It is another sad day when an icon passes away. Today we lost singer/actor Meatloaf.
First time I remember seeing or hearing of Meatloaf was from “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. That movie changed my adolescence and I became more aware of sexuality. Shortly after me seeing that film, Meatloaf released the song, “Anything For Love”. I enjoyed the single immensely and continue to have it in rotation in my playlists. His ability to make epic rock opera/ rock ballads was exceptional.
Meatloaf also appeared in one of the greatest mind fuck movies of all time- “Fight Club”. I was working at the cinema and saw the film about five or six times. His name is Robert Paulson. Somehow he was able to be made fun of with the monologue; yet be able to portray a lost man needing something to grasp onto that the audience could connect with. I was a young adult at the time struggling with questions about life and depression. Seeing that struggles come in all shapes gave me hope.
As I looked through my photo memories today, I came across a series of pictures from 2012. It was the Epic Meatloaf dinner that I had made for friends. I filled a turkey roaster with nearly 40lbs of meat and cheese that day. Tonight I shall be making another meatloaf, albeit a regular one, as an homage to the late singer.
Planning when to eat during a night shift is tough. I know some people who choose to fast the entire night. Others eating junk food all night. Usually I like to have leftover dinners before midnight and later on a breakfast type of snack to get me through the last few hours before I go to bed. Sometimes it’s a granola bar, other times it’s oatmeal, and on a rare occasion it’s a Pop Tart.
Towards the end of my night shift today, I ate a sandwich that I had brought with me. Everyday for the last two weeks at work I have brought a peanut butter sandwich. I took a bite of my sandwich this morning and immediately my brain went haywire.
What the hell is wrong with this sandwich? It doesn’t taste like peanut butter at all. Yeah, that’s because I made myself a salami and cheese sandwich with mayo and mustard instead. I had completely forgotten that I had changed it up.
Not sure if I’m getting forgetful as I get older or I just exhausted at the end of a night shift. But man, did I ever feel stupid. Good thing no one knows what goes on in my head. But let me tell you- my tastebuds were expecting one thing and got totally Rick Rolled with another. A complete mental shock. A bit unsettling as well.
Anyhow, I vow to make myself a peanut butter sandwich for tonight.
I love eating honey. If it wasn’t so gosh darn expensive, I’d eat it twice as much. But like many people, our honey doesn’t stay liquid the entire time. No matter what type of container we keep it in, at some point the honey crystallizes.
Enjoying small jars of flavored honey from local shops is one of my favorite treats. But for daily use type of snack, we buy the larger bulk sized honey. The farm fresh honey is usually whipped and will generally stay smooth and spreadable. The store bought one usually starts out as liquid. Eventually that honey won’t flow easy.
Crystallized honey is still good to eat as it really has no expiration date. Some honey has been found in tombs from thousands of years ago. The natural sugars keep it flavorful as well.
The old truck my mother taught me was to run the jar of honey under hot water to liquify it once more. This usually got the outside edges of the jar to liquify, but not the entire things. A few years ago, our daughter tried to microwave a plastic jar of honey. That worked for the first attempt and a short amount. However, the second time warped and melted the bear shaped plastic bottle. Probably not good for our health at this point.
Research online has shown me that I need to be patient. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Then remove it from the heat for about five minutes. Finally put the jar of honey in the water and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Letting the hot water slowly liquify the honey is the best and safest way to go.
In order to prevent crystallized honey, you need to store it in warmer temperatures. As it gets colder, it crystallizes. Spending the winter in a garage or cold pantry is what changes it’s consistency. So keep that liquid honey warm and you won’t get stiff. But like I said, it’s more an inconvenience than anything once it hardens a bit.
It’s that time of year when rich foods fill you up and your brain becomes mushy. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is the time to overindulge and the have a reason for working out in January. I do the eating part. Not the workout part. Oftentimes I’m filling up on cheese. It gets tough to know when to stop.
We turned a meat and cheese charcuterie into a meal the other day. It was a lovely foray into the various cheeses that we know and love. Goat cheese (of all varieties) has become the most popular for this spread.
Sometimes we do a baked Brie that doesn’t last long either. But with all the other cheeses we bought, we didn’t pick one up this season. But tonight we will be having a cheese fondue. Normally that meal is saved for New Year’s Eve. But we moved it up a couple of days and plan on doing a “Deep Fry Fest” on December 31st. End the year with a greasy bang!
Do you get filled up on cheese during this week? Any favorite flavors that are a must have for the winter season?
Since I was a child, I always remember Christmas Eve day as time spent in the kitchen. There was dinner to get ready, fancy sandwiches to make, even a breakfast bake to get ready. This year is no different.
Having a large kitchen has made this year’s meal making an easier experience. My wife and daughter worked together making potato salad followed by the breakfast bake. I was able to work on the other side of the island and stay out of their way.
Besides just making the meals, we were also teaching our kids about cooking. Such as sharpening knives, proper mixing techniques, and the use of taste to create a palatable meal. As well, our son took great pride in laying out the sandwiches.
The sandwiches are called “Fancy Sandwiches” and was a tradition in my home growing up. My father always made fresh baked bread, so I followed suit and baked two loaves this morning. The smell of fresh baked bread fills the house with what I consider the smell of Christmas Eve.
Spending Christmas in the kitchen with the family is stressful, fun, and creative. By the end of the day, we all get to enjoy the food that we worked so hard on preparing.
Saturday my wife and I went all out and baked a bunch of cookies and treats. Normally we start baking at the start of December, but that also means the cookies are gone before Christmas Eve. This year, we have a bigger kitchen and better oven, so we worked cohesively in the kitchen.
We utilized the island to prepare the baked wares. Then used the stove top to allow the cookie sheets to cool, and the counter by the sink had the cooling racks to finish the job. Our sink was constantly filled and we washed up as we went.
We started at noon and finished baking by five. Although my wife pre-made and refrigerated a couple types of cookies ahead of time, we were still hopping in a busy kitchen. In the morning, my wife bought the elusive “Mint Chocolate Chips” that we had been looking for since November.
So in the end of one day we made the following cookies:
Peanut Butter with peanut butter chip.
Double mint chocolate chip.
And Rice Krispies Treats.
Before Christmas my wife has a few more cookies she wants to bake. Unfortunately I have to go to work, but coming home to fresh baked goodies is also a pleasure!
Are you done baking yet? How many different cookies do you make?
On our second to last day, we went for breakfast at the restaurant by the beach. We had our regular breakfast server- Carlos. He had seen us numerous times this trip. We were even seated at the same table every morning. Carlos brought us our drink order without being asked. He knew exactly what we wanted.
Immediately after breakfast we spent the rest of the morning on the beach. The waves were calmer than the day prior, so we enjoyed splashing around and being goofy. At one point, there were schools of fish swimming up to us. A fellow guest at the resort gave me a bun he had taken from the breakfast buffet. As I tore off pieces and tossed them in the water- more fish approached me. I was able to reach down and pet them.
In the afternoon we wandered to the pool and cooled off before dinner. We chose the French restaurant this time. This was quite the elegant experience. From frog leg appetizer to baked Alaska dessert, everything was a production and delicious.
We ended our evening at a cheesy magic show followed by a few games of UNO at the bar. Every single day has been filled with good times starting at 8am and ending by midnight.
In the middle of our vacation to Mexico, we decided to take a day on the beach. The beach first thing in the morning was impressively pristine. So we spent all day hanging out there.
Our friend, Megan, joined us while we relaxed. We had a few drinks, read our books, and frolicked in the ocean. I did my attempt at being David Hasslehoff running out of the ocean. The service was great as well, and the drinks kept coming.
Mid-day was a PCR test. We require this in order to get back into Canada. Not really a highlight, but it was quick and over with in a matter of moments. Soon we were back at the beach. That was when a couple of vendors came by selling jewelry, towels, blankets and dresses. I did my best negotiating and haggling and picked up a couple of souvenirs.
Shortly thereafter, my wife and I went to get a back massage on the beach. This was a fantastic way to relax and get those tense muscles loosened. The sound of the ocean in the background was tranquil and soothing.
Afterwards we headed out for dinner at the Teppanyaki again (it was by far the best experience for dinner). Once dinner was over, we headed to the theater and enjoyed a burlesque show. The theatrics and acrobatic dancing was intense. The show was well worth watching. My throat was sore from all of the hootin’ and hollerin’ I was doing.
Yesterday we had a full day just hanging out at the pool. That’s a lie. First thing in the morning we ate breakfast at a restaurant by the beach. Shortly after, we learned how to make guacamole and the history of the ingredients. Then we did salsa dancing lesson. THEN we hung out at the pool.
It was a good time relaxing. The drinks kept flowing and laughs were raucous. Lounging for hours really helped with the relaxation that was needed this year. As well, seeing our pool back home surrounded by snow made me happy to be here.
Later we had dinner at the Mexican restaurant where a mariachi duo came to our table and played some music. Afterwards I caught the tail end of a Michael Jackson tribute. We ended the night eating churros as live music played in the main plaza area. Halfway through vacation and it’s been so much fun.
Yesterday was my wife’s birthday. Besides enjoying Mexico, I added a day excursion for her and I to enjoy. All three activities were a blast!
First was a visit to Tulum. We learned about the ancient civilization and had a wonderful view of the ocean from up top. Shortly after we had some fun snorkeling with manta rays and sea turtles. This was immediately followed by a visit to swim through the Cenote caves.
When we got back to the resort, there was a lovely birthday plate waiting in our room for my wife. We met some friends for a Teppanyaki dinner. Great show with excellent food. Again, my wife was treated to a birthday dessert.
It was a great birthday for my wife who doesn’t always like being in the spotlight. The resort has been wonderful so far.
“Set amid lavish gardens on a half-mile-long stretch of pearlescent beach named Playa Del Secreto (The Secret Beach), the adults-only, all-inclusive Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya boasts one of the most breathtaking swimming pools in Riviera Maya, Mexico!”
That blurb doesn’t do this resort justice. Having never traveled to Mexico, this is our first taste of what the country, and an all-inclusive, has to offer. It has been nothing but friendly and fun for our first day. Pools, beaches, booze and friends made us feel welcome and comfortable.
We arrived by 9am, and check in wasn’t until 3pm. The resort held our luggage and we were off to begin enjoying the amenities. First thing was to get some breakfast and coffee into us. Of course mimosas began flowing steadily as well. My wife and I were warned by our tenants to not over indulge on the booze on day one. That was going to be challenging. But since water and food was also in abundance- we survived day one without issue.
Drinks were coming pretty regularly mind you. So we tried a bunch of new drinks. We also enjoyed some food truck tacos and an elegant dinner with some friends.
The night ended with my wife and I going for a stroll and enjoying the stars. Relaxing without concern is a great feeling. I can get used to this life and am already able to see what people find appealing about this style of vacationing.
I love to experiment with food. Baking and cooking make me happy. On my days off, I tend to take the time to create new meals for the family. Last night I tried something new.
We bought some of those large shell pastas the other day. I boiled them like I was supposed to. I also fried up some ground beef and stuffed them along with a chunk of cheese. Then I wrapped another shell over top. I was a little bit clumsy at times and ripped a few shells. But was over all satisfied with them. For the next step I decided to deep fry them in order to create a crunch and melt the cheese.
Deep frying them did exactly what I wanted. However, they each fell apart in the oil. So I had to pull the basket up and fish out the bits and put them in our dinner bowls. They were served with salsa and sour cream. Taste wise- the family enjoyed… mostly. The downside? These shells turn into little scoops that collected the oil from the deep fryer. So we got the occasional slurp of oil added. Nothing like drinking canola oil at dinner.
I suspect that each of us won’t be trusting a fart all day today. Those who know, know. Next time I might just deep fry the shells alone and then strain them before adding beef. Creating little scoops for our dinner. Sometimes you win at experimenting with foods, other times you carry a roll of toilet paper with you all day.
Due to the floods and slides cutting off Vancouver from the rest of Canada, a State of Emergency has been declared. This is affecting many of us locally. The biggest issue to happen is “Panic Buying”.
Until December 1st, the government has mandated that people only be allowed to purchase 30 liters of gas. For many of us, that’s somewhere between half to two thirds of a tank. More than enough fuel to get you around town for the week. Yet people lined up and bled the stations clean not following the orders. Jerry cans got filled and people went way beyond the limit.
Greed and hoarding also pushed people into clearing out the grocery store shelves. Again, no reason for it. Just fear and panic. People seem to forget that the only reason we run out is because of panic buying! The roads may be cut off for a bit longer still, and the railroads should be up and running in the next few days. Why can’t people eat what they have at home in the meantime?
If people just purchase what they need, then everyone can get what they need as well. Clearing the store shelves of food is ridiculous and it disgusts me to think that people don’t look out for one another. During panic buying times, we avoid shopping.
We keep about two weeks worth of canned and boxed goods in our garage on a regular basis. Our pantry is the size of a broom closet, so it doesn’t require much to fill the shelves. We always have pastas and keep our large freezer filled with meals to last for emergencies. Just like this one it seems.
Normally myself wife and I would be buying fruits, vegetables, and dairy products on a weekly basis. But for this week and next, we can enjoy frozen or canned vegetables instead to get our nutrients. Once people realize that there is no food shortage, perhaps they will calm down again.
Because in the end, it’s the “Panic Buyers” that are creating the shortage.
I’ve been having some issues at home lately. Yeah, not every day is swimming pools and pumpkin patches. In order to take my mind off things I decided to delve into baking for the day. So I’m not going to share my plight, but I want to tell you about my baking.
I didn’t bake anything extravagant. In fact I chose to revert back to my youth. You know, comfort baking. I started with an easy recipe- Rice Krispie Treats. Maybe my misery allows me to take more care and effort, but these were doggone delicious.
Shortly after I made some peanut butter cookies. It’s a recipe I have done for years. Check out the recipe here: Cookie Baking. It is the first cookie I ever learned to bake. I have perfected the recipe over the years (8 minutes people! Don’t bake for ten to twelve.) Usually I don’t feed my feelings, but these past few days it seemed like a requirement.
So baking a bit early for Christmas made me feel better. It kept me occupied and distracted. Something I needed. Most of my family appreciated these snacks, so that part was worth it. I’m still hungry for peace of mind. Hopefully I find it soon.
In life there are many events that create turning points for us. Those ones that really hit home are from our childhoods. The moment you ask your parents about Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. The truth arrives, the magic leaves our hearts and logic takes over.
But one moment is in our control. Sort of. Perhaps it’s peer pressure that forces us to change. But it is still a choice we all make. That moment?
The last time you go trick or treating.
This one hits hard because when it happens, it just happens. One year you’re dressed up and out collecting candy with friends. The next year you have one (or more) friends saying something along the lines of it being silly or immature. Then your other friends go along with it. As Halloween comes and goes you realize that your last Halloween was YOUR LAST HALLOWEEN.
That moment is when you grow up because of society. And in a way it’s also your choice. You could’ve easily gone door to door in a costume. Maybe you’d hear comments like, “Aren’t you a little old?” But that’s really for you to decide. Give in to peer pressure and save face? Or get out there and get treats? The choice was yours.
Both of our daughters finished their pumpkins right on time. Our 17 year old spent about five and a half hours on hers and this is how it turned out:
It was a character named Yuri from Doki Doki Literature Club. I love the detail she put into it. Watching her painstakingly carve and cut into the gourd impressed me.
Our oldest wanted to make her pumpkin match her make up. So she carved out scars and blistered looking lips and eyes. Then she stuck metal wire in to close it up. Definitely an original piece that looked creepy.
Her make up was detailed to match. She also made a large scythe this summer which accompanied the look. I love her originality and commitment to the character.
Having creative kids makes me proud. My wife and I are always encouraging them to make art and express themselves.
My daughter and I finally got around to carving a couple of pumpkins today. We were both going to do very detailed ones, yet our printer wasn’t working. So this threw us off a bit.
It meant I had to trace and freehand my designs today. Which was not perfect by any means. But I am still happy with the outcome of the pumpkins. They are okay-ish by my standards, but I was also trying something different and it didn’t work.
I tried to create flames for one pumpkin. This is how it turned out. I know where I could’ve improved. Doing smooth curves is difficult to cut. But since I was unable to do my original design, this was my backup.
My other design was a bit less detailed than previous years (2018 was my best one to date). Loki was a fantastic Marvel tv series, so I had to share my love of the fandom. I am happy with how this pumpkin turned out considering I had to draw it out myself. Usually I edit an image online to create a stencil.
Our middle child is still working on her pumpkin. She’s been at it for about five hours now. Her attention to detail is amazing. She also had to trace an image instead of printing one off. Our oldest daughter had to work today, so I am hoping that she creates a beautiful work of art tomorrow. If not, I’m sure my wife will make a Hello Kitty pumpkin.
I can’t wait to see the final results of our daughters’ designs and hard work. I love that they take after me in wanting to be better each year.
How did your pumpkin carving go this year? Are you getting better at it as each year goes on?
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.