Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Seattle last summer

Here are a few of my favourite shots from a trip we took to Seattle last summer to hang out with a couple of our American pals, Lisa and Paul. 

I love the texture. Rust is so photogenic.

Do you see a pattern emerging here with Mister Man? "Have tub, will lay in it"??? CLICK HERE to help jog your memory of his nibs. See what I'm sayin'?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Daily Epiphany

Is being a slave to fashion environmentally irresponsible, or am I just cheap and lazy?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Daily Epiphany

Orange cheddar cheese is pretty much impossible to photograph. It seems to vacillate between down right garish and frighteningly anemic....

Reifel Bird Sanctuary (or how I almost lost my life)

Mister Man and I were having a "staycation" this weekend in which we PRETENDED we were out of town, while all the while laying low in our own backyard. (That last sentence is a metaphor by the way, as we don't actually have a backyard. We have a small balcony. Our balcony is about 60 square feet of concrete that I avoid at all costs because we live on the 12th floor and I am afraid of heights.)

I am also afraid of birds.

Yeah. I saw Hitchcock's "The Birds" at a slumber party when I was in the 4th grade. I'm no dummy. Birds are skittish and unpredictable. You've seen the millions of crazy pigeons in Trafalgar Square who wait until you start to make your move before flapping their wings hysterically in your face. You know what I'm talking about.

Here's an interactive website that kind of illustrates the full horror of it (actually the website, by panoramic photographer Will Pearson is absolutely gorgeous) Check it out: The Birds, Trafalgar Square.

So when Mister Man suggested that we take a field trip to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, my first thought was that he was trying to kill me.

The sign we encountered upon entering the Sanctuary did not bode well for me.

Mister Man threatened to throw bird seed at me to "attract" the crazy critters. I was clearly not impressed. But I was relieved to discover that, in fact, there actually aren't THAT many birds IN the Reifel Bird Sanctuary. Or else they were already full because we were there at the end of the day and they had probably eaten a Costco-sized keg of birdseed by then. Upon paying your entrance fee, you are encouraged to take bags of birdseed so that you can have the birds EAT RIGHT OUT OF YOUR HAND!! I don't know about you, but that just seems like crazy talk to me.

In any event, we had a lovely walk. There were these little houses with peek-a-boo windows so you could spy on wildlife! It made for a kind of built-in panoramic view.

And there was only one touchy moment in which a pack of rabid ducks blocked our escape path.

And then we were chased by a pack of homicidal geese, but Mister Man made like Dr. Doolittle and became the geese whisperer. I snuck by very carefully moving a bit like the pink panther.

By the end of the day, I was actually brave enough to climb this tower! Fear of heights be gone!

And then I even attempted to feed a duck! The stupid thing ignored me.

As we neared the exit again, I was feeling quite proud of myself. Though as I glanced at this sign on the way out, I wondered who would be stupid enough to actually chase the killer winged things....

Cheese and Broccoli Pie (Oh My!)

This is deceptively simple to make and so delicious to eat that you may think you have died and bounced all the way to heaven.

Okay, maybe you DO have to make pastry. And if you’re like me, you probably spent decades AVOIDING making pastry. But let me tell you fellow pastry-phobe, there is good news! It wasn't that hard. And everything they say is TRUE! (the less you handle it, the flakier it is). If I can make a flaky pastry crust, YOU can make a flaky pastry crust!

SIDEBAR BACK STORY: Many years ago, I spent a summer working in P.E.I.; the land of Anne of Green Gables and red soil. Every payday, my roommate and I would go to this little cafe in the heart of Charlottetown called The Broadway Cafe (or was it the Off Broadway Cafe?). There was only one reason we went there very week without fail and it was this:

Cheese and Broccoli Pie (served with Caesar Salad).

(This much dairy in one sitting by today’s standards, means we essentially consumed the better part of a dairy farm every week). No mind. It was delicious!

After we’d been going there every week for a couple of months, we got to know the chef/owner and guess what? It turned out that we knew here sister who lived in St. John's Newfoundland! So, I guess it's true. When you go traveling and you're far away from home, and you tell the stranger on the train/bus/plane that you're from Newfoundland and they say "Oh - do you know my distance cousin/friend or [fill in the blank], there's actually a chance that you DO know the person of whom they speak!

In any event, we got invited to the house-of-sister-of-St. John’s-friend on our day off, and while we were sitting around, I boldly asked “So, what’s IN that most delicious Cheese and Broccoli pie of yours?” To which she replied, "cheese and broccoli".


She: “Pastry.”


She: [Blank Stare]

Me: “You mean the only ingredients in that pie are cheese and broccoli?”

“That’s exactly what I mean.”

Yes friend, the complexity in the taste of this pie is in it’s simplicity.

I suggest you try it for yourself and let me know how very right I am about how tasty it really is.

For the Pie

525 grams of old cheddar (grated)
2 good size crowns of broccoli.

You can lightly steam the broccoli if you like, but make sure the little florets are still crunchy. Trust me. You need a little crunch to contrast the melty melty goodness of all that cheese. Lay the broccoli in the partially baked crust. Go on! Put lots in there!

Now. Pile the cheese on top of the broccoli. It will look like it's going to be too much, but it will melt - so don't panic (though do put a baking sheet on the rack below your baking rack JUST IN CASE.)

For the Pastry

This recipe was gleefully embraced (borrowed) from the wondrous website of Pioneer Woman. This crust is made with vegetable shortening (CRISCO) and is flaky for sure.Though I would like to try making a butter crust in the coming weeks, because I have a hunch that it will yield a sweeter flavour. But in the meantime, this one will do the trick nicely.

The only thing you will want to do is blind bake the crust before you fill it. I protected my edges with tin foil so that they didn't get too brown in the final analysis. But I skipped steps 5 and 6. A word of warning - the skipping of steps 5 and 6 caused a little pie crust slippage during the blind baking portion of this culinary expedition, so a bit of the crust ended up sliding down the pie plate a wee bit.

To make the crust, go here and do exactly as PW tells you to do. I tell you - it WORKS! Sylvia's Perfect Pie Crust.

(Note pastry slippage on the right of the pie? Due to Sugarlove's laziness!!! Don't let this happen to you!!)

The only thing I would do differently next time, is to make a thinner crust. For some reason, I thought the savory pie would do well with a nice thick crust, and essentially used 2 of the 3 pastry balls this recipe makes. But it was too thick when all was said and done, so I think a nice compromise would be to use the equivalent of 1.5 crusts. This would have made it a bit thick, but not too thick.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Favourite Photos (Part 2 of a gazillion: Newfoundland fog)

One of the most beautiful things about Newfoundland is the fog.  It literally swallows everything up.  It's an extraordinary experience to witness the fog seeping towards you carried on the groaning blare of the foghorns. 

These photos were all taken on the east coast of Newfoundland, in Quidi Vidi Village and at Cape Spear.

Daily Epiphany

Farrah Fawcett's sad passing marks the end of an era in which hundreds of girls ended up with teeny curling iron burns on their faces after trying to unsuccessfully feather their hair.  (We will miss you Farrah, because no matter what anyone else says, I always thought you were the best Angel.......)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Revenge is sweet (but sometimes I am not)

Mister Man is a PC. And I'm not talkin' politics (although on that front, he doesn't quite sit right next to me on the left side of the fence. He's a bit closer to the spikey part of the pickets!). Nope. I'm talkin' computers here!

Sidebar Full disclosure: I was a PC for a number of sad and forgettable years that were peppered with frequent appearances by “the blue screen of death”. I finally came back from the dark side to re-kindle my old affair with all-things-Mac and I love it. Yes. I LOVE my MacBook Pro. LOVE. IT.

My Mac, however, did come between me and Mister Man in its first days at home, and was almost turfed off the balcony by himself when we couldn’t get our respective PC and Mac to “play nice” on the wireless network. It turns out that Mac wants to be on top. And really, who could blame it?

In any event, Mister Man has started this silly little photo series on Facebook called “Things I Shouldn’t Put on Teri’s Mac”. Yeah.

*purses lips in disapproval*

I know!!!

Under the cover of darkness (or when I’m somewhere else in our palatial 700 sq. foot apartment), he takes sneaky photos of “inappropriate objects” perched on my Mac and posts them to a series on his FB page (much to the delight of our so-called “friends”. Yes. You know who you are: Wee Sarah, Mariette, A.R., d, Suzo, and the rest of you who keep supplying suggestions for the next addition to his so-called "art project".)

Thus far, these have included: a can of vienna sausages, a glass of mysterious green liquid, teeth from a Halloween costume… WAIT!!!

I’ll show you a little of what he's been up to. I have “stolen” these images from his “Things I Shouldn’t Put on Teri’s Mac” FB series, and I present them for your consideration. And as evidence:

Yeah. Pretty funny right? (oh - that was a sarcasm just in case it didn’t come across in print.)

Here's the deal: I feel compelled to respond in some way. I have thought about the obvious: retaliating by simply doing the same thing to his PC. But that seems lacking and a titch unimaginative .
And so I put it out there for you reader-friend. Help me. I implore you. What shall I do? How can I best elicit my revenge??
You can comment here or, should you want to avoid the judging eyes of Mister Man burning holes into your cyber self, you can email me directly:


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Daily Epiphany

No matter what you order at a restaurant, whatever the person across from you orders will ALWAYS look better than yours....

Cake! Glorious cake!

This, my friend, is a cake. A PINK cake to be precise. It is delicious and light and strawberry in flavour. And it is the first cake in a series of “test cakes” that I’m trying out (or perhaps “trying on” is more accurate, as I’m sure some of these cakes are gonna end up on my hips….)

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

As you may have read earlier, Mister Man and I are getting hitched in about 15 months. We’re heading back to my homeland (Newfoundland) where my fabulous family resides. Of course, we’re inviting our friends and family from the mainland to join us. For many of them, this will be their first visit to the exotic far-east of Canada: the land of cultural excellence, icebergs, fried cod tongues (delicious! now don’t be hatin’!), jigs ‘n reels, fish ‘n chips with dressing and gravy, carnation-milk-in-yer-tea and so much more….

Here’s Paully and Michele in Newfoundland with Mister Man. And an iceberg. Yuppers. That is a real honest to goodness iceberg behind them.

We’re gathering in Newfoundland for the big event, and we’re trying to figure out how to make our wedding special. And meaningful for everyone who'll be with us.

I have worked in the arts all my life (in theatre, film and special events). I’m a feminist. I am a bit of a Pollyanna. I’m a sentimental fool, and I love the notion of honouring tradition. (This info is necessary to understand how the next part of the cake saga unfolds.)

So as Mister Man and I scratch our heads trying to figure out how to make this event “ours”. I immediately start thinking about the wedding cake and how freakin’ GREAT it would be if only I could bake it. Hm. Clearly, this is a stupid idea. *Pfftt* How am I going to bake my own wedding cake when I don’t even LIVE in Newfoundland anymore?

And then, the Pollyanna part of me kicks in and I start thinking about all of the great things that collectives of women have done throughout history. I ponder ritual and passage. I am awestruck at the thought of all of that estrogen together in one room. I think of how, in ancient times, women would gather to sew great tapestries or a wedding quilt.

And suddenly, my head was filled with beautiful images of my friends and family coming together from opposite ends of this country over a glass of champagne & orange juice to collectively make our wedding cake!!! There they were, taking in the spectacular view of the Atlantic ocean from the beautiful home of Paully and Michele. And I saw my Newfoundland aunties tucked into a corner of the dining room measuring flour and sugar with our mainland friends who are artists, writers, directors. I saw “Mom of Mister Man” weighing chocolate with The Mums and a bevy of women artists from Newfoundland. I saw us collectively baking this cake – this brilliant symbol of two people from different communities coming together. And I have to say that I even cried a little because the image was so perfect and beautiful – a brilliant (and delicious) metaphor.

However, not everyone thought this was a great idea. But more on that later….

Until then, suffice it to say that the next 15 months will be filled with testing cake recipes in search of the perfect recipe for the baking of the collective wedding cake.

The pink cake, pictured at the beginning of this post, was the first cake I auditioned. We even had an official jury grade this crumbly morsel of love. The cake was fun! And pink! And I kind of accidentally went a little crazy on the icing, intending to only dot it in a tasteful minimalist style....But I got carried away once I felt the power of that cake decorating pump thingie in my hands!

This cake was tasty for sure (though a tad dry… so maybe I baked it a couple of nano seconds too long??) But I don’t think it’s the cake for our big event.

In any event, the recipe came from Smitten Kitchen and here it is:

Pink Lady Cake

For the cake
4 1/2 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
5 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pureed frozen strawberries
8 egg whites
2/3 cup milk
1 to 2 drops red food dye if you like (to make the pink color pop more)

For the cream cheese frosting
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Make the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pans. Line with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend the ingredients. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes; the batter will resemble strawberry ice cream at this point.

3. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk and red food dye, if using, to blend. Add the whites to the batter in two or three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorporate after each addition. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans. If you’re worried about the layers being even, you can weigh each of the pans!
4. Bake the cakes for 30 to 34 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper liners. Let stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least an hour.

Make the cream cheese frosting
5. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.
Frost and assemble the cake6. Place one cake layer on a cake board or platter. Spread about 2/3 cup frosting over the layer, spreading it to the edge. Repeat with the second layer. Add the top layer and frost the top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, reserving a small amount if you wish to tint it and pipe a decoration on the cake. Sugarlove's note: I dare you to try to be less fru-fru than me!

This recipe was TOTALLY lifted from the wondrous website of Smitten Kitchen

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Cake: A Beginning

So here I am yabbering on about baking (or at least hinting at it in my banner), and I have posted nary an image, thought or recipe! Clearly I am one sad slacker!!

Allow me to share a tale with you, gentle reader. A long time ago, when I was but a wee snip of a thing (okay, I was actually never really “wee”. I popped out of the womb as a “big-boned lass” and nothing much has changed over the years except scale…..)

In any event, one of the things I loved about childhood is that The Mums used to encourage my brother Paully and I to bake. I have many fond memories of standing on a chair and carefully adding ingredients to a cream coloured bowl. (you know the kind that resemble a cable knit sweater?) There was something utterly magical about putting all of these ingredients together and having a cake or a batch of cookies emerge 20 minutes later! My love for baking continued with the acquisition of my easy bake oven. (Old school, natch!!) Golly.... I can still smell the wonderful scent of the 60 watt lightbulb "baking" that chocolate cake!!!

And then I became an adult. And with the onset of adulthood came utter apathy for baking. I mean, really, [insert eye roll] why bake when bakeries and patisseries abounded? I had more important things to do than chain myself to an oven for god's sake! I had to THINK and PONTIFICATE and WAX POETIC and drink Pernod!! [insert shaking fist and self righteous head nod]

Flash forward to a mellower me. I started following some amazing food blogs, and I found myself inspired again. (Thank you Smitten Kitchen and Pioneer Woman - you have made me see the world in a brave new sugary light.) And I had this urge to bake again. And ever-so-tentatively, I tiptoed back into the baking arena. Once there, I found a kind of peace and joy that I hadn’t experienced since my mother stood behind me and helped my little paw stir that batter into a bliss…..

And THEN Mister Man (I did mention how wonderful he is yes?) purchased THIS for me for the last festive season.

Need I say more? This baby has made mama one happy camper!! And I’d go out on a limb and say it’s made a few friends kinda happy too over the past year....

Stay tuned for the saga of where this next leads me.....

Daily Epiphany

It’s a really good idea to take more than a passing glance out the window before leaving for work in the morning. Looking out the window in earnest can lead to the prevention of wearing inappropriate footwear (flip flops) in inclement weather (cold rain). [shivers]

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Favourite Photos (part 1 of a gazillion)

I was interested in posting some of my favourite pictures, because glory be! there are about a gazillion of them!! So, I thought I’d start someplace special. The first vacation that Mister Man and I took together was a wedding/camping combo expedition which saw us traversing over the Rocky Mountains to Alberta for the wedding of Mariette and Brian. (I was the official photographer.)

What makes these photos even MORE special is the fact that my beautiful friend Mariette (AKA Mrs. EX-Spinstergirl) has agreed to be one of the members of our 2 person wedding party when Mister Man and I get hitched in about 15 months. Mariette has graciously agreed to be “my maid most honourable”, “Ethel to my Lucy”, “Spock to my Kirk”– you get the idea. She’ll be the person scraping me down from the ceiling when I have a panic attack. She’ll make sure I don’t go out with spinach in my teeth, or toilet paper dangling from my shoe. She’s got my back, and for that I am oh-so-grateful.

SIDEBAR: Quite frankly, this whole “wedding thing” is a bit of a surprise for me. I’ve not ever been consumed with visions of trouncing down the aisle looking like a vanilla cupcake in a fluffy white dress. But I’m truly looking forward to our pending nuptials for a whole pile of reasons (the least of which being that Mister Man is a truly wonderful soul who brings me coffee in bed every day and makes me laugh. *chortle chortle* Oh the tales I have to tell!!!).

Here's everything you need to know about Mariette. She is the kind of friend who jumps on a plane and flies hundreds of miles to help a wedding neophyte pick out an appropriate dress. She’s the kind of gal who patiently shows one how to use hot curlers (who knew??). She can whip up a mango salsa with one hand, and light a campfire with another. She’s a l’il bit bossy (in a good way) and a whole lotta supportive, all done up in a stylish wrapper! And I am so grateful that she’s on my team.


Walking while sipping coffee will result in spillage.

Monday, June 22, 2009


If 7 Elevens are open 24 hours a day, why do they have locks on the door?

One of the main characters in Sugarlove Girl's blogworld. Meet Mister Man. (In disguise)
(How could you NOT love a man who makes a bubble bath beard and asks that you take his picture for posterity???)

And so it begins

I'm a bit of a late bloomer, having contemplated blogging for some time now, but having done absolutely NOTHING about it (except to read a handful of truly wonderful and inspiring blogs and become filled with inspiration and lofty aspirations!!! ) There was always something that got in the way - and this "something" coupled with performance anxiety has rendered my normally chatty self silent.
But silence no more!

It feels like the planets have (finally) aligned. My wonderful partner (AKA Mister Man) has been consumed with work and other stuff and I've been feeling that creative itch which is needing a good, long scratch. So bear with me, gentle reader, as together we watch me scrape my nails repeatedly over the creative rash that has consumed me. (A metaphor that’s lacking for sure… but it truly says it all.)

Here’s my lofty plan in a nutshell:
I’m gonna blog about life, baking, planning the wedding to Mister Man, photography, film, and other important stuff.

Here are the characters in my blogworld:

Mister Man – partner in crime. Patient. Funny. Sometimes has a tendency to roll his eyes a bit too much. Will be really annoyed when he reads this and finds a photo of himself in this post.

The Mums – self explanatory. Mother of moi. Patient. Funny. Sometimes has a tendency to roll her eyes a bit too much.

…. [wait a minute – I see a bit of a pattern emerging!!]

Assorted Friends – kind o’ like a giant bag of liquorice allsorts. Some are those yummy round things rolled in candy beads and some are like multi-flavoured sammiches! They frequently say the right things. “This cake is delicious.” “I think you’ve lost weight!” “I don’t think you’re aging poorly at ALL!” “You’re so funny!” This is why I love them.

The Running Posse – my running posse. A group of eclectic women with whom I sweat every Sunday morning. Together we have run half marathons (albeit REALLLLLY slowly), celebrated birthdays, and eaten a heck of a lot of cake.

Paully – my brother. My one and only. He is also patient. And funny. And he’s a scientist! (which means he’s pretty smart)

Michele – my sister in law. Also a scientist!! (very smart and an excellent woodworker).

And that’s it for now.

Phew. That wasn’t so hard.