Smart, feminist, exciting and political without being heavy-handed.
Smart, feminist, exciting and political without being heavy-handed.
You guys. This peanut soup might be the best thing I’ve ever made in my life. It was over-the-top amazing! My husband said it was the best soup he’d ever had, then added, “And my name is Campbell, so my opinions on soup carry a lot of weight.” An odd duck, that one.
I made it up as I went, but after we ate it, I wrote down all the steps, so I could recreate it. If I go through the trouble of writing down a recipe, it must be a keeper, cuz that ain’t my bag.
When this was cooked, I ran it through my Vitamix (in two batches) because I love puréed soup. If you prefer a chunkier soup, just omit that step, or purée half the batch and transfer back to your soup pot so you’ve got a creamy base. This is great with a crusty slice of bread, but then so is everything because carbs are life.
Perfect Peanut Soup:
Add the following ingredients to suit your taste (I started with approximately one teaspoon of each, and adjusted to taste.)
Prepare yourself for applause, and enjoy!
Oh, why did I do this? I haven’t posted in over a month (I’m sorry if my three faithful readers missed me) but I’ve been so busy. I know everybody says that, but I mean SO busy. I’ve had 18 hour days for a month straight. Four to five hours of sleep a night and full days of physical labour and spending tons of money that I don’t really have on my house. My charming little 1913 house, the one I wasn’t planning on moving out of for some time. Here’s the short version/timeline;
Day 1: I hear that a house I love on my street is going up for sale. (I haven’t even seen the interior.)
Day 2: We get pre-approved at the bank so we can make an offer before the house is listed.
Day 3: We get to see the house before it’s listed.
Day 4: We make an offer, contingent on the sale of our house.
Days 5-35: We bust our asses getting our current house ready for sale. It’s been through three rounds of renos in the past ten years, but we tackle every little thing that we never got around to, pack up half our lives into a storage pod in the backyard, paint nearly every wall and basically work like maniacs every waking hour that we’re not at work. When I say “We,” I should tell you I mean “Me.” My husband was on a marking deadline at his job (he teaches English at a university) And was swamped. He helped where he could, but I was definitely at the helm of this shizz. I hired my brother Adam, who recently moved to town and as it turns out, is a really great handyman! So, that was amazing. There’s a zero percent chance I could have done it without him. He is way more skilled at repairs than I am, and was at the house working nearly every day for a month.
My house went on the market four days ago and I’m having a daily heart attack…I just want it to sell and be over with. It’s hard to keep everything spotless for showings (I feel like I can’t even sit on my furniture, cuz I’ll wreck stuff.)My kitties are all living in my mom’s rec room (which is where I am right now- I’ve been having frequent slumber parties with them, but I miss having them at home so much.) I’m terrified about trying to sell a house in November in Winnipeg, because who wants to buy a house and move in knee-deep snow and minus 20 temperatures and I’m pretty stressed. I spent a small fortune fixing this place up in such a small amount of time and feel like I’ll never be out of debt again. Ever. At least I’m not as stressed as I was last week. I’ve had two full nights of sleep in a ROW! I’ve left my house for something OTHER THAN WORK AND HARDWARE STORE RUNS. I’ve broken down is stress-fuelled tears more often in the past month than in the past two years. I’m not sure it was worth it, honestly. If I had known how awful, how stressful, how expensive, how taxing it would be on my husband and I…I wouldn’t have done it. On the plus side, the house looks fucking great.
A few posts back I wrote about my serendipitous and probably irresponsible purchase of tickets to see Willie Watson at the Fremont Abbey in Seattle. I mean, the tickets were a straight up bargain; the flight and hotel were maybe pushing the boundaries of fiscal responsibility. But sometimes -most times- you oughta just go for broke. Plus, my dearest friend lives in Seattle, so there was no question that a good time was gonna be had.
I’ve been wanting to see Willie Watson live since I heard his first solo album (Folksinger Vol. 1) and he didn’t disappoint. He opened the show with “Take This Hammer,” and his incomparable voice in that little room…well, I think my heart might have stopped.
The Lead Belly classic is my favourite track on Folksinger Vol. 2, a record of back to back standout songs. On the album version, Watson is accompanied by the Fairfield Four, who bring all the power and depth you’d expect from one of the greatest gospel groups in the world.
The record, produced by David Rawlings for he and Gillian Welch’s Acony Records label, kicks off with a rousing version of “Samson and Delilah” with the Fairfield Four. “Gallows Pole” is haunting and perfectly suited to Watson’s high and keening sound. “Dry Bones,” “Walking Boss,” “The Cuckoo Bird,” and “John Henry” are fresh-sounding folk standards, and the blues are solidly represented by “When My Baby Left Me,” and “Leavin’ Blues.” The Blind Alfred Reed song “Always Lift Him Up and Never Knock Him Down” is lifted up (see what I did there? 🙄) by the addition of a woodwind ensemble which lends an orchestral (almost minstrel) feel to the track.
The jugband sound of “On The Road Again” features the Fairfield Four and Gillian Welch, and makes for a pretty great sing-a-long, though I had to look up what a “natural-born eastman” was. (From what I could gather, I think it was a term for a man who lived off of a woman; kind of a pimp. And man, pimps are always fun to sing about, I don’t care who you are.)
I was lucky to meet Willie after the Seattle show and he couldn’t have been kinder or more humble. I used to be the hospitality coordinator for a popular venue that hosted all of my favourite bands and I’ve never been nervous to meet anyone in my life, but I think I was a nervy spaz when I met Willie Watson! I’m frequently captured by music, but I was deeply moved at his show. It had me all kinds of emotional, and my sarcastic shell was cracked for the night (don’t worry, it grew back.)
I’m hoping to see him again on this tour, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’ll play in some state nearer to Winnipeg, and the legion of folkies we’ve got here.
I tend to carry on when I love something this much; yesterday, my husband asked me if I had a crush on Willie Watson. I said “No, sweetie, I have a crush on Blair Redford. I just have a deep and abiding musical devotion to Willie Watson.” You will, too, so get on out there and buy yourself a copy of Folksinger Vol. 2, and if you have a chance to see Willie live, take it!
I’ve been a no-show around here, as I’ve been crazy busy! I had a massive yard sale to plan (it was yesterday and it was amazing!) Plus I’ve got a short trip to the States coming up this week and I’ve been swamped at work with all the fall orders coming in. Here’s a quick shot of some baskets I’ve collected since I’m gonna jump on the basketwall bandwagon. I mean, they’re not on the wall yet, because I’m lazy and have shit to do, but they might be someday. 😉
I go to Toronto a couple of times a year for work. I usually spend two days working and three days hanging out (read: eating) so I’ve spent a fair amount of time seeking out great places to eat. I eat a mostly vegan diet (I’m a lactose-intolerant vegetarian 🙄) so eating while traveling isn’t always straightforward or simple. Toronto makes it so easy!
I went for a quick visit last week and if someone looked at my Instagram over those few days, you’d figure all I did was eat. They wouldn’t be far off.
I didn’t get to all of my regular haunts this time around (there’s never enough time!) but I’ll include them in this list of favourites:
When I’m in Toronto, I eat breakfast at Karine’s almost every single day; it’s hands down the BEST breakfast in all of Toronto, and Karine is all about spoiling her customers with positivity in addition to the food.
Karine’s is in the food court of the Ontario College of Art and Design, so it’s not someplace you’d see from the street. You need to go inside the “Village on the Grange” building (53 McCaul Street, right next to the Art Gallery of Ontario, where you’re gonna go anyway, right?) Then just look for the big green sign.
Sometimes I get things that AREN’T pancakes or waffles. Not this time.
There are four Fresh restaurants in Toronto (and one in Mexico City!) and they’re equally spectacular. The menu is vegan, large and diverse. The Fresh bowls are hugely popular, wholesome and filling, and that’s what I go for when I’m being a good, plant-power healthy-eater. But when I want comfort food (almost always, it’s a problem) I go for the Squash Tacos. Damn, now I’m thinking about squash tacos and I’m sad I don’t have any. I digress, as is my custom.
More standout dishes are the BBQ Burger and the Black Bean Burrito. And there’s no getting around the fact that you’re gonna order the quinoa-battered onion rings. Everyone does. Eventually you see 10 orders of it being served to the people sitting around you and you order your own. (The peanut sauce tastes great with theses, and the garlic mayo is silky and fantastic, too.) The fresh pressed juices and desserts are everything you could hope for, and the weekend brunch is worth standing in line.
This place is far from vegetarian, but they do have veggie options. I love it here cuz I’m a Day of The Dead kind of girl. The menu is a little too “foodie” for my personal tastes (I like simple and casual…I don’t need plantain mash and asparagus in my burritos) but that may be right up your alley! The drinks here are fantastic and El Catrin has one of the largest selections of tequila and mezcal in the country. I try to come in the mid-afternoon for the ambience and a snack (guacamole made at the table and the best churros I’ve had in Toronto, which has a surprising amount of churro places.) And if I see a Mexican Coca-Cola on a menu anywhere, I get it. I’m not a pop-drinker and I almost never have caffeine, so when I do, I’m like a toddler who’s been given a bag of pixie stix and an espresso. EVEN MORE FUN TO BE AROUND!
Kensington Market has a hot ton of vegan and vegetarian options, including a natural grocery store and some smaller Latino markets/veggie stands. A new discovery for me was Moo Frites, a tiny place selling nothing but Belgian fries. Damn, dudes. Soft on the inside, super crispy on the outside with lots of dipping sauces to choose from (vegan dips, too.)
If you’re in the (Kensington) market for a gluten-free, vegan dessert, you’ll probably want to hit up Bunners, the 💯 % vegan and gluten free bakery on Augusta Avenue. Get your sugar-high on before you pop in to The Blue Banana Market next door. It’s one of my go-to shops in Toronto.
Some other Kensington Market faves are:
Hibiscus – Sweet and savoury crepes, dairy-free ice cream
Cosmic Treats – Comfort-food, taco Tuesdays, deep-fried mac and cheeze balls, vegan desserts
Urban Herbivore Sandwiches, bowls, soups and juices to stay or to go.
I’d be completely remiss if I didn’t mention Hogtown Vegan. This is one of those places that vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters all like. It’s NOT health food. It’s Unchicken and Waffles, Mac and Cheeze, “Beef” and Dumplings, Pulled “Pork” sandwiches and the like.
I didn’t get there this time, and I’m still kicking myself.
Do you have any favourites that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments, cuz I really, REALLY like veggie restaurant recommendations!
Best Spidey since 60s cartoon; great teen comedy, too. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️