Battle of Ingredients: Moon Festival & Autumn BBQ

Battle of Ingredients

Welcome to the next round of Battle of Ingredients hosted together with Phoebe over at Starry Traveler’s Road. This month’s get together was a slightly belated Moon Festival celebration as well as the last BBQ of the season.

Its a packed one this time so let’s see what we came up with. A lot of the food was really thought up simply by our brains so if we have recipes references, we’ll share it, if not, we can list some ingredients or whatnot. this time seems mostly to be checking out spices and such. Nothing too complex as we were both fairly busy with our personal lives.

Wines

Wine

The two wines offered by our friends this time were these two rose wines

  • Listel
  • Cote des roses

I will talk about both of these wine in the upcoming wine recap. I had already tasted Cote des Roses before but realized that I hadn’t shared it in any wine recaps before (oops..).

Main Courses

BBQ

We went fairly simple this time. Phoebe took care of most of the food. She had some vegetables from various types of cauliflowers to peppers and more. She also had corn. There was also steaks which she had two types of seasoning for. The first was a gourmet steak spice blend and the second was a innovative herb type which was a mix of oregano and thyme with salt.

BBQ

My contribution for dinner were kabobs. It had sausages, zucchini, peppers, mini portobello mushrooms and onions. The sausages were the IGA supermarket brands. One kabob had the honey-garlic flavor and the other one was wine and chives. There was no additional seasoning added to anything. We just put it on the skewer and barbecued it.

Results

I’m sorry that I didn’t take more of the veggies pic. However, everything turned out really good. The steaks had two different flavors. The one with the spices had more of the flavor as the spices were on the steaks itself. While the herbs and salt was more subtle, which is normal since it was just on top. As for the kabobs, I thought they turned out fairly well. It was fairly packed but cooked quickly so was good. The sausage flavors were also quite delicious.

Dessert

 

king's pastry

Dessert was obviously the highlight here and that’s moon cakes. Just like last year, we went for a more local brand. This one is a Canadian brand, King’s Pastry. It was a variety pack (like last year as well). The flavors were the following:

  • Date paste
  • Red Bean paste with melon bits
  • Traditional one egg yolk lotus paste
  • Five nuts

To be honest, they were okay. The five nuts had the citrus peel which was a bit intense. My husband and Phoebe was not a fan of it to say the least. The traditional was a bit too sweet. The date paste turned out better than expected. The same applied for the red bean paste.

We also had a fruit bowl that I put together with apples, clementines and grapes but I forgot to take a picture so we’ll leave that out since no one really ate any of it with the amount of sweets we already had.

Overall, a simple but lovely meal together!
This is a wrap for this Battle of Ingredients!
Back to the indoor kitchen for us as we figure out our next battle!
Nothing settled just yet..we’ll be back in a few weeks!

Gardening 2018 #1: Cleaning up and Preparation

Time for the seasonal segments to slowly make their appearances. I might do a progress report on workout once the circumstances are back in my favor (which should be next week). For this weekend, it was all about gardening and probably so will some future weekends in May and June since we do have some big plans. I talked about them a little HERE. Hopefully I can keep up with these updates at least when I’m busy in the garden for the next month or two.

With that said, this weekend is about tidying up the garden. I’m not completely done and its going to be another week or so of just getting everything ready before we can get down to actual structural planning once we re-evaluate how everything is. As an afterthought, I should have done a before/after shot but oh well…what can we do now?

First Part: Front Yard

Here we go! The first task was to take out all the grass and weeds surrounding it which as you can see is mostly all gone now.

We had some torrential winds the day before so excuse my sad droopy tulips but if all goes well, they should bloom this week some time. I’ll post them on Instagram or something. My crimson star also made it out of the temperature dip last week. I have some yellow flowers that I haven’t quite figured out what it is yet coming out in the back and should bloom late spring.

The rose is also coming back to life as well as the summer geraniums and chrysanthemum variety (I suspect thats what it is since they came with the previous owners). I am hoping that my fall chrysanthemums are going to come back since they only did it for one of the batches and never did again and I can’t figure out if I’m doing something wrong or the weather is not working well for it. In any case, I might move something there from the backyard to fill in the space and just try it in another spot. Not photographed here is the garden in front of the front facade. One side is just ferns and bleeding heart.  I did also tidy that up and add some top soil and trim up the fern since the temperatures did affect one side of it. With that side breaking off, its actually opened up a spot which I might finally plant some daffodils since they are my favorite flower in the world and I don’t have them in my garden at all.

On the other side, I’m waiting a little bit on my hydrangeas and other perennials that I planted last year to see whats going. The partial picture above shows the only thing there right now, which are more tulips. On the right, you can see the clean-up that still needs to be done. I’ll exhibit the finished product in the next update.

Part Two: Vegetable Garden Tidy-Up

For those new to the blog (and I know there’s been a few of you over the last year or so), my previous owners didn’t have much of a green thumb, or maybe they did but just wasn’t interested in it. Whatever the reason, when I got the house 4 years ago, the soil was horrible and the garden here was all grown with grass like the part where the hose and rhubarb is. After a summer of craziness, we managed to pull out all the grass for a decent plot and over the next three years, we just improved on it. But anyone who has dealt with grass removal knows that its not exactly going away because grass roots spread far away and they are resilient. So, thats what I did with the original plot and that is to clean up the dead annual veggies and take out all the grass.

Whats alive right now from last year’s additions is:

Blueberry #1

Blueberry #2

Lemon Mint

Herb: Lemon Mint

oregano

Herb: Italian Oregano

I’ve been trying to get herbs to grow but I never bury them deep enough or migrate them a little too late in the season. So its really nice to see them make it out alive. Which comes to our plans for this plot. Looking at the top picture, in the looking forward plans I mentioned in the previous post, the grass area is going to have all of it taken out which as you can see, I’ve started. I actually decided to jab it to aerate the ground a little and hopefully loosen the soil so its easier. We’re drafting out what we’d like to plant and see whats available at the garden centre we go to.  However, we are still waiting to see if the ground cherry will come back as well as the asparagus (which is in its third year if it does and should technically be ready for harvest). Fingers crossed! I’m also hoping to get all that grass removed by the end of next weekend.

If that plot is in fact done and good for gardening, I may actually move the blueberries over, just in anticipation of how much space they may need, as well as ground cherry and keep it my “mini” fruit patch.

Third: Raspberry & Strawberry Patch

Excuse the mess in the front of the patch, I’ll talk about what I’m doing for the containers. As for this patch, there wasn’t much to do here. Just more of a progress report. I tidied up some weeds mostly. From this picture, its kind of given me the initiative to go take care of some of the dead branches. Strawberries are going to probably be the first to have any fruits since they are starting to have flowers bloom.

One of the old residents of this patch is this lily. It gets suffocated by the raspberry every year and still survives. The goal is to move it this year and as soon as possible before the raspberry gets too big. I have an idea to move it in somewhere in the front yard. Update next time! 

Aside from that, this fruit patch gets a ton of animals hopping and scurrying and flying by so we get weird flowers here all the time. Hence, these little calla lily looking plants which could be some shade plants as well. I’m waiting to see what it is. The first year we were hear, they brought over a sunflower. I don’t really mind because I can just migrate it somewhere else also, particularly perennials. Gotta love those neighorhood creatures, right?

Other Tasks in progress

What garden comes without weeding as the number one task? Of course, you could choose the lawn treatment path then you get someone else to do it for me. I’m not bustling in cash, in fact, I’m just swimming in loans so I’m the person who weeds all the time whenever I have time. With that said, between one task to the next, I just weed away hoping that little by little, it’ll help.

Aside from that, we have a few weekend trips in the works right now since for the above reason, we aren’t going away to any long vacations to save up for Hong Kong next year, hopefully. We’ve postponed it a few years already. In anticipation for that and the supposed incredibly hot summer we’re going to have (which hasn’t arrived yet), I’m working on some things that I looked at on Pinterest for container watering systems. I have tried the upside down wine bottle way. It works well enough and I’ll still do that for some of the pots but I’m trying out this water bottle way where there are holes poked on all sides and you fill it up from the top and its embedded inside the soil. In a long pot like this one, which I use for my leafy greens or herbs, I’m going to put two. Anyways, I’m trying to get some of the containers prepared in advance with partial soil in the next two weeks before I head out to the gardening center to have it all ready.

I am going to see whether water garden plants (like water lilies and those floating ones that the name escapes me now) are available this year. I’ve been hoping to have one in the yard so thats something else I’m looking at right now.

Thats it for this Gardening 2018’s first update!
Lots of research still 🙂
I’m hoping to have something like weekly updates if possible (or maybe vlog?)

Pinterest Spring/Summer Inspirations!

Its been forever since I’ve shared some fantastic Pinterest stuff! Mostly because while pinning is super fun and therapeutical, putting together the posts can be tiring.  Just deciding what to do takes so much time that it becomes less therapeutical than it actually is even if I love putting those posts up.  However, maybe this is what Pinterest is going to be: Therapy or Inspirations! Spring is pretty much almost over and hints of Summer is landing in Montreal.  The last few days have been hot and humid and I love it! 🙂

This also means spring cleaning and garden/outdoors stuff needs to be taken care of! I have some rhubarb to harvest and maybe make some nice drinks.  The heat also means that I kick in a much healthier lifestyle.  Lots of things that I seek out Pinterest for! Lets look at some of my faves and ones I hope to pursue if not now, eventually!

The Anatomy of Sangria

Sangria

Hot summer days calls out to me in the form of Sangria. I don’t drink a lot in general but a great sangria is so hard to resist. This infographic breaks it down in an interesting way and peaks some new ways to use different ingredients next time.  For the record, I’ve recently realized that I’m intolerant or maybe allergic to red wine so any sangria’s now have to be with white or rose wine. I have also done a autumn sangria with brandy and that turned out pretty good.

Popsicles

Popsicles

I’ve tried out a few popsicle recipes before and I’m not really good at it but its something I’m trying to learn to do better. This one looks delicious.  They are called Fruit Salad Ice Pops.  I love fruits and especially fruit salads and wrapped up in a popsicle. Yummy!  I’m already thinking of what fruits to get to make it and wondering where those popsicle molds are.

Infused Water Combinations

Infused water

Last year I started getting into infused water. I like cold drinks and water is super healthy so I’ve tried something with blueberry and basil before if I remember correctly.  This summer, I want to keep with the healthy stuff and try some other ones.  These ones are pretty neat especially detox and weight/sugar control and metabolism booster. I guess everything but the lower blood pressure one looks like choices I want to try out.

Watermelon Strawberry Sorbet

Sorbet

For those of you who are new here, I’m lactose intolerant or at least it seems to be in an extreme phase again.  Its really built a love and appreciation for Sorbets in my life. I’ve been wanting to try to make sorbet for a while and if these recipes say its easy, I’ll believe it! Its one of my goals this summer to give it a try.  This combination particularly looks great. I love strawberries and watermelons and yet, no one really pairs these two together. I wonder what it’ll taste like.

Liquid Sunshine

Liquid Sunshine

I know, its a lot of alcoholic beverages here! In general, there’s a lot of drinks. Thing is, I was going to do a cruise dedicated post after my cruise recap last year and I forgot about it. I flat out forgot. That’s just how I am. A year after, I remembered and was thinking maybe this year, I’ll start a little drinks segment to experiment different recipes.  I don’t mean alcoholic cocktails, even if they are resistible, I don’t usually drink that much but even for like lemonades or infused waters and other healthy stuff. I think its well worth a shot! 🙂

That’s it for this Pinterest Inspirations!
Originally, it had a ton of other stuff for the garden and whatnot, but I just wanted to keep this fun and short! 🙂 

Let me leave you with this lovely quote!

making mistakes

Happy Friday! 🙂

Heat Wave, Home Stuff & Luck!

I realize I talk about weather a lot but its the Montrealer in me. The proof is right HERE in #14 ;).  Well, at least you all gain knowledge about how Montreal’s weather is doing, right?

This week has been calm for the most part (although a lot of you still seem to find my life crazy busy…which it isn’t).  The goal of this post is to see the positives in the little thing.  Even when its just the simplest things going on.  Sure, my weekend is busy especially on hot days because I’m accepting that its the part of owning a house. Plus, its slowing down at work so I find myself trying to fit in what I didn’t have time to do before August.

Anyways, this week has been rather special for various reasons and I’m about to get into my next little steps that I’d like to share.

1) Surprise Sunflowers

sunflowers

Sunflowers

Some of you would agree that July is kind of the dead season for flowers and gardening.  The garden is just green.  A few weeks ago, I talked about the hard work of squirrels burying sunflower seeds in our front yard and after a few small ones bloomed, a gigantic one bloomed last week and its just a lovely yellow delight.

Flowers always make me happy 🙂

Do you like flowers? Whats your favorite ones?

2) Harvests

Raspberry and Tomato

Raspberry and Tomato

I haven’t gotten a picture of my raspberry harvests to show yet.  This week’s was by far the best harvest so far and I see lots coming out.  I just need to find a way to prop up the leaves so it has room to grow freely.  I actually need to do the same for my yellow zucchini plant as well.

3) Winning an Advanced Screening

wpid-20140824_170637.jpg

I never win anything. EVER. My luck is shot.  I think it has to do with having used up a lot of luck finding the amazing people that entered my life so I have none for anything else. So, when I got the email that I won these advanced screening tickets for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. I was skeptical until I actually got the pass in the mail.  Which I did on Monday and invited my best friend to go with me.  Although, I’ve been completely ridiculously slow at putting up my post for Guardians of the Galaxy, I pushed myself to at least put this one up because its a significant event in my life, one that makes me feel so very lucky 🙂 If you missed my double review of Sin City 1&2, head on over HERE.

Have you seen Sin City: A Dame to Kill For? What did you think?

4) Cleaning Plushies

First batch of plushies

First batch of plushies

As said in the beginning, this weekend was gorgeous. It was just so hot with a nice little cool breeze here and there. I’m at the stage of moving where its the dusty little plushies that need to move so I brought the first batch over and gave them all a nice wash.  The first batch are the smaller ones and my non-Disney collection ones.  Oh right, I collect Disney plushies but its really for the goal of hitting ALL the Disney stores eventually 😉 So, feeling a little bit more accomplished, I hung these up and they pretty much spent a good part of the weekend drying off.  The small took only the Saturday whereas, there was two larger ones (not here) that are still drying today 🙂

Next batch is next weekend for the Disney, my guess is Zazu, Classic Mickey and Stitch might get the second round 😉 Maybe a few more…I don’t know yet.  Maybe I’ll let the relatively new Bambi join in.  Dumbo, Lady and Tramp are the oldest bunch so they might be the hardest to clean.

Do you own collections? What do you like to collect?

5) New Fruit Discoveries

Pluot/Plumcots

Pluot/Plumcots

I love Costco for many reasons.  Oh yeah, so many reasons, one of them is the gluten-free choices I talk about all the time.  Now, the other one includes having all these awesome fruit selections.  I find Costco fruit a bit pricey but when I saw these little beauties and had no idea what they were.  I figured they must be those hybrid fruits and they were.  These are called Pluots or online says, Plumcots.  Its a mix of plums and apricots except its closer to the plum taste (whereas if you had aprium then it’d be more apricot taste).  These taste very delightful and I can see them going very well in pies, tarts, even crumb bars. If we don’t finish them before they get completely ripe, I’ll probably have to use them to bake 😉

Have you tried any hybrid fruits? Have you tried Pluots/Plumcots/Apriums?

6) Garden Mission

Garden Mission

Garden Mission

The downside of buying the house in winter is not seeing what the garden looks like or how the previous owners cared for it.  Thats something I’ve learned.  My previous owners were certainly not in the green thumb category because now that everything has pretty  much grown, I can just see how disastrous and neglected it was. So after I went crazy cutting and freeing one of the plants in the back so that they have some sort of space and order, I started pulling out weeds (still!).  Now I have patches of empty soil sitting around waiting for some grass seeds to fill up the space.

My mission on Sunday ended with this patch which could look so nice but with the ungroomed overgrown hedges here, it just looks like a mess.  Do you see the chrysanthemum? No, right? Well, its there. And this picture was after I already pulled out a ton of plants and vine-y weeds. How to fix this mess?

I have so many plants to pull out because its just way overgrown and too much. This is the final month before things switch around.

And please, someone tell me what leaves bear tiny apple-like fruits and sheds bark, leaves and twigs in the middle of August? I’m stumped! I’ve been searching for the two gigantic trees and the type and I just can’t find it.  Maybe I should have taken a picture but I’m still a bit angry that I’m the only crazy person raking leaves in August..haha!

7) The Lion King Musical

The Lion King Musical

I love musicals. This year, I already gave up a bunch of concerts because I’m trying to budget my money better. I was about to give up The Lion King musical until there was a 25% off coupon online for some pretty awesome seats.  Yesterday, me and my girl friends went out to see it at Place des Arts. We had balcony seats, which is a completely different experience.  Plus, whats nice is that being in the balcony, you get to see the animals walking down the aisles and then the people in the upper balconies and around.  The show is just so fun.  The singing, the costumes and the props: all so beautiful. Its really one of the best musicals I’ve seen.  My favorite was the starting of the second part and there was the bird props soaring all over the room.  It was so magical 🙂

Have you seen The Lion King Musical before?

8) Inspiring (and Energetic) Music

Shattered Glass – Brad Paisley

Footprints (Kaaze remix) – Tiesto

Just two really  nice songs with different styles depending on what you like that has really caught my attention.  I love Brad Paisley’s new single Shattered Glass because the video is amazing and the message is inspiring. As for electronic music, I love to listen to it to sort of detach a little and relax.

What songs/music have you been listening to?

Its been an epic week! I spent time with a lot of my girl friends, my garden is progressing, the move is going well and we even started painting the dining room which is making my head spin because its a leap of faith whether the walls and color will match.

I’m not sure if its the heat or the sudden change in weather or just a lack of sleep causing it, but I’m feeling a little under the weather with a sore throat creeping up.  Hopefully, with more sleep and more water, I’ll get rid of it.  Today’s energy level is a bit low so I’ll end it here. I’ll get something fun tomorrow.

Also, this week, look forward to FINALLY  the Guardians of the Galaxy post and a few posts from my Saguenay weekend getaway 🙂

Happy Monday, my lovelies!

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

This week’s photo challenge theme is On Top.

On top can be a feeling, a perspective, or a physical location. – The Daily Post

I started thinking to myself after I read this.  What makes me feel like I’m on top of the world?

For starters, its when I’m flying in a plane, travelling from one place to another. You know that moment mid flight when you look out the window and you are literally flying above the clouds or between the clouds, whichever it is.  Over the clearing, you even see mountains under you. That feeling is just something can’t be replaced.  Its exactly how I feel take off is so majestic also.

Plane

The second feeling is when on a peak of some kind.

The Hong Kong Peak gives me that feeling especially with the bright lights and skyscrapers.  Its really beautiful to look at.

Hong Kong Peak

I’m not really so much an urban girl.  I don’t like crowds much and lots of people so the most relaxing feeling of being on top of the world has to go to being in nature.  Some of the best views I’ve seen are in viewing towers of Maine.  This one is from the top of the hiking trail in Maine that we spontaneously found while looking for another trail.

Maine Hiking Trail

Maine hiking trail

Now, since I’ve made myself a bit happier thinking about travelling. Lets bring things a bit closer to home and be more literal.

Here’s a view on top of my bookshelves.

20140425_074706

It has a bit of me in there.  Cookie jars, childhood dolls, souvenirs from my mom’s trip, my fave Yuna figurine and Disney stuff, oh right and hockey.

And to end things off since I’m doing this last minute and to celebrate Friday! Some fruits floating on top of  my Sangria from a hangout with my friend 🙂

Sangria

Sangria and fruits

This is my response to Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top.  Be sure to check out other entries HERE!

HAPPY FRIDAY, MY LOVES! 🙂