Sunday, February 28, 2010

High Tide

Brett and I are getting used to the large variations in the tides at our rental. On a normal day, the deck area looks like this:

On Saturday, it looked like this, and water was half way up our side yard! According to the tide charts, the highest tide will go 5 inches higher than this. Crazy.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oh Canada!

In Toronto last week a colleague pointed out the Olympic donuts Tim Hortons was selling in support of the Canadian team. Donut with little maple leaf sprinkes anyone?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hairy melon, pigs blood jello, and side of sofa

First let me say that I always respect anyone trying to do business in a foreign country. That said, I still giggle when I see things like this on a menu (as I did at a Chinese restaurant in the Toronto suburbs this week).

First up, hairy melon. I have since learned that a hairy melon is not a translation issue. It's a real term - but it doesn't sound very tasty at first.

Next up, pig blood Jello. I'm not a huge Jello fan to start with, and the addition of pig blood isn't really doing it for me.

Last, I think we found either a typo or a translation issue - unless sofas are the latest side dish. Bon appetit!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My first "borrow a kid" trip

Brett and I don't plan on having our own kids, so years ago I made a deal with my brother where I could "borrow" his. My nephew turned 10 last fall and for his first trip with us, he chose San Francisco.

He's a huge Lego fan, so our first stop was the Lego Store in San Mateo.

We also stopped at Stinson Beach. It was an unplanned stop but we needed a place to recover from some vomit inducing curves in the road along the coast. Brendan had a ball chasing the waves and being chased. He'd never seen anything quite like it and loved playing with the sea foam, waves and sand.

The enormous redwoods at Muir Woods National monument were also a hit.

But a lot of the fun was had just hanging around our house playing Wii, hugging Holly...

...and digging in the sand along the marsh.

Brendan also had the pleasure of taking the maiden voyage in our hot tub.

Overall it was a great trip. We also went to Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, Lombard's "crooked" street, and to a hill so steep there are stairs in the side of it. I even made 2 souvenir photo books for him at Kodak Gallery and had them printed by the lab so we could pick them up. After all that, we asked Brendan what his favorite part of the trip was. His answer: The Lego Store.

Check out his photo books on Kodak Gallery using our new project sharing feature. My Pictures The ones Brendan took.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies - a family tradition

Lots of people make peanut butter cookies with a Hershey's Kiss on top. That may be well and good for them, but for me, the secret sauce is to swap that kiss for a cup.
It's a simple change, but using a mini Reeces peanut butter cup as a topper always seems to wow the crowd. My college friends still ask me to make these cookies, and when I brought some home for Christmas my nephew immediately grabbed 2 and came back for more. Since he arrives tomorrow for a visit, I whipped up a batch as a surprise. The best part about this recipe? You can go from start to finish in under 30 minutes! Enjoy.


2 cups Bisquick
1 can Sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add vanilla and blend well. Mix in Bisquick. After blended, roll dough into 1" balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes (I always do 6). While the cookies are baking, unwrap the peanut butter cups. Immediately after removing cookies from the oven, squish one unwrapped peanut butter cup into each cookie and let cool.

Neighborhood hikes

About a mile from our house there's a trail that gives you great views of the city and the bay when you reach the top. Brett discovered it on a bike ride on Saturday.

On Sunday, Holly and I went along for the walk. It was a beautiful day and we all had a great trip.

Can you believe it's only February? I love these West Coast winters.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"Chez Geoffroy" opens in Corte Madera

Every now and then I picture myself owning a bed and breakfast. In reality though, I'm just not a morning person. Bed and lunch would be possible. Bed and breakfast? Not so much. Until I disover my inner early bird, I'll just putter around doing innkeeper like activities at our own house, "Chez Geoffroy."

My brother and nephew are coming on Tuesday, so this weekend we furnished our guest bedroom, cleaned the hot tub and fixed the grill. I also got the cooking bug and cooked up a storm (Chicken Pho, Butter Chicken, Channa Masala, Thai curry chicken, Biriyani, and a salt caramel filling for French macarons).

I have a feeling there might be a meal or two on the deck if the weather holds. In fact, I foresee many meals on the deck in our new place.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Photos of our new rental

Last week Brett and I moved out of our apartment into a 3 BR 2 Bath single family home on the bay. The house is old, the floors are slanted and the windows are single pane, but the view and deck are perfect for relaxing. We look forward to hosting many fun gatherings here. For those interested, here are a few photos....

The view from the back deck (which includes a hot tub)...

The view from the dock looking back towards the house. It even came with 2 kayaks which Brett is thrilled about :-)

The family room with windows overlooking the bay...

The dining room, also with windows overlooking the bay...

An open kitchen with skylight that overlooks the dining room...

...and we've also got a guest room just waiting to be filled. Note the two wall ovens at the ready to cook for a crowd. Come on over :-)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fun finds in San Francisco

A few weeks ago I found sour cream and onion crickets for sale at a candy shop. Last weekend we found meat cones and black truffle popcorn within 200 feet of each other.

We didn't buy the popcorn (though the curry one sounded interesting). Ever the fan of meat, Brett decided to partake in a salumi cone. I much prefer cones with gelato in them, but to each their own :-)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Holly Hoedown

Most dogs have a ticklish spot. Holly's is a few inches in front of her tail. When scratched lightly, she starts wiggling around in a manner we've dubbed "The Holly Hoedown." She's known to do it most vigorously when she's excited or nervous, with her feet coming a good 6 inches off the floor. Let's just say that her dancing has caused many strangers to smile and laugh. She wasn't in her finest form for this video, but you'll get the idea :-)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Moving day

Woohoo! We're finally moving into the new rental. Four moves in three years is nothing right? Soon, this pile of boxes will be moved and unpacked and we can relax. Or so we think. I wonder what life has in store for us next.....I'm done trying to predict.

Rental house overlooking San Quentin prison, here we come :-)