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Eton Mess

3 Jul

For Canada Day (that’s July 1st for all you non-Canadians) I went to Squamish to hang with a friend and her peeps. We went for a walk with her dog, then back to her place where she made a delish dinner and I took care of dessert.

My only vague self imposed guideline I have for dessert on Canada Day is I want it to be red and white. I figure, if I’m going to have a flag on my car, and wear a t-shirt that has some sort of Canada pride image on it, and be all in your face about how it is Canada Day then that might as well extend to dessert. Listen, it may be weird logic but it is my logic, so let’s just all pretend we are ok with it, ok? πŸ˜‰

Now granted, Eton Mess is a very English dessert, but the two countries still have a connection, and well, it is one of my fave desserts and I wanted to try making it. The first, and only, time I had it was in Wales at some random restaurant. The menu didn’t adequately describe it so I had no idea what I was getting in to when I ordered it and oh wow was I happy when I got my first taste. It is a light, not too sweet, perfect for the summer dessert, aaaaand, it is red and white!

The most simple version I have found online involves meringues, whipped cream, strawberry sauce, and cut up strawberries.

Basically, you make meringues (or buy them if you can find them ready made), blitz some strawberries to make a strawberry sauce, cut up the remaining strawberries in to bite sized pieces, and make the whip cream (or I suppose you could buy that ready made also if you wanted). Once all the ingredients are prepped you crush about three quarters of the meringues and mix them with the cut up strawberries, then you mix in the whipping cream. Add some of the strawberry sauce and lightly mix so it gets swirls of red. Then you evenly distribute between serving bowls and top with the rest of the broken meringues and maybe a sliced strawberry if you want to try to be artistic about it. I opted for saving some of the strawberry sauce and put a layer of it in the middle of each of the servings. If I make it again I’ll also drizzle some on the top of the dish, ya know, for prettiness sake. πŸ™‚

Eton Mess 2019

Eton Mess, Canadian style!

The recipe I used is from the BBC Good Food website (www.bbcgoodfood.com), they also have an app if you’re interested, bbcgoodfood.app.link . I can’t vouch for the app, I haven’t used it, but it is there if any of you want to give it a try.

The ingredients measurements are:

2 large egg whites and 120 grams castor sugar to make the meringues

500 grams of strawberries, chopped. 1/3 of the strawberries get blitzed to turn into sauce

450 ml double cream (I used whipping cream) and 1 tbsp icing sugar for the whipped cream

A minor annoyance is that the recipe says to “spoon dollops” of the meringue mixture on to the baking tray, and cook on the bottom rack in the oven for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.

What, I ask you, is a dollop? And why in the world is it being used as some form of measurement? In a recipe! For a food that can easily burn! Oooooh, if the BBC could have heard the names I was calling them when I saw the word “dollop” they’d have ducked for cover. I ended up using the large sized spoon that comes in your cutlery set, and put similar sized “dollops” on to the baking tray, it made ten “dollops” in case you were wondering.

Other than the “dollop” issue and having to call my mother to get help converting Gas 1 to an oven temp that makes sense over here (ended up using 250F), the recipe is easy to follow, and has good results. So here is a link to the recipe I followed, in case you want to take a look:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/eton-mess

If you’re American you could always top with some blueberries and make it a red, white, and blue dessert for July 4th. And as far as I know there is no rule that says you have to use strawberries so you could always use raspberries, or some combination of red fruits to jazz it up a bit, get a new flavour in there. I might try making a raspberry sauce next time for the middle layer…we shall see!

My friend’s dog and I taking selfies, he has the best expressions! lol

 

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It’s Christmas!

25 Dec

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Merry Christmas!Β 

If you don’t celebrate Christmas than have a kick-ass December 25th just because lol

May you all have a happy day filled with love, time with people you care about, cuddles from your pets, and a feeling of contentment and joy.

And if all that is too much to ask for, just try to have a lovely day, however you choose to accomplish that.Β  πŸ™‚

Some Edmonton Stuff

24 Dec

I’ve been in Edmonton for 7 days and have a smattering of random pictures I thought I’d share. None are all that special but ya know, it’s my blog and I can put on it what I like…assuming the cat approves that is! πŸ˜‰

I’ve been to West Edmonton Mall I think four times now? It is one of my happy places lol Especially at Christmas, with all the decorations and sales…I try my best to ignore the crowds and line-ups. Sort of my own version of rose coloured glasses, only they are covered in glitter from wrapping paper. πŸ˜‰

Some decorations from WEM. There are way more but taking pictures in the mall basically labels you as a tourist so I only took a couple.

Apologies for the glare on the glass when I took the picture. That is the empty wave pool at the Waterpark (inside WEM). I’ve never seen it empty like that, it was so weird.

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There was a petting zoo in the mall on one of my trips and I couldn’t resist pictures of the goats and the one and only pig. I find pigs adorable and wish I could’ve gotten closer but I don’t go in to petting zoos since I have no desire to smell like barnyard animals.

Cotton candy shaped to look like a unicorn. Why? Because I thought it was cute lol

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December 23rd is my birthday and I was lucky enough to get two desserts! If I’m not careful I’m going to have to be rolled through the airport on my way back lol

My mom made a Victoria Sponge for me, one of my favourite cakes. πŸ™‚ It is two layers of sponge cake with jam and whipped cream in the middle. Oh, and topped with icing sugar. Simple yet lovely.

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Then when I was out with friends we went to a restaurant and I got some chocolate, because what is a birthday without chocolate I ask you?

And yes, I ate every bite. Yum!

I had a day spent with my nephews, one at a time since they are not really at ages where the same activity will do for both of them. With the younger one we built a gingerbread train. The original plan was to ice it blue because he wanted it to look like Thomas the Tank Engine but once he tasted the icing he wanted minimal decorating because he thought he’d be able to eat any left over icing lol Kids right? So the icing eating didn’t happen, but the decorating kinda did…

All in all it has been days filled with simple fun, more focused on time spent with friends and family than anything else, which is exactly how it should be. πŸ™‚

 

The Traveling Cat

19 Dec

This cat of mine is a decently well traveled cat. Sure he hasn’t left Canada but most cats stay in one city their whole lives and this little guy keeps going back and forth between BC and Alberta. Not only does he travel he does it in style, and with such attitude!

Our drive to the airport was uneventful, as was the rainy walk from the parking spot to the shuttle that took us to the airport. During check in the person working kept trying to make him meow, she’d lean down to look him in the eyes and meow at him. Striker was having none of that and just stared her down each time. But when I leaned down to check on him he’d give me a little meow, I swear he only did that to annoy the person working lol

The airport was surprisingly quiet so check in was quick, the line up for security screening was short and fast moving, all was going great…until!

See, Striker is what you call a nervous traveler. But it isn’t that he is nervous so much as he will go bat shit crazy and try to run away if he hears a dog bark when he is out of his carrier. For those of you who haven’t traveled with a small pet, when you get to security you take your pet out of their carrier and carry them through the metal detector while their carrier goes through the x-ray machine. I find it highly annoying, as does Striker. There was an incident one year where a bin dropped which caused a dog to bark which caused Striker (who was in my arms) to leap out of my arms and desperately try to run away. Only because he was wearing a harness that was attached to a leash that I was holding on to did he not disappear in to the airport. Since then I tell security he is a nervous traveler and we get a private room for his security check.

Someone holds his carrier while I go through security. Once I am cleared I get Striker back and we go in to a private room so he can be brought out of his carrier. I hold Striker while someone takes the carrier back to x-ray for it to be scanned. Striker and I aren’t left alone, and depending on who is watching us Striker may or may not be patted down. I’m not even kidding about that!

Now that I’ve bored you with that explanation let me get back to the story!

We get to security, I tell the guy I have a nervous cat and we need a private room and he looks at me blankly, so I repeat myself and still nothing. He calls over a supervisor and I make the same request to him. Supervisor doesn’t know what I’m talking about either. Sigh. So I point towards where the room is and I explain, slowly, my cat can’t be taken out of the carrier here, we always go in to that room so he is less stressed while you guys x-ray the carrier.

I don’t know that he believed me but he seemed ok to go along with it. He takes the carrier, I go through security, he calls over a second person and gives her the carrier, we all go to the private room (which is a glorified closet), I take Striker out of the carrier and feel the need to explain that Striker is wearing a scarf because he likes it, not because I’m forcing him…something else I don’t think they believed lol One of the ladies watching over us just kept staring at him, like a cat is an exotic animal or something lol while a different lady swabbed me for contact with drugs then patted down Striker, something he didn’t approve of.

After security Striker and I had a smooth time. We were early enough I had time to get some soup and a drink. I tried to take a picture of Striker in his carrier but each time I tried he turned away from me, he is a master at the silent protest.

Once on the plane a miracle happened, I had an entire row of seats to myself!

airline seats

So much room!

It is hard to tell in the picture because it is so dark but that is the empty row beside me. It was lovely. πŸ™‚

There was a classic Vancouver send off…rain…

airline window view

My window view…

I got Striker settled under the seat in front of me, by this point he is basically resigned to his fate.

airline striker

Striker, ready to go!

A short nap, some boring tv, a snack and a drink later, and boom! We are in Edmonton!

My Edmonton view from the plane…

airline edmonton

Where’s the snow??

It was surprisingly warm when we landed and there was a distinct lack of snow and ice, this can’t possibly be Edmonton in December!

Because I didn’t have to wait for other people in the row to get sorted I was able to grab my backpack from the overhead bin and get Striker out from under the seat in front of me and be all ready to go once the doors opened. So I was one of those people that is standing there awkwardly, waiting for the doors to open, and now forced in to close proximity to other people who are also standing. A lady from a row back noticed Striker and commented she saw him when we came on to the plane but he was so quiet she completely forgot there had been a cat on the plane. Which started a conversation about traveling with pets, specifically with cats, and just talk about cats in general. By the time we were able to move there were about 6 of us, all crammed awkwardly together, chatting away. Travel sure does make for interesting situations lol

All in all, Striker did great, the people on the plane who saw his scarf thought he was adorable, he was quiet and seemingly pretty chill the whole time…I think he keeps himself occupied by imagining all the ways he is going to kill me once we are at our destination. πŸ˜‰

And now he is here, at my parent’s place, stealing chairs and keeping us all entertained just by being his cute self.

edmonton dec 2018

He keeps stealing my dad’s favourite chair lol

 

edmonton december 2018

My…I mean Striker’s bed.

4 Pairs

16 Dec

I seem incapable of travelling and taking any less than four pairs of shoes. Why four? I have no idea!

I am packing for a Christmas trip, and by packing I mean I am sitting here blogging, but ya know, close enough, and trying to figure out how to cull weight from my suitcase. I’d love to say an easy one would be to remove shoes but they all seem so necessary…even though logically I know they aren’t lol

My packing process always starts with a mental list of things I want to take, and that list always starts with shoes. Why pick outfits first and then choose shoes to match when you can pick shoes and then more shoes and then get an overweight bag?

To be fair, not all the weight in my suitcase is due to shoes, I have Christmas presents in there, and 6lbs of coffee…don’t ask, it’s a long story lol

But yeah, I always start with the shoes…

So this year I was determined to not go shoe crazy, after all, I need room to bring home the new pair I will probably buy when there. πŸ˜‰ I managed to get down to three pairs, my workout runners, a pair of grey converse, and a pair of black ankle boots. Theoretically those options should cover all possible scenarios, and thick socks will make up for the fact that none of my shoes are all that warm and definitely not meant for Alberta winter. The boots are the heaviest so I’ll wear those, and if desperate I can easily fit the converse in to my carry on, save a little weight in the suitcase, but hopefully I won’t have to do that.

Hopefully. *crosses fingers*

shoes

Not my shoes, but you get the idea lol

Only three pairs of shoes coming with me, I’m already missing my cozy boots, and my red converse, and my knee high boots, sigh.

 

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

18 Oct

I’m a bad food blogger. You’ll understand why I wrote that once you see the one, sad, pathetic, picture I took of the pumpkin cake. *rolls eyes*

The baking part I’m good at, just not the documenting part…oops?

The recipe was originally called Pumpkin Cake Bars, which led me to believe the cake would come out firm and, oh I don’t know, bar like? Oh how wrong I was. The cake came out super moist and very cake like, not at all like a bar. Which kinda messed with my plan for the final product.

See, I had intended to bake the bars and use them for two separate events, oh, did I mention this all happened two weekends ago, for Thanksgiving? Yet one more example of how I don’t rock at this whole food blogging thing…but let’s ignore that shall we? πŸ˜‰

I was going to a small get together on the Sunday and then a Thanksgiving dinner on the Monday. The plan was to make these bars and take half to each event. Since they were supposed to be bars it made sense they would be plated as an already cut item, like if I’d taken Nanaimo Bars. You wouldn’t bring Nanaimo Bars to a party and not already have them cut and plated right? I’m going to pretend you’re nodding your head in agreement right now and not googling “Nanaimo Bar”.Β  So if these bars were cut and plated when I took them to each event it wouldn’t be obvious that I didn’t bring the entire quantity. Not like I cut a cake in half and you can see the inside of the cake along the cut edge!

Except that these bars came out as cake, not bars, which meant the cut that exposed the inside of the cake was super obvious…

For the Sunday event I tried cutting half the cake as bars but it didn’t work very well. It just looked like I was bringing cut pieces of cake, which I was if we want to get technical about it. Also, the top of the cake was tacky to the touch, which I also wasn’t expecting. Seriously, it is a very moist cake! This wouldn’t have been a problem if I’d had time to do a crumb coat with the frosting but I didn’t, so I ended up with crumbs in the frosting. A personal pet peeve of mine.

Now, to be fair, I seem to be the only one with an issue with this cake. The people at both events really liked it and didn’t seem to care at all about the crumbs in the frosting or that it was supposed to be a bar recipe and it came out a proper cake instead. So perhaps I am too focused on the look of the food when other people are more concerned about the taste?

The Ingredients:

4 large eggs

1 2/3 C white sugar

1 C vegetable oil

1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree

2 C all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

6 ounces cream cheese

6 Tbl butter, softened

3 C confectioners sugar

The Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 350F

Grease and flour a 9×13 pan

In a large mixing bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin.

In a different bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mix thoroughly.

Pour in to the prepared pan.

Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, allow to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

Beat cream cheese, softened butter, and confectioners sugar together. Evenly spread over the bars after they are cooled.

Ok, so that is the original recipe, here is how I changed it!

I added 1/2 tsp nutmeg and a 1/2 tsp cloves to the dry ingredients at the same time I added the cinnamon. Next time I would bump up the quantity of all three seasonings as I found the flavour to be quite subtle, but that could just be me because everyone else seemed to love it as-is.

The frosting makes a huge amount, way more than you need. I would say you could easily make half the quantity and still have plenty to frost the cake, because this really is a cake.

Oh, and I never “grease and flour” a pan, I just spray with baking spray, or sometimes I soften some butter and spread that on the pan, but I don’t do the flour bit. The cake came out of the pan no problem, so I say grease the pan in whatever way your normal style is, it should be fine.

And here, the one, lone, sad, picture of a piece of the cake…go ahead, laugh, I deserve it…*big epic sigh*

 

pumpkin cake 2

crumbs in the frosting, I don’t even want to look at it πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

151

2 Jul

Canada’s 151st birthday is over. Soon all the flags will be put away, red and white leftover desserts will be eaten, and spontaneous outpourings of Canadian pride will once again be reigned in.

It was a chill Canada Day for me this year, I worked my normal 7a-3p Sunday shift, went for a hike after work with a friend, then I chilled at home. I suppose I could have found something else to do in the evening buuuuut I’m up early Monday morning and I kinda didn’t feel like staying out late to watch the fireworks…lame? Maybe. But the cat and I have spent a cuddly evening together so I kinda don’t care. πŸ˜›

I was googling, looking for random interesting facts about Canada to put in this post and oh wow are there a lot of random facts about Canada’s weather. Not exactly the most interesting stuff out there. The other things I’m pretty sure I mentioned in years past lol What can I say, we are a young country, there’s only so much history to pull from. shrug.

A mind-blowing realization I had today, not sure if I can write it so it makes sense but I’ll try.

I work with seniors. Some of them are over 100 years old, most are in their 80s and 90s. So a bit up there age wise. Canada turned 151 years old this year. There is a strong possibility that some of the seniors I interact with on a regular basis had relatives, direct they actually knew them when they were alive relatives, that lived in Canada, or moved to Canada, before Canada was Canada.

Mind. Blown.

I mean, I work with people who are more than half the age of my country. The young seniors I work with who are in their 80s are more than half the age of Canada, and the math just gets more startling the older a person gets.

Does that make sense? Am I sounding like a crazy person? Yeah, I’m probably sounding crazy, but oh well, just think of it as one of my many quirks lol

And on that note let me leave you with a picture of my Prime Minister holding pandas, cause ya know, cuteness!

Trudeau and pandas

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