Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Cookies 2011!

My family has a tradition of excellence in intensely decorating Christmas cookies every year. Click on the pictures to make them bigger and see what you can spot!

The Monopoly board is mine! Robyn made the dude playing in the ball pit.

Here's the aftermath of the table:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Best Reality Show - Storage Wars

In the last seven days, I've become obsessed with A&E's Storage Wars. This is a show where people bid on "abandoned" storage lockers (read: some poor schmuck can't pay their storage unit rent) and get to repossess all of the contents inside.

The only catch is they cannot walk inside of units that they're bidding on, nor can they open any boxes until they own it.

So when you pull open one of these doors....
... and you see a classic motorcycle, you bid up to the reasonable resale value of the classic motorcycle. But when you open the door and you see a bunch of boxes, how do you know what is inside!!?!?!

Sometimes they find art, sometimes jewellery, sometimes a safe with cash inside! Sometimes a locker is purchased for $500 that turns out to be worth tens of thousands of dollars. But, other times a promising locker turns out to be full of someone's old clothes and hangers - in other words, worthless.

That is really the key premise in Storage Wars: What's in the boxes?!?! Nothing else on the show really matters. The four "professional" buyers that the show follows around are unlikable. Some own thrift stores, consignment stores, and some are collectors, but they're all terrible people. The cut-scene commentary is really cheesy, and the grudge-based up-bidding gets a little tiresome. Each 22-minute is at least 50% non-box-opening filler. But each terrible episode still has some of the magic - that insatiable curious itch that begs to be scratched - what is in those damn boxes??!!!

One of Robyn's sisters interned in a Grade 8 class and said all of her Grade 8 boys loved Storage Wars. Every guy I know who has seen it has enjoyed it. Is needing to know what is in a bunch of boxes intrinsically programmed into male DNA? Or are there females out there who also just want to know the contents of boxes?

My Christmas holidays have been great so far. I have taken a small break from watching Storage Wars to post about Storage Wars. Well, back to work! There are still boxes of unknown contents to be discovered!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Best Pizza in Saskatoon - Il Secondo

Robyn and I grabbed lunch today at Il Secondo - a bakery just off Broadway Ave, across from the Bulk Cheese Warehouse. In a word - delicious!

Everything is made fresh and the pizzas are the classic Italian style, baked in a wood-fired oven. I can honestly say the crust was the most perfect crust I've ever had - lightly crunchy on the outside, soft and delicious on the inside.

I also had an excellent latte, and it was only $3.75 - pretty decent as far as latte prices go! It would be five bucks at Starbucks.

I think we'd both highly recommend Il Secondo to anyone who loves a great pizza! The only downside is that their evening hours are still limited (they are a bakery, after all). So be sure to go there for lunch sometime.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Amazing Soccer Jerseys

My pal Matt gave me an early Christmas present - a team jersey for Wrath of the Norsemen FC, a soccer team in Saskatoon that I'll be joining once I move back here.

The jersey's AMAZING logo was done by his lovely girlfriend Krystal and I LOVE IT!!!!

And the back even has my name and number (101, or "LOL")!

The teddy bear on the logo is definitely a tribute to our first co-ed soccer team, the Super Best Friends Football Club (designed by me!)

Looking forward to getting back in the game!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Crab Mac'n'Cheese

Robyn sent me this recipe for Lobster Macaroni and Cheese a while ago and I'd been itching to try it. I made my own version of it on Saturday night, substituting pre-cooked (but real) crab meat for the lobster, and cheddar cheese in place of the fancy cheeses I didn't have. Also, I used a breading mixture instead of panko bread crumbs, which I don't recommend doing (too salty).

Since the recipe was ridiculously rich to begin with, I added a handful of chopped-up bacon - I figured it couldn't hurt :-)

Overall, it turned out delicious, especially considering I improvised all of the measurements! There were a ton of flavours but none of them were too intimidating; they worked nicely together. And it makes awesome leftovers.

Next time, I'd track down the real fancy cheeses and see if I could find the panko-style bread crumbs. But I will make this again!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Au Pied Du Cochon

Yesterday night Robyn and I visited Au Pied Du Cochon, a restaurant by Quebec chef Martin Picard. In a word: incredible.

This place specializes in two things: fois gras and pork, done in a French cuisine style - very rich and heavy sauces on everything.

We started our meal with Foie Gras Cromesquis - tiny breaded deep-friend fois gras cubes! You place the whole thing in your mouth and it just melts. The flavour is incredible. And rich. So, so rich.

For the main course, we split two dishes: a "Happy Pork Chop" and a fois gras poutine. Both were insanely good.

We were sitting at the bar, which was right in front of the kitchen. It was a lot of fun to watch the staff prepare all of these fancy meals, including a full pig's head dish!

For dessert - a delicious apple turnover... these guys have an excellent dessert chef hiding in the back because this was absolutely decadent.

If you're an adventurous eater who can handle an extremely rich meal, definitely check this place out when you're in Montreal! There's nothing to compare it to - so excellent!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ice Cube Spike

I found this in my freezer today:

An ice spike!!! How does this happen? According to the Nonlinear Physics Group at the University of Toronto:
[A]s the ice freezes fast under supercooled conditions, the surface can get covered except for a small hole. Water expands when it freezes. As freezing continues, the expanding ice under the surface forces the remaining water up through the hole and it freezes around the edge forming a hollow spike. Eventually, the whole thing freezes and the spike is left.
Neat! Hooray for science!