Exploding Chestnuts, Sprinkles and Other Christmas Traditions

We decided to stay at home during the holidays so we could establish some holiday traditions.  I love to cook and I was looking forward to the holidays so I could spend the time to cook and bake.  With a toddler, I think it’s important to establish some Christmas traditions.  I have great memories of spending time with family during the Christmas season and recall many fun traditions.

One of the traditions I wanted to try was to make gingerbread cookies.  I

First attempt at gingerbread cookie dough - Martha Stewart's recipe.  Needless to say it didn't turn out well hence the wine.

First attempt at gingerbread cookie dough – Martha Stewart’s recipe. Needless to say it didn’t turn out well hence the wine.

always loved gingerbread cookies and I thought it would be fun for my daughter to decorate them.  I just needed a recipie so I found one in my Martha Stewart baking cookbook.  The first batch was very crumbly mainly because I think my baking assistant was adding more flour.

The second batch of gingerbread cookies turned out much better.

My baking assistant with the second batch of gingerbread cookies.  You can't see it but there are more sprinkles on the table than on the cookies...

My baking assistant with the second batch of gingerbread cookies. You can’t see it but there are more sprinkles on the table than on the cookies…

My baking assistant was very good with decorating the cookies although she ate most of the sprinkles.  Sprinkles are a food group according to some… including V.

A couple of weeks ago I was watching the Food Network and saw the Gordon Ramsey Christmas special.  He made his version of Beef Wellington.  I was inspired so I decided that his version of this traditional English fare was going to be our meal on Christmas Eve.  This is an intersting recipie because if you watch the video, Gordon talks about adding chestnuts.  However, if you Google the recipie, there is no mention of chestnuts.  To make sure that I am true to the chef, I bought chestnuts at the grocery store. We didn’t have a nut cracker so I decided to roast them in the oven so they would be easier to open.  I forgot to score them and they exploded.  Needless to say I had to clean up the mess in the oven.

Exploding chestnuts and sprinkles.  Great Christmas memories in our household.


Cast Announcement for “And Then, The Lights Went Out”

I am very excited about promoting this play called “And Then, The Lights Went Out” by Andrew Garland.  Produced by Calgary’s Workshop Theatre Society, it’s a play about a writer with a very serious case of writer’s block.  The main character is dealing with an impossible deadline in the middle of a heat wave.  This play is set in Edmonton, Alberta and is written by Andrew Garland who is orignally from Sherwood Park, Alberta.  This play was originally produced in Red Deer, Alberta and the playwright has received awards for his work.

I highly recommend writers of all kind to check out this play!  “And Then, The Lights Went Out” runs February 14 – 22, 2014 at the Pumphouse Theatres in Calgary, Alberta.  For more information and tickets:  www.workshoptheatre.org

Cast Announcement for “And Then, The Lights Went Out”.

Birthday Babies And A Tribute To A Personal Hero


Today I celebrate a birthday and a special thanks to all my family and friends for extending birthday wishes to me!  I feel very grateful. To celebrate the day, I have posted two photos of babies.  One of the photos is of me and the other is of my daughter. We are wearing the same dress lovingly crocheted by my Granny. For those who know me, can you guess who is who?  I would love to hear from you!


John Lennon – Imagine

I also have to point out that 33 years ago today one of my favourite artists died.  John Winston Ono Lennon was assasinated outside of his home in New York City.   I often wonder what the world would be like if his life was spared.  He was not only a musician but an artist and someone who spoke his mind.  He released 8 stuido albums, 21 singles and 3 experimental albums.  Many regard him as a true genius.  RIP John.

Let’s Go To The Mall!

Shopping mall

Shopping mall (Photo credit: pix.plz)

I found this interesting website about malls from the 80’s.  You have to look at the photos.  I can’t believe people are smoking in a public place… and the hair!  Wow, did we ever use a lot of hairspray in the 1980’s!

Like many teenagers growing up in the 80’s, going to the mall was such a big event. I remember going on a big family trip to West Edmonton Mall for back to school shopping. It was so important that we get those acid wash jeans from the largest mall in the world! They were and still are the meccas of consumerism.

You have to check out the photos on this site – Flashback to the Timeless Malls of the 1980s. Earth tones were definitely king! I remember the fancy malls with the water fountains. I recall the decor of the 80’s mall having a lot of glass and brass.

Malls of my childhood:

Ice rink in the WEM

Ice rink in the WEM (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • West Edmonton Mall – Yep, the biggest. It’s pretty much a shrine to Alberta in the 80’s.  As kids we thought it was very cool to have a rink inside a mall.  It’s still quite a tourist attraction and I don’t think locals venture out to shop there very often.
  • Bower Place mall in Red Deer – I remember a lot of  brown, earthy-tone brick and I remember that I loved the fact that it had a Le Chateau in the 80’s – so awesome!  I loved shopping there in the 80’s as a teenager.  How many of you remember Mariposa near the food court in the 1980’s?
  • Chinook Centre – I remember when part of this mall was actually a strip mall.  It has been renovated so many times since the 1980’s.  The only place that somewhat resembles the 1980’s is the area by the Hudson’s Bay entrance.
  • Mini Mall in Olds, Alberta – Yes, there was a mall in Olds.  I think the Mini Mall is still there on main street.  I remember it had a cool t-shirt shop in there in the 1980’s.

It was Black Friday a few days ago. This American tradition has crept into Canada. Is that a bad thing? If you like getting a cheap deal and hanging out in mall all day.  There are many people that see shopping as a hobby… even a sport. I am not one of those people.

I don’t find shopping that fun. If I could afford a personal shopper I would definitely sign up for one.

Do you have any mall memories from the 1980’s?  I would love to hear about them!

Chinook Centre is a mall in Calgary, Alberta, ...

Chinook Centre is a mall in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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