Category Archives: Hanging Out

A Whack-load of Photos and a Recipe

Yes, this is gonna be a photo-laden post.

But that’s because it’s been a week of friends, fun, and food!

Our dear friend, Kathleen, was visiting from Toronto:

And what terrific timing, as she was here for our Gamesmas party last weekend! (Christmas + Games = Gamesmas!)

‘Twas a merry evening full of laughter, fun games and crafts, good conversations, food and drinks galore, and wonderful friends…

Kathleen and I also went on a couple of refreshing outdoorsy excursions…

New Brighton Park and Burnaby Heights Trail (at least that’s what I think the trail was called):

No matter how long I’ve lived here, the sight of those mountains never fail to take my breath away…

And the next day we wended our way through misty Lynn Valley Park:

Classic Kathleen look 🙂 :

Somebody decked out a park bench with some Christmas cheer:

It was, as always, a great visit with Kathleen!

I’m officially in the holiday mood! I’m fully immersing myself in all things Christmas, from humming Christmas tunes all day, to writing Christmas cards, to holiday baking…I’m lovin’ it all!

Speaking of which… We were left with a full, unopened carton of eggnog after Gamesmas, and as no one in our home is a huge fan of drinking it straight up, I decided to use some of it up in the form of muffins:

Eggnog Muffins

  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 C brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 C eggnog
  • 1/4 C canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts today)
  • 1/2 C dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, eggnog, oil, and vanilla until combined.

Pour wet mixture into the dry and mix together until just combined. Do not over-mix; a few floury lumps are fine.

Fold in nuts and cranberries.

Spray a muffin tin with oil. Divide batter amongst the 12 tins. Bake for 15 – 17 mins.

Lightly spiced, nutty, and with just enough sweetness, these muffins made our whole house smell like Christmas.

And because this post isn’t photo-laden enough, I’ve two more for you…while I was outside doing my little photoshoot for my muffins, I discovered this beautiful frosted spider web:

Happy Friday everyone!


Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Hanging Out, Kitchen Adventures

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Halloween 2011

Happy Halloween!! 🙂

This year, we celebrated with two of our favourite fall events — The Dunbar Haunted House and pumpkin carving!

Len always says that the haunted house is the one event that he always looks forward to every fall; when the summer ends and he begrudgingly goes back to work, his one consolation is that soon it will be time for scaring ourselves silly at the haunted house. 🙂

I’d say he looks a little scared already… 😛

I’d say Minnie is too:

But I don’t think Ryo scares easily:

Me, I saved up a year’s supply of screaming for this night.

This year’s theme was “Barbaric British Columbia”:

The picture above is a hint of the funniest display room in the haunted house (we weren’t allowed pictures inside); it was London Drugs being vandalized and looted from by rioters. AWE.SOME. Another personal favourite of mine was the Tax-Payer’s Hell.

And the biggest laughs of the night came when we got interviewed on camera while in line. When asked what was our biggest fear going into the haunted house, Len replied, “peeing my pants!”

But we survived with our bladders more or less intact, and it was a great way to get into the Halloween spirit!

Then last night, we had our annual Pumpkin Carving Party! I cannot describe or explain just how much I love pumpkin carving. For me, it is what the haunted house is for Len. I look forward to it starting every September, and spend weeks, days, ok fine, hours (I’m a procrastinator afterall), thinking of the perfect image to carve.

This year, I had so much fun coming up with our Halloween-inspired eats for the night!

During the course of the evening, we consumed:

  • Pumpkin Juice, which I made using this recipe. I wasn’t entirely convinced that I’d like the taste, but it was a hit! The only thing I changed from the original recipe was I omitted the white pepper (cuz I didn’t have any), and added a pinch of ground cloves. Also, I didn’t strain it cuz I was too lazy; the juice was a bit thicker, but not pulpy. It tastes somewhere between pumpkin pie and apple cider.


  • I-Had-Too-Much-To-Drink Veggie Platter:



  • Indian Shepherd’s Pie, inspired by Mama Pea’s recipe from her cookbook. But mine wasn’t vegan, obviously, as it had turkey in it. I was “cooking on instinct” yesterday (aka too lazy to measure anything), so I will post that recipe another time when I’m feeling more disciplined. (I also failed to snap a picture cuz hunger took over)


  • Two yummy squash dishes brought by Kanata: Vanilla and Orange Yams, and Kabocha. (again, no picture–see above)


  • Haunted Forest (aka steamed broccoli)


  • Halloween Cake Balls! I’ve been wanting to try my hand at these forever now, and we had so much fun decorating them. I pretty much followed Pioneer Woman’s instructions exactly, although mine did not turn out nearly as cool as hers did. I found I had a lot of trouble getting the coating on smoothly, and we could have benefited from more variety in decorating tools. But oh, did I mention how good and positively addicting these were?? I won’t mention just how many of these balls I consumed yesterday…


  • Cookies, Ice cream, and Pumpkin Pie!


It’s really a wonder any of us could move enough after dinner to carve our pumpkins. That and we were distracted by The Amazing Race! (Is anyone else loving this current season as much as I am? Especially in the first couple of episodes, I really enjoyed how the clues were more vague and challenging. This show is another one of my favourite things about fall.)

But carve we did, and here are our creations:

Jen’s “Dawn of the Dead”:

Len’s was Starcraft-inspired:

Min’s was cheerful and classic:

Mine was The Hunger Games mockingjay:

And Kanata’s amazing fish:

Altogether now (minus Jen’s cuz she had to leave earlier):

On another Halloween note, have y’all seen the Halloween Google Doodle this year? If not, check out the google page–so cool! And here’s an interesting look at the behind-the-scenes for the doodle:

Hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween!!


Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Hanging Out


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