*DO NOT CLICK OR POST BEFORE DECEMBER 30, 2016*

Greetings from 2015! Another year has come and gone. With the success of your 2014 time capsule, it’s only right to make one for this year, as well. Although this blog was written on January 3, 2016, it only encompasses the dates between December 31, 2014, and December 31, 2015. Please comment as you see fit!

You can’t remember the first half of 2015 very well, since it was pretty meh. You made the decision to take a semester off school to clear your head, and in the process found a part time job to help earn your keep. Plushies have been put on hold for the most part, in favour of learning to cook new dishes from scratch. Your current signature dish is chicken “stoup,” as dubbed by Shoony this New Year’s Eve.
The semester you spent in school was not a waste, of course! You studied Mandarin Chinese, discovered a new interest in video editing, and made a cutscene for your Demo Reel Development class. The latter is your first step towards completing your game project. That’s good! Next stop, the prototype. Expect to graduate in 2017; better late than never.

Your first Anime North was great! You went with your birthday buddy, and you cosplayed Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sadly you didn’t stay long, due to exhaustion, and the fact that your cosplay was derpy at best. Assuming you do return this year, you were considering cosplaying either Sheena from Tales of Symphonia, or Oliver from Ni no Kuni. Hopefully, you’ll run into more people you know.

Tay moved away this year, but you still say hello now and then. You two spent a day together in the summer, and you sent him a Sadaharu plushie after he moved. Thanks to him, you got back into anime, and even found a couple new series to watch. Don’t forget, once he gets his own place, he owes you a sweet snack! Ginger is still as adorable as always, and you continue to pray for his good health. As a matter of fact, you were talking to him moments ago! Conversely, you haven’t spoken to East much since he graduated this year. He’s keeping busy busy, working on everything and stopping for nothing. Whatever that means.

As far as the blog and crafts go, you entered and won a couple contests on DeviantArt, and you may have earned some fans among Shoony’s friends. 😛 You succeeded in making two more giant plushies: Kirby, and a Master Ball. This year was focused on crafts, particularly sewing and decorative desserts. If anything, you’ll make a good housewife, right? Ha! Ha! Ha!

Speaking of which, you met someone very special this year. We’ll call him M. You met him while visiting Top Hat, and your first words to M were, “hi! Do you taste good? :3” He likes Magic: The Gathering, Doctor Who, cheese, and eating pasta raw. His personality can be described as quirky, silly, nerdy, and cute. He’s also quite keen on you learning to play Magic.

You two had your first official date on July 29, first kiss on August 8, and became “official” on September 1. That means as of writing this blog, you’ve been official for 4 months. Not to mention, he’s convinced you to start watching Doctor Who! Kitty and Brandon seem to like him, as well. This Christmas, you rode the VIA rail train for the first time, and had an “actual” Christmas dinner with his family. (The kids’ table is a thing! People really do bake stuffing inside the turkey! You thought these things only happened on TV!) Maybe things can work, maybe you can make it to an anniversary…
I really didn’t want to get my hopes up by asking this, since we know how things can come crashing down at a moment’s notice: are you two still together? It would be really nice if you are. If not, well like I said last year, you’re hottest at 25, so he’s totally missing out. 😛

Now, it’s time for a checklist of goals, and things I’m looking forward to in the coming year:

  1. Game: Making a playable prototype.
  2. Animation: lots more of it.
  3. School: finally passing “that course.”
  4. NaNoWriMo: actually complete it this time.
  5. Plushies: complete at least one per month, even if it’s just a small thing, or not even my own pattern.
  6. M: our first anniversary.
  7. Friends: Introducing more of them to M, and attending Kitty’s wedding! =O
  8. Anime North: attending for the second time.

Well, 2016 Pika? How’d we do? What do you think of your 2015 self? Comment in your next response!

Pika, happy new year~

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OMG DOUBLE FEATURE!!!

So I’ve missed last week, and the week before the last post.

You: “What does that mean??”

It means we’re doing extra fun stuff this weekend!

Now that it’s September, we’ve succumbed to the dreaded bipolar weather patterns. This week has been comfortable, but last night was freezing cold! And just last weekend was cold and rainy. Either way, it’s time to bust out the layered outfits. If you don’t go out much, chances are you have stuff in your closet that no longer fits, but it stayed in said closet because you forgot it existed. This became the inspiration behind the dress I wore yesterday.

I don’t remember where this dress came from, but I do remember how old I was the last time it was worn: 12 years old. Imagine all the other girls your age dressing in sexy spaghetti strap and halter dresses, yet there you are looking like your favourite doll from when you were 6. I stowed this dress in my closet and never wore it again. As for why I still haven’t given it away? See above.

I like the light, airy fabric of the skirt, but could do without the huge collar and puffed sleeves. And I wanted a new outfit for a date with M yesterday, so figured why not. Let’s help this dress grow from a self-conscious tweenager to a self-confident twenty-something!

Before vs After

Before vs After

Let’s assess what we have to work with here: the dress looks like it has two layers, but it’s actually sewn in one layer. The dress has a zipper at the back to account for the closed collar, and ties at the back to make the dress more fitted. It also has a nylon cord in the front, to lace up the bodice. While it will waste less fabric, it will also require a lot more time to detach the white parts of the dress.

rip

We begin by turning the dress inside out to find the seams. Then we’ll take out our lovely eye goug–er, I mean seam ripper, and rip out the sleeves. As always, you can simply cut them with scissors. I like to seam rip, so as to waste as little fabric as possible. Seam ripping also leaves the bent edge, so you only need to fold over once more to create the perfect, fresh seam. Once that’s done, repeat the ripping process for the collar. I wanted to keep some lining underneath, so I marked the part of the white body piece that will be covered by the floral dress. We’re not going to seam rip anything below this line.

I saved the collar to make a necklace. This will add interest to a baggy, plain sweater. Just in time for fall!

Halfway done! Hem and iron out the edges.

Finally, I tried on the dress. It feels a bit long, but I’ll let M decide what he thinks of this length.

Ne-ne~ Simply by removing the sleeves and collar, we have a comfortable sleeveless dress! Pair this with solid coloured accessories, and you’ve got the perfect end-of-summer date night outfit. 12 year old Pika is very happy.

Part 2: Delicious Eats with M

This next part is a great date idea: cooking lunch together! M loves cheese, I love chilli, and so we made chilli mac n cheese. He has stories about his grandma using a whole block of cheese in her homemade mac, but for my tummy’s sake we’re going to use a small bag of shredded cheddar. Click here for the recipe we used.

M cut the onions, while I stirred the meat. We used the whole box of macaroni, because M started eating the noodles raw. XD I’ll admit it doesn’t taste bad, but it feels weird to eat uncooked macaroni. It feels like a cross between a corn nut, and a plastic tube breaking in your mouth.

*A tip on cooking mac n cheese from scratch: if you make the noodles seperately, don’t add all the cheese right away. As you take servings, add cheese accordingly. If you add all the cheese right away, leftover mac will become dry and gross.

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You drooling yet?

Final verdict: amazing! This is the perfect comfort food, all right. Too bad we didn’t have any garden salad on the side. I filled up a huge plastic container for M to take home.

I got two phone calls during this date, both from people I actually care about. It may not seem like a big deal, but when you typically text instead of call, this is quite a treat. M talked to both of them. XP Until it was time for dinner, M and I cuddled and watched Rick and Morty. It reminds me of a cross between Doctor Who, Adventure Time, and South Park. I should finish watching Archer… Man, it’s hard living with your parents. It’s annoying when you just get comfortable while watching a great show, and then all of a sudden you hear, “don’t sit like that, it’s bad for your back! You’ll walk with a hunch!” “Why you’re watching this? This is not a good show!” “Instead of watching TV with your guest, come help me!”

( – _ – );

We went to dinner with Kitty that evening. When he saw M, Kitty’s like, “HOMG, M!!! HI!!! NICE TO FINALLY MEET YOU!!! <3” They were bros. It’s blurry, but this is an immortalization of my favouirte memory from yesterday: walking to dinner with my BF and BGF. (Best guy friend) Peck Peck asked, “why does that guy on the right (M) look like he’s from Brokeback Mountain? XDDDD” (- _ -); Humph. M if you’re reading this, don’t worry, I still think you look handsome. :3

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Kitty and M

I tried Steak and Kidney pie for the first time. It was pretty good, albeit very salty. Think of a chicken pot pie, but instead of chicken it’s beef. And no, the “kidney” doesn’t mean kidney beans. If you know what liver tastes like, kidney tastes the same. I for one am not a huge fan of either, but I give it 7/10. The pie came with mashed potatoes, but the waitress forgot to bring the potatoes, so I got free dessert! Wot wot~ I felt awful for undertipping; to the waitress at the Black Dog Pub, I promise you’ll get a better tip next time! Here is the free key lime pie, a perfect end to a perfect day.

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Sometimes, you come across a person who just makes you feel great. Sure you felt great before you met them, but this “greatness” is different. You want to improve for them, you want to make them happy, and in return they make you happy. You want to share the most important parts of your life with them, whether it’s going out to your favorite restaurant or introducing them to close family and friends. I know it hasn’t been a long time, but I’m looking forward to many more memories with M. I can’t wait to cook new dishes with him, go on new adventures, and cuddle with him again. ❤

How’s September starting out for you? Any cool new changes this year? Have you repurposed or upcycled any of your old clothes into new outfits for this year? What do you like in your mac n cheese? (If you say “green peas,” we can’t be friends) Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Canada Day Pudding Party!

Edit: use only unsweetened milk for this recipe! Remember, marshmallows are just puffs of sugar. If you melt them into pre-flavoured milk (like chocolate milk) your pudding will turn out way too sweet. Use only unsweetened cocoa, or a tiny bit of your favourite flavour extracts.

Happy Canada Day!!!

I’ve been cooking up storms lately. And we can’t have food without dessert! Since today is Canada Day, here’s a light dessert to follow up your poutine, or provide a sweet complement your Tim Hortons’s coffee. (Man, our mainstream cuisine is unremarkable…)

Nailed it!

Nailed it!

One of my favourite types of dessert is pudding. (Custard, for people outside North America) Since I was a Pichu, I’ve tried all kinds of store-bought pudding brands, from the sugary sweet Snack Packs to the rich, $5 4-packs found in the dairy aisle. My favourite go-to homemade dessert is custard pudding, or creme caramel. I’ve made it for guests, and they always rave about it. Aunty Waggie makes it the best.

Let’s begin the summer with some super easy 3 ingredient pudding from ochikeron.

Matcha is green tea powder, and one of my favourite flavours when mixed with milk. Green tea mochi ice cream = yum num num. Sadly, I don’t have matcha powder, but I do have cocoa powder. Ergo, chocolate pudding, here I come!

IMG_20150630_215945244Ingredients:

3/4 cup milk

50g marshmallows (approx. 6 jumbo size)

1 tbsp. cocoa powder

Directions

Mix the powder with a bit of the milk. This will make it easier to incorporate.

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Add in the rest of the milk and marshmallows.

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Cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly. The mixture doesn’t need to boil, it just needs to be hot enough to completely melt the marshmallows. You can help the marshmallows melt faster by cutting them into pieces.

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Taken while making vanilla pudding

When it looks like this, you've got it!

When it looks smooth like this, you’ve got it!

Once all the marshmallows are fully melted, pour mixture into molds.

pour

Chill in the fridge for at least 2 – 3 hours, and then dig in!

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Obby~

Makes 2 small servings.

Final Verdict

ASDFGHJKL;’ IT’S SO GOOD!!! The pudding is smooth, creamy, and not too sweet. According to the package, 4 marshmallows = 30 grams, so I used 6 marshmallows + 1 to make sure the pudding set. In the video, ochikeron added a lot of marshmallows and got very obvious foam on top. When you add more marshmallows, the foam is more likely to separate. The pudding also ends up thicker and less “jiggly.”

I wonder how this pudding would look in a glass dessert dish, topped with whipped cream. If I have to describe the taste and texture in relation to a store-bought pudding, this felt like a milkier version Danone’s dark chocolate “Danette” puddings. Taste wise, this chocolate pudding tastes exactly like a Fudgesicle. This gives me an idea for later in the month, when it REALLY gets hot out…

You have to be patient with this pudding: make sure it stays in the fridge for AT LEAST 2 hours. It won’t set if you keep poking at it! Due to its softness, the pudding separates from the mold fairly easily. That doesn’t mean it transfers well…

plop

Plop.

Serving sizes are very small, creating less than 1/2 cup servings after the mixture settles. This is the type of dessert to make when you have only one friend over, or you and the sweetheart don’t feel like going out. That would be a cute date idea: make these together, let them chill in the fridge while you eat dinner, watch a movie, and take them out after the movie to enjoy while chatting. You’re welcome, Internet.

*You can swap the cocoa and milk for any other flavours of your choice! The original recipe called for soy milk, but I used skim milk. If you want a creamier pudding, try heavier milk. How about strawberry flavoured milk? Use your imagination! I do not think this will work with condensed milk, because it is too sticky and heavy.

And of course, you can make plain vanilla pudding by simply omitting the flavour agent. Marshmallows are already vanilla flavoured, so there’s no need to add vanilla extract. Serve with fresh berries; who needs marshmallow dip?! I theorize that this white pudding would taste great if made with almond milk.

Nailed it!

Since it’s Canada Day, how about some maple syrup flavoured pudding? Skip the artificial stuff you use on pancakes and grab some 100% pure maple syrup. Or just buy some maple candies and decorate your pudding.

What other quick and easy recipes should we try? Did you make any cute patriotic snacks today? Comment below, and have a Happy Canada Day!

Pika, so happy, eh~

Panda Cotta! – Dessert Days #5

Those who follow my Instagram will know that I’ve been on a cooking kick lately. In other words, nobody knew that, because my account is private.

Anyway, what’s the point of cooking meals without dessert? I give you: panda cotta!

Yummy panda pudding

Yummy panda pudding

This dessert is called panna cotta. I don’t speak Italian, but I believe that means “cooked cream.” Indeed, this dessert is made using cream and milk. I’ve been meaning to try this for so long, but many lactose sensitivity tummy aches have kept it away. This is a quick and easy Mother’s Day treat as well; mi madre enjoyed it! She ate it without the chocolate sauce.

I will post a link to the video recipe at the end, so I won’t repeat it here. It’s courtesy of the very talented Laura Vitale. I found this recipe while binge watching her videos, and in the suggested videos I saw runnyrunny999’s take on this dessert. He made chocolate panna cotta, and when he took it out of the mold, chocolate flowed beautifully over the panna cotta. Oh man it looked righteous.

I like both Laura and Runny, so I figured, “por que no los dos?” (Yeah, I don’t speak Spanish either…) Unfortunately, we didn’t have any chocolate, so chocolate panna cotta will be for another day. I’m also not a fan of frozen strawberries, because they’re so sour. And so this variation, combining plain panna cotta and chocolate syrup, was born. I call it, Panda Cotta.

Let the gelatin bloom in water.

Let the gelatin bloom in water.

First, make the panna cotta. This process reminds me of the coffee jello. And coffee jello reminds me of summer days, when we spent the day out and came home for dessert. I think I will inform K of this post.

Fair warning, plain gelatin smells gross. ;w;

I didn’t have half-and-half or whole milk, so I used thick cream throughout, with a hint of skim milk to thin it out. This feels closer to Runny’s recipe, in which he used milk and cream. With thick cream, you need to stir frequently, or else it forms a skin. Don’t worry if you notice a skin forming; it’s nothing a brisk whisking can’t fix.

stirMaking panna cotta reminds me of making custard pudding. You don’t need to boil the milk, you just need to simmer it until the sugar dissolves. And the bloomed gelatin may smell funny, but it pops out pretty nicely. Kind of like a gummy candy.

I filled two dessert bowls, in order to use up as much of the cream as possible. I refrigerated these overnight with plastic wrap pressed into the surface, to make sure they were properly set.

set

Both recipes called for strawberry sauce, but I don’t really like frozen strawberries. Besides, we didn’t have any strawberries. ^_^; I do however like chocolate syrup. We had Nesquick syrup on hand, so that’s what we’ll use.

unmoldNow, all that’s left to do is unmold!

It didn’t take much to unmold the panna cotta, though you can see the edges where the knife ruined the smooth texture. They don’t transfer very well either, so make sure they land in the right spot on your first try. As expected, they feel like custard pudding, or even jello.

Time to decorate! Hm… I should’ve used the flat-bottom bowls to mold. They would’ve turned out smoother, with a flat face to pour the syrup. These portions are a little too big for one person. Next time, I’ll use the smaller, flat ramekins.

nailedit

Now just take a picture for Instagram, and we’re finished!

Final verdict:

Plain panna cotta is nice and creamy. It has the texture of jello but melts in your mouth, leaving you feeling like you just ate vanilla ice cream.As you can guess, adding the chocolate syrup tastes like vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup. Maybe that’s why the madre ate it plain. (She prefers plain vanilla ice cream)

I think this is the Italian take on custard pudding, using gelatin instead of eggs. Again, I would make the portions smaller. This dessert is very creamy and fills you up. Not to mention I got lovely lactose sensitivity afterward. >_<

And that ends this blog. Here are the video links, as promised:

Laura Vitale’s (Laura in the Kitchen) Panna Cotta Recipe

Runny’s (runnyrunny999) Choco Panna Cotta

Anime North update: Looks like I’ll be cosplaying Katara after all. Have decided to cut my hair next year, so Oliver will come next year as well. Am going to try making an Appa plush bag to take necessities. Worst case scenario, I’ll just fit pockets on the inside of Katara’s dress. Don’t expect to spend a lot, since mainly looking for accessories and such. Heard there’s a Doll Market and was hoping to find ami eyes, but from the official site’s description it’s mainly for BJD dolls.

What other foods would you want to see “pandafied?” Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Homemade Coffee Jello – Dessert Days #2

Remember when this blog was still called Plushies by Valerie? Of course you do, it was only a month ago. Oh wait, no, you don’t, since no one reads these things. *sigh* Red Fairy, why must you curse me with such foul moods?

I don’t know what it was about K. Even though we didn’t know each other long, or spend much time together, I can’t stop thinking of him. Kitty says that’s because K left a good impression. 🙂 I’ve kept from texting him lately, so he doesn’t think I’m some Overly Attached Potential Ex-Girlfriend or something. I made this for K back in June, and he seemed so happy. I wonder if talking this out here will help…

coffee-jello

This idea came from this Cooking with Dog video. Francis the dog is so puffy I’m gonna die. >w<

 

Coffee Jello – Val’s Version

aintnobody

Unlike Chef, I used instant coffee. But not just any coffee; this was coffee that my dad asked my uncle to send from Africa. It’s much finer (it’s literally powder) than the Maxwell House kind we buy, and it also has a stronger taste.

First, I divided the gelatin packet into two, as evenly as possible. I used Knox gelatin, which comes in 15 gram packets. According to the instructions, 1 packet sets 2 cups. Therefore, I used half the powder to set the first cup of coffee, which I made black with 2 sugar. (The way my dad usually makes his coffee)

I poured the coffee into two dessert dishes and let it chill until firm, but not fully set. This took about 20 minutes. *Tip: if your bottom layer of jello is still warm and unsettled, it may melt the top layer and ruin the entire thing. However, you still want the bottom layer to be a little soft, so that the layers fuse together properly. Be patient!

Then, I made a second cup of coffee, but this time I made it my way, by adding creamer:

The cream of the crop of all creamers.

Before you ask, no this creamer does not contain alcohol. 😛

Once the black coffee layer was firm, I poured this new layer on top, and let everything set overnight.

After that, it’s just a matter of making one layer of whipped topping, sprinkling with whatever you like on a latte (I used cocoa) and serving one of the bowls to that special someone.

*Tip: If you’re making the whipped topping from a powder, use a splash of the same creamer for the flavouring.

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For best results, enjoy with panda food. 🙂

Before this, I tried making the jelly similar to the original recipe. I used less sugar so the coffee jelly would be stronger, and poured in a mix of milk and creamer:

coffe-jelly

It’s like soup, dessert, and coffee… all in one course!

*Tip: don’t watch cooking videos when you’re hungry. x_x

 

*sigh* I really should prepare blogs in advance, for when I’m not in such a happy state. Bad moods entail remembering sad memories and “what if” scenarios. I was hoping this week’s post would be about the awesome headband I’d been longing to make, but duplicate stitching on garter stitch is harder than it looks. *sigh* May have to do it the old fashioned way. Meh, not like I go out much in the summer; where else do you think I get all these DIY motivations? 😛

Anyway, this dessert is great after a good meal. Maybe as a date idea, you can have dinner, and then come home to enjoy this dessert/coffee in comfort.

Here is the inspirational video again. I recommend checking out the entire channel; everything looks sooooo yummy!

Does this dessert sound tasty? Have you tried this, or similar recipes? Do you want a doggy like Francis?Comment below!

Pika, so happy~