Christmas is in the air…

So it is just less than a week away from Christmas and I am quickly trying to get myself together. I have been less going-outing lately so I apologize for not having as much exciting stuff to report in terms of city life. Work has been going along great but has been keeping me very busy as you can imagine. That being said, I am really enjoying the job so that is always good news. As I am sure it is for most people this weekend, it has been and will continue to be a mish mash of amazing potlucks and Christmas get togethers.  Last night I went to my friends Aaron and Kate’s house, who have an absolutely stunning older Craftsman style home that has been done up so it is perfect. We had delicious vegan delights and great conversation. Since it was a potluck, the idea was to bring something, so I must tell you the epic story of my dear friend Amanda and her dessert.

Amanda had been having one of those days where nothing was going right and it didn’t stop after I arrived. We decided that we would each bring a dessert to the party. I was in charge of coconut cupcakes and Amanda was in charge of the peanut butter cookie bars. We each threw together our recipes together in a frenzy because we were strapped for time. We only had natural PB, and the recipe mentioned that it would be ok to use it, only that the bars may be a little oilier than usual. We pressed on. I cooked my cupcakes which, when done, had a slight resemblance to whole wheat chocolate turds, but once covered in amazing coconut vanilla icing, were unrecognizable and tasted A-OK.

When Amanda went to take the bars out of the oven, they were browned on the edges like the recipe required, but all of the oil form the peanut butter had risen to the top and was floating above the squares. In a flash, we decided to just pour it off the top and pop them back in the oven to let them reset a bit and crisp up. As Amanda held the pan gently over the sink, the oil dripped off, all was ok. As it resettled in the pan, a bit more oil rose to the top, so again Amanda tipped it into the sink. This was the last straw for those bars, as they took a full on crumbling dive into the sing full of water and dirty dishes.

And so, we went to the potluck with one dessert, which I carried most of the way, for fear that bad luck would catch the cupcakes too.

Regardless, the party was fun and there were plenty of desserts so it didn’t even matter that we only brought one.

Today, I decided that I must finally start making all of my Christmas presents. I won’t be saying too much on here about what I’m making as I don’t want certain people to read about stuff and then have no surprise. That being said, some people will be receiving delicious homemade goods. I would like to share this recipe for Almond Roca with everyone, because despite all the horror stories, and my lack of baking skills, I still was soooo successful in making it. I must admit I am so proud of myself, because I half expected to see myself sitting on the kitchen floor with a ruined pan of blackened sugar and 3rd degree burns on my hands.

But instead, I have very impressive looking roca that will be broken up and distributed among friends. I will definitely be making more batches, as this one was tiny and a trial to see if I was capable. I am so thankful that it worked!

After Christmas, I will post photos of homemade gifts and if anyone wants, tutorials just post a comment.

Happy Egg Nogging everyone!

Spec

Ohhhh December.

So it’s chilly outside, and sometimes snow falls, but most of the time it is just windy and outrageously cold out. Nevertheless, us Canadians are keeping strong as we continue to live our lives. I have been off doing many things like attending the gym on a regular basis and counteracting it by eating lots of sushi, so that has been great! If you haven’t tried Minatos located on Queen Street just up from Spring Garden rd then you must. Be sure to try the Veggie dragon Maki roll as it is divine. I have also seen three movies in the last week, which is more movies than I have seen collectively in the last six months I think. Regardless, I saw the movie The Road with Vigo Mortinson which terrified me beyond all reason. I find the post apocalyptic world where people are fighting for their lives more frightening than any killer thriller movie. I was shaking with fear for the entire duration of the film as my dear friend Donna, who I sat next to, can attest to. Next, I saw Ninja Assassin, which was a birthday request from my wonderful friend Tyler. I will say that I was surprised at how entertained I was by it, although I think in the end we were entertained for the wrong reasons. That being said, if you need a good laugh, be sure to go see it. Last of all, I saw Precious. I really enjoyed Precious because despite it being really heavy, the story was very triumphant and overcoming. I would definitely recommend that everyone see it. I also think  that the actress Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe is really great and can’t wait to see her act in other things!

Since it is now December, I’ve been thinking about all the Christmas presents I have to start making and it’s driving me a little nutty as I have so much stuff I want to do. I will be crafting up a storm for the next couple of weeks.

I have to also mention that if you like in the south end of Halifax, near the #1 bus route or by the shopping centre, you should definitly check out  Local Joes coffee shop on Oxford at Liverpool. It’s a great little spot with an array of sandwiches, soups and delicious drinks. They have good big tables for studying, little benches at the windows and a kids play area. I sat there for a while today really enjoying the atmosphere of students, kids and adults all chit chatting and having a nice time.

So it seems that everyone is finishing up exams and heading home for the holidays. For those of us who are hanging around, there is a knit night at local joes on wednesdays that you should all check out. If I remember correctly, it starts at either 6 or 7. I will check and get back to you, but my plan is to go and learn to knit hopefully.

Also, in case anyone is wondering, my ukulele skills are improving greatly and I will be learning new songs, which I will eventually make a video for you guys.

I will be posting a couple of photos from a photo shoot I did last March with my friend Tyler, with a local photographer called Moe. You should check out his blog as it is great! MOEtography

With that I will leave you. I’m off to lie in my newly heated room, which is so exciting.

Spec

I bought a Suitcase… but i will tell you about it later.

Oh how fast life is currently moving! I can’t believe it, but all of my classes have ended! First Dj-ing, then latin dance and now African dance! I only have hoola hooping left, thank goodness! So, as a way to fill my time, I have a few new things up my sleeve to keep me busy. I have yet to mention that during all the time that I have been galavanting around the city and working, I have also been doing two full year university French courses. They are taking up a bit of my time, and are more challenging than I originally anticipated, but I need them to apply to Teacher’s college in a couple of years. I have done several online courses during my academic career and have found that Athabasca University is by far the best place to take online courses.  They have the best and most well organized system for delivering material without actually forcing you to go to class.  I have taken an English course on children’s literature, an introduction to women’s studies and now the  two french courses. I have also taken similar style courses through Acadia university that do not compare. I felt this was appropriate to mention in case anyone was interested in taking a course or degree online. Often if you are already in a university program, they will let you take up to 50% of your degree at another institution and Athabasca is a major qualifier, so it can be helpful to anyone who is or is thinking about becoming a student.

In other exciting news, I joined the YMCA! I have decided to become more fitness oriented. In the past I have really dislike the gym, but have decided that if I do this right, I will find a way to like it. I am going to do Aquafit, and a bunch of other classes. This week is tricky because my work schedule is earlier rather than later, but next we I start my regular 9:30 to 5:30 shift, thereby making going to the gym much easier. The times of the classes are very odd but will definitely work. I will let you know all about it when I go for my first workout tomorrow.

The Y is at Spring Garden and South Park Street just up from the Lord Nelson Hotel. If you or someone you know is a member come join me for a work out, I would love a friend to go with!

Stay tuned for other exciting things that you can join and do in this fine city! I’m still working it all out for the next couple of weeks.

And now an update of fun things to do this week!

Wednesday night at the Company House, there is an open mic night where my dear friend Adam will be playing. Remember his name, Adam Sterling, he is both an exceptional guitar player, lyricist and singer. Check out his website by clicking the word AWESOME.

Also, next week at the Paragon on Gottingen, Glen Matlock, yes the former Sex Pistol, is playing an acoustic set. This should be very cool, I am currently trying to get tickets, so perhaps I shall see you all there.

Until next time, stay busy Haligonians!

Spec