1970s Dreaming

For those who don’t know this about me, I am a real life Drama Queen…well not really…but I am in the BFA program at the University of Victoria in the Phoenix Theatre apart of the Acting Specialization. Over the past six weeks I have been blessed to be apart of the fantastic company of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare. We open on Thursday at the Phoenix Theatre, apart of the University of Victoria (so for those of you reading this from places other then BC…get on a plane….Arlie I am looking at you!). So for this blog post I am going to shamelessly promote my show.

The director, Fran Gebhard, has placed the Bard’s “Dream” during the late 1970s in New York’s Central Park. The lovers (Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius, and Helena) are preppy Upper East Siders with wealthy parents. Theseus is a Donald Trump like character with his exotic trophy fiance from Italy, Hippolyta. Hermia’s mother, Egeus (played by yours truly), is Theseus’ ex-wife and constantly looks fabulous onstage in Chanel (typically Egeus is played by a man and has no connection to Theseus…but this is way more fun). The rustics work for Theseus as carpenters, painters, welders and Bottom is the limo driver. The world of the Upper East Side is pristine. However, a darker world is soon to unfold once the lovers find themselves in Central Park. There we find Titania’s Coven of flower power children which contrast Oberon’s gang of punk rockers.

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Overall, I believe the show is going to be a great success! But then again I am pretty biased. The show runs between November 6-22. More information can be found here. You can call the Phoenix box office for tickets at (250) 721-8000 or you can check out the box office website for more information here.

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Come out and see the show! You might even recognize the fantastic Levi Schneider (who plays Puck and pictured above in the poster) from I Can’t Keep A Straight Face.

– Alannah

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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

Kale Caesar Salad

Light Kale Caesar Salad

I feel like all of my great inventions happen the same way: someone tells me about a Great Thing that exists. I get really excited about it. I experience the Great Thing and it’s nothing like I imagined. I make my own version. See the Green Tea Ice Cream Cocktail, that time I made a Doctor Who fanvideo, and this Kale Caesar Salad.

One of my biggest food pet peeves is when caesar salad is smothered in dressing. Gross. So here’s a light caesar salad with all the flavour you could want, and everyone’s favourite leafy superfood, kale.

Ingredients

  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (use a garlic press if you have one)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon mustard (dijon, for best effect)
  • 2 cups washed, de-stemmed kale, ripped into reasonable pieces
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated parmesan cheese
  • optional: croutons, I’d suggest homemade ones for cost-effectiveness
  • optional: 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Combine the garlic, olive oil, and mustard in a small container and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, add the lemon juice to the kale and massage. If you’re not familiar with the practice of massaging kale, welcome to a whole new world. It makes this tough green tender and delicious within a minute or so of squishing between your hands. It’s done when all the kale is a rich, dark green.
  3. Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the massaged kale, and toss. If you don’t want a ridiculously garlicy salad, just drain the olive oil onto the greens – the garlic will have imparted its flavour to the oil while they sat aside.
  4. Sprinkle parmesan over the greens and toss again.
  5. Add crutons if desired. To make this salad into a meal, I love to fry and egg and plop it on top for some protein. If you know how to poach eggs, that’s an even healthier option.

Serves 2 (side) or 1 (meal)

– Arlie

True Canadian: The Ultimate Drinking Game

So for my roommate’s birthday last week we played True Canadian, a Canadian twist on the drinking game made popular by the Fox television series “New Girl.” In “New Girl” the game is called “True American.” It is a great game to play with A LOT of people and you get drunk REALLY fast. The Canadian twist involves drinking the most Canadian beer you can think of, that’s right, Molson Canadian. The game itself is kind of like Candyland for grownups. I highly suggest playing in four teams of two. We ended up playing with 4 teams of three and it was really chaotic.
My roommate Colette and I have been thinking up more mini-games. Personally, I think if six mini-games are decided, you could use a dice to determine which mini-game is played. That way the leader only has a few seconds to come up with an approach to the game.
Here is a link to the YouTube video of the “New Girl” gang playing True American:
There are many variations on this game. However, below are the rules that the fabulous Colette Habel wrote out and graciously gave to me to post. These are the rules we used in celebrating her birthday. The game lasted around an hour. You can easily play more than once (and get more drunk in the process) just make sure you have A LOT of beer!:
Supplies:
  • Many, MANY cans of Molson Canadian.
  • Box of Shame: the box the beers come in. May be graffitied with derogatory slogans such as: “Pierre Trudeau thinks I’m lame,” “I think Harper’s sexy” etc.
  • A bottle of hard liquor.
  • OPTIONAL: tacky souvenir Canadian shot glass/ Canadian University shot glass.
  • A large living room or basement with plenty of furniture.
  • Lots of friends.
  • Chill neighbours.
Set Up:
  • Arrange your living room furniture into a circular obstacle course. Test drive the course making sure you can easily travel from piece of furniture to piece of furniture without touching the floor or falling and dying.
  • Place a table in the centre of your obstacle course, and put the bottle of hard liquor (The Prime Minister) in the centre. Arrange your many many cans of Molson (Cabinet Members) in rows extending out from the Prime Minister. The number of rows will depend on how many teams you have playing the game.
  • Prepare yourself for greatness.

The Basics:

  1. The object of the game is to infiltrate Parliament and take a shot from the Prime Minister (bottle of hard liquor).
  2. The floor is lava. CANADIAN LAVA!
  3. Each team has a row of Cabinet Members (beers) that they must destroy (drink) to get to the Prime Minister.
  4. Each players starts on a province (piece of furniture) with on Cabinet Member (beer) in hand.
  5. There are four mini games that are played each round. The winners of each mini game get to drink some of their beer and move to a new province. If you lose, you must stay where you are and not touch your beer.
  6. A shotgun tipoff starts the game. The winner of the shotgun will be the first Speaker of the House and will choose the first game to be played. The turn order is then determined by the Speaker (ie. clockwise around the room, counter clockwise, in order of age, order of birthday, etc).
  7. You may not have more then one OPEN Cabinet Member in your hand, and you may not have more then two Cabinet Members in your hand. If you double-fist, you must wear the Box of Shame.
  8. You may only grab a new Cabinet Member from Parliament when you are close enough to; you may toss Cabinet Members to a teammate, as long as neither you nor the can touches the lava.
  9. When you are done your Cabinet Member, throw your empty can into the recycling bin. If you sink your can, you get a free chug from your new beer.
  10. If you fall off your space and into the lava, you must wear the Box of Shame until the next person touches the lava.
  11. At any point in the game, any player can yell “CBC” and everyone must yell “FLQ” and take a massive chug.

How to Win:

Once all your team’s Cabinet Members have been drunk, grab the Prime Minister and take a shot. You may only take the shot if you can reach Parliament without falling into the lava.

The Mini-Games:

  1. Do the Count: The leader will yell “DO THE COUNT” and all the players will put a number to their forehead between 1-5. If your number matches your teammates’ number, you win the round.
  2. Complete the Quote: The leader will begin a famous quote or saying and the other players must finish it. All players that correctly complete the quote win the round.
  3. Guess a Trait: The leader will name two people or objects that have something in common. All players that can correctly name what they have in common win the round.
  4. Trivia: The leader asks a trivia question about one of the other people in the room. All who correctly answer win the round. If you act like an asshole Canadian and ask a question that only your teammate knows, you must wear the Box of Shame.

P.S.:

Know you limit, stay within it.

 – Alannah

S’more Mug Cake

Summer’s ending, it’s getting cold outside, let’s make us some summer memories in the comfort of our own kitchen!

Omnomnom

Instead of using graham cracker crumbs, which bog down the bubbles and make this vegan recipe very dense, I use regular flour with graham cracker flavouring to make the cake part of this delectable microwave dessert. The secret to the marshmallow part is marshmallow fluff, which is greatly superior to mini marshmallows in that it doesn’t just melt and disappear in the microwave.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey (sorry hardcore vegans – this is important to the graham cracker taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons milk (any kind – I use almond)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon marshmallow fluff (if you can’t find this, you can just use mini marshmallows. If you’re vegan, there is a vegan version, or use vegan marshmallows)
  • a few chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients, then add the rest except marshmallow and chocolate chips. Mix until just smooth.
  2. Spoon 2/3 of the mixture into a buttered mug – this is a small (but intense) cake, so use a small mug.
  3. Spoon marshmallow fluff into the centre of the first layer of batter, and spread it out as much as possible.
  4. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the marshmallow fluff.
  5. Spoon the rest of the batter on top of the marshmallow and chocolate, spreading it to cover them.
  6. Microwave for 50-70 seconds – this will vary depending on your microwave, but your cake is done when the cake just looks dry on top.
  7. Let cool a couple minutes and enjoy with a glass of milk (or not, whatever, I’m not gonna dictate your beverage choice)

S'more Pinnable

~ Arlie

Vegan Granola Bars (feat. C.Habs)

Ever been really hungry and wanting a tasty afternoon snack? Hate overpriced granola bars? Well, my roommate Colette and I love tasty snacks and hate buying groceries so we decided to make our own VEGAN granola bars! And you know what, they were really great and easy to make!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp Agave
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup Almond milk
  • 2 1/2 cup of five grain granola (we opted for low fat raspberry almond to make things more interesting)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp of melted Coconut oil
  • OPTIONAL: you can add frozen fruit! Like raspberries, or blueberries or strawberries etc! Since our granola came with raspberries we decided not to add this, but you can pretty much add whatever you want! Maybe even peanut butter or Nutella…I say this with Arlie in mind…

 

Me Mixing                        The Mixture

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Use a non-stick baking pan…or if you are using a glass Tupperware container like us…then line it with Pam or canola oil).
  3. On low, melt the coconut oil in a small pot on the stove. If you are like Colette and I and keep the applesauce in the fridge, then we advice also mixing in the applesauce on the stove once the coconut oil has melted. You do not want to add cold applesauce to hot coconut oil because then the coconut oil will go back to its hardened state (something I learned today…).
  4. Pour the applesauce and coconut oil mixture into a mixing bowl. Add in the cinnamon, agave, and almond milk. Use a whisk to mix the ingredients together. Once complete, add the granola.
  5. Mix the granola with the wet mixture until the granola is completely covered.
  6. If you wish to add in optional ingredients, make sure to gently fold them in. Fold until completely covered in the mixture.
  7. Put the completed mixture into a baking pan. Press in firmly.
  8. Cook at 350 degree F for 16-20 minutes. Let the bars cool to room temperature before enjoying.

 

VEGAN GRANOLA BARS!

VEGAN GRANOLA BARS!

 

 

 

BAM! I just did a recipe blog! Arlie should be proud!

(NOTE: Colette helped a lot…thank you to my wonderful roommate).

Green Tea Ice Cream Cocktail

A few weeks ago, I went out for a friend’s birthday, and ordered a Matcha Gin Matsu cocktail, which looked absolutely delicious. When I ordered, the waiter asked “Do you like green tea ice cream?”, to which I responded with an enthusiastic yes (it’s my favourite). Much to my disappointment, the cocktail, though lovely, did not taste at all like green tea ice cream, and I went home determined to make my own green tea ice cream cocktail. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream or other cream based liqueur
  • 2 teaspoons matcha powder
  • about 10 ice cubes OR 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
  • dash of spirulina powder for colour (optional)

Instructions

Put all ingredients in a blender together and blend until smooth. Serves 2.

MOoG 1 PinnableJust wait until I get my food photography act together. It’s gonna be glorious.

~ Arlie