Thursday, April 29, 2010

Black Bottom Coconut Squares

My phone is broken....I'm not happy.
This morning actually started out on a really good note but now.....
We'll wait and see what Rogers can do for me.
I ran my second practice 10K this morning and I'm still not quite making my goal of coming in under 50 minutes. I did it in just under 51 so I'm getting closer but with Sunday fast approaching there's a chance this might not be a realistic goal. Oh well. Finishing and giving money to a good cause is all that matters.
I was also inspired to do a little free-time baking this morning.
I made a really delicious desert that I used to make a lot but haven't made in years.
This recipe comes to you courtesy of Martha Stewart
Black Bottom Coconut Squares

To make these squares:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a square pan with tin foil, leaving a bit of an overhang. Butter or grease the tin foil. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup melted butter with 1/2 cup sugar. Beat in 1 egg. Mix in 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Pour into the tin foiled pan and bake for 10-15 minutes.
  3. In a clean bowl beat 2 eggs with 3/4 cup sugar. Add in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 cup flour and 1 pkg shredded coconut (save and set aside 1/2 cup).
  4. Drop the coconut batter on top of the slightly cooled baked bottom layer and spread evenly with wet finger tips. The water will keep the batter from sticking to your fingers. Sprinkle the saved 1/2 cup of shredded coconut evenly over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes then let cool, cut, and enjoy!

And there you have it! It's easy to make even though you have to bake it in 2 stages and it tastes so good - provided that you like coconut.

I'm going to see if it's warm enough for me to sit in the sun for a bit before I take my angry self and my craptastic phone over to Rogers....

Tomorrow's Friday!!!

Weekend!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Freedom & A Celebratory Champagne Cocktail


I am done second year!!!
I wrote my last exam this morning so no more studying, no more memorizing, no more reading and re-reading articles. Summer time freedom! I'm going to read magazines, go for long runs, try out new recipes, catch up on missed tv shows, etc.
In general the exams went well. There aren't any that I feel particularly worried about. But either way I am DONE FOR THE SUMMER!
This past weekend in Montreal was so much fun. It was a true girl's weekend and we packed so much excitement into a day and a half. On Friday we walked around old Montreal which is beautiful and then went out for dinner at a bring your own wine restaurant. We found a club that had $3 drinks so we danced there for a bit.
Interesting fact: after a few glasses of wine, I am completely fluent in french.
On Saturday we went for brunch with Tracy's family and then relaxed in Mount Royal park where a crazy hippy fest / drum party was going on. It was so fun. That night we went for Greek food at another byo-wine place and after that we found a club that had an open bar! Being more responsible about my alcohol intake on Saturday night I made myself proud by not going crazy. And we ended up befriending the cast of Fiddler on the Roof!
SO MUCH FUN
In celebration of my completion of second year here is a drink recipe to toast with the next time you want to celebrate something:
The 'Blushing Bride' Champagne Cocktail
  • Pour 2 ounces of chilled passion-fruit nectar into a glass.
  • Gently pour in 3 ounces of cold Champagne, then 1/2 teaspoon grenadine.
  • Do not shake or stir.
That's all you need!
It looks really good. I may make some on the weekend.
This Sunday is the Sporting Life 10 K!
I ran this morning and my current 10 K time stands at just under 51 minutes. My goal is to get it under 50. Last year I ran it in 54 mins and some odd seconds so I think a 5 minute faster goal is a good place to work towards this year.
Off to work to read magazines and spend my time frivolously!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Summer time = Sangria time

Friday!!!
I have a whole lotta nothing planned for today except for some sun, some studying, getting togther with my sister and then I'm going to head over to my parent's place to cheer up my mom who's been feeling kind of down lately.
How am I going to cheer her up, you ask?
With the solution to (and often cause of) everyone's problems!
Alcohol!
Since it's so nice outside my sister suggested we hit up a patio for lunch and sangria. I suggested grabbing some ingredients and making a sangria at home for our mom. So that's the plan!
Sangria is easy to make and it's so good.
Jamie's Sangria

(this is not a photo of my sangria, I stole this from google)
To make this easy and delicious sangria you will need:
  • 1 bottle of red wine (or white wine if you prefer)
  • 1/2 L of sprite or 7-up (I'll be using diet)
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 2 shots of Malibu rum/peach shnapps/Grand Marnier
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1 peach/nectarine, sliced
  • Handful each of cherries and grapes

Mix all of that together and serve over ice!

I'm quite excited.
I'm heading outside now to get some sun while I read 2 more chapters for my LAST EXAM on Tuesday!!!
I leave for Montreal tomorrow morning and I'm bringing my laptop with me for P90X purposes...if we have internet access I'll try to post some stuff over the weekend.
Have a great one!
Mom - a better mood is only a few short hours away! Hang in there :)
Aunt Wendy - enjoy Rome!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Just for fun...

video

:)

Target Practice - and the promised biscotti recipe


"...now that Jamie(sic)'s got a gun, she ain't never gonna be the same....Jamie'(sic)s got a gun"
-Aerosmith
Holy mother.
Today I crossed another "to-do" off my list of things to do before I die.
I fired a handgun.
A 9 mm Heckler & Koch to be exact. I don't know exactly what I was expecting but the moment I walked onto the range and stepped up to hold the gun, my heart jumped into my throat and I started to shake. I mean, my gosh, this is a gun. Guns kill people! I fired off the first clip of 10 bullets by taking slow deep breaths between each pull of the trigger. All in all I shot 30 bullets at that poor unfortunate target:

(There should be closer to 50 bullet holes on this one as John shot the remaining 20...but I think I missed a few. Though to be fair I wasn't aiming to kill, I was repeatedly telling myself not to kill someone)

So there you have it. I have successfully fired a gun. And I may even do it again. John fired the 9 mm, a Sig Sauer P-229 0.40 calibre handgun and a Smith & Wesson 0.223 calibre. His were both much louder than mine and they kind of frightened me. I caught myself jumping a few times.

If I learned any lesson today it would be this:

Guns are intense. It's a crazy empowering feeling to fire one but THEY ARE VERY REAL WEAPONS. So respect their power, be cautiousand responsible, and enjoy the experience.

Now from guns to biscotti.

Would Martha be proud? I like to think so. She's a multi-faceted woman, I'm sure she's used a gun before.

Mini Egg Biscotti

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or grease with butter)
2. In a bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter with 2/3 cup packed brown sugar. Beat in 1/2 cup liquid honey and 2 tbsp canola oil. Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, and add 1 egg yolk (save the white for later). Beat in 1 tbsp vanilla extract.
3. In a seperate bowl, mix together 3 1/4 cup flour, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp salt. Add this mixture to the wet ingredients in 2 additions to form a slightly sticky dough. Add in mini eggs (as much or as little as you want).
4. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, shape each half into a log. Place each log onto the baking sheet, leaving some room between them (anything more than 10 cm is plenty). Press each to slightly flatten the top.
5. Add 2 tsp of water to the reserved egg white and beat; brush this on the tops and sides of the logs.
6. Bake for 30 minutes at 325, then remove and let cool. Cut the logs into slices about 2 cm thick (or as thick or as thin as you'd like). Stand the slices up, spaced apart, and bake again for another 20 minutes or so until dry.
***Biscotti are very hard and crunchy so if you don't like the typical biscotti texture don't put them back in the oven for that second round. They'll be softer.

Well pardners, that's it for now.
I have ONE exam left (!!!!!) and then I'm officially on summer vacation.
I'm also headed to Montreal this weekend for a girl's trip It's going to be a lot of fun.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Recipe teasers - to come on Wednesday!

I am regaining my flexibility!
I'll credit my dedication to post-run stretching and also to the P90X yoga video.
John and I did the full yoga video yesterday - so good. 90 minutes of deep stretching, balance postures and severely shaking muscles.



Today I have been unsuccessfully trying to study for my exam tomorrow. I just can't stay focused. I've done a lot of other stuff so far today... including putting together a road-trip snack can for John's brother Mike who is hitting the road for a music tour.
He's a pretty talented drummer and he's playing with an up and coming Canadian singer named Jesse LaBelle.
He's in Toronto June 23rd and he hits up Ottawa as well ...I forget the exact dates but it's the Pop Soda Tour sponsered by Much Music. Pretty big deal! I'm very proud of him! I'll be going to the concert with my I heart Mike shirt and banner.
His can of goodies included:
Marbled Bailey's Cheesecake Cupcakes
(recipe maybe on Wednesday)


and
Mini Egg Biscotti
(I'm really trying to use up those mini eggs. Also, they are surprisingly delicious when baked into things)

Another recipe that I will post up on Wednesday because this biscotti is goooooood.
I ate like 4 peices and I've been pretty good about limiting my sugar intake in the last month or so.


Anyway I really need to go finish studying for this exam tomorrow :s
3 more to go and then freedom!

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Bridal Shower

Sorry that this won't be a very picture-friendly post. I've had a weird day and I want to put out some ideas here.
My exam this morning was rudely interrupted not once but TWICE by a bomb threat. Oh sorry, maybe that wasn't clear enough: a suicide bomb threat.
Honestly.
Some jerk-faced-pain-in-my-derriere phoned in a bomb threat this morning so 6 questions in to my exam, we were ecavcuated outside. After about 15 minutes, we were ushered back in. Apprently no bomb was found.
No more than an hour and a half later one of the professors asks us to put down our pencils and listen to what the nice police constable has to say.
I'll paraphrase here but it went a little something like this:
Hello, I'm police constable (insert name here). We've reviewed the recorded message of the phone call. It was made at a pay phone just around the corner from here, at just after 8:30 am this morning (*ed note: our exam began at 8:30). Upon review the caller identified the bomb as being a suicide bomb in the Frontenac room (*ed note: the room we were all sitting in). So if you could all please leave your exams on the table, gather all of yor personal belongings, and make your way to the door single file, a police officer will be searching your person and your bag before you leave.
So we left. Exam cancelled. Thank goodness I was literally TWO SENTENCES away from being done when we were escorted out.
Yeesh.
No decisions have been made yet as to our fate regarding this exam....but if I have to rewrite it.....sh*t's going to go down. I'm too ready for my summer vacation to have to think about an exam redo.
Anyway, my friend Marion is getting married! And as a member of her bridal party I get to help plan for the bridal shower!
I'm currently looking through invitation designs and google searching game ideas.
Here's what I have so far:

The obligatory bow sun hat. Will buy a wide brimmed sun hat.

Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Divide the guests into two or more teams of at least three people each. The teams are given rolls of toilet paper, and each team chooses a "bride." Give the teams 20 minutes to create a wedding dress on their "bride" using the toilet paper. At the end of the allotted time, vote for the best wedding dress and the funniest, and give prizes to the winners.

Trivia! Have some questions about the bride and or groom ready to be asked and see how many people "really" there about to be wed friend. (questions can include things like, how they met, what was the first job that the bride held... you get the idea)

That's all I've got so far...if you have any suggestions please pass them along!
I've obviously also started looking for cupcake recipes. I have two so far.
:)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Good Ol' Fashioned Cake Party

On Friday night two of my girlfriends came over and we decorated a cake for Tracy's mom's birthday. Her mom is pretty cool, apparent in the fact that she drives a motorcycle. So a motorcycle cake it would be!
While Danie was crafting the most amazing motorcycle out of fondant...

...Tracy and I were destroying a cake and making a mess out of fondant, respectively.

We saved the cake with icing and once we rolled out the fondant and covered it, the cake was ready to be decorated.


A fondant road, some royal icing grass and - oh, what's that? That beautiful green object in the upper left corner? Oh, well, that's the bush I created. Haha it's so bad when you compare it to the motorcycle.

VOILA! (only the motorcycle was in the freezer, hardening instead of on the cake)


A photo story of a cake!
I just pulled a loaf of banana bread out of the oven - one with an easter twist! Instead of chocolate chips (which I have none of) I used mini eggs! It looks delicious.
Today was my first official day of no class! I hit the gym early on and then John and I went out for breakfast at this place just around the corner called Good Bite. Good scrambled eggs. Then came back, watched last night's episode of Lost (I heart Desmond but less so as slick-hair Widmore lackey), did some P90X legs and back and the ab ripper, and just finished watching last night's much anticipated return of Glee! I am a happy camper. I may even have a bath later on and I plan on roasting a chicken that I bought from Loblaw's yesterday for FIVE DOLLARS! I know. It's in the oven right now roasting on top of potatoes and flavoured with grapefruit slices and a spice mix. Mmmmm.
I will put up some chicken dinner info tomorrow :)
Back to my laaaaaazy day with Murray

Friday, April 9, 2010

Guacamole

I'm on a roll with posts!
You guys are sooo lucky.
Tonight I'm getting together with my two friends who also love baking and decorating.
We're going to work on a cake for Tracy's mom's birthday.
Danielle is ridiculously talented at making cakes looks professional so this will be good.
I promise.
In the meantime, here's a recipe for home-made guacamole that I made awhile back when Wendy was visiting!
Jamie's Guacamole

  • Peel 3 avacados and cut into small peices. Place into a food processor/blender and whirrrrrrr away until the avacado is nice and smooth.
  • Add in about 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 3 tbsp of cour cream (or more until you get the consistency you want), 1/4 cup of finely diced tomatoes, and 1 tbsp of finely diced dill.
  • Serve with toasted pita wedges, and enjoy!

I'll post some pictures of the cake once we begin work on it!

Have a great weekend!

P.S. LAST FULL WEEK OF SCHOOL FINISHED!!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter Long Weekend!

I haven't posted anything since the Easter weekend so you can have it all now!
Metcalfe was a lot of fun and it was nice to get (almost) all of the family together.
On Saturday night we all went over to Aunt Wendy and Uncle Bob's place for a BBQ and more food than I thought was humanly possible. My Jamaica diet was not only tested but chloroformed, dragged into a back alley and beaten mercilessly ..
But My God was it worth it!
They had the BIGGEST wheel of brie I have ever seen in my life and I'm proud (ashamed?) to say that I ate a pizza-sized slice of it. Plus the famous nacho dip, Nanny's "squares" (yes, that's what I call them. Tracy understands), and then the BBQ food. So good.
Oh and then chocolate and delicious and adorable cupcakes from Andrea!
I repeat, SO GOOD.
Here's the gang in our bunny ears.
Sorry you all had to wear them but gosh darn it don't you all just look adorable?
On the recipe front I made some brownies for the Thursday night staff at work. I won't take credit for the actual brownies as I was pressed for time so just bought two boxes. BUT I did make the royal icing and I decorated little easter eggs on each one.


Cuuuuuuute.

Hope everyone else had a wonderful Easter Long Weekend!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Daddy!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!!

A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again.
~Enid Bagnold
If that ain't the truth, I don't know what is. My father has the wonderful ability to make me feel like a smart, educated woman, and at the same time can make me feel like a little girl again.
He has such an infectious youthful view of the world that it's hard not to get excited along with him at baseball games, going out for dinner, etc.
For the Monday night sing-alongs, the Tuesday night pick-ups, the groceries, and the Murray visits - Thank you!
And for the years of jokes (not always good ones haha), adventures, baseball games, long talks and small talks, Ireland trips, Florida drives, running stories, music, sunday paper trivia, laughs, tears, and the love....
Thank you.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!
I love you.
See you in a few for some huge bowls of spaghetti :)
P.S. I'm taking a risk here and assuming that he won't check my blog until AFTER dinner...
but here's his cake!


I was going to use fondant for the bases but decided I'd wait and open the package once I would use more than just a few strips of it. I used royal icing instead (Thank you Wendy for the meringue powder!!!).