Apple Cider Caramels

I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but I don’t think I’ve ever made anything more crowd-pleasing. Actually, I’m going to toot Deb’s horn over at Smitten Kitchen for providing the recipe and my dear friend Lauren’s for insisting that we make them. But if you are looking for a special treat to bring to one of your many Christmas functions or a little gift for friends or colleagues, Apple Cider Caramels are the way to go!

Countdown to Thanksgiving

Being an immigrant (as well as a true lover of the great north), I generally fully embrace Canadian culture in whatever form it arrives. However, celebrating thanksgiving (that’s right, I used a lowercase ‘t’ on purpose) in October just doesn’t cut it for me. I need the real deal, you know, the one that happens in November!

When it comes to American Thanksgiving, we generally head south of the border to celebrate with our American family, but this year we decided against traveling for a myriad of reasons. However, I have still found myself itching to celebrate this season of thankfulness with food, friends and family. That said, if I can’t be in America, I could (and should) still throw an American Thanksgiving. While we won’t be able to celebrate in my family’s traditional style (a 3pm dinner followed by a nap, and then a 7pm dinner) because people actually have to work, I am fairly certain that it will still be a memorable event. To keep things easy and stress free on Thursday, I finished off a few menu items (cranberry sauce, apple galette, and pumpkin pie) tonight!


Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

Summer in the Fall

 

A couple weeks ago, my cousin called and said she and some of my other family had just booked a last-minute, all-inclusive trip to Cuba. “You should come!” Before I knew what was happening, my credit card had a much bigger balance and I’d convinced my mom to come along as well.

Of course, an impromptu trip to Cuba wouldn’t be complete without a hand-knit beach bag lined with a bright floral pattern, right? I set to work on my first sewing project since grade 8, and I have to say, I think Mrs. Erkelens would have been proud.

     

The trip was such a treat, though definitely not simple-living on any sort of level. I ate lots, drank lots, read lots, and played lots. It was such fun to get to see my mom so unexpectedly and also great to get to spend time with my aunt, my cousins and their cute kids. Coming back to rainy Vancouver was a bit of a shock after getting used to all that sun. But I’ve come back with renewed energy, perspective, and optimism. I hope you get a fall blessing that can do similar things for you (though I understand my tan in November is more than most can ask for)…

 

3rd Annual Winter Jesstival

Growing up in Seattle, rain characterized our main (and sometimes only) season. I fondly remember the few instances when I experienced snow as a child filling me with excitement, adventure, and awe. One of my favourite winter memories involving snow was when my Opa (who lived 2 hours north of us) used to call my house every time the snow fell at his house to share the good news with my younger brothers and I. Knowing how much we loved snow, he would always stuff a ziploc bag full of snowballs to bring us the next time he came for a visit.

As you can imagine, when I moved to the great north, winter quickly became one of my new favourite seasons. Upon the first snowfall during our first year here, I felt it necessary to celebrate the commencement of winter with a feast of stick-to-your-ribs carbs and good friends. We had such a great time that I insisted on making what was dubbed the “winter jesstival” an annual event. Even now, 3 years in, despite the more frustrating parts of winter (cold, darkness, and more cold), I still find myself enamored with snow and love the chance to celebrate the changing seasons.

When the snow began to fall last weekend, I planned the traditional jesstival for the following Friday. This year’s feast included perogies & farmer’s sausage, homemade mac & cheese, sausage rolls with Yvette’s chutney, an oreo treat from Cam’s childhood, and of course, red wine, which I mulled! I took a few pics (cheese for the perogies, dried mandarins for the mulled wine, and fresh sausage rolls), but was enjoying myself too much to take many more…

The All Hand-Made Sale

I’ve been knitting (and crocheting) like crazy for the past few weeks, preparing for the All Hand-made Sale that’s taking place November 16 & 17 at Grandview Church in Vancouver. Last year was my first foray into the world of craft fairs, and this year I’m trying to amp it up just a little bit, with a goal of making double the amount of profit I made last year. So, this is a formal open invitation to come out to 1st Ave & Commercial on the 16th or 17th and buy some handmade goods – not just from me, but from all the wonderful crafters, bakers, gardeners, and artists who will be selling their wares. And if you are not anywhere near Vancouver and are really itching for a hand-knit something, let me know! I take orders.