Saturday, April 23, 2005

Simply sweet

Kim got me hooked on these flaxseed cookies from a bakery in the Annex. Unwilling to shell out the better part of $4 every time I wanted to get my 4-pack fix, I set to the task of coming up with a similarly satisfying recipe. These cookies are free of wheat and refined sugar, with a density similar to shortbread. Makes 16-20 cookies.

Simple Flax Maple Cookies

2 cups spelt flour (you could try other flours too)
1/3 cup flax seeds
1 - 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup (never the fake stuff)
1/2 cup sunflower oil

Preheat oven to 350oF. In a large bowl, combine flour, flax seeds, cinnamon and salt. Pour in syrup and oil and mix just until all the flour's been absorbed.
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Allow the dough to sit for 5-10 minutes before rolling into walnut-sized balls (or slightly larger) and placing them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.
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Press down on each ball gently with you index and middle finger - they'll flatten and you'll make a nice wavy impression in the cookie.
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Slide in the oven and bake for 13 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack, or eat 'em warm with a tall glass of non-dairy milk.
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PS. Speaking of sweet, thank you all so much for your cardi comments. What a thrill to hear from you all!
Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Cardi cardi cardi

Hip hip! It's done! With ever so grateful thanks to Joyce (who sewed in my ends) and
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Megan (who put in my zipper) when I was ready to throw an impatient I-can't-stand-finishing temper tantrum...

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Minutes after completion outside Lettuce Knit (- and time for a hair cut it seems)

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... and later on on my porch as I'm racing to finish the shrug.

The deets:
Laura's Top Down Cardi pattern.
Start to Finish: March 31 to April 19 2005.
Knit on US 8s in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece - 3 skeins Willow Leaf, 1 skein Olivette, and wee bits of Primrose, Tea Rose and Coral Sunset.
Pattern adaptations: I continued the ribbing down the front edges in lieu of doing garter stitch. Knit body to 21 inches (and there's more ribbing at the bottom than the suggested 2 inches). Picked up 4 sts under the arms in lieu of 5, decreased picked up sts to 2 on the first round; dec every 5 rounds twice, and then every 4 sts after that. Knit sleeves on my Clover baby circs as it was real tight on the suggested 16" circ (maybe you could try a 12" if you had one?). Added a pink zipper. It's a wonderfully adaptable pattern.

It feels great to be done. Admittedly, I think I'm more about results than process at this point with my knitting. I expect it'll get a lot of use.
The shrug's done too now (as a mattern of fact I'm wearing it at this very moment), but I'll save that for another day.
Sunday, April 17, 2005


Were you about ready to give up on me? I know there are folks who go a month sometimes without posting, but for me a week is long enough.
I was realizing that I was spending more time on knitting-related stuff (blogging, putting the new zine together, etc.) than actual knitting and it had to change. I'm knitting with a bit of a deadline right now - though I'm a little embarrassed to go into the details on that, thank you.
The chartreuse top-down cardi has been bound off, but the sewing in of ends and the thought of putting in a zipper are making me a little batty so I think I'm gonna try and barter with Denny - she's the finishing mistress.

There has been much deliberation over this shrug and I thank you all for your comments (and I feel like a bit of an arse for not thanking you all individually for your helpful suggestions). I've decided to go with one of the recently posted shrugs from Interweave:
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I picked up an almost ridiculous amount of Debbie Bliss merino (both DK and aran weight) at the DKC Knitters' Frolic yesterday, but upon the return to the Market I started having doubts about the colour and went back to an earlier plan of organic cotton. Drama about an insufficient yarn supply and the wacky gauge (substituting rayon with cotton) threw me off track for a while, and I thought Jill, Johanna, Megan and Joyce might strangle me before the shop closed, but they were all lovely and helpful. I am so grateful for this knitting community that I've nestled myself into so comfortably.

In closing I have to mention that Abby RAOKed me! I got a button! (See sidebar.) Whew, I guess that makes me a real, certified blogstress now. Go ahead and add me to your collection. I dare you!

And now I'm off, as I've got a hell of a lot of ribbing to do.
Sunday, April 10, 2005

Wandering eyes

I have a bit of a wandering eye. (And not just when it comes to casting on projects... but for now let's just keep this knitting related.) Remember how I spoke so passionately about the Ballet Wrap? Well, I'm just not as jazzed up about it anymore (which is kinda fine because I haven't started it). It has something to do with this dress:
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It's a Preloved creation, made out of old trench coats. (I know you can't see the whole thing, but you get the idea.) I wanna wear a shrug with it. I looked at A Good Bias from the current Interweave:
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And I searched Knitty and found Shimmer. (I Do looked a like a little too much for me.)
What I want is a shrug that's relatively simple and quick to make, and I maybe want to knit it from this cone of mohair (Are you seeing a greeny-gold colour?):
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Though I suppose if I were gonna go for A Good Bias (I don't get charts - is that chart complicated?), I could knit it in Mission Falls Wintergreen (oh yes, more green) - assuming that Lettuce Knit has enough in stock....

Any suggestions (especially pattern referals) would be much appreciated.
Friday, April 08, 2005

Tough decision, easy recipes

Last week Allison asked me to post some lunch recipes, and as she's recently celebrated a birthday, who am I not to oblige? But what do people eat for lunch? What do I eat for lunch? You know, it's rare that I take a lunch anywhere so I have to think about this for a moment...

Okay, how 'bout...
Ginger Sesame Pasta Salad

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2 cups dry pasta (whatever type suits your fancy)
3/4 cup snow peas, tips and stems removed
1 small - medium cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced
2 medium carrots, grated or cut into matchstick-sized pieces
1 medium red pepper, cut into thin strips
2 scallions (green onions), minced
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 recipe Ginger Salad dressing (to follow)
1/4 cup raw sesame seeds
1/2 lb. firm tofu, cubed, marinated and fried or baked
1/3 cup chopped roasted organic peanuts

Put on a pot of water to boil, and cook pasta according to package directions. During last 30 seconds, add snow peas.
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Rinse with cold water and drain. Combine pasta and other veggies. Add Ginger Salad Dressing and toss gently to coat. Cover and chill for 2 hours. To serve, toss salad and sprinkle with sesame seeds, and tofu and peanuts if desired.

Ginger Salad Dressing

1/4 cup oil (flax or olive - sunflower or canola in a pinch), including 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
3 tbsp. rice or cider vinegar
1 heaping tbsp. sweetener (brown sugar, honey, etc.)
2 tbsp. shoyu or tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp. grated or minced ginger root
several dashes hot sauce

Combine ingredients in a jar. Cover and shake. Can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.

*Note: If you are travelling with this salad, be sure to put your container in a plastic bag - I forgot to the other day and the dressing leaked all over the back cover of my... wait for it... my Sexy Sexy Bicycle journal. Akkk!

And what's a good lunch without dessert? Try these:
Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars

I'd stick to all-purpose unbleached flour for this recipe. I tried making it with whole wheat pastry flour once and they were all crumbly and unsatisfying.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup organic (non-dairy) milk or water
1 cup sunflower or canola oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350oF. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the milk, oil, vanilla, and chocolate chips and stir just until all the flour has been absorbed.
Press mixture into a lightly oiled 9 x 13-inch (or equivalent sized) baking pan and bake for about 30 minutes. Test with a knife to see if done (I like mine chewy, so I allow them to be a little underdone). Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into bars. Makes 16 bars.
-adapted from How It All Vegan!
Tuesday, April 05, 2005


First off, thanks so much everyone who commented about my recipes (two posts ago). It's exciting to think of you all in your kitchens with all your own little culinary quirks that I'm sure you have... I know I have a few.

Today I got an exciting package in the mail... No wait, lemme give you the story first: I saw these handmade journals at my favourite Peterborough bookstore, Speak Volumes, last December. I wanted one, I'd had one like it before, but they weren't cheap (from the States, so tricky exchange rate plus store mark-up) and I wasn't finished the journal I had going at the time so I decided I'd wait. Then I realized that I wasn't gonna be back in Peterborough for a while, so I asked my friend Tim to pick me one up when he went home for the holidays. He said he'd bring it back to me in early January. My old journal ran outta pages but I thought it was worth it to wait. But the new year came 'round and Tim never called. I left him, like, a dozen messages starting with "Hey let's meet up," and finally more like "Are you okay? Or could it be that you hate me?" but no contact and therefore no journal. Next time I went up to the 'patch, Speak Volumes was all sold out! I'd started the blog by then, which kinda took care of my writting urges enough to distract, but I finally decided to do what I shoulda done months ago, and order the book directly from the creators, Ex Libris Anonymous. And today, they arrived:
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Cute, no? The Sexy, Sexy Bicycle one was of course the one I was lusting after. The nudie playing card one I convinced myself to get when I found out shipping to Canada was the same for one or two journals (although it wasn't the lady with kneeling amongst party decorations I'd requested... oh well). And the third one... I dunno, I didn't order it, but here it is! What a treat!

Here's why I'm so reved up 'bout these journals:
First, the esthetic. Second, the covers are recycled from old books (or playing cards in the case of the nudie journals) so there's an environmental compontent. And then, because they're made by this super-friendly artist couple who "believe in sustainable business practices." I'm all for responsible consumerism. So g'wan now and visit Jasmine and Jacob's site - they even have these new silk-screened journals that say Knit & Destroy.

(Ironically, just this weekend I ran into Tim on Bloor Street and he was all like "Oh, I gotta get that journal to you sometime." Grrr... We're still friends.)
Monday, April 04, 2005

Silly, really.

I can let go of enough ego to post this less-than-attractive photo my 14 year-old brother took of me with what's done of the Top Down Cardi...
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... with matching backdrop. (Weird, hey? I never noticed before how many chartreuse-coloured walls my parents have.)

He then sucked up my photocard memory clicking pics of my 10 year-old brother...
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... who's a complete ham. (Ham even a vegan could love.)

I'm slow on the purl rows, but already I'm fantasizing about ways I'll adapt this pattern in the future... a roll-neck raglan sweater (I'll knit in the round any chance I get), a zip-up with cables, one in merino with silk, another in Manos...
Friday, April 01, 2005

Pancakes in particular

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I suppose it's no secret now what my favourite meal of the day is.

(Oh and it may be worth mentioning for any of you who haven't been keeping track of the blog over the last couple months that I post recipes every Friday. Foodie Fridays. Here at Domestic Affair.)

Easy Banana Pancakes (or Waffles)

This recipe's a staple in my book. I use it all the time.

1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
a pinch of sea salt
1 ripe banana (organic pref.), mashed
1 1/4 cups (non-dairy) milk
1 tbsp. sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses...)
oil for the frying pan

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add the banana, milk and sweetener to the dry ingredients and stir just until all of the flour is absorbed.
2. Portion the batter out onto a lightly oiled skillet and cook until golden on both sides. (If the batter's too thick you can mix in more milk or water - a li'l bit at a time.)
If you're making waffles (in a waffle iron), add 1 tbsp. of oil and 1/2 cup more milk. Serves 2 to 3.

Corn Cakes

It's the blue cornmeal that inspires me every time. You can use yellow cornmeal if that's what you have on hand.

2/3 cup cornmeal
1 cup just-boiled water
1 1/3 cup flour
1-2 tbsp. sweetener (honey, molasses, maple syrup, sugar)
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
replacer for one egg (try powdered 'egg replacer' + water, 'flax binder' or 1/4 cup applesauce)
3/4 cup (non-dairy) milk (and more if needed)
oil for the frying pan

1. Mix cornmeal and water in a bowl and set aside.
2. In a larger bowl, combine flour, sweetener, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add egg replacer, milk and cornmeal mixture and stir just until all the flour has been absorbed. Stir in more milk as needed to obtain desired batter consistency.
3. Put a frying pan on the stove at medium-high and drizzle in just enough oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Portion the batter out onto the skillet and cook until golden on both sides. Serve hot, with molasses or maple syrup and fresh fruit. Serves 3 or 4, unless you're really hungry.

In addition, I want to give you a few points on pancakes (as found in Ripe #3):

The first pancake is almost always a flop. Maybe you put too much oil in the pan so it's greasy, too little oil in the pan so it sticks, the heat's too high or too low... Don't be discouraged - proceed with the rest of the batter, adjusting as needed.

The skillet should be fairly hot when you pour in the batter. You can test for this by dripping a teeny bit of water on the pan. If it sizzles, your pan is ready. For cooking pancakes, it's a fine balance to get just the right temperature. Too hot can burn the outside of your pancakes while the inside stays raw. Cooking them too low can really dry them out.

Each side of the pancake should only be down on the skillet once. Flipping them back and forth dries them out and makes them leathery.

To be on the safe side re-oil the pan between each round of pancakes. You don't need tonnes of oil.

If you're a bit of a fidgety cook I should mention this: don't press down on your pancakes. Let them do their thing in the pan. If you press on them it defeats the purpose of the baking powder and your cakes'll be thin and tough.

If you want to make crepes, thin out your batter. Add water or milk 2 tbsp.- 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is achieved.

To keep pancakes warm while your getting through all the batter, put a plate and a clean tea towel in the oven at a low temperature (say 175-200oF). As pancakes are cooked, stack them in the tea towel on the plate. (The tea towel covering should, again, keep them from drying out.

Hey recipe-reading lurkers (what a weird word, lurkers)! I like sharing recipes, but it's important to me that I hear back if you end up making one of them - what worked or didn't work, any substitutions you made - that's how I can improve them for my cookbook. Thanks!

"Domestic affair... do you think it's a funny title?" I asked a friend.
"Funny ha-ha?" she responded, "well, no not really."
"But 'domestic affair', it's like what's going on in the nation, but it's also me, being drawn to all these domestic tasks - knitting, cooking, caring for small children..." I tried to explain.
"I like that it has the word affair in it," she concluded.

jae's first book!

Get It Ripe cover Have you seen my award-winning whole foods cookbook Get It Ripe: a fresh take on vegan living (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008)? Keep your eyes peeled for it!
To join the Facebook group for the book, go here.


about the blog:

about the cookbooks:

While I love hearing from you, and read each and every one of your e-mails, please understand that I just cannot respond to all of them due to the rate at which they're coming in these days!

If you have a question, I might have already answered it here.

in the press

live in person!

come see me:
* Vida Vegan Con in Portland, OR, August 26-28, 2011.

...but better yet, check the calendar for details!



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