Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I made two things to bring to Thanksgiving dinner.

1. Apple Cider Jelly Candy - Tasty, but would have been much better had I gotten better cider. I meant to, but forgot, so I had to make do with grocery store brand apple cider, which was scarcely better thank store brand apple juice. It made for pale candies.

2. Hot Jalapeno Popper Dip - Delicious, but add more cheese. I mixed in some Parmesan and I think it could still use more cheese. It was really good just on bread, but it was also good spread on the ham that my sister insisted on bringing (not that I don't love ham, or the ham bone my step-mom was kind enough to let me have, but it definitely was not a family tradition like my sister was convinced it was).

Monday, November 15, 2010

A fun coincidence

Dreamed about seeing my godmother again (I haven't seen her in a decade or so). The next morning, a friend called to ask if I would like to be her son's godmother.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


I'm moving this weekend. This week has felt very much like I'm camping in my own home. Meals were planned, and anything we wouldn't be eating was packed. Appliances have been slowly disappearing, which means that tasks I used to take for granted are suddenly difficult or impossible. I've made toast using the broiler twice now. Lesson 1: Don't go off and take pictures of the kid in her Halloween costume while broiling toast. Lesson 2: superficial blackening can be scraped off into the sink.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Happy Birthday!

The baby is now one year old, which officially makes her a toddler (though I think the walking precipitated the name change, as she's definitely been toddling around the place for a while now). She got to celebrate her birthday twice. Once with a cake, in a joint party with my dad. He's been doing his best to turn his home into a beach hut, so I thought it would be fun to make a tiki cake. I also made a little tiki cupcake.

Let's talk about the cake briefly. I got the tiki idea while looking at this monkey cake. I didn't really feel like randomly making a monkey-shaped cake, but the shades of brown also work nicely for a tiki. The cake itself... well, it was okay. Part of it was my fault. I put it in the oven, went upstairs, and totally forgot about it. The cupcake, which I removed from the oven on time, was nice and moist. The cake itself was denser, more like a banana bread. The other issue was the frosting. Very delicious, but I found it to be way too sweet for the cake.

Alright, back to the fun stuff. Celebration number two was just the three of us at home, on the baby's actual birthday. R's family would traditionally go to an ice cream parlor, but since there are no longer any within San Diego county (I checked), we decided to make sundaes.

When we gave her the sundae, the baby just dipped her finger in the whipped cream and ate the cherry off the top. We eventually dumped it out of the bowl onto her tray and broke it up a little bit so that she would have an easier time eating it. She doesn't really like getting her hands messy (sometimes), so she decided the best way would be to lick the ice cream off the tray.

Oh, and an update on the first word. Apparently it stands for any food, as a few nights ago I was getting ready to nurse her and she was making hungry noises then said "cheese" before latching on with relish. Silly baby.

Monday, October 04, 2010

All the excitement, in one run-on sentence

The baby has said her first word, "cheese," though it sounds like "chsss," and she thinks anything square on the chopping block is cheese, which was very funny when I was cutting up some tofu; with all the baby news flying through the internet via Facebook, R has finally got himself a page; also, we're buying a house!

Friday, September 24, 2010


Dang. It is all babies down here at the moment. Good friend just had a baby nearly two weeks late. R's cousin just had her baby seven weeks early. Our baby is toddling around like a madwoman, especially now that we've moved the gate around upstairs so that she can go from the office to the nursery. She kept walking between the two rooms with the biggest grin on her face, hands flung in the air. Oh, and the new fun thing to do is take a big sip of water and then spit it out. Hilarious!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vacation Post #1

The latter half of August my little family took a driving tour of the Pacific Northwest, hitting such sights as scenic Roseville, CA, the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, WA, and my sister-in-law's wedding. First, however, I've promised my best buddy S a review of Voodoo Doughnut.

When I told S I was heading to Portland, she told me I should try to stop by Voodoo Doughnut. She's seen it on the Food Channel, and apparently it had been haunting her consciousness ever since. Then again, while we were in Washington with my cousin, we were told to go to Voodoo Doughnut while we were in Portland. At that point in time, it became something of an imperative.

We made it into Portland and R immediately had to head out with the guys for the groom's man night (it would be a misnomer to call it a bachelor party, as that would imply excessive drinking and licentious behavior, whereas the man night just had steaks, designated driver levels of drinking, and a long discussion about sausages). R mentioned Voodoo Doughnuts, and apparently his description was so alluring that the party had to make a detour. R's dad suggested that they bring back doughnuts for the ladies, as we had been wanting to go to Voodoo Doughnuts, but R astutely reasoned that a doughnut alone would not be the full Voodoo Doughnut experience (and his dad wonders how we get along so wonderfully).

So, Voodoo Doughnut. Located in a slightly grubby neighborhood of downtown Portland, down the block from a hentai theater. Saturday night (well, Sunday morning, as it was after midnight), the line was around the block, but Monday night the line was merely out the door. If you go, don't let it deter you, as the shop is a tiny hole in the wall, so there really isn't space for people to wait inside. The line moves fairly quickly, though you will be mocked by jaded locals as they pass by.

When you finally make it into the building, there is a giant chalkboard with the names of all the doughnuts divided into their price categories (standard, filled, etc.). They don't have any descriptions, though, and with the sheer size of the menu and the perennial line, it is probably best to check out the menu online beforehand. R got a maple bacon bar on his first visit and a McMinnville cream on his second. As the name implies, the maple bacon bar is a maple bar with a strip of bacon on top. I wasn't there to taste it, but R says the bacon improved the doughnut, but the doughnut didn't improve the bacon. The McMinnville cream is a Bavarian cream-filled doughnut with maple glaze and a curly mustache drawn on top. I got to taste this one, however it was after eating my own doughnut and a large dinner, so I was a bit full and all I noticed was the overwhelming sweetness.

I, on the other hand, had a doughnut far outside of the normal catalog of doughnuts. I had a mango tango, which is a mango jelly-filled doughnut whose vanilla glaze is topped with Tang powder. It was totally awesome. The mango jelly was very mango-y and the Tang added a nice citrus-y bite, the tart element preventing sweetness overload. I think, when I fantasize about doughnuts, from now on it will be about that lovely sweet and tart confection. I've probably ruined myself for doughnuts.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


In response to a blog friend posting her horrible home waxing story, I thought I'd share mine. I think I was also 15 at the time, as it was over at my dad's first place (what we called the bachelor pad, though it was just him, my sister, and me).

Anyway, I'd gotten one of those home waxing kits with the wax already applied to the strips and ensconced myself in the bathroom. I was doing my bikini line, which was probably not the best area for learning how to wax. I applied the strip, pressed down to firmly attach that sucker to my hair, and pulled with all my might.

I made it about an inch. I think half the hairs came out, but those that did left bloody spots. I could pull no further, but the dang thing was firmly attached to my thigh. I sat for a bit and pondered, then did the only thing I could think of: I put on my bikini bottom and called for my dad, who ripped the strip the rest of the way off in one firm tug. Ouch.

Saturday, August 07, 2010


 Happy birthday to me... a few weeks ago. I had a lovely birthday. My good friend S came down for the weekend (can you believe we've known each other for 20 years?), and on my birthday we all went to the zoo. S took some rather adorable pictures of the baby.

It was the baby's first trip to the zoo, not that she'll remember it. She enjoyed the monkeys and the fish, and seemed to notice a few of the large animals, but mostly she enjoyed looking at the other babies. So many babies! So many strollers. I was totally getting a bit of stroller envy. Our Graco works well enough (and has a nice big basket underneath where I can carry the groceries), but it definitely isn't the lightest, most awesome thing around. We'll have to look for something lighter when we're shopping for a double stroller, as two times the weight of our current one would be a mighty heavy stroller indeed.

Being my birthday, I also made a couple of recipes that I probably wouldn't have made in my everyday cooking, as I knew R wouldn't have liked them. For my birthday dinner I made a zucchini and ricotta galette, which, I'm sorry to say, was definitely more work than it was worth. Mine also leaked butter like mad and make the oven very smokey. We ate it, and the baby snatched a chunk of it off my plate and stuffed it into her mouth, but I wouldn't deem it fantastic. I also made broken jellied wine with summer fruit, which, if you're looking for a mature version of jello shots, is right on the money. Of course, I forgot that anything gelatinous makes S gag, and R doesn't care for wine, so I was faced with the prospect of eating all the wine gelatin myself. Over the course of several nights I made it through about half, but one can only eat so much alcoholic Jello.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Alynda over at Breathe Gently recently shared her lovely, round, girly handwriting (with very pretty capital As, if I do), and somehow that convinced me to share my handwriting. Why? Who knows, as my handwriting is by no means pretty. In its natural state, my handwriting is barely legible, but I took my time here. Needless to say, there is a reason why my few attempts at doing notes on the whiteboard while teaching were dismal failures. Long live PowerPoint!

1. Name/Blog Name
2. Right handed, left handed or both
3. Favorite letters to write
4. Least favorite letters to write
5. Write: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
6. Write in caps:
7. Favorite song lyrics
8. Tag 7 people
9. Any special note or drawing

Lyrics from Sunlight in a Jar by The Lucksmiths (Warmer Corners)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

4th of July

Well, I know it's been a week since the 4th, but hey! It's only been a week. I feel like I'm practically writing about current events. We had a lovely holiday. We BBQed, had a bonfire (and I, being a large child, toasted many marshmallows), and watched fireworks. We got home later than ideal, as I was teaching the next day (yay!), but I think it was worth it.

When R and I decided to take a friend up on his invitation to celebrate the 4th at his family's beach front house (rather than, say, hanging out at home), I had one though: yakitori! Sure, yakitori probably isn't the most traditional food for the celebration of our nation's founding, but it had been on my mind recently thanks to my favorite food blogger.

This also meant that I got to try out a recipe that I probably wouldn't have otherwise made from one of my new cookbooks. I hadn't marked it when I did my initial pass though the book, due either to my lack of a BBQ or a feeling of "grilled chicken, so what?" and so nearly missed out on something delicious. The yakitori sauce, slowly caramelized on the grill into an umber glaze, really does something magical to the chunks of chicken thigh. It was delicious and everyone was much impressed.

As I wasn't going to make a giant mountain of yakitori, I wound up halving the recipe, which was the perfect amount for the eight chicken skewers (five or six thighs) and five vegetable skewers (plus a smidge left over that was subsequently brushed onto some grilled pineapple). I didn't have any kombu, but while I'm sure the kelp would have added some nice umami notes to the sauce, it's presence wasn't missed in the final product. I also substituted shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7 spice blend, including red pepper) for ichimi togarashi (Japanese red pepper flakes) and lime juice for lemon juice. Bonus: this can be made a day ahead of time.

Chicken Yakitori
Adapted from Takashi's Noodles
  • 1 c soy sauce
  • 1/6 c sake
  • 1/6 c water
  • 2 t ginger juice (grate ginger into plastic wrap, poke a hole in the bottom and squeeze out the juice)
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1/8 c lime juice
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 t shichimi togarashi 

  • chicken thighs, cut into 1" cubes
  • scallions, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • veggies, if you would like (I had red bell pepper, eggplant, and summer squash)
  • bamboo skewers

Combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan over high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and bring to a boil. Decrease heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Set aside.

Skewer chicken, threading on a piece of green onion every few pieces. Make sure to leave room at the end for use as a handle. Skewer veggies, if using (you can also mix them on the skewers, but I preferred having them separate).

Heat grill to medium. Place skewers on grill so that uncovered ends are hanging over the edge. Sear on each side (~2 minutes per side), then baste with sauce and flip skewers every minute or so until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is caramelized (8-10 min). Cook the veggies the same way.

Saturday, July 03, 2010


When getting your child to bed, the experts say to make a bedtime routine. Do a certain set of activities to ready your child for sleep, so that they know what to expect and can mentally ready themselves for bed. What they don't say, though, is that the kids start picking up on the cues and may not be cooperative in this whole "getting to sleep" arrangement. In my case, Goodnight Moon, which has been the last book I've been reading to the baby before bed. Picking up the book now makes her cry. Other books are fine, but Goodnight Moon is a threat. Perhaps it is the psychology major in me talking, but I find it adorable and hilarious.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Oh, hi, Mom. I'm up."

The baby has learned how to stand, which means that I've often open the door at the end of nap time to a little person standing up to greet me. Of course, I also get to come in during the middle of the night to a little person holding on to the edge of her crib rails and crying, because she's woken up and can't figure out how to get herself back to sleep. So, there's a trade-off. For a while there, she was napping for longer periods and getting up earlier, a nice trade-off, but now she's just getting up earlier.

Recent cooking
Mac and cheese - I declare a winner in my search for the best macaroni and cheese recipe. The roux-based recipe from The Pioneer Woman (made with the delightful cheese combination of Swiss, Parmesan, and blue from the CIA macaroni and cheese recipe) is creamy and cheesy, but not so rich that it makes you sick. The leftovers are also good, something I find important in family-sized recipes. The the copious quantities of butter in the CIA mac and cheese separated from the sauce when the dish cooled, leaving the leftovers greasy.
Red rice - I know red rice is an actual dish, but this just seems like a jambalaya hack. I only recently discovered They Draw and Cook, and while it is a very pretty format for displaying a recipe, the quality of instructions for actual cooking was not great with this particular recipe. It's hard to read and the rice needed several cups more water in order to cook properly (one can of tomato sauce and a half can of water just doesn't cut it for two cups of rice). Still, tasty.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sally Hansen 02 - Green With Envy

After having sworn off nail polish a year or so ago, I found myself unable to resist a summery green bottle of the stuff last time I was in Target. I painted my nails today and the baby was fascinated by my foot for the rest of the afternoon.

Recent cooking
Rice noodles with chicken and oyster sauce - After so many mediocre or just acceptable recipes, it's so nice to finally find one that is really tasty. Here it is several hours later and I'm still thinking about it. Definitely going into the regular rotation.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I've entered that period in life that is defined by the omnipresence of Cheerios. They cover the floor under the high chair and there are a fair number in the kitchen, but they've also traveled into the living room and I've even found a few upstairs. Cheerios are so useful, though, that I'm willing to live with the mess. The fat cat eats a few off the floor, but he's nowhere near as useful as a dog.

The baby baby likes to eat Cheerios and will spend long periods of time happily feeding herself. She learned to recognize the box fairly quickly and jumps up and down in her high chair when she sees it, something that is adorable and also a little frightening. Brand recognition already?

Recent cooking
Apple-cinnamon upside-down cake - I was expecting something with a gooey, sugary syrup on top, but you wind up with just a moist sweetness. The cake not touched by the sauce is mild in flavor and somewhat dry. This could work as a breakfast cake, possibly with some yogurt, but it definitely wasn't the dessert I was looking for.
Red velvet cake - When R expressed interest in a red velvet cake, I turned first to smitten kitchen, as the recipes there are always so carefully vetted. I wound up reducing this recipe by a third, as I only have two round cake pans, and I think somewhere in the process the cake became a little dry. Maybe it was my oven, as I cooked it for the minimum time and it came out crispy around the edges. Still, good flavor. Also, best recipe for cream cheese frosting.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Roast chicken failure

Note to self: Roasting a chicken in a Bundt pan according to normal roasting times does not work. The lower half of the pan shields the legs. So, while the juices run clear, the bottom half of the chicken is still semi-raw. Cooking longer would probably dry out the top half, plus the skin on the legs doesn't get all brown and crispy.

Recent cooking
Yakisoba - Not bad, but missing something. Worcestershire sauce isn't an exact substitute for tonkatsu sauce, and since we've got plenty of Asian supermarkets in the area, we've decided not to settle.
Chili - Made a delicious pot of chili. I really like the idea of having a "chili formula," though I'd like mine a bit more spicy (did ground ancho chili and cumin, but definitely needed cayenne). Also, I'm fairly sure cumin isn't optional if you want it to actually taste like chili.
Lime yogurt cake - Recipe calls for blackberry sauce, I made mango, and I really just preferred the cake on its own. Very tasty.
Orange-scented olive oil cake - Used one of my failed jars of uber-chunky marmalade from ever so long ago. My family liked the cake, but, as it turns out, I was scarred by the marmalade-making experience and the smell of it just turns my stomach.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Egg on top

Back when I was a kid, the running joke in my family was that my dad would eat anything leftover the next morning with an egg on top. Pasta? Egg on top. Pizza? Egg on top. Salad? Egg on top.

Thinking back, I never actually saw him eat anything with an egg on top. The man was a leftover eating machine, but he preferred them straight. My breakfast this morning? Leftover black bean patties, crumbled and re-fried, with salsa and an egg on top.

Recent recipes
Beef-fee bean burgers - I made these with black beans and sunflower seeds, but otherwise according to the recipe. I think next time I'd tone down the seasoning, as it overpowered the bean flavor, and fry in just a little oil, as the outside was dry and chewy. Still, not bad.
Beef stew in spicy berbere sauce - You know how most of the times recipes are really conservative about heat? This one is not. It claims to have "a lively heat," but I think it might be inedible for those who are less accustomed to spicy food. Certainly surprised me and my guests. (Note to self: Remember what Mom said about experimenting with new recipes on guests? Don't do it!)
Pesto-chicken calzones - Leaked pesto-oil everywhere!

Friday, May 28, 2010

All signs point to a lonely Friday night

Contents of the basket of the woman behind me in the supermarket check out line: one pint mint chocolate chip ice cream, one bottle wine, one individual-sized frozen chicken pot pie.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


We've finally finished the last cake made from a mix here at the A&R Household. Last, uh, spring we made a boxed carrot cake, and the carrot-flavored pieces drove us to swear off cake mixes. As I was making a batch of cookies this morning, I pondered the popularity of cake mixes. Cakes aren't any harder to make than cookies, but cake mixes are clearly much more popular (just look at the aisle space devoted to them). My mom would never have thought to use a cookie mix, but we never made cakes from scratch at home. R was able to make a cake from scratch when I was too busy dealing with a fussy baby, and he is inexperienced (but competent) in the kitchen, so clearly there is just a collective mental block against making cakes.

I just realized that, while I mentioned that my writing energy of late has been going towards writing articles, I never provided a link. Mind you, they're aimed at a slightly less technically-savvy crowd (unless you want to compare calendar applications. That article is... thorough), so the articles may seem a little basic to those of you here reading this. Still, people need to know. People like my mom. Actually, these articles are probably a bit above her computer skill level. Anyway, here:

"Cooking and the web"

"Game playing on Facebook"
"Calendars for everyday use"
"Steaming media on a home network"
"Putting your videos on YouTube"
"Building your own YouTube channel"

Monday, May 24, 2010

Of bikes and diapers

Recently got to go mountain biking for the first time in... oh, about a year and a half. The ascent totally kicked my ass, as I haven't done anything more vigorous than a brisk walk since my last bike ride, but the ride was so much fun! From the top of the hill we could see the ocean to the west and various hills to the southeast (some of which we've also ridden to the top of). The descent was long and rolling, which is definitely the best kind. Makes all the work to get to the top seem worth it when you've got a fun descent.

We followed that ride up with a second the following weekend. With all the gear we had to pack, for ourselves and for the baby, it was probably inevitable that we would forget something. This time, it was the diaper bag. D'oh! A quick run over to the grocery store for disposables solved that problem.

I think I felt slightly less silly buying the diapers since, just recently, we switched to disposables at night. We'd only used cloth since using up the initial pack of diapers the hospital gave us. It was amazing how the smell of the disposables brought back memories of that time. Back then, she was such a teeny little thing, a tiny baby burrito, who just ate and slept. Now she's this mobile, babbling creature. Who just removed two of my earrings.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Had an odd inversion of the parent-child dynamic today. I was on the phone with my mom and she casually mentioned that she's been packing and getting her house ready to rent. Apparently she's moving in with her boyfriend. Though I didn't voice my sentiments, I'm sure I was mentally echoing the parents of adult children everywhere in thinking, I know it's her decision, but it would have been nice if she's told me she was planning on doing this.

Of course, for an even more hilarious role reversal, I'll need to call her up in about 6 months and ask her why she isn't just getting married.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


I'd been noticing an oddly familiar smell coming from the trash bin in the nursery of late. After several days of thought, I realized that the smell was yogurt-like. Why would the baby's poop smell like yogurt? Oh, right. Brought her with me to Pinkberry and consequently had to share my frozen yogurt. I've colonized her intestines with probiotics.

We were all headed to bed a couple of night ago, when R got the hiccups. The baby was up having a meal, but she stopped and started laughing hysterically ever time R hiccuped. That, in turn, made us laugh and made it all the more difficult for R to control his hiccups.

Recent cooking
Honey oatmeal bread - Didn't rise nicely like the loaf in the picture. I don't know why I make whole wheat bread, as R isn't a fan. Still, I've been enjoying it for breakfast.
Moroccan chicken stew with sweet potatoes - R was expecting it to be worse, I was hoping it would be better. Not bad, but I was expecting a little stronger flavor.
Chipotle chocolate chunk brownie bites - Admittedly, I did substitute chocolate chips for unsweetened chocolate, but I was hoping these would be more chocolaty and spicy. They mostly tasted of cinnamon.
Chana masala - Tasty, easy to make, healthy, and inexpensive, so of course they make me smell bad. No luck!

April fools?

I suppose posting is practically an April Fools' Day prank, as it has been so long. Most of the writing energy (and procrastination) last month was spent writing an article for the familial computer magazine. The baby has also learned that the keyboard is a fun toy, which my mom insists is only fair, as she remembers me at 2 years old, reaching up my little hands over my head and pushing any keys I could find, yelling "'Puter! 'Puter!" Cute, but known to make one's computer do odd things.

Recent cooking
Chicken with forty cloves of garlic - Two things wrong with this recipe. One, the chicken winds up rather plain. Not at all garlicky. Two, it results in delicious roast garlic cloves, which I can't resist eating, causing me to stink for several days.
Braised pork with pears and chiles - I'm sorry to say, but the pork turns out kind of plain. The pears are delicious, so if I was feeling industrious perhaps I'd try tinkering with the recipe. Maybe a spice rub to get a little of that chili flavor into the pork.
Wasabi egg salad - Very nice. I haven't had too many egg salad sandwiches, so I hadn't realized that they're basically deviled egg sandwiches. Mmmm. Deviled eggs.
Yogurt-marinated chicken kebabs with Israeli couscous - We did the kebabs in the broiler, but they probably would have been better if we had a grill to grill them on. Still, they were tasy. The yogurt-feta sauce was too oniony for our taste.
Creamy dreamy clam chowder - Not as creamy as one would expect from the name (or the picture), this was still the tastiest homemade clam chowder I've had.
Magical butter sauce - We made ours with pepper jelly and it turned out quite nice over mahi-mahi.
Cara cara orange curd - I used a couple of exceptionally juicy tangerines and had to stop myself from eating the whole batch warm out of the pot. So good! Totally kicked the ass of the jarred lemon curd I inherited when my in-laws moved.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

March 4th

March already? Madness.

How did that happen? The little one will be 5 months old on Saturday.

Ah, yes. That is how it happened. Babies, they are time consuming.

I'm dreaming about gardens, but there likely won't be much of that this year. We're looking for a place to buy. but since nearly everything is short sales the going is slow. Even putting in an offer now wouldn't get us an agreement for 4-6 months, plus then a month in escrow... Yeah. There goes the summer. I'm trying to satisfy my urges with FarmVille, but it really isn't the same.

Recent cooking:
Smokey beef stew with blue cheese and chives - Not bad, but very basic. The blue cheese is supposed to be the twist, but I wasn't impressed.
Tunisian lamb tagine with toasted almonds and couscous - Delicious. The baby ate some of the sauce and agrees with me.
Mini corn dogs - The batter for these was just lovely. Crisp on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. We made a mountain of mini corn dogs with cheddar little smokies on the inside. We could not eat them all, but I doubt they will go to waste.
Cinnamon bun pancakes - As R put it, better than regular pancakes, not as good as actual cinnamon buns. Much easier to make, though.
Potato pancakes - Billed as dinner in the recipe, these are a nice alternative to hash browns.
Roast pear & banana puree - I know most of you aren't interested in baby food, but I have to tell you, roast bananas are delicious. I wound up making separate fruit purees of the two ingredients and I couldn't stop eating the banana one.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Squeak squeak

Wow. I'm not sure how people with new babies and jobs get anything done. I had substitute teacher training for the first three days of the week and we were pretty much in survival mode the whole time. Food was made, the little one was bathed regularly, and not quite enough sleep was had. The baby was so pissed off on Wednesday that she cried herself hoarse. My dad maintains she was a perfect angel Monday and Tuesday, with only a little squeaking, but we think he just has a greater tolerance for crying since he doesn't see his precious granddaughter every day.

As I made the appointment prior to finding this new subbing job, R wound up taking the little one to her 4 month checkup. She's still all well and healthy, but she's slipping down the growth charts. Previously she'd been in the 45th percentile for height, now she's in the 19th. I suppose, being an October baby, she'll probably wind up starting school the year after she's eligible (though that is only because they've pushed eligibility back so far) and so won't be quite so tiny compared to her classmates.

R has been doing that P90X workout, so I decided to pop in the pliometrics (jumping) DVD... and made it through the warm up. Yeah, I know I haven't done anything more strenuous than walking for the past year and the workout is particularly intense. Still, I feel like a total weakling.

Having been steadily moving east for the past several years in pursuit of better housing deals, we have all of the sudden turned our eyes north in our search for a permanent home. We'd been looking further and further away from R's work, only to realize that if he's going to have an hour commute, it might as well be on the train. We'd be closer to the beach, which would make R taking up surfing make a lot more sense. Plus, my family lives in that area, which would make babysitting much easier. As R so succinctly put it, "I've never been so excited about Oceanside."

Recent cooking:
Coconut braised beef - I thought it was nice, R thought it was so-so. R, however, suffers from PTSD (Post-Tequila Stress Disorder), so anything with too much lime gets a thumbs down from him.
Sweet potato ricotta gnocchi - I bought the ingredients for this and then found myself with too many leftovers for lunches (one of those embarrassing mishaps of cooking for two), so I wound up making them and freezing them. I'll report back once I actually eat them.

Friday, February 05, 2010

A thought from my walk today

They should stop making hearing aids in that medical device flesh putty color, and instead make them shiny black and silver. You wouldn't be able to pick them out from all the cellphone earpieces.*

* Seriously, dude, could you not pick up the phone by hand? You've walking. Also, you did not receive a single call the entire time I was behind you.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

February 4th

The wee one got her first taste of food yesterday. I had been planning on waiting (why rush into stinky poop?), but she seemed ready. Watching me eat has been good entertainment this past week, and yesterday she was following each segment of mandarin orange as it traveled to my mouth. At that point I thought what the heck, chewed off the end of one of the segments, and let her suck out the juices. I was expecting a grimace, but she actually seemed to like it and even opened her mouth for another taste. So, I guess we're trying out foods now.

Recent cooking:
Morning couscous with almonds, coconut, and honey - Finally, a use for the pearl couscous I've got sitting in my pantry (R finds it slightly disturbing, so I can't really use it as a side with dinner).A note about the portion sizes, though. The author adamantly maintains that this recipe serves 4, however I can tell you that if a fourth of the recipe is all you have for breakfast, you're going to be hungry in a couple of hours.
Creamy cabbage and potatoes - Okay, so I didn't exactly make this according to the recipe, but the final product was fairly similar. Creamy mashed potatoes, soft cabbage with a drop of vinegar, a puck of caramelized onions from the freezer. Not bad, but if your husband is Irish you might run into a bit of resistance, since his mom always colcannon with curly kale (I think hers turned out better than this, though if I do recall, there may have been a bit of cheese mixed in. Everything is better with cheese).

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Now and later

Several years after lugging the family videos down from NorCal, we've finally purchased a tape adapter to allow us to watch the tiny tapes, so R and I have been spending time watching moments of my past. It has been interesting seeing how much things have changed, but also how many things have stayed the same.

My mom and dad, already being adults, are pretty similar (R says it feels like present day people walking around in the past), though you can chart the downfall of their marriage over the 5 year span of the tapes. In the later ones, whenever my dad does anything silly my mom moves the camera or tells him to cut it out. In the earliest tapes you get to see some friendly banter between the two of them. My mom even cracks a few jokes.

Recent cooking:
Toscana soup - I had been waiting for kale to arrive in my CSA basket so that I could make this soup. It didn't disappoint, and I plan on making it again next week with the remainder of the kale.
Sardine and avocado sandwiches - Saw this on an episode of Good Eats and, while I'm not into the whole "diet" thing or regimented food consumption (daily carrot?), this is a pretty tasty sandwich.

Friday night could only be described as kitchen failure night. Made too much stock, brownies that were leaking butter (apparently these puppies are close to the saturation point, so don't be lazy when measuring), and a lasagna that was in no way moist enough.

Saturday night was my cooking redemption, as I made a delicious Buffalo chicken pizza. I marinated cooked chicken pieces in Buffalo sauce while the crust was rising. I then topped the crust with pizza sauce mixed with the Buffalo sauce marinade, mozzarella cheese, the marinated chicken, and chunks of blue cheese. It was awesome.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Three odd tidbits

It was raining pretty heavily last night, here in San Diego. This morning I peeked outside to discover that half of our row of condos hadn't put their trash cans out. Apparently they all took a look outside and decided it wasn't worth it.

In celebration of National Popcorn Day, I made peanut butter popcorn. R and I both found the recipe a little uninteresting (and regretted not making the crunchy version), but I couldn't seem to stop nibbling on it. I suppose that could be a recommendation of sorts, though I wound up throwing the rest of the batch away, as I didn't want to mindlessly eat it.

We've discovered a use for those smoked meat logs one tends to acquire around the holidays: fried rice. No, it's not what one would consider a traditional ingredient, but it's not bad.

A's Fried Rice
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 or 4 cups day-old rice
  • 1 hunk of meat log, diced
  • soy sauce
  • oyster sauce
  • oil
  • Sriracha (optional)
  • green onions, chopped (optional)
1. Cook carrot and onion in a little oil until nice and soft. Set aside.

2. Scramble eggs and cook, chopping, so that you wind up with smallish chunks of egg. Set aside with veggies.

3. Cook meat log until the chunks have a little color. Set aside with eggs and veggies.

4. Cook rice, adding oil as needed, until grains have separated and look a bit more transparent. Add soy sauce and oyster sauce to taste (rice should wind up fairly uniformly brown). Stir in meat, eggs, and veggies. Stir in a little Sriracha and some green onions. Serve.

Monday, January 18, 2010

1/2 bottle soy sauce, partially full jar of cocktail onions...

After three and a half long years, my in-laws have finally sold their house and are moving out of San Diego this week. R and I have inherited their pantry contents that they didn't feel like transporting. I spent the morning combining the contents of various sauce and liquor bottles with their partially full twins from our own supply. We received one massive bottle of Tabasco, so aged that the bright red pigments had all oxidized to a deep brown-red. As my in-laws never cook spicy food, one has to wonder why the purchased such a large container of hot sauce. I'm hoping to use the style of the label to date the container. Anyone know when they started requiring nutrition facts on labels?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The fat one

The Litter-Robot breaks, and only now does the fat cat start using it again. Hopefully we'll get it back from the company soon (thank goodness it was still under warranty and the company has been helpful), but he'll still be using a regular litter box for a while. Maybe I should manually cycle the machine when we get it back. He did start using it again after it broke...

Target has apparently found a weak spot. I can't resist the baby socks they have in the cheapie bins by the front door. They get new patterns for each holiday. Luckily, their $1 price tag makes them a cheap thrill.

Recent cooking:
Chicken and bacon pasta in garlic cream sauce - Simple, quick, delicious.
Roasted cabbage with lemon - Did you know that slightly charred cabbage tastes just like the outside of a toasted marshmallow? The resemblance is uncanny.
Inspirational eggs - Eggs baked in potato skins. Not bad, but the general consensus was the recipe would be improved by cooking the constituent parts separately and then assembling. Or, you know, frying up some potatoes and eggs. Ah, well. Trying new breakfast items keeps us from getting bored of the old standards.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 10th

A little lesson on the importance of carefully reading instructions. Last night we noticed that the power outage was scheduled for 12:30 AM, rather that 12:30 PM. This explains why the outage was scheduled for a Sunday - they didn't want us all to be late for work - and managed to cause very minimal disruption. Kudos, SDG&E.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

January 9th

Need to figure out what to do tomorrow, as they're shutting down our power for 4 hours in the middle of the day. Freaking city. Why are you doing this on the weekend?

Also need to figure out how to keep the baby from turning into a bipolar mess in the evenings. She hasn't been napping so well lately, leading to horror and chaos in the hours before bedtime. Do we need to become rigid schedule people? Her natural rhythms are pretty regular. She goes to bed easily. Just need to figure out how to get her down for naps.

Recent cooking:
Pasta with white sausage sauce - Tried the red wine variation. Tasted like wine.
Cream-braised Brussels sprouts - Tasty, though R thinks it lacked bacon. I'm sure that can be rectified next time.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Cute baby!

Managed to create a little scene in Costco today. The baby was great, it was the people around us who were behaving oddly. Apparently the Friday lunchtime crowd reacts strongly to the phrase "cute baby." First the cashier and bagger (boxer?) were cooing over the baby, then the employee from the next line came over, then another customer. Suddenly we were in the middle of this mass of women. Some of them were poking at her and grabbing her feet. It was a bit intimidating. The one of the customers walked out of Costco at the same time as us and kept pointing out the baby to all the employees she passed.

Still, beats what happened when we went to Costco on vacation (yes, we went to Costco while on vacation, in two different cities even). This woman in one of those rascal scooter carts asked if she could see my baby. I lowered the baby down a little so that she could get a closer look (you know, being in a wheelchair and lower to the ground) and she reached out her arms as if to grab my baby. I stiffened up a little and pulled her closer, but there was definitely some baby fondling. Had the lady looked in my face, I'm sure my expression of horror would have clearly conveyed my thoughts at that moment. What the hell? Are you in elementary school? Look with your eyes!

Gah. Boundaries, people!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

January: You start the year off fine

My sister came over today to get a little auntie-niece time. We ate some of the coconut curried chicken soup I'd put in the freezer to prepare for the baby, but never got used thanks to the outpouring of love (and food) from our friends and relatives. As I just quit my old job and the new job is still in the prospective phase, I've been playing the "How little food can we buy this month?" game and have been eating previously frozen soups for lunch. My sister was here on a good day - I've got a couple of containers of bean soup in the chest freezer that she probably wouldn't have wanted to be a party to. Anyway, my sister brought a letter from my mom with her. We both noted that she says mean things, but uses such beautiful handwriting. The letter is practically a piece of art.

We got a new vacuum for Christmas and, thanks to the little one actually taking a nap in her crib (yay), I finally got to try it out. Our old vacuum only made the place look less dirty; this new vacuum makes it look clean. R remarked that he would even feel comfortable putting the little one down on the carpet (precisely the reason we wanted a new vacuum in the first place). Now I just need to do the upstairs. And the stairs. Which have drifts of cat hair (eww).

Recent kitchen exploits:
Slow cooker black bean soup - Meh.
Coffee toffee - So good!
Chicken thighs with balsamic vinegar - A surprise hit, as R isn't a vinegar fan.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

Woo! We celebrated the new year in style - new parent style that is. After being on the road for 10 hours we defrosted a bag of breast milk, drank some of the champagne leftover from our wedding, watched the clock click over to midnight, and immediately fell asleep. Envious?

Really, though, we've had a great vacation. The little one turned out to be a great traveler. She slept in large blocks of time, ate quickly and easily when we stopped, and didn't mind spending all day in her bucket. When we finally made it to Oregon, however, she took one look at her cousins and doubled the number of feedings. I guess she felt she needed to catch up. Unfortunately, this meant I was unable to store up enough milk to leave her with her grandparents and go snowboarding, but since the snow wasn't very good we decided to cancel the trip anyway.