Canadian Candy

smarties

Okay, okay, just one more post about Canada, I promise. 😉 Ben and I love candy, so we had to bring some back with us.

So, quiz: Do you know what a Canadian Smartie is? It’s not the same as American Smarties! A Canadian smartie is similar to an M&M, except crunchier. In my opinion, they taste way better (although, I don’t like M&Ms…)

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In Canada, what we call smarties are actually called Rockets. Apparently when Smarties Inc. brought this candy to Canada, they gave it a new name to reduce confusion. 🙂

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Here are the many candies we brought back: Milka, Mars, Bounty, Nestle Aero, Dolfin dark chocolate bar, KitKats, Turkish delights (box and bar), Scottish fudge bar, Smarties, and Rockets. We also brought back a bag of ketchup flavored chips (yuk!)

We noticed that at least in Winnipeg, KitKat bars are really popular. They had chunky and mini style, white chocolate, dark chocolate, and specialty flavors like mint chocolate.

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Ben had to get this bounty bar. Bounty bar, Bounty hunter… get it? Oh, those Star Wars puns…. Anyway, it is basically a milk chocolate Mounds bar. Since Ben doesn’t like coconut, I ate it.

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I’ve really wanted to try Turkish delights since reading the Chronicles of Narnia. And voila, here they are! These are flavored lemon and rose. I like the rose, but Ben said it tastes like a thousand rose petals, and not in a good way.

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At one of our dinner get-togethers, we busted out that bag of ketchup potato chips. Spencer refused to have any, because he had already tried them… and hated them. We all crowded around the bag of chips trying them. Ugh, I didn’t like them! But one of  our friends, Celeste, did like them. She ended up eating the entire bag. 🙂

Next time I head back to Canada I am stocking up on smarties and KitKat bars!

 

Trip To Canada, Day 4

peace gardens

On the last day of our trip, we headed out of Winnipeg and to the Canadian-American border to see the International Peace Garden! The Peace Garden represents the goodwill between Canada and the United States.

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The garden grounds were beautiful and serene.

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Spencer and Noelle standing next to the Peace Garden Monument

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We learned that the Peace Garden monument will actually be taken down this fall. The concrete is crumbling, due to harsh weather conditions in Manitoba. The Canadian government is planning to restore the monument, although we didn’t learn when.

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In the visitor’s center, there was also a cool cactus garden. 🙂

All in all, our trip to Canada was so much fun. And now I can say I’ve left the country! 🙂

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My Trip to Canada

Trip to Canada, Day 3

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On Day 3, we went to the Assiniboine Park. We really wanted to go see the Winnie the Pooh exhibit at the Assiniboine Pavilion Gallery, but it was closed for renovation.

It turns out that Winnie the Pooh’s inspiration started in Winnipeg! Lieutenant Harry Colebourn bought a bear from a hunter, and named her Winnipeg after his hometown. Eventually, Winnie, or Winnipeg made her way to the London zoo, where she inspired A.A. Milne to write children’s stories. How cool is that?

Even though we weren’t able to see the exhibit, we still found a lot of fun encased in that little park!

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There were some fun trails that we walked through, with lots of beautiful trees.

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Here’s Noelle and Spencer checking out a plant species sign.

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We did get to go into the Assiniboine Park Observatory. They had some cool plant rooms, including an inside rainforest.

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This is where I met my new friend Eddie the Elephant. (I love elephants!)

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And we got couple’s pictures, of course!

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Noelle and Spencer, in the tulip room.

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There was even an Assiniboine Park train that we could wave at. 🙂

And finally, next up is Canada Day 4!

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My Trip to Canada

 

Trip to Canada, Day 2 -Part III

 

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Now on to Day 2, Part III! In typical Ben style, we had to do something Star-Wars related. Ben is part of a costume club, where they dress up as Mandalorians -basically Boba Fett, the bounty hunter, but with different colors. 🙂 They had a meetup in Winnipeg, and Ben was stoked to meet his fellow club members.

Mandalorian Mercenaries Meetup

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Here’s Spencer standing next to carbonite Han Solo.

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And here’s Noelle and I, looking around, bemused.

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But of course we can’t forget about R2D2!

 

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Celebrations Dinner Theater

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Noelle, Spencer, Ben and I all love theatre , so we decided to go to a local dinner theatre, called Celebrations. The showing was called Rock Around The Clock, and was a reality TV dance contest set in the 1950’s.

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In this picture, I’m wearing a green silk scarf that I got for $1.50! (We stopped by a Value Village thrift store before the show).

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And, here’s Spencer and Noelle.

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The musical was interspersed throughout a four-course meal, that had fun names like My Golly Molly Red Velvet cake. It was super cute, and we loved it.

Next up is Day 3!

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My Trip to Canada

Trip to Canada, Day 2 -Part II

fires

Welcome to part II of Day 2 in Canada! This trip really was a blast. 🙂

The Firefighters Museum

Next, we popped over to the Fire Fighters Museum. We didn’t have enough time for a tour, but had fun looking around.

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Ben really wanted to come to this museum. You see, when he was little, he wanted to grow up to be a fire engine. 🙂

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Though he is now a purchasing/estimating assistant, Ben’s passion for firetrucks still burns in his heart. 🙂 Ben was super stoked to try on some firefighter gear. 🙂

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Winnipeg Railway Museum

 

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We then popped over to the Winnipeg Railway Museum. They had several different types of trains in the museum, and they used passenger cars as exhibits! It was really neat.

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We could also sit in the conductor’s seat.

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And here’s me goofing around! 🙂

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The Forks Market

 

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Next we headed over to the Forks Market. It’s a tourist spot, and we figured we would peek around.

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It had lots of fun little shops, ranging from artisan crafts to New Age to international shops. Ben and I promptly loaded up on candy! Ben also bought me an adorable little red elephant. 🙂

 

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Ben and I walked to the top tower of the market, and found a lovely view.

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I really liked the international food court. Ben and I also tried some Sri Lankan chicken with curried noodles. It was spicy, even for me!

And on to Part III!

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My Trip to Canada

Trip to Canada Day 2, Part I

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Day 2 of our trip was so packed with fun things, that I decided to split the post into three parts. We found out that Memorial Day weekend in U.S. is also Open Doors weekend in Winnipeg. Basically, we were able to visit museums and other exhibits for free, with free tours! We first started out by going to the Royal Mint.

Royal Mint

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I loved the Royal Mint! It was so cool. While we were waiting for our tour, I got to pick up a huge gold bar. It weighed 28 pounds and is worth over $738,000.

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Noelle really wanted to come to the Royal Mint -she is a mechanical engineer, and was fascinated by the factory production line.

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The tour was fantastic. I learned that sometimes the US will have the Royal Mint make coin blanks when they run out (it is illegal for another mint to make the actual American currency). Also, did you know that vending machines do not measure coins by weight? It actually reads the amount of copper in each coin (which is different for every country.) That’s why you can’t use a Canadian quarter in a US vending machine!

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St. John’s Anglican Church

 

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Next we went to the St. John’s Anglican cathedral. I am a big fan of stained glass windows, so it was really neat. Each set of windows was created by a different artist, dating back to 1833.

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The first window I looked at was called the Great West Window. It was made by the Western Art Glass of Winnipeg company, and added to the church in 1975, to celebrate it’s 150th anniversary. The window honors several church leaders, and has a picture of the Christ standing over them.

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Noelle and Spencer looking at the Annunciation of Jesus window.

 

The second window depicts the Annunciation of Jesus, or when the angel Gabriel came to Mary. It was designed by Joseph McCauslin in 1926.

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We came in at the end of the tour, but still learned some interesting stuff. St. John was honored as a Cross of the Nails center. The tour guide explained that back during WWII, English Anglican members came to Germany, and German Christians came to England to rebuild churches. They took nails from the foundations of the building, and made crosses, hence Cross of the Nails.

And now on to Part II! Have you read the rest of this series?

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My Trip to Canada

My Trip to Canada -Day 1

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I  left the continental US for the first time -finally -and I went to … Canada! I had so much fun on this trip and can’t wait to share it with you.

Ben and I, along with our friends Noelle and Spencer, decided to travel up to Winnipeg in the Manitoba province, about 6 hours from Bismarck. We had this trip planned months in advance! We left on Friday, May 27th, during Memorial Day weekend..

We all enjoyed cookies and listening to an audio version of In Her Majesty’s Service. I’ve never read the James Bond books before, and it was a real treat. I’ve decided I like the book version of James Bond, surprising since I hate the James Bond Movies. Perhaps he is an acquired taste… 🙂

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When we got to the border, it was 8:56 pm, and the border gate was closing! Apparently there was a cut-off curfew that we didn’t know about. Ben tried to persuade the guard to let us in anyways, but we had no luck. The guard let us know of two crossings we could try and told us to hurry!

So, we headed out to the next crossing at Sarles-Crystal City crossing. That crossing closed at 10 pm, so Ben booked it. I’m pretty sure he was going 75 down the gravel road we were travelling (thankfully there were no cops around). We got there with half an hour to spare, and took a big sigh of relief. I couldn’t wait to get that stamp on my little blue book! I looked at my passport with pride when I got it back. 🙂 As we took those few moments to cross the border, my heart was pounding! I was so close!

As soon as we crossed the border, I insisted on pulling over. I had to touch Canadian soil! (Silly, yes.)  I almost kissed it, but thought better of it. 🙂 We pulled over by the Welcome to Manitoba sign, and took some pictures.

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Although not a lot happened that night, it was filled with  excitement. I  still am giddy about travelling to Canada. . 🙂

Head on over to Day 2 Part 1!

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My Trip to Canada

Falling in Love with Curry Part II + Recipe

In my previous post, Falling in Love with Curry, I shared the simple recipe I learned at college. Today I would like to share a more complex recipe.  Kritika (who taught me to make curry) often added more ingredients to her curry. She taught me something simple and quick so I could remember, but her curry was leagues ahead of mine. Because I loved hers so much, I spent a lot of time trying to recreate her mysterious blend of spices and sauce.

When my sister Heather was in Bismarck for an internship, we decided to make curry together.  We fiddled with the recipe and loved the result! I don’t think I quite managed to match Kritika’s personal recipe, but I think this recipe comes pretty close.

Here’s the recipe if you would like to try it:.

Dana and Heathers’s Fancy Curry

Ingredients

 ginger

Vegetables

  • 4 slices of fresh ginger, quarter sized (or add more ginger powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic (if you love garlic, feel free to use a teaspoon (canned) or two cloves of garlic, (fresh), minced)
  •  1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons of oil
  • Optional: 2 bell peppers, sliced thin

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Spices

  • 3 sections of golden curry paste, medium-hot (or mild) OR
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder OR
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

* I like to add all of the above spices together, but that’s because I love spice. You can try any of the options to start with.*

**I originally used ginger, cumin, cayenne and turmeric when I learned with Kritika. **

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Sauce and Meat

  • 1 cup diced tomatoes with juices (fresh) or 1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (or half-in-half)
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, (or boneless pork chops) cubed
  • Optional: 1 can of lentils
  • Optional: 10 small golden potatoes, diced or 3 medium Russet potatoes

Instructions

1. Heat oil in a saucepan at medium heat. Add onions, (bell peppers,) and ginger. Stir fry until onion is light brown around the edges.
2. Add spices and stir. Let cook for 30 seconds, until you can smell the spices.

3. Pour in tomatoes and stir. Let sit on low heat until liquid evaporates and tomatoes soften (if fresh). About 5 minutes.
4. Add yogurt (or half-in-half) into saucepan. Stir, make sure  to loosen the bottom. Pour mixture into a blenderand puree. This will help the curry sauce to be smooth.

6. Pour sauce back into saucepan and add chicken(and lentils). Cover the curry and simmer at medium-low until chicken is cooked, about 10-15 minutes.

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Serve with rice and/or naan, and enjoy!

***Naan tastes best when buttered and sprinkled with cilantro and minced garlic.***

 

Falling in Love with Curry + Recipe

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By request (from my awesome sauce sister Kelly), I will be sharing my recipe for curry, and the story of how I fell head over heels for Indian food. 🙂

During my second semester at college, I had a roommate named Kritika and she was amazing! She was from Nepal, and Hindu; I listened to her ring bells to Ganesha every morning before class. She was also the one who got me hooked on Indian food.

I had some strange eating habits that year, which included snacking on carrots, nuts and grapes, and then for dinner.. eating tuna straight from the can.. Kritika came home one day, looked at me, and announced, “Dana, you eat like a rabbit! You need to eat real food!” She then proceeded to teach me how to make curry.

Let me say, I fell in love! I loved how cheap it was, how versatile it was in adding ingredients and how easy it was to throw together. And the taste! I’m telling you, it tasted like heaven. People would linger by our window because the smell was divine. I’m so glad Kritika saved me from my rather gross addiction to tuna. I ate really well that semester. 🙂

Here is the recipe:

Kritika’s Quick Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 can of tomatoes, with juice, mashed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cap-fulls of oil
  • 1 small spoon full of ginger
  • 1 small spoon-full of cumin
  • 1/3 small spoon-full of cayenne pepper
  • 4 pork chops, bone removed, diced
  • 3 Russet potatoes, diced, baked – ** We used the microwave**
  • 1 cup of water
  • Water, as needed

Instructions:

  1. Add oil to frying pan and stir fry onion until clear.
  2. Add pork and stir fry until cooked through.
  3. Add tomato paste, mashed tomatoes, water and potatoes. Stir until sauce is combined.
  4. Taste to make sure spices are just right. If too much spice, add more potatoes.
  5. Cook, covered, for about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve with rice and enjoy!

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I love this recipe and have made it more times than I can count. You can easily add other ingredients or spices, and it will still taste great. If you try it out, let me know how it turned out!

 

Little Loves

This week I found some amazing things and couldn’t wait to share them with you!

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Cat Eye Sunglasses

My last pair of sunglasses met an unfortunate demise when I sat on them at a bonfire night… So, I needed a replacement. I found these really cute cat eye sunglasses made by Aero at the Seeds of Hope thrift store –for $1! I think they are super cute. 🙂

Contemporary Swing Jazz

I found myself in a bit of a music rut and started looking for a new genre of music to listen to. Yesterday I stumbled across some modern renditions of 1930’s-1950’s swing jazz songs, and I fell in love! I love the bands Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Two Man Gentleman Band, and Royal Crown Revue. I particularly like “Why Me” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. 🙂

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Naan Crisps

I love Indian food. One of my favorite parts of an Indian dish is the naan –a beyond delicious flatbread. As I meandered around Wal-Mart, I stumbled across some naan crisps, and snagged a bag right up! They go great with my hummus. 🙂

I have a bunch of posts lined up for this week, including my recent trip to Canada! So stay tuned for more. 🙂