Monday, March 31, 2008

It does a body good.

cont'd from the night before...

Late nights in L.A. can be rough. Things close fairly early-ish, unless you are looking for a diner-y meal or a bar. There are lots of bars. But we wanted dessert. After our lovely Hungry Cat dinner we headed down to the Mid Wilshire-Fairfax District. Why am I always here? No seriously. I am ALWAYS here. I'm sure it's the wonderful museums, great shopping and excellent restaurants. I should just move there!! OH YEAH. I have kids, I need to live in quasi-suburbia. Also I am not a Hasidic Jew. Saturday night on the town in Fairfax? Hasidic Jews post shabbat and two asian chicks craving ice cream.

Luckily, MILK stays open until 11pm. Opened last year by Patina alum Bret Thompson, there has been a lot of buzz about this place, and I've been waiting for said buzz to die down and see for myself. I was not disappointed.

The joint is shockingly small and the menu is amazing. I'd love to go back for a meal but this is not why we've arrived. No, it's for the shakes, malts, 25 cent bon bons, homemade pudding, lemon bars, chocolate croissant bread pudding, the list goes on and on. It was crowded, for sure, at 9:30 on a Friday, but I've heard daytime is worse. Plus the parking can kiss my ass, god I hate parking in Fairfax. I ended up having to valet the damn car and then walk a block. Not happy.We got a variety of things, dessert whores that we are, and all were pretty great. While I am not a fan of shakes (melty ice cream+jenn = blech) my friend assured me that the malt was excellent. She also ordered a tres leches to take home - too sweet for my blood, but she liked it. Then again she eats condensed milk straight up. No, I had one thing on my mind and nothing more. The ice cream sandwich.
This is no ordinary ice cream sandwich, you see. Instead of cookies, the homemade creamy ice cream is flanked by...macarons. Oh. Dear. God. They are my weakness. I bow to them and throw money at any bakery who has them just for a tiny bite. Macarons are particular. Airy. Tempermental. Perfection. So the idea of putting them with ice cream and freezing them? I was suspect. But one bite and that went away. It was an amazing combination and I decided right then and there that I must live off a diet which consisted of nothing but macaron ice cream sandwiches.

After consuming all that sugar, we were full and had to call it a night. My friend still had to haul her ass back to the O.C., and I needed to get my sleep on before the kids did their usual 3:15am "I need water. I need to pee. Sleep with me Mommy." routine. It was a good night, with a good friend, and I will have macaron ice cream sandwiches in my dreams.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

I'm not just pussyfooting around this time, Batman!

My friend came up to visit, even though she lives close, sadly we rarely see each other. She lives behind the Orange Curtain, you see, and here, well that's as good as living in another country. See, The Valley, Orange County? They are close. But if you want to venture that way you might need a passport to get back to L.A.

We talked about how we first met in college, *gulp* 17 years ago. Goddam, time flies. Being a true foodie, I wanted to take her to some nice, but very L.A. places to eat. Cause you definitely don't find that many unique places in O.C. So we headed to Hollywood.

While I am not a fan of seafood, she is. And it makes me happy to take people to places that I know they will love. I had heard a lot about The Hungry Cat, which recently expanded, and it was...fantastic! Even if you don't get the REAL raw seafood stuff, there are some just lovely dishes to be had for a nice supper. I knew that we had other things to do, so I convinced her that we should share dishes.We ordered very refreshing crab salad. The flavors were pretty amazing. Fresh crab, endive, hearts of palm, blood oranges. It was a small starter plate, but I definitely could have eaten more. For the entree we shared the grilled Opah. I have never had opah and I was afraid it might be too...fishy. I know, lame call for a seafood place, but I don't like that overwhelming taste. This had none of that. It was grilled to perfection and didn't even taste like fish (if that's any consolation to seafood haters) It was just moist and perfect. More than that, it sat on a bed of black rice grits which were AMAZING. But I am Southern like that. There was also a mix of English peas, grapefruit, pistachios and some horrible beets, which I spit out because I am 5 years old. God, I hate beets.

I was full at this point, which is surprising since the dishes were smallish, but I'm sure it was the grits just settling in to my tummy. She pressed on and ordered three house oysters. I looked away as, frankly, I was disgusted, but hey, that's why I brought her there. To eat what she loves.

I was very impressed with The Hungry Cat, and I'd likely go back. The crowd wasn't too Hollywood too, which is always a plus.

We paid the bill and we headed dessert...
(to be cont'd)

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Woke up. Got out of bed. Dragged a comb across my head.

Remember those Hello Kitty cookie cutters I bought? Well I found another set today! Can you believe it? I asked if they had any more, but that was it. I put it up on ebay if anyone wants it.

I cut the Kid's hair today. It went well considering how it could have gone:

Click to biggie size.

From The Adventures of Kid Emo & Grr Baby.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Tomato, tomatoe.

I don't know how it is where you live, but Spring is here - sunny, 65 degrees. The Farmer's Market is in full effect, yo. My kids are little fruit bats and can't get enough of the fresh stuff. When I went to get them berries recently I asked, "When is berry season exactly?" The grocer said, "Here? There is no season. Year round." That pretty much sums it up. Some things are just always good.

Like tomatoes. As a kid, I hated them, plain, mushy, but as I grew up my palette changed and now I know the different varieties and how to use them.
I only went to the market for berries, but when I saw these red chirpy tomatoes, I had to stop. I knew I wanted to roast them as a side for dinner. Nigella has a recipe for roast tomatoes, although hers is to 'Turn the oven off. Leave them there overnight.' Gross. I have a bacteria phobia so keep your crazy British thinking to yourself, lady.We had a dinner of tortellini soup, roasted tomatoes, as well as a quick fruit salad. I asked the Baby if he wanted a tomato and he said, "TOEMAYTOE, TOEMAHTOE." Where does he come up with this stuff?

Here for the Roasted Tomatoes recipe.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Let them eat cake.

Right here? This is the best custom cake, ever made.

While I bake a lot, I love to go to bakeries as well. Especially if they are ranked in the top ten of all of Los Angeles.
I had heard a lot about Susina Bakery and when I walked in I wasn't disappointed. It felt like a small Parisian cafe, and the cases were piled high with gorgeous treats. I had heard that the Berry Blossom cake was the best and it was also highly recommended by the counter person. This cake was simply, amazing. The berries were perfect, not mushy. The cake moist, and firmly held together despite it's thinness. The white chocolate filling and whipped cream frosting were not overly sweet, as I feared it might be. Everything about this cake was perfect. And I'm not just biased since they put crushed meringue on the sides of the cake. Good lord, that right there is perfection.
Everyone has a difference of opinion though, as to what makes the best bakery. I've heard many people who hate Sprinkles cupcakes (hello, Hilary!), though it's been a while since I've had one, I don't mind it.

Do you have a bakery you love? Or why do you hate what you hate? (Perhaps there are other Sprinkles haters out there, who knows.) Maybe, I the only crazy person who will drive out to the far reaches of the city for some delicious pastries? This is information that will be used in a scientific experiment later, so answers in the comments are greatly appreciated.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I've got the golden ticket.

My Elmo cupcakes are up on the Hostess Blog today! Almost makes me want to have another party. Almost.

With Easter last week, yet another chocolate holiday has come and gone. The Kid, ever the trooper, opened his plastic eggs from school, only to find little chocolates. He'd hand them to me sadly and say, "Here. I guess this one's for you." So sad.

What he can have is white chocolate. Something I am not fond of but hey, at least he's not allergic. Something else I am not fond of? Cream cheese. I realize I am in the minority here, as I watch my coworkers lather the junk all over their morning bagels. Rather than vomit right there in the office kitchen, I grab my condiment free bagel and slink back to my desk like a leper.

But cream cheese does come in handy. In baking (like with the filled cupcakes) they smooth things out nicely. And when it's baked in there, it's not half bad, I gotta say. Still, if given a chance, I'd swap it out with marscapone, any day. I happened to have some on hand, but rather than make a trifle, I used it to make some chocolate chip muffins.

The marscapone added a really nice texture and made them soft and crumbly. Very muffin-y. That's a real word, right there. And the look of joy on the Kid's face when he saw that there were white chocolate ones just for him? Aw. It made his little chocolate-less life a little bit better.

Recipe for Mascarpone Chocolate Chip Muffins, here.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Beverly Hills. That's where I want to be.

I have eaten at many great restaurants in my lifetime. This weekend I went to Cut, by Wolfgang Puck in Beverly Hills. I have to say, it was one of the best meals I have ever had.

I'm not a big meat eater. I used to be mostly vegetarian until I got pregnant, then the steak cravings were insatiable and kind of disgusting. Some of that is still with me, years later. Cut is a new steakhouse by Wolfgang Puck, not to be confused with his crap pizzas sold at the airport. No, this is a real restaurant with some amazing food.
The restaurant was designed by Richard Meier, one of my favorite architects, and architect of the Getty. When you sit down for your meal you KNOW you are in a Richard Meier space. You can't escape it, and it is wonderful.

Now for the food. I did not take pictures, actually I am not too fond of taking pictures of my meals out - I try not to anyway. I'm no food blogger, and more importantly, this is Beverly Hills, people. The cars at the valet? Two Bentleys, two Rolls Royces, three limos...and my 1999 Honda. Oh just park it goddamit, you know I'll tip better than those rich bastards anyway.

Before the meal came there were cheese straws and cheese gougeres. Not only that but bread. Onion foccacia, pumpernickel and the most amazing pretzel rolls I have ever had. I get the Rockewagner ones at the SaMo farmer's market and I think those are good, but they don't even compare. I even asked the waitress where they came from and she said they bake them in house, every morning.

Here is the menu. As you can see, prices range from $30 to $160. That's right, $160 for 8 ounces. But it is worth it. They even bring out the cuts and show you a cross section of the meat. It's like I was on an Alton Brown episode. The marbling of the Japanese meat was also butter it was so fat filled. That's where the taste is.

Seeing as how I am not a real meat eater, I passed and instead went for the short ribs that were cooked for 8 hours. Wow they were amazing. They fell apart with a touch of a fork. And though I was worried about the 'spice' of the curry flavor, it was not hot at all, just sweet and subtle.

Side dishes are amazing, but let me move on to dessert. Yes I had dessert, I always like to see the menu at least, even when I am stuffed. Their most popular dessert, was a chocolate cream pie with banana creme brulee and banana ice cream. While this sounded divine, you know banana is my kryptonite, so I opted for the chocolate souffle. I must have had souffle on the brain after that Top Chef episode where they f*ed it up. Ordering the souffle was a mistake. It wasn't that it was bad, in fact it was AMAZING. This souffle was gorgeous and perfect but HUGE. Freakin' huge. Six inches in diameter it was obviously meant for two and I wished someone had told me that.

Just as I was paying the bill, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a small plate of mignardise*. Never one to turn down little candies, I ate them. MAN. This was amazing. I should have skipped dessert completely just to relish these little treats. One was a small yuzu bar, basically a take on the lemon bar (god, how I love lemon) only more tart, using the Japanese citrus, yuzu. Then second was a caramel cashew chew, with fleur de sel on a homemade shortbread. Simply outstanding. As was the service. Granted this was a high end (-ish) restaurant, but the service was above and beyond what I could have expected.

If I was to do it over again, which I might, I would go for a starter and dessert. I realize that defeats the purpose, but I can always grab a bite of very expensive meat off of the plate of someone else in my dining party. Gauche? Perhaps, but I know my limits. If you ever need a recommendation for a celebratory dinner, this is definitely the place. You don't even have to spend a fortune, you'll still get an amazing meal and incredible service. Just park your Bentley behind me.

*mignardise: one or two bite, little sweets. Similar to a petit four.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Don't be chicken.

I have a backlog of about 20 recipes that I still need to post up here. There was a time last month when I made a different type of muffin every day for a week. A muffin a day post was surely in the works...yet it has not appeared.

I can tell you I've been busy. CRAZY BUSY. I've even been trying to catch up on reading blogs but I get through people's two most recent posts and I'm all zzz. It's not you, it's me, baby. I feel like I don't know what is going on anymore.

It's probably because I'm spending so much time eating large amounts of food. Recently the family went out for a Sunday night dinner to, where else? Knott's Berry Farm's Chicken Dinner Restaurant. O.G. hates the poultry, yet she was totally up for going. Weird. I think it's the nostalgia of it. She said when she went there the first time dinner cost $1.25. I assured her that the prices have gone up.
While the prices have gone up, the flavor hasn't. And I mean that in a good way. This is down home, not fancy, Southern fried chicken. Just the way my family likes it. If we had a family crest I think there'd be a fried chicken leg on it. The amount of food you get for 'dinner' is insane. A salad, soup or rhubarb, homemade biscuits (drool city. So good.), breast+wing+thigh+leg, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn or cabbage (ugh, corn please) and pie or ice cream for dessert. Most people go for the famous Boysenberry pie, but me, I like ice cream. A hell of a lot.

Since Peanuts is now a part of Knott's - with a kids meal you get a Snoopy ice cream bar. The Baby actually screamed with excitement. I was pretty excited too, but you don't hear me screamin'.The wait for the chicken dinner? TWO HOURS, people. Get there early. We got there at 5 and only had to wait an hour. Only. Yeesh. If we had arrived a minute later? Forget it. The kids felt like they were being screwed over since we went to Knott's Berry Farm, but only ate chicken. That is, no rides. I assured them that Knott's was closed and all the rides were shut down for maintenance. ALL OF THEM. Uh. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

i, robot

I swore I wasn't going to watch this season, but did you see Top Chef this week? Did you see that lady slip on the floor in Whole Foods?? Hello flashback. I told you that place was dangerous!! My foot hurts just thinking about it. Also, how can you call yourself a chef if you don't know how to make souffles or blinis? Didn't these people go to culinary school?

So I know this guy. He likes cookies. He likes robots. He also likes his appendix, but we can't win 'em all. I decided that to make him feel better, I would make him some gingerbread robot/monster cookies. This was a better idea in my head and in my sketchbook. (I should show you but forget it, I am too lazy.)

I set to work making my favorite gingerbread dough and cut out squares for the head. Then I made up a royal icing to decorate. I think what throws me is the eyeballz on the monster/bots. They kinda scare me. But the Baby did stroll by and say, "I SEE WOBAHTS." Suddenly the Baby has become his own version of LOLcats.

Sure these monster/bots won't bring back Will's appendix, but they will make his tummy happy. While they look crazy, they taste pretty good and that's all that matters. Taste over beauty, my friends.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Back 2 life, back 2 reality

I wish I could say that I have this pamphlet was because the kids are driving me nuts and I need 5 minutes to myself. Ha. Sadly, no the Kid has some health problems and surgery is scheduled. I feel like a horrible mother who has failed him.

This news, as well as a few other stressful worries has given me a one way ticket to Migraineville. That's a place you never want to visit. I have filled my body with as much Excedrin Migraine as I can handle, leaving me a woozy, vomiting mess. I'm a keeper, folks. But hey - the pain is gone, that's all that matters, right? Right? BLERGH.

To take my mind off of this impending surgery I took the kids out to a Farmer's Market. Spring is here and the weather is warm, now we can go out for our fruits and veggies. We strolled the aisles and took in the delicious smells of the pupusas, the sounds of fresh kettle corn and the colors of the fruits. The Baby kicked it in the stroller while the Kid darted back and forth yelling out the names of the veggies. "Why yes kiddo, that IS an organic pesticide free blue potato." (This is Los Angeles.)
Our haul included oranges (The Baby's favorite), strawberries and blueberries (I have dessert plans for these) and lemons (some for roasting a chicken, some for lemon cupcakes). We pulled over to the side and sat on a wall. The Baby quietly munched on his kettle corn, the Kid happily sipped his aqua fresca, and I stared into the warm sunlight and tried not to think about stressful things.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Catwoman: You're the second man who killed me this week. But I've got seven lives left.

I go to a lot of toy stores. And sometimes...without the kids. I just like toys. They are fun and you never know what exciting little things you can find. Like this:

Of course the kids were with me on this trip and right when I told them, "WE ARE JUST LOOKING, NO TOYS FOR YOU," I saw this on the shelf. I freaked out. I grabbed it and even looked around to see if anyone was going to take it from me. Like a 10 year old.

Hello Kitty cookie cutters. Are you kidding me? I have been searching for Hello Kitty usable (not decorative) kitchen items and I had never seen this before. They were plastic, and I have a strict no plastic cookie cutters rule, but this was worth breaking it.

I bought them and took them home. I figured that the impressions would show better on a gingerbread, rather than a sugar cookie, plus I was not in the decorating mood, and just gingerbread alone, can be nice. I love the smell of gingerbread, it reminds me of all the houses we used to make.

These cutters are damn impressive. The prints are near perfect. Next I think I will use them to decorate the cookies with different colored fondant so it REALLY looks like Hello Kitty. Surprisingly, with all the baked goods I make, the boys don't eat much of it. They aren't really interested. They thought these were cool though - cause they wanted to bite her head off. Vicious!

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Dream of better lives the kind which never hate, dropped in the state of imaginary grace

On Sunday I bundled up my little hipster children, put them in snarky tees and spiked up their faux-hawks and we set out for Silverlake. Not really, but we did go to Silver Lake. The new rage in L.A. is boutique coffee joints and dammit, if what I hear is true, this is truly a better cup of coffee.

I wasn't disappointed. We went to Intelligentsia and goddam, that was some good joe. I got an Iced Angeleno, and I've got to say, it came perfectly the way I like and full of flavor. There was definitely a long line, but very much worth the wait. This is seriously good stuff.

If I didn't have kids, coffee would be my lunch. But noooo. I got kids, yo!

Fortuitously, right next door is The Cheese Store of Silverlake. Thankfully, it did not have that 'stinky cheese smell' that some of these stores have. It was small, but fully stocked with lots of nice wines and cheeses. I heard they make some of the best paninis in town, great for peeps like me who love some crusty bread.

Wow these were good. I mean, so tasty. Obviously, it's the cheese, from the cheese store. But man, really good stuff. I got a salame panini that was dripping with mozzarella and burrata cheeses with a few green olives stuffed in there for good measure. Unbelievable, but then again, anything with burrata is. The boys shared a turkey panini that had an incredible fruit chutney on it.

We had to buy extra little cornichons of course, since we all love the tiny, and tiny pickles = love. It was a great Sunday lunch, despite beautiful sunlight but insane cold, this weekend. My little hipsters in training will be back, I'm sure.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Shake 'n bake

And the winner is...Babs! Congrats! Drop me a line and the Hello Kitty head is all yours.

This weekend was full of eating and full of baking. I try and bake every Sunday morning cause that's when the kids get to watch tv, and I get an hour plus, of time to myself. I start baking at about 7 or 8 am, cause I try to get the kids out of the house by 9:30am to start our jam packed, adventurous Sundays.

Today I made even MORE Peep cupcakes. This time I had a little sous chef with CLEAN hands (of course) to help me.
I made some to give to the kid's teachers and some to take to the unappreciative bastards at work. I always keep a stash of baking boxes on hand to tote my goods. Hey, it looks like I have my own bakery, ha! Here are the fancy Peeps ready to go.

This is going to be one crazy week coming up. I'm just gonna close my eyes and try to get to Friday.


Friday, March 14, 2008

The incredible edible egg

Next week is going to be a nightmare. I have to take two days off, one for kid's doctor appts, and one cause they just have the day off for no freakin' reason. And me not working means me no pay. ME NO PAY. Suddenly I'm a caveman. Anyway, it'll give me time to do some Easter baking and hopefully finish sewing the pile of junk that is sitting on my craft table.

Since Easter decided to sneak up and bite me on the ass, I got my act together and bought some amaaazingly cute fillable eggs at Target. The cutest of all? The Hello Kitty ones of course. Pop her head open and fill it with candy. There should be brain candy to put in there. What would Hello Kitty's brain look like? Probably just like her poop, full o' hearts and flowers.
In any case, it's another action packed weekend for me and the kids. So if you, I said YOU, want to win a little brainless Hello Kitty of your own, (that I've filled with candy for you), leave a comment, and you could win it! You have til Sunday - have an excellent weekend - I'm Audi5000.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Good girl gone bad

Bad news:
Much to my dismay, my family reads this blog. Which is one of the many reasons I'd like to shut it down. Not because I don't want them to know stuff, but because nothing is more annoying than having one of them call you and say, "I heard you hurt your foot..." or if you tell them something, they somehow already know. That's why, unbeknownst to you, I actually don't talk about MOST of what goes on around here. Too bad, cause it's good stuff too. Sadly, if you want to know what's going on with me, you'll just have to speak to me directly. Poor you. If my family wants to know what's going on, fuck them.

Good news:

Holy crap-a-licious, I need this new mochi waffle maker to make moffles (mochi waffles, duh). And it comes in pink too? SO AWESOME.

Bad news:
Adam Corolla loves the Valley. I suppose you could list this as 'good news' if you, in fact, love the Valley too. His list of favorite eats, here. Top ten things I hate about the Valley? 1-9: It's hot. 10. It's far.

Good news:
This is only good news. Rachael Ray is finally off the air. THANK GOD. Her goth eyeliner and cigarette-y gravel-y voice were worse than her horrible recipes. This recipe is one of my favorites. Cause that's a recipe people, yep. Thank god she is around to tell us how to do it.

Bad news:
Sometimes you walk up to your car and there is a piece of paper taped to your windshield. Sometimes it's a ticket, sometimes it's a note that says, "Hey you're hot, call me." This was neither of those times. Instead I was confronted with this:

Yeah. Freakin' great.

Good news:
ANYTHING you buy in the store, now just $1 shipping. Can't go wrong with that.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tell me, tell me that your sweet love hasn't died

All sweets, all the time.

1. Bacon flavored chocolate, now in pig form. AND, Maple Bacon Lollipops. Hm. Why I am nauseated yet intrigued?

2. Went to Akasha - the new hot restaurant in town, with Nanners. It is kind of Vegan, but definitely hipster, not hippie. I was not impressed with the food. The Vegan desserts? TO DIE FOR. Insanely good, though why would you put ice cream on a Vegan dessert? Lame-dash-oh. Who cares. It was amazing.

3. Guess what I got? Yep. Eyeballs. I went to Gloria's recently cause I am planning on making something super fantastic. More later.

4. Did you know that the Girl Scouts don't make the cookies? Keebler does! Whose parent company is Kelloggs! Well, I'll be damned. They should call them Elf Scout Cookies. I was a Girl Scout for one very short season. I remember working my ass off going door to door to sell them. I can't even imagine doing that nowadays. I wouldn't want my kid going to a stranger's house.

So when I see these girls pimping the cookies, I know how good it feels to make a sale - it really does promote teamwork not just your fatness, believe it or not. I always try to buy a box when I see them. These lemon ones are my new favorite. They are so damn tasty, and I love the design of the cookie. There's a little house in there!

5. I got the boys their first Shamrock Shake today. It's my first in YEARS. It tastes mint-y-licious and as good as I remember. I saw this commercial and kind of want a Shamrock Sundae, even if it looks like bile.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Little fish, little fish, let me in.
Not by the skin of my finny, fin, fin

Fish is good for you. I know a lot of people have an aversion to it, the smell, what have you. But if you have kids you should suck it up and make it for them. It really does help form their tiny brains and junk.

This is a recipe for the Kid's FAAAYYVVOORRITE dinner, Salmon Cakes. No, not like cake, cake. Cake, like crabcakes, ya dig? It's good, honest. And no, it's not like the tuna ice cream cones I made. Don't freak.

These are like little salmon burgers, really. You should see the Kid's face light up when he hears we are having Salmon Cakes for dinner. However, his face also lights up when he hears the words "There Will Be Blood." He thinks it's a movie about band-aids, and he loves band-aids cause they are like stickers. Crazy.

Salmon cakes recipe, HERE.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities, forget about your worries and your strife

I noticed this in my purse today and it cracked me up:

It made me realize that there are some things that we just can't live without. In the Kid's case it's his monkeys.

What I mean is, I use an Xacto knife every night, without fail. I must have an Erasure cd in the car cd changer. I use Method wipes, all day everyday. There are two juice boxes and a Benadryl spoon, in my immediate area, at all times.

I'm wondering what everyone else's "necessities" are. I'm not talking purse contents here, that's been done. What do you tote around or use daily that is out of the ordinary?


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Fierce. Hot mess.

I am an instant gratification kinda gal. Knitting, crocheting. It takes too long. So hand sewing falls into that 'I'd rather not' category as well. I leave that to the professionals. I like to just stick it in the sewing machine and zip! I'm off.

Today Jodi and I went to the Craft Magazine Demo and Release Party in...tadahh! - the Valley. (Just as I suspected, it was damn hot, for a Sunday in March.) We all got to make little felt monsters, which was a lot of fun but we had to hand stitch them. I admit, this was relaxing, and it was nice to just sit and kick it for a while. Jodi said that I am the 'Christian' of the felt monsters since I finished first. I like to get things done quickly, what can I say.
I think the tie makes him look a little more dapper. Jodi made a cupcake monster. The monsters were really easy and very inspiring. Afterwards, we went up to the top (drove not hiked, people, what are you crazy??) and went to the Hollywood sign. It was a nice clear day, perfect for picture taking.
It's hard to believe that I made it through the day with NO sweets. But we did visit a dog bakery. That counts, right?

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Welcome to Hollywood! What's your dream?

Friday, March 07, 2008

This is for my peeps

When Target put Easter stuff out on February 15th, I laughed and thought, 'you won't trap me into buying holiday stuff two months early, dicks.' Turns out I am the dumb one because Easter is indeed, one month earlier this year. UGH. Can't we just keep holidays on the same day like Christmas and New Years?? I reluctantly started looking down the aisles since I have to put together something for the kid's school of course. I saw the endcap of the familiar - traditional, Easter Peeps.

Ah, the Peep, they try and f*with us by making Halloween ones and Christmas ones, but we all know the only good ones are the Easter chickies. I don't even eat them much anymore. As a kid I loved the gooey marshmallow and over the top sugar. Now being in my thirties and faced with a $1000 bill for a crown from the dentist, I am more wary.

But that didn't stop me from buying a pack. I knew my kids would be thrilled and I even took it one step further...Yep. Peep on a cupcake. I was planning on making lemon cupcakes with marshmallow frosting...but I took one look at that sugary Peep and knew that'd be over the top. You don't want to kill the taste of sugar with sugar. So I made a regular vanilla cupcake, and dyed some buttercream yellow. A perfect blend of Peep-tastic sugary delight.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

The life of a Westside playa where cowards die

There are a lot of great places to go in Los Angeles, some of them, not where you'd expect. I like to to go the intersection of Washington and Centinela. Why? A lot of my favorite, favorite things are there.

First up, Gloria's Cake and Candy Supplies. This place is the bomb diggity. It was in a tiny little shack for many years and now they've moved to a bigger location. You will be amazed at what you can find here as far as baking supplies go. It doesn't matter if you're an amateur or a professional, this place will take care of all of your needs.

Then if you meander across the street you'll find Dreamworld comics. While I normally buy my comics elswhere (they don't have the widest selection), the Batcave in the back is a riot and my kids think it's Batman's house. They also currently have a large scale Simpons window display which amuses the Kid to no end.
A few doors down is Hotcakes Bakes bakery. It's weird, I pass this place ALL THE TIME, and I never stop. The simple logo and pink and brown colors is an immediate draw for me, add cake to that mix and you'd think I'd be salivating at the door. So I finally went the other day, and I gotta say, I was disappointed with these cupcakes. Dry cake, overly sweet frosting. I want a cupcake I pay for to be better than one I can make at home. I heard their Parisian pastries are good, so I may go back and give 'em a second chance.
Directly behind Hotcakes is my most favorite hardware store in all of Los Angeles (and trust me, I go to a lot of hardware stores) - B & B Hardware. In college, when we needed wood and supplies for labor intensive architectural models, this was the place. Now as a homeowner I find it stocks everything I could ever need and want. More importantly, the staff knows EVERYTHING. Not like that look of DUH that I always seem to get when I go to Home Depot. God, how I loathe Home Depot.

Finally, make your way up the street just a bit and there it is in all of it's glory, Outdoor Grill. Mmm. BBQ chicken, tri tip sandwiches grilled right out there on the street on an open flame. AND you can get your car washed next door if you want. The food here always hits the spot. The sauce is really good here, I like to pour it right on my potato salad, but I am weird like that.
As an extra bonus, if you turn around and drive back towards the freeway on Washington, you'll hit Tito's Tacos on the way home. Can't you just hear the salsa calling your name?

While these aren't tourist-y sites, they are great places to go to especially if you live in Los Angeles and are trying to kill time with two kids on a boring weekend. Not...that I'd know anything about...that.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Gran: Talking to yourself dear? That's the first sign of madness, you know.
Eddie: Really? I thought it was talking to you.

O.G. in the hizzouse. Like I said, the woman loves beef. But in MY HOUSE, there ain't gonna be no beef eatin' for some time. All my griping even has the Kid trained, where, when we drive by an In & Out he says, "Mommy says the hamburgers there are rotten." Damn straight, baby. Not that my kids eat fast food anyway, but that's a story for another day. As far as today - I am staying away from ground beef.

So of course, O.G. who is always up to date on all the latest, calls me up.

O.G.: "Are you making dinner tomorrow?"
Jenn: "Yes. I make dinner every night."
: "I know there is a beef recall. But maybe the kids would like some hamburgers?"

: "Are you listening to yourself? NO. The answer is no."

I know it's hard to believe (not), but she actually called me back the NEXT DAY:

O.G.: "Hi. What are you cooking for dinner when I come over?"
: "...what is it you want old woman?"

O.G.: "I was thinking the kids should eat meatloaf."
: "You are f*ing kidding me. Did we not just have this conversation - I AM NOT FEEDING THE KIDS GROUND BEEF! Got it?"

: "Hey. They're not mad cows. They're just...semi-sick cows."

The woman did not get her way and instead I made her a roast pork loin for dinner. It's fragrant and so easy to make. And the pigs weren't mad. Well, they may have been mad that they are now dead. But, you know.

O.G. liked this so much she didn't even ask 'where's the beef?'
Sweet Spiced Pork Loin recipe, HERE.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Figure skating? Give it up, Jimmy! It's like a cruel bitch mother!

Here's a BAD idea. Sprain your foot, really bad. Then go to Disneyland and walk around. Then the next morning go to Mommy & Me ice skating. Holy crap. I think I've permanently damaged myself. I was lacing up the skate and thinking. Oh. This. Ouch. Can't. Ugh. Be. Oy. Good. Once on the ice it was fine. Oddly, when I have no shoe at all, it hurts the worst. The last time I skated I was 12 years old so I was surprised at how easy it was to get back up on skates again. Not perfect, but the Kid? Winner. The teacher was impressed that it was his first time on skates.

Meanwhile, I nixed the Baby's lessons asap. He kept going limp when I tried to maneuver him around the ice, which was killer on my back. Turns out he was going limp to get closer to the ice. So he could lick it. Like a goddam giant popsicle. It was disgusting. Do you know how dirty that ice is? My brother reminded me that when little kids can't control their bladder and pee on the ice, they simply...wash it down. Yeesh. Needless to say, the Baby is not skating/licking anymore.

Moving on. The reason I asked "ginger or lemon?" for cookies, was to make the favors for the 60th birthday dinner. I knew I wanted to make small, almost button like cookies for them. Since only a few of you lurkers gave me an opinion, I combined the two and came up with a recipe for ginger lemon buttons. They were just right.

I got these very small, plastic take out containers at Surfas. I often cruise those aisles, picking up things hoping to figure out a purpose for them later. I will definitely be using these again, as they are just the right size, and very well made. The plastic makes them great for food, as well.

Ginger-Lemon Buttons recipe, HERE.

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