caffeine fix

anyone that knows me knows that I am made of mostly caffeine and hairspray, and I have managed to find a way to make sure i have a direct line to one of those things at all times. for my love of tea, not only am i always drinking tea, but i also work at DavidsTea! i have had various retail-style jobs in my working life, but Davids is a whole other kind of experience. aside from making sure they are providing delicious, quality tea, Davids is also a fun, creative, and friendly environment for customers and staff, and i just love it!

one kind of amazing thing that Davids has done is their recipe page on their website! its super cool cuz they’ve made some really great tea-based recipes for things other than hot/cold drinks! check it out – http://www.davidstea.com/recipes

one of my personal favorite things to do with teas is mix them! Davids has caught onto this little staff secret and come out with some sets of teas that can be mixed to create more flavors! if you ever get a chance, may i suggest…

Blueberry Jam + Birthday Cake = Blueberry Pancakes!    

Birthday Cake + Coffee Puerh = Tiramisu!      

Super Ginger + Buddhas Blend = Ginger Peach    

And my personal favorite right now, maybe even of all time, is Cranberry Pear + Vanilla Rooibos = Cream Soda!

 

the cream soda combination does come already weighted out and ready to go, as well as other awesome combinations that are all delicious!

http://www.davidstea.com/cream-soda-perfect-match?&TF=&DEID

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school saturday

im completely in love with school! im loving the people and what i get to do everyday!

im almost used to having only one class for three weeks, and then taking on a new one. after spending five years at the u of a, and grant macewan university, id gotten used to having more than one course to pay attention to at a time. nait is organized to focus one course at a time, and then move onto the next. not only has it made my days very intense, but they also kind of blur together! instead of spending four months in a specific class, each one is condensed into just under a month. each day is about five and half hours of class, with a break, and a lot of learning!

the sanitation class that all culinary students at nait have to take, is the only one that lasts all semester, but is only once a week. the second class that I took was the cold kitchen class, involving garnishing, salads, sandwiches, and presentation. i finished that just over a week ago and, i learned more than i thought i ever would about cheese, and garnishing and buffet presentation than i every thought possible, and it is all fascinating! lol

more than learning about the actual cooking part, i learned that i think i can do this whole cooking school thing. at the beginning of this specific lab, i was a little worried just because the instructor seemed to be a little intimidating, but we finished on a really good note and i am happy with how the class went. 

the lab that I am in now is soups, starches and vegetables, and it is intense! our instructor is quite nice and helpful for the most part. the only thing that i get frustrated about is how disorganized he seems. i like to try and stay as organized as possible and multitask but its hard when the person teaching you doesn’t always seem to know what he wants. but i am quickly learning that culinary school really has nothing to do with what i think, and more about what the instructors think. im learning, its frustrating some days but overall i am very happy with my decision to go to culinary school…for another week at least!  

something i love

i’m fairly certain than almost everyone has heard of etsy now, and if you don’t already know how awesome it is, let me tell you…it is amazing! i’ve bought a few things from different shops now and it has become my favorite place to find unique and interesting things.

i recently bought three gold hammered rings that I love! they’re super thin and i love how delicate they look!

(https://www.etsy.com/listing/178523760/set-of-3-16g-thick-14k-yellow-gold-fill?ref=listing-shop-header-3)

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i also bought a vintage cigarette case-wallet that i am not so patiently waiting for! i’m super excited!

(https://www.etsy.com/listing/95730001/beware-pickpockets-metal-wallet-vintage?ref=shop_home_active_20)

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make sure to go and check out both of these shops!

 

found recipe monday

although i am not the hugest fan of valentines day, but I am a huge fan of the day after valentines day, which is the day that all of the valentines treats go on sale! Lol in the spirit of delicious treats for this found recipe monday i wanted to share three candy recipes that i would like to try!

first, these caramels have are salted, and have beer in the recipe…enough said.  (http://www.vegetarianventures.com/2013/11/25/milk-stout-sea-salt-caramels/#.UvLwCf16clJ)

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next, turtles, because, why not… (http://thecuttingedgeofordinary.blogspot.ca/2011/12/turtle-candies-christmas-wish.html)

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and lastly, orange chocolate bark, because orange and chocolate are the perfect combination! (http://cakemerchant.com/2012/12/31/chocolate-orange-bark/)

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(all recipes found via pinterest)

 

lard sculpture and vegetable flowers

a major part of the cold kitchen lab that i am in right now is learning how to properly garnish and present an appetizing plate. i’m really enjoying this part of our class because i like putting beauty and detail into the, relatively simple foods we’re creating. it also doesn’t hurt that our instructor gives out prizes for the best plates, and ive won a fancy melon baller, a pair of tongs, and a new whisk! here is some photos of the vegetable flowers that i made on monday, and the lard-kracken sculpture that we finished yesterday! 

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i’m pretty happy that we’ve finished this project…its very tedious and time consuming, and i don’t really have the attention it requires. the lard itself has a really low melting point, so any extra heat, in the room, or from your hands, makes it very pliable and sticky. it seems like a fairly easy task, but after about 10 hours of work it gets quite frustrating!

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i really enjoyed making these flowers! i liked finding different vegetables with pops of colour to create flowers. i spent about three hours making this arrangement and it was one of my favourite assignments we’ve had to produce. 

weekend in photos

these are some random photos from this weekend…in case you didn’t know, it is superbowl weekend, which is awesome! i LOVE football and even though the teams I cheer for didn’t make it this year, I still love watching the game. the rest of the weekend was spent working, doing homework, practicing a recipe for school and watching downton abbey!

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donuts and downton

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football food

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homework

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to-do pile

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cinder kitten 

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sissy hiding

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my pick

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mint juleps

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practice recipe

found recipe monday…kinda

i kinda failed at finding recipes yesterday for found recipe monday, but coincidentally today at school, we were given the challenge of finding a recipe that we want to make that has brie in it! so, these are the two recipes that im taking to school with me tomorrow, and ill have to make one, or a version of, and present it…and ill let you know how it goes!

first, is brie stuffed mushrooms (http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Mushrooms-Stuffed-with-Brie-The-Pioneer-Woman-Cooks-_-Ree-Drummond-41315)

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second is leek and brie bruschetta (http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Leek-and-Brie-Bruschetta-Martha-Stewart-191332)

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(both recipes were found via yummly)

something i love

i have always had a fondness for awesome, unique, pub-style bars to go eat and drink. one of my favorites is in downtown edmonton, called mercer tavern. the building itself is a 100-year old warehouse that has now been transformed into a functional space housing numerous business’ and maintains the beauty of the original building. among them, a digital arts college, a barber shop, a flower shop, and a fantastic tavern.

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one of my best friends, s, goes to school at guru digital arts college and we’ve given ourselves the personal challenge of trying all the beer they have before she finishes school. i think we are completely capable!

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so far all of the food I’ve had, from the caprese salad to the nachos to the fish and chips have all been amazing! the atmosphere and décor highlight the “warehouse feel”, while still being comfortable. if you’re ever in the area and want a classy, yet awesome time, i highly recommend mercer! (mercertavern.com)

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at school i learned…

the last few days at school we’ve been focusing on how to highlight specific flavors, what flavors will work together, what will not, and how to achieve complex combinations. we’ve spend a lot of time tasting ordinary ingredients, everything from chocolate to cinnamon to raw onions and bacon, trying to understand what makes up their flavor, and how it can be changed.

one assignment that i really enjoyed was making sauces. we used simple ingredients in different amounts to try and achieve something beyond a basic pasta sauce or spring roll sauce. it is really interesting to me how the twelve people in my class can be split into teams, and come up with such different versions of the same basic concept.

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today we had our first assessment in the cold kitchen. we all were given a piece of pork tenderloin, two hours, any ingredients we wanted, except for lemon/lime, vinegar and salt/pepper, and the challenge of creating a dish that had awesome, dynamic flavor. it was kind of like the worst episode of chopped ever! lol. some really great, and some not so great dishes were presented. my favorites were the breaded, schnitzel-like dishes…way better, and completely different than what i made of corse!  i made a spicy orange pork and leek stir-fry. i got a “very good” from the chef…we will see what that translates into grades wise.

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the last kind of on-going project that we’re working on in class is lard sculptures! yes, exactly as it sounds. lard. we were given any material we wanted to build the structure…coat hangers, chicken wire, doweling, styrofoam…anything…and we had to some up with something to cover in lard. the whole concept is very bizarre at first, but just like anything else, the further you get into it, the more normal it becomes. my friend amanda and i wanted to do something that had a lot of movement so we decided on a squid-kracken creature. ive reached the point of normalcy in the statement “im making the kracken out of lard”.

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not only has the lard sculpting portion of my day become normal, but also the whole culinary school experience, at least to this point. i’ve become comfortable in the environment, with the people, the uniform, the tools, and even the early mornings (which I have down to an exact science, lol). as soon as I started seriously considering going to culinary school, it made complete sense for the type of person and learner that I am, but it has only recently started to feel real, and like i fit there. It’s kinda exciting!