Thursday, December 24, 2009

Triple Chocolate Death!

One of my favourite self-imposed Christmas traditions is the Christmas cookie baking. I started this tradition when I was in my second year of university. Starting in September that year I baked a batch of cookies almost every weekend until the big day. We were in the apartment back then and our tiny refrigerator freezer was packed full of cookies! I have never since managed to match the number or variety of cookies baked in one year. I kind of blame Mosely for that -- he came into our lives the following spring and ate the cookie magazine I had pulled 90% of my recipes from. I have never since found a suitable recipe for gingerbread.

One of the recipes I used back then was for a Death by Chocolate cookie that was superb. It was a triple chocolate cookie dipped in ganache. Mmmm! In an effort to replicate it (minus ganache) a created my own recipe this year.

First, I should tell you about our recent chocolate emergency. On a trip to Shoppers I had purchased some chocolate kisses to include with my gifts for Christmas. Of course as soon as I got home Jason and I started eating them. In an effort to salvage them I hid the four nearly full bags in a canvas tote behind our Christmas tree. For about a week I completely forgot about them.

That's when Jason called me at work to say that Mosely had found them. He ate every last chocolate kiss, foil and all! Fortunately, I have a very understanding boss, and she didn't mind that I went home early to keep an eye on my chocolate dog. Jason called the vet, who advised we pick up some charcoal biscuits to neutralize any toxins and then just keep an eye on him for signs of illness. Mosely thought it was his lucky day! First chocolate, then biscuits, then we spent the afternoon doting on him! Apart from a gross "verp" (containing foil!), Moe's only symptom was an excess of energy. Chocolate disaster averted.

For the cookies, I took a standard Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookie recipe from and added milk chocolate and white chocolate chips. It was tricky guesswork trying to determine when they were done, but they turned out deliciously! I have lovingly dubbed them "Triple Chocolate Death Cookies".

Just to set the record straight, Mosely is usually a very good boy, and doesn't tend to eat random things. Now that he's had a taste for chocolate though (and obviously thought it was pretty good!) we'll have to be more careful!

Here is a picture of the family cuddle I caught the other day. Jason went to lay down after some renovation work and Mosely and Gordon took advantage of the cuddle opportunity.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Funky Retro Tree Skirt

As promised, a Christmas craft post. This tree skirt is still in progress (obviously), but I'm making it for Jason. He already knows about it, so there is no danger in spoiling any surprises here. I had to tell him for three reasons: 1) I live with him and he will obviously see me working on it, 2) I probably won't be finished by Christmas, and 3) I can't keep a secret to save my life.

It was kind of a last minute craft decision. I was at Michaels a week or two ago and saw the holiday coloured yarns and thought "Oooooh, pretty!". Then, a little further into the store I saw the Crochet Today! Nov/Dec magazine with the tree skirt on the cover, and the rest is history. Jason had commented when our tree was decorated that it looked naked underneath. I think he might have made the same comment last year.

If you're wondering why I didn't just go out and buy a tree skirt, let me tell you. For one thing, I am very picky about certain things -- and the Christmas tree is one of them. All of our tree ornaments are in the classic Christmas colours (dark red, white, dark green, jalapeƱo green and silver -- yes, those are the true colours of Christmas!), and most of the ornaments have a nostalgic feel to them. We also don't have Christmas stockings. This is not due to a dislike of the stocking tradition, it's just because after years of searching I've never found the ones that are "just right". Maybe if the holiday yarn is on sale after Christmas I'll pick some up to make us matching stockings. Also, straight buying a tree skirt is nowhere near as fun as spending all my free moments working on one -- and besides, I'm going to need something to keep me busy over the Christmas break.

The skirt is coming along much more quickly than I'd thought it would. The finished project has 8 coloured bands, and I'm almost finished the third. To follow my progress check out my profile.

Oh yes, and the bathroom is coming along quite quickly! I'm hoping to be able to shower in my new tub/shower on Tuesday!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Bathroom

For the last couple of years Jason and I have had a Christmas tradition of "giving" one another renovations. Two years ago Jason and his friend Jen painted the kitchen for me one night when I was out. Last year Jason and his friend Craig laid new hardwood linoleum, painted and re-arranged the basement living room. I helped by painting trim. This year may be our biggest, and certainly most in-depth renovation yet -- the bathroom!

When we were first thinking about buying our house the bathroom was on the "con" list for sure. The bathtub enamel is worn off, making it impossible to clean. The taps drip, the toilet requires constant "tinkering" on Jason's part, and the vanity is a 1970's throw back to the times when yellowish acrylic counters were chic. Nevermind the mold that grows on the ceiling and has to be scrubbed from the grout on the tiled walls. Despite the fact that we hated it back then, we knew the bathroom reno was going to be a big job, and much more expensive than a few cans of paint.

We've decided this year to take the plunge and do the bathroom. I am so excited about this reno, I can't even begin to explain it. We're going all the way -- new tub, new toilet, even new dry wall! Jason will be recording our progress daily on his blog here. I will also try to keep you updated on progress from my POV. It's exciting stuff!!

Stay tuned also for some upcoming craft posts! I have been crafting my little heart out for weeks in preparation for Christmas, but have been resitant to post because I don't want to give away any presents. I will try to post them as they are given.

In the meantime, the countdown is on! What are you looking forward to this Christmas? Do you have any unusual holiday traditions?