Monthly Archives: January 2012

Finding More in NYC and loving it.

One of my best girlfriends – Julie (she with the inspirational art blog Spaark) – recently asked me where I ate when I was in New York a few months back.

I got to recalling the trip and realized I really hadn’t lamented adequately on what a delicious (and fun) journey we had. Having eaten there a few times before, there are a few haunts we know and love, starting with:

Cafe Gitane:

Our absolute must do when in NYC. Worth the hour wait to get in. Just pull up a spot and people watch.

Located in the absolute heart of maybe my favorite neighborhood in the world (Mott & Prince in Nolita), there is no better people watching paradise than this, short of sitting at a cafe in the Marais in Paris. I have heard that Vancouver’s own Medina took inspiration from this funky little spot – and it turns out Medina has my heart as one of my favorite spots in this fair city!

My baked eggplant at Cafe Gitane (burnt my tongue)

Expect Moroccan/Tunisian/Mediteranean goodness with lots of great vegetarian options – veggies, feta, all made right there in front of your eyes. I should say that Cafe Gitane is the only place I have ever seen that offers my all time, world’s best, favorite food: avocado on toast! I swear every cute girl and guy (that is who tends to eat there) was eating this. I almost died as I did not remember this from my last visit there in ’07. Major win!

Avocado on Toast? Where am I?

Cafe Mogador:

More Mediterranean influence 🙂

The site of my first meal ever in New York City. The restaurant where we enjoyed the meal following the closing of the purchase of our home, and my first foray into experiencing New York. More (surprise) Moroccan food – couscous, salad, hummus – a wonderful oasis! It’s been there forever. Warm, cozy, inviting, and highly recommended.

Ninth Street Espresso:

I need my coffee!

Strolling up to Ninth Street

The folks at Ninth Street Espresso are hipsters in every sense. Coming from the coffee scene here in Vancouver, which hosts one of the most vibrant and hardcore coffee cultures in North America, Ninth Street offered a home away from home in the East Village. We went to the one on Ninth and hung for about an hour each morning. Heaven.

Finished the spro.

Cappuccino - poured with love by my new barista friend 🙂

We also enjoyed lunch at the Moma Cafe – high quality fare with a nice glass of white wine (a must at lunch when vacationing). We also discovered a pretty cozy little localvore wine bar in Nolita call Ten Bells. Packed with locals, this place was super coze to stop and enjoy a glass of wine and a few bites of local cheeses.

A break from the art assault at MOMA. Good food. Good people. It's New York!

Our trip was just what we needed – a quick getaway from kids and work life. I swear if I didn’t have such a great life here, I would live in Paris or New York – of course if I could manage to make enough money – there is so much to see and do. I think to survive I would have to live in Brooklyn, which we also enjoyed with an afternoon coffee at El Beit (serving a West Coast coffee but not ours) and dinner in an old apothecary turned lively Italian joint.

So much inspiration comes out of a place where anything goes, and as usual I was impressed and inspired by the general state of being in folks living in that city. Everyone walks, and there is a fruit stand on every corner. It’s not a hard gig to eat well in a place like NYC, and I am inspired by the health and wellness community there.

And no, I did not shop. (That much). But that’s another story.

Dining with good friends Roscoe and Mary Lee in Brooklyn. So much fun!

Hanging at Washington Square. Bumped into the SATC actor Chris Noth for the 2nd time.

There he is, Noth. The guy with the red hair is thinking WTF?

Alas, we returned home to take stock after our break. No matter where you go, there is no place like home. I can’t wait to go back again though, sooner rather than later.

What are your favorite food haunts in New York? Care to help Julie out with your recommendations (I am sure she will be grateful!)

Yours In Less,


Filed under Happiness, Inspiration, Rejuvenation, Travel, Vegetables

Finding more in (just a little) oranges, sunshine, and joy.

Finally it’s the weekend! After a long luxurious sleep we all woke to the promise of another Saturday, our favorite day of the week.

No surprise we awoke to another weekend of precipitation. Today is was wet snow. I wasn’t sure I could take any more, really…

Where could I find some sunshine? How could I perk up, and shake off the dread towards what looked like another day of schlepping wet kids, dirty cleats, and icy little cheeks and hands around?

The answer was on the kitchen counter.

A pile of dried out oranges and mandarins I had culled from the fruit bowl earlier in the week. It’s orange season, and every variety of mandarin, clementine, tangerine, and navel orange can be found at every green grocer from east to west.

Bonus: Oranges are cheap (anywhere from 49-99 cents a pound). I always buy them heavy (this means they have a lot of juice).

Slice those babies up and get them ready for the citrus juicer.

Use a little elbow grease, and don’t mind the pulp, it’s full of goodness, unless you absolutely hate it.

I also had a rusty looking pomegranite we had all been avoiding – a nice addition.

Hand juiced into deliciously sweet liquid sunshine!

Never underestimate what lies inside of an orange, no matter what its skin is telling you! Just what we needed to start another chilly day on the ‘Wet’ Coast.

Gone in 2 seconds, it was certainly worth all the hard work.

Better than anything I could ever buy in the store, and all from a few wrinkly mandarins and oranges.

Turns out January has at least one great thing about it.


And hand citrus juicers.

A simple pleasure for sure. I hope you find a little sunshine this weekend, regardless of the weather outside.

Yours in Less,


Filed under Cheap, Children, Family, Feeding, Happiness, Raw

Recipe: Millet Patties with Veggie Salad & Potatoes

This quest to living on less encompasses an awful lot of things.

What started as a need to stop frivolous and wasteful material consumption (and an ever steeper secret Visa bill) has turned into one of the most meaningful challenges I have ever faced.

Last night was a perfect example as I arrived home after work with no time to hit the grocery store. Our stock in the kitchen was low – or at least it seemed to be so. I’m not one to write out a week’s worth of menus, settling instead for keeping a few key ingredients on hand to capture the mood of our ever changing appetites.

Normally I would have hurried down the street to hastily pick up what I thought I needed. Once inside, I would blaze through the aisles of my neighborhood grocery store (we are fortunate to have a high quality locally owned organic food store a block away), letting my hunger direct my hands to pluck veggies, dairy, bread, snacks, and every other condiment and pickle off the shelf that my harrowed and hungry mind thought it desired (don’t get me started on the sale items).

Long days tend to do that to you. They make you hungry. They wear you down.

Somewhere around $80-$100 later, I would struggle home loaded down with bags of food and a gnawing sense that I was (once again) slightly out of control. I am always thinking there must be a better way.

Sounds normal right?

So I am trying to change this. The truth is that I had food in the fridge, it was just remnants. I was determined to make use of what I had, so this is  what I did:

Tim had a few chicken thighs defrosting in the morning so I knew he was having chicken, and a few tasty sides are always welcome from him.

My fridge crisper presented to me the following which, if I do say so myself, turned into a rather lively and inspired little meal:

Veggie Salad:

  • a few outer leaves and chunks of red cabbage that I normally discard (2 cups)
  • celery hearts from a bunch I had used in soup (1 cup)
  • 2  carrots, peeled (1 cup)
  • 1 red pepper (1 cup)
  • a handful of parsley (1/4 cup)

This became a vibrant, crunchy, slaw -ike salad. I chopped the veggies up finely, minced the parsley, and dressed it with:


  • olive oil (1/4 c)
  • apple cider vinegar (2 tbsp)
  • lemon juice (a half lemon)
  • raw cane sugar (1 tbsp)
  • salt (1/2 tsp) and pepper to taste.

Simply chop up all the veggies into uniform size pieces and throw into a mixing bowl. Add dressing ingredients directly to the bowl and mix gently until all the sugar and salt have dissolved.

Paprika Potatoes:

  • 2 large white potatoes
  • 1 onion
  •  salt (1/2 tsp)
  •  red paprika powder (1/2-1 tsp)
  •  minced fresh parsley (2 tbsp)
  • olive oil (2 tbsp)

Dice the potato, skin and all, into 1-inch cubes and add to a pot with enough cold water to cover. Boil for 8-10 minutes until just soft. Drain. Heat olive oil in a wok. Dice the onion, and add to the hot oil. Add salt and cook onion for 5-8 minutes until fragrant and turning golden. Add cooked potatoes and paprika. Cook, stirring here and there, for 15-20 minutes (or as long as you need to prepare everything else). Salt and pepper to taste and add minced fresh parley just before serving.

Millet Scallion Patties

  • 1 heaping cup chopped potatoes
  • 1/2  cup dry millet
  • 1-1/4 c cold water
  • 1/2 c water, milk, or nut milk
  • 1/2 c ground raw cashews
  • 1/4 c minced scallions (green onions)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/4-1/2 c dry quick oats
  • 1/2 tsp dried minced garlic (can use fresh)
  • 1 egg
  • olive oil for cooking

Combine millet, chopped potatoes, and water in a medium pot and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil, then turn to low and cook covered for 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat and add water (or milk). Mash the mixture in the pot with a large fork or potato masher. Add cashews, scallions, salt, pepper, minced garlic, mustard, cumin, egg, and oats. Stir until mixture is well incorporated.

Heat a frying pan on medium high and add olive oil. Form mixture into patties (you can use a 1/4 cup measuring spoon) and cook until brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes each side. You will need to add more oil as you cook as the patties will absorb it well. Cook until all patties are done. To melt cheese on top, place patties on a cookie sheet and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until the cheese is hot and melty 🙂 OR you can add sliced cheese on top of the patties right in the pan and cover with a lid for 5 minutes.

Serve with or without melted cheese on top with the two veggie dishes and there you go! Super delicious, wheat free, and full of dense useable nutrition. These disappeared pretty quickly when I brought a stack to the office for my co-workers…

A nice weekday meal! Heck, you could even enjoy a side of kale to go with that.

Why not, right? Wishing everyone a great week!

If you give these a try – drop us a line to let us know how it worked out!

Yours in Less,

1 Comment

Filed under Cheap, Family, Recipes, Rich & Simple

Recipe: Marinated Kale.

So here it is. The first published recipe!

I never thought in a million years I would be doing this, but it is a lot of fun – I hope you might try this or add your own favorite things to do with the green stuff below!

Marinated Kale

I absolutely love this discovery!

The acidity of the lemon and vinegar softens the coarseness of raw kale that is a turnoff for so many people wanting to incorporate this wonder vegetable into their diet. This is a raw dish, meaning you get all of the fresh enzymes and inherent life force that exists in this green-nutrient-and-fiber-packed-gem of a vegetable. This is now a staple in our fridge.


3/4 cup Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette
1 bunch black, green, or red kale

Prepare Vinaigrette*. Wash kale by running under the sink or dipping a few times in a bowl of fresh water (keep it bound). holding the stem end, shred the kale with a sharp knife as finely as you can.

Ginger Lemon Vinaigrette

•    1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
•    1/4 c apple cider vinegar
•    3/4 c olive oil
•    juice of one whole lemon
•    1 tsp sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Hand blenders are also awesome for salad dressings – simply combine ingredients in a large bowl and go for it (just do it in the sink with an apron on).

Combine the shredded kale and dressing in a mixing bowl until well combined. Refrigerate in a covered container for at least 12 hours before eating, even longer if you can. Allow to return to room temperature before serving.

This dish will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. It’s great to make a batch and add to your meals on weekdays when you need a little green and you haven’t the time to wash and prepare them.

•    Delicious added as a side to any grain or vegetable dish
•    As a salad with red shredded cabbage or carrots (or both) and a handful of pea sprouts
•    As a salad with shredded radicchio and cherry tomatoes
•    As a base for Quinoa balls with a side of corn, tomatoes, and guacamole

*If for some reason you don’t have time to assemble the vinaigrette according to instructions simply mix 1/2 c olive oil with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, the juice of 1/2 lemon and a pinch of salt. Pour over the kale. Delicious.

Even in winter a bunch of kale costs about $3 – pretty good value if it lasts you a few days.

This recipe is a lifesaver during the week when you are crunched for time. No baking, steaming, or blending needed, just a sharp knife and a healthy appetite!

If you do try it – let us know what you think!


Filed under Cheap, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Vegan, Vegetables