Tuesday, March 30, 2010

EGGzactly.

I got this new Manga Cookbook and I couldn't wait to try out allll the recipes. They were all really easy, but seeing as how this particular recipe involved eggs - and we are so close to Easter, I thought now would be the perfect time.

Cutest little eggs ever, minimal work. My plan backfired tho. The Baby REFUSED to eat it. He treated it like his pet, named it and swore he would take care of it. Um. I swear if I find an old rotty egg hidden in his sock drawer I am going to FLIP OUT.

Chickie Eggs how-to, here.

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Drop it like it's hot

Let me tell you something. I love lemonade. LOVE. IT. I buy it or make it regularly. I recently went to Trader Joe's and bought their old-fashioned brand...oh god. It tasted awful. And I've tasted a lot of lemonades...but I couldn't bring myself to drink this. (I even spit it out. shh.)

That's not to say I won't give it to my kids or my own mother! I froze some up and the kids loved it. Good for them. That still didn't get rid of the half gallon I still had left. My mom was coming over and I know she loves scones so I threw together a quick batch using...lemonade of course.



I made them twice and the second time I made some adjustments and they turned out great. I bet they'd taste even better with GOOD lemonade. I don't like dry scones and these were nice and moist and so very fragrant. I love that - when the house fills up with the lovely smells of baking.

I don't know what to do with the rest of this lemonade though. Maybe polish my furniture.

Lemonade Drop Scones recipe, here.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hippity hoppity...

Easter is coming, I know because the Target aisles were stocked two months ago. Usually the holiday sneaks up on me, but this year I am prepared I tell you!

I started buying candies and super cool Batman Easter eggs last week. I was so into the idea that I even started sketching out ideas for sweets and treats...
This weekend I decided to give them a go and see how they'd turn out. I made bunny sugar cookies and painted the faces on, then I made strawberry cupcakes. Strawberries are amazing right now at the Farmer's Markets.

When everything came together it turned out really well! The Baby helped me assemble them and he took them on a playdate that he had with a GIRL, and she was very impressed. The key to a woman's heart? Cute baked goods.

Peeking Easter Bunny Cookie+Cupcakes how-to, here.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

shake your bon bon

The Ice Cream Man knows he can always count on us for a couple of bucks, but turns out he is also a really kind dude. The other day as we walked away with our sweets, he yelled loudly and called me back to the truck. I thought I gave him the wrong $$ but turns out he just wanted to give the kids free candy. What a guy. So we ran back out and gave him a cupcake for his kindness. We've started an underground sweets trade. WE HOMIES NOW.

Even with him rollin' by my house every week I still have ice cream on the brain constantly. I can't stop thinking of new recipes I want to make and flavors I want to taste.

When I was a kid my Grandpa used to always buy Bon Bons. I don't think they make those anymore, I guess the modern version would be Dibs, but have you seen the nutrition on those mofos?? I am no calorie counter by any means but even I know that 340 calories per serving with 220 of those being FAT, can NOT be good for you.

Dreaming of the old skool Bon Bons I thought I'd try my hand at making my own. I never really thought about how simple it was. The kids ADORED them but how could they not, I used 70% bittersweet Scharffenberger for goodness sakes!

This is what Bon Bon dreams are made of.

Homemade Ice Cream Bon Bons recipe, here
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

You gotta roll with it
You gotta take your time
You gotta say what you say
Don't let anybody get in your way

The Kid's school had a Parent/Child 'cooking competition' and the Kid couldn't wait to sign us up. While he may have had visions of an Iron Chef Jr., it was hardly that, there were not enough plugs for electricity and no real 'cooking' at all. There was no competition either, just a bunch of use sitting around assembling pita bread. It was fine, the Kid LOVED it and had a great time.

It was mostly a course on nutrition and getting to spend time with your parent - most of whom obviously hustled to get out of work - it was nice that they were able to, all the kids seemed to really relish the fact that their parent was there.

Since the Kid and I cook together on a regular basis this whole thing was a breeeeeze cause I didn't do jack. I just sat back and let him do his thing. When we got home he couldn't wait to show the Baby his 'recipe', so I got the ingredients together and let them go at it.

Each kid went about the process in their own way. The Baby just went for it, Swedish Chef style - whatever came to him first. The Kid, of course, was super methodical about how the thing was going to lay out. Who contemplates the layout of cucumber to this extreme??

It was basically a take on vegetable roll ups, but you know the Baby, that ain't gonna fly so I had to give him some meat to stick in there somewhere. The Kid can't wait to come up with more recipes, all using veggies of course. Meanwhile I'm betting if I ever do a school event with the Baby he'd probably sign us up for a course on 'butchering your own slab of beef.'

Veggie Roll Ups recipe, here.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

I AM going to tackle bears, beets and Battlestar Galactica, just watch me.



Bears.

When we got the 'Class Bear' the other day and took him to the Farmer's Market, I told the kids to pick out something for me to make for dinner. The Kid chose a blue potato, the Baby chose a red potato, and I guess salmon was the Bear's choice because bears like fish. Uh, ok. These kids like to make me really think on my feet.

Oven Baked Salmon recipe, here.
Red and Blue Bacon Potatoes recipe, here.



Beets.

When I walked in to the Kid's daycare the other day I saw about TWENTY cans of these on the counter:


For some reason the wording on the sign just cracked me up. Anyway why oh why couldn't it have been a pile of chocolate eclairs?? Sorry, my family doesn't love beets that much.



Battlestar Galactica.

Ok this last part has nothing to do with Battlestar Galactica except that Katee Sackoff used to be on it. No, this is about 24. As in OMG DID YOU WATCH THE ENDING THE OTHER NIGHT OMG.

I have to say I was a little sick of Starbuck and Fred from Scooby Doo's storyline - but now I'm all into it - even if I sorta wish that when they said:"The following takes place between 4:00am and 5:00am" I think it'd be awesome if they just showed Jack Bauer sleeping.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Dove la farmacia?

Here's a little known fact - when O.G. was growing up one of her nicknames (she has many) was Moosey. Can you guess why? Because she LOVED spaghetti like an Italian person so they called her Moosey which was short for Benito Mussolini... >crickets< ...Yeah, makes no sense to me either. (See why I write books about her, she's got stories for days.)

That being said, the woman DOES love spaghetti so last week we went to O.G.'s favorite local Italian restaurant. While I watched the kids devour their meals I realized that I had been going there since I was 6 years old too! O.G. used to take me there and now we are taking my kids. That's one old time restaurant.

They give you plastic bibs with your meal since no one wants to ruin a nice shirt with red sauce - and that's the thing - the kids love it but at home I rarely make red sauce. The Baby is like the Tasmanian Devil when it comes to eating and I promise you, red sauce ends up on his chair, on his hands, IN HIS EARS (yes I've found it there) and I just can't handle the clean up.

But the kids love pasta, so I decided to try my hand at making Fettuccine Alfredo. It was a lot easier than I thought and boy was it delicious. And the clean up? Non-existent. I probably won't be serving it to ol' Moosey though, she's a traditionalist and loves her red sauces.

Fettuccine Alfredo recipe, here.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?

The Kid got to take home the 'Class Bear' for the weekend or as I like to call it, the E. Coli Bear. That thing goes to a different kid's house every weekend, and out and about in the city - I'm sure that Bear has seen things you only read about.

First order of business, a hot water bath:

NOW we can start our adventures.

We headed out to the Farmer's Market to do some shopping. It was a gorgeous day - the Spring weather is starting to show through so it's back to marketing on the weekends.
I bought Oro Blancos, blue potatoes and strawberries. All things bears love, I'm sure.

When we got home we put the bear to work of course - and made cupcakes. The Kid put in the wet ingredients, the Baby did the dry and the Bear, well he was more of a supervisor. (Geez, what a slacker.)

It turned into quite a 'Foodie' weekend for the bear. I hope he has just as much fun with his next family!

Mocha Cupcakes with Chocolate Whipped Cream recipe, here.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Can you feel a little love, dream on, dream on

At night when I go to sleep, I think about the meals I'm going to make for the week. Hey - I have insomnia usually, so give me a break. I think about what's in my pantry, what I'll need to buy from the market, and sometimes I even get up in the middle of the night and sketch.

Right now I can't afford to go to the market as often anymore, so I went to sleep thinking: I have an orange. I have a lemon. I have a shallot. What can I come up....zzz....

I don't count sheep. I count fruit.

I didn't use the juice of the orange (or the lemon) because I always try to give the kids one veggie and one fruit with dinner, no matter what. So I was selfishly being frugal and saving that orange to cut up for later. This is how the best recipes come about, being a cheap ass.

The chicken turned out fantastic and is definitely a new favorite around here. I served it up with some crispy pan fried potatoes which made it even better. Thank goodness for insomnia.

Citrus Chicken recipe, here.
Crispy Potatoes recipe, here.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Brown Sugar babe, I gets high off your love

I realize it's technically the 'last week of winter' where you live, but here in SoCal it's hot. I mean 80 degrees hot. And in weather like this the Ice Cream Trucks prey on our weakness.

They know we are all sitting in our houses stewing in the heat. You can hear the Siren's Call, for miles: 'London Bridge' but at the highest pitch imaginable that only dogs can hear. ALLLL the kids on the street run to the windows and out the front doors. Kids you've never seen before, that you didn't even know lived in your neighborhood!! And that smart bastard stops RIGHT in front of my door. He knows that the neighbors and I both have young kids. We are targets.

I gave in and shelled out a couple bucks for some cold, sweet, caloric deliciousness, but I can't do that every day. So yesterday I prepared for the heat and in the morning I made cookies and ice cream to put together MY OWN ice cream sandwiches.

They came out perfect and now my freezer is stocked, so I'm not going out of the house no matter what, you hear me ice cream man? Who am I kidding. I'll be out there in line for a Choco Taco in no time.

Brown Sugar Ice Cream Sandwiches recipe, here.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

TripAdvisor is the lifeblood agri-tourism industry.That's what took down the Stalk Inn, one of the cutest little asparagus farms you'll ever see.

With family in town for my Grandpa's one year get together, we headed out to be tourists at home. Since the weather has been almost summer-like we hit the Grove/Original Farmer's Market.

Since the weather was perfect, the trolley was running which prompted screams of joy from the kids AND O.G. Ridiculous. We rode in the open top and the place was PACKED with tourists. I keep forgetting we live in a tourist town until I see throngs of them everywhere.

Walking around the Farmer's Market is nothing new, we do it fairly regularly to be honest, but since we'd already had lunch (at Wood Ranch - great bbq!) this go round we hit up allll the sweets stands.
We wandered and saw candy, candy and more candy. We saw honeycomb being dipped in chocolate, peanut butter being made from fresh peanuts, caramel apples bigger than a human head. It was a sweets heaven.

Finally O.G. wanted an afternoon snack. So we hit two stalls right next to each other - donuts and ice cream. Bob's Coffee and Donuts is pretty well known and that's just what O.G. got, a coffee and a buttermilk donut. While half of the family had donuts, I decided to go straight for the ice cream.Bennett's Ice Cream is also a Farmer's Market institution, with blue ribbons hanging all over the shop. I ordered a root beer float of course, what else would I get, and they said I could have ANY FLAVOR of ice cream I wanted. Oh reaaalllllly? I would have been fine with vanilla just so you know, but I was given a choice, see - so I went with coffee. Coffee ice cream in a root beer float? You better believe it.

After a long day of eating and more eating the Baby was ready to pass out so we headed home full of donuts and root beer.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

You're not the boss of me now and you're not so big. Life is unfair.

The Baby is growing up. The other day he started reciting the states AND their capitals and quite honestly I had to look it up to confirm that he was right because I am a moron. At just 4 years old it seems like lately he's a mini Rainman, just full o' info.

He is also drawing and writing a lot - which is good to see since I was wondering whether or not he was ready for 'real' school and it seems like he's more than happy to move on in life.

I can understand why people have a zillion babies it's partially selfish because it's so sad when they grow up. I told him he'd be my baby forever to which he replied: "NO WAY." He wants to make his own decisions, do this own thing, I get it.

I give a little by letting the kids pick what they want for dinner one night a week. Hey - it's decision making and makes them feel like they are in charge. Any input works for me. Yes, both the Baby and I sigh when the Kid announces it's 'Cheese Night," but you know.Of course the Baby's choice revolves around meat - he said 'hamburgers' and I said 'ew' but I decided what the heck, I could work with it. I made them with a little bit of flavor, and mini sized - like sliders - perfect for the kids (and even for me, really).

The Baby said it was his 'favorite meal ever' and that *I* could pick dessert. Thoughtful, but who said we were even having dessert? I'm still in charge around here, right? For the record I chose ice cream.

Teriyaki burgers recipe, here.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

'Cause it's so hard to say goodbye to my homies

This weekend was filled with family time. It's tradition to do 'something' one year after someone dies, so our whole family got together on Saturday to just kind of be there for O.G. We didn't do the church thing, instead we just visited the cemetery pay our respects to Grandpa.

O.G. made me bring balloons - What. I swear the things that woman asks of me - so I let the kids pick them out. If the party supply store only knew we were going to a grave and not a kids party. Hope my Gramps appreciates Transformers and Hot Wheels.
Then we went home and had root beer.

Really, that is something our family would do any weekend anyway, but root beer was Grandpa's favorite. When our family gets together it can be an all day affair so I made cupcakes to keep us going throughout the day...Root Beer cupcakes of course.

Root Beer cupcakes recipe, here.
Chocolate Root Beer frosting recipe, here.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Don't drink don't smoke - what do you do?
Goody two goody two goody goody two shoes

I don't drink. I don't smoke. There is nothing there for me to relieve stress...except to bake. And oh do I bake. Sometimes hundreds at a time, sometimes just a dozen, but it's pretty much daily.

Obviously I don't eat it all, I can't. But I like to make things FOR people - things that they love, that I know will make them happy.

When it came to my mom's birthday I knew I wanted to incorporate pralines. There's something about pralines - the melty brown sugar that just tastes so sweet. I wanted to capture that in cake form and I think I did - the cake for this cupcake melts in your mouth and is fragrantly sweet just like a praline. Now I'm not a fan of nuts in my cakes usually, but I threw them in for the heck of it, and they added so much it was just the perfect crunch. But I can't leave well enough alone.

No, I had to frost it.
Then add a cookie on top.Then praline glaze.
Then a pecan.
Oh ---yes. This is THE cupcake of your sweet praline dreams.

Maybe it's not good to channel your stress into one little cupcake, but it sure was delicious. And I feel remarkably stress free...

Praline cupcakes recipe, here.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

The highest of highs, the lowest of lows, I'll come driving, I'll come driving fast as wheels can turn.

A year ago everything changed.

Today is my Grandpa's birthday and the day he died. It is also when I lost my job. You'd think things would get better in a year, I'm sorry to tell you...it hasn't. So what do you do when life gives you lemons? As they say - you make lemonade. This is my lemonade.

24 full color pages of REAL conversations that O.G. and I had while going out for tacos, planning a funeral and just keeping each other company. Sure this is all I have to show after a year, but it's about all I can handle.

Despite the story behind it, this is not a sad book. It makes me laugh every time I read it. Sometimes humor and company are the only things that can get you through.

If you think this comic is a waste of my emotional therapy, you're not alone. Just check out the quote that was given to me for the back of the book:

Buy O.G. - Road Trippin', here.

**This is an online only pre-sale with books to be shipped in April!
(The book will officially be out for Comic Con 2010!)

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

All that junk inside your trunk?

Today I went to the Japanese 98 cent store where I get my bento items. Only everything in there is like $1.88 so I don't know why they call it the 98 cent store. Inflation. Ridiculous.

They had NO new bento items to be found - sad - but since I was there, I just wandered and found some crazy a$$ things.

First up: The 'monotone lunch'It's just a plain black container, that is pretty monotone.

Is this Ice Cube's lunch box? 'I wish it is a good day today.' Me too, I'm glad my lunchbox can step in as my therapist in case I lose it over a sandwich.

Ok...WHY would you need an eraser that smells like noodles. Why?

I liked this 'Dad eraser' cause it looks like he's going to beat the crap out of you. And he also looks like Hitler. Worst. Dad eraser. Ever.

I bought this. I admit it. I mean it's an eraser with a hamster in a cape doing MAGIC, and it comes with a kit and everything. I bought it for the Kid, so I'll have to wait til he opens it to see if it works.

This. This is the worst cookbook on the face of the earth. This was the one thing in the store that was 98 cents and it's worth that much. Goddamn do I hate bananas.

Hopefully they'll have bento stuff by the time I get back to the store, otherwise I'll have to do a part 2 to this post and no one wants that.

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Monday, March 08, 2010

video killed the radio star

I've been busy trying to meet personal deadlines, but I always seem to have time to drive O.G. to Wako Donkasu for lunch. It's really hard to pass up fried food, especially when she's paying.

Plus then I can video her grinding up sesame seeds for katsu sauce.

video

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Carl Spackler: In the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre,
'Au revoir, gopher'.

Isn't it funny how so much planning goes into parties and in a blink it's over? It's kind of nice though, on to the next!

Well my mom's Cajun birthday was a success. Lots of food, lots of funeral memorial planning (don't ask) and it was all over in time for people to go home and watch the Oscars. Short and sweet.

I made just about everything I had planned in my sketches, so I'm tired and stuffed. Where my fat pants at?

Go here for the rundown: menu and recipes - Cajun birthday lunch, here.

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

If we went to a Halloween party dressed as Batman and Robin, I'd go as Robin. That's how much you mean to me...

You wouldn't believe what I just bought. Take a look. No, go - I'll wait.

Wasn't that amazing?

There are some things that you just can't pass up. For me, Hello Kitty is hard to say no to. For the Baby (for the time being anyway) it's Batman.

He was throwing such a fit about wearing a Batman shirt everyday that the amount of laundry I was doing was ridiculous. So instead of trying to reason with a then 3-year old, I did what any sane person would do and drove around and bought up every Batman shirt in a 20 mile radius.

I was kind of surprised at how many I found, considering there isn't much Batman going on right now. Now he has one for every day of the week. Let's just hope he doesn't change his mind and decide to only wear tuxedos everyday. Then I'm sunk.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I once was blind

Today the Kid got the gift that keeps on giving. DOUBLE PINK EYE! Fan-freakin'-tastic. The thing is earlier in the day I saw other kids at school rubbin' their eyes, it was a sign. A bad sign.

So poor mini Ray Charles and I were trapped at home. Scarlet lettered and shunned by society. I don't blame them, I didn't want to go near him myself for fear that I'd get it.

To ease the pain I made breakfast for dinner. The most comforting of comfort foods: pancake and bacon. But not just any pancakes, OVALTINE PANCAKES. And not just any bacon, BROWN SUGAR CINNAMON BACON. Oh the loveliness.

After a day of rest and medication he seems to be on the road to recovery, though if you ask me it's the pancakes that cured him.

Ovaltine pancakes recipe, here.
Brown sugar bacon twists recipe, here.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Some girl's mothers are bigger than other girl's mothers

Today is my mom's birthday and for some reason I feel the need to throw her a party every year as she gets older. It's like a reverse childhood. Last year I did the Ina Garten dinner party - this year I wanted to do...Ghostbusters.

Ha - fooled you. I didn't. But I wanted to. My family loves that movie more than the average person, almost to a fault. I'm sure no one else's family sits around the dinner table saying, "Yes, it's true. This man has no dick." but what can I say.

No instead I went with a Creole theme. My mom loves Cajun food we're Southern (Californian) after all. I remember as a kid my mom would make Gumbo and Jambalaya, she just loved those stew-y type soups.

Sometimes I get inspired to sketch quickly and tiny-ly. These are TRULY thumbnail sketches, each of them only about 1/2" x 1/2". I just started writing down dishes - whether or not I make all of them, we shall see.

Come this weekend, laissez les bons temps rouler!

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