Thursday, May 20, 2010

Girls Night In for Cancer (pre-party prep!)

So tomorrow night, I'm hosting a Girls Night In to support the Canadian Cancer Society. This is a great cause - all the donations go to help fight cancers that specifically affect women: breast, uterine, cervical and ovarian.

This is a cause close to my heart. At 27 years old I had noticed a lump in one of my breasts during my monthly self-exam. My doctor sent me for ultrasounds and a mammogram (NOT fun!). They determined it was nothing to worry about, even though it was painful and had been getting bigger. The reaction was to 'keep an eye on it'.

The lump kept growing (and was very painful to the touch), and even became quite visible. Finally in 2005 I had what was by then a 5cm lump removed from one of my breasts. Make a circle with your first finger and thumb - that's how big it was. The surgery was the most painful thing I have ever endured (and I've been through a few horribly painful things). It was a week before I could even leave my bed. I would wake up weeping from the pain. The surgeon did a good job of removing the lump, but the surgery did leave a scar and an area of scar tissue that still aches from time to time.

Luckily for me, the lump turned out to be benign (if benign is what you call years of pain and an excruciating surgery) - at least, it was not cancerous. Phew. But it absolutely reinforced for me that self-exams are so important. I wish I'd insisted on removal when the lump was still small because I think it would have saved me a lot of pain. You know your own body best - follow your intuition and do those self-exams, ladies!

I've also had some experience with chemotherapy injections. Not fun at all. Anything that can help save women from going through the scare or reality of cancer and its treatment is important to me.


A few of my girlfriends are coming over for this - it's a dessert party, so I've spent some time today baking! Hooray :)

I made Lime Star cookies from my Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook - hers are flowers, but all I had was a star cookie cutter, so mine are stars. They're quite yummy. They took for-freakin'-ever to make, though. Chilling! Rolling! Cutting! Chilling! Re-rolling! Cutting! Every time I make cookies, I remind myself that they are a LOT of work - even drop cookies seem to take forever. It's not the mixing, it's the dropping or slicing or cookie-cuttering or rolling into little balls and squashing or forking or tossing in sugar....

I also made chocolate cupcakes from my Vegetarian Times cookbook - the cupcakes turned out wonderfully (and the recipe is already vegan; I'm going on 6 months now for eggless baking!), but the icing was a disaster. I followed the recipe, but it turned out like syrup. So I took a quarter of it, dumped a pile of icing sugar and a melted square of bakers chocolate in, and worked with that. Still not the lovely, fluffy cupcake icing that I was hoping for, but it just got too frustrating.

** Do you have an icing recipe that works for you? I am an icing failure. This isn't the first time my icing endeavours have ended up sloppy and useless. Hook me up, you icing masters! **

...And now I've got two jars of chocolate syrup in my fridge. Honestly, after taste-testing sweets all day I could go a week without chocolate.

Tomorrow I'm going to make some of Averie's Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Cups. I can't wait to see how these turn out.

And I might do chocolate covered strawberries, if I have time.

Please remind me next time I'm having a party, to go with tested and true recipes. Like the eggless chocolate bundt cake that turned out so well.

Other than that... I hope this party goes well. It's small but not everyone knows everyone, so there could be awkward moments. Plus I don't really have a plan per se. I do have some lovely door prizes, though! Everyone should go home with a little treat. I'm not telling what, as I know at least one of the girls reads my blog from time to time!

If anyone wants to donate to this great cause , you can actually donate online using a credit card at my event webpage. The money goes directly to the Canadian Cancer Society, and tax receipts are available for charitable donations over $25.

And you can also host your own Girls Night In if you want to support a great cause with your girls. You just sign up and they help you with party ideas, you can create your own event webpage, with email invitations, donation forms and so on. They suggest that attendees donate what they would normally spend on a night out. There is no timeline or season for it - you can do this at any time.

I am really proud to support the Canadian Cancer Society.

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