Jun
08
2014

Tennis Anyone?

It’s time I gave my salsa shoes some rest and pick up a new hobby: Tennis! People who know me,  know I’m always active doing something in my spare time, and this summer I decided to change it up a little and try a racquet sport.

I’ve never played tennis before,  but after watching great matches over the years on TV (and on my Nintendo Wii) I decided to give this new sport a try.

A friend of mine is a member of a tennis club,  so I managed to find one that still had spots available for this season. Scored some good deals (and went overboard a bit) on tennis gear and clothing (the skirts are so cute),  and now I’m ready to go!

It’s a shame that now I don’t have much money left over for actual tennis lessons,  but that’s what YouTube is for.  :-)

I had my first ladder match today and won both sets! Mind you, it was against other beginners,  so it’s all a learning process.  A ladder is basically a system of ranking tennis players,  allows access to set up challenges,  report scores and meet new people.  If youre thinking about joining a tennis club,  I highly recommend participating in the club’s ladder.

When I first joined I didn’t know how physically exerting it would be.  I was sweating after a few sets.  It’s a great work out total body workout though.

Wimbledon here I come!

Apr
28
2014

Recipe: Pac-Man Cookies

Pan-Man Cookies

I had a huge 80s-themed birthday last month (stay tuned for the updated post), and went to town on all the treats and decorations. One of them was Pac-Man cookies. Super simple to make, and they were a hit.

Yield: About 60 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages of Oreo cookies (or any dark-coloured cookie)
  • 200g of yellow candy melts or moulding wafers (for the body)
  • 10g black or chocolate-flavoured candy melts or moulding wafers (for the eyes — optional)
  • Coconut Oil

Method:

  1. Using a double boiler (I used a glass bowl over a saucepan filled with some water), melt the wafers over simmering heat, stirring constantly until they have melted. Remove from heat.
  2. Take an Oreo cookie and dip it halfway into the mixture, letting the excess drip off carefully back into the bowl. Rotate the cookie 90° and dip it into the mixture again. This should create the “open mouth” Pac-Man shape.
  3. Place cookie on a lined baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  4. Repeat with remaining cookies until all are dipped. Water should not come in contact with the wafers, as it will ruin the smooth consistency. If the mixture is too thick you can add a bit of melted coconut oil to thin it out. 
  5. For the eyes, melt the chocolate-flavoured wafers in a small bowl in the microwave for 1 minute on low power (or until melted). Fill a sandwich bag with the mixture, cut a small piece off the corner to form a piping bag. Gently squeeze a bit of the dark mixture to dot eyes for the Pac-Man cookies.

Pan-Man Cookie Method

Cookies harden fairly quickly. After 20-minutes or so they can be stacked in a reusable container, ready to be eaten!

Jan
05
2014

I Got to Meet Chef Chuck Hughes!

Back in November I got to meet one of my favourite Celebrity Chefs: Chuck Hughes!

The Food Network star made a stop at Junors to sign copies of his “Chuck’s Day Off” cookbook.

Chef Chuck Hughes

I was able to get a photo with him and we chatted briefly about culinary skills being taught at the high school level. Such a down-to-earth guy!

Can’t wait to try some of the recipes in this book!

Chuck's Day Off

Jan
02
2014

Who Needs Resolutions?!

Yeah, yeah… I know I made a new year’s resolution last year to blog more frequently. But I’m a procrastinator by nature.

I think my problem is that I write too much in my individual posts, and then I become too lazy to proofread, edit, re-size and watermark photos.

So this year I’ll “try” to blog a little more often, but remember that my posts need-not be 500-words long.

Stay tuned for a lot of “recaps” of topics I’ve started blogging about months ago, but haven’t published as yet!

Nov
09
2013

Paint Nite Toronto: Picasso’s in the building!

Last week I took part in my very first Paint Nite event! You may have seen their discounted voucher offers floating around sites like Groupon. I purchased a couple for myself for the discounted price of $25, which I figured was a great deal considering the regular advertised price is $45 + tax.

What is Paint Nite? Think of it as a big, painting party:

Paint Nite® is a new concept of blending two timeless pastimes, artistic painting and drinking cocktails, as a way to draw patrons into local pubs on a slow night with a unique opportunity to socialize and be creative… [It] is about making art accessible to people who don’t consider themselves artists or creative in any way… about fostering a fun, low stress, non-judgmental environment that inspires everyone to enjoy the process of creating something from nothing.

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I was a bit apprehensive about going solo, but was reassured a bit when I read that people attend these events both alone or with friends (there were a few other solo attendees at the event I went to). Paint Nite currently has events in over 50 cities in North America. The Toronto ones seem to be happening on multiple nights each week at an array of different venues, so if you’re interested then you’re bound to find an event that fits your schedule and location.

There’s absolutely no experience required for attending these events (thank goodness). I haven’t really painted before (except for a few short workshops at school), even though I own a wide range of paint supplies (that are about to be dusted off).

You register through the Paint Nite website. Each Paint Nite that’s offered has the name of the artist instructor, a photo of the painting that an artist will walk you through, a difficulty scale, as well as the location of the neighborhood restaurant or lounge in which the event will take place.

The event that I went to, “Safari Sunset”, took place at Allycatz. I found the 6:00 timeslot good for an after-work activity. Allycatz is a good venue to host Paint Nite, as the raised “stage” area was good for the artist to showcase all the steps to the painting. Though, I felt the seats were a little close together (I almost got poked in eye by a paintbrush by one of the people sitting beside me, and a couple wine glasses almost toppled over). Co-Organizer Nathan Schonberger and artist Basil Hendy greeted all of us eager painters as we walked in.

Each of the 32 stations were laid out neatly, complete with a 16″x20″ canvas, a styrofoam plate with 4 basic colours of acrylic paint that were needed to complete the artwork (red, yellow, black and white), an apron, brushes of three different sizes and a cup of water (for cleaning your brushes, not drinking… though I bet someone made that mistake before).

Everyone in attendance though was upbeat. You can sense the excitement as everyone wanted to complete their own masterpieces. The instructions were broken down by well-paced steps that were fairly easy to follow. There were some moments of frustration by a few who couldn’t get the shape of the elephant right (at first mine started to look like one of the walker vehicles from Star Wars), but Basil was extremely helpful and positive in his delivery of the painting instructions.

The evening lasted a little over 2 hours. My painting dried fairly quickly so that I could take it home right after the event. I was impressed with my final masterpiece (though I thought the tree came out a little strange so I tried to add to it when I got home… I also realized I initially forgot to add a tail to the baby elephant, so I fixed that as well). Signing my painting was probably the most difficult part (added a little water to the white paint to thin it out so that it was more fluid for my signature), so I ended up just shortening my name!

My first Paint Nite masterpiece, titled "Safari Sunset" (instructor Basil Hendy).

My first Paint Nite masterpiece, titled “Safari Sunset” (instructor Basil Hendy).

If you ever wanted to try your hand at painting, or just up for a fun, but different, night out with a group of friends, Paint Nite should definitely be an option. Best of all, you’ll leave with a cool painting you can hang in your home (or give to your mother to put on the fridge, like in your childhood days). I’m looking forward to creating my next work of art! Maybe next time I’ll actually buy a drink and see how my canvas turns out.