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New Year’s Resolutions? Or Maybe Not.

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions but this year I am kind of making one. I am going to try to go to one group class a week at the old gymboree, (a.k.a. fitness world) so far I’ve done two and my mom came too so that made it easier! Anywho, I am also going to make more fancy salads! This will be a goal I can achieve. I have been slipping salads into the holiday dinners and one day my nieces will actually try one! But until then, there’s more for the rest of us.

At Christmas I did a pretty close variation on the one I did at Thanksgiving but I changed it up a bit.

Christmas Salad

Ingredients

1 bag mixed sweet lettuce

3/4 c. walnut pieces (or whatever nut you like best)

1/2 c. sugar

1 gala apple

3 oz crumbled goat cheese

3 c. unsweetened apple juice

1 T apricot jam

1/3 c. canola oil

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar (wow I just forgot how to spell vinegar, it took me three attempts)

parchment paper

-to make the dressing, pour the apple juice into a sauce pan over medium high heat

-reduce by half, whisk in jam

-add vinegar and whisk in oil (add salt and pepper to taste)

-put nuts and sugar in a saute pan over medium heat

-swirl pan and watch closely, when sugar begins to caramelize (turn golden brown) and nuts are coated, pour onto parchment**

**be careful with hot sugar!!! Not only will it burn you but it will stick to you and burn you! If you haven’t caramelized anything before, don’t walk away from the stove, caramel has a tendency to go from zero to burnt pretty fast.

-slice the apple into thin matchsticks (I like to leave the peel on for colour, and fiber!)

-when the nuts have cooled break them apart

-combine all the ingredients and toss with dressing

(an easy way to clean your caramel pan is to fill it with water, bring to a boil and just pour out, the sugar will come right off)

It’s so easy to overspend at Christmas time, not just on presents but on going out and doing Christmas things too. I like to find stuff on the cheap if possible! What’s more Christmassy than light displays? When I found out there is a street in Burnaby that always puts on a show, I knew we had to go check it out. It was easy to find (and we didn’t have to go over the bridge and get lost in Richmond) and super fun. The whole street (except for a handful of houses) gets decked out and you can vote for the house you like best. There was a group of carolers roaming the street and people milling around. I posted one of the pics last time so here are the rest! Some turned out better than others! 

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Happy (belated) New Year!

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Summer Summer Stay Forever!

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I can’t believe it’s the end of August already. School is done (for a couple of weeks) and my vacay is starting now! So of course it’s raining today. The fam was out visiting a couple of weeks ago from Finland and we had a great time! We all went to Queen E. Park and saw the gorgeous gardens and the Bloedel Conservatory! Thankfully the city changed it’s mind about getting rid of the conservatory, not only is it an architectural landmark but where else are Vancouverites going to see giant palms and exotic birds or as I like to call them: fancy chickens.

Afterwards we all headed to our place for tacos! I did spice crusted chicken for the meat eaters and veggie tacos for me and mom, all topped with my legendary guacamole. I’m not exaggerating when I describe my guac as life changing, or that it could probably solve the problems in the middle east, fix the environment and replace our reliance on fossil fuels. Here is the recipe! Enjoy!

Guacamole

3 ripe avacadoes

1/5 peeled ripe papaya (1/4 if it’s a small papaya)

1/4 chopped red onion

1/2 chopped tomato

1/2 bunch cilantro

juice of 3 limes

hot sauce (siracha or calypso brand) to taste

salt 1-2 t (or to taste)

-blend all ingredients in processor or with hand blender

-season at the end after everything is pureed

-put on everything! you could also put a scoop of salsa instead of the tomato and onion if you’re lazy or don’t have the tomatoes and onion on hand.

I like the guac on chips (of course) but it’s awesome on sandwiches and wraps too. This is a light limey spicy guac and I odn’t put it garlic in it because I think it makes it a little too earthy. Not that I don’t like garlicky guac too but this one is better without.

I don’t have any pictures because we ate it all! But I am going to post some pics of the lovely bouquets my brother and sister-in-law and aunt and uncle brought over.

I love having fresh flowers in the house, even though I have to make sure the idiot cats don’t eat them. Even though it’s raining today I am confident there will still be nice weather for a couple of weeks and nice weather demands some popsicle recipes. I recently adapted one from epicurious.com that uses roasted bananas! Here is my version:

Roasted Banana and Chocolate Pops

3 ripe bananas

1/3 C brown sugar

1 T white sugar

1 C whipping cream

1/2 C 2% milk

(you could probably make this vegan by using a mixture of coconut and soy milk but it might affect the texture)

1/4 C. unsweetened cocoa

1/2 C corn syrup

-wrap each banana in foil (peel on) at 375 for 25 minutes, let cool and peel

-mash banana and sugars together with a fork

-blend with milk and cream

-in a separate bowl whisk the cocoa and corn syrup together until it is smooth and glossy

-pour the mixtures into popsicle molds with about 3/5 banana and 2/5 chocolate, swirl to mix because the chocolate won’t freeze solid like the banana. Alternately you could swirl the chocolate into the banana and just pour it in mixed. Freeze at least three hours, and run mold under hot water to slide out popsicles. Enjoy!

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