30 November 2011

Eggnog Alternative - Ponche de Creme

Years ago, one of my brother's got me into drinking Christmas eggnog. So good! I thought his secret was the sprinkling of fresh nutmeg on top but it may have been the rum. He used quite a bit! Have no idea what rum he used but it was during the years that he and his family were going to Jamaica so chances are it was Appleton. Although I've tried making it myself over the years, my brother's eggnog was the best.

Being somewhat calorie conscious I hardly ever drink it now, but I have been thinking about it an awful lot lately. Probably that eggnog latte I had at 2nd Cup last week. Anywho, in looking up recipes I came across this Trinidad and Tobago tradition for something called Ponche de Creme. These are the ingredients:
  •  4 eggs 
  •  1 tin condensed milk (390g) 
  •  1 carton evaporated milk (250ml) 
  •  1/2 bottle rum (approx 1 1/2 cups of dark or white) 
  •  3 tbsp Angostura aromatic bitters 
  •  1 tsp grated nutmeg 
  •  2 tsp lime rind (optional) 

So, if you're looking for something a little different this year try it out. I think I'm going to. Just need to get me some bitters.

28 November 2011

A Hankering After Ghosts

Apparently Charles Dickens was fascinated by the occult and ghost stories. But is it possible he 'stole' one of his ghost stories from someone else? Find out at a new exhibition at the British Library about the author called, A Hankering After Ghosts.

Marley's Ghost - Project Gutenberg
To mark the bicentenary of Charles Dickens’s birth, this exhibition explores the many ways in which Dickens used supernatural phenomena in his works, while placing them in the context of scientific, technological and philosophical debates of his time. Dickens’s interest in the macabre was apparent from an early age. As an adult he was caught up in ‘mesmeric mania’ that swept Britain and developed an interest in the ‘power of the human mind’. He believed that all supernatural manifestations must have rational explanations, but his investigations into animal magnetism and psychology showed him that science could be as chilling as any ghost story. As a result he became wonderfully adept at suspending readers between psychological and supernatural explanations in his fiction.

Guardian Review

26 November 2011

The Family Stone - A New Christmas Classic

Ok, I admit it, I'm a mix of emotions when it comes to Christmas. I can, at the same time, over-decorate and devour all the holiday schmaltz you can throw at me while also being incredibly...non-committal. Why? Because Christmas is a time of contradictions. The season holds the potential for miracles (not the Jesus kind but the kind that seem to be life changing / affirming) but can also pack an emotional wallop. Christmas is a season when it feels like the whole world is in love with everything and everyone, but there are also incredibly poignant and painful memories. For me it's often of the people that I can no longer share this unique time of year with. So, at the same time as it reaffirms family ties Christmas can also throw into relief those ties that were never solidified or that have slipped and disappeared.

That's why I love this movie, The Family Stone. It uses the quintessential picture-perfect Christmas card backdrop (notice them in the opening credits) on which to display it all: the miraculous, the tedious, the horrific, the hilarious, and the tragic. And that's why this movie is one of my 'new' Christmas classics.


24 November 2011

And what to my wondering eyes did appear...

Lots of snow, slob ice, and me with no snow tires!!

Yep, this is what I woke up to this morning. You can't really tell in this shot but it's still snowing and will continue till around noon. I'm really hoping we get that thaw tomorrow so I can get the car up to the tire place.

First substantial snowfall - Nov 24, St. John's, NL

22 November 2011

Nicholas was Older than Sin...

Well, I guess this is kind of a cross over (or self referencing ?!) post. You see, a few weeks back, on my Halloween blog, I posted about Neil Gaiman and included an audio clip of him reading "Nicholas was"-- which, you may have guessed, is about Old St. Nick...or Sandy Claws...I mean, Santa Claus.

I figured the creepiness of it made it ok for the Halloween blog BUT as it is about Santa, well it's perhaps more appropriate here. Instead of that same audio clip, however, this time I bring you a great little animated short I found by some very clever and inspired people. I love it and hope you do too...

39 Degrees North: Christmas Card 2010 from 39 Degrees North on Vimeo.
We started down a rather unconventional route for our Christmas card this year and there was simply no turning back. The pull of the dark side was just too strong. Here's our adaptation of a wonderful poem by the fantastic Neil Gaiman. www.39degreesnorth.tv

08 November 2011

Pining for the Scent of Douglas Fir

I've been revisiting the town of Twin Peaks over the last month (a friend lent me their Gold Box DVD set) and gotta say, even tho I haven't seen it since the original broadcast back in 90/91 I was blown away. Oh sure, Season 2 gets a little bogged down and muddy, but still, what a trip!

And as I was already travelling down memory lane it's not surprising I got to reminiscing about my days in Calgary and my times in Banff. Sigh. I used to love to hike around Vermillion Lakes and the Lower Hot Springs. One of the favourite hikes was from Moraine Lake up to Larch Valley but I have fond memories of the hike from Lake Louise to the tea house too. Sigh.

Me and family near the Tea House at Lake Louise - c. 1972
Of course, with Christmas on the horizon and my mind full of hikes through pine scented mountain woods what's a girl to do? I'll tell you...I've lit my Thymes Frasier Fir candle (smells like a Christmas tree...really!!) and am cutting myself a piece of cherry pie, pouring myself a hot cup of joe, and settling in to watch the final two episodes of Twin Peaks.

"Thru the darkness of Future Past / the magician longs to see
one chants out between two worlds / Fire - walk with me."

05 November 2011

Gram Rabbit's California Christmas

I know it's from last year, but this is my first new Christmas song for this season...yay!