gracecheung604 | write on time: February 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dinner @ Market

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Headed out for dinner tonight to celebrate the new job on Monday, as well as to mourn the death of my freedom from the workforce. The food was really good, prices were totally reasonable! The menu was quite focused on seafood, which was excellent in aiding in my diet. Had dinner at the new restaurant Market at the Shangri-La. It was awesome...started with Raw Oysters and followed up with a Steamed Shrimp Salad. My main course was the Arctic Char, which was served with truffled mashed potatoes, and a swirl of a heavenly truffle sauce. It was 'lick-your-plate' yummy! Had a nice white Cotes du Rhone to go along with the seafood slant of the meal.

Lent: Day 4

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My mom found a recipe in the Province yesterday for Blueberry Orange Muffins. Since this fits nicely into my meatless diet, I decided to make them today. My mom freezes tons of blueberries, so we could make them even in February. However, I didn't have any oranges, but I did have lemons, so I did a little substitution.
Going into the oven...

I also made myself two sunny-side up eggs for breakfast, so I didn't have any appetite left for the muffins, though they did smell heavenly.
Coming out of the oven...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Lent: Day 3

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Woke up a little later than expected...after sleeping too late the evening before...zzz zzz.
I met up with my mom at 1pm for a quickie lunch at Irashai in Kerrisdale. After that, I enjoyed a girlie moment with my mom, with both of us getting manis and pedis at Pure Nail Bar across the street. Both Jenny and Amy were amazing. Had such a great afternoon with my mom, while she was driving her rental car from the bodyshop.
After we god back to the uber cold house, we just chilled until my stepdad returned home. Once he did, he prompty opened a bottle of 2000 Lindeman's wine...it was so good, after it breathed for a little bit. We had it with some Kernels popcorn, tearaway cheese cookies and seaweed. I know the snacks sound weired, but you really have to try it!!
As we were all sipping the vino, we all realized that the Canucks game was on tonight, but it was PPV. The logical conclusion of heading to Boston Pizza was drawn. We got there about 10 minutes before the game started, and I ordered my French Onion Soup (as did everyone else at the table) and a Vegetarian Pizza (and everyone else shared a Meteor Pizza)...Even the waiter comments on the irony of no-meat versus all-meat.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent: Day 2

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Early morning at the gym...session start at 8am! So, by 9, I was pretty much done...which totally shocked the hell out of my mom when she say me there, all done and showered when she arrived at the gym...that's priceless! But the price for waking up super early is...CRASH!
I had to nap...but upon waking up, I went to meet my QP for a yummy Dim Sum lunc @ the Starlight Kirin. She was a vegetarian before her baby, so she knew a thing or two about ordering veggie dim sum. The unfortunate thing is that, as a breastfeeding mommy, she can't have shellfish either, which I could have eaten. We ended up with a nice veggie duck, a steamed veggie roll, as well as a rice noodle roll with some ground fish meat. The additional dish we added was a steamed bok choy with fresh tofu skin in a fish broth, SUPER yummy. And then, because we both showed such self-restraint, we had dessert of a "thousand layer cake"...Going meatless has its rewards!
After I got home, (and a nap), I had a nice healthy snack of dried cranberries. Super yummy and healthy.
After that, I went for an amazing dinner of Alaska King Crab. They did the crab 5 ways! The first was the legs, asteamed version with green onions and the second was also steamed, but with minced garlic. The third course was the knuckles stir-fried with a secret chili spice. The fourth was the rest of the crab, stir-fried with rice, and served in the shell. The final version was noodles, made with the leftover sauces from the first two courses. Oh my goodness, I should have given up meat a long time ago, if I had known that crab would be my reward!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

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So...it's started. I woke up this morning, and went to the gym. Afterwards, I went to Mui Garden for their fish ball noodle soup. Not a bad start for my non-meat diet. Then for dinner, I reheated my spinach dip from the party and had some of it with a baguette. I'm so proud of myself. Being content is important! type here

Too Early

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If you can't sleep, what do you do?
You bake Biscotti, to be more specific: Chocolate Almond Biscotti.
So I baked the first batch and here is what they look like out of the oven,
after being sliced into biscotti-like pieces,
and rebaked!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Back at the Gym

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So, I finally made my way to the gym today, despite all previous intentions of being lazy on Shrove Tuesday. However, I am glad I did, since I haven't been to the JCC since last Thursday. Something about working up a good sweat really makes you ready for the rest of the day. I surely will miss this ritual once I start work next week. Going to make a concerted effort to work out the rest of the week, to make up for the inevitable laziness that I will succumb to next week. Also, I've decided to give up meat for Lent, and anyone who knows me will know how difficult this truly will be. I've decided to elimimate anything with legs...thereby allowing myself fish, shellfish and hopefully prawns!! Are those feelers really feet? What about lobsters and crab? At least I can have sushi...stay tuned to see if I make it to Easter! I am gorging myself on all legged creatures today...I've had a BBQ Pork Bun, Roasted Quail, Pork and Watercress Soup. I might even have a Steamed Pork Meatloaf and a European Weiner later...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday/Sunday?

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Since I hosted the party yesterday, today became my "Sunday". I skipped the gym, slept in and just vegged. And by some divine intervention, QP changed our massage at Spa Utopia from 11am to 4pm, since 4pm was much closer to the time I woke up! The only thing that I had to give up was my desire of a male masseuse, oh well, sleep instead of a man...story of my life! haha...So, I showed up at 3:15 to get a nice steam, and then off to my massage. Much to my delight, I ended up with a male masseuse! Oh happy days. It was a nice Deep Tissue deal, and I'm SO limber now. It's heavenly!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Party Time!

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So...did the Potato Skins, Spinach Dip and Hot Dogs today. Gave up on the Macho Nachos, Brownies and Mushroom Caps, but there were less people than expected, so it all worked out in the end. Got some help with the Wings and Ribs though...I have learned to delegate, yippee! And I also put some guests to work on the Spinach Dip, thanks QP!

The potato skins were awesome, but next time, I'll use a melon baller to actually scoop out the flesh, instead of a grapefruit spoon!
I did pretty well with the Oscar pool too, I actually got the Sound Editing and Sound Mixing categories right...haha.
Ended the night with my Chocolate Vanilla Cookies, and gave some dough out as a party favour. Better to share the joy than to add pounds to my a$$.




Saturday, February 21, 2009

All Prep, All Day

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Went shopping at Costco and Safeway for the party tomorrow. Got everything and then had to haul it all inside. I made the Parmesan crackers, as well as the Hummus and Chocolate Vanilla cookies already. I just have the Wings, Ribs, Spinach Dip, Mushroom Caps, Macho Nachos and Potato Skins to do tomorrow. Oh, and the Brownies! Parties are fun, but so much work!!!

You know you're in love when

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the only thing you care about is making sure your babies are happy, whether or not they are with you...he looks sad, but he's really just peaceful...





another awesome shot...they are too cute to limit it to one:

Friday, February 20, 2009

AYCE Sushi

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So, instead of going to the gym as a good little girl, I decided to go for AYCE sushi. I love how they give you so little of everything. That way, you get so much variety! I got the smallest salmon cheek. I swear they should have thrown that fish back into the ocean, it must have been a baby.
Started planning the menu/recipe for my Oscar party and I'm completely overwhelmed. At least I have all day tomorrow to shop, chop and prep. I'm making all appies: wings, ribs, nachos, spinach dip, mushroom caps, potato skins, and sliders. And then for desserts, brownies, biscotti and my chocolate vanilla cookies. And if the mood strikes me, those banananana cupcakes too. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lunch Lady

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So, I met up with my friend again for lunch before I head to work in March. We had a great time at Trattoria and then coffee at 49 parallel. Also did some browsing at Crocodile Baby, not for me, thank goodness! :) I'm going to miss the leisurely lifestyle, but then again, I'm so looking forward to the new challenge!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dentists and Dents

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Headed out for lunch with my mom to Fuji for lunch...had their nabeyaki udon, yummy. After that, I went with her to her dentist appointment. On the way there, there was a car/truch towing something on our right lane. When my mom switched lanes, there was no way she could actually see the low-riding trailer that it was pulling. Will have to deal with ICBC now, and make sure that the claim gets filed properly.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gangland Slayings in the 604

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Everyday, I receive breaking news alerts from The Province, and everyday, it's been one shooting after another. The only difference is that today, I actually got some news re: the budget, and even that was bad news. It's shocking to a recently transplanted 905/416er...I thought crime was LOW in the 604. Just yesterday, there was the shooting of a mother who was in the car with her child. And then this evening, there was another shooting on Fraser. Sigh, this bloodshed has to end...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dinner with Mom

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After a day at the gym and running errands, I decided it would be nice to celebrate Valentine`s Day (albeit belated) with my mom. It`s been a long time coming, quality time with my mom. We decided to head out for dinner, just us girls! My sister suggested Cactus Club, but my mom was just there yesterday. So we did the closest thing...Earl`s! It was nice to chat without having to repeat everything (with minor editing) in English for my stepdad. We had an awesome time, something we should do more often. We have dinners all the time, but not worrying about the cooking and cleaning, and having it out (instead of in) makes it more sophisticated somehow, and we had a really great conversation.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Reading Time!

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Almost finished a whole novel today...what a nice mellow day. Sue Grafton is one of my favourite author, her heroine, Kinsey Milhone, is such a strong character. The writing is easy to read, making the whole book fly by.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Hearts Day!

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Overrated...except for a hilarious story I heard about two gorgeous dogs...Nicholas (the adventurous one) climbed up a slide at a local gym, and SLID down it, like a toddler! TOO cute, but unfortunately, he ripped his nail off, necessitating a trip to the vet to have a cute little bandage put on. The bandage shown here is bandage no. 2, he somehow got the first bandage (purple with fire hydrants) off!

Dinner was a low-key affair at home, steak and mashed potatoes, with a nice bottle of wine. Yummy food without a $200 price tag...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the Thirteenth

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Not really a bad day overall, no black cats crossed my paths and managed to avoid all ladders...haha.
Did have takeout pho and sushi though, and I must remember this...pho should only be eaten in pho restos. Even if you bring it home safe and sound, the heat of the soup doesn't cook the broth properly, but your house will still smell like a pho shop! Sushi, however, is an amazing takeout item, if you finish it right away. If you have leftovers and have to put the rest in the fridge, I'd recommend only putting the sashimi portion of the sushi in the fridge, but not the rice. It will get hard on you, making the whole thing a little soft on top but hard on the bottom.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Back at the GYM

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Finally got my a$$ back to the gym after almost a week-long hiatus. As a result, I'm 2 lbs heavier than my last weigh-in. I doubt it's strictly due to the lack of exercise. I think it might be the extra-large bowl of soup I had in the morning, or my extra-heavy running shoes.
Free Emoticon Courtesy of www.FreeSmileys.org
And then, after 90mins of working out, I went for lunch with a friend of mine, who just delivered a bundle of baby-boy joy two months ago. We went to Earl's and had a fabulous meal and even better conversation. It's so nice to catch up with someone who "gets" you, isn't it? I'm so lucky to have true friends, where we can just pick up after 6 years of absence in Toronto!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shopping with Mom

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Met mom at Walmart where she had to buy Scrubbing Bubbles refills. However, she found a whole starter kit on clearance, and it also had a $5 coupon...but the coupon was expired. Would you believe they did a price override and gave her the $5 off?? She ended up with the kit priced less than the two refills it came with!
Afterwards, we had lunch and then shopped to replace my runners. I found a yummy pair of 2009 Nike running shoes...very cool, and we have a coupon! $10 off $100 through the Entertainment Book, hey, it's something!
Then we went to Costco with only two planned purchases, TP and Coffee...and both had coupons too! Too many coupons today...haha.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Secret's OUT

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So, after starting my job search in earnest after the new year (Calendar, not Lunar), I am pleased and thrilled to say that "I FOUND MY DREAM JOB!!". It's in an industry I'm interested in, and it's a position I'm well-qualified for and have vast experience in.
Many thanks go to my two references CT & DM, who gave me stellar recommendations, glowing accolades and fantastic feedback.
To look for a job without letting anyone know (except for RS) was really really hard. From planning and preparing for the interviews to just keeping quiet as I was going through the whole process, I have newfound respect for myself as a secret-keeper. For someone who occasionally suffers from sharing TMI, I survived a two-week trial!
I took my parents to Cactus Club, where I finally broke my silence, and then headed to Hapa Izakaya for a few drinks to further celebrate!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Becoming Martha

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So...after the bread making trial, I've decided to redo the wing-thing and make Martha's Thai Fried Chicken Wings with Hot-and-Sour Sauce (minus the salted mango thing.The recipe is from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who just opened Market in the Shangri-La hotel here in Vancouver, so I thought the timing would be right. The wings will not be fried, but to those of you who know me, I never fry when I can avoid it.

QOTD

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Whoever wishes to keep a secret must hide the fact that he possesses one.
Children are the orgasm of life. Just like you did not know what an orgasm was before you had one, nature does not let you know how great children are until you have them.

Lost!

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Some idiots stole my gym bag, my iPod(s), my stinky runners, and gym clothes, a mess of headbands and elastics, and my makeup bag with all my mask makeup! Sure hope they rot!!

Can't Sleep, Must Bake

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Trying to bake bread...beer bread to be exact. Using an old can of Bavaria...fingers crossed! There is no time needed to let dough rest, very appealing in the middle of the night! And although it turned out to be more of a buscuit than a dough, it was still well appreciated...nothing better than fresh baked goods from the oven!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The new Ike, and more Grammy's Musings...

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So, is it really true? Did CB actually beat up RiRi? Or was he just pissed at not being asked to sing along with ColdPlay...After all, Jay-Z and Coldplay totally rocked Pemberton, it was the best re-collaboration of the evening! Check the latest from TMZ.com.
Other than that scandal, there were some really amazing performances...Miley and Taylor (I tolerate Miley, I like Taylor), TI and Justin. Poor TI, jail next month...but hey, we all got to pay our debt to society, right?
And it's great to see Whitney looking so good...good things to look forward to there, I hope. And I hope MIA's baby comes out rocking...good on her for featuring her baby-belly on the Grammy's...it's so cool (and creepy) at the same time...
I do have one question...why was Emily Proctor (Calleigh from CSI:Miami) and Gary Sinise (CSI:New York) there? Who dropped out??

Grammy's and my Lack of Ambition

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Watching the Grammy's tonight with a bunch of chicken wings...no, I'm not referring to my friends.
I'm planning an Oscar party and decided that tonight would be a good time to test out some finger foods...saw an amazing recipe for Chicken Wing 3 Ways from chaos in the kitchen...
I will be attempting the Garlic Parmesan version...was going to attempt all three, but since I also did two loads of laundry...well, one wing is better than no wing. They turned out really well, but could have used a lot less butter, maybe about half the amount as stated in the recipe. The parsley was nice and light, and the garlic butter mixed so well with the parmesan...yummy!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Missing Ben and Nick

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What a gorgeous picture of gorgeous dogs!
Can't wait to see them again, wonder if they will recognize me...

Banana Muffins - Round II

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So, my second attempt at baking my Banana Bread...again in muffin cups. I reduced the sugar called for in the recipe by about a 1/4 cup, due to the sweetness of the overly ripe bananas.
Started at 5:20 and finished by 6:00...and that includes washup and baking time!
Practice does make perfect...

Here is the recipe for Banana Muffins...
Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 cups Plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 125 grams softened Butter
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 very ripe Bananas, mashed with a fork
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • pinch salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease 5×9″ loaf tin, or a muffin tin.
  2. Cream butter & sugar together with an electric beater.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add the mashed bananas, again beating in well.
  5. Start to add the dry ingredients a little at a time, alternating with milk.
  6. Beat until well combined.
  7. Spoon mixture into loaf tin or muffin tray.
  8. Bake 55-60 minutes in the loaf tin, or for 25 minutes for muffins.
  9. Test by inserting a metal skewer into the middle of the cake.
  10. It's ready when skewer comes out clean.

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