Thanksgiving Dinner

Not going to spend too much time writing today’s blog entry. I was working all day and rushed home to be with my wife and kids for Thanksgiving Dinner. So I’m hastily writing a quick note to wish everyone some well deserved time with family and friends!

I’m looking forward to our dinner, and it’s almost time for me to carve the turkey. The table is set and we are about to engage in conversations.

Have a great Thanksgiving Weekend everybody! Be sure and enjoy your time with those you love and the food that will be served.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Not going to spend too much time writing today’s blog entry. I was working all day and rushed home to be with my wife and kids for Thanksgiving Dinner. So I’m hastily writing a quick note to wish everyone some well deserved time with family and friends!

I’m looking forward to our dinner, and it’s almost time for me to carve the turkey. The table is set and we are about to engage in conversations.

Have a great Thanksgiving Weekend everybody! Be sure and enjoy your time with those you love and the food that will be served.

Last Minute Darwin Dinner Date

I left work at 6pm to go home. On my way, I went to pick up our middle child from their work. What should have been a 20 minute drive to meet them was well over twice that. So we decided to grab some dinner and wait out the traffic.

We stopped at Red Robin near where we met up. The burgers were pretty good and of course an Oreo milkshake was needed. We had a good conversation that was more adult-like than we normally have.

I’m glad we took the time to just hang out. It was far better than me rage driving in bad traffic. After our dinner, the commute home was quick.

Our doggo needed our attention since they had been home alone while we were both at work. It’s rare that someone isn’t at home to love her. She was super excited to see us when we did arrive home.

It was a pleasant evening together. A chance to hang out as friends instead of parent/child. I look forward to many more dinners like this as they grow up and want to share about their day and life with me.

Weekend At Home With My Wife

This weekend our two teenagers went off to Vancouver to attend Anirevo (an anime convention). So my wife and I had the place to ourselves.

And we goofed off.

We played in the pool for hours- splashing and laughing with a few drinks inside of us. We lounged in the gazebo (which we have now dubbed “The Cabana”) and had some fantastic dinners together. It was like having our own private oasis on vacation together. These past couple of days has us realizing that becoming “Empty Nesters” won’t be so bad.

I’m really happy that my wife and I can do these things together. It feels as though we didn’t really have much time to date before we jumped into parenthood 20 years ago. So we are making up for it now.

Life is pretty good these days.

Aqua Thursday

We had another fun filled afternoon and evening yesterday with our friends. We listened to music, had a few drinks, lounged in the pool, and ate a wonderful meal out on the deck. Our friend even did synchronized pool floatie dancing to Celine Dion for us.

It was a ton of fun, as always. I really enjoy their company and love spending time with friends.

I only captured a couple of photos as my phone is often the one that is playing music. This gives me more opportunity to be attentive to the conversations. A lull in talks didn’t have me reaching for my phone. In fact it was quite the opposite. It meant it was time for a new conversation topic.

Joking and playing around in the pool is loads of fun. Being an adult doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. If anything, I realize that who cares what other people think- just enjoy life! And enjoy it with friends.

We Made Pizzas!

Yesterday we made homemade pizzas. My wife made the dough and then I rolled it out once it was proofed. After the dough was in the pan, I let the pizzas proof a bit longer before we added toppings. That was one of the tricks I learned working at Chuck E. Cheese’s.

We had enough dough that we could have made four large pizzas. However, I only had two pizza pans. So I used a thin cast iron pan, two smaller individual cast iron pans and a baking sheet for the other pizzas. Surprisingly they all cooked perfectly!

The two small ones we put on bbq sauce instead of pizza sauce. Then we added pork, peppers and onions. The baking sheet one was just two types of cheese and super gooey! One of the pizzas we used ranch dressing (with a bit of flour to thicken it) and put only spinach and mozzarella on top.

Every single pizza had its unique flavour. As an added trick I learned from Chuck E. Cheese’s- I spread garlic butter on the crust once each was out of the oven. Best crust ever!

I really enjoy making things with dough. Time to start experimenting with other breads and treats. I think we should make some cheesy breadsticks next.

Home Cooked Memories

Taking pictures of a meal might seem a little bit facetious and cringe worthy at times. But I appreciate that I shared them years ago, because it has inspired me to make the same or very similar meals again.

Years ago, we made a “Surf n’ Turf” dinner. Steak, pasta, and crab. We are outdoors on our back deck- which was always something that my wife and I have done. The blue plates have been put aside for a few years now, same with those old placemats. So I know this picture is a few years old.

Last night we had almost the same meal. A steak with pasta and crab. The only change was instead of an Alfredo sauce, we had sautéed spinach with garlic butter. Again though, we are outside on our back deck to enjoy the meal. This time instead of trees and dusk settling in on us, we were watching the clouds roll on by.

I love to cook and try creating new meals. Sometimes classics are equally as amazing. Once you make a perfect steak- you always want to try and recreate that moment. Taking a picture of some of our other meals has inspired me to make them more often. Homemade breads are popular in our household, yet we don’t make them very often.

Do you take pictures of your meals? I’m glad I do. Especially when you don’t know what to have for dinner. Boom- inspiration.

Pork For Days

The other day I picked up a piece of pork that we had never tried before. It was a leg of pork with the bone in. The cost was reasonable for the amount of food we were getting. Pretty much like the size of a turkey, so I cooked it in the roasting pan.

I scored the fat and put some spices and rock salt on top. I threw it in the oven on a high heat for 30 minutes, then dropped it down to 350° for a few more hours to cook. Our home smelled lovely as it cooked.

When it was done, I pulled the pork out and let it rest for another 30 minutes. Dinner that night was great! We also had leftovers for days. We did some pork tacos the next night. Tonight, my wife is using the bone to create a bone broth for a ramen dinner and then a pulled pork soup in a day or two.

After this first piece of pork and the tastiness of our meals, I am planning to buy it more often in the future. Making it similar to having a turkey dinner with leftovers. Inexpensive and great for leftovers and future meals.

Cheesy Goodness

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?

Let me know in the comments.

Mid-Trip in Mexico

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.

It was another full day of relaxation and fun.

A Birthday To Remember For My Wife

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.

10% More Anal Leakage

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.

Gourmet Mac ‘N Cheese

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.

Colours Make Me Happy

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.

I love the colours of the world.

Searing Steaks

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.

Unappetizing Photos

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!

Green Food

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, so my wife decided to have some fun with our foods. We added a bit of food coloring to a couple of our meals.

Our pancake breakfast was a colorful way to start the day. This breakfast is always a family favorite no matter what colour we make them. The skillet cooked flapjacks were delicious.

Dinner however…

Dinner was unsettling.

My wife made fried chickpea patties, which are always good. We had a basic romaine lettuce salad on the side. Our other side was rice with a mushroom sauce. The mushroom sauce was dyed green and was most unappetizing looking. That made it a bit more difficult to enjoy, even though it is something we have had in the past (only in its normal state).

One of our kids described the sauce as ogre snot. The other said it looked like Nickelodeon slime. Unfortunately the colour changed how the meal tasted in my mind. I’ve had issues with foods in the past based on texture or smell. Never colour. This was a first for me.

Note to self: do not dye cream of mushroom soup ever again.

Shellfish Medley

I really do miss traveling these days. Besides hitting exciting destinations and seeing the sites, there’s a big thing that happens while traveling. It’s also the most costly part of vacations. That’s eating at restaurants- for five of us.

When we travelled as a family, we would make sure to go to one or two special restaurants. Some of my favorite places were sushi, ramen and seafood. We also made sure to dress up for a dinner as well (depending on the trip). Making meals an experience is just as important as the meals themselves.

Recently I was really missing the places like Joe’s Crab Shack, Bubba Gump’s, & The Crab Pot. From Anaheim to Seattle, even though they are relatively close- we aren’t leaving Canada any time soon. So why not bring the meals to us?

I went to the store and loaded up on shellfish for tonight’s dinner at home. Clams, mussels, snow crab, tiger prawns, Thai prawns, potatoes, fried farmer sausage and corn. It took me about thirty minutes of preparation and cooking. I sautéed some onion in garlic butter. Then I added a bottle of beer, two cups of water and lemon juice bringing it to a bowl. I spiced it up a bit with chili flakes, sriracha sauce and paprika before steaming the shellfish for a few minutes. Once everything was done, I tossed it all in a large canning pot with some taco seasoning.

Dinner was a success! Even though we had a large pot of food on the table, it was almost all gone. Everyone went for seconds and thirds. While we ate we talked about our previous vacations. It was a great feeling to reminisce. I enjoy how food can take us back to places we once visited.

Brisket Leftovers

Instead of a turkey this year, we made a brisket on our new BBQ. Usually I cut the meat into two or three smaller meals, but this time I decided to make the whole thing. That meant there was a lot of leftovers for us.

The brisket was larger than a turkey and a much more solid piece of meat. After our initial dinner, we still had more than 3/4 of the meat remaining. Since then I have had a few slices on sandwiches as well as frying a couple of pieces to go with eggs and toast.

But my favorite leftover has to be the brisket soup my wife made in our slow cooker. It was a tasty beef and barley soup that infused the Smokey flavor of the meat into each spoonful.

Tomorrow night’s dinner will be beef dip and fries. Perhaps we will be closer to finishing the meat at that point. With so much beef in our diets in such a short time- that means we will likely move away from red meat for a few weeks. I also can’t wait until spring and summer to start enjoying fresh vegetables once more.

Festive Food for All Hallow’s Eve

Everyone thinks of pumpkins and candy when it comes to Halloween. And while I enjoy both, it’s also fun to make regular meals with a spooky twist.

Last night I made meatloaf and potatoes. But with a twist.

The meatloaf was a couple of severed hands. I used onions as the finger nails. It didn’t take much longer to make than it would regular meatloaf. I only wish I had sliced mozzarella to put on top as a “skin”.

As a side dish I made “shrunk head” baked potatoes. Again, really easy and didn’t take too much longer to create. But the final result was a fun dinner that was outstandingly flavorful.

Do you have any Halloween dinners? Perhaps cute mummy hot dogs? or ghostly concoctions.

Let me know in the comments.

Audrey 3

I love musicals. I have shared my love of them with my family. In turn, they have grown to love them as well.

One of my favorite musical films is “Little Shop Of Horrors”. A great comedic cast that pulls it together in such a way that I couldn’t imagine anyone else performing the songs.

Over the summer, our middle child and I would play the soundtrack on Spotify repeatedly. I think we have memorized each and every song. Much to the chagrin of my wife… but it’s still fun.

Back in the spring, I planted a red cabbage in our back garden. Our oldest named it “Audrey 3”. It thrived nicely with the other vegetables. I harvested it this afternoon for dinner. I was pleasantly surprised by how big it had actually grown.

About half of Audrey 3 will be enjoyed tonight with our apple and Brie pork loin. Otherwise, that’d be too much cabbage! And the results would be far scarier than a lean green mother from outta space.

Unplanned Meal Additions

I’ve already finished day two of my four day weekend. Most of my time has been spent driving around for the kids. The other majority has been playing with my 3D printer and the props I’ve been making.

During all of this, I have been finding the time to make some decent dinners. My wife and I have been doing our best to get back into meal planning now that there is a set schedule for school. It sounds easy, but it really isn’t. My days off means I am the master chef.

I’m pretty bad at including vegetables in the meals. I usually just plan the meat portion and a side of potatoes, rice or pasta. This week I was behaving myself and adding in more vegetables. Last night was roasted cabbage and carrots. Tonight was pesto and tomato chicken.

For whatever reason, I never think of what vegetables to add. Perhaps one day I’ll get better at at. Until then, it’s roast beef and potatoes for Friday nights dinner!

Dinner Bundt Bread

Last night I decided to experiment with incorporating fresh baked bread with dinner. I came up with a dish worthy of being repeated, with a few tweaks.

I made a French bread dough recipe from scratch. After letting the dough rise, I took 2/3 of it and rolled it out as flat as I could so that it would fit nicely in a greased bundt pan.

I then put a thin layer of homemade pesto, sprinkling of feta cheese, added some cooked and seasoned ground beef, poured on some tomato sauce, finished with a layer of grated marble cheese. Then I folded over the balance of the dough and sealed the edges.

I baked it in the oven at 375° for 25 minutes. It came out golden and crisp. The flavors melted together beautifully. My only complaint was that the beef was crumbly. When I make it next time, I may need to add some bonding agent such as eggs or more cheese. It will change the taste once a bit, but not enough to make it drastic.

I chose to make this because I want to get into baking breads. Plus we rarely use our bundt pan. It seemed like a good combination for a dinner plan.

What do you make in your bundt pan?

Do you make fresh bread from scratch?

Hot Dog!

I’m a sucker for hot dogs. Especially a Costco Hot Dog! A buck and a half for a beef wiener and a soda? Hell yeah!

I swear that no matter what Costco you go to, their hot dogs always taste the same. We’ve done road trips up and down the west coast of British Columbia, the United States, and into Alberta- stopping for a Costco hot dog is a must. The price is a reliable $1.50. Ever since the mid 1980’s!

Costco Hot Dog with mustard- it’s my dinner tonight since it’s too hot to make a meal at home.

Grad Dinner..?

Our oldest Graduated three weeks ago from Grade 12. Besides the ceremonies being cancelled, so was the Grad Dinner. My wife and I have been trying to get our daughter out for a special dinner since then, with no luck. Our oldest originally wanted a special meal like the one my wife and I did Last Year at the Bacchus French Restaurant. But it hasn’t opened yet because of restrictions.

Today, we finally went out for a meal. Our oldest also wanted her siblings along, so we ended up at Ramen Bella in Langley. Where we each got a large bowl of ramen, and our daughter got herself a Poké Bowl.

It was a good treat for everyone and also very filling. I’m glad our oldest picked a place that the family could enjoy, even though my wife and I were trying to offer her something special just for her. It seems as though our daughter is still very family oriented and loves sharing experiences with her brother and sister.

To me, that shows she is growing up into a wonderful young lady. Each day I am becoming more and more proud of her.