Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wordful Wednesday/Thousand Word Thursday

This past Sunday we went to the pumpkin patch and thankfully I had my blackberry on me - so I could snap this picture:

I call it "Goat on The Roof":

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Costumes

I am an adult! Yet, every year at this time I feel the need to dress up for Halloween.

Kids have such cute costumes you can buy! But adults, all the costumes make women look like prostitutes! How can I wear one to work? And how can I take my kids around trick-or-treating when social services would be called on me???

Any suggestions? What do you wear? Please - I need help!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Beef in Pomegranate Sauce

I love looking at blogging websites and came across this recipe from Karina's Kitchen. I adapted it a bit.

Beef in Pomegranate Sauce
2 pounds beef tips
Sea salt
1 onion, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup agave (I didn't have any maple syrup)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon Penzeys Pasta sprinkle (or other dried herbs)
A small pinch of cinnamon

Turn your Crock Pot to High. Add in sliced onion and garlic. Place the beef on top. Pour in the pomegranate juice, crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Stir to combine. Add the raisins, dried herbs, a pinch of cinnamon, sea salt and ground pepper.

Stir a little bit to co-mingle ingredients. Cover and let the magic happen- about 6 hours until the meat is tender. Taste test the sauce for seasoning adjustments.

I served this on top of soft Polenta originally and on top of steamed rice for left-over lunch today.

Serves 4.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Procrastination Again!

The Halloween edition:

  • The little monkey has not yet picked out her Halloween costume (we have like 15 at home to choose from - between Halloween's and dance recitals)
  • I only TODAY asked my mother-in-law to make the big monkeys Halloween costume (she's going to be Little Red Riding Hood).
  • I'm starting to think about dressing up or Halloween (but have no costume).

I'm sure I'm not the only one with these "issues", but am stressed out anyways!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Admit It - I Am Star Struck

We went to the Pumpkin Patch today at our local City College and they really did a great job. This was our first year there and I was pretty amazed.

There was a corn maze, a merry-go-round, food, a local music station was DJing, mining for "gold", a petting zoo, horsey rides, and on and on!

The monkey's loved it all (except they didn't get to ride the ponies because one was "acting up" and no one was I going to go near that). My favorite part - seeing Tori Spelling and her family!!! I was the same age as the 90210 cast (or at least their TV ages) when it came out and like everyone my age, was obsessed.

Since two of my friends have already asked, I will post it here - NO she does not look anorexic. She is skinny, but not any more so than any other LA woman (size 0 or 2 here is normal). They parked like everyone else, walked around, stood in line and ate. She seemed very down to earth. No one bothered her, that I saw.

I was a big person and didn't come up to her, but OH MAN, I SOOOO wanted to get my picture taken with her!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Polenta with Smoky Mushroom Ragout

Tonight we had a play date. The older child is in the same grade as the older monkey, and the younger child is in the same grade as the younger monkey.

This was the first "get-together". The mom brought pizza for the kids (the monkey's other friend was there too) and I made dinner.

I prepped/cooked most things last night. Tonight I only needed to put the crock pot on and put one thing in the oven (the polenta below).

Of course I didn't have time to photograph anything. :(

One of the dishes I made was a SUPER simple polenta. Most people don't like polenta because you have to stand there and stir forever! Also, most polenta has heavy cream or tons of butter or milk.

With this recipe, you can easily make it non-dairy, and almost no fat, without sacrificing ANY of the taste.

In fact, my friend's daughter is lactose intolerant and went nuts over it. I gave her the polenta leftovers and had to call her to snap a picture and send it to me :)

Polenta with Smoky Mushroom Ragout
Serving Size : 8
Cooking Light April 2004
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
6 cups water
1 1/2 cups cornmeal -- (polenta)
1 tablespoon butter - I used olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil - I used less
2 cups chopped onion
8 cups oyster mushrooms -- sliced (about 1.5 pounds) - I omitted this because I didn't have any
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon chipotle chile canned in adobo -- finely chopped - I subbed chipotle powder because it's what I had on hand
1 tablespoon dried oregano - I subbed dried parsley and dried italian blend because it's what I had
3 cloves garlic -- minced
28 ounces canned tomatoes -- whole, drained and chopped - I just used canned diced tomatoes
8 ounces queso fresco -- 2 cups - I omitted for my lactose free friend
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro -- chopped

Preheat oven to 350

To prepare polenta, combine first 4 ingredients in a 13x9 baking dish, stirring well. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until liquid is absorbed. Cover and keep warm

While Polenta is cooking, prepare ragout. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion, saute 5 minutes or until tender. Add mushrooms and salt, saute 10 minutes or until mushrooms release liquid and begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Add wine, chile, oregano, and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and cook until liquid evaporates, stirring constantly (About 1 minute). Stir in tomato, reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes or until thickened slightly, stirring occasionally.

Spoon ragout over polenta, sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 350 15 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This is my first attempt at mobile blogging since the website isn't working for me.
It's 11:30 and am laying down to enjoy Grey's Anatomy. Details to come...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Things that make me go HUH:

The little monkey came home from Kindergarten with her classmates tooth (that her classmate had lost that day)???

The big monkey is having "meetings" with her friends during school?

The puppy still whines at night in her crate?

The men from NCIS: Los Angeles are much hotter but the original still has better writing?

Costco is selling wedding dresses?

I will leave you with a picture of the Costco wedding dress:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Boys Learn Young

Overheard today:

Little Monkey: Can I have a potato chip?
Little Boy she's been friends with since birth: No!
Little Boy's Mom: Give her one!
Little Boy she's been friends with since birth: No - she's not my girl friend any more!

Both the other mom and I were trying SO HARD not to crack up!

I guess boys learn at a young age that you don't give girls anything unless you are dating them or want to date them!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Back to School Night

Tonight was back to school night, for parents only, at the monkeys school.

The 1st hour was bake sale/raffles, etc... The 2nd hour was classroom visits. This time we had to do 30 minutes in one monkeys class and 30 minutes in the other monkeys class.

These informational sessions are always good but feel a bit sterile. There isn't really enough time to go through everything and there definitely isn't time to ask questions about your own kid.

For many working parents this was the first time actually really getting to spend time in the classroom.

It would be better if the 1st hour was the classroom visits and the 2nd hour more in depth sessions with the teachers. If we wanted to speak to them we could sign up for a 5 minute time slot or something.

I always leave these nights thinking that something was missing and that I forgot to ask A, B, C.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hiding Out

I am a grown adult, living in my own house.

And yet, here I am, hiding out in my bedroom, with the TV turned up, so I can't hear the puppy whine and cry in the living room, in her crate.

I am contemplating sleeping with the TV on all night. I can't spend a 4th night sleeping on the couch!

This will get better right? I will start to think of Maya as a member of my family, right?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Little Monkeys Boy Friend

Location: Little Monkey's Room
Time: Bed Time

My baby sitter walks in to the little monkeys room and sees her in bed talking on her "cell phone". When she asks the monkey who she's talking to, the monkey answers "my boy friend".

Unfortunately, the monkey was speaking English and the baby sitter didn't understand what the monkey was telling her "boy friend".

Young love :)

Upon texting my husband to let him know, the response I get back is "I'll kill him".

Scaring dad for the future - priceless!

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Puppy

We got her on Sunday. I spent from 11pm-5am sleeping on the couch beside her crate. Keep your fingers crossed that the puppy will be crate trained soon.

I go through feelings of "OMG! What have I done?? I don't have time for a puppy!" to "She is so smart. Look how much she loves the kids already, and how much they love her!" and back.

Am I a schizophrenic dog owner or what??

Friday, October 9, 2009

Angel Food Cake

Recently, I bought the most amazing, light and tasty Angel Food Cake. So, I decided to try and make my own.

The first recipe I came upon was the Barefoot Contessa's Angel Food Cake. She has not failed me yet so I am hopeful that I can same the same for this recipe. Hope bad can it possibly be with egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest?!

So far I've tried the stuff that's on the bottom pan and the little crumbs that have fallen off the cake :) It's very good but next time I will experiment with reducing the sugar.

Lemon Angel Food Cake
Barefoot Contessa Family Style
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 40 min

Serves:8 servings

2 cups sifted superfine sugar, divided
1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 cups egg whites, at room temperature (10 to 12 eggs)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (1 large lemon)

(I forgot to take the lemon out of the refrigerator before I took the picture)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine 1/2 cup of sugar with the flour and sift together 4 times. Set aside. Place the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on high speed until the eggs make medium-firm peaks, about 1 minute. With the mixer on medium speed, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar by sprinkling it over the beaten egg whites. Whisk for a few minutes until thick and shiny. Whisk in the vanilla and lemon zest and continue to whisk until very thick, about 1 more minute. Sift about 1/4 of the flour mixture over the egg whites and fold it into the batter with a rubber spatula. Continue adding the flour by fourths by sifting and folding until it's all incorporated.
Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, smooth the top, and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, until it springs back to the touch. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the pan on a cooling rack until cool.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Traumatized Child

I heard today that my baby sitter traumatized the big monkey's friend yesterday!

This little girl is the big monkey's best friend and spends a lot of time at our house. Normally she loves it and loves our baby sitter. Yesterday my husband picked them up from school and took both of my monkeys, and the friend, back to our house. He then went back to work.

In our house, we eat a European Supper. The main big meal is at about 3pm, when the monkeys get home from school. "Dinner" usually consists of cereal and milk, or something light. And my baby sitter is OLD SCHOOL. You will eat everything on your plate or she will feed it to you.

The friend is extremely picky. Our baby sitter made plain pasta with pieces of chicken, bell peppers and tomatoes (which is actually quite a plain meal in our house compared to the normal stuff we eat). This girl told her that she wasn't hungry. So what did our baby sitter do? She literally fed the friend with a spoon until she had eaten all but 3 bites.

When I found out I called my friend (her mom) and told that my baby sitter had literally force fed her child. She said "good" and we laughed about it. And thinking about it, it is pretty funny. But this poor child - she will probably be scared for life.

The moral of the story - don't mess with a European baby sitter!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


We are getting our new puppy on Sunday and I am starting to panic. So I am looking for help. Can you guys PLEASE let me know what I definitely should have ready at home for the puppy?

So far I know I can get a great dog bed at Costco. What else? Please comment and let me know because there are only a couple of days left.

  • How do I get the puppy not to scratch the furniture?
  • How do I get the puppy not to cry at night? Will she for sure?
  • What's the best dog food?
  • Do I need to buy doggy gates?
  • What am I forgetting

Wow! I feel like I am getting ready to bring my first child home (I don't remember being as freaked out about that).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Finally, someone has enough guts to stop pussy-footing around Jon Gosselin and ask him the "real" questions.

I'm not saying either of them were perfect in this marriage, but COME ON! At least she has acted with a modicum of decorum since the separation.

You go Nancy Grace!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Asian Super Slaw

I made plans with friends to host dinner. We decided on Korean BBQ meat from the Korean grocery store. Friends brought the meat already pre-marinated. I added a salad, that I found on the Cooking Light Bulletin Board, by applecrisp, to round out the meal.

My friends COULD NOT STOP eating this salad!!

Asian Super Slaw
Servings: Serves 4 to 6. (many say serves more than that)

6 tablespoons rice vinegar
6 tablespoons vegetable oil - used 3 tablespoons
5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
5 cups thinly sliced green cabbage - used a bag of coleslaw instead of both cabbages
2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage - used a bag of coleslaw instead of both cabbages
2 large red or yellow bell peppers, cut into matchstick-size strips
2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
8 large green onions, cut into matchstick-size strips
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 avocado - my own cal-asian addition that added an extra creamy something to the dish

Whisk first 7 ingredients in small bowl to blend. (Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.)
Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Easy Lobster Paella

I was looking to make dinner tonight with ingredients I had on hand. One of my FAVORITE cookbook authors is Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa.

Looking through her books, I decided on Easy Lobster Paella (except I used scallops, since I had them on hand).

The flavors were rich and flavorful. Had this been an entree in a restaurant, it would have been at least $25 a serving. I served this with some chopped up heirloom tomatoes, dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. The wine we opened was a 2004 Cakebread Pinot Noir. It ended up being the perfect choice - not too bold and hearty, but enough of a bit of a bite to cut through the richness of the paella.

Easy Lobster Paella
Copyright 2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home, All Rights Reserved

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
10 min
Cook Time:
30 min
6 servings

1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
2 red bell peppers, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch strips - used 1 red bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 to 6 cloves)
2 cups white basmati rice
5 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade - used water with a vegetable buillion cube
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup licorice-flavored liqueur (recommended: Pernod) - used Pinot Noir
1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat - used 1 lb. sauteed scallops
1 pound kielbasa, sliced 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick - quickly sauteed kielbasa in the same pan as the scallops, after removing the scallops
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas - omitted - didn't have
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 lemons, cut into wedges

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell peppers and cook over medium heat for 5 more minutes. Lower the heat, add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in the rice, chicken stock, saffron, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and place it in the oven. After 15 minutes, stir the rice gently with a wooden spoon, and return it to the over to bake uncovered for 10 to 15 more minutes, until the rice is fully cooked.

Transfer the paella back to the stove top and add the liqueur. Cook the paella over medium heat for 1 minute, until the liqueur is absorbed by the rice. Turn off the heat and add the lobster, kielbasa, and peas and stir gently. Cover the paella, and allow it to steam for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley, garnish with lemon wedges, and serve hot.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Newest Member of Our Family

The newest member of our family - we get to pick up Trendy (name may change) next week!

She's a whippet!