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Wednesday Wisdom — or How to Prepare Corn the Easy Peasy Way

Oh, hello there! How is your summer going? The weather out here on the West Coast has been gorgeous — sunny and hot. I’m reveling in this season — going for walks in the early morning when the air is cool and fresh, reading a lot, eating ice cream, exploring our parks and beaches and generally enjoying these lazy summer days! It’s heavenly!

Beach photo
A walk on the beach at Deep Cove

Not only are my days feeling a bit lazy, I find I’m also in summer mode in the evenings, often getting lost in cyberspace after dinner. Seriously. I just discovered Wallander on Netflix and I have been binge-watching the entire series — only two episodes left! I have to admit [with a sheepish grin] that I have several more TV things lined up — like Marvel’s The Defenders, House of Cards, Sense8. And…we just discovered Amazon Prime — hello, Man in the High Castle! Of course, I’m still getting hopelessly distracted by all the pretty things on Pinterest. Phew! – maybe someone should put some sort of lock on my laptop — I may be getting out of control!!

Ahem, well, that’s enough about my procrastinating ways… I really wanted to tell you about this great hack I stumbled across on Pinterest. It is THE easiest way to deal with corn on the cob that I have ever seen! It seemed crazy simple — I couldn’t wait to try it — I LOVE fresh corn in the summer, but I hate the husking.

The instructions for this tip are straightforward: cut the stalk end of the cob off, put the ear on a microwave safe plate and zap it for 2 or 3 minutes. Then grab the cob by the uncut end and squeeze. Voilà, the steamed cob should slide right out of the husk — no fuss, no muss.  I was curious to find out if this little trick would work — I crossed my fingers and pressed “nuke”.

It works!

No struggling to pull off tightly bound leaves, no painstakingly stripping away fine corn silk, no mess to clean up afterward. Yowza! If you haven’t tried this yet, do it — you will be amazed!

Ear of Corn
Corn cob ready to go into the microwave

 

Corn on the Cob
After 2 minutes, I’m squeezing the corn out of the husk – it’s hot, so I’m wearing an oven mitt!

 

Check out the hack from America’s Test Kitchen’s YouTube channel for a detailed description of the process:

 

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Meet Me at Whalley’s Corner — Part III

In part three of the continuing series, Meet Me at Whalley’s Corner — this excerpt is from an article introducing Manis Restaurant  — that I wrote for Surrey604 Magazine. Read the entire article and see more photos here.

Wendy, from Manis Restaurant

Manis Restaurant is a relative newcomer to the Surrey dining scene, having opened their doors three years ago in the middle of the historic community of Whalley in City Centre, just steps away from Whalley’s Corner.

A fresh dining experience for local diners seeking something different, Manis offers a unique menu best described as Pan Asian. The focus is on dishes from Southeast Asia ranging from the authentic plates of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand to various tastes from India. Diners can expect traditional dishes along side original fusion dishes that blend time-honoured recipes with new, trendier concoctions.

Manis is a family-owned eatery tucked into a trendy mixed-use building on Whalley Boulevard. Wendy Lee, a family member who manages the floor, warmly greets every customer as they walk in the door — her sunny disposition instantly creating a welcoming mood. The restaurant is intimate and cozy with a minimalist, but warm décor. The main floor offers seating for 26 with additional room for 16 on the mezzanine level.

Read the rest at Surrey604.com

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Fire — A Haiku

My thoughts are with the many firefighters — professional and volunteer — who are battling the hundreds of fires raging in BC at this moment. I am holding in my heart, the evacuees, the wildlife, the people living in the surrounding communities and the burning trees in the blazing forests. I continue to send my hopes for their safety, comfort, solace and most of all — rain.

Forests raging flames
fierce inferno’s blazing light
treacherous beauty

Burning forest image

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Meet Me at Whalley’s Corner — Part II

Part 2 — an excerpt from an article — part two of a series that spotlights businesses and individuals located in the historic Whalley District in Surrey, BC — that I wrote for Surrey604 Magazine. Read the entire article and see more photos here.

In this installment, meet Dean Camfferman, owner of Surrey Natural Foods. This health food store has been open in the same location for 45 years.

Surrey Natural Foods
Dean Camfferman and his son Dan

As you enter Surrey Natural Foods, you are enveloped by a pleasant mix of scents — spices, essential oils and natural soaps blending with the earthy aroma of grains and yeasts. You are likely to be welcomed into the shop by Scout, the official greeter — he is the sweetest dog you will ever meet!

The store is filled with shelves of natural and organic flours, teas, dried foods, and health products along with natural beauty and grooming products.

This locally owned shop has been serving the community of Whalley since 1972 — offering customers bulk products, essential oils, groceries, supplements, tinctures and more. Dean, the current owner, is a dedicated proponent of the natural food and health movement and is happy to help people learn about the benefits of embracing this lifestyle.

Read the rest on Surrey604,com

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Meet Me at Whalley’s Corner

 Note: This post is an excerpt from an article that I wrote for Surrey604 Magazine. Read the entire article and see more photos here.

Sprite Multimedia Systems
Mike, owner, Sprite Multimedia Systems Ltd.

This multi-part feature series explores the Whalley historic district with stories about some of Surrey’s long-standing businesses and their owners and new comers who are making a difference to the city and its residents. In 1925, Arthur Whalley opened a service station at what is now the intersection of 108th Avenue, Grosvenor Road and King George Boulevard. This busy commercial hub became known as Whalley’s Corner.

Today, Whalley’s Corner is the entrance to the Historic Whalley District which includes City Centre and the surrounding neighbourhood. Whalley is the most densely populated and urban of the six town centres in the city of Surrey. This diverse community of residents and businesses, some of which have been operating and living in the area for decades. These long-standing and new businesses are passionately committed to area and through involvement with the Whalley Community Improvement Association and the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association are committed to revitalizing this enduring district.

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Summer Days — TBT

These lazy days of summer are flying by in a blur of sunny afternoon skies and long warm evenings sipping sangria on the patio. As I sit sipping my cold, fruity wine, I listen to the sounds of the neighbourhood — children laughing, adults chatting and families eating dinner outside, steaks and hotdogs sizzling on barbeques.

This cacophony of summer sent me into a reverie of seasons past and my thoughts drifted to days when my daughters were still at home. The fun days at the beach — with a picnic lunch and and drippy ice-cream cones melting in the sun. I remember days that turned to night as we sat on the sand and waited for the sun to set so we could ooh and ahh at stunning firework displays.

TBT to the Summer of 2010

I miss those days for sure — but I am also enjoying these times that are spent with alone with my husband. Blues and jazz playing on the stereo, quiet talks about books, life and watching movies on Netflix. Life is quieter now, slower, simpler — until the girls burst in the door for pizza night!!

 

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Meet the Wonder Women Behind Central City Comix

Note: This post is an excerpt from an article that I wrote for Surrey604 Magazine

 

Central City Comix

Curious about the latest Marvel or DC comic book adventure or searching for that one issue to complete your collection of vintage Spiderman comics? Or maybe you are looking for something a bit deeper — perhaps a graphic novel of science fiction, fantasy or literature. Then look no further than Central City Comix — they have something for everyone!

Located in the middle of Surrey’s downtown core, this unpretentious, friendly store has shelves lined with comics from industry giants Marvel, DC and Image as well as lesser known independent titles. Catering to fans, and collectors as well as casual readers, Central City Comix carries the latest comic books, magazines, toys and collectibles for all ages. And if you can’t find what you are looking for instore, then they will try their best to order it for you.

Co-owners, Elisa and Tanya together have over 30 years of experience in the industry and their shop has been in the same Surrey location for nine years. Their friendly manner and expertise has garnered them a fitting reputation in the business of comics and collectibles.

Read the complete article and see more photos here.

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What I Read This Week

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis

Chocolate Lab

Well written and compelling, Fifteen Dogs was an unexpected pleasure. A charming and contemplative journey that explores the complexities and beauty of human thought.

Through the tale of a group of dogs who are given the “gift” of human language, André Alexis examines the depths of human essence — and our capacity for intimacy, love and understanding.

After gaining human intelligence, fifteen dogs must learn to survive with their new and strange awareness. The pack soon discovers that consciousness comes with a price and chaos ensues.

The author weaves a delightful and heart-wrenching story about the dogs’ experiences using their voices — from their awakening through to their eventual acceptance of their “gift”.

I especially loved the relationship between the canine, Majnoun and the human, Nira. Their road to understanding and their deeply shared intimacy, made me reflect upon the nature of language and consciousness. What does it mean to truly understand another being? Can beings achieve real happiness? How is language a barrier to understanding and can it be a bridge to pure love? How does language keep us apart and how does it foster belonging and harmony?

Fifteen Dogs is a bittersweet and endearing novel that depicts the beauty and vulnerability of human consciousness. Alexis’ clear, easy to read prose offers his audience a set of unique characters and a thought-provoking theme. A book that, I think, would generate a lot of discussion for anyone and especially any book club. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves language and likes to explore human nature.

 

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Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Blog Post #365

“What happens when a hundred thousand people memorize the same poem? Does anything change?
~ Madeleine Thien, Do Not Say We Have Nothing

China photo

Madeleine Thien’s novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, is a sweeping saga of revolutionary China covering Mao Zedong’s rise to power to the 1989 student protests at Tiananmen Square and across the Pacific to present day Vancouver.

This complicated multi-generational story chronicles a dark era in Chinese history, where friends and families turned on each other in a frantic effort to save themselves from China’s cruel regime. It was a brutal time for the people, especially students, artists and musicians — a time when their very existence was threatened by their resistance to conform.

Central to this story are historical events including the destruction of the Shanghai Music Conservatory, the vilification of the musicians and teachers there and the Tiananmen Square massacre. Do Not Say We Have Nothing follows the lives of Sparrow, an accomplished composer, his cousin Zhuli, a talented violinist, and the brilliant pianist Jiang Kai, one of Sparrow’s most promising students. The book tells the tale of the immense loss, the unspeakable violence and the cruelty that gripped the lives of the Chinese people for over forty years.

Thien expertly weaves together family history, music and math to explore the depths of human emotion that enable us to survive tragedy and loss — even to hold on to love and self no matter the obstacles we face.

The novel follows the characters through the decades as each survives the devastation in their own way. The story travels back and forth in time, moving from Shanghai to Beijing to Vancouver, chronicling the history of the families.

In this novel, Ms. Thien exposes us to great insights into the history of China. With beautiful writing, a compelling story and memorable characters, the author takes us into the dark inhumanity of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution — retelling a story that must not be forgotten.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing is noteworthy novel, haunting, dark, and beautiful in its complexity. Well worth the read.

★★★★★

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Creative Project — A Six Word Story

Blog Post #364

Have you ever worked on a project that seemed to suck the life right out of you? You know, that all consuming task that absorbs all your energy, brain power and stamina. The one you go to sleep thinking about — the one your dreams are centered on and the one you wake up sweating about. Yeah, that one.

Doesn’t it feel great when it is finished? When you come up for air and see that, yes, indeed — you did it!!

Creative - Logic Brain

There is nothing more satisfying than accomplishing the impossible — right?!

Enjoy this six word story in honour of a job well done:

Blood, sweat and tears. Project done.