Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mad Cow

The cats have gone berserk. But maybe I should start from the beginning...

A week and a half ago, our shipment of cow-ey goodness arrived. I should probably give you a bit of background on that- basically, last spring we agreed to split a quarter of a grass-fed, organic beef with my parents. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line (because my Mom let my Dad do the ordering), wires got crossed, and we ended up with a quarter each. That's 148 Lbs of beef for those of you counting. And yes, that is a heck of a lot of money that we hadn't planned to spend.

When it arrived, I was day 2 into a very bad cold- we're talking plague here- and poor Sean had to bring it all up by himself, but I helped get it into the freezer.

So we have a considerable investment of the bovine variety in our freezer. Then of course, murphy's law kicks in and... we lose power... for 24 hours. Luckily, the freezer is a good one, and we piled some blankets on top to insulate it, so all's well.

Why did we lose power you ask? Well, there was a gigantic fire on the next street over; a newly built condo complex went up in flames and the blaze spread to adjacent buildings... did I mention that we're adjacent? It was very, very scary, I was home sick and ran around packing up a bag of essentials and important documents aswell as trying to get the cats into their carrying cages in case we had to evacuate (by that time phase 1 of our complex had already been given the order to evacuate, so I wasn't even overreacting). We never did have to evacuate, but our power went out shortly after I started to relax again. Take a look at the fire for yourself below.

Anyways, back to the cats, we had some wonderful burgers from our beef stockpile (because thankfully if one has a BBQ & a flashlight, one can still cook dinner!) and the cats were going crazy begging for raw burger. I relented and they both had some, which is weird because Max usually doesn't like to eat anything other than catfood. Ever since, they've been tearing around like maniacs at all hours and I swear, our crazy downstairs neighbour is going to sue us for harassment. I think she probably has mad cow too.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Summer Vacation

Sean & I had a wonderful summer vacation visiting family in New Brunswick. At first, I was a little leery of the legendary heat and the bugs, but as it turned out, the weather was perfect all week. I won't mention the bugs.

We spent 4 days in Fredericton with Sean's sister Jody, her husband Jeff & little cutie Sawyer. Sean & Jeff got little bits of guy time here and there, and Jody even took me out to see the Boyce Farmer's Market in Fredericton. It was the best market I've ever been to, and we had a great time... even if it was 6 in the morning!

We also spent 4 days in Stickney visiting Sean's Mom & Dad. Jody & Sawyer came too, but Jeff couldn't come as he had to work. Boy, did Sawyer keep us busy! Uncle Sean soon became the clear favourite, and slept very well at night from all the exercise he got! We both marvelled at how clever Sawyer is and how much he'd grown since last Christmas. We all relaxed a bit and enjoyed the entertainment.

On the second to last day in Stickney, Don & Susan invited some more family over for a BBQ lunch. I met Susan's sisters Sylvia & Darlene (with husband Dennis), and Don's sister Sadie. I really enjoyed finally meeting them all, matching up the faces with the stories and seeing everyone together.

Our last 2 days in New Brunswick were spent in and around Moncton, Dieppe & Memramcook for a wedding. It was a beautiful and unique ceremony, and Alex & Julie seem like wonderful people. Congratulations to them both!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Who's your Papa?

Today, Sean & I went to Japan, and it only cost us $10 in gas.

Sometime this week, Sean heard about the newest Asian sensation to hit North America; Beard Papa's Creme Puffs. After reading all about them and watching the story of their creation online, we decided to venture into Richmond to snag a couple to try.

The city of Richmond is directly south of Vancouver (and North-West of Surrey, where we live). The demographic is about 85% Asian, mostly from China and Japan, as is demonstrated by everything from an eastern style of architecture, to Chinese signage. The Beard Papa store is located in Aberdeen Centre, a mall neither of us had been to.

As soon as we entered the mall, we felt like we'd been transported thousands of miles away. Everyone there was Asian, and most were speaking languages other than English. The stores were all very unique, selling everything from clothing (where a size 8 is an XL), to pottery & art, to digital 'Lotus' toilet seats (If you need a laugh, you should really watch this educational video promoting Lotus Toilet seats. A picture really is worth a thousand words). On the bottom level (no pun intended) of the mall, there was a large organic foods display with real veggies growing in a portable garden and plastic animals and farm paraphernalia. It was a wonderful exhibit and a great opportunity for little city kids to see how vegetables grow. I was also very glad the animals were of the plastic variety...

Oh, I should also mention there was a store showing/selling Ferraris, Maseratis and accessories. That was pretty sweet.

We bought a box of Beard Papas, (which come in three varieties; original, eclair and the daily special (which was matcha/green tea today) and took them over to my parent's place to share them. They definitely lived up to all the hype! Light and crispy outside, smooth and creamy inside, and not too sweet or heavy. My sister has demanded them for her birthday in September. Yummo.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Today was one big foodgasm

What a day.

After 2 weeks of strict diet eating (NO CAFFFFFFFFFFFEEEEEEEEEIIIIIINNNNNNE!), Sean & I took my folks along to Eat Vancouver. Ooooh baby, what a cheat day.

Basically, EV is a great big food fest/trade show with dozens of exhibitors, vendors, and demos. We went last year and discovered some great things (the worlds' best BBQ sauce for one... which turned out to be unavailable west of Ontario), sampled some wonderful food, and marvelled at the cook-off contestants. This year was much of the same, but we kicked off the day at the celebrity chef stage to watch Food Network's Bob Blumer. He made pizza on the BBQ which we are definitely going to have to try very soon.

We came home with tons of freebies (Yay!), a case of the coveted 'Canadian Club BBQ Sauce', and strangely enough, some all natural Kitty litter. We also brought home some Dog treats seeing as how the cats (or at least Leo) think they're dogs anyway.

For lunch (we actually didn't eat much at the fest- been there, done that.) we went to Kaplan's Deli. Located in the heart of Vancouver's Jewish community, Kaplan's has been a landmark of good eats for over 40 years. Man, can they make a sandwich. I had a Chicago-Style hot dog (beef, of course) with kosher pickles, relish, mustard, peppers and who knows what else. It was bigger than my face. I will gladly admit, that despite all my yuppie-west coast tastes, my all time favourite food, in the entire universe, bar none, is the glorious hot dog! And that was the best one I've ever had.

We wrapped up the day at the pub, with my work friends from the library (Sean likes to come because apparently we're amusing). It was nice having so many spouses/partners there. It was also great seeing everybody, since currently I am working elsewhere (a quaint community library on the wrong side of Hell).

All in all, a wonderful day- and sunny too!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Shorty Don't Play Dat!

Those who know me well can attest to the fact that I do not bake. Bad things happen when I bake.

The things is, all this 'Ooopsie' stuff has been making me curious and tonight... I'm making meringue cookies.

Hopefully, all will go well. When I told my Mom what I was doing she said, "Well, if they catch fire, just do what you did in High School and hurl them off the deck!". Good advice Mom.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ooopsie! Hurray!

I made oopsie rolls tonight, which are actually bun-like oddities. They were amazing!! I got the recipe off of a low-carber blog, the recipe itself having been discovered by accident. They passed pretty well for hamburger buns and Sean was so happy! Weird recipe though, you'd never guess they'd turn out the way they did.

We had them with some asian turkey burgers which Sean liked (ok,me too.) so much we had it two nights in a row. And we never have the same thing two nights in a row. Here's the recipe for anyone who might like to try it. We've been BBQing them, but you could also pop 'em under the broiler, flipping them once.

Asian Turkey Burgers

Burgers:

1 lb Turkey
2 T soy sauce
1 T Splenda
1 T sweet thai chili sauce
1/2 T parsely
1 t ground ginger
1 t cumin
1 t curry

Sauce:

1/2 c mayo
2 T sweet chilli sauce
2 T soy sauce
1 t hot sauce
1 t sesame seed oil

Method:
1) Mix all the burger stuff together and form into 4 patties. Grill or broil until internal temperature registers at 165F.
2) While burgers cook, mix all the sauce stuff together and chill.
3) Garnish burgers with alfalfa sprouts & baby spinach (he ate it folks!) and top with sauce. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Group Therapy

Hello, my name is Holly, and I'm an addict.

Yes it's true, I've become addicted to grouprecipes.com

GR is soooooo awesome. It's a lot like a Facebook for foodies and people who love to cook. You can share your recipes, rate others' recipes and collect the ones you like. I'll log on for a couple of minutes and soon find I've been on for hours. I've tried out a bunch of them lately and have added some of my own. Sean often has to wait before he eats his dinner so that I can take a pic to post along with the recipe. Oh well, he's still getting fed. :D

Cleaning Day

Today is a beautiful warm sunny Vancouver day, and as such, we are stuck indoors. Today we are cleaning.

Housework in the Quinn (West) household is patchy at best. We are both messy people, and neither of us enjoy cleaning up after ourselves. We have household chores divided, and are supposed to do them weekly, but somehow, we often find something better to do.

Well, the plumber is coming tomorrow and the ant guy (our building is waging an ongoing battle with pharaoh ants) is coming Wednesday. This means we clean today, because while it may to acceptable to us, I prefer our filth to stay out of public view.

Right now Sean is vacuuming, which I am very thankful for. We may have differing opinions on how to vacuum (I pick things up as I go, and move furniture to vacuum underneath, while Sean is the master of vacuuming around the obstacles) but I run around before and pick everything up, and he does a good job. I'm happy for the help.

Sean's also been doing a lot of dishes by hand lately, as our dishwasher packed it in. I've been trying really, really hard to use as few dishes as possible. Plumber guy will be by tomorrow to install the new dishwasher and remove the broken old stupid garborator and plumb up the hole. Yay! Two working sinks at last!

I've been washing and folding laundry, and even putting it away. After Sean's done vacuuming, I'll attack the kitchen- mopping, wiping, cleaning, etc. I'm even going to wash under the sink (for the plumber's benefit) which I rarely do because I prefer to pretend it does not exist. A couple weekends ago we cleaned out the spare bedroom and got rid of A LOT of crap and stuff we don't use, so we're well on our way to having a place to be proud of!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Look what I found...


A long long time ago, I blogged about a very ugly mug that Sean bought. (btw- it still lives) Today I stumbled across the picture I took of it, so here it is, for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sean's Quote of the Day

"But my body doesn't like nutrition; it likes malnutrition!"

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Flax Meal Waffles 1.0

Ok, ok, I know I haven't blogged in a while, so here I am. The more that happens in life, the more I find to blog about and the less time I have to do so. Since the big stuff takes a lot of time and energy to relate, this morning I will wow you with my most recent adventure into culinary chaos: the flax meal waffle.

As many of you know, my husband Sean & I have been dieting since early January. It has been really fun and interesting (for me) trying new recipes and adjusting old ones to fit within our new lifestyle (I made Chicken Saltimbocca the other night- Yum!). One such recipe that I've had great success with is the Friday Night Pizza. Unfortunately, this morning's foray into the mystical land of alternate waffles was not a happy one.

Flax is (apparently) one of those 'Superfoods" that everyone should eat more of. Trouble is, it tastes like crap. Even so, once a week we trek out into Burnaby to go to a little bakery in the middle of an industrial park called Red Square Bakery. We buy special low-carb flax bread and crackers there from little old Russian men who talk a bit too much. The bread is not fantastic, but it's the best option out there. It tastes ok, doesn't have too many seeds and the texture is ok too. The important thing is that it lets Sean have sandwiches for lunch. On one of our Red Square trips, I picked up some Golden Flax meal. I figured I could make waffles or pancakes for a treat on weekends. Well, as they say, the path to Hell is paved with good intentions.

I tried a simple waffle recipe of flax meal, eggs, buttermilk, baking powder & splenda. I let the mixture sit for a half hour, and came back to a thick ball of dough. I forgot to mention that flax has ridiculously strong absorption powers. If we ever have a flood, we'll be set. After folding in some more buttermilk I poured some mix onto the griddle and cooked as per usual.

The smell was heavenly, and all was progressing as planned. When the griddle stopped steaming, I opened it up and removed the beautiful golden waffles.

We smothered them with margarine and sugar free syrup and dug in...

and they tasted like flax. The distinctively nutty flax flavor paired with the tangyness of the buttermilk and almost gritty texture of the meal was not nice. On the upside, they turned out as fluffy as you could hope considering the density and weight of the flax. I poured on some more (really good) SF syrup and made the best of a bad batch of waffles (then made Sean an omelette). Here's hoping version 2.0 will be more successful.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

We are the Champions!

I have learned this week, that union school is not only about organizing, solidarity and the bettering of working people everywhere, it is also a long-standing institution steeped in tradition.

Last night I experienced the pinnacle of these traditions; Harrison Winter School Choir.

At school, each course is required to participate in two activities; Wolleyball, and the choir. The winners of the Wolleyball tournament were announced last night, and scores were based on a combination of immense skill and style. There could be no doubt that we would take the trophy... and we did!! We were overjoyed, and felt slightly less guilty for starting all those rumours in the hot tub about our athletic prowess.

The Choir competition went a bit like this...

Each class had their turn to get up on stage and perform an original hit to the music of a recognizable song. There was some Joplin, Beatles, Monkeys, Cash, and of course, our very own submission; 'We are the Union' formerly by Queen.

Now, the trick is, you really don't want to win this competition. The winners are required to sing again at the dinner dance tonight, and it's sooo not worth it. So, most teams aim for a solid 4th place, and we thought that was a good tactic. Our choir leader Brenda wrote a very short song (34 words-we were given heck for having to bring up song sheets), and we made a plan to dim the lights and do the whole lighter/cell phone concert thing.

The scoring was based on 5 categories, each with a possible 10 points; Harmony, Rhythm, Lyrics, Music and Perspicacity (don't ask).

We thought we had it in the bag- our song was too short and simple to really be any good, and we thought is would be fairly evident we didn't put a whole lot of effort into it. However, if I've learned anything from my course here at Harrison (and I've actually learned alot) it's that it's never a good tactic to assume.

The judge thought we had a hit! We were crushed. Some of us hysterical. How could this have gone so wrong!? We were awarded a 47/50, and our closest competition so far had been 39/50. (one class got a 9.)

The next half hour was extremely tense as we crossed our fingers and prayed to the gods that some other class would get a better score. A few were close, but nearing the end of the evening, with 2 classes to go, we were still in the lead.

The Health and Safety class was second to last to receive their scores. First, a 9... then a 10... then another ten (we start getting really hysterical at this point...) and another... the final score he pondered and had us to the absolute edge of our seats until he announced another 10! We Lost!!! And we've never been soo happy!

So, a first at Wolleyball and second at Choir. You can't do any better that that! (or at least nobody wants to.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

CLC Harrison Winter School Day 1

Yesterday, I hung around outside in frigid weather, wearing a swimsuit, a shower cap, and an inflatable zebra.

I also drank cheap red wine (the kind that comes out of a box) in a hot springs with several hundred other people.

And a little old Austrian woman saw me naked.

Well, almost.

Winter school is going very well. Our class is jelling fairly well, and the material so far has been interesting, if a bit dated. I find myself actually looking forward to arguing case studies later this week.

After general sessions last night (the NDP's David Chudnovsky, Opposition Critic for Homelessness and Mental Health), we had a strange team building exercise. It's called Wolleyball, and it's a Harrison school tradition. It's something that resembles a bunch of nutcases in costumes playing what could resemble water volleyball... if you squinted your eyes a little and peeked through your fingers. Of course, I participated, and my team, 'About Face' was the best. According to us, anyway.

After the competition, we all settled into the hot tubs to relax. I have to say, 1 glass of wine + 2 hrs in a hot tub = equivalent of 6 glasses of wine.

I also skipped dinner last night and treated myself to a luxurious hot stone massage at the spa. My little old Austrian masseuse worked from the tip of my toes to the top of my head for over an hour. All I can say is aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

CLC Winter School at Harrison Hot Springs

Today I arrived in Harrison Hot Springs to attend a course on Facing Management being given by the Canadian Labour Congress's Winter School. As a Newbie, I went to an orientation, then had a very nice dinner buffet (Sean- you would have hated it- it was 75% vegetable), perused the Union trade show and listened to several opening addresses, including one by Jim Sinclair; President of the British Columbia Labour Congress. That guy rocks. Every time I hear him speak (or rather, rant and shout and otherwise apostrophize) he riles me up and makes me believe that with a little work, we could do anything. Well, it's going to be a looong week, and alot of work, but here's to making things happen.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Rock & Rich

Concerts always seem better when you're stoned. You start feeling the music and tasting the colours, and all of a sudden you're having a really great time.

That's not to say I plan to get stoned when I go to a concert, but out here in BC, at many concerts, all you have to do is show up and breathe and you're done. You might be feeling pretty good, but the guy behind you (and four seats to the left, and two rows ahead, and across the isle, and...) must be pretty out of it.

There is probably too much pot at concerts out here; it keeps alot of people away from events. But alas, that is another post.

So, last night a few friends and I went to the Emerson Drive, Terri Clarke and Big & Rich concert. Emerson Drive were pretty good, Terri Clarke was awesome and Big and Rich were... entertaining.

Big & Rich are a strange bastardization of country and hard rock and rap. They came on to the stage wearing mad hatter top hats, rhinestone studded wranglers and cowboy shirts and of course, floor length fur coats. They looked ridiculous, but they looked Rich. They also brought their friend Cowboy Troy; a black cowboy rapper who has gotten a little chunky and could stand to buy a bigger pair of pants. During the concert, they dropped streamers and confetti from the ceiling, and threw dollar bills out into the crowd. The finale included burning and smashing guitars, as well as their dancing midget mascot; Two-Foot Fred. Yes, he really is two feet tall, but they give him his very own throne.

I went solely to see Terri, who put on an awesome show. She played all her hits as well as a couple new songs from her upcoming album. She had a great dialogue with the audience and a wonderful stage presence. Her guitarist was fantastic. I would have paid the same to see just her.

Big & Rich surpassed my expectations, if not in talent, then in showmanship. They were truly entertaining. Or maybe that was just all the pot smoke I breathed in.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Eat, Medicate and Be Very Merry!

Yesterday was our quasi-Christmas. We got up early, opened presents (I've been spoiled), ate brunch, then back to the grindstone! Sean & I both tidied up a bit in preparation for our guests, and the place looks great. I also cooked for 2 days straight, so it sure smells like Christmas.

Dinner went very well. We had my parents, brother & sister over, as well as several friends, for a total of 10. We had to borrow a card table and some chairs to accommodate everybody. We had a turkey and a ham, Brayford & Quinn stuffing (which Sean said was just about perfect except not enough sage- who would've guessed?), potato, cheese & bacon tarte, sweet potato & apple casserole, green bean casserole, pureed squash, peas, homemade cranberry sauce, homemade mustard, and of course gravy (which I am not in the least ashamed to admit comes out of a box. There you have it.). God I love to entertain. We have sooo many leftovers, but I'm fairly sure the stuffing will be gone by the end of the day.

Woke up this morning with a cold. You know, the wonderful kind that makes you leech goo from every facial orifice and feel pretty generally shitty. Though, I would not, at first, admit it was a cold, and insisted I must be allergic to something. So, I took a couple anti-histamines and am now as high as a kite. So I guess I have a cold because I'm also still leeching goo.

Tomorrow we both start our diet. Sean has insisted we follow it to the letter (no doubt to punish me for getting him to diet in the first place) and so for the next two weeks (at least!!!) I CAN'T HAVE ANY COFFEE OR PEPSI! Should make for an interesting couple of weeks.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Very Quick, Super-Abreviated, Update.

Sean & I had a very nice Christmas with his family in New Brunswick. We split our stay between his Sister & Brother in-law's place in Fredericton, and his Parents' place in Stickney. Sean got to see his family, whom he misses very much, and I got to know my various in-laws better, and hone my cribbage losing skills (I promise to practise for next year Don!). Of course, hanging out with our nephew was a blast too, and I have to admit I still find myself humming the Backyardigans theme every once in a while.

Getting home was tricky; our first flight was canceled, and it sounds like we might have been the last flight out of the airport before the next storm hit. The plane for the main leg of the flight was awesome, and made the hours whiz by.

Today, I've been shopping and cooking and cleaning in preparations for our Un-Christmas dinner. I'm trying to do all the sides today, so I only have to worry about the turkey tomorrow. I'm trying out a dish from the cookbook my Sister in-law gave me for Christmas- should be a crowd pleaser- there's lots of bacon in it.

A great big thank-you to all our family out in NB- thanks for putting us up, and putting up with us! It was a wonderful Christmas.