Sunday, March 27, 2011

Open Letter: To Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,
My name is Jamie and I have to say I'm a fan. I love what you do. The four seasons you bring us here in Canada are beautiful and really give us an appreciation of nature.
I love seeing the flowers bloom in the spring and the scent of grass and flowers so intense you have trouble breathing. I love sitting on my balcony in heat so heavy you can feel it in the summer. Weird but I do. I love watching the leaves change colour in the fall and the smells of fall. Kind of like camp fires. I also like winter - especially the first big snow fall of the year, where the streets and tree branches are blanketed in sparkling white. I don't admit this often, but I even kind of like being so cold my cheeks turn bright red. Makes me appreciate coming home to my warm bed that much more.
Now, that being said, enough is enoug.
I don't know what kind of game you're playing here but it's gotta stop.
It's almost April.
The first official day of spring has come and gone and I'm pretty sure if I were to look outside right now I would still see ice on the street. I know this because I just got back from the grocery store and had to wear a hat and my hood.

Remember easter weekend last year?
What was it, 28 degrees?
I'd like to renew my subscription to that year, please.

Yes, I know easter is not for another month but ...really?

I want this:

I understand that we've been messing with you, and I get that you might be mad about this 'global warming' thing and the carbon footprints we're all leaving but I'm making an effort to save water, save electricity, and do my part.
I even burnt my hair on a candle last year during Earth hour, all in the name of turning off the lights and doing my part for the environment.
I recycle. I reuse! I reduce!
I do my part for you, I think it's only fair you repay the favour here.
My mental health, my livelihood, and my tan all depend on it.

You're a doll, Ma Nature and I really don't want there to be bad blood between us.
So please, for my sake, and for the sake of your loyal fans....
put an end to this whole Winter nonsense and bring on Spring once and for all.

You're #1 fan,


Friday, March 25, 2011

Cinnamon Buns

It's Friday, Friday. And you gotta get down on Friday.
I assume you have by now seen this....this...monstrosity of a song/video, for lack of a better word.
But as Ms. Black points out, everybody is looking forward to the weekend.
Partying, partying (yeah)... fun fun...
It's been stuck in my head for days now and I die a little each time I catch myself singing it.

Moral of the story is that if this girl can become a viral sensation overnight, I'd like to speak with someone at Ark Music so that my rap career can get underfoot.

Presented today for class - went very well!
Only a few more things to slave over and hand in before freedom!
Let the countdown begin!

As it stands now: 3 papers. 1 portfolio. 1 short presentation. 2 exams.

Last weekend I made cinnamon buns. They were pretty goodand were pretty easy to make. I find I always have a hard time getting enough of the inner goodness in the ratio of roll-to-sugar. I always wish I had added more sugar and butter but as I'm doing it I think "ughhh this is sooo much!" It's a no win situation.

But now that I've talked you out of making cinnamon buns, this recipe is easy to make, takes very little prep, and does yield some tasty and gooey buns.

Cinnamon Buns
(Courtesy of

  • Line 12-inch (30 cm) pizza pan with parchment paper or dust lightly with flour; set aside.
  • In large bowl, whisk together 3 cups flour, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp baking soda. With pastry blender, cut in 2/3 cup cold butter, cut into cubes until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In separate bowl, whisk 1 - 1 1/4 cup buttermilk with 1 egg; pour over dry ingredients and stir with fork to make soft dough.
  • With floured hands, press dough into ball. On lightly floured surface, knead gently 10 times. Roll out to 16- x 11-inch (40 x 28 cm) rectangle .
  • Cinnamon Filling: Spread 3 tbsp melted butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) border along 1 long edge. Sprinkle butter with *1/2 cup chopped pecans*(optional), 1/3 cup brown sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Starting at side opposite border, roll up evenly into log; pinch seam to seal.
  • Using serrated knife, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick slices; arrange on pizza pan. Bake in centre of 400°F (200°C) oven until golden, about 15 minutes. (Make-ahead: Let cool; set aside for up to 2 hours.)
Serve and enjoy! These are best enjoyed while still warm, straight out of the oven.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Southern Style Biscuits

Sorry it's been awhile.
Lots of stuff to do.
I was very efficient and productive today though - edited a paper, wrote about half of my PAs (a performance appraisal based on the standards for nursing from the CNO, or as I see it a very time consuming way to suck the souls out of nursing students), finished up my stuff for my group presentation on Friday...all in all today felt good.

I made cinnamon buns yesterday but forgot to take a picture of them... and I made a Bailey's cheesecake the week before. I have picture of it on my phone but I couldn't find my camera (it has since been located) so I may or may not upload the terrible blackberry photo.

Actually I think I still have a bun or two kicking around that I could go photograph...

I have pictures and a recipe for you!

Explaining why I can forgive Paul Deen's butter-centric cooking and her terrible english peas recipe, I love Southern food.
The Swiss Chalet near me recently closed down and they put in a Popeyes. Sweet Lord I love Popeyes.
Specifically the biscuits.
So a few weeks ago when I made pulled pork I also made biscuits to go with it!

The biscuits were pretty good and were ridiculously easy to make!

Southern Biscuits
(aka Martha's Tender Buttermilk Biscuits)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk 1 3/4 cups flour, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder,1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp sugar in a large bowl. Cut in 5 tbsp cold butter, cut into peices with a pastry blender (or rub in with your fingers) until pea-size crumbs form. Cut in 1 large hard-cooked egg yolk, finely grated***. Stir in 3/4 cup plu 2 tbsp buttermilk until just combined.

*** The grated egg yolk creates a tender delicate texture to the biscuits.
2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead twice. Pat dough to a 1-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/4-inch round cutter, cut out biscuits, and transfer to a nonstick baking sheet. Repat dough scraps, and repeat once.
3. Lightly brush biscuit tops with buttermilk. Bake until tops are golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Unbaked biscuits can be frozen up to 1 month. Brush with buttermilk, and bake 32 to 35 minutes.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cupcakes I Want....

While searching for cupcake ideas to make for my aesthetic nursing reflection (I'll explain later) I came across this amazing recipe and REALLY want to make it. I love all things smores so the minute I saw this I knew it would be a life-long love. I used to make smores at home in the microwave. Not as good as the authentic over-the-fire-at-the-cottage smores but a decent substitute. I've also toasted marshmallows over a lighter. True story. Again, not as tasty as burnt over a fire.
I enjoy too finding out if people prefer their 'mallows lightly toasted, just gently browned, or if they're like me and like a layer of black ash on theirs. So much better.
Anyway, if you like smores here's the cupcake recipe for you!

Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
  • Sift 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed.
  • In a large bowl, mix together 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup oil, and 2 tsp vanilla. Add to flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.
  • Place 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/3 cup melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined.
  • Place 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping.
  • Place 2 tsp chopped chocolate in each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each muffin cup three-quarters full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.

    Marshmallow Frosting
  • Place 8 egg whites, 2 cups sugar, and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 2 tsp vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately.

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    It's real...and it's spectacular.

    Yes, this exists.
    And it weighs in at an impressive 5 lbs.
    And it is delicious but hard to eat more than 3 bites of, as each bite is likely the equivalent of 5-10 gummy bears depending on how big of a bite you take.
    Currently it sits near me, sans feet.

    The friend that I made that stop-motion video with brought this amazing monstrosity to my attention and pretty much from the moment I saw it, I knew we had to have it.
    There are a few stores from which you can order these (and giant gummy worms but they look suspiciously like play things of an adult nature...) and there are stores in Toronto that you can go and purchase them directly. I got this beaut of a bear from this store called Rolo.
    If you want one of your own, head over to 24 Bellair Street in Yorkville.

    I'm determined to finish the body of this bear asap.
    The head is going to get soaked in vodka, perhaps for St. Patrick's Day.

    P.S. I now have a twitter account. I'm still figuring it all out.
    You can follow me here.

    I also set up a tumblr account for food pictures.
    You can follow me here.

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes Pictures

    Just a quick update for the day:
    Two weeks ago when I made those chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes this is how they looked:

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

    America's Next Top Model? Not Quite...

    Today I spent the morning/afternoon with my friend Vanessa gracefully (or in my case not so gracefully) floating around in a pool. She's a very talented photographer and she wanted to do an underwater photoshoot. I had a pool, an underwater camera, and an underwater flashlight so I got to be the model.
    It was a lot of fun, though kind of depressing at some points, seeing how stupid I looked in some of the pictures.
    I would do it all over again.
    And we may have to, as the lighting wasn't the best and we couldn't figure out how to make the resolution of the photos any better.

    But here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few of the better ones (in my opinion). Keep in mind these will be retouched, edited, shopped, etc. Or scrapped and taken all over again.

    Kind of love this one... if the line from the pool wasn't there it'd look better.

    Holding onto the ladder so I would stay down and not move to try and reduce the blurriness of the photos.

    So the point is, I'm a model. Not a very good one, mind you, but Tyra might let me stay for another week.

    And what does this have to do with Martha?

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    'Good Things' for March 2011

    With March comes the start of spring!
    It's more an official thing than an actual thing, as the snow and cold weather will likely continue on into April. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a crazy Easter weekend like last year where temperatures hit close to 30 degrees. Beautiful!
    Anyway, thinking about spring has gotten me thinking about nice weather, being outside and putting away my winter clothes in favour of spring outfits.
    I realize it's way to early to actually be doing this but a girl can dream.
    And dreaming has resulted in the majority of this Good Things list for March.
    1. Lace & Florals

    Sigh, Spring. Come sooner rather than later so I can buy some nice new dresses. I'm looking for lace and florals this spring. Ohhhhh I cannot wait to be able to wear a dress bear-legged again!
    And yes, March is maybe too early to actually be wearing these dresses but it's nice to know that in a few weeks the weather will improve and this dreams will turn to reality.
    2. This Gucci Handbag

    While I still lust after the Mulberry Alexa bag, I really like this Gucci handbag for spring. I'm not a fan of the bags that shove their label and logo in your face. I prefer more subtle bags like this one. The whole bag feels like the love child of a Fendi spy bag, a Hermes Birkin, with a splash of the Alexa. But at just over $5000 this bag will have to be added to the dream list. Along with soooo many others.

    3. St. Patrick's Day

    Being Irish (on my Dad's side and a splattering of celtic-ness on my mom's side), this is one holiday I am proud to celebrate. By drinking. It's kind of sad that this guy is the patron Saint of Ireland and we celebrate him in all of his glory by getting absolutely polluted.
    But hey! Green beer!
    Maybe we could also celebrate all things Irish by making some brown bread (I'll put up a recipe later this month - brown bread in Ireland is the best bread I have ever eaten in my life, hands down).

    4. Archer
    Arguably my new favourite show.
    A co-worker/friend suggested I start watching it so during reading week I found it online and watched as much of it as I could.
    And fell in love.
    It's hilarious.
    I highly recommend if you're looking for a new tv show to watch that you get on this bandwagon.
    Try or (just trust, don't ask how I found those sites).

    Well that's it for March!