Manhattan Under Snow

Everyone:  “You’re from Caaaanada, you must be so used to the snow”

Me: “West coast Canada, as in I can count how many white Christmases I have had on half a hand”

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Sadly, I do not live in an igloo nor do I inhabit a ice covered tundra.  I am from a mild, verdant island off the west coast of Canada, where our temperate climate saves us from extreme heat and extreme cold.  In essence it is perfect.  So with that in mind this happens to be my first true winter.  Previously, my skin had never felt well below freezing and I have never had need for Sorrel Boots and parkas.  Where I hail from a light fall coat and toms constitute winter wear.  Again I reiterate it was perfect.

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Now I have experienced winter and I will give it that is is whimsically pretty and the soft snow falling over the city streets is as serene as it is cinematically perfect.  However, the practical side of skin nipping cold air, pragmatic (not cute) winter attire and trekking through snow drifts to the subway is less than glamourous.  For example, there was one afternoon during the polar vortex that Jay and I tried to set out for an adventure and made it around the block before trudging back to the sanctity of our heated apartment.  The air burned our lungs and the frigid  temperatures soaked in so deep that Jay’s hips throbbed.  However, that being said if you asked Jay about winter in the city you would get a much rosier response than I am detailing. So I guess like beauty, tolerance is also in the eye of the beholder.

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All gripping aside thankfully winter isn’t actually as terrible as I had imagined it to be and at the very least I have now earned my winter badge of honour.  Now perhaps I can consider myself a true Canadian.  However I haven’t done it alone.  I owe my survival  thus far to my step dad (an Ontario native) who sprung to buy me hearty winter boots to keep my toes warm and the Michaels Kors down jacket I nabbed on a ridiculously great sale that keeps the rest of me cozy.

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Long Weekend Living: Cashew, Cranberry and Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Today is Martin Luther King day here in the US of A, and I am days away from the commencement of semester two (hooray!).   I have been a touch under the weather, which resulted in my first taste of the American healthcare system (but more about that later with a new recipe to sweeten the deal)  As such  I laid pretty low for Friday and Saturday as I regroup and organized for the coming semester.  However, we made up for all the lazing over the remainder of the long weekend. Starting with our weekly Sunday morning ritual of Tim Hortons (Canadian Pride) and church at Hillsong NYC with the always wonderful Alyssa and Erin.

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We closed out Sunday night with dinner at RedFarm and a stroll through the West Village with the stunning Robyn (no seriously, she is stunning. Like professionally stunning as in being utterly gorgeous is her career) and her exceptional boyfriend, Peter.  The combination of engaging company, steaming seaweed infused green tea and a spectacular sunset over Jersey made it one of those evenings that make your world a little brighter and your heart a little happier.

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As for today, I have been bustling around in our quaint kitchen whipping up a fresh batch of cookies to welcome my darling friend Meredith to the neighborhood. I haven’t dared a baking endeavor since we moved south of the border, simply out of fear that I no longer have access to my well stocked kitchen which most importantly includes my sexy, stainless steel Kitchenaid mixer.  All my normal culinary tools are tucked away in boxes after they didn’t make cut for what we could cram into the cute crossover we drove across the country to our new manhattan home.  So these delectable cookies were done old school.  Butter creamed by hand and batter batted with old fashioned sweat and muscle strength.  Turns out you need very little to make exceptional cookies -so whatever your kitchen looks like enjoy these moist, soft wonderful treats.

Continue reading “Long Weekend Living: Cashew, Cranberry and Chocolate Chip Cookies”

Creamy Coconut, Sweet Potato and Avocado Soup

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Everyone in this city is fascinated with juicing (not the performance enhancing drugs), and we are frequently asked if we partake in such pleasures.  I  have a smoothie each morning for breakfast but I don’t think that would constitute me a juicer.  What we do in fact do though is make everything from scratch.  Be is hummus or salsa to pasta sauce or soup, we whip it without using extra sugars, oils or any manufactured additives and preservatives.  We eat whole foods, and make most of our meals in house so we don’t do anything to supplement our nutritional needs in terms of different diets and cleanses.  Tonight’s soup is one such example of this philosophy, which I shared with my lovely friend Madeline, as we caught up on the coming semester and our time over the holidays. So if you want a nutrient rich, hearty, veggie laden meal that is as tasty as it is healthy this would be the soup for you. Enjoy 🙂 Continue reading “Creamy Coconut, Sweet Potato and Avocado Soup”

Exploring Brooklyn: Park Slope

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Today’s outing was inspired by one of my dearest, most adventuresomely vivacious friends, Erin.  Erin is one of those rare, inspirational and enviable people who don’t seem to let anything daunt them.  For college, she forwent the traditional undergrad degrees by opting for Construction Engineering at Texas A&M, from there she has worked for NASA, work studied in California, lived in China, moved her life up north after falling in love with the most wonderful Canadian boy and is currently being the most exceptional mother to the sweetest baby girl.  Needless to say, when I was homesick upon moving to the city I turned to her because I can’t think of someone who has embraced challenging herself and not only survived but thrived by stepping outside of any realm of comfort.  Erin’s suggestion to quell my homesickness was to explore my surroundings as I begin placing down roots in our new environment.  So today, Jay andI went and sauntered through the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope.

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New Years and a New Year

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Before we booked our flights home for the holidays we had a large internal debate about our New Years plans. Should they be held on the east coast or the west coast? We settled our qualms by polling friends who have been in the city years longer than us rookies.  What we  couldn’t decide was if we should fly home in time to wrangle a spot in Times Square to watch the ball drop, or spend it with our oldest, most cherished friends at home.  In the end I was informed that the logistics of a NYC NYE was that I would wind up standing for hours, sardined next to strangers being unable to move to eat, drink or use the bathroom.  Which for me, who tends to be a sensitive soul, this is not my ideal environment at all.  So in the end we decided to stay and ring in 2014 from Victoria. Continue reading “New Years and a New Year”

Third Installment on the Columbia University Admissions Blog

Third Installment on the Columbia University Admissions Blog

This month I was asked to find a spare moment in the chaos of finals to talk about our plans for Christmas, either near or far from NYC. I chose to highlight some of the festive activities that we managed to squeeze in between laborious paper writing and those lengthy library sessions where you sustain yourself on a diet of coffee and determination.

Spicy Coconut Shrimp Bisque

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Jay and I are unanimous -this may just be our favorite soup I have cooked to date.  We are days away from heading home for the holidays so I was in a use what is left in the fridge mindset with this creation.  This thick, rich, hearty soup was the perfect addition to a blissfully wonderful day in our first New York snowfall.  This savory gem may seem a little more labour intensive than most of my others since it is more than just a chop, boil, serve type of dish. But that extra time spent sautéing the shrimp is really, really worth it; I promise.  Even so the entire soup requires maybe 15 minutes of hands on time, and the reward you reap is exceptional. From our home to yours.. enjoy 🙂

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Our Neighborhood

This is a great little video that highlights elements of Columbia, but I like it best because it showcases our neighborhood so exceptionally well. So take a look at where we live, work and go to school.

Teaching Moments: Leaf Wreaths and a Fall Walk Through Morningside Heights

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Check out those colors on the trees on our street!  I have so enjoyed fall in the city, being from the west coast I am used to everything staying lush and green for the most part throughout each season.  So watching the colors alter and fade as the months wear on has been wonderful to experience.  They have also served as a bit of teachable inspiration.

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On Saturday afternoons I help teach an autism education program in Chinatown with a group of some of the most exceptional teachers on the east coast, to an equally special group of students. I have been working hard to choreograph and rehearse three dances for them to preform at a fundraiser this coming February.  It has been a challenge, but one that I am enjoying undertaking.  After we tire them out with solid minutes of jiving and grooving we do a little art followed by some down time with games and centers.

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Before Thanksgiving we tackled a fall art project that my friend Ryan found for us to do (This guy is going to be one stellar teacher. Anyone who can should hire him immediately).  I am so used to using natural materials in my classroom for everything from art to science to math, but what I forgot when selecting this particular project was that I no longer live in a densely forested, organically lush corner of the world.  Nonetheless Jay and I scoured the parks near our apartment to collect leaves for our tree Tree themed art project and had a whole lot of fun doing it.

20131205-201348.jpgBelow I have included a description of our project.  However, I forgot to snap a photo of the sample (which I sent home with a student) or any of the student’s finished products.  This idea is in no way an original by us, so as such I  borrowed a photo from another location to give you an example of what a completed wreath. The URL is on the image as to give credit where credit is due.

Continue reading “Teaching Moments: Leaf Wreaths and a Fall Walk Through Morningside Heights”

Sweet Butternut Squash Soup

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It’s fall in the city, and it is chilly outside. So inside we Jordan’s are keeping it warm and cozy.  Butternut Squash soup my favorite soup, and one of the best ways to stay toasty.  For the longest time I never attempted it on my own because I had written it off as too complex and time consumptive.  My mom also makes a killer butternut soup, that even still mine can’t hold a candle to.  Although maybe that is just the sentimentality inside me speaking since I tend to whip up this soup on the days I miss her a little more than usual.  Nonetheless, this soup isn’t complicated and is actually pretty efficient to make.  A quick chop, boil and purée and you are set to serve.   Enjoy. Continue reading “Sweet Butternut Squash Soup”