Archive for February, 2009

Young@Heart

February 20, 2009

Over the weekend Adam and I rented Young@Heart – a film recommended by my brother ages ago, and it’s been on our “to rent” list for months. 

I knew we’d enjoy it based on the many youtube videos we saw about it. Those old people seemed awesome! They were singing great songs! They were old! A cute mix somehow. We knew we’d like it.

But I had no idea how much I’d like it. It’s true and potentially cliche, but I laughed, and I cried, and yes, it made my heart warm.

Young@Heart follows a chorus of senior citizens who sing fairly modern and sometimes controversial songs. With an average age of 80, this is quite the group. Lots of attitude, lots of opinions, and lots of reminders of my own grandparents. I could totally see my Nana in this group!

If you haven’t seen it yet – go rent it! Now!

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A Night At The Opera

February 13, 2009

Both the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company offer heavily discounted tickets to people under 30.  Cari and I have been to the TSO a few times, but recently decided to give opera a chance.

Obviously, we have both heard opera before – but neither of us were really sure how we’d fare during a 3 hour performance.  Thankfully, we picked Rusalka by Antonin Dvorak, which takes the familiar tale of The Little Mermaid (initially a Czech fairy tale whcih was later adapted by a number of authors including Hans Christian Andersen) and adds some operatic twists.

I never thought our first opera would be in Czech.  And frankly we went into the performance not sure whether we would like it or not.  But the performances won us over.  The melodies were beautiful, the story easy to follow, and the sets were simple but effective (they actually managed to put a pool of water on the stage for the water gnomes and nymphs to play around in).  They also cleverly adapted two characters from the original opera – initially servants at the Prince’s palace – into theatre patrons eager to criticize the storyline.  We weren’t expecting that kind of comedy in the midst of a dramatic piece.

Our seats, however, were another story altogether.  We were seated in the fifth balcony, about as close to the right edge of the stage as you could get.  And our seats weren’t all that different from the ones you find at fast food restaurants, bolted into the ground that swivel.  As a result, you couldn’t see the action on the right of the stage – and looking directly down gave us both a little bit of vertigo.  Yikes!

Opera For A New Age tickets are just $20; a bargain when you consider the astronomical price of normal tickets (as much as $300 for some performances!).  But I think if we were to do this again (and we definitely hope to), we’d either invest in better seats, or make sure that the $20 tickets we end up with are at least a little bit better situated than these seats were.

If you’re up for something different to do with yourself in an evening, we’d definitely encourage you check out the opera.  Limited tickets are available for the remaining performances of Rusalka, and if you’re thinking of checking out something else, let us know and we might join in.  Rusalka and Beethoven’s Fidelio are playing throughout the rest of February, before the Company takes a break until April, when it premieres Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra and Puccini’s La Boheme.

Check out www.coc.ca for more information

It all started with the perfect muffin…

February 12, 2009

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Adam and I have talked about starting a blog for a while. First we wanted to do a blog devoted to restaurants we’ve visited and enjoyed. Then we talked about something devoted to our favourite recipes and general cooking/baking. But I also like the idea of having an outlet for non-food related stuff – whether we’re updating our house our just want to rant about something else. So, we decided go with “Life at No. 71”. Welcome to our blog!

So, as the post title and photo may indicate, we were finally inspired to get this going by baking the perfect muffin! We like making muffins. It’s a great breakfast through the week, and well, who doesn’t like muffins? Unfortunately in the past our muffins always ended up small and rather dense. Even the tasty muffins just lacked something. They didn’t puff up like we’d want. But earlier this week we finally made THE PERFECT MUFFIN! So moist. So fluffy. So tasty! The sour cream really made the difference.

And here you go, from allrecipes.com.

Blueberry Cream Muffins

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups blueberries

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
  2. In large bowl beat eggs, gradually add sugar while beating. Continue beating while slowly pouring in oil. Stir in vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking soda.
  3. Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture alternately with sour cream. Gently fold in blueberries. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

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