Friday, December 7, 2018

chai spiced apple sauce

apple sauce is one small step away from apple pie in my world. it's sweet and comforting and a handy way to use up a bag of apples about to turn. even better is the fact that apple sauce is quite possibly the easiest recipe ever (the hardest step being the actual peeling of the apple skins) and it makes your whole house smell like heaven while it simmers away on the stove.

i made a bit of an impromptu decision while making apple sauce this afternoon - i had a bottle of chai baking spice in the front row of my spice cupboard and opted to use a generous sprinkling of it in place of plain cinnamon. the result was a DELICIOUS, ever so slightly spicy, beautifully aromatic, and flavorfully complex apple sauce worth sharing with the world.

i got my chai spice baking blend from the silk road spice merchant in calgary (thank you kristen and david for introducing this magical mix into my life...) it's a combination of cardamom, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, fennel, rose petals, and mint - a combo you could definitely try to replicate with spices in your cabinet. Another great option would be pumpkin pie spice (readily available at most grocery stores) - either way, you will surely end up with an extra delicious apple sauce.

chai spiced apple sauce
:: ingredients ::
5 red apples
3 green apples
1 cup of water
1/3 cup sugar*
1 generous tsp chai baking spice OR equal parts ground cardamom, ginger, ground cloves, and cinnamon.

*depending on your desired level of sweetness, you can decrease the amount of sugar or leave it out completely, or swap maple syrup or coconut sugar instead of refined sugar.

:: directions ::
peel, core, and slice apples. 
in a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and spice mix. 
cover, and cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes, or until apples are soft. 
allow to cool, then mash with a potato masher or blend smooth with an immersion blender. 
bottle up and keep in the fridge. 

i highly recommend serving this apple sauce warmed up, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a drizzle of heavy cream (coconut cream if you want to keep it vegan). you can also use it to top your morning oats, or as a delicious syrup substitution for pancakes. YUM! it's also the perfect jar of goodness to deliver to neighbours or friends in advance of the holidays.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

simplifying the holidays | guest post for room to breathe

Earlier this week, I wrote a guest blog post for my friend Indi at Room to Breathe Home Organizing - speaking about gift giving and consumption this time of year. When you consciously choose to live small, the influx of new stuff around the holidays can be difficult to deal with. But also - the flip side of this - that so many of our family and friends have so much already, and the idea of spending SO much money on more things that none of us needs, is emotionally draining (for both sides) and unnecessary.

I've shared many times abou my love for New Dream and their Simplifying the Holidays Guide - It's FULL of brilliant ideas for alternative, meaningful, and zero-waste gifts ideas, refocusing on presence over presents.

There are, of course, people in our lives that we want to do something special for, and cutting out gifts cold-turkey is probably not the way to go. This guide offers a million unique and deeply meaningful ideas to share with the ones we love most, but perhaps most importantly, this shift will leave you feeling more engaged, joyful, and increase everyone's personal fulfillment during this holiday season.

A few of my favorite alternative gift guide ideas:
  • Give away the last great book you bought and enjoyed to someone with similar taste.
  • Make and package up homemade green cleaning products.
  • Put together a booklet of cherished family recipes.
  • Display a special heirloom - frame a recipe of your grandmothers in her handwriting, find a unique display box for a handmade piece of lace or knitting, or turn a pair of baby booties or a baby rattle into a tree ornament.
  • Food! Make freezer meals, soup, bread, homemade granola bars, or provide gift certificates for groceries or dinner out as a family. 
  • Re-gift a cookbook you no longer use. Highlight or flag a few great recipes.
  • Have family home videos converted to DVD, or make a slideshow of old family photographs.
  • Purchase gift cards/ credit towards car or bike share programs or ride share apps
  • Vow to send a letter or postcard each month for the entire year to friend or family member in a different city (this is especially great for kids and grandparents!)
  • Buy a gift card to an organization like canada helps or kiva and let the recipient decide where to best allocate charitable funds.
Check out more ideas on Room to Breathe's blog post (and get in touch if you are in Calgary or Edmonton and you could use a a little help getting your external space to echo the calm simplicity that your internal space is craving...) OR download the Simplifying the Holiday Guide HERE.

Sunday, November 18, 2018


We scrimped and saved this last year to take a family trip to California - Jeff had never been to Disneyland before, and Finn and I were eager to share our over-the-top enthusiasm with him. Finn is also super in to Harry Potter, so we tacked on a trip to Universal Studios to witness the wizarding world in action. All in all, it was a completely wonderful trip - one that I'm sure will be looked back on very fondly once we have recovered from the sheer exhaustion of it all. (I have yet to get out of my pajamas or leave the house for three days now..)

I wrote a bit on instagram about our last day exploring downtown Los Angeles - witnessing first hand the gross inequity in this world, and the stark contrast between Disneyland and the world beyond its magical gates. It was a hard end to our trip, but also an important reminder that life is about SO MUCH MORE than money spent, dollars hoarded, crap accumulated, and not sharing everything we can with those that struggle for the most basic of basic needs.

For me, this is a renewed focus that I welcome and am grateful to take on.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

carie's birthday in tofino

my beautiful sunshine of a friend carie helm turned 40 last month. to celebrate her and all the wonderfulness she brings to our lives, a group of her nearest and dearest gathered in tofino for a weekend of ocean air, delicious food, special memories, and (lucky for us) so much sunshine. it was a magical few days spent with some of the greatest and kindest people i know - memories we will all cherish for a lifetime. jeff brought his camera and captured some photos of the gaggle of kids we brought along for the ride - if its even possible, they may have had more fun running wild than we did.

Final photo by Carie's partner, Chad - from L to R: Me, Carie, Kate, Anne, and Shellie (Tanja and Amanda not pictured)