Springtime = Strawberries

strawberry_cakesI realize that I should probably get out of the kitchen and look for sources of inspiration elsewhere, as this baking hobby of mine is turning my blog into a foodie diary and is quite literally expanding my thighs.  I’m finding the latter quite problematic, so all jokes aside, I will dedicate my future post to the gym; the fluorescent and sterile lair where machines stand impatiently at attention, their pixelated screens beckoning, waiting to prey on excess calories.

Until then, on with the subject at hand.  Let it be known that I only bake for events, well… occasionally for no reason at all but to quell a sweet tooth craving, but I try to resist those urges to avoid over-indulgence (see expanding thigh reasoning above).  Whether it be for potlucks, birthdays or holidays, I enjoy trying out new recipes.  It’s an adrenaline rush of sorts with the potential of failure and a limited deadline with no time to resort to a plan B.  Thankfully most of these culinary adventures turn out well, and worst case, a little extra sugar can thankfully solve most mishaps.

I honestly can’t post the recipe for this amazing strawberry coulis as it was the result of “little bit of this, little bit of that”.  Toss it all into the blender and taste after each new ingredient addition and adjust accordingly.  One tip is that while heating the concoction on the stove to thicken it a little, adding a few basil leaves (fresh, not dried flakes, and straining them later of course), adds a lovely flavour harmony to the sweet strawberry mixture.  There you have it, my secret ingredient: basil.

Etsy

etsybagI finally made my first Etsy purchase!  It was my husband Phil’s birthday this month, and he had been searching for a light tan vintage-looking leather bag for a few months now to carry all of his paraphernalia to business meetings.  You’d think that something basic like a leather briefcase/bag would be an easy find, but no.  Even after February’s trip to NYC, we came back empty-handed.  Mind you, we found some gorgeous potentials in Soho, but we just couldn’t justify spending the equivalent of more than half of a month’s mortgage payment on a simple bag!  So after scouring local stores and online shops as the countdown to his birthday drew nigh, I decided to consult Etsy.

With such vast selection, one can be choosy.  I believe I had a good dozen tabs open on my browser, pouring over specs, shipping prices and vendor ratings.  One bag was larger, another slightly cheaper, and another still had extra pockets… “eeny, meeny, miny, moe”?!  One, in particular stood out and I knew I had finally found “the one”.  In addition to fitting all of the appearance and budget criteria, it had a bonus feature where an inner, padded organizer could be inserted inside the bag to safely protected a camera body and lenses.  Ding ding, we have a winner!

Although it unfortunately arrived a few days after Phil’s actual birthday, he was thrilled to not only complete his stylish business man persona, but to also have the capability to transport his laptop, papers AND camera to video shoots and meetings and to not have to carry multiple bags.  Etsy, I now must hide my credit card to avoid your temptation!

Goat Cheese Cheesecake

Goat Cheese Cheesecake

Yes, goat cheese cheesecake.  Having a lactose intolerant in one’s household calls for a little extra creativity when it comes to baking.  Although this delicious dessert does contain some cream cheese, the addition of goat cheese greatly reduces to lactose level.  I’m sure goat cheese cream cheese exists, as I just discovered goat yoghurt (umm  “go-ghurt”) the other day, however our nearest grocery store has not yet stocked up on such exotic products.

It concerns me how food allergies are becoming more prevalent, and although I’m thankful for scientific advances which provide alternatives, I can’t help but wonder if by meeting quotas and tweaking genetics to create more robust vegetation, we’re harming our body’s delicate natural balance.  Food for thought.

Birthday Bear

Birthday Bear

I’ve come to the realization that my portfolio page is a little chaotic with a mixture of corporate jobs mixed with personal projects and that can cause a some confusion.  I’m still working out the logistics of potentially having two pages, one for graphic design work and another for artsy pieces.  Until then, my blog will be the dumping zone of all non-corporate endeavours.

As today is my husband’s birthday, I decided to make him a special card.  Is it just me, or are the majority of store-bought cards designed solely for females?!  I find it next to impossible to find anything meaningful for guys over the age of 8.  I once bought what I thought was a blank card with the picture of an old man on the front for a brother-in-law with some witty caption about getting old, but upon taking the card out of the cellophane to write him a birthday message, I was horrified to find the text “guess you’ll need to start using the Viagra now” (or something along those lines) inside.  Panic!  Thankfully we can laugh about it now, but honestly, I find that there are very few quality cards for males that don’t contain imagery referring to golf, hot babes, red cars or sports.

All that to say, I decided to make my own card for my husband.  Illustration is something that I don’t mind spending hours on to perfect, so I decided to draw out a panda in Adobe Illustrator.  Without getting too cutesy, I just want to note that I have been calling my husband Bear for many years now, and I think that if he was an animal, he would be a panda for sure.  Back to the card.  After illustrating the final design, I had to separate the layers that I wanted to print separately in order to have certain sections raised with foamy stickers (like the grass in front of the panda, his arm and the hat).  I don’t know why I decided to have the panda sitting in grass, because honestly, cutting out individual minuscule strands of grass at midnight was not the most enjoyable activity.  Frustrations aside, the card turned out beautifully and my husband actually asked me where I had purchased such a perfect card.  That made my day.

 
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