Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rainy Autumn Monday

I've been foiled again.  A couple of weeks ago I booked two vacation days hoping to get one last multiday ride to Vancouver Island, but I was rained out.   Our Company has a policy of not letting you carry over vacation days to the next year.


So I booked my last vacation day planning on going for a day ride somewhere and this is how it turned out.  Torrential rains again.  I just didn't feel that it was going to be a lot of fun navigating our roads with the crazy, tailgating drivers who drive like they do when the pavement is dry





Our weather patterns have changed over the past decade or two.  We used to get drizzling, non-stop rain.   For some reason we now get constant rain which lasts for days at a time and continues for months until late Spring, often until June of the next year.



It does get a bit depressing at times.  We do not have a lot of colour here in the City, but we do have tree-lined streets like this one where the leaves pile up and stop the water from reaching the drains.



It is also the time of year where you have to be careful of the rain-soaked slippery leaves.





I worry a lot about the pooling water.   When we get this much rain during a short period there are many reports of pooling water all around town, especially on freeway entrances and exits.  On the weekend downtown there was a large pool of water which covered one lane of traffic and cars were producing large rooster tails as they HIT the water.   I just can't imagine what I would do if I were to hit that same pool of water whilst riding my bike.  If there is no one in front of you, you just cannot see the water filled danger so I feel much safer with the security of 4 wheels.


I came down this street a few days ago when it was dry and the sun was shining.  I couldn't help but notice the beauty of the trees and the way the light shone through the leaves.   I know I should have stopped to snap a photo, but I didn't.    I have been meaning to stop several times and each time I didn't.  So today I had a whole day to waste so I decided to show you what this looked like while there are still some leaves left on the trees


This is looking the other direction.  Many years ago we saw a house for sale on this block and we nearly bought it,  instead of where we are now.    We had trees where we lived before and it seemed that every Fall we would have to rake up a ton of leaves and stuff them into garbage bags for disposal.   It was a lot of work so we are glad to not have these type of trees where we are.


I notice that there is a big pile of leaves in the foreground which some one has already raked up.   We have a   few parks like this around our neighbourhood and some have running tracks which this doesn't


I know the rain isn't going to stop anytime soon.   They call this the Wet Coast for a reason


Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall Food Challenge

Recently Pam over at "Helmet or Heels"  issued a Fall Food Challenge:

Quote:  " I thought I’d throw out a challenge to see what Fall food you like too "

While during the Summer we try to eat lighter, Winter time turns our thoughts to things like: Shepard's Pie, Pulled Pork, Spare Ribs or something like this


We had left over Lasagne Noodles from the weekend so I decided to prepare this for dinner.   I picked up a few tins of tomato sauce and a package of lean, ground beef.   I am  an improviser so I just go with the flow and add what I like.    I bought just under 2 lbs of the ground beef .   Brand of tomato sauce is not important, I usually just buy what is on sale or most economic for the size


I love onions so I used my Cuisinart and to cut them into micro pieces.   I first cut both ends of the onion and then removed the outer peel, then cut into smaller sizes before putting into my Cuisinart


I added a splash of oil and cooked the onions a bit on low heat


I am not the cook in our family.  I am more of a baker as that was my hobby many years ago.  It would surprise many to know that all these appliances are mine and I was the one who purchased them.  That is my Kitchen Aid Mixer and beside that is my bread maker.  Yes, I also make bread and cinnamon buns from scratch and my specialty was Cream Puffs in my previous life before I decided to go riding on Saturdays, rather than staying in the kitchen


Eventually the onions were ready to receive the lean, ground beef


I kept the heat on medium and kept mixing constantly to make sure it didn't burn on the bottom


I also love tomatoes but I only had one so that's all I used.  I cut it into small cubes


It looked like my ground beef was cooked so it was time to add the tomato sauce


After the sauce was brought up to temperature, I added a second tin


then it was time to add my diced tomatoes .   Now comes the good part, I get to taste test . . .


We decided a long time ago to not use so much salt, but I did add some Garlic granules


I mentioned before that I am not the cook in the family so I didn't know where our larger pans are and all I could find was this small one, so it had to do.  I started to ladle some sauce into the bottom


Then I started to layer my creation with lasagne noodles, alternating with sauce 


Soon enough I had a few layers of lasagne noodles sandwiched with my beef tomato sauce, and I still had sauce left over for lunch


I didn't have any mozzarella so I grated some other cheese that we had in the fridge.


Here is my lasagne, cheese on top ready to go back into the oven.   325° for about 20 minutes, time enough to melt the cheese on top and warm up the filling








Here we are putting my lasagne into our new gas oven




















I set the temp for 325°F and the timer for 20 minutes and just wait for the buzzer


I took today off work and Mrs Skoot arrived home just in time.  Here is what it looks like right out of the oven


Here we are all plated up, ready to have our dinner


I've already had two helpings and we hardly put a dent into the lasagne pan.   We will have enough for another dinner and lunch.

Ingredients:

Lasagne noodles, amount depending on no of layers
2 tins  tomato sauce  
1/2  onion
2 tomatoes, diced (optional)
1-1/2-2 lbs lean ground beef
a small pile of mozzarella cheese, topping
season to taste


Sunday, October 28, 2012

A nice Autumn Sunday

at Granville Island Market.   I was busy in the morning moving my vehicles around and before you knew it, it was 1pm.   I was getting hungry but we have a roast in the oven with family coming over so I decided to go down to the food area of the Granville Island market


to have a snack to keep my stomach happy.    We noticed a lot of children dress in hallowe'en attire chasing the pigeons


This Market is on an island in the middle of False Creek accessed by a causeway underneath the Granville Street bridge.  Here is part of the seating area in the food court.  Not many tables and today we shared our table with another couple


You can buy nearly anything here, from fruit and vegetables to meat, restaurants, fine dining and there is even a Hotel on the Eastern end


or you can just have a coffee and people watch.


I didn't want to have dinner food for lunch, so I settled on a Crepe from this place;  Ham and Feta with a single shot Americano, and a Raspberry Scone.   They make them right in front of your eyes


I walked up the stairs to give you this bird's eye view.   The market is very large and there are buildings all over the Island and is frequented mostly by locals this time of year


I am noticing more and more Vegan products are available and I couldn't help but  snap a photo for a popular Vegan Blogger


Perhaps next time I come here,  I am tempted to try one of these


or some of these.   I have always loved Tofu


You notice how busy it is down here on a Sunday afternoon.


You are able to find many specialty items not available elsewhere.   I salivate every time I pass by the Bakery display.  (Photo above, left)    If you ever find yourself in Vancouver I would be pleased to take you here


Saturday, October 27, 2012

NOT a Fall Food Challenge

I only follow recipes.  I am not good enough to be able to make them up but I have tried a few and altered them to use less sugar, or change the order of ingredients to make use of automated equipment such as my Cuisinart.  It was my plan today to try out Trobairitz' the recipe on her recent post.    I had some things to do today so I got a late start and imagine my surprise when Nancy had already made hers.

On my way home to make these delicacies I stopped at our local Safeway and see what was being tasted


Ambrosia apples.   I asked the lady and she said that they were very tasty and we good for baking.   I tried a few samples and I must say that they were really crunchy


I also picked up a tin of this stuff.  Just had to make sure that they were "Original"


I rushed home and assembled my ingredients.   I did not wish to open a new bottle of Ginger Ale as I already had Coca Cola on hand.   I decided to peel my Apples instead of leaving the skin on


I also decided to dust off my Cuisinart blender and crushed half an apple with the intent of sprinking some extra pieces of apple inside the roll, and also sprinkle some on top when in the oven.   I get hungry while in the kitchen, so the other half went into my mouth


I decided to "Pulse" and chop so I had some smaller pieces, along with the wedges


Meanwhile I was getting the sugary sauce ready to pour over.  I used a wire whisk to stir it up


I am more used to mixing flour with water to form a dough, than to open a tin and I broke one of the triangles.  I didn't know how to open it and I nearly destroyed the delicate tin with my pliers and hammer.  I mixed some apple pieces with the larger wedge before rolling  . . .


My new gas Oven is now up to temperature 350°F and I pour the liquid sauce over my Apple Dumplings.  This was just a staged shot for the Camera.   I actually used a spoon and drizzled it over each one, and also saved some sauce to drizzle on top later


There they are just out of the oven, the apple dumplings on the right.   The cinnamon buns on the left were an afterthought which I also put into the oven at the same time so I could use the "same" heat as it was also 350°F for about 25 minutes.


So here we are.   Trobairtz' Apple Dumplings, slightly altered.  Now you know what we are having for dessert later.  I just have to make sure we have some vanilla ice cream


Thursday, October 25, 2012

No Plumbing Today

Note:

you may wish to click this link     HERE       <---------    * * *

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Imagine my surprise when I returned home from work today, wanting to go to the washroom and found out that there was NO plumbing.  There was a cryptic note on the counter warning NOT to flush the toilets


The workmen had disconnected our drainage lines and they hadn't finished connecting them back up yet.  So I had to hold it in.   Lucky we have trees outside . . .  and also that it wasn't # 2

Yesterday when I came home this is what I saw as I parked my car


They had dug a ditch to run a new water line and now they have ripped out my sidewalk.  I put a lot of sweat into assembling that sidewalk many years ago with interlocking brick, and now it is just a pile of debris, to be thrown away


It's too bad I didn't have time to give it a new home.  I am sure somebody could have used these, but I had no way to deliver it and it was just simpler to say "throw it out"


They had to install double valves to we don't lose too much water pressure.


They also started to fill in the ditch, but with all this work going on it is not easy to dig my bike out, so in the meantime I am just driving to work .   Today I arrive home to find that they have started preparations for our new sidewalk, and the interlocking bricks are now gone


The city water line connection was on the wrong side of our walkway so it was easier to destroy it and then re-pour a new cement one.   This is only the initial stage.   I am sure it has to be dug a bit lower and filled with sand and then blocked in preparation for the cement


Here`s a different view looking towards the street.   Our new sidewalk√©walkway is going to be full width to match our stairs


A couple of days ago we received a huge pile of sand to level our back yard and our driveway is almost ready.  I am not sure if I could ride my bike or drive my car over this yet.   I am afraid that it may still be too soft

A pile of sand is nearly as good as a pool of mud,  so I had no choice but to . . .


jump for joy . . .