Donuts or Doughnuts?

Mmmm dessert cake things. However you want to spell them (I’ll use both spellings in this blog)- they are sweet treats of yum that make you go nuts!

Okay, sugar high aside… we made donuts from scratch today. they turned out pretty darned good. I decided to make the doughnuts because I put fresh oil in the deep fryer. No one wants French fry or chicken strip flavored desserts.

The recipe was one I’ve been wanting to try for ages since I first ate one of these doughnuts. I didn’t make the cotton candy icing this time around. Forget it! I’m going to start a second batch right now and do that for this next batch. For the first donuts, our daughter made a lemon icing that she loves, and is equally as delicious.

I know a few things I could do differently… mostly patience with the yeast and the rising of the dough. But not bad for my first ever attempt. Definitely going to repeat it… Right now!

Here is the link to the original recipe. Go and try it for yourself!!! Terri’s Donuts

Sushi At Home

I’m enjoying this at home meal making. Tonight I made homemade sushi. I’ve made sushi at home previously, so I wasn’t afraid to have another go at it. I’m also getting better at making sushi.

I also cheated a bit this time around. I used a Sushezi. It’s essentially a “Sushi Bazooka” that pushes out the rice/fish mixture. It makes the sushi rolls so much faster than when I roll my own. Unfortunately they are much larger than regular sushi rolls.

The family enjoyed the dinner and scarfed it down in record time. Much faster than when I was making it.

How are your cooking skills these days?

I Made Pasta!!! Eat It.

I’ve always wanted to make my own pasta. So I decided that while I’m at home avoiding the world- this is the best time to try it. I even had a helper who enjoyed the rolling out of the pasta.

A couple of years ago I wrote about my discovery of my father’s old pasta maker: My Place Is In The Kitchen. It promptly was put in the back of a cupboard to be forgotten about, until today. I think it was because of playing the video game “Overcooked 2” recently that inspired me.

I decided to try my hand at making spinach pasta as my first ever attempt. Mainly because my wife bought a metric shit-ton of spinach, and no one was eating it. Why not make a green pasta with a white sauce?

Our middle daughter was a fantastic helper as we rolled out long strands of pasta. She also brought her Pop Vinyl from the film Ratatouille so that he could watch over us.

Who knew making pasta was so easy? And delicious. A glass of wine and a side casear salad made for a great family dinner. Making the pasta took the better part of an hour. But it was some good quality time spent with my daughter, and I’d do that any day.

Spread ‘Em!

My go-to breakfast of choice is the one, the only, the crowd favorite- TOAST!

Powdered Toast Man-
The Breakfast Superhero!

Okay, maybe it’s not the greatest breakfast in the world. But it is so easy to make. Slice of bread goes in the toaster, toasted bread comes out. It’s one of life’s little miracles. And it’s a regular staple in my home.

The most pertinent question remains for said toast. What do you put on it? Jam? Jelly? Marmalade? Butter? I’m a big fan of most spreads. Strawberry jam, citrus marmalade, or even Nutella!!!

My usual is peanut butter and honey. I love how the peanut butter gets a bit melty and super smooth. Spread some liquid honey on that and I’m in heaven. It’s the simple pleasures in life that make me happy. I’m easy like Sunday morning.

What is your spread of choice? Are you a jam or jelly type? Or perhaps you like the toast dry? No judging here!

Parent Volunteering

This afternoon I was with some of the Grade 12 parents as we prepared for tomorrow night’s festivities. There is a Speakeasy going on in Fort Langley as a fund raiser for the Dry Grad.

There were tons of props made already. Parents of Fine Arts students are equally as artistic as the children who attend the school. I’m glad to be a part of it all.

I was assisting with some painting and cooking. There is tons of finger foods and hors d’oeuvres for tomorrow’s dance. I enjoyed cooking on a gas stove once more. As we made food and props, we also enjoyed some music and some beverages.

Laughing and talking with other parents about our kids was great. We all have the same goal and want the best for our kids. Doing a Fund Raiser that also allows parents to have fun is a good way to break the ice and make memories for the parents (and later in the year- the teens).

Being a volunteer parent should be a mandatory job. I had nothing but fun with the mothers over the past few months and leading up to this afternoon. I’m looking forward to tomorrow night.

Fort St. John Hospitality

We spent the weekend in Fort St. John at the BC Winter Games. We are really proud of our kids for reaching some Person Bests this weekend! As well, our son with his friends are bringing home a bronze medal: BC Winter Games Success. But the hospitality Fort St. John offered was amazing.

We stayed at the Pomeroy Inn & Suites. The hotel chain had their first location in Fort St. John back in 1941. There is now 8 locations in BC and Alberta. Their accommodations were clean and the breakfast was filling. It’s no wonder that the Pomeroy also supported the building of the Long Track Speed Skating arena. It helps boost tourism into the city.

For lunches, my wife discovered the most amazing donair place. A little hole in the wall with delicious food. Fort St. John has been hiding this secret place from the rest of us. We ate there three days in a row. FST Donair- remember that name if you ever find yourself in Fort St. John!

After the Saturday events, we went to a Social put on by the Northern Lights College. We enjoyed some beers, snacks and a hot chocolate bar. It was a nice way to mingle with some locals and other parents who came to watch their kids perform in the games.

Closing Ceremonies
(The Big Screen showing off our son to the crowd. Another proud moment.)

Finally, I want to acknowledge the city and people of Fort St. John. They were kind, friendly and very helpful all weekend long. Visiting Northern BC was never really on my must-travel-to locations in the past. But as we’ve been to Fort St. John a couple of times now within the year, I can see why people would live here or visit more often.

I expect to visit a few more times over the years as our son progresses with his Speed Skating goals. Perhaps we will discover some more hidden gems in their city that I can share.

The Last Of It…

We have three teenagers in our home. They are witty, intelligent and caring of others. They are also moody, self absorbed and lazy. Not knowing which attribute we will see around the house is a fun game. A game I am not always prepared to play.

The worst part of this game is as a parent, I’ll ask a question of them. A question that I’m not expecting an answer to. More a rhetorical question that I want them to think about. As I grow older I realize that this is a typical “Dad Thing” to do. And my kids do the typical “Teenage Thing” as a response.

Here we see an example of what our kids love to do. They don’t quite use up everything. Just enough that they leave it for someone else to find/replace/change/throw out… a roll of toilet paper with one square… A carton of juice with five drops left… Sour cream with half a spoonful remaining… When I ask, “Who finished…?” I get the usual, “Not Me.” And sometimes, “It’s not empty…”

If I didn’t have to supply nourishment to them, there are some days I’d leave the fridge barren to prove a point. which I am tempted to do this weekend. Leave some lemon juice, a yogurt, pickled pepperoncinis, salad dressings and condiments- see how well they’d survive before asking for real food.

The joys of being a parent to three teenagers brings out my immaturity.

Ramen Bella

Today I took my daughters out for lunch. We stopped in at a local eatery that opened up late last year- Ramen Bella. We have been to a variety of Ramen restaurants in Seattle, Calgary and even Tokyo. Finally having a Ramen Restaurant nearby our home made me happy. So naturally we had to test it out.

They have some unique fusion styles of noodle soup. I enjoyed the Matcha Latte Ramen. Which is exactly as it sounds- and it had a side of lime.

My oldest enjoyed The Black ramen. It had a very dark shoyu tare broth seasoned with garlic flakes.

My other daughter opted for the traditional miso style broth. All of our ramen came with the same style noodles, sliced pork, and corn in the broth. We left satisfied with our meals and full bellies.

Supporting small business is always something I encourage. Trying new restaurants and sharing positive experiences is something else I like to do. If you live in the Fraser Valley- head out to Ramen Bella for a lovely meal.

Eating Healthier

Over the winter break, there is an over indulgence in eating. Lots of treats and rich foods that show up during that time of year. With a New Year comes all those plans to start eating better and live a healthy lifestyle.

Yesterday my wife went out and splurged on fruits and vegetables. I say “splurged” because it’s winter and many of those foods are greenhouse grown this time of year and cost far more than they do any other time. But it’s back to school time today and the kids need balanced food groups. Some favorites are in our home- such as apples, oranges, and bananas- all for consumption to offset those cookies from last month. My wife even bought a dragonfruit- a family favorite.

I’m not sure how to explain her purchase of “Oreo Flavoured Candy Canes” though. Perhaps a little bit of sugary treats are still desired. I guess she can’t expect us to go über healthy all at once, right?

Brambles Bistro

We are two days into January and my wife and I had our first date of the year. We went for breakfast in Abbotsford at a place called Brambles Bistro at Tanglebank. It was a quiet location with only two other patrons inside.

Besides having great company (my wife!) we enjoyed some local farm fresh meals.

I ordered the Short Rib Skillet: Braised short ribs, au jus, roasted potatoes, smoked cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions, apples and two poached eggs. It looked like it wasn’t going to be a very large meal, but by the end I was definitely satisfied and full.

My wife ordered Huevos Rancheros. It contained smoked yams, charred corn and beans, smoked cheddar and two sunny side up eggs. It was served with avocado, pico, lime, and cilantro. A fantastic mix of sweet and spicy.

We savored our breakfasts then wandered around the shop. I could see how this place would be busier in the summer as the bistro is a part of the nursery and garden. I’m surprised that this was our first visit here since the Bistro has been open since 2012 and the Nursery since the mid-nineties.

As I love supporting small businesses, this is another one that I’d recommend to everyone.

Rich and Egg-citing Foods

The winter season is all about food. Yesterday I mentioned Leftovers and previously I wrote about Christmas Baking. But there are other rich foods that I love and only enjoy this time of year.

Egg Nog.

The thick, sweet, dairy product that makes me feel bloated with joy. As an adult I have moved on from adding dark rum to this beverage. Now I mix it with Fireball or Gingerbread Rum. It makes my insides feel like I’m getting tipsy on what Christmas should taste like.

Deviled Eggs

Oh my. I could eat a plate of these little creamed yoke treats. But my brain knows that my body would be unhappy afterwards. So one, maybe two, are enjoyed. A simple delicacy that was often found at picnics or potlucks of the 70’s and 80’s. Now they dawn our table at Christmas. Our son made these ones and they turned out delicious- as always.

What rich foods to you over indulge with over Christmas?

Holiday Leftovers

We enjoyed a variety of food over the Winter Solstice, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day that we do not need to prepare meals for the next few days.

Half of our fridge is filled with storage containers of a variety of foods. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cheeses, meats, desserts and all of the other sides that went with the meals. If the kids get hungry- they can mix and match the leftovers.

Yesterday and today I’ve been working on a turkey soup as well. Boiling the remainder of meat off the bones. It has created an excellent aroma in our home that adds a coziness to our castle. That’s tomorrow night’s lunch/dinner. Later today we will make what we call “Turkey Slop”. Mashed potatoes, gravy and turkey meat all mixed together in a pot. I cannot wait to enjoy it this evening.

Did you make an abundance of food over the holidays? Do you enjoy leftovers as well? Let me know in the comments what you do with your turkey leftovers.

It’s Christmas Time

Last night our son wanted to help with dinner, so I had him make pretty much all of it. And it turned out delicious. We made schnitzel together. It was the first time he has helped to make it.

It’s the dinner I had every Christmas Eve growing up. I’m not sure why, but schnitzel at Christmas always tastes better than schnitzel any other time. Last night was even tastier because of it being made by our thirteen year old.

Carrying on traditions and engaging our children in them makes me happy. We have many other traditions that we keep up with. But this dinner is my favorite.

What do you have for dinner at Christmas? Have you shared with your children how to prepare and cook meals? Let me know in the comments.

And Merry Christmas to one and all!

Christmas Eve 2019

Ah Christmas Eve Day. There’s last minute shopping, plans for dinner and tomorrow’s morning rituals. Is it worthwhile? I like to think so.

I plan on finishing my day at work, drive home a bit more cautiously than usual and relax to some Christmas music. I’ll get home and listen to some more Christmas music while I make dinner with my wife. We will probably play a video game or watch a film as a family before retiring for the night.

My calm evening will lead into a calm day. I am appreciative of all the preparations that my family has done ahead of time to make Christmas go smoothly. Sometimes the expectations are too high. Not every Christmas can get knocked out of the park. I guess we shall see what tomorrow brings.

Have a great evening with family and friends!

Orange You Glad?

When you’re happy- it’s good to share some smiles with the world. On Saturday our daughter decided to mark up our mandarin oranges with some attitude.

I take two of the oranges with me to work each day. To be honest, this actually brightens my days more than I expected. Our daughter shared the picture on her Instagram and her friends loved it as well.

Sometimes a simple gesture or a bit of fun can make people happy. Orange you glad I shared this image today?

Winter Solstice 2019

Being an Atheist is easy. I follow the universe in the endless adventures bestowed upon it. Science explains so much of what is happening out there that it all seems so simple in the end.

Science, and the world around us, is full of wonder. It’s also full of obviousness. One of which is The Solstice. We celebrate the Winter Solstice every year at our home. I invite family, friends, and coworkers out for a feast and some drinks. We celebrate the longest day of the year which suffers the least amount of sunlight.

It’s the day that crests into the steadying of daylight hours. All of the days following shall feel longer. Until we reach the apex of the Summer Solstice.

Whether you celebrate the Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah or any other sort of tradition this winter- I hope you spend it with those who you care about and who care about you in return.

More Christmas Cookie Baking

My wife turned me on to a wonderful tradition- baking cookies for Christmas. I bake a variety of cookies throughout December. The problem is that the cookies I baked two weeks ago are all gone. Now it’s time to buckle down and bake more for the winter break.

When my wife and I first met, we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on gifts for family and friends. So baking cookies, handmade candles, cards, and ornaments was a good way to show we cared. Crafting and baking was also a fantastic way to get some quality time.

Now, years later, I bake solo for the most part during this time of year. I’ve had the kids help periodically, but our weekends and evenings are filled up with activities. I bake during my days off with some Christmas tunes playing. I have a pleasurable time dancing around the kitchen.

I want to share one of my favorite recipes with you. No, it’s not Wookiee Cookies, even though they are top notch! I want to share one of the most basic recipes ever that is from a cookbook from 1979. I received the book in 1980 or 1981 and I’ve made these Peanut Butter cookies ever since. Only once did they turn out awful. That was a mix of the peanut butter I used (don’t use crunchy!) and the fact that I thought making them bigger would make them tastier. I was about 10 years old at the time- bigger should’ve meant better, right?

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup regular sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • In large bowl mix shortening and peanut butter. Add both kids of sugar, stir until mixed. Then stir in eggs and vanilla. Mix throughly.
  • In a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Then mix all ingredients together.
  • Form dough into small balls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Gently flatten with a fork to create a “hashtag”.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. Makes 3 dozen cookies.
  • An optional change I have made is adding a cup of Reese’s peanut butter chips into the mix. The chips don’t melt and really bring out more peanut butter flavor to them.

    Enjoy this recipe! I’m now onto making those Wookiee Cookies and moist ginger snaps. Maybe I’ll share those recipes at a later date.

    Staff Christmas Party

    Last night my wife and I attended my work Christmas Party at my boss’s home. After a long day of watching our son at Speed Skating, it was nice to get out and socialize. And my coworkers enjoy socializing!

    I’m the kind of person who generally gets things going at various events- be it a wedding or party. I don’t mean getting out of hand and crazy. I mean I’m usually the first one at the food table gathering nun-nums and starting the conversation of what foods I tried. Last night was no exception. I also tend to place myself down in a good spot that many people “stop by” and strike up conversations.

    As the evening progressed, everyone let loose a bit more. A couple coworkers cleared off the dining room table for a beer pong tournament, while others shared some of their more fancier alcohols. Music, jokes and great conversations were happening. I had to cut my evening short about three hours in. It was already a long day, plus I had to be up early for work. My coworkers were getting up to some shenanigans and I’m sure some fun stories will be shared at the water cooler this week.

    Working with a hangover is for the young these days. I haven’t wanted to push my limits lately as there are already plenty of stories of my insobriety out there. Even my kids have a few.

    As we left, I thanked our hosts for the hospitality. My boss’s wife is quite amazing at cooking and baking it seems. There was a lovely spread of appetizers and treats laid out. As we were leaving, I asked for her recipe on how she made the doughnuts. She mentioned that it’s on her blog in which I follow. Honestly, I didn’t know that I followed her specifically, because I enjoy a variety of blogs. But there she was, and her first blog post- Doughnuts! I may have to try my hand at deep frying something beyond savory goodies one day.

    Just a friendly reminder- If you are out at holiday parties please make sure you have a safe ride home. As embarrassing as being a bit tipsy may be the next day, having a “next day” is more important.

    The Family Saturday

    Today was a long day filled with some quality family time. Quality time is something that I treasure whenever we can get it.

    It started with early morning speed skating training, followed by a free movie at the theater. It was Community Day so we took in a classic film- “A Christmas Story” to start our season right. By far one of my most favorite films. Seeing it in the theater added a new ambiance to the film and legitimate out loud laughs by the audience.

    The film was over around lunch. We came straight home, did a quick tidy/clean before settling in to a favorite family activity. It’s the first Saturday after my wife’s birthday, so that meant decorations for our trees were to go up!

    Loads of fun, dancing, singing and smiles were had. It helped that my wife and I had cookies and Firenog as well. Today is a day that our oldest loves to be a part of and willingly gets her picture taken with a smile!

    We have three trees, so the kids rotate which topper they put up. It’s the first year I haven’t lifted anyone up to do it. It’s also the first year that my wife did this:

    She broke an ornament! It’s not Christmas until at least one ornament explodes.

    Raving Gamer

    For my wife’s birthday, I took her out for lunch this afternoon at a place called The Raving Gamer Bistro in Langley, BC.

    It’s the perfect style of place for my wife and I. It’s locally owned and operated. The menu serves locally-sourced ingredients from many of the places that I love to visit in Langley and nearby.

    I enjoyed the Three’s Company Grilled Cheese: Golden Ears cheddar & gouda on Langley’s A Bread Affair’s Three’s Company bread.

    My wife ate the Raving Water Buffalo Burger: a house-made patty of local water buffalo with bread and butter pickles, fresh tomatoes, red onion, gouda from Golden Ears Cheese Crafters, double smoked bacon and a house-made Russian dressing.

    Both of us opted for the house-cut fries with “butta-shoyu” & Japanese spice; and a local beer to wash it all down.

    During our lunch, we had a chance to enjoy some one on one time while playing board games. The selection of games to play was extensive. After our meal, we browsed through some of the games for sale. These aren’t your typical Monopoly variations or poker games. Many of the games I had never heard of. But when I asked the staff about games- they had knowledgeable answers.

    We had a nice quiet lunch- we were the only two customers in there. It sounds like they are much busier in the evening time, especially on the weekends. I highly recommend visiting the Bistro. But be prepared to spend time and money! We were there for about an hour and a half and spent $100. But we also picked up a game that we have been wanting for some time now. So it was worthwhile investment for the future of our fun!

    Baking Cake

    I enjoy baking cookies. I think I’ve mastered the art of deliciousness in each and every batch. My family and coworkers enjoy sampling my treats. And I really enjoy sharing them.

    Today I made ginger snaps. And just like every other cookie I bake- they turned out perfect. I also baked a cake for my wife’s birthday tomorrow. Cakes for me are easy. I only ever do the boxed cakes. Quick and easy. I usually have a variety of mixes on hand because we use them as a Waffle batter substitute. Best idea ever!

    However, I am not talented at icing cakes. I understand the concept behind butter cream icing, crumb coats and piping tubes. I can just never express in physical form what my mind is trying to achieve.

    Our son’s birthday cake earlier this year looked tasty. But it wasn’t exactly what I was aiming for. It did the trick though. A a sweet dessert treat for a quick celebration. The same goes for my wife’s cake for tomorrow. My heart is in it, but my skills just aren’t there.

    So I’ll just bake more cookies later this month. Those are always a hit.

    The Big Freeze

    Yesterday I went into our large freezer to look for a dinner idea. I wasn’t able to find what I was looking for. That’s because our chest freezer had become chaotic.

    My wife and I were given this freezer twenty years ago from a family friend of mine. They were moving out of province and were giving away items. I picked up this chest freezer and an old school heavy a.f. pullout couch bed. Come to think of it, I have no idea where that couch has gone to now…

    Anyhow, I decided to clean out the freezer and reorganize it. Jut like I did with our fridge freezer last year: Freezer Food

    It was like diving into a time capsule. Deep down in the recesses I discovered ham from 2016 and beef stew from 2015. Looks like our dog was going to get those once thawed.

    I scrapped all the ice off and gave the freezer a wipe down before reorganizing and taking inventory of what we had. Seems like we have meals for a few weeks remaining. It also looks like our freezer is only half full now. Where as before it was a jumble of crap. I’m happy to have gone through it and make it tidy once more.

    To make myself feel warmer, I kept some frozen blueberries out and made a batch of tasty blueberry muffins. This has got me in the mood to start some Christmas Cookie Baking! Is it too soon? Maybe the first batches will be “testers”, right?

    Driving On Nine

    We travelled for nine hours to get to Prince George, BC. I did the majority of the drive. The only time my wife did the driving, she was stopped by the police for enjoying the speed of the car. Which unfortunately was within the first couple hours.

    We made a pit stop in Quesnel just prior to arriving at our destination. There’s a small brewery that we liked back in the summer, so we made sure to stop once more for some lunch and beers. With a little over an hour remaining to get to the destination, it was a nice way to enjoy the afternoon.

    We checked into our hotel- The Pomeroy- and they had upgraded us to a full kitchen suite at no extra cost. That meant we could go to the local grocery store and make a quick dinner instead of spending money unnecessarily at a restaurant! Bonus since we have a small fine to pay from earlier…

    I took our son downstairs to do a workout before dinner. He hit up the elliptical, bike and treadmill for about ten minutes each. It was a great way to get his leg muscles active after such a long journey in the car. I even got my heart rate going on the bike and treadmill.

    Our daughter has been enjoying writing during the road trip. She has a journal titled “Plans For World Domination“. I’m pretty sure she is secretly trying to take over the world by being obvious. Only time will tell.

    I spent some time after dinner enjoying the newly updated pool and hot tub that the hotel had to offer. I’d like to say I was alone, but since there are a couple of waterslides- there were a few kids around. I still got a couple of laps in though and felt relaxed afterwards.

    Now it’s time to encourage Theory in his Speed Skating. I mean, he is the reason we came up here!

    Is A Brewery Good For Kids?

    I have been taking my children to the Trading Post Eatery in Fort Langley for ages now. This is the second location of their brewery and is more of an eatery and brewhouse than anything. Usually I have a beer and I treat the kids to a snack. We love the yam fries and specialty foods that are available.

    Because of the quality of the food- I don’t mind the kids tagging along. This afternoon my son asked if he is allowed to order some food for pick up on his lunch. That brought up an interesting thought- “Is it okay for my kids to order food from a brewery?” The answer is “Yes”.

    At least from this local “restaurant” it’s not an issue. I asked the manager and he said it’s totally fine for my kids to place an order for pick up. My son now has Trading Post as a contact in his phone for those days at lunch that he wants to walk in to town and grab lunch.

    My Turkey Helper

    On Saturday I had two of our children help with baking: Saturday Baking with My Kids. Yesterday I had our middle child help with our turkey dinner.

    We had a lot of fun preparing the bird. I love teaching my children the art of cooking. Giving explanations to the “hows” and “whys” when cooking is always important. From temperatures to spices- it’s all important.

    Once the bird had been cooking for a few hours, it was back to making the side dishes. Vegetables and mashed potatoes were about to be prepared. Our daughter thought her helping out was over after the bird so she had gotten changed into some nicer clothes. Little did she know that making a feast takes a lot of effort! But she willingly assisted.

    Our dinner turned out delicious. We now have plenty of leftovers to last the week. From soup to sandwiches- we will be eating turkey leftovers until we are sick of them. Much like everyone else who is celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend.

    So enjoy your meals with family and friends. Don’t let the Tryptophan knock you down. I’m ready for a nap just writing about it.