My Vinyl Wishlist

Last Christmas my boyfriend gave me one of the most unexpected and perfect gifts ever: a record player. I had been eyeing them since they hit the shelves as part of the throwback retail trend sweeping the globe, but had never felt I really NEEDED one, more than you know McDonalds, or a new pair of BDG jeans. Every time I saw a friend with one, or an aesthetically pleasing room on Pinterest featuring a vinyl display my heart strings were tugged.

Being the wise, fantastic listener that he is, he even knew to supply me with the perfect first record. A three piece set of Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (swoon). As much as I love it, and have overplayed it at every opportunity, I’ve been ready for a new addition for some time. I stumbled upon The Beauty Behind The Madness (The Weeknd if you were wondering) while on a Sunday stroll through downtown Wolfville and instantly purchased it. I’m also now the proud owner of the Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 Soundtrack on vinyl (it’s such a good soundtrack!)

While basking in the glorious sound that is The Weeknd, and Yeezy envelope my living room, I kept thinking of other songs, albums, artists that would be absolutely incredible played on that thing. I came up with a pretty hefty list, and I;m just getting started.

Here’s the first round of vinyl wishlist I’ll be dreaming of for the next few months (These are all available right now at Urban Outfitters, in case anyone wanted to surprise me with :

  • The Weeknd – Starboy
  • The Weeknd – Thursday LP
  • The Weeknd – Echoes of Silence
  • The Lumineers – Cleopatra LP
  • The Killers – Hot Fuss
  • The Chainsmokers – Memories
  • The Chainsmokers – Collage
  • Spice Girls – Spice LP
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – Greatest Hits
  • N.W.A – Straight Outta
  • Mumford and Sons – Wilder
  • Khalid – American Teen
  • Kanye West – The College Dropout
  • Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreaks
  • Harry Styles – Harry Styles LP (yes I know I’m a young girl at heart)
  • Green Day – 21st Century
  • Fall Out Boy – American
  • Ed Sheeran – Divide LP
  • Drake – Views LP
  • Dr. Dre – The Chronic LP
  • Beyonce – Beyonce LP
  • Beyonce – Lemonade
  • Arctic Monkeys – AM LP
  • Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
  • Kendrick Lamar – Damn
  • Imagine Dragons – Evolve
  • Adele – 25 LP

Anyone else have any vinyls they love? Drop me any suggestions in the comment box!

CL

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How to make your presentation stand out

I don’t think any of us could count how many times that we used the same templates for our PowerPoint presentations. Although switching to Prezi was a quick fix for time constrained creativity, making your presentation stand out takes more than switching programs. Whether you’re presenting research to a panel, pitching an idea to your boss, or simply giving your final project to a class, you don’t want to blend in with everyone else. The easiest way to get peoples’ attention, and maybe their pocketbooks, is to stand out from the crowd. That starts with a killer presentation (and the perfect pantsuit, but that’s a problem for later). Continue reading “How to make your presentation stand out”

A weekend in Madrid

I was lucky enough to take a last minute night bus trip to Madrid a weekend past. I loved this city! It was so full of Spanish culture, and most importantly wonderful food. Although I would suggest you to stay longer if at all possible, here is an itinerary for a two day weekend trip to the Spanish Capital!

Day 1:

Arrive as early as possible.

If you can grab an early morning flight, do so to give yourself more room for activites all day (If not another option is to come Friday night and sleep in a hostel or AirBnB for an early morning rise).

Start off your day with a walk through the streets of Madrid. Start at Plaza de España, to see the Monumento A Cervantes, and take a stroll down Grand Via, the famous street that houses many shops, restaurants and more.

Check out the Edifico Carrión, Edifico Telelfónico and Edificio Metrópolis.


Take the metro from Banco de España, to Ópera.

Find your way to the Chocolateria San Gines, to get a head start on the long lineup for their famous churros and chocolate.

Here you can walk to the Plaza Major. You can see the Palacio STA. Cruz, Plaza de la Villa, Casa de la Villa, Teatro Real.


Stop for lunch at the San Miguel Market, and prepare to spend a good chunk of time here. This market is full of tapas, pizzas, paellas, fresh pasta, deserts and any other food your hungry heart could desire.


Continue to the Palacio Real where you can visit the inside of the palace, sit in the courtyard to enjoy the sunshine, and see the Cathedral de la Almudena.


Continue to the Viaducto, and then find your way to a flamenco show to finish off your evening. I suggest the one at La Cueva de Lola.

It was the least expensive and most intimate show in the city. The workers of the restaurant are very friendly, and gave us the table right beside the stage. Our 20€ ticket got us into the hour long show and a bottle of wine to share between two people. The dancers were fantastic, and very engaged with the audience. Definitely a must see!

Day 2:

Take the Metro to La Latina, where you will find the older part of the city, rich with culture. Find your way to Calle Cava Baja, a street famous for its many tapas bars.

Take some of the local tapas to share, and enjoy a glass of wine at one of the charming home-y bars where you will find friendly bar staff and delicious food.

Walk off your lunch through the old part of the city, past the Plaza De Cascorro, until you arrive at Glorieta Puerta de Toledo.

Take a Metro to Colón where you can walk to the Plaza de Colón and see the famous monument. After this you can follow the Paseo de Recoletos to the Biblioteca National and the Museo Arqueológico.


Follow this street to the Plaza de Cibeles where you can see another of the many grand squares in Madrid and can get a great view of the Palacio de Cibeles Centrocentro.


From here you can continue to the Museo Naval, Museo Thyssen, and the Plaza de La Lealtad with its monument and burning flame.


You can then see the Fuente de Neptune and the Museo del Prado. If you take a turn and find your way to Calle Alfonso XII, walk upward along the edge of the Parque De El Retiro, until you reach the entrance at the Puerta de Alcala.


Enter the beautiful and massive park to spend your afternoon seeing the, Palacio de Velàzquez, Palacio de Cristal, Estatua Del Ángel Caído, and taking a paddle boat ride beside the Monumento Alfonso XII.


Finish off by visiting the Temple of Debod, preferably just before sunset. Take in the most breathtaking view of the city from Parque de la Montana, and go to one of the restaurants for dinner that is boasting live music. Sit back, relax, drink sangria and enjoy your last few moments in the capital.

10 Things you Should Know Before Visiting Catalonia (Spain?)

Before arriving in Vic, for my first time in Europe, I had visions of quaint old buildings, small coffee shops, warm weather, listening to Spanish surround me and sight seeing.

What I arrived to was a great surprise. If you’re thinking of heading to somewhere in Catalonia, make sure you do a bit of research first. It has a culture all its own!

1. Locals speak Catalonian

They might speak Spanish as their second language, some even know French, but English is not a common language outside of Barcelona. They speak their own language: Catalan. A mixture of French, Italian and other inspirations. It is a very interesting language, but it is not like Spanish!

Brush up on your foreign languages before arriving or you will begin in a rough spot.

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2. There is an important controversy over independence

One thing that I was very unaware of is that in Catalonia there is a great movement towards independence from Spain. This is still not a topic I know very much about, but is an important part of their culture. Catalonians are proud of their history, and their customs which are different from the rest of the country. If you ever get the chance to talk to a local about their stance on the subject, take it. The locals love to talk about it and they appreciate tourists taking an interest in their culture.

If you see a flag with red and yellow stripes (like the normal one) but with a blue star on the top, this is the flag of Catalonia, and shows that the owner supports independence.

3. It’s still cold until March.

It depends on the area, but not all parts of Spain have beach weather all the time. The weather can vary greatly through the regions, even ones close to each other in Catalonia. For example in Vic it could be weather for winter coats and light gloves and one hour away in Barcelona it could be weather to eat outside on a patio in your tee-shirt. Don’t be fooled, when I arrived in late January early February, it snowed two nights. Today however, I sweat beads and got a sunburn on my face from walking around in the 20 degree weather. Check the typical weather around your time of travel before leaving and pack accordingly, but to be safe bring a bit of everything.

AKA layers are MAJOR key.

4. Even when it gets warm people dress like they’re in the Arctic (not really but)

Coming from Canada I was used to braving the cold when it came to my clothing choices. Here they dress like it’s below zero when I could be in a tee-shirt. To avoid looking too much like a tourist, I had to start wearing shirts with a sweater and a coat and big scarf, even when at home I would’ve been in a tank and raincoat. Try to withstand the heat as long as possible, so people won’t look at you like you’re crazy when you have bare legs in seventeen degree weather.

5. Speaking of fashion…

Everyone here dresses to impress. Wearing your lulus in public? Big no, unless you have a shirt long enough to cover your whole backside. It’s all neutral colours, with interesting accessories. Giant fur coats? Runway worthy shades? White sneakers that stay white?? (how they all manage this is beyond me)

If you don’t have a thick giant scarf (not the plaid kind that we all know and love) get one. And get a matching coat while you’re at it (not a ski jacket, or a Canada goose, think the cute ones that aren’t actually warm. Peacoats? Double breasted?). And some boots that are uncomfortable and not warm. It’s style over practicality here.

That’s right, leave your Blunnies, yoga pants and maple syrup at home people.

6. Not every city looks like your typical European destination

A lot of the smaller cities that aren’t tourist central don’t have the stereotypical European vibe. There are many places (including Vic) that are more industrial looking, with less of the cobblestone streets and giant churches. If you’re coming to Catalonia expect a very different kind of charm. It is a place full of unique towns and cities, each with their own experience. Make sure you find the spots that make each place special, as they might not be easy to spot without some help.

7. Get ready for seafood all day every day

There are many famous dishes in Catalonia, and almost all of them are based on seafood. Paella is one of the best known dishes in the area, a sticky rice plate made with vegetables and usually two or three kinds of seafood. If it’s not your thing, some places will serve it with chicken if you ask.

Tapas are very important here, and can be found on the menu of almost every restaurant. They are appetizers meant for sharing between friends with things like patatas bravas (fried potatoes with a spic mayo dip), croquetes that look like tiny mozza sticks, but are not (filled with ham, mushrooms, spinach, etc), deep fried calamari that looks like onion rings, but is not, and even dishes with fried shark, squid and other sea creatures.

8. Travel is cheap if you look

People say travel in Europe is cheap, but I didn’t realize just how cheap. Websights like SkyScanner, and  RyanAir offer flights around Europe at incredible prices. One thing to keep in mind is that flights are much cheaper the more in advance you book. If you know you want to travel, don’t think that the last minute flights are cheaper. Here, most times the earlier the cheaper for flights from Spain.

If you’re needing somewhere to stay use Airbnb and HostelWorld.com. Keep in mind that sometimes (almost all times in my experience) Airbnb’s are cheaper! So don’t be fooled by the common knowledge of hostels being the most affordable place to stay, but check out both and compare.

Get the apps and you’ll never miss a good deal!

9. Barcelona isn’t the only place you should see

Barcelona is a beautiful city, this we all know. It has a lot to offer, and you should spend multiple days exploring this capital. Once you’re finished exploring, make your way to surrounding towns and cities. Take the buses and trains to places like Tarragona, Vic, Osona, Torello, etc. See the mountains, go biking, hiking, or skiing. Enjoy a hot air balloon ride in a scenic town. Get out there.

10. Keep an open mind

Catalonia is home to many types of people, from various parts of the world. In cities like Barcelona you can find Starbucks and MacDonalds, Urban Oufitters and H&M. Try to stray from the familiar as much as possible. Ask locals on the street where they recommend to eat or see, they know all of the hidden gems! Even in Vic it is difficult to commit to the culture (Burger King delivers? Why is this not in Canada?), but get out, go walk until you’re so lost you can’t find your way home, and it is there (I promise) you’ll find the most incredible restaurants. Even some that give you a whole bottle of wine when you order a glass as part of a three course meal that costs only eleven euros.

Happy exploring!

xo

CL

The Trip

My third time on a plane, my first time in Europe, luckily just one easy stop in Heathrow and then off to Barcelona. I left Halifax with a view out my window of familiar scenery, a sprinkle of snow and the dark midnight sky. After a less than sleep filled, night flight across the Atlantic, I saw sunlight peek through the window just too far up for a comfortable look. I opened the window all the way (to the displeasure of the people around me) and at first was surprised, we were circling a hilly area, coated in eerie fog, dead grass and clusters of houses that looked like their own small towns from up there. 

Not quite what I had expected of London. 

As the plane circled around (what I had been warned was a lengthy time waiting to actually land on the Tarmac) I enjoyed my first gourmet European meal:

Breakfast which was INCLUDED in my flight (I was shocked, I asked her three times how much I would have to pay). 


It’s safe to say I get airline food jokes now.

It wasn’t grandma’s cooking but it was free and I was happy to munch on pancakes while watching the city finally form in front of me. 

Skyscrapers, buildings that looked like art pieces, tiny cars, little water running through like a hybrid coastline for British gondolas. It was incredible. There wasn’t an inch of area unclaimed by something. 

The airport required a bus ride just to get to the area that my gate (and any many others) was in, along with a Zara, Gucci, Mulberry, Tiffany and Co, a cute Cafe, oyster bar and Italian restaurant, plus many other establishments. 


I enjoyed a Cliff bar and awaited the gate announcement of my final flight. Luckily departing in daylight this time with my own two very visible windows (I’m a window seat person).

This short two hour flight went by very quickly, with downloaded episodes of The Good Wife as the background (thank you Netflix for making shows downloadable finally!). I watched the waves crash many many meters down from me, like the small waves in a glass of water. 

The Finally a coastline approached the window, a sandy beach, houses that looked like sweet old fashion villas and people so small they were specs on the sand. 


I watched landscapes pass under me until finally Barcelona was visible. As we began our descent, and I packed up my things I started to get excited. 

This was quickly squashed moments later when I arrived at my luggage pickup. Two suitcases, a backpack and a carry on is not what you want to have to lug on a journey all the way from Barcelona to Vic (if you go abroad, even for a long time never take more than one large suitcase). The heat it side left me sweating in moments as my hair frizzed larger every second. The damp sticky air was no friend to my dry mouth, or my aching body from carrying my bags only across the airport. I realized I had to get to terminal 2 to meet the other students, but I was in terminal 1. All of the signs were in Catalan, or Spanish and I could not read either. I asked a few people but no one seemed to know. I dragged my bags around the airport until finally I came across a bus station to switch terminals. A kind man helped me lift my bags into the bus, and I ensued a ten minute ride full of many almost falls and stumbles as the bus turned around sharp corners. 

I got off of the bus and asked the girls where they were and they said they were outside a cafe inside the airport. The cafe ended up being on the other end of the airport from where I was. So I grabbed my things and started the long walk over to them. 

 I met two kind girls from Holland and Vienna who waited for me to land. We went to the train station and managed to get ourselves and all of our luggage onto one heading to Sants, still not 100% sure this was where we needed to go, or how to ask anyone if it was the right way. Thanks to some friendly locals and English speaking tourists we found our way on two trains to arrive at Vic at 9:00 pm their time after two and a half hours of train travelling. 

We found a place by the train station to eat, where they sell something called Kebabs (eerily similar to the donair) and other items. After a quick bite we all found taxis to take us home (we could not walk another moment with the luggage). 

Arriving at the door of RUVIC (the residence and my home for the next five months), all I wanted was to finally take a shower and sleep (it had been many hours since both). I walked straight to the doors only to find that they wouldn’t open for me. 10:02 p.m. seemingly without a place to stay I began to panick slightly. I knew I could find a hostel or somewhere to sleep but where? And how much? And how close? Luckily a kind local living on the building came to help me in the limited English he had. He went to find a girl, another Erasmus from America who came and let me in. She then went to get a woman who took me into an office that had closed at 7:00 p.m. 

As she frantically spoke Spanish to me, I could do nothing but stare in confusion and say “Perdone Perdone, no habla Español”. To which I got more Spanish as a response. The American student came to my rescue, Breanna, and I don’t know what I would have done without her. She translated between the worker and I until I had a key, a room, the wifi password and a blanket for my bed.


Finally now at 11:30 p.m. I got into the shower, only to find that the curtain did not function well. After finishing the shower I stepped out into a flooded bathroom floor. I quickly used the only clean towels I had brought to sop up the water from the floor. I hung them up and realized my body and hair were still dripping. 

Whoops.

I used some clothes to dry off my body and hung them up to dry themselves. I then reached for the adapter and converter pack I had brought with me to use my plugs. I found the converter and put it into a plug next to my mirror. As I tried to insert it, I heard a clunk. I tried again and again but the plug would not go into the wall. I finally realized that it was because the plug was inside a circular indent in the wall, as were all the plugs in Vic. My converter was a large square plug, which wouldn’t fit in the circle to get to the actual plug in the wall. 


Well, that’s unfortunate. 

I was now met with a dead laptop, an almost dead phone, half charged tablet, and dripping wet hair and no way to charge or use any of my heat products. 

I tried all of the adaptor pieces, even tried plugging them into each other. But nothing worked. Until finally one labelled Great Britain (shaver) that fit in the circle plug and would allo me to plug my phone and tablet charger. 

One problem solved!

It would also fit my hair dryer but without a converter I was risking blowing the adapter with Wattage problems. I braided my hair and called it a night. 

I was finally safe in a bed, clean and in one piece. My arms burned from dragging my things across the city, and I hadn’t slept since two nights before, but I was in Europe, living in Spain, setting an alarm for a 9:00 a.m. orientation meeting, where I was meeting my new friends. And who knew what the next day would hold? I sent s last goodnight message to friends and family and closed my eyes for my first sleep in my new home, excited for what would come. 

So it’s safe to say that my adventure has begun, and it wasn’t off to a smooth start. Nothing so far has been easy, or worked out as it was supposed to. But really,

Where would the fun be in that?

Beunes noches,

xo

CL

Upgrade U

My recent revival in my appreciation for Beyonce’s classics to put you in a bad*** bi*** mood (along with many other good/bad memories of the past) and my upcoming birthday have reminded me of how much things have changed, as they always do.

So many things in my life have changed over the years, and I have so many incredible memories, and people in my life that have shaped me, and made me who I am. I have a lot of incredible things and people collected from over my lifetime.

I have the perfect amount of Ride or Dies who I would literally do anything for (and I know would do the same for me). I have a love of Friends and the Mindy Project that refuses to die after each season rewatch. I have a bookshelf full of old favorites, and the Sims 2 on my laptop. I have a jar of Nutella in my lap, and a spoon in my hand.

My ride or DIE #1 lifetime gal

Right now I also have a lot of wonderful new things in my life.

I have a few new friends who are truly genuine. I have a boyfriend, who although broke a year long streak of single-ness, is the most kind hearted, wonderful human being I have ever met who makes me a better person each and every day.

 

 

 

This is him in all his Halloween cuteness (he likes Captain America)

I have a new adventure on the horizon (Spain). I have a new love for grilled peppers, a new job, a new lace choker, a new mascara and a new list of photos for my wall.

Just one of my super sweet friends I was lucky enough to meet at Uni

My November suggestion? Re-evaluate, re-decorate and re-vamp your life to match the new and improved YOU.

I have always had the most difficult time letting things go (not quite but close to a TLC Hoarders episode). I felt like I had to keep every little thing to hold on to memories of the people, places, and things that I love.

What I’ve realized now is that although I still have WAY more clothes than any human needs, and my wall is splattered with hundreds of pictures that it is okay to have a lot of things, as long as they’re things that reflect the current you and not your past you.

There were pictures on my wall of people I haven’t talked to in years, clothes that I kept forever hoping to one day fit back into them, and even about sixty seven bar bracelets (definitely don’t need to remember those) that I kept in a shoebox. Now, I’ll never stop loving things, or stop holding on to memories, but I’m reminding myself this November as I’m about to turn 21 (God bless amurica), that it is just as important to cherish and celebrate your current life, as your past; and that sometimes you just need to let things go.

That sweater you haven’t worn in years that makes you feel bad when you try it on?

Let it go.

That old bf you never got closure with?

Let him go.

That friend you lost along the way for no reason?

Let them go.

Never forget these people or things. I’m not telling you to erase your memories. Just let them go. Keep them in your mind, but not in your sight. Wish them all well, and hope that they find their happiness in life and if they pop back into yours create new moments, new memories, never try and re-create old ones, it’s impossible.

So as I sit here with a peppermint candle and Christmas playlists to last a decade, going through my things and parting ways with a few of them. I encourage you to reflect on what’s important in your life, and to hold those things/people tight. Maybe it’s the Christmas spirit creeping in early (I know I’m nuts), or the Bublé songs talking, but I am very thankful for where I am and the people I have with me.

She made me the CUTEST scrapbook for my bday and also got me a very accurate mug.

Look at all the wonder that surrounds you today.

Happy almost Michael Bublé Season,

xo

CL

THE Thanksgiving Dessert Saga: Part 3

For the final part of THE Thanksgiving Dessert Saga we have one classic and one “Oh crap I forgot I was supposed to bring dessert what can I make in twenty minutes with ingredients that won’t be sold out” recipe for all your basically Turkey Day needs.

Turkey Cookies (aka Oh Crap it’s Thanksgiving Cookies)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 30 candy corn candies, plus 6 white tips of candy corn
  • 6 Oreos
  • 6 mini peanut butter cups
  • 6 malt balls
  • 1 cup red frosting
  • 6 Oreos with tops removed

Instructions

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a medium stainless steel or glass bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. For each turkey, push 5 candy corn candies, tip-side down, into the cream filling of a chocolate sandwich cookie to make the feathers for the turkey. Lay the cookie on a work surface.
  3. Dip the flat, larger end of a peanut butter cup in the melted chocolate allowing any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place the peanut butter cup, chocolate-dipped end down, onto the sandwich cookie.
  4. Dip a malt ball into the melted chocolate allowing any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place the malt ball above the peanut butter cup to make the head of the turkey.
  5. Dip the flat end of the white candy corn tip in the chocolate. Place on the malt ball, to make the turkey beak.
  6. Refrigerate until the chocolate has set, about 10 minutes.
  7. Place the Red Frosting in a piping bag. Using scissors, cut a small opening in the end of the piping bag. Pipe a small piece of frosting under the malt ball to make the turkey’s beard.
  8. Place a cookie (with top half removed) on a platter. Stand the turkey upright into the cream filling. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

This recipe was found on www.foodnetwork.com.

Creamy No Bake Pumpkin Pie (GF & V!)

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Ingredients

CRUST

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 2 cups raw nuts (I used half pecans, half almonds)
  • 1/4 cup gluten free oats (or sub unsweetened coconut flakes for a different flavor)
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

PUMPKIN FILLING

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup sugar (raw or granulated)
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 2/3 cup unsweetened milk (any kind, though I’d recommend almond or dairy)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM

  • 1 13.5 ounce can full fat coconut milk chilled overnight (I recommend Thai Kitchen brand)
  • 2-5 Tbsp powdered sugar, depending on preferred sweetness
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. To make the filling, place all dry ingredients in a saucepan and whisk to combine. Then add pumpkin puree and whisk again. Slowly pour in milk and stir again until well combined.
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a low bubble – not boil – whisking often. Once it starts bubbling and getting thick, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until a visible ribbon forms when spooning it across the top. It should be thick and kind of jiggly. During this process switch to a rubber spatula for stirring to ensure the pudding isn’t sticking to the bottom or sides of the pan.
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla and whisk. Let set for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap TOUCHES the pudding – otherwise a film will form.
  4. Refrigerate for several hours or until completely chilled and set.
  5. In the meantime, prepare crust by adding dates to the food processor and pulse until it forms a ball – or at least until small bits remain. Remove from food processor and then add nuts, pumpkin pie spice and oats. Pulse until almost a meal, then add back in the dates a little at a time until a “dough” forms.
  6. Transfer to a lightly greased pie pan or small glass baking dish and press until uniformly flat and it comes up the edges 1.5-2 inches, making a crust (see photo). It doesn’t have to be perfect, just make sure there are no gaps or cracks. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or set on counter until filling is chilled.
  7. When the pudding is ready, place a glass mixing bowl in the freezer to chill for a few minutes so you can prepare your coconut whipped cream (make sure the can has been chilled overnight to harden – otherwise it won’t whip).
  8. Without shaking or tipping the can, remove the top and gently scoop out the top thick, solid portion of the coconut milk, known as the cream. Leave the clear liquid at the bottom of the can and reserve this for smoothies or other uses.
  9. Beat the cream to incorporate it. At this point it should start firming up, but if not add a couple Tbsp of tapioca flour and it should thicken right up! Then add in desired amount of powdered sugar 1 Tbsp at a time, as well as the vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate until serving the pie.
  10. Once the crust and filling are both ready, pour the pudding over the crust and spread to smooth. Let it chill for several more hours or ideally, overnight. Top with coconut cream when serving. Will keep for several days covered in the fridge.

This recipe and photo found on www.minimalistbaker.com

THE Thanksgiving Dessert Saga: Part 2

We’ll jump right into it today. Two more recipes for you stomach (and sweatpant) pleasure.

Pumpkin Dip

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  • One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Ginger snap cookies, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Put the pumpkin puree, light brown sugar, cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until completely smooth.
  2. Add the heavy cream and continue to beat on medium-high until very thick and fluffy.
  3. Transfer to a dip bowl and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
  4. Right before serving, garnish with a border of ginger snaps. Serve with dippers.

This recipe was found at www.foodnetwork.com

Maple Pumpkin Custard (GF)

This recipe was found on www.againstallgrain.com.

Ingredients

  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (make sure pumpkin is the only ingredient) or homemade
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup grade B maple syrup
  • 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground clove
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl, until smooth and there are no lumps visible.
  3. Pour the filling into individual ramekins, filling ¾ of the way full and dividing evenly.
  4. Place the filled ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet, then bake the custards for 25-30 minutes. They should jiggle slightly in the center when you remove them.
  5. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 1 hour prior to serving.
  6. Serve with coconut milk whipped cream.

 

 

THE Thanksgiving Dessert Saga: Part 1

This weekend is the start of my favorite time of the year: Fall. Risking sounding like a basic  (you know what) I live for all things pumpkin spice and sweater weather. There are just so many things to love about the fall: the beautiful scenery as the leaves change, the crisp autumn air, the excuse for watching Halloweentown a million times and catching up with friends over a good old fashion PSL (also my birthday is in November so that helps). Another thing I love about the fall?

Thanksgiving.

It is an incredible time to go home, see friends and family, get dressed up, eat great food and (let’s be honest) put on your favorite pair of fat pants immediately after people leave and devour the “leftovers” you hid in the back of the fridge.

Recently I found out that I have a temperamental sensitivity to gluten, much like my mother. In honour of this, and of my love of food, today, tomorrow and Sunday I’ll be featuring a different Thanksgiving dessert recipe that you and your family (or just you) can hopefully enjoy. There will be at least one GF and possibly one non-GF (come on I’m only human) recipe each day.

I suggest you try them all.

Today’s recipes are to die for (and you just might if you eat too much of them) but also conveniently easily both made GF:

Deep-Dish Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

inside-out-pecan-pie-1

Ingredients

Pâte Brisée:

** See the link to find out what kind of four mixture she uses and how to substitute a pre-mixed gluten free flour!

Pie:
  • 1 (16-ounce) bottle light corn syrup
  • 1½ cups packed brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon (i used maker’s mark)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup miniature chocolate morsels
  • 3½ cups pecan halves or pieces

Instructions

  1. Mix flour and salt in the container of a food processor. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually blend in enough ice water to form moist clumps. Gather dough into a ball. Roll dough on lightly-floured parchment paper into a 13-inch round. Carefully transfer to a greased 9-inch spring-form pan. Chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375`. Cover outside of pan with aluminum foil to prevent any leaks. Combine corn syrup, brown sugar and butter in a large bowl. Stir in eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, bourbon and salt with a wire whisk. Stir in chocolate morsels and pecans.
  3. Pour mixture into pan lined with uncooked pastry. Bake at 375` for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 300` and bake for an additional 2 hours and 25 minutes. (Shield pie with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary.) Cool completely. Cover and chill, for best slicing. Remove sides of spring-form pan before serving.

This recipe and photo was found on www.kumquatblog.com (great source for amazing GF recipes)

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

SD1A32_pumpkinbrulee.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape.jpeg

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pinches nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup coarse sugar or raw sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until it comes to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse at least 15 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the granulated sugar. Whisking constantly, gradually pour in the hot cream mixture. Whisk in the pumpkin puree.
  4. Pour the mixture into 4 ovenproof ramekins and arrange in a hot water bath. Bake in the center of the oven until almost set but still a bit soft in the center, 30 to 40 minutes. The custard should “shimmy” a bit when you shake the pan; it will firm up more as it cools.
  5. Remove from the water bath and let cool 15 minutes.
  6. Tightly cover each ramekin with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic does not touch the surface of the custard.
  7. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, and up to 24 hours.
  8. When ready to serve, preheat a broiler to very hot (or fire up your kitchen torch). Uncover the chilled custards.
  9. Pour as much coarse sugar as will fit onto the top of 1 of the custards. Pour off the remaining sugar onto the next custard. Repeat until all the custards are coated. Discard any remaining sugar.
  10. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and broil until the sugar is melted and well browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool 1 minute before serving.

This recipe and photo were found on www.foodnetwork.com 

As always:

Happy Eating and Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

xo

CL

 

Orientation Week: Putting your health first

Your mindful Monday is hitting you on a Sunday because today is Move in Day at MSVU and the relevance is HIGH.

This week there has been and will be: reunions between friends, tears between family members, excitement and nervousness between your stomachs and hearts, and bright, beautiful places ready to be the homes of your incredible journeys through University.

What we sometimes forget is that this week there has been, and will be, times when we put our (I’m including myself) health at risk. I’m not just talking about physical health, or mental health. This week for new and returning students will be full of stress, anxiety, excitement, heavy lifting, overload of information and importantly a LOT of fun.

This is a lot for our body, brain and heart to process. When you’re enjoying every moment of back to school keep in mind that you need to take care of you first!

Some steps to try and make your first week as healthy and happy as possible: Continue reading “Orientation Week: Putting your health first”