Archive for July, 2011


Last Night’s Dinner: Pasta with Mushroom & Peppercorn Infused Alfredo

by marilynk

I promise that not all of my recipes will be pasta, but it is a go-to meal for me finishing things up. This week I had just a few mushrooms left from my market purchases from the weekend before last. They were kinda dry and not very appetizing to eat as themselves, but I thought that they’d provide nice flavour for a sauce. This recipe made enough for me to eat tonight and have two servings-worth of leftovers. And I remembered to take pictures of the finished product!


  • 1 medium onion
  • handful of dryish mushrooms (from Mo-Na Foods)
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 cups milk (this is a guess…I just used what I had left!)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • whole wheat spaghetti

Boil water for the pasta and cook according to package directions. Meanwhile, peel the onion and cut it in half. Wash the mushrooms*. Put the onion, mushrooms, and peppercorns into a saucepan and cover with the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook on low heat until reduced by half. Strain the flavoured milk back into your measuring cup. After you’ve added the pasta to the water, melt the butter in the saucepan and once melted, add the flour to make a roux (stir with a whisk to avoid lumps). Add the milk back to the saucepan stirring constantly. Add the cheese & stir to combine. Drain the pasta & toss with the sauce. Plate & add fresh ground pepper. I had mine with a simple salad of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers seasoned with salt and pepper.

It turned out pretty tasty!

*Some people think you shouldn’t wash mushrooms and only clean them by brushing. I believe what Alton Brown tells me and will continue to wash mine! 🙂


Weekend Fun & Building Community

by marilynk

I had a really good weekend health-wise and spent as much of it as possible with friends. First was my weekly visit to the City Market, with visits to my bread guy, a few vegetable stalls, and my BC fruit guy (apricots are in season right now, guys…so delicious!). My weekly trip to the market is part entertainment, part shopping, and part ritual. I love seeing everyone, catching up with the vendors that I know, meeting dogs and kids, and seeing all the beautiful piles of food. Saturday mornings between May and October are some of my favourite times.

Another reason the market is important to me is that I’m supporting local businesses and local farmers. It would be virtually impossible to eat a solely local diet in Edmonton, but part of my “More with Less” philosophy is reducing the impact my eating has on the environment and supporting the local economy over huge multi-national corporations. By connecting with these vendors, we are each contributing to our local community and making that community stronger.

That afternoon and evening I was the sober “Course Official” for a friendly game of Pub Golf. It was a hilariously good time and I’m really looking forward to round two! We played 9 holes at bars along Whyte Avenue and while it may not have done much to build the wider community, it was a great way to build our friend-based community.

Sunday was Critical Lass day! My friends Deb and Angel over at Loop Frame Love have been organizing these lovely lady (and sometimes dapper gentlemen!) rides since June 2010 and they have become an excellent addition to my summer activities. Deb did a great post about Sunday’s ride with lots of photos, so head over there to check it out. I’m going to talk more about something that really struck me as we were cycling back downtown from Alberta Avenue.

We approached downtown via 96 Street, then rode along 106 Avenue to 107 Street. This route took us right past the area where the new hockey arena is proposed. I have some serious reservations about the project – mainly about how it will be funded and what effect it will have on the livability of our downtown. My friend Zoe did a wonderful post about the north side of downtown being “the servant’s quarters” and it was definitely top of mind as we approached downtown from the north. What really struck me on Sunday was just how huge the arena complex will be and how critically important the design will be in either connecting the neighbourhoods to the rest of downtown or completely severing them from the rest of downtown.

As this development proposal moves forward (I’m not naive enough to think it will stop at this point), I think I will be most vocal about the design. I will be taking every opportunity available to me to try and ensure the design has a 360 degree perspective. If the design doesn’t include the neighbourhoods to the north, it will only serve as a divider to the community rather than any sort of catalyst for community building.


More with Less

by marilynk

What does it mean to do more with less? This is a question I’ve been pondering most of my life. It’s become even more important in the last few years, but it’s even more important while I don’t have much money coming in.

To me, more with less brings up issues of economy and value, but I don’t think that it requires deprivation. I want to pay more attention to the choices I make from where I live, to what I wear, and how I eat. I want to make considered choices and spend my money on things that I love, that will last, and that I can enjoy for many years.

I also think more with less involves a little elbow grease. Many things are cheaper if I can do or make them myself, but I also get much more enjoyment out of doing things myself. I’d much rather make a cake as a hostess gift than bring a bottle of wine – that it’s cheaper is only a by-product. Now, I’m not saying that I won’t eat out or buy a latte or a fancy dress. All of those things are important in life and I don’t want to deprive myself – or feel that I’m depriving myself. I just want to see if I can make the things I already own last longer in this disposable world.

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Last Night’s Dinner: Pasta with Elk Sausage and Spinach

by marilynk

I like to shop local, so wherever possible I’ll be including locally purchased ingredients and I’ll try to list the seller. I’ll also likely be exploring food triggers, so don’t be surprised if the recipes vary wildly or start eliminating foods completely. So far the only triggers I’ve found have been processed foods, so I’m cooking for myself as much as possible (which also helps with the jobless budgeting).

Ok, now for the recipe (sorry, forgot to take a photo of this one). This is a super simple dinner-for-one that let me use  up some leftover items in the fridge.


  • 1 leftover elk bratwurst* (from Amberlane Elk), sliced
  • 1 handful spinach (from Riverbend Gardens), rinsed
  • leftover whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • pepper

Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Cook the spinach until bright green and slightly wilted. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add the sliced sausages and cook until heated through. Add the leftover spaghetti noodles and heat through. Plate & add fresh ground pepper & grated parmesan. Enjoy!

*I had pan-fried the sausages earlier in the week, but grilled would be very delicious too. You could use any kind of sausage for this meal.


by marilynk

June/July 2011 brought a lot of change into my life. I lost my job (which was a good thing for all concerned) and a month later got a confirmed diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease. I am currently figuring out the health stuff (will have more to say after I meet with a specialist in August), looking for a new job, trying to write more, and trying to start a business with a friend (more on that when we’re farther along in the process). This blog will be a place for me to talk about all of those things and anything else that comes up as I go along.

What kinds of posts can you expect from me? Updates on all of the things listed above, rants about urban planning and active transportation options in my city (Edmonton, Canada), recipes that I’m making, reviews of books that I’m reading, some creative pieces, and anything else that comes to mind.

So…I don’t know exactly where this is going to go, but I hope you’ll come along for the ride!