Saturday, 30 December 2017

5 New Years Resolutions for 2018

Bring on 2018! The new year always comes as a surprise to me. It feels like I never get used to writing the year and its over. Besides my resolutions for this year, I would LOVE to travel more. I was thinking maybe a weekend in Victoria or perhaps a trip to Nantucket. I've heard its lovely in the summer. I plan to read twice as many books and drink twice as much water. But I figured I should lay out some formal resolutions: 

1. Do at least 30 minutes of cardio five days a week. 
I am turning 20 this year, and I know this when the fitness craze of the teen years seem to slow down. Also goodbye teen metabolism. I am a bigger person. My parents are big people. And with that comes an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. So my first new year's resolution is to either walk, run, swim or bike for 30 minutes every day. To take care of my body inside and out. For my health and my future.

2. Drink more water
I don't drink nearly enough water. I am super bad at it. I could go a whole day without feeling the need to drink water. This is bad for my health. And to counter this bad habit, I have already begun my new water regime. My goal is to drink at least two water bottles a day. Now I know I will forget throughout the day and so I will drink one water bottle fast in the morning before I go to school and another before I go to bed. This will allow me to nourish my brain without forgetting about it throughout the day. It might sound silly, but it has been working so far. I feel way more energised and awake, and it is making a considerable difference in my somewhat sparse exercise routines.

3. Read at least 15 minutes a day. 
I  am a history major. This means I can read upwards of 300 pages a week. I read like crazy. However, all of the readings are required and painstaking. I find I miss the novels and fun books I used to read. When I got into university my time slipped through my fingers. Now I have decided to take control back and make time for the things that I miss.

4. Keep a cleaner space
I am a messy person. I am not a dirty person. There is a big difference. And while I will admit to being somewhat lax in the organisation department it does not mean that I cant improve. My goal is to do 20 minutes of cleaning and organising a day. And just get into the general habit of putting things back into the same spot when you are done with them. I feel like the reduced clutter will free up my mind.

5. Put my headphones away. 
I am guilty of wearing my headphones everywhere. I love music. I love listening to music anywhere, and since I transit to school, it is really easy to get wrapped up in la la land and be unaware of whats around you. Headphones seem to isolate people. It stops people from talking to you and interacting. My goal is to leave my headphones at home or in my bag instead of wearing them all the time.

I hope your new year's celebrations are with all those you love and cherish!


Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas Traditions

Happy Christmas to all near and far. I wish you and your family all the best! My family is huddled close together around our gas fireplace reading The Night Before Christmas. One of our many traditions. 

We usually read the night before Christmas before the young ones go to bed and write down who read it each year. I have read it 11 years in a year and considering I am 19 I think that's a pretty good accomplishment. Its great tradition to get into. I have always cherished hearing the well-known story.

We usually let the younger ones put out the cookies. But as the number of younger ones are dwindling as we grow, my brother and I often do it together. It makes him so happy, and it gives me great joy in knowing that his Christmas fantasies will soon come true.

Once the children are in bed, it is usually my mother and me who make the cinnamon buns for the morning. We always have cinnamon buns on Christmas. Its a funny tradition of ours. We bake the most straightforward kind that we could find. The ones we cook where found in the Best of Bridge cookbook. They are super simple and super yummy and easy. Most of the work is done the night before, and then they are left to rest.

Once that is done my family usually watches the Grinch. The aniatmenated version. It was a tradition that was started before I was born. My parents used to watch it even when it was just them. I find that I have grown to know the words yet the appeal is still the same. It is a lovely 30 minutes that gives us a break from all the other Christmas activities.

I wish you all the happiest and loveliest Christmas possible. I am giving huge hugs to all you near and far. 


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

German Christmas Market : Vancouver

School is over !!! Bring on the free time. I have always wanted to check out the Christmas market in downtown Vancouver but have never had time. I grabbed my best friend, and we hopped on the train to waterfront station, and away we went.

The market itself as very pricey. It costs ten dollars to get in, but you can get your tickets online. You are allowed to use them for the whole duration of the market. The stalls were great. Lots of baking and ornaments as well as some homemade jewellery.

If you get time to grab some Spanish churros at the tall in the food section. They are the yummiest thing ever. Crunchy and sweet they are a delicious treat.

The handblown ornaments 

There were the most beautiful handblown ornaments at one of the stalls. They were pricey, but I would have paid. They had all different shapes and sizes, and they would look beautiful on your tree.

We grabbed some churros and sipped on some mulled wine and then headed off to lunch. The market is in the Jack Poole Plaza which is close to the Cactus Club. We grabbed some lunch there and since it was past 12 and it was five o'clock somewhere we had drinks. The Late Harvest Daquiri has become my favourite of the season. It has super yummy elderflower notes that balance the sweetness.

View from our seat at lunch

Overall the market was expensive, but the items were unique. I would recommend the mulled wine and the churros as they were super yummy. Take your time and walk through more than once. You need to see things a couple of times to justify buying them ;) 

Happy Tuesday

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Christmas Bark

For some of you, the holiday baking has already begun. From pastries to cookies it can get to be a bit overwhelming. I usually stick to one tray of shortbread, but the last year I decided to switch it up. I found a recipe in an old family box for some super simple holiday chocolate bark and decided to give it a spin. It's super easy and way harder to screw up than shortbread and for those (like me) who are not the most baking inclined it relatively foolproof. This bark is perfect for parties, and you can cut it as small or large as you want.

Unfortunately, my grandmother was a very visually inclined woman which means recipe amounts were not written down. Just merely recorded as a dash or a splash which makes things a little challenging.  The measuring part of this recipe can get a bit dodgy, so I will try and give you approximate estimates but feel free to tweak it as you see fit. 

1. 4 cups of white chocolate buttons 
       I usually buy mine in the bulk section of Safeway or SaveOn they are typically called chocolate buttons.stive 

2. 1 teaspoon of peppermint oil (you might use less or more this is a personal preference so feel free to taste it as you go) Add this in gradually and to taste you don't want to overpower your chocolate

3. Candy Canes 

1. Place candy canes in a bag and cush them down until they are fine.

2. Put a pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Place a safe heat bowl on top and put the whole chocolate in. Melt it until it is smooth. Make sure you stur very frequtlly as chocolate burns easily. This process is called melting by using a double boiler

3. When the chocolate is melted, remove it from the heat. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes

4. Mix in the peppermint oil. Use a clean spoon to taste as you gradually add the peppermint.  DO NOT DUNK YOU FINGER IN. The chocolate is still very hot, and it will burn you. Make sure you add the peppermint little bits at a time. I if you do much it will overpower it. 

5. Pour the white chocolate onto a parchment lined baking sheet 

6. Sprinkle on the candy canes. I find this easiest to do with a fork.

7. Place it in the fridge to harden and set. Once your bark is completely firm( i wait at least 3 hours), break it into small chunks and put into airtight containers. 

8. Store in the freezer until you are ready to serve 

Hope you enjoy! 
Also here is the recipe for my other Christmas Bark