Day 8 – January 8th

Well today was a whole lot of things!

I started the day by bringing little Duncan for a trot around Kits Beach so he could learn the lay of the land. We met our first other white French Bulldog…bonus, her tongue permanently hangs out. Totes adorbs.

So being National English Toffee day  I decide to have a go at making it myself.

It was my understanding toffee is just butter and sugar boiled to holy hell then cooled and boy was I on point with that assumption.

All you need to make this legendary treat is

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • chocolate
  • almond slivers
  • CANDY THERMOMETER

I just typed out those ingredients from pure memory because I know it by heart now having had to do it twice… and not getting it right either time.

You really need a candy thermometer. Do not think you are ‘above’ a candy thermometer. Eyeballing and timing are not going to fly here. Buy a candy thermometer. Trust me.

You boil the first four ingredients until 300F … or if you are me for 15 minutes because somewhere on the internet that was stated. This could be too long, depending on your stove, pot, stirring skills, etc etc.

It was too long.

Burnt English Toffee Round 1

I attempted again, this time having watched a few youtube videos showing what it should look like when its ready to come off the heat and set. A couple videos revealed the ice-cube-water-glass trick: you put a droplet of the mixture in ice water and if it hardens immediately then it’s ready to come off the heat.  The other advice was to have a jar of Jif peanut butter handy and once it’s the same colour it’s ready to go.

The latter was completely useless guide seeing as how it is almost immediately that colour.

The former…well, didn’t pan out either. That’s a pun, by the way. Because you pour it in a pan.

So once the ice-cube-water-glass trick deemed my toffee ready, I stirred in the baking soda and put it on the pan with the already dispersed almonds.

I put it in the fridge to cool a little then added chocolate chips to the top to melt. Once melted, I spread the chocolate over the top.

The toffee came out a little soft. Not the hard as rock, stick in your teeth, cavity forming texture we all know and love.

However it still tasted great and everyone ate it all up at National Sunday Supper Day celebrations!

Distant cousin-in-law Carmel & her husband Bill slaved away on supper ….

…while everyone else sat around having a laugh

Bill made me vegetarian vegetables but I brought my own Vegan Meatloaf

Recipe can be found here : http://www.connoisseurusveg.com/almost-classic-chickpea-vegan-meatloaf

I didn’t have a food processor so I used a Vitamin blender so it was a bloody mess and not quite a ‘loaf’ but it tasted really good… sensing a pattern here ….

It was a marvelous time and everyone was SO supportive of my blog which felt great. Duncan was also very popular.

Prior to heading the Ian & Kelly’s (& Carmel & Bill’s) I had to have my obligatory Bubble bath for National Bubble Bath Day.

Not going to lie, it too was a bit of a disaster because our apartment buildings hot water tank must be smaller than Donald Trump’s hands. I just let it fill up, water turned all the way on hot (which is usually warm enough). When I immersed myself in it was tepid to say the least

I hope there are no uber talented photoshop wizards out there than can extract a nude from that overflow drain thing

I followed my bath by celebrating National Winter Skin Relief Day  by slathering on some of Lush’s hand and body lotion called “Sleepy”

I didn’t bother with National Argyle Day...it’s too plaid out … 😉

 

 

 

Day 7 – January 7th

National Bobblehead & Tempura Day!

This day started at 3AM. An early rise to catch my 5AM flight out of St. John’s back to Vancouver. This was my first time flying with Duncan, my newly rendered Emotional Support Animal. I was a little apprehensive of how he would behave on the plane and in the airports. I arranged the flight to have a close to 3 hour layover in Toronto so I could take him in and out through security to have a pee. However we ended up stuck on the tarmac for over 2 hours deicing the plane. This was followed by being stuck on the tarmac in Toronto waiting for a gate. By the time we were able to disembark I had just shy of 40 minutes. No outdoor excretion for Duncan 🙁

He had a pooh in the middle of the airport. I was completely prepared with baggies and wipes so I was actually relieved that he relieved then and there. WAAAAAY better less embarrassing then on the plane.

Flying with Duncan was great ! It was a celebration in and of itself. He was so good and made everybody so happy. I could have smuggled all the drugs and weapons in the world on the flight because security was so delighted by his cuteness. Everyone petted him as they boarded the plane. People took pictures with him. The flight attendants checked on him repeatedly. T’was an absolute joy.. and relief ! I know he is flyable now which means I can take him all the time!

With regards to Bobblehead Day, I tried to take advantage of my brief layover in Toronto to check out their Bobblehead collection at their souvenir stores. I assumed, being home to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Blue Jays, they would have some sort of sport star bobble head to buy or at the very least take a Boomerang of.

None! The Blue Jays have Bobblehead day for their fans http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/blue-jays-announce-bobblehead-giveaways-for-2016/

I couldn’t believe my luck!

When I arrived back in Vancouver I laid down for a nap that took me down for the count – I woke up at 8pm, having missed the majority of the day!

My room mate Christina, who is taking this Celebrate Everyday…Literally initiative very seriously tried to find some bobbleheads while I was unconscious to no avail.

So I decided to take this day to recognize Frankie MacDonald, my favourite weatherman, and his Bobble head work.

Frankie MacDonald Bobblehead – 2016 Edition

Frankie is a Youtube sensation who is great at predicting the weather and giving advice about how to deal with it.  A portion of the proceeds go to Autism Canada.

Once I got my act together from my coma nap, Christina and I went to the sushi place about 20 metres from our apartment for tempura.

They make you take off your shoes there – real authentic like. Apparently in Japan shoes are a no go in homes and lots of public places

 

We ordered the vegetable tempura which involved two pieces of potato tempura, two pieces of sweet potato tempura and one piece of mystery root vegetable tempura.

Boy was it delish.

This post was a bit arduous for me due to the jet lag and also having to celebrate two things I don’t care about one way or the other instead of celebrating two things I was really happy about : Duncan being with me from here on out and doing do well on the plane and seeing my buddy Christina again and getting Christmas presents from her.

Oh well, onward ho I suppose

January 8th has a lengthly list of things to celebrate : Argyle, Winter Skin Relief, Bubble Baths, English Toffee, & Sunday Supper !

 

 

 

Day 5 – January 5th

Daaaaaay 5

Today started with a lot of calamity. I was on the phone with Air Canada Reservations, Expedia.com hotline, Expedia.ca hotline, and Air Canada Medical Desk for virtually hours trying to sort out my flight back to Vancouver using a credit and getting Duncan, my deaf French Bulldog Emotional Support Animal on board.

During the long holds and many ‘pardon -me’s?’ (why people with poor English skills are manning these call centres is beyond me – I would be so anxiety ridden if I had to answer phones in Spanish or French, I feel for these people ) the alarm at our rental property was going off.

Our marvellous tenant (who I will definitely have to do a full post on someday) had her father pop by to check on her dog while she was out but didn’t tell him about the alarm. So it went off to holy hell his solution was to shut the door, walk away, and notify no one. Fuck sakes.

ANYWAY HAPPY WHIPPED CREAM DAY,  NATIONAL BIRD DAY,  AND SCREENWRITERS DAY!!!

Whipped cream. What a delight.

As simple as:

  • 1 carton of Whipping Cream
  • 3-4 tablespoons of Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup + of confectioner’s sugar

Whip with a mixer but don’t over mix – it can curdle. Just wait for strong peaks

Share with all the dogs in your life

 

Then put in a piping bag… or fashion one with out of a ziplock bag by nipping a corner off. Squeeze in circular-spiral motion onto a mug of hot chocolate until you have a fancy looking mound before you.

 

When you’re done staging the photos, share with whichever nearby dog matches your mug best.

That wraps up National Whipped Cream Day for me. Sometimes I put maple syrup in it too instead of the icing sugar, just FYI.

Now for National Bird Day

I chose to celebrate by watching a documentary on one of my favourite birds:  Big Bird

The documentary is called “I Am Big Bird” and it follows the life and times of Carroll Spinney, the puppeteer

Things I learned:

  • ‘Carroll’ can be a man’s name
  • Puppeteering is hard fucking work- Carroll would have to walk around with the costume on with his arm extended upwards manning the head and a monitor strapped in there so he could see where he was going
  • Carroll also manned Oscar the Grouch
  • Big Bird was supposed to be on the space shuttle The Challenger that blew up. Thankfully for Carroll Spinney and children everywhere, the logistics were just too preposterous so they didn’t go forth with the plan.
  • A woman was raped and murdered by the mason worker he hired on his property. Holy fuck, right?

I recommend this documentary – it was great to observe tidbits of episodes from my youth, now,  as an adult. It was also neat to learn about the whole puppeteering process.

 

National Screenwriters Day

screen·writ·er
ˈskrēnˌrīdər/
noun
a person who writes a screenplay.
screen·play
ˈskrēnˌplā/
noun
 the script of a movie, including acting instructions and scene directions

Apparently Screenwriters are the most under appreciated people in Hollywood, which seems weird to me because it sounds like they literally make the movie.

While my heart isn’t exactly bleeding for Quentin Tarantino or Ben Affleck …I will still take this time to celebrate the work of my favourite screen writer : Wes Anderson.

If you’ve never seen The Royal Tenenbaums, Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom, The Life Aquatic,  or The Fantastic Mr. Fox, hop to it

XO Jennah

Tomorrow is National Bean Day, National Cuddle Up Day, National Shortbread Day & National Technology Day!!!

 

 

 

 

Day 2: January 2nd

January 2nd marks several things to celebrate. It is National Thank God It’s Monday Day, National Cream Puff Day, National Science Fiction Day, National Personal Trainer Awareness Day & National Buffet Day.

This Monday was a beautiful wintery Monday that turned ugly pretty quick. It started with a lovely brunch with a great friend in a snowy winter wonderland but by the end of the day the weather turned to rain and I ended up overcommitting to family and running low on time for my second attempt to Celebrate the Day!

So other than celebrating Thank God It’s Monday by having a pleasant meal with friends, I got very little celebrating done.

To counteract this ‘failure’ I got up extra early today (the 3rd) to try and accomplish my Monday celebrations in the AM with plans to pull off my January 3rd celebrations in the PM.

Easy Peasy

National Cream Puff Day!!

Whipped cream and pastry are totally things I can get behind- much more alluring than Blood Mary Day!

I can’t say these are a treat I have had often, maybe four times ever before. I have never made a ‘pastry’ before so this was something brand to me – 2017 has been like whoa so far.  I loosely followed the recipe provided on http://www.dulanotes.com/cream-puffs/

Nicole’s were much more beautiful – but I forgive myself- I was working with bare minimum of equipment (including a camera- the iPad had to do the job while my camera is in Vancouver)

For the pastry part I used

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs

I brought the water, salt & butter to a boil, then removed from heat and stirred in the flour.

I allowed this mixture to cool down for a brief period then added the eggs individually using a lousy hand mixer (my beautiful Kitchenaid standing mixer is elsewhere 🙁 )

It looked like this

Then I greased a baking sheet and made arbitrary sized blobs, 8 in total, on the pan.

Put it in the oven at 400F for 30 minutes precisely

While that was happening, I made the whipped cream. I diverged from the recipe here and just made regular whipped cream using

  • 1 carton of whipping cream
  • 1 free pour of real vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of icing sugar

Once these puppies were cooled down I stuffed them with whipped cream & strawberries and ate!

Pretty damn good, I must admit.

However I bought a calendar yesterday in order to get a visual on all the celebrating I have to do this year and damn, there are a lot of National unhealthy food days. I don’t know how I will eat it all….and I only got as far as March with my ‘planning’ . Lord help me.

While baking & mixing, I chose to double task by listening to the Welcome To Nightvale podcast to celebrate National Science Fiction Day.

You can too – http://www.welcometonightvale.com

I started listening to this podcast maybe three years ago, but stopped around when my sister died more or less. I always wonder what she would have thought of it or if she ever listened to it. I never asked her and will never get the chance now.

It’s not for everyone although it has a huge cult following.

The premise is a radio host situated in a surreal town in a possibly futuristic or post apocalyptic setting… potentially on a different planet or alternate universe. The host, Cecil, makes general announcements about the goings ons of this town. There are public service announcements, advertising, town gossip and the ‘weather report’ which is actually a showcase of a song from an independent artist or band (which is pretty much always great).

It’s a little creepy, very mysterious and sometimes comical.

They are coming to Vancouver in the new year so perhaps I will take National Science Fiction day one step further and lock down some tickets!

I’d also like to take the time to make a shout out to Jurassic Park for one of the greatest Sci-Fi movies of all time.  Sarah and I were able to go see it as adults when it was re-released in 3D in 2013. It was our favourite.

I dressed as Dr. Alan Grant and she went as Dr. Ian Malcolm.. and Elliot went as a velociraptor. We had planned to go to Ireland to see Jurassic World when it came out  in 2015 with our Irish childhood friends, the O’Beirns, who were just as  obsessed with this movie growing up as we were. I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it without her. If she can’t see it, I don’t want to either.

So 3 out of 5 elements were celebrated. Family really can suck the time out of your day (and the life out of your soul ) so I am working on forgiving  and letting go to work harder on actually ‘celebrating’ rather than making chores of my days!

Up next January 3rd –  National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day, National Drinking Straw Day & National Fruit Cake Toss Day!

 

Day 1: January 1st

Today is National Hangover Day!

I knocked that one out of the park! Last night (New Years Eve) my husband, James, and I polished off three bottles of wine, including one that was 15 years old. It was silty af and it was horrid to drink so I knocked it back as quickly as possible…. which had incredible results in the hangover department!

Awoke this morning, on National Hangover Day; mission accomplished.

The next phase of Celebrating Everyday …Literally was to drink  a Bloody Mary for today was National Bloody Mary Day too. I think it’s more of an American drink, in Canada people tend to drink Ceasers. I can’t decide which is more putrid… just plain tomato juice or tomato juice with clam brine in it.

I have never consumed either before. Whenever people around me do, which is quite often, I’m known to gag.
Composed of Tomato Juice, fresh squeezed lemon, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, Vodka, Salt & Pepper and garnished with a salted rim, lemon and celery stalk. This concoction is inexplicably, to me, quite popular.

The tomato and the lemon are supposedly cleansing and the vodka helps take the edge off from the night before.  The classic “Hair of the Dog” drink (this theory is based on the legend that if you put the hair of the dog that bit you in your wound, it would heal quicker and now hipsters and fratboys apply this rabies infested logic to boozing).

This doozy of a libation has been around since the 1920’s and I think whoever invented it was sick in the head but definitely never got scurvy.

If 2017 is going to be  about ‘facing your fears’ or doing something everyday that ‘scares you’, I can tick those boxes if nothing else.

Tomatos are the grossest,  let along all juiced up with booze thrown on top.

So I rimmed the glass with a lemon then seasoning salt, loaded it with ice and then generously poured in some lovely organic vodka. So far so good in the wanna-puke department.

I proceeded to crack the mini Heinz Tomato juice can and watch the thick,  blood-like liquid with the viscosity of sludge ooze out of the can into the glass.  I added some splashes of the required sauces and seasoning as well as an extra squeeze of lemon then bombs away!

Well not quite. I definitely deliberated and procrastinated for a while. I ransacked the house for a straw in hopes it would soften the blow of drinking such a putrid mixture. That was to no avail.

I bit the bullet and placed my lips on that salty rim and took my first sip.

It tasted exactly as I expected. Which was awful. But I could kinda see how it could be good if you really like sewage… I mean tomato juice. I’m sure its wonderful.

I proposed the drinks to both my dogs, Herman the English bulldog, and Duncan the deaf French Bulldog. The turned up their turned up noses. Herman having none of it

I drank as much as I could which involved adding a lot more vodka up until the point that I was unnecessarily buzzed for 11 am by myself (do dogs count tho?) and then called it quits about 2/3rds through.

Any way hope your New Years Day was as productive as mine – would love for others to partake in this project with me !!!
Tomorrow January 2nd is National Buffet Day, National Cream Puff Day, National Science Fiction Day, & National Thank God It’s Monday Day!

I would also like to know if there are any tricks to making Bloody Marys/Caesars more palatable or a tomato juice free alternative???

XO

Jennah