The Oscars, Magazines and More

Writing a blog post while watching the pre-Oscars show with my Co-Toque, Christina, is difficult. I’m supposed to be writing about magazines right now. But, since we’re on the Oscars, here’s what we’ve deduced so far:

  • Hilary Swank should wear her hair down to soften herself up a little.
  • Christina’s dream is to be adopted by Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz.
  • Giuliana Rancic looks like a leather toothpick.
  • Sharon Stone is hot.
  • Matthew McConaughey’s wife is even hotter. The hottest, actually. (Except for Javier and Penelope, of course, says Christina.)

Now, back to magazines. I’m addicted to them, and one of my favourite spots to stock up is the Daily Globe Newshop on 17th Ave. I stopped in the other day and was overwhelmed by the selection:

In the end, I selected this stack. It was not a cheap stack. (Is it wrong to spend $50.32 on magazines? No, I don’t think so, either.)

A tip: If you’ve never checked out Zoo Magazine, an edgy German magazine, pick it up sometime. Bryan Adams is a co-owner and often photographs celebrities for the mag. He does an incredible job. In fact, he’s the only photographer who’s ever made me look at Renee Zellweger and think, “Hot damn. She looks amazing.”

On that note, I’ll sign off. The pre-show is coming to an end and Christina’s distracting me with comments like, “Ooh, look at that horrible dress in the background!” and “Have you ever noticed that bump on the inside of Christian Bale’s nose?” Obviously, we have important things to discuss.



Friday Night Dinner Club

Ah, Friday, lovely Friday, so nice to see you again. I’m hoping that you bring an end to the -30 lockdown over the city.

I’m giddy about dinner this evening with three of my girlfriends. We’re staying in from the cold, drinking wine and eating homemade pear-and-gorgonzola pizza.

These girls are stylish group. Our gracious host was recently style-spotted at New York Fashion Week for the UK’s Telegraph newspaper. My co-Toque Michelle will be there, as well as our friend Kelly, who makes a living generally being the coolest person in town.

I’m willing to bet money we’ve all thought about our outfits already — after all, no one wants to be the style dud in this lot.

So, here’s my plan. I’ll start with wide-leg jeans from J-Brand, which will be comfy even with a belly full of pizza.

Then, this Victorian lace top from Tibi that I can’t get enough of:

Obviously, I need a sweater. My elbows aren’t coming out until we’re solidly on the plus side of Celsius. So I’m pulling out this cardigan which I scored for $20 in the Old Navy maternity section. Now, before you all freak out, I am not pregnant. My sister made me go with her into the maternity section. I saw this sweater and wanted. I wanted it more when I saw it was on sale for $20. I get scores of compliments on it but, a warning, you’ve got to wear it without the belt or you do look pregnant.

And my Frye engineer boots over warm socks:

See you later, girls. To the rest, have a great and safe weekend, dears!



Treasured Jewelry

Twenty-five years ago, my grandma Adaliane and grandpa Don were vacationing in Hong Kong. While visiting Stanley Market, they picked up souvenirs. I’ve always adored the necklace they bought for me — a simple silver chain with an evil eye pendant.

Last month, my treasured souvenir received some long-overdue TLC from Andy, the shopkeeper at Hot Fusion Metal & Glass Works in Calgary’s Art Central. He polished the chain and set the evil eye in a simple silver loop:

Now, I wear my necklace all the time. And every time I do, I think of my grandparents. Ada and Don were inseparable from the day they first met — in elementary school. When she was deathly ill in high school, he delivered her homework until she recovered. They rode motorcycles together. They married, raised three kids and ran thriving businesses. And, adventurers they were, they traveled.

My grandpa Don died years ago, but my grandma Ada is still an explorer. When I emailed her last week, she wrote back from a cruise ship that had just sailed, coincidentally, from Hong Kong. She and my aunt had visited Stanley Market during the stopover. “It is much more developed now,” she wrote, “but I guess twenty-five years makes a difference.”

Treasured people pass along treasured jewelry.

Along with my evil eye, I have pendants from three great-grandmothers I often miss.

The pendant on the left is from my great-grandmother Lindy, who made delicious homemade donuts and was known to express her affection for you with a quick slap to the cheek.

The middle pendant is from my great-grandmother Ruby, who was the first woman in her town to learn to drive and likely one of the last women of her time left standing – she died on her 99th birthday.

The pendant on the right is from my great-grandmother Alma, who, upon every visit, offered smiles and — important to a chocolate-loving kid — macaroons. She was married to my great-grandfather, Wilfrid, for 71 years. Incredible.

Beautiful women, beautiful jewelry.



A Winter Peptalk

Remember my plan for a fun outfit for the Heritage Classic? That went out the window as soon as people began tossing around words like “wind chill” and “minus 20.”

This was the reality:

Sure, you laugh. But I was warm. Er, let me rephrase: I didn’t freeze.

And, it’s getting colder. I feel we need a winter pep talk post. I do, anyway, because if I don’t adapt soon, I’ll be at the airport with my passport and a bikini before the boy gets home from work.

Let’s come up with a list of ways to make this week survivable. I’ll start.

1. Ray’s Station Wine

Best enjoyed wearing drawstring pants and watching TV from under a blanket. (Shooting this photo was a good idea. It gave me an excuse to bust out the wine and the Ghiarardelli Sea Salt Soiree chocolate. Okay, maybe I sneaked in the chocolate just so I could eat some.)
2. Not feeling badly about hiding inside and watching far too many movies in a pre-Oscar movie binge:


3. Slippers, like these cute ballet ones from Jenster 76 Designs Etsy shop. You could pull off killer kitchen pirouettes in these lovelies.

4.  Trips home to Fernie because there’s a base of 284 cm and it’s always warmer there:

5. Pond hockey and happy dogs with three shoes:

*Photos by Gerald Cole

6. Snowshoeing with a thermos of hot chocolate tucked into your pack:

See, it’s not so bad!



Curried Yellow Pepper Soup

Dinner Saturday night — a curried yellow pepper soup — happened like this.

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Now, the backstory. Saturday was very, very cold, so I wanted to eat something very, very warm.

I pulled out The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health cookbook, an oft-neglected book in my cookbook collection, and found the recipe for Curried Yellow Pepper Soup. I’m so glad I did. The end result was a savoury soup with a hint of sweet and a kick of spice. With a couple of multigrain rolls for dipping, it was a satisfying meal to keep the cold at bay.

Curried Yellow Pepper Soup

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrots or peeled sweet potatoes
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 3 yellow or orange bell peppers, chopped (4 to 5 cups)
  • 1 tbsp grated peeled ginger root
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a soup pot on medium heat, cook the onions in the oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and apples and continue to cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. Stir in the bell peppers, salt, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon and cayenne, and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Add the water or broth and stir well. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and lime juice. In a blender, puree in batches until silky smooth. Add salt to taste.