Tag Archives: Christmas

30 Cakes (26, 27 and 28/30)

This week I’ve had a familiar cake from a stranger, and some unfamiliar cakes baked with love by friends. The first one, the carrot cake, was nice enough and made for a happy little afternoon tea-time treat, but made me miss my sister and her version made with apple sauce and a lot of shaved carrots. Shaving carrots takes some commitment, but watching as the roots are stripped and fly like mad confetti into a big bowl is actually one of my favorite culinary experiences. This version is from one of Vancouver’s many great not-Starbucks coffee shops, Koffee. While this was delicious, I’m now really looking forward to getting out the vegetable peelers and talking my sister into making her version while we’re home for Christmas.

Eat your vegetables.

Eat your vegetables.

The second cake, well ‘cake event’, was happily found at the annual holiday party of my wonderful knitting buddies. This Knitmas, the table was filled with sweet treats which included an anise and almond cake and peppermint brownies both made by some really talented knitters I’m happy to know. With a pile of friends celebrating a common interest, a plate full of cakes,  and other holiday parties on the way, it turns out the end of the 30 Cakes is nearly here.

2013-12-01 17.40.40

The superstars are there on the bottom left and top-ish-middle  buried around a few assorted “not cakes”, am I right? Let’s call it a ‘cake event.



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The Halfway Report: 15/30

With the year mark coming back around faster than I am keeping up with, my plan of having 30 cakes in the first 365 days of my 30th year might need a little recap and refresh.

Luckily, I didn’t have to dig very deep to remember that I started this count at the birthday lunch I had with a wonderful friend who took me out for mini cakes and a palm reading (yes, both services are offered at the same venue – obviously an incredible pal for finding it and knowing how thoroughly happy it would make me). From there I was surprised at work with a chocolate cake breakfast and the ball, as they say, was officially in play.

I’ve since had cakes for Christmas, a famous Vancouver-style cupcake, and a stunning southern classic cake paired with champagne and a healthy dose of my girls back home. I’ve baked a few, including this coconut beauty, and tucked in a couple of  mini treats to what would have otherwise been regular days.

All told, I still have exactly 2 months and 29 days to finish. With the installment of #15 (spiced milk cake with caramel icing) and the incredible looking strawberry cake recipe that I was gifted recently, I think I’ll be well able to note this as a happy 30th year indeed.

15/30 - a classic milk cake recipe (with cardamom, nutmeg and all spice added to the milk) plus a brown sugar caramel icing - helps start Fall off right.

A classic milk cake recipe (with cardamom, nutmeg and all spice added to the milk) plus a brown sugar caramel and elderflower icings to help start Fall off right.


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Aqua Light

Being here for winter makes me more appreciative of one of the best parts of the winter holidays. I think the best one is Christmas lights in odd places a country girl just wouldn’t expect: strings of lights on people’s balconies, on really tall cedar trees in their yards, on cranes building high rises. It beings a happiness to the dark evenings and cold nights. Seeing all this here among snowy roofs and sidewalks is even better.

Through the 22nd, the Vancouver Aquarium wants to show us another kind of light all together – the light in the sea. This year, they have a neat chart about how light changes color under the depth of the ocean. They also have engineered the surge of power from electric eels to light up a series of folded-paper jelly fish that hang from the (soon to be new again) old entry hall. It’s a neat thing to see. Rare is the chance to see a manifestation of nature’s power in our own, human terms.


Lit by the force inside an eel.

There’s also some amazing work with lighting the more colorful of ocean creatures. Some of them, like this anemone, live right here off the BC coast.

the scorching glow of BC's own coastline creatures

the scorching glow of BC’s own coastline creatures

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bright lights, big city

Like the song, it sure is Christmas time in this city and Vancouver is actually a really nice place to be this time of year. People huddle together in a few places (shopping on Robson Street, visiting the light displays at parks and gardens, the local coffee shop or out with friends at favorite winter time restaurant) and much of the rest of town empties out. I’m not sure if this is because it’s a pretty transient city so many return home, or maybe we are all just staying indoors unless heading to a friend’s lunch or office party. What do I like best? Balconies on condo buildings showing off the varied taste in lights of each tenant. Seeing people carrying trays of cookies or a side dish getting buzzed into their friend’s apartment. Cute displays in shop windows. The tiny hope everyone holds that this might be the year for snow.


Christmas at Lost Lagoon
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woods wreath

I’m on a “rain is nice” theme lately. Armed with a proper raincoat and gum boots make it easier. Not loosing my balance anymore on slippery dirt underfoot helps too. A change in perspective might be helping the most. Seeking the solitude of an empty path or the coziness of mittens and knitted hats make me more likely to notice the pleasant elements of life in a rainforest. Today, for instance, gathering things along a walk through the neighborhood I am pleased to find wet branches are bendy and perfect for wreath making. Here’s what I picked up.

berries, twigs, needles, cones, feathers, leaves, shells, seeds.

berries, twigs, needles, cones, feathers, leaves, shells, seeds.










After a little wrapping and weaving I wound up with three little wreaths to bring in some natural holiday cheer.


evergreen with snowberries and cones

camellia leaves and a touch of christmas in red berries and piney stems

camellia leaves and a touch of christmas in red berries and piney stems

wild twigs with green cedar and blue-purple shells

wild twigs with green cedar and blue-purple shells and a few loose pine cone flakes

splitting soles

splitting soles





























































This little excursion might finally initiate that visit to the cobbler I’ve been putting off too. These boots have had their fair share of abuse in the name of woods walking!

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