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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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Shepherding those pesky lentils into a line – er, I mean pie.

music to read by :: Shepherd (Genesis)

One of our favourite cold weather foods, here at casa vassal, is my veggie shepherd’s pie. Why? Because it is limitless in it’s versatility, and can be customized for a variety of dietary needs.

Except for meat eaters, of course. Then it just becomes regular ol’ shepherd’s pie. And that’s not what it’s all about today.

I’m pretty sure I started out, eons ago, with a recipe. Something tells me it might have been from a magazine, but I’m not sure anymore. I work this shepherd’s pie like most my meals, doing a little something I like to call “cooking”; using what I have on hand, and flavouring to taste.

So go, now! and grab yourself some brown lentils. Do they *have* to be brown? No. Go wild! Use the green ones! Mix them up, if you’re feeling crazy! Continue reading

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Pearl Jam. Chick peas. Hummus!

music to read by :: Hummus (Pearl Jam)

Yesterday, I woke up determined to make a food I have, at that point, had no luck with.

Yeah. Me. Can’t make hummus.

I have no idea why; it’s not like it’s difficult, you know, like making butter … And it’s not like I don’t have recipes or access to the interwebs.

Hummus just eludes me.

So. Yeah. Yesterday.

I woke up ready to kick me some hummus ass, which made my fam happy as this meant there would be a better than even chance we would be having pizza.

And our pizza rocks!

Lucky for me (and, I guess, them) I had chick peas soaking in quantity for some planned falafel. I grabbed a cup of my soaked chick peas, covered with 6 cups of water, brought to a boil, then simmered for three hours.

Then I tossed out all my recipes, took a deep breath, and pulled out the food processor.

Into the beast, I tossed my chick peas, 1 large clove garlic, 2 tbsp tahini, a good drizzle of olive oil, and the juice of one very juicy lemon. Then I blended like there was no tomorrow, until the chick peas were no more, ’til all was smooth and …. well, you get the picture.

For the topping, I chopped up another clove of garlic, fresh garlic greens, and fresh onion greens, plus another drizzle of oil and some paprika. For a moment, I thought maybe I was going too wild, but hey! It’s not like it ever turns out anyway …. or so I thought.

Daaayuuum! I kicked it’s ass! I really did!

While a bit thicker than I would have liked, it tasted amazing. I might even make it again.

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And the winner is …. ! The Princess!

music to read by :: Princess (Moby)

Well.

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.

Except.

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!”

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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

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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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