30 Nov 2009


This weekend I decided to bite the bullet and get my ragged nails taken care of. Here's the exchange when I showed up to my neighbourhood beauty parlour:

Me: Hi, I was wondering if I could get an appointment for this afternoon.

Receptionist: Sure ... *looks at her computer for an opening, then looks back up at me* For an eyebrow wax?

Heh... Normally I would have saved us both the embarrassment and been like, "Yes. Also a manicure" but I hadn't done my mental preparation exercises that usually accompany any ripping-of-hair-out-my-skin event. So it was just the mani with a side of awkwardness:
Rest assured, I don't have jaundice - it's just the weird lighting. I can't, however, explain how my thumb suddenly became obese for this picture.


29 Nov 2009

A Jen But Never Jenn Creation: Raw / Vegan Gingerbread Balls

Every couple of months I go on a raw vegan kick. I've been about 80% raw vegan this week - the rest being vegetarian with just one small portion of lean meat snuck in there. So far, so good. Not sure how long I'll stick with it but I hope to eat this way at least until next week when we go to St. Catharines for an early Christmas get-together at Byckingham Palace.

When the weather gets cold, it's a little tough mentally to not crave toasty traditional foods, so those who eat raw vegan year-round tend to warm up their meals through spices. I decided to play around with some ingredients and came up with a vegan / mostly-raw version of unbaked gingerbread cookies (although in my case, I just rolled them into balls). They're nice because they're gluten-free, are sweetened by fruit (with one tiny, optional exception) and filled with fibre and healthy fats. Spicy, warm, chewy! Mmm!

The picture was taken from my phone (an HTC Dream):

Here's my recipe for raw vegan gingerbread balls (measurements are rough as I was just goofing around):

  • Take 1.5 cups of raw almonds and blend in a food processor until they form a sand-like texture (not quite flour consistency). To get the most nutrients from almonds, it's best to soak them in water for a few hours before using.
  • While you're grinding your almonds, use a coffee grinder to pulverize three or four whole cloves.
  • Add the cloves along with 2 tsp of cinnamon and a rounded teaspoon of powdered ginger (you can also try fresh grated ginger!) into your almond mixture. Mix it all in the food processor.
  • Pit five medjool dates and toss them into the processor (medjools are much better than honey dates as they are stickier and juicier!). Toss in 1/3 cup of raw, organic raisins. Blend everything in the processor until it's all quite sticky.
  • Have a little taste - if it needs more of certain seasonings, pop them in. You might also want to toss in a small pinch of salt to help draw out the other flavours.
  • Pour in 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract.
  • Add 1 tsp of pure maple syrup (which is not 100% raw, btw) or honey or even just water. I like the maple syrup because it has a bit of a smokey flavour and gives these balls a nice gloss.
  • Pulse your food processor until the whole thing becomes a ball of dough.
From there - I just rolled them into little balls and stuck in the fridge to firm up. If you're a raw foodist who misses fresh-baked goods, you might want to consider forming these into cookie shapes (roll into balls and then press them down) and popping them into a dehydrator. I might try that next time.

Anyway - enjoy! If you do try out this recipe, let me know how it worked out for you!


26 Nov 2009

Further Proof The World Needs Editors

I've mentioned before that editors are amazing. I don't just say that because I do freelance editing myself. I say that because it's true.

I LOL'd (for reals, not just typing it) when an example of a disastrous lack of editing slipped by a newspaper:

Dying. Poor Count. He was never my favourite Muppet but he wasn't that bad.

Also in Muppet-related news (I'm starting to feel like I need a separate Henson tag for this blog), if you haven't yet seen The Muppets do Bohemian Rhapsody, it is a must:


11 Nov 2009

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie


9 Nov 2009

Berlin & Me: 20 Years Ago

Twenty years ago today the Berlin Wall fell. I was 11. At school, they wheeled a TV in our classroom and we were given a break from the usual studies as our teachers insisted, "This is a moment in history. We don't want you to miss it." I did my best to focus and record it all mentally, but I now just have bits and pieces of my impression of everything.

My main impression is that I was too much of an idiot to grasp what was happening. We had only just begun to learn about World War II and my understanding of the war was flawed and overly simplified: Germans were Nazis and Nazis were the most evil humans that ever lived. Somewhere along the way, I misunderstood the West and East German divide and thought that West Germany was filled with "good" Germans like Anne Frank's dad and East Germany was a prison-like country for old Nazis and "bad" Germans. I had somehow gotten it in my head that the USSR had agreed to be the guards of the East German prison.

It was the images of the East Germans dancing on the wall, particularly what they were wearing - jean jackets, high-top sneakers, t-shirts - that made me realize for the first time that modern Germans probably weren't Nazis. Odd how seeing people in clothes like yours can shift your impression.

The other big memory I have of the Berlin Wall falling was that shortly after the unification of Germany, there was a Who's the Boss episode in which Mona was chastising Angela for not sharing her romantic feelings with Tony. Mona, exasperated, finally says "Angela! Let Tony know you love him! It's been years! Communism has fallen!"


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I have no shame

Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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