Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Haven't Been Posting

Yah. I haven't been posting. Life happens.

But, there is so so so much I wish I had time to document. New things I've experienced. Photos and pictures to keep. Great joys that bring life. But just not enough time in a day to even do it all, let alone document.

Life is good.

It definitely isn't without bad news and sorrows, frustrations and anger, and of course it's stresses and despair. But these are all inevitably part of life. And without it to contrast, it wouldn't be as easy to see the beautiful.

So, I've met someone new. I don't normally write much here, but rather, just post photos of things that either make me happy or things I want to remember. But I felt the need to write. About it. Because I want to remember if I could... this feeling of fascination of meeting someone new. The feeling of refreshment. Excitement. Like learning something new for the very first time. So much to see. So much to experience. So much to share.

It's like the very same feeling I felt when I picked up the chef's knife at the Dirty Apron and learned how to filet a fish for the very first time. Or the first time I strapped on harnesses to ziptrek across the forest at Whistler. The feeling of pure excitement.

I guess it's not every time you meet someone new that you'd feel this way. But when you do...  

Oh yah. The Dirty Apron experience? I have yet to tell you all about that. An experience of a lifetime. I'll save that one for next time.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Alayna's 1st Birthday

This little munchkin is so darn cute! She turned one on April 23rd. I cannot believe she's already one. I still remember the day when we visited and held her five days after she was born. Boy, has she grown. 

Happy 1st Birthday, Alayna!

Little One's Birthday Card

It started off something like this. I had a picture of it in my head that it would look something like this.

Then, I wanted to make it more personal. So, I added her name.

Then, the final touches to make it a one-year-old's birthday card. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Swedish Night

Started the night off with sauteing a whole lot of garlic in butter. Instantly, you know it's gonna be a good night.

Meanwhile, mixing some bread and milk. This was the beginning of Fred's Swedish meatballs.

We whipped out the food processor. And the smiles.

Fred begins his rolling process. Handmade meatballs rolled before pan-frying.

Eddie helps with frying them up.

Kat moves on and helps Fred out with making the sauce.

This batter would soon turn into Dan's delicious "raggmunk" (potato pancakes).

The girls worked on whipping up Bran's sauce/dressing to her "gravlax" (sugar and salt cured salmon), while the boys continued to work on their own dishes.

Bran slices up the bread for this gorgeous cured salmon. 

Then, the bones were plucked out one by one. 

Gravlax! Both gorgeous and yummy.

Dan's raggmunk hits the pan.

And Fred's Swedish meatballs are finally done. Looks and tastes amazing!

Right before dinner, Eddie mixed up a Christmas Swedish drink, called "mumma". It is a mix of dansukker sugar, sherry, a lager and stout beer, and a sugar drink like Sprite. 

Someone wanted to point out that we were going to be drinking mostly head. Nonetheless, it was pretty good. Tasted something like a spiked coke. Sweet... and dangerous. Because it was a mix of all sorts, several of us got a buzz pretty quickly.

Table is getting set, which means... dinner time!


Dinner has usually been started off with a soup. This is Al's flavourful Swedish split pea soup. It was so yum that I had to ask him to share the recipe. After that, we got to share and taste each other's food. The table spread looked rather impressive. 

Here is my plate of food. Omigosh... it was all so delicious. I swear... every month's cook night gets better and better. I'm loving it a lot. Not only do you get to spend quality time with your friends and cook together, but I get to learn about different foods that I otherwise wouldn't have. Before Swedish night, if you asked me to name a specific Swedish dish, I couldn't have pointed one thing out besides Ikea's meatballs. I just love getting educated. And to eat while you're at it. A sure plus-plus!

And of course, we have to finish it off with an amazing dessert. This is Swedish apple pie. The biggest different between a regular American apple pie is that the Swedish kind has no crust. It is topped with a topping of nuts, flour, and sugar, making it a cross between a pie and a crumble. I have to say that this was actually one of the best apple pies I've had. The tartness of the granny smiths, the sweet yet not super heavy crumble-like topping, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream... oh, to die for! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Swedish Kalops

For last month's Swedish night at our monthly cooking night, I made Swedish Kalops. It is meat stewed with onion, vegetables, and spices. I believe it is meant to be eaten with pickled beets, but I just didn't have time to make that part. Generally, potatoes are boiled on the side or mashed, but I threw mine into the stew. My impatience almost left me with a burnt pot of stew! But it luckily turned out a-okay. Definitely good for colder weather. Just as hearty and cozy as you'd imagine.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Meet Tofu

Hi! My name is Tofu.

I am ridiculously cute from all sides. Here is my profile...

And my other side profile... (ooh! what are all these people doing walking back and forth in the kitchen?)

I can perk up my ears like Stitch.

And make his face too!

Oh! What is this? I smell something tasty inside.

Just gotta knock it down to get into it.

I've almost got it!!! Let me have a taste!!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Easiest Banana Oatmeal Cookies

I guess it was evident that I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, because for Christmas and my birthday, I received quite a few gifts that were for the purpose of feeding this interest of mine. Whole Foods gift cards, recipe books, idea books...etc. And apparently, these gift ideas came to them from this blog. To be honest, I was pretty excited with each and every one of those gifts because well, they're absolutely right. I do love experimenting in the kitchen. Sadly though, I haven't been blogging too much about any of it lately. So let's change that. 

These are the easiest banana oatmeal cookies. 

For me, even though I enjoy a challenge now and then, I'm mostly not about complicated recipes with complex flavours. I'm constantly on a search for the easiest, fastest, healthiest and tastiest (yes, recipes that includes all those) to add to my own repetoire. And when I've found something that fits those criteria, I make it over and over again. This one was one of them. 

I don't know about you, but making breakfast should only take five minutes. Ten minutes max. I much rather sleep the extra twenty minutes than slave over a pan or pot in the morning. And, I have to be able to eat it pretty quick. And if not, it has to be portable so I can eat it in the car. I'm just that kind of morning (or not-so-morning) person. And that is why I never eat oatmeal for breakfast. I would never be able to down a hot bowl of oatmeal quickly in the morning. I don't have time to cool it. Nor do I want to bring a sticky bowl of oatmeal into my car. That's why this recipe is good for making it all portable. 

You simply smash one banana with one cup of oatmeal. I've also added dried cranberries and a bit of cinnamon. Roll them up into cookies. And bake. 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 

Tada! Easy grab-and-go breakfast. No added sugar. High in fibre. You know the rest. All the good stuff.