The day was April 16, 2011. That was the day I started fasting once a week and giving the value of what I didn’t consume to those who have less.
Not So Fast began just a few days after the idea came to me, and I knew it would be a long process of putting this whole beautiful thing together, but I wanted to start right away.
Since that very first day, a few (awesome) things have gone down. A blog or two, some great discussions, a few meetings, some great food, and all of you (wonderful readers and friends -xxx)!
But enough about me.
I am honored today (back to a new recipe tomorrow!) to send you over to Somer’s blog to read her story and to see how easily a simple concept can bring beautiful people together from all over this big, beautiful world.
If you’d like to get involved, feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com.
I’d love to hear from you!
A HUGE thank you to all who so generously donated to our cause this past two weeks, we are honored by your actions and look forward to sharing even more (in less). Our second cooking class kicks off this week, so stay tuned!
It’s that time of year again! The time here in the cooling (and beautiful) Northwest when we start thinking about cozy sweaters, warm scarves, pulling on our favorite boots, and about Thanksgiving. This is the time of year when every corner grocery store stocks tiny mini pumpkins and you can’t take a step without hearing a leaf (or seven) crumble under your well-meaning fuzzy-socked feet.
Happy October everyone!
The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.
~ William James
This week I am particularly thankful for big progress here at what I like to lovingly call world IPOM headquarters (tee hee).
Not So Fast is making progress at a healthy and (mostly) manageable pace. I owe big gratitude to all who are taking part in this creative and amazing labor of love. Your energy and support are the only reason NSF is anything more than just a random passing idea.
I’ve got a giant heart here and it’s all full because of all of you. Yes, you (that is pointed squarely at you too IPOM readers).
Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
~ Leo Buscaglia
Not So Fast is hard at work planning a full school year of cooking classes for kids and families living in our fair city’s poorest neighborhood.
We want to not only share simple food with those who are keen to join us, but we hope to (maybe) offer (just a little) hope, confidence & much needed access to eating well into lives that are (likely) much more limited than our own.
A quick visit to our local farmers market drives our mission home for me with motivating intensity each and every time I go.
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
This time of year showcases producers of all types offering up the very height of glory in the fruits of their (hard) labor.
I get goosebumps just thinking of perusing & buying fresh corn, squash, kale, sweet cherry tomatoes, heirloom variety apples, and the last of the summer fruits and berries of all kinds.
It is nothing short of pure vegetable heaven this time of year, and every bit a true food lover’s paradise, no matter what your dietary preferences. You’d have to be inhuman not to get inspired this time of year after a visit to the market.
That is, unless you can’t afford it.
I wrote a few posts back about my visit to the market where I (oh heavens me) happened to find myself with only a meager sum of cash to get me through my visit. That visit where I had to control my desires and my will.
Imagine (just for a second) that you had to do that every day?
Not because (like me) you just weren’t organized, but because you simply didn’t have the dough. I ask this question not to instill guilt, or a sense of anything other than awareness.
Awareness that no matter what your means, there is always someone who has less than you, and always someone who has more.
Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.
~ Thomas Goodwin
As we prepare here in Canada to celebrate our national celebration of Thanksgiving (we are 3 weeks ahead of our American friends), many of us might be busy planning menus, inviting guests, or maybe just looking forward to our next three-day weekend.
My wish for this coming weekend, and for all the weekends to follow is simple:
My wish is that each day that comes next might be just as good as the day before, and that no matter what life throws at me, I always remember the important things. Like having a healthy loving family, a cozy roof over my head, and two strong legs to walk my sorry a** to the store when I’ve run out of milk (again).
Rest and be thankful.
~ William Wadsworth
I’d love to know what you might be thankful for not just this season, but all year long. I’ve a feeling our needs are not that different from one another, really.
Food, shelter, love.Good people. Good food. A good laugh here and there.
Not too much for ask for I reckon, especially when there is just so much to go around.
I am so happy to have you all here at IPOM to continue to celebrate simple healthy food and the idea of living with (just a little) less.
Many blessings to you, your loved ones, and the communities you live in.
Because the truth is as we move forward in our collective lives is just this: we are all in this together.
I’d love to hear what you might be pondering in preparation for this coming holiday weekend (and for those of you who are looking that far ahead in the US). No matter where you are, thanks for joining us!
I’ve got some recipes coming up that I hope you’ll love
As a result of Chris & Carla’s amazing effort and contribution to our cause, we gathered with 10 enthusiastic youth to cook a nutritious meal together (yup it included lentils & barley!).
We not only cooked food for the kids to take home, but we also cooked enough food for the annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner to feed 40 people!
It was a giant challenge (I love a giant challenge), and with the help of some super amazing people, we prepared a (rather tasty) menu that embodied the simple philosophy of the recipes found here at IPOM.
It was nothing short of amazing.
Today I’ll share with you the fantastic dessert we prepared for the evening. This is a classic summer dessert in every sense of the word. Stay tuned for more from the weekend, but for now, let’s talk (just a little) summer dessert!
Love is the absence of judgment.
~ Dalai Lama
First, the rhubarb.
This locally abundant (here in BC) spring & summer treat has earlier been featured in these yummy dessert bars, but there is nothing as classic as pairing them with another classic.
Strawberries. Local strawberries. The truest sign of summer if there ever was one.
Local strawberries flood me with memories of garden patches covered in green mesh to keep the birds out. Fortunately little hands (mine) were always wily enough to push around the mesh to find the little red gems under the white blossomed strawberry plants (don’t tell).
This recipe is not for those who are shy in front of sugar (or butter or flour), but I am quite confident my vegan and gluten-free readers have more than an ample supply of tricks up their sleeves to make this combo shine with any sub or clever replacement.
After all, everyone should enjoy this classic combo, right?
Less ingredients in baked treats make quick work for the chef. Less store-bought summer pastries means more goodness for far less cost. Less heavy, crumbly topping means more flavor for less portion size, so enjoyment needn’t come at a heavy cost.
More real, straight up ingredients means simple purity in taste and method. More fresh local summer fruits means more of the classic tastes like we remember. More flavor, sweetness, and balance, means your guests will go for seconds, so making this for a gathering means you’re guaranteed to be a star.
Summer Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp:
~ Adapted from Canadian Living
(3) cups chopped fresh strawberries
(3) cups chopped fresh rhubarb stalks
(3/4) cup granulated sugar (you can also use brown, feel free to reduce to 1/2 cup if you prefer)
(2) tbsp white or whole wheat flour
(1) cup white or whole wheat flour
(1/2) cup slow oats
(3/4) cup brown sugar
(1/3) cup cold butter, cut into pieces
pinch each cinnamon and salt
Start by buying the freshest fruits you can. Rhubarb can be bought several days ahead for this, but fresh strawberries are the best, especially if they are locally grown.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Wash your fruits and cut them into (somewhat) uniform sizes and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour and mix all with your hands gently.
In a separate bowl, toss together the flour, brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon and salt. Add the cold butter and cut the mixture with a pastry cutter, or your hands (like yours truly does).
Grease well an 8 inch square pan. Spread the fruit mixture evenly to cover the bottom, then top with the crumble topping and press together lightly to ensure it is even.
Bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until the topping is fragrant and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving. Serve as is, with tart plain thick yoghurt, or vanilla ice cream.
Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.
~ Norman Vincent Peale
My heart is full lately. It’s full of the promise that summer might just come. It’s full of the warmth of the community I am proud to be a part of.
It’s full knowing that the classics never go out of style, and easy comforting summer memories are easily at hand with just a few simple steps.
Everyone who got where he is has had to begin where he was.
- Robert Louis Stevenson
It’s safe to say this was a giant hit at the dinner. The kids didn’t cook this one, but the volunteers who make it all happen all year-long sure enjoyed it.
I’ll share the simple menu we prepared together in an upcoming post, after I catch my breath and finish the last few bites of this delicious crumble
Yes, my heart is full. Full with gratitude for all who took part and contributed their time and talents to pulling this together. You know who you all are!
Carly prepares to cap off the crumbles…
Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
~ Dalai Lama
Enjoy this delicious version of a summer classic. As the days are now (hopefully) as long as our smiles, the time is now to revel in the goodness of fresh local foods.
I am looking forward to catching up with you all, I hope you are all fabulous!
What is your favorite summer fruit dessert?
Are you reveling in the glory of local berries?
Do tell as I am sure there are more than a few berry lovers out there!
My humblest thanks for reading (as always) – stay tuned for more from this weekend, and here’s to the official start of the summer season!
Carla & Chris. Chris & Carla. I love these guys, and soon, you will too (I hope).
Both are bound by love and their mutual interests. Chris and Carla are both (beautiful) healthy folks who live the good life in pretty much every sense of the word. They work hard, they play hard, they eat well, and give back when they can.
While these two beautiful souls are surely extraordinary, they are also just really good, regular folk who are blessed to have their health, their happiness, and each other.
Like me or (maybe) like you.
Carla has been a huge supporter of Not So Fast since the early days, and so a few months ago both Chris and Carla decided to put themselves to the test for the benefit of others.
For those of you who are new to this blog, you may wonder what this has to do with food and delicious recipes. If you like, you can find more info here and here (I’d be honoured).
IPOM exists to share healthy, accessible recipes and inspire new (delicious) ways to live with (just a little) less.
This is a story outlining how small changes can be turned into real food for real people who have less.
How does it work?
Go without: Chris and Carla decided to fast for 40 days, by going without one specific luxury for 40 days.
The money they didn’t spend on what they would have consumed would be donated to feed those who have less.
Make It Real: Keep a journal (we are making something very special for this). Write in in your calendar. Tweet it.
By giving record, you make it real. After all, shouldn’t you take credit for your awareness and good deeds?
Feed People. We’ll do that, and soon we’ll tell you how. Or, get involved in your local community.
Here are Chris and Carla’s Stories…
Carla’s Challenge: Carla chose to go without any refined sugar for 40 days.
For those of us who are lucky to work with this lady like me, we know she works hard. She takes great care of herself. And she likes treats (but not too many).
We knew this would be tough..
Chris chose to go without all alcohol for 40 days.
This was in the midst of a few upcoming weddings. And weekends (those darned weekends)!
Chris, like Carla, is somewhat the picture of good health. They are both moderate people. But they, like all of us, have vices*, or things in their life they do not wish to be controlled by.
*(unless you don’t)
Here are a few thoughts direct from Chris and Carla themselves.
This is proof that no matter how small, little changes add up, and can result in positive benefits for you and for someone else!
Chris speaks on going without:
Why did you want to do this challenge? I am faced with various challenges everyday, but at the time I felt that I do not challenge myself enough. I think I was feeling a little complacent. I think I avoid challenge to avoid additional stress in my life.
Why did you choose beer to give up? I chose all forms of alcohol, not only beer. In the past I have given up only beer but just replaced it with other forms of alcohol, like wine, so the challenge was absent. Recently I became aware of how much alcohol I consume. I am not abusive but I have a drink a day. I truly enjoy the taste of beer and wine and look forward to that after work or with friends. I could not remember the last time I went a long period without consuming any alcohol (more then a couple days anyway). So it seemed like a good idea. Another big part is health. As I get older I become more aware of health choices. I felt it could do my body good to stop drinking for a while.
What did this exercise teach you about yourself/each other? That I was more dependent than I thought on alcohol. After a long day at work or at a social gathering, I found I would be a bit grumpy knowing that I was not going to have a drink. There was a very noticeable absence in my life for the first couple weeks. I think though the social aspect was the most interesting. In my life alcohol is often consumed in the company of friends and with that comes good conversation and discussion. I missed that and found that I was less social during this time. I even think friends called me less knowing that they might be drinking alone if we went out. Giving up alcohol felt like a bit of a sacrifice, if only in the superficial sense.
What were you able to contribute as a result of this or who did this positively affect? I think the most positive effect was on me, both health and financially.
Has it affected you in any other ways? My fast came during the season of Lent so there was a spiritual element to it. Although that was not as prominent during this time, I did make a point of thinking about why I was giving something up whenever I longed for it. This would lead in many different directions, from self-satisfaction/dissatisfaction to thinking of those who have no choice in what they do not have, to health and pride.
Would you do it again/build something like this into your daily routines? I will consider doing this again in a year and currently I conscientiously practice giving things up on a week to week basis.
Carla speaks on going without:
Why did you want to do this challenge? To encourage more reflection in my life – to help remind myself of how blessed I am for what I have, and that there are many who have to go without –being able to choose to go without is a luxury. I also wanted to support NSF by giving to those who have less.
Why did you choose sugar? I chose sugar for health reasons… and because I crave a little sweetness at least once a day. I knew it would be a little difficult.
What did this exercise teach you about yourself/each other? It taught me self discipline and encouraged generosity and reflection. It was encouraging to see how well Chris did in his fast and it helped me stay on track. Seeing that Chris and I could complete this challenge (not without our moments of weakness…), who knows what else we could take on.
What were you able to contribute as a result of this or who did this positively affect? Food issues are important to me – where our food comes from, how it is produced, what we put in our bodies and food waste. We are donating $$$ to NSF for a local food project they are involved in.
Has it affected you in any other ways (either positive or negative)? This fast has taught me that I don’t need sugar (and probably a lot of other things in life) – and should try and treat it as something special – that I’m lucky/blessed to be able to have, while others have to go without.
Would you do it again/build something like this into your daily routines? Yes.
Making it real…
Carla used this little notebook to record what she was giving up, and the value of it too.
In it I found little gems of her writing.
Putting words to something somehow makes it real, like thoughts once they become spoken words.
Do you keep a journal?
Everyday is a new challenge..what’s yours?
Chris and Carla donated enough money to sponsor a very special NSF event coming up.
I can’t wait to share this with you as the planning is in the works as we speak. Seeing the results of their challenge has inspired many great things and I can’t thank them enough for their courage and willingness to take part.
Not only will their funds provide much needed food, but we will also be sharing cooking skills that will (hopefully) enable folks to keep feeding themselves. Stay tuned as we roll out more
I’ll be keeping the recipes flowing too, starting with these delicious cookies in my next post…
The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.
~ Oscar Wilde
Have you ever considered giving up a vice or a habit?
If you did what would it be?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and thank you my friends for reading about this amazing effort by amazing people. I told you you’d like them. Was I wrong?
There is lots more to come, and I’d love to hear from you all!
The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.
~ Albert Einstein
When thinking of simple pleasures, there really is nothing better than a Friday afternoon.
Wherever you are, whatever the weather, there is always something to brighten the mood of you and those around you when the countdown to the weekend is inching to a close! It’s here!
My favorite thing to do on a Friday is to come home, drop the bags, the phone, all the noise of the week, and hit the outdoors.
Alternatively, if the weather is the way it was all this week (with rain and more rain), I love nothing more than to curl up on the couch with my grandmother’s afghan, my laptop or a book, and a hot cup of sweet honey lemon.
This is my go-to fasting drink, and a way to soothe the soul and perk up any old day. This drink (to me) is a classic.
Growing up, my mom used to make it with boiled ginger (a few thumbs of fresh ginger in a boiling pot of water for 30 minutes), or simply as shown. We always had in our family kitchen a giant bucket of local honey from a beekeeper named Albert (as I recall that was his name). When we weren’t prying it open to steal spoonfuls, we used it as a seat to rest our tired legs.
I respect and admire all the reasons to avoid honey – every drop is a beautiful and sacred thing – and I am always sure to appreciate it and regard it as an extremely special and beautiful gift from the bees.
After all, without the bees we wouldn’t have these:
Life is the flower for which love is the honey.
~ Victor Hugo
They are a treasure, and so are the bees that pollinate our fruit. We enjoy honey and use it very sparingly, and with gratitude. Of course, hot honey-lemon can easily become hot maple-syrup-lemon, and both are yummy and extremely beneficial either way.
More lemony goodness means more cleansing vitamin C and healthy vitamins for your body. More soothing hot beverages means you can enjoy it over more time. More slow sipping means more slow living. More slowness is nice. So relax and enjoy, it’s Friday after all!
Less refined sugar sweetened lemon drinks means less of the white stuff in your clean water. Less coffee, tea and other sweet drinks means less calories, milk and all the other things that go with them. Less outsourced drinks means cheaper nourishment for you and less waste overall.
Hot Honey Lemon Drink:
(1-2) organic lemons
(2-3) tbsp local unpasteurized honey to taste (or maple syrup)
(2-3) cups boiling water
(1) favorite mug
(1) sprinkle cayenne powder (optional)
Put up a kettle to boil of clean water. Squeeze the juice of your lemons in to your favorite mug, adding a few slices to crush inside. Crush your lemon slices with a spoon or fork until juicy and pulverized. Add honey to lemon juice and lemon slices and crush together. Add optional dash of cayenne powder.
When the water boils, pour directly into the cup and stir. Taste to see if sweetness is right (and add more honey if desired).
Grab a book or a bright corner with a window and enjoy the view. Breathe deep and enjoy….because you can. I call that a great way to start the weekend.
He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.
Whatever you choose to do this weekend, I hope you do it in style – after all it’s not the start of the weekend everyday!
Here’s a little shot of something that made me smile this week.
My daughter returned home from her grandparents house (my parents) with these shoes – my jazz shoes from the stone ages (I was about 12).
I was (just a little) overjoyed to see them as I had no idea they were still around. I was even more pleased to put them on, and believe it or not they still fit! (but if you must know my toes are popping out (just a little) a bit).
Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another.
So now when I talk about kitchen dancing, you can be pretty certain I might just have these on
How are you planning to ring in April?
What’s your favorite way to start the weekend?
Are you a lemon drink fan too?
Thanks to all of you for reading this week and for my new IPOM followers!
I was beyond thrilled this week to receive comments from old friends, new friends, and family from afar – I just love to connect with you over food and sharing enthusiasm with you all just makes my day..
Next I’ll be sharing about those french lentils, a new breakfast bar, and a wonderful recipe sent to me by a fellow blogging buddy…;)
Cheers to Friday or whatever day it is in your part of the world!
Welcome! What is In Pursuit Of More? The blog about living with (just a little) less. By going without, we can gain - by giving to those who have less. Want to make a change in your eating habits for the better? Imagine how you can turn that into something positive for those who would otherwise go hungry. Go without so others don't have to. That's living with (just a little) less.