Linguine Carbonara; Dad in the Burbs Style

The other day I got a bee in my bonnet that I wanted to cook up some linguine carbonara.

So I did it – Dad in the Burbs style which means I used a few “hacks” and whatever I had in my fridge to make it happen.

Linguine CarbonaraFresh noodles, grated cheese, and sour cream.

Linguine CarbonaraWe diced up an onion, a few cloves of garlic and shallots.

Linguine CarbonaraAdded the garlic, onions, and shallots to the pan of already cooked down pancetta. I let that cook until it was all squishy and ooey goodness.

Linguine CarbonaraIn my large stainless mixing bowl I put two eggs and sour cream.

Linguine CarbonaraThen mixed that. Mixed it really thoroughly. Whip it, whip it good!

Linguine CarbonaraI continued to whip the eggs and sour cream mixture while holding the mixing bowl over the pot of cooking pasta noodles.

Linguine CarbonaraThen once the noodles were cooked I scooped them out without draining them and added them to the bowl of whipped up egg, cream, and onion-pancetta mixture.

Linguine CarbonaraAfter a good mixing, I plated the Dad in the Burbs-style linguine carbonara.

Linguine CarbonaraAnd we ate it all up!

I will add the ingredients list below (when I get a minute).

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French Onion Soup Take II

Our second attempt at Instant Pot French Onion soup went much better than my first attempt.

The difference? I cooked the onions longer before putting the pressure on. I also used more red wine while cooking the onions!

And yes, after the soup was done, I served it up into bowls and baked the bowls for a little less than 10 minutes – just until the cheese melted into the piece of bread I floated on top of the soup.

The results were great. My little foodie daughter loved it, I loved it, and we agreed to make it again … when the weather cools off a bit!

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Thrilling Grilling

I don’t know why I stopped grilling last fall. It doesn’t really get that cold out here on the west coast so there really is no reason to stop. So when I saw my blogger/podcaster friend Tony Conrad (teller of Bad Dad Jokes) grilling, that got me thinking – why not get grilling again?

Funny thing, many Canadians actually call it barbecuing – but my American friends are quick to point out that using gas, propane or natural gas means you are grilling.

Barbecue requires some kind of charcoal or wood like product.

At any rate, weekend just gone, the kids and I got into cleaning up the back porch where the grill sits and they asked if we could do some grilling this weekend. So why not?!

Today I did another two pork steaks – they were on sale so someone in the house (not me) bought a big ol’ bag of pork.

I figured why not try making cheese toast for Miss Picky Eater in our house? Meh. It didn’t work like I wanted. Bread just got dried out and the cheese looked sort of melted. Funny thing, the kid liked/ate it.

I also had three small sweet peppers. I put them on the grill and they got beautifully soft and sweet.

Ah, I love grilling season! My “grill goal” for this year is to make pizza on the grill. Let’s see how that goes.

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A Weekend of Work, Fun, and Food

A good weekend of work, fun, and food.

The first lunch on Saturday was in a tiny hole-in-the-wall place near the Executive Plaza Hotel on North Road. Tiny place that I didn’t catch the name of. Very nicely cut sashimi.

Finally, I’ve got the outdoor grill up and running again! The kids wanted smokies so I went to our local grocery store and bought some Presidents Choice.

I have to admit, I was very unimpressed. The “skins” were far too thick and were really tough to bite through. Not impressed.

Back to meetings so … food required! Back to the Blacksmith Bakery in Fort Langley for a Reuben sandwich. Sublime. Reuben and a lovely side salad.

And then home again and to the grill. My favourite cut of pork is the lowly pork steak. So I grilled one up and sliced it up for the kids and I for a perfect late dinner.

Of course my motto is, dessert before dinner, so we had a couple of scoops of ice cream from the patio at Coquitlam’s Pasta Polo.

We stopped at Pasta Polo for a cool drink after hiking in Belcarra up towards Jug Island.

Cheers for a great weekend of work, fun, and food.

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Travel the Fraser Canyon

We had a fabulous trip up through the Fraser Canyon last weekend. Beautiful weather – including some incredible rain storms, sunshine, and wind.

We also had some great food in our little foodie gem of a town, Hope, BC. We started with a big share bowl of truffle fries covered with a dusting of finely grated aged cheddar cheese. Truffle oil can be overwhelming but Chef Brent Gillis at 293 Wallace St nailed this point. Just enough to tantalize the taste buds.

While at the cabin we cooked and ate many delights. My favourite was the quartered, lightly oiled with Avocado oil, brussel sprouts. Oven roasted for 20-25 minutes. You know it is good when kids ask for more.

On the way down the canyon we stopped again in Hope. This time at the Blue Moose Coffee Shop for a soup, sandwich, and chicken pot pie. The chicken pot pie was our new favourite bargain meal. At $6 the chicken pot pie is a very tasty value meal that both kids and I enjoyed.

The kids loved the fact that the chicken pot pie was served “upside down” on the plate.

That’s it from our most recent Travel the Canyon foodie adventure.

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Tasty Meat and Potato Pie

The kids and I saw a video on the Facebook about making what we called Meat and Potato Pie and we decided to give it a try ourselves – with what we had on hand, in the kitchen.

We started out making a Bernaise sauce – basically melting a 1/2 lb of butter and whisking in the powdered mix we bought.

It was delicious even if it was “from a mix”.

Next, we boiled up the bag of potatoes we had on hand. Next time I would choose bigger Russet potatoes – for the texture as well as the size of the rounds we cut them into.

Then the meat. In the video they used ground beef. I had cooked (in our Instant Pot) a pork tenderloin the previous day so I pulled it apart like a “pulled pork” and added panko crumbs to it to make “meatballs”.

Meat is ready to be “meat-balled” and potatoes ready for placement. It is go time.

Place the slices of potatoes flat in your oven proof baking dish

And then add meatballs. With more slices of potato between the meatballs to create little “cups” that you can…

ladle the Bernaise sauce into. I was generous with the sauce – it tastes great!

I then sprinkled on top lotsa-mozza cheese.

Lotsa. And then slid the dish into the oven (pre-heated to 450°) and let it back.

In the video they showed it baking for 20 minutes. Snopes confirmed to me that 20 minutes is not true. I had it in the oven for 40 minutes before the internal temperature hit 170°.

It did hit the temperature though.

And then I served it. And both kids liked it enough to actually eat some of it.

So the bottom line … it wasn’t the prettiest dish. I used a sauce mix. I didn’t use ground beef like they did in their fancy video. But that is what “A Dad in the Burbs” cooking is like. I use what I have on hand. I make it work. I feed my kids.

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Friday Pinterest Fails; Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings

The guy on the Food Channel made it look so easy to make bacon wrapped onion rings!

So easy! You just wrap the bacon around the onion ring, slide a toothpick through the connection where the strips of bacon begin and end. Easy. Then bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Easy. Well, not so much.

Ironically, my troubles probably stemmed from the fact that I stopped in to see my friends at Port Moody’s Meat Craft and bought 8 strips of their finest, house made, thick cut bacon.

If I had just bought the regular grocery store variety of bacon I probably would have had more success. The Meat Craft bacon was too good. Unlike grocery store bacon, the Meat Craft bacon had actual meat on the bacon! Have you ever complained that bacon has too much meat?

I tried. I really tried.

I will try again with softer, more fatty bacon next time!

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Duffin’s Donuts

If I am traveling anywhere remotely close to 41st and Knight Street in Vancouver, I always make a detour to stop at the most eclectic donut shop anyone could imagine; Duffin’s Donuts.

Yes, that’s a barbecue chicken sandwich from Duffin’s Donuts.

They also sell fried chicken, spring rolls, burgers, and pretty much anything else you can imagine!

And there is almost always a line up of people inside waiting to place their order.

I love this place. Eclectic. Unique. Weird. Whatever you want to say, it’s great.

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Leghorn Ranch Horseback Riding

I made a deal with my daughters for their birthday this year. The deal was, rather than buying them a toy or something that they might use for a short while and then set aside, I would buy them an experience – and that’s how we connected with Leghorn Ranch.

Leghorn Ranch

Hopefully an experience they will treasure for a long time! And thanks to the crew at Leghorn Ranch – they did receive a very cool experience that they’ll remember for a long time – for all the right reasons!

Leghorn Ranch

A couple of weeks before the birthday weekend celebration I started doing a Google search for horseback riding and Leghorn Ranch came up.

On their webpage there is a phone number and it says to call or text for information. Cool. I do not like talking on the phone so I appreciate the option to text. So I sent a text off describing my needs and wants and who I would like to bring riding and asking for a little info and their suggestions.

Six minutes later I received a friendly and informative reply. Cool. So I called and booked with them!

Leghorn Ranch

The kids smiles were ear to ear. Janet and Hanif – the key staff at Leghorn Ranch treated us like we were VIPs.

We paid $65 each for an hour of riding but we were on, around, or with the horses for almost two hours.

They gave both girls an introductory lesson on riding in the ring. That lesson made it pretty quickly clear that my kids wouldn’t be able to effectively control the horses they were on so they changed the plan and decided to “pony” my kids.

Leghorn Ranch

Effectively meaning that each of the kids would be on a horse but their horse would be led by the staff who would be riding another on horse. This gave my kids a chance to relax and enjoy the hour we were out on the trail rather than stressing about controlling their horse.

Leghorn Ranch

It really was a great day. The weather cooperated, the horses cooperated, the kids had a great time, and memories were made thanks to Janet and Hanif at Leghorn Ranch!

Leghorn Ranch is located at 20254 Old Dewdney Trunk in Pitt Meadows. Phone or text them at 778-886-1343 to book your own riding experience. Maybe we’ll see you out on the trail some time.

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My Farmhouse Kitchen Table Continues

I’ve made some progress on my farmhouse kitchen table.

farmhouse kitchen table

Perhaps most importantly, I’ve got the table and parts at home in my garage!

farmhouse kitchen table

As you can see, all the pieces are now glued together, cut to length, cut to width, and planed and sanded to the desired thickness.

farmhouse kitchen table

Did I show you how I took a propane torch and “burned” the top surface to make the grain pattern “pop out”?

That was cool! Or hot. Anyway, I torched the entire surface and then I brought it home and spent the morning with a block and a sheet of 220 grit sandpaper. It cleaned up beautifully!

farmhouse kitchen table

And the legs. I bought all the black iron pipe parts for the farmhouse kitchen table and loosely put them together just to see how it would look. I’ll be honest, it looks awesome!

farmhouse kitchen table

After making sure the legs work and it is the correct height, I took the farmhouse kitchen table top off and put it on the paint prep work space (on top of the freezer in our laundry room!).

I popped into our local hardware store, picked up a litre of (water-based) semi-gloss varathane and a paint brush and then came home to apply it.

farmhouse kitchen table

And that’s what I did. Well, the kids and I did. We painted the semi-gloss varathane onto the top surface and now that’s where it sits – on top of the freezer.

Overall, we’re very pleased with today’s progress on the farmhouse kitchen table. I’ll add more as it progresses.

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