Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Movie Quest

I just saw Inglorious Basterds. It was REALLY good. The movie was long but really well done - the long parts set the tone for the parts to come. I would highly recommend it :)

I can check that off my list and go on to District 9 next!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Oscars

Sunday is the Oscars. Normally I just watch for the outfits and the gossip. This year I've actually seen some of the movies and am going to an Oscar Party. I also want to watch more of the movies before Sunday so I can be better informed on who to root for.

I have seen:
Julie & Julia
Up In the Air
The Blind Side
Princess and the Frog
Star Trek (1/2 of)

I have not seen:
Inglorious Bastards
The Hurt Locker
An Education
A Serious Man
District 9

I will be seeing Inglorious Bastards tomorrow at a friends house. I'm thinking of going to the movies Saturday night and seeing Avatar (it should be seen on the big screen). I don't know if I can sit through Precious.

Any suggestions?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spicy Soba Noodles with Chicken in Peanut Sauce

I came home last night and had 20 minutes to make a side dish for some crock pot chicken I was making. A friend was coming over for dinner and I wanted something easy, tasty and relatively healthy. This fit the bill on all counts.

I omitted the chicken since I was serving chicken but otherwise kept everything else the same. The dish was rich and flavorful and just spicy enough!!

Spicy Soba Noodles with Chicken in Peanut Sauce
(Adapted from CL)

1 carrot, peeled
2 cups chicken broth, divided
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
16 ounces boneless/skinless chicken breast
10 ounces dry soba noodles, cooked and drained
6 tablespoons sliced green onions
6 tablespoons chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

Using a vegetable peeler, shave the carrots into long and thin strips.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup broth, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, honey, pepper and garlic.

In a large saucepan, add chicken and the remaining 1 2/3 cups broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is done, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes. Drain and shred chicken when cool enough to handle.

In a large bowl, toss together carrots, peanut sauce, chicken and cooked noodles - sprinkle with onions and peanuts to serve.

Makes about 4 to 6 servings.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

So Funny I Cried

A friend sent this to me a couple of weeks ago. I have been forwarding it ever since.

One of the reasons I find it so hilarious is that I am Russian AND Jewish. I can honestly tell you that it is 100% true (especially the DVD and light dimmer parts).

I am definitely planning on seeing this comic as soon as I can.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I was all excited today because I was going to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond to buy a hamper. Ours fell apart (helped along by the monkeys constant sitting on it) after about 5 years.

I was all excited. I even skipped the gym for this. First I went to the grocery store and then I hit Bed, Bath and Beyond with my trusty coupons (and my friend in tow).

I got there at 9:05pm. One little problem - in the San Fernando valley apparently people don't leave their houses after 9pm!!! The store closed at 9pm!!! Seriously?!?!?!

My friend suggested Target. Off we go to target. You'd think that there would be some nice hampers at Target. Well - you'd be wrong.

Now I'm home and pouting and hamper-less. I can't go tomorrow so my instant gratification of a new hamper is not meant to be. Hopefully Friday!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's in The Eye of The Beholder

At the birthday party we were at on Saturday, the monkeys kept coming up to me wanting water, or just to hang out for a minute, or to see what I was doing. At one point, the little monkey was fighting with another little girl over a ball they both wanted. When I told my monkey to just let her have it, she did, but not before she pushed her.

I am constantly worried about the monkeys' behavior and making sure that they behave.

Tonight my mom spoke to the RGP who told her that my monkeys are SO well behaved and well mannered. They said hello to everyone. They said good-bye and gave hugs and kisses to everyone. They said please and thank you. They came up to me often just to be with me. They spoke to everyone who spoke to them.

As a parent I am always looking for how to better my monkeys and focusing on their negatives, so I can turn them in to positives. I forget to look at them with fresh eyes, seeing all their positive traits and their warm, loving hearts.

I will try to do better every day.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Birthday Party

On Saturday night we went to a kids birthday party of a long time childhood friends' daughter. They're Russian like us. It was a great party and the monkeys had a fantastic time.

I was sitting there watching the monkeys play and realized that you would only hear the following at a Russian birthday party:

RGP (Russian Grandparents) - The brother was absolutely beautiful as a baby and all through child hood. She (the birthday girl) was not a pretty baby.
Me - Um, she is absolutely beautiful.

RGP - She (the birthday girl) is absolutely freezing!
Me - It's 65 degrees and she's in a full on long sleeve dress and stretch pants about to walk in to an indoor play place.

RGP in-law - She (the mother) has gained weight!
RGP mother of my friend - I don't think so. What do you thing Julia?
Me - Um, she looks great like she always does.

RGP - Julia! You look so great! I hardly recognized you! I can't even tell you're your parents daughter!
Me - Um, Thanks (seriously, how bad did I look before)?!?!?!?!

RGP - Julia! You've lost weight! Do you not eat?
Me - Nope, just go to the gym.

RGB (Russian Birthday Guest) - RGP, hi how are you? Why are you eating that sandwich? Look how many calories it has (mind you, the RGP is in her 60s and has earned the right to eat whatever she wants).

I realized a long time ago that:
1) My people can not do real compliments, only ones that are dripping in criticism or put downs
2) My people have no filter and no one is safe, not even a birthday child
3) We are all so used to this behavior that no one even bats an eye when it's done

Thursday, February 18, 2010


As nice of a sentiment this is, somehow I don't think so. I would not go on a date here, ever.

What do you guys think?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Presidents Day

I haven't had a day like this in a very long while.

I woke up and relaxed in bed. I met up with a friend at 10am and off we went to a spa :)

We were there from 11am-3pm. I got a full body scrub. It was amazing and now I am very soft. From 1pm-3pm, while me friends was getting two treatments, I used the sauna, the jacuzzi, read the 10 magazines I brought with me, that I normally don't have the time to read and had a mud face mask poolside.

It was fabulous.

After we came home we picked up the kids and went to Japanese barbecue. It's just like Korean barbecue, but with a Japanese twist. Miso Beef, Ahi Tuna Poke, etc... The kids all love it because they get to cook their own food with tongs. The adults love it because it's relatively cheap and extremely tasty.

Everyone is now asleep. What a great day! Our presidents would be proud :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sleep Over

They grow up so quickly. Only last month I was worrying about my 7 year old having her first sleep over. Now both my monkeys are sleeping over at their friends' house (the one whose house the big monkey slept over at last time).

I can't believe I let my 5 year old also sleep over, but she was crying. And begging. And promising to be good! She's going to sleep with my friends 13 year old daughter in her room, while the "big" girls (my big monkey, her BFF and their 2 other BFFs) sleep in the living room!

Here's to hoping I won't be called at 3am to come pick her up!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sugar Coated

As much as I know that children should have less "sugar coating" at school, sometimes it is nice to see them all enjoy something, without the harsh reality of disappointment.

In the monkeys' elementary school, either all kids get Valentines cards, or no kids get Valentines cards. the "to" line is even left off of the cards so that no one can feel left out. Both my monkeys were SO happy today. They were going on and on how ALL of the kids gave them Valentines Day cards, candy, treats, etc...

Seeing their smiling faces, keeping them in the dark about the harsh realities of the world not being fair, doesn't seem so wrong :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentines Day in School

I decided to do what I always do, in terms of cards. I bought Wizards of Waverly Place cards and Bakugon cards. The Wizards cards come with stickers. The Bakugon cards come with tattoos. I have got to say, cards are so much cooler then when I was a kid. Back then, cards didn't come with stickers, tattoos, bookmarks or pencils attached. The also didn't have cool characters on them. Also, I had to walk four miles in the snow every day - OK, not really :)

I will also probably just make a fruit salad for the class party, because there will already be TONS of candy consumed. On Sunday, I think we will make the monkey's a special breakfast of waffles with powdered hearts on top.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kids Self Esteem

I was at a kids birthday party this weekend. The kids that attended this party were all dressed really stylishly. The moms are really into designer clothes.

One of the little girls (8 or 9 years old) was wearing cute, designer, jeans. I saw her coming out of the restroom and her shirt wasn't down over her jeans. The jeans were unbuttoned and unzipped. The girl in question is a little chubby and had clearly outgrown her jeans. Instead of dressing her in something comfortable, for some reason, the mother decided to put her in a pair of jeans that didn't fit her anymore.

I wonder what this little girl thought? Was she self conscious the whole party? Did she feel ashamed, in the back of her mind, about being chubby?

What added insult to injury was that when cake was served, she yelled out to her, in front of the rest of us, "only take 2 bites". There are times when I stop my monkeys from eating cake, but that's usually if they're on a second piece and will start jumping off the walls, not because I don't want them to eat the calories.

In this society, I think we are all fairly vigilant about making sure our kids are healthy and have a healthy weight. Yet somehow, I think the way this mother is going about this, will cause many more problems than she is trying to solve.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Valentines Day in School

We normally do the store bought cards with a pencil tucked in.

Any new suggestions? Any suggestions for treats for the classroom? Should I do heart cupcakes?

What about something savory but Valentines oriented??

Sunday, February 7, 2010

It's Easy - Italian Drip Beef

I love to cook. I love to feed people. I love for people to come over and eat what I've made.

As much as I love to cook, I hate food that involves hours of active work time and a plethora of ingredients. The joke is that when my friends tell me how good my food is, my answer is always "it's EASY". In fact, to me, the biggest compliment to my cooking is when people take my recipes and try to make the same food at home.

I read Cooking Light, I frequent the Cooking Light Bulletin Boards, I read food blogs and I peruse cookbooks. I mark recipes I want to make. Looking through the recipes I have tagged, there is a running theme. There aren't too many ingredients and I have most of the ingredients at home (or can easily substitute).

One of my favorite blogs is The Pioneer Woman. Her food always looks AMAZING and super tasty. The best part about her recipes - they are all low on the number of ingredients and pretty darn simple to make (or at least she makes it look that way).

This weekend I made her Italian Beef Drip. Wow!! For about 5 minutes of work and a couple of ingredients, this is about as good as it gets.

I modified her recipe just a little bit to use what I had on hand, but I don't think that she would be too upset. If you read her blog, she's all about the simplicity and using what's on hand.

If you want to see pictures of what this looks like, check out the link above. I tried to take pictures of mine and they did not turn out well.

Italian Drip Beef
Servings: 10

1 whole Beef Chuck Roast, 2.5 To 4 Pounds
1 can Beef Consomme Or Beef Broth – used 2 cups Turkey broth, because it’s what I had
3 Tablespoons (heaping) Italian Seasoning – used 3 tablespoons of Pasta sprinkle and 1 tablespoon of Northwoods seasonings from Penzeys, because it’s what I had

1 teaspoon Salt – omitted because the Northwoods blend has salt in it
¼ cups Water
½ jars (16 Oz) Pepperoncini Peppers, With Juice
Buttered, Toasted Deli Rolls

Combine all ingredients in a heavy pot or dutch oven. Stir lightly to combine seasoning with the liquid. Cover and bake in a 275 degree oven* for 5 to 6 hours, or until meat is fork-tender and falling apart. Remove from oven. With two forks, completely shred all meat, leaving no large chunks behind. Serve immediately, or keep warm over a simmer on the stove.

I used my crock pot – combined all ingredients and set on low for 8 hours.
May make the day before, then store in the refrigerator. Remove the hardened fat from the top before reheating.

Serve on buttered, toasted rolls. Top with cheese and melt under the broiler if desired. Serve with juices from the pot.