Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sun and Snow and Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

We've been having some gorgeous spring like weather here the last week or so. We remarked on the improvement from -60 to -40 and how gloriously warm -40 feels! Last week we were in the -20's and again couldn't believe the difference. Who needs a parka and mits at -20?? This week we're expecting temperatures in the -15 to -10 range... so break out the shorts and flip flops! Because of the awesome sun, we get some neat effects of the reflection off the ice. We delayed lunch one day to head out and see if we could get a decent picture. A friend of ours was in from Iqaluit this week on business. After hearing about the cakes I've been making lately, he demanded one of his own. Or something with chocolate chips.... Sounded like a challenge to me! So I created a Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake with Mocha Icing. Way too sweet for my liking, but our friends seemed to enjoy it, and it went pretty good with a couple of drinks and good conversation with our friends.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Touch of Gourmet

While doing fun birthday cakes for kids are always fun, somehow, I thought my friend deserved something more.... I had picked up some vanilla beans when down south, with this recipe specifically in mind. Vanilla Bean Cheesecake... can't imagine anything yummier sounding. The recipe takes 4 packages of cream cheese (about $25 in cream cheese alone!) but is worth every penny!!!

While preparing our friend's birthday feast, I had to whip together a Dora cake, requested by friends of friends. Word is getting around! This is my first multi-lingual cake; the syllabics mean 'little one'.

And the last one... sorry Dad, don't disown me... was a request for a neighbour's birthday. And I have to give all the credit to 'he' who came up with the design. I think this is my favourite cake design so far... although people are already trying to come up an idea to top it. This week? Grave digger, the monster truck. I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, March 7, 2011

I could've been a wolf's breakfast!

Lemme set the scene:

After dropping the husband off at his office, I'm marching up the hill to the office. It's almost balmy outside, very little wind and a warm -29 (Hey! It's March and we've had two months of -40 and lower... we'll take what we can get!).

A couple of co-workers fly past me on their machine.... Sucks that they get to zoom up the hill and I'm stuck trudging through the snowdrifts... but it's a balmy -29, so I can't complain. They shout out to me 'tuktu" (which means caribou) and point over on the tundra. I'm thinking to myself, looks more wolfish to me, but I'm not wearing my glasses, so I'm not going to argue.

The "caribou" starts to wander about a bit, and my coworker yells "Oh my god, it's got a tail.... it's a WOLF!!" The smokers start to edge their way towards the front door. The wolf is hanging out about 200 feet off the road.

Now I know I'm in trouble. Not from the wolf - he isn't being threatening at all, but from my husband. It's a sore point that he hasn't even seen a caribou yet, while I nearly hit one with a truck, and now a wolf...? This isn't going to go over well.

Even though we find it easy to manage without a cell on a daily basis, luckily my co-workers are more technologically civilized, and let me borrow their cell. Maybe I can get 'he' up here to see the wolf before it takes off? But no, the direct line to his office isn't working.

More co-workers are arriving, wondering what we're all looking at. The wolf's still sitting out on the tundra, wondering what we're all looking at.

Since the wolf is cooperating and hasn't run off, maybe I have time to run inside and call from my office? No, my brave Annie Oakley wannabe co-worker has hopped back on her machine. She's planning on herding the wolf away from town - and if she gets the chance, she'll run it down. We've managed to call the bylaw officer (who has carte blance to shoot any threatening wildlife or stray dogs on sight) and the wildlife officer. Quite the convoy of vehicles are heading down the road. It's time to run inside, break the news to 'he', and get a good vantage point to watch the action.

I was right. I'm in trouble. 'He' doesn't even want to hear the story; it isn't fair. I'm going to have to figure out how to make this up to him....

The offices over on the tundra side of the office belong to the HR department. Hopefully they'll be as excited to see a wolf as I am, because I'm barging right in! At first, I'm pretty sure they think I've lost it, but catch the excitement as we watch Annie Oakley run that wolf right out of town!

I heard later in the day that either a dog or an entire sled dog team, depending on who was telling the story, fell victim to the wolf. The dog teams are often kept out of town, apparently in an effort to keep them as working dogs instead of pets. Unfortunately, they'd have no way to get away from predators. The locals mentioned that the caribou are quite far from town (about a two hour snowmobile ride up the Thelon) whereas last year, a heard spent a good part of the winter between town and Meadowbank. The 'local' wolves are hungry; they're brave enough to come to town even on a nice day.

So I'm lucky enough to have seen a wolf in the wild, and lucky enough that he wasn't hungry enough to come after me. But I'm unlucky that I didn't have a camera, and that now my husband is mad. Oh well, it was definitely the most exciting commute I've had ever!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Big Shopping Day

We were pretty sad to learn this week that one of our good friends, fellow poker junkie, and co-worker received a good job offer and has decided to return south to civilization.

Sad that is until we realized the uber shopping potential! In Baker, we have very few opportunities to shop (in person, that is. I think we're, by necessity, all professional online shoppers.) and anyone who knows our friend, knows he has fantabulous taste and some of the neatest stuff.

So I stocked up on baking supplies, chai tea (wooohoooo!), and some servingwares. My favouritest item though is my milk frother... combined with the chai tea, I see plenty of chai lattes in my future!

We also purchased his chest freezer in an effort to stock up on foodmail essentials before foodmail goes the way of the dodo bird and we're forced to pay $15 for a 4L jug of milk! April 1st is the expiry date on the foodmail program. I know several people who relied on the foodmail program to be able to afford wholesome food, so hopefully some of the grass roots movements are sucessful in resurrecting some sort of the program. If not, Baker Lake is expecting the long-awaited new Co-Op store to open sometime this spring, and with any luck, it'll provide some tough competition to the Northern Stores and drive the prices down to a more reasonable level.