Hey Rosetta! and Brotherly Love

Saturday, 28 November 2015

So anyone that spends any time with me, knows how proud I am of both my brothers.  They are both very accomplished, in very different ways. One bro (Daniel), is a motivated lawyer, for an independent firm, in St. John's, and has an awesome little boy and partner. The other (Mark), is a graphic designer, filmmaker, photographer and artist (and that greatly simplifies his creative abilities!).

Anyone that knows me, also has to listen to my frequent bragging about Mark's, collaborative and  creative efforts.

Just to list a few: documentative film making with Mary Pratt and Christopher Pratt, respectively; frequent collaboration with The Rooms in St. John's, Newfoundland and Fogo Island Arts; cinematographer and producer for an award winning short film at TIFF. (I know, right??)

So when my brothers and I, made a trip home in the summer of 2014, for my dad's 65th birthday, I wasn't surprised when Mark told me, that he was editing a music video that he shot on Fogo Island, with Hey Rosetta!

No bigs.

Mark had spent a lot of time on Fogo that year, and all of his projects were running together. He is also intensely shy about his work (at least to his family) and really doesn't reveal too much, before he has completely finished a project (wait a minute....maybe he's being....PROFESSIONAL!)

By the end of the vacation, he gave us a sneak peak at an early draft of the final video for "Soft Offering" (check it out below).




I was hooked.

And so....since then...I had been trying to catch a Hey Rosetta! show.  Which isn't an easy feat when you live three hours away from the nearest city centre, and these guys travel all over. I had tried to get tickets to two shows in the year 2015 (in Halifax and in Hubbards) and was shut down (argh).

Now, I was goal oriented.

I managed to get tickets to Hey Rosetta! 's show, at the Rebecca Cohn/Dalhousie Arts Centre, for Friday, Nov 27th.

It was the last show, of their most recent tour, with Yukon Blonde, before heading home, to NF, for the rest of the year.

Yukon Blonde was the opening act. I had just recently discovered them on instagram and rdio.com.  Super energetic group, with lots of hits of synth pop (which if you see my post on NS music week, you will find I am a huge fan of). It was Jeff, the lead singer's birthday and Hey Rosetta!, came out part way through Yukon Blonde's set to surprise him with a cake, and a serenade. It seemed as though these guys were pretty tight (confirmed by the encores they played together, which became group sing-a-longs...audience included). This demonstration of appreciation and affection, definitely amped up Yukon Blonde's energy. Thumbs up, from this cat.

Yukon Blonde

Then came Hey Rosetta! 's set (Jeez guys, punctuation is a challenge with this band name).

First off...don't know who the set designer was for the show but...in spite of myself...it was frigging amazing (How's that for literary genius!).

Gold. So much gold.

Loves me some gold.

Plus all these (strategically placed, it turns out) mounted, singular, vintage-inspired, incandescent, lights.



My gawd, it's not even fit, ya might say.

Myself and my date for the evening, Christine, knew that these kiddos were gonna be above average, in concert.

But again...the same as when I went to NSMW...I got so overwhelmed with the realization that people can create music, in such a complex manner; so effortlessly, but passionately.

Like what the hell?  Romesh can play the cello and the keyboard at the same time? Did I see that?

Mara can make a french horn sound so sophisticated? (cuz let's be honest folks...the french horn you hear, in a high school band....)

And Phil played a glockenspiel.

Any group that sits down to collaborate on writing the music to a song and says....guys...we need a glockenspiel for this part...is A-OK with me!

Seriously, though. The band-nerd that I was, (?is?) loved them even more, by the end of this show.

The highlight for me, was when Tim Baker said that they were going to play "Carry Me Home" ....cuz they were leaving the next day for Christmas in Newfoundland..home for many of the group.



Ugh.  It gave me the feels.... Cuz, I miss Christmas with my bros, more than anything...and that's where they both will be this Christmas: Newfoundland...

So after their full set and a fantabulous encore set...I made it my mission to meet these close collaborators and friends to my bro, Mark.

Christine told me I found some ovaries and I managed to approach unsuspecting Kinley, as she came out to meet her family and got invited to come back stage.

About 20 minutes later, Christine and I had met all the members of the group (except for Josh...sorry we ran out of steam, Josh!) plus Rich Aucoin, who I had seen in performance, just weeks ago at NSMW.

Definitely a cool experience...to meet people who see another side of Mark...that I only get to hear about...or see on a screen, if I'm lucky.

They were all lovely and gracious... and hopefully, I didn't "fangirl" too much...cuz Mark would never forgive me..

Thanks for the memories, Hey Rosetta!

K.

Encore













Katie's Favourite Christmas Recipes, Edition #1

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

So as the Christmas season is coming up soon, I wanted to share some of my favourite recipes that I have ever learned. 

EVAH!

I only make today's particular recipe at Christmas. It's frequently called "Christmas crack" by those who eat it. So addictive, and hits so many taste-and-texture-nails on the head: crunchy, creamy, nutty, salty, sweet and buttery.  I make about 6 batches of this candy per Christmas season...cuz we be right savage for this candy. 





I have to say I had to wait a loong time to get this recipe. This recipe actually comes from the friend of a friend's grandmother (aren't those the best recipes?) and I had to lie, cheat, and steal to get it. (She won't mind if I share it, right?)

The recipe is so damn simple, it's laughable:

1 can of nuts of your choice (I use a mixed nut variety for most batches, but it's equally awesome with peanut free options e.g. I use salted roasted almonds for my bro that is allergic to peanuts)
1 cup of butter (use the real stuff here...it's Christmas, right? You can use salted or unsalted depending on what you have around.  If you use unsalted add some generous pitches of salt)
1 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
1-2 large chocolate bars ( I use pretty large dairy milk bars)

The real key to this recipe is the technique. 

Some people feel comfortable making candy by winging it or using your visual cues or the old water glass trick (click these words to link to this specific technique)

Not me!

Again, I am a control freak in the kitchen and I don't want to risk wasting a full cup of buttery goodness and an expensive can of nuts (the cost of nuts is nutty! Haha.....ha.....ha....haaaaa) 

To ensure the most amount of control while candy making, I use my friendly-neighbourhood-Sobeys candy thermometer. Best 7 dollars I ever spent.



Best rule of thumb: prepare everything first, prior to starting the candy making process. (Cuz once you start stirring...you can't stop....and no body likes burnt tasting candy..cuz there are some things that even chocolate can't fix)

Grab a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. 

Sprinkle your can of nuts on the parchment paper.



Then you can start the candy. In a large pot, with the candy thermometer attached to the side, you melt butter and brown sugar and vanilla over medium heat.



Stir constantly with a silicone spatula, once the butter melts and starts to boil. Continue to stir for what feels like forever, but is somewhere between 5-10 minutes. Wait until the candy thermometer reads 305 or 310 (the mixture will look dark amber and smell amazing) and pour the hot liquid candy on to the nuts, on the parchment paper. (Ooh, sounds sexy right?)




The candy is good to leave for a few minutes to prepare the chocolate topping. In a double boiler, (which is a metal bowl sitting on top of a simmering pot of water) melt two chocolate bars. Then pour over the partially cooled candy. Spread the melted chocolate as evenly as possible over candy, with a knife. 





It's ok if the edges aren't perfect..cuz who are we? Martha? (Hi, Martha!!)

And the edges are just as tasty as the rest. I promise. 

Let the candy cool to room temp and then break into pieces. 

If you are impatient like me, you can cool it some, in the fridge (but I guess food scientists frown upon this as it raises the temperature of the interior of the fridge overall, which may affect other foods...but I live on the edge at Christmas time...when it comes to candy..:except for the candy thermometer part, ahem). 

You can store the candy in a sealed container in the fridge, on the counter, or in the freezer! So versatile; this treat! (I actually prefer this candy chilled.)



And then, try not to eat it all in one day. Or you could give it as a gift. But trust me, this is stuff you want to save for yourself.

Maybe a child if they are lucky. 

Stay tuned for Christmas Recipe #2! Enjoy!

K.

Christmas gift fun

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Hey folks,

How's it going?  Got your Christmas gifts planned out?

Andrew and I decided not to exchange Christmas gifts this year.  It sounds really...bad? trite? appropriate? It really comes down to the fact that we really, independently buy anything that we need...and if we want something..we plan it out, mutually. Yes, one could argue that it might take the fun out...but we really don't need to give gifts to each other for the sake of giving gifts.

Christmas time is an expensive time, and we usually spend money up in Halifax buying clothes etc. on Boxing day. (After all...for Andrew and I, Christmas is a lot about the food!)

In the meantime, I love picking out gifts for others. :)

We have definitely streamlined our gift giving to focusing on gifts for the kids in my life (my nephew, Noah and Emma, of course).

Emma has been working on her santa list and is drawing her santa list. It looks something like this:

Note the coffee stains





 This is a representation of some heinous, expensive unicorn called a Fur Real and a pair of pale pink, sparkly boots she saw at Old Navy.

This mom is on top of her game and have secured both...the unicorn on a super-sale at superstore and the boots from oldnavy.ca (online shopping is the bees knees when you live in Yarmouth).

In the meantime, some of my other gifts I have been looking at on etsy.com.  I have also been looking for decorative objects and jewelry on etsy!

Here's what I found (Click on the caption to link to the etsy store):
Rose Gold plates studs


Look at this gorgeous Hudson's Bay Coat from Halifax's vintage store: Fancy Lucky Vintage
Vintage 60s necktie perfect for Christmas
Gorgeous Impressionist painting of a buoy from a Newfoundland artist: Jeanette Jobson

Mid century brass is the new silver! 



And so many more awesome things!

And if it is within your means...pick up a toy and an article of clothing for families looking for Christmas gifts through the Salvation Army.  In Yarmouth, you can pick up gift tags in the Yarmouth Mall! It would mean so much to these families to be able to give their children a Christmas!

Good luck in your shopping endeavours!  

K.
































Baking Bucket List

Sunday, 15 November 2015

I know there is some heavy stuff on the go out there. Thanks for checking in.

In times like these, all one can do is look to act towards others with kindness and tolerance. You never know, demonstrating one ounce of tolerance may inspire someone else to examine their values. I hope, at least.

I had written this post last week, prior to all of the atrocities. In times like these...it's nice to be able to turn to something that relaxes you and you enjoy...

Anyone that follows the blog semi-regularly can figure out I am a bit of a baking nerd (by the way Alton Brown's "Good Eats" is on American Netflix right now and I geeked out on his show on waffles last night...much different than my last Saturday night.)

Nothing is better than eating something (or watching someone eat something) you made! Unless it's awful...in which case it's.....sad (and this definitely still happens to me!)

I would like to think of myself as a pretty decent, amateur baker. I have some basic understanding of techniques and ingredients and the chemistry behind it all.

However, there are some baking challenges on my radar that I have never attempted.


BUT I WILL! SUCCESS SHALL BE MINE!


(Sorry for the dramatic shouting.)

Let's list them, shall we?


1) Crème Brûlée.

This is number one on my list because I adore eating "good" crème brûlée. With real vanilla bean. Cuz there is definitely such thing as "bad" crème brûlée: where you feel as though you are eating scrambled eggs. Yuck.

I have been plotting my crème brûlée experiment for some time, now. However, I need to secure some vanilla beans and a food blow torch. Oh and some ramekins. It will be an expensive experiment. (In related custards..I wouldn't mind making Crème Caramele or Pot de Crème, either!)



2) Profiteroles (with plans to one day make a Croquembouche)

Basically, the hard part of this is to make something called choux pastry (pronounced "shoe"). Sounds good, amirite? A piping bag or at least a piping tip is necessary for this experiment.



3) Macarons

No. Not macaroons, peeps. I am talking the fancy, colorful, crisp, flavoured, filled meringue "cookie". Again: piping bag required.



4) Croissants

'Nuff said

5) Bread

Yep.  I have never made bread outside of a bread machine. (hides head in shame)

6) Momofuku's Milk Bar's Crack Pie

 You can buy this pie for $45ish dollars, plus shipping (who ships pies?). It's supposed to be amazing....considering it's called Crack Pie, I believe them. It's a laundry list of ingredients and steps...one, sure to challenge any baker.



Further honourable mentions:

- Canelés


- Madeleines


-Tiramisu

Did I miss any?

K.


House Plans and Thanks

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Man guys...I have hit the big time.  I am getting regular spam commenters. For accident lawyers. Miami accident lawyers to be precise. Sorry, I didn't copy the link down.

Next time I have an accident in Miami, I will know where to call...Saul Goodman (btw Better Call Saul, for the win!)

Either way, if you feel inclined to comment on my posts now, you need to identify yourself.  Which I guess, isn't a bad thing...because maybe you are commenting to let me know that I am your long lost relative, that has a large inheritance...in Ghana. My blank cheque is in the mail! I need to pay for a new house after all.

(Insert segue way to...) Cuz I have beautiful blue prints of my hope-to-be-house!! (Thanks Adam! They are soo beautiful!)


However, I have decided that the drawings are enough..and I will make a paper doll house out of the prints. Who needs a new house when you can just pretend?

Way cheaper.

In all seriousness, do you ever have a big fabulous, calculated plan that doesn't pan out?  I am terrified this will be the case with our house. The plans being completed are like a reality kick. Things can be in motion.

It feels too amazing to be true...

Emma added the wand for decoration




Cuz look! I have main floor laundry! And coat closets! And PRIVACY!!

And yet, it feels so far away, with many obstacles to over come.

So I shall continue to look at the plans and dream and hope...and I guess if all else fails, we have our current house to live in...which is something to be thankful for.

Hope this evening finds you well and tomorrow you take some time to be thankful for all the things we take for granted and for those that allowed us to be free to enjoy them.

Night.

K.



NSMW #2

Sunday, 8 November 2015

So I stayed up til 2 am again last night (against my initial reservations).

Parenting was much easier today as E. "slept in" til 8am.

Andrew and mine's rubber arms got twisted to go see Rich Aucoin (and Emma got to experience her first "sleepover" i.e. you take advantage of a friend's kindness to have your child share their babysitter.  Emma was pumped on that account.)

There were quite a few bands leading up to Rich Aucoin. I won't try to describe them as they were generally rock (one with a few country influences) and not totally my scene (and thus would temper my review). They all worked their asses off (even the early openers, which I had to give them props for, since they were performing for a handful of people) and there were excellent examples of stage charisma and presence.

So, everything led up to Rich Aucoin.

I had heard he was a "stage performer". I listen to Rich quite a bit on my Rdio account and knew he had some high energy songs: "Catchy" if you will.

I wasn't really prepared.

Rich Aucoin was a train-wreck-mash-up of performance artist, visual artist, filmmaker, singer, poet, synthesizer-er (yes, that's a new word), dancer, engager. Every movement, word, picture, prop had a purpose. Carefully thought out, but effortless. Seamless.

How did he do that??

He eliminated the invisible line between the audience and the performer (I think he spent more time on the floor than on the stage). Completely accessible... Never mind the fact that he gave everyone access to his cell phone number to text him for free music (I am sure he has seen his share of risque photos to that tune).

He had the room in the palm of his hand. One hour, felt like 20 minutes.

And a parachute....cuz who doesn't love a parachute (brings me back to my elementary school gym.)?



My one critique...not related to Rich at all...is that I wish they had the artists from the first evening, in the Haley's Lounge, open for Rich.

The progression would have made so much more sense....but whatevs. That one performance was worth my 10 dollar entrance fee.  I would have paid more!

So much for a quiet weekend!

But what a time.

K.




NS Music Week

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Parenting is tough sometimes.

Like at 6:30 in the morning, after you went to bed at 2:00am.

Yep.

I am hoping I get a nap in somewhere today, if I bribe E. with a movie.

But let me tell you...I had a great time being up til 2:00am...(first time I saw that time on the clock since.....Emma wasn't sleeping through the night).

It's been a few years since NS Music Week has been in town.  The last time I made a fool of myself in front of Jenn Grant (one of my fav NS singers). It's always a good time when there are a flurry of NS bands, singers, and artists in Yarmouth.

What I love about NS Music Week venues, is that you always find out about a new musician or group of musicians that you have never heard of before and they blow you away.

Andrew and I are huge synth-pop fans. So while most Yarmouth-ians were headed to the Wintersleep show, we decided to go off road and head to the synth-pop showcase at Haley's Lounge at the Grand.

I always forget how special live music is, when I haven't been able to see some in a while (cuz it's been a while). We take music for granted when it comes out of a smart phone or a computer or on a radio. We lose that appreciation for the effort that goes into it.

Live music always shocks you into the reality of how intense music creation can be and how different it can be; how many different ways there are to create music.

Last night, I had an up close and personal observation of Jonahmeltwave, (originally from Clare) with his peppy, electronic productions that got us moving (and spilling drinks).

We were impressed with Brinleigh's ethereal, self-described "spooky lullabies" and Arsoniste's ridiculous vocal range and depth.

Glory Glory had us head bobbing to their ear-pleasing sound (and balloon tossing!) and Vogue Dots had me chilled with Babette Hayward's awkward sweetness.

We made it to Scientists of Sound, and I am so glad we did.  They know how to put on a show!  I have never seen or heard anything like them before! They brought joy and intensity to their performance and A. and I commented about their chemistry onstage. I can see listening to their music if you need a pick me up or if you have had a few drinks (which I didn't and I still had a ball)...probably my fave performance of the evening.

Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the last performance of JoyfulTalk. C'est la vie. The babysitter had to go home at some point!

We were thinking of going to see Rich Aucoin tonight...but staying out til 2 am makes for expensive child care bills and tired mommies. Wahh!

Anyhow, I hope if you went to a NS Music Week show you enjoyed it! We should all support NS musicians...especially if they trek all the way, to give it their all, in Yarmouth!

Have a good rest of your weekend!

K.


The only reasonable shot I got of a band all evening! : Glory Glory

A.'s shot of Brinleigh

Scones and Dancing

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Good evening fine folks!

Hope it finds you well. It's almost the weekend...and after saying I wanted to do nothing this weekend...I find myself excited to attend Nova Scotia Music Week celebrations..likely...this Friday at the Haley Lounge, to see one of the bands that lately has been on repeat on my Rdio account: Vogue Dots. So Friday night: you might find me to be a dancing fool (which I have been known to be from time to time).

Other things on board? Scones for my weekly stroke rounds: one of the best collaborative teams ever...for real.

Many moons ago, after finding it in an issue of House and Home, I decided to try a scone recipe from the owners of Bobbette & Belle. Emma was a baby and I had a friend coming to visit! (Incidentally, it is one of my big regrets from our trip to Toronto this summer that we didn't end up going to their flagship store.)

Ever since then, I have been using this scone recipe as a base recipe.  Scones are traditionally dense and somewhat dry...which is fine...I prefer a more biscuit-y scone. This recipe does the trick.

They are best, just out of the oven; where the top and bottom are dry and crusty, and the inside soft. When stored in a tupperware container, they become more moist (somewhat disappointing but still delish).

Anyhoo, I had a request for something lemon-y for stroke rounds (Hi Kelly!)...so I decided to adapt the recipe from Bobbette and Belle's traditional blueberry scone recipe and make a lemon poppyseed scone. A bit of a risk?  Maybe, but we have been successful using this recipe to create apple-cinnamon, cranberry, and maple-bacon scones. Carbs and gluten for days!

(I love something poppy seed....anyone see Elaine test positive for opiates on Seinfeld after eating poppy seed muffins?  That's what we were going for....oh yeah...)

Here we go:

Lemon Poppyseed Scones (as adapted from Bobbette and Belle's Blueberry Scone Recipe)

2 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
zest of two lemons
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup minus 2 tablespoons of buttermilk
2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp of vanilla

Combine dry ingredients plus poppy seeds and zest. In a food processor, or with a pastry cutter, pulse/combine butter, into dry ingredients, until butter is size of peas in the flour.

In a bowl, add wet ingredients to dry and fold with a spatula until just combined.  Dough can look shaggy. Dump out dough onto floured surface and create a large, round disk. Cut into equal-ish triangles.


Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for approx. 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Lemon Glaze:

If you are really keen....you can mix a couple tablespoons of icing sugar with enough fresh lemon juice to make a drizzle/glaze...it makes the scones taste super fresh and bright...and of course the sugar doesn't hurt.



And there we go! We are ready to dance! Friday night here we come!



But I am hoping I look more like this......(Both great options in my opinion)

(Drake dancing is big in the Hearing and Speech office right now)


Happy almost Friday!

K.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Man, anyone else find this past weekend intense? At least it was tempered by lots of candy and chips. But...I must say I am looking forward to doing little, next weekend.

The hubster and I did some awesome baking this past weekend.  Andrew made pumpkin snickerdoodles.  Many people think that the pumpkin from a carving pumpkin isn't good for eating (vs the pie pumpkin, which incidentally...I don't know if I have ever interacted with). Surprise! It totally is like any other squash...tasteless...but definitely edible.

Piles of pumpkin offal
Basically, if you take the pumpkin flesh (doesn't that sound ghoulish?) that you scooped out, remove the stringy bits and seeds (which btw, are awesome roasted with salt, pepper and garlic powder) and cook it in a dry pot on low, forever...(there is a lot of water in pumpkin), you end up with lumpy pumpkin.


MMMM....isn't that what the dreams of pumpkin spice latte are made out of?

Take the lumpy pumpkin and puree in a blender or processor and you will have smooth, happy, pumpkin puree.  Looks orange and tastes like nothing.

Thankfully...like all squash, it's the seasoning that you add to it that makes it taste good...not the pumpkin itself.

Andrew scored the recipe from an awesome website called: www.thekitchn.com

You read that right. There is no 'e', where it should be.

How avant garde.

Seriously, it's a fabulous website with lots of awesome info on baking. (I also love its equally fabulous sister website on home design called www.apartmenttherapy.com ....spelled like it sounds.)

Anyhoo...here is the recipe: Snickerdoodles a la pumpkin

The cookies are like little cinnamon and sugar pillows with a hint of chewiness from the moistness of the pumpkin. Where pumpkin is flavourless...(sorry it kind of is..maybe it has a hint of sweetness on a good day)..it really just adds some nice texture and softness to the cookie...and hey! what's wrong with adding some fruit to your cookies (That's right peeps! Pumpkin is a fruit not a veggie...BAM!)

                           


Anyhow...next time you carve a pumpkin (like say in 11-12 months time)...try cooking with your happy jack 'o' lantern insides..(cuz I am surprised that the cutting of pumpkins for decorative purposes has not been kiboshed by some pumpkin rights group....so let's stay one step ahead of them.)

Happy November!

K.