The World’s Best Most Dangerous Rum Balls Ever

I don’t want to be too crazy with the superlatives but these really are the best and most dangerous rum balls ever. Why? Because if you double the batch then you use close to 26 ounces of rum for the recipe and that’s just crazy. But they’re worth the expense and the effort. In the old days I used to make people beg and plead for the recipe but the new kinder gentler me is open to sharing. Now is the time to start making these – they get better with age. Keep them in the freezer once you’re done rolling.

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (don’t cheap out on the chocolate. Get the good stuff)
1/2 cup almond paste
1 cup sour cream
A pinch of salt
8 cups (or three boxes) Nilla Crackers or vanilla wafers (finely crushed)
1 1/2 cups melted butter
2/3 cup cocoa (again no cheaping out on this)
1 1/2 cups rum (any old kind but I use amber rum)
2 cups pecans crushed
5 cups REAL CHOCOLATE SPRINKLES NOT THE PLASTIC STUFF Continue reading

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Canada and the Ivory Trade

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Many people understandably don’t understand the connection between global markets and the killing of an elephant for its ivory. But with poaching continuing to present the gravest threat to the very existence of elephants (one every fifteen minutes is killed |70% total decline in population in less than 40 years due to poaching, and only 415,000 remaining), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has called for all countries to close their domestic markets.

Canadians are often surprised to learn that the Canadian domestic “legal” ivory trade is still open. The legal trade is one in which the product is dated prior to 1975. The issue with the legal trade is that it is difficult to date ivory and as a result illegal ivory flows through legal domestic markets.

Canada also allows the importation of legal trophies. Under its obligation to CITES (The Convention on the International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) those trophies can only come from countries regulated by CITES, and thus it is legal under those circumstances.

Below are the instances in which ivory can enter the country:

In order to legally possess ivory in Canada, the following criteria must be met, in accordance to the Wild Animal and Plant Trade Regulations (13 (1)):

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-96-263/page-2.html#docCont

    (a) the person who possesses it establishes a reasonable probability that it or, in the case of a part or derivative, the animal or plant from which it comes, was taken from its habitat before July 3, 1975;

    (b) the person who possesses it establishes a reasonable probability that it was legally imported into Canada; or

    (c) the person who possesses it establishes a reasonable probability that the distributing of it or the offering to distribute it would be in accordance with any applicable federal and provincial laws that relate to the conservation and protection of the animal or plant.

 However, these criteria are not applicable to elephant ivory from appendix II. Appendix II ivory is only required to be legally imported into Canada.

 Appendix I items must have import and export permits, while appendix II items are only required to have export permits.

Canada’s position on ivory at international conferences:

  • IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii  in 2016 results in an international commitment to close domestic ivory markets. Four countries object – Canada, Namibia, South Africa & Japan
  • At the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, Canada voted against moving all African elephants to Appendix I to provide them the highest level of protection.

In recent years there has been some movement from large ivory markets such as the US and China to close their domestic markets which has the potential to have a significant impact on decreasing the ivory trade and give elephants a chance to survive the war being waged on their existence.

  • 2015     China and US announce an agreement to a “nearly complete ban” on ivory import/export and commercial domestic ivory trade7 in both countries (no completion date given).
  • 2016     January: Hong Kong pledges to a complete ban on commercial domestic ivory trade by 2021.
  • June: US passes new regulations that ban almost all domestic ivory trade. August: IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii results in international commitment to close domestic ivory markets. Four countries object – Canada, Namibia, South Africa & Japan.
  • October: CITES conference in Johannesburg fails to put all elephant populations in Appendix I by only 9 votes – Canada, US, UK & EU vote against it. However, Botswana, with the most elephants, reverses their pro-ivory trade policy and supports a total ban.
  • 2017      January: Price of raw ivory in China falls to US$730 per kilogram (65% drop in less 3 years) due to Chinese economic slowdown, anti-poaching team success and crackdown on corruption.
  • February: Draft EU guidance document indicates possible ban on raw ivory exports by July 1, to make sure that illegal tusks are not laundered with legal tusks.
  • March: China closes the first of its 67 licensed ivory carving factories and retailers, and promises to close its domestic ivory market by end of 2017.
  •  March: Hong Kong says a bill on ivory trade will be introduced by end June. Hong Kong also convicts 2 people for illegal ivory possession, using radiocarbon dating to prove post-1990 ban.

It would be great to see Canada take pro-active steps to save one of the world’s most iconic, intelligent, keystone species by closing the domestic trade, banning the importation of trophies into Canada and vote to have all elephants moved to Appendix 1 of the CITES convention. I want Canada to be the country who does everything it can to save these magnificent animals from extinction  not only because it can but because it should.

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Vegetable Korma via The Endless Meal

My sister and niece came for dinner the other day and I wanted something vegan AND delicious. I know they both love curry so this was a great find. I’ve checked out numerous recipes but picked this one mainly because it’s chock-a-block full of veggies, and it was simple. I loved that you could add yogurt to the recipe as well which I did for the vegetarians in the group. I’m not a picture taker but trust me this was fantastic. I’m a fan and would easily make this again. I got this via The Endless Meal which just so happens to based out of Vancouver which is where I’m located.

{Photo Credit: Endless Meal}

Vegetarian-Korma-NEW

Prep the VEG

2 medium potatoes, cut into small, bite-sized pieces (I didn’t use this)
4 cups mixed chopped vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, beans, bell peppers, corn, and peas all work well) (I left out the corn and bell peppers and added spinach instead)
FOR THE VEGETARIAN KORMA SAUCE:

1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 – 2″ piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed with the back of a knife
1 – 5.5-ounce can of tomato paste
1 tablespoon each: curry powder and garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons each: cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom
1/2 teaspoon each: ground cloves, fennel, fenugreek and chili flakes
1 – 400ml can of coconut milk
1/2 cup cashews
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup yogurt (omit or use vegan yogurt for vegan)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (sub coconut sugar or honey for paleo)
Top with any or all: cashews, cilantro, lemon, and raisins

INSTRUCTIONS

Add the potatoes to a medium-sized pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Let the potatoes boil for 5 minutes then add the rest of the veggies to the pot. Let them boil for another 5 minutes then drain the pot and set it aside.
While the veggies are cooking, start preparing the vegetarian korma sauce. Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the tomato paste and all of the spices. Stir well then return the pot to the heat. When the spices are fragrant and the tomato paste caramelized, after about 1 minute, add the coconut milk, cashews, lemon juice and 1 1/4 cups of water. Let the pot boil for 5 minutes to soften the cashews.
Working in batches, blend the curry until it is smooth then add it back to the pot. Stir through the yogurt and brown sugar and add more sea salt, if needed. Stir the veggies into the curry and serve immediately topped with any or all of the toppings.

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Poem of the Week: Goldenrod, by Maggie Smith via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Goldenrod, by Maggie Smith
I’m no botanist. If you’re the color of sulfur
and growing at the roadside, you’re goldenrod.

You don’t care what I call you, whatever
you were born as. You don’t know your own name.

But driving near Peoria, the sky pink-orange,
the sun bobbing at the horizon, I see everything

is what it is, exactly, in spite of the words I use:
black cows, barns falling in on themselves, you.

Dear flowers born with a highway view,
forgive me if I’ve mistaken you. Goldenrod,

whatever your name is, you are with your own kind.
Look—the meadow is a mirror, full of you,

your reflection repeating. Whatever you are,
I see you, wild yellow, and I would let you name me.

 

Thanks to Alison for finding and sharing these beautiful poems.

​For more information on Maggie Smith, please click here​.

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Fashion and Saving Forests:Shifting the Supply Chain

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Many years ago when I worked in publishing I met a woman named Nicole Rycroft. She had started an organization called Markets Initiative whose aim was to save the world’s vanishing forests. Her approach was to educate sectors and transform their supply change management.

At the time I worked at Raincoast Books in Vancouver, Canada. We had just landed a little book called Harry Potter. What better way to elevate an issue than by changing what kind of paper a book  of that stature and print run would be printed on.  Nicole approached Raincoast and proposed that we print the book on post-consumer recycled paper. The idea was presented to J.K. Rowling, who loved it and Raincoast ran with it. The rest is history. All of the Canadian editions of Harry Potter were printed on Ancient Forest Free paper. Paper had to be sourced and printers had to change how they did things.

Today Markets Initiative is called Canopy and it continues to work sector by sector to change how companies use forest products in their supply chain. Now the focus is on creating paper out of straw, ” “Human beings require oxygen and forests produce it; printed books require paper but paper need not be made from virgin forests.”  says Margaret Atwood whose book of speculative fiction was printed using straw pulp.

Now Nicole and CanopyStyle are taking on the fashion industry.  Little did I know (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) that materials like rayon are made of wood fibre, often from some of the world’s ancient forests. Viscose production consumes 140 million trees each year and is slated to double within the decade. This includes Gap (and their brands) and H&M.

Nicole just did an article in GREENBIZ where you can find out more about how the fashion world’s supply chain is being disrupted by a single woman with a big vision to save the world’s forests. Read the full article here.

Takeaway – One determined person can change the world.

 

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Poem of the Week from “Work” by Mary Oliver via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

from “Work”
     – Mary Oliver

All day I have been pining for the past.
That’s when the big dog, Luke, breathed at my side.
Then she dashed away then she returned
in and out of the swales, in and out of the creeks,
her dark eyes snapping.
Then she broke, slowly,
in the rising arc of a fever.

And now she’s nothing
except for mornings when I take a handful of words
and throw them into the air
so that she dashes up again out of the darkness,

like this–

this is the world.

 

Thank you Alison, for curating and sharing these lovely poems.
For more information on Mary Oliver, please click here.​
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@alisonmcghee

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Global Walk for Elephants – Vancouver 2017

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Hi everyone and especially Vancouverites,

Elephanatics is once again hosting the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos on September 30th | 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm at Creekside Park |1455 Quebec Street | Vancouver. Find out more about the details of the event here.

Every 15 minutes an elephant is killed for its ivory. Every 8 hours a rhino is poached for its horn. Conservationists estimate that elephants will be extinct in the wild within 10 to 20 years. Several species of rhino have already become extinct. Closing loopholes in global markets and decreasing demand for ivory and rhino horn is essential if these species are to survive.

Advocacy

The focus for this year’s event is on advocacy. Many people ask what Canadians have to do with African elephants. Well, it turns out quite a bit.

Canada was one of only four countries that voted against all countries closing their domestic ivory trade during the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress. At the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, Canada voted against moving all African elephants to Appendix I to provide them the highest level of protection. In recent years, Canada has been the sole country to issue blanket reservations on all new CITES listings, and has failed to lift those reservations in a timely manner. These inexplicable positions put the Canadian government at odds with a growing international movement to save the African elephant from extinction.

Find out how you can become involved in saving one of the world’s most iconic, essential and beautiful species

While we take what we do seriously we also like to have some fun so there will be face-painting, music, cool people who like to make a difference and some awesome t-shirts for sale to help raise money for frontline conservation work in Africa.

T-shirts for this year’s march.

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Poster for this year’s event Please share!

GMFER 2017

Hope to see you there!

 

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The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust

The story of Edith Hahn Beer proves that life is harder and weirder than anything anyone of us could make up.  Edith, is an Austrian Jew, whose family lives through the “Nazification” of Austria in the period immediately before and during the Second World War. As was the Nazi way, she and her family are stripped of their rights…typewriters and radios had to be handed in to the authorities, law degrees (or any professional designations) were no longer recognized, people were removed from their homes, their work, her mother, friends and neighbours were deported to work camps in the east. By the time people realized these measures weren’t just a passing fad it was too late to get out.

Forced to quit school, Hahn is sent to a farm labour camp in Germany where she works under backbreaking conditions. She finally manages to return home where she realizes she can’t stay without risk of deportation and she escapes back to Munich, Germany with a new identity – Grete Denner. There she meets a Nazi Officer whom she marries and with whom she has a child. Even though her husband realizes she is Jewish, she lives in constant danger of everyone around her. She is a refugee inside her own skin.

This is a story that most of us know quite well. It’s the story of how 6 million people were murdered and how an entire political structure supported their murder. Complicity was everywhere and this personal journey shows the impact of the laws of a madman and his followers (these people are everywhere) on the life of a single woman, a survivor of this horrific regime. Along the way she meets a few unexpectedly kind people, but cowardice, cruelty and prejudice are her companions every step of the way.

 

 

 

 

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