What I’m Into: April 2013

feet in puddle

Lydia readingLydia reading to her babies

April has been disappointingly yucky. Rain, cold, rain, cold. Besides our fun farm day last week and a few walks to the park, we’ve been mostly stranded inside. Boo.

But I have had the chance to discover a few wonderful books, bands, and recipes that I can’t wait to share with you!


I only read one book cover-to-cover this month, but it was a superb read:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. I picked this one up from the library after I saw it on one of Fiona’s book lists. It sounded like the kind of book I just had to read. And now I simply must own it!

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an absorbing memoir documenting the author’s and her family’s experimental year of eating locally — only eating what they could grow themselves, or else acquire from farmers within a few miles of their home.

Kingsolver is, I believe, primarily a novelist; and her skill with narrative comes through in this beautiful memoir. Her prose is gorgeous. But she also knows her stuff: at the same time, the book includes plenty of more journalistic passages in which she explores — quite scathingly — the dominant food systems of America, and why we so urgently need to change it if we want to keep our families fed. (I know Canada’s situation is not that different.)

I found the book enormously fascinating, informative, spunky, inspiring, and convicting. I’ll never look at a banana the same way again. I never would have imagined I would find the sex lives of turkeys so surprising (Did you know that nearly 100% of the turkeys we eat have been bred in such a way that they can no longer reproduce themselves without technical assistance?). The final chapters, which follow the author’s journey trying to get her turkeys to procreate, had me sitting up in bed way past my bedtime, reading anxiously to find out whether it had a happy ending. (Spoiler alert: It does. Oh, so happy.)

Most importantly, this book had me re-committed to eating locally and seasonally. I might still eat the occasional banana, but it will no longer be a staple in this house — nor will green salads, except when they’re unavailable locally. Lots of thoughts and ideas are brewing.

I’ve also been browsing through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which I took out of the library on a whim. It’s been fun. I particularly enjoyed the section on sauces. I never knew what a hollandaise sauce was, or how it was related to mayo (the major difference? Melted butter instead of salad oil. Mmmmm). I haven’t made it yet, though. Turns out, dozens of different sophisticated-sounding sauces can be made by just adding or substituting a few ingredients in a basic mayonnaise or cream sauce. Cool, right?

children's bookI also came across an adorable kids’ book for Lydia: One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small. Lydia’s a little young to fully appreciate it, but we adults loved it! This story of a “proper young man” named Elliot who takes a penguin home from the aquarium is charming, handsomely illustrated, and has a funny surprise ending that Ben and I both found delightful.


We’re still just watching pirated episodes of Parks and Rec here and there when we have some time to relax. Light and funny entertainment, which is, most importantly, broken up into convenient 20-minute segments. We’ve all but given up on movies during this chapter of our lives (i.e. with a toddler who only goes to bed when we do.)


So I haven’t been into much music lately (mostly since we don’t have any media devices on which to listen to music. I know, right? The only piece of technology we own that can play music, aside from the CD players in our vehicles, is our desktop computer, which is in its own room off the toy room. Yeah. We’re that out of touch.)

But this month we finally bought a new album because it is the BEST THING I’VE HEARD in FOREVER: Walk off the Earth’s R.E.V.O.

Do you guys know this band? I understand that they got quite a bit of attention when this video went viral, where all five band members are playing a single guitar simultaneously. Their music videos are all crazy-unique. Apparently they’re quite popular already, and I might be the last person in the universe to have discovered them. Anyway, I am CRAZY IN LOVE. (I feel like I can’t use ENOUGH CAPS LOCK to convey my enthusiasm for this band.) This music is happy, clever, complex, and original. Love, love, love it. I tried to pick my favourite song but it’s hard because I love them all.

Also? They’re Canadian! Hooray for my fellow Canucks!

So if you’re not familiar with the band, here’s a funvideo to introduce you:

ACK! Wasn’t that so great?? I love everything about it. You should watch the “Making of” video, too! It’s so cool!!

And if you haven’t gotten enough, I also love this song and video:

Again, watch the incredible “Behind the Scenes” video to get your head blown up. Amazing!!

The only flaw that I can find with this band is that the girl is so incomprehensibly cool that every time I see/hear her do anything, I immediately begin to hate myself a little bit because I’ll never be a fraction as awesome.

I could go on, but I’ll stop there.  I highly recommend Walk off the Earth.

 In the Kitchen

ice cream maker

I already bragged about this homemade cinnamon ice cream on Facebook. I made it using raw, pastured cream from my aunt; pastured eggs from my mom; and maple syrup from our own front yard. Since I was just reading Animal,Vegetable, Miracle, I felt especially pleased that I was able to enjoy this nourishing, indulgent treat without giving a single penny to a major corporation.

I’ve also been making batch after batch of these grain-free multiseed crackers. They’re much simpler than many of the other (wheat) crackers I’ve made. I make my own almond meal by grinding almonds in my Ninja food processor (it doesn’t need to be “blanched”). It only takes a minute. I also sub onion powder for the “dried minced onion.”

They’re so tasty — everyone who tries them demands the recipe. I love them with bruschetta-seasoned goat cheese.

So that’s been my April. What have you been into?
Linking up with HopefulLeigh.
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  1. I can’t believe how big Lydia’s gotten! Wahnsinn. And that penguin book looks adorable (I love penguins).

    I read /Animal, Vegetable, Miracle/ several years ago and enjoyed it. You know the opening scene where they’re leaving Arizona and she’s shocked by the girl complaining about it being forecast to rain? That’s the sort of climate I grew up in, but I can’t imagine anyone ever complaining about it raining. It also never actually rains for a whole day, though, so there’s that.

    Ack, so they’re the ones who do the theme song to /Weeds/ (the Little Boxes song). I hate that song. It gets stuck in my head and is really annoying. Also, /Weeds/ was a dumb show. BUT. That one of them all playing the single guitar and the other one you posted are cool. I added them to Pandora, at least. :-)

    Is there cinnamon in the cinnamon ice cream? Where did that come from, hmm?? Lol, just kidding. That looks delicious. And the crackers sound good, too. Nom nom nom.

    Is it really the end of April already? Here’s hoping all those nasty April showers bring lots and lots of flowers and good things for your May.

    • You got me. There are two teaspoons of cinnamon in the ice cream, which I got from the grocery store. I thought of that later. So maybe one penny went to a major corporation. :)

      I’ve never heard of Weeds. I’ll take your word for it that it’s a dumb show, but I LOVE the song!!! Maybe your opinion of it is skewed by the fact that you heard it in connection with that show? Anyway, I don’t think Walk off the Earth wrote it — I think they covered it. But they’re video is pretty rad.

      Another sign that we’re out of it when it comes to media? I don’t even know what Pandora is. A lot of people have talked about it, and I have a vague understanding that it has to do with music, but that’s it. Sad, no?

      • It’s pretty much impossible–and maybe not totally desirable? To get away from far-off ingredients entirely. That’s pretty impressive, though.

        Probably my opinion is skewed, because it’s the sort that even if you just catch the first few bars as you start watching before you skip the opening credits, it’s stuck in your head FOREVER. And it gets old fast. The video is really cool, though, and I love the other song.

        Pandora is a website. You set up a free account and then you create “radio stations” based on things you like and it finds you other songs that it think you will also like. So I added Walk Off the Earth to my Mumford & Sons station, and it fits in quite nicely. You do get periodic ads (or you can pay to get no ads), but it’s fun because it will play things all in the same kind of mood as your source material. So I have a Mumford & Sons station that’s mellow and folksy and pretty for background noise and a Like a G6 station that’s hip hop and dance pop for dance-clean parties, etc. And sometimes you find new groups and songs because it’s not just the stuff that you already know or own.
        Katie recently posted..Talk Derby to MeMy Profile

  2. Thanks for the kind shout-out. So glad you’re enjoying my GF cracker recipe. They really are hard to keep around. I have to pace myself not to eat the whole batch myself. LOL! Blessings, Kelly
    Kelly @ The Nourishing Home recently posted..Sale Starts TODAY! The Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle!My Profile

  3. I haven’t actually read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle yet – it’s on my to-read book but it’s just the getting around to it :) But I want to start eating more locally. It should be really possible, just requires a little more planning because the supermarket is just so convenient. I noticed a farm just about 1km from our house recently that sells it’s own meat twice a month. Now that would be awesome, to have really local beef and pork!

    Need to check out Parks and Rec. I’m not sure it’s one that’s made it over here yet (or I’m just out of touch perhaps) but sure I can find the DVD somewhere…
    Fiona Lynne recently posted..with bare feetMy Profile

  4. Great goodness here. :) I JUST ordered AVM yesterday–pretty sure it’s been on my must-read this for a good few years now – so excited to read it. I love Walk Off the Earth’s cover of Gotye’s Someone That I Used To Know, and have been curious about their original music – must now check them out pronto. I’m also fascinated by your cinnamon ice cream, and more particularly–the small container it’s in. Is that a small ice cream maker? I’ve never gotten an ice cream maker b/c the one’s I’ve seen are huge. Love that you’re reading Julia Child’s cookbook–LOVE her. I loved Shauna Niequist’s Bread & Wine book so much, I’m actually writing posts as I cook my way thru her book in the spirit of Julie & Julia & Julia Child – I’m such a nerd. Great post–thanks for writing!
    Sarah Caldwell recently posted..In Which I Interview Sarah BesseyMy Profile

    • Hi, Sarah! Yes, that’s a small ice cream maker. I got it from a thrift store for $10. It only fits about 4 cups of ice cream, pre-churned. I highly recommend checking out your local thrift stores if you’re interested — my mom and sister have also both acquired ice cream makers that way. :) It’s the kind of thing lots of people buy but then never use, and end up donating to thrift stores (along with bread machines).

      Last night I tried Julia’s chicken liver mousse and thought it was pretty great! I should check out your posts on her recipes!!

  5. I’m very interested in that GF cracker recipe. What kind of almonds did you grind? I’m guessing the unsalted variety but raw or roasted? How fine did you have to grind them?

    Also, completely unrelated, but my DH is interested in trying to build a sensory table like the one your DH made. Do you think you could get him to do a guest post with a detailed how-to so a novice could make one?
    Michele recently posted..“The No-Cry Sleep Solution” – Day 20 LogMy Profile

    • Hi Michele! The almonds I got are labeled “natural” . . . not sure exactly what that means. But I would recommend raw, since you’ll be baking them in cracker form. And I ground (grinded?) them as fine as I could without turning them into almond butter. :) It’s okay if they’re a little uneven/chunky, though. They still hold together just fine.

      I’ll talk to my husband. That would make an awesome guest post, and I would LOVE it if he would do it (what a cool idea!), but he’s rather swamped with work right now and might not get a chance. He did get some of his inspiration from this post, though, if it helps.

      Now that the weather is warming up, we’re able to make much more use of her sensory table. We can take it outside and fill it with messy things (sand, water, etc) and not worry about her making a mess of the floor. Even the beans and noodles are better played with outside.

  6. You are the second person to recommend animal, vegetable, miracle TODAY, and though I already had it on my list, this confirms it! I love kingsolver’s writing in general, but it’ll be good to read some NF from her.

  7. Barbara Kingsolver is my absolute favorite author! Have you read anything else by her? It’s all such fantastic stuff, but I agree that AVM is an gem. It really changed my thinking when I read it a few years ago (and BTW, the recipe for Asparagus and Morel Bread Pudding in there is in my regular rotation, especially when I have a loaf of overbaked homemade bread to use up). And you’re right, she knows her stuff. She was actually trained as a biologist before becoming an author, but maybe you knew that.

    Also, I never listen to music either and have next to nothing to play it on even if I wanted to, although I dohave a laptop that at least I can move from room to room. I’m glad we aren’t the only weirdos in that regard! It mystifies most people I know.

  8. I’ll have to pick up that Kingsolver – everything she writes is amazing! :)
    Adele recently posted..What I’m Into – April EditionMy Profile

  9. I read Animal Vegetable Miracle several years ago and loved it! I also haven’t bought a banana since. Once I stopped to think about it, I remembered how much better the bananas tasted in Thailand and Ecuador. It was an easy decision after that. I love Walk Off the Earth! I came across them last year and quickly fell in love. And I know what you mean about the girl.

    Thanks for linking up with What I’m Into!
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