Inspiration

Lately, I've been inspired by this.
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This is a night club in Tokyo. And here is what it looks like inside.
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I don't know why I keep going back to look at these photos. Perhaps because it is a puffy building (never thought I would use those two words together), or that there are some very cool patterns generated.
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It is a very artificial environment, yet organic at the same time.
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I want to be in there so I can touch everything!
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Funny how we have a need to satisfy our sense of touch when we see something interesting.

latest LEGO things

I tasked Andrew in making name tags for the cheeses for our little gathering over the weekend.
He busily went at it while I was out busily getting a massage. :) Along with those cute little stands, this also emerged.
 A LEGO tissue cozy.
A castle, of sorts. Andrew said, "I need more LEGO." I said, "You need a better imagination."

Dining Out: Gyoza King (for lunch)

We went to Gyoza King for lunch because I was feeling peckish for Japanese, but not for sushi or a giant bowl of ramen, you know, just something to nibble on.
 What I didn't realize was that their lunch menu was very different from their tapas dinner menu. The boys contemplated on what kind of gyozas to order.
They decided on two kinds, shrimp and veggies. You can't go to a place named Gyoza King and not order Gyozas.
 Andrew had spicy seafood ramen. Hearty good.
 Castle and I shared the fish box lunch special. For $12 this lunch contained the following: grilled and deep fried salmon, grilled mackerel, teriyaki chicken, spinach gomae, chicken karaage, ebi mayo, chicken meatballs, salad, fruit, miso soup, and rice. It was a lot of food.
Auntie Amanda had the more reasonably portioned teriyaki chicken udon. We ordered way too much food and had to take most of the gyozas home. Funny that we were thinking we would have a small lunch by going here. It was all good and tasty, and very much worth it's value.

Weekend

We had a glorious weekend around here. The sun was shining and everyone was in a good mood. 
When you live in a place where the sun doesn't shine all that often, it becomes a city wide celebration when it does.
 We took full advantage of it.
  It was so warm up on that mountain, we could have worn shorts.
And some people did wear shorts.
Mostly we hung out in the snow in our T-shirts, and every so often we go sliding down that mountain to cool off.
The boys were too wee for this type of high speed activity so they played at the top. It's back to rain and clouds today but it doesn't matter because we are all still on a vitamin D high.

Being Finicky

I am being finicky about my chocolate chip cookies. After trying different recipes for many years, including the one in Cooks Illustrated with the brown butter, I was dumbfounded as to how none of them was able to achieve ultimate chocolate chip cookie status. Sure they were good cookies, but not super good. Super good meaning crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside, with a strong caramel aroma and a good chips to cookie ratio.
 I may have finally found the secret to the ultimate chocolate chip cookie, and it lies within a recipe that I got for free from a cooking school in Victoria, BC.
 Compared to most recipes, this one has less flour, more baking soda and a higher cooking temperature. Which means these cookies are less cake-y, spread more, and sugars caramelize into gooeyness. Also, I prefer to add nuts to my cookies because it makes them smell better when they are baking and it adds a good crunch contrast to the chewiness. 
One other thing that I discovered is the colour of the cookie sheet will change the outcome. Even with using a Silpat (Silicone mat) the darker coloured cookie sheet produced a great crunchy bottom, where the aluminum one didn't. (Dark colour attracts more heat.)

And because you will need this recipe also...

Super Good Chocolate Chip Cookies 

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (depending on how much you want to chip, I like one cup)
1 cup chopped walnuts

* to make double chocolate cookies add 1/3 cup cocoa powder

Heat oven to 375F.
Cream butter and both sugars, beat in eggs and vanilla until creamy.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Blend into butter mixture, stir in chocolate chips and nuts. 
Drop slightly smaller than golf ball sized dough balls onto baking sheet. (I line mine with Silpat out of habit, but an unlined one will do.)
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack. They will look undercooked, but that's what you need to achieve gooeyness. They will continue to cook a bit more as they cool.

Dinner

What do we eat around here? We like to eat everything! And if I can use Rice Krispies at dinner time, I will. This time they were used to crust a rack of lamb.
I crushed them first so they are disguised as bread crumbs. Looks fancy but it was actually quite easy to make.
 A meat thermometer is a must to achieve the desired doneness.
Castle had two chops. It was a dinner success.

Recipe for Rice Krispies crusted Rack of Lamb Success

1 lamb rack (ours had 8 ribs)
Dijon Mustard

Crust:
1/2 cup Rice Krispies, crushed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried herbs - rosemary and oregano are my go to choices
1 tbs olive oil

Preheat oven to a hot 450F, put rack in the middle. 
Mix all the ingredients for the crust together on a plate.
Heat a pan on high heat. 
Dry your lamb rack with paper towel, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Add oil to hot pan and sear lamb rack on all sides, 2 minutes per side.
Take lamb rack off and smear dijon all over, this will help the crust stick.
Roll lamb rack in crust.
Bake lamb rack on baking sheet until internal temperature reaches your desired doneness. Ours is 135F, medium rare in the middle and medium on the outer parts. For this 8 rib rack it took 18 minutes. Timing is everything and each piece of meat will be different due to size, so it is best to use a thermometer. 

Flat Stanley

Castle has a pen pal.
We all do realize that Castle can't speak yet, let alone write. But his dear cutie pie cousin, Maya, who lives in Houston, insisted that he be her pen pal.
Maya is in grade one, and in her lovely letter she also sent along Flat Stanley.
We brought Flat Stanley to, where else? Stanley Park.
Flat Stanley played in the park and climbed a tree.
He took in all the sights in Vancouver, including the Lion's Gate Bridge.
Flat Stanley is now on his way back to Houston, with a letter detailing all of his adventures.

Things from the Quay

At the River Market... ...
The Woolly Pocket - a felt wall hanging planter.
String art as signage.
I want to take a class that involves those things.
Pee Dance.
Elevator decal.
Where to play outside.
A hotel.
When the sun comes out after the rain.
On a day that can not decide if it should be rainy or sunny.
So it was both, all at once, all the time.

Easter Garden

I found this on Facebook.
What a great idea for Easter. Will the grass grow fast enough if I started this project this weekend?

Lounge Party

It's been a bummer kind of week around here, hence the lack of posts.
First there was the Castle being sick thing. See the lovely crusties around his nose. Then there was the unfortunate incident of food poisoning. X2 I might add. We've had a lounge around party for two days.

We did, however, managed to go to the library to pick out some new books. Andrew especially loves the Stompin' Tom Connors one. He said that it is Castle's new favourite, he would like to think that.
Not letting us down is Mr. Sunshine. It was rain/snowing not an hour ago but now it's sunny! I usually rejoice when it's sunny in Vancouver. We are on the mend now and hopefully we will all be back to our normal selves for some weekend fun.

Are we having fun yet?

Castle's ear infection didn't go away. On top of that he has bronchitis. Yippie.
Look at that pattern - finding beauty in the soapy dish water.
It's going to be a long 10 days of more kicking and screaming while I hold him in a death grip, shoving icky tasting medicine down his throat.
I don't ever want to cut that curl.
I don't know how else to do it. If I mix it with something I assume that it will make that something taste just as worse.
 He has now lost all trust in us with food. He doesn't eat anything without doing a test on his lips first. And most of the time he is deeming it as gross as medicine.
I have a feeling it's going to take a long time to gain this trust back.

What's on the wall now

We started off with a clean slate.
Had a dinner party.
And this is what's on the wall now.




Dinos, Rupunzel, owl, and Tinkerbell.
Hidden talents have now been exposed!
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