Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I just have to say how much I LOVE Glee.

I did theater throughout high school and college (behind stage, not on stage). This show let's me completely embrace me inner (and outer) theater nerd!!!

If you haven't seen it, go online, get it on demand, TIVO it!! This is one of the best new shows in YEARS!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You Know Your Child Is a Foodie When

Over the last couple of days I have REALLY realized that my monkey's are foodies. Some of the comments from them:

  • Mom - can you make polenta (my big monkey was still remembering the AMAZING polenta we had a Bottega)?
  • Our house is like a restaurant, only better - I eat more at home.
  • My FAVORITE food is sushi - can we go there for my 7th Birthday.
  • Grandpa - did you bring red smoked fish or white smoked fish this time?
  • Can I have a 4th helping of golden beet and pomegranate salad?
  • Home made whipped cream tastes so much better than store bought.
  • Do we have any kiwi?

Granted, there are times that they want nothing but candy and cereal, but I am SO proud of my monkeys for being "foodies"!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Food, Food, Food

Friday - Taco Bar Dinner at a friends House
Saturday - Armenian kabobs at Birthday Party for Big Monkey, followed by 9pm snack of yummy Mango Birthday cake
Sunday - Family breakfast consisting of omelet with 1/2 cup of butter
Today - fasting since yesterday at sundown but tonight's break-the-fast dinner felt like it made up for 10 meals!!!

I am so stuffed I can hardly move. Must STOP thinking about and eating food - of course there are leftovers ;)

Saturday, September 26, 2009


It's amazing the difference between a kids party and an adults party:

Kid Party - The food HAS TO BE pizza and cake
Adult Party - The food should be interesting, flavorful and hopefully not pizza
Kid Party - Any party that includes jumping, kicking, running, crawling and calisthentics rules
Adult Party - Any party that includes sitting on your ass laughing and having your alcohol re-filled at your seat rules
Kid Party - Kids walk away with party favors
Adult Party - Adults walk away tipsy with hopefully no headache in the morning
Kid Party - The best presents are anything they can play with
Adult Party - The bet presents are anything you can shop with
Kid Party - Kids LOVE to pose for pictures at any angle
Adult Party - Adults make sure you get their good side, not take while eating and have veto power over the results

We had the big monkey's birthday party today at the Taekwondo studio. The kids had a blast. I'm exhausted!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I don't always eat well. Sometime I eat CRAP, but usually there is at least one redeeming food that I eat.

Not today.

To recap my day:
In the morning - 5 bites of leftover scrambled eggs and hot dog
In the afternoon - Pear Almond Tart
Chips and Salsa
Frosting off of a birthday cake for a co-worker
In the Evening - 2 chicken wings
2 fried chicken tenders
Sweet potato fries
1 glass of Chardonnay

I think I win the prize for most unhealthiest eating in a single day!! Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monkey Cupcakes

Last night I decided to "up my game". I made monkey cupcakes for my big monkey to take to class today (it's her birthday?).

Usually, I make both the cupcakes and the frosting from mixes (and trust me, the kids don't care) but last night I decided to (I have no idea why) make the cupcakes from scratch (still used a can of frosting though - I didn't completely do a 180). I think it actually took about the same amount of time (since I just did one big batch instead of 3 little ones) but man was the kitchen much more messy!

First off, the batter was DELICIOUS. I could have eaten the whole thing raw! Once they were cooked, they SMELLED FANTASTIC. The taste - wow!!! Moist, chocolaty, and OH SO GOOD!!

I got this recipe off of recipezaar, which was cool because I was able to scale for the number of cupcakes I wanted.

Barefoot Contessa's Chocolate Cupcakes

18 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cups granulated sugar
1 cups light brown sugar, packed
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
3 tablespoons brewed coffee
2 5/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups good cocoa powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.
Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended. Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beer and Onion Braised Chicken

I have been looking at this recipe for weeks, vowing that I would make it soon.

Tonight I came home from Latin Jam and was DETERMINED to make this recipe. This one defeinitely warented smell-o-vision while cooking!

Beer and Onion Braised Chicken
serves 4 to 6

8 large chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
salt and ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 tablespoons canola oil (omitted)
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar (used honey)
2 small bay leaves
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 bottle (12 ounces) dark beer

Preheat oven to 375°. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and allspice. In the bottom of a 5- to 7-quart Dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add half the chicken thighs, skin sides down, and cook until the skin is browned and the thighs release easily from the pot when turned with tongs, about 4 minutes. Brown the meat on other side. Transfer to a plate and continue with remaining thighs, adjusting heat under pot as needed. Remove thighs and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onions to pot and stir until they soften a little, about 2 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover pot; cook until golden brown, lifting lid and stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in bay leaves, mustard, and beer and bring to a boil. Arrange chicken thighs in pot in one layer; pour in any accumulated juices from plate. Transfer pot to oven, but DO NOT COVER; cook until chicken is almost falling from bone and sauce is slightly reduced, about 40 minutes.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Party Favors

My latest article is up at the Examiner.

What do you guys think? Any more tips for inexpensive and useful gifts?

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Today is Rosh Hashanah. I have decided that I really don't know enough to make the monkey's feel as though they are Jewish in anything other than name. So I am starting to take them to services. Today, we went to children's services at a great Temple - the older monkey had been once before and the little monkey went today for the first time.

The service lasted 1 hour and was completely geared for kids. There was singing and story telling. The Shofar was blown and the Torah was taken out and passed around (I was very proud that my older monkey remembered that you were supposed to touch the Torah and then touch your hand to your lips).

The one hour was the perfect amount of time. We got a flavor for the stories and traditions that define our people. I know we'll be back again for Yom Kippur and that the monkey's are excited to go back.

A pretty good start to religion if you ask me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What Did You Bring Me

Every parent KNOWS that there is no possible way to come home from a trip, any trip, without hearing the words "what did you bring me"?

So, I knew I had to bring back something great for the monkeys. I shopped at the forum shops (Donald J Pilner and Banana Republic are great places to find gifts for kids right?) and sought out the perfect gifts. The monkeys each received:
  • A soft bear with a T-shirt on it (with the name of the conference I went to on it)
  • An orange squeeze ball (with the name of the conference I went to on it)
  • A pair of drum sticks (with the name of the conference I went to on it)
  • Play gaming chips (with the name of the conference I went to on it)

The best part of my monkey's still being young - they absolutely loved the gifts (even though my eldest remarked that they got the same bears last year) and were super happy that I brought them back something!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Procrastination Again!

I'm blaming it on the fact that Labor Day was so late this year!!

I just realized today that the big monkey has her birthday party coming up NEXT weekend. And I am leaving for Las Vegas in the morning (for work) and won't be back until Thursday night.

The monkey has to hand out the invites ASAP!

So today I:
  • Booked the location
  • Bought Invitations (I went to Papyrus and 2 different Targets and then I spent and hour trying to figure out how to print on my invitations (after I figured out what size they were in the first place))
  • Printed the invitations 1 by freaking 1 to make sure that they didn't print crooked
  • Created an Evite for the non-school friends

I am EXHAUSTED!!! I just finished and have yet to pack for tomorrow mornings flight!

When I get back from my trip I will find party favors and book the catering! Eeeek!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Whipped Cream

As much as I love to cook, there are many, many things I have never made before. One of those things - whipped cream.

We were having friends over for brunch, and I decided to make fresh whipped cream to go with my home made waffles.

OMG - I don't know why I never made fresh whipped cream before! It is so easy and super tasty! There's REALLY nothing to it.

Whipped Cream

Heavy Whipping Cream

Pour whipping cream in to a mixer. Add some vanilla (about 1 tbsp) and some sugar (about 1 tbsp). Whip until peaks form (about 2 minutes). Be careful no to over whip or else the cream will turn in to butter.

How easy is that? I don't think I'll ever go back to store bought again (except maybe for dairy free, fat free cool whip - which isn't really whipped cream).

The monkeys went nuts for it to - between the three of them begging to eat it by the spoonful, I had to stow the cream up on a high shelf until it was time to eat!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ad Hoc Sucked

You know how you look forward to something for a long time? And you get everyone else to look forward to it also? And then it sucks??? Well, that's what happened to me on our vacation!!

I am a FOODIE with a capital "F". I love to eat, to cook, to go to restaurants, to look at food blogs, etc...

About two months ago I decided to make dinner reservations at Ad Hoc in Yountville. The restaurant is owned by Thomas Keller (of French Laundry fame). I figured that if his name was behind it, it would have to be great.

When I made the reservation I told them that I didn't eat pork, and didn't mix meat and dairy. They assured me that it would be no problem and that they would accommodate me.

They called me 2 days before our reservation to check if we were still coming. I reminded them again that I didn't eat pork, and didn't mix meat and dairy. Once again, I was assured that they were aware of my restrictions and it would be no problem.

We got there and the menu consisted of:
*Prosciutto wrapped melon - they put the prosciutto to the side and the melon was actually quite good.
*Steak with a mushroom, cream and cognac sauce - I didn't eat this but my father asked for A-1 steak sauce and my friend said that the meat was tough. The side vegetables were actually quite good, ESPECIALLY the fried cauliflower.
*Cheese Board - 3 types of cheese, small portions.
*Chocolate Ice Cream with brownies pieces in it - this came with whipped cream, candied walnuts and a strawberry sauce on the side. It was nothing special - the ice cream was no better or worse than what I can get at the grocery store.

I told them I would not be eating the steak. They asked if I wanted to have the vegetarian meal. Two of us chose that option. So....they brought out a couple of pieces of fennel and 6 tiny peppers stuffed with something.

That was how this restaurant, whose owner is one of the best chefs in the world, "accommodated" me. A restaurant of this quality should have made an effort to make me feel "at home" instead of as an "after-thought" by throwing a couple of vegetables at me. Especially since they charged me full price for the $2 worth of vegetables.

I was so disappointed and shocked that I didn't even put up a fuss or ask to speak to a manager. I paid the outrageous bill and left. I may still call, but don't really see the point.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Life

On the tail end of our vacation, we stayed with my parents in San Francisco. We had a day to relax in the city before flying home.

My sister and I have spoken once in the last 6 years or so. Apparently, my husband and I disrespected her and her husband. As such, I am NOT ALLOWED to have ANY contact with her monkeys (who are 16 and 18 - and who I helped raise since they spent many weekends with us as toddlers) and my sister doesn't have any contact with my monkeys. In fact, she hadn't seen my monkey's more than once or twice in the last 5 or 6 years.

On Tuesday, my sister tells my mom that she wants to see the monkeys'. She wants my mom to drive them to HER mother-in-laws house (who I actually have a GREAT relationship with) so that she can see them. Since I am the bigger and better person, I grip but decide to drive my mom and the monkeys. Two minutes after dropping them off I get a call to pick them back up. Why you ask???? Well, my brother in law decided to "run her errands" with her. She was going to have to sneak out to see her nieces?!?!?!?!

Thirty minutes later my mom asks me to drive them again - apparently she has lied to her husband and told him that she needed to go grocery shopping!

My monkey's finally got to "meet" their aunt - who showered them with kisses and affection. I guess it was worth it for my monkeys.

The things that suck about this:

  • She's almost 8 years older than me - why should I have to be the bigger person?
  • My husband and I didn't murder anyone - why are we persona-non-grata?
  • If I allow her to see my monkeys, why can't I see her monkeys?
  • Why would she allow her husband to dictate what family members she can and can't see?
  • What could my brother in law POSSIBLY have against an innocent 5 and 6 year old?
  • Why does my mother insist on blaming my brother in law, and not my sister?

I must breath deeply and remember that I am a good person, and she is a BITCH ;)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A New Year

Wow! 9 days without blogging. I was going through withdrawal symptoms (twitchy typing fingers, speaking my mind to random strangers, etc...).

Last week I was on vacation with the family in Napa (more precisely Calistoga). The best part about it, there was absolutely nothing to do there except swim, relax, take a walk to the candy store, eat and go wine tasting (which I mainly skipped since I was there with the kids). Also, no WI-FI in our hotel!!

Now, back to REALITY. The kids started school today. The big monkey got a good teacher for 2nd grade but I'm a bit bummed she isn't with her best friend (she is however with one of her other closest friends). The little monkey got a teacher I'm not thrilled with. Thankfully, she really liked her today. I really hoped she would get the big monkey's kindergarten teacher. I am currently thinking I will put in a written request to change teachers, but I may change my mind.

Homework started already, for all 3 of us in fact. I had to fill out a TON of paperwork for each monkey! Why couldn't I just photo copy this stuff and put both names on it?!?!?! The monkey's also each had their own homework. Would someone tell the teachers to cut it out with all of the pictures the kids have to draw for homework! It takes me forever to help them figure out how to draw!!! Grrr! Vodka Mom - can you explain it to me????

I will talk about our vacation in the next couple of days. I'm so happy to be back!