Monday, December 27, 2010

Stubbe Truffles

How can any Holiday festivities be complete without chocolate? 

 

This gorgeous box of chocolate truffles was a gift to B and since he doesn't have the same passion for chocolate like I do, he generously shared it with me.  

 

Stubbe is a local chocolatier that I have never heard of until now, but I have to say, some of the truffles are even more scrumptious than the ones from Godiva - especially after their recent menu revamp. (I mean, come on!! Discontinuing the cognac truffle was a big mistake, and now they've done away with the sugar-crusted raspberry truffle too??)

 

This is one of my favorites - buckwheat honey truffle - a milk chocolate outer shell with a dark ganache center.  The other was the blood orange truffle.  Delicious!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cake Pops: Success!

Inspired by the über-adorable creations by Bakerella, I was determined to treat my colleagues to some cake pops for the Christmas potluck - and I think I've achieved at least some success with these:





Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shooting and Shopping Fun

This past weekend was the last weekend to shop before Christmas but rather than spending the whole day shopping in the States we made a trip to the shooting range first.


We shot one of these...


source: weheartit.com


and something that looked like this:





and a magnum (revolver) and another .9 mm.  Those big ones are so much fun!  Too bad we couldn't get more pictures though because we were worried about cross-contamination and we heard lead poisoning could make one more stupid than he already is.

Our itinerary got delayed quite a bit though because our reservation was given away to another group that was mistaken to be us, so we ended up not having enough time to travel to the outlet mall that we originally intended to visit.  Military mall, or Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls as other knows it, had been the outlet mall my ex-coworkers and I used to make a trip to in the summer.  The deals were definitely not as good though, maybe because retailers know that this is the time of year where shoppers who are desperate to find last-minute gifts would probably be willing to buy regardless of the price.  We didn't find much except in the most unlikely place - the Eddie Bauer store - where B got a nice down jacket for under $150.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My New Toy!!

Got my early birthday present but didn't wanna risk putting a scratch on it... (my precious!)  So now that we finally got around to dressing it up - we can start using FaceTime :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

a manly scarf?

Saw this waffle stitch and thought it would make a nice manly scarf:




I really liked it and thought it was a nice simple pattern that gave an interesting texture.  However, Mom insisted that the individual squares in the "waffle" needed to be bigger to look better.  So I tried a couple of rows of the larger waffle squares, and they came out horrible.  In frustration, I undid the whole thing and am now looking for a new stitch to try.  Chances are slim that he will see the scarf before the end of this winter season.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gingerbread House(s) 2010 + 1st batch of Xmas Cookies?

This year, instead of getting a house each, Mish and I decided to just help Alan with his and we'd work on these adorable tiny houses that would make up a gingerbread village. 


The kit even came complete with icing mix, color and candies.

 
The "Red Red" food coloring wasn't red though - instead, it made hot pink icing, which wasn't very christmasy and so we decided to use that as the binding glue:






I was confident that these houses would turn out just as nicely as what we picked up from Bulk Barn last year, being the Wilton brand and all - but to be honest, if we were to keep gingerbread building as a christmas tradition of ours, I will definitely stick with Bulk Barn next time.  These little gingerbread houses came as one piece - so we had to chop up the individual pieces, which isn't as easy as it seems - most of the edges were uneven and some pieces even broke while we tried to separate the roofs from the walls.  We tried, but I don't think these tiny houses would ever be able to stand up straight...




On the side, we made oatmeal raisin cookies that had a nice crnchy outside and a soft chewy center... yum!!



Thursday, December 9, 2010

MUJI cotton candy





a little piece of heaven - it's light, it's fluffy, it melts in your mouth!!  I wish they had a MUJI store here in Toronto!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bring on the Bling Bling!!

Ever since I picked up some of these pretties for Michelle I had been eyeing the other color palettes offered by NYX - and since I had gotten my hands on them I had found any and every excuse to make it an occasion to wear them...



... these were quite waxy in texture but the little sponge applicators provided picked them up and pat them down with perfect ease.  I had no trouble with the glitters not staying put, which was one of the main complaints in the online reviews.  A little goes a long way though - and really, a tiny little dab on the outer crease of the eyes had the best effects.  I hope Michelle is enjoying her palettes also!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

what is wrong with you??

Working in retail pharmacies really opened up my eyes - but some customers really gets on my nerves.  Like a certain pakistani customer I had today.  First he barged in demanding to be serviced first even though we were clearly busy with another customer's orders.  We let it go - he only had one item on his prescription while the one we were wrapping up had a couple more items.  All the while he was yapping away on his bluetooth headset as if he was the only one in the room.

Then when he was ready to pay, he handed me his credit card.  When I had inserted his card into the chip reader, he gave me a dubious look and said, "this is not a debit card."  Duh!  Of course I knew it wasn't a debit card.  It clearly said "VISA" on it.  I guess he hadn't noticed that his credit card has been updated to the state-of-the-art payment technology of chip and PIN. So I pointed that out to him - and guess what he said?  "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??"  That's what he said. "I don't know of any PINs, there's no PIN for credit cards."

I swear, if he wasn't a customer, I would have asked him the same thing for not knowing his credit card with a chip has a PIN and for not know his PIN - and also for putting the blame of his ignorance on other people.  What is wrong with you??

Saturday, December 4, 2010

hot pot tonight


And this is what you missed...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

warming up to the settlers of catan

almost skipped our games night due to the horrible rain, but I'm so glad I made it!  Instead of the planned Carcassonne, we ended up playing The Settlers of Catan again - this time with the real version (as opposed to the traveller's version that we've been playing with).  The game play is actually a little more varied than Carcassonne where the roll of the dice and strategic trading of resources could really influence the result and interactions among players are more important than luck in drawing the tiles.  I'm starting to like it :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

2010 Gourmet Food and Wine Show

The 2010 Gourmet Food and Wine Show was held over this past weekend and since I've been wanting to go for the past few years I was determined not to miss it this year. Actually, I've been so excited about the event that throughout the whole of last week I kept (wishfully)thinking it was Friday and wishing my coworkers a good weekend when I leave.

My brother and a co-worker had also expressed interest, but as it turns out coordinating events is not my strongest suit and so we never got to meet up at the show - neither did B get to come because by the time he was done with work we had already seen most of the show and were ready to leave soon. It would have been so much more fun if we could see the show together - but I guess that just wasn't meant to be. Not that it wasn't fun as it was, but it's one of those experiences that I would have loved to share with him.


I had brought my camera along hoping to capture some images of the yummy offerings to aid my memory - but we were too eagar to sample all the goodies at the show that I'd only remember about the camera after we had finished eating. I can only recall what we ate there because we had tried to compile a list over BBT that night. There was the venison ribs that didn't taste gamey at all but we could be favorably biased in our opinions because the was the first thing we sunk our teeth into, and we were hungry. The pulled pork sandwich was juicy but could have been more flavorful. The roast beef sandwich offered by Windsor Arms Hotel was yummy with caramelized onions but I thought they could have served up something more creative.



We had the most amazing paella made in a humongous wok and that was the highlight of the event.  Each bite was bursting with the intense flavours of the mix of mussels, clams, calamari and shrimps.  Too bad it was offered by a catering company,  not a restaurant where we could visit again.





We then moved into dessert territory when we saw a booth filled with smoke - which turned out to be nitrogen that is used to make flash-frozen ice cream. There were the signature flavours like monte crisp, but then there was the mango flavour that was a limited edition thanks to a partnership with a liquer vendor at the show. We were sold once the promotor mentioned mango ice cream, and we got to watch the process where the chef whipped the liquid cream and mango liquer mixture into delicious ice cream under a cloud of nitrogen gas. Unfortunately they don't have a store front yet, but it is coming soon. We then sampled a semisoft cheese shaved into the shape of a flower then complemented with a dab of apple jelly.


Then my memory went blurry - but I remember we also had a tiny plate of cheese sampler that included an interesting irish porter cheese, grilled chorizon on a bun, oysters from Rodney's, lamb miso yaki from Ginko resturant at the Doubletree Hotel, a piece of portugese pork sausage and a fish cake made with potatoes and bacalhau - their version of salted fish. Then there were the scallops. Inniskillen offered scallops paired with wine - the white wine went with scallops topped with icewine-cured bacon while the red wine was paired with scallops topped with truffle sauce. I liked their white wine but loved the scallop with the truffle sauce - it was so fragrant and the wonderful aroma of truffles lingered long after the scallop was gone.


Drink-wise - I can hardly remember anything except for the few wines and a beer that I really liked. Most of the wines we sampled were horrible - maybe they were not to my taste because I've been spoiled with always having somewhat nicer wines at home. The rose from Beringer we loved and it will most likely become a part of my wine purchase repertoire. The reisling icewine from Henry of Pelham was wonderful and I would love to try the other varieties they make. Most of the whites we sampled were sauv blanc and chardonnay - I guess neither was my wine of choice so I didn't enjoy them much. An award-winning chardonnay was decent but at 40 bucks a bottle it's probably not something I would pick up.


The reds ranged from unpalatable to tasteless - tasteless being the better end of the spectrum in this case because those were the wines that went down the easiest. I also learned that "Meritage" is the North American version of Bordeaux and some weren't bad at all. There was a booth showcasing wines from China but we didn't feel it was worth the dollar worth of sample tickets - and we weren't the only ones feeling that way.


We had mango and strawberry margheritas made with Island Original mixes which I thought was yummy but James wasn't impressed - he had just came back from a week of all-inclusive vacation in Mexico. Caramilk now offers their own version of liquer except it's quite similar to Bailey's and I don't see the point of investing in both. We also got to try a mango liquer called "Orchid" - it's the most amazing stuff and it turned out to be the same liquer they used in the ice-cream. Definitely will be picking that up once I clear some space off of my shelf of spirits.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

a thousand bucks later...

... and my car is now winter-ready.  Got my snow tires on today.  


And a couple of days ago just when I was getting to Dad's office to pick him up, the car started making very loud noises from the rear on the driver's side - turns out my brakes were gone and the noise came from metal grinding on metal.  So not only had I replaced the brake pads - I also had to replace the brake discs.  Well, I guess it`s money well-spent as long as it keeps my car safe for the winter.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

MONOPOLY!!

Instead of our usual Carcassonne on our night out, we played a new card game (new to us anyways) - Monopoly DEAL.  The object of the game is to be the first to collect 3 sets of properties - which is no easy feat as other players will try to stop you by collecting rent or even stealing your properties from you.  Usually the game is short - a winner is often decided within 15 minutes.  However, when we played last night - it turned into a huge competition between the strategists and we only managed to play 3 rounds.  It was still fun though and now that the group is getting more familiar with the game it will hopefully go faster and more exciting :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

craving for samosas

One of the things I really miss from my old workplace was all the food and celebration for every and any occasion.  Especially the samosas.  I have been craving for samosas ever since I left my last job.  And today, out of the blues, for no special occasions, a colleague had brought samosas for us - and they were fresh, hot, crispy and very tasty - even though these little gems are not quite the same as the other samosas I've come to know, they definitely did the trick in satisfying my craving for indian food :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

eye make-up for dummies

My dear friend Michelle got this for me with her last order from ELF and it looks like a fool-proof palette for one without much experience with eye make-up:

The eye shadows seem to be darker than most shades I have dared to wear, but then again, I guess that's why such detailed instructions were provided to make these perfect-for-winter shades work.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the saga continues...

Just when I thought I had shaken off a blabbermouth from my old workplace - lo and behold there is another one in the next cubicle at my new workplace.  The only difference is that the one there at least talked to us and looked for our responses (more like attention-seeking?) whereas this one here preferred her kids on the phone.  It's helping me expand my Indian vocab - even though I am not particularly interested.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Yikes!

As if being a human beach ball isn't stressful enough already, this morning I got a sudden panic attack driving into work, worrying about my lap top getting stolen because it hasn't being locked away overnight - only to find it locked up in my drawer where it should be (so I did lock it after all)... honestly, I think I'm losing it >.<

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not only is my new co-worker beautiful and fashionable - she's talented to boot!  Check out her blog and etsy shop - I absolutely love those handmade jewellry and gorgeous little tins :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

am I being a pest?

I can't help but to feel depressed coming into work being asked to do something I have not been properly trained on.  Granted we have gone through some of the different what-if scenerios in training but I need more reassurance when working on the real projects especially because nothing's ever straightforward and a tiny mistake could impact so many other things and I'd rather be dead sure before I do it.  Yet I have found no help from my coworkers - they want me to help with the workload but at the same time they can't spare the time to show me how it's done.  I hate to be a pest and I hate being bounced around the office - but I have to constantly ask others and consistently get turned away until I mention it to my manager, who in turn would send out a request to have it done.  By then my coworkers would have to give me a hand willingly or not - and usually not.  It's been so stressful that I feel like it's turning me into a different person...

Friday, October 15, 2010

evidence of hardwork

after 40 minutes on the elliptical, I got blisters on the top edge of both sides of my palms!?!!  I can't figure out why they're on my hands rather than my feet??

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

w00t!!

Got my lap top from work today - can't wait until I'd be able to work from home :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Easiest Yummiest Apple Pie

all you need is a roll of thawed PC frozen puff pastry (because it's already rolled) and throw onto it a mixture of 2 small sliced apples (we used gala), half a teaspoon of cinnamon, a tablespoon of melted butter, a splash of lemon juice and 2 tablespoonful sugar, roll it all up and place onto baking sheet seam side down, sprinkle with sugar then slash a few slits - bake 375F for 30 minutes and viola ~ beautiful golden flaky treat with just the right touch of sweetness, perfect when paired with ice cream :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

another one of my obsessions


I'm obsessed with eye liners - especially liquid liners in pen form - and I can't stop myself from picking up yet another one...  I have at least 5 different black ones (liquid, gel, khol... and my latest addition from ELF inspired by Michelle), a few different shades of brown (including the simmery copper one from MAC - so pretty!), a few different shades of blue, a few different shades of gray, a silver, a purple and a pink (and I think a white one but I can't seem to remember where I've put it) - but despite all that I'm still eyeing the glimmersticks I saw on the avon catalog!!



Isn't the purple and the green ones so pretty?


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tom & Macy's House-Warming

Congrats to Tom and Macy - their townhouse is so adorable!  Love the vibrant colors especially in the piano room, where an over-sized photo of the Eiffel Tower hung against coral walls.


And this is what we brought for their house-warming party:





I'm so glad they loved the dish :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

ULTIMATE FRISBEE!!!

Played my first game of ultimate frisbee yesterday - I didn't think a game of frisbee would be such strenuous exercise!  At first I thought my lungs were going to burst - and then I could only walk across the field soaked in sweat, as opposed to running to make the play or guarding the score line.  And most of the time the frisbee turns away at the last moment - let's just say I wasn't the best catcher.  Nor thrower, because I tend to aim at the ground when I throw for some reason.  It was definitely fun though - I am planning to go again next week :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

near-deaths and fear on the road

almost died today - twice, actually - both times by crazy speeding drivers swerving this way and that trying to get ahead in the traffic.  It just reinforces my fear that there are so many people out there who shouldn't be on the roads but are.  Especially now that I am spending so much more time commuting, I'm really worried that one day, I wouldn't be so lucky.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Yummy Meringues





Having attempted to make meringues at home I came to appreciate the work and skills involved - and these meringues from CakeOne are so pretty in pink!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

mini burgers





Found these mini flat breads and mini angus burgers from PC and they were absolutely adorable!  Cute factors aside, they also made really yummy two-bite burgers - here dressed with herbed goat cheese, homemade pepper jelly, homegrown yellow tomato and a slice of crisp cucumber.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

a perfect moment

I had to smile this morning when I was coming out of the 407 - my transponder's 4 beeps were perfectly in sync with the 4-beats "move, move, move, move" in the verse of Taio Cruz's Dynamite on the radio...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I know I am going to offend quite a few people...

... but carcassonne > settlers of catan

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

movie and a dinner

ran around to prepare for my new job, then went to see Inception in the IMAX theartre - looked stupid when I asked for 3D glasses and got told that it's not a 3D movie - enjoyed the movie anyway- tried to make sense of the ending - went to a nice bistro on Main Street Unionville to celebrate B's b-day where we had the most amazing nushroom pizza and mussels along with some pinot grigio - had creme brulee stand in as a birthday cake - then had nightmares about being stuck in a dream and not being able to wake up...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

summer grilling