Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day BBQ

Every year, my aunt in Oakville puts on a Father's Day barbeque. It's always fun- filled with family, too much food, and beer! I brought some cookies and chocolate, and everyone devoured them. I love seeing people enjoy the things I make.

I didn't get a chance to take many pictures while at the barbeque, but I did manage to take some pictures as we were driving home.

Toronto's a great place to live, y'all.*

Underneath the Gardiner

Of course, the CN Tower.

Beer and a fancy hotel. What more is there?

New home!

*I feel like I can sort of say "y'all" because my best friend is from the South. Honorary rights?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

New store!

We just moved the entire chocolate room into the new store. It's GORGEOUS. I spent the first 10-15 minutes just staring, all starry eyed. The chocolate makers and bakers have their own rooms, and the walls are windows so that the customers can watch us work. The windows are huge!

One of my favorite things about both of the stores is that the "Staff only" door has a sign saying "Chocolate makers only" which makes me smile every day. I'm a chocolate maker!!

Most exciting part? This is my view!

I love all the lights

We're right beside a FANCY lighting store, apparently. The new location is in a very posh neighborhood- apparently there's a burger place that sells $100 burgers. But there's also a hostel right nearby? I'm not quite sure.

They've also got someone baking bread for us, and he gave me samples. Oh my stars- it was the best bread I've ever had! If only I could take all of it home :)

I'm really excited to get started in the new store! It's going to be great!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I'm obsessed with: Long breakfasts!

Let's start this off by saying: I love breakfast. I've always been an eating breakfast type of gal. I just can't function without it! I can get obsessed with things (which could explain why I can listen to the same song for hours), so I go through breakfast "phases". In high school, I ate Vector cereal far too much. Then, I ate Special K cereal (the kind with strawberries), with Belgian waffles on the weekend (I was in university on a student plan). I also ate granola fairly often during university. The next big obsession was cottage cheese with jam, on toast with butter (thanks, Opa!). When I got sick of it after a year or so, I felt lost. I managed by eating hardboiled eggs on toast, but who has the time to hardboil an egg every single morning? I didn't. I spent this entire school year only eating cooked lentils on toast. Honestly, so good. But now we're at this point in time, and I just can't bring myself to eat either of those delicious breakfasts anymore. I've been scraping by, eating cereal or toast with peanut butter and jam. I need a new obsession, stat!


Things on toast. For ever.

But for my weekends? You'll find me spending a long time cooking something delicious for myself. I love waking up early, and having the whole morning to cook breakfast, drink coffee and wake up.

This morning, I'm making myself some Toasted Coconut Breakfast Risotto. It's amazing! Okay, I won't even lie to you- I'm making it because I have some little odds and ends to eat before we start packing. But what an exciting way to use up all the different types of coconut that I have in my pantry!

What's your favorite breakfast?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

We found a place!

A new apartment! It's official!

After months of looking and researching (okay, Luke did most of that), we found a place! It's right on the waterfront, with a beautiful park. It's much bigger than our place now, and it has a dishwasher. And the kitchen is big enough for two people to be in it at once! I tell you, we're moving up.

We're also in the skyline!

The thing that totally sold me? Completely and totally sold me? A chandelier! And a mirrored wall, and a floor to ceiling window.

I can't wait to move in!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Billy Elliot!

Yesterday, my mom took me to the matinee showing of Billy Elliot! We had such a great time. Did I mention that the music was done by Elton John? And that the theatre had so many gorgeous chandeliers?

Love love love!
I barely remembered the movie- can you believe it came out over 10 years ago? And to be honest, I had forgotten that there was a political aspect to the story as well.

My favorite part of the production? When the dancing teacher wore a wonderful sparkly purple dress during an amazing dance number! Another great song was about individuality and it featured boys in tutus and big huge dresses dancing around. So many tutus- did I mention that I love those too? It was a great show to see with my mom!

And of course, Elton John. Yes.



We enjoyed the absolutely beautiful day by getting ice cream. I got mine with gummy bears and a sprinkle cone, just because!

She might look more excited, but in truth, I am.
How was your Sunday?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Things I love Thursday!

I have lots of things that I love this week- what a week it's been! I just got back from tabling at an event as a chocolate sampler giver. It was on the 40th floor of a fancy bank building in Toronto- my ears popped as I took the elevator up! It was lovely meeting so many people, and everyone was really enthusiastic about the chocolates. I love my job!
Yes. Elton John shoes. Yes yes yes.
-Enrobing chocolates at work
-Fancy parties in which I wear my Chef jacket
-Skirt weather! I wore my favorite skirt on Tuesday- yay!
-A package arriving from A Giraffe in a Scarf (rainbows, baking and elephants- does she know me or what?)
-Crocheting goodies
-Modern family episodes
-My birthday party! Great people showed up, and we danced the night away
-Luke!
-My sister visiting- she got a tour of my chocolate "laboratory"
-Les Miserables playing at work- and now I've picked up the book again
-Going to work early and enjoying the early morning sun
-Long walks before bedtime
-SUMMER! Need more be said?


What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One year ago

One year ago, I was packing up my things to move to Toronto. The Big City! Shiny lights, flashing cars and all that jazz. I was leaving behind Peterborough, my home of four years, my only home in Canada. But my time had come to leave, and I was moving on to bigger and better things.


How Canadian is this picture?
When I first moved here, I was terrified! I knew almost no one, where back in Peterborough I couldn't cross the street without seeing someone I knew. My boyfriend and I moved right downtown- just off of Yonge street, in fact. Too many people! All the time! It took some getting used to, but I love it! I love the hustle and bustle, the big huuuge streets, the late nightness of everything. I drove a car for the first time in Toronto yesterday, and it really hit me: I love this city. I love being here; I love being right in the middle of things.

Huge buildings!
I've been in Toronto a year!! Here's to many more years!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Things I love Thursday

What a week!

I've been working like crazy at my job- pulling 9-10 hour shifts can tire a gal out! That being said, I've kept myself really busy otherwise! Tonight, I'll be baking some chocolate chip cookies and other goodies in preparation for my birthday party tomorrow. My sister is coming to visit as well, and I just can't wait to see her!

Fabulous graffiti in Toronto


Things I'm loving this week:
-Trips to Canada's Wonderland
-Fireworks and rollercoasters
-Planning my birthday party! I can't wait for all my friends to meet each other!
-Laughing about everything and anything with Luke
-Letters from dear friends and family
-Random phone calls from busy friends
-Stuffing with gravy for supper!!
-Treats from work (toffee is the bestest!)
-Hugs from coworkers
-New clothes! It's been years since I've bought new things...it's quite exciting!
-Long walks at night
-THIS SONG: I can't stop listening!

What's amazing this week for you?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chocolate and rainy days

I'm still settling into my new job- I've been there for almost three weeks now! It's such a great feeling after you start a new job, and everything all of a sudden makes sense. You know, the first few days of work you feel like you're not quite sure what to do, or where things are, or the names of your fellow coworkers. The past few shifts I've really felt like I know what I'm doing (for the most part: I still have LOTS to learn!).

I LOVE this job! I walk in, and it smells like chocolate. All of my coworkers are really friendly, and the hours just fly by. We work long hours in the chocolate room, but it's worth it. Every day, I feel a really great sense of accomplishment. I love working with my hands, and seeing all the people eating the chocolate I've helped to make feels really rewarding. Our store is where people come to escape, to enjoy a day off from work. Little kids press their faces up against the window to watch what we're doing, and parents snap pictures. I guess I should add that I work in a kitchen with a large beautiful glass window so that customers can see what we are doing. I love it- it makes me feel like I'm on stage!

It's really exciting that I'm doing something that I really enjoy.


Here's a quick little snap of some of the chocolates we make:

And they are delicious.

What's your favorite thing about your job?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

San Francisco

After a quick and sleepless trip in San Francisco, I'm back!

I had such a great time in San Francisco. Everything is at the top of a hill. Or at a pier. My friend and I walked everywhere- even to the Golden Gate bridge!

I took far too many pictures of far too many amazing things! My friend and I spent most of our time pausing to take pictures. Most of our walks took longer than anticipated, because there was always another cool view that needed documentation.

The most exciting part? Going to see all the chocolate that San Francisco had to offer! I bought myself a dark chocolate and bacon bar, much to the consternation of my travel buddies. We also stopped in at TCHO, which is a bean to bar factory that offered tours. Sadly, we missed a tour but we got to pose in front!

Mid jump!
San Francisco was gorgeous. I loved all the differently coloured buildings (you know me, I love colour) against the backdrop of spring sky.

Highlights:
  • Going to a garlic themed restaurant called The Stinking Rose and eating as much garlic as possible! Including garlic ice cream!
  • Spending two days just walking everywhere and exploring all the tourist things, and then having the rest of the time to relax
  • Seeing some plays in Union square put on by acting students/volunteers
  • THE HILLS!
  • Going to The Cheesecake Factory...twice. We first went for some Big Bang Theory street cred and then learned that it was delicious!
  • Our hostel, The Adelaide. Highly recommended!! Everyone that works there is really friendly, and there's a great big common area where we met tons of neat people from all over the world
  • Riding a cable car!
Here are a few of my favorite shots from the trip!

Palm trees <3


Thalia + pink building = happiness!

Sourdough starters... for sale. In pouches.

The crookedest street!


Warning: HILL

On our walk to the Golden Gate Bridge

I love succulents and always have to take pictures!

The Golden Gate Bridge!

What would a post be without a picture of cheesecake?  

I'm really glad I was able to take a week to explore this fantastic city. I fell in love, and I hope I return someday!

Have you travelled anywhere lately?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

School's out for summer!

School's out forever! Mostly forever, anyways. Today was my last day of class and we made Paska and Chelsea buns. We all got to try some Chelsea buns straight out of the oven!

mmm...sugar.

I'm sad that my schooling is over- I'm going to miss the friends I've made. But now I'm on to bigger and better things! First stop: a week-long trip to San Francisco with a good friend! Pictures to follow!

I've been thinking about writing a post about all the things I've learned this year- stay tuned!

Monday, April 18, 2011

ABCs of Thalia

A fun blogger meme: ABCs so you could get to know me a bit more! I'll be sort of back to regular posting after my exams- can you tell that I'm procrastinating just a tiny bit?
On that note- I got a job! I start in May, and I can't be any more excited. I'll be sharing more once I start!

Here we go!

A. Age: Almost 24! Actually, one month from today.
B. Bed size: Queen. It's so high up though...you have to jump like a high jumper to get on it!
C. Chore you hate: Sweeping. I don't even know why- maybe because I had to sweep a carpet as one of my duties at an old job.
D. Dogs: Pugs! Oh my word- they are so cute!
E. Essential start to your day: Coffee, Kids in the Hall and twitter.
F. Favorite color: ALL OF THEM. Gold, purple, pink and green, if I had to choose. Do sparkles or rainbows count?
G. Gold or silver: Both together! (That's right, I break all the fashion rules!)
H. Height: 5'4 I think.
I. Instruments you play: The flute! My mom the piano teacher kept trying to get me to learn the piano, but I wasn't going to have any of that.
J. Job title: I'm a soon to be "Assistant Chocolate Maker"  - I am seriously too excited!!
K. Kids: No thanks, I'm quite alright.
L. Live: Toronto! It's great. I'm finally getting used to big city living.
M. Mom’s name: Nadia- my mom's the best :)
N. Nicknames: Thal, but only like two people call me that. My American friends pronounce my name "Tall-ia" which is kind of a nickname!
O. Overnight hospital stays: Probably once or twice when I was young
P. Pet peeve: People that stop while they're walking to do something on their cell phone. Or people that stop to text right in the middle of a conversation. Also, some grammar things bug me.
Q. Quote from a movie: Oh, man...too many! I just watched Clueless, and I love this line from it: "Well, I know Mel Gibson accurately, and he didn't say that. That Polonius guy did."
R. Right or left handed: Right, but I wish I was a lefty
S. Siblings: I have a younger sister, and she's the best! I miss her to pieces!
T. Time you wake up: If I could choose, probably around 7 or 8- but lately I've been waking up in the 5am area. I never ever sleep in, even if I go to bed really late.
U. Underwear: Huh?
V. Vegetables you dislike: Raw tomatoes. I was allergic to them, and now I just don't plain like them. Unless they're cherry tomatoes.
W. What makes you run late: Poor estimation of how long it takes to get places. I hate being late, but I also hate being an hour early.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Let's just say I always chomped on the dentist's fingers when I had to get a jaw x ray. Those are un fun!
Y. Yummy food you make: Well, besides desserts- I tend to have lots of fun in the kitchen. My tastebuds aren't that great (or I just have strange tastes), so I always like to mix it up! My favorite invention was pasta with pesto and tahini and walnuts and sundried tomatoes! Okay. Now I'm hungry!
Z. Zoo – favorite animal:Tigers and elephants, oh my!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Envelopes!

This past week has been exam week in skills class. It's been pretty stressful, and I'm glad it's done!

We had to leave the room for all of our things to be judged (eep!) so I wasn't able to snap any pictures of my baked goods this week.

Last night, I was finally able to take a little break from the stress and I made envelopes! Envelopes out of two maps of Montreal!

I totally love making envelopes- and all parts of the letter writing process! I also make postcards from time to time. I really like making envelopes and postcards out of old calendars and maps. It's a great way to reuse them!

I love the gold hearts!

Close-up!
Hopefully these little guys will brighten someone's day!
On that note, anyone want a penpal? :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bread, delicious bread!

This past week, my class has been making bread type goodies in preparation for our exam. Which starts tomorrow- eeek!

Here's some pictures that I snapped! Also, I have no idea why I decided not to take a picture of my croissants. I would have taken one at home, but I ate them too quick!

Bagels!

Baguettes!

Challah bread with various braiding
My freezer is well stocked with bread now, that's for sure!

We had made baguettes and challah bread in first semester, but they are going to be on our exam. So we made them again- which was great, because I need the practice!

Bagels and croissants were fascinating! Bagels are fun because you boil them in a bit of water first, then bake them! And croissants are amazingly delicious, with lots and lots of work. I think I might make them at home sometime- because they're just SO GOOD. We decorated them with cheese, chocolate and almonds (not all together). I should have bought more than eight, I'm just saying.

Happy Sunday, everyone! Wish me luck on my exam tomorrow! We're making vanilla sponge and dipping petit-fours glace into fondant!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chocolate tempering

My latest obsession is chocolate. And no, not just eating it (although that's pretty amazing too). My class spent all of last week working on chocolate bunnies and other Eastery goodies, and on Tuesday we learned more about chocolate in Theory class. To feed my obsession, I also checked out a book at the library, called Chocolate: A bittersweet saga of dark and light by Mort Rosenblum. It's got the entire history of chocolate, with really interesting anecdotes from the author meeting various people involved in chocolate. My favorite part so far is when he meets a woman who was incredibly obsessed with chocolate and became a chocolate taster for a well known brand. Apparently she eats a pound of chocolate a day, on top of what she has to taste!

I've been trying to learn all I can about chocolate. Which means watching lots of youtube videos about tempering and making chocolates! I'm also patiently waiting for a really awesome book from the library. I watched some really interesting videos, so I thought that I would share them with you!

William Curley Chocolatier: This clip is with William Curley, a chocolatier who made a video for Hospitality Media on how to make Rosemary and Olive Oil truffles- yum!



Tempering 101: This video made me laugh- these guys are too funny! It's with Chef Jeremy McLachlan from Salty's, a restaurant in Seattle.

 

Purdy's Chocolates- How to make truffles: This is a clip from Steven and Chris, the Canadian daytime talk show. Purdy's Chocolate Scientist (amazing title!) shows the audience how to make truffles. Watching this just gets me so excited about chocolate! Also, I kind of wish that I was in the audience so I could win a year's supply of chocolate.

And now for an Easter bunny picture update:

Last weekend, I took my Easter bunny to a family dinner. Everyone was so excited to eat it- which made me really happy. The whole thing was devoured!


And now, the best question: What's your favorite type of chocolate? I love dark chocolate- any kind!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's Saturday!

Slow mornings, lots of coffee...and homework!

I had a great night out last night. I went to my second ever lacrosse game. My first was my 10 year old cousin's game, and it got crazy, so I didn't quite know what to expect.

Last night we also got to sit in an executive suite! Free food such a lovely thing. Live games are just so great to watch- you can really get into it. I was hanging off the edge of my seat, because the game went into overtime. I was also surprised at how excited I got about the game- we won!

Today, I'm writing a menu for one of my classes. I'm getting really excited about it, because all my menu items sound so darn good! I'm quite proud of it.

My Shifting Gears mug

I thought I'd share a picture of one of my favorite mugs today. I got it from Peterborough Green-Up's Shifting Gears a few years ago. It's totally my mug, and it's only for coffee (I have tea mugs, too).

Do you have a coffee or tea mug? Or a special mug, for that matter?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chocolate!

This week we played with chocolate. I think I've found my new obsession. As frustrating as it is (sometimes) to temper chocolate, what with all the stirring and the melting, I LOVE it. And I know that it will get less frustrating with more practice! I was so relaxed the entire week, which is great and almost never happens.

I loved it so much that on Monday, I happened into a kitchen store and went right for chocolate molds. Sadly, they didn't have any, so my search continues! Anyone know of a great place to buy some?

This week, we worked on Easter themed goodies. We were all required to make a bunny, an egg, and some filled chocolates. We also learned how to shock temper chocolate- you take melted chocolate and work it onto a VERY cold marble surface. My class used shock tempering to make little nests out of white chocolate.

I have learned a lot this week, and I hope to learn more about chocolate in the years to come! I am really excited about chocolate, if you can't tell :)

Here are some of the photos I took from class! Some had already been packaged up before I was able to take a picture, so here they are!

Chocolate bunny and a bee

Passionfruit ganache chocolates, cassis logs and almond diamonds

The cassis logs are AMAZING
What's your favorite kind of chocolate? Better yet, what's your favorite chocolate store?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm still here!

I'm still around! I've been so caught up with school and homework and job hunting that I haven't had any energy to update this blog.

I have still been taking pictures of my creations, though! Here are some of my favorites:

Sacher Torte

Charlotte Royal
We also made Napoleons and Strawberry Mille Feuille this week. I got a chance to sample them, and YUM! I think I'll be making those at home.

We have our final exam in Skills class in a few weeks, and boy am I nervous! We are getting tested on Strawberry Short cake, Petit-Fours Glace and Challah bread, among others.

How is your Sunday going? Have you made anything exciting lately?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Martha Stewart cookies!

For the past few days, I had a chocolate chip cookie craving. And not just any kind of chocolate chip cookie- the kind that is really chewy and not at all crispy! Apparently it's really hard to find a recipe for them, because the last few times I have been met with crunchy, terrible cookies!

No! They have to be soft, and they can't spread too thin while baking. After doing a little bit of research (the fourth link instead of the first on my google search), I found these Martha Stewart cookies! Now, reading the comments about this cookie- my favorite went along the lines of "it's not the recipe's fault if they don't taste good"- I decided to give it a go!

And they were JUST what I was craving! Hoooray! I used half milk chocolate chips and half peanut butter chips. Which in my opinion, is awesome. Check 'em out!

Yes!! Chewy at last!
Needless to say, I bookmarked that page and I'm going to use it as my go-to cookie!

Now who wants some cookies? I think I have about 300. Oh, what a problem! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm back!

I'm back from Montreal!

I had a great trip, but I'm glad to be home. I crocheted far too much, slept far too little, and ate a lot of great food! Even took a trip to Schwartz's deli! I had a really relaxing time, which was what I needed!


Nuit Blanche was held on the second night that we were there! I was really happy, because I missed the Toronto one thinking that it was an all week event (silly me!).

Beautiful globes- with canvas and a projector inside!
I do love me some rainbows!
Stained glass on the Metro
I also took a trip to Mont Tremblant to visit some of my baking school buddies! We had a great time eating delicious food. In fact, one of my classmates spent the entire day making croissants!

It's a beautiful area and very touristy! But the little village certainly had its appeal.

You have to ride a ski lift to get up to the village!
And look at the trees!!
That's just the tip of the iceberg for my photos! I hope everyone had an amazing week!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Montreal- bound!

Hi lovely people!!

I am off to Montreal tomorrow directly after baking class (I suspect my guy will have the car running and I'll have to jump into a moving vehicle) so I won't be able to show you delicious pictures until much later!!

I am very excited to be going to Montreal- it's going to be a week filled with fun, friends, exploring and I guess homework.

Have a lovely week!

McGill campus, if I'm not mistaken

Monday, February 21, 2011

Petit-Fours

On Friday, we finished our Petit-Fours. So cute!! We used Pate Sablee and Linzer paste as our bases. Most of the day was spent dipping, piping and decorating! Lots of fun had by all.

I love these little guys!
I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! I had a wonderful one, filled with lots of friends, family and food! Lots of food. To recuperate, I've spent most of my day crocheting and watching The Big Bang Theory. Back to school tomorrow!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Opera cakes

Are delicious. I actually ate some of this cake- my guy said that it tastes like a Coffee Crisp, but in cake form. Paraphrasing from my theory class, Opera cakes were invented in France to celebrate a very important opera. To let everyone know that it is a real Opera cake, the word "Opera" must be written on it somewhere. Opera cakes have two kinds of ganache, and so much mocha buttercream! They're made with an almond sponge, and you brush the sponge with rum syrup. So that's three layers of sponge, with buttercream and ganache adding extra layers.
Even typing this out, I want a piece. This never happens!


Apologies for the terrible pictures- we were running around and cleaning up, so I hardly had a chance to take a good picture!

Music notes!


We had to cut half of our cake into 18 pieces- I think I cut my pieces really well! I'm usually really terrible- you could say that I have no eyeballing skills. And I'm pretty proud of my writing. I had such trouble with the Os and Ps, but they turned out alright!
The ganache glaze layer was really hard to work with- you have to get it on the cake immediately. The more you work with it, the more it sets and the worse it looks. The reason why is butter. Ganache generally does not have butter in it, but it makes it easier to cut and the glaze doesn't drip down the sides.
All this being said- I'm going to go and get myself a piece! Happy Saturday, everyone!