Sunday, February 27, 2011

Academy Awards Predictions

It's that time of year again...
The couture is out in full force, the envelopes are sealed, and the hardware is getting ready to be handed out.
It's Oscar time!

I like to think I have a fairly good track record in predicting the winners so join me in this years predictions.
Don't agree with my list? Let me know who you think is going to win!
Best Picture: The King's Speech
Best Actor: Colin Firth (The King's Speech)
Best Actress: Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale (The Fighter)
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Original Screenplay: The King's Speech
Foreign Language Film: Biutiful
Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3
Director: Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) (? this one's a guess)
Best Original Song: "Coming Home" (Country Strong) ...though I won't lie, I'm tempted to give it to Randy Newman as he is a musical genius. (Appologies for having to read it rather than see it...not my fault).

I'll try and update along with the show to see how many I get right!
I'm skipping categories like art directions, costume, makeup etc etc cause I've seen two movies nominated. So I'm at a serious disadvantage and most of my guesses are based on buzz and previous awards won.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hello again...again, Dexter Morgan...

I might be playing with fire here, having been burned once already...
Back in December during the holidays I was greedily watching as much Dexter as I could to catch up on season 5. The result? 4 episodes and 2 viruses.
And my computer is pretty much effed.
I've been relying on John's generosity (and computer) ever since.
Anyway I've found a new (and safe) site to watch Dexter and am now eagerly trying to finish off the season before reading week is finito.
I missed you, Dexter Morgan. I missed you a lot.
Also, I began work on the skittles vodka this morning. One blue and one red. I used crazy cores skittles instead of the regular ones to try and jazz it up a bit. The skittles have been slowly dissolving and I've been giving the bottles a shake everytime I walk by. I'd like this process to be finalized by tomorrow night so I can present one of the mixtures as a birthday present to a friend.
Also exciting: I might be going snowboarding for the first time ever tomorrow! There's a beginners hill close by and the prices for rentals and day passes are low... plus as John pointed out we should hurry up and enjoy the rest of winter before it's gone. Spring is right around the corner (thank you sweet 8 pound, 6 ounce infant baby Jesus) and having that happy little nugget of information tucked away in my back pocket makes me want to give winter a fun send off.
On the docket for tonight is a movie date (True Grit), a home-made Southwest Steak Salad dinner (salivating as we speak) with some wine and then perhaps some desert.
John and I both woke up with a sore throat this morning...
we're blaming our formerly sick siblings, naturally.
Luckily John's wonderful aunt gave us a whole bunch of natural rememdies for sickness! So we'll be taking good care of one another this weekend.

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Today's recipe, which already has me drooling, comes courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything.
My friend had been talking about making cookie dough cupcakes so I googled a recipe and come across this thing of beauty.
Who doesn't like raw cookie dough?
It's one of those things where you knowingly risk the consequences of eating raw eggs because even violently throwing up is worth it to indulge in raw cookie dough.
My mom's old school used to have a fundraiser where you purchased tubs (yes, I said tubs) of raw cookie dough to keep in your freezer and take out whenever you wanted to bake some cookies. And it may not come as a surprise to you to hear that I frequently snuck down to the basement freezer with a bowl and a spoon.
What I'm getting at is that the combination of cookie dough and cupcakes is a match made in heaven.
It's a bit of a lengthy process but I'm going to be baking these this weekend.
Cookie Dough Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 24 cupcake tins with liners.
  2. Mix 1 1/2 cups butter and 1 1/2 cups brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Combine 2 2/3 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt in a medium bowl then add to the wet ingredients alternating with 1 cup milk but beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Blend in 2 tsp vanilla extract and fold in 1 cup chocolate chips.
  4. Divide the batter among the 24 cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool.
  5. In another bowl, combine 4 tbsp butter and 6 tbsp light brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 cup + 2 tbsp flour, 7 ounces sweetened condensed milk, and 1/2 tsp vanilla until smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about half an hour.
  6. Cut a cone shaped hole in the bottom of each cooled cupcake. Fill each hole with the refrigerated cookie dough.
  7. Make the frosting: in a bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups butter and 3/4 cups light brown sugar until creamy. Mix in 3 1/2 cups icing sugar, until smooth then add in 1 cup flour and 3/4 tsp salt. Mix in 3 tbsp milk and 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract until smooth.
  8. Frost each cupake and sprinkle the tops with some mini chocolate chips. The serve and enjoy!

And that's how you do it!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I don't know if it's just having time off of school this week (and being a great procrastinator), but I cannot stop thinking about looking at and buying new clothes.

Especially looking at clothes/accessories/bags/shoes/etc.

And especially looking at ones that I cannot afford.

Latest addition to my Want List -

Acne's Darling layered hammered-satin mini dress

($330 - a steal compared to some of the other items I was looking at)...
Like this $1,525 Proenza Schouler dress...

When Celebrity Chefs Go Wrong...Part III

This is quickly becoming one of my favourite things to do: search for the worst, the laziest, the most uninspired recipes of all time.
When you think about it, it has to be one of three things:
1. There is no one editing or reviewing recipe submissions,
2. Food Network chefs are very quickly running out of food ideas, or
3. Someone at has a great sense of humour.
I hope it's #3.
So today I am back for your viewing pleasure with 2 brand spanking new and just as bad recipes, courtesy of the comedians over at
The people in charge of the magazine (yes, the MAGAZINE) submitted this gem to the website. You'd think someone at either the magazine or the website would have given this one a second thought...

John and I made popcorn on the stove with oil and butter this weekend but in no way would I consider that a recipe. It's instructions. If it's a how-to on the back of a box, I don't think that counts as a recipe.
Just thought I'd clarify in case you didn't know: Recipe vs. Instructions.
Then it gets even better.
Did you know you can eat towels?

Mmm mmm mmm.
Make sure you share those 4 washcloths.

Both screen shots are courtesy of

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kashyap's White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies

Continuing on from the cookie exchange, there's one more recipe I have to share with you.
These cookies are amazing. The flavour combination of the white chocolate and the cranberries is one of those meant-to-be things and the cookie itself is so soft and chewy.... make these next time you want to impress someone with something a little bit different.
Kashyap's White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  • Cream together 1 cup softened butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Beat in 2 eggs and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

  • Add 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix until combined.

  • Add in 1 pkg white chocolate chips and 1 cup dried cranberries.

  • Bake for 10-12 minutes then let cool and enjoy!

I Want: Spring Fashion Edition

Well, most of the items.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Experimenting with Vodka & Skittles

A friend recently directed me to a site with an interesting idea...
and knowing how much I enjoy arts-ing and crafting and experimenting with new ideas, I am determined to begin this process ASAP.
If you like trying new things, like the occasional drink, or need an interesting gift idea then join me in my quest:
Skittles Vodka
  • Step 1: Seperate skittles into seperate colours (about 60 of each colour) - or if you're lazy and don't want to make 5 different batches just throw them all in together. Your vodka will likely be a questionable shade of brown...
  • Step 2: Fill 5 water bottles with 6 ounces of vodka each.
  • Step 3: Add the skittles.
  • Step 4: Shake the bottles. Vigorously. You want to see colour leaching off the skittles and into the vodka. Let the water bottles sit for several hours. Feel free to give them another shake every so often. Let them sit at least overnight. Let them sit, with the occasional shake, until the skittles are dissolved.
  • Step 5: Strain out the white gunk floating on top. Put a coffee filter into a measuring cup and strain the vodka infusion through it. Repeat for each water bottle. You may need to filter the vodka a second time, depending. Pour the filtered vodka into glass bottles. Put those glass bottles in the freezer for a few hours - then you're ready to mix and drink them!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sacha's Spicy Cheese Scones

Yesterday's Cookie Exchange provided great eats and also some great recipes!
I figured I would share with you the recipes that were shared with me.
Today - a recipe that was not a cookie, instead a savoury bit of cheese, spicy heaven.
These scones aren't too spicy though, so don't worry if you're not a spicy person.
Sacha's Spicy Cheese Scones

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.
  2. Using a fork, stir together 2 cups flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper or cayenne pepper. Work in 1/4 cup cold butter (cut into cubes) until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in 1 cup grated old cheddar cheese.
  3. Make a well in the center. Pour in 1 cup cold milk and stir together until just moistened. Turn the dough out on a floured cutting board and gently knead the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into 6 equal peices and shape into balls.
  4. For crusty-sided scones, place each scone 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. For soft-sided scones place each scone 1/2 inch apart. Bake in the oven until golden, about 10-12 minutes.

These scones are delicious - I gurantee you will have trouble eating only one.

They're great with warn with butter and also, as Sacha pointed out, they're great for egg and bacon breakfast sandwiches.

These would be perfect for a lazy, long-weekend breakfast!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cookie Exchange: Success!

The cookie exchange this afternoon was a hit!
Fortunately/unfortunately (depending on how I look at it...) there are lots of yummy things left over here and I'm a notorious snacker...
Here's a photo breakdown for your viewing pleasure.
A layout of cookies (sans top plate of chocolate chunk cookies)

Take-home bags:

Siobhan's chocolate chunk cookies:

Kashyap's white chocolate chip & cranberry cookies:

My Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes:

Sacha's Spicy Cheese Scones:

All in all, we ate well. And lots.
I see this being a reoccuring event!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cookie Exchange!

Sorry for the break in posts. One of those weeks - LOTS to do.
But now it is Friday and the weekend has arrived.
And next week?
Reading week.
Tomorrow I am hosting (for the first time ever) a Cookie Exchange Party!

I'm very excited to see what people will be bringing tomorrow afternoon.
I bought some bags for people to take their cookies home in, and will be providing some non-sugary snacks (sammies and puff-pastry-cheese hors d's) along with tea, coffee, lemonade and other beverages.
I'm busy getting my own recipe idea together and have finally made a decision.
Since the exchange is open to more than just cookies, I'm going to make a somewhat-healthier baked good:
Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg and 1/2 tsp salt. Add1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 cup finely grated zucchini, and 3 tbsp sour cream.
  • Sift 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup cocoa powder into the zucchini mix and stir until incorporated.
  • Pour into greased muffin pans or pans lined with muffin cups. Bake for 15-17 minutes.
If you want to throw your own cookies exchange there are great cards (thank you's, recipes, etc) to be found HERE!
In other, un-food, related news, I just saw this video and it was like the skies opened up and beamed down an explanation of what happened to me 4 or 5-ish years ago.
I get migraines about once or twice a year. They are always preceeded by a blind spot (very scary sometimes) and that gives me a warning that I have about half an hour to get myself into a quiet, dark and medicated place before the pain kicks in. I used to get really painful ones accompanied by nausea and numbness in my mouth/tongue.
A few years back I was at a kick boxing class with my sister when I get my blind spot. Knowing the class was almost over, and knowing I had about half an hour to get myself home, we finished the class. In retrospect this was a terrible idea as the last 5 mins were all about exerting yourself til you collapsed.
Going into the changeroom, I tried speaking to Robin and couldn't get words out. I was slurring and just generally not making any sense. While she was killing herself laughing, I was freaking out that I was having a stroke and needed to get to an emergency room!
Anyway we walked to a walk-in clinic but by that time I was okay. I went to my doctor and she said it was likely the migraine coupled with over exerting myself. I believed this cause it meant I hadn't just had a stroke but in the back of my mind I was convinced I had had a TIA
The explanation the doctors gave to Ms. Branson however was more or less what my doctor told me - complex migraine.
Scary, but kind of reassuring that it happens to other people.
Since February is Heart Health month make sure you pay attention to any warning signs you think might be related to heart & stroke issues!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Blue Mountain Weekend

Thanks to a friend who has a place, a kind heart, and floor space, I'm heading up to Blue Mountain this evening for a weekend of fun.

If I were a legit skier, not impoverished, and not weighed down by several assignments, my entire weekend would be spent doing this:

I'n not the best downhill skier but the few times I've gone cross country skiing at my aunt and uncle's place I've enjoyed it tremendously.

But, like I said, I am broke and also have a few assignments I need to get on top of over the weekend. I'll be sitting by John's laptop like a big nerd.

But when I take a well deserved break, my activities will likely be as follows:

Hot tubbing.

There was talk of a hot tub and this better not have been an act of trickery.

Drinking Wine.

Nothing finer than enjoying a nice glass of the vino.
.....or if you are me, from the bag. Y'know, the bag inside the box of wine.
*The phenomenon known as 'slapping the bag' was actially introduced to me by the gentleman who's place we're staying at. So thank you. For so many things.

I'll be bringing up the stuff I need to make a breakfast lasagna. And maybe snacks. Cause there's always room for more. Even a wafer thin mint.
What's the worst that could happen?

Need some good music for the weekend?

Have you heard any songs from the Black Keys?



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jamie's Book Club: The Divinity Gene

The love of reading was instilled in me at a very young age by my mother.
I love books. I almost hoard them.
Stories are wonderful things and being able to lose yourelf in a good book is a feeling unlike any other.
Being able to write stories, however, is a totally different experience.
I know a few writers with the ability to pull you in, make you laugh, make you cry, make you feel connected to the characters they write about, real or fictional.
If you haven't checked out this blog already I highly recommend you do.
There are some great stories on there, both real and imaginary, that will keep you coming back.
Recently, a friend had a book of short stories published.
As soon I saw the news I pre-ordered my copy.
I love books and it's exciting to know the author!
I'm half-way through the book of short stories and already I'm impressed.
The Divinty Gene
by Matthew J. Trafford
I don't know if I can accurately pick a favourite yet, still having half the book to finish, but thre are definitely some favourites emerging.
I'm going to play book reviewer now. Humour me.
The Renegade Angels of Parkdale is a story about love, loss, and how these things connect us all.
Gutted is a tale about a boy, his father, a mythical creature, and what happens when we are on the brink of losing faith in magic.
iFaust might be my favourite at the moment. Having been a huge R.L. Stein fan, then an equally huge Stephen King fan, this story got me excited. I've already told Matthew I want him to turn this into a novel for me to read. It's a modern-day technological take on selling your soul for fame and fortune, and the lengths people will go to to save the one's they love.
I don't think I've been disappointed in any of the stories so far but those I think are my favourite. I'm in the middle of one about an Algonquin camping trip with a dead guy.
I actually can't put it down.
Everyone is getting this book for all upcoming birthdays, holidays, etc.
Support our talented home-grown authors and go out and buy this book!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Breakfat Lasagna

Last Tuesday I made a breakfast lasagna to contribute to the Black History month breakfast and it was a hit.
I made a vegetarian version (no meat but lotsa eggs) and a bacon version and while they didn't exactly fit with the salt fish and ackee, cocobread, and other more caribbean themed foods, both lasagna's disappeared pretty quickly.
I even heard one of the workers come down and ask the woman who works across from me if she knew who brought in the breakfast lasagna. I wrote out the recipe for her on a post-it!
I made one for John tok take to work with him also and it had similar results.
This is a recipe that came from my mom and possible came from my aunt Wendy before that.
If you've got people coming over on the weekend, want an easy and delicious breakfast, or just love all foods breakfast - make this. You can jazz it up to your own specifications. Bacon, sausage, peppers, etc. I promise you will not be disappointed.
Breakfast Lasagna

  • Grease a large pan with butter or spray. Evenly spread 1 pkg frozen hash browns over the bottom of the pan.
  • Cut 6 strips of bacon width-wise into smaller peices. Dice 1 onion. Spread bacon and onion evenly over top of the hash browns. Add in any other ingredients you like: sausage, green pepper, mushroom, spinach, etc.
  • In a bowl, beat 8 eggs together with 1/3 cup milk and pour over top of the hash browns. Sprinkle 1 cup grated cheese over top. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge over night. **You can omit this step if necessary and bake it right away.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30-45 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and melted.
Man, I want more breakfast lasagna!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Snack Sunday: Flourless Peanut Butter -Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today's snack recipe is not a healthy one. Well, not really. But it is full of protein from substituting flour for peanut/soy butter...and that's got to count for something, right?

Plus you can play around with the size of each cookies and make them into bite-sized little ones, which will make it much easier to rationalize eating an entire baking sheet of them.

I love cookies. I love chocolate chip cookies. I love peanut butter, even though I can't have it without suffering the consequences. But thankfully I also love the oh-so-similar taste of soy butter. So put 'em all together and you've got one delicious cookie.

Flourless Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup peanut butter (or soy butter if you are my persuasion), 3/4 cup sugar, 1 large egg, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 tsp salt. Stir in 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ***Optional: add in 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts.
  • With moistened hands to keep the dough from sticking to you, roll dough into balls using about 1 tbsp of dough at a time. Place each ball of dough 2 inches apart on baking sheets.
  • Bake until cookies are golden and puffed, about 12-14 minutes and roatate baking sheets from top to bottom of oven halfway through to ensure even baking. Cool on wire racks then enjoy!

Super Bowl Sunday!

Once every year, I watch a football game.
And that one game is almost always the Super Bowl.
I actually quite enjoy watching football, especially since learning (and more or less remembering) the rules of the game. Unfortunately I do not have time to watch games, pick a favourite team, and really hop on the foosball train.
So dilemma.
Who to cheer for?
I usually base my support around the better looking QB, the colours each team don, and other incidental factors.
One such factor?
I DARE you not to bob your head along with this song. Or, like me, swagger around the apartment rapping to a cat.
So my decision ultimately fell to this: who has the better hair?
Representing Pittsburgh, weighing in at 207 lbs, and rocking some seriously poufy curls,
Troy Polamalu

And representing Green Bay, weighing in at 255 lbs, and rocking a blonde mop of glory,
Clay Matthews

With that pose, he could out shine the cheerleaders.
In the battle of the hair, I have to give the edge to Mr. Troy Polamalu.
His hair is ensured for $1 million. How much is yours worth, Clay Matthews?
Not even the lure of cheese from Wisconsin can sway me.
Pittsburgh it is.
And more specifically Troy Polamalu.
But even more specifically?
Go Super Bowl Food!

Friday, February 4, 2011

When Celebrity Chefs Go Wrong...Part II

A little while back I posted recipes from Paula Deen and from Rachael Ray.
Horrible recipes that literally required nothing more than a package of bacon and a can of peas.
No skills needed other than being able to operate a can opener and enter time on a microwave.
Once again, has given us a doozy of a recipe from the Food Network.
I can't help but laugh, but I mean... you're a chef who is lucky enough to have recipes featured on the Food Network.
Food Network - you are a place where people like me go to find recipes that we can use to delight our tastebuds and impress our friends with our epicurean talents.
So when you allow stuff like this on to your website....

I think I may just print the recipe for this.
I'll practice this one a few times before I try it out for friends!