Earthly Pursuits

All Things Green and Good

New Years Resolution

Brunch: My New Year’s Resolution Solution

I have always been one of those people who gets really gung-ho about their New Year’s resolution in January and by February can’t even remember what the resolution was all about.  This year is going to be different.  This year, like most people, my New Year’s resolution was centered around two things:   1)  Spending more quality time with friends and loved ones, and 2) making better choices around food.  To me, better food choices means paying attention to where my food comes from and it’s overall effect on the planet and my own health. In a nutshell, I’m saying good-bye to things that are overly processed or mass-produced.  Or trying to anyway.

Life seems to speed up the older I get, and as people’s schedules get busier and busier, it can get harder and harder to find time to connect with people in person.   Keeping tabs on how food we eat affects us and our environment is no easy task.  Hopefully I haven’t set myself up to fail in 2017.  My solution: Brunch with friends!  Let’s face it, people love brunch.  And Vancouver’s brunch scene is booming with places that serve healthy, organic, free-range or vegetarian foods.  Here are three places that will be helping me achieve my goals in 2017.

Aphrodite’s Organic Cafe and Pie Co.

Solution: Aphrodite's eggs benny

one of the specialty eggs benny at Aphrodite’s

Aphrodite’s has been a staple in the Vancouver food scene since it’s opening in 2002 when the only thing on the menu was pie.  Fourteen years later there is a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu of dishes made with organic and locally sourced ingredients.  There are also plenty of gluten-free options.  The main attraction is breakfast, so if you come on a weekend, come early or be prepared to wait in line.  It will be well worth the wait, though –  the staff is friendly, the decor is cheery and the food is delicious.  I always walk away full, but without feeling like I’m in a food coma.

The portions are generous and include the usual brunch fare of eggs benny, omelettes, and french toast.  You can also choose from a small selection of “hippie” options or substitute corn flour english muffins, flax bread, or brown rice flour tortillas if you require gluten-free options.  I also love that the menu often includes the suppliers name.  It shows pride in their product and also lets me know what brands I can look for when I’m food shopping.  Don’t forget to try a slice of pie – that’s the dish that put Aphrodite’s on the map.  One apple pie aficionado in my circle of friends claims that their apple pie is one of the best they’ve ever had.

Location: 3605 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC

Price Range: $14-20

Website:  For lots of information about the cafe, it’s history, it’s mission, store hours and more.

Fable Diner

solution: Fable Diner

The scrumptious fried chicken benny at Fable Diner

If you want to know where the cool kids go, this is the place.  Fable Diner is a follow-up project to the successful Fable Restaurant from Top Chef Canada finalist Trevor Bird.  Trevor is a local champion of the farm to table concept and both restaurants use locally sourced and sustainable ingredients.  The diner, which highlights casual and budget friendly dishes, can seat up to 86 guests.  Still, you are more likely than not to find a line up on the weekends, so be sure to get there before 10am.

I feel young and hip when I eat at Fable Diner; they have really taken the vintage diner concept and modernized it.  The menu is playful and many items are a twist on old classics: french toast with nutella mousse, peanut butter and bacon oatmeal and roast duck pancakes.  I haven’t been able to convince myself to try something other than the fried chicken eggs benny, though.  That famous Fable sauce with hollandaise and gravy is just too darn good, especially when it’s sitting on top of a scone with perfectly poached eggs and juicy organic fried chicken.  They also serve more traditional breakfasts like eggs with toast and huevos rancheros.   For something a little healthier, try the west coast toast – it’s the most fancy version of avocado toast you are likely to see for $8

Location:  151 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC

Price Range:  $7-$15

Website:  for a brief history, menu, location and hours of operation.

Ethical Kitchen

solution: ethical kitchen

Ethical Breakfast from Ethical Kitchen

Ethical Kitchen satisfies both the science nerd and the foodie in me.  The chef has decades of experience in farming, apothecary, nutrition and of course, cooking – all of which she incorporates into her menu.  The menu items are as diverse as they are nourishing with an emphasis on specialty lattes and baked goods.  Brunch items include a Paleo breakfast, a more traditional eggs and sausage dish, and sourdough pancakes that are sure to satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth.  For those who would rather eat in the comfort of your own home, there is a selection of items you can take away.  Some menu items change with the season so it’s definitely a place worth going back to often.

The dining experience at Ethical Kitchen is unique and not suited for those who relish in the frills of the typical restaurant chain that include impossibly well put together wait staff constantly asking if you need more water and trying to sell you appetizers and dessert.  Here, you order at the front counter and seat yourself at one of the large farmhouse style tables, where you may find yourself making a new friend or two.  If you find yourself there when it’s quiet, there is a cozy table for two by the window if you want a more intimate setting.  In the warmer months you can eat out on the patio on a picnic table bordered by a wall of healthy flora, and most likely Momo, the friendly pooch.

Any place that invites you to join them in eating their way to a better world is a place I will return to over and over again.

Location:  1600 McKay Road, North Vancouver, BC

Price Range:  $11-$14

Website:  for information on the science-y side of the menu, the vision, hours of operation and information about other products and brands available for purchase AND other community events they are involved in.


You may also like this article about the Fraser Valley Food Truck Festival.

OBVIOUSLY

I am obviously not having second thoughts about driving to Delta in search of snow geese in the pouring rain. Because I’ve already rented a car and if I cancel the reservation I’ll still have to pay for it so I might as well drive somewhere and it might as well be to Delta. And I am obviously not thinking about starting too look for an Irish boy I met in an apple orchard nearly 20 years ago. Because I don’t even know his last name so it would be a total waste of time.  So I am obviously not entertaining thoughts of doing that anymore than I am not entertaining thoughts of abandoning the drive to Delta in search of snow geese even though I don’t even know if the snow geese are still in Delta.

Read More

birding vancouver: common mergansers in flight

A Beginners Guide to Birdwatching near Vancouver

I became mildly obsessed with birdwatching in the fall of 2015 after a brief sighting of a great horned owl on my sixth floor balcony. It was a surreal experience. Great Horned owls are bigger than you expect when they are perched only a few feet away! It’s back was to me at first and the wind blowing through its feathers made them look so soft. In the blink of an eye the big bird swiveled his entire head 180 degrees and looked right at me with huge mesmerizing eyes. I’m embarrassed to admit that it scared me a little and I gasped. Before I could exhale it had flown off into the night.

Read More

Up in Smoke: November 2016

view from the hideaway on First Peak trail

I don’t know about anyone else, but November 2016 really threw me for a loop.   I remember driving to work the morning of November 8 with a double rainbow hanging over the city and just thinking how awesome life was.   With the creation of the world’s largest marine protected area early in the month and the release of the empowering documentary Before the Flood from Leonardo DiCaprio, it seemed like there were reasons to be hopeful about the future of the planet.  By morning on November 9 it was very clear that I had been living in a bubble of optimism.  

Read More

first peak header

From the Bottom to the Top: Mount Seymour’s First Peak

For years I’ve been joking that I’m going to die alone. I’ll just keel over in someone’s garden and everything will fade to black. I’ve kind of liked the idea that I might be somewhere like a garden when my time came – better than in a hospital room attached to machines.  Recently the thought of dying alone doesn’t scare me nearly as much as the idea of spending the rest of my life alone. Maybe it’s a side effect of finally accepting that sharing my life with someone might be something I want.

I’m not alone now, though – I’m with Melissa again and we are on another adventure of sorts, this time on Mount Seymour and heading for First Peak.

Read More

Hiking Sea to Sky

Hiking Near Vancouver: 7 Spectacular Hikes

Hiking near Vancouver is a dream come true for any outdoor enthusiast. The number of trails within a days drive from this gorgeous city will keep you busy every weekend for a year. Here are 7 Spectacular Hikes you can do if you venture out of Vancouver by heading west on Highway #1 over either the Iron Worker’s Memorial Bridge or the Lion’s Gate Bridge.

Quarry Rock:

  • Spectacular Factor:  Location, Location, Location.  The start of this moderate hike is in the quaint seaside village of Deep Cove, BC which has a little taste of everything Vancouver is becoming famous for:  Outdoor water sports like Kayaking and paddle boarding, amazing food including the world-renowned honeys donuts, parks a plenty, an art gallery and even a distillery.  The hike itself won’t take even the most novice of hikers more than a couple of hours so when you are finished ooh-ing and ah-ing over the view at the top you’ll have plenty of time to explore the little town.

Read More

October 2016: A Month of Compassion

I come across so many snippets of information that are interesting, inspiring or simply worth noting that I’ve decided to start sharing some of the stories or insights that had the biggest impact on me each month.   October seemed to center around compassion, which I’m sure we can all agree is something the world could use a little more of these days.

Animals Showing Compassion for Another Species.

I’m bending the rules right away here by posting something from August, but this article about humpback whales really blew my mind.  I first heard about the phenomenon of humpback whales defending other species from Orca attacks in the prestigious Hakai magazine.   Here is another article, this time from National Geographic, that gives a little bit more explanation as to why we could be seeing this type of behavior in the whales.

Why Humpback Whales Protect Other Animals From Killer Whales

In May 2012, researchers observed a pod of killer whales attacking a gray whale and its calf in Monterey Bay, California. After a struggle, the calf was killed. What happened next defies easy explanation. Two humpback whales were already on the scene as the killer whales, or orcas, attacked the grays.

Humans Showing Compassion for Another Species

This instagram from the feed of my favourite photographer, Paul Nicklen, really gave me the warm fuzzies.  Paul is an award winning photographer for National Geographic, a marine biologist and active conservationist.  So often people in the scientific community have a strict policy of not intervening when it comes to wildlife in distress.  Let nature take it’s course, they always say.   Another day I’ll write a post explaining why I think that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard, but this month I was pleased as punch to read Paul’s account of rescuing a bald eagle.  In a post later in the month, Paul explained his actions saying he does “try and stay out of the natural process of life and death” although he will “rescue wild animals from time to time.”   As you should – as we all should, in my opinion.

Compassion and Controversy

Water for elephants is okay, but water for suffering pigs will get you arrested.  On October 3rd, a packed courthouse in Burlington heard the testimony of accused animal rights activist Anita Krajnk as she explained what happened the day she gave water to pigs suffering from heat exhaustion on their way to the slaughterhouse.  Krajnk is the founder of an organization called Toronto Pig Save, who bears witness to the suffering of world’s fourth smartest animal in its last moments.

From what I understand, the issue is that the pigs are technically a product for human consumption and Krajnk broke the law by giving them liquid.  Which is ironic, considering they probably have at least some levels of antibiotics and hormones in them that the consumer will never be informed of.   If you didn’t fall in love with pigs after watching Babe or Charolotte’s web you might be interested to know some amazing facts about pigs:  They are smart, playful, clean, social and of course… compassionate.

Judging Compassion: the Criminal Trial of Toronto Pig Save’s Anita Krajnc

The young pig at the outer edge of the immobile transport truck bearing him to slaughter was so terrified and parched that his mouth was foaming.

Animals Showing Compassion for Humans

You’ll see why I’m such a fan of Paul Nicklen if you watch my favourite Ted Talk of all time.  It’s an extraordinary and humorous tale of what happened when Paul was doing a story on leopard seals, who have a reputation for being aggressive and dangerous sea creatures.  Find out what happens to Paul when he comes face to face with one in Antarctica.  My six year old nephew loved this story and if you like uplifting and inspiring stories you’ll probably love it too.

Paul Nicklen: Animal tales from icy wonderlands

Diving under the Antarctic ice to get close to the much-feared leopard seal, photographer Paul Nicklen found an extraordinary new friend. Share his hilarious, passionate stories of the polar wonderlands, illustrated by glorious images of the animals who live on and under the ice.

A Compassionate Tree ?

I was ecstatic earlier this year when I discovered that my favourite tree in my Mom’s garden was highly revered for it’s medicinal properties in improving emotional well-being.   After reading the article below and doing a major prune to protect it from the coming wind storm, I decided to try and make a tincture myself.  I currently have enough strips of bark drying in my living room to fill a small mason jar.  If anyone wants to try some in a month or two, let me know 🙂

Mimosa- The Happiness Tree

Early this summer I realized my beautiful Mimosa tree was growing kind of out of control. This is an extremely fast growing tree that had risen to about 50 feet high and was intermingling its branches amongst the power lines. Time to prune.

One of the first posts I wrote centered around the idea that small acts of kindness, love, or compassion can make a big difference… if you haven’t read it already, please check it out here!

 

 

st mark's summit view

Paradox at the Peak of St. Mark’s Summit

I don’t know what to think when we pull into the parking lot at Cypress Mountain.

My god, what are all these people doing here?

I drive past parked cars on both sides of Cypress bowl road turn left at the switchback that takes us towards Black Mountain Lodge. Even this parking is almost half full of vehicles.

Yeah, I don’t know. I guess everybody wants to go for a hike.

Melissa waits patiently while I drive through the rows of cars, cursing and stalling the manual transmission car while I look for a place to park.

Seriously!

The sun is starting to win his battle with the clouds on this late September Sunday and by the looks of things we weren’t the only ones who’d gambled on that outcome.

Melissa is one of my favorite people to go exploring with. We once laughed ourselves silly watching a blue heron try and land next to another blue heron

Read More

motorcycle

Me and My Shadow: A Short Story About the Start of Something

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man. ~ John Muir

One night in late winter I find myself in the company of a good friend. We sit in his apartment drinking beer and listening to records on his turn table. John is a free-spirited, gentle soul and an artist in the truest sense of the word. His apartment is a collection of collectibles… records, CD’s, and musical instruments. Spending time with John is easy, he’s just one of those people that you don’t have to try too hard to be around. We don’t say much and when we do it tends to be a fragmented idea about the bonds that pull people together and push them apart. Most of the time we just listen to the sweet sound of a singer songwriter emanating from the record player.

Read More

cabbage butterfly

9 Life Hacks I Learned in the Garden

 

  1. The real secret to life is learning how to fit a square peg into a round hole. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that seem impossible to overcome. I am a creative person and lately my muse has been chaos and discombobulation.   It’s only by finding boundaries to channel these energies that I can express myself properly. If you fancy yourself a round hole who has yet to find a square peg you need to fit into, you probably need to expand your horizons. Alternatively, finding a way to accomplish the impossible can require you to think outside the box. For example, this analogy isn’t really a garden lesson, but it’s my list and I can do what I want.
  2. Everything grows, and eventually some things must go.

    Read More

Page 1 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

%d bloggers like this: