Sunday, August 30, 2009

Home for Dinner

So after chasing the kids around today while they played with friends I was delighted to find, upon entry to the house, that dinner was ready. With all the vegetable goodness that our garden has given us the Mrs. decided to make ratatouille (forgive the spelling). It was good. She also cooked up some beans with fresh basil that also came from the garden. Mmmm good. I topped it all off with some fresh salsa. With all the ingredients coming from our most recent harvest I was feeling particularly satisfied. So so good.

Tomorrow it is back to work but for now I am just enjoying the final glowing rays of what has been an excellent summer.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Return of the Clan.

So we managed to make it back home today. It was a long seven or eight days but it was packed with fun. Here we go.

First lets flesh out our time at the PNE. Here are some shots of kids on rides.

I know you can't see it but we are watching the super dogs here. I think its a pretty good self portrait.The animal hits just kept on rolling with the petting zoo and the 4H exhibition. It was dusty but fun and the kids touched everything. The different armed forces were available for meeting and the kids spent some time in a LAV. We also managed to see the RCMP musical ride. Pictured here is one of the lead riders and her horse. Here is the kids trying to steal a fighter plane. The guy in the jumpsuit was onto them and didn't let them even close the hatch. Some shots were fired but no one was hurt. We did have other fun in the sunny lower mainland. Here we are picnicing down by the beach near our hotel. So nice to hang with family and just enjoy some summer.Then today, we arrived home and all plans to quickly unpack the car and organize stuff fell quickly by the way side and we hit the garden. Everything was great and the zuchinni was, as expected, huge. I am a little disappointed with our tomato harvest this year. Not that we don't have good tomatoes but the plants just aren't bearing the quantity that I yearn for. Other than the yellow cherry tomatoes everything else is moving very slowly. Ahh the joys of gardening. All in all a good way to wind down the summer. We can now start working steam up to kick off the start of the school year.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Fair

Well this is just a quick taster. Lots to do today. However, yesterday we spent the day at the PNE. It was great fun and taking your own kids really seemed to show me what a day at the Fair is really all about. It was so much fun to see them having so much fun.
Between visiting with the barn yard animals and going on the rides there was barely time to worry about $20 parking and $8 french fries. It was fun the whole time as was demonstrated by the son on the kids roller coaster.

video

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Not Leftovers.


So the original plan, at least I though the original plan, was to have leftovers tonight. However, as my wife ladled the last of the curry into her bowl at lunch time I was made aware that this was no longer, if it had ever been, the plan. So we had a kind of vegetarian pancake with a wonderful spinach salad, some rice and a little home made salsa (not pictured here). After finishing the pancakes the Mrs mentioned a few key ideas, 1) no garlic in said pancakes 2)forgot to put in the mushrooms 3) lets add some after the fact cheese. Well the cheese added something but the pancakes just didn't quite make it there for me. Now I wasn't cooking so I really can't complain. The son gobbled his with some ketchup and mustard and I put back my share so complaining would be unseemly. However, I think the garden grown green beans should have been nixed and the mushrooms and garlic were definites, not maybes, definites.

Well we are off for some more summer hijinx this week. Will try to keep you posted from abroad.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It could be the floor

Well I finally got to the garage today. It has been getting to me for quite a while and I am glad to return the favour. It is so nice to walk out the back door and look down into a clean and organized carport. The best part is that now that the trailer is sold I won't have to rearrange for winter. Yosh.

Just a quick pet peeve here. So the guy who buys my trailer writes me a cheque for the money. I take that cheque to his bank where he has his account. I want to cash it. I do not have an account at the bank. They want to charge me $5. Its his freakin bank. The money I am going to get is coming from that bank. Dude is going to pay a service charge for writing the cheque. FIVE DOLLARS!! I was insensed. I did not slap anyone or draw a gun but I was real real close. Totally ludicrous. CIBC if anyone was wondering. Okay moving right along.

For dinner we did not have the nimono we were thinking of having. It was a hot day so the wife made a daikon and carrot salad and I barbecued up some chicken wings. I would give it a six. Not enough veg and still have to much barbecue anxiety about cooking chicken on the grill. This evening it was both black and a little pink. Definitely not my strong suit.
Here is the son sporting a new hair cut. He asked for it this time which was nice. He is still a little squeamish about people touching his neck. Think fifth child syndrome. I think the real reason he wanted the cut was for the lightning bolts. He thinks he is dash from the Incredibles. One above each ear and one down the back. He is definitely moving with more zip as a result.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer Zaaaa

Well, it was pizza night again at Chez Us and we even invited some friends over to share in our good fortune. The pizza was pretty good but the last three pizzas had an interesting flaw. After letting the dough rise while making the first to I think the dough became to porous. Each of the last three pizzas stuck to the peal and wouldn't slide gently into the oven. The first of these was a complete mess as it was totally dressed on the peal. The other two I didn't dress until they were in the oven yet they still suffered from sauce seapage. When I was making the dough I added a cup of whole wheat where I would have normally used all purpose. I didn't add any extra water and the dough was tough to kneed. However, it seemed fine after rising. I am going to try the rolling pin next time right before dressing to see if this closes up any gaping pores. It was a hot day and I left the yeast in the warm water for quite a while as I was also prepping the toppings. So lots of variables could have brought this. I was quite disappointed with my pizza transfer however the actual pizza was pretty good.The Mrs weighed in with some Japanese curry and a spinach salad with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. The friends brought home made brownies and ice cream. Mmm mmm good. I am filling rather rotund and in need of some coma time. Manyana.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chicken say "What?"


So we may have had home made ramen tonight or we may have had chicken noodle soup. I say this because though we were shooting for ramen and the noodles were not your standard chicken noodle soup noodles the broth was right on the money. We used the last of the stock from the last time we made chicken salad and man was that some tasty soup. Clear and refreshing with some green peas, diced onion and celery.

I was in charge of the tofu and went with tofu steaks in peanut sauce again. I am going to try and take down the number of ingrediants in the sauce. I think I may be able to get away with peanut butter, cooking sake, vinegar, garlic and pepper. The peanuts have enough oil and salt to get away with not adding any soy sauce, salt or sesame oil. The sesame oil does have something extra but may not be necessary. I did not put in fresh ginger tonight which is definitely a mistake. However, it was still super yummy and both kids powered theirs back. The Mrs and I also partook of some home grown ggplant fried up in the pan with the tofu. So good. Anytime you are frying eggplant make sure you have the right amount of oil. Too little and things go horribly awry. Too much and things get very sloppy. Delicate balance there.

So the real question for this evening; Was this meal vegetarian?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch...

We are back baby. And the car is unpacked the trailer has been emptied and sold (now that was fast) and everyone is eating dinner. But I get ahead of myself.

You may remember that on Friday morning we were supposed to get packed and out the door to go camping. Amazingly enough we did. We managed to arrive at the campground by two in the afternoon and were fortunate to get there that early. The last totally empty first come first serve camp site belonged to us.Note the tarp covering the trailer. It was well used as it rained a fair bit the first evening and night. We were dry and snug inside. See don't they look dry and snug. Gratuitous baby shot coming up. If its not your thing then just skip this next one Our site was a double but we didn't mind someone else taking over the other half and it had a direct line of sight to the playground. Very important.The kids spent a majority of their time over their playing. My favourite quote has to be the son. After talking to some kids for five minutes we left the playground and were walkign back to our campsite. "Yeah, their my friends," he says to me matter of factly. To myself I thought, "its probably news to them." but to the son I signaled my agreement. As there is currently a campfire ban througout British Columbia the meals were less than camping spectacular. We definitely need to upgrade to the double burner Coleman stove. The single burner works when you can also cook on the fire but without that we were in trouble. Everything took a long time. So campfire ban was compounded by the weather. At times it was pretty cold. For the most part the rain held off and we just played under overcast skies. Swimming was out except for one spectacularly cold plunge I took. When I popped out I said to a friend on the beach, "my pores have shrunk down to nothing," which of course was the perfect set up for, "oh that's what shrank." Can't be lobbing up grapefruits like that. Its unbecoming. This is us bike riding down to our friends campsite. (Real friends not "five minute" friends, we had organized this trip in large part to hang out together).It is hard to see but these glasses are made of glow sticks and were glowing in the dark the whole evening, except of course when the flash went off.
We hung out a few times at the park and on the second night we went over to their site after dinner(they were sharing a double with some other friends of theirs) and we hung out till well past all our bedtimes. The lady with the kids on the left is part of the couple we were their with. Guy on the right is their friend who had organized the sites for them. My buddy is taking the picture. What a guy.

So that was the trip. No tubing, next to no swimming, weak camping meals, yet it was still a great time. I almost finished a book. I did finish my beers. The kids made tons of friends and just played their faces off. We went to the beach on the way home as it looked like the sun was going to make a break for it but in the end the clouds came back and after an hour or so we packed up and headed for home.

After arriving back home, before all the other work, I went out to the garden. This was today's haul.
Don't the eggplants look nice. I am very pleased. Also the basil continues to provide its green leafy goodness. Me likes it a lot. Below is the kids salsa. No hot peppers but with the garlic, basil, and tomato mixed in with zuchinni, apples, onions and red pepper it is really really flavourful. For dinner the wife was going to make some ground beef filled spring rolls but after cooking up the inside ingrediants I talked her out of going to the store for the wrappers and we just ate it over some rice. A very pleasant meal.Up next, another week of summer vay-cay. We have some swimming lessons and assorted paperwork and sundry coming up this week. Cleaning, gardening and possibly prepping the hallway for a paint. Back on the road next Friday so lets hope this week goes swimmingly. Weak as pun intended.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Endless Play

Well the kids had a great day today. The son and daughter played and played and played. The played outside and inside. Upstairs and down. I was tired just listening to them play. They are still at it. As for dinner we had mabo dofu. Ground beef, tofu, onions, garlic all fried up with some soy sauce and spices. It was great over a bowl of rice. The wife also sliced up a bunch of watermelon. Good stuff. Even the youngest got in on the watermelon act. Man was he lovin it.
I am currently watching Tropic Thunder. It is pretty good so far. We plan to go camping tomorrow. Should be good.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The unexpected.

Well we talked about a bunch of different stuff for dinner this evening but it turned out we had a bunch of leftovers with some noodle salad and pan fried potatoes with cheese.The daughter here is modelling her I love this dinner face. She packed away four helpings of the noodle salad. The son has yet to eat as he is passed out no the couch. Should be a late night with him. The leftover fish and curry rounded out the meal nicely and we almost didn't buy anything today. I unfortunately broke down and bought some beer and the Mrs. couldn't pass up the seven dollar 10 kilos of all purpose flour. It was like half price.

Otherwise it was a nice slow day around here. Working up the nerve to go camping this weekend. Fingers crossed it happens. No guarantees.

Ps. Oh yeah, little celebration for my 400th post. Shnikes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fissues

Well seeing as it was tofuesday we got a little grief for not having the other, other white meat. However since the salmon was scintilating and the rest of the grub was great we managed to get away with it.
The Mrs. found a whole sockeye salmon at the store and decided to cut it up into steaks and fry it teriyaki style. Apparently there was some miso involved in this operation. I was not privy to all the details but the end result was awesome. There are also a lot of leftovers so either I make a pig of myself later tonight or we get a second meal out of it. The salad was lettuce, red pepper, and feta cheese with the red onion vinaigrette. Awesome. The miso soup was made with some special ice cubes the wife had made and had some of the chinese cabbage along side the sea weed. Great and Great. The white rice was a fluffy understated cloud from which the rest of the meal could be properly viewed. In total this meal was so great that I started thinking something. I started thinking we need a notebook and pen in the kitchen. After eating a meal which worked as well as this one I am even more disappointed by last nights mediocre curry. I have to start using the measuring spoon and writing things down so that when I hit on something that works I can remember it and come back and make it again. I really enjoy experimenting but not being able to retrace my steps when I want to is frustrating. A photographic memory sounds pretty good about now but I think I will have to settle for a notebook and one extra step while cooking. If it works out and I do manage to capture some lighting in a bottle (nothing like a cliche to hammer home a point, another one right there) then I plan to share on the blog in full cook book style. The most important word in that last sentence was plan. Don't hold your breath.

In other news I fed the little guy tonight. Mostly ended up on my hand as he is real big on grabbing the spoon and putting it in his mouth himself. Is it just me or is he looking much bigger these days. Hard to tell on a day to day basis but now that its on the blog it feels kind of alarming. Where did our little baby go?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Curry and Cabbage.

Yes it is the green stuff but not money. I do like the idea of calling money cabbage but I never have enough cabbage or cabbage conversations to use that particular idiom, colloquialism, saying. So the cabbage will have to remain in my wife's salad. She chose the Chinese variety this evening and made a nice vinaigrette dressing to cloth it in. I went with curry but foolishly forgot to forage some coconut milk. I improvised but it wasn't my best work. Strangely enough the kids both finished off their plates (small lunch syndrome is my guess). After dinner we went kite flying and it was a perfect night for it. Gusty but not too strong. We had the long line all the way out and man was that kite flying high. After coming back home we had strawberry smoothies for dessert. Good times.

Below are the finished product pictures for the bed room. Fortunately the resolution isn't that good. I touched up the really glaring stuff but I have definitely learned from this experience. From here on out it will be paint the trim first and then tape and paint the rest. That has to be easier than the other way around. Also carry a rag and wipe off the glaring stuff so that when you paint the alternate colour on the trim/wall you don't need three coats. Yes many many lessons learned. I also need a thinner brush to paint the grooves in the wall board. I truly loathe wall board. I can't even imagine what a wide expanse of gyproc must be like to paint. You, a roller and twenty minutes. Zip, zip zip.

The wife mentioned how nice the room looked and wouldn't it have been nice to live in a house that looked that way the whole time. She is a little put out with the fix it up to sell thing. I pointed out that we would have had to paint again anyways as the kids have crayoned, painted, and written on most of the wall areas they can reach. She fortunately gave me this point but I don't think I will be that lucky in our next digs. Moving in will be much busier next time. That may be a "lets hire someone and go on vacation for a week," kind of a scenario. Time will tell.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Finished.

Well that took a while. However the bedroom is now officially painted. I mean I still need to rehang the doors and there are probably some touch ups to do and all the tape has to be cut away and taken down. However, the big part, the difficult part, the part where I spend three days sucking in paint fumes. That part is done. Once it is in display mode I promise to get some pictures taken and posted.

As for dinner this evening, I took an hour long break to barbecue and then devour some ribs. Of course ribs went on special today at the grocery store. We bought ours on Friday. Nice. They were good and yummy and with the green salad and roasted zuchinni it was a great dinner. Just would have been nice to buy the ribs on sale. Now the sale ribs are side ribs and we did have back ribs, hey lets live a little here. I mean the room is painted. Its time to celebrate.
Speaking of which, today the Mrs. went and baked up some cupcakes with the kids as an activity and then she made apple crumble for dessert. Talk about having it all. I will not go on at length but the apple crumble made with fresh transparent apples that were just picked ( I didn't manage to get all the apples when we made sauce) was so tart and sweet. I kissed it, slapped it and devoured it. Mmm good.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

What day is it?

This is the question I was posed as my enlisted help got down to business chopping. Why the day of the week was important I did not know. I puzzled for a second and the realised I should just give up the answer so I replied, "Saturday." To which my daughter replied, "but we are having tofu, its not tofuesday." Talk about starting something without even realising. So Tuesday has officially crossed over. I think that is kind of cool. Anyways I explained how we can have tofu on other nights as well. And then we got down to making dinner. The Mrs. made a greek salad. She went a little light on the cheese and vinegar (her call) but it was still delish and having our own cukes in the mix was nice.

I made a squash and basil soup. The squash was boiled in 4 cups of water with onion, celery, salt and pepper. Then it was pureed in the food processor with some fresh basil. This puree was added back to the remaining water and then we put in some broccoli and frozen corn. Next I added cumin and half a cube of vegetable stock. This was simmered until the broccoli had softened. Finally I threw in another handful of fresh basil leaves. I turned off the heat and let it sit for a bit before serving.

The stir fry was our now classic tofu in peanut sauce number. The vegetables included zuchinni and beans from our garden. It was great. (I used the bowl which held the tofu while the veggies were stir fried, don't tell anyone but you get extra sauce that way)

On a non food note the room was painted today. Tomorrow is for trim and the closet door. Pretty happy with how things have gone so far. Some small touch ups will be necessary but overall I think not a bad job.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Good to the last Drop.

So we actually got down to some painting today. For those of you keeping track I believe it may have taken two weeks from the planned start date. I just keep telling myself, "its not a race."
Of course everything else in our house is a race these days. This morning the wife gave the daughter the idea of have a yard sale with the stuffed animals we are planning to get rid of. So naturally the son had to get in on the action. They sold a total of zero stuffies and three glasses of weak, no lemon added, iced tea. I bought one of the glasses.For dinner I was lacking in motivation and so was the wife. She said we should get some take out. The daughter requested mom made food and the son wanted A & W chicken. Thus the table on display this evening. The wife made soba in a miso soup with some koya tofu mixed in. She also pan fried up some perogies. I took the son through the drive through and we got the family meal, on sale, $26.24 taxes in. Ouch.

I am now getting a lot of pressure to apply the finishing coat after dinner. Earlier the walls were cleaned and then a primer coat was applied. Not really feeling the continue painting vibe. I plan to resist and finish tomorrow. If I have the strength.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cool enough for the Oven.

Well we decided that with a slight break in the temperature today was finally the day to make bread. Rather a late start to that but by 4:00 they were all baked up and looking good on the counter. Now I told everyone to keep their hands off and their appetites whet so that they could devour some pizza.We made two kids (ham and basil; ham, pineapple and basil) and two adults (zuchinni, mushroom, onion, olive, banana peppers and basil). The wife also talked me into putting a cup of whole wheat into the dough in the place of a cup of regular flour. The dough was a little bit firmer. This made it harder to work with but it also slid more easily off the pizza peal. I partially lost two of the pizzas off the back side of the stone and had to fish out the hanging off bits. More flavour in the dough, maybe a little bready. However, it was good and the wife was satisfied so the most important criteria was met.The zuchinni that graced our pizza is pictured here beside a cucumber and tomato that were picked from the garden today. The basil and banana peppers on the pizza also came from the garden. Everything is coming together. Looking forward to the first eggplant and all the varieties of peppers and tomatoes that have not yet ripened. Gonna pick some beans tomorrow.