End of the Semester

Hey you guys 🙂

It’s the end of the semester, which means I’ve been crazy busy.  And still am.  I don’t have time for words this morning, but I have taken a bunch of pictures lately that I think might speak for themselves.  I got woken up by a thunderstorm last night, it’s supposed to be 77 degrees later, and tomorrow we’re supposed to get snow.  I guess that’s Canada, right?

Anyway, enjoy the nice weather while it’s here!

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Liebster #2

Hey you guys!  How’s your week going?  No recipes in this post, I just have to report some exciting news.  Last week I got to start my week off with a very nice surprise, because Jhuls over at thenotsocreativecook nominated me for a Liebster award.  Thanks, Jhuls!  Those of you that have been following me for a while know that this is my second Liebster nomination (the first was from the Mountain Kitchen).

Here are the questions that Jhuls sent out with the Liebsters, along with my answers.

  1. What is your favourite dessert and why?  Hmm.  That’s a hard one, since I love all things dessert, and a lot of it is seasonal.  There’s pies, Christmas cookies, and diner cookies, but the all time favorite is chocolate cheesecake from my favorite diner.
  2. What is one weird fact about you?  Just one?  Okay.  I get road rage even if I’m not driving.  To the point that I could be crossing the street and still yell at cars for cutting me off and/or being stupid.
  3. What are your top three favourite books?  Another toughie.  I’m a book girl.  Books are always better than the movie, hands down.  Let’s see…  Anna Karenina, Up a Road Slowly, and All Creatures Great and Small.
  4. If you had the ability to invent a new kitchen tool that would suit your needs, what would it be?  I’m pretty happy with the kitchen tools I have.  I would love to invent something that ends up being an As Seen on TV sell-out and make loads of money, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
  5. What is your favourite music artist and genre?  It depends on my mood.  I don’t like everything, but what I do like I’m very loyal to and could sing you back word for word.  Like anything Bruce or Bon Jovi or Cher.  Especially Cher.  I’ve been Cher for Halloween almost every year since 4th Grade.  This year I went as the Morton Salt Girl, because it’s Canada and Halloween is too cold to wear so little clothing, but it turns out they don’t have Morton Salt in Canada, or at least Montreal, and no one knew who I was.  They kept asking me why I was wearing rain boots.
  6. Why did you start your blog?   Sometime first semester last year.  So I guess, Autumn 2012?  I love cooking, and writing, and I thought this would be a good way to combine the two.  The fact that a few people seem to be actually reading it is just a bonus 🙂
  7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?  Oy.  Every movie makes me cry.  Commercials make me cry.  Already this morning I was in tears watching a human interest story on Rachel Ray (brand new puppy saved his fam from a gas leak in the middle of the night), and when I forgot to switch before the Chicago news came on.  And I don’t even live in Chicago, but I was crying.  Back to movies… probably Love Actually.  Every time I watch it.  Bawl my eyes out.  Actually, Notting Hill was on the other night, and I cried.  I laughed, cried, and snorted.  I love Julia Roberts but her character in that movie is so mean to Hugh.  But still, I love the movie as a whole.  And Hugh Grant’s roommate.  See it if you live under a rock and you haven’t.
  8. Chocolate Chip Cookies or Brownies?  Brownies, because they’re easier to throw together.  Cookies involve softening butter and shaping cookies, brownies you melt the butter and dump the batter in a pan.  I have it down to a science where I can have brownies in 20 minutes flat.
  9. Do you collect anything?  Is crap an acceptable answer?  I’m trying really hard not to be a hoarder, but I’m sentimental about everything.  Plus books happen, all the time for me.  I’m running out of room in my bookcases, and I’m running out of room for bookcases.  Moving a block away from an awesome used bookstore has not helped.
  10. What is your favorite color?  To receive?  Those Tiffany blue boxes are definitely a girl’s best friend 🙂  Otherwise my stock answer is purple, although pink is growing on me.

These are a few of the blogs I’ve been reading lately.  I’m nominating them for Liebsters 🙂  Thanks for writing stuff that I love to read!!

The Sundog Drift

Emotional Chaos Builds Character???

Threehundredand65letters

Fromage Homage

oh.she.cooks

Reasons to be Single

homesteadredhead

Le Petit Canard Farm

A Fat Man’s Journey

foodisthebestshitever

onesmallpot

Keep up the good work, you guys!!

Here are my questions for you guys.  Sorry if they’re a little lame, I’m not feeling so creative today.

  1. Coffee or Tea?
  2. If you could play the guitar or the ukelele, which one would you learn to play?
  3. George Michael or Boy George?
  4. What’s your favorite meal?
  5. What’s your favorite holiday and why?
  6. Would you rather go for a run in the snow or in the rain?
  7. What’s your favorite time of day?
  8. Name someone in your life you’re thankful for and why (you don’t actually have to give their name, but like, my sister, or my best friend, etc.)
  9. What was your favorite age and why (Like, 20 was a good year because…)
  10. Freebie.  You get to say whatever you want for this one.

And here are the Liebster Rules for this time around:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the questions you were given.
  3. Nominate other blogs with fewer than 500 followers.
  4. Post questions for your selected nominees to answer.
  5. Tag and link the nominees and post a comment to let them know you have nominated and appreciate their hard work.

Have a good day everyone 🙂

Crumb Cake

I’m not shy about my love for crumb cake from a very special bakery down the shore.  It can border on the extreme.  But food is memories, right?  And going down the shore has always been much more than getting tan – it’s spending time with family and getting to be together.  If crumb cake just happens to be a part of that, so be it.  Yesterday morning I tried recreating some crumb cake.  I turned to trusty Martha for help.  Let’s just say it could have been better.  Maybe my standards were too high, and I definitely still had two slices, but it’s just not the same.  Living up in the Canadian tundra, I’ve become as white as a polar bear.  I’m dying for some sun, summer, and summer food.

I wasn’t thrilled with the recipe, but I also wasn’t quite awake when I read it apparently – instead of using the 9x12in pan I was supposed to, I used 8×8.  Which explains why it took forever to bake.  And forever is a long time when you’re hungry.  It was yummy, and it photographs really well, even though it’s not the same as my favorite.  I added powdered sugar after I took the pictures, and it definitely made a difference.  So don’t forget your powdered sugar.

I’m not going to detail all of the ingredients and recipe step by step, because I’m crunched for time with school deadlines, but I did upload pictures.  You can find the whole recipe here.  I did swap out half a cup of all purpose flour (out of 1 and 1/2 cups) from the dough in favor of a half cup whole wheat.  I didn’t want it to be whole wheaty, but it seemed decadent enough that it could take a bit of whole wheat.  I followed the rest of the recipe pretty true to form, although some of my milk was unsweetened almond milk, just because I wanted to use it up.  I used all the butter that Martha said to, but it seems like an awful lot.  In the finished product, the crumbs aren’t light and crumbly, but really buttery.  It’s a dense dense cake, so I’m thinking maybe a little less butter could help that.  Perhaps a stick and a half instead of 2 sticks?  Or something with a sour cream base instead?  Not sure.  I’ve definitely managed to get some down though.

I also wanted to add a little bit of what I’ve done to stay fit for the day, mostly because I always share what I bake or cook and eat with you guys, but I don’t usually share what, if any, exercise I’ve done, so you all must think I’m the size of a blimp, but also because it’s finals time, and I feel like a blimp.

Saturday night I played tennis for an hour and a half, and it felt really good.  Yesterday I’ve been doing a lot of school work, but I did fit in a weights exercise with, wait for it, cans of chicken noodle soup.  I don’t have any actual free weights in my apartment, but I didn’t let that stop me.  I played a song at random on iTunes and completed the whole weights circuit from my spin class with my soup cans.  And by the end of the song my arms were burning!  Would real weights have been more effective? Probably.  Is something better than nothing?  Absolutely and always.  Just a little reminder to myself that there really are no excuses to not work out.  Today the weather is actually resembling spring, so I’m hoping to go for a run.  Bikini season is creeping up on us!

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Three Ingredient Nutella Brownies and I LOVE PEOPLE

Hey you guys!!  Happy Saturday 🙂  I wrote the bulk of this post last night, but left it unpublished overnight just to make sure there wasn’t any Malbec-inspired craziness slipped in.  Which is perfect because it gives me time to slip in now the fact that my faith in humanity has been restored.  While a lot of the time, people really do suck, sometimes, they really really don’t.  I’m at the point in the semester where I’m completely stressed and capable of crying over nothing at the drop of a hat.

So when I finally got situated in my second choice cafe (Starbucks was full – since when is anyone in the Ghetto awake and functioning before noon?), ordered my tea latte, and sat down to work, I realized I’d left my headphones in my apartment.  Major ish.  I spent all morning staging my apartment since it’s being shown this afternoon by a potential renter – {I’m hoping if I make it nice now, they won’t have to show it again.}  I really really really didn’t want to leave, I just got a perfect spot, near an outlet, which is serious gold.  And I just ordered.  A whole big tea.

So I did it.  I asked the girl down the booth, a totally random girl, if she would watch my stuff while I ran home and back.  God bless her.  She even offered me her headphones, which is super sweet, but I’m kinda a germaphobe, and she was fine watching my stuff.  Now I don’t know if you’ve ever ran two blocks (four, round trip) in knee high rain boots.  Definitely entertaining for whoever saw me.  But I got back, got the headphones, and all my stuff is still here.  So serious thank you to the Girl in the Ghetto.  It’s really the little things, people, that make me love people.  Humanity doesn’t have to suck.  I think I’m gonna pay it forward.

So now to the recipe…

I don’t remember what I was doing yesterday when I came across this recipe.  Probably trying to concentrate on a paper I’m writing.  Which obviously went well if I found a brownie recipe.  But that’s how it goes.  The guy who has the desk across from mine at the library wasn’t there yesterday, at least not when I was, and there was no one to awkwardly kick or get kicked by every five minutes when one of us crosses or uncrosses our legs, which totally threw off my whole study vibe.

You can find the recipe here.  I was a bit iffy about it, because, Nutella is delicious, but it’s also hydrogenated, and the love I feel for it is almost automatically overshadowed by guilt for feeding my body pure crap.  Which is probably why this recipe is so perfect for me.  Because, and I understand this is a total and complete First World Problem, but, if you don’t finish the Nutella in time, it separates in the jar.  The bottom gets hard and thick and unspreadable, and the top is just a slimy mess of hydrogenated oil.  The same thing happens if you buy natural peanut butter, but with Nutella it’s so much worse, at least I think so, because the sheer grossness of it becomes so much more apparent.  I think it’s actually the visual equivalent of the way wet peanut butter smells.  You know when you rinse out the peanut butter jar and leave it to sink in the soak and forget about it for a day or two?  Yeah.  Old Nutella looks like wet peanut butter smells.

I’m really not doing a great job of selling this recipe so far, am I?  Well here we go.  Of course I never want to use my Nutella once it separates, but I don’t want to throw it out because it would be wasteful, and so it usually sits in my cabinet until I move and I have a reason to throw it out because, who is really going to move old and semi-expired Nutella?  When you spread Nutella on stuff and eat it like that, the separation is obvious and kinda gross.  But in the brownie recipe, you have no idea how old your Nutella is, because it all gets mixed together.  It’s genius!!!

So you need:

1 and 1/4 cup Nutella (I used whatever was left in my jar)

2 eggs

1/2 cup flour (I used 1/4 all purpose and 1/4 wheat because I didn’t want it to be a total nutritional suck.  You could probably get away with all wheat and not know the difference, but I didn’t want to differ too much from the recipe the first time I made it.)

*I also added about 2 tbsp plain yogurt, because the batter seemed a little thick, but this is totally optional.

Bake for 20ish minutes in a greased 8×8 pan at 350 degrees.  Let cool (optional) and enjoy!!

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