Boxing Day find

Boxing Day find
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By the time Boxing Day rolled around yesterday, we were practically suffering from cabin fever. Seems many folks were out bargain hunting, which is something we love, so we were quite happy to join in, even though we really didn’t have anything to buy. That’s the thing with shopaholics. You don’t always have something to buy but you will always end up buying something 😀 .

But before shopping, we needed to find a lunch place. We wanted to try out a sashimi place, it was closed. So we decided on a teriyaki place instead, it was closed. And we were now one block from McD’s back the way we came. So just circled around till we found something.

To be honest, we stumbled into Round Table Pizza expecting nothing more than just your regular pizza. After all, a pizza is a pizza is a pizza, right? Well, not quite. We ordered the medium which came with 8 slices and generous toppings.

pizza

It looked like a regular pizza but the crust was what made it special. It’s crispy, more like a puff pastry, and we’re like, where have you been all my life? For me especially, what throws me off pizza is the thick bread-like crust. It’s tasteless and bone dry. But this! this is something else!

pizza

Glam rice congee

Glam rice congee
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Many of my weekend mornings are spent poring over a slow fire lovingly brewing a big pot of congee. The weather has cooled down quite dramatically over the past couple of weeks. On the first day of December, I remember marveling at how we were still hitting daytime highs in the 70s with such sunny days I could still go out in only a long-sleeved tee. Since then, temps have dropped to the 50s and 60s with alternating days of rain, overcast skies, gusty winds and sunshine. Beautiful weather but cooler.

On days like these, a bowl of piping hot rice congee is comfort food indeed. For me, this winter congee is a nostalgic reminder of my good old college days when my roomie would be up at the crack of dawn on a weekend, no less, prepping and brewing a pot of this. It’s wonderful waking up to the aroma of a meal you don’t have to cook yourself. I’m not even kidding 😀 .

Ever since I first started cooking this a few months ago, I’ve had a few special requests for it. I usually make a big enough pot for lunch and dinner. While my college roomie’s version consisted of only salted egg, century egg and ground pork, which was very tasty in itself, I’ve glamorized mine with my very own homemade salted eggs (I know, I can’t believe it myself), ground pork, carrots, goji berries, and sesame oil.

congee

Topped with spring onions, cilantro, seaweed and fermented bean curd, this is the best thing ever. I know fermented sounds scary but these are just little square blocks of soft bean curd suspended in a salty, spicy sauce. The reason why they’re in little squares is because you can’t eat a lot of this. It’s very salty but since I don’t salt my congee, this is what adds flavor for us.

congee

Enjoying a bowl of this luscious congee is perfect on a lazy weekend. We can take our time to talk and laugh between spoonfuls. Aah, what a luxury!

congee

Burrito day

Burrito day
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We woke up to a cold but sunny Friday. Cold is good. You’ve often heard me lament about how I run from the sun. These days, I have a new fondness for the sun. Happiness is stumbling out of bed into the living room to see slivers of sunlight hanging off the wall in the living room.

So the morning started out with me cleaning the fridge. It was long overdue and my only excuse was that my Method all-purpose cleaner had just arrived in the mail. Well, I was just going to clean the fridge and then we were going to spend the day shopping. But since I had my trusty disposable gloves on, I ended up cleaning the entire kitchen from top to bottom.

Oh man, it was some arm workout but it’s good to have a sparkling clean kitchen. This may or may not be the first time in my life I’ve ever cleaned a kitchen inside out. Clearly I don’t make a very good Cinderella. It’s about time someone invented a kitchen that cleans itself at the touch of a button. Seriously, if there’s a self-cleaning oven, surely we must be only a few steps away from a self-cleaning kitchen, no? 😀

Anyhoo, we headed out to lunch at our favorite spot after that. Where else but Baja Fresh!? Got our salsa lined up while waiting for our order to be called. Turned out 7 cups wasn’t enough for the salsa freaks.

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Here comes our Steak and Shrimp Burrito, one for each of us.

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Digging in… steak and shrimp is pure genius.

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Then it was on to Costco for groceries where an endless number of food samples awaited us. The meatballs were so delicious we were tempted to buy some except one bag contains 140 meatballs! We could open a meatball restaurant with that many meatballs 😆 !

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Dinner was leftover burrito so I guess that rounds up our burrito day!

A merry earful

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Now that most of those colorful leaves have fallen off the trees, I guess I’m off to start taking pictures of Christmas trees. The malls are decked out and the Christmas songs and carols have me singing along as we dash in and out of the store. If I could play the Epiphone Pro-1 acoustic guitar, I’d be making quite an earful at home too. Sadly my vain attempts at learning to play the guitar ended in an epic fail eons ago 😀 .

Autumn’s the word

Autumn's the word
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Autumn is Mother Nature sitting outside at her easel painting the trees in brilliant colors. It’s so amazing to see the leaves on the trees slowly changing from green to all different shades of yellow, orange and red. I confess I haven’t used the word autumn in a long while. Now somehow the word fall doesn’t seem to do enough justice to colors like these.

Colors of fall

Sometimes you don’t always notice the change. One day, I turned a corner on a frequently traveled road and woah, suddenly there’s this huge tree in the most brilliant red standing in the afternoon sun right in front of me. I never noticed it before when it was just another tree with green leaves. But there she was, in a row with many others like her, creating a truly breathtaking sight!

Colors of fall

As we head into winter, many of the trees are shedding their leaves and many are already bare. Today, just as I turned into a parking spot and stopped the car, we heard what sounded like the patter of heavy rain on the roof. Turned out a strong gust of wind was sending a flurry of red and yellow leaves raining down on our car. It was wondrous to hear and watch.

Falling leaves

Autumn has been a little laid back this year, taking her time with things. While the days have definitely cooled down, some days, it feels like summer all over again. Maybe Autumn’s too busy playing with her new makeup palette. Or maybe she just wants to show us she can be hot too 😉 !!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
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So here we are, on one heckuva sunny Thanksgiving day. The weatherman says it’s 70 degrees but I’m more inclined to go with 80 seeing as the sun is streaming in through every window and brightening up the whole house. I know, I can’t believe how excited I am about the sun either. That’s so not me but when the air is cool outside, I don’t mind the sun so much.

On to the turkey. While everyone else was picking out the biggest turkeys (one person bought 6 turkeys!!), we chose the smallest one there was, and it’s this 11-pounder…

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… set to work marinating it overnight…

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… and now it’s turning an amazing golden brown in the oven while we’re sitting here breathing in that heavenly aroma *drools*. I’ve left a window open to torture the neighbors 😉 ! I don’t think that’s going to work though as I’m sure everyone is roasting a turkey today.

turk3

In the tradition of giving thanks, I’m going to say I’m thankful for everyone who reads and comments on this blog. I am also thankful to the person who created online shopping (whoever you are) which allows me to shop till I drop in the comfort of my living room (hi ho, Silver!) instead of physically getting out there to do battle on Black Friday.

Have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving, everyone! Smile, hug and appreciate. And be safe on the road! If you’re getting ready to hit the stores tonight or tomorrow, may the trunk of your car/truck be filled with the best buys of the season! 😀

Laid back

Laid back
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I guess it’s time for that Monday morning post again. It seems my blogging has become a lot more laid-back these days because… well, that’s how life is around here. I can pretty much predict how long it will take us to get anywhere. In Vancouver, it was always 40 minutes in whipping rain to get to even the nearest of places but here, it’s 10 minutes tops haha, got to love that! Throw in another 10 minutes and you have the morning rush hour, if you can even call it that, where there’s like 10 cars at the stop lights! I know, crazy, right? 😀

We started our Thanksgiving grocery shopping last week to avoid the crowds. What crowds? Ya sure, it was so crowded no one, repeat, no one slammed themselves or their shopping carts into us, plus we had to park a little further from the front entrance and spend an extra 10 minutes in the checkout line, and get to taste lots of food samples!

Oh yes, the food samples! Turkey ham with cranberry sauce (note to self: I seriously have to go back for those!) Crunchy slices of baguette dipped in red sauce.

fsample

Beef something or other, so delicious and juicy.

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Let’s just say we delayed lunch because of these life-sized samples that you can actually taste, not those microscopic samples which barely scrape your tastebuds and do nothing more than get between your teeth. I usually walk right past those and don’t even bother stopping. Boo! Seriously, if businesses want me to buy their products, they’re going to have to do better than that, or they might as well just close shop and stop wasting everyone’s time.

Okay, so where was I? Yes, Sunday, we didn’t leave the house at all. The weather has dropped to a daytime high of 50-60s, with intermittent sun and barely there drizzles. Really nice weather to be out but we chose to chill at home instead, read: doing two loads of laundry, cleaning the bathroom, hanging up the holiday string lights, cooking huge pots of pork porridge, and sweet potato soup, and reclaiming our living room which had vanished underneath the boxes from our online shopping 😉 .

Hope you all had a great shopping weekend. It’s Thanksgiving week. Are you all set? I know we are. Booyah!

The grocery haul

The grocery haul
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Our Sunday got off to a slow start. It’s hard to drag myself out of bed now that the mornings are colder. With daylight savings though, it gets light earlier and when the sun streaks in through the windows, you know it’s time to get up.

We got to Costco 2 minutes before they opened and already there was a crowd waiting. Parking near the entrance is what we aim for and we did get a fairly good spot! Inside, the Christmas displays are out. Santas and snowmen peeking at us from every corner. Feels so festive already.

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We took our time to shop which, for us, is a nice change from having to contend with crowds who think nothing of bodily contact (eww!) and cutting lines. So this is nice. After an hour and a half, this is what our cart looked like.

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Let’s see what we got here – a box of almond milk, raisins, dates, sliced almonds, 12 grain bread and a huge jar of raspberry mango jam which we sampled. When the promoter told me it’s not only a jam, you can use it as a topping, in a smoothie or even freeze it to make ice cream, I immediately snagged a jar. Cool!

I bought a ton of fruits – a crate of navel oranges, grapes, and the strawberries and blackberries were on sale at only $4.99, how could I resist? So happy especially seeing as oranges are in season. We went through many crates of them in Vancouver. They’re juicy and sweet. So good.

I also got a pack of party chicken wings (which should be fun for making buffalo wings), a huge slab of salmon, a box of frozen crusted tilapia, a bag of frozen cooked shrimp (which I always have in the freezer just in case), and a 2 lb bag of asparagus.

That should do it, says the chronic bulk shopper with a satisfied grin on her face. Now if the Apocalypse hits us tomorrow, we’ll still have food a-plenty to eat while we sit it out 😉 .

Next, on to Baja Fresh for lunch. You know I love Mex food and this is my favorite place to get my fill. We had the shrimp and steak burrito, and the grilled chile lime shrimp salad. No regrets. So good.

bfresh

After lunch, it was time to hit two more grocery stores for the remaining items on my grocery list. Between hanging out and getting the laundry done, it was time for dimsum dinner at our regular Chinese fast food place. A laid-back Sunday doesn’t get any more exciting than this (am I contradicting myself?). So how did your weekend go?

The talk of town

The talk of town
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So everyone was talking about the impending storm on Halloween night. And I mean, everyone. The owner of the Chinese fast food place we frequent, he was the one who told us the storm would start around 11pm. We stepped out of his restaurant a little after 7pm and we were practically air-lifted by the gusty wind and transported to our car. Now that was convenient!

When we got home, I deliberately parked the car outside so the rain (when it came) would give my car that much-needed wash. You have no idea how dusty my car is. It hasn’t rained in months! If you know me, you know I don’t wash my car, like ever. Rather than getting all wet and soapy, I’d rather leave it to Mother Nature to do the dirty job for me. If it rains, I get a free car wash. If it doesn’t, well, I drive a dusty car.

Saturday afternoon on our way to a Thai lunch

Saturday afternoon on our way to a Thai lunch

You can imagine my joy when I heard the rain was coming. Apparently the Chinese fast food guy also had the same thoughts. He happily confessed he was going to leave his car out to get a free car wash that night. See, I’m not the only weird one. Anyone else who doesn’t wash their car? let’s have a show of hands.

So it’s Halloween night, right, and my daughters have been saving candy for the neighborhood kids who would come trick or treating. As it turned out, no one showed up at our door. Maybe it was just as well. Maybe trick or treating has gone virtual, who knows?

Anyhoo, Hip2bDaughter1 peeked out the window and shrieked in delight, “It’s raining, omg, where’s my phone? I need to take a picture of this!” And we all rushed to the front door, opened it and true enough, it was raining! The wind was very strong but the rain was, well, somewhat drippy, like someone is sitting on a cloud pouring rain from a jug, know what I mean?

Earlier we’d seen a news clip on TV that showed the storm at a nearby city. Yup, the ground was wet and that was it. A storm, they call it? That ain’t no storm!! On the equator, there are freakin’ huge electric storms complete with Zorro lightning flashes, deafening thunder and blinding walls of rain like someone emptying barrels from the sky. You can’t see to drive. You turn your windscreen wipers to the max and hope they don’t fly off. Now that’s a storm!

In Vancouver, the rain is drippy like what we had but it goes on every single freakin’ day for days and days. So annoying! Here it started raining on Friday night all through into Saturday afternoon and we were done. Everyone I met was talking about it and then the sun comes back out, strong as ever, and life goes back to normal. So much for the rain.

K lunch

K lunch
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And some days, my lunch can be as simple as this. I love this super spicy Shin ramyeon (Korean instant noodles) especially now that the weather has officially cooled down. Really? Well, it was a blazing 91 on Monday and by Tuesday, we’d dipped to 79 which still feels like 91 by the way.

Anyhoo, this ramyeon was recommended by our Korean friend. I didn’t get a chance to try it until now which, as it turned out, is brilliant because it’s much cheaper here and more authentic – see my Korean chopsticks. It’s my last resort lunch when I can’t figure out what else to eat.

ramyeon

And for dessert, my current addiction…

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