It’s February 13, one of the most illustrious days of the year: Galentine’s Day.
It’s my third year participating and my second year co-hosting this party with my dear friend, Courtney, of NeighborFood. 12 of our best blogging friends are also getting in on the lady-lovin’ action:
- Caramel Cheesecake from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Hula Pie from Heather’s Dish
- Red Velvet Donuts from Blahnik Baker
- Strawberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes from NeighborFood
- Pecan Sticky Buns from The Cooking Actress
- Gin Lime Coconut Truffles from Food Lust People Love
- Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies from Wallflour Girl
- Lavender Ice Cream from NinjaBaker
- Three Ingredient Valentine’s Day M&M Fudge from Big Bear’s Wife
- Smores Waffle Sticks from A Cookie Named Desire
- Cherry Chocolate Chip Cheesecake from Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt
- Chocolate Frosted Fudgy Brownies with Strawberries from Pineapple and Coconut
It’s also one of my favourite holidays because today, it’s all about the ladies.
So, what the heck is Galentine’s Day, you ask?
Our grand priestess of awesomeness and ass-kickery, Leslie Knope, created Galentine’s Day to celebrate her lady friends, breakfast-style. I absolutely love that this entire day is centred around recognizing and revelling in womankind. I mean, that’s something that should be done every day of every year but that’s not often the case.
Every day I read disheartening newspaper articles about how women’s rights are constantly being eroded; how women are attacked emotionally and physically; how women’s experiences are often disbelieved and discounted; how women’s work is not valued as much as men’s simply because of our gender…I can go on and on and on. Hell, I experience it myself. It’s not easy being a young minority female, especially in a male-dominated old school profession like the law. But instead of lamenting the woes of womanhood, I want to focus instead on our incredible potential, our amazing power, our boundless abilities and the love that we have for ourselves and each other.
This naturally brings me to my undying love and adoration for Barbra Streisand. A quick aside: Barbra came to Vancouver a few years ago for a concert. I didn’t learn about it until just a few weeks beforehand and all the cheap tickets had been sold. The only ones left were for $300 and up. No one except my best friend was willing to go with me and unfortunately, my BFF lives near Seattle. So, I contemplated paying the money and going by myself. Hell, I’m sure I would’ve been able to befriend the old people I’d inevitably sit next to but alas, my cheapness won out and I didn’t go. Why oh why oh why didn’t I goooooooo?!!!???!!! She’s never going to come back here. I missed my one chance to see Barbra in concert!!!
I remember watching Yentl as a little girl with my family on tv. The story still speaks to me: Barbra plays Yentl, a girl living in Poland in the early 20th Century. Her father secretly instructs her in the Talmud even though women are forbidden from learning. After her father passes away, Yentl decides to impersonate a man, taking on her late brother’s name, so that she can continue to study. Wacky cross-dressing hijinx ensue!
I’ve always loved that Yentl was so determined to gain an education, despite what society dictated. Barbra herself spent years trying to get the movie made. The grit, endurance and dedication of both Barbra and her title character are awe-inspiring.
I was raised to be meek, submissive, obedient and unquestioning. Even to this day, I’m often plagued with self-doubt and a lack of confidence and it drives me insane. This is one of my favourite songs from the movie, not only because it sounds awesome and Barbra’s voice is that of a goddamn angel. The lyrics are beautiful and whenever I hear that voice of self-doubt, I should remind myself: With all there is, why settle for just a piece of sky?
Where is it written..What it is I’m meant to be? That I can’t dare…
It all began – the day I found – That from my window I could only see a piece of sky.
I stepped outside – and looked around
I never dreamed it was so wide – Or even half as high.
The time had come (Papa, can you hear me?)
To try my wings (Papa, are you near me?)
And even though it seemed at any moment I could fall,
I felt the most (Papa, can you see me?)
Amazing things, (Can you understand me?)
The things you can’t imagine If you’ve never – flown at all.
Though it’s safer to stay on the ground – Sometimes where danger lies
There the sweetest of pleasures are found
No matter where I go – There’ll be mem’ries that tug at my sleeve
But there will also be – More to question yet more to believe.
Oh tell me where – Where is the someone who will turn to look at me
And want to share – My every sweet-imagined possibility?
The more I live – the more I learn
The more I learn – the more I realize – The less I know
Each step I take – (Papa, I’ve a voice now!)
Each page I turn – (Papa, I’ve a choice now!)
Each mile I travel only means the more I have to go
What’s wrong with wanting more? If you can fly – then soar!
With all there is – why settle for – just a piece of sky?
Papa, I can hear you, Papa, I can see you
Papa, I can feel you, Papa, watch me fly!
Nutella Layer Cake (adapted from Baking Bites)
2 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup coffee, room temperature
1/2 cup Nutella
Preheat oven to 350F. Line three 8 inch cake pans with paper liners.
In a large bowl, sift together flour and cocoa powder. Whisk in the sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In another large bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract, sour cream, coffee and Nutella. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined and no streaks of flour remain visible. Divide evenly into the prepared pans.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool cakes in the pans for at least 15 minutes then invert onto wire cooling racks.
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
Place the chopped chocolate and Nutella in a heatproof bowl.
In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream until it comes to a simmer. Pour half the heated cream over the chocolate and Nutella. Stir to combine. Pour in the rest of the cream and stir until fully combined and all the chocolate has melted. Add the salt and stir. Set aside to thicken.
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup Nutella
1 tsp salt
In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the butter, cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Using the paddle attachment, cream together until light and fluffy, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add the sour cream, Nutella and salt. Whip until it’s fully combined and is smooth and silky.
Optional: chopped hazelnuts, approximately 2 cups
Take one layer of cake and trim off the top if it’s domed. Place a thin layer of buttercream onto the cake, top with some of the ganache, then cover with nuts. Repeat until you place the third layer of cake on top. Cover the cake with buttercream, pour the rest of the ganache overtop and decorate with the chopped nuts.
This cake is one of the simplest, most delicious recipes in my repertoire. All you need for the batter is one bowl and due to the sour cream and oil, it is crazy moist (yeah, yeah, I know most people hate that word but it’s the only word to describe this cake!).
Call up a bunch of your best girlfriends and make this cake because everything about it screams celebration. You won’t be sorry you did!