Sunday 29 June 2014

Vancouver Art Gallery

My friend and I decided to visit the Vancouver Art Gallery today. The featured exhibition was by Vancouver based artist Douglas Coupland,

everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything.

It was a very interesting exhibition. His art was very thought provoking, and I thoroughly enjoyed the artwork. I am glad I had the opportunity to view it. Photography was encouraged so here are some of my favorite pieces. 


(courtesy of yours truly via Instagram)

Sunday 22 June 2014

Flora's Classic Cheesecake

I love baking, it's one of my favourite things to do, but I'm also a very lazy person. If I am craving baked goods, I usually head to Starbucks for a treat. If I don't feel like leaving the house, I'll whip up some Betty Crocker cupcakes. I rarely make anything from scratch, but when I do, oh boy, it's a huge production. Today, I made a cheesecake. I've been craving cheesecake for some time now; and I've been eying the President's Choice cheesecakes during my last few Superstore visits. So this morning (or afternoon) when I woke up, I asked my mom to grab some Philly cream cheese at the market for me. I had to have cheesecake today. At 6 o'clock, just when my mother started to make dinner, I decided to start baking (impeccable timing). The recipe I decided to use was from Kraft's website, but I tweaked it a little to make it my own. 

My crust was made from scratch. I crushed Barnum's Animal crackers with a pestle in a mortar to make the crust. Very old school, but I didn't know any other way. I added 1/4 cup of unsalted butter and three tablespoons of Sint Maarten Guavaberry honey to hold together the crumbs. I picked up this jar of honey when I was cruising through St. Maarten in 2012, and it sat in my cupboard for years. I am so glad I bought it, it has been a lifesaver!

In a large bowl, I mixed one container (400 mL) of original Philadelphia cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla with two eggs. I used a hand mixer to beat the mixture until it was smooth.

After I transferred the crumb mixture onto the pan, I pressed on it firmly. I then poured the cheesecake filling on top and evened it out with a spatula. I put it in the oven for 40 minutes at 325 degrees. The edges were a little burnt (next time I'll check up on it after 35 minutes), but everything else looked okay. I let the cake cool before refrigerating for three hours.  

At midnight, I finally tried a bite. I must say... it's pretty good! Even my mom likes it, so I'm quite proud of myself. I'm excited to try baking different types of cheesecake, and possibly bake mini cheesecakes in muffin pans... But that's a project for another lazy Saturday. Enjoy the recipe!

It tastes better than it looks!

(courtesy of yours truly via Instagram)

Monday 16 June 2014

Point Defiance Zoo

I have been unhappily busy with work, so I apologize for the long gap between posts. This is a long overdue entry but I figured it should see the light of day.

As a little getaway for the 25th anniversary of my birth, the boyfriend and I took a little trip to the Seattle area. Our main destination was Point Defiance Zoo. I was lured here by the clouded leopards. I learned about them online and was fascinated by these creatures. Clouded leopards are an endangered species that are found in Southeast Asia. These cats are known for their distinctive dark clouded spots on their dark yellow fur. They have relatively short legs and large paws. Their long tails help them balance while climbing and hunting on trees. The number of clouded leopards have declined in the wild due to poachers, thus breeding programs have been founded to keep the species alive. Clouded leopards are known to be friendly and playful creatures in captivity and you can definitely see this in the leopards at Point Defiance Zoo.

We also spent a lot of time with these guys. Both tigers were born within months of each other, but are not brothers. Berani is a Malayan tiger and Dumai is a Sumatran tiger. We had the opportunity to see them play fight -

Now , I normally have a hard time at zoos. Especially at Disney World. I hate seeing the animals out of their natural environment and I hate seeing them confined in cages. But seeing these guys playing so happily and at ease makes me feel a little better about their living environment. It's a very gray area. Animals in zoos are protected, and most are in conservation programs, however you can see how unhappy most of the animals are. They are pacing, and they look uncomfortable. Animals in the wild are living in their natural environment but are hunted by humans (and other animals, but hey, that's the circle of life!). I guess you can't have it all. It's either one or the other.


Bonus picture of the jellyfish!

(courtesy of yours truly via Instagram)