Oh Canada — Happy Birthday!

by gingerbelle on July 3, 2012

canada day cupcake

I love sum­mer AND birth­days so it was great to cel­e­brate both this past week­end.  Hooray for Canada turn­ing 145 and hooray for Tessa — seri­ously the host­ess with the most­ess!  Tessa was the mas­ter­mind behind get­ting every­one together for a huge spread in honor of our moth­er­land and let me just tell you that she does NOT fool around when it comes to plan­ning a party.  I will attempt to paint you a pic­ture.  The tone on the deck was set by the sim­ple yet beau­ti­ful red and white decor as well as the art­ful pre­sen­ta­tion of water­melon moji­tos, wine, beer, san­gria, tor­tillas and Tessa’s famous guac. which as always nobody wasted any time devouring.

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Good Friday made great yet again.

by gingerbelle on April 13, 2012

beer fish & chips

So the annual tra­di­tion (tra­di­tion here) remains strong and per­haps one of my favourite days of the year.  Last week on good Fri­day it was time to extend the usual invite to over indul­gence in the name of reli­gion.  Not sur­pris­ingly beer, deep fried food, and sugar is too strong a draw to resist and as always we ended up hav­ing a great crowd.  Our strat­egy after many years of expe­ri­ence is to start early.  A team went to get the fish around 5:30pm and when they came back with full arms proudly declared that we had cleaned them out of fresh hal­ibut, we got the very last filets!  Clearly expe­ri­ence pays because we had scored the desired hal­ibut and with a frenzy for uten­sils, condi­ments, the all impor­tant coleslaw (the veg­gie neu­tral­izer makes it all okay) and of course drink refills — the feast was was devoured in a flash.

fish & chips plate Its funny because every year peo­ple say, “oh man that is a lot of food, I couldn’t pos­si­bly eat all that .”  Well speak­ing as the per­son who cleaned up the food & dish tor­nado that hit our kitchen — those plates were pretty clean before I did the dishes.

Of course we didn’t stop there, we’re pro­fes­sion­als now.  [click to continue…]


christmas chaos In my last post I expressed con­cern about get­ting my usual Christ­mas bak­ing done in time.  Well I did and it was epic.  Now that the pow­dered sugar fog has finally set­tled I can share a bit of the frenzy with you.   I started out want­ing to scale back a bit, you know — mak­ing only the true true favourites and well — it didn’t quite work out that way.  How do you cut the favourites?  In the end I man­aged to make pretty much all the favourites and then tried some good and bad new recipes to boot.  I believe I did also men­tion in the last post that I was men­tally unbal­anced?  Yes.

gingerbread I started out with cookie doughs and lets say it didn’t go as smoothly as it usu­ally does -  a very rocky start indeed.  There were some new recipes I won’t be try­ing again.  Mostly I blame rush­ing and skim­ming the recipes as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for adding 4x the icing sugar or for­get­ting other key ingre­di­ents lead­ing to the mul­ti­ple cookie dough casu­al­ties.  I know, what­ever I need to tell myself BUT I got dis­cour­aged and thought per­haps I’d actu­ally offi­cially lost my bak­ing mojo.  Look­ing around the house with zero hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions, noth­ing but fran­tic mess from cookie fail­ures and I say this very tongue and cheek but I went to the dark place pouty face included.  I turned to Joel in my [click to continue…]


Christmas baking bonanza in peril?

by gingerbelle on December 9, 2011

header Christ­mas has crept up on me the same way Hal­loween did.  I am a lit­tle con­cerned because my annual tra­di­tion of turn­ing the kitchen into a bak­ing work­shop pump­ing out obscene amounts of sweet deli­cious­ness is threat­ened, let me explain.  Joel and I have been in St. Lucia for the amaz­ing wed­ding of two of our dear­est friends (blog posts to come).  You’re think­ing, oh poor Jen and Joel, bask­ing in hot sun and swim­ming in turquoise waters — trou­bling life you lead — hearts bleed­ing for you, what does this have to do with Christ­mas bak­ing?  Well St. Lucia although beau­ti­ful and guilty of wrap­ping both the body and soul in sun­shine doesn’t exactly spark the hol­i­day spirit.  So here we are back in Ontario for a week now and all I’ve accom­plished is buy­ing 15 lbs of but­ter, bak­ery quan­ti­ties of flour and var­i­ous sug­ars along with a met­ric tonne of assorted nuts.  I am hav­ing trou­ble get­ting started in the actual mix­ing and bak­ing part, still day dream­ing about roti and piton I sup­pose and very quickly run­ning out of time — ulti­mately threat­en­ing the whole tradition.

I thought per­haps look­ing at some of last years treats might help inspire some action on my part.  Here is a glimpse from Christ­mas 2010:

gingerbread army cookies pkgs Joel says I don’t need to do it but he’s wrong — I do.  I have an eager audi­ence await­ing their favourite sweets — its a tra­di­tion now not to be aban­doned.  That and I have a men­tal insta­bil­ity that com­pels me to cre­ate edi­ble joy out of sugar and but­ter.  Stay tuned for a glimpse of Christ­mas 2011.




Last minute halloween.

by gingerbelle on November 2, 2011

halloween1 Hal­loween like Christ­mas seems to sneak up on me every year and this year was no dif­fer­ent.  I must con­fess that even when I was a child I actu­ally never really liked hal­loween, never embraced get­ting into cos­tume and HATED going to ask for candy.  As I got older I was so glad I didn’t have to do it any­more and I flat out refused to hand out the candy either — I sup­posed I waged my own strike against halloween.

Fast for­ward to home own­er­ship.  Joel said [click to continue…]


The magic of television brings Christmas in October

by gingerbelle on October 16, 2011

It has been crazy again in the land of free­lance and here is a glimpse of the most recent adven­ture.  In between illus­trat­ing mul­ti­ple light­ing depart­ments nat­u­rally I got a gig wrap­ping presents for a Christ­mas com­mer­cial.  Up for the chal­lenge, in total I spent two nights (after the day job) and a 13 hr. day on set just wrap­ping gifts.  Gifts to sit and look pretty, gifts with real toys to open, stock­ings to dump out, hero gifts, re-wrapping, adding gifts, it never seemed to end.  It was stress­ful but not nearly as much for me as it was on the rest of the art depart­ment.  They man­aged pulling off Christ­mas in Octo­ber with only a cou­ple days prep — well done.  At the end of the day here is my small piece of the Christ­mas mir­a­cle. presents1 [click to continue…]


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