool and promptly realized knitting had fallen out of my brain and had, in fact, been left by the side of the road bloodied, an unravelled mess.

But I persevered.

I fell back onto ol’ faithful scarf, a basic pattern found on the wrappers of wool. But where was a damn wrapper pattern when you need one! Certainly not on the wool I had bought! Lucky me.

So I sat. I meditated. I remembered.

And after a bit of unravelling, brain farting, and use of my iPhone knit counter, I produced a scarf and was back into the swing of things.

Basic pattern, remembered!

It was kinda like riding a bike, if riding a bike was done sitting on your couch with pointy things.

Or not.

Basic hole-y scarf pattern (for those of you who throw out your wrappers)

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Sometimes, simple is best :: rice and falafel

music to read by :: Piya Re (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan)

Many moons ago, we found our way to Egypt and spent some time hanging in Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan, with a sail up the Nile, sleeping on a felucca, not to mention swimming. Yes, we swam in the Nile. Yes, it was February. Yes, it was cold. And yes, it was clean, as we were not swimming anywhere near a large urban center. And frankly, we stank.

Giza Plateau, photo par moi

We ate in fancy restaurants, hotel restaurants, were cooked for by the captain of the felucca, ate on a barge, and even ventured into a Kentucky Fried Chicken run by the blind. For the record, it was the best chicken I ever ate.

But my favourite meal was some type of  ‘peasant’ food consisting of rice, lentils, beans (?), sauce, hot sauce, and who knows what else. We ate it most days in Cairo, tho getting it meant running across 8 lanes of Egyptian traffic, waiting in line with locals, and then pointing, as the workers didn’t speak english. Our hotel staff laughed at us as they could not believe we north americans would rather eat ‘peasant’ food instead of in one of the more trendy restaurants.

Sometimes, simple food is just better food. Continue reading


Sometimes, it just takes a bit of perspective

music to read by :: Favourite Things (The Golden Filter)




This first week of September has been pretty stressful here at Casa Vassal. Work and school producing huge stress moments for my husband, and our bank account producing many wee heart attacks for me.

As you know, choosing to be a single income family, in this day and age, creates many challenges plus introduces moments of “not fitting in” and feelings of lesserness (hey! look at that word I just made up! royalties for me!)

My frugalness, born out of necessity, has become a comfortable way of life now, and I can’t imagine being as wasteful as we once were when we were a two income no kid entity. And even before the high tech, high income lifestyle, I was a wasteful – but creative – art student.

Yesterday, I hit a bit of a low in the woe-is-me-i-can’t-afford-what-i-want pouts, forgetting that what I want and what I need are two very different things. Also forgetting that what I want is often fleeting, and that I am – and always have been – happier with things I have either created or repurposed.

Must be the artist in me.

So this is my reminder post. Below are a few of my favourite things around the house, items found or given to me, some repurposed. All are great representations of me and who I really am.

And I really need to remember this when I am bummed out by something as uncreative as money. (warning: photo heavy)

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Vegetarian with bacon, please

music to read by :: True Vegetarian (Clint Eastwood and General Saint)

Now, before some people get all up my business about this, I was a vegetarian for many, many years. And for a brief moment in time, also vegan.

Then I was pregnant and all bets were off.

And yes, I know, it is possible to be vegetarian, pregnant, and healthy. But not if you were me.

Because, you see, from about 4 weeks to the very morning I went into labour, I had morning sickness.

Except let’s call it … oh, I don’t know … hey! I’m awake sickness! Seriously, I weighed less at full term that I did prior to becoming pregnant.

But because I made the decision to eat meat and consume dairy I managed to stay somewhat healthy and consume enough of what my daughter needed to pop out at close to 9lbs, and grow to be almost as tall as I am  – at 9yo.

One of my favourite vertical moments from the pregnancy, was eating out with friends. The hubby ordered a vegetarian burger – with bacon. The cook came to our table before preparing our food to verify the order and to check to see if my husband was sane. His response to the cook was, “hey, you make a damn good veggie burger and I like bacon.”

Vegetarian Pizza with Bacon

This is a quick and easy dough that requires no rising. So yay! Pizza can be an anytime meal! Also, I have no counter space, so I make this (and all my bread products, frankly) in one bowl, with no turning out for kneading. You’ll need …. Continue reading


The devil is in the haircut, I guess

music to read by :: Devil’s Haircut (Beck)

I seem to be at the point, with my hair, where I just stand in front of  the mirror and sob. Only, these days, the sobbing is longer and louder as I am attempting to cut out all chemical colours, and return to my natural colour. And by “natural” I do mean I plan on using henna.

In fact, henna is what I have use the past two colours in an attempt to blend my natural light brown mixed with grey with the dark brown chemically treated ends. And by “ends” I do mean bottom 5 inches.

Add to this my attempt to not use gel or hairspray, and you have one head of hair that should not leave the house on threat of shaving.


Today it feels that bad.

I think I’ve become cocky with the whole no poo challenge. We have not used shampoo or conditioner since the beginning of February and have no intention of ever doing so again. If fact, the success of the no poo is what led me to the no colour, no gel, no hairspray challenge.

And I’m about to fail.

I’m hoping I can avoid the chemical colour by allowing myself a spot of gel here and there. I don’t have to buy any, I still have some left over in a drawer. I’ve tried making gel before, but with my super fine hair it’s been less than successful.

And I see a hair cut in my future.