Remembrance Day

I have not abandoned my blog, I just have the worst crazy busy week of the semester coming up, so I’m going to be right back as soon as my midterms finish/the most exciting thing in my life isn’t studying/I eat other things than frozen leftovers and pb&j sandwiches.

Last year, I forgot it was Remembrance Day and was terrified when the guns were fired. I actually thought the city was under attack and on the verge of tears, I called my family. Needless to say, they quickly figured out that I was hearing the ceremony, and had a good laugh at my expense. This year, I’m determined to not make a fool of myself, and I’m even going to the ceremony. I could use a minute of silent reflection.

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Getting older, getting excited about pizza

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Ask any of my friends, I have been craving pizza for a week. Every day, I tried to convince someone to grab a slice with me, but for xyz reason, it never happened. It’s kind of a blessing, because when the weekend came around, I knew what to do. I went to the grocery store to get a ball of frozen pizza dough from the bakery. It’s the kind of detail that makes home cooking convenient enough to be worthwhile, so I have no shame in buying the raw dough versus making my own, since I know I will never get around to the latter.

After shaping the dough, I smoothed on leftover pasta sauce, added some spices and ground pepper, layered veggies (mushrooms, zucchini and bell peppers) and topped it off with a combination of mozzarella and feta cheeses. I baked it at 350 for about 20 minutes.

There are infinite topping possibilities. I particularly like olives, pesto, prosciutto, caramelized onions, artichokes, but I rarely have these items on hand. Bonus: it’s the kind of meal that cleans out your fridge. Random leftovers? Throw them on a pizza.

20121028-012502.jpgToday, while studying with a friend, I got into a discussion about getting older. We now get really excited about making good food. I feel particularly crappy because a big part of what I blog about is delicious food. Binge drinking and late-night pizza has kind of lost its appeal. We now sip on a glass or two of wine while our delicious dinner is in the oven….and are in bed by 9!

Okay the last part is a joke, but I do feel old today. I guess it only gets worse from here.

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Balcony Transformation

So it snowed yesterday, I saw plenty of snowflakes falling on my balcony. I despise winter, so to protest, I will reminisce about SUMMER! When it’s warm out, I like to spend every minute outdoors, so I did a little DIYing. My studio apartment has a standard, boxy concrete balcony that was ugly and unappealing. This House & Home makeover video inspired me to transform it into a place I’d want to hang out.

Once I was finished, it was like I added a room to my tiny apartment. I had coffee out there every morning, lied down and read on Sunday afternoons, hosted friends for drinks and made the most of the few short months of warm weather.

Like the House & Home designers, I bought almost everything at Ikea, except the pillows and the lanterns, which are from Homesense, and the carpet, which was on sale at Home Depot.

I salvaged an old wicker chair from my parents’ house, but the outdated color didn’t go with my decor, so I spray painted it a shiny black.

I tied down the (fake) plants with old twine, to keep them from falling over when it’s very windy.

Finally, I used sticky tack to attach the fabric pieces to the walls of the balcony, to keep them from flapping around.

Voila!

The whole project cost less than 500$, and most of these items can be reused in the future. Because I know I’m not going to live in this apartment forever, I try to only buy things I can give a second life to.

Anyone can transform their balcony, and I encourage you fellow city dwellers to do it next summer, especially if you have a small apartment. It gives you a little bit of outdoors in the heart of the city. I don’t know how I lived without it.

Alas, with the arrival of snow, I have taken all the small things inside, but I still need to cover the chairs. I am eagerly anticipating the day I haul everything back outside. Happy winter, everyone.

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Montreal Mayor Resigns

Gerald Tremblay has resigned. It was about time. I love you Montreal, but I just don’t know if you can dig yourself out of the corruption.

I hope this is a step in the right direction, but until some concrete changes are made, I remain unimpressed.

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That’s me in May, not impressed, near one of many sinkholes in the downtown core. That thing could have swallowed a car.

Corrupt engineers especially don’t impress me.

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What Guys Really Think About Fashion Trends

In the male-dominated world of engineering, I’m a very girly girl. I don’t care if jeans, plain t-shirts and running shoes is the uniform, I will still wear whatever makes me happy. If I want to dress fashionably for class, I will.

Now, engineering guys are the best, but when it comes to clothing and accessories, function usually wins over fashion, which makes for some very interesting conversations about what I’m wearing.

I will show you 4 trends that I have worn to class and the comments associated with each.

1) Zippers on the back of a shirt – “It is like a wetsuit.”

During a lecture, I felt my top being unzipped! I turned around to glare at my friend, sitting behind me. He told me he thought my shirt was cool, in the wet-suit way. Interesting.

2) Cameos – “Are those edible earrings? Like, are they made of chocolate?”

Yes, I do realize the Laura Secord logo is a cameo, but still. Edible ____ (underwear, necklaces etc) are usually not class appropriate.

3) Coloured Pants – “Who do you think you are? Peter Pan?”

This trend is huge now and I just bought myself a pair of aqua pants. The first day I wore them, I got asked if I came from Never Never Land. Yes, yes I did indeed! (Also, speaking of the boots “Cool boots, are they real leather?”)

 

4) Rugby Shirt – “You’re such a bro with that shirt”

Now, this is an actual picture my guy friends took of me in class. They then posted it on Facebook with the caption “Amy being a bro in a rugby shirt”.

I should disclose that the guys I quoted are known for purposefully trying to piss me off, and I love them for it. I laugh along with them every time they comment on how I’m dressed. Nevertheless, I really do think they see fashion differently from us with both X and Y chromosomes. When I dress in a trench coat, I think I look like a stylish Londoner, the kind from Burberry ads, but my guy friends think I look like a business woman. Sigh.

 

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Halloween Mini-Tarts

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Happy Halloween take 2! Tonight is the night of the party I’ve been waiting for. I can’t wait to slip on my costume and have a blast with old friends.

I wanted to make something quick and easy. My go-to is mini tarts, from the eagle brand website.

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I made the tarts as usual, but I wanted them to fit the theme, so I got the idea of decorating them with spider webs. I piped on 2 concentric circles of melted chocolate (using a ziplock bag with a tiny hole cut into the corner, see my mini-cupcake post for details) then extended the spokes using a toothpick.

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Halloween on a Wednesday means twice as much fun, doesn’t it. This week, I took a well needed mental break from school so that I don’t burn out before the start of the next set of midterms. I was on a bit of a dessert theme this week, but only because I had time to make interesting things! The usual lazy student stuff will be back next week, when I go back to being more of an engineer than a Martha Stewart.

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Berry Flan

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This is the laziest of desserts for the lazy, I mean efficient, cook. And it’s healthy enough for me to justify eating it for breakfast. And it tastes a lot like flan you’d buy in Parisian bakeries, just without the crust. And raspberries and blackberries were on sale yesterday. Win, win, win and win.

The original recipe is from my favorite blog, Skinny Taste, but I’ve simplified it a little bit, because who has time to sift flour? Not me.

You need:
– About 2 heaping cups of fresh berries (blackberries and/or raspberries and/or blueberries. I even make it with cranberries and blueberries sometimes)
– 3 eggs
– 6 tbsp sugar (but taste the berries. If they are tart, use more sugar, up to 10 tbsp)
– 1/2 cup flour
– 1 cup milk (I only have skim, any will work!)
– 2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 and grease an oven-proof dish (Pyrex type). Pour the berries in the dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, sugar and flour. Then add milk and vanilla. Aim for the least clumpy possible. Pour over berries. Bake 45 min.

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Add some icing sugar if you’re a fancy pants.

I tried President’s Choice pumpkin ravioli last night, the one filled with pumpkin and amaretti cookies (the fact that cookies are in pasta should have make me think twice about buying it) . I couldn’t finish it, I found it so gross. Does anyone like it?

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Beijinhos

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Happy Halloween! For the occasion, I made some Brazilian candy. I wanted to make something simple, something that doesn’t require a candy thermometer (which I don’t own). Also, the Brazilian community isn’t very big in Montreal, and it’s difficult to find Brazilian sweets, which i adore. Beijinhos means little kisses, and they’re usually decorated with whole cloves. I didn’t have any, so I left them out.

There are so many recipes on the Internet for beijinhos, all slightly different. The only tricky part is getting the consistency right, I.e. condensing the milk enough but not too much. I went on YouTube and followed a video tutorial instead of a recipe, so that I could have a visual reference. I can understand enough Portuguese to follow along, although the YouTube lady started speaking really fast to her dog at one point in the tutorial and I got really confused! But then she went back to quietly stirring the candy and it all ended up fine.

Stirring stirring and more stirring
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Rolling into balls

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I have a Halloween party coming up this weekend and I can’t wait! I’ve been planning my costume for weeks. Enjoy Halloween night.

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Sandy

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Sandy the hurricane reminded me of one of my favorite tv shows, Rookie Blue. The main couple on the show is Sam and Andy, or Sandy (in the picture of my tv screen).

This morning I’m taking it easy, starting the day with coffee and some Rookie Blue. I’ll tackle my to-do list a little later. I’m not going to complain about a hurricane when it gives me an excuse to hibernate a little, and do my assignments from under a cozy blanket.

My thoughts go out to anyone affected by the hurricane. I was in Florida earlier this year for a hurricane of barely level 1, and I was scared shitless. We just don’t get winds like that in Montreal.

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Mini Vanilla Cupcakes

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Last night, my engineering “family” and I had a small dinner party. We had wine, cheese, lots of bread, different pâtés. It was a great way to spend a Sunday night. Usually, Sunday is either reserved for laundry and homework, or dinner with my actual family.

A month ago, I bought mini cupcake pans but I never got around to using them until now. I figured I’d contribute some cupcakes for dessert. They’re labour intensive though, so I don’t think I’ll be making them again anytime soon. I like simple, quick, easy recipes, the kind that don’t give you mounds of dishes. If you have quite a bit of free time and patience, the recipe I used can be found here

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I don’t have pastry bags, so I used a sandwich sized ziplock bag, cut a small hole in the corner, put an inexpensive star tip (bought at the grocery store) through the whole, and duct taped the bag and the tip together, engineering style. Duct tape is the key to happiness, it really is. I forgot to photograph my contraption before I filled it with icing, but here it is!

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