In honour of Canada Day I spent the weekend baking things red and white. I started on Saturday baking a custom baseball cake for a customer and followed up on Monday by making a Stripes & Hearts Cake in tribute to the nation that has been my home since the day I was born. I’m not an overly patriotic individual. I care far too much about the injustices our Government is perpetrating to ever be quite frankly, but I do love where I live.
This Canada Day I was reminded of how lucky I am to live in a country that affords me rights that so many are denied. My hearts go out especially to all the women, in the United States and elsewhere, who are fighting tooth and nail for the reproductive, social, and political rights that I and so many others sometimes take for granted. I am also reminded that the rights and privileges that I so cherish are in many cases not extended to all Canadians even though they should be. Days like today make me remember why I want to get into politics and why all the struggle is going to be worth it. And on that note please enjoy the action shots above. Happy Canada Day everyone!
The Mischief Mistress
Today in order to take my mind off the stress of my family and I’s recent move I decide to bake some cupcakes. I baked dark chocolate cupcakes in our brand new oven and made icing sugar free frosting with the brand new Magic Chef hand mixer I bought recently. I am ridiculously proud of how well the frosting turned out. In order to make it I had to whisk milk and flour in a frying pan on the stove until it achieved, “a pudding like consistency” to quote my recipe.
The cupcake recipe is from Hello Cupcake! by the amazing Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. I highly recommend it. The recipe turned out perfectly and the decorating instructions this book offers are amazing! I also highly recommend their other two books: What’s New Cupcake? and Cupcakes, Cookies & Pies, Oh my! I got the frosting recipe from Our Best Bites and allrecipes.ca. One for the recipe and the other for the pictures. I spent most of the day measuring, testing, colouring, and taste testing. It provided the break I desperately needed and also allowed me to update my bakery website with new product photos.
Deviant Art is one of my favourite time wasting websites. It is a great place to discover new artists ad engage in serious and silly discussions about art and its purpose in today’s society. I stumbled across this piece and immediately fell in love with it. With the artwork, with its message, with the reaction other commenters had to it. What speaks to me most about this piece is its blatant handling of a truth seldom acknowledged. Girls and women the world over are told to act, think, and dress a certain way all the time. We need to proper, but not too proper. Outgoing, but reserved. Sexually available, but not slutty. Respectable, but not frigid. We are taught to want to be Princess and to want a Knight in shinning armour to come and rescue us and sweep us off our feet. While there’s nothing wrong about fantasizing about castles, enchantment, and your one true love, this becomes problematic when you enforce this mandate on everyone. Not every girl wants to be a Princess not should they be. Women shouldn’t be taught to need a male protector, to be helpless damsels in distress, but rather strong, powerful, and independent leaders in their own right. If we really want society to progress and move forward we should encourage girls, all girls, to be whoever they want to be. Whether that means being a jock, a princess, a party animal, or a lemonade connoisseur. Equality: what’s there not to get?
The Artist’s thoughts:
Twilight Sparkle, once a paragon of reading, math, and science, is sacrificed to a longstanding motif perpetuated by children’s media – particularly Disney movies – where the female protagonist either is a princess or becomes one. Becoming a princess is the highest and most desirable level of achievement for the main character, unless she is already a princess, in which case she can become worthy by finding a male she loves and marrying him after some ridiculously arduous trial and/or opposition from her family.
She becomes a “princess,” something that is unattainable for most people. This is the role girls are expected to have access to. Despite that, I still enjoy stories about royalty. They don’t need to be banished. That’s silly. The promotions claim that being a princess is Twilight’s “destiny.” If you consider how the media constructs gender identities beyond what happens in the final product, this is still a viable critique. And of course most of this applies to people who are considered white in the United States. The dynamics of non-white princesses are very different.
I realized recently upon reexamining my blogs subtitle that I haven’t posted anything on baking.
This has three main reasons:
-One: I couldn’t cook or bake in my previous house.
-Two: I keep most of my baking secrets to myself.
-Three: After I bake something that turns out well I usually put my remaining energy into uploading the photos to the website of the baking business I am a part of.
So without further ado, here are two cookie baking secrets I have come to live by.
1. Have you ever noticed that even when tightly sealed Brown Sugar tends to go hard, stiff, and clumpy over time? Corner shops have been known to sell ceramic disks to alleviate this problem, but there is a better and cheaper way: Bread. You know how nobody ever wants to eat the pieces on the end of the loaf? Take them out, fold them in half, and stuff them into your container or Brown Sugar. Putting a piece of bread in with your Brown Sugar stops it from getting hard and lumpy while neatly solving the, “What do we do with the end pieces?” problem.
2. This one I learned recently from a roommate/best friend of mine. The same trick works for keeping cookies soft! If you need to store cookies in a container and are worried about them going hard and becoming edible stick a piece of bread in there. As an added bonus, the bread trick also turns cookies that have become hard soft again.
“Something I’ve learned recently: when you make peace with the universe, the universe makes peace with you.”
– The Mischief Mistress
As those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know, I just got out of a terrible and stressful semester. For the first time in months I am happy. I am no longer over-stressed, overworked, and overtired. I finally live in a house where I am respected and made to feel welcome. I can bake again. I can cook my own food. I can live my own life without dreading coming home each night. I now feel safe coming home each night. I have learned to treasure small triumphs. Today I called mom after I getting my new oven to make perfectly baked cookies on the first try. I told her how my day was going and how much I’d enjoyed my first History of Rock & Roll class. I could hear her holding back tears as she spoke to me about how worried Dad and her have been about me. I can’t blame them. I was worried about me which is why I sought help in the first place. So here’s my message to all of you out there struggling with depression , a crappy living situation, a tough work load, or just a crummy week: don’t give up. Don’t loose hope because there is a light at the end of the tunnel and things are going to get better. I know it sounds cliche and it’s lot easier to see the light once you’ve come out the other side. I knew things would be better this semester, but when your deep in the throes of depression soon isn’t soon enough. You can’t see the light. But it is there, trust me.
“The act of reading is always an act of Empathy.”
– John Green
This is one of John Green’s best quotes. He has said this in numerous videos as he is an avid reader and author himself and because he and Hank have recently started several new channels aimed at teaching others about history, science, and English Literature. His point is that reading is an act of empathy because you must imagine what it is like to be someone else, somewhere else, some other time ago. I’ve never heard anyone else sum up the magical reading so perfectly.