Saturday, May 5, 2012

WHILE IT CAN BE INCREDIBLY TAXING AND STRESSFUL, THE FREELANCE LIFESTYLE ALSO HAS ITS PERKS. No boss. No cubicle. No routine. It also means you can use your off-time as you see fit, be it hours of awful/amazing daytime television, or spontaneous and boozy picnic lunches with other non-traditionally-employed friends. 

Sandi (my oldest friend) recently left her day job to focus on her hugely successful artistic enterprise. She and her friend Danielle Wright put their heads and talents together to create a line of screen printed leather goods called Falconwright. Just so it's real clear: People don't screen print on leather. It's incredibly unique and beautiful (and arduous!) and they've recently received much-deserved attention for it. Visit their site for more delectable fiiiiine leatha goods. They are currently out of stock (they sell out in a matter of minutes when they present a new collection) but get on their Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute information.

And so it was, Sandi and I found ourselves with a free Friday afternoon. Toronto in Spring is a special thing; after months of grey, the city comes to life, the streets and parks fill with people. Patios creep out onto sidewalks and we spend every available moment outdoors. Our summer season is short, so we fill it densely with activity. 

One special place in this town is the Riverdale Farm. Nestled in (arguably) the city's finest neighbourhood, it's a property managed by our municipal Parks and Rec Department, but also a treasure taken care of by a team of soulful volunteers and neighbourhood stalwarts. On the eastern edge of Cabbagetown, it's open daily, year round and admission is free. It really is a spectacular little spot, where downtown kids can see horses and pigs, roosters and sheep whenever their hearts desire. It's also a perfect place for a couple of 30-somethings to drink wine during the day.

I made us an easy breezy lunch of tuna sandwiches, a mixed green salad and some cookies for dessert. Presentation being what it is (everything) the cute little craft papered boxes were adorable and I made sure to lug a couple of glass tumblers for wine. I hate drinking out of plastic, even in a public park in the light of day. And we decided then, drunk under the oaks, that we'd do this weekly. Her turn next, and she promises egg salad sandwiches.

Sweet 'n Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon salt
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup of white sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups of chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325° and line baking sheets with parchment. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

2. Cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once and blend until the dough forms. Fold in the chocolate chips.

3. Drop small bits of dough onto the sheet using spoons. In order to get lots of cookies, I used only a tablespoon of dough for each. Bake until the edges are golden brown and the centre is barely set. Call it 12 - 15 minutes. Let cool slightly on the sheet and transfer to a cooling rack.

 Yield: 5 dozen smallish cookies


  1. I've never been, and have been meaning to take the little one for a while now. Inspired by your incredible photos to bring him there asap.

  2. Whore house on multi grain at the horse house. Love it.

  3. Oh my! having that lunch must be like opening up little gifts :)I mean, the love and care that goes in to doing something like that.
    I'm sure your wonderful friends are used to having this with you, but I would undeniably fall in love with you right there and then!
    Loved your pictures of the Marshalls by the way.
    Salutations from South West Texas!

  4. Such a beautiful picnic spread.
    Coming from Berlin with its ugly grey winters I understand how you feel about the warmer seasons.
    I wish a property like Riverdale Farm existed where I am now.

  5. Sounds like a great way to spend a Friday afternoon.
    So happy for you both and your creative lifestyle endeavors!!