Thursday, November 27, 2014

Still alive and kicking

Tis the season of the pre-Christmas rush. When deadlines pile up, tho not nearly as fast as assorted gift swaps and secret santas. When days keep getting shorter and to-do lists keep getting longer. When you have a dozen or so holiday parties to attend in the 20 days before you fly back to Ontario. When you might strangle yourself in the pile of yarn waiting to be knit up into gifts.

Any ways, my day planner has filled up, and so my blog has been collecting some dust. Throw into all of that binge watching my way through Gilmore Girls on Netflix in every one of my spare minutes, while developing early arthritis in my hands from the frantic knitting, and you have a justifiable reason for my lack of posts over the last couple weeks.

Never fear tho, this weekend I am taking some real down time, just for me, and promise to have some exciting posts just for you too!

Happy American Turkey Day, and don't forget to take some down time for yourself on this rush towards Christmas.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Super Easy Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies

I whipped up these cookies the other day for three reasons.

1. I picked up a new silicon baking sheet and wanted to try it.
2. Kevin gave me a jar of chunky peanut butter (I always buy smooth) and he insisted it was better.
3. I was having a kind of blue day, and well coookies make everything better.

So here they are:

Super Easy Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies

Prep Time 5-10 min
Baking Time 13 min
Makes 35 small cookies.

In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter.

Add in 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar, mix.

Add in one large egg and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix.

Add 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. At this point you can continue to mix with you mixer, or as I inevitably need to do with cookie dough, flour up your clean hands and get right in there.

The dough should be able to come together in a ball, then you're ready to portion it out. I shaped my cookies into about toonie sized circles, and spaced them evenly on my baking tray. They will spread a little when they bake, but not too much.

And into the oven (preheated to 350') they go, for 13 minutes. When you take them out you can just slide the silicone sheet with the cookies off the baking tray and onto the table to cool.

Throw the cooled cookies into a tin, and deliver them to your boyfriend who is stressing over CaRMS applications, and enjoy!

Verdict on the silicone baking sheet, nice alternative to parchment paper, prevented burning of the bottoms of the cookies, pain in the arse to clean in the sink. (Nothing sticks but the buttery cookies left little oily circles behind).

Verdict on the chunky peanut butter? If it's all you have, go ahead and use it. The effect is similar to adding chopped peanuts to a regular recipe. I'm not a fan tho, and will stick to smooth in the future!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Spontaneously Registered for Mud Hero 2015, Red Deer!

I was just reading through some blogs by fellow Albertans and noticed there were a stream of posts the other day about Mud Hero 2015, in Red Deer. Looks like Becky over at the Bex Factor had the great idea to get a bunch of us bloggers out for a run come August. Since I ran with her once here in Calgary ages ago, and had a great time! I thought of course I'll sign up for this.

Colour me Rad, Calgary, 2013...they rescheduled it due to the flood, and my whole team 
dropped out, lucky Becky was happy to invite me out with hers!

So you can check out the details over at The Bex Factor, we're running Saturday August 8th at 10AM, and if you don't register soon (before the 14th, the price will go up). 

Can't wait to see you all there (August is soooo far away tho!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

3rd annual pumpkin carve off

Every year we gather friends, pumpkins, beers and shots and partake in a carve off, complete with shot gunning beers, and half time mystery shots.

The first year in, I went simple, with an elongated pumpkin.

That first year there were only six of us, we carved on the back deck at Kevin's and the weather was even kind of nice.

In 2013, we stepped up the game, and went from 6 to 12 carvers. We all planned in advance, scouring the internet for inspiration pumpkins. I even experimented with shaping and two toned carving.

Producing this masterpiece! The rest of the feild looked pretty awesome too. I've opted to sensor some of the pumpkins, alcohol and boys in their 20s often leads to NSFW pumpkins.

This year we faced a potential set back, as Kevin and I drove from store to store on Halloween looking for pumpkins that were nowhere to be found in the all of Calgary. Lucky for us a friend new of a farm that was getting rid of pumpkins cheep on November 1st, and they picked up 15 for the carve off.

I decided to go art pumpkin, and freehand carved a pumpkin version of Vincent van Gogh`s The Starry Night.

Which looks O.K. unlit, but with three candles inside and in the dark, it really shines!

And the rest of the pumpkin feild looked great too! Complete with a couple minions, tinker bell and grumpy cat!

After all that pumpkin carving, we thru our Halloween costumes on and celebrated. You can find some of my past costumes here and here. This year, on short notice, I decided to celebrate the Turtle BackPack that Kevin got me for Christmas last year, and went as Raphael!

You can find an amazing how-to video on making your own Ninja Turtle costume on the Thread Banger youtube channel... not that I followed it, but it did inspire me!

And what did Kevin go as? A Taco! Not really a couple costume, but oddly enough the colours matched!

Hope you all had happy halloweens! What did you dress up as?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Weekend Project: Fruit Crate Shelf

Friday afternoon I wandered into Zoe's Store on 14th, a great little thrift store, always full on inspiration, and picked up a simple wooden fruit or veggie crate for $12. (They had a sturdier 25 dollar option, but I thought this ricketier one had more charm).

Since shabby chic is all the rage right now, you can find thousands of ideas for what to do with these crates on Pinterest. I thought to make a shelf  out of mine.

Coming to me as is though, meant it needed some work.

I pulled out some old nails, and added some new ones.

Gave it a serious scrubbing (the clear water in the pail was practically mud by the time I was through.

I resisted the temptation to paint it, wanting to salvage the original labeling on top.

And instead gave the inside a coat of a deep mahogany stain (two in one stain and polyurethane sealant).

Added some brackets for easy hanging and threw it up on the wall.

Furnished it with an ikea lantern, and a pair of milk bottles, not to mention some fresh fruit, and there you have it, a quick and easy weekend project in the bag!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Namasaturday 02: Late night mental yoga.

My favourite part my yoga practice is taking savasana at the end. After an hour and 15 of focussing on my breath as I move through each posture, savasana is the clearest my mind ever is. So peaceful.

Thursday night I was woken up by my cell phone ringing with some unfortunate news, and afterwards I thought there'd be no way to hush the noise in my head and fall back asleep afterwards. I thought to myself that I needed the peace of savasana, but wasn't about to hop out of bed to run through some sun salutations. So instead I tried some mental yoga instead.

First I chanted (with my thoughts) the opening chant to the Ashtanga Practice. And then I began to do sun salutations. Counting my breath, and visualizing the movements.

Inhale, hands go up.
Exhale, fold forward.
Inhale, chest and eyes look up.
Exhale, jump back, chaturanga.
Inhale, up dog.
Exhale down dog.
Take five long breaths.
At the end of your exhale, bend your knees and look forward.
Inhale, jump forward look up.
Exhale, bend forward.
Inhale, hands go up.
Exhale, samasthiti.

Going through these mental sun salutations calmed both my body and my mind. Eventually I was able to get some sleep.

Today is a reminder that yoga is available to you both on and off the mat. Even if you have not physically practiced in a few days.

And with that I'll leave you with the translation of the ashtange closing chant, the words of which seem particularly appropirate with everything going on in the world these days.

May all be well with mankind.
May the leaders of the earth protect it in every way by keeping to the right path.

May there be goodness for those who know the earth is sacred.
May all the worlds be happy.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Thank God for Cats on the Internet!

Sometimes you just need something to make you smile.

Or to help you get through Friday and make it to the weekend.

Or to do both.

Good Mythical Morning (on YouTube) drew my attention over to just now. And I can't click away, or do I want to.

It's basically a website that loads a random GIF of a cat, set to music. And it's different every time you reload. And they are all purrfection (see what I did there?).
 So click on over to the webiste and enjoy. Then go and hug someone you love today. Have a happy Friday!