November 2012 Gallery – Literally Lost Tooth, Douglas’s 2nd Birthday, Thanksgiving at Home

By , December 2, 2012 at 11:31 am

November 2012 Photo Gallery – Douglas 2nd Birthday, Thanksgiving at Home

November came and went quickly just as the rest of the year has.  We capitalized on an annual trip up to Minneapolis to present at the local ACP chapter meeting and tried Peninsula Malaysian Cuisine which was some added variety to our joys of entertaining the Rochester ethnic dining scene (nil).   Michael lost his first tooth!  Then (placed in the envelope) literally lost his first tooth (seen in the envelope) and an hour was spent scavenging for it.  After he went to bed and another hour later, the Tooth Fairy finally found it and as a memento  even turned back to him under his pillow.

I spent the last days of commuting to work in Red Car as the kids wave goodbye to me in the early morning.  Our 1991 Honda Civic that we bought off the Wilkinson Center board at BYU for $1800 8 years ago and 50,000 miles later finally had a radiator hose crack and I think the distributor is going out so it’s headed for donation to NPR’s Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program.  In its stead we’ve hybridized, but no not with a Prius, but “Grey Car,” a Camry Hybrid will try to fill the shows of our Red Car legacy.  It won’t be hard though, because as I was considering craiglisting Red Car I inventoried the extent of issues with red car which included: 1. Distributor needs replacing or servicing as it is actively failing, 2. Cracked windshield, 3. A/C broken (never worked), 4. Constantly beeping seatbelt signal, 5. Electrical issues, radio cuts in and out sporadically despite alternator being repaired x2, 6. Right rear passenger lock latch is replaced with a zip tie, 7. Front right bumper side semi detached, 8. License plates zip tied in front, 9. Rear license bolts are rusted attached, 10. Heat shield over catalytic converter fell off (or rather it rusted off), 11. Left passenger door frame has significant rust, 12. Trunk seal is somewhat permeable to rain, as such the trunk can get moist, and 13. Main Relay was replaced (by owner with a Youtube video and a part off of eBay – but hey it worked and saved me $150!).   Rest in peace red car: 2004-2012.

Meanwhile Douglas turned two and had a private “mElmo” birthday party and we even put new batteries into our old Tickle Me Elmo and it was as good as new of a toy to Douglas.  Gotta love these hand me down gifts.  Carolyn made Elmo cupcakes and the kids helped decorate hence explaining the reason why most of the Elmo’s look like they spawned from Chernobyl hot zones.  I made a card for Douglas with the boys highlighting his lovely smile.  I think he liked it.  He got to gorge a whole little carton of blackberries all to himself (not like that was any different than what usually happens to any of the blackberries we ever buy).  Finally Thanksgiving came around and since I was on infectious disease consulting service this month, managed to get home in time to help cook a little feast for the family with our oil-less Turkey Fryer that we won in the Lowe’s Gift-a-thon a few years back.  Carolyn made rolls herself this year and they all made these cute pumpkin table decorations.  We ended the month, the day after Thanksgiving with of course, Christmas decorating.

Tulum Beach, Mexico Panorama

By , October 27, 2012 at 1:49 am

One of the most picturesque beaches of the Riviera Maya in Mexico is that of Tulum the ancient walled city of the Mayans once seen by Cortez.  With the azure Caribbean Sea glistening above the pristine white coral sands this vista was one of the most gorgeous views of our recent vacation.  Click here for a larger version of the panorama.

Tulum Beach Thumbnail

Tulum Beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico Panorama

Snorkeling at Xelha, Mexico

By , October 22, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Greetings from the Riviera Maya, Mexico where we just spent a whole day in the sunny Caribbean Sea snorkeling as a family.  While the biodegradable sunscreen helped keep the Parrot fish alive, it made most of us look like lobsters by the end of the day.  But it was a fun 6 hours of snorkeling and seeing a whole bunch of fish at Xelha where we explored a sea cave, numerous cenotes, followed a whole bunch of fish around (photos some other day), and even swam with manta rays.  Here’s the commercial photos that we got scalped, but worth sharing!

September 2012 – Niagara Cave, Fall Colors at Whitewater State Park

By , October 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm

09 – Niagra Cave, Whitewater Fall Colors Photo Gallery

We enjoyed the scenery of southeastern Minnesota at its best this year by taking advantage of the prime fall colors at Whitewater State Park, MN.  Earlier this month we took an excruciating 34 mile / 5 hour bike ride with the entire family from Preston to Niagara Cave near Harmony, MN where we took the family on the tour of the large limestone cave near the Iowa border.  No one mentioned that its actually about five miles away from Harmony all on gravel roads which wasn’t the most pleasant by bike, but finally our mountain bikes came in handy.  Our photos from these trips have been added to our September 2012 Gallery as linked above.  With this leg this completes my full circuit of the Root River and Harmony trails by bike.  We camped one night at Whitewater to celebrate the end of my 20’s and celebrate my 30th birthday on the 30th.  Above is the best birthday present I could ask for, a beautiful day with the beautiful family in the burning fall colors of Minnesota at its finest!

Apocalyptic Weather in Rochester, Minnesota

By , July 20, 2012 at 8:10 am

These are two panoramic shots showing the apocalyptic weather we’ve had recently.  The top shot is a panorama I snapped last week of the large thunderstorm eventually reaching New York that first rolled over us in Minnesota a few days prior  from clear skies to the gates of Voldemort and death eaters  spewing forth from the sky.  I’ve kept the colors true to form and it was pretty eerie.  I was working on my computer to sunny skies when the world went dark in a matter of minutes.  The lower picture was from a few years back catching the back end of a storm system at sunset.

Summer Baseball

By , June 30, 2012 at 8:05 am

I guess baseball in Rochester is pretty big.  There happen to be 52 teams of kindergartners playing tee-ball this summer.  Unbelievable!  Mikey has joined in on the excitement and is on a team named S&S Moving.  All 12 players on his team will be in first grade at his school next year- perfect for him to get to know a few more kids his age.  His games are twice a week and go until the end of summer.  He’s been thoroughly enjoying it, especially since his best friend Patrick is on the team too.

Social butterfly David has been making all kinds of friends while watching the games.  Douglas is just along for the ride.  And me?  I’ve been trying to figure out how to re-arrange life to get dinner on table before we have to head to practice at 5pm and how to get everyone to bed at a decent hour thereafter.  It’s just ruining the 7 o’clock bedtime routine.  :)

Coconut Chicken Curry

By , June 29, 2012 at 11:26 pm

I came across this recipe the other night.  It was so easy and delicious.  I love how you just throw everything in the food processor and it makes a wonderful curry.  The original recipe calls for green pepper, but I loved it with the red one I had in the fridge.  It can also be adapted for the slow cooker, although I’m not sure how bone-in chicken would work, and I’m afraid chicken breast would get way over-cooked and stiff.  Here’s what worked for me.

Coconut Chicken Curry


6-8 chicken thighs
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 can (14.5 oz) tomato paste
1 can (14.5 oz) coconut milk
1.5 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Garam Masala
1 Tbsp Curry powder
1 small red pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 to 2 dry whole red chili pepper (optional, for those who like their curry on the burning side)

For thickening: 1.5 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp water


1.  Cook bone-in chicken in skillet until almost cooked through.  Drain grease.

2. While chicken is cooking place all the ingredients (except the chili peppers, cornstarch and water) in a food processor bowl and process together until the mix is smooth(ish). Pour sauce mix on top of the chicken, mix well, add hot peppers if using any.  Cook covered until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes or longer.  When the chicken is falling off the  bone you know it is ready.

3.  If it needs thickening mix water and cornstarch until cornstarch is completely dissolved, add to curry and mix well.  (I didn’t use this- it seemed to thicken up enough by leaving the lid off for a bit to let the extra liquid evaporate).

4. Serve on top of steaming white rice, something wonderfully aromatic like Jasmin or Basmati rice. Decorate with lots of chopped coriander. Inhale. So good!

For a variation on this recipe, used chopped chicken  breast and cook in crock pot on low for 6 hours.  An hour before serving add in cornstarch mix.  Then replace lid and continue cooking.


Adapted from

Falafel Burgers

By , June 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Serves 4

Falafel Burgers

14.5 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 small red onion

2 garlic cloves, chopped

handful of flat-leaf parsley or curly parsley

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp harissa paste or chilli powder

2 Tbsp plain flour

2 Tbsp oil

Toppings: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion.

Yogurt sauce:  Add some dill to plain yogurt and stir (mix in chopped cucumber and tomato for color)

1. Pat the chickpeas dry with paper towel.  Mix in food processor along with the onion, garlic, parsley, spices, flour and a little salt.  Blend until fairly smooth, then shape into patties with your hands.

2. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the burgers, then quickly fry for 3 minutes on each side until lightly golden.  Serve wrapped in lettuce, toppings, and yogurt sauce.  You can also serve on toasted pitas, with tomato salsa and salad.

Adapted from

Perfect Pancakes

By , June 29, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I love these pancakes.  Thank you Fergusons for sharing this secret recipe!

Perfect Pancakes

1 cup of milk (skim milk works well for me)

2-3 Tbsp lemon juice

1 cup flower

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

little palm of salt

1 egg

2-3 Tbsp oil


Mix lemon juice with milk and let sit.  Combine the dry ingredients, then stir in egg, milk (which will be clumpy- mock buttermilk), and oil.  Cook on heated griddle. Mix the batter each time before pouring.

Bluefin Bay, Lake Superior, Minnesota Night Sky Panorama

By , June 8, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Taken yesterday on the last night of our vacation to the North Shore of Lake Superior where we stayed at the Bluefin Bay, I caught this just prior to moonrise from outside our condo’s porch catching the Milky Way arching above a brilliant night sky.

Bluefin Bay, Lake Superior, Minnesota Night Sky Panorama

Copyright 2004-2013 Dan & Carolyn Chan