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Beautiful bread boards!

This past Christmas, Chef Michael Smith showed a great looking bread board in a prize package he was putting together.  The board was a demi-baguette board, made by Apple & Acorn Woodworking, in Ontario.

I ordered one as a birthday gift for my Mom, and she loves it!  the craftsmanship of these boards is excellent, with a flawless finish, and there are rubber feet on the underside, so that the board doesn’t slide around on you.  The board was well packed, and shipped via Canada Post, which was very reasonable.  A nice added touch is that the board is inside a burlap bag, which will be useful if you need to store the board in a cupboard.  My mom is going to find a spot in their kitchen to hang the board up and display it though – it’s really too beautiful to tuck away 🙂

aa_demi-board

New additions to the new aquarium

The stand for the 55 gallon aquarium turned out very well – unfortunately, the used aquarium I bought off Kijiji was way more scratched up than I had noticed.  Over Christmas, Big Al’s had a sale so I bought a new one – which looks awesome.  I also purchased a Hydor canister filter, and Eheim 150W heater.

55 gallon community aquarium and stand
New community aquarium

The aquarium is up and running, and is currently stocked with:

  • 6 siamese algae eaters
  • 10 Black Tetras
  • 27 Neon Tetras
  • 10 Glowlight Tetras
  • 3 bundles of Vallisneria spiralis
  • 2 bundles of Hygrophila corymbosa

Some coffee tips

  1. Favorite Beans
    Here in Edmonton, I’ve found that Rogue Wave Coffee offers the freshest roasted coffee – you just need to let them know in advance when you want to pick up your beans.  The result is coffee that has been roasted in the past 2-3 days. Coffee this fresh should be allowed to rest a little longer to ‘de-gas’ – otherwise you may find your coffee to have a somewhat metallic taste. The package their beans in paper coffee bags to facilitate the degassing.

    The next freshest beans I’ve found are also roasted locally, by Transcend.  I go to their main shop is on the southside, a block south of Argyll Road, just east of 99 Street.  They also have a location next to the Garneau Theatre on 109 Street – parking can be tricky there sometimes.

    I prefer medium roasted beans - they'll be the color of milk chocolate, and won't be shiny (or oily)
    I prefer medium roasted beans – they’ll be the color of milk chocolate, and won’t be shiny (or oily)

    At 3 Banana’s in Churchill Square, you can get Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso – bought a bag the other day for $22 for a 454g bag.  These may not be quite as fresh roasted as the other two unless you catch them on the right day.

  2. Favourite Brewing Methods
    When brewing coffee, I either use my espresso machine, an Aeropress, or more recently, a Hario manual pour-over.  Using the espresso machine is pretty awesome – I can have an Americano in less than a minute. A latte I can make in about 90 seconds :)Lately I’ve been really enjoying the manual pour-over.  It takes a little more time – about 5 minutes tops for a mug.  When I’m camping, I pack Aeropress to make coffee.  These are sold at Transcend (and other places around the city I’m sure).  These make very good coffee!  I just have to grind my coffee a little coarser than what I use in my espresso machine.
  3. Grind beans yourself
    Don’t buy pre-ground coffee.  Buy beans and grind them yourself.  Use a quality burr grinder, manual or electric.  Check out the coffeegeek and home-barista forums for recommendations, and buy the best you can afford.

Here is my current coffee set-up – yes, it might be bit excessive, but it’s been an investment that has been serving me well – even after almost 8 years!
coffee_nirvana

Thanksgiving 2014

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, and Tracey wasn’t well for the past week – so I took on the task of getting groceries and cooked dinner for 14.

On the menu:

My daughter helped with some of the vegetable prep, and both kids helped with cleaning the main floor, rearranging the living room, and setting up the additional table and chairs.

I’ll add some links in a bit to the different recipes I used!

It was actually pretty fun – had things coordinated pretty good I think – but I think we need an additional oven to make things a bit easier ;^)