Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What I learned from my first pole dancing class:

Yes, I took my very first pole dancing class last night. No, I don’t have dreams of strutting my stuff for the next amateur night at the French Maid. I had heard about pole dancing for fitness from seeing some demonstrations at the Taboo shows. When I saw a Groupon for Aradia Fitness, I thought it would be fun to sign up with some friends.

Here is what I learned at my first class:

1. ‘Sexy walking’ ruins pedicures.

2. It’s hard to be sexy when you feel about as graceful as a llama on ice skates.

3. These women are to be respected and feared. That shiz is so much harder than it looks.

 

*Obviously, this video is NSFW. There’s no blatant nudity, but I don’t think too many bosses want to see ‘Pole Dancing Championships’ on their employees internet history.

I did have a lot of fun though! It’s definitely going to take some time before I don’t feel awkward with my rubbing my ‘wandering hands’  all over myself in front of a group of strangers, but I guess practice makes perfect? I’m looking forward to the next class, we are learning the Fireman Spin! Watch out!

R.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thoughts on the Academy Awards

For the past few years, I have set out to watch all of the Academy Award Best Picture nominations prior to the Oscars. Somehow the awards night snuck up on me and I always seemed to miss a film or two. Not this year!

I have seen all 10 of the movies nominated for Best Picture this year. I agree strongly with some of the nominations and am left wondering what the Academy was smoking for a couple others.

Here are my thoughts on each one of the films, in 15 words or less:

Black Swan – Brilliant. Masterfully acted by Portman. Thought about it for days afterward.

The Fighter – Great acting. Good story. Nothing mind blowing.

Inception – Groundbreaking. Incredible screenplay. Talked about it with friends for hours.

The Kids Are All Right – Great acting. Great characters. I felt an emotional connection to all of the characters.

The King’s Speech – Incredibly acted by Firth and Rush. Charming. Wonderful feel good story. Monarchy nerd approved.

127 Hours – Well acted. Interesting. Weird direction and cinematography.

The Social Network – Interesting (if not  mostly fictional) story. Good acting. Nothing to write home about.

Toy Story 3 – Wonderful feel good movie. Great for children and adults alike.

True Grit – Fantastic acting by Steinfeld, Bridges and Damon. Surprisingly funny. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Winter’s Bone – Weird story. Boring. Couldn’t understand the dialogue most times. Good acting by Lawrence.

 

My pick for Best Picture is:

blackswan

My pick for Best Actor is:  Colin Firth.

colinfirth

My pick for Best Actress is: Natalie Portman.

natalieportman

 

What are your picks?

R.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

You Should Hear This: Arcade Fire

Without a doubt, “Arcade Fire” has been typed into Google and Youtube quite a bit within the past week since the Montreal band won a Grammy for Album of the Year.

I could not be more thrilled for them! Not only is this a huge accomplishment for the band, but for Canadian music industry as a whole. Canada has a wonderful music scene (believe it or not) and I’m so glad that talent is being recognized!

For those who might not be as familiar, I’d like to share a couple of my favourite Arcade Fire songs!

This is the song that first got me hooked on the Arcade Fire. It’s from their 2004 album, Funeral.

Wake Up is another one of my favourites from their first album.

Black Mirror is one of my favourite songs from their second album, Neon Bible. I love the weird dark circus-esque sound towards the middle of the song.

And one final thing, if your use Google Chrome be sure to visit The Wilderness Downtown. It’s an ingenious interactive music video for We Used to Wait from their Grammy winning album, The Suburbs. I don’t want to give it away but I’ll suffice it to say that it incorporates your life into the music video!

Have a lovely day!

 

R.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I’m back!

 

I took a little break from blogging to think over where I wanted to take this thing, and I am back with some new ideas and fun projects!

When I first started this blog, I wanted to focus on mainly on a healthy living and food. Although I still very much appreciate both of those things, I’m looking to branch out and show more aspects of my life.

So things on a.k.a. jolie might look a little bit different from here on out. Along with posting recipes, I will be sharing some of my home and craft projects, favourite music, fashion inspiration and all that is lovely in my life!

Hope you enjoy!

-Rachèle

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

This week, I decided to tackle making bread from scratch! No big mixer, no bread machine… just my two bare hands.Something crazy happened - the yeast frothed, the dough rose (and then rose again), the house filled with the smell of bread, the crust browned…. IT WORKED!
It was probably pretty hilarious to see how excited I was when the dough actually doubled in size, when I cut into it and saw a real swirl, and when I finally took a bite and it tasted like bread!! Delicious bread at that! Simple things, I guess.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
P1010910
I followed this recipe, but made a few small adjustments:
Ingredients:
Yield: 3 loaves
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup warm water (must be between 110-115 degrees)
  • 2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast – I used instant yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup raisins – I used up the last of my raisins, which was about 1.5 cups
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour – I used bread flour, and I ended up using 6.5 cups
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (approx.)
*When I make this again, I will probably add one more tablespoon of cinnamon, and use a touch less sugar in the filling mixture.
Directions: Warm the milk in a small sauce pan on the stove until it just starts to bubble, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm, about 120-125 degrees. Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside until yeast is frothy, about 10 minutes or so (make sure your water is at the correct temperature or the yeast won't activate.) Then mix in eggs, sugar, butter salt and raisins (stir in the cooled milk slowly so you don't cook the eggs.) Add the flour gradually to make a stiff dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until smooth. Place in a large, buttered, mixing bowl and turn to grease the surface of the dough. Cover with a warm, damp cloth and let rise (I like to let my bread rise in the oven with the light on. It has just the right amount of heat and keeps the bread out of drafts.) Allow to rise until doubled, usually about 1 1/2 hours. Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Moisten the dough with 2 tablespoons milk and rub all over the dough with your hands. Mix together 1 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons cinnamon and sprinkle mixture evenly on top of the moistened dough. Roll up tightly (the long way). The roll should be about 3 inches in diameter. Cut into thirds, and tuck under ends and pinch bottom together. Place loaves into well greased (you can use Crisco or butter for this) 9 x 5 inch pans and lightly grease tops of loaves. Let rise in warm place, uncovered, again for about an hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and let cool on rack. Take melted butter and spread over tops of loaves. (I skipped this step) After about 20 minutes, lay loaves on their sides and remove from pans. Allow to cool before slicing.
P1010905 Enjoy!
R.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Huggy Buggy Bread Pudding

Prior to making this recipe, I’d been wanting to try bread pudding for ages! I knew I would love it, I mean, what’s not to like about bread soaked in cream and topped with cinnamon and raisins.

When I saw this recipe from Aarti Sequeira (love her!) for bread pudding make with coconut milk, I knew I couldn’t wait any longer!!

Oh boy… was I glad made this! It was delicious, and only gets better if it sits in the fridge for a day or two!

P1010880

I followed the recipe found here, except I used skim milk instead of whole (it worked great!) and skipped the Cardamom because I couldn’t find any. I just added a touch more ginger and cinnamon. The only thing I found about this recipe is that the looking time is nowhere near accurate – mine was in the over for just over an hour. I would recommend keeping an eye on the pudding and removing it from the oven once bread begins to brown and it springs back when touched lightly.

 Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (not low-fat)
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 baguette, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 7 cups)
  • 6 dried figs, soaked in hot water for at least 15 minutes, thinly sliced*
  • Handful roasted unsalted cashew nuts, whole or chopped
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the melted butter into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and use a pastry brush to make sure the dish is well coated.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together, then add the coconut milk, the whole milk, the spices and a pinch of salt. Add bread and figs and toss. Let soak for 15 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the prepped baking dish and sprinkle with the cashews. Bake until the pudding pulls away from the sides of the dish, about 35 minutes.

Remove the pudding from the oven and serve with ice cream

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Make your own Chocolate Vodka!

I recently read an online tutorial which assured me that I could make my own chocolate vodka with two simple ingredients and… a dishwasher? What?

Of course, my curiosity was intrigued. A few of my friends decided to try it last night, and… it worked! Mostly!

P1010868

Ingredients:

1. Vodka – The recipe says you could use cheap vodka, as the chocolate masks the taste. It does mask the taste somewhat, but the better the vodka you chose, the better this will taste. We used Smirnoff (the bottle above was about $36.00 CAN), my friends used Alberta Pure (about $33.00 CAN), and even then the difference was notable.

2. Chocolate Bars – We used Mars bars, as called for in the recipe. Any chocolate bar will do, as long as there are no fruit and/or nuts, because they will not melt properly.  You’ll need 5-6 full size bars for a 1.14L of vodka.

 

Directions:

1.  Chop Mars Bars into strips thin enough to fit through the neck of the vodka bottle.

2. Pour out about a third to half of the vodka into a glass. Save for a future use (like waiting for your chocolate vodka to finish!)

3.  Place the cut up chocolate bars into the vodka. It will look VERY unappealing    at this point. Don’t panic.

4. If necessary, pour some of the saved vodka back into the bottle to fill to the top.

5. Place the lid back on and secure tightly. We were worried about leaks, so we also secured the lid with some duct tape, which worked well.

6.  Now, place the vodka into the bottom rack of the dishwasher and run for one normal cycle.

7.  Wait for a seeming eternity for the dishwasher to finish.

8.  Once the dishwasher is done, take the vodka and shake, shake, shake it up! There may still be some unmelted chocolate floating around. If you’re much more patient than I, you run it through another round in the dishwasher. We did not do that, but some of the sediment seems to have broken up while the vodka was in the freezer.

9. Place the bottle in the freezer to allow for sufficient cooling.

10. Enjoy!

 

This will go great in some hot chocolate or with some milk for a sweet alcoholy treat! From experience, I do not recommend taking it as a shot!

Now, what to do with the rest of the Costco sized flat of Mars bars?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dear Santa:

With the days getting shorter and the air getting colder, it’s hard not to think about the upcoming holiday season!

I’ve already started brainstorming for my family’s gifts, but I couldn’t help but take a few moments to rack my brain about my own Christmas list.

Not so surprisingly, my list is almost entirely cooking or baking related!

A Light Box!

lightbox

This would be great for food photography, especially during the winter when natural light will be hard to come by.

Cupcake Icing Kit

bestevernewkitlg

How adorable can these get?

Beautiful cupcake liners

ren-val-lg

So pretty!

An adorable apron! 

decodot_audrey 111-JS-94R 

I love these super feminine and fitted retro-style aprons!

KitchenAid Mixer

kitchenaid_mixer

A girl can dream! ;)

What is on your Christmas wish list?

 

R.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

 

P1010844

By the psychotic look of my smile there, Snow White may not be an innocent as she seems!

P1010848

Snow White and a (giant) Dwarf!

I’ll be back this week with some more posts! I was sick for the better part of the past two weeks, so I decided to rest up and come out strong!

R.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Friday Favourites – Volume 4!

Here we are! Nearly Friday again!

The 5 Favourites for this week:

Grilled Poutine Pizza from FotoCuisine

poutinepizza 

For the Project Food Blog Challenge #5, the contestants were challenged to create a pizza recipe. These guys put together possibly the most incredible marriage of two of the greatest foods on earth! Poutine Pizza! My Canadian heart is all a-flutter!

 

Joe and Betsy: Project Newlyweds

joeandbetsy

This is such a great idea!  This couple is trying something new together everyday for the first year of their marriage. The blog is a great read! A mixture of a food blog, art blog, healthy living blog with a dash of general awesomeness! Check it out! They also had a great entry for Project Food Blog Challenge #5.

 

Cheesy Clintons from Amuse Bouche

cheesyclintons

My friends and I have somewhat of a fascination with ridiculous over-the-top snack food. The more EXTREME the better. I was happy to learn this week that the Cheesy Clinton is a piece of pizza inside a grilled cheese. The story of how it originated is quite hilarious, and can be found on the Amuse Bouche entry. I’m pretty sure this would make a good entry on thisiswhyyourefat.com, but I’m also pretty sure it’s genius!

 

Coolest Science Project Ever!

If you’re a bit of a space nerd like I am, this video is worth your 7 minutes. A father and son send an iPhone into space in a weather balloon… it actually ends up 19 miles in the air and still keeps filming. You can see the curvature of the earth! SO. COOL.

 

Curling in Costume!

P1010838

Last weekend, a couple of friends and I participated in a curling tournament! The theme was Things That Start with ‘C’, so our team went as Canadian Stereotypes. I’m on the left as a hockey goon… complete with a black eye and missing teeth! Also of note: Curling is super fun!!

That’s all for me! Hope you have a great week!

R.