Friday, July 31, 2009

Bait and switch.

So the daughter decided she was going to make dinner again this evening. Planned it out yesterday and everything. Then 4:30 rolls around and she just isn't that into dinner. So I got the nod and was up off the bench within minutes.

Tonights dish was a red pepper and coconut chicken dish. Lots of cilantro. I rather enjoyed it. Pureed half the red pepper and onion and all of the garlic, diced the other half f the veggies. Tore three chicken breasts off the bone and into strips. The diced veggies and chicken pieces were browned on all sides in a large skillet. Then the puree was added back with salt and pepper (note to self more salt and pepper next time). This was cooked for about seven minutes. Then a can of coconut milk was added. Simmered for another 8 minutes or so then the chopped up cliantro was added into the mix. Served over a bed of nice white rice. I added paprika to mine after the fact. Everyone had to add some salt. But it was a nice meal. (okay I had already eaten a bunch before I took the picture, at least the bowl hadn't yet been licked clean)After dinnerthe two oldest and I went to see the new Ice Age movie at the theatre. They both had a good time even if I did eat most of the popcorn. (I have bigger hands and am more focussed, its not my fault.) The going out after dinner was pretty exciting even if I did just have to talk the son down. Bit of an over tired tantrum. I don't know why I partake in these. He is asleep on the couch now and I can easily move him back to his bed. Definitely the path of least resistance and thus should be first choice.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Casserole Heaven

Well I imagine most of my west coast readers are as far from wanting to whip up a casserole in their kitchen as they have ever been. However, we made this one on the barbecue. Didn't see that one coming did you.

I was feeling like we needed to eat vegetarian again but wasn't feeling much like the usual standards. So I decided to make a potato casserole. I started by gently sauteeing half a medium onion and five medium sized chopped up mushrooms. I put three cloves of garlic through my little presser and put those in too. Once they were all sweaty and starting to brown I added more oil. Then I took a quarter cup of flour and sprinkled a bunch of it on. After mixing added some milk and kept mixing. Back and forth between flour and milk until I had maybe two cups of sauce. I finished with salt, pepper and cumin to taste. It wasn't all that thick but had some good consistency and was quite flavourful.

Then in a big roasting pan I oiled the bottom lightly and put down a first layer of scalloped potatoes. Next I added sliced carrots followed by zuchinnin, broccoli, a tiny bit of cottage cheese ( I would have used more but that was all we had left) and then another layer of potatoes. On top of this layer I added some grated mozzarella (you know, its for kids). After it was all done I poured the sauce over everything. In no way did the sauce come close to covering everythnig but seeing as that wasn't my goal it was okay.

I covered the whole deal with tinfoil and put it on the barbecue. With all three burners on low I left it in there for an hour. Our grill didn't get above 350 with all three burners on and I think that was just about right. I would have loved to grill it for about five minutes at the end to crisp up the top but that will have to wait for a cooler day.

The wife added a mixed green salad with some red onion and vinegar dressing. Vegetarian rides again. I gotta tell you, I feel so good the day after eating vegetarian. Hoping to get up to four nights a week.

Otherwise it was a warm day. We gardened, watched videos, went to the library and are going for the after dinner swim. I mean, it is thursday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A quick visit.

Well we fired up the cue again tonight. After managing to get my mom to stay for dinner I got adventurous and made my own honey garlic glaze. To speed up the process I nuked the bowl full of sauce covered chicken on medium fir 7 minutes. The bbqing still took a while. However the mumma stuck it out and had a couple of drumsticksbefore she flew the coop. See what I did there. Huh, huh .. nice eh?
Currently the two oldest are off with mom at the park while I type one handed and try to entertain with my left. Note to sisters, it is possible but not fun.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ferocious Corn

She really looks like she is attacking that corn there doesn't she. I told her she looked like she was almost crying in the picture but she was having a great time while taking it. Along with corn we also had a tofu peanut sauce stir fry. Hey its Tofuesday. I used a whole packet of bean sprouts in the stir fry. I didn't want to but the wife cajoled me into it. I was using like two thirds and she gave me the stern look with a sharp verbal jab and I poured the rest in. Something about them not keeping well.

They sure did make for some good eatin though. You will notice that my dinner was served in the temporary holding bowl for sauced up tofu. I took it out of the wok while frying the vegetables and then returned it when the veggies were ready. Messy bowl. Yummy food. I think you know which matters to me.

We have a little g-ma action here for the next twenty four to thirty two hours. Need to change batteries in camera.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Garden Update.

So I here is the long awaited (at least by me) garden update.Above you can see from left to right. Lettuce that has gone to seed, see you next year, tomatoes that didn't find a spot on the drip line and on the right, foreground banana pepper and eggplant in the back.
This is the daughters sole surviving sunflower. Doing pretty well eh?

In the front are the recently planted carrots. I am hoping that they have a little size by september. I rolled back the weed matting and then replaced the poorly producing hot peppers with these guys. Further down the line you can see the tomatoes starting to really climb the twine. Everything in that grassy area in the middle is weeds weeds weeds. Oh bother.

For dinner this evening the wife decided to make her japanese potato croquettes or Korokke. Fabulous. She didn't deep fry them this evening she just pan fried them. I don't think she even used oil. So fabulous and not horrible for you. Double happiness.

The rest of dinner consisted of guacamole with tomato chunks and rice wrapped in nori. They were not photographed as I was busy consuming.

For lunch we had a nice vegetable soup and broth. Ask my daughter about it. She made it. I'm impressed.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Secrets in the Sauce.

When the apples start falling it is time to make sauce. Today we put up seventeen litres of the stuff. Should be good for a lot of baby food and the Mrs. also makes use of it in a lot of baking instead of butter.
The box in front of the Mrs. was totally full at one point. It is a large box. Our microwave came in that box. It is mostly empty now that we have put up the seventeen litres (10 litres pictured below). So after a wicked long day of running and making apple sauce and playing with and doing various things with the kids I was totally bagged. So I made pizza. It was pretty damn good pizza too. The wife however had a serious complaint. She wants more from her dough. She wants a whole wheat crust. Something with some fiber and heft. So from here on out I will be making two types of dough. I will make a smaller batch of the current dough and I will look for and try to perfect a whole wheat wholesome dough.
The basil leaves on top of this pizza were picked by the kids. Our garden is starting to round into shape. Speaking of gardening their is a truism that I read in one of my gardening books that I have really come to embrace. Vegetables are a lot of work. Fruit is almost free. I cannot tell you how little work has gone into raising the apples for apple sauce, the lovely cherries, and the raspberry canes. The eating apple tree is looking really good and come september they should be crisp and delicious. Good times. Have a good night.

ps. Both the wife and I managed to slice into a finger during the process. Used up the last two bandages in the house. We bought more when we got the pizza stuff.

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Artist.

Well we finally got the son's pictures -- all 141 of them -- downloaded tonight. After a monster cull we were down by about half. I have chosen a few of the ones I liked best. What do you think. Should he have his own flicker account? Please respond.

We train 'em young.

A trip to the library today managed to snag us some childrens cook books. The daughter wanted to do her part and make some dinner. I thought to myself, "This could be good, this could be real good."

Tonight's dinner was quick skillet lasagna from Canadian Living Best: Kids in the Kitchen Book. We added a few of our own flairs but basically Iread and she chopped, sprinkled and stirred.
Now there is a delicious smile to go with some chopped mushroom.Mmmm, fried garlic and ground beef. We didn't forget the basil.Here is what it all looked like before she stirred in the cooked pasta spirals and layered on the cheeseThe maestro with her masterpiece. She was pretty proud with the meal she made. We all were and of coursethe real question, how did it taste? I loved it. Everone else gobbled theirs up too. With the wife's coleslaw also on tap it was a great meal. And all I had to do was read.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stormy Vegetables.

Lets start with dinner. The Mrs. picked up a nice foccacia loaf from our baker friend and I made a vegetarian chili. Today was a good day and the spices and flavours mixed well. Who knows what makes for a good vegetarian chili day. Maybe the weather has something to do with it. My veggie chili has been so inconsistent lately that todays lovely flavour came as something of a surprise. Yeah me.
So on to the stormy, we had a thunderstorm here this afternoon. Massive booming noise, visible lightning strikes, occasional pounding rain. What does this all mean. No lake swimming. So still no movement on the ring front. The son however is making great progress in his swimming lessons. By great I mean he is mostly doing what he is told and have a great time doing it. Tomorrow is the last day and we have our fingers crossed that he is going to pass his level four. For some reason I think this is salamander.

We also had a swimming night at the pool. It is thrifty Thursday so I took the two oldest. A full two hours of swimming fun. They both had their new goggles and spent the majority of time under water. I was pooped by about 8:00 and sat and watched or threw the rings to dive for, for the last half hour. Good times.

The Mrs. and I have both noticed how tired we are. With the two of them looking for constant entertainment and no natural flow to the day we are both struggling a bit to get anything done. The schedule sort of works but what we really need are some activities that the kids can do with out direct supervision or parent input. Sort of looking forward to September. Yikes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A little help here.

So yeah, we went to the lake today for a swim and I have returned home without my wedding ring. You haven't happened to find it have you? We are pretty sure it is somewhere in the middle of the swimming area anywhere from 20 to 120 feet off shore. Yes, we do have plans to go back to the lake tomorrow. Me with snorkle, mask and a t-shirt to wear in the water while I troll around. Fingers crossed and hoping for a miracle. Not holding out much hope however.

As for dinner we had sushi. This is definitely the right meal to have on a hot day after being out and about. The wife whipped up both tuna salad and salmon salad type fillings. Both were great but the kids went nutso on the salmon and it is completely finished off. I also partook of the vegetable offerings. All in all filling and delish. But don't just take my word for it. Below is the daughter expressing her pleasure over having such a fine feast. I know it wasn't vegetarian but with the minimalist fish filling I will give it an almost. Really hoping to get my yoga on tonight and try and vanquish all the bad lost ring thoughts I am having. It is one of those things were the harder I try not to think about it the less I am able to think about anything else. Well shit, welcome anyways.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Finally Fish

But not for dinner. Our daughter felt it necessary to show off Hoi, the Siamese fighting fish. So here are a couple of candid shots. In both he is swimming about his tank enjoying some river water we brought home for him. Whether or not that was a good idea only time will tell. Hello

We killed it.

So, in spite of the gruesomeness of this evenings pictures I can honestly tell you that there were no animals harmed to make this evenings meal. I decided to make raspberry infused tofu steaks for dinner. The sauce was a blend of raspberrys, vinegar, cooking sake, olive oil, ginger powder, salt, soy sauce and sugar. I pressed the tofu and then covered it as the picture below demonstrates.
My raspberry mixture was quite thick and the tofu didn't take it up as well as it normally does. However, after microwaving the leftover marinade for a minute and a half the raspberry flavour came blasting out. Honestly, you could have poured it over some vanilla ice cream.

We also stirfried up some vegetables with some minced fresh ginger and garlic, some salt and pepper and a little vinegar. Crisp, fresh and delish. To start dinner off we had some chips and dips. The dips being kids salsa and dilly yogurt ranch dip. I am totally stuffed. Lets hope for an early night.

Going Veggie.

Well we are trying for a few days of vegetarian now that we are back home. You know, kind of flush out the system. So in that vein I made a vegetarian curry this evening. It had lots of different kinds of beans and I kicked up the flavour a notch with some ginger powder.
Unfortunately, we were all pretty satisfied by the time I got around to taking a picture so all we have for you is this mostly empty bowl. The bean and lentil soup mix didn't have enough time to soak or boil so there were some pretty crisp beans on everyone's dish. Thats what teeth are for I say. I made up for the crunchiness of the beans by whipping up an incredible raspberry smoothy. We are currently inundated with raspberries so we are using them in everything. Even raspberry jam. (see last night). Below is the son doing his best surprised look.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

We're Back

Well we have finally arrived back in Grand Forks. It was a grand eight days. We were on the go go go most of the time. Unfortunately we didn't take all that many pictures. Here are a few we took in Victoria.
The horses were hitched right outside our hotel. We never rode with them. This next picture was taken by a passerby. The Mrs. was going to take the picture but then this nice lady stepped in. Further along the walkway down by the water we stopped and watched a show by a juggler/comedian guy. I ended up in the show.The real highlight of the Victoria trip was spending quality time with our friends who moved from the GF. We had a lovely dinner together and then went for a walk and played in a park. Afterwards the kids played a board game. Just like old times.

Our time in Vancouver was split between staying at my mom's and staying at one of my sisters. Both sets of accomodation were outstanding. We had a couple of nights down at Kits beach hanging out and having snacks. We also had a great family reunion barbecue. We ate lots of burgers and fries and various other foods. All in all it was a great trip and we really enjoyed ourselves even though we are glad to be home.

So when you get home what is the first thing you do. We pick berries. We picked a couple of bucket loads of raspberries. After bringing them in the Mrs. pulled out the freezer jam pectin packets that she had sitting on a shelf. Half an hour later and voila. 11 quarts of raspberry freezer jam is down stairs in the upright freezer.I did clean up after all of this and then it was time to put the kids to bed. They of course had been busy and made a fort in one of their rooms. Now the son is asleep on the couch behind me because he is too scared to sleep in the fort. Lots to do tomorrow. Night.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy birthday to me.

For my birthday dinner this year I decided to make myself pizza. It was good. The Mrs. bought us some hot hungarian salami and it was the delicious not greasy kind. We also had the playt day of all play days today. Eight hours from start to finish. Things are still going smoothly so hopefully we finish strong. First summer adventure starts tomorrow. Swimming lessons finished today. I am a planning god. A minor one,

Easy Party

Usually when we have people over for dinner we snow ourselves under with the entree. We make something that is time consuming and tricky and spend a lot of time after the guests arrive cooking. Last night we made the smart choice of having hot dogs and smokies as our main course. On the side we had a caesar salad, a bean salad, veggies and dip, nachos and guacamole. We accompanied our home made buns/mini loaves with some store bought buns and that definitely kept the younger set satisfied. We also barbecued some yam fries, onions and mushrooms to go with the smokies.The caesar salad was made from a recipe I picked up on the net and it was good. The bean salad with mint was great as usual. We had real sour cream in the veggie dip and that was tasty.

As well as a lovely meal we also had a great time with the people who came over. The kids played from 3:00 to 9:00 and were just awesome. They played outside and down stairs and for the most part we didn't even notice them as we chatted upstairs. Yes, other kids makes for a good time.

Here is the picture of me making hot dog buns last night. To my family I have to say, whoa. For the first time I see it. I do bear an uncanny resemblance to my father. To me it looks like someone has pasted his face onto my body.
I must be getting old.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Where's the dinner?

Well we didn't quite get around to making dinner tonight. I made some tomato sauce for pasta at lunch time and everyone ate that.

What we did do was whip up some homemade hot dog/smokie buns for tomorrow nights dinner. We do plan to get some nice wonderbread style buns for the kids dogs and for anyone else who feels the need. However, I am really looking forward to my homemade smoky tomorrow evening. Until then.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fish: Day 1

Well we did it. Our family now owns a pet. It is a siamese fighting fish, a boy named Hoi-kun. It is already running my life. Every half an hour or so I am implored to go in and see how well he is doing. Not that the daughter is worried, she just thinks he is doing so darn well and wants to share it with the world. Of course we do have some issues. The darn pilot light will not go out on the heater no matter how low I turn it down or how hot the water gets. I have unplugged it for the night. Could it have been the complete submersion that the son decided would be for the best while no one else was looking. It specifically says on the package to not submerge. Right on the side is written large "Maximum water level" this writing is not at the top. Even with explicit instructions I figure he would have done it anyways. So yeah, will our fish die of pneumonia or heat stroke. If it dies does it need to be replaced? Obvious yes. Do I have to go back to the shop the next day and claim that our heater is faulty and ask for a replacement? Only if I can find the receipt. Speaking of which where did I put that receipt.

In the bigger picture I have a knot of dread that is taking over my abdomen about trying to find a fish sitter for while we are out of town. Do you pay a fish sitter? Will one of our retiree neighbours be thrilled at the possibility of coming to our house once a day to feed Hoi? I am telling you there better be great joy had by all because of this fish for me to be putting this level of thought and worry into it. Damn heater. Darn son.

In any case it was a happy "real" birthday for the daughter today. Asides from the heart wrenching decision to buy her a pet I also put in some time with the wife in the kitchen making her a Birthday feast. It consisted of gyoza, rice, greek salad, and a special order of bean soup. I was on soup and salad detail the Mrs. was on gyoza and rice. She really can whip up some gyoza. I will start with the soup which is not pictured here.

Half and onion, three cloves of garlic and six small mushrooms chopped fine and sauteed. Add a cup of water and simmer. Can of broad beans drained and rinsed. Food processed with a cup of water to a porridge like consistency. Porridge aside the sauteed and simmer onions et al are also food processed. Everything added back to the sauteeing pot with another cup of water. Half a head of broccolli and the heart along with a celery stalk chopped up. This is added to the now simmering soup along with salt, pepper, coriander (not really noticeable) dried dill and three bay leaves (we just bought a new package and wow is that a step up from the old bay leaves we had. Who knew fresh bay leaves were that much better). After taking it off the heat I added maybe half a cup of half and half. Mix and serve.

The Greek salad was just my best guess, half a red onion diced and put in the salad bowl, salted and mixed, added equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil (nice little pond in the bottom). Mixed and left to sit. Diced two large tomatoes, a whole long english cucumber and one and a half red peppers. This was all poured into the bowl and then mixed. Finally about 3 tablespoons of finely crumbled feta cheese on top and I was done.

This is what the kids looked like once dinner was ready. Now this is hard on the heels of a, "I'm starving when is dinner." Not five minutes later both totally sleepified.

The baby at least had the excuse he was talking to someone and couldn't come to the table.The wife and I had a very pleasant dinner and some adult conversation. Nothing risque, we talked mostly about jogging.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tofu-esday comes early.

Really we did have a plan. The plan included meals that ran from Monday to Thursday. Then we realised that it was our daughter's true birthday on Tuesday. Which meant we couldn't have a tofu-esday as usual. Under intense interogation she cracked and let slip that she wanted gyoza. It was tough getting it out of her but if the Bush administration can use water boarding, we ... well you know what I mean.

So that is tomorrow all sewn up but left us a little short for this evening. When we suddenly realised we could use tomorrows original plan for tonight. Thus the tofu monday.

As I sat reading my current novel the mrs boiled some water. As I walked around with book in one arm and fussy baby in the other the Mrs. diced vegetables and boiled up a pot of rice noodles. As I sat reading with a contented baby in my arms the Mrs. sat patiently waiting for my portion of the meal to get made. I eventually got the hint and put the book down. Within half an hour I had whipped up the tofu stir fry pictured above and we were all eating. All of us but the daughter who had fallen asleep watching a movie and waiting for dinner. She ate later.

Now everyone is asleep and I need to make some birthday coupons for buying a fish and all the accompanying accesories to lay out or possibly hang from the ceiling for tomorrows wake up. We were going to do the surprise you have a fish thing but couldn't find a time to buy it or decide were we would have kept it until nine o'clock this evening. So now I will help my son get to sleep as a thunder storm rolls in and hopefully reawaken to get the coupons all made.

It ain't so bad. I had a nap this afternoon. Or was that before lunch.