January 2010


Saturday night was the “steamy” of the naked and steamy weekend. We had decided to try Jaden Hair‘s, Sweet and Sour Lychee Meatballs .  This recipe was from her cookbook The Steamy Kitchen. So far any of the recipes we have tried from her book have been easy to make and fast. The ingredients were all easy to get at the store  and we did get the lychees,  but since it was something new we decided to test it before adding them. we are glad we did, not a flavor that we personally cared for so we substituted the pineapple tidbits. It might have been the brand we bought they tasted a bit tinny like the can.
Frying up the meatballs

Fry the Meatballs

Prepare the Sauce

Prepare the Sauce

Bring it all together

We served it with rice and an egg roll, and nice meal because my 5 yr old son ate parts of what we made, so no separate cooking. He had the meatball and rice and some fruit, he didn’t want to try the sauce but reported that the meatballs were “yummy”

The finished meal ready for me to enjoy

This was a fun meal to make and nice to prepare with my wife. I enjoy preparing a meal with her and I always enjoy eating together as a family.

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So since the weather is cold and the furnace is not working we are keeping the home fires burning this weekend. Doing some projects around the house that I’m super excited for like, cleaning the cupboards, cleaning the fridge, jobs that we should have done long before now but tend to notdo because they are no fun.

But what is fun is some cooking we have planned for the weekend. Tonight we will be making another recipe from the Steamy Kitchen Jaden Hair  from pg 87 Sweet and Sour Lychee Meatballs. On Sunday we are making Jamie Oliver, Jamie Italy a comfort food based on his Minestrone D’inizio aAutunno pg 66.

I will be back tomorrow with some details about how they turned out and some pictures if I don’t get to excited and forget in my passion for eating.

So Thurs night we decided to not have the smoke bombing of the furnace done.  We chose not to for a couple of reasons. From reading on the net and talking with our heating contractor it is very obvious that there is a crack/hole whatever that is letting the exhausted air from the furnace seep into the house. The smoke bomb would have made a sulfur smell through the house and that would just be nasty for really what gain, we  would be where we are now  in the market for a new furnace.

Since the furnace is not being repaired we have used our fireplace and electric space heaters and love to keep us warm. As a parent and husband I find it hard not to feel responsible for my family being without heat or being not as comfortable as they should be. I know the furnace is not my fault but it seems my responsiblity. I guess I have a need to protect them for lack of a better word (yes it is some old school idea but it is how I feel).

So what involved in a new furnace? For someone who hasn’t had to do this before here is my thinking and reasoning behind my choices. We are country people not middle of no where, but we don’t have natural gas so heating options are; oil, propane, wood. Wood isn’t an option for us our home isn’t designed for it and it’s not practical for our life style and needs. So there are two options left, let’s have a closer look:

  • Oil: It is what we now heat with so we have a 1/2 full tank of oil, our house is plumbed for it. Some issues we have with oil, well the furnace we have only lasted 10 years, I don’t feel this is the fault of oil, but still it pisses me off, when most oil burning furnaces are going to last 20 plus years. Oil is expensive in our area, oil like most fuels is price sensitive by geographic location. Heating costs? Well our furnace is running at 80% efficiency so for every $1 of gas I’m losing .20 . New oil furnace  is going to be 85% but that still means .15. So in a heating season we would spend approx 1500 to 1700.00 to heat aour house so we lose 225.00 to 255.00 in the lack of furnace efficiency.
  • Propane: Much more work to convert to.We have a tank to have delivered and installed, old oil furnace and oi ltank to remove (oil tank also has to be drained), gas line in the home to run, certification is needed. The positive on propane is at 95% efficiency we will get more for our heating dollar, a cleaner burning fuel, the ability to add the gas stove my bride has always wanted (in a few years) and we were going to need a propane tank for the pool heater come spring.

So we have decided to go with the propane with a DC variable fan for some power saving also. We are also going to be utilizing a heating grant form Natural Resources Canada the US has a similar program. I will have more details on this when I have finished are audit on Sunday but according to the heating contractor we will get back 1550.00 in a rebate, we have to pay 350.00 for an audit so we will have 1200.00 toward the new furnace.

Yesterday my bride snapped this picture on the way to the bus stop with our son. Since July she has really taken a passion to photography, her quality of pictures has improved and so has her way of looking at the subject she is shooting.

Love how that one perfect flake is sitting on the tip waiting to blow away.

Not sure how to raise the white flag to fate, bad luck, or some mystical power but I F-ing surrender.

So why, you are wondering,  well let me tell you.  Since Jan 6, 2010 we have had the following list of major appliances/home equipment break.

  • Dishwasher: Our Kenmore piece of junk, broke less than three years after installing it. It’s predisessor was a Whirlpool Gold that lasted 7 years. 
  • Washer: Yes another Kenmore it lasted 10 years, so not too bad, but why this month just 3 days after the dishwasher.
  • Furnace: Our fossil fuel burning, carbon belching, piece of dog crap, oil furnace. My wife has called her “Clare” as in “Clare you’re a bitch”. Clare is the brand on the furnace and we for some reason always refer to her as Clare. (They are coming to test it today to verify that is has a cracked heat exchanger, but lets face it of course it is cracked,because that would require us needing good luck) Also the fact the we can smell the fumes from it all over the house is not a good sign.

So our family has unwilling contributed to the economy this month, it is time for someone else (please with a cherry on top).

Tonight thanks to Jaden Hair and her cookbook “The Steamy Kitchen” we had a nice meal. There are several recipes in this book that we plan to try, but the first two we tried out were; Thai Coconut Chicken Curry (pg103) and for dessert Coconut frozen yogurt (pg146).

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry was good, nice tasting and very easy to make, most of the ingredients are easy to get at your local grocery store in the ethnic section, with one the exception of Kaffir Lime leaves that we could not find, but it is optional ingredient. There are a couple of simple changes we would make to this recipe in the future to meet our own tastes and preferences, but this was a great recipe and we would make it again.

Coconut Frozen Yogurt… lets face facts, I don’t think I have ever had an ice cream I didn’t like, and this was no exception. It was fresh and had a nice tang from the greek yogurt, and the wonderful taste of toasted coconut.

I enjoy getting in the kitchen and cooking with my wife, this recipe didn’t give me much of a chance since it was easy and well, I was out skiing for the day and she did all the prep work for the curry and made the frozen yogurt before I got home.  My help consisted of opening cans, eating, and doing the dishes. But that was fine and the food made all of my hard work worth the effort.

Been reading a book called “In Search of Captain Zero”, a very interesting book about a man’s passion for surfing and his travels. I enjoyed reading about the feeling he gets during a session, or the feeling of the perfect ride. I have skied since I was young, rode my first snowboard in 1986. When I’m on skies or a board it is a comfortable place for me.  The feeling of the perfect carve on a board or the rush of a perfect run on skis, this feeling is hard to describe to a person that hasn’t felt it before. The best way to describe it is a harmony with the hill, snow, the surroundings, and that for me is very calming and relaxing.

Early this week I went night skiing.  My ski buddy unfortunately had other plans so it was just me, which wasn’t a big dea,l sure the sport is more fun when you can chat with a life long friend, but also skiing alone has parts of it that are enjoyable. So what makes it enjoyable? Well it is the ability to enjoy the Zen of the sport, focusing on making that flawless run, meditating to the sound of the ski carving a turn, the wind from your speed, the centering of your mind, body and spirit. I always leave a hill feeling better more relaxed, then when I started. 

Other sports have this ability for me too, windsurfing, MTB, and canoeing. I wonder do other people have activities in their life that bring them this feeling? Would love to hear about them. Sure looking at some of these sport it might be adrenalin based, but I also get a similar feeling when gardening, or lounging by the pool with my family.  

Enjoy the weekend.

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