Have I mentioned how at home I feel here yet?(wink wink-chuckle chuckle) It’s exciting to countdown the days until Christmas, but I’m really going to miss you when it’s time to go back to the North Pole.! I’m thinking maybe there’s a way I can talk Santa into letting me stop by the East Village during the summer. Picture me in shorts and a tank top , sunglasses, and a lot of SPF 50!
Maybe it’s a ‘ north pole thing’, but it’s always been my dream to grow my own real vegetables, in a real garden. So naturally, I have become obsessed with the East Village Community Garden on my daily walks; sure, it’s all snowy now, but I can imagine tall sunflowers, towers of tomatoes, kale blowing wistfully in the wind. What would you grow?
I better make my case to Santa soon, because registration opens for the garden on March 1, 2021.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without stack of classic cookies that taste like home! Passed down through generations of ‘Star Elf Bakers’, I always make my great grandmother Elf’s Christmas classics: Shortbread and Ginger Cookies!
This year on my visit to the East Village, I’m going to try new cookie twist for Christmas 2020! Inspired by my visit to the confluence of the Bow River and the Elbow river in the East Village, I am creating a new holiday treat the Confluence Cookie: half shortbread and half ginger cookie! How will you make your confluence cookie? Swirled? Stacked? Half and half?
Bow Shortbread: • 1 lb butter (or 2 cups, or 1 brick) • 1 c icing sugar • 1 c cornstarch • 3 c flour • 1 tsp almond flavouring 1. Cream butter until fluffy, add icing sugar and cornstarch 2. Add flour and knead until dough cracks 3. Roll into small ½ tsp balls, lightly flatten 4. Bake at 350 degrees until delicate brown (approx. 10 min)
• 1 c brown sugar • ¾ c butter • 2 tbsp molasses • 3 tbsp maple syrup • 1 egg • 1 tsp vanilla • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger • 1 tsp cinnamon • 1 tbsp powdered ginger • ¼ tsp cloves • 2 cups flour • 2 tsp baking soda • Pinch of salt 1. Cream butter and sugar. 2. Add molasses, syrup, egg, vanilla & ginger 3. Beat until blended. 4. Add spices and mix in. 5. Add flour, soda and salt, mix. 6. Roll into little finger size lengths or small balls. 7. Place onto parchment or greased cookie sheet 8. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 - 14 minutes
Combine them for the Confluence Cookie!
You might have noticed that I am no longer wearing my classic holiday elf hat. All these selfies look glamorous, but it ain’t easy! I must have taken off my hat to get just the right angle on my slim elf features and left it somewhere. Every day is so exiting and new, so it was bound to happen. Let me know if you spot around will you?
I mean, I really think I am starting fit in here, and ready for a “EV” look. My new hat could be something colourful and big?
Or something shiny?
On my daily walk about the EV, I was so happy to find many new hat options right here. AND I definitely look like a local. What do you think?
Have you seen the poster for light up the village? I feel like you did— since my walk last week it looks like there are at least 220 lights! We’re so close to our goal of 300. I bet if we do, Santa can see it as he flies by when delivering presents on Christmas Eve. Yipeee!
Here are some pictures I took of the neighbourhood!
Well, it’s wintery and cozy in my EV home away from home. A visit to the Calgary Public Library today will mean I have new books to snuggle up with tonight! The library is offering curbside pickup these days to keep things safe and convenient! How awesome is that! I just show up and they hand me my books!
One of the perks to being an elf is that you can make any place you visit feel like a fun playground. The library building is really an extraordinary architectural landmark (an elf on the shelf’s dream come true), but have you seen the stair handrails! Perfect for sliding down!
When I said I feel at home here, I meant it. The people and landscape are really making this elf feel less like he is 100 million miles from home. I mean, it’s pretty easy for me to make my own fun being the 11” tall party animal that I am, but there are also times where an elf likes to put on his glasses, find a nice comfy spot on a shelf and catchup on some reading. How will you make your own fun this holiday season?
Happy Monday East Village! I don’t know about you, but this chilly Monday has me feeling very flipsy tipsy....and topsy turvy. When you are an elf like me just visiting from the North Pole, sometimes things seem a bit...upside down.
To cure a case of the Mondays, I stopped to ponder the unique public art piece “Device to Root out Evil”, by world famous artist Dennis Oppenheim, here in the EV square. Glass, aluminum, steel! Oh My! Just like me, this public art piece has travelled the globe and making stops and “crashing” in few cities along the way. I better let Santa know about this sculpture, so that he doesn’t get mixed up on which way is “up”, when he lands his sleigh in Calgary’s East Village!
Well, even for a little elf like me, this upside-down church has me feeling right side up again and ready to continue the holiday count down in the East Village!
Adventuring is my game, Derek is my name! Gotta tell ya though, some days just call for cozying up and taking in other people's adventures! So, Christmas movie marathon it is! I'm sure you can guess such movie I started with today. The quintessential Christmas movie of course! What really makes a movie Christmas though is the spirit and memories behind it. I remember being just a wee elf watching this movie with friends and then getting our mouths washed out with soap from the older elves as we spent weeks quoting it! Now it's an annual tradition and I even like the taste of soap now! What's your Christmas tradition? Do you have a favourite movie? What's your favourite line? On this chilly day fill my heart with Christmas stories, East Village!
Thought I'd take this great day to check Bounce! Man, are you guys lucky to have all these places to play here in the East Village! I'm going to be demanding some renovations and development in the elf village when I get home, let me tell you!
Unfortunately, it was maybe a little too chilly today? Being from North Pole this weather is practically balmy! It's ok if I didn't find any friends today, I also found an Instagram worthy photo spot right outside Brewer's Apprentice and uh.... maybe a growler full of Christmas cheer as well!
Another Friday and another daytime fun time! These little legs are finding with all this walking around the East Village I’m getting human-size hungry! We whipped up a batch of holiday granola to make sure I fuel up before a day of exploring. This recipe makes a lot of granola! Perfect for sharing! I have made so many friends here in the EV, thought I’d drop off a few bags at my neighbours' doors as a yummy surprise!
6 cups oats
1/2 cup nonfat dried milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Stir together honey, oil, water, and vanilla and add to dry mixture. Stir to coat well. Turn into 2 large shallow pans or cookie sheets. Heat 300 degree oven for 25-25 minutes or until cereal is lightly toasted. Stir twice during heating, every 12 minutes. Let cool, stir occasionally during cooking.
Optional additions after it has cooled: Add 1 cup chopped nuts, 1 cup raisins, or some chocolate chips
Alright folks, I need to address the elephant in the room, no, no, not the one in the picture, he’s a chill dude. I know you guys are under heavy restrictions now and this won’t be the normal Christmas season. And like you, I had some plans that just aren’t going to work out. It’s tough, there is no way around it.
But just ten days here in the East Village and one of the first things I discovered is what an incredible group of amazing, kind-hearted, and resilient people make up the neighbourhood I have gotten to know firsthand. I may have the magic of the North Pole but that is nothing compared to the hearts and energy East Village has!
We all need a little joy now, and I want to spread some joy, so tell me what brings you joy! I’m Derek. I’m the joyful, joybringing, enjoying joy elf! It’s on my business cards even. Also I just really like how the word joy sounds!
An inclusive, thriving, and vibrant East Village where all are welcome to live, learn, work, and play.
To encourage conversation and interaction to create a sense of belonging and ownership for all who live, work, and play in East Village.
Mail: 536 9 Avenue SE Calgary, AB T2G 0S1