Thursday, March 25, 2010

Help For Haiti

Okay, time for a shameless plug. I'm part of a volunteer team putting on a fundraiser gala to benefit Haiti. It's been estimated that on top of initial charitable donations and aide, Haiti will still need an additional $11 billion dollars to rebuild their country. The Help For Haiti Gala is hoping to become an annual event to help raise money for the Red Cross efforts in Haiti.
I'm involved in this project kind of by fluke. I'm starting my event planning business, Meticulous Event Planning, and I was advertising free event help on Kijiji. I was really looking to just do some market research; to see what people wanted help with most and stuff like that. Well, in January I got an email telling me about this event and asking if I knew any musicians in town. I put the girl in touch with a friend who knows basically everyone who has ever played an instrument in town and that was that. Well, to my surprise the same girl emailed me a month later asking if I was still offering free help. It turns out that they had an event planner but she didn't work out (she recommended setting up trade show booths in the dining room and handing out goodie bags). Since the girl who had the original idea to put it on had never planned anything like this she asked if I'd come on board! Well, we just had our second meeting last night and things are really coming together. Three live music acts, a DJ, 5 course baron of beef meal, champagne receptions... My job is basically to make sure we don't forget any details and to plan the silent auction. So far we have had donated golf lessons, art that's currently on display in the museum, a few hotels in town are donating a night in their jacuzzi suites, wine baskets, tee times and cart rentals at golf courses... that sort of thing. Now, I want this event to go over really well. I know people in Haiti. I know people who have been doing aide work in Haiti. So I'm hitting up a couple of really big donations that I hope will come through. I can't actually say anything about them yet, but once I seal the deal I'll fill you in. Oh yah, and we're having a door prize: a floral bouquet, a limo ride, a chef's dinner for 2 and wine pairings from The RedStone, a spa package and one night's stay in the Jacuzzi Suite at the Holiday Inn on 67th. Nice door prize, eh? ;) So our donation goal is $25,000 for the evening, but we'd love to find out that was a modest number! Tickets can be purchased at the Black Knight Ticket Center which you can find a link for at our event website:
Okay, now on to less important things.
OOH you know how I mentioned a surprise a few posts ago but I couldn't mention what it was or who it was for? Well now I can. It was for Matt and it was a very belated birthday present. You see, Matt's birthday present was money to spend on bike gear. He wanted some new leathers or a new helmet so I allotted some of our money for him to spend on that. Well it turns out that he is now planning on selling both of his sport bikes so he doesn't need the new gear. He'll still have his old Honda cruiser that he restored, however that one's not for riding. It's finally at the point where it's appreciating so that's just for showing. Anyway, Matt is a big John Calvin fan and he heard something about Calvin's Institutes of Christian Religion and decided he'd like to read it. He even went so far as to ask me to look it up for him online to see if it would be easy to find and how much of his birthday money he'd have to spend on it. Well, I got it for him :) The very next day I ordered it online (good ol' and it came in the mail yesterday while he was still at home! I know it may not sound like a very fun surprise, it being a massive 7 volume collection and all (I only got him the first 2 volumes) but he's really excited to read it and I was really excited to surprise him.
Tonight we're going to have dinner with my parents who just got home from Maui a couple days ago. My mom actually had her 50th birthday while they were gone actually and she didn't get a real birthday cake - so I'm making her one today! My dad had recommended I make a carrot cake since, like me, my mother is allergic to chocolate however, unlike me, she does try to avoid it. Well, I'm going one step further and making a Beet Carrot Cake with a Boiled Coconut Icing. A lady in my parents' church named Ella used to make this all the time and I adored it. It is a fantastic cake and the icing - well, it's not really an icing, it's more of a lattice of crisp, sticky coconut - it's all amazing. I've had the recipe for some time. When I got married I spent an evening at my parents' house writing out the best of my mom's old recipes so that I could make them in our home and I wrote this one out but I've never had the opportunity to make it - partly from the lack of occassion and partly from the lack of beets. Well, now I've got the occassion and if you'll remember I did pick up beets from the Farmer's Market in Edmonton so now I've got those too. I still have to go to the store since I need walnuts for it and unless it's Christmas time I never keep nuts in the house, but that's okay. If I were making my normal carrot cake I'd have to go to the store for cream cheese anyway. And probably more carrots since I only need 1 cup of carrot for this recipe and 3 cups for my normal one. Since Ella wouldn't mind if I shared this recipe, here it is!

Beet Carrot Cake:
1 c. oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp hot water
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1 c. grated beets
1 c. grated carrots
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. walnuts
3 egg whites (beaten stiff)

Beat first five ingredients until light. Add sifted dry ingredients and nuts. Fold in the egg whites. Bake in a greased 9 x 13 pan at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Boiled Coconut Topping:
1/3 c. margarine
1 3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. milk or cream
1/2 c. nuts
3/4 c. medium coconut

Put all ingredients into a saucepan and heat until combined. Put on baked cake and brown in a 450 degree oven until golden.

Well, I'd best get going since I just remembered I have a couple other stops to make today. I wanted to get my mom some hawaiian flowers for our little dinner tonight! May all your storms be weathered, and all that's good get better.

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

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