Poem: Explained

20170502_113030-1552x1044shown above is the poem I wrote out of pages 8 and 9 of “The Golden Spruce”, by John Vaillant. I wanted the show the contrast between and European’s first impressions of the West Coast forests and the reality of what it actually was. It starts with more negative inpressions, and ends with the word eternal, which is, I beleive, one of the most accurate thinfs you could say about how the West Coast forests feel like. The word ‘trees’ appears as a reoccurring theme because throughout what you thought of the forest, there were always trees no matter what you thought of them. The physicality of the forest was something that you couldn’t deny, whether you thought it was good or bad.

The picture is a picture I took last month, I used it for this poem both because I just liked the photo, and becuse I liked how it shows new growth. I believe that this reinforces the concept of the forest being eternal; new life signifies the cycle continuing.

Something surprisingly turned out great for once

Easter! Easter was this weekend, and in my family there can’t be a big dinner without dessert to go with it. I took this as an opportunity to show off some of my newly gained baking skills and make an Easter classic, carrot cake. I had never made carrot cake before but I figured that it couldn’t be too hard. Now usually, all of my other blog posts have said things like that and then it turns out that it was really hard, but this time it was different. I thought it wouldn’t be very hard, and it wasn’t.

I set out on this quest destined for greatness on Saturday night at about 10:30pm which was terrible timing on my part, but I had to do what I had to do. I stayed surprisingly organized and had my batter done in 20 minutes (with only minimal flour spilled on the counter), and then it was time to grate the carrots. Even though it wasn’t too hard, this was the hardest part of this cake, as I am terrible at grating anything without usually grating a part of myself as well. Fortunately, no part of me ended up in the carrots and I didn’t have to restart. Once the carrots went into the batter it was time to bake. I was surprised at how long it needed to bake, 40 minutes seemed like a very long time for a cake, any others I have made in the past only needed around 20-30 minutes to do their thing in the oven. I took my cakes out of the oven just as they were starting to over-bake, which made me a little bit nervous because no one likes bitter cake. However I dismissed my worries, and left them to cool overnight because it was way too late for me to even try to ice a cake the same night.

Sunday rolled along and once of the first things I was doing (despite my mom’s protests because she needed to get the turkey in the oven) was icing my cake. I whipped up a quick cream cheese frosting and made sure it tasted good, then tried my best to make my cake look decent. It turns out that I am pretty terrible at icing cakes so I had to get my dad to help me make the sides look flat. Then I iced a cute little carrot on the top, because I have never seen carrot cake that didn’t have a cute little carrot iced on the top.

When the time came for my family to devour my hard work, I did my best to persuade them to eat the cake instead of the pie that was also set out (most people ate both), and anyone who tried it loved it. I couldn’t help but feel a little sense of pride, because my family is usually hard to impress and I was surprisingly able to. There were a few people who didn’t like it though, but that was only because they were extremely opposed to cream cheese frosting.

And with that, my Easter baking quest that was destined for greatness had achieved greatness and I went to bed happy.


As for the task part of this post, I am supposed to talk about alternatives. As far as alternatives in baking goes, there are countless substitutions and alternatives for ingredients, parts of recipes, equipment, and just about any other baking related topic you could think of. Vegetable shortening can be substituted for butter, butter can be substituted for vegetable oil, vegetable oil can be substituted for coconut oil, the list goes on.

My mentor has been able to give me lots of suggestions for substitutions and alternatives in recipes. She gave me 3 different examples on how to make the same recipe for cinnamon rolls differently. You can either make them the traditional way, or make them huge so they’ll bake into each other and you get a huge tray of cinnamon roll pull apart, or you can bake them huge but in sugar and more cinnamon so they’ll turn into sticky cinnamon pull apart buns. My mentor also tends to use margarine instead of butter a lot in her recipes because it’s in the house more often and is healthier than regular butter. You can’t do this with all recipes though because for some, butter is crucial to how the recipe will turn out when baked.

What alternatives could my mentor give me? I think I would like to learn more about alternative equipment, there have been recipes I have wanted to make in the past but have not had the correct equipment to make them properly. For example, I wanted to try to make donuts in the oven but I don’t have the proper baking pan to pull this off. Maybe my mentor has the answer to if I can make them or not? I will start thinking of more questions that I have on this topic and address them the next time I see her.

Canadian Utopia?

To the world, Canada is generally seen as a very accepting place, a place where someone from any place of the world could immigrate to and live a happy life in a country that will accept them for who they are and where they come from. I wouldn’t necessarily refute this; Canada does have a very high stress on human rights and acceptance, but that is not to say that all Canadians think this way. Perhaps this assumption of a Canadian ethnic utopia began in its founding days. Having both French and British involvement in confederation could have helped build the assumption that Canada is fully accepting to minorities (the French people being a minority at that time). However, Canada’s aboriginal peoples were not present in any of the conferences about what would be happening to their land, and later, their cultures and families were majorly damaged after residential schools were established. Despite being the original people to the land, they were a minority and discriminated against. Considering what happened to some of the original minorities of Canada (French and Aboriginal), is automatically believing the assumption that Canada is fully accepting wrong? There are many things that you need to consider while weighing this question: Was there a reason for actions of the past? What Progress has been made since then? And, what is currently happening in Canada that could help influence this answer?

The aboriginal people were undoubtedly discriminated against, and treated in inhumane ways. After they showed settlers kindness when they stepped on to their land, the Aboriginal people’s generosity was repaid with the colonization of land that was not the European’s to colonize. This eventually led to the unification of these colonies to create what we know as Canada today. All through this process, the voices of Aboriginal peoples were not heard, their opinions were not taken into account, and the British and French did as they pleased. It wasn’t long before the residential schools were then put into place and Aboriginal culture was beginning to be assimilated under the mask of ‘civilization’. However, the Aboriginal people were not the only minorities around this time, the French were also in the minority of the British. Instead of attempting to destroy their culture and language, they got to keep all of it. My beliefs on reasons as to why these cruel actions were taken upon the Aboriginal peoples, and acceptance was shown to the French is quite simple. The British people had been in contact with the French for a very long time, both people come from very similar cultures compared to the Aboriginal culture, which they did not know even existed. There are a lot of times when humans have shown to push away and look down upon anything they do not understand. I am in no way defending the actions of the Europeans against the Aboriginals to any means, but I am supplying the fact that the unknown is scary. Sometimes the quickest way out of that uncertainty and fright is to get rid of the object of your uncertainty altogether.

Since the times of the residential school and confederation there has been progress made to not just the physical establishment of Canada, but also the social functioning of society. Residential schools began shutting down and kept shutting down until they were gone, but that did not fix the problem. The relationship between Canada’s indigenous peoples and Canada’s settles had been broken, and that is still a relationship we are working to repair today. There have also been many more peoples added to Canada’s quilt of ethnicities. In fact, by the 21st century, only 46% of Canadian citizens were of either British or French decent. That means that what once was the majority, has now shifted to become the overall minority. However, the 54% of Canadian citizens are not all from the same decent, that 54% is a quilt all its own, and each square on it is still a minority compared to the amount of French and British Canadians.

“Equality is not a given, an uncontested value and goal that can be understood ahistorically. It is adopted and actualized, defined and redefined, through constant struggle and not”

-V. Bader

In present time, Canada has taken many steps towards being a more accepting place to live. We have made progress in the last 10 years that is more than we ever have before. And I can say that just by experiencing it myself. The new generation is growing up in a place that is filled with different cultures, people, and languages; that in turn is making our children more accepting to these people who are not just British or French. There is no uncertainty to get rid of if you have grown up with the diversity in the first place. However, even though we do have a large portion of our Country’s people that is accepting to minorities, there are always people who don’t show these people the same courtesy. These people show similarities to the types of people who set up the residential school system: closed minded, stubborn, and arrogant. Even though it is better than it has been in the past, these mindsets still do exist in Canadian society, and that is something that all people should be aware of.

In conclusion, I do not think that the assumption that Canadian society is fully accepting is fully correct, and it would be wrong to think so. Although the French fought for minority rights in the founding time of our country, no one was there to right for the rights of people who did not have light skin and productive communication with Europe. Canada is certainly making progress, and that is a good thing. However, it still has a long way to go before its relationships with its indigenous people can be repaired, everyone of all different ethnicities and descents can be valued, and to truly be the best place it can be for every one if its current and future citizens.




“Trames.” Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.


Ethnic and Racial Studies. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.


Dewing, Michael. “Canadian Multiculturalism.” N.p., 15 Sept. 2009. Web. 4 Apr. 2017.



“Sign In: Registered Users.” International Journal. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.

Quebec Aftermath – 1860-1866

I have just been able to attend the Quebec conference and I am feeling very hopeful for the future. My opinions on confederation have only been solidified through this whole process as I have watched the beautiful plan we have out together with the leadership of John A. MacDonald. Before we really got into the swing of things I did have some worries about how compatible everybody would be considering the fact that we are all from very different places. Everything had gone smoothly at the Charlottetown Conference but we also were talking about lighter topics then than we were just recently. However my worries ceased as we got to work and made the plan for our own independent country.

As I have now arrived back to my home in New Brunswick I have learned that my people aren’t as in favour of confederation as I am. They believe that confederation will only be a downfall for New Brunswick, that our resources will be depleted, our economy wrecked, and relationships complicated. However, as the leader of these people, I have had to make some hard choices before and I will have to now. Their opinions will not chance my opinion on confederation because I know the benefits that it will bring. We will have higher security from a potential threat from the United States of America, Our government will be made up of people who truly live in the space they are governing, government will be more responsible, our economy will shoot up due to import and exportation, there are endless reasons why confederation could only be good for New Brunswick.

I am also well aware of the fact that there is another election soon and I because of my beliefs around confederation I might be replaced as head of this province, so I will do all I can now to ensure our place in the new country, and I will even after the election, whatever the turnout of that may be. I believe in this vision that has been shaped from hours of conversation, debate, and peaceful reasoning. I believe that the team of men that have all put in their opinions are not wrong in their opinions and predictions. I believe that confederation ensures that our country will be prosperous, accepting, and peaceful.

We will hold a dominion from sea to sea.


Perfect Streusel and Soggy Cakes

Over spring break I was able to see my mentor once, we made a cake with a German name called merb teig. Basically, it is a layer of dense white cake topped with lots of fruit which is again topped with a streusel. This cake has been made by my Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother, so I was excited to learn how to make it. Unfortunately, I was not able to record a conversation to transpose, the day I visited my Grandma has very busy and I ended up forgetting entirely. However, that is not to say that I don’t remember what we talked about that day, so I am still able to complete the task of identifying the different hats in our conversations. I am sure there is at least one if not more examples of each of the different hats within the various topics we discussed that day, so let’s get to it.

First off, I was taught how to make the streusel that serves as the topping for the cake. It has very simple ingredients, butter, sugar, and flour, so you would think that making it would be easy. However, I learned that to get the right texture and consistency of the streusel is very hard. If it is too moist it won’t brown right when you bake it, if it is too dry, it will burn when you bake it, and that is never very appetizing. Being taught how to make the streusel is a good example of both the white and black hats. At first we talked about pure information. I was told strategies on how to get the streusel perfect (using your hands to mix lets you feel precisely when you need to stop, it should almost feel like wet sand but less grainy, etc.), I was also informed that if I needed to make it wetter or drier that I shouldn’t add too much of an ingredient at a time in fear of overdoing it. The black hat showed up in our conversation on how we could make my streusel better. It turned out a little bit too wet at first so we had to use reason and logic to figure out how much flour we needed to make the streusel as crumbly as we needed it without it being too crumbly. Even though it was my first time my Grandma told me that I made it “perfectly, and that took me years to do”, and I have to admit, it made me feel a little proud.

We then proceeded to make the cake itself, it is a very simple cake, although I can’t remember the ingredients now, it did not take very long and was easy enough to get the right texture. One thing related to this that I have consistently noticed about my Grandma is her need to touch the batter in order to see if it is turning out. This comes form her years of experience doing things herself, so most likely, having to teach someone else just based off of seeing what they are doing is very difficult.

It was decided then that we would use blueberries for these cakes. You are technically supposed to use fresh blueberries but since it isn’t exactly berry season yet, we used halfway defrosted frozen blueberries. The fruit choice is where the red hat comes in. You can use your emotion just to choose something just because you feel like it. With this cake, the possibility is endless, you can experiment with lots of different combinations to achieve the desired taste. This is also where the green hat comes into play as creativity is necessary to this process. There ended up being enough batter for 3 cakes, so I made 2 blueberry cakes and my Grandma made a strawberry rhubarb one using strawberry rhubarb pie filling, and fresh sliced strawberries.

We then were able to pop the cakes in the oven and wait until they were done. Later on they were served and even though the tops of the cake were cooked, it seemed as if the middle part hadn’t baked right as it was still quite battery. We figured that this was a result of using frozen blueberries instead of fresh, because they would have retained more liquid than the fresh berries would have. We still ate the pieces we cooked and it tasted just fine (in fact I actually preferred it that way) but we figured that once I took them home I would be able to put them back in the oven and fix our problem. I wasn’t able to put them back in the oven until a couple days later, but eventually I did get to it. It turned out that it made our problem even worse, the center part of the cake ended up completely soggy and was starting to form a little pool of blueberry juice. However the outer rim of the cake had done what we expected it to, and cooked more. My family and I ended up having to cut a rim around the center of the cake and just eat the outside portions, because none of us were very fond of eating soggy cake. This experience is another example of the green and yellow hat, we had to use creativity to think of a solution to our problem (even though it didn’t end up working in the end) and we had to stay optimistic while thinking of the reasons why baking the cakes a second time would turn out.

In the end even though my cakes ended up soggy in the middle, at least I was able to make a perfect streusel on my first try.


These were the finished cakes before they were completely soggy

Beginning – 1858 – Confederation Post #1

I am Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley. I started my career as a pharmacist, but have been inspired by the people, specifically the need for alcohol reform, to become the premiere of New Brunswick. I believe that New Brunswick is a beautiful place and we are capable of accomplishing so much. There was a time where I did not believe that I could group this Colony together in the way that I have, and now that my dreams are starting to become reality, I am dreaming even bigger.

At the moment, I am beginning to build some strong ties with Nova Scotia. Also I am noticing that our southern neighbours, the Americans, have been stirring up some talk about capturing parts of the British North American colonies, which could possibly include us Maritime folks. Sir Charles Tupper, has also recently proposed an idea for a railroad, a railroad that would help us be able to export the Maritime’s goods all over North America. With all of these things happening right now I have also been thinking about our status as a British Colony. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for the Maritime colonies to group together as their own nation in order to defend against the Americans? As for my opinion on this new railroad proposed by my colleague Tupper, I do think that it would be a very beneficial addition to our land, and would most likely increase our finances and spread word about the wonderful resources the Maritimes have to offer.

However, I do think that the threat of American invasion is something that we should be thinking more about than the railroad. I will try talking to Tupper again to try to sway his attention to gaining our independence rather than focusing so much on this railroad is he currently dreaming of. After I get opinions from the Maritimes, I will promote this idea with the people, and get them on our side. I know that our future hold great things, and I am very excited to carry on with our progress.

So. Much. Sugar.

This year I had a goal, eat healthier. As a lot of other people want to, I wanted to eat less junk and more wholesome foods. As the year has progressed more and I have done more with in depth I have realized that this just isn’t going to happen any time soon. But I happen to be okay with that right now because who doesn’t like baked goods? Since the time of my last post I have had 3 meetings with my mentor, we baked 2 different items, a black and white cake, and cinnamon rolls. I have also independently baked, macaroons, cupcakes, and cookie bars. During this post I will be debriefing my meetings with my mentor as well as describing my experiences baking with her and have I have baked at home.

I met with my mentor, my Grandma (Monica) on Feb. 24th and 26th. We discussed different aspects of baking on the 24th and baked the cake and cinnamon rolls on the 26th. Since we baked two things on that day, I am counting it as two meetings because on a regular meeting we would only bake one item. On the 24th we discussed many things, these things included, what we could bake over the span of In Depth, what my baseline knowledge was, what kinds of things I have baked already, and other things of the sort. I found that during this conversation, we agreed on a lot of things. We agreed on what sorts of recipes we could start with, and what recipes we could work up to. One thing we disagreed on, well it wasn’t really a disagreement other than a difference of opinion on procedure, but my Grandma tends to not measure out a lot of ingredients whilst I measure everything. This is mostly just an experience difference, the more you practice a certain recipe, the less you need to look at the recipe and the better sense you get of what the process is supposed to look like.

On the 26th the first thing we started to bake first was the cinnamon rolls. It was surprisingly easy, you just shove all of the ingredients in a bread maker and turn it on, then put in your filling, let them rise, then bake and drizzle glaze over them. For as long as I can remember, these cinnamon rolls have been a staple made by my Grandma at every holiday, so it was an educational as well as a sentimental experience.

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The second thing we made on that day was a black and white marble cake, this is a recipe that my Grandma knows by heart and tends not to measure, just making everything by feel. For my sake, we did measure the ingredients so I could learn how to make the cake.

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Through these first few meetings with my mentor I was able to gain a better sense for baking, learning some of my family’s staple recipes, and hearing stories of when my Grandma used to bake with her Mom, my Great Oma. I also learned different tips for achieving a certain effect with a recipe that I would have been unable to learn if it weren’t from learning from a person and not the internet or a book.

As for the recipes I made by myself at home, the first one I baked was french macaroons. For my first time, I think they turned out pretty well. Apparently they are a very hard thing to bake, but I wanted to try to bake them early on into this project so I can work on them and use my results as a type of evaluation on my progress. Now, I have never tried any french macaroon other than the ones I have made before, but everyone I talked to about them said that they tasted sweet and a little but almond-ish. Mine did taste like that so I think I got the taste right. It was a grueling 4 hour process, but I was quite happy with the result. One thing that was a problem though, was the fact that they stuck a lot to the parchment paper. I had to let them cool down completely on the pan before I could even start to try to get them off safely. I also made them much too big, so next time I will definitely make them smaller.

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The next thing I made were vanilla confetti cupcakes with a lemon buttercream icing. I made these my little sister’s school bake sale for anti bullying day. The recipe I found for them just might be my favourite vanilla cake recipe ever. They were so easy to make, and the addition of sour cream in the batter made them so fluffy after they finished baking. This was also my first time decorating seriously so I had a little bit of trouble at first trying to figure out how I wanted them to look, but I think that turned out pretty well in the end.

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The latest item I baked was chocolate chip cookie bars for Slam Jam. I have made these numerous times before and figured I could just whip them up quickly and they would taste great. Although they did taste good in the end, they didn’t taste like they usually do and I had to add a lot of milk to get the dough to have the right amount of moisture. I think I added too much flour because even after I added all of my wet ingredients, the dough was still the consistency of damp sand. This is a very unusual thing, but I managed to fix it and they still tasted great. It seemed the guests at Slam Jam liked them as well because there were none left over at the end of the event.


This weekend I plan to make Oreo brownies to bring to school to share on Monday, and if it is possible before the next post, I would like to attempt a fusion of my two favourite pies, key lime and lemon meringue, and bake a key lime meringue pie. Until then, I will be attempting to work off all the sugar these past two weeks have provided me with.

The Treaty of Paris (1763) | Canada newly British

The Treaty of Pairs (1963) Was signed at the end of the seven years war. It ultimately, was the document that secured Britain’s ownership over Canada. France lost almost all the North American land they had from this treaty except for their rights to fish off Newfoundland and 2 small islands to dry their fish on. Since France had already, secretly, given up another huge portion of land to Spain, losing their Canadian territory must have been a huge blow to France. They still had citizens dwelling in Quebec who were now under British rule because of where they lived. These people were later on given their rights to follow French law, and practice their religion, culture, and language Through the Quebec Act of 1774.

The Treaty of Paris of 1763 ended the French and Indian War/Seven Years’ War between Great Britain and France, as well as their respective allies. In the terms of the treaty, France gave up all its territories in mainland North America, effectively ending any foreign military threat to the British colonies there.

During the war, British forces had scored important overseas victories against France: not only had the British conquered French Canada, they also won victories in India, and captured French island colonies in the Caribbean. In March of 1762, French King Louis XV issued a formal call for peace talks.

To read the full article by Office of The Historian, click here

Me and my flat cookies (In Depth #3)

Ah yes, chocolate chip, the figurehead of all cookies. Today I decided that since I had some time, I would make the recipe my Mom has kept stashed away for years. Now, I have made this recipe at least 3 times already, and every time I have made it, the cookies have turned out perfectly. They would have a little bit of crunch on the outside and soft on the inside, and rise beautifully. Today was a different story.

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I had just come home from a day of school completely tired, or that it was 10:00pm, my guess it was a mixture of the two. I followed the recipe perfectly today, making sure to double check every little move I made, because I was sure I would do something wrong. I surprisingly didn’t make any glaring mistakes. All of the ingredients ended up in the bowl and the dough looked (and tasted) like it was supposed to.  cookies-2

See, that looks like cookie dough, right?

So, with my cookie dough that looked and tasted correct, I decided it was time to put it on the baking sheets. Today, I remembered to preheat the oven before I started the dough, which saved me an annoying 20 minutes where I would have had to wait to put them in the oven. I rolled my dough balls and put them on the baking sheets.


I noticed that they were a little but too big to be that close together, they would probably melt into each other while cooking, but I didn’t mind that too much, and I was too lazy to redo all of them. So I put my cookies that still seemed perfectly fine in the oven and sat on the floor in front of the oven door waiting for them to be done. Eventually, 11 minutes was up and I took out my cookies, putting the baking sheet on top of the oven while I grabbed the next batch. This is when I realized that my cookies were not cookies at all, they were a mess. I looked up from putting the second batch into the oven, looked at the baking sheet of disgraces that were staring me in the face and realized that I had cookies the thickness of crackers. They were so thin I can’t even thinmk of them as cookies, they are cookers


Look at those disgraces, thinking they have a right to call themselves cookies. Now the thing is, I have no idea what went wrong. I followed the recipe perfectly and made sure I did so. Maybe I need to make a mistake to make good cookies? Who knows. Now that I really think about it though, maybe I used too much butter. That could have caused them to melt down as dramatically as they did. Next time, I will definitely use a measuring cup to measure the butter instead of just trusting the little measurements on the outside of the wrapping on the stick of butter.

Even though they are incredibly ugly, my cookers still tasted great, they had the right texture and softness that I like to see in a cookie. They just aren’t pretty in the slightest. This experience almost makes me kind of worried for the French macaroons I am going to make on Sunday, they are supposed to be much harder than chocolate chip cookies and I have spent a lot on ingredients already. But then again, exposure to a new recipe might make me more careful to make sure I am doing everything right. We are just going to have to see how everything turns out. So until Monday, when I bring whatever becomes of my macaroons into class for everyone to devour, I will be finding more recipes for next weekend, and trying to figure out what exactly created the ugly cracker cookies that are sitting in my kitchen right now.

Just kidding, no magic will be involved (In Depth Post #2)

So it seems as if history does repeat itself. I have changed my in depth project, like I did last year. Except this time, my current topic has nothing to do with my previous one. I have now chosen baking as my topic for this year, which is possibly the furthest thing from magic I could have chosen. No matter how hard I tried, I could not find a mentor for magic. After way too much contemplating on what I was going to do about it, ended up just switching topics. I was kind of sad to give up my performance for in depth night, but I am excited to learn more about baking, which is something I already had a prior interest in.

My choice for a mentor for this topic was easy, I chose my Grandma. She has been baking forever and has lots of different recipes and techniques that she can teach me. I also don’t see her very often because she lives in Chiliwack, but I would be able to put aside a couple weekends a month in order to go to her house and learn from her. Since I have just recently switched projects, I have not been able to meet with her yet but I do have a day planned to learn from her next week. I have been able to have conversations her her though over Facebook. She has been sending me recipes to try and offering tips on how to make them correctly. I predict that these types of interactions will continue to happen throughout the times when I am not able to see her all that often. Because of the fact that I have not formally met with my mentor yet, I will not be able to answer the questions required of us in this post. Next weekend, when I do have the chance to do some baking with my Grandma I will include those answers in that blog post.

I have also been doing research of my own, I have set aside 3 recipes that I would like to make this weekend to observe where my baseline abilities are at. These recipes include, traditional chocolate chip cookies, apple pie, and French macarons. All of these recipes are very different and will give me a concrete idea on what types of recipes I would like to try in the future. Overall, I am just as excited and motivated for this topic as I was for magic, and I am excited to see how much I will improve over the duration of this project.