Pics of the Week 10: Waterlily, Who Needs A Farm, Turned On, Rose Word Bouquet, Medusa and Just Do It

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Pics of the Week day!

And with it, the realization that another whole seven days have flown by in a blink. Where does the time go? The kids have started into a new soccer season, beach volleyball is here, track and field is on the horizon and the days (thankfully!) are getting longer, sunnier and more deliciously vibrant. One of my favourite times of the year, yahoo! This also marks jumping into double digits with POTW installments! Ten whole weeks of getting to share some of, what I think, are the coolest bits of this and that around.  I hope this post adds a wee bit of extra sunshine to your weekend. Enjoy!

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PICS OF THE WEEK

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TRANQUIL WATERLILY

Perfect stillness

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WHO NEEDS A FARM TO BE A FARMER?

As people from all walks of life seek out more sustainable and hands on initiatives to go greener, a new trend has emerged: rooftop farming. Providing food, flowers and insulation, a rooftop ecosystem is a perfect rainwater capture system for your organic fruits and veggies. Food and living space, animal habitat and forests are no longer forced to compete for area. Win-Win-Win-Win!

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TURNED ON

Poland’s Katowice Street Art Festival, ran this April and drew a small band of artists who transformed the visage of the city. Valencia’s most famous of these, street artist Escif created his enormous On/Off Switch Mural on the side of an apartment building.

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A ROSE WORD BOUQUET
Etsy shop owner, Photomamaregina, handcrafts these exquisite floral pieces using old Readers Digest pages. Upcycling at it’s most delicate, beautiful best.
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ETHEREAL MEDUSA
Roxy Russell designed these jellyfish-like, floating lamps. Dubbed “The Medusa Collection”, they create an other-worldly air to any space
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JUST DO IT…LOVE FRUITS AND VEGGIES, THAT IS

Yes, someone went there. A 100% fruit and vegetable Nike shoe to capture the imagination and shine a light on just how versatile produce can be :)

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Waterlily image courtesy of Tracy Louise Photography
Rooftop Farming image courtesy of Earth Insulated Homes
On-Off Switch image courtesy of Katowice Street Festival
Book Page Roses image courtesy of Photomamaregina, Etsy
Medusa lamps image courtesy of Roxy Russell, Designer
Nike shoe image courtesy of Next Nature
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DID YOU MISS ANY OF THIS WEEK’S DAILY SHOTS?
Check ‘em out below :)
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This week’s “Oldie but Goodie”

Pics of the Week 5: Ear to Ground, Dahlia Ball, If Nothing Else, Mug O’ Bunny and Boom Boom Pop

Friday, at last, Peeps!

I have a couple of new things lined up next week that I’m so excited to share!  (Hints: An interview you won’t want to miss, and the rollout of another Z & G series that will challenge your perceptions.  Juicy stuff, folks, jooo-sseee stuff!)

‘Till then, here are my chosen Pics of the Week. As always, I’d love to know what you think!  Feel free to Comment, Like, Share, Pin, Vote…or all of the above :)   At the moment, last week’s favourite pic (as voted on by you!) is “First Swim”.  Go two weeks back and it’s a tight race, with “Little House in the Valley” gently nudging out the others. Of course, voting is still open, so if those weren’t your chosen ones, clickity-clack on over and vote again :)

PICS OF THE WEEK

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EAR TO GROUND

(A different sort of throwdown…)

A goldmine for the Occupy Gardens movement, guerilla gardeners and those of us who just want to “spread some pretty” where we can, Lea Redmond’s “spontaneous seeding” earrings allow the wearer to choose from a variety of flower, veggie and plant seeds that are always in reach and make a unique fashion statement.

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MUG O’ BUNNY

Did I find it odd that the Mug with Ducks Daily Shot was such a hit? Nope. But it did make me know this little guy was a shoo-in for this week’s POTW :)

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DAHLIA BALL

A single, multicoloured dahlia bud

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IF NOTHING ELSE…

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BOOM BOOM POP

This tank (made purely of balloons) was created by Hans Hemmert and eventually, slowly deflated, revealing that in truth, the tank was all just “hot air”…political statement, or party favour fun?

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Ear to Ground image courtesy of Lea Redmond, LeafcutterDesigns

Mug o’ Bunny image courtesy of Peter Nguyen

Dahlia Ball image courtesy of courtesy of coffeenuts via Gitpix

If Nothing Else… image courtesy of Stumblr On

Boom Boom Pop image courtesy of Ingess Idee

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Perfect Eggless Pancakes (with full vegan & topping options) (Recipe)

Team Offutt kicked off the Air Force Assistanc...

I love breakfast. Love love love it. Who doesn’t?

But when my little ones were diagnosed with anaphylaxis* (life threatening food allergies) to eggs and nuts, my breakfast bliss tanked for awhile. I didn’t want to my kids to end up in the hospital on a ventilator – but I also didn’t want them to miss out on anything, least of all, the warm, syrupy goodness of a homemade stack of pancakes.

Since the kids’ diagnoses, I’ve been on the prowl for a great egg free pancake recipe. One that doesn’t look (or taste) like those horrendous “health food store” options of the 90’s, one that can be made vegan on occasion, and one that is fluffy, normally textured and can pass as a real, honest to goodness, home style – like – your – mama – used – to – make, pancake.

Yeah, I’m demanding like that. I wanted a blasted pancake that looked and tasted like (you guessed it) a pancake. You’d be amazed at how many awful recipes I have tried. You’d be flabbergasted by just how B-A-D they really were.

Enter this absolutely perfect recipe from The Art of Dessert.  Problem solved! Nostalgic, maple-memories and breakfast bliss have been restored :)

These pancakes are even better than the “real thing” because they are so darn adaptable!  I’ve made them egg free, and also completely vegan, added toppings, stuffed ‘em – even eaten them all on their own, cold as a snack. Delicious all around.

(Note: my variations on the recipe are bolded below the original)

Eggless Pancakes (with full vegan variations)

(courtesy of Art of Dessert)

Makes about 8-9 pancakes, 5 inches in diameter

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk (or see substitutes)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup melted butter (or see substitutes)

*Vegan substitutes: Instead of milk, you can use soy milk, rice milk, almond milk or fruit juice. You can replace the melted butter with vegetable oil, applesauce, coconut oil or vegetable shortening.

What you’ll do

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, oil and orange juice. Slowly add in the melted butter. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until almost smooth (a few small lumps are ok). Pour about 1/2 cup of batter onto a hot nonstick pan. (This batter is tends to bubble up and thicken due to the baking powder. You can gently stir it to break down some of the bubbles to bring it back to a pourable consistency.) Cook until you see a few bubbles rise to the surface and it’s dry around the edges, then flip over to cook the other side until lightly browned. Serve with butter and maple syrup or whipped cream and fresh fruit.

Great Variations I tried:

  • Substitute 1/4 of brown cane sugar for the white – it adds a delicious, deeper, more “caramel-like/molasses” flavour
  • I have tried both organic, skim milk and soy milk.  Both worked very well. We (obviously!) couldn’t use the nut milk substitution, but I’d love to hear how it (or the fruit juice)  worked out for you!
  • Substituting applesauce for the oil/butter seemed to detract from the “authentic pancake texture” when I tried it – I now stick to the original butter or vegetable oil
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of maple or vanilla extract for a little extra, subtle flavour in the finished pancake. A nice touch if eating the final product without a heavy syrup, or stuffing with a complimentary ingredient
  • Adding “bonus” ingredients works well with this batter. To do this, drop your batter into the pan, and immediately sprinkle or gently place your “extras”.  Chocolate chips, banana slices, blueberries (frozen and fresh), strawberries and couple small dollops of “freenut butter” (soy nut and sunflower seed peanut butter substitute) were all fantastic.
  • Toppings that tasted great: maple syrup (naturally!), light agave, freenut butter (I’m sure peanut butter would be wonderful too), preserves, honey, cinnamon, and fresh fruit.
  • Tip: These pancakes freeze really well.

My entire family couldn’t be more thrilled with this recipe! I hope you all enjoy it as well – and please do share any variations that work for you in the comments :)

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*For more info on my family’s food allergies and food lifestyles, check out the “More Juicy Bits” portion of my About Me page.

**A post on food allergies, intolerances, anaphylaxis, oral allergy syndrome and ingredient sensitivities is in the chute (along with a couple of new, related resource pages)…stay tuned! :)

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Serving pancakes image courtesy of Wikimedia commons

Stack of pancakes image courtesy of pancreaspancakes

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Ataulfo Mangos – YUM!

Ataulfo mangos

I picked up these two beauties a couple of days ago at my local supermarket.  They are both Ataulfo mangos.  Never having tried one before (and fancying myself a burgeoning mango connoisseur), I decided it was imperative that I take a taste, for the sake of research (and sheer curiosity). Into my basket they went.

Geek that I am, I took a gander online to get more informed about this golden gem of mangoliciousness, and found that the Atualfo mango is also referred to as the Adolfo, Adaulfo, Honey, Young, Baby, Manilla, Yellow and (my personal fav) Campagne mango.  Sweet names, all, but none so sweet as the sticker that really caught my eye at the market:

Yes, seriously.  Love the happy mango.  Love the “Go Man Go” (har har!) play on words, and in my books, there is nothing in the world that isn’t made better by a sombrero and a smile.

So how was it? Well, there was nothing knock – your – socks – off surprising about the Ataulfo mango. However, there were a few notable differences from the common mango that I noted:

  • Peeling. I was able to make a small cut in the skin near the tip of the mango and really easily pull the peel back, much like a banana.  Huge plus!  I’ve had many a paring knife/peeler accidents while dealing with stubborn mango peels.

  • Texture. The flesh of the mango was far less fibrous than the mangos I’m accustomed to, and slightly softer as well. Though I can’t be sure, based on texture alone, I’d say this makes the Ataulfo mango a wee bit easier to digest and faster to blend into a smoothie (good news if you don’t have a Vitamix).

 

  • Colour. The Ataulfo’s outer skin was a more pronounced, consistent yellow than most other mangos I have seen (which are generally, when ripe, varying degrees of orange-red.)  As well, the flesh was a beautiful, deep, golden hue, and far less orange than I expected.

 

  • Flavour. Surprisingly rich! Even a little spicy. A good friend of mine introduced me to using a coarsely ground black pepper on frozen, diced mango (delicious, by the way). I did dice the mango to serve, and though the Atauflo didn’t pack quite the same kind of heat as the aforementioned, peppered fruit, there was a definite, yet subtle kick to it.

 

All in all, my first meeting with the Ataulfo mango was a pleasant one. My kids both enjoyed using toothpicks to sample the cubes and, as mango fiends themselves, were quite qualified in giving me their feedback. The verdict?
A resounding (if slightly lopsided!) THUMBS UP :)
Mama concurs!