This past weekend was a pretty hectic one for us. We went to 2 one-year-old birthday parties!
The first one was my niece extraordinaire, Lexi’s birthday party. Her theme was a “Hoot” and the party was indeed a hoot!
Here are the photos:
1. Candy buffet table, red velvet cake
2. Birthday girl Lexi and her Mom Ley
3. My mom and Lexi
4. Some macarons for dessert, made by my cousin Odette
5. The gorgeous owl cake topper was made by the birthday girl’s momma and the cake by her friend.
Some family photo booth fun:
1. Jason (being a monkey) and Kyla
2. Aji & Joy
3. Aji, Joy, Kyla, Jason, Dad and Mom
4. Aji & Joy
The second one was our good friends’ first baby girl, “the champion”, Penny Joy’s party.
We literally ran from church to get lunch, then off to the party. Talk about a hectic day!
The theme was Penny Pie, hence, all the homemade pies brought by the guests.
1. Pie Buffet Table
2. Penny playing with grandma Michelle’s gift, a picnic basket.
3. The Penny Pie Shack, for photo booth fun
4. My gluten-free pumpkin pie
5. Kyla’s gluten-free key lime pie
There was also a place for photo booth fun, but the birthday girl was a bit too tired by the time everyone was ready for photos.
The pie spread on the photo is also just the dessert table.
What a weekend! Makes me feel so old being tired going to 2 birthday parties in a row.
Have you been to any one-year-old birthday parties lately?
Have a great weekend everyone!
Happy Canada Day Everyone!
Our home is finally officially “open for business” after 2 weeks of unpacking and drilling into walls and what not!
We celebrated and concluded the Canada day long weekend festivities with a family barbecue.
Our newly painted living room wall. We used the colour “Caribe” by Behr.
We had some almonds and peanuts and chips for appies.
I just had to sneak this photo in. I’m loving this red part of my kitchen!
Our new work station/ office area.
Dad, slaving away and cooking the barbecue for all of us!
Kyla chameleon. She totally disappears against our wall!
Pork and chicken barbecue marinated by mom.
Angel hair pasta with bolognese sauce.
Kyla’s lemon pie.
Kyla preparing the booklets for our “ethnic whispers” (originally called “Chinese whispers”) game.
Hanging out after dinner, having coffee and tea.
Playing Ethnic whispers.
We had so much food! I think if we summed up all the meat that we prepared and ate today, it would be around 4 kg of meat plus the pasta, fish, (which I didn’t get a photo of) rice, dessert and coffee.
This concludes our Canada Day celebration.
Hope you all had a great one despite the all-changing weather!
Have an awesome week! (Hopefully warmer.)
I’ve wanted to invite a special guest to write a post on my blog for some time now. Today, I’m very happy to introduce Rhonda, (Rho for short), who’s not just my very first willing guest, but was also ready with material in no time at all! She is a great friend of mine & Aji’s, and she is going to “wow” us with a gluten-free, cauliflower crust pizza recipe she’s tried out.
Please welcome Rhonda!
Thanks to Joy for allowing me to guest post on her site!
Over the past few years Iʼve gained an interest in whole food nutrition, which has recently led me to learn more about the Paleo/Primal way of eating. My body generally does not do well with starchy carbs. Iʼve known for a long time that me and processed foods, food with lots of additives, especially white processed flour and processed milks (yes, skim milk is processed) do not like each other AT ALL. So, long overdue, I recently decided to experiment more seriously and significantly reduce/attempt to completely cut out sugars and ALL grains, whole and refined, as a start.
In only a week or two, I am completely and pleasantly surprised by a huge improvement in my energy level and general mental clarity, mood, and well-being. I have yet to cut out dairy. Iʼm just not ready for black coffee.
Cauliflower has proven to be a very versatile vegetable ~ Cauli-mashed “potatoes,” Cauli-fried “rice”. So when I saw that a friend had made Cauliflower Pizza Crust, I just had to try it. Whatʼs life without pizza?*
Pizza with Cauliflower Crust
The recipe is from this blog, that does a great run-through of the procedure. Here is my experience with it:
I used my food processor to chop the cauliflower. Be careful as it can turn to purée easily. Keep it in crumbles or small chunks.
I patted the mixture (sorry, forgot to take a picture of mixing the ingredients) into a pizza crust shape, maybe 1/2 inch thick, and used parchment in fear of massive sticking. The recipe called for spraying both the pan and the top of the crust with non-stick cooking spray. I donʼt believe in the stuff (chemicals, aerosol, etc) so I used the parchment and left the top of the crust un-sprayed. I could have brushed it with oil instead, come to think of it now. I also used my fancy baking sheet meant for cookies and pastries as it tends to prevent burning. However, next time I would use my regular sheet, as a little more browning and drying out would be a good thing.
Once baked for the recommended 15 minutes, I realized it was still very moist and soft, so I flipped the crust over and removed the parchment (as I said, I was afraid it would stick but it didnʼt at all), turned the oven to broil (my oven takes a long time to get to full broil so I knew it would be okay) and put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes. It was still soft, but obviously more browned and crunchy.
The toppings I chose were just what I had in the fridge already: tomato, green onion, peppers, olives, bacon!!! (nitrate and preservative free) cooked and crumbled, some leftover cooked ground beef, and mozzarella cheese. I used tomato paste with herbs for sauce.
I popped it back into the oven under broil, maybe for 5 min. Iʼm learning that my sense of smell can tell when somethingʼs done better than a timer sometimes.
I was happy with the outcome! It cut well, held together, and was edible with my hands! I thought I would have to eat it with a knife and fork but did not have to. Definitely not regular pizza dough in texture, but close enough and very enjoyable!
I think leaving the crust in the oven for the extra time was a good thing. However your oven and baking sheet might do something totally different. I even ate some of the leftovers this morning for breakfast and it was even better. Give it a try!
*The only thing that would make this more “paleo” is for it to be dairy free. Any ideas how to eliminate the cheese? Iʼve made pizzas before with tofu instead of cheese, but tofu is not paleo either, and is another “processed” food all the same. Perhaps some almond flour to bind the mix?
Hope you’ve all enjoyed reading Rho’s recipe! Let me know how it turns out for you when you try it! I’ll make sure to tell Rho! I for one, will definitely make this, and Aji will love me even more!
Have an awesome sunny Sunday!
I was looking at a $20, Black and Decker blender from Canadian Tire a month ago. I told Aji I wanted to get it, but after reading the online reviews, we quickly decided against buying it, even if it was really cheap. We ended up getting this new Oster blender on sale, from Costco. It was $40 before taxes and I didn’t really want to get it at first. Mom and I went to Costco 2 weeks ago and she picked up the same blender for herself and told me I should get it too if I wanted one because it was a good brand, and it’s cheap. I thought about finding a cheaper one, but I also thought, it’s Costco, I can always return it, if it doesn’t work out for me. A few days later, I tried it out to make fruit shakes for Aji and I. I’m happy to report that this thing is not being returned. It’s staying right where it is, on our kitchen counter. It crushes ice with ease and minimal noise (well, as much noise as a blender will have; you know what I mean, it doesn’t sound like it’s having a hard time crushing the ice; give it a few pulses and you have a smoothie).
This Oster blender looks exactly like this, except it’s 16 speed, 700 watts, with all metal motor and blades. (I sound like a salesman, don’t I?)
If it’s starting to warm up wherever you are, I hope this inspires you to get ready for summer! Bring on the fruit shakes and smoothies!
Have a great weekend!
I needed to cook something last week, that would last us a few days. I wasn’t feeling too great and I wasn’t up for cooking everyday, like I always am. So I prepared this meal last week (and I actually remembered to take photos while cooking), intending to have lots of leftovers. Coincidentally, a friend suggested just last night, that I write more about the meals I cook on here. So here I am, heeding Rhonda’s advice, about to share some food photos with you, along with a recipe.
454 gm/16 oz Fusilli pasta
8 ounces Fresh mushrooms
1 can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup
2 cans Ocean’s chunk light tuna
2 cups grated Tillamook Monterey jack cheese (this is a soft type of cheese perfect for melting in a casserole)
1 large Onion
2 tbsp Olive oil
1/2 cup Sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Bread crumbs for topping
Aji loves bacon + Joy loves bacon = Aji loves Joy loves bacon.
Do you love it too?
Happy bacon-inspired Tuesday!
How we spent Good Friday:
1. Went to a Good Friday morning service at Bethany Church
2. Went home and then spent the afternoon baking dessert for a dinner at Jason and Kyla’s (J & K’s). (don’t worry, recipe to follow, on another post)
3. Had a great ham and scalloped potato dinner at J & K’s. (pictures to follow, on another post)
4. Got some leftover ham from Kyla.
2. Monday brunch: Double grilled cheese with ham (3 pieces of bread, 2 cheese slices, and 1 thick piece of ham)
Above is what was left of Aji’s grilled ham and cheese. (original photo had Aji in it, but I’m sure he would kill me if it got posted for all to see)
The leftover ham was pretty handy because Aji was still off yesterday. Where we are from, it’s called the Easter Monday (the Monday after Easter Sunday). I know, pretty odd, but we’re not complaining!
I’m sure a lot of you had some leftover turkey or leftover ham from the Easter weekend. I figured I would write a post on a few ways to recycle your leftover ham, as I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with recycling leftover turkey. Hope this was helpful!
Have a great Tuesday!
P.S. Thanks Kyla for the ham!!!
Vancouver has been plagued by the inevitable weather funk the past 2 weeks. Last Saturday, Aji and I took advantage of the fact that we were already in Richmond for an afternoon appointment, on a beautiful sunny day. We went to this quaint little place to buy some screamers. However, it was a major let down when we found out it was closed:
The sign said it was going to be back open in Spring 2012. Well, it IS spring 2012 already! My heart sank. I was so looking forward to this creamy cold treat on a warm sunny day (which doesn’t happen very often in spring over here where I live).
We eventually made a “date” out of the supposed “screamer run”, which was a real nice turn of events. We had dinner at Pajo’s and then strolled the boardwalk and had ice cream at Timothy’s Cafe afterwards. Being a previous Richmond resident myself, I know Steveston Village quite well, but it’s always nice to see someone’s reaction who is new to the place, especially on a great sunny day like last Saturday. Aji has been there all of maybe three times. On those times, either we were in a rush, or we weren’t alone, for him to just discover the place and bask in the sun. So this mini trip is one for the books!
This is what a large salmon fish and chips order looks like (it comes with free tartar sauce):
Pajo’s offers 3 varieties of fish: cod, salmon and halibut. Cod being the cheapest, halibut the most expensive and salmon in the middle of the first two. Salmon is my usual because I like my fish flaky and more firm. One who prefers soft fish might go for the halibut.
We then went to Timothy’s for their gelato, but we ended up getting their Frozen Yogurt with peaches and blueberries.
Notice my half eaten frozen yogurt. (good thing I remembered to photograph it before I finished it all off!)
If you’re from around Vancouver (lower mainland), you should definitely explore your City and this village!
P.S. tidbit of information, if you watch the TV series, Once Upon A Time, Steveston Village is their set location for filming.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the photos and the read. Have a great Monday!
I’ve been tired of thinking what to cook lately. I know I’ve mentioned before that I love trying out new recipes from my online surfing and from cooking magazines. I’m not sure if it’s the unpredictable weather that dampens my zest for physical activity or what. Having said that, you all know that I like making my own recipes based on whatever I have in my fridge and cupboards. Today was one of those days.
What I had in the fridge:
- Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese
- Jumbo Eggs
- Baby Spinach
My eureka moment was breakfast for dinner! I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s done and loved meals like this.
Spinach and Cheese Omelette
- 6 jumbo eggs
- 1/2 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 100 grams baby spinach (if you don’t have a kitchen scale, don’t be afraid to approximate, worst thing that can happen is that you’ll have too little spinach, or too much, which is not going to be the end of the world)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Pre-heat the pan with olive oil, medium heat is best.
- Beat 6 eggs in a bowl with a whisk.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour beaten eggs onto the heated pan with oil.
- Cover and cook for 3 mins.
- Add the washed baby spinach and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.
- Cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
- When done, it should look like this:
When you live in a place like B.C., and the forecast is almost always rain, whether it be winter, spring, summer, or autumn, you learn to deal with it.
If the weather lately has made you crave comfort food, here’s what I suggest you make:
Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
- 1 lb. diced chicken breast
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2-3 cups cooked rice
- 1 can Campbell’s cream of mushrooms
- 3/4 cup cheez whiz (more or less, depending on how much rice you use)
- 1 tsp curry powder (optional if you like a hint of curry; inspired by the White Spot Chicken Broccoli & Cheese Spot Classic)
- 2 big heads of broccoli steamed or boiled and cut into small pcs. (I only had 1 head of broccoli so I added 1 head of cauliflower for good measure)
- salt and pepper to taste
- some grated cheddar cheese (old or sharp cheddar is tastier, but medium is great too)
- bread crumbs
- Pre-heat oven at 350 F
- Cook rice in a rice cooker.
- Cut the broccoli heads into small pcs. (you may use the broccoli stalk, as long as you peel the tough skin and cut into small pcs.) then boil and drain and transfer to a baking dish.
- Sauté onions in oil until transparent, add diced chicken and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook til browned.
- Add the cooked chicken and the cooked rice into a baking dish (I used a 3 qt. Pyrex baking dish) with the cooked broccoli and mix well.
- Add the cream of mushroom and Kraft Cheez Whiz and the curry powder and mix everything together. If consistency is a bit dry, add more Kraft Cheez Whiz.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
- Top with bread crumbs and grated cheddar cheese
9. Bake uncovered for about 40-45 mins or until the cheese topping is bubbling and bread crumbs are slightly brown.
Take comfort in this on a rainy day. Enjoy!
Let me know if you make any tweaks when you make this and how it turns out! Happy Rainy Monday!
On a side note, if you’re not up for all that prepping, you can always go to White Spot and try their Spot Classic, Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese. ;-)
*Note: Original recipe courtesy of Michelle Johnson. I tweaked a few things here and there.