Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Summer = Busy


Where I live, it only feels like Summer for three months and Winter is at least six. So when the weather finally warms up, there is so much to do in a relatively short period of time. Add to that the fact that I only have three months left in my maternity leave *sob* so I'm really trying to squish everything in. 

We moved into our house two years ago and are finally starting to feel settled in. Our neighbours are awesome and we really like our house and yard. My parents generously purchased a playset for our boys at the beginning of the month, which has proven to be a big hit with Son #1. There has also been a growing list of people whom we have yet to invite so I decided to tackle that list this Summer and have had quite a few get togethers already.

If you haven't noticed, I take my food seriously so when I invite people over, I like to make a lot of food; I feel really bad if I invite people over and serve only two or three dishes. Is that weird? I mean, if I go to someone's house and am served only two or three dishes, I don't feel cheated. In fact, our friends invited us over last month and we enjoyed a delicious meal of coconut rice, cucumbers, and balsamic glazed pork tenderloin, plus the most amazing lemon bundt cake for dessert. It was great! 

Needless to say, I make myself very busy when inviting people over and while I love the company, I am very happy that I'm getting through that list of people to invite.

Last Friday we hosted the annual BBQ potluck for my church's moms group. Whoever hosts is in charge of condiments, fixin's and beverages. I wanted to be fun so I provided: ketchup, relish, mayo, roasted garlic and chili aioli,  mustard, dijon mustard, honey mustard, sriracha, sweet chili sauce, BBQ sauce, teriyaki sauce, Frank's red hot sauce, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced marble cheese, sliced blue cheese, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, diced raw onions, red onion slices, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, sliced pickles, sauerkraut, grilled pineapple rings, real bacon bits/crumbles, hot banana pepper rings, roasted peppers, and various potato chips in case people wanted to add them to their burgers or dogs. Real bacon bits? You ask? Yes, because I was cooking two packages of bacon slices in the oven while I was running like mad around my house trying to do last minute cleaning before I realized that I pretty much burned both pans. I tried to nibble on different pieces of charred bacon but they were so far done that I couldn't even taste any of the bacon's smokiness. What a waste. But I don't think anyone really cared because everything else was so fun!

Then on Sunday we had another BBQ potluck but we provided the rice, grilled teriyaki chicken, baked salmon, Korean green onion pancake, and spicy kale and avocado salad. Plus a fruit platter consisting of white peaches (one of my faves!), watermelon, strawberries, and pineapple. I think this was our fourth or fifth large get together this Summer. Large get togethers can get pricey, but if you can plan ahead and purchase things in bulk when they're on sale or even do things potluck style, you can keep costs down. 

So far this Summer, 21 of 25 days have been rainy. You would think that we lived in Vancouver or somewhere! So naturally, I was terrified at the thought of having 15+ kids plus babies on both days being trapped inside of our house with the 15+ adults. Our house has a pretty good layout but it's not huge. I kept telling people to pray for good weather and miraculously, the sun came out and it was beautiful when the guests were here!! The kids ran outside to jump on the trampoline that the previous owners of our house had left behind and to play on our new playset. YAY! After scrubbing out grass stains from our carpet from our guests the weekend before, I was SO relieved. Only three more large gatherings to go!!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Not Being Wasteful

With so many blogs on the Internet, I find it hard to come up with an original idea. I mean, I come up with an idea that I think it so brilliant, say, a recipe, only to do a quick Google search and find that many other people have already thought of it!

I thought of Cookinotti with pretzels. Already done. Cookinotti mixed in with Rice Krispies squares. Already done. Fine. So I made Cookinotti Rice Krispies squares topped with crushed peanut butter filled pretzels and then drizzled them with chocolates. Muhaha. I showed them. Dialing wand to continue typing on my laptop has been ordered

I often look for new recipes or try to think of things to bake if I have an overabundance of an ingredient or two. Last week I had a carton of whipping cream to use up so I was thinking of making Japanese style spaghetti carbonara but then decided to make some apple cinnamon scones topped with maple sugar. I hate throwing out food throwing out food that's gone bad so I always try to make sure that I use it up while it's still good.

One thing that was starting to accumulate was those garlic butter sauce discs from Papa John's pizza. The first time I tried it, I thought it was pretty disgusting but if I limit the amount that I dip with my crust, it's not too bad. But we always end up with a lot of unopened ones leftover. So I added some to mashed potatoes instead of using butter. Mmmmm. Then I added it to some stir fried seafood (squid, prawns, scallops, mussels). Mmmmm. I mean, it's not the best thing for you but it makes a nice addition to a dish once in a while.

I went for a second interview last week. This time it started off with a 30 minute test followed by a 30 minute interview with FIVE people. Well, it was supposed to be a 30 minute interview. I think the adrenaline, nervousness, crazies induced by sleep deprivation, caffeine all kicked in and the question and answer period was done in 15 minutes. Ummm is that a good thing or a bad thing? I guess I talk fast when I'm nervous. Dang. I wasn't even going to apply for this job in the first place but the competitive side of me wants it so bad now that I've gone through the second round. I'm still hoping to talk to the partners at my current work about being able to go back to work with reduced hours but I'll hold off until after I find out if I get this new job or not. I still technically have over three months left in my maternity leave so I have some time. The bad thing about the new job is that it starts mid August so I would be cutting my maternity leave short by a month, meaning one less month to spend at home with my boys. I guess it would be better to go back a month early than to potentially have to go back to my old job full time plus super overtime during tax season. Ugh. I can't go back to my old job.