Inspire by Mary Chernoff

“By doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others” – Satsuiki Shibuya

An old friend once told me that she started her day by giving thanks for different things each day. I loved this idea and have been doing the same for years. On many days, I am thankful for my amazing friendships. These great friends inspire or encourage me in many different ways; but when it comes to creativity, it’s my dear friend, Mary Chernoff, who stands out far above the crowd! Her creative spirit and love for the arts is unmatched.

On top of being a successful interior designer, gifted artist, and creator of the popular blog – The Art Part of My Heart, Mary recently published her first book – Inspire. I had the honour of working on this book and was hired as the primary photographer over the past 3-4 years.  It now gives me great joy to see this finished work in select stores and in the homes of so many people.  I’m grateful for this incredible experience of working on Mary’s inspiring book!

Inspire, a book from The Art Part of My Heart

Inspire is a book about how to live an artful life! It is rich with content on inspiring authentic ways to tap into your creative side and connect with the beauty of your daily surroundings. Mary’s book offers something for everyone – design tips, soulful stories, yummy recipes, kid-friendly crafts, stunning images and insightful input on gifting, cooking, gardening, entertaining, styling, and much more.

By doing and sharing what she loves, Mary – like the quote above – is encouraging others to find their creative selves. I’m very proud of her accomplishment and am thrilled to see hundreds of my photographs come to life in her beautiful book, which I hope you’ll consider purchasing for your own creative enjoyment and journey. Be prepared to be inspired!

“True to its title, Inspire shares simple and heartfelt ways to incorporate art and creativity into your daily life. Mary shows us how to be open to the possibilities, to live authentically, and to open your heart and imagination to the joys of living a creative life.”
– Debra Norton, Interior and Craft Stylist,
Toronto Star “Lifestyles” Contributor

“Inspire is a true love story – an expression of Mary’s passions. The book is delightful, and it’s packed with truly inspiring ideas.”
– John Bishop, Restauranteur, Author

To discover more about the book, to look inside or to order – go to The Art Part of My Heart. Below are some examples of the photographs that I captured for Inspire.

Right or Left

Kake2Kale Logo

New Direction, New Adventure

“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.” – George Bernard Shaw

When life gives you a fork in the road, do you go right of left? Neither way is wrong, because a crossroad is a wonderful invitation for a new direction, new adventure.

When I started Kake2Kale in 2014, I was on a self-created sabbatical from my professional work.  I wanted time to explore more creative opportunities and this food blog was part of a journey that had no destination.

Kake2Kale began as a project shared with my sister-in-law, centered on our common interest around healthy eating and nutrition-rich food; hence, the blog’s initial focus on adventures with superfoods and their recipes.  She was Kake and I was Kale.  The first year of the blog was a good learning experience and it only increased my appetite for food blogging and photography. It turned out that Kake2Kale played a key role in my transition to other food blogging and food photography opportunities – one part passion project and one part new profession.  After a while, Kake and Kale got too busy with other things, followed different paths, and the blog took an extended vacation.

Fast forward to this moment, two years later, it’s time for the blog to finally turn a creative corner.  In this case, right or left means refreshing or closing this blog. I’m excited to tell you that I am breathing new life into Kake2Kale. The destination is still unknown; however, what I’ve found to be true is that wonderful things happen when you chase your passion.

I continue to find great creative joy as a foodie, photographer, traveller and blogger! So, it’s only natural that Kake2Kale is an extension of what I love to do most – discovering and sharing amazing food and travel experiences through beautiful photography and inspiring blog posts.

To kick off Kake2Kale’s new direction and new adventure, it gives me great pleasure to finally introduce the blog’s new logo.  It’s the delightful creation of my talented friend and designer extraordinaire – Morgan Hueston. I hope you’ll agree that it captures the spirit of a renewed Kake2Kale, and I welcome you to join me on my culinary adventures and travels.

Sweet on Hummus

How many different ways are there to make hummus?  Apparently lots, as my friend Donna and I discovered on a trip to the Middle East a few years ago.  Our trip lasted 12 days and took us from Jordan through to Egypt. We had hummus every day.  It was served in both fancy and fast food restaurants and we loved every single variation of it.

Hummus with dates from Kake2Kale Continue reading

Me So Happy Beef Roll

How do you get your ‘happy’ on?  For me it is quite simple, sharing a meal with my family.  My Dad was born in Shanghai so Northern Chinese food is what our family gravitates towards, much to the chagrin of my husband and my sister-in-law (not Kale) who are not used to the carb heavy foods that are characteristic of that part of China.  The first time my husband joined us for Shanghai food, he joked that it would take him a week to digest all the noodles and breads that made up most of the meal.

What can I say, I love carbs, and so do my family.  One of the dishes that we always order, and is snapped up as soon as it arrives at the table, is the beef roll.  Even my husband and sister-in-law love it too, which says a lot about how good it is!  It is a fairly basic dish, but it is the flatbread that makes it great and holds it together, literally.

Miso Beef Sandwich Kake2Kale 1

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Merci, Beaucoup!

About 11 years ago a book came out that got everybody talking – “French Women Don’t Get Fat”.  The author, Mireille Guiliano, was on every talk show evangelizing the virtues of eating the French way.  It is a conundrum as France flows with Camembert, croissants, rich sauces, and steak frites.  I just have to add that it is NOT fair that French women get to eat great food, stay slim and are some of the most stylish ladies in the world.  The book became a # 1 New York Times best seller, and in a nutshell it shares the secret of French women – that is, they don’t eat more than three bites of anything and they savour each of those bites.Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe visit - Kake2Kale Continue reading

Iced Teas to Please!

I have many guilty pleasures, but none more so than sitting on the deck with Kale, whiling away the time with a stack of magazines soaking up the warmth of the sun on our faces.  Since we live in Raincouver, sunshine is always welcome, as is a delicious iced tea to wet our whistles and to stay hydrated.  In fact I decided to make two different teas with you today: Pineapple Mojito Iced Iea and Hibiscus Ginger Iced Tea.

Ice Tea by

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For the Love of Tennis!

My teen idol wore shorts and a headband. No, it was not Richard Simmons but a blond Swedish god. A tennis god, Bjorn Borg. Everything about him appealed to my shy, self-conscious teenage self; his lean physique, his flowing blond locks, those piercing blue eyes, his deadly two-handed backhand and his graceful moves on the court. Because of him I took up tennis and found I was pretty good at it, not like soccer (I hate running, especially into people) or volleyball (not good for pianists as I once sprained a finger when the ball hit my hand at a bad angle and I couldn’t play piano for two weeks).

Strawberry and White Chocolate Muffins by

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Kiss Me Quesadilla

I probably had my first taste of Mexican food when I was a child and our family took a road trip to Mexico.  Although we were barely past the Mexican border on that visit, it was still exotic.  It was like going back in time to a land out of the dark ages, or so it seemed to me as a 9 year old.  Dirt roads were the norm, mangy dogs roaming around aimlessly rooting for food.  Old, rusty cars were sprinkled about like confetti.  My Dad revelled in it!  He tends to gravitate towards places that are more gritty and edgy.   We must have stopped for lunch, although I have no recollection of what we would have eaten but it was probably some sort of taco.  Any memory of what we ate was overshadowed by the colourful landscape and locals that we saw.

Kiss Me Quesadilla by

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Artichoke Attraction

Artichokes were not introduced into my life until I was well into adulthood.  When my friend found out that I had not eaten it before, she immediately invited me over to her place and prepared an artichoke for me.  She basically boiled it and served it alongside mayonnaise.  She claimed that “Eating artichoke was an excuse to eat mayonnaise!” “Mmmm”, I replied, happily dipping another leaf into the creamy emulsion.  The taste was unusual but it grew on me as I continued to dip and scrape the flesh off the leaf with my teeth.  What I really loved about the whole experience was eating it with my hands and licking my fingers.  It is the equivalent of eating a whole crab, but for vegetarians.

So on this note, my one piece of advice for what not to eat on a first date is a whole crab, as the business of breaking the legs and digging into the shell for every last bit of flesh is very primal.  And really, when you use the word primal to describe anything, it’s just another way to say “unattractive”.  I get into a zone where nothing else exists but me and the crab and to hell with black bean sauce dribbling down my chin.

Stuffed Artichoke

But back to what is attractive, it’s the artichoke.  Not only is it a beautiful vegetable, it definitely qualifies as a superfood as it is loaded with antioxidants such as quercetin (a natural anti-histamine), as well as the antioxidants cynarin and silymarin, these may be helpful in regenerating liver cells.  Cynarin also stimulates the production of bile, which aids in the digestion of fats.

I came across a stuffed artichoke recipe many years ago, which I made with great success; it is slightly more elegant than just serving it alongside a sauce. The recipe below is a version of what I made. Please refer to the photos of the cross section of artichoke before and after I scooped out the inner pointy leaves and the fuzzy choke.

I’d like to point out that the serving “dishes” that we used are actually trivets that Kale made from wine corks collected on her travels – ingenious!

Stuffed Artichoke

Other superfoods in this recipe:

Garlic – The major player in the allium family ( includes: leeks, onions, shallots, chives, green onion) contains sulphuric compounds that may help with lowering blood pressure and destroying cancer cells.  Allicin, one of these compounds in garlic is not only anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal, but research has shown that allicin can help your body to neutralize dangerous free radicals.

Tomato – Technically a fruit. High in vitamin C and potassium as well as lycopene, fights free-radicals, supports prostate health, and protects skin from sun damage.   It also contains zea-xanthin, which is good for eye health.

Stuffed Artichoke

Stuffed Artichokes makes 4 appetizer servings or 2 main course servings


  • 2 large artichokes
  • 4 slices sundried sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
  • ½ c. grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ breadcrumbs or panko crumbs (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • ¼ c. olive oil (or more as needed)
  • ¼ c. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. salt

Stuffed Artichoke Kake2Kale 5


  • Cut the tops off the artichokes, about an inch from the top.
  • Then trim the sharp tip of each leaf.
  • Fill a pot big enough to fit the two artichokes, with water.
  • Bring water to a boil and then put the artichokes in right side up.  Add ¼ c. of lemon juice and 2 tsp. of salt.   Bring water back to a boil for about 20-25 minutes or until a skewer pokes easily through the stem.
  • While artichokes are cooking, put sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, olive oil and ¼ c. parmesan cheese into a blender and puree.  If the mixture is too dry add more olive oil.
  • Mix the rest of the parmesan cheese with the breadcrumbs.
  • Preheat oven to 375˚F
  • Once the artichokes are cooked, cut them in half lengthwise, then scrape out the fuzzy choke out of the core.  Cut the stem off, peel the outer layer, finely chop the inner flesh and add to the pureed sun-dried tomato mixture.
  • Fill the center with the sundried tomato mixture and then sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the whole surface of the artichoke.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes  and then turn to broil and broil for 2-3 minutes or until crumbs turn golden brown.  Keep an eye on it, it turns colour quite quickly.
  • Now devour!

Eat superfoods, live a super life! {Kake}

Stuffed Artichoke

Kake2Kale – Behind The Blog

Kake2Kale bares all…an intimate portrait…exposed…up front and personal.  Don’t worry, Kale and I are keeping our clothes on.  But we are coming up to our one year anniversary of Kake2Kale and Kale had the clever idea of blogging about the process of how we came up with our weekly posts.  After 56 blog posts, 28 blogs with recipes, thousands of miles travelled around the world by Kale, we are pulling back the curtain so you can see the fun and all that goes on behind the photos, recipes and the stories.  Our blog is a collaborative effort with Kale’s talents in photography and social media , plus the travel segments, and mine are with food and creative writing.

Kake2Kale Behind The Blog

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