Tag Archive | Canada

Happy Canada Day!

So today is Canada Day, the day in which we celebrate our neighbor to the north.  Yay Canada!

I’m kidding, of course.  I know that Canada Day celebrates the forming of the Canadian government, effectively turning them into a sovereign state, rather than a British Colony.  And I didn’t have to ask Wikipedia about it or anything.

Having served my mission in Canada, I’ve tried to organize my friends and family to Canada Day celebrations every year since returning home.  Usually, with little success.  Today, I’ve celebrated by drinking the last of my Canada Dry ginger ale, making tortillas (I should have made bannock, but I didn’t think about it until after I was done.) and debating if it would be worth it to go grocery shopping to get the ingredients necessary to make that quintessential Canadian goodie, the Nanaimo bar.

My wallet and my waistline got together and boycotted the idea of Nanaimo bars, the spoil-sports.   But, as the only other thing I have to write about today would be the can of worms that I opened between family members, I thought I’d share a recipe for them, so you, dear readers, can make them yourselves.

This recipe comes from my Great Canadian Cookies, Bars, & Squares book–in fact, it’s the cover model for the book.  It’s also the best recipe for Nanaimo bars I’ve ever found.  You can find the original recipe on page 21 of the Google Book preview that I’ve just linked to.  But, if you don’t want to click and scroll, (lazy buggers) I’ve typed it out for you, using html and everything!

Queen of the Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer

1/2 c butter, softened

1/4 c sugar

5 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg, beaten

1 3/4 c graham cracker crumbs

1 c shredded coconut

1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)

Place the softened butter, sugar, cocoa, vanilla and egg in the top part in a glass or metal bowl. Place over boiling water and stir until the butter melts and the mixture resembles custard. In a separate bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and walnuts, blending well. Ad to the custard-like mixture. Press evenly into a greased 9×9 pan. Cool to set.

Middle Layer

1/4 c butter, softened
3 Tbsp Milk
2 Tbsp vanilla custard powder
2 c powdered sugar (or, if you’re in Canada, 2 c icing sugar)

Mix the butter, milk, custard powder and powdered sugar throughly, and spread over the cooled bottom layer

Top Layer

4 squares semi-sweet chocolate
1 Tbsp butter

Melt the chocolate with the butter. When it is cool but still liquid, pour and spread over the middle bar.

Chill the Nanaimo bars in the refrigerator, making sure that they are completely chilled before serving

The story goes that the original recipe for Nanaimo bars was published in a newspaper in Nanaimo, British Columbia.  I don’t know if it’s true or not, all I know is that we were served (usually boughten) Nanaimo bars at about half of the dinners we’d have with members.  I was told that they were difficult to make, and that’s why they usually came from a bakery.  I even purchased a box of Nanaimo bar mix from a Canadian import store, because I missed them, and remembered how difficult I was told they were.  Finally, I found a can of custard powder in the grocery store where I usually shopped at the time, and decided to try it for myself.

They take a lot of dishes to make, and a lot of steps, but they are fairly easy.  You even have time to wash the dishes between steps, so you don’t end up with a sink full dirty dishes.

So, enjoy these for your own Canada Day celebrations, or, seeing as I’m a slacker and didn’t get this online ’til almost 6pm local time, enjoy them tomorrow for, er, birthday celebrations for Canadian hockey player Jumbo Joe Thornton.

Blame it on the Olympics.

I’ve had Canada on the brain recently.  I suppose the whole world has Canada on the brain right now, but I’m not thinking about Vancouver (much), I’ve been thinking about Saskatoon.

Saskatoon was the first city I served in on my mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  When you’re a missionary, you go where the Mission President tells you to go, and are never more than three feet away from who the Mission President tells you your companion is.

Saskatoon was my favorite city that I visited on my mission.  Yes Regina has the temple, and Winnipeg has…stuff, but Saskatoon is special. If I were to move to Canada, Saskatoon would be the city where I’d want to live.

I’ve been thinking specifically about three people who live in Saskatoon, or at least did when I was there in 2002 and 2003.

The first is a man by the name of Tony.  I never knew his last name.  We met him while we were out tracting (that’s what we call it when missionaries go door-to-door, soliciting appointments and handing out literature, or tracts).  He was sitting in a lawn chair in his driveway, so he had to see us coming.  In his benefit, he didn’t hide inside like most people do when they see Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses coming.  He was very friendly, and talked to us about how he had gone through a difficult time in his life recently, but had found religion in another church.  (I don’t remember what religion he found, but it was a main-stream one).  He wasn’t interested in hearing our message, so we left him with a pass-a-long card. (cards that missionaries hand out, with a phone number or a website where someone can find more information on the church, or order a video, Bible or Book of Mormon free of charge.)

The next was a woman named Danielle.  She wasn’t very old–about 28 when I knew her, and had been a model, but her life was a wreck.  I think she kept working with us because she wanted friends–she was distraught when I told her I was leaving after the first time I was transfered out, even though I knew I’d be back.  She was one of our contacts for the whole two and a half months I was in Saskatoon the first time around, but dropped the discussions sometime in the six months I was away from the city.  When I was called to Saskatoon a second time, the first thing I did was call her to let her know I was back, and asked her to return my call if she was interested in continuing the discussions.  I never heard from her again.

The third person I think about is a man named Leighton.  Leighton was a teacher at a seminary outside of Saskatoon.  He lived a few blocks from our apartment, and I think he was in love with my companion.  Teaching him was very intense.  We even had the chance to visit the seminary, and meet some of his students.  I thought he was a solid investigator (someone who is investigating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and thinking about being baptized), but he had dropped the discussions between the times I was in Saskatoon.

I don’t know why these three people are the ones that I think about (in my head I just pronounced that aboout.  I love Canada.) when I think about my mission.  I should think about people like Marjorie and Jaime, people I worked with who eventually got baptized (I do, quite a bit, actually, but I don’t wonder about them like I do Tony, Leighton and Danielle).  I should think about Gerta, Darcie and Ann, the sweet members of the Church who helped us so much.  I should think about companions, and the friendships made and the lessons learned.  And, really, I should be thinking about Winnipeg–I spent twice as much time there as I did in Saskatoon.

I don’t know how much of an impact I had on Leighton or Danielle’s lives.  I don’t know if Tony even remembers me–I don’t even know why I remember Tony.  But these three people had a huge impact on me–and I don’t think I’ll ever forget them.

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