Month: October 2014

Turmeric Pumpkin Smoothie

Turmeric Pumpkin Smoothie

I’m currently working on my third gigantic can of pumpkin purée of the month. I have eaten pumpkin in every meal of the day for several days in a row. Possibly my favourite pumpkin dish is mac n cheese – my personal recipe is very similar to this one by CCK, except non-vegan, and I usually add onion and a bit of nutmeg and sage. I’m also a fan of pumpkin grilled cheese. So that covers lunch and dinner, but how to I incorporate pumpkin into breakfast (other than eating pumpkin pie for breakfast, which I am guilty of)? In smoothies of course!

A standard pumpkin smoothie uses pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg), but this one features turmeric, a superspice with anti-inflammatory properties among others. Personally, I just like it because it tastes good.

Ingredients

  • ½ frozen banana, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin purée
  • ½ apple peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • ½ teaspon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • sprinkle each of cardamom, ginger, cayenne pepper
  • 2/3 cup almond milk

Directions

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Serves 1

– Arlie

Songs for Sisterhood

We have been best friends for over 12 years, and Diva Sisters for 5. Many things have changed, but three things have not: our love of music, our love of symbolism, and our love of lists (OK, Arlie’s love of lists). So the following is a list of the top 10 songs of our friendship, in chronological order. Don’t judge us by our bad tastes in music. We have included YouTube video links to the songs and a little description so there is a method to our madness. This is just a little post to let you know a little more about us, especially since we haven’t been able to do the whole video thing while on opposite sides of the world’s second largest landmass.

1. Billy S (Skye Sweetnam) Wednesday evenings in grade 6 went like this: singing dancing along to Skye Sweetnam’s Noise From the Basement in Alannah’s mom’s car, swimming at the Y, fettuccini alfredo and Strawberry-Kiwi Snapple at Pasta Perfection.
2. Girlfriend (Avril Lavigne) Yeah so it was third-album-era Avril which was really not good but that didn’t keep us from going to the Best Damn Tour in full Avril costume and singing along to every song. Arlie dressed as Avril from the Let Go years and Alannah (sporting bleach blonde hair…a fashion statement she regrets to this day) as Avril from The Best Damn Thing.

Avril...
3. If I Had $1,000,000 (Barenaked Ladies) It was the Spring of 2007, just before our friend Merritt’s 14th birthday when the three of us took a trip to a gigantic outlet mall outside of Toronto and the whole drive there and back we listened to nothing but “If I Had $1,000,000” and “Grade 9” by the Barenaked Ladies. For several years we developed a tradition of giving each other increasingly weird “fake” green dresses on our birthdays, because a real green dress would be cruel.
4. I’ll Follow You Into The Dark (DCFC) Alannah’s Dad somehow got us VIP tickets to the Stars/DCFC concert on the Toronto Island in grade 9 and we missed most of it for a reason that we don’t even want to talk about because we’re still mad. We also don’t talk much about how we discovered DCFC but it had something to do with the “Twilight Saga.” Needless to say our love for DCFC was eternal while “Twilight” was a really bad fad.
5. Pork and Beans (Weezer) Pork (Alannah) and Beans (Arlie) may be our weirdest nicknames. Yes, we do call each other Porksie and Beansie. We actually don’t remember when someone pointed out that this song existed – we hadn’t even heard it before we made it our theme song. Yes, we rewrote the lyrics to this song to fit our friendship. For the record, when we find chunky milk we pour it down the sink. But we also write our friendship in indelible ink.
6. Don’t Stop Believin’ (Glee) Arlie actually remembers the first time Alannah played this song for her – we were in the props room of our high school the summer before grade 11. The show hadn’t even aired yet and she was already a fan. We later went to the Glee Concert accurately dressed as Rachel Berry and Santana Lopez (pictured below). PreGlee
7. Alone Again (Alyssa Reid feat P. Reign) Our March break 2011 trip to Hawaii was friendship-saving. Probably sharing earbuds to listen to this song a million times was a factor. Actually, on another listening of this song all these years later this song perfectly sums up what happened to us in grade 12. Well…some parts of it anyway.
8. Kindred Spirits (Anne of Green Gables) We played Anne (Alannah) and Diana (Arlie) in our high school’s production of Anne of Green Gables in grade 12. Perfect casting if we do say so ourselves.AoGG9. The Dog Days Are Over (Florence and the Machine) It was our grad song. So feelings. Very nostalgia.
10. Problem (Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea) “Abababadaba badabadaba but it’s you! Ooh ooh ooh!” Arlie moved into Alannah’s house in Toronto for one night for the air conditioning and ended up crashing for 3 weeks while Alannah’s parents were gallivanting across France. This song quickly became the anthem of the summer. You may have noticed it in the No Mirror Makeup Challenge.

3 Minute “Baked” Apples

3 Minute "Baked" Apple

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

So you’re all ready for thanksgiving dinner. Turkey? Check. Mashed potatoes? Check. Pumpkin pie? Check. BUT OH NO! You just remembered one of your guests is gluten-free! (In this case, my mom, who’s celiac – the real deal) But you can’t let them go without dessert! Enter the easiest, fastest most delicious, reasonably healthy fall dessert ever.

Made in the microwave so it’s ready within minutes. Perfect for students with those annoying kitchenettes that don’t have ovens. Or people who are impatient.

Ingredients

  • 1 baking apple (Cortland, Ida Red, Golden Delicious, Empire…you have options)
  • 1 Tablespoon almond meal
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Carve a narrow hole out of the middle of the apple – essentially coring it, just enough to remove the seeds.
  2. Mix last three ingredients together in a bowl, then pack the mixture into the middle of the apple.
  3. Place the stuffed apple in the middle of a square of parchment paper, gather the paper up around the apple and twist.
  4. Place the packaged apple on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 2 minutes.
  5. Unwrap when ready to eat.

Serves 1*

*Most of my recipes just serve one because I only cook for myself. If you want to make more of these, just increase the ingredients and microwave the apples separately or multiply the microwave time by the number of apples you’re cooking.

– Arlie

Losing My Religion

Shana Tova! Happy New Year! It’s the year 5775 and once again I am going through the tradition of two days of celebration filled with apples and honey later followed by a day of fasting. If you haven’t guessed yet, I am Jewish. I was born into an interfaith family and my parents “converted “ me to Judaism at birth, as my mother is not Jewish. I grew up as a member of the Danforth Jewish Circle (DJC) in Toronto; a reform synagogue that hold services in Eastminister United Church. The ceremonies to ring out the New Year are always filled with love, celebration, and a lot of home cooking. Since moving to Victoria for university three years ago, I haven’t had the time to take part in the usual festivities. But it was more than a time issue; I simply did not want to try to find a new shul. However, this year I thought I would turn over a new leaf and actually go to High Holiday services. Yet for the first time in my twenty-one years I experienced culture shock in my own culture.

Tradition is a very important aspect to Judaism. It is perfectly represented in the opening number of “Fiddler on the Roof”—the tradition of going to shul and seeing your family and friends gather, the tradition of eating together, and the tradition of celebration and reflection. With that said, I also experience certain traditions that I looked forward to every year growing up. Like the tradition of sitting in the balcony with my best friend, Sophie, and texting to each other in our prayer books, the tradition of working in child care to “get out of” fasting, the tradition of listening to the choir sing but missing the rest of the services, the tradition of hearing the first cry of the shofar. All these activities intermingled to make the New Year so important to me. And these traditions are also intertwined with memories. The memory of seeing my proud father’s face the first year I stayed through all the High Holiday services and even fasted (this was the year after my Bat Mitzvah). The memory of drinking my first glass of Kosher wine. And the memory of my last High Holiday at the DJC when I was in grade 12.

I don’t know if it was the feeling of guilt for not partaking in my religion for the past three years, or the need to find new love and experiences in a city that I have felt so much rejection from in the past year, or the need to go to Musaf services to honor the memory of my Bubbie (who passed away in February) that fed my need to partake in High Holiday services this year. But something happened within me, and I had to honor the traditions of my religion.

So here I was on the evening of September 25. I found a shul online in Victoria that looked promising. A community centre encouraging anyone to come and celebrate the New Year. So I went to their evening Rosh Hashanah services with my “goyishe” friend Lindsay in tow: after all, holidays are also about sharing with friends! But I found myself at the most orthodox shul on Vancouver Island. For a girl who grew in a reform temple this was a very different experience—filled with traditions that I had never experienced before. The whole service was in Hebrew, the Rabbi spoke with a thick accent; he seemed the cookie cutter cutout of the perfect traditional orthodox Jewish Rabbi from central casting. Hearing the services through a language that I didn’t understand was a jarring experience. I had to rely on sheer muscle memory in order to follow along (thank goodness I have an actor’s memory!). I kept nervously glancing at my friend to gauge her her experience, and by the end of the night (the evening service for Rosh Hashana is only one hour long) I felt a strong mix of emotions. Firstly, I felt incredibly homesick. It was as if I understood how the Jews felt long ago. Those celebrating away from their home country for the first time. Or how my own family must have felt during their first High Holiday services in upstate New York after fleeing Europe during the Second World War. I felt a longing for home and all of its traditions that I haven’t felt before. Secondly, I was amazed by the differences in Judaism. This orthodox shul utilized a mechitza (a divider that segregated the sexes). It was something archaic that shocked me: I believe in men and women being equal in all respects, and certainly able to reflect and pray standing beside each other. But at the end of the day, the honey cake was made with love and care, the apple and honey tasted as sweet as always, and the sense of celebration hung in the air as people mingled during the Kaddish. The energy was the same although the traditions slightly different.

For Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur services I went to a different shul, one closer to where I live and one where I could sit where I wanted. This time I went to a Conservative Egalitarian shul. Still filled with different traditions from what I have been used to, but some traditions felt closer to home. Another “goyishe” friend Tyler joined me and we both had a really great time. I think my first mistake a week previously was going into shul expecting to experience my usual traditions, only to find out that the shul was different and believed and carried out different traditions.

In the end, I am really happy that I was able to partake in High Holiday services in Victoria. However, I am making a pact with myself that from now on that I will try to go home for a portion of the holidays. Just like coming home for Christmas is so important to some people, I discovered this week that coming home for the High Holidays is really important to me. But most importantly this weekend I was able to honour the memory of my Bubbie so not only the DJC congregation remembered her this year, but so did a shul in Victoria.

I know this is an “unorthodox” (pun intended) piece for this kind of blog. But I felt the need to write this down somewhere. I need people to understand the significance of the High Holidays, a lesson that I needed to learn myself this year. Traditions are important. But sometimes you need a little change in your life in order to understand what is truly important to you. The year 5775 has barely begun and I have already learned a lot about myself through this experience.

– Alannah