Sunday, 16 August 2015


We are still in the middle of a heat wave and that means no cooking indoors to conserve cool air. I know many are hooked on air con, but I believe it's unhealthy, drying to the skin, eyes and lungs, and damaging to the environment, so we rarely use it. We have two portable swamp coolers and I use a system of opening and closing doors and windows and using low energy extractor fans. Yup, sorry but I'm a health nut and an environmentalist.

However, a nice lad in the building who is studying to be an electrician helped me with my reno, and requested date squares as an exchange, so I've been busy with another recipe adaptation. The original was a No-bake Vegan date square recipe but I adapted it a bit. I substituted olive oil for coconut oil, added some sweetened coconut curls and ground up everything with a coffee grinder. Because I gave away my food processor, I used my fingers to rub the chopped dates well into the crust mix. I pressed it well into the pan with a spoon, covered it with the gooey date mix and a layer of crumbs and refridgerated overnight. Then I cut 12 squares and wrapped them individually for my friend's packed lunches.

Surprisingly, it did work, possibly because the water in the filling moisturizes it all when it is left to rest. However, it was very crumbly, so if I was to make this again I would pop it into my outdoor toaster oven for 20 mins at 375 degrees and then the fridge. I've made something similar before and popped them in the freezer wrapping and all to take for hostess gifts or holiday baskets and it works perfectly. It also stops you eating the whole lot at one sitting. :)

I titled this blog BARN RAISING because it's a concept I believe in.

When the Wild West was being developed the whole neighbourhood would gather to help one farmer build his barn. It was a community event with all the wives busily keeping the men fed and watered and the children helping with small tasks to suit their age. With so many hands it was quickly accomplished and heart lifting for all involved.

I have often been criticized for doing too much in the way of helping others and volunteering, but I believe in it. I do what I can, where I can, although I'm not a flag waving do-gooder. I suppose part of me still lives in the past and perhaps I hope that when I need help someone will step forward.

The lad that helped me was from rural Saskatchewan and he probably grew up helping his neighbours. It's very difficult to survive on the prairie without friendly neighbours. Some may say I'm pushy, but I believe in asking for help when I need it. We got chatting in the elevator one morning and when I discovered he was an apprentice electrician I asked if he could help me change over some light fixtures. He was happy to help and It took some doing to get him to take baking in exchange.

Likewise earlier in the year a friend picked a huge bag of cherries from her tree and gave them to me and then ran me around town because my car was off the road. She is another person that does what she can when she can even though she is very busy. Aren't friends great!

My old barn painting above is available at Daily Paintworks here. I wonder if a group of neighbours got together to raise it all those years ago?