Tag Archives: MSW

Sugar Rush, by j


Saturday night was my graduation party with my fellow students.  This is how it started:

double glasses

And then this is the last thing I remember:


Apparently I made a lot of travel plans.


While I should have been writing papers, I decided to do something much more delicious.  Baking.

My lovely auntie was coming for a very exciting visit and emailed me a recipe with a demand: make this for me.

Usually I’m up for anything, but this particular request was a little terrifying.  You see, I’ve tried to make this before- and it was a disaster.  I haven’t tried since Thanksgiving 2003.  The failure was utterly devastating ten years ago.

You see, my aunt sent in a recipe for creme brulee.

Creme.  Brulee.

My absolute favourite thing ever in the world to eat for dessert.  I was given a torch for my birthday.  It was going to be amazing.  It was a soupy mess.  Even on my scale it was less than a 1.  It was a -10.  Inedible.


But, I do like this auntie.  And I did not want to disappoint.  And I was bored of writing about social enterprise.

So I went for it:  Coconut Creme Brulee.

ingredients cb

Here’s the tricky thing about this evil recipe: it only has four ingredients.  It appears incredible easy to make.

6 egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

200 milliliters of whipping cream

200 milliliters of unsweetened coconut milk

Coconut flakes

8 tsp sugar

Totally easy.  Totally make-able.  Sign me up.  I could totally make French food better than any other pastry chef west of Paris.

I was determined.

sugar and eggs

custard wet


Cream sugar and egg yolks.  Perfect.

Make breakfast with left over egg whites.

Heat cream and coconut milk.  Don’t let that stuff boil.  Bad news.

Tidbit: Don’t buy “lite” coconut milk.  It’s a waste of money for basically watered down coconut milk.  Just water it down at home.

But don’t use “lite” coconut milk.  Also, don’t buy things that spell light wrong.

Then add in the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks.  Be careful.  The last time I tried doing this I made scrambled eggs, and was horrible.

Then get your mom’s ramekins and fill those suckers up.

before cooking in ram

At this point you have to learn from my mistake.  BE CAREFUL.  Don’t put the water in before you put it in the oven.  You will spill and you will be devastated.

Once it’s on the rack in the oven pour in some hot water from a kettle.  For you cosmopolitan folks this is called a “bain marie”.  Literally “Mary’s bath”, which according to cooking sources is described as “whose proverbial gentleness can be likened to the gentleness of this cooking technique”.  It is the holiest way to bake a dessert.  Baking like a virgin.

water into ram

Here’s the tricky part.  It said to cook it at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Or until custard is set.  Here’s the problem I ran into, at 25 minutes it was still soupy.  It reminded me of my previous failure.  So I let it keep cooking for another 20 minutes.  Then I took it out.  I was terrified that I had ramekins full of scrambled eggs.

cooked cb before sugar

But at this step I feel as though I have committed.  No looking back- we’re going to the end.

When you bring them out, let them cool, and put them into the fridge, then carefully transport them to home.

And here’s where I decided to make some decisions on my own.  I personally hate when I have creme brulee and the custard is cold.  It doesn’t taste right, it needs to be room temperature, but creamy.  So I decided to take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before I burned that sugar.

cb sugar before

Last time I did this I had a kitchen torch to use, but it is packed away.  This time I used the broiler to make it all nice and burnt.

cb sugar burnt

What the what?  It looks good.  But I was slightly terrified.  Let’s get some coconut toasted.

creme brulee

I was more than terrified to crack into it.  But I was delightfully surprised.

creme brulee inside

Not bad.  If I had to critique my own it would definitely be a huge improvement from the last time.  It would be at least a solid 5/10.  We could improve it.  But at least it wasn’t a soupy mess.




I’ve submitted by final paper.

I’m already having second thoughts about my paper. Right now I’m wavering between “I can’t believe I submitted that piece of shit” and “WAHOO! I’m done! She can suck it for all I care!”.

It’s an odd place to be. But generally this is how I’m feeling-

Worried about my last paper:

How I feel when I realize that I don’t have any more group work:

What I’m really thinking when someone asks me about registering with the college:

Trying to think of extra “special skills” for my resume.  This is what I come up with:

What grad school taught me to ask at the beginning of every meeting:

My general feeling about five terms of full time tuition at 3am:

How I want to answer whenever a person asks me (for the one billionth time) “What are you going to do now?!”:

But what I want my real plans to be:

But what I really do is:

And when people don’t understand why that question freaks me out and asks me “What’s wrong with you?”:

My reaction when I found out I didn’t get an interview for a job I SO SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN:

How I’m feeling right about now:

How I acted after leaving my last class:

But how I really felt after an amazing final class:

My realization now that I am no longer a student:

How I feel the world is treating me:

How I pretend I’m feeling now:

The one thing I am sure of:

Happy Galentine’s Day! by j


It’s February 13th.  This marks a few different things.

First, it’s GALENTINE’S DAY!  The day before Valentine’s Day that celebrate the gals in your life.  It comes from the brilliant mind of Amy Poehler (aka Leslie Knope).  It’s just nice.


And tomorrow is the real thing: Valentine’s Day.  Contrary to popular belief- I don’t hate the holiday.  Having a day to tell people that you love them is nice.  However I will say that you shouldn’t need a day to do that.

Also, while we’re on the topic: CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT IT’S KINDNESS WEEK? What the hell kind of week is that?  A week about kindness kills my sense of right and wrong.  Also, I hate how awesome we all feel about having a “Kindness Week”.  If I see one more post of FB about it I may scream.  And if one more person asks for a congratulations about their “good deed” I may weep for humanity.

This month marks about two and a half years of me working Saturdays (except for that brief, wonderful six weeks in the summer).  I hate working Saturdays.  It makes me all kinds of sad that I can’t make weekend plans, visit St. Jacob’s Market now that I have a friend in the Kdubs area, drink excessively at Friday night book club (ok, I might still do this sometimes but this makes Saturdays sometimes hard for me), and sleep (which I think is important and sleeping in on Sundays is just not the same).

Did we watch Beyonce cause the Superbowl to blow out the lights?  Yeah.  It was pretty awesome.  And then I went online and saw a really disturbing conversation about “modesty”.  Apparently despite the killer dance moves and all female band and dancers, folks like to point out that she was wearing short shorts and acting like a tramp.  Let’s get it straight.  Your body is your own.  It can’t turn other people into walking, talking hormones.  Get it under control and stop blaming women for being objectified.

I’m taking a class in the Indigenous Studies stream at school.  I like it.  Except that every class starts with a smudge with sage (all the way from Fort Frances).  It’s not a bad way to start a class, except that the smoke inevitable ends with me having a coughing fit about 90 minutes into class.  Obviously this happens at the moment someone is having a profound moment.  And I sit there trying not to explode.  Awesome.

Speaking of class…six weeks to go until I’M DONE MY MASTERS OF SOCIAL WORK.

I can’t even deal with this.  Mostly because I have a crap load of work to do before getting to the end.  But that has not stopped me from starting my job searching.  OMG.

The work is piling up.  And piling out.  It’s a wide, tall pile of work.  Did I mention it’s all group work?

Time to get down to business.

2013, by j


As it’s been 2013 for three weeks, it’s time to take a look back on the first few weeks of the year.

How did you wake up on January 1st, 2013?  With a hangover?  Did you watch the first sunrise of 2013? Did you get a sweet sleep in because of the holiday?

Well, then lucky you.  Because this was what I woke up to:

















M decided to make a pizza for breakfast.  So I got to wake up to the smell of the house burning down.

January 2013 also is the beginning of the end- of school for me.  One last term and I will be finished my Masters of Social Work.


June 7th.  The end it in sight.  I was all:

And then I searched around and saw this:


And when I told my total tuition to my mother she then told be add in about $70,000 for the two years of lost wages.

$18,668.28 + $70,000 = $88,668.28

And then I was all:

And then I got ridiculously nostalgic and proud of myself when I found the list I made in my old apartment about how to get my life in order:


















What else has been going on?  I am loving “Bow Grip” by Ivan E. Coyote, and I love this quote:

















This month’s book club will be featuring this book, lots of wine and food and the two newest additions to BC.  I’m thinking about getting this wine (that I saw on a LCBO jaunt with dad last week).

















And January sees the start of Londonlicious.  I went out last night with some lovely friends to Avenue.  The only crappy thing about Londonlicious is that if you’re spending money of the cheap menu you’re service is a little slower.  Slow like sitting down at 7:30pm and getting your starter at 9pm.

However, if you are waiting this long (with lovely company) this is how you act when you see your food coming.

But it was a damn good starter:

chicken livers
















I tried chicken livers for the first time.   Mmmm.

















A dark pic of the pork tenderloin with quinoa.

And then…

creme brulee
















Creme brulee.  On the J scale of Creme Brulee it ranks high.  This was near perfection.  Yup…it ties Le Papillon.  8/10.

This weekend also marks the third draft of the chapter I’m writing with a friend…slightly terrifying.









Ridiculous.  And the most  exciting development of 2013?  M’s previous post mentioned…we’re going to Florida.  We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to make it work.  A and I only have Reading Week in February, and flights during March Break…are you kidding me?

But then…it came together.  Flights were booked, at a ridiculously cheap price.  And A decided to go for it…she’s returning to Florida, after 20 years.  I haven’t seen her this excited…since Christmastime.

She was all:

And then she found out that a ticket to Disney World is about five dollars short of $100.

The sisters have also decided to get a tattoo.  If A had her way we might be getting these sleeves:

Just no.  No.

Just no. No.

















But, there is only one theme park that I am entertaining visiting.

Oh yes.  Harry Potter World.  I assume it will be incredibly busy.  So I will get all Snape on their rear ends:



AODA Chai Concentrate, by j


I just finished my final assignment for the Fall semester…a twenty page policy paper on the Accessibility for Ontarians Disability Act.

It was a dismal affair.  And I’m so glad it’s over.

But during the researching and writing I needed a break.  So I made some Chai Concentrate.

I love chai.  Love it.  It’s my go-to beverage, but I’m starting to get wary of the full fat version I get from Starbucks.

I love chai when it’s hot and when it’s cold- and I’m always mystified by the spices.  Let’s break it down.

chai - ingredients


4 1/2 cups water
8 bags black tea – I used orange pekoe
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split in half (or 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract added at the very end)
1/2 cup coconut sugar, date sugar or raw cane sugar (you can add more or less depending on how sweet you like your chai)
1 – 3-inch section of fresh ginger, cut into pieces
10 whole cloves
8 cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 whole star anise pods (I only used 1)
1/2 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon raw honey

First start off by boiling the water and the sugar:

chai - boiling water

After the sugar dissolves, it should look like this.  Only this was not an awesome pic. But you get the idea.

And then, add in all the spices and the cinnamon sticks and zest.  And simmer that spicy stuff for 20 minutes.

chai - boiling ingredients

Get ready.  It will smell AMAZING.  The original recipe calls for you to wrap all the spices in cheese cloth for easy removal.  I just used a strainer:

chai - sieve


Let it all cool and try not to drink it all up.  Then put it into an awesome jar and take it to your BFF as a thank you for her letting you sleep on her floor.

chai - jar

To drink this stuff, just add 1/2 chai concentrate to 1/2 milk.  When I tried it at Shannon’s we used soy milk.  It was my first attempt at soy milk since “Holly Nog-Gate 2007”.  It was not half bad.

Couple of things:

It was waaaay too sweet.  I added 3 parts soy milk to 1 part chai.  Reducing the sugar content next time I make this stuff.

I only used one star anise- but next time I may not use any.  Not a big fan of the licorice flavour, but I will add in more orange next time!

chai - cup

And it’s even more delicious when you have someone prepare this to go with it:

chai - dinner

And then because you’re so happy that you finished the semester (relatively) unscathed, you take a picture of your friend’s cat like this:

chai - cat

And then celebrate that the semester is done:

A nice surprise, by j


Woke up to some pretty stellar fog this AM, which put a bit of a damper on the plans to travel down the busy, busy highway for my Advanced Social Policy class.

However, being that I am one of many, we trekked out to the KW for class, albeit an hour late.

So what’s better than an extra hour to get ready in the morning (read: I actually had time to shower and make my lunch and dinner to take…usually I have to choose between those two options)?

How about enjoying the perk of having a BFF living in the right province for the first time in a decade?  Because what this means is that we were all up in the fancy coffee shop next to the Google building.  Did you know that Google has an office in KW??  I DID NOT!  I am a little bit curious to see if their Canadian office is as fun sounding as their Cali office.  But, I will make the assumption that with all things cross border the Canadian office is probably filled with lovely Google employees but they have to go with the nap rooms and slides that their American counterparts get to enjoy.

Sidenote: If you Google street view the KW Google office, it’s hilarious.  Go ahead, check it out.

Anyways- what else is awesome about my KW friend?  She’s letting me crash at her gorgeous home when needed.  My last semester is going to be an interesting one as she is letting me move in for 48 hours a week.  She’s lovely.

And in anticipation of next week’s marathon of school work I get to have a sleep over this weekend.  It will remind me of our high school sleepovers when I used to go to her house to get away from my little sisters.

I am also making a prediction- as our Sunday night will include copious amounts of red wine and J taking an anti-histamine to deal with her lovely four legged feline friend.

This is what I’ll be all like on Monday morning in class:

Can’t wait.

Important Dates


The new school year began for all of us sisters, and I would be amiss if I didn’t highlight the wonderful-ness that is the start of my last year of my Masters of Social Work.

I start off my second full time year with a light course load, but with a four day a week practicum placement. But that’s not the interesting part.

Mark it in your calendar:

JUNE 14th, 2013

Yes, we already have our convocation date for the program. If I was the type, I would create a vision board for this event.

I’m so excited about being done I have to remind myself that I do actually have a very full two semesters to get through first.

But there are also some other dates that are worth noting. So in that breath, here we go:

Tuesday, November 6th

We’ve got the juggernaut that is the US presidential election, with another bipartisan explosion between two oddly named nominees.

So far I have been able to determine that if we simply read transcripts of speeches we would probably think that we’re actually at the beginning of the 1980 presidential race. Seriously? We have to make a case for why women should have the right to medication and to have autonomy over their own body? And we are still living in a world where not one Republican voted for the Equal Pay Act? Seriously?


And did we all get a chance to watch Clint Eastwood’s descent into madness when he spoke to an empty chair?


September 26th, 2012

Johnny Appleseed Day

The only reason I mention this obscure holiday is because A and I are currently obsessed with the fact that fall has arrived! As I’ve mentioned before, A and I used to be closeted fall lovers (or maybe just me), but no more. In our weather obsessed culture we rarely express our love for autumn because of the viciousness that is found in lovers of summer. Move over summer lovers. Time for some chilly weather and hot beverages.


Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Three important events on this day.

First, my good friend Leah is leaving for Fort Smith, Northwest Territories to take job as counsellor at a youth residential treatment centre. I predict it will be more than difficult, but a challenge she can meet! Scary, yes. But most awesome things are.


Second, is the celebration of marriage of a certain couple that is responsible for five kids, four great grand kids and one supremely awesome granddaughter.

Happy anniversary Grams and Papa! 58 years is awesome. And according to the last conversation I had with my ever increasingly macabre grandmother, she’ll hang on for another two years so she can say she made it to her sixtieth anniversary. Grams really knows how to inject excitement into a celebration, no?

Side note: enjoy this video some awesome grandparents took when they were trying to Skype with their granddaughter. Little did they know it was on, and their granddaughter decided to upload it.


And finally, something else epic will happen on this Tuesday, something that I’ve been waiting two years for…Ke$ha drops her new single “Die Young“!!! OMGEEEEEEE!!!

I can’t wait!!!