Au Lecteur

That’s what she read – June 1

Posted in Feministing, That's what she read by aulecteur on June 1, 2013

I read a bunch today but got stuck on this one about how women are often shutdown by emotionally manipulative jerks. Huge kudos to the author. This is a fantastic piece.

Why Women Aren’t Crazy,, Sept 18, 2011

This article uses one of my favourite terms for emotional manipulation: gaslighting. I learned this term years ago, probably in that second-year women’s studies class I took as an elective while doing my undergrad in Mass Communications. The term spoke to me because a) it’s from a movie (Gaslight, 1944, starring Ingrid Bergman), b) I’ve been gaslit my whole life. Growing up I was always told that I was too sensitive. Countless family dinners ended with me leaving the table to cry in my room. I ran away from home (to the backyard) when I was eleven because I felt so emotionally about the uprooting of a tree in our backyard. I remember feeling scared that I was so upset. I didn’t want anyone to know I was freaking out about a tree. I probably thought obviously I’m too sensitive if I’m this upset about a tree (was it even about the tree? I don’t know), and because we didn’t really talk about feelings in my house, I didn’t know what to do about it and nobody helped me express myself.

I relate to an example in this article. The author talks about a friend who worked for a boss who made comments like “Can’t you do something right?” or “Why did I hire you?” and when she reacted and told him those comments weren’t helpful, he told her to relax, that she was overreacting. I was in a similar situation for 2 years, enduring the abuse of a boss who would cut me down at every turn, nothing I ever did was right. The author says “Abbie thinks her boss is just being a jerk in these moments, but the truth is, he is making those comments to manipulate her into thinking her reactions are out of whack. And it’s exactly that kind manipulation that has left her feeling guilty about being sensitive, and as a result, she has not left her job.” – Yes. Exactly. Every time my boss (full disclosure: it was a woman) cut me down, I thought it must have been something I did; don’t take it personally, it’s about the work. And so I stayed for 2 years. Two years of discounting my feelings because I must just be too sensitive. And because I didn’t have the tools to deal with my emotions and the stress, I drank a lot. Ah, avoidance.

Another more recent example of how my lifelong experience with gaslighting affects me today. After I blogged That’s what she read yesterday, a friend, a feminist, texted me that I should be proud of him for not making a comment about how my feministy post was anomalous against the other most recent posts, which are all recipes. He writes:

“You should be proud of me. I had enough self restraint to not comment on your blog post about all your other posts belonging in the kitchen ;)”

Obviously my clever friend was joking. If I had reacted to him as I felt, he would have said it was a joke. The winkie face meant it was a joke, that I was to take no offence. The point I’m getting at is that after years of being told I’m too sensitive, I second guess my reactions to things and do what I think the other person wants instead of being true to myself. I constantly defer to others because I lack confidence in what I want because I’ve been treated as irrational my entire life. But don’t even listen to me because, you know, I’ve been on my rag for like 20 years, so you know, bitches be crazy.

And that sarcasm? Yeah. I’ll work on that.

Long story short, gaslighting. Don’t do it. Just be respectful of other people’s feelings. If you say something rude or insensitive – or something you wouldn’t say to a man – and she responds standing up for herself, please don’t ask her to sit down and shut up.


The Case For Vegetarianism Delivered By A Toddler, NPR, June 1, 2013

Something fun now. This is a video of a three year old who has been asked by his mother to eat octopus gnocchi. But octopus are animals…and if we eat them, that means they’re dead. Chickens are animals, cows are animals, pigs are animals…It’s a very rational argument why he doesn’t want to eat the octopus dish. Parenting win at the end.

Tagged with: ,

That’s what she read – May 31

Posted in That's what she read by aulecteur on May 31, 2013

I’m starting this new thing. I’m calling it “That’s what she read,” obviously a clever play on that thing that people say to highlight awkward, not always obvious sexual innuendo. It’s completely appropriate because most of what I read has a feminist bend – and if for some reason if it doesn’t, I’ll add it myself with a wee bit of commentary about why I read this article (or saved it to read later – I’m very busy and important).

This isn’t a thing about books because Lord knows this category would collect dust. It’s news articles and awesome stuff I trip over on the Internet – mostly via my expertly curated Facebook News Feed. Speaking of which, that brings me to my first article.

Misogynist Speech on Facebook – New York Times, May 31

I’ve been watching this story for a week or so. Basically some women got uppity because Facebook is super lax about allowing anti-women content on the site (but is super vigilant about removing content showing women in control of their own bodies like breastfeeding pictures and educational content). There are countless Pages and Groups and thousands of images allowed to remain on Facebook; images that depict women as the victims of rape, abuse and general misogynistic trolling. Women, Action & the Media (WAM) started a call to action focused at Facebook’s advertisers, basically saying to them look how shitty and stupid your brand looks placed next to this vile, degrading, offensive, maddening, hate speech. Is this the brand association you were hoping for when you planned your Facebook advertising campaign and targeted your audience? It wasn’t until frat house Facebook  was at risk of losing ad cash that they acted in the slightest to correct the situation. The situation being that they provide a platform where users are allowed to post shit like actual video of actual people actually being raped (Rehtaeh Parsons, for one). If that’s not the sickest shit, I just don’t know…

There’s a picture with this article that turns my stomach. This is not funny. This is not a joke. This is threatening and intimidating and violent and disrespectful. And if you think there’s anything funny about the idea of foregoing safe, consensual sex in favour of RAPE, don’t lie to yourself, there is something wrong with you and your attitude towards women.

Another article I read ended with “Today, women won the Internet.” Cute take on a meme but that certainly remains to be seen. Facebook is but one giant in a colossal universe – and they were only motivated by the threat of revenue loss, not by any sense of morality. Take it upon yourself, this crusade of moral outrage, and call bullshit on everyday sexism. I’m so sick of this culture of sexism. It’s so fucked up. Women have the right to self-determination, to control their own bodies. This means we can wear what we want, make our own decisions about our reproductive health, decide who we have sex with and how much sex we have, etc.

How can you identify everyday sexism? Reverse the gender roles in any given situation and if a man looks ridiculous doing something, it’s sexist. As an example, here are some “Men-ups.”

These pro-lifers are fine when women die,, May 30

I’m as pro-choice as it gets. In this story, a woman in El Salvador is DYING and the Supreme Court decision says that the life of her non-viable fetus is more important to save than her own. The article says “The court placed the life of the anencephalic baby over Beatriz’s life. Justice here does not respect the rights of women.” And that’s it. For me, the abortion issue is not a right-to-life thing, it’s a gender thing. It’s another example of men controlling women’s bodies. When we say Courts, we’re talking about men. When we say the Church, we’re talking about men. I firmly believe: no uterus, no vote. Laws such as this don’t do no one no favours.

A Brave Fan Asks Patrick Stewart A Question He Doesn’t Usually Get And Is Given A Beautiful Answer, Upworthy, May 31

This video of Patrick Stewart was popular today. I finally watched it and was so moved. So moved. His attitude about violence towards women is exactly the message we need to share. He says “It’s in our [men’s] hands to stop violence towards women,” and “Violence is never a choice a man should make.” This puts the onus on men to stop the violence and not women who are often told “you must have done something to provoke him,” as his mother was often told. He explains how he grew up in a home plagued by domestic violence and it wasn’t until later in life that he learned that his father’s actions were a result of the man’s untreated PTSD – called Shell Shock back in the day when men were told to suck it up and be a man. This is an excellent point too – that we need to take care of men too and change the tired stereotype that oppresses and constrains them. <This language is borrowed from the sub-header of the next article.

We need to talk about masculinity, The Guardian, May 16

Do men need to be “men”? What is a man anyway? The article says “domestic and gendered violence always increases during times of high unemployment and social breakdown, because men often find it easier to take their feelings of frustration and powerlessness out on women.” Women and men want the same thing, as the article says, “What men do want, however, is to feel needed, and wanted, and useful, and loved.” It’s a basic human instinct. The “Traditional Male” is the breadwinner and the brave soldier. The “Traditional Female” is barefoot and pregnant. The article goes on to say that there have always been men that didn’t fit into the stereotype (“too poor, too queer, too sensitive, too disabled, too compassionate or simply too clever to submit to whatever model of “masculinity” society relied upon to keep its wars fought and its factories staffed”). For modern societies to thrive in 2013 and beyond, we need to let go of the forms of social control called “Traditional masculinity” and”traditional femininity.” Read this article. It’s a good one.

It’s pro-choice or no choice

Posted in (R)evolution, Feministing by aulecteur on May 9, 2013

Today was a difficult day.

I saw this picture on my Facebook news feed this morning.

It reminded me of the atrocity that is the so-called “Respect for Life Day” in Ottawa. It’s a day when thousands of Evangelical Christians from across the country descend on Parliament Hill to cry shame at those who would dare defend a woman’s right to self-determination.

I love and hate the sign that says “Abortion kills children.” Love because it seems like an obvious statement and clearly the person holding it is a crackerjack slogan writer (moron). But I hate it because actually abortion halts the growth of a fetus (nobody is killing children at an abortion clinic) and saves lives/quality of life, so your sign is just wrong.

This man was complaining to the police officer that the pro-choice group was allowed to rally on the Hill with the anti-choice loudmouths and sheep. He would think that women and anyone who disagrees with him should be shut up. Pro-choice or no choice. It’s not any more difficult than that. And choice includes access to family planning education.

This is my favourite photo from the day. I think this is the best message. There are too many children in the world already who don’t have proper homes. And by proper, I mean any place where they can live and be loved and cared for a raised to be happy, healthy and kind.

Good morning, Muffin!

Posted in Food by aulecteur on April 7, 2013

Good Morning Muffin

Brenda’s Bran Muffins
April, 2013

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray.

1 cup of raisins (golden/Sultana) or cranberries
1 tsp of water

1 –
Place raisins and water in a small bowl, cover with Saran Wrap/plate and microwave on High for 30 seconds. Let stand – covered, until the raisins are softened and plump – about 5 minutes. Transfer the raisins to a plate that has been lined with paper towel to cool.

2 ¼ cups All-Bran Original cereal

Process 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cereal in a food process until finely ground (3/4 cup ground cereal) about 1 minute.

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour (I used only white flour)
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ¾ cups plain yogurt – Greek or other + 1/2 cup milk

Whisk egg and yolk together in a medium bowl until well combined and light coloured, about 20 seconds. Add sugar, molasses and vanilla to bowl with the eggs and whisk until mixture is thick – about 30 seconds. Add melted butter and whisk to combine. Add yogurt and whisk to combine. Stir in processed cereal and the remaining 1 cup plus 2 tbsp unprocessed cereal. Let mixture sit until cereal is evenly moistened (there will still be some lumps) about 5 minutes.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix gently with a rubber spatula until batter is just combined and evenly moistened (do not over-mix). Gently fold raisins into batter. Using ice scream scoop or large scoop, divide batter evenly among prepared muffin tins, dropping batter to form mounds (do not flatten batter).

Bake until muffins are dark golden and toothpick inserted in centre comes out few crumbs attached, 16 to 20 minutes, rotating tin halfway through baking. Let muffins cool in tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Tagged with: , ,

Orzo with Chicken, Asparagus and Goat Cheese

Posted in Food by aulecteur on March 11, 2013

orzo with chicken, asparagus and goat cheese

Originally from

But her images won’t pin so I have no choice, for the sake of my recipe collecting madness.

This was really good and really quick and easy to make. Definitely repeats.

Orzo with Chicken, Asparagus and Goat Cheese

Serves 4 people

1 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and cut in half
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
8 stalks of asparagus, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups cooked orzo pasta (follow directions on box)
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional to serve: more chopped fresh basil and crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in an even layer on a cookie sheet or 13 x 9 pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 clove garlic, minced (1/3 of the total garlic) over the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick the chicken pieces are, or until cooked all the way through.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced cherry tomatoes and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to soften and break apart. Use a wooden spoon to smash the tomatoes a bit. Lower the heat to medium low, and add garlic. Saute for a few minutes being careful not to burn the garlic. Add chicken broth, asparagus, fresh basil, cooked chicken and goat cheese. Stir until combined and let the asparagus cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat. You want the asparagus to maintain the crisp texture, but not be raw. Add cooked orzo and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Serve warm with some fresh basil and crumbled goat cheese on top, if desired.

orzo with chicken, asparagus and goat cheese

Tagged with: , ,

I fixed my own problem

Posted in Quirks by aulecteur on February 6, 2013

All of my friends are super into HBO Girls. This is great, since I love it and love talking about tv, and sometimes I feel like Hannah, or at least, that I “get” Hannah. And sometimes Hannah pisses me off so much. But I still get it.

Anyway, tonight I decided I’d had enough of not participating in the water cooler talk about Season 2. I’ve been putting off watching the new season because I wanted to watch the last episode of the first season to refresh my memory and really geek out with it. But I don’t have the last episode and the one time I looked online, I couldn’t find it. So really? I was just putting it off for no good reason.

When I got home from dinner with my girls, when I get the tenth episode of season one, some ridiculous shit happened and I ended up with a virus that installed a toolbar and all these default search engine settings. Well, fuck.


So I set off to Google the solution. I read some forum threads, tried some stuff, and in the end figured it out. I fixed my own problem.

Laura -1 ; Haters – suck it.

Holiday Hit List: Brenda’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

Posted in Food, To Do List by aulecteur on January 4, 2013

This is Brenda’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. I don’t care for cream soups so omit the cream and it’s just fine and dandy like sour candy. I can’t wait to have this soup at lunch this winter.

This batch is part of my Holiday Hit List!

1 oz butter
1 small onion
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 ¾ cup chicken stock
1 lb mushrooms
5 oz (5/8th cup) 35% cream

Quantities to triple the recipe. It’s a good soup. People want to make a lot.
3 oz
1 large
9 tbsp
1 tsp
¾ tsp
¾ tsp
1/4 tsp
9 cups water + 3 jiggers of Bovril
1 ½ lb white + 16 oz Baby Bella
½ cup 35% cream, ½ cup 1%milk + 1/2 c flour

Melt butter, fry finely chopped onions till translucent. Remove from heat,
stir in flour, salt, pepper, oregano and cayenne pepper to make a smooth

Gradually stir in stock. Stir in mushrooms.

Return to heat, to boil. Stir constantly. Reduce to low. Simmer 30 minutes.

Remove mushrooms and puree with immersion blender. Stir in cream. Add ½
tsp lemon juice and ½ tsp white wine vinegar.


Soup can be made ahead to just before cream addition.

Holiday Hit List

Posted in To Do List by aulecteur on January 3, 2013

First posted December 26, 2012

Introducing my Holiday Hit List of things to do and get done over this holiday break. 

Astrix* means this one’s DONE!

– watch the Godfather movies
– go to the science and tech museum sex exhibit*
– go to national art gallery*
– clear out my room*
– sally ann stuff
– return empties*
– put up ribba shelves
– get bike
– paint cloudscape
– buy a new bed*
– make soup (mushroom, squash, chicken)*
– make freezer burritos*

I had to clear out my room before Christmas, in anticipation of all the new stuff coming in, and I returned my empties. Tomorrow I’m making soup. Friday is the sex exhibit. Saturday is bed shopping. Sunday sounds like a Godfather day.

UPDATE – Thursday Jan 3:

The above schedule didn’t unroll exactly as planned but everything is getting done. Well, sort of. I’ve made soup and burritos, been to the gallery and museum, I bought a bed (to arrive soon!), and I finally have the screws to put up my Ribba shelves (why doesn’t Ikea include the screws??). But I have yet to watch The Godfather movies, get my new bike, and I probably won’t get around to painting a cloudscape anytime too soon – though I did finally paint my side table after over a year. (Not on the list. Bonus points?)


I still need to do a second and maybe third coat and as you can see I have to let it dry on my counter height dining table so my cat JR doesn’t climb all over it. But I’m counting this in the Done column.

Three days left to my holidays, I see good things happening on Saturday. Wish me luck!


Tagged with:

Holiday Hit List: Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Posted in Food, To Do List by aulecteur on January 3, 2013

I have a Holiday Hit List – things to do over the holidays. Now that the chaos of Christmas is behind me, I’m getting to it. On the list is preparing quick grab meals for the winter. I’m making two soups and a bunch of freezer burritos. The first soup is Mom’s Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, originally from It’s All About Food apparently. Credit where credit is due.

I ruined this soup when I first made it. I figure I burned the spices during the toasting step. So watch out if attempting. It’s a truly rewarding endeavor. It’s a tasty tasty soup.

EDIT: I attempted the soup again and it turned out splendidly. Really watch the spices; do that step on low heat, maybe even off the burner completely. The picture is from the successful second attempt.

Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4

Cooked squash is much easier to peel than raw squash. If you don’t have time to roast
it, cut it in half, place both halves on a plate or baking dish, and cover them with plastic
wrap. Pop them in the microwave for about 10 minutes, then peel them with your fingers
once they are cool enough to handle.

1 medium butternut or acorn squash
1-2 Tbsp. (15-30 mL) canola or olive oil or butter
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) curry powder or paste, or to taste
1 tart apple, chopped (Granny Smith)
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups (750 mL) chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup (250 mL) milk, evaporated milk, half and half or 35% cream (optional)
Salt and pepper
1-2 Tbsp pure Maple Syrup

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place it cut side down in a
roasting pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and bake for 40-45 minutes or
until very tender. Set aside until it’s cool enough to handle. (You can cook the squash up
to 2 days in advance; keep it covered in the fridge until you need it or freeze it for a later

Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat and sauté the onion until soft.
Add the curry paste, apple, ginger and garlic and cook for a few more minutes, until the
apples start to soften. Peel the skin off the cooked squash using a vegetable peeler or your
fingers, and cut it into chunks. Add it to the soup with the stock and bring it to a simmer.
Reduce the heat and cook for about 10 minutes.

Purée the soup in a blender, or use a hand-held immersion blender to purée it right in the
pot until it’s as chunky or as smooth as you like. Return the soup to the stovetop, add the
milk or cream (if using), season with salt and pepper, and stir until it’s heated through.
Make sure you don’t boil it at this point, or the milk may curdle. Finish with the maple
syrup before serving.

From It’s about Food (via my mom)

Sarah’s Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

Posted in Food by aulecteur on December 16, 2012

I don’t know who Sarah is but her cookies are amazing! These have become a holiday staple. In fact, it doesn’t make sense to me to ever make these at any other time of year, unless you’re specifically going for a Christmasy feel. They’re simply so rich they must be reserved for a once a year treat.

This batch is especially awesome because they actually turned out. I always have issues with these cookies. And they’re not perfect but they’re damn close. The trick is creaming the butter. It’s so fussy. I’ll try again next year. Good luck if you attempt them. Butter at room temp. Cream well, add things gradually. Don’t over bake.

Sarah’s Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

To double the recipe, use the qty in the (brackets)

  • 1 cup butter, softened   (1 lb)
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed (1 c)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (2 tsp)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (4 c)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (2c)

Measure butter (not margarine) into bowl and whip with a mixer until light in color and texture. Add sugar – mix to blend well.  Add vanilla and flour until blended together.  Combine until dough forms a ball. Add chocolate chips and work by hand into dough.

Roll into 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Press with fork.

Bake 325 for 10 – 15 minutes.

Sarah's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tagged with: , , ,