Start a Vlog – Maria’s List

Those who know me also know that I love collaboration.  I’m more motivated when I work on projects together so it’s not surprising that Vancity Girlfriends YouTube Channel is a vlog that I started with my YouTube and techie friend.  It’s been a blast and an inspiration!  After our first Glossybox Review Vlog, we actually became Glossybox’s Vloggers of the Month!  WOW!

With all of the support of our fans, I created Vancity Girlfriends Blog to accompany the vlog.  Yes, I’m a blogger at heart!  Best of all it’s given me a reason to hang out with my Vancity Girlfriends!

Learn to Make Bread – Maria & Sharla’s List

I enjoy baking but the one thing I never really made was bread.  So here was my chance to learn how to make bread from a trained executive pastry chef, Marco Ropke.  He’s the instructor and owner of the Vancouver Pastry School.   I love the small class size (average of 8 students per class).  It’s wonderful to not only take home the bread and recipes, but baking tips about how to make bread in your own kitchen with what you have.  The practical hands-on lessons give you the confidence to try at home.

Sharla and I both have learn how to make bread on our lists so we went to the Introduction to Bread Baking course together.  We learned how to make bagels, whole wheat toast bread, hard or petite rolls, carrots onion herb bread, cheese bread, baguette and fougasse.

First step is to make a well with the dry ingredients and put the wet ingredients inside to combine.

Then comes the hard part and the upper body workout.  You knead the dough until the gluten has been worked and the dough is ready to double in size.

Your hard work pays off with fresh bread.

Visit Quebec – Maria’s List

Visit Quebec was on my list of things I’ve always wanted to do and I had the opportunity in August 2011.  We drove across the USA in 4 days and ended up spending two fabulous days at the final destination of Montreal, Quebec.  Montreal is a living school of architecture through the centuries.  You can see historic building alongside modern skyscrapers.

Old Montreal was filled with people but my eyes were on the buildings and the cobblestone streets.

It also had a touch of Paris with the Notre Dame.  Amazing!

Cook a traditional Canadian Christmas Dinner – Maria’s List

Last year after having a very unique Kraft Dinner Christmas dinner, it’s not surprising that this year I went all out to buy a turkey and all of the trimmings on Christmas eve so I would be prepared to cook a traditional Canadian Christmas dinner.

It’s not that difficult and is an excellent couple activity.  Better still, you can eat the leftovers all week long.  My partner and I made an 8 pound turkey and filled it with homemade stuffing.  Our side dishes were mashed potatoes, peas, roasted vegetables and gravy.  It was definitely a memorable experience and a Christmas I won’t forget!

Go to Australia-Sharla’s List

Working for an Australian company paid off this fall when I got the opportunity to go to Australia.  Talk about a dream come true!  The trip came with very little notice and so I am really grateful to all the people who helped me pull everything I needed together. I got to be there for 3 weeks with one week in Sydney and 2 weeks in Brisbane.

I flew through Hong Kong and arrived to stay in Sydney with some distant cousins I had never even met before.  They graciously opened their homes and couches to me for a week of fun in Sydney.  I was amazed Sydney.  I loved the food, the ambiance, the neighbourhoods, the culture, the history.  As I travelled around checking out everything there was to see I was even more grateful for my cousins cause Sydney is also very expensive!  I saw Manly Beach, The opera house, the rocks, the bridge and all of the cool tourist things but also coole little places I went with my cousins.  If breakfast is your favourite meal then Sydney is for you!

Then I headed up to Brisbane where I checked out the city, hugged a koala, fed a kangaroo, ate one of the best meals of my life at Tukka Restaurant, drank a lot of great Australian wine, went down to the gold coast and up the sunshine coast.

I met some nice people, saw some gorgeous views, ate amazing food and made so many memories!  Thank you everyone who helped!

ps. I stopped in HK for 9 hours on the way back and got to see a really close friend which topped off my vacation perfectly!

Go to a movie alone-Sharla’s List

I did it! Actually I have now done it 3 times!

While on a work trip to Australia I bit the bullet and went to a movie alone.  Surprisingly it wasn’t too weird.   Actually it was pretty fun.  So then two nights later while still in Australia I bought tickets to go to an outdoor movie theatre.  Normally I would have seen advertisements for a fun activity like that and been sad that I had nobody to go with….but I decided I could do it on my own.  So, I saw Crazy, Stupid, Love while sitting in an bean bag lounge chair in sunny Australia drinking wine and eating a cheese plate.  Way cool.

Once safely back in Canada I kept the momentum going and saw My Week with Marilyn on a random day off.  My question is…why did I wait so long to do this?

Cook the Holiday Meal from the World’s Healthiest Cookbook-Sharla’s List

Well, Canadian thanksgiving came and I decided to grab the turkey by its legs and cook the whole meal myself.  Just over a year ago I bought this cookbook called ‘The Healthiest Meals on Earth’ on the recommendation of a close family friend who told me the black bean brownie recipe was amazing.  The book is phenomonal and every recipe we tried was fantastic.  In the book there is a menu for a full holiday meal that is healthy and vibrant.  It is a great departure from the meal my family usually has at holidays and I decided I would one day like to take on the challenge.

Now that I have this list and the family was coming to my home for Thanksgiving the opportunity presented itself.  I asked my parents if it was okay with them if I departed from our usual recipes and did this on my own for ‘my list’ and they agreed(although I think a little reluctantly, but the love me so they indulged).  I must add they weren’t hesitant because I can’t cook but because they are very attached to tradition.

The menu for the evening consisted of:

Citrus Stuffed Herbed Turkey

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Asparagus and Broccoli with Toasted Hazelnuts

Holiday Waldorf Salad

Cranberry Orange Relish

Sweet Potato Pie with Almond Oat Crust

With a little help from my sous chef (AKA my sister) at serving time everything turned out perfectly.  It was a delicious meal and even my Dad raved about the vegetables.  I was extremely proud of this accomplishment from the brined turkey to the homemade pie.  I can’t wait to do it again!

I used up all the leftovers too! I made soup, quiche and muffins. I can’t wait to be the chef at another family gathering now!