Earth Day 2020

Thinking about global warming this morning and what it would be like if global warming had covid’s PR team.

Global warming is still the biggest threat to the planet. Imagine if we had PSA’s from our PM regularly telling us to do our part to stop global warming and also telling us exactly what to do? Imagine doctors on TV daily to remind us how deadly the air pollution associated with global warming is for our lungs. Imagine if we immediately shut down businesses that weren’t carbon neutral. Imagine if we were also regularly reminded of the billion animals who horrifically lost their lives in the global warming fuelled Australian bush fires and other monster fires like it.

Why don’t we have those PSA’s? Why aren’t we acting like global warming is the intense and immediate threat that it is?

These are my thoughts on Earth Day 2020

Hiking and Appies

I love a trek to St. Mark’s Summit on a misty fall day.

Being surrounded by nature’s beauty makes my soul sing.

And, after a chilly excursion to the mountaintop, this dish helps to fill your hunger and warm your soul:

Savoury Puff Pastry

The Pastry:

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 14 T butter, frozen
  • pinch salt
  • 10 T chilled water
  • 1 T lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Place butter in the freezer overnight
  2. In a jug, mix together water and lemon juice and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Everything should be cold so you can put the bowl in the fridge to chill.
  4. Grate the frozen butter directly into the flour mix. Stir the frozen butter into the flour with a knife.
  5. Add the liquid, holding a little back just in case you don’t need it all. Add just enough water to keep the pastry together.
  6. Bring the dough together to form a ball, then place in fridge for at least one hour.

The Recipe:

Form puff pastry into little boats. Int the centre, add sliced cherry tomatoes and a layer of bocconcini and top with a fresh basil leaf.

Bake at 250 degrees for half and hour. Serve. Warm your soul.

An Enchanted Forest

I love walking through a fall forest, even when our west coast November rain is pouring down and the trees are shrouded in mist. Actually I sometimes love it even more because the forest leaves are glistening with dewy rain drops and transformed into a mysterious, enchanted forest.

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon a persons heart, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.

Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Tofino Trails & Buffalo Cauliflower

What can I say about Tofino, BC? It’s a very special place nestled in a lush forest at the end of the earth. The setting for this beautiful playground is the most western point of Canada, where an unspoiled landscape meets the endless ocean.

p1140173

tofino

p1140174

Wild and rugged, its forests are lush and green with moss covered leaves and cavernous old growth trees. Trees that spark the imagination and look like they may have tiny fairies living inside of them.

tofino forest

old growth tree

If you’re lucky you can see a pack of wolves walking along the mud flats early in the morning or a humpback whale jumping out of the stormy ocean in the afternoon. Stay here for a while and you can’t help but feel how connected to the earth we are.

Walk barefoot along Chesterman Beach on soft, white, powdery sand. Then stop to gaze at a sparkly ocean that is part of Tofino’s magic. I’ve never seen the ocean look so filled with diamonds as it does here.

p1140201

chesterman beach

And what should you eat to warm you up after you’re finished exploring this supernatural corner of the earth?

This:

Buffalo Cauliflower

Adapted from Thug Kitchen

  • 2 medium heads cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup water

Hot sauce:

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup Sriracha or similar-style hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce or tamari

Heat your oven to 450F. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet. Chop up your cauliflower into little pieces no bigger than your thumb.

Whisk together the flour and water in a big bowl until a batter forms with no chunks. Toss in the cauliflower and mix it around until all the pieces look a little coated. Spread the cauliflower out on the baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Mix the pieces around halfway through roasting so all the sides are covered.

Make the hot sauce. In a small saucepan, mix the oil, Sriracha, vinegar and soy sauce. Heat over a low heat until the sauce is warm but not bubbling. Turn off the heat and let it sit.

After 15 minutes in the oven, put the cauliflower back in a big bowl and toss it with the hot sauce mixture from the stove-top. Make sure everything is coated. Drop the cauliflower pieces back on the baking sheet, leaving the extra sauce in the bowl, and roast for another 3 minutes so everything is warm and delicious.

Serve hot.

Beaver Lake in Stanley Park

There are so many reasons to love Vancouver and one of my main reasons this city still has my heart is that you can escape to lush, green nature so quickly and easily living here. In fact Stanley Park sits, like an emerald jewel, right in the middle of our city.

So, when I want to get away from the city by getting into the forest in the middle of the city, this is where I go…

beaver lake

lunch and beaver lake 042

lunch and beaver lake 045

lunch and beaver lake 050

If you’re ever visiting my lovely city, you should go there too.

Stanley Park trails

Bathing in Beauty

Have you ever heard of forest bathing? And did you know that hanging out in a forest can help detoxify you, de-stress you and boost your immune system?

When we breathe in fresh, forest air, we also breathe in things called phytoncides. What exactly are phytoncides? They’re essential oils that trees give off to protect themselves from insects. They’re also full of antibacterial particles that help trees fight disease. How amazing is nature?

tree

Breathing in these essential oils help our bodies fight disease too. They increase the number of white blood cells called natural killer cells (NK for short). And the main job of NK is helping us to destroy unhealthy virus-infected cells in our bodies. Studies in Japan have shown that increased NK activity from a three day hiking trip lasted for more than 30 days! This stat blows me away and makes me question why exactly I’m living in a city sometimes.

So spending time around trees lowers blood pressure, stress hormones and, in a nutshell, makes you happier. People who regularly hike or walk in the forest also have decreased levels of anxiety, depression, anger, confusion and fatigue.

Amazing benefits from getting out of town and into the woods. I’m gonna go now and hug some trees.

treehugger