Monday, 23 December 2013
The new sensation/holiday tradition of Elf on the Shelf can add to the excitement of Christmas but can also add some negative experiences for both children and adults alike.
As my kids are now past the Santa Claus stage, I was not aware of the Elf on the Shelf until this holiday season. I have to admit that he is a little bit "creepy" looking and had me thinking I met this guy before, lol. Well it turns out I have, the mid-century decor elves look the same as the Elf on the Shelf, or should I say the Elf on the Shelf looks like the mid-century elves. So, because of this, the Elf offered me a little childhood nostalgia. I love mid-century decor and the ornaments of the 1950's, 60's and 70's are elegant and classy.
The idea of an Elf on the Shelf is cute but the work and discipline that goes into maintaining the facade and the anxiety it can offer some children is not always worth it. You have to move the Elf around to make the kids think that it has flow back to Santa's workshop/North Pole to report on their good/bad behaviour. Of course there can be a little blackmail going on with parents saying, "If you don't behave, the Elf will tell Santa...." Parents for generations have used the threat of Santa knowing if you are bad or good as a way of maintaining good behaviour, but now, there is a messenger of Santa that they can actually see--they are not allowed to touch the Elf--but they can see him and watch where he shows up next.
The internet has also used the Elf on the Shelf in negative ways--I saw one incidence where he was filming a bunch of naked Barbie dolls bathing in the bathroom sink. Although I was amused at this, the chance of kids seeing this type of thing is not good at all! Also once you start the tradition you are obligated to maintain it, at least until the kids let you know they are in on it!
What do you think of the Elf on the Shelf--smart marketing/money maker for the creators (based on a book by mother and daughter team, Carol Aebersold and daughters Chanda Bell and Christa Pitts) but is it a tradition worth having in your home?
Saturday, 21 December 2013
Friday, 20 December 2013
Monday, 30 September 2013
|This is a moist and delicious apple cake that you will be making for years to come|
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I used Canola oil)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
3 cups of flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
4 very large apples chopped (about 4 cups). Use more apples if they are not large
Beat oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla with a hand whisk. Sift the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the moist ingredients whisking and stirring until well combined--batter will be dense.
Add your peeled and chopped apples to the batter and continue to fold the apples around the batter until well mixed.
Spoon the thick apple batter into a prepared bundt pan (spray cooking oil or butter on the bundt pan).
Place cake in a 350 degree F oven for approximately one hour. Top will be golden brown and knife will come out clean when inserted. Loosen the cake with knife around the edges and let cool slightly before removing.
You will be making this recipe for years to come--it is the best with a great big mug of coffee. Enjoy!
|This is how the batter looks just before you bake the cake|
Adapted from: My Favourite Fresh Apple Bundt Cake
Sunday, 15 September 2013
My Red Carpet Experience with Jennifer Aniston
|A photo of Jennifer Aniston Speaking to Media at the TIFF Red Carpet of Life of Crime taken by DanB (my husband)|
|Cast of Life of Crime from Bell Media Screen--photo taken by ChristineB (me)|
|TIFF Media interviews--taken by DanB (my husband)|
|Tall Building in the middle is the Ritz-Charlton Hotel where Jennifer and Justin were spotted!--photo taken by ChristineB (me)|
|Jennifer Aniston's beautiful smile (photo taken by DanB)|
|Crowd anxiously awaiting Jennifer Aniston's arrival holding cameras and magazine photos to be autographed by Jen!|
|The area in between the two crowds is where the SUV's drove up dropping off cast, producers and, finally, Jennifer Aniston! (Photo taken by me (ChristineB)|
Thursday, 11 July 2013
This cake is so easy to make and is great for any summer party!
A box of 24 ice cream sandwiches
Chocolate fudge sauce
A large tub of any flavour ice cream (you may have to use two smaller tubs)
Place a large spring form pan in the freezer for about 20 minutes or more to get it good and cold so that the ice cream will not stick to bottom and sides.
Leave ice cream out until slightly softened.
Cut ice cream sandwiches to the size of the edge of the spring form pan and place around the entire circumference of the pan --save the smaller pieces to be used in the center of the cake.
Stir the softened ice cream and place half of ice cream in between the ice cream sandwiches.
Take the smaller ice cream sandwich pieces that were cut off and place them over the ice cream as a middle layer for the cake. Squirt some fudge sauce on the ice cream sandwich layer.
Add remainder of ice cream and place any remaining ice cream sandwiches and pieces on the top of cake. Add more fudge sauce.
Place in freezer until set--then Enjoy!
Friday, 3 May 2013
The Jodi Arias trial has been sensationalized in the media because of the shocking way she killed Travis Alexander a former boyfriend who was still part of her life.
The horrific way that Jodi Arias claims that she acted in self-defense has drawn many people to this case. Jodi admits to shooting Travis Alexander in the face as self defense but says she can't remember stabbing him 29 times which includes fatally wounding him by stabbing him in the heart and cutting his throat ear to ear.
Jodi was hooked on Travis; although she is minimizing her infatuation on the witness stand. Travis was about to go to Cancun with another woman. Travis told Jodi that he thought this woman would be his future wife--that God had sent him a message. Yet, days before his trip, Jodi drives thousands of miles to have sex with Travis who continued to text Jodi and have phone sex with her even as he openly courted prospective suitable wives. This trip obviously turned out to be a deadly one for Travis as Jodi "allegedly" got her revenge. Theories and evidence suggest Jodi decided she would take matters into her own deadly hands by stopping Travis from being with another woman.
Travis knew Jodi was crazy jealous of his dating since, in the past, she slashed his tires and that of his dates and sent an anonymous email to his date telling her to stop her bad behaviour. Friends of Travis say they warned him to get away from her. He told his friends that he couldn't get rid of her--yet they didn't know that he was still using her for sex.
Unfortunately for Travis this was the perfect storm--a woman who was infatuated with him who had the internal rage, psychopathic and other tendencies that brought her to end his life.
After her crime, Jodi travel directly to the home of another prospective boyfriend for the day. No one around her that day or in the days to come would be any the wiser as she continued her life as if nothing happened, until Travis' body was found and friends pointed police directly to her.
Jodi lied about not being at Travis' home and even left messages on his phone right after her crime. Jodi went to Travis' memorial service and even sent flowers to his grandmother. Then when her bloody hand print was found on Travis' bedroom hall wall she changed her story to a home-invasion gone wrong where she was spared and Travis was murdered. Finally, Jodi decided, for her trial, she would say that she was defending herself against Travis' rage--conveniently having a gun and knife at her disposal.
Seems like a slam-dunk trial to me; but, will they give her the death penalty? And will there be a sympathetic juror who either is afraid to convict for 1st degree murder because of the death penalty or who believes Jodi is a victim of domestic violence. What do you think?
Thursday, 28 March 2013
Italian Easter Cookies - Taralli
Ingredients for dough:
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Wisk eggs until fluffy. Add sugar a little at a time whisking after each addition. Whisk vigorously for about 3 minutes, then add the melted butter and vanilla. Continue to whisk vigorously until thick and fluffy.
In a large bowl combine the flour and baking powder.
Fold egg mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until a firm dough forms.
Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until taralli are golden brown. Let cook completely before icing.
For the icing:
Heat all ingredients for icing in a pot until lukewarm. Dip tops of cookies into the icing mixture or brush on, sprinkle with colourful cake decorations (nonpareils)
Monday, 25 March 2013
This is an Italian-style Bundt cake that is a staple in households in Italy. My mother has been making it for years and I have tried to duplicate it for years. The success of a great Ciambellone is the method. I have used these ingredients before but have not paid attention to the method and the cake wouldn't rise very high, even when I used more baking powder. This is the right way to make a great Ciambellone. In this version, I have mixed two cups of the batter with cocoa and swirled it into the remaining batter. Enjoy!
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 scant teaspoon salt
1 cup canola oil
1 cup of milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
4-5 tablespoons of cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 10 inch Bundt pan with cooking spray.
With whisk beaters, use electric hand mixer or stand mixer to beat eggs on high until well combined. Slowly add sugar to eggs while beating and continue to beat sugar and eggs for about 8 or more minutes. You want the eggs and sugar to be a firm mixture.
In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Add the flour mixture slowly to the thick egg mixture, folding the flour gently into the egg mixture. I used a rubber spatula to do this in order to keep the mixture light.
Stir in the oil until well combined.
Mix milk with vanilla in a cup and then add the milk/vanilla liquid into the batter. Stir until you have a thick, dense, uniform batter--do not over stir.
Pour all batter, except two cups full into the Bundt pan. Mix cocoa into the remaining batter until well combined and uniformly dark.
With a spoon, drop cocoa batter into the white cake batter around the cake, then swirl with a knife to give a marble effect.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until cake is firm and knife etc. comes out clean when inserted in cake.
Cool cake, then remove onto serving dish.
Success! At last I have mastered the Italian tradition. Please let me know how your Ciambellone turns out.
Variations to this recipe are not including the cocoa and making a plain vanilla Ciambellone or you can mix mini chocolate chips into the mix.
Friday, 15 March 2013
Monday, 11 February 2013
Speaking of performances, Justin Timberlake was phenomenal in his Grammy comeback where he apologized "I must confess it's been a while and for that I must apologize". Did Justin ever make it a big bang or should I say a big band experience Justin took us back to the big band days with his new single "Suit and Tie" being joined by Jay-Z for part of the performance. He followed "Suit and Tie" with another song from his album The 20/20 Experience (being released in March), "Pusher Love Girl".
Here are The 55th Annual Grammy Award Winners.
The fashions this year were dictated by a "strict" dress code for the ladies. The Grammy's of years past have had some pretty skin- baring fashions on the red carpet from Rihanna's white dress with fur strips hitting and missing body parts to JLo's plunging green sheer dress of the past. Most of the artists did modify their style by wearing dresses that covered up the necessary parts.
JLo actually made a comment about the list of requirements for what to cover up being something she could not even read to her children (buttocks, breasts and "other" parts had to be covered). JLo was covered up for the most part in a black gown; however her left leg was totally exposed a la Angelina Jolie. Rihanna's criss-cross halter top sheer red dress this year seemed in theory to cover all from head to toe, except she kind of broke the rules with the sheer part showing a little too much on top, take a look here--no surprise there. And speaking of Rihanna's wardrobe, she was wearing Chris Brown quite well also--the couple were not hiding that they are back together with Rihanna posing with her head against Chris Brown who had his arm around her--here we go again! I'm sure twitter was ablaze about this reunion.
Like Rihanna, Katy Perry is known for her risque outfits. Last night was no exception in her fitted mint green Gucci gown with a keyhole neckline that showed cleavage and breasts galore. Then there was Adele who wore a short dress with red floral appliques all over it that reminded me of poppies. Why didn't Adele wear a longer, slimmer gown in a solid colour with maybe a little sparkle like she did last year?--a worst dress nominee this year from me (I wonder what Joan Rivers will say about this). Then there was Beyonce who wore a pant suit with what looked to me like leggings--leggings at the Grammy's? At least she was well-covered. I liked Taylor Swift's J. Mendel gown which was a white Grecian style. Her look was complete with the goddess/Heidi type wrap around the head braid which kept her look young.
Check out all the Grammy Fashions at the MTV site.
Which fashions did you enjoy?
Saturday, 26 January 2013
Bake Some Love for Valentine's Day....
Friday, 25 January 2013
This is the tweet from Jimmy Kimmel's twitter site.
Jimmy will be honored with a star on the Walk of Fame at 11:30am PST on Hollywood Blvd. You’re all invited! twitter.com/JimmyKimmelLiv…
And Apologies to Matt Damon....
— Jimmy Kimmel Live (@JimmyKimmelLive) January 24, 2013
— Jimmy Kimmel Live (@JimmyKimmelLive) January 24, 2013
If Matt let him go, Jimmy will be getting a star right in front of the El Capitan Theater and I hear the public can watch--I wish I could fly over from Toronto, sorry Jimmy. But I will be watching the ceremony for Jimmy on www.walkoffame.com where it will be live streamed for anyone in the WORLD to watch.
ABC gave you their confidence after ten years and moved you up to 11:35 p.m. I loved your reasons why they did it--one being that "We're trying to capture that all-important still awake demographic". I think the real reason they moved you is because they value you and want to advance your career.
You can watch Jimmy Kimmel every weeknight at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.