Always Wear Protection

Monday, January 31, 2011 17:45 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Today I spent the morning replacing the faucet on my kitchen sink.  Which you wouldn't think would be a very long and drawn out process, but in actuality it took a couple of hours.  Why should it take so long, you ask?  Good question!

Being an older house that was converted from one big farm house into a duplex ages ago, our plumping is kind of a patchwork of old and new plumbing, and as is the case with many things here, there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for the way things are put together.  Case in point: The shut off valve for our cold water isn't on our house, it is located under our neighbor's house.  Second case in point: The shut off valve for the hot water isn't anywhere near the cold valve.  It is up in the attic, connected to the hot water heater.  Just getting up into the attic is a bit of a chore, as is the case with many attics, it wasn't designed for easy access.  So I had to scamper up there, crawling along the wooden beams so as not to cause any damage to the ceiling, and managed to bruise my knees up pretty well.  First item of protection for the next project? Knee pads.

After I got the water turned off, I had to remove the old faucet, but as there wasn't much room to work under the cupboard, I had to remove the basin from the counter, but in order to do that, I had to pull out the dishwasher so that I could gain access to the other half of the fasteners that hold the basin on the counter top. Pulling out the dishwasher wasn't too much of a chore, but while taking out the basin, I managed to get a few cuts on my fingers on the edges of the metal.  Second item of protection for the next project? Work gloves.

I had managed to get all of the hoses and connectors off without too much issue, except that there was a slow continuous drip that was coming off of one of the pipes I had disconnected, which wouldn't have caused any problems if it weren't for the fact that it was dripping directly onto an electrical outlet.  Have I mentioned that everything is 220 volt here?  Third item of protection for the next project? A brain that should tell you to turn off the power when working around water.  Luckily, I didn't get any shocks.

So after disconnecting the old faucet and hoses, connecting the new one, connecting the hoses to the the water valves, and then scrambling to the attic to turn on the hot water and scrambling under the neighbours house to turn on the cold water, I was all done!  Well, I would have been done, if I didn't connect the hot water hose to the cold water pipe, and vice versa.  So...again with the scrambling to turn off the water and the whole bruised knee thing, reconnect the hoses properly, scrambling again to turn the water back on, and it all worked fine.  No dripping or anything.

After reinstalling the basin, the only thing left was to put the dishwasher back.  In the course of dragging it out, there was some insulation strewn about the floor, so I started tossing it back in, when I grabbed this strange, mishapped plastic thing.  Or what I thought was a strange mishapped plastic thing.  Turns out, what I picked up was a dead, mummified, petrified rat that had died under our dishwasher.  Last item of protection for the next project? A bucket to throw up in after grabbing a dead, mummified, petrified rat.

Long story short, (too late) the kitchen faucet is working fine, and I have to purchase some protective equipment for the next household project.

Do What Your Brain Says


This morning, just before heading off to work, I found a weta in the house. For those who don't know, a weta is a huge frigging bug that looks like a cross between a grasshopper and the Incredible Hulk (click on the picture on the left to get a good close up of this atrocity).

As I was just about to leave for work, I was wearing my shades and was tidying up the dining room table. I grabbed a couple of things, some of which I thought was trash. so I picked it up.

Within a split second, here is the conversation that went on between my brain and my body.

Brain: "ummm...this doesn't feel right."
Body: "hmmmm? What?"
Brain: "Uh...whatever you're holding, its moving."
Body: "Its what?"
Brain: "Drop it you idiot!"
Eyes: "Let me see what all of this is ...HOLY SHIT! What the hell is that?!?!"
Body: "Dear sweet Jebus, its eating my hand!"
Brain: "DROP IT!"
Body: "OK!"

[a second after I had actually dropped it}

Brain: "You all right?"
Body: *shudder*
Brain: "Seriously, you ok?"
Body: *shudder*

Mexican Sweet Potato Risotto

Sunday, January 16, 2011 20:52 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Another great find!  Today we tried a new recipe from Eats Well With Others.  This is the first time we have tried any of the recipes from this site, and judging by the results we had tonight, we will be going back often!  We made the Mexican Sweet Potato Risotto, and it was phenomenal!

The recipe is below, but I heartedly recommend that you go to her blog to check out the amazing food she prepares.

Mexican Sweet Potato Risotto
Recipe Source:

3 sweet potatoes, or about 1 1/2 lb
4 cups vegetable/chicken broth + 4 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
12 oz arborio rice
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
2 tbsp adobo sauce
1 tsp hot chile powder
1 tsp cumin
Juice from 1/2 lime
salt and black pepper, to taste
cotija cheese, freshly grated


  1. Roast the sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, or until fork tender.  Let them cool so that they can be touched, then cut them in half and scrape the insides out into a bowl.  Mash with a potato masher.
  2. Bring 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth plus 4 cups water to a simmer.  Add 1/4-1/2 cup of this mixture to the potatoes so that they have a looser consistency and will blend better into the risotto.
  3. As the broth/water is getting to a simmer, head 1 tbsp olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion into the pan and saute for 3-4 minutes or until translucent.  Add the rice to the skillet and saute for one minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn.  Add in the chipotle pepper and adobo sauce.  Stir.
  4. Pour the broth/water mixture into the rice in 1/2 cup-ish increments, stirring continuously, and only adding the next half cup after the previous one has almost evaporated.  Keep doing this until the arborio rice is just about al dente.  Add the sweet potato mash to this mixture, stirring it in until it is fully incorporated.  Add the cumin and chile powder.  Mix in.  Add the lime juice and salt/pepper to taste.
  5. Ladle into four bowls. Grate some cotija cheese on top of each bowl.

The only thing that we would do differently the next time is to add a bit more cumin, add one or two more chipotles and we might add black beans to the mixture the next time.

Step Data Lost

13:33 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Last week I wanted to restore my laptop back to factory conditions.  It had been getting kind of temperamental and the hard drive was getting kind of bloated, so I thought it was time.  Having done factory restores before, I did all the necessary prerequisites such as backing up data, writing down the programs I would need to reinstall, etc.  I managed to do it all properly with the exception of the data for my pedometer.

When I got the pedometer for Christmas last year, it came with a program that allows you to upload the data onto your hard drive, and will show you graphical representations of where you are in terms of your goals.  The only problem is that unlike much of the software products I had installed, it didn't allow the data to reside outside the program file.  The way I have most of my programs set up is to have the program files in their default directories, but any associated data files would reside in a central location specifically for data.  This means that as long as I backup the centralized data files, restoring a disk shouldn't cause any issues.

Oops.  As I mentioned, this program didn't allow separating the data file from the program file, and as such, I lost over a year's worth of data for my walking program.  The good news is that according to my last recorded data, I was well underway to making my goal of 5 million steps for the year.   The bad news is that I can't prove it, so I have to start all over again.


Baked Peanut Butter Oatmeal

11:54 Posted by Leo Saumure 2 comments
Generally in the summer, Kristie and I make up a batch of Muesli on Sunday evening and have it throughout the week.

On weekends however, we enjoy making meals that we either haven't had in a while, or brand new meals that we have never tried.

This week we found a recipe for Baked Peanut Butter Oatmeal.  Having good success with Baked Nutella Oatmeal and Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal (which we made, but didn't blog about), we thought that we'd give this new one a try.  Wow!  This dish was amazing; and so easy to make.  It would be a wonderful dish for those of you suffering through the Great White North at the moment.

Here's the recipe:

Baked Oatmeal with Peanut Butter
1-1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Peanut Butter (use one low in salt)

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9×13 pan. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and stir well. Spread in to pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Serve with warm milk poured over top.
That's it!  That is all there is to it!

Other serving suggestions:
  • slice bananas on top then pour warm milk
  • sprinkle with a few mini chocolate chips
  • add yogurt and a little maple syrup

yields 12-16 servings and is wonderful left over for a quick easy breakfast.

Walnut The Wookie

Friday, January 14, 2011 23:40 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Walnut the Wookie
Even though this picture is blurry, I still think it is great.

This is Walnut just before his most recent hair cut.  Doesn't he look like a litte, grumpy wookie.

Ok, That Didn't Work

Kristie and I are bonkers for a good veggie burger.  We are also big fans of anything to do with quinoa.  So when we came upon a quinoa veggie burger recipe, we thought it would be something like those Reese Peanut Butter Cup commercials: "You got quinoa on my burger."  "You got burger on my quinoa."

As it turns out, a Reese Peanut Butter Cup burger probably would have been a better choice for dinner.  Mental Note: see what I can do with a Reese Peanut Butter Cup burger.

We followed the recipe to the letter, and it turned out that when all the ingredients were mixed together, we couldn't even form a patty from the goopy slop.  We tried frying them up like a fritter, and even then, the things didn't seem to stick together properly.

All in all, this recipe was erased from our bookmarks.

No One To Blame But Myself

Here in NZ, we don't have the all-you-can-eat broadband packages that you generally get in Canada.  We have a 20 GB/month plan, which is generally not too bad, unless you want to be a heavy duty cloud user.

I downloaded a trial version of Carbonite to backup all of my data to the cloud.  I do onsite backups, but I like the idea of having the off site backups too.  What I didn't count on is how much data I actually had to backup.  I have something like 66 GB of data on my laptop, which actually isn't a lot of data now-a-day.  And that doesn't count how much data is on Kristie's laptop.

Anyway, for those who aren't very good at math, 66 GB of data is a larger number than the 20 GB cap I have from my ISP.  So not only didn't I get all my data uploaded to the cloud, but now that we reached our monthly limit, we're throttled to dial-up speed until the billing cycle has ended.  I had given some thought to this issue afterwards thinking that even if I did get all the data uploaded to the cloud, if something catastrophic happened, it would take a couple months to get it all back.

I think NZ should start thinking about no limit caps from ISPs.  As more and more of life's dealings will be done online, NZ will be left in the lurch as no one will have the bandwidth to do it all.

Nutella Baked Oatmeal

Monday, January 03, 2011 13:08 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Kristie and I made this recipe for our Christmas Breakfast.  It was absolutely fantastic.

We got the original recipe from The Family Kitchen Blog.  This is one of our new favorites.

Nutella Baked Oatmeal

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup milk
3/4 cup Nutella
2 eggs
2 tablespoons ground flax or chia seed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds or other nuts or seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together oats, milk, Nutella, eggs, ground flax, baking powder, vanilla and salt until incorporated. Stir in almonds. Smooth evenly in a greased 8″ baking pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes until center bounces back when touched.
Serve warm with cream or an extra dollop of Nutella.