Battle of Ingredients #1: Carrots and Noodles

It is finally here!
A new segment with Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road!
Thanks so much for joining us!

Battle of Ingredients

INTRODUCTION – What is Battle of Ingredients?

Battle of Ingredients (name subject to future change maybe) is the brainchild of myself and Phoebe who really love to talk about tons of things but our families have somewhat become foodie buddies. We talk food a lot and go to restaurants even more but we each have our food restrictions and our habits and with this Battle of Ingredients, we have two goals.

One: we want to learn more about the Quebec foods through different seasons which will be a huge focus on how we pick our ingredients.
Two: To expand and explore new recipes and ways to cook as well as try out new ingredients.

However, we do also want to say that this is a battle of ingredients but we use the word ‘battle’ loosely because we aren’t actually battling each other. Our judges are family and close friends and they offer us suggestions on how to improve our recipes. Its more the challenge of figuring out a good way to incorporate the selected ingredients. There will be times, like the next one, where we will be working together to put together a meal with the next selected seasonal ingredients which will be announced at the end of this post.

Battle of Ingredients #1: Carrots & Noodles

The first challenge is a simple one. We wanted something that we could use readily, plus carrots are about the best looking vegetable available at our supermarkets now. The meat is free to our choosing and noodles is for a nice carbs base that everyone gets a good energy boost. Two noodle dishes are heavy so we served them in moderate portions.

PHOEBE’S MENU
Homey Osso Bucco with Udon

Osso Bucco

Homey Osso Bucco with Udon

I know Kim wanted to try osso bucco and it is freezing outside thanks to Canadian winter, so I decided to cook this dish as part of the cook-off. This is one of my mom’s thermal cooker recipes that I managed to replicate with some adaptations over the years.

Given I had to prepare more portions than usual, I had a hard time putting numbers on the quantities of ingredients.

  • Osso bucco
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Sweet onions (normal onions are okay, but I prefer sweet ones)
  • Bay leaves
  • Chicken stock (powder)
  • Water
  • Udon

Instructions:

1. Wash the osso bucco and put in the inner pot.
2. Wash and chop all the veggies to your desired size (please note if it is too little, veggies will disintegrate into the soup). Put in the inner pot on top of the meat (I usually cut carrots first because they are bulky when compared to celery and onions).
3. Wash the bay leaf and put into the inner pot (I always prefer 2-3 in my cooking).
4. Pour water into the inner pot and make sure it covers the meat and veggies.
5. Boil it until it starts bubbling and add chicken powder to taste (One thing that I noticed if you are cooking more portions than usual, you may need to reboil to ensure the osso bucco is thoroughly cooked).
6. Boil it a bit longer and put the inner pot into the vacuum insulated cooker.
7. Let it cook over night.

While my family usually eat this with rice, I prefer udon after doing a lot of testing in dorms. My mom used to vacuum seal some with veggies so I can enjoy it while doing my assignments. I remember trying rice vermicelli, egg noodles, pasta and udon. Rice vermicelli got soggy really quickly while egg noodles held themselves a little better. Pasta was okay, but udon stood out for remaining bouncy when it took me a little while to finish dinner.

That is pretty much it for my recipe. Hope you enjoy it! 😊

KIM’S MENU
Chicken Rice Noodles with Carrots and Cucumbers

Chicken Rice Noodles

Chicken Rice Noodles with Carrots and Cucumbers

Unlike Phoebe, my recipe is somewhat of a combination of a few things I like making. I did end up forgetting something in this one and our judges definitely did realize even if I don’t honestly mind that much.  Here are the ingredients I used:

  • Rice Noodles
  • Nantes Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Chicken Thighs
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Green onions
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sesame Oil

How to make it:

1. In a bowl, mix together sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and garlic. Set aside.
2. Prepare the chicken. Cut the chicken lengthwise and mix with the marinade above.
3. Boil water in a saucer. When it starts to boil, put in the rice noodles to cook. Place in for few minutes. Remove and put in strainer. Rinse with cold water. Rest strainer on a bowl to let water drain.
4. Peel the carrots and cucumbers and chop them lengthwise (or however you like them that makes it easier to cook). Mince the garlic and chop the ginger.
5. Heat up the wok on medium-high heat. Put in some oil (sesame, olive, whichever you use; I used avocado oil) and let it heat up.
6. Put in some garlic and ginger into the wok. Afterwards, add the carrots and cucumbers. Let them cook through and remove on plate.
7. If you need, add a little bit of oil to the wok and cook the scrambled eggs.
8. Next, cook the chicken with marinade as sauce.
9. Once its cooked through, add back the eggs, carrots and cucumbers. Let it cook a little more and add the noodles to heat everything back up.
10. Remove from heat and put in plate.

COMMENTS FROM FRIENDS (AKA TASTERS)

Phoebe’s Osso Bucco was cooked thoroughly and enough time. The only comment was on the choice of using the Udon noodles and that dials down to a personal preference.

Kim’s Chicken Rice Noodles was cooked well however it was on the more bland side. Something that Kim suspected out of her eating habits and the fact that she forgot to use broth. The suggestion was to use chicken broth to add some natural flavor instead of using salt and it would help infuse the meal overall.

This concludes our first BATTLE OF INGREDIENTS!
Hope you enjoyed it!

The next battle will be held next month as a collaborated full course meal featuring MAPLE SYRUP!
Right in time for cabane a sucre season!

Taking a Day Off….Kind Of.

Hey everyone!

Just wanted to pop by quickly to just tell you that there isn’t a post today because of various reason. I know I don’t usually start sharing about this stuff and just leave it an off day but somehow I’ve felt a bit guilty about the whole catch-up phase since last week and just seems like I’m running after my to-do list and totally huffing and puffing. While I’ve been working hard, I just want to sidetrack so very much.

However, the new segments are my main focus as this goes up. I want to have them out before the end of March which only gives me a few days. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it was right HERE in my last weekly adventures post. Now, I’m getting all fancy and figuring out how to put together some nice banners and we’re having a double narrative on the collab segment. I’m really excited about it and want it to be perfect! Hopefully you will like it as well!

Aside from the segments, we’re in a bit of a crazy phase over at Game Warp. We’re trying our best to be on track with some new games. Last time, I talked about audio reviews and they are still a work in progress as I try to get the opening and closing bits good, which I think I’m about happy with the template now. We’re also stepping up some new games stream on Twitch.  If you are reading this the day that it goes up on March 28th, we will be running a stream at 10pm EST for Rain World over at twitch.tv/gamewarppodcast.

Am I hard selling a little? Maybe. But hey, it’ll be fun! Afterall, who doesn’t want to be a slugcat, right? What’s a slugcat? Do we really care? If I can be a cat in any way, I’m in! 😉

You got it right though. I’m in kind of a few hours left time crunch to get everything done before stream!
Just so this doesn’t seem so pointless…let’s do a quick What’s Up Tuesday! Quickfire version!

What am I binging?: Gotham Season 1 & Pretty Little Liars Season 6B
What am I reading?: Nothing much. I’ve started a few books that have been quite lackluster. Probably a physical book next (Illuminae is my best bet)
What am I playing?: 2Dark, Super Mario Run & Battleblock Theatre
and…about to start Rain World!

The next Weekly Adventures is scheduled to go up in just a few days so nothing too crazy in this one!
I just was feeling guilty and wanted to tell you about what’s up and do a quick post saying, I’m sorry for the irregular posting.

Today is a day off. But I’m working extra hard playing catch up! So it’s not really a day off.

Hope you all are having a fabulous day! Tell me what’s up with you! 🙂

TV Binge: Ultimate Beastmaster (Season 1, 2017)

Reality TV has always had some sort of following on regular television. Along the similar veins of American Ninja Warrior, Sylvester Stallone’s co-created obstacle course beast is the new Netflix Orginal Series, Ultimate Beastmaster. Filmed in the California Dessert and grandly built with 4 different obstacles sectors and 108 competitors from 6 different countries and filmed over 8 days with 12 different hosts from USA, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Korea and Germany. This is a huge feat in itself. The question now is how compelling is this show going to be? Will it live up to expectations? How will they keep it entertaining?

Let’s check it out!

Ultimate Beastmaster (Season 1, 2017)

Ultimate Beastmaster

Creators: David Broome & Sylvester Stallone

Eighteen competitors run an obstacle course known as “The Beast”, where nine of them will be crowned “Beastmaster”, and will compete against each other to be crowned Ultimate Beastmaster. – IMDB

 There’s something incredibly appealing about watching man perform and compete in challenging obstacles. It is similar to watching for example Olympics or Crossfit competitions. I gather that is the appeal of watching American Ninja Warrior. The Ultimate Beastmaster takes this initial concept and creates an entertainingly challenging course full of very competent challengers who are fighting for this title. Being in Canada, we got the American cut which means we spend most of it with hosts Terry Crews and Charissa Thompson. Terry Crews is a great host with lots of one liners and adds a lot of fun just like the other sections with the other countries’ host that are fun and colorful in their own ways as well. The competitors themselves, no matter where they are from, are also very fun to watch in action and of course, as we listen to some of their backstories with the US competitors having more complete backgrounds (because this is the US edit), really give us a good idea on who to cheer for in each round and speculate who will make it to to the finale. Its 10 episodes of fun and entertainment.

Ultimate Beastmaster

The best part aside from its variety of competitors and the colorful hosts are for the beast of a structure themselves. The obstacle course is very challenging. It relies heavily on a complete well-rounded physique. As the episodes progress certain episodes will have various modifications in their courses like changing the rope to swing from one obstacle to the next or adding extra difficulties in slope for another. As we watch the competitors, we gradually learn who are probably more capable and perhaps the best part is cheering for the underdogs who we never expect to go through and finally do. There’s going to be favorites and sometimes, we found ourselves cheering for so many of them. Plus, everyone has a different approach on how they complete these obstacles or whether they go for the point thrusters often placed in challenging places and making decisions that could make or break their run of that level.

ultimate Beastmaster

To become the Ultimate Beastmaster is a huge title, the hard work in each episode makes us know the competitors that win and head into the episode 10 finale which crowns the ULTIMATE Beastmaster. They run the same course luckily but with higher difficulty. Knowing that this series with filmed over eight nights makes us realize that these competitors really didn’t have a lot of time to rest before having to jump into their next run, especially for those entering into the finale. Their wounds haven’t had time to heal and everything can really be against them, even if they have a certain level of expectation. However, it also depends on how the competitors are grouped.

Ultimate Beastmaster

Overall, there is a great thrill in watching Ultimate Beastmaster. The concept of making it international and hosted and shown in different participating countries is very commendable. The course is challenging and monstrous. There’s so much to love about this show. While we hope for a new season, the question remains whether they will use the same course or whether the beast structure will stay the same and the obstacle course itself will be reconstructued in order to make it refreshing. It is definitely one to watch if you enjoy these types of shows.

Have you seen Ultimate Beastmaster?

Game Warp Podcast: Talks New and Upcoming 2017 Games (with Insomnia Knights)

Welcome to the next episode of Game Warp Podcast!

This episode, we talk about new and upcoming 2017 games with our special guest, Youtube Gamer Slaymate (aka Insomnia Knights). We bring up a lot of AAA titles and equally a lot of independent titles. Nintendo Switch discussion also comes up as we talk about our impression and how we feel about Nintendo’s direction in general. This episode was recording before a few of the games had release dates announced and currently are released. You can look in the description for Slay’s playlist for some of them.

Thanks for watching!
If you enjoyed, remember to subscribe and give us a like!

Tell us in the comments what 2017 games have caught your eye? What are you looking forward to?

Unboxing: FabFitFun [Spring 2017]

It’s finally here! FabFitFun boxes never fail to make my day (or my week) in this case!

I love doing unboxings. Unfortunately, with a myriad of other editing, we’re going back to the handy camera and pictures format for this one. It has been a crazy week and I’m a tad sleep deprived. Everything feels a little out of place this past week but hey, the box got here and I’m always excited to see what is inside. On top of that, we’re in for another year of FabFitFun unboxings because my annual subscription renewed with this box. So far, this box has been incredibly worth it.

Let’s check it out!

Unboxing: FabFitFun – Spring 2017

FabFitFun Spring 2017

Just look at this darling box! Bright colors and beautiful designs – looks great! Let’s open it up!

FabFitFun Spring issue + FabFitFun TV announcement

FabFitFun

As usual, there’s a few cool articles on the products in the box, which is always a quick and fun read to learn a little more about the item or the company that made it. FabFitFun TV is a workout extension for members. Totally up my alley.

Dr. Brandt – Microdermabrasion Age Defying Exfoliator

FabFitFun

I don’t use exfoliators a lot mostly because a lot of times it doesn’t work well with my skin. However, it is good to use exfoliators before using masks. I always do give these products a chance because I’m hoping to eventually find one that works for me.

RealHer – Lip Kit (Liquid Lipstick, Lip Gloss & Lip Liner)

FabFitFun

RealHer was built on a beautiful thought from a father to empower his daughter and that cosmetics are to add courage and strength and not to feel like girls are not beautiful enough. Its a really nice concept. There’s an entire interview with the man behind this brand. I love sayings and little encouraging statements like that. It reminds me a lot of movies like The Help. Plus, I do like these items as well.

Briogeo – Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-in Conditioner Spray

FabFitFun Spring 2017

The best item of the box goes to this conditioner spray mostly because I’ve been researching these stuff for my incredibly long and much in need of a haircut hair. Its all the way down to my waist now. While I love my long hair and I did leave it long on purpose to be able to do braids, the fact that it is super thick makes it so heavy and kind of strenuous on my neck when I work out. However, hair care is one of those things I always don’t think about so much, especially when these days, I’ve felt like it needs to be strengthened more. Split ends and such are showing up.

Karuna – Hydrating+ Face Mask

FabFitFun Spring 2017

I started doing masks the year that that I got married. I really like it a lot because its such a refreshing feeling afterwards. However, I’m more of the lotion type of mask and not really these actual masks that you leave on your face. There’s always this illusion and worry in the back of my mind that if it doesn’t work, my skin will just be horrible and that would be scary. Maybe I’ll be giving these away to someone who likes them more. Its a pretty irrational fear, I know. But sharing these things make me happy also. I actually think my mom would like this.

Deborah Lippmann – Nail Polish Set

FabFitFun 2017

Nail polish! I have so much nail polish and yet only darker tints tend to work with me. Dark purple, Midnight Blue and especially darker shades of red. I’m not sure how good these will work with me but hey, if not, I have tons of friends who like this stuff and they might want to use it. My guess is the pink one on the right might work okay but the one on the left, which I have a similar one, probably doesn’t match with my skin tone.

Emerald + Duv – “Joshua Tree” Cage Bracelet

FabFitFun Spring 2017

Another item that I love in this box because I’m a sucker for pretty shiny jewelry. Simple and elegant is exactly how I like it and this one embodies all of that. I’ve actually gained a recent fondness for gold accessories so it could match well for an upcoming wedding that my husband and I are attending for a childhood friend.

Gypsy 05 – Roundie

FabFitFun Spring 2017

I’m not going to lie that when I first picked this up, I had no idea what it was. It looks like a tablecloth and it kind of is because they refer to it as beach roundie. So I guess its something we sit on and yet there’s pictures of it being draped over shoulders like a scarf or pashmina. Not sure what to do but it could be a nice adornment to something or a nice thing to sit on for hardwood floors. Probably not its purpose but beach time over here is a little limited.

Milly – Zip Pouch

FabFitFun 2017

“Slay all day” – love it! Pouches are fun. They are particularly useful on trips for like cosmetics and skincare products, etc. I know that this one probably can be used a clutch as well but I carry lots of stuff with me when I go out and I like the practicality of that. However, I do like this one. Its pretty cute.

Overall, this box is a little less useful than I’d expect however there are some items here that I can work with or share with family and friends.

That’s for this unboxing!
What item caught your eye?

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

The final part of the Toronto ComiCon weekend meet-up with Drew is our Friday’s night movie going adventure to see the live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Drew and I both have Disney segments on our respective blogs and it really highlights how much we love it in general. Plus, we just finished our 90’s Blogathon so hey, it all fits perfectly together. As objective as we would like to be, it is hard to not compare it to the original animation. I am just going to be honest here before we start.

Lets check it out!

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

beauty and the beast

Director: Bill Condon

(Voice) Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Kevin Kline, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ian McKellan, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson

The beauty of animation is how magical they can be because they are imaginative and creative. To bring something like that to life creates a lot of challenge. There has be matching music and atmosphere and most importantly, the magical chemistry that we can feel with these characters which is usually easier to believe when its animation than in real life. I would be lying if I didn’t go into Beauty and the Beast optimistically skeptical. Why? I haven’t watched anything from Emma Watson since Harry Potter series ended and I only know Dan Stevens as the creepy dude in The Guest and an extremely small part of Season one of Downton Abbey. Not a lot to compare to and I didn’t really look too much at the voice actors either. The question now, after a few days of the initial excitement and thinking about it: does it live up to its original? The answer is no. I have to reluctantly say that because of a few aspects. However, I also never expected it to live up to the original so I still had a lot of fun with it.

Beauty and the Beast 2017

Beauty and the Beast’s best part is creating its atmosphere and the world. It is absolutely gorgeous. The effects and CGI put us right into the setting of the town and especially the castle and forest areas. There was a darker tone however, it does manage to capture a great part of the magic that made the first one great. Of course, the original animated film offered up some of the most beautiful animation with its rich colors and catchy musical tunes. That comes to the second part that gives this movie something more. While retaining a lot of the music from the original, they manage to put a few new songs in. The nostalgia and magic of the old music still is the fun parts of the movie plus it shows a true determination of creating a animated film with this one that stays true to a musical with actually not a lot of dialogue.

Beauty and the Beast

Belle is one of my favorite heroines/Disney princesses. To be honest, Emma Watson did a decent performance. I can’t say that she was particularly memorable though. She fit in well because she had a good enough singing voice and the movie’s overall magical appeal swept me away. That isn’t to say that I didn’t like her. I just can’t really pinpoint a part of hers that stuck out to her. On that note, her chemistry with the Beast worked well enough that the story made it easy to fall in love with the story again even knowing what would happen and in that final scene where there’s that twist, I had tears in my eyes, which was definitely unexpected. Turning over to Dan Stevens as the Beast, his face was pretty much CGI and yet perhaps it is because of that, it was easier to keep it imaginative. When he was angry at the beginning, there were moments of fear and later as he softened, his features also made it so much more gentle. There was so much more to love in how Dan Stevens portrayed the Beast than Belle which seems to be the opposite of how I remembered the Disney animation.

Beauty and the Beast

The stars and the most dynamic characters of the original was almost always these supporting animated enchanted characters. Who knew that clocks and candelabras and teapots could make us fall in love with them, right? That is something that really stands out also in this live action. The voice cast is a fantastic ensemble with Cogsworth being voices Ian McKellan, Lumiere by Ewan McGregor, Mrs. Potts by Emma Thompson and of course, the man who tends to sneak into every movie in some supporting part and almost makes it shine, the grand piano (Maestro) by Stanley Tucci. I loved them the most in this live action adaptation (or is it a remake?). There are so many similarities to the original but somehow their enchantedness makes it easier to imagine them in this way.
Beauty and the Beast

Finally, we can’t not talk about the most self-absorbed villain, Gaston. I honestly like Gaston quite a bit and his sequences especially the Gaston songs and bits are quite humorous in the animation and I’m pretty happy about how they approached this character and Luke Evans take on it. There were a lot of funny moments and it helps a lot. The ending battle with the Beast was a little underwhelming but it was never meant to be overly long even in the original. Gaston isn’t really a true threat ever. I’m not sure any believes that he’ll amount to anything too much especially not when his right hand man is Lefou who is just there for comedic relief. Josh Gad didn’t quite stand out as much either.

Overall, Beauty and the Beast is a decent live action take of the original. In comparison, it is hard to meet the original’s masterful animation however there is still a lot to love especially because this one takes good care in creating a beautiful environment and magical atmosphere. The winter and snowy landscape with the dark but beautiful castle captures lots of mystic, especially watching the take on the castle falling apart as the magic wears away from each rose petal falling. While some characters are a little underwhelming in their portrayal, the majority did a pretty great job however the magic of the story itself did carry itself and shadowed the shortcomings in the moment.

Have you seen Beauty and the Beast?

Toronto: Casa Loma 

Toronto Comicon weekend was super busy. However, being the troopers we were, we managed to meet up earlier and skip out on one panel and made our tourist attraction visit to Casa Loma happen. Drew and I had originally planned for a Friday afternoon visit but realized it would be too rushed. Seeing as we did see Beauty and the Beast the night before and it was snowing in the morning when we arrived, it was the perfect memory of the Beast’s castle in real life (although it isn’t the same).

Casa Loma

The entrance for Casa Loma is $27, which might seem a little steep but you will soon realize as we did, that it is pretty worth it, plus this castle was used for quite a few movies as well.

Here is how we visited Casa Loma!

The First Floor

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Library

Casa Loma

The first floor of Casa Loma highlights the elegance of the building. You walk in to an open high ceiling area. Its something of a reception area. Down the hall are socializing areas. The billiard room was closed but on the other side, there was a beautiful library and a conservatory with a beautiful glass dome. There’s some fun facts about the office which has two secret passages: one that goes to the second floor and the second to the basement. The basement pretty much takes us to a vault. However, these are only two of the supposed three secret passages, however the third hasn’t been found.

Casa Loma

Secret Passage upstairs

The Second Floor: Guest Room

Casa Loma

The secret passage way leads up to a corridor next to the Guest Room which has a Chinese theme which is exactly up my alley, of course. This was an incredibly pretty room and very reminiscent of a lot of Chinese antiques. We only did this room which lead to stairs going up to the 3rd floor. We’ll come back to the second floor later.

Casa Loma

The Third Floor

Casa Loma

Walking up to the third floor was the Queen’s Own Rifle Museum which showed a lot of the history behind the war and military facts. It lined the hallway and leads into the Formation Room. Walking to the other end was the Group of Seven Room and other spaces. The military portion was one that Drew liked a lot whereas I’m not quite into this sort of history. However, the third floor does lead up to the two towers which we could look out the windows and also a lookout on one for a nice vantage point. Plus, it was snowing so it made for some nice scenery.

The Towers

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

A little eerie at first to walk up those stairs and then decide where to go and then keep going up on these super twirly narrow steps but the view is quite beautiful. It is a gloomy day so while Toronto would make a fantastic backdrop, perhaps the nicest part is capturing a different view of the castle along with its details.

The Second Floor (other half)

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Going back down to the other part of the second floor was mostly the suits for the Lady and Sir Pellatt who owned this castle. They had some super elegant bathrooms (which I didn’t show here) and some fantastically charming bedrooms. Just to say, its important to note how far our bathrooms, especially showers have gone since then.

The Tunnel

Casa Loma

Lucky for us, Drew was around and we headed down to the Lower Level where we happened to realize there’s still one really long tunnel with a Castles and Dragons medieval theme with paintings and animations projected on the walls which seemed to tell a story. It was pretty cool to see. This tunnel lead to The Stables which also had an antique car exhibit and carriage room along with the garage and potting shed. The stalls actually had two horses which I didn’t capture any clear enough to add here.

Casa Loma

The Movies

Casa Loma Casa Loma

There’s at least a dozen more films that were shot here but I can’t show them all here. These are some of the pretty popular ones. As I waited for Drew at the gift shop, I ended up watching all the clips of which movies and what rooms were used.

Would you look at all that? The pictures I used are only highlights and my favorite rooms. Plus, I only had my phone and not my DSLR so the pictures aren’t quite as refined. They still turned out alright. Casa Loma was a pleasant surprise with everything it had and we didn’t even watch any of the scheduled performances so if we had more time, there is still more to do, like going in the summer and having a chance to visit the gardens.

Have you visited any castles?