I’ve Moved

It’s been a little quiet around here, but I’ve been working away on something new.  And shortly, Let It Unravel will be here no longer.  I’ve started a new site with a new blog, but all of the old content has been moved over.  Please join me over at http://www.linenandleaves.com/blog 


Hope to see you there!


What She Ate: By The Campfire

what she ate


camping frontenac parkSometimes, despite all your best campsite cuisine intentions, you still end up huddled under a soggy tarp late at night chewing into a large pork roast that took hours to cook in a barely smoldering rain storm drenched fire.  And now I know why a whole pork roast should probably remain off the menu on a canoe trip.  But regardless, the roast was good.

Lately my camping has involved either being at the cabin or pitching a tent next to my car.  It’s not ideal and I long to be stuffing a barrel full of food and loading it into a canoe.   But time outside, any way you can fit it into your budget and schedule, is time well spent.  We are heading later this week to Arrowhead provincial park for a little relaxation, feet up by the fire pit or else endless games of fetch in the water with Sadie at the dog beach.

Most of the time when I’m camping or at the cabin I like to keep the meals simple.  Easy to make, quick clean-up and minimal planning.  But it’s important after a day of hiking, swimming and/or paddling, to have a decent meal to enjoy at the end of the day.  This week I’ll be packing up some homemade hummus, chicken and vegetable kebabs, oatmeal, coffee (but of course!) and nibbles of chocolate.

chicken cashew campfire curry

On a hiking trip in Frontenac Provincial Park we packed up juicy steaks with potatoes and threw them down on the grill provided at the site.  I also stirred up a meal of Chicken Cashew Curry.  It basically consists of a pouch of pre-cooked rice, a can of chicken, a handful of cashews and a pouch of curry sauce.  We threw in some extra spices and voila.

campfire steak and potatoes


I’m hoping this year my summer will included at least a few more camping trips, some long hikes and…oh please let there be an autumn canoe trip.  Yep, i’m going to make it happen.  It’s a must.

Oh and I just have to share this with you, it’s not camping appropriate but what the heck…I’m still not eating dairy and this little dessert made me so happy the other day when it was so so hot.  It consists of 4-5 chopped frozen bananas, 2 tsp of cocoa and a handful of frozen berries.  I slapped it all in the food processor and whirred it until was smooth and creamy like ice cream (but not so long that it would melt).  Oh and I think there is a few drips of vanilla extract in there too.

dairy-free banana ice dessert


Be sure to check out these other ladies to see what they’ve been cooking by the campfire:

Stars in Jars

Miner Temptations

If you would like to join us, we post bi-weekly (although it is not mandatory to join up for every post) and we are always looking for new theme ideas.  Shoot me a message and I’ll add you to the list.

What to Wear: While Crafting

what to wear

stay naked.

it doesn’t matter how much thought I put into selecting an apartment, I always end up with a sweltering hot stuffy little sewing room.  Maybe I secretly like it that way.  This time around I have ample closet space, but it is still one hot little room for summer sewing.  When I heard the theme for this weeks What to Wear link-up I was a little stumped for ideas.  Immediately I had a flashbacks to the sewing room I used while I was still selling my crafts at multiple markets each week.  What happened in that room wasn’t pretty.  The cat spent most of that summer looking like an overstuffed lifeless mound of fluff under my sewing table.  And well, I was almost always naked.  not good naked.  Sweaty, irritable, grouchy naked.

But you’ve all been saved from seeing that photo.  My new crafting space is a little more forgiving.  With the help of a large fan I can usually keep my clothes on.


I spend most of my time either at the gym in workout clothes or in my crafting room.  Sadly, my wardrobe reflects this reality all too well.  Nope, no cocktail dresses and cute summer sandals in this girls closet.  If you were thinking of raiding my closet you might want to reconsider.  In summer the only outfits you will find are tight fitting running pants, moisture wick shirts or frock-ish tent like skirts, dresses and old t’s.  This has its limitations.  I’m not working too hard over here to be fashionable, but I still try and be presentable enough to answer the door. Just this morning I scored an awesome purple running top and a pile of vintage linens at the thrift store.  Hooray!

what to wear while craftingWhen I’m crafting or working away on some new creative ideas I tend to stick with what’s most comfortable.  Very little jewelry or anything that might snag or otherwise get in the way.  bare feet (but, of course!).  a comfy loose fitting skirt or dress.  Lately I’ve been wearing a lot of clothes that I’ve made myself, but when I got dressed this morning and headed to the sewing room I found myself in some old favourites.  This skirt has seen better days, but nothing beats an easy cotton wrap around.  The top is a simple thrifted grey tank.

so what’s going on in this photo…am I about to claw my own head?  maybe so.  maybe so.

Looking for the real fashions?  head on over to Nicole’s blog Gypsy in Jasper to see what the other ladies put together for What to Wear: While Crafting

What She Ate: In Season


tomato harvestYou may remember that last year we had some extra garden space and an abundance of fresh everything.  We grew tomatoes (over 40 plants…oh my!), onions, carrots, kale, radishes, beets, swiss chard, rhubarb, asparagus, squash, potatoes, salad greens (and i’m sure a bunch of other things I can’t remember.  At times we had so much coming out of the gardens that I had to give it away by the bag full.  It was a busy summer as we were also working as gardeners, housekeepers and general caretakers for a 500 acre property.

The canning kettle seemed to be bubbling constantly on the stove in our apartment with few windows and no air conditioning.  I know…what was I thinking?!  Anyways, we survived and ate tremendously well.

patio herbsWhile trying to decide what to make for this weeks theme I realized that we are now on our last two jars of canned tomatoes.  It was canning to the extreme last year and we stashed away enough tomatoes to literally last a whole year.  Plus, our freezer still holds more tomatoes, rhubarb and asparagus.

patio zuchinniLast year at this time we ate so so so much asparagus.  I put that %^(*&$#$ in everything!  So it was a little bittersweet the other day when I stepped out into my patio sized garden and surveyed what’s in stock.  For now, we are back in the city.  I wake up to the rush of the traffic down a busy main street and drunk couples pass under my window at 2 am arguing the kind of alcohol-infused arguments of youth that are typically forgotten by morning.  I know now that this is not the place I will be for long, but rather a resting place to plot out the path to where I truly need to be.  My skills in gardening tested and stretched, I am now ready to look forward to the gardens I will have one day that will be my own.  And in the meantime, I have created a little getaway on my deck.  A splash of annuals, some zucchini getting ready to trail the sides, and bunches of herbs all around.  Oh…and of course, more tomatoes.

patio annualsThis year most of my canning will likely come from produce purchased at the local farmer’s market.  Peterborough has an absolutely fantastic farmer’s market which triples in size in the summer.  So can’t wait to start in on jams, pickles and sauces.  (perhaps this time setting up a summer kitchen on the deck).

Spring, when I was travelling from farm to farm, was always a time of year to eat through what remains and savour the little bits of new sprouting from the ground.  Fresh herbs and salad greens mixed with last years tomatoes, shriveled up old apples turned into cinnamon licked tarts, crisp steamed stems of asparagus…simple and elegant…a burst of green next to ordinary rice.

So this week (given the continuing limitations of the elimination diet) I crafted up a vegan gluten free pizza using our homemade canned tomato sauce from last year and drizzled with fresh herbs from our deck.  The ‘cheese’ for this pizza is actually made from cashews.  The crust, an accident it seemed at first, turned out to taste much like a rosemary foccaccia.

gf vegan pizzaFor the sauce we used:  2 500 ml jars of tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt, pepper flakes, oregano, thyme and kale.  For the toppings we used:  mushrooms, peppers, onion and black beans.

Cashew cheese.  No, it’s still not cheese cheese.  But hey, even Mr. Beardpants thought it tasted pretty good.  The texture and consistency of a ricotta.  Creamy, nutty (obviously) with a surprising cheese like taste.

To make Cashew Cheese:

soak 1 cup of cashews in several cups of water for a couple hours to overnight.

Place in blender and add 2 tsp of lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of salt, black pepper to taste.  Whir until combined.  Add 1/4 cup of water and whir until it reaches the desired texture.

I can hardly wait to try this on a piece of toasted bread with some roasted fruit on top!

As for this blog, you may have noticed I am posting rather infrequently…and the space has a bit of a neglected feel.  I’m still here and will return to regular posting soon.  I’m in the middle of brewing up a new business, a new website and well, likely a little bit of a face lift for the blog.  Stay tuned!


For more ‘What She Ate’ deliciousness check out these other participating blogs.

Miner Temptations
Stars in Jars

If you would like to join us, we post bi-weekly (although it is not mandatory to join up for every post) and we are always looking for new theme ideas.  Shoot me a message and I’ll add you to the list.

What She Ate: Spice It Up

what she ate

First and foremost, I was greatly saddened today to hear of the loss of Kathreen Ricketson, founder of Whipup, and her partner Robert Shugg.    For those of you familiar with the crafting blog world, you will know what an amazing contributor and community creator she was.  Kathreen’s posts were always on the top of my list to read each week and I was excitedly following her families adventure as they camped across Australia on a year long dream.   A fund has been set up for their two children.  You can find out more here.

My contribution for this round of What She Ate:  Spice It Up, is a dish we have made several times since I started this elimination diet.  It’s very satisfying as a side or as a main.  My go-to spice is cumin and this uses it very well.  Cumin and beans are best friends.  Gallo Pinto is a traditional dish of Costa Rica.

Here is our version:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups rice, cooked
2 cups black beans
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tbsp wine vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

heat pan on medium heat.  add onions.  cook until soft.  add garlic, cook until onions are golden.  add remaining ingredients and cook until heated through.

Check out the other participating blogs:

Kate at Miner Temptations  http://minertemptations.wordpress.com/

What She Ate (Naughty but Nice)


I’ve been eating nothing.

I wish I was writing this post a few days ago when for a brief moment of time I was feeling very positive about this whole experience.  But yesterday I hit a wall.   19 days with no sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, no red meat, nothing with preservatives, no dairy, no eggs, no soy, no peanuts, no wheat/gluten, no oranges/grapefruits, no strawberries or bananas, no tomatoes or potatoes or mushrooms or peppers.  blah!  I have 11 days to go and than I can slowly start to add things back in.  But honestly, just when I think my stomach is starting to feel better and that all of this will result in a grand discovery that will lead me to a lifetime of feeling great…I eat something and my stomach gurgles and churns.

There have been actual improvements.  My skin is improving with less redness and fewer rashes,  the fatigue that threatened to derail me from doing anything and everything has finally lifted, and for the past few nights (after weeks of insomnia) I slept.  and for those of you who have experienced insomnia for any extended amount of time…you know that a little sleep can go a long long way.

anyone who knows me knows that i have a weakness for all-day breakfast (and beer, but we won’t go there for now).  oh how I’ve been craving a greasy spoon breakfast.  So for my “Naughty but Nice” meal I decided to whip up a batch of Buckwheat (vegan, gluten-free) Pancakes and some delicious Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties.  I’m allowed to have maple syrup in small amounts…so I drizzled it deliciously over these beauties and dug in.  Sigh.  11 more days.  What will I add in first…you may be wondering…well, i’m wondering that very same thing.  Bananas are pretty high on the list.  Surprisingly, even higher on my want list than coffee.

Turkey Breakfast Sausage (Gluten-Free)

1 lb lean ground turkey
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine and mooosh all together.  Form into small breakfast sausage sized patties.  Fry em’ up in some olive oil and enjoy.

Buckwheat (Gluten-Free Vegan Sugar-Free) Pancakes

1/2 cup Buckwheat Flour
1/4 cup Sorghum Flour
1/4 cup Coconut Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 tbsp water (egg replacement)

You know what to do.  Mix it up.  Pour it out.  Flip Flip.  Eat.

P.S  there will be pictures.  my picture card reader thingy is broken…again!  i’ll upload them soon.

* *

You have to head over to Abhaya and check out the delicious What She Ate: Naughty But Nice recipe she posted for Cauliflower Crust.  Drool.  When I can have cheese and eggs again…I’m so making this!

What She Ate (Hello! It’s a Link Up!)


As some of you may already know, I was recently diagnosed with a second autoimmune disease.  Yep, my immune system is a rock star in the bad sorta binge drinking kinda way.  But moving on.  My naturopath suggested that I do a therapeutic diet for the next month to help ease the inflammation in my body, give everything a chance to heal/rest and in the meantime potentially identify some foods which may need to be completely eliminated.  The diet is pretty restrictive, but in reality is still full of great healthy options.  If you know me, though, you know I’m a high-fructose corn syrup in the form of candy candy candy kinda girl.  So that part of the elimination diet list that said ‘no sweeteners’ hit hard in my candy crack fogged brain.

fruit salad

It’s the end of my first week and I think so far I’m doing good, but the real test will come tonight when I go to the movies sans-goodies.  Oh my!  Oh wait, I can sneak a bottle of 100% pure fruit or vegetable juice.  Poo.

We already eat pretty darn tootin’ healthy.  (with the exception of the previously professed candy problem).  We make most of our food from scratch, eat a diet full of whole foods and a good variety of fresh fruits and veggies.  However, when it comes to cooking I don’t know the first thing about laying off the cheese.

curried rice apple chickpea salad

I thought this would be a great opportunity to invite some fellow bloggers to join in a link-up.  (Disclaimer:  I don’t suggest that anyone embark on any kind of diet without first talking to your doctor).  It seems that there are many of you out there who are making the choice to either eat healthier or for one reason or another have had to give up some type of food.  So why not link up together and spend a little time every couple of weeks sharing some healthy eats, new recipes and naughty (but healthy) indulgences.  You don’t have to be on a special diet to join, you just have to share an interest in home cooked deliciousness.

vegan chocolate mousse

So if you are interested in joining this link up let me know in the comments below and I’ll send you all the info you need by email (including the little banner guy up above and the button).  We will have a new theme every couple of weeks…like a culinary challenge.

Here are two recipes from my first week that I wanted to share.  Easy-Peasy my friends and so gooooood!  For starters,  I can’t give up chocolate.  I just can’t.  I was lucky to have my friend Steph stop by for a visit and she brought with her this recipe for Vegan Chocolate Mousse.  I believe it was originally intended to be served in a chocolate tart of sorts, but it makes a pretty good imitation of a pudding.  And you all know how much I love pudding.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

2 cups avocado
1/3 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
2/3 cup maple syrup (or to taste.  I used honey and a lot less)
1 tbsp peanut butter or tahini
1 tbsp arrowroot or coconut flour
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

whir it all up in a blender and enjoy.

And here is a lunch staple in our house (which I had to modify slightly because I can’t have peppers or dried fruit or mayonnaise or Worcestershire sauce…ho hum).

Curried Rice, Chick Pea and Apple Salad

2 cups cooked brown basmati rice
5 green onions, sliced
1 apple, seeded and chopped
1 cup or 1 can cooked chickpeas
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil

mix. mix. mix. voila. eat.

* adapted from the cookbook “Beyond the Moon” by Ginny Callan.  I love this book.


I can’t get the link-up thingamajingy to work…hopefully up for next time.  In the meantime, you should really head on over to Abhaya to check out the gorgeous Indian Slaw recipe that Sondra posted.  It looks absolutely yummers!  Coconut and Lime and Roasted Peanuts…need I say more!

You can also head on over to the What She Ate Pinterest Board to see all the delicious healthy eats!

Who I Have Become

garden hands


You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and place because you’ll never be this way ever again


This quote from the book “Lolita in Tehran” really struck me this morning.  I’ve been pondering and committing to slow deliberate action these days as I sift through a decade of shuffling from one place to the next.  I wonder how much of my adult life has been spent orienteering to a new place and saying goodbye to another.  How many versions of myself have existed and which one will persist.  

And I realize, so much of my time has been spent chasing after a part of me which may never have even existed.  Was I ever really truly carefree?  Or is this a story I created to dispel the discomfort I have with my true self or to allow myself to linger a little longer in a chronic unhealthy game of denying the present.  

Ten years ago, I say, I had nothing to worry about but the contents of a backpack and a pocket full of maps.  Which is not true.  The maps, the travel, the days spent thinking I was defined by my distrust of proper footwear and all matters of conforming, were a ruse.  A distraction I have continued to play over and over again in search of that one place that would magically make everything click and I’d stay. 

And in truth, while I travelled, threw jobs away like candy wrappers and said goodbye more often than hello…I craved the very things I now have.  I remember sitting in a tent sewing by hand day dreaming about how great it would be to just have a little room with a little table with a sewing machine.  or coffee with a friend.  or a familiar haunt to visit.  houseplants and a garden and a stack of books to read.  

Yes, I have always wanted my own piece of land.  I have come close to deciding I must be a failure because at 33 I have so few of the things I thought would make up my life.  I thought by now I’d have a family.  Maybe a farm.  Perhaps I’d run a little tea shop and master the art of sinfully good cookies and scones.  In focusing so much on what I have yet to achieve, I have failed to celebrate all that I have and all that I should be grateful for.  In spending so much time looking for the person I was, I have failed to celebrate the complexity and beauty of who I have become.  



night time highway

At best I’m a scattered mess.

I’m reasonably comfortable admitting this now.

I’m not even sure what this post is really about, but woke up this morning feeling that it was time to get back to writing…any writing…even if it is just a rambling blog post.  I pulled out a stack of old journals, sifted through snippets of poems, giggled, and traced through a rather mixed up geography of thoughts.  

13 moves in 6 years.  21 moves in total.  Do I have just a terrible case of wanderlust?  Not really.  The moving and constant uprooting does little to satisfy my urge to explore and rather counter-productively destroys all funds and time for real adventure.  It is to the point now where I can barely tell the difference between an old familiar place and a new one.  

2009.  The year I turned 30.  The months leading up to my 30th birthday I was a madhouse of writing.  (and perhaps even an actual madwoman…but why dwell!).   Journals that I had failed to fill for years suddenly ran out of room.  I house sat a big old place on a hill with a 180 acre view and something about that space, two summers of being a caretaker at a cabin (and a decision to not simply jump at the first urge to flee) allowed me the space to write.  But my inability to secure long term employment and housing meant everything (including emotions) remained in boxes.  Labelled, but contents still vague and mysterious.

I feel I am starting to unpack now.  Figuratively.  Literally, I am still living in a rental which smells of stale cigarette smoke from the previous tenant and is punctuated daily with arguments and bad language from the other side of our paper thin walls.  But figuratively i am starting to pull out the necessary tools for some much delayed goal setting.  (and yes, top of that list is still ‘buy a house’ and ‘consider vacations instead of moving’).

Here is what appeared in my ‘year of turning 30’ journal titled:  30

a decade of knitting
gnawing at memories
picking nails

fidgeting from one foot to the other

passing time at being suspicious

or questioning
anything that doesn’t bite back

and even some things that do.



50 Cheap Dates


Perhaps I shouldn’t advertise that I’m a pretty cheap date.  But it’s true.  Anything that starts with b and ends in ‘eer’ will get me to the table.  You can get a second date at the slightest suggestion of ice cream.  And yes, I do believe Mr. Beardpants secured me as his full-time live-in lady over several days worth of apple pie for breakfast.

I bore easily.  Even with ample nourishment and internet access to zombie shows.  And despite having a house full of books, craft projects and other forms of entertainment, I’m always nagging suggesting that we go out and do something new.  Mr. Beardpants and I have spent an excessive a lot of time together, in particular, over the last year where we have been living and working together.  And I think it’s important in any relationship to try and switch things up or at the very least move the conversation away from work.  Those of you who work with your significant other will know what I’m talking about.  If you spend most of your meals making fun of your boss or plotting the next days enormous load of overwork…than it’s time to start picking away at this list of 50 Cheap Dates.

Quite a few of these suggestions are date ideas we’ve put into action and some are dates I’m hoping to stroll out of my house for soon (hint: Mr. Beardpants! I know you’re reading.  And Mwah..i loves ya).  And I’ve included a number of date ideas that you can do at home.  These will be particularly good for couples with kids who can’t secure a babysitter, have stretched the budget already to the limit and/or have started to forget that they have names other than Mom and Dad.

1. Check out a local museum.  (Some even have a free day or regular free evening.)
2. Pack a picnic and go for a long bike ride.
3. Settle in for a themed movie marathon.  My preference would be the entire Die Hard series with ample servings of popcorn and shoutings of yippee-ki-yay-mother-***bleep.
4. Search online or through some cookbooks scored at the library and try out a new recipe together.
5. Plan a board game night and invite some losers…ahem, I meant other players…to join.  And remember…nobody likes a loser.
6. Create a picnic in your own backyard.  Complete with candles and intoxicating bug spray.
7. Go for a night of browsing and tea drinking in your local bookstore.
8. Do a tour of local vintage/junk shops.
9. Go treasure hunting through Saturday morning garage sales.  Don’t forget the coffee and junk wish list!
10.  Play tourist in a nearby town.  (Millbrook…I hear you have a good bakery and I’m coming to see you).
11. Check out your local art gallery or search for an artists cooperative
12. Create a mini map or brochure and do a walking tour of local attractions.
13. Rent a canoe.  (You know what they say…the paddle test is the ultimate relationship tester.  And if you can manage a strenuous portage without fighting…I think you’re gonna be just fine).
14. Go to the library and select a book for each other.
15.  Grab a deck of cards or a chess board and head to your favourite pub or coffee shop.
16.  Take $5 each to a local thrift store and buy a surprise for your partner.
17.  Visit a local winery or farm.
18.  Buy some inexpensive art supplies and create a masterpiece together.
19.  Take a stroll through your local farmer’s market and plan a ‘local’ meal.
20.  Grab your camera and head out for a photography hike.
21. Plan a mini one night escape and stay at a local campsite
22.  Borrow some fishing gear and head to a local fishing spot.
23.  Plan and build a piece of furniture together.
24.  Find a local festival.
25.  Attend a matinee.
26.  Check out a local band.
27.  Go indoor rock climbing
28.  Plan and create a chocolate tasting night
29.  Make homemade bread together (than stand around looking smug while stuffing your faces with fresh bread smothered in butter.  Trust me, the smugness is necessary)
30. Go for a late night full moon hike or snowshoe.  ( complete this by packing a beer or two, some wine and/or a thermos full of your favourite hot beverage.)
31.  Plan an at-home fondue night  (nothing saves love like swiss cheese)
32.  Serve up some breakfast in bed.
33.  Create a fort in your living room and tuck in for a movie with s’mores.
34.  Make ice cream sundaes.
35.  Go for a swim.  Pool.  Lake.  River.  Puddle.  You choose.
36.  Volunteer at a local event or for a local organization together.
37.  Visit your local zoo
38.   Bowling.  If only for the ridiculous shoes.
39.   Create a city wide treasure hunt
40.  Mix margharitas and hang a hammock.
41.  Go house hunting.  (and my preference…pretend you can afford a house!).
42.  Make finger foods, light some candles, set up some comfy cushions and snuggle in to read.
43.  Try some lessons together.
44.  Create an at home spa night (there is likely no man on earth who wants to actually do this by the way.  But there’s always hope).
45.  Write a bucket list together.
46.  Plan a fantasy vacation or plan a realistic super low budget awesome adventure.
47.  Train for a race together or run in a local fundraiser.
48.  Check out some local theatre (last year we brought a picnic to a Shakespeare in the park performance).
49.  Visit a local bakery.
50.  Nothing saves lovin’ like mini putt.