Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'm Julia Child!


(This is the video we're watching.)


Monday, January 28, 2013


There is another (!!!!!) flood currently on McTavish Street in Downtown Montreal. Here's a vid. The river has been flowing with this volume and velocity for over 45 minutes (two hours!!!!) at this update.


Ever-entertaining emails from the McGill Media Relations Office are flooding my inbox.

Please be advised that there is severe flooding on the downtown campus that originated near the McTavish reservoir. This is a serious situation. A number of buildings have been flooded. If you are still in a main floor or basement area (I AM!!!!), please move computers, documents, etc. as high as you can and get yourself to safety. If you have already been flooded out, do not return to the office area. We are trying to assess damage as best we can, but it will be extensive. We will provide more information as it becomes available. Messages will be posted soon on the McGill website, and you will be told where to look for more information. Your personal safety is of the greatest importance. Please be careful and do not take any unnecessary risks.

Please note that all evening classes on the downtown campus have been cancelled for tonight because of the severe flooding on the campus. Please stay tuned to for updates this evening or tomorrow concerning tomorrow's classes. Please note as well that roadways on campus and surrounding the campus are dangerous. Please use extreme caution if you are trying to cross a street.

The City of Montreal has told us they hope to have the flow of water shut off within the hour. For the moment, the flooded area extends from Dr. Penfield Ave. to Ste. Catherine St. and from University St. to Peel St. Traffic has been severely restricted in that area. For future updates, please visit where will will post messages as information becomes available. We would like to remind you to please use extreme caution in making your way around the campus or in trying to leave the area. It is slippery underfoot and water continues to flow forcefully along several roadways on campus.

You can't make this stuff up... "student swept away by flooding..."


To quote eye-witness, U2 Sociology student Kinsey Brockie, "So many guys were carrying girls in Uggs and leather boots. Like... If you didn't have someone to carry you home, there went your $300 pair of leather boots!" Thankfully she had her Hunters! 

Crossing the street.

Four blocks away.

The current state of the McGill website - a never-before-seen yellow banner.


The City of Montreal has shut off the water to a 48-inch diameter water main, while a smaller pipe continues to leak. This water is being diverted into the sewer system and poses no current threat to our buildings.

The University has suffered some damage as a result of this afternoon's flooding downtown, but we will operate largely as normal tomorrow. McGill staff should report for work in the morning as usual, with the following exceptions: staff who work in the Wong Engineering Building, Service Point and Welcome Centre, the James Building Annex and on the 2nd floor of the James Administration Building are asked to stay home and work from home to the extent they can. [...]

There are problems with elevators in a number of buildings. Do not assume the elevators will be working in your building. [...]

We again urge you to be extremely careful when walking through areas both on and off campus that were affected by the flood. While we will be active overnight in spreading abrasives and salt, there may be many places where conditions will be slippery.

Thank you for your understanding.



My inbox.

The emails keep coming...

The City of Montreal managed to stop the flow of water from the site of the original water main leak at 2 a.m. this morning (TWO DAYS LATER). This means clean-up and work crews can now tackle the tasks that remain at the James Administration, Wong and Birks Buildings and Wilson Hall, as well as the areas outside these building that need to be cleaned up and made safe.


Again, please be careful walking around the campus (and off) because there are still slippery spots following Monday's flood.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Weather Continued

To give you non-Montrealers an idea of how cold it is, below is an email we received from McGill's VP of University Services. Apparently I should've thought twice about cranking my heater this afternoon. Given the extreme lack of insulation in this building, if we lose power we're in hotttt water...only not because there won't be any left.

With Quebec in the grip of an extreme cold snap, Hydro-Québec has reported that the province broke a record for energy consumption Wednesday morning when the level hit 38,910 megawatts.

The Hydro-Québec website says the utility is expecting to set another record for electricity consumption by this time tomorrow with temperatures expected to remain frigid.

The utility has asked everyone – individual consumers and organizations like McGill – to reduce their consumption of electricity as much as possible, especially during peak hours between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the evening and 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. in the morning."

Here are the most effective ways to reduce consumption at home and at McGill:

- Turn off individual space heaters.

- Turn off lighting in offices and meeting rooms (when not in use).

- Lower the thermostat temperature by a degree or two in all rooms, especially those that are unused.

- Postpone using major appliances (especially dryers and dishwashers) by a few hours. I wish we had a dishwasher to turn off...

- Limit the use of hot water as much as possible.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Weather

If you're living in Montreal, you would know that this week it has been impossible not to talk about the weather. (Look--Emily's doing it.) It's been cray-zay... Snow one day. Throw in some sunshine. Then some rain... Of course you don't have your umbrella on you. Do you feel like being tossed around the sidewalk like a rag doll too? Well here's some hurricane-force winds; they'll howl and keep you awake at night to boot. Shortly thereafter, the temperature may plunge twenty-five degrees and turn said rain into precarious ice flows. And so it goes. Today was no exception, containing all of the above. So obviously I took a lil' vid. (If you can't see the snow you'll just have to trust me. It was there.)

If I may whine just a bit more... The snow/ice situation is made all the worse by the snowplough brigades. So noisy!

To end on a happier note, the fresh snow is pretty until it turns to slush. Here's McGill on Saturday.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Winter Soups

It's certainly winter here in Montreal:

So I've decided to keep myself warm on these chilly days my making soups! Last week was Gingered Sweet Potato and Carrot (with a dollop of sour cream-mmm) and this week, none other than Cheeseburger Soup! It couldn't be nicer to have meals for the week and it saves me from having to go to the grocery store in this...what was it "feels like" -30 degree weather? Yes, I think I'll stay in and eat soup! YUM. 

(Click the links for the recipes!) 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Country Harvest

Here on Tupper, we're well-stocked in the bread department. With six different kinds, we've got the flax, the grains, (7, 12, and ancient) the whole wheat (the whole thing!), the bran, the oat n' honey...and the list goes on.

Thankfully our squirrel friends aren't too picky when it comes to the ends, so long as we slather them with peanut butter, that is :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tutti Fruiti

This week I did some baking that involved fruit. Both recipes came from Ina Garten and were new to me, as per the recipe challenge. I made Cranberry Harvest Muffins  and Homemade Applesauce.

The muffin recipe calls for figs which I've only ever had on pizza and although they were delicious I decided to keep it simple and increase the ration of cranberries instead. The recipe also calls for hazelnuts which were a bit of a hassle to roast, peel, and chop so I don't think I'll be using them again soon, even though they were tasty.

The applesauce is delicious too but the recipe is a bit too time consuming for my liking. Peeling and cutting 16 or so small apples without one of those nifty apple-corer contraptions from Williams Sonoma was definitely not the most efficient way to spend an hour... Nonetheless, the orange zest adds a really nice flavour and Katie, Emily, and I like it best served hot!

Here's how they turned out:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Saturday Night in Review

Saturday night on Tupper was a tea, dessert, and nail polish kinda night. After a hectic first week, a quiet evening among friends was just what the doctor ordered. Kinsey baked a cake! Paula and Katelyn showed up wearing their wellies and so I dubbed this development the Great Wall of Hunter. We shellacked and painted our nails and it was a lovely time.

Now, I present to you: The Anatomy of a Selfie.
1. Squeeze in tight, and cut out Katelyn's head.
2. Include everyone's face, yet become frustrated at the size of your own head relative to the others'. Become self-conscious.
3. Use humor to shield yourself from criticism of having a large head (HI NATALIE).
4. Rearrange, and eventually take a pic that everyone agrees is acceptable.

Finally, a a grand announcement:

All together, we finalized the details of our spring breaks on Saturday as well.


Us five--Kinsey, Emily, Katelyn, and Paula--are going to take Orange Lake by storm. The packing list is already long. We are so excited (for the lazy river and minigolf showdown, in particular) and grateful for the opportunity of an (affordable!!!) sunny vacation. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Brockie!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Homemade Comfort Food

Who knew that a recipe with so few ingredients could be so much work? I have a weakness for nutella but I hate to buy it because it's outrageously expensive so I found a recipe and made my own! Hazelnuts, condensed milk and dark chocolate, mmm. Now, after roasting the nuts I made a huge mess removing the skins AND unfortunately, I don't have a proper food processor so I used the magic bullet which took waaaay too long to get the roasted nuts smoothed into a butter. After that though it was smooth sailing! Nothing better than peanut butter and homemade nutella on a montreal bagel with an ice cold glass of Nescafe Ice Java! My comfort food.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stew Stew Stew

To commence my weekly cooking challenge I made none other than Nancy Bowen's stew. There's nothing better than coming home to a steaming hot meal on a chilly day, which is everyday when you live in Montreal. While it does feel a bit odd cooking dinner food first thing in the morning, it's well worth it when evening rolls around.

{Beef & Vegetable Stew}
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cups of red wine, beef broth, or beef bouillon (presentation wise- wine turns it the best colour)
1 package of knor onion soup
beef bourguignon pieces - flour, and sear until just brown before adding to the stew 
1 bag of baby carrots
1 bag of mini potatoes - I like the red ones- halve them so they're bite-sized! 
mushrooms -sautee before adding to the stew
1 large onion

Let it simmer for the day on low heat and come home to a delicious, ready-made dinner! 

P.S. Tonight I watched Julie & Julia, making me even more excited for my weekly recipe challenge. However, I can guarantee that I will not be boning a duck anytime soon, or ever for that matter. 

Mastering The Art of {French} Cooking

Over the Christmas break I decided that I want to spend this next semester learning how to cook... how to really cook. I spent the break collecting recipes and talking to different sources, getting time-old tips and tricks. I have become quite fond of Ina Garten and her Barefoot Contessa line of cookbooks, one of which I got for Christmas. I also got a little French cooking journal by Julia Child and a new red apron!

As I write out my goals for the upcoming semester, one of them is going to be to try at least one new recipe a week. This morning I made a beef & vegetable stew in the crock pot for the first time so you can be expecting a post about that soon. Also, feel free to pass along any fool proof recipes as I have quite a few weeks to fill!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Perogie Party

I am half Ukrainian. Consequently I take perogies very seriously. (Mashed potato runs through my veins.) In a perfect world I would make these babies from scratch but my regular schedule does not permit this-- they are quite a bit of work. So when classes ended, I set out to make a batch. Jeremy joined me. We wore our ugly (but not) Christmas sweaters for the occasion. Now, there are several steps to the process, which I explain below.

So fun. So tasty.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Christmas Baking Extravaganza

I get really excited when we can use It Is Well as an excuse to bake. Actually, let's be serious; I get really excited when I have any excuse to bake. That's just the way it is. 

So a month ago (terrible, I know) we set out an afternoon/evening to bake up a storm. There were cupcakes and Rice Krispie treats and marshmallow reindeer and cookies. We went all. out. The ingredients table was out-of-control.

Kelsey joined us. With four people crammed into our kitchen, we had to get creative space- and dishes-wise. Every surface was fair game. We rotated use of high-demand kitchen items like the cooling rack and muffin tins and oven. Fridge space was scarce. 

But the end result was glorious! We had a full table of goodies and made great sales for a great cause, despite there being an additional sale right next to us. Turns out Bronfmanites like their sweets and Starbucks coffee.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Oh Hey.

It's a new year and we are BACK!

Hi everyone.

So far, our return to Tupper has been dramatic (though this was only a continuation of a trend begun in my time at home, it would appear...). I was laid over in Ottawa for hours on the tarmac while Emily's train was transferred to a bus to avoid a protest blocking the tracks. We wish Kinsey a smoother trip home this evening...

In the madness of December I got a wee bit behind on my posts, so expect some catch-up from me in the next couple of days.

Regular posts resume now. Check back soon! Ciao!