Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who's leaving?

Watching American Idol tonight, there was some disagreement between Mark and my sister over who should get the ax. We were unanimous that it was between Blind Scott and Can't-Pronounce-Words Megan, though.

Taylor: It has to be Megan. Scott could throw up on his piano or poop his pants on stage and she should still go home first.

Mark (when it was announced Scott was singing Billy Joel's Piano Man): (exasperated) Oh God! This is gonna be a snoozefest. Why does he pick the most boring songs ever? Didn't the judges say they wanted him to be a little more exciting?

Taylor: He's blind.

Mark: Yeah, he's not deaf!

I don't care who it is as long as it isn't Matt, even though he really sucked tonight.

You're crazy if you don't make this

This is the Barefoot Contessa's roasted broccoli, and it is crazy good. Even if you think you don't like broccoli (like Mark), try this. Mark liked it. I LOVED it.

Preheat oven to 425.

Cut broccoli into florets. I used one big head, but I guess you can use as much or little as you want. Just adjust oven time so as not to burn.

Toss broccoli with olive oil, salt, pepper, and four cloves of sliced garlic. The original recipe also calls for pine nuts, but I didn't have any and I wasn't going to the store, so I didn't use 'em.

Cook 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. Again, watch this. Mine was closer to 18 minutes.

Finish with the zest and juice of one lemon, grated parmesan cheese, and some fresh julienned basil.

Best broccoli ever!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


This little beauty is in the April Country Living mag. I.need.to.have.this. If our backyard wasn't the size of a postage stamp, I'd have Mark out there building it right now.

I just want to sit in there with my tea and read. It would probably be a sauna in the summer, though.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Just venting

I just got home and I'm so irritated!!! There was an accident on the freeway at FOUR this morning, and every p.o.s. in LA is on the surface streets that I need to take to do my work errands, driving slower than molasses, blocking intersections, and just being overall douchey.

I'm sorry that it was a fatal accident, really, but why isn't it cleared yet by 2pm?!? Why don't people know how to drive? What normally takes me 10-15 minutes took well over an hour.

And I think I wore out my horn.

Deep breath to alleviate chest pains, and rant officially over.

Banana bread

I made banana bread with our black bananas. I know...MORE black bananas! I don't know why we can't manage to consume those things before they turn. We both love bananas, I swear! The recipe is from my America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large very ripe bananas, mashed well

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 large eggs

1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional) - (I used them)

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the mashed bananas, melted butter, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla together. Gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture with a spatula until just combined (don't overmix). Fold in the walnuts. The batter will look thick and chunky.

3. Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, about 55 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

4. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

5 years already?

Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of my first date with Mark. I forgot. I didn't really forget. I know our first date was March 24, I just don't ever know the current date. Anyhoo, Mark remembered and surprised me with a date to Tokyo Wako where we went on our first date. We hadn't been there in so long, and it was delicious!

Then, because Mark knows no special occassion is complete without sugar, he took me to Cherry on Top, which is a frozen yogurt place near our house where you fill your own cup with yogurt and toppings. It's similar to Pinkberry, which is also a few blocks from us, but I like this place better. The yogurt isn't as tart.

They have every topping in the world, I think, including tons of fresh fruit, which you can see didn't get anywhere near my cup. I love fruit, but I can't even see it when it's surrounded by cheesecake bites, peanut butter cups, and cookie crumbs.

Mark also got me a beautiful bouquet of mixed flowers.

Instead of plunking them into one big vase, I decided to break it up into mini bouquets to spread around the house. So I gathered some little vases and containers, and now I've got a pretty reminder in almost every room.

Bean appreciates a beautiful rose, too. (Actually, he was about a half second away from taking a big bite out of it here.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ukulele! Am I spelling that right?

I'm too tired to do a proper post tonight, but I've got a few planned that will hopefully be materializing over the next few days. So instead I give you Julia Nunes. My dad turned me onto this, because he spends way more time on YouTube than anyone should. Mostly he likes her because she's near his hometown of Rochester, NY. She's a ukulele player, but she plays many other instruments, not the least of which are pillows, Slinkys, and her own chest. And she's adorable. Please do enjoy.

Oh, and if you're reading this Isabell, she mentions Richard Cheese at the end of the second video, which is someone Todd loves!

Friday, March 20, 2009

So purdy!

Spring has officially sprung at our house. I hate the heat (and Spring can get pretty hot around here), but I love the smell and sight of everything blooming. And I love the longer days.


Can you guess what color flowers I'm drawn to?

Isn't Spring glorious?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What's this? What's this!

I've been reading and hearing a lot lately about services that deliver organic and locally grown produce to your house, and I thought it was definitely something I'd like to try. After doing a little research, I found spud!.

On their site you can rate every imaginable fruit and veg according to how much you like it (including a "Never send this to me" option), then you decide how much you want to spend on your produce box (I think it's $15-$35), and they put a box together based on your preferences and what's available and in season.

I love the idea of not having 100% control over what we get. I think there is the option to choose everything yourself, but where's the fun in that? I'm a rut kinda girl. I tend to buy the same things in the produce section every time I shop, so this will force me to be a little more adventurous and creative.

Mark and I rated the produce together to make sure we would be getting things we both liked. There were very few things we said "never" to. Neither of us like beets, and what the hell do you do with rutabagas?

Anyway, once you put in your order, they send you a list of what you'll be getting, which is cool because you can start planning what to do with it. We said we wanted to spend $25. Our box came today, and this is what we got...

  • 4 Fuji apples
  • 4 bananas
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 pound of kiwis
  • 4 oranges
  • 4 pears
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 pound bag of small golden potatoes
  • 4 zucchini

I'm so excited. I did a happy dance when the box arrived. And, they have the cutest purple delivery trucks. I'm thinking I'll make soup with some of the potatoes and the kale and some sausage. And I think we'll definitely be ordering from them again. Gotta go make room in the fridge!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Something new

So Bean has been doing this new thing lately (I think just to annoy Mark) where he shuts himself in the bathroom and then scratches and scratches and scratches to be let out. This only happens when we're sound asleep at about 3 or 4 in the morning. More than once the scratching sound was just incorporated into my dream, and I only woke up when Mark would jump out of bed all huffy and puffy to open the door for Bean and mumble what a bastard he is.

So we've wised up, and this has been the solution...
It's also a pretty accurate illustration of the ways my exercise equipment actually gets used.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A head scratcher

How do husbands manage to take off their jeans with both their underwear and socks still inside?

So far, so good

Dinner last night turned out great!

I used up the last bit of sausage from the freezer

I sliced up the two sad bell peppers that have been in the fridge I'm not even sure how many weeks now. Would you look at this pathetic thing...

Then I did something I don't normally do when I make this. I added half a can of crushed tomatoes, since it was open in the fridge and the point is to get rid of stuff. I use this kind of canned tomatoes because they are by far the best I've ever tasted. I could eat it straight out of the can with a spoon.

Then we put it over pasta with a little Parmesan, and voila, super easy (and cheap) meal. And we both thought it was the best it's ever tasted with the added tomatoes, even with the less than fresh peppers.

And, this morning I made smoothies with a couple of black bananas we had still laying around. And I mean black. I didn't even take a picture 'cause it's embarrassing. Inedible on their own, but delish in a smoothie!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's a Peeping Peep!

This cracks me up. I read about this contest on one of my other superfave food blogs, Slashfood, and it's awesome. It made me think of my dad because he loves Peeps. Go here to see many other past entries (some are crazy good), and you've got a couple days if you want to enter yourself.

As for Eating Down the Fridge (I will refer to it as EDF from now on), we had grilled ham and cheese sandwiches last night. Tonight will be pasta with sausage that has been in our freezer and bell peppers from the fridge that have seen better days. They are pretty wrinkly, and normally I'd probably throw them out at this point, but I'm determined not to be wasteful and to plan meals better in the future so that things don't get to that point in the fridge.

I'll be sure to let you know if this little experiment results in any vomiting.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Can Swiss cheese and yogurt be dinner?

I read a lot of food blogs. I like to read recipes and get inspired, though I rarely end up actually making any of it. I don't hate cooking. It's just not something I've made much time for in the past. I usually have other things to do, like watching that same episode of "The King of Queens" for the 8th time. But, I'm trying to get better and add new things to the three or four things I usually cook.

So, I was reading one such blog, A Mighty Appetite, and thought I'd try her Eating Down the Fridge challenge. It's basically about using up things in the fridge/freezer/pantry before buying anything new. We tend to throw more away than we should in our house, like bad bananas, the occassional half a loaf of moldy bread, REALLY sour cream that fell to the back of the fridge and was forgotten about, etc. I've been aware of this for some time and I've been unofficially kinda doing the challenge already, but now I'm gonna take it even more seriously. I do hate wasting.

So I'm not grocery shopping this week. I will be making meals using things we already have. This might be a bit of a challenge since our fridge is a little different from the norm this week due to our being gone last weekend and having my sister house/cat sit. Here's a picture of it's current state ( I just opened the door and snapped - it's a disaster right now)...

There really isn't any meat except for frozen turkey burgers and bacon. We have a decent amount of produce, so there will probably be a lot of veggie meals. And I might be getting creative with pasta. I'll let you know what we end up eating each day, and when I finally have to break down and go to the store.

P.S. I already cheated tonight because I have a bit of a cold, so I had Mark pick up some matzo ball soup on his way home from work, but I trust you won't say anything ;) Maybe we'll just call tomorrow Day 1.

Monday, March 9, 2009

"Ski" Trip

Some of Mark's family rented a house in Bear Valley in Northern Cal last week, so we went up there for a few days, and we had SO MUCH FUN! It's a seven hour drive for us, and on the way we passed lots and lots of "Happy California Cows"...

When we arrived, we couldn't believe all the snow! Our local mountains in L.A. are primarily ice and man-made snow, so to see feet and feet of real snow was very exciting for us. I'm sure people in other parts of the country would like to punch me in the face, but it's a novelty for us.

The house was beautiful, and it had everything - five bedrooms, which slept the 12 of us comfortably, big walk-in showers, heated floors, a foosball table, fireplaces, big TVs.

The front porch and the side view...

Our cooler on the deck...


I think we were all equally amazed by the size of some of the icicles hanging off the house...

The kids liked eating them...

Unfortunately (or probably fortunately) I didn't bring my camera when we went skiing, but this pic of me attempting a snow angel pretty much sums up my first skiing experience...

I fell going down the "hill" made for 3 year-olds, I fell getting off the chair lift for the much, much bigger hill I was FORCED to go down by my instructor, and then I fell down that hill. Twice. When I told the instructor I didn't feel quite ready to go down the big hill, he literally pushed me onto the chair lift, despite my pleading. Mark somehow missed my You-better-save-me-from-this! look. The instructor tried to get me to go up a second time, but I had one ski off before I could be shoved into the chair again.

Technically, I returned to the house that night in one piece, so I'd call it a success, but I think I may be hanging in the lodge with my cocoa next year.

The next day was much more my speed. We played in the snow with the kids all day sledding, building a snowman, and having a snowball fight.

The snowman has two eyes, but one was a white bottle cap. Then the snowball fight started...

Mark got a little excited and started throwing huge ones...

And then this little guy wanted me to put the camera down and participate, so he came and threw a few snowballs at me...
Mark and I discussed putting him in our suitcase, but figured his parents would probably notice he was gone. We had such a great time and we all agreed this needs to be an annual thing. Count us in!