Saturday, May 31, 2008

In the jungle, the mighty jungle...

...the animals eat cinnamon vanilla Hello Kitty waffles.


Friday, May 30, 2008

So long farewell, auf weidersehen good-bye

Man, it seems like it took forever to get through this week, and it was a short one! Wasn't it? Or not. My mind is cloudy. I have been staying up WELL past my regular bedtime of 10:30pm to get a whole bunch of things done and I'm not happy about it. My body is about to go on strike.

My MIL is leaving, don't worry folks, she'll be back in July, and if you know anything about travel - as an asian person, you must bring omiyage. Which is basically just a little gift to bring back to ALL your friends back home. For my MIL, it's a stressful nightmare. I say just buy a bunch of crap you can only buy in Los Angeles and call it day. If your friends don't like it they can suck it, because they are lucky to get anything anyway. We have this same conversation everytime she comes. And she still stresses.
So this time she bought some H&D jam, and some crackers/cookies from Trader Joe's. It looked boring like she just went to the grocery store (which she did) so I packaged it all up and put some little gift tags on them that I was in the middle of designing anyway. A little over the top for omiyage? Probably - but it looks better than it did.

For her 'going away dinner' (yes, she'll be back in 5 weeks) we had a big 'ol BBQ feast. We are Southern like that. BBQ ribs, tri tip, cornbread, garlic mashed potatoes, beans, O.G.'s famous corn, and my pulled pork sandwiches.
For dessert I made strawberry shortcakes, which were just my strawberry cupcakes, cut in two, with berries and whipped cream piled high, and little ice cream balls on the side. When she comes back in July, we can do this whole omiyage/going away dinner all over again. Just like we did two months ago...

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

She only speaks French, Roy. She doesn't speak imbecile.

I am featured today (yet another contest) on the world's most popular cupcake blog, Cupcakes Take the Cake. The fabulous Rachel is pimpin' my goods. Enter now to win!!

I see CB once every three months or so. Because she lives in a foreign country (Orange County) our outings are rare, and I always intend to show her the best of the city. I took her to a few kitchen supply stores, bought some not so great cupcakes, but more importantly, I wanted to take her out to a nice French meal.

She's big on French food, experimenting with some of the best ingredients and hardest recipes, for fun! She has done some amazing things. So I thought a nice French brunch would be just the thing.
I have always wanted to go to the Little Door, which wasn't open, so we settled for The Little Door Next Door, and my - was it spectacular. While it was a rainy soCal day, the covered patio was very nice as far as comfort, and very Parisian. CB being...herself - took full advantage and ordered two entrees, a truffle and brie omelet and smoked salmon eggs benedict, paired with a nice white wine. Neither of which suited me of course. I am not all that adventurous, but I am a GREAT and encouraging meal companion, thanks. I'll take you to all the greatest places, but I probably will bore you to death with my order. A potato onion omelet did me just fine. It came with a side of greens and the most amazing potato galette I have ever tasted. God, I could have just eaten that.
Inside was an array of pastries, but we had places to go and people to see. That did not stop me from buying a chocolate croissant to go - I AM a chocolate croissant connoisseur you know, I need to buy one each and every time I see one. We also each tried a macaron. These were small, and splendid, some of the best I've ever had. And I've eaten my share. In fact we bought some later on in the day from Hotcakes that were...quite horrible. This is the second strike with this bakery. I won't be going back. This is a pic of CB eating the horrible one, showing off her rock:All in all it was a great day - and typical of our outings, we ate our fill. We need another three months to recover, lose some weight, then we can go out again.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Who sleeps all night in a cake made of strawberry? Wakes up bright in a cake made of strawberry? Strawberry Shortcake, wouldn't ya know.

So this strawberry festival. It I've been to the massive all strawberry all the time-fest in Oxnard, now THAT'S a strawberry festival. Where they offer strawberry pizza, strawberry kabobs, strawberry smoothies, you get the picture. A real FESTIVAL.This one? It was like a city carnival. The end. Two locations sold strawberries, TWO. Which, mind you, WERE fabulous, as they were picked at the height of ripeness, but still. It was just a big ass crappy carnival. The kids loved it though. As I stood at the gates in fear waiting for the temporary shottily made rides to collapse, they whooped and hollared and had a gay old time going around and around on the carnival rides. The Baby couldn't have been happier going on a little roller coaster for the first time in his young life. The look of pure happiness and glee on his face is something I will never forget. As far as the strawberries? Well, I guess I will just have to get my fix by having my own strawberry festival at home. Sans carnies.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Father of mine. Tell me where have you been.

I have been wanting to go to Father's Office for some time now, especially since many consider their burger the best in Los Angeles. They recently opened a new, 'bigger and better' location at the Helms Bakery in Culver City. I have to say, I was unprepared.

One. The velvet rope. I do not stand in line for food. Unless I am at Pink's or if I am in New York. In New York I will wait for food in a rainstorm, the eating there is just not to be missed. But here? I can hop in my car and get something just as good if not better, down the street. But I was commited, see. I had to taste this burger and see what the hype was about. Therefore I had to stand outside. Behind a rope. In a line of 20 people. For 30 minutes. Kill me. Then show the 'doorman' my i.d., as no one under 21 is allowed in.

Two. It's a bar. With a giant wall of a massive array of bars on tap. Great. But I don't drink. That's fine. I was here for the food. However, seeing as it is a bar, there is only open seating. Hello nightmare. You just stand around waiting and waiting for people to get up, and if they are drinking, well, let's just say they aren't getting up anytime soon.

Finally, finally - yet another 35 minutes later I get a table. A good one too. And I wait for my pre-ordered food to arrive. The verdict? AMAZING. The burger consists of "dry-aged sirloin topped with applewood-smoked bacon compote, Maytag bleu and gruyere cheeses, caramelized onions, and arugula on a French roll". I don't even like bleu cheese but I couldn't taste it. All I tasted was an amazing blend of ingredients that was absolutely perfect.

Now here's the thing. I am not a real fan of sweet potato fries, but man. I have never tasted anything so good in my life. It's the way they fried them, to perfection. Then they sprinkle them with garlic and parsley, and the sauce that they serve with it - wow. To die for. Not to mention it is served in a mini shopping cart, which of course wins my heart immediately. And everyone else's apparently, as I even found a youtube video dedicated to the fries themselves! (not me in the video, hello.) Now that's adoration.

Despite all the waiting, and waiting, and more waiting. Wow, it was worth it. And I'd do it all over again. I think I will take up drinking just so I can kill time to get my hands on that burger and those perfect fries. Delicious.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

It's my life, don't you forget. It's my life, it never ends.

Wow this weekend felt long. I love that feeling. Like it's neverending. I did so many things, I'll have to break it down into several posts, which is good because I don't have much else to tell you about. Sorry, my life is boring. Here's a short list of some things I did this weekend, some of which I may or may not go into detail about:

1. Ate the 'best hamburger in Los Angeles.'

2. Saw Tosca from regular our front row seats at the L.A. Opera.

3. Saw the new Indiana Jones movie at a ghetto theater, teeming with security to make sure we didn't get shot. (Sadly, I'm not joking.)

4. Made an amazing Thomas Keller recipe, again from the Ratatouille cookbook.

5. Ate a fabulous french brunch on the patio of a restaurant.

6. Baked muffins AND cookies.

7. Had a lovely lunch at MOCA, and visited the store to get my 10% discount on.

8. Bought a ton of baking supplies in preparation for the next few weeks.

9. Made Hello Kitty cinnamon vanilla waffles.

10. Took the kids to a strawberry festival that What.

11. Ran into an ass ton of paparazzi at Surfas.

No, seriously. I pulled into the parking lot at Surfas and there were paparazzi everywhere and I was like, 'I just want to park, you dicks.' I hate paparazzi, they are so annoying to run into when you are just trying to get stuff done, I can't even imagine how horrible it is for the people they are actually tailing. I was thinking, who the hell is in there that is causing this much commotion? Turns out:
photo from justjared

Yup. I just needed some organic cocoa powder, maybe so did Gwen Stefani. The most hilarious thing about that picture, is behind that last police officer, is the entrance to the store, and at that entrance? Is me and my friend CB, looking out. Hilarious. I'm glad I didn't get in that picture, thanks. The last thing I need to see is my face in the background of a magazine on a newstand.

I did see cutie Kingston and Gavin Rossdale in the aisles. It made the trip to Surfas much more exciting than it usually is, that's for sure. More on the less exciting aspects of the weekend, later this week. Maybe.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Working for the weekend

I am off to do fantastical things here in this empty city that I love. 3 day weekends are awesome because everyone else leaves town and the freeways are mine all mine. Maybe I'll just drive up and down them screaming, "MINE!!" Or not.

I will have plenty of blog-fodder at the end of this weekend, until then, here's some blatant self-promotion.

You still have a few days left to enter the PurplePinkandOrange giveaway!

Take advantage of the 'free mini set of cupcake cards with any purchase' at the shop.

This rainy weather is insane. If I were making a menu for this weekend I'd suggest you settle in with a nice bowl of chili , some Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and call it a day. Yum.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A hot day and a sticky black tarmac,
A hot day and I'm wishing I was far away

I don't get this weather. Blazing hot last week. Today, freezing. WHATEVER MOTHER EARTH. So I had been piling up recipes for summer weather to post here, which seems kind of stupid now, but oh well. I'm sure it will heat up...someday.

I busted out the 'ol handy dandy ice cream maker again. It's quite joyful and even zen-like to watch that liquid to turn into a refreshing, tasty cold treat. I had these chocolate covered almonds lying around, and they suddenly became inspiring. I grabbed some, chopped them up, then added them to a simple vanilla ice cream base. It turned out great and added just the right crunch and flavor to the vanilla.
Except that I don't want to eat it. I'm bundled up, freezing my tootsies off, thinking about warm delicious hot chocolate. chocolate. I'll be back...

Vanilla Chocolate Almond Ice Cream recipe

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I want you now. Tomorrow won't do. There's a yearning inside and it's showing through.

Trying to think happy thoughts. These things help.

1. See through post-its?! Come on with that! Greatest invention ever if you ask me. Usually I just tape on trace paper, but why be so ghetto about it if you don't have to.

2. A pink garden hose by Cynthia Rowley. Yes, it's obnoxious, but lord I do love pink. It'd look somethin' pretty out in your garden. At only $10, does it matter?

3. Eames stamps. Charles and Ray Eames are two of my favorite designers. From architecture, to textiles to furniture, the functionality and even fun - that is incorporated into everything they did, is truly inspirational to me. Now you can mail off your letters with a little tribute to them.

4. This necklace. When I wear it I get compliments all day long. I like it's 'twist-i-ness' and how the metal shines in the light. This insanely expensive necklace was $6 at H&M.

5. There is supposedly a new IMAGAWAYAKI store opening in Beverly Hills. Hm, seems pretty menu specific, but the logo makes me smile. Not that it'll stop me from going to my regular yummy imagawayaki haunt. Er, the city's only, really.


Boys on the side. I disagree. Let's hear it for the boys.

In a weird, sci fi-like turn of events, the Baby can suddenly speak in complete, articulate sentences. Sometime this weekend he decided that nouns and verbs could do with a little preposition+adjective action. It's making me think his speaking like an LOLCAT was all an act. I swear, a few days ago he was saying, "I WAN ICE WATA." Last night? He said, "Wait...a minute! This water is old! Take it away!" Ok...ay. Looks like I need to get mini Henry Higgins a monocle and a top hat now.

Speaking of top hats and monocles, my brain has been obsessed with peanut butter recipes lately. I am just thinking about it, since the Kid is deathly allergic, baking with it needs to be done with special care, and I try to do it while he is not around. It's nice that he is good about knowing what he can and can't have, but also a little sad for him. So I got him the world's cutest shirt at a recent visit to the Paul Frank store:

Since this post turned into all about updates in our boring life, as for me - I spoke too soon. The computer is NOT fixed, and I am screwed. This has got to be a sign, right? Right?? I need a hug.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

The heat is on

It though my computer is fixed. Ah, if only life were that easy to fix. A control+alt+delete would be great about now.

But instead of dwelling on that, (or this god awful heat) let me reorganize my recipes, work on new designs and pose this question: What do you like to eat to beat the heat?

To finish off the root beer-fest, I thought I'd post a recipe for root beer ice cream. I perused the internet to make sure no one else had one and the only person I came up with...was myself. I am dumb. So here's a picture of it again, in all it's glory. Stay cool.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Slow and low that is the tempo

Battle Root Beer continues as I venture meat. I had been craving pulled pork sandwiches and I'll never forget TWO years ago, my friend made them for a birthday party, in a crock pot. It's a weird coincidence that when I actually made this - everyone else on the internet had the same craving. So I waited to post. (I hate when it seems like everyone's on the same internet page. Even if they are.)

Mine is slightly different of course, due to said 'secret ingredient'. I am not a fan of browning meat before it goes into the slow cooker, only because I know I will have to wash yet another pan later, and I usually don't have time to be screwing around. To me browning is just like cooking, so if I had the time to do that crap I'd have just cooked the damn thing instead of using a slow cooker in the first place, ya dig? Anyway.

I put the meat in the pot, pour the root beer on top, rub the seasonings in. Turn on, come back 8 hours later, and you're golden. While most pulled pork recipes put bbq sauce on top after all is said and done, this doesn't need it.

This recipe is the easiest of easy, especially for those readers of mine who've emailed me lately...who don't cook. What. Why do you come here then?! Do the pictures make your stomach growl? I'd gladly send you the food if I could, honest. Just ask Nanette, Jodi or DfM. I've offered to drop off baked goods to them out of complete boredom. Try this recipe. Impress your friends. It's perfection in a pot. Shown here with organic tater tots and gerhkins, I like to serve mine on lovely sweet King's Hawaiian rolls but that's how, roll. /lame joke

Pulled Pork Sandwiches recipe.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Purple People Eater

Yes, ANOTHER giveaway! How can you pass up free stuff? I can't. It's like Costco on a Sunday up in here.

Go visit good friend Amy at There you can get the hook up and she always has the best stuff on her blog!


Friday, May 16, 2008

Battle Root Beer

Yeah, yeah, I love me some root beer. Sometimes it's all I eat (er, drink) all day. So I thought I might as well COOK with it too. First up, root beer cupcakes of course!

I have been thinking about this recipe for over a year. Yes, I am obsessive. But I wanted something that really tasted like root beer. I knew I wanted root beer in the actual cake - and in the frosting. Real root beer, not just flavoring. For even more effect I crushed up root beer candies to put on top. Sadly I was lazy and didn't quite chop them fine enough, leaving giant rock candies on top, which, by the way, don't put on the night before you give them away, as they melt while you are sleeping. What the?

For all the root beer I incorporated in this thing, it still didn't TOTALLY taste like root beer. But I am hard to please. For what it was, it was good. Still, anytime, anyplace, I'll take a root beer ice cold, straight up, please. Thanks.Root Beer cupcake recipe.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm gonna wear my hottest track suit, get my hair done

This episode of the Office had me ohmygawd'ing at every moment. I just about yelled out loud when Jan came out of that supermarket! While the end kiiiindddaa felt like a letdown, I think it was a good way to end this short season. I suppose the VERY end sets up the spin off for Ed Helms when you think about it. Can you see how I'm talking about this episode...but not? Can't be blamed for spoilers, nope, not me. Yeah, I'm annoying myself too. Spoil it all I say~!

Meanwhile in my own personal office hell, I clocked in with a 12 hour day today. Is this the world's best part time job or what? Blergh.

Since I am totally exhausted and lacking in content, let me just post this picture from LAST YEAR when we visited the set of the Office. Yeah. I'm slacking that much. Sorry folks. You'll have to come back tomorrow for real news like my recipes that make your teeth hurt or Rick Astley tributes.

All of our visit, here.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pop quiz, hot shot:

Question 1:
Let's say you came home from work. And someone was staying at your house, let's say, oh, your MIL. Let's say she rearranged your entire living room. Would you be mad because:

1. You are an architect who doesn't like people messing with your design aesthetic.
2. You are a human being who doesn't like her personal sh*t touched.

Six of one, half a dozen of the other really. sigh. I am going to my room to pray for my own sweet death, now.

Question 2:
It's weird how the internet is so incestuous. Meaning that you always see the same things on the same websites. The same people pop up here or there. Sometimes people post the same exact things - I get it, it's a small community, it's just...odd.

The other day I saw these baking cups, when I too had just bought the very same baking cups. Crazy. I just haven't had time to download pics due to Computer Meltdown '08. Aren't they purty?

I love them. I wan to marry them. Go here and buy some for yourself. Meanwhile, the question is, what should I bake next, in these?

Question 3:
Tell me, does this look like puke on a plate? Everyday we drive by an iHop and the Kid with his beady eagle eyes sees the sign in the window that says, "Horton Hears a Who Cake" pancakes. And he begs, and he begs, so finally I take him in there and good god that is some sugar right there. Not only that, those 'dots' are chocolate chips - which he can't eat anyway but the Baby happily inhaled. The waiter said, "All the kids love those pancakes." No sh*t. It's pure sugar.

These questoins are rhetorical really, but I just had to put them out there as my head was ready to explode.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The secret ingredient is...

My MIL has been here less than 24 hours and already I have a headache. Today she was in my pantry. Three questions later, I wanted to stab myself.

MIL: "What is this...stuff?"
Me: "It's matzo."
MIL: "Do you eat it?"
Me: "...Yes. The kids love it, I bought it during Passover."
This one I can understand since she's never even met a Jewish person given where she lives, so her not knowing what it is - I get that. But the other things...
MIL: "What's...this?"
Me: "sigh. TORTILLAS. You've eaten tacos before! It's the outside!"
MIL: "Do you have to cook it?"
Now I am annoyed. I try to move away to my room slowly but...

MIL: "And what is this thing called?"
Me: "Are you kidding me? It's a CROISSANT!!!!"
MIL: "It's delicious..."

Anyone who has a television or reads the paper knows what this stuff is. The matzo I understand, but the other two? Good lord. It's like an alien landed in my house. It's like ALF up in here.

I finally sorta got my computer working so at least I can post recipes. Here is the wonderful French Breakfast Muffin recipe from the Ratatouille cookbook. I changed it a little, but trust me it's fantastic. You must buy this book! I even made a batch tonight - as you know I bake when I am stressed - which is why this blog has nothin' but recipes. If my MIL asks me what a muffin is...that's it. Hiding in my room for life.
French Breakfast Muffin recipe.


Monday, May 12, 2008

In living color

I had it in my head that I wanted to make some neopolitan cupcakes, you know, like the ice cream? I didn't know which colors I wanted where, so after sketching up some ideas, (why yes, I am that lame.) it seemed like pink and white cake would be a pretty cool surprise to see once you bit in. I used chocolate frosting to hide the double colored insides. I didn't want to mess with a ton of flavors so I kept the cake the same consistency by just dyeing half the batter.
They came out really cool and I think they'd be great for a shower or a birthday. I can't wait to make them again. Perhaps I'll add some flavoring next time, but eh, they are pretty tasty just as is. It's all about the looks, baby.

Also in cupcake news, any purchase made from now til June 15 in the shop, will get a free mini pack of my new 'thanks, cupcake' cards - which are not yet sold in the shop, and may never be...due to my major computer catastrophe.
Yessir, it's a cupcake paradise up in here.
Neopolitan cupcake, 'how to'.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Word to your mutha.

I was pressured to come up with something to do on Mother's Day and when I did, of course half the family bailed cause they are asses. Screw them. Since it was my choice I decided on the Mother's Day brunch at Simon L.A. Kerry Simon, (featured last week on Hell's Kitchen) has an amazing take on everyday comfort food, but taking it to a higher level.

The service was EH, but the food, fantastic. Compared to other Mother's Day brunches which gouge you in the eyeballz for $30-$60, this was was a bargain at $28. You get a family style meal, with six selections of your choice, free champagne and chocolates for all the muthas in the house, and for dessert? Well, I'll let you in on that later.

You know how I HATE taking pictures of meals, but since we got a private room (whee!) I went ahead. We mixed up our meal with half breakfast items: waffles, bacon+sausage and eggs benedict. Then lunch items: Iron Chef burgers, Surf & Turf tacos and Tuscan fries. Kerry Simon won battle hamburger on Iron Chef, and so the menu was his featured winning slider. Wow, for something so simple it had amazing flavor.

The 'dessert' was the biggest bowl of cotton candy the world has ever seen. The kid's eyes about popped out of their heads. My fave is pink, of course - the best tasting of them all - so it was truly the best Mother's Day brunch, evaaahhh.
Kerry Simon is doing extraordinary things, and despite the service, I will be back. Check out his winning Iron Chef slider recipe, here.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

My obsessive fascination is in your imagination

Last night Jodi and I found ourselves at an Indian casino in San Diego. Let me say this - we were the only ones under 60. Who didn't have walkers. Or require oxygen. You know the demographic is different when the public restrooms have syringe depositories on the wall.

Also - the smoking. Wow. It was hard to believe we were in California. Jodi pointed out that you can smoke as much you want because there were no rules on an Indian reservation. I asked her if we should kill a man but instead we just ate casino club sandwiches.

But why were we there? To see Duran Duran of course. Duran Duran were the pioneers of visualizing music+videos. Love them or hate them, they made videos more like filmmaking, paving the way for the medium as it is today. And they were pretty easy on the eyes. I remember watching their videos before MTV became a staple in everyone's homes. Yikes.
I have to say, it was a great show. And thankfully the audience was in their 30s - I guess the octogenarians decided they were better off with slots and insulin. The highlight when they changed and did a whole set of electronica versions of their more obscure songs, even doing a short cover version of "Warm Leatherette." Talk about obscure. Synth and keyboards, oh how I love thee.
The downside - the show was OUTSIDE. And let me tell you, freezing cold weather was an understatement. It was horrible. I couldn't feel my toes. Not to mention that we were deep in the San Diego countryside and wow was the cow stench intense. This is why I live in the city.
It was a pretty fantastic show. They played LOTS of old school songs, which is always what you want to hear as a fan. John Taylor's parting words? "I hope no one gets influenza, g'nite." Truer words were never spoken, John Taylor.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Call me morbid, call me pale

I have been gaining weight like crazy, which is weird since I never get a chance to eat. I don't get paid for lunch breaks so I work through breakfast and lunch so that I can get 6 to 7 hours of work in before I have to pick up the kids. Nanette thinks my body thinks it's 'starving' and trying to save itself. SAVE YOURSELF WHILE YOU CAN, BODY.

This often leads to migraines, bad, bad migraines. I have not learned my lesson, obviously. My coworker insists that I kill the migraine by taking a double dose of Excedrin Migraine AND a Motrin. What, do I feel like dying? That being said, today was bad so I too two Excedrin and told her to call 911 if I in fact, die. Man, that was crazy. I was so hyped up from the double shot of caffeine in the pills that I was drawing super fast, so much that my arms hurt from holding the pen, is that weird or what? My boss asked me how the building plans were going and I said, "I AM SO HIGH." Probably not the best response, but he got his plans in double time.

I won't be overdosing again anytime soon, but now I know how people on speed, feel. Imagine how much baking I could get done!
More from the Ratatouille cookbook, these French Breakfast Muffins are AMAZING. They are so good I can't stand it. Normally I give away all my baked goods, I like to share them. I usually save one for me and one for the kids. Poor kids, they are always surrounded by sweets and never get any. "Mommy, where are all those strawberry cupcakes I saw yesterday?" "Er those...yeah, those are gone." Sorry kids. Worst. Mommy. Ever.
But these French donut-style muffins? I saved ALL of them for us, they were too good to share. Of course I made them MINI to maximize the delicious cinnamon sugar topping. The kids have never been happier. And for once I had breakfast for a few days.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Instant karma's gonna get you

I had a MAJOR computer crash. I can blog just barely - and that's about all I can do. I am truly worried about all my files and getting back to the way things were. I must have done something to earn this bad karma. I am totally screwed.

Someone should buy me Dwight Schrute's xTerra.

More giveaways! I know, right? Anyway, this one is a biggie, with a ton of other designers and 24 chances of winning, so I'd enter if I were you! Via ScoutieGirl.

This just in, Jiffy Pop sucks ass.

If you ever want to get into the craft biz, here are some GREAT tips : such as, 'a craft show is only worth doing if you earn ten times the booth fee.' This is good advice, because otherwise you are schlepping your crap around for nothing.

I went to Mozza this week with The Baking Mafia. I liked it, but it seems like I was the only one. The desserts were OUTSTANDING. I think just having the staff allow us to sit there for two hours was good enough to call it an a-ok place, in my book. Yes, we got tons o' dirty looks. After all it was a one month wait for a reservation.

Due to 'Computer Meltdown 2008', I can't post recipes. I can't get anything to work. Sorry about that.With all this foced time off the computer, I have been cooking a lot. This week I made Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes but MINI sized and with powdered sugar instead of frosting. They are tiny and wonderful to pop in your mouth.

Monday, May 05, 2008

allez, cuisine!

While at Disneyland the other day, I saw this Ratatouille cookbook and thought, well that was a cute foodie movie. Then I looked closer and was like...

I'M BUYING THIS. Thomas Keller, that's the clincher. It was a good choice, because I have to say, this is one of the best cookbooks I've come across. I'm always looking for good kid's cookbooks, but this one is great for adults too. The recipes are easy - no complicated ingredients and MAN, is the food good. I've had this book less than a week and I've already made 5 recipes.

The Kid, who is like me way more than I like to admit, adores cooking. He took this book, picked out what he wanted and then helped me make a FULL dinner. Yes, he's only 4, but that's how great this book is! We made Quiche Lorraine (bacon & egg pie), cheese straws and fruit salad. I do not have a food processor so we made the cheese straws by hand and let me tell you that was NOT FUN. But they came out great. They just took longer.
It's nice to see kids get so excited about being creative. I hope the Kid's future wife appreciates all the cooking knowledge that he is soaking up. Now if I can just get him to understand how "fun" it is to scrub the floor and pick up my drycleaning, I'd be all set.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

I am out of sick days, so I called in dead.

The school's policy is to keep the kids out a full 24 hours after they've been 'sick', even if they are well. I get it, but it's killing me. I work on contract so I don't get paid for any sick days, holiday or vacation, and if the kids are out, I STILL have to pay for school.

So for the Kid's 'not-so-sick-day' we headed out to Melrose. When I was 15, (er, 20 years ago) I used to go to Melrose every weekend. I'd pull on my striped knee highs and Docs and head out with my friends. Thrift stores, record stores, it was very, well, 80s back then. Now I am old and not so punk. Nowadays part of the street is full of big name designers, with flagship stores that rival New York. It's pretty fantastic for fashion, proving that Los Angeles has just as much a foot in the door, as that other coast over there.

The designer in me is drawn to the new boutiques cropping up. Alexander McQueen recently opened his West Coast boutique on Melrose & Orlalndo, which made me giddy. ( I visited it within the first two weeks of opening.) There is a distinct correlation between exquisitely designed clothes and a perfectionist architect. Clean designs, modern structure - and I don't just mean the stores, I mean the clothes themselves.
I needed to return something, so I dragged the Kid (some day off) to Marc Jacobs, where he decided he needed to poop in their bathroom. Yay for stylish poop. We then moved on down the street because "all I want is a Pink's hot dog." This Kid, he has a good sense of direction. Like me, he has a gps implanted in his brain - he knew he was on Melrose and that Pink's was down the street. Not bad for a 4 year old.

It was perfect timing really, cause at 11am, it was the shortest I had ever seen a line at Pink's. Usually a 50 minute wait, the line was only ten deep. And because it was 'his day' I allowed him to have soda, a RARE treat, only because he had thrown up the day before (yeah, hot dogs, excellent choice, right?) and I thought it'd settle his stomach. He was thrilled to get the soda, although he didn't get the hype so I doubt he'll be asking for soda ever again.

Then we went to Paul Frank to get some gifts. He thought the couch was fantastic so he just laid there. Maybe he was tired or maybe he needs a psychiatrist who knows. I don't want to know what he'll say when asked, "Tell me about your mother..." The store runs a tv of these amazing cute Paul Frank cartoons. They don't sell them, but you can watch them for free on the internet. They have an adult attitude, but are still kid friendly enough. Too cute.

We ended the day with a nap (for me too, thank god) and then we made vanilla pudding together. The Kid loves to cook and wants to do everything I do. The pudding was fantastic, as was being able to spend the day together. So while I had yet another day without pay, we had a good time toolin' around L.A. Just please. For the love of god. Can we all stay healthy for one full week??

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Friday, May 02, 2008

If you build it, they will come

"Mommy, make me this!" Is the battle cry around here. I have become a master of building these things, to the point where I am always reluctant to start because *I* become obsessed with it.

I'm fast now though. I can get these suckers up in about 20 mins. YEAH BABY. There must be a competition similar to an eating competition but where mommies across the land compete for cash, building these toy sets while their children stand by the sidelines whining, "Are you done yet?" And the mommies are yelling, "NO I NEED MORE PIECES MAYBE I NEED TO GO TO THE TRAIN STORE WHERE IS THAT ONE CURVE YOU KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT YEAH THAT ONE AND DON'T TOUCH WHAT I SPENT TWO HOURS BUILDING YES IT'S FOR YOU JUST DON'T TOUCH IT." And if there is no such competition, there oughta be.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

I can't hear you. It's like noise is coming out of an ugly scientist.

In case anyone is keeping track:
Last week: Kid = pinkeye
This week: Baby = pinkeye
Today: Kid = barfs at school
Right now: Jenn = wants to kill herself

Tonight's Office I laughed out loud so often, it was too much. Ryan's half beard is scaring the bejesus out of me. No one's facial hair should look like that. More than that, 30 Rock almost made me cry I was laughing so hard. That was one darn near perfectly written episode. Just crazy funny all around. Of course, the Ghostbusters part made me laugh the hardest because I thougtht to myself, "Wait...Peter Vinkman?? He's lying." I am a nerd.

This week's episode of Top Chef was interesting. Watching them cook on a budget is odd, since they don't have to do that in their restaurants, but it hit close to home since I try to make the best food I can for the kids without spending like crazy. With the pantry clean out and trying to stay on budget, I haven't been to the market in two weeks. I am going today, and hopefully will be able to stay away for another few weeks. Here is the list I jotted down:
And with those ingredients, all the dishes I intend to make over the next few weeks:
Quiche Lorraine
Chicken chili Ricotta pasta
Cheese straws
Maple glazed chicken
Fruit skewers
Salmon cakes
Teriyaki salmon

Ham and cheese rollups
Tortilla Soup

real Strawberry cupcakes
Vegan lemon yogurt cake
Little Chocolate cakes

Obviously I was making this list when I was supposed to be redlining drawings at work. It was not written on this dinner plate, but I wish it was!