where the heck was I?!
Well, I took a week or so in July to get ready for a family vacation. We went back to visit our relatives in Newfoundland. HUGE trip with two kidlets. Day-long travel by plane, and a 4 1/2 hour time zone change. Here you can see from the maps:
This is the province of British Columbia highlighted in red. We live on the the south-western edge in the Vancouver area - bottom left in the photo (on the mainland, not the island).
Highlighted in red in below pic is where we went - Newfoundland and Labrador, to St. John's exactly - the capital city. Yup, we pretty much went from one end of Canada to the other!
St. John's is the oldest (and most easternly) city in North America. You can read more here about St. John's, and see that it is located on the very northeast point of the island of Newfoundland. Get there by plane or boat. Being so far out in the Atlantic Ocean, the weather in St. John's can vary much in one day, and the winds... oh the winds can be bitter cold. I don't care for wind, esp cold wind, so that was always a gripe of mine living there - as well as the snow and rain and drizzle. (sorry, I'm a fair weather gal!) But really, when the sun is shining, it is one beautiful place to be. St. John's brims with heritage and historical charm. You often hear how Newfoundlanders are "so friendly". Very true.
I didn't do much cooking or work on my book in St. John's. Well, it was vacation after all!! I did make some cookies and brownies for our family get-togethers. When I said good-bye to my youngest sister, I gave her a little pack of those fudgy brownies for the road (she had a long drive home). I later got an e-mail from her with this:
"ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME WITH THOSE BROWNIES????????????"
Love it! She is now gathering the ingredients to bake up her own. Yes, vegan brownie mission accomplished!! Now, on to my next assignment: MI2 - Vegan Cookies. (as if I haven't already been tackling THAT one!)
Anyhow, since I had some fun times from our family reunions, here are a couple of pics.
This is from my family's get together at my big sis's house. I have five sisters. Yes, six girls in our family! Growing up we had 3 to a bedroom - and ONE bathroom for us all! Lots of squabbles, squealing, scratching, pinching, fighting over clothes and you name it!! But also lots of fun times and laughter, and good memories. My mom is third from the left. She is a very strong woman, and still so beautiful in her mid-late 60's (and after having six kids - yikes)!!
I loved spending time with our family, we don't get together often. Three sisters live in Newfoundland, one lives in BC close to me (yay!), and another lives in Nova Scotia and wasn't able to get back home this year. Kind of a bummer since we rarely get this many of us together and it would have been cool to do so this year and get some photos. She is one of the two blondes in the family - she thought she was adopted for years until the baby sister (now grown up & on the far left) arrived with light hair!! Funny! In this pic, my youngest sis said "do the Paris Hilton pose guys" - um, she's the only one that pulled that off, the rest of us just looked lame trying to do it!
Anyhow... check out the outfits, people! This was NOT planned. How color coordinated is my family? Well, except me - leave it to the freaky vegan to not 'blend in'! :)
Here is another of just us sisters. See this "wind-blown" effect? - Those Newfoundland winds are great for photo ops - ha!
...and, a pic of me and my honny. This is part of a photo from his family's reunion. He didn't want me to put his pic up, he hates having his photo anywhere. Too bad, hon! xo :)
On our way back from Newfoundland, we got caught up in security with the new restrictions of no liquids on flight, etc. Now, this was a concern for me because we were going to be on the plane for 4+ hours from St. John's, and then another 5+ hours from Toronto to Vancouver. Our 21 month old drinks soy/rice milks. On the way to St. John's I had packed her sippy cups - along with a days' worth of food for us all because there is NOTHING to eat on those planes for vegans! (And what food they DO have is pure junk).
Anyhow, on the way home I decided to pick up some small juice-box type soy milks that were sealed and in shrink wrap. I bought juice boxes for our older girl as well. They took the juice boxes, and we had to basically fight to keep our soy milks. We explained that our baby had dairy allergies and could not drink milk on the plane. This was her fluids for the day. They saw that as "essential" and allowed it. I was surprised (but grateful!) that they let me take on all the sandwiches, fruit, and snacks I had. Now, I knew they didn't have soy milk on the flight because on our flight to St. John's I had a conversation with a flight attendant that went like this:
FA: Can I get you something to drink?
Me: Do you have any soy or rice milks?
((Okay, I knew they wouldn't have rice milks, but soy stood a chance))
FA: No, sorry, all we have is 2% milk.
Me: Oh, too bad.
FA: ((In an upbeat tone, trying to bring some humor into a long flight)) Yeah, just 2% milk. I can add some water to it and make it 1%... and then you can just sip from the top and make it skim!
Me: No, we don't drink any part of the cow, thanks.
Now, I appreciated his humor, and trying to keep things light with passengers. But, WHY don't they have soy milk?? In these days of dairy allergies?? Oh, they have every variety of pop and - diet pop (aka poison - pls don't drink it guys, if you still are - or eat/drink anything with aspartame) - on that flight, and also coffee, tea, juices, and yes, alcohol for $$. It seems to me that if these new restrictions are going to hold and we cannot bring on our own drinks, then they are going to have to accommodate more dietary needs. They need to offer non-dairy milks to children. I don't know what we would have done without those three soy milks for our 21 month old. She drank all of them through the flights - plus water! Maybe these restrictions will force the airlines to make changes to their snack and drink offerings with healthier and vegan choices. Let's hope!
One final word to this very long post (well, it's been a while, after all)!! Thank you to all of you that e-mailed/commented through my break. I really appreciate your feedback and encouraging e-mails, and also your awesome words about my recipes. Also, I know some of you have been blogging about my recipes (and cookies!), and I thank you - very much - for that!
It is SO cool to see a fabu post about my cookies and other recipes. Thank you. I want you to know though, that if you try out some of my recipes and don't like them - that's okay. I don't expect people to love everything I have in my books. We all have different tastes/preferences, and so don't feel bad saying so on your blog if you didn't really dig something. I may resist (but it will be SO hard) commenting on all of your blogs as much as I have. Only because I want you to feel free to write about your recipe/cooking experiences, and not be concerned thinking I may read something about a recipe of mine that you didn't much like. It's okay... while I love to see the good stuff, I can also take the not-so-good stuff (alright, in small quantities I can take it... just be sure to write about the great stuff too, okay??!!! ha)!
Now, didn't I mention a giveaway?? I know you are reading on looking for this... hold tight folks, just another wee bit until I get a food pic up and I'm back in my blogging groove! Stay tuned!
Thanks you guys... you've been truly awesome through my break! :)