Monthly Archives: May 2011

Things I Learned The Month I Settled

As much as I wish for things to be one way, I need to deal with things the way they really are.

Living close to family is the bestest.

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I know money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can improve my quality of life.

CBC actually has some good TV programming. Namely, Being Erica. I blame my sister Sara for getting me into it!

Just because I’m a grown-up, doesn’t mean I can’t have ridiculous coloured nails.

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Just because I “could” lose weight, doesn’t mean I should.

Wind is one mighty form of resistance when it comes to running. Harder than hills because sometimes it never stops.

Working 8-4, Mon-Fri is actually kind of awesome. I don’t know why I was scared of it for so long!

I should stop missing the things I could once do, when I should be embracing the things I can do.

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I lovelovelove driving. Way more than I ever thought I would. And I’ve only had my licence for three years.

Sometimes, life sucks. But the feeling usually passes.

Pets make the world go round. 

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Living life is number one. Blogging comes after it. I refuse to be tied to my computer.

Even though I am in control of nothing, I am in control of how I deal with things.

 

What did you learn in May?

 

P.S. Happy birthday to the smartest man I know!

My Dad!

Memorial Day Pretzel Jell-O

When I found out I got American holidays at my new job, I put a call out on Twitter asking what sort of traditions surrounded Memorial Day. I assumed it would be all ballpark franks and Budweiser because well, that’s how I stereotype Americans (as if you don’t stereotype Canadians!!).

But blog friends Leah and Brie told me about this thing called pretzel jell-o. I at first imagined a block of jell-o with pretzels floating around inside. Weird. But Leah sent me a link to a recipe and I immediately knew it was a must-make for the long weekend!

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A pretzel crust, whipped middle layer, and fruity jell-o on top. Never in my life have I heard of anything like this. Probably because my mom never let us eat products with food dyes in it growing up, Jell-O included. She’s a microbiologist and gets weirded out by the chemicals in food dyes. Rightfully so!

But I’m an adult now, and can occasionally choose to poison myself if I so choose.

IMG_7352I started with the pretzel crust. Much like a graham cracker crust – but with pretzels. I don’t know how I’ve never thought of this, such a yummy crust idea!

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I pulverized about 3/4 of the bag in a blender to make 2 cups crushed pretzels. Then mixed with 3 tbsp sugar and 3/4 cup melted butter.

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Pressed firmly into a 9×13 pan and baked at 325F for 8 minutes.

While that was going on, I got started on the middle layer.

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The measurements for this recipe are all in ounces, but I’m Canadianizing it by using metric. So for this you need a 250g package of cream cheese and 1L tub of cool whip. I used the light versions because it’s nice to save calories where you can when making dessert. Plus, it’s already a chemical gold mine with the jell-o.

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Check it out – even the Cool Whip has a version of this recipe on the lid. At this point, I am feeling both deprived and isolated for never having heard of it.

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For this layer, start by mixing your block of cream cheese with 1 cup sugar. If you have an electric mixer, use it. I don’t (yet) and doing this step with a fork sucks.

Once that’s all combined, fold in your container of cool whip and spread on top of the pretzel crust, assuming it’s out of the oven by now.

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Don’t forget to lick the bowl after this! I call it “Baker’s Rights.” As the person doing the baking, you have the right to lick all bowls and utensils when finished.

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I also never knew a strawberry banana flavour of Jell-O even existed. I was surprised to find it at my grocery store! You’ll need two packages.

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For this step, mix the packets with 2 cups boiling water and throw in 600g semi-frozen sliced strawberries (I just let them sit on the counter for a little bit to slightly thaw first).

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For those of you wondering, 600g is also 20 oz, which is also the same size as a President’s Choice or Europe’s Best bag of frozen strawberries.

Let that chill in the fridge for 10 minutes, no longer. You want it just slightly molded but still able to pour on top for the final layer.

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Once that’s all done, put it in the fridge so the jell-o can finish and serve cold.

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Tada! My first ever batch of Pretzel Jell-O! I feel so American! No Budweiser needed ;)

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The pretzel crust did not turn out as salty as I was expecting. Just slightly less cookie-like than a graham crust.

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The fruity jell-o layer with the whipped cream cheese is of course a winning combo.

I brought this dessert over to my step-dad’s birthday party, and it provided the perfect light dessert on a warm pre-summer day.

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Thanks America, you’ve got some great ideas sometimes!

Now, off the topic of jell-o, I’m wondering – what stereotypes do you have about Canadians? I figure everyone thinks we’re like Robin from How I Met Your Mother (which, really, isn’t far from the truth).

Let’s Talk About Music

Happy Sunday! Even happier if you have Monday off :)

After doing my Q&A this week, I realized that for such a music lover, I never talk about music on this blog!

First things first – I can’t stand Top 40. Okay, there may be a song or two I find catchy. But you will never find me listening to Lady Gaga, or Keisha, or whatever song is being overplayed on Virgin radio this week.

My taste in music is slightly eclectic, but definitely has a “theme.” I grew up listening to The Beatles and to this day believe they are the best band ever. In high school, I listened to a lot of punk rock, most of which I still really enjoy today (especially when running!). When it comes to just chilling out (like at work), I love some good indie pop. Apart from that, I’m also a huge fan of 90’s alternative and a lot of the Canadian indie scene.

Here’s five songs I’ve been listening to a lot of lately. I encourage you to add them to your Sunday listening!

I discovered Frightened Rabbit on Grooveshark this week and can’t stop listening to them. I love every single song on every one of this Scottish band’s albums. The above song is one of my many favourites.

I know it’s not hip to like Arcade Fire ever since they won the Grammy, but I don’t care. I’m going to see these guys open for U2 in July and I can’t wait! I go through phases with their songs, but this one is always at the top. Great video too.

Even though I was too young to experience 90s music when it was new, I think my love for the genre was given to me by my older sisters. I used to watch The Year Punk Broke every weekend when I was 14 (in 2000). This video is definitely worth watching for the 1990s-ness of it!

Social Distortion will always be one of my favourite punk bands. I’m not totally crazy about their newest album. This song off that same album however is awesome. Most of the time I’d turn my nose up at big production videos like this. But these guys pull it off purely because they’re punk legends in my eyes.

Of all the videos, on all the internets, this one is hands down my favourite of all time. I’m probably responsible for one-third of its views. Even though Hey Rosetta! are a Newfoundland band, there is something about them and their music that just reminds me of home. Probably because of the many nights I’ve spent watching these guys in a small, crowded, sweaty bar in Fredericton. I would always watch their videos when I got homesick in Toronto and they would just make my heart swell. If you watch this, you HAVE to watch it the whole way through! Promise me!

So now you tell me, what music are you listening to these days?

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