It was Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. As usual, my wife and I made a turkey dinner. We had a couple of friends over to enjoy the feast. I didn’t take many photos as it was more important to live in the moment.
We had a great time enjoying drinks and dinner. We started the afternoon by sitting on our back deck with our gas fire pit on. We enjoyed the views and had some great laughs as the turkey cooked.
We had dinner at around six o’clock, just as the sun was starting to set and the cool air was closing in. After dinner, we enjoyed the ABC’s of desserts. Apple pie, Brownies, and Cheesecake. Our friend made an amazing cheesecake! Each and every dessert was decadent. We also had a sampling of Apple Pie Bailey’s as a little treat.
I’m always happy to open up our home for friends. Sharing food and drinks is an integral part of kindness and humanity. I am also looking forward to the leftovers and turkey meals we will be having over the next week or so.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends! May you be blessed with good food and good company this weekend.
This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving. Today we are making a turkey for dinner. But yesterday, I made a few desserts that I am really proud of.
Specifically I made two apple pies from scratch- Including the pastry. Which was surprisingly easy to do. It’s just that the pastry needed to cool for a minimum of four hours or overnight in the fridge. So I actually made the dough the night before just to be ready for Saturday. In all honesty, not including baking time or waiting for pastry- apple pie only takes about twenty minutes to prepare.
I did prepare the apples with my daughter’s help. I had done the peeling and slicing while she added the flour, sugar and cinnamon. She stirred it all up and I filled the pie crusts. It was a good team effort and I enjoyed her company along the way.
For the tops of the pies, I did one in a lattice style and the other was just a dough cover with venting holes cut in. Once that was done, I sprinkled some leftover “churro sugar” I had saved. A perfect topping of cinnamon and sugar.
So far I am satisfied with how the pies turned out. They look and smell terrific. After dinner will be the taste test. Not sure what your stance is, but I believe apple pie is far superior to pumpkin pie.
I love warm apple pie a la mode as well. That is the best combination ever created. Mmmm ice cream and pie. I cannot wait for the Turkey to be done so I can enjoy some pie.
Today I was at home starting my vacation. This morning I was on a Zoom meeting while sitting on our front porch. As I was there, a lady with about four preschool aged children walked by. They noticed the banners I put out for Halloween. And one of the boys yelled up to me, “Is that Freddy VS Jason?” I was rather surprised that a kid under age five would know that.
Later on a couple of ladies walked by and stopped in front of our home. They were trying to figure out who the characters were from. Clearly our home is drawing attention.
Afterwards, I was in the garage making some Halloween decorations. A father and his young song passed by. They too saw the banners out front. I heard the father say to his son, “we will definitely come back to this house on Halloween.”
I’m sure that we will get more kids this year in this part of the neighborhood than they have in the past. Our last neighborhood we only gave out about a dozen treats. Three to each kid… It’ll be neat being in a suburb again, but it’s not going to end well. We better get a bunch of candy and be ready to hand it out.
When I was a kid, National Lampoon’s European Vacation came out on video. I found the film to be absolutely hilarious. It also made me put Germany and other parts of Europe on my bucket list of places to visit. Specifically during Oktoberfest. (Much like our visit to Tokyo during the Cherry Blossoms). Since I have a wife with German roots, this idea excites me more.
Experiencing the world and other cultures like that is high on my list of why life is awesome. So as my wife and I plan our next big trip (which is on pause because of Covid), she is wanting to introduce me to some things that I never tried. The other day was sauerkraut on a bratwurst. All I can say is that it was surprisingly delicious. I’m not a fan of anything pickled, but as an addition to the food, it worked perfectly.
Of course you can’t have Oktoberfest without beer. A couple of years back, my wife and I attended Oktoberfest in September at The Trading Post. This was during one of my “Sober Septembers” so I was the designated driver. I still had a great time watching people cheer and sing while they drank and ate.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying some OOMPA Music played through the Spotify account. There’s something about German Polka that is kind of fun. My family is not as keen as I am it seems. But that’s okay.
Do you enjoy Oktoberfest? Besides German beers of course!
This morning I decided to bake some Wookiee Cookies. This is the first time I’ve baked cookies in our new house, so I thought it appropriate to bake my favorite ones.
As I was getting out the ingredients, I realized that I didn’t have chocolate chips. So I substituted caramel ones instead. Not a big deal. The milk chocolate chunks go well with almost any type of chips. But then the unthinkable happened.
The tub of sugar fell off the counter and spread everywhere. Tiny granules got in between my toes. You can see my barefoot print in the sugar on our floor. We were already low on sugar, but this put us well past needing to buy some. I cleaned up the mess, and continued on. I was able to salvage 1/2 a cup for my recipe.
My rage meant it was time to play some angry sounding music while I finished baking. White Zombie ended up on my Spotify playing from our TV. Which is kind of fitting as we are a little over a month from Halloween.
In the end the cookies turned out great and the kitchen was super clean. It’s still frustrating when mishaps occur. But such is life.
I did one of those TikTok recipes the other day and it turned out not too bad. It involved using regular boxed KD Mac and Cheese.
You add the noodles to the pot and water to just cover them. At the same time you pour the cheese powder and add the butter. Then you bring it uncovered to a boil until the noodles are softened. It essentially boils the cheese flavor into the pasta.
You don’t need to drain the water since it boils away. Once it’s done, add the milk or heavy cream and shredded cheese. This creates the thickest, cheesiest and most gourmet Mac and Cheese.
I was impressed with how it turned out. It is definitely a side dish next time as it was too much to handle as a bowl by itself. We will try this again one day, but as a snack I will keep to the original way to make boxed KD.
My family and I have a tendency to enjoy food and making meals. We will bbq, deep fry, oven bake, or just eat a sandwich. But many of our favorite meals come from other cultures. Specifically Asian influences.
The biggest reason for us to make food from other countries is to experience the food diversity. Oftentimes the meals also maximizes our ability to feed a family of five. Rice, pasta, vegetables, sauces and soups are a great way to spread the ingredients out.
Sometimes these meals takes us a bit longer to create. Rolling sushi is challenging, but making ramen or a poke bowl is easy. My wife also has some Turkish dishes she makes for us periodically. Using ingredients like chickpeas or eggplant is not something that I grew up with.
In fact my wife sometimes makes fun of me because if I’m making a meal that is essentially “meat and potatoes” I will forget to put in a side vegetable. That was how I grew up. Meat and potatoes. And instant or even microwaveable foods were in our cupboards. Once in a while I’ll buy some classic junk food meals: Pop tarts, KD Mac ‘n cheese, Mr. Noodles, that sort of thing.
But the one my wife hates to enjoy is fried SPAM. That salty canned meat is a guilty pleasure that most of my family enjoys. The idea of canned meat makes me think of a time when fresh food was harder to come by. But in reality it’s just a can of meat.
What sort of foods do you enjoy? Do you sample other culture’s cuisines?
I recently carved my first craft foam pumpkin. I always wanted to do a more permanent pumpkin that I can display yearly. Since I can spend anywhere from 3 to 8 hours carving a live pumpkin, why not have it last longer than a single season?
My wife requested that I do not do a “Fan Art” pumpkin. She wanted me to try and do something more classic and still a bit detailed. So I chose to make an owl- my favorite one as well. The Burrowing Owl. Owls are Halloween, right?
I used a black and white image online as the basis for my owl. I’m about 85% satisfied with the results. I can see what I can do differently next time. But since I have not worked with this style of pumpkin before, I’d say not bad for a first attempt. Next will be to see how it looks with a small LED light inside.
Have you worked with foam pumpkins before? Or do you prefer the real thing? Let me know in the comments or feel free to share pictures of your detailed pumpkins. I love to see what others create.
Last night, my wife and I prepared dinner together. She had already done a bunch of the preparation work prior to my arrival home. As we worked in the kitchen- we created a beautiful ballet of coordinated movements. Not once did we get in each other’s way, or bump into one another.
Dinner was a flavorful udon noodle soup. With a soft boiled egg, sautéed mushrooms, garlic steamed carrots, seared pork, seaweed and spinach. A delicious medley of tastes that all came together in a large soup bowl.
After dinner was done, the sun was putting on a dazzling show for us in the sky. The colours mimicking the pleasure we experienced from creating and enjoying our meal. The different hues and tones shone into our kitchen creating a sense of wonderment.
Sometimes experiencing the world is akin to admiring a great painting. The views last night were absolutely awe inspiring and tranquil. A true treasure to behold.
Yesterday afternoon, some of my friends tied the knot. They did it in a way that was special and meaningful to them. It wasn’t extravagant or lavish. The service was humble and friendly. It was exactly the kind of service you would expect from them.
First of all, it was a fairly short announcement to the wedding day. Even though Jay and Leona have been a couple for quite some time, it was just the right time to get married. The venue was at a friend’s place where they (or we if you wish) have spent many a weekend enjoying each other’s company over food and drinks.
Jay and Leona kept it low key and simple. Their friends came together to setup tents, tables, decor and made food. Even though it was raining periodically, that didn’t stop the festivities. It was essentially a large BBQ with a wedding thrown in. In fact, right after the “I Do’s” were said, the two of them got changed back into their street clothes to relax. It was wonderful that they shared their love with us and we all got to hang out.
Sometimes I think back to when I first met them. Each was in a different aspect in my life within a couple years of each other. As well, their lives intersected periodically until the universe finally linked them together.
It was a good time yesterday with loads of smiles and laughs. I wish many more years of happiness to Jay and Leona! Congratulations once more.
Last night I attended a stag party for a friend of mine named Jay. It was pretty tame but a whole lot of fun.
We started off at a place called The Barley Merchant. Here we were able to sample a variety of beers since there were fifty different ones on tap. Many from local breweries. We also had some appetizers and joked around quite a bit.
After a couple of hours tasting beers, we headed out for one of Jay’s favorite pastimes- karaoke. I will admit, this group of friends love singing and are quite talented. I enjoy cheering them on, since I don’t tend to get behind the microphone myself.
In a couple of weeks time Jay and Leona will be getting married. I’m really happy for them and look forward to seeing them tie the knot. They are a good match for each other.
Yesterday we spent the afternoon and evening with a couple of friends. All of our kids were off doing their own thing, so my wife and I had a night to ourselves. First was hanging out at our place for a drink and appetizers.
Costco is great for finding quick and easy foods to share. I made some mini wontons and potato skins for us to share. Hanging out in the kitchen is always a great way to converse. Having a large kitchen island made it even better.
Afterwards we headed to a local establishment called “The Vault Restaurant”. It’s been around for ages and was built in an old bank. Kind of a steampunk/industrial feel inside. The food was great and the company was entertaining. It was ridiculously fun.
It’s been a while since my wife and I headed out for a night with friends. I’m glad we did as it turned into a fantastic evening. Date nights are becoming somewhat more frequent now that our kids are teenagers. It means my wife and I can get to know one another again. For that, I am grateful.
My wife thinks that she must be missing Disneyland. Mostly the memories that the food brings back. She made churro cookies the other day- which are delicious! Last night for dinner we had clam chowder in bread bowls. Just like the ones we ate from Harbour Galley at New Orleans Square in Disneyland.
My wife has been playing with bread recipes for a few weeks now. These bread bowls were perfect. We have a “Proofing” option in our new oven, so the bread is rising nicely each and every time. The clam chowder was also made from scratch. My wife is superb when it comes to chowders and goulashes.
I just wonder what our next Disneyland themed treat will be. Perhaps beignets like the ones we at in Downtown Disneyland from Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen. She could find us some smoked Turkey legs. Or maybe a Dole Whip or even a Margarita like we had at Rita’s Baja Blenders. Who knows what my wife’s tastes will bring for for the rest of us.
But my tastebuds have been pleasantly surprised thus far.
The one thing my wife has really wanted to experiment with since buying our new house is baking. We both bake somewhat frequently- usually around Christmas. But with a big kitchen island, my wife wanted to expand her baking skills into more gourmet style of cookies. I’m all for it! But that’s mostly because I don’t have a sweet tooth and will be able to resist eating too many.
Her first attempt at making rich tasting cookies was last night with Churro Cookies. Last summer, I made Disneyland Churros a couple of times. But those are traditional churros- getting deep fried. The cookies my wife made last night had the perfect taste and softness to them. I could have sworn they were actual churros.
She made a creamy churro icing to go on top and sprinkled that with sugar and cinnamon as well. We each had a cookie and really wanted a second one. I took a second churro cookie… I had to. A glass of milk was the perfect accompaniment for this late evening treat.
We are still learning the intricacies of our new kitchen and oven. But if the cookies come out as perfect as they did last night, I suspect we will definitely be baking more often!
In this day and age people love to share photos of their meals. I am not ashamed to say, but I have also done this (and still do on occasion). Even though restaurants or homemade meals can look and taste amazing, sometimes it’s the simple foods that can also spark joy.
Today I was looking forward to having a bowl of yogurt with granola and fresh blueberries. This meal brings back a various flood of memories for me. The first time I had granola for breakfast I was about fifteen. I had gone with a friend and his family up to the Okanagan to pick apples for a week. I fell in love with this sweet, yet healthy snack. Later in life- my wife and I spent our two day honeymoon at a bed and breakfast in Harrison Hot Springs. That was where I had yogurt, granola and fresh fruit served to me. It seemed elegant and heartwarming at the same time. A true B+B experience.
Yesterday I had buttered toast with marmalade. Again, simple and tasty. This is a meal I have maybe once every couple of years. That’s because I don’t find it overly filling. So if I want a light breakfast- toast is it. To me, orange marmalade is a special treat for on top. I first had marmalade when I was four years old. It was on my first trip to Scotland. I thought it was a big deal to eat this in a foreign country.
At my grandparents house in Scotland, they had 3 channels on the television back in 1980. Paddington Bear (the 1976 BBC series) was on every morning. He ate marmalade. My mother made it a big deal that she could get me some marmalade if I wanted too. To be four years old and eating the food that a funny little bear was eating during his daily adventures- was like a dream come true. I’ll always associate marmalade with that bear and those memories of my youth.
Simple foods can bring forth a flurry of beautiful memories. Do you associate breakfast food with a fond memory?
I’ve been a self proclaimed and avid grill master when it comes to using a gas grill. Over the years I have gone through about half a dozen BBQs. Each had a side burner. One or two had a rotisserie burner. But my latest one that my family gave me for Christmas had something I’ve never used before.
There is a side burner. Only it is for searing meat. After seven months, I finally decided to try it out. My wife picked up some red meat (which is rare for us- pun intended). I decided to try the searing option on the grill.
First off, I love that this BBQ has cast iron grills. Secondly, searing the steaks turned out perfect! We all love a rare steak. With a normal grill- I had a tough time getting it right. Searing burner took the guess work out. Get some grill marks within a couple of minutes per side and the steaks were perfect.
Letting the steak rest with some garlic butter made for a perfect meal. We had some deep fried white potatoes and sautéed spinach with mushrooms as the sides. I can never go back to not having a searing grill option again. Best steak I have ever made.
Our oldest child turned 19 today. That means she is legal drinking age and can have alcohol without trying to sneak it. On my 19th birthday I went to the club and got completely loaded with a coworker who was five years older than me. I was a disaster. Our daughter on the other hand? Well she chose something different.
She doesn’t want alcohol. It’s never interested her. Instead she wanted to have a day at work followed by an at home family dinner and some ice cream cake. Totally doable and within our means!
I’m really impressed by how much more mature she is than I ever was when it comes to partying. But we still had a lot of fun at dinner. We were listening to a playlist that her sister cream Spotify, took some silly photos and cut the ice cream cake in the worst possible ways. Laughter filled the atmosphere.
It was exactly what she wanted. Why not give a person what they ask for on their birthday? No unwanted surprises. Just a casual night at home with family. In the end it was more a gift for the rest of us than for her. She even arrived home in great spirits!
Happy 19th Birthday Random! May you always be the responsible adult you have proven to be on your first day of adulthood!
Tonight was the perfect night to go out for dinner with the family. It was also the perfect evening to eat outside and stare at the water.
Every summer we go to Crescent Beach and get ourselves deep fried cod and chips. Then off to find a log or some rocks to sit at to enjoy our dinner. This year we tried a new fish and chips location. We were not disappointed!
While we waited for the fish to cool down a bit, the family posed for a picture at the beach. After several retakes and arguing, I got a sort of okay photo of us. You’d think that after all of these years my kids would just cooperate willingly. I mean, honestly- how hard is it to give a smile to your poor old dad?
After dinner, we strolled along the beach looking at houses and the fun seaside artwork that the town has. I’m happy that we are only about a twenty minute drive to Crescent Beach. I’m hoping to go kayaking some more like we did last year- read about it White Rock Kayaking.
This summer could go on forever. I’m enjoying every minute of it. Even the arguing about posing for a picture. That’s quality family time!
Yesterday we had some close friends over for an evening of hanging poolside. I love to entertain, and our anniversary was a great reason to have friends over.
We supplied our guests with food and drinks. There were bottles of wine chilling on ice for everyone’s pleasure. I had also printed off some custom labels for the water bottles. I made sure to keep everyone hydrated as we hung out in the sunshine.
Most of the evening I spent wandering around and socializing with everyone. At one point in the evening my buddies and I took a “Bro Pic”. We had done the same thing years ago at a brewery. It was the only picture i know of that was taken all day.
That’s a good thing. It means everyone was having fun and distracted from their phones. My wife and I are lucky to have such great friends that we have known for years. Even better is the fact that they mesh well with one another.
A hearty thank you to everyone for coming over and having fun yesterday. We look forward to having our friends over more often now that we are settled into our new home.
Once in a while my middle wants to have a day with me. We have dubbed it “Daddy/Darwin Day”. Usually it’s me taking her out for a lunch or coffee and we talk. Today was a spontaneous “Daddy/Darwin Day” that we both needed.
We started with returning the recycling to get a bit of money back and clean out prior to our move. $12.10 is all we received, but no big deal- we didn’t have much to return. Then we went for gas and into town to hit up Indigo Books. It’s a favorite of our two daughters to go to a bookstore when they need an emotional “pick-me-up“.
Our little world at home has been having a couple road bumps, so it was nice that she asked me to go out with her. In fact, she paid for our Frappuccinos later in the afternoon. That was a lovely treat.
We had good heart to heart bantering. As well, she asked cryptic questions that I answered, but knew she was trying to get somewhere… without getting there directly.
She even tried to drive the Honda Element down the block to our house. This was a good milestone achievement as the vehicle is manual transmission and this was her first time driving a car with a clutch. Not too shabby.
I enjoyed our time together and wish to have more days like this.
It’s been a few years but I finally got to have one of my favorite “Firsties” this morning. It may not seem like much, but it is one of my most anticipated experiences. I rarely get to enjoy it because other members of my family get to it before I do. They probably don’t realize how much I enjoy these moments.
I’m talking about a fresh jar of peanut butter.
To me, there’s something beautiful and magical about being the first to open a jar of peanut butter. We buy Kraft smooth peanut butter and always have. What I enjoy is unscrewing the lid and seeing that the foil seal is still pristine. A quick tug of the tab and the smooth brown spread is exposed to the air and a waft of peanuty goodness comes out.
The untouched butter taunts me awaiting the first scoop. A knife or spoon- doesn’t matter; all that matters is taking that first swipe. The cut that drives into a perfectly flat crown. The utensil slides down deep followed by a twist and out comes the first taste.
That first taste is the greatest. It’s as if the peanut butter has a chemical reaction with the air as it is exposed for the first time since the factory. I get a little greedy and spread extra on my toast. But hey, these moments are few and far between. Why not spoil myself just this once?
Do you have the same experience with a fresh jar of peanut butter? Or do you find a similar joy with another food?
Our son is turning fifteen today. I can’t believe how the time is flying by over these past years. He is the youngest of our children, so these birthdays hit a bit differently. Each one of his birthdays and achievements is a reminder that there won’t be any more to come.
Alright, I’m not going to get all teary eyed. Instead I want to say that Theory is a great kid. He has always been a fantastic son who loves to share his passions with me. We talk a lot about every subject imaginable. I have a relationship with him that is far superior than the one I had with my father. It shows in the fact that our son wants me to be a part of his world all the time. Two years ago was completely Devoted to him.
Usually he is a mama’s boy. My wife still thinks of him as the baby of the family. He definitely gets the majority of hugs from mom compared to the rest of us.
He also has a great relationship with his sisters. Yesterday he hung out with his eldest sister as she iced his birthday cake. They laughed and goofed off for about four hours in the kitchen. He also has a ton of fun with his other sister as they hang out and share jokes.
Today we had a sugar induced brunch as requested by Theory. Waffles, hashbrowns, maple bacon, whipped cream, syrup, and a three layer cake. Part way through the meal our kids decided to play frisbee in the backyard to burn off some of the sugar rush. I just sat there vibrating from the sugar.
As much as I want to write so much more about him, I have already shared stories of Theory in the past. I’d like to summarize by saying that Theory is always the type of kid who puts everyone else first. His kindness is the greatest gift ever. I wish for him to continue on that pathway throughout his life.
Happy Birthday once more Theory! You are the best son a dad could hope for.
This afternoon my wife and I picked up our two youngest kids from school and headed out for an early dinner. As I have mentioned previously, I like to support local and small businesses. Tonight we took the kids to The Raving Gamer.
My wife and I have been to The Raving Gamer a few times ourselves. We enjoy the atmosphere of eating and playing board games. It always gave us a chance to try some games before purchasing them.
Tonight, we were the only people at the Raving Gamer. That is mostly because of the COVID restrictions in British Columbia. No indoor dining permitted. Outside in the parking lot of The Raving Gamer is only one table for four and a few tables for two. Not exactly a “Patio” compared to mainstream restaurants. But it serves its purpose allowing patrons to still enjoy a meal. As you can see, the food was appetizing and tasty.
Just before our early dinner, we played a game called Telestrations. Where you get given a word and have a minute to draw it out, then the next person guess the word, the next person draws the word and the person afterwards has to write what they think the word is and so on until it gets back to the original player. Like a game hybrid of telephone and Pictionary.
The game was fun for the four of us. I would like to see how much more creative it would turn out to be for up to twelve people playing. During the few rounds we did play, we laughed pretty hard. We all wanted to play more of the game, but know that it would be a fun party game with more players.
It was definitely a game we would recommend for larger groups. Obviously once Covid restrictions are lifted.
Are you supporting small businesses these days? Or perhaps playing games during the pandemic? Send me some recommendations for either of those. I want to still enjoy life and share experiences with others.
Since it was my daughter’s birthday yesterday, we wanted to do a nice dinner for her. Usually we get Nikko Sushi for any celebratory meals. But our daughter wanted to try something different. Due to current health restrictions in British Columbia, we had to order take out.
It also happened to be “National Take Out Day” as well! We picked up some slushies from a corner store, some Indian Food from Taj, and an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.
Besides samosas, my family doesn’t eat a lot of Indian food. We did buy samosas, but we also had coconut chicken curry, butter naan bread, and paneer. It was delicious. I am impressed that our kids are always willing to explore tastes from other cultures.
The ice cream cake was a delicious end to the meal. Our daughter has been enjoying 80’s/90’s movies all her life and went with a “Clueless” inspired cake. We watched the film afterwards for a good laugh. (Wow, there are a lot of stars that were up and comers from back then! Thanks IMDB for helping me to recognize them.)
Did you enjoy some take out yesterday? What did you have?
Do you like Indian cuisine? What would you recommend we try next time from a restaurant?
Everyone loves to take pictures of their meals. Be it at a restaurant or a homemade meal. I am no different. If the food has a delicious presentation, it needs to be shared. “Instagramable” so to speak.
My wife made a lovely turkey dinner last night. So I took some pictures. Dinner was delicious. The plate in front of me was But you wouldn’t be able to tell that by these next couple of photos:
Just look at that bird’s hole. The flash from my phone added a glistening that really made it unappealing.
The cranberry sauce from a can was the perfect accompaniment to the turkey. Check out the ridges on the jelly. Yummy.
It’s amazing how a picture can change a person’s perspective on things. But the food was still just as tasty as ever!