Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Lavender Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

There's a contest going on over at So Delicious and Go Dairy Free, looking for the best dairy free Snackable recipes around. That got me surfing through old recipe posts of mine, and I came across my oatmeal muffin recipe, which has, over the years, become a standard snack of choice around here.

I've made alterations to the original recipe over time, to get the best crowd-pleasing flavour. Remember too, these are dairy free, so that's a bonus for us lactose intolerant folk.


Muffins are a comfort food for me, and chocolate is a key component. Over the last few years I have perfected and finessed my muffin making, and have developed this crowd-pleasing favourite.

I adapted and evolved this recipe over the years from one provided to me by my nutritionist, Jodi Turner, who is an amazing food miracle worker. She turned my life around with her understanding of sensitive guts. Now it's a Jordan special creation. 

Whole wheat flour: 2 cups
Rolled Oats: 2 cups
Cinnamon: 1 tbsp
Baking Soda: 1 tsp
Baking powder: 1tsp
Eggs: 2
Sunflower oil: 1/2 cup
Honey or maple syrup: 1/2 cup
Vanilla: 1 tsp
So Delicious unsweetened Coconut milk dairy beverage: 2 cups
Vinegar: 1 tbsp
Dairy free chocolate chips: 1-2 cups (as needed)
Edible lavender buds: a few tablespoons

Makes about 12 large muffins
Preheat oven 325’
Prep a muffin tin with muffin cups or lightly grease with your dairy-free margarine.

In a large bowl, mix together…

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cup of rolled oats
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

In another bowl, beat together…

2 eggs
½ cup sunflower oil
½ cup honey or maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk alternative: you make this by adding a spoonful of vinegar to your 2 cups of dairy alternative milk, stir, then use.

Slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together only
until incorporated. Do not over mix.
If the batter isn't moist enough, add little touches of water.
Add a cup (or more, at your discretion) of dairy-free chocolate chips, and a good amount of edible lavender buds (at your discretion, but probably a couple tablespoons).
Scoop into muffin tin and bake 20-25 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

The lavender buds really make these special. They have a sort of minty-rosemary flavour and kind of make the muffins more 'grown up'. Plus they're pretty and people are always impressed. And they go with chocolate. And I feel like I live in Jane Austen times, which is always a bonus!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Confessions of a Skinny Chick. Who Once Was Not. And Now Isn't Sure.

When I was 27 years old, I weighed somewhere around 165lbs. I was occasionally distressed by this, but after I’d had my much-needed breast reduction around age 25, I actually didn’t care that much about the rest of me. That breast reduction made my life so much better, and I had a really amazing supportive (female, feminist) partner, and I liked my hair and my leather jacket and mostly, other than occasionally—catastrophically—comparing myself to Jennifer Aniston, I was fine.

Then, at 28, I went through a major breakup, a major life change, and a major stress period, and I lost around 30lbs very rapidly. People were worried. I was too stressed about my life stuff to care, and it took me over a year to really even realize the weight loss; I’d still go into changerooms with a size 12, only to slowly ask for smaller and smaller sizes ‘til I hit my new ‘normal’.

I kept the weight off through a couple of means: first, I started roller derby and actually overdid it. I remember almost fainting on the track one day and finally talking to a dietician, who informed me that a smoothie and toast wasn’t enough food for an endurance athlete. Secondly, after so many stressed-out months where I literally couldn’t stomach food, my body now rejected anything greasy or fatty or super sugary. So it was nigh impossible to gain the weight back.

Nearly six years has passed, and during that time I lost even more weight. It wasn’t on purpose, just a by-product of my new love of athletics, plus the loving work of my nutritionist who had retaught me how to eat. Knowing my proclivity for freaking out about weight (in my early twenties I’d gone down some dark paths), I never weighed myself except for at my yearly check-up…but I know my smallest was a size 5. This was somewhere down about ten pounds lower than my doctor was okay with. But for a lifelong ‘hefty’ girl, this was a novel and kind of exciting experience. I could always find clothes at the stores I liked; I could make anything look like the catalogues did; I sometimes couldn’t find clothes that were small enough.


I learned how different life is for a skinny chick in this culture: more attention from strangers, more kindness from salespeople, more times I could woo someone into helping me out with something like a parking ticket or a good deal on home repairs. I know it’s wrong to revel in the fact that you’ve just found yourself amongst a privileged population. I know the ‘pretty person bubble’ is a real and insidious reality of our culture, and I know it’s wrong that I participated. But after years of fitting into a role more akin to Natalie on Facts of Life, I was honestly just soaking it in.

Occasionally I’d see a picture of myself and feel a tickle of hot fear run up my spine. Who was this waif with the spiky hair? I found myself a little turned off by my own thinned features, and then confounded when some people continued to tell me how good I was looking. I'd tell people I was getting a bit worried, and I'd hear, "Oh, you don't look sick." But the thing is, we don't have an accurate measure anymore for what's 'too thin'. No one's opinion could be trusted.


Then this year, after a lot of work with a naturopath whose been helping me with some internal health challenges, I gained a little weight back. Just one size up, really. About 8lbs extra. Eight pounds. My roller skates probably weigh less. Yet it killed me.

I asked my naturopath what was going on. “Too skinny,” he said in his usual clipped fashion. “You needed to gain weight. Way too skinny.” I couldn’t argue. I knew what I’d looked like at my lowest. You could see that I’d crossed over into a place my body didn’t want to be.

So why did I still die a little inside when he said that?


I have spent a few months now, obsessing over this change. Eight pounds of flesh have taken up more space in my mind at some points than my job, my dog, my love life…it has kept me up at night and startled me awake in the morning. And all this thinking has brought to light a handful of truths I can no longer deny:

1. I will never be skinny enough. If you play the weight=beauty, or weight=self worth game, I’m telling you it’ll just spiral out of control. No one who worries about weight ever thinks they’re skinny enough. I watched my mother’s generation obsess over diet fads; I’m watching my generation obsess over magic foods/paleo diets/gluten avoidance/raw food theories, under the guise of health but with the understanding that ‘healthy’ is supposed to look like a Victoria’s Secret model.

2. It is true, but ridiculous, that the size of my jeans affects whether I feel ready to be part of the world that day. That’s all I have to say about that.

3. I will never have a flat belly. I have endometriosis. This means I’ll be forever round-bellied. Oh, and genetics—I’m already one of the thinnest women in two generations of women. Genetics and disease mean that I will never look like I have a twelve year old’s abdomen. And that kills me and I have no idea how to actually mean it when I say “It doesn’t matter.” How do I own and accept something that I’m told, daily and hourly, is unacceptably repugnant? I have no answer here.

4. I am unintentionally hypocritical. I was part of the marketing team for a movie called Muffin Top a year or so ago—a movie that heavily promotes body acceptance and self love. I remember getting ready for a meeting one day and having a total meltdown about my body shape. I remember thinking, How can I be working on this movie and thinking like this at the same time? How can I be both part of the problem and the solution?
This post isn’t groundbreaking. There’s nothing in here that hasn’t been said a hundred times by a hundred women (and men). I don’t know why I wanted to write it so badly. Maybe so I’ll hear myself and hold myself accountable and maybe someone else out there will read this, relate to it, and feel a little less shame for being so hopelessly incapable of embodying her own feminist ideals, like me right now.

My first step is going to be jean shopping. Long ago I heard a Fat Activist say that when your jeans don’t fit anymore, it’s time to get new jeans. That may seem like a small step towards upholding my feminist ideals, but it’s a giant step for this girl right here. 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Live Laugh Learn? Puke puke puke.

I’m really sick of hearing that stupid phrase (and variants thereof), “Live, Laugh, Love”. And “Live, Laugh, Learn”. Why are we so obsessed with this? It’s not really some sort of wise philosophical statement. It’s three (or four) L words that are really just basic tenements of being a live bipedial simian. Are we just fanatics for alliteration? If so, then the next time I buy a set of inspiration votives, I want them to read, “Puppies, Popsicles, Pudding”. Or maybe “Videogames, Vibrators, Vin Diesel”. Those are way better personal philosophies. A person with either of those sets of values is someone I can really get behind. 

I should be a campaign writer for these upcoming elections.  

EDITED TO ADD: For those of you who agree with my much better philosophies, these here are for you to share and post. You're welcome.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Dating After Divorce: It's like riding a bike.

You know what’s funny about being divorced? Okay, follow along here:

Imagine having a relationship was like learning to ride a bike. And let’s say you were going out for a few years but then you broke up, or ‘fell off your bike’. People would say, “Aw, no big deal! Dust yourself off! Get back on a bike! Try again! You’ll get it this time! Tour de France guys fall all the time and they break records! Go for it!”

But if you get married and divorced, it’s like people saw that fall and then if you go to climb on the bike again, they’re like, “Whoooaaa there, honey. You sure you wanna do that? Where’s your helmet? Shouldn’t you get elbow pads? You should really get some knee pads. And wrist guards. You know what, maybe just put some training wheels back on. Have you considered switching to a tricycle? What’s your plan for dealing with another fall? Maybe you should take another form of transport. Here is a shopping cart. Let someone else push you. No, just keep the helmet on for now.”

Well, enough is enough. Falling off a bike doesn’t make you permanently bike-tarded, people. If anything, it means you’ve learned the limits of a bike—its angles, curves, brakes, and speeds—and in some ways now you’re better prepared than ever to ride a bike. Because you also know what it feels like to fall off of one. And you survived. Some people are so afraid of falling off their bike, they stay on the wrong one for years. So no, I’m not going to be afraid of riding a bike. But I’m definitely wiser now about choosing a bike. With every fall I’ve taken, I’ve narrowed down my bike needs and I have actually reached a place where I’m now grateful for my falls, because they’ve taught me so much.

So yeah, I’ll pass up the ride in the shopping cart, thanks. I’ve got a handle on this bike thing. 

The Long Protective Retreat

Well, I closed my computer in January, took a long deep breath, and got busy livin’. Yep, just walked away from blogging and writing in general. I actually closed up shop in a lot of different ways: I retreated from excessive social gatherings, avoided unnecessary stresses, and just spent time working on my shtuff. Some of that was the house—the house I bought three years ago this month, the house that has been both my nest and the bane of my existence. I worked on my career and my business. I worked on my health, even quitting smoking last month. And maybe most importantly, I immersed myself in the cultivation of a new blossoming relationship. I retreated from the ‘mind clutter’ that can come from having too many cooks in the kitchen: too many opinions, whether real or perceived. Too much oversharing, as we are so fond of doing these days. I wanted to do some deep rescue and recovery on myself. And good things came when I did.

But I missed writing. So here I am.

Friday, 16 January 2015

My Melting Bathroom and the Home Reno Show

My bathroom is leaking again. You’d have to be a long-time reader here to know what this means, so for those who aren’t caught up: my G.D. Mother-frakkin’ bathroom is the bane of my existence and consistently makes me fantasize about burning down my house. 
The only one who really uses the tub.

Two and a half years ago, I purchased this house with my then-husband. There was a leak in the bathroom that was slowly seeping into the ceiling of the dining room below, so my husband and my dad decided to fix it themselves. When they went to do that, though, they ended up finding that the bathroom walls were made of the wrong kind of drywall, and that someone had stuffed newspaper into the walls instead of insulation. So what was meant to be a minor plumbing repair turned into a full bathroom reno.

Trouble is, plumbing is a tricky business, and despite their best amateur efforts, the leaking continued. Months later, when I was single again and on my own, I hired a contractor and a plumber to fix things, and it really did seem as if they had.

That is, until my best friend/housemate MJ went to step into the shower this week, and found her foot sunk deep into the vinyl floor beside the bathtub.

MJ told me the news in the best way possible: she found the problem, then immediately called her contractor father, and had a list of steps and solutions for me. Unfortunately, there was no way to stop the tears of frustration that came to my eyes. This stupid bathroom felt like a metaphor for my entire life: repair after repair, and nowhere nearer solid ground. (Quite literally, as I pushed on the floor and found the subfloor had turned into a fibrous pudding.)

So it’s good timing that The Home Renovations Show is coming up here in Ottawa at the EY Centre on Jan 23-25. I’m holding out hope that they’ll have a booth for a business called something like, “Reliable Rentable Handy-Spouses” there, where I can hire myself a temporary husband or wife with contractor skills who can make this bathroom reno the real LAST one I ever do here.

And lucky for me and you, the organizers are sweethearts and sent me free tickets. If you’d like a pair, I’ve got two to give away. Just comment on this post with some details about what you’re looking to reno, and I’ll pick a winner by January 20th. You can also go to this site and use promo code OHR15PC to get a discount on your own tickets, if you don’t want to gamble on the free pairs.

Godspeed to you and your renos. And if you see me at the show, feel free to offer me tequila shots. Or the loan of your handy-spouse.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Sharks in Pools: Who's Crazy Now?

Okay okay okay. So I had to share this with you all. Because us anxiety disorder sufferers spend so much of our time feeling like nutbars, and yes we can be...but sometimes we're not.

Last month I wrote a post here about how my brain tries to convince me there's going to be a shark in the swimming pool when I go to the gym. I wrote about telling myself how insane that was, and trying to get over the fear. And then yesterday, THIS popped up on my facebook newsfeed:

It's like the time I saw a psychologist for a while to talk about my phobias, and I told her at the start of the sessions that I was pretty sure spiders are literally out to get me and she told me I was being irrational...but then, in our last session, after hearing all about my encounters with them, she said (I kid you not): "You know, Jordan, you may actually be right that these spiders are out to get you." She wasn't even kidding.

Sometimes we're crazies, yes; but sometimes we're just way ahead of the curve.
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