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Earth Hour- if we can do it, you can do it.

Turn off those lights! And any other power reliant things too for that matter!

So. 

In case you did not know, tomorrow (Saturday), at 830pm it is Earth Hour.  If you’ve never heard of Earth Hour before, it’s when we all turn off our lights to conserve energy.  Since I decided to write about it today, I figured I should find out a little bit more about it.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Australia.  A whole 2.2 MILLION people, not to mention 2000 businesses in Australia turned off their lights for that one hour to show their support for stopping Global Warming.  Since then, the protest (I guess you can call it that!)  has grown to a world-wide event, with last year’s Earth Hour having 128 countries participate.  That kind of makes me feel all tingly inside. 🙂  This year, WWF (no, not the world wrestling federation- it’s the world wildlife fund) is actually asking people to for sure participate in the hour, BUT also try for longer.  If you can do the hour why not do more, is their logic.  I think it’s a faaaaaaantastic idea! 

Last year I was unfortunately working at my job with a large drugstore chain.  And guess what?  No, we didn’t turn off all the lights, which then caused a fierce rioting mob of looters, but we did turn off all non-essential lights (about half to 3/4 of the main lights), as well as washroom, office, and staffroom lights.  If all those stores nationwide did the same thing, that alone is a heck of a lot of power conservation.  And that’s just one business!

Since Earth Hour is on a Saturday, the school board I work for decided that today we would participate in Earth Hour.  Yes, the classrooms were still pretty light, as it was during the day, but many classes were affected.  Not only did we just turn off the lights, but all classes turned off computers, smartboards, and any other technology being used.  To be honest, it really did affect our class.  We were scheduled to have gym.  Picture it.  The gym is in the middle of the school- no windows.  Did I let them run around screaming in the dark?  No.  We went back to the classroom and played desk volleyball in the darkened classroom.  They still had a blast.

My point?  An hour isn’t going to kill anyone, and it will make a difference.  Does it suck to lose your gym period?  Maybe, but we got over it.  Will it suck to not be able to go on Facebook or twitter for an hour?  Perhaps, but everything will still be there when it’s over.  Light some candles.  Have a romantic dinner.  Play a board game.  Read a book by flashlight.  There’s lots to do- especially when it comes to the environment.  Do your part! 🙂

Ok, I feel like this blog might be a little preachy.  Sorry guys.  It’s just so easy to participate!

Update me on how you spent your Earth Hour!

Lates.

PS  My friend Sandra DID start her own “green” blog- It’s called “Save Money, Be Healthy, and Live Sustainably” and it’s great! Read it- you’d be silly not to!

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Monday/Tuesday Meals/Desserts

mmmmmm!

what what!

So when I got back from my 30th birthday trip, I decided to recreate some brownies that my friend Bai made my first night in Cali.  Didn’t work.  I don’t know what happened.  Maybe the sugar didn’t melt into the chocolate the way it was supposed to, perhaps putting them in the refrigerator when the recipe said store at room temperature did it.  But whatever it was the brownies were hard, and all stuck together like cement.  It was gross.  AND very inedible.

So last night I decided to re-recreate these suckers! 

Here is the recipe:

(FYI I was totally going to type it all out until I realized Bai sent it to me over email!  Yay copy and paste! 🙂 )

Classic Brownies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

1 cup (4 ounces) pecans or walnuts, chopped medium (optional)
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhand pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width; fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.) When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs on at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve. (Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or, ahem, in the freezer until your resistance gets the better of you.)

So yea.  When I started mixing the sugar into the melted chocolate, it was looking really lumpy AGAIN, but I didn’t freak out….I just continued.  Also, Bai gave me a few tips before starting this time- try using cake flour as opposed to regular flour, it will be fluffier, and this tip he gave me while in California- use high-end chocolate.  It does make a difference.  Seriously.  Aside from dinner today, brownies was all I ate.  I love them. 

Long story short, they did turn out.  Though I didn’t wait for them to cool completely, so they are all in like weirdly shaped clumps in the tupperware, but they are fantastically good weirdly shaped clumps, so no worries! 🙂

finished product!

the aftermath :S

 

Oh, before I forget, funny story!  While in San Fran, I discovered that Ghirardelli Chocolate is made there.  Sooooo good!  Which is the chocolate Bai used to make his brownies.  So when I got back, naturally I tried to find some here.  I tried everywhere!  grocery stores, Wal-Mart, Pharmacies, Bulk Barns.  You named it, I tried it.  I then went to Facebook to appeal to friends to see who knew where to get some!  Well, I learned a couple of things then.

1.  There is a lindt warehouse in Mississauga.  Dangerous!

2. Roger Leavens is a man of his word. 

Roger is a friend of my husband.  (Well ok, he is my friend too :P)  Anywho, he lives in the Tdot, and replied that he would mail me some.  2 days later, I got an Xpress post package delivered FULL of chocolate! 

Thanks Roger!

 Keep in mind there are 2 bars missing that I used to bake with!  It was an exciting piece of mail to say the least!  I also ended up getting a belated birthday gift from my sister in-laws of ghirardell chocolate too, which was also very exciting.  I guess Facebook can be good for something after all! 🙂

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sandra and derek’s diy wedding! :)

alright, here is the long awaited wedding i’ve been talking about for like 2 months….. i was too busy getting pictures taken, and doing bridesmaid duties to take photos of the fabulous little details that sandra did, so i waited until lots of pics were posted on facebook….and then i stole them.

hey- what else is facebook good for? 😀

Candy buffet!

mmmm!

table assignments were written on window panes!

which kind of looked like this when set up!

signs like these lined the way to the ceremony

🙂

sandra also printed her own programs which were really pretty, AND did little bags up for the candy buffet which were stamped with a matching flower from her invites!  super cute!  those my friends, i do not have pictures of, but if you’re lucky i will look for them this weekend, and try to scan and post next week!

let me tell you people; speaking from experience, if you are doing it yourself for wedding projects,  michaels and the dollar store will become your new favourite stores.  sandra’s candy buffet pots were from the dollar store…for reals.  and most of the rest of them were from michaels.  i actually looked forward to getting emailed 40% off coupons from michaels every thursday… if you are getting married sign up- they will help you!   i went there so much i’m actually kind of going through michaels’ withdrawl!  i need a new project- perhaps that’s why i’ve started doing home renos!

but that my friends will be another blog entry!

that’s it for now yo.

see y’all on the flip side.  Monday meals for real on Monday.  promise!

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