If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll remember that last spring I took my youngest daughter shopping for a grad dress. She was graduating from grade eight, and we found a dress that was both lovely and age-appropriate.
My oldest daughter is in grade twelve, and yesterday I took her shopping for her prom dress. It seems early, doesn’t it? Buying a dress for prom is more complicated than it used to be. One of the girls in her grade set up a Facebook page (in November) where everyone posts a photo of their dress to avoid duplicates. So the timing of buying a dress is tricky. You want it to be late enough that there’s a good selection, but early enough that you’re not scrolling through 120 photos on Facebook every time you see one you like.
My daughter and I don’t often shop together, other than when she needs shoes. She’s very independent and enjoys buying clothes on her own. Her preference is to shop at vintage shops or Goodwill. For one thing, she loves the unique clothes that she finds there. But just as important, she likes supporting local small businesses, and appreciates the low carbon footprint of buying something and extending its life. I love her sense of adventure and her individual sense of style.
A prom dress is different, though. We spent an evening looking at dresses at the local mall, but she was concerned that she’d look like everyone else if she bought a dress there. So yesterday morning, she and I drove down to Queen Street, the local fashion district. We’d planned to hit a few stores, but found such an incredible selection at Fashion Crimes that we made it our one and only stop. For about half the price of a dress at the mall, she tried on an amazing selection of dresses, and narrowing it down to one was nearly impossible. So we bought two – one for prom, and another that she can wear to a wedding later this spring. Needless to say, she looks divine in both.
And the best part was spending time with my sweet daughter. Six months from now she’ll be at university and moments like that will be less common. I want to hold onto every occasion that we spend one-on-one time together, and recognize it for how precious it is.
Fresh Mango Bread
3 large eggs
3/4 cup canola oil or other flavorless oil
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups diced mango
3/4 cup raisins
grated zest of half a lime
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, or butter it to prevent sticking. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other. (This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from overbaking.)
Whisk the eggs and oil together.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add the brown sugar, making sure to break up any lumps. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, switch to a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon and mix until blended. The batter will be very thick. Stir in the mango, raisins and zest. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake the bread for 1 1/2 hours, or until it is golden brown and a thin knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. (If the bread looks like it’s getting too brown as it bakes, cover it loosely with a foil tent.) Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before running a knife around the sides of the pan and unmolding.