I don’t even like carrots….

In the interest of preempting temptation and setting new habits in place we’re been doing a load of cooking at home.  In particular preparing  meals ahead of time so there is no excuse come lunch to run out for a bite.    Besides there’s nothing wrong with investing the time in a new habit.

Szechwan Carrot Soup

There was a study done at University College London a few years ago that found that there is huge variation in the amount of time it takes to form a new habit. Anything from a couple of weeks up to months depending on the type of habit you’re trying to form and the techniques you use to do so.

We’ve set a goal in our house of having a well cooked and thoughtful meal each night. That usually involves an hour of work, and since it takes just as much time to make 4 portions as it does 2 we’ve been doubling up recipes and increasing portions so the work is done for upcoming nights and lunches.  Some nights while one meal is cooking I’m also able to prepare another behind the scenes for upcoming days.

This  Szechuan Carrot Soup is one of those added bonus meals and you can likely throw it together using stuff you already have in the cupboard.  It is a cinch to make, and tasted absolutely delicious when we ate it a day later….and I don’t even like carrots.

Szechuan Carrot Soup

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 or 2 ribs of celery
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb carrots, cut 1″ (or baby carrots for more sweetness)
  • 1/2″ piece of fresh ginger (peeled & sliced)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper flakes (you can always sub red Thai curry paste here as well)
  • 3 cups broth (we had beef so that’s what we used)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsps soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 cup milk (you can also use silky tofu if you aren’t into the dairy, or use  coconut milk for a Thai infusion )

Chop up your onions, celery and garlic.  I threw mine all in the food processor and minced it pretty fine.  In a large heavy saucepan cook onion, celery, and garlic in veg oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened.

Peel your knob of ginger, then slice it thinly.

art of doing stuff

I got a great tip from ‘The art of doing stuff’.  Karen says the easiest way to peel ginger, is to just scrape the skin off with a spoon. and she was 100% correct!  Just the brown stuff  comes off leaving all the lovely ginger bits behind.  brilliant!

Add the sliced ginger to the softened onions along with the chopped carrots, red pepper flakes, and broth and simmer, covered, until carrots are very tender, about 30  minutes (until you can run the tines of a  fork through one of the pieces  easily).

Stir in remaining ingredients and in a blender puree mixture in batches (use caution when blending hot liquids).  Return soup to pan and heat over low heat until hot, being careful not to let boil or you will ruin your milk bit.  Ladle that good stuff out and add a dollop of sour cream, or plain yogourt to the top, even a squirt of lime juice…though it tastes pretty great left plain too.

Makes 6 cups of  ‘ready to roll when you are’ soup.

Gourmet Magazine, April 1997

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cheezie fingers…and other bad habits

The new Goop newsletter showed up today and the subject was How to Break a Habit… or Start a New One .  A timely subject  as we have been changing our routines and setting about following a different path lately.

the power of habit

Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit

There’s a portion in the Q&A with Jeremy Dean, the author of the book Making Habits, Breaking Habits, that offers up some great strategies for creating new habits and getting rid of old ones.

When you’re trying to change a habit, you’re going to have this fight, this kind of willpower battle, between the new habit and the old habit. After a period of repetition, though, the new response will take over and you won’t need the willpower anymore. What you’re looking for is for that new response to be automatic, so you don’t have to have that tussle with your willpower.”

The  fasting at our house was a fight of epic proportions.  Sometimes you just have to go cold turkey, pare down your food intake to a few simple components and let your body go through the struggle  of giving up  old fail safes and bad habits.  It’s tough, but eventually as the author says, the new response will take over and you won’t have to tussle with your willpower.

Another handy strategy is having a Pre-commitment in place.  Jeremy Dean suggests thinking ahead to times when you’re going to be tempted to follow your old habits, and create a plan for committing yourself in advance to your new habit.   This is one time where it is OK to rehearse calamity!  When you’re feeling strong, you make a decision so that when you’re feeling weaker and more susceptible later, the temptation will be gone. If you’re trying to cut  down on tv, put the remote out in your glovebox.    It’s not a forever strategy but until the new habit has been created it’s a great way to not loose that hard fought territory.

You’d be amazed how much weaving cuts down on the snacking, kinda hard to justify orange tainted cheezie fingers all over those beautiful threads, ha.

cheezie fingers
so say you’ve not got a loom to distract you and you still want top make some small changes to your own habits…

Check out Tiny Habits w/ BJ Fogg.   You pick 3 tiny habits you want to start and for the next 5 days you will get a daily email and reminder from this Standford PHD.  It’s super easy to follow along, and the joining the online program is free.

Yup, emailing you out of the good of his heart…This TED Talks alumni just wants to show you how easy it can be to make a change become habit.

It’s a very interesting approach to making small and realistic changes.  Registration starts every Friday!  Let’s do it!

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I’ve got to meet the artist

Took a trip  last weekend out to see my mom, which of course included a tour of the local small town thrift shops. No big surprises or great deals uncovered on this trip

Though amongst piles of Beanie Babies,  commemorative hockey chotchkies and some dusty Blue Mountain Pottery we did find these masterpieces!

Campbellford Camp cosmonaut Painting Continue reading

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Buttermilk and Asparagus Salad

Buttermilk Asparagus Salad

The fella’s gone on a fast leaving me to fend for myself meal wise.

I could be a real jerk and fill the house with the heady rich smells of  freshly delivered Wood fired Sausage and Ricotta Pizza from our local shop.  Or perhaps some creamy Butter Chicken and Daal with fresh crispy Naan.  Perhaps a huge West Indian Roti filled to the breaking point with Roasted Goat, potato and chickpea…

Or I can head to the market and load up on a fridge full of fresh fruit, seasonal veggie  and get my cook on; indulging in all the flavours I like in a loving show of support. Continue reading

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Beauty and decay

I was cruising the intermawebs today and found  the most beautifully shot interiors.  While we usually save that sort of link re-post for the RS facebook page the subject matter took me back to one of our trips and branched out in a way that couldn’t be properly explored in a one-liner.  Hope you think so too!

Dale and I had travelled to Cuba and were taken not so much by the tourist littered beaches and ho hum resorts, but rather the beauty of Havana and it’s people. Education is prized in a way were rarely see here, and there is a quiet grace to both the spaces and the teamwork involved to achieve the goals of the country as a whole. Do yourself a favour, skip the all inclusive and plan for a good 4 days (at least) in this unexpected city exploring.

havana trip

Continue reading

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We went for a little road trip and stumbled upon an estate sale.
2 little old ladies (sisters) had outlived their husbands and were  happily crafting their days away in this house.

oh god, what a collection of stuff.

Each room upstairs was filled with a different theme….ladies loved the dolls so much they filled 2 rooms!

buffalo estate sale Continue reading

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Spot of sun makes things grow

Warm pancakes soaked with Homemade maple syrup
Crocus and Hen & Chick poking up in the sunshine
2 little dogs excited to explore High Park
Cashmere, silk, mohair and merino together again and off the loom Continue reading

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quick hits of delicious inspiration

Pssssst,  there’s a whole other side to this site that you might not know about.
We tend to save the quick hits of inspiration for our facebook page.

It’s where we post stuff like this

renovationslaves facebooik blueprint for your wall Continue reading

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