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Dragon Cupcake Cake

24 Oct

The title says it all! lol

My dragon boat team had our season end party and I made a dragon cupcake cake for one of the desserts.

I would like to stress I didn’t come up with this idea on my own. I saw a video 6 months ago about making a pull apart cupcake cake in the shape of a unicorn and I thought it might be fun to make but instead of a unicorn make a dragon. About a month ago I googled “dragon cupcake cake” and found plenty of images of amazing looking dragon cupcake cakes. I took the two I liked best, and used their images as inspiration to make my own version.

He came out like this…

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You want to start out by making a double batch of chocolate cupcakes. I used 24 for the dragon, I had 3 that were throwaways because they were the first three I frosted, I don’t have experience frosting with a bag and tip and let’s just say there was a learning curve lol

I attempted to make red frosting as one of my team colours is red but even though I used a “true red” no flavour gel dye from Wilton the best I could get was pink. sigh. The frosting tip was borrowed from work and I have no idea what size or number it was, it was star shaped though…in case that is something that interests you. πŸ˜›

I baked the cupcakes on the Wednesday and waited until the Thursday for frosting and decorating, partly because of time constraints and partly because you want the cupcakes to be completely cooled before moving them around and frosting them.

To make the dragon it is just a matter of having an idea of the shape you want and placing the cupcakes down in that shape, moving and tweaking as necessary until you get a shape that looks right. Then frost the cupcakes, which I quickly learned is harder and yet easier than I thought it would be. Once I got the hang of things it was fairly easy, but it took a bit to feel like I knew what I was doing.

The frosting is a simple buttercream frosting, made to be a bit on the firm side, so it would hold its shape for a while – I was worried about what would happen during transport.

I wanted to distinguish the back from the legs and head so I put a bit of black frosting on those pieces. The claws are made from soft licorice that I cut in to triangles. The eyes are a marshmallow that I broke in half and then flattened, the pupils are brown mini m&m’s that are stuck in to the gooey side of the flattened marshmallow. The nostrils are also brown mini m&m’s, the mouth is made of white chocolate chips, and the whiskers are Twizzler Pull ‘n Peels that I pulled apart so I could get the red strips.

It was a lot of fun to make the face, as it came together it made me smile. Its kind of hard to resist a smiling dragon lol

For transport I dismantled the dragon, the cupcakes just barely fit in to my rectangular cake holder. Once at the party it was quick work to put the cupcakes back in order so the dragon was once again a dragon. I had placed marks on the tray he was going to be displayed on so I knew where some of the body pieces went, making it even easier to get him back together quickly.

The team seemed to like him, pictures were taken, comments were made about how cute he was, he was a hit! πŸ™‚

I’ve got to say, of the desserts I have made for the season end party over the past three years this one is my favourite, and I think the easiest to make…I would have thought he’d be harder, or more work, because it seems a more finicky thing to deal with – all those cupcakes and the decorating and the placement of them, but nope, super easy, and fun! Makes me wonder what other shapes I might try making…

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Canned Bird

7 Sep

At some point I bought a can of turkey meat. Yes, you read that right, the way you buy canned tuna to make tuna salad, I bought that, but the turkey version.

PC Blue Menu Seasoned Chunk Turkey Breast

I think I had some brilliant idea of getting my protein in, at a not horrible cost, and with no worries about (1) having to cook the meat and therefore risk food poisoning and (2) being able to keep it in the cupboard and have it on hand whenever I need it. The boon of not needing defrosting time was also taken in to consideration I’m sure.

I’ll be moving soon and am loath to pack and move a bunch of food. I go through this every time I move. The result is I end up eating a lot of strange foods, or strange combinations anyways.

Tonight after dragon boat practice I was in that mood where I didn’t want to eat because I wasn’t hungry but I knew I probably should eat because I’d been exercising, and I hadn’t had dinner, and if I didn’t eat then (it was roughly 10pm) with my luck I’d feel peckish around midnight and really be in a pickle about if I should eat, and if so, what I should eat. sigh.

So into the cupboard I went to see if inspiration would strike and I found the can of turkey meat.

I reeeeally didn’t want to open it, buuuuut, it is protein (technically), and theoretically wouldn’t be gross (people eat tuna and that stuff is just nasty, this couldn’t be worse, right?), it didn’t require me to cook anything, and I could easily make a simple turkey salad wrap with it…there were a lot of positives on my mental checklist about this food.

I opened it, thank goodness I haven’t packed my can opener yet!, and oh my dear god the smell. The smell is not pleasant at all! At least not to my nose…the cat liked the scent so much he came out of the bedroom and started meowing at me, demanding his share. It smelled like tuna. How is that even possible??

Now, I’m not proud of this, but I used the cat as a test subject and gave him some of the meat. I figured if he ate it then it must be ok. Umm, he wouldn’t eat it. Sniffed it and walked away without a backward glance!

This didn’t bode well…but I felt like I had come to far to back out now so I drained it, then rinsed it because it was freaking me out, mixed it with some dill, black pepper, mustard, and calorie wise miracle whip, then I spread it on a mini tortilla wrap and topped with some shredded coleslaw (no dressing), and a small amount of shredded cheddar.

Simple? Yes.

Likely to food poison me? Probably not.

A meal that contains food groups? Surprisingly, yes.

Go me go. πŸ˜‰

It wasn’t as horrible as I was expecting…I mean, it wasn’t so gross I didn’t eat the wrap. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, but it could have been worse…right? Right! It can always be worse! Aren’t I such an optimist? πŸ˜‰

So there we have it, my experiment with Seasoned Chunk Turkey Breast in a can. For all that it smells atrocious, doesn’t have a pleasant texture, and tastes unique, I can see why people might buy it. I don’t remember the cost but it can’t have been too high, and it was an easy to use food item, and the meal came together quickly – all things to take in to account when grocery shopping.

I however will not be putting this particular item back on my list. I’m putting it in the same category as brussel sprouts, fine for people who like them but something for me to avoid if only to not have to smell it.

Poor Little Bee

15 May

Yesterday was race day, yay! It was the FCRCC Knockout Race which means your team races three qualifiers then you go on to the knockout round which sounds pretty much exactly like it is.

There are 7 teams in the heat, you race, the last two get knocked out, the rest of you immediately paddle back to the start line and you race again. This happens for three races in a row. The final race there are only three boats and the pressure is on!

It is soooooooo much fun! πŸ™‚

There are no medals for this race, just bragging rights.

We earned a tad bit of bragging rights since we came in second place in B Division. Not too shabby!

However, despite a day filled with racing, and fun, and hanging with the team, and repeated sunscreen application, and the joy of not being at work on a day I normally work the one big memory that won’t leave my brain is of…*dun-dun-dun*…a bee.

Yup, that’s right, a honey bee. Ya know, those cute little guys that are integral to our ecosystem and that are dying out? Those bees.

honey bee clip art

Might as well lean back in your chair and be comfy for this…

Some of us went to McDonald’s to get drinks, hey, it’s Summer Drink Days, don’t judge! I decided to try the lemonade, which fyi, delish! I didn’t quite finish it when we had to go warm up for our next race, the Knockout round, so I left it in the cup holder in the arm of my camp chair.

When we got back after our three back-to-back races I figured take one last gulp to finish the lemonade off and throw away the cup. Seems a fairly normal decision, right?

Well, note to self, next time look in the cup, and the straw! I take my sip of drink and something solid-ish is all of a sudden in my mouth. I thought it must be a lemonade seed and was kinda surprised cause this is a McD’s drink, so, not real lemonade, right? I mean, it comes out of a machine, it is processed in some way I am sure…but maybe I am wrong and there are real lemons involved in the making of this drink…who knows!

Not wanting to swallow a seed I pop a finger and thumb in to my mouth to remove it and what do I remove but a dead honey bee.

Yup.

Let that sink in a minute. I had a honey bee in my mouth.

My. Mouth.

*shudder*

What if I had opted to chew and swallow the “seed”?? Ugh, the thought makes me cringe. (seriously, cringing right now from having written that!)

I guess the lure of the sugar in the lemonade was too much for the bee to resist and down the straw it went, where it promptly got stuck and drowned, poor little bee. And then instead of having a proper funeral, or whatever it is bees do when one of their own goes down in the line of duty, I almost ate him! Then I threw him to the ground in a silent freak out! *shakes head at self* So disrespectful.

I actually do feel kind of bad. I don’t feel bad about killing certain creepy crawlies, especially if they are in my apartment, but I try not to kill them when I am outside and in their home environment. Plus the whole endangered thing! Oh the guilt! So I’m going to take some wild flower seeds with me when I hike this Wednesday and scatter them around, maybe some of them will grow, and help out the honey bees in that area, and karma will be balanced once again…or the bees have a little bee network and they now know I was indirectly responsible for the drowning of one of their own and the desecration of his body and now I’m on the honey bee hit list…

Now Comes The Exercise

10 May

I warned you in the last post this one would be about the new exercise plan so don’t blame me if you’re all “omg all she is writing about is working out, ugh” πŸ˜‰ lol

I found the work out plan I am going to follow by complete and total fluke, such a pleasant surprise!

I can’t lay claim to any part of this plan, I found it here…

http://www.popeyescanada.com/strongtothefinish-en.html

It is the Popeye’s Supplement company website. I was on it seeing if my protein powder was on sale (sadly, it isn’t) and noticed they are having a contest. I can’t enter because it is already started but that doesn’t mean I can’t read the information they have on the site and learn from it.

You select your gender and from there check out four different workouts. I have made copies of all of them with the theory that once I have gotten good at the beginner level I will be able to move up to the more advanced workouts and well, might as well be prepared for that, right?

Here is what the beginners workout plan looks like…

Capture

For some reason the part that most appealed to me was that all the workouts can be done at home. Normally I don’t like working out at home, I like being lazy at home. Buuuuuut there are advantages, like, I don’t have to worry about making myself presentable to the world, I don’t have people in the gym watching me, I can work out at anytime of day or night, my shower is less than ten steps away so when I’m done I can get cleaned up super fast.

Oh, and the biggest perk is that I have no excuse to not work out. My gym closes at 10pm Fridays and Saturdays which means I can’t get there after work and I don’t care for working out prior to going to work so I have used those two reasons for more often than not skipping my Friday and Saturday workouts. Well, no more!

Something else I like about this plan is the alternate exercises. It is smart to not keep doing the same exercises for weeks and weeks and weeks in a row so having things to swap out to keep the body guessing is good. Also, as I get stronger I can add weights to the moves, add more reps and sets, make it more of a challenge. πŸ™‚ Plus it alternates cardio with the full body circuit and even throws in a rest day and a stretching day. It’s a good mix.

I wasn’t intending to have Day 1 be a Monday but I wanted to start the program right away and I found it last night so right away meant Monday. Whiiiich actually turns out to be a good thing because if you’ll notice on Day 2 and 4 I will be doing cardio and in the alternate exercises one of the options is “sport” and those are the days I have dragon boat practice which means my dragon boat practice can be substituted in to this work out plan and count. Yay! I figure I am probably still going to do a separate 30 minutes of cardio on those days, cause why not? But if life gets in the way and one day I can’t fit in time for a run or hike I won’t be missing out completely cause I’ll still be going to practice. Maybe my logic is flawed but it makes sense to me…

So today after work I went for a one hour hike with a friend then came home and immediately did Day 1’s workout. I had to make some minor changes, after the second set my knees were hurting quite badly so during the third set I did 20 squats instead of 15 squats and 5 squat jumps, the squat jumps were killing my knees. Also, in set 3 I did my push-ups on an angle because I felt it was better to do angled push-ups with proper form than pathetic push-ups on the floor that weren’t giving me as good of a workout as they could be. I’ll get stronger and be able to do all three sets of the push-ups soon but until then I’ll do one set angled, build those muscles!

There ya have it, my new work out plan. Easy in the sense I can follow it and have no excuses to not work out. Challenging enough that hopefully it will start me on a lovely path of getting more fit. πŸ™‚

Care to join me?

 

Burnwater

17 Sep

For those of you not in to dragon boating you’re probably wondering what the hell Burnwater is. Well, lemme tell ya, it is a company that makes amazing dragon boat paddles and accessories.

Something else amazing about them? Their customer service!

My paddle got damaged towards the end of this season and had to be sent back to Burnwater (they are in the States) for repairs.

Here is what my paddle looked like…

2015-07-26 21.04.25

I had to drive over the border and take it to an American FedEx because FedEx on my side of the border said they aren’t legally allowed to ship the paddle to the States. Annoying but oh well, I got a little road trip out of it so yay! lol

My contact at Burnwater knew I needed it back for a race festival and it seemed like I would get it back in time. If I couldn’t get it back in time for the festival it was to be shipped to my parents place because I was going to be staying there while on vacation and I wanted it for a guest paddling session I was doing with a friend’s team.

The paddle didn’t arrive here or at my parents, it was mia.

The tracking information online said the package had cleared the San Francisco sorting facility and was en route but it had been saying that for a ridiculously long time.

Arin, my contact at Burnwater was so nice about all the harassing and annoying emails I kept sending him asking if he knew where it was and when it was obvious it was not going to show up he said he would send me a new paddle!

Can you believe that?! I mean, how awesome is that?? It wasn’t his fault USPS lost my paddle but he, on behalf of Burnwater, took ownership of the situation and fixed it.

Best customer service. Ever!

My brand new absolutely lovely and perfect paddle arrived this past Monday and I am not exaggerating when I say I hugged it. I hugged the box it was in when it arrived because I realized what it had to be and then I ripped the box open before even signing for the package and hugged the paddle directly.

I had it shipped to my work because there is always somebody there and it was just fluke it arrived on my shift. A friend of mine at work was there when I opened it, she now thinks I am a little crazy, as do the other staff and residents who saw me hugging it lol but that is okay, they suspected I was a certain level of crazy anyways, now it is just confirmed for them lol πŸ˜‰

I can’t seem to take a good picture of my new paddle so here are pictures I stole from the internet so you know what it looks like…as if you care lol πŸ˜›

burnwater 3

I have a T Grip Handle

I have a T Grip Handle

burnwater

If ever you need to buy a dragon boat paddle (or accessories!) I highly recommend going to Burnwater, their website is http://www.burnwater.ca Not only will you get an excellent product but if ever you need to contact customer service they definitely know how to threat their customers! πŸ™‚

Vacation Talk!

9 Sep

I went on vacation for two weeks and recently got back. I had intended to blog while on vacation but yeah, that soooo didn’t end up happening lol It was a simple trip back to Alberta to visit my family and friends, you know, the ones I left behind when moving to BC. πŸ˜‰

Instead of making multiple posts about the trip I’ll see if I can condense everything in to one post…or maybe two…

The cat came with me so instead of flying we had ourselves a 13 hour road trip through the lovely Canadian mountains then through the lovely Canadian prairies. Striker, the cat, spent the first 45 minutes of the drive loudly expressing his displeasure over his forced confinement in his carrier as well as being manhandled out to the suv. I took a book on cd (from the library) to listen to and he was so loud I had to turn the cd off because I couldn’t hear the narrator! He eventually stopped meowing at me and decided a better use of his time was to pout…for approx 12 hours…

This is what a pouting cat looks like.

This is what a pouting cat looks like.

When he wasn’t sitting on the floor under my legs he was sitting in his carrier with his face squashed against the mesh side ignoring me. Blatantly ignoring me.

I have two nephews and I like to take each one of them to hang out one-on-one.

My first day there I took the older nephew (he’s 14) horseback riding. He agreed to go but he wasn’t really feeling the whole riding horse thing, he’s such a trooper! πŸ™‚

Giddy up!

Giddy up!

After the trail ride we went to a movie (Fantastic 4) and dinner (food court). I tried to get him to go to a real restaurant but there is a pasta place in the mall he loves and I’d rather he eat something he really wanted than drag him somewhere he doesn’t like.

I went to a place called Freshii and had an amazing rice bowl called Pangoa…

Pangoa from Freshii

Pangoa from Freshii

Imagine my surprise and horror when I got home and found the nutritional information online for this dish, it has 900 freakin calories!!! There is brown rice, grilled chicken, beans, various veggies and some bbq sauce but as you can see not a lot of any one ingredient so where all those calories came from I do not know. I do know that I won’t be ordering that ever again, even though it was tasty.

The next day I went for brunch with my mom, we went to Tutti Frutti and I had a lovely vegetarian omelette and one slice of Maple Crisp crunchy french toast. Yes you read that right, crunchy french toast! Mmm!

Crunchy French Toast

Crunchy French Toast

The omelette was a tad odd, IMO, because it was open not folded or rolled but it was tasty and really that is all that matters lol

Veggie omelette with potatoes on the side.

Veggie omelette with potatoes on the side.

My mom got the Casa Blanca which isΒ French toast topped with fresh fruit & coated with delicious English cream only she got the cream on the side so she could decide how much of it she ate. Smart lady! πŸ™‚

French toast with lots of fruit!

French toast with lots of fruit!

Later that day I guest paddled with a dragon boat team called The Raunchy Rodents. They practice on the river and have a freakishly short training season because winter is a long and cold season there, can’t really practice on the river when it is frozen! lol I had a great time, they are a fun bunch! πŸ™‚ They had about half of their team at that practice due to a variety of circumstances which kinda made me feel better about taking a spot on the boat, I would have hated to be an extra body if all their team showed for practice.

The Raunchy Rodents - well, about half of them lol

The Raunchy Rodents – well, about half of them lol

A view from the middle of the river

A view from the middle of the river

Some of us went out after practice for a drink and a nibble, we went to a local pub called Duggan’s Boundary Irish Pub and had a fun time. πŸ™‚ The brunch I had earlier with my mom powered me for the whole day, though I did cave and get some Potato Pancakes cause uh hello, how could I not? lol

Potato Pancakes with sour cream

Potato Pancakes with sour cream

The next day was a big day, I took my younger nephew (he is 7 and will proudly tell anyone who asks! lol) to Drumheller to go to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. It is basically the mecca for anyone in to dinosaurs and this little guy is most definitely in his dinosaur phase! It’s a three hour drive there and we spent the entire time talking about dinosaurs and life and music and playing pretend, it was a highly entertaining drive lol

Little hand, big footprint.

Little hand, big footprint.

I was abandoned 20 minutes in to our arriving at the museum so he could participate in a Dino Dig, basically he got to go be a paleontologist for 90 minutes while I wandered around doing nothing of much interest because adults aren’t allowed on the expedition…well, minus the adults running the expedition that is lol He loved it! They went on a 2.5 km hike through the badlands, used real paleontology tools to excavate part of a fossil then learned how to cover it properly and transport it back to the museum. After the day was over he told me everyone should move to Drumheller because why would anyone want to live anywhere else? Oh, and we are all supposed to work at the museum…oh boy…lol

If you were thinking he fell asleep on the way home after a long and busy day you my friend are oh-so-wrong. We played pretend and chatted the entire three hour drive home, although I would have been ok with a bit of quiet time because I was tired lol

Let’s see, the next day I got to spend with my friend Nicole, we had plans but they fell through so I ended up going with her while she bought kitty supplies and then adopted two adorable kittens. Yay for kittens! She was going to get just one but the brother and sister were in a cage together and how can anyone be heartless enough to separate siblings?

Meet Solar and Lou.

Meet Solar and Lou.

If I remember correctly the girl is on the left, she is Solar, the boy is on the right and is named Lou. I don’t have a great picture of the two of them because they are super fast and oddly enough don’t much care for staying still…go figure lol We had so much fun playing games with them we basically spent hours playing games and just watching them be silly lol

Sunday (the day after the Day of Kittens!) there was a family brunch where I ate pretty much everything lol I don’t have any group pictures from that day, I do have a bunch of individual pictures but that’s too many to be putting on here. Later that day I went to hang with a friend, Jasmine, and her family which consists of a husband, three kids and a dog. Her brother came over as did her parents, all of which I have known for a loooong time. Her youngest is my Goddaughter and all three kids think of me as an Aunt. They are great, the whole lot of em. πŸ™‚ That evening involved a decent amount of alcohol, lots of reminiscing and my camera being dropped in to a glass of water by the middle child.

sigh.

Yup, there went my camera. 😦 We fished it out immediately and put it in to a bag of rice to dry it out but the camera didn’t recover fully. It could take a picture but the flash was dead and the picture quality was not good after it went swimming. Sadness.

I spent Monday working in my parent’s basement sorting out all the stuff I have stored there lol My parents got the basement renovated and my mom wanted me to go through all my stuff and sort it in to things I am bringing back with me, things I am keeping stored in my parent’s basement and things I am getting rid of. I got rid of quite a bit, brought back a chunk and left the rest in rubbermaid containers on shelves out of my parents way. Aren’t I such a good daughter? πŸ˜‰

Tuesday was a day of awesome, well, sort of. I went to Calgary to ride the Olympic bobsled track and ride the zip line they have. Calgary hosted the 1988 Olympics and now the Olympic Park is a tourist place as well as where current and future Olympians train, for only $99/month I too could have a gym membership there lol

Decked out and ready to bobsled!

Decked out and ready to bobsled!

Ready to zip lining!

Ready for zip lining!

I have gone zip lining many times but this type of harness was new to me. When I was hooked to the line it is like sitting in the most comfortable hammock ever lol It is supposed to be the fastest/longest zip line in North America (if I remember correctly) and there was a parachute I had to deploy to get me slowed down in time for the stop but it wasn’t so fast or long that it was scary, sigh. I think I am done zip lining since it no longer brings out any nervousness or fear. The bobsledding was interesting, there are 14 turns in that track and it was fun but not “oh my god I’m so scared and nervous and can’t wait for the adrenaline rush” type of fun, which was what I was hoping for, shrug.

On the way home from Calgary I stopped at Peters’ Drive In and ordered heaven, seriously, their food is sooooo good! If I lived in Calgary I’d be a thousand pounds because I would always be at Pete’s lol

The most amazing of all amazing burgers and mouth watering onion rings.

The most amazing of all amazing burgers and mouth watering onion rings.

The thing about Peter’s is that they have the best milkshakes you will ever find! You choose your flavour and can combine up to three flavours to make your own custom milkshake.

All the flavours available.

All the flavours available.

The rest of the trip was filled with dinner with friends, hanging with other friends, hanging with my parents, helping out with stuff around my parent’s place, basically just enjoying being there. Oh, and shopping! There was some super impressive shopping! I got boots, and flats, and a blazer (so grown up of me don’t ya think?), Christmas presents for various people, random things that I wanted to buy there because there is only 5% tax vs the ridiculously high tax where I live, stupid tax *grumble*

I had a great, fun filled, always doing something, type of trip and I’m really glad I went. πŸ™‚

The drive back went much better, the cat decided I wasn’t subjecting him to some random form of torture and he spent most of the drive sitting on various objects so he had a better view out of the window. The only time he got vocal was when I had to swerve to avoid a deer and the cat did not appreciate that, I’m pretty sure he would have hated the experience of hitting the deer more though so I wasn’t too worried about his bruised feelings lol. πŸ˜›

This is what I woke up to my first morning at my parent's place.

This is what I woke up to my first morning at my parent’s place.

That adorable picture is the site I woke up to my first morning of vacation, there was a head board on the bed I slept in and the cat figured out he can watch me from above…scareeeeeeee! lol πŸ˜‰

Dragon Boat Video

7 Aug

Okay, hopefully this works, here is a video of my teams second, third and fourth race at the Harrison Dragon Boat Festival from a couple weeks ago. πŸ™‚

Just in case anyone was interested lol

Quick Note: I tried clicking on the link once it was in my post and it gave a message to watch the video on YouTube so there is a link on the screen that will take you to the video on YouTube. No big deal but for some reason when I do that it plays the video suuuuper slow and the picture is out of sync with the audio. Hmm. That could very well be my computer doing that so it may play well for you but if it doesn’t than I apologize, I don’t know why it is acting wonky. 😦

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