According to a new article from CBC, when we look at the numbers, dollars spent on cycling/pedestrian infrastructure is money well spent for the results received. More people with more choices to choose from on how they get around seems like a great idea, in my opinion, in city planning and distribution of transportation budget funds. Results such as healthier community members, connecting green spaces for families and kids to play and art to be displayed welcoming residents and visitors alike to get outside and enjoy this amazing city. Smart, right?
Well, not everyone sees it this way. Point being - there is a local special interest group called Common Sense Calgary where the group's leader, Stephanie Kusie, is quoted as saying, in relation to cycling/pedestrian infrastructure funding/planning:
"I especially find it frustrating" she writes "that much of city planning seems to focus around an infrastructure and lifestyle that is an exception and not the norm in Calgary."
Umm... yes, I do understand that as a motor vehicle owner/user, who likely drives more often than using any other mode of transportation available to her, seeing headlines indicating more infrastructure and City dollars being allocated to anything other that roads and bridges for cars and trucks would likely be a bit "frustrating". However, does she also understand that we live in an amazingly diverse and exciting city that is only made better by making way for transportation alternatives that should not only not be called "alternatives" but also are the exact means to make the roads more user friendly for the motorized vehicle users?
Also, when did walking, running or riding a bike become "not the norm"? Why do we even have to have a "bike culture"? Is it not common sense that by linking communities with pathways and cycling/pedestrian bridges we will actually bring the city closer together as a community?
Motor vehicles are absolutely necessary in a city with such sprawl such as Calgary and by helping its citizens have choices in how they get around by allocating just 6% of the City's 10-year planned transportation budget is smart on too many accounts to argue - of course, this is in my opinion.
We are so very lucky in Calgary to have many transportation choices including an excellent and expanding pathway network. By continuing to allocate transportation budget funds to entice Calgarians outside of their homes and vehicles to enjoy their neighbourhoods and surrounding communities we can continue growing as an awesome city.
Did you know it is Draw a Bird Day?! I sure didn't but after I read the story behind this worldwide annual event I knew I wanted to participate by trying my hand at a bird drawing of my very own.
According to the official website for Draw a Bird Day the start of this movement began in 1943 when a seven year old girl named Dorie visited her uncle in the hospital and asked him to draw her a bird. He had been injured in the war and she thought that this might cheer him up. It did and subsequent visits had not only Dorie's uncle drawing more but also other war-wounded patients whenever she came to visit.
It's about finding joy in life's simple pleasures and helping others forget, if only for a minutes, their current suffering.
My drawing took only a few minutes to create but the time was spent pondering on the good heart and intentions of a young girl over 70 years ago. This goes to show how easily it can be to help others when you can focus on the simple things.
Will you draw a bird today?
When a dear friend told me about the magic of biscuit pizza from her glory days (aka late nights) back in college and I knew I had to give this idea a go for a quick dinner. I had been using The Best Damn Vegan Biscuit recipe from Minimalist Baker (one of my all time favourite recipe resources) for about a year now for sporadic and delicious carb bombs so I figured it was about time to change it up.
By splitting the flour with whole wheat and adding in some freshly chopped rosemary and grated cheese it brought pizza night to an unprecedented new delicious level. It's like a healthier version of biscuits and gravy as the sauce is just moist enough to keep everything kind of gooey while the veggies and cheese make it a fulfilling meal. It was even great warmed up in the oven a few days later and drizzled with honey for a new sweet/savoury twist on leftovers. I'll certainly be making this again!
To make this exact pizza I've listed the ingredients and quantities below. However, this is pizza... use what you have and what you like. Either way you'll have a great dinner in less than hour from start to clean-up!
1 cup butternut squash puree
1 Tbsp spice paste (I used Yatu Gourmet Magic – Medium Hot)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 zucchini quartered and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or thawed from frozen)
1/2 cup sweet yellow pepper, diced to same size as corn kernels
1/2 cup smoked gouda cheese, finely grated
1/4 cup aged parmesan, finely grated
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp non-dairy, unsalted butter, cubed and chilled (I use Earth Balance)
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp freshly ground pepper
½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 cup unsweetened PLAIN & UNSWEETENED almond milk + 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (or fresh lemon juice)
How to put this together
In small bowl, combine butternut squash puree with spice paste and tomato paste and set aside.
Prepare the rest of the pizza toppings, grate cheeses for topping and crust as well as the finely chopped rosemary and set aside.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine almond milk and apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (you’re making vegan buttermilk).
Begin to prepare biscuit crust by mixing dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Now - preheat oven to 450°F/230°C and prepare a sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper. I used a slightly larger than a quarter sheet pan (9” x 13”/ 23cm x 33cm)
Add cold, cubed butter to dry biscuit ingredients and use clean hands or a pastry cutter to combine the two until it looks like sand. Once the sandy texture is reached add chopped rosemary, grated parmesan and ground pepper. Stir to combine evenly throughout flour/butter mixture.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and gently pour in the almond milk mixture 1/4 cup at a time. You may not need all of it. Stir until just slightly combined – it will be sticky.
With some flour at the ready, sprinkle about a tablespoon in to one hand then rub hands together over the dough mixture in the bowl. Start to knead the dough lightly, 5-6 times, really you’re hardly kneading it – you just want to get the stuff all together in to one mass with very little handling of it.
Then, press the biscuit dough on to the prepared baking sheet with the parchment paper. Gently but quickly push the dough to fit the space and ensure that it’s even throughout.
Spread the butternut squash mixture over the dough as the base. Arrange the prepared zucchini, corn and sweet yellow pepper on top of the sauce base then top with grated gouda and parmesan cheeses. I also like grinding some more fresh pepper on top so it will melt in to the cheese while baking.
Bake in a 450°F/230°C oven for 15-20 minutes. While it's baking there's plenty of time to clean up the prep mess and be ready for the amazing smells that are for sure filling your kitchen. You'll know when it's ready when the underside of the biscuit base and edges of the crust is slightly golden. Divide in to individual portions (this made 8 slices) and enjoy every bite of this deliciousness.
If any leftovers remain – reheating in a 350°F/175°C oven for 10 minutes does a great job of keeping the biscuit texture.
So - do you think you'll give this a go? I sure hope so because it's awesome and you deserve it :)