Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Matty says, "Happy Halloween!". (This blog is turning into a Matty blog. But I love that kid!)
Much more to post about, but have been out enjoying the Fall season. The weather is crisp. I've even been enjoying the rain. Life slows down a little, and I'm converting into home mode. I love it. The Fall scents. The cozy feeling. The warm sweaters. This Halloween, I didn't get to go doggy trick-o-treating (because of the rain), but there's a lot of dressed-up babies to entertain. As I rummaged through the leftover Halloween candy at work, they're already setting up Christmas displays on the other side of the aisle. And you know what that means... my favorite time of the year is comin' up.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
I was doing what sisters do best. My brother had recently set up shop in our basement after quitting his job, and has been practically living down there working on his projects. I purposely went downstairs out of pure boredom to bug the living daylights out of him. In the room where his desk and computers are, there's also a couch. So, I sat myself down right next to him and babbled away. Babbling useless nonsense with only the intentions of annoying him. That's what sisters do best.
"Why don't I program for you? I bet you I can write a program much better than you can."
"Why is your programming all colour-coded?".
"Can I press delete and erase the whole thing?".
"Wanna go out and eat?".
"You said mom downloaded 400+ Gb of chinese shows into her computer? How much is that really?". (With which he answers in my kind of leighman's terms, "Like 1,200 episodes of the Walking Dead".)
So anyway, along with his stuff, there's also a lot of my stuff sitting in the basement left untouched since I've moved back from Victoria in 2006. While I was fumbling through my old things, I came across my book of keepsakes. In it were tidbits of moments that I wanted to remember. Concert tickets, little handmade cards, and all of my race numbers from all the runs that I did. I went through this really strange phase from hating running to being addicted. In 2006, I registered myself into six different 10k's on the island and on the mainland, and this was one of my favorites - the Canucks Fan Run.
Because it was my first ever trail run. Because it helped raise money for Canucks Place (a pediatric hospice for palliative care) where I did a bit of volunteer work throughout university. Because at the end of your 10k run, you get to feed on all of the healthy snacks they provide you... and meet some of the players from the Canucks hockey team.
Along with inserting this race number into my book, I also wrote about the event and my experience on the run. It was my first trail run, but not my first 10k run. Jen had warned me ahead of time about the uneven grounds and rocks. And because of this, I remember I was extra cautious watching where I was going. An older, probably much more experienced lady running next to me must have noticed my carefulness and said to me, "Your first trail run?". After I replied "Yah", she wished me luck and sped ahead of me.
I enjoyed every bit of it. I had written in my book that the volunteers were extra cheery. I remember soaking in the moment of breathing in every breath of fresh air. It's a little different running in the trees vs. running on city roads. When we were all done, we got our usual snacks of fruits and powerbars.
And there they were... four Canucks players happy to greet everyone. Every single person had a chance to talk to them. Jen, Anth, and I stood on the side watching mostly kids going up for autographs. Then finally Jen and I went up too. I hate to admit that I wasn't at all into hockey back then. We were just oogling. But now that we've all jumped on the bandwagon, it's pretty crazy that I got to meet these four guys. It's unfortunate that this event is no longer available.
Can any die hard fans recognize just from these autographs who I got to meet?
(Answer : Mattias Ohlund, Ryan Kessler, Luc Bourdon, Roberto Luongo).
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Monday, October 22, 2012
I'm sure judging by the looks of those bananas, you can guess what I made tonight.
Start with mashing the bananas.
Adding in the butter, egg, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and spices.
Last would be the flour. It it so crazy easy to make.
Get your batter in the pan.
Banana bread in 50 minutes. The aroma in the kitchen alone was worth the bake. I love it. I should really make this more often. This will be my breakfast for the next couple of days.
My loaf did turn out a little.. short. But that could also be due to my approximations when measuring. It didn't affect the taste at all. Moist and packed with banana with spices to enhance.
I purposely didn't mash the bananas to a pulp because I love that you can still see bits and pieces of banana scattered throughout the loaf.
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen. (minus the bourbon).
Saturday, October 20, 2012
I'm exhausted from a long week of work, and needed to do something to wind down from it all on a Friday night. I didn't have the energy in me to do much. So, I ended up at a quiet Sportschek, and tried on all the new runners for fun. I decided on which pairs I liked, and put them all back on the shelf.
I can control myself sometimes.
Been hooked at checking out Nike Free's. But no... I do not need another pair.
Random shoe gawking night was totally fun.
Friday, October 19, 2012
When we stopped by this honey place at the PNE this summer, Ray recommended that I try out this local honey. I bought a bottle because I ran out of honey at home, and I do occasionally use it. Little did I know that this would start an obsession. My favorite right now is to slap it on toast with a bit of butter/margarine. Is it crazy that it makes the non-morning person that I am a little more... willing to get up in the morning? Yah... apparently a little bit of honey is all it takes.
This honey is from Honeybee Centre based locally in Surrey. Did you know that a lot of honey available in stores are not actually pure honey? According to Ray, the gov't food inspector, a lot of honey made elsewhere contains corn syrup. Only function is to making the product cheaper for higher profits. Hence, his advice is to always buy Canadian honey because well, that's not allowed here. Ray claims the honey from Honeybee Centre is some good quality honey. So much so that he'll let it slide this time that these jars are not properly labelled to our federal standards. (No? No handwritten labels with a sharpee?).
I'm currently using the raspberry honey. Yes, they blend berries into their honey. The high sugar content keeps these bacteria-free. The flavour is still dominantly honey with a hint of raspberries, which I think is much more yummy than jam. (In my opinion anyway). Are you freakin' kidding me??! You have FOUR jars of honey for one of you?! Go ahead. Think it.
Although Jen does the same, she says her husband claims only "old people" spread honey on their toast. Hmm... well, maybe it's the old people who know where to find the good stuff!
This is absolutely not a paid advertisement for their products. I just enjoy it that much that I wanted to share it.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
I generally like my eggs scrambled and my Sundays lazy. One of my favorite things to do on a lazy Sunday is brunch, and I think I just found a new favorite. This quaint little restaurant was super packed. When we got there, there was a line-up outside. You know it must be good if all these people were willing to wait out in the pouring rain. Including us.
I'm not always in the mood for pancakes but for some reason, this time I was. And boy am I glad I got it. The fresh apple bits add a perfect touch of sweet and tart. The sausages came with a tasty mustard, and might I also add... their sausages are not your usual breakfast ones. Along with our food, there was another plate for syrup, ketchup, vanilla butter, and homemade berry and cardamom jam. And you know what matters most to me... a nice and fluffy scrambled eggs. I tell ya... it can't get any fluffier than that!
Oh, it was worth the 45 minute wait in the pouring rain. With good company, it never seems to matter anyway. A "down" side, some might say, is the area where you'd find this restaurant. Some may describe it as sketchy. And true, there were a couple drunks walking around. But I'm so used to these "bums", (since my workplace isn't in the greatest area also), it didn't phase me at all.
I have to go back to Two Chefs And A Table.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Since the arrival of Sarah, Barney's mommy's attention has been shifted to the baby. So, when we had a girl's night sans baby but with doggy, Barney went CRRRAAAAZY going from person to person begging for attention. Although super tired and sleepy, he made sure he took advantage of this opportunity. While we all sat around chit-chatting, Barney laid his head on my leg and looked up at me with his big, beady eyes. So cute.
Monday, October 15, 2012
It was a typical dreary, rainy Vancouver day today. Nothing but grey clouds and grey skies. But as I turned into this street, I was welcomed by this beautiful arch of Autumn colours. I stopped my car in the middle of the street, whipped out my phone, and took this photo through my window. Fall is officially here.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Friday, October 12, 2012
Another variation of the wedding card that I made. I might like this cleaner background. Anyway, this is me finishing up my MOH duties one year later. As embarassing as it is to admit, once wedding duties were over, I failed to remember to give the couple their wedding gift. How horrible is that? So a year later, along with a handmade anniversary card... they get their nice wedding, err... anniversary present along with it.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
A bunch of us went to G-Be for hot pot for Ray's birthday. This is one of my current favorite places for hot pot. All their uncooked ingredients come out in large bowls of ice. Ray, the gov't food inspector, approves of its food safe practices.
There was a lot of testosterone in the room that night, talking a lot about testosterone-driven topics, so a lot of it flew over my head.
Happy Birthday, Ray!
Wendy was the EOD for the weekend of the ritzy hotel that she works at. (If you know your hotels, there's a hint in the photos where this may be, but otherwise, not directly going to name out where Wendy works). Now, "EOD" to me in prescription lingo means "every other day", which makes no sense in hotel management terms. And although Wendy has told me several times what it stands for... I don't remember. Basically, she is the person in charge... and that means she's pretty important I guess... haha... and with that, she gets to be treated a little special. And us being her friends means we get to reap in the benefits along with her. YESSS!!!
We got to enjoy a lovely afternoon high tea at a fancy piano lounge in the hotel pretty much free. (What we ended up paying was pretty much the tip). I have to say... I've high tea'd (did I just change high tea into a verb?) here before paying full price, and it's no different. It's probably one of the best high tea places in town.
Wendy insisted I use this photo of her (out of several that I took) for my blog. (She reads my blog!) With the pinky up in the air and all. Seeing a close friend in professional attire and having people be extra courteous to them because they're somewhat important is always a little bizarre. To me, Wendy is Wendy. The girl I met in grade 2 and grew up with... the one who loves holes in her casual jeans... the one who's stuck her socks in my face when she was drunk... the one -, well, let's leave the rest of her stories for her wedding day.
Overall, I enjoyed an amazing tea session with the girls. (Their scones are the best!).
Even with their curtains blowing in my face.
They had the windows open. The sun was shining. Sitting by the window, their wispy curtains blew in blocking my view of even the tower of sandwiches and sweets. Wendy takes her phone out to take a picture for her report, adding to her extensive list of complaints of "unacceptables". I personally didn't mind it so much.
Monday, October 8, 2012
This was the start of my long weekend - on a Thursday night.
As mentioned in this blog before, every month or so, some of us try to get together for a food night. It started off with three of us, and now has grown to nine. The whole idea was to try out different ethnic foods but the catch is, each of us has to make a dish ourselves and mainly from scratch. It was an excuse to get together and have a little fun cooking in the kitchen. With nine in the kitchen, it sometimes gets a little chaotic.
We skipped right over the summer months since those tend to be more busy for most people, but now that we're running into Fall, looks like food night will pick up again. This time, it was Thai.
I've never cooked Thai food before. So, after much research for a recipe I wanna do, (usually something that I'd imagine to be tasty but does not require a whole lot of work ... which is how I'd generally look up recipes anyway), I picked up the ingredients and went home to do a test run on the recipe first. I wanted to be the first to taste what the heck I was going to be serving people. I cheated a little and made a sample portion at home the night before.
In fact, I tried out two different recipes for prawns. One was a coconut prawn and the other was a lemon grass prawn. After the sample run, I liked both recipes and decided just to make both.
The coconut prawn had about ten different ingredients. Coconut milk, coriander, red chili peppers, fish sauce, brown sugar, green onion, lime juice... are some that I can remember. Mix it all together. 1/3 becomes a marinate. 2/3 becomes the dipping sauce after the prawns are grilled. Frankly, when I mixed the ingredients together for the sauce, I took a sniff of it and thought it was foul-smelling. I thought to myself, god, thank goodness I'm trying this out beforehand. Can I serve this to people? But I later discovered... I shouldn't expect fish sauce to smell like roses... and it actually tastes way better than it smells.
Marinating the prawn, I found, didn't do much to enhance the flavours (but that's what the recipe called for) so it was all in the dipping sauce afterwards.
Getting the grills marks on...
This recipe has a nice balance of sweet, tangy, and salty. The coconut milk acts as a great buffer in cutting the heat from the peppers. Some of my friends seemed to really enjoy this one.
The other type of prawns are stir-fried with lemon grass. To be honest, the recipe was for a spicy and sweet sauce. I went and added lemon grass, which was an ingredient listed in a different thai recipe. I was hoping to add in a bit more of that Thai flavour rather than it turning out more like a sweet, Chinese dish. So, yes... I've never cooked Thai... and I went and made up my own Thai recipe.
When I tried out this recipe at home, it was really to-die-for. Even my dad (my guinea pig) said it was a nice powerful flavour, and he preferred it over the coconut prawns. Unfortunately, when I went and reproduced it at Thai night, I was in a bit of a rush to get it all done in time for dinner... I didn't bother measuring the ingredients to the tee. Instead, I eye-balled it. As a result, the flavour wasn't quite the same as when I made it at home.
Didn't matter too much. I knew Maria would eat it all up regardless ... her love for prawns (or anything seafood really) wouldn't care if my prawns weren't the same as the day before.
I found this dish rather interesting. This is a Thai omelette in the making.
When I first arrived at Kat's, I noticed Eddie sitting in a corner facing away from the kitchen... staring so intently at his phone watching some youtube video. I had asked him, "Are you done cooking already?".
He replied, "No, I'm watching a video on the technique to make it." (Leave it to Eddie to always find something challenging to make... even if "just" an omelette).
And you should have seen this in the making. The key is, as Eddie explained, to get the oil really hot. Beat the eggs like crazy to get a lot of air in it. When the eggs hit the pan in the hot oil, I watched it foam up like a cloud. It raised almost as high as the pan. It looked so fluffy. The point was to get it crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. I get all crazy when I see things I've never seen before, especially with something so simple as eggs.
Here is the crispy cloud almost ready to be plated. Eddie said in hindsight, he would have done the egg first before frying the back bacon that he used for the filler. All the bits left from frying the back bacon left the omelette a little "dirty". When I ate it, it was exactly as described. The texture was interesting for eggs.
This is Fran's Thai iced tea. I'm not sure why Thai iced tea has that vibrant, almost-neon orange colour. Fran brewed a crapload of tea leaves in a pot, and made this super potent tea.
I loooove Thai iced tea. I was first introduced to it at a Thai restaurant when I lived in Victoria. We frequented that restaurant a lot, so a nice Thai iced tea brings a little nostalgia. I limit my consumption of caffeine now, (it was tough with the love that I had for coffee and black tea), but I had to have this one.
This food group has their own chatroom in whatsapp. The conversation we had the following morning was pretty entertaining. The potent Thai iced tea left most people wired till 3am or sleepless. Those who had to work the next morning suffered a little. People took pictures of their morning remedy to a bad night of sleep, and sent it over whatsapp chat - which was of course, more caffeine. Those who didn't have to work didn't get up till noon and joined in on the chat much later. Needless to say, the Thai iced tea destroyed us all.
But, it was all worth it.
( Next food night challenge : Momo's. (Look it up under "Tibetan" food). We'll be all making Momo's. Funny that we have a bag full of different cultures and foods that we draw from for our next session, and we still haven't been able to get away from Asia! So far, we've done Korean, Japanese, Malaysian, Indian, and Thai. )
More photos to come.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
I'm sittin' here sippin' on a hot cup of tea, hoping to digest some of that turkey dinner I had tonight. It's Thanksgiving. And I'm thankful for a lot of things. There are certainly days of happiness. Days of pure satisfaction and contentment. And days where I feel like I've got everything that I want and need. And I'm thankful for all the people in my life who make me feel this way.
Matty says : "Happy Thanksgiving! The turkey was finger-lickin' good!".
Matty says : "Happy Thanksgiving! The turkey was finger-lickin' good!".