Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My favorite snack, is fruit fresh and cool, I love it in the mornin' and even better after school!

How do I know it's summer? The farmer's markets are PACKED.

The Baby loves the farmer's market cause he can eat his fill of samples. The boy is a baby fruit bat. Meat is his fave, sure - but fruit is where it's at, especially in summer.

His beloved pluots are back - watermelon, fruit punch, cinnamon and his favorite: DINOSAUR PLUOTS.

I can't bring myself to make anything with those summer fruits - they are just too delicious on their own. I did buy some nice juicy lemons though - wow were they fragrant. I used them to make up a Julia Child recipe, but in cupcake form, of course.

While I picked my perfect lemons, O.G. picked over the asparagus while the Baby made himself at home as king of the free samples. So much for lunch, I guess.

Lemon Zest Cupcakes recipe, here.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

There's a party in my tummy, so yummy

One more big push, if you haven't already done so, please go HERE and vote for my tiny Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Cupcakes!! If you already voted, thanks! You might win too!
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Yep, I love ice cream. And this is my favorite shirt. The kids think it's hilarious that there is 'ice cream in my tummy.' The thing is, it's usually true. But man can't live on ice cream alone (darn), you have to eat your veggies too.

When I made the mochi+ube ice cream cupcakes, of course I had leftover ice cream, and heck, ube is a yam...yam = veggies, right?? So let's make Ube Ice Cream Shakes! Uh...yeah. The kids weren't buying it either. Oh well. Back to plain ol' vanilla shakes...

Ube Ice Cream Shake recipe, here.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

This little piggy stayed home

All these years of going to hawaii, and I've never made kalua pig. Probably because I don't have an imu. I mean if you're going to do something, do it right...

I finally broke down and thought, well, I use the slow cooker for everything else, why not give it a shot.

The thing is, just like an imu it takes HOURS to get this pork just right. I'm talking like 16+ hours. While there are only three ingredients, the fact that the crock pot is on for so long is kind of a put off.

To get the pork done by 6pm, I turned it on at midnight the night before. Which means at 3am, I shot up in bed and thought out loud - "WHY DOES THE HOUSE SMELL LIKE BACON?!" Oh yeah.

When the 16 hours were up and the pork was finally unveiled...yeah. It was worth the wait. Nicely shredded, very flavorful - and yes, worth every little pork filled dream I had that night. maybe if I can coerce the Baby to dig a pit for me in the backyard then I'll do it the traditional way. Until then, I'll stick with the crock pot.

Kalua Pig for the crock pot recipe, here.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

We give a damn about the drama that you do bring, I'm just tryin' to change the color on your mood swing

While I do wear a lot of black (goth like that), pink is my favorite color. June gloom be damned, bright colors definitely give you a more positive outlook on life, and who couldn't use some of that now and again.

And what could be happier than a bright colorful cupcake? If I ever get stuck for decorations, I just take a page from my gingerbread house design and go for the candy with gusto...

There's nothing quite as easy and satisfying as placing candy. It puts me in a zen like state. Maybe it's all the colors. Maybe it's the sugar high. Whatever it is, I believe the road to happiness is paved in candy and cupcakes - in my world, anyway.

Candy cupcakes how-to, here.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

No more teacher's dirty looks

Well, that's it. School's out for the summer. This week has been tough, you could tell the kids were already in vacation mode by the way they dragged themselves around in the morning.

Now there is no more morning rush, no yelling at them to get dressed, eat their breakfast, brush their teeth, all that jazz. If they don't want to get ready WHATEVER, I don't care either, it's summer!!

The Kid is all about summer vacay, but has decided to take it upon himself to plan it allll out by making me a 'schedule.' Gee thanks, taskmaster.

He has just begun, but apparently we eat ice cream ALL DAY on Sunday, do crafts on Monday, eat Dim Sum on Wednesday (What.), have Game Night on Thursday and eat Meat Lofe (loaf) on Friday. Saturday and Tuesday "You can do what you want Mom." Geez, how thoughtful.

Other plans he has on the agenda:
  • go to the candy store
  • make donuts
  • play at the park
  • go to disneyland
  • play lego star wars wii
The donuts - I'm totally down with. (Baked donuts recipe, here.) The rest, well - let's just wait and see. I need a nap first. It's been a long year.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Whenever he gets in a fix, he reaches into his bag of tricks

Weekends are when I try to take a hiatus from cooking. There's no denying it, making three meals a day from scratch for these kids is a lot of work, and I need a break.

When we go out, like all kids - mine get restless. And I REFUSE to be that woman that people shake their heads at 'cause crazy kids are ruining their meals.

To alleviate this pressure I bring along with me my 'Bag o' tricks.' This bag is magic, let me tell you. It cures hunger, cures boredom and MOST importantly - cures WHINING, which is totally my kryptonite.

Inside this bag are coloring books, comic books, cars, cards, crayons, juice, water and of course, tasty snacks. I try to put enough of a variety in there that the kids don't fight, and are always entertained.

I keep the bag in my trunk at all times, so if I ever need it I can just pull it out. It certainly helps that this is the world's cutest bag that I got at the Kinokuniya bookstore downtown - what also helps is that I stash Nutella cookies in the 'secret pocket' - but that's more for my own sanity than the children...

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, here.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

ICE CREAM AND CAKE DO THE ICE CREAM AND CAKE

When we were kids we had two fridges, the regular one in the house and a second one in the garage. The second one was stocked with Coke...and ice cream. Ice cream was big when we were growing up - we ate A LOT of it.

While on our birthdays my mom always made our cake but for every other occasion, Mother's Day, graduations, anniversaries - it seems we always went out and bought an ice cream cake. Truly a family favorite.

I always marveled how the cake was perfectly stacked - an even layer of ice cream, and cake - with a nice covered frosting that gave no clue of what flavors were inside. It was like a creamy, dreamy pinata.

Perhaps it's because I spent so many years buying the cakes, I never thought about how easy it would be to make them. Sure, I make ice cream bombes all the time, but for some reason - perhaps the nostalgia of it - I never attempted and ice cream cake. Until now. And wow, was it easy. Now that I've done it I want to make them all the time. Perhaps I need a third fridge...

Ice Cream Cake recipe, here.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Eat My Blog Bakesale!

Want to taste some of my cupcakes or cookies? Now you can - this Saturday June 19, the Eat My Blog Bakesale will be held at Tender Greens in West Hollywood, benefiting the L.A. Regional Foodbank, this is a HUGE sale for a good cause!

Click here to see the treats I'm bringing!! Please stop by and buy some great sweets for a wonderful cause.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high
Take a look, it's in a book

The Kid was tested at school and his reading level is a 28 - when kids graduate from Kindergarten they are supposed to be at a 6!! This was amazing news. The Kid loves to read, but I had no idea that he was actually above a 2nd grade reading level.

As a child of a librarian - libraries were always big in our family - my mom took us every summer to join the book clubs and I always try to pick out fun books for my own kids. Here are some of the Kid's favorites that got him started reading early:


Little Pea by Amy Krause Rosenthal

I love Amy Krause Rosenthal books! They are humorous and fun - and the kids get such a kick out of the stories. I love this book because all the pea wants to do is eat his dessert, but he reluctantly has to eat his dinner first. Ah, can't we all relate. This was one of the first books the Kid taught himself to read when he was only about 3 years old.



The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! by Mo Willems
Again, another author that is HUGE in our house, Mo Willems. Another one of my favorites because I can relate to the pigeon. When he loses it, I lose it. This one is a fave of the Baby because it involves food.


In the Night Kitchen (Caldecott Collection) by Maurice Sendak
You'd think Where the Wild Things Are is the most famous book by Maurice Sendak, but don't forget about the Night Kitchen! -- Ok, I'm no prude, but the nudity in this - yeah, it bothers me. But the kids LOVE this book. The words, the craziness of the story - they adore it. It's won awards for many reasons - and garnered controversy just the same. Still - once again it's about food (see a theme here?) and my kids love to cook and eat, so there you go.


If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Joffe Numeroff
Ok. Hang on. Now I am REALLY seeing a trend here. My kids only like books about food. WHAT. They are their mother's sons. If you give a Pig a Pancake is one in a llllong super cute series about animals being disruptive over food. It's funny, frustrating and insane. The kids love all these books (Cat + Cupcake, Mouse + Cookie, etc) but this little pig is definitely their favorite.

Granted, all these books are about food, but more than that and the great stories they have FANTASTIC illustrations that the kids can really relate to. I think a lot of that helped the kids have a real interest in art and drawing, too.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

There's an air of love and of happiness and this is the Fresh Prince's new defintion of summer madness

It's been so hot lately and ice cream has been huge in our house. The kids crave it and I don't blame them. The Kid's got it on his brain so much that he begged me for an 'Ice Cream Craft Day.' I had no idea what this meant but apparently he wanted me to draw ice cream for him to color. Hm. Not very tasty, but whenever my kids ask for something crafty, I do my best.

So I drew up some really quick ice cream treats and the Kid got to work coloring, cutting and pasting...

He had a great time and so I made up a pdf so you all can share in the excitement that is coloring ice cream but not eating it! ...hm. I'd rather eat it.

Click here for the pdf!

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dude. Sweet.

It's cherry season!

As with strawberries they say the 'redder the better' but I think with cherries, I tend to go with the darker the better. They tend to be more sweet and flavorful.

The kids love cherry season too, only because they get a chance to bust out the 'CHERRY CHOMPER." I think they have more fun in pitting the darn things than eating them, but at least they have a good time.

If you've got a ton of cherries and need inspiration for lots of yummy cherry-ish recipes, go HERE.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cake v. Pie - FIGHT!

This weekend I made a very special SURPRISE birthday cake. A luscious chocolate-y delicious one. But I didn't get a bite. Darn. Go here to take a look.

Cake is a big part of my life. I love it. I crave it. It comforts me. But for others, pie is where it's at. The biggest debate of our time, Cake or Pie?

Now you can pledge your allegiance with my new pin: CAKE v. PIE! Where do you stand? (Come on, we all know it's cake...)

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Off with her head

Tired of Hello Kitty? Tired of chocolate? You've come to the wrong blog, then. Melted Chocolate is my Wonder Twin. When I call on it, it can take the form of anything...

Per the usual I opened my cabinet and saw an old Hello Kitty ice cube mold and thought...now I know there's a better use for that!

Unfortunately these Hello Kitty ice molds were solid, not nice and rubbery like the Lego ones - so you know what that means...

...KITTY CARNAGE. Poor things.

Their bodies were shattered into a zillion pieces but their heads were fully in tact. (That's good to know for when the Hello Kitty robot army attacks.) In the end I took the severed heads and saved them and placed them lovingly on top of a cupcake and if you didn't know, you'd almost think it was meant to be.

(By the way severed heads are delicious when made out of high quality Belgian chocolate. Yum.)

Chocolate Hello Kitty heads how-to, here.

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Beans, beans, the magical fruit

When we went to O.G.'s graduation party dinner at Roy's, he had these amazing pupus...spicy edamame.

It sounds like nothing, but after eating half a bowl by myself I can tell you, they were addicting.

I went online to look for the recipe, tried it out and it was just, eh. So I adjusted it a little and made it more SWEET and spicy, and wow. Right there is good stuff. This makes a great party appetizer, and people will think you worked extra hard to make it. (You didn't.)

Even the Kid went for it so it must have been good. That's what's great about this, you can adjust it to however you like it, more sweet, more spicy - or be like the Baby and don't eat it at all. As he told his teacher recently, "I don't want to eat anything TOO HEALTHY." ~sigh.

Sweet and Spicy Edamame recipe, here.

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Monday, June 07, 2010

boxing day

While my everyday obsession with cleaning is already out of control, right now I am determined to do a massive Spring Cleaning of the kids toys. Remember what happened last time I went nuts like this? This time I gave the kids fair warning and had them help out. So I piled EVERYTHING into the middle of the floor and weeded through it all one...by one. Going through six years worth of toys was no easy task.

I lined up a bunch of empty bins and asked the Kid to make me some signs to organize the toys. He came back in less than a minute with fully written out signs WITH pictures (my guess is to help his brother out, who is not quite on the same reading level). Ah, what an organizer - he is such a little mini-me.

Once I had it all labeled it was time to separate. It felt good to have all 12 Batmans in one place for a change - and it felt REAL good to get rid of a giant bag of old toys. For some reason it made me way sadder than it should have, to get rid of the baby things and realize that the kids have moved on.

Speaking of moving on, it also means a year of What Would Yoda Eat is over and done with. Go HERE to take a look back at some of his lunches. Goodbye Yoda, see you in First Grade.

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Sunday, June 06, 2010

I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain

Every season I wish for the Lakers to make it to the NBA finals. Why? Because it stretches my baking creativity.

Last year I made marbled purple and gold cupcakes with champagne buttercream. This year - more purple but in the form of...UBE.

Ube is the Filipino word for purple yam and the first time I came across it was in the dessert Halo-Halo. There is no recipe for Halo-halo and it shows - since and as far as I could tell it was anything that was in the kitchen that day, seeing as how there was ice cream, corn, cereal AND garbanzo beans in mine. Um...ew.

But the Ube ice cream won me over. The luscious purple hue is hard to deny for this Pantone-lover. And so I decided to pair it up with something very, very close to my heart: Mochi. In cupcake form.

So this NBA season's good luck dessert is done.. Now if they make it again next year? I'm sunk. Cause man, I'm running out of purple-y ideas...help.

Mochi + Ube Ice Cream Cupcakes recipe, here.

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Driving Miss Daisy

Hey!
Are you an old Japanese lady? Can you barely walk? Do you like tacos? Then I've got an offer for you...a free* shuttle service!

Exciting trips include:
Taking you to the doctor!
Going to the Japanese market!
Picking up your high blood pressure meds!
Driving you to lunch with your friends at faux-asian eating establishments!
Driving through gang territory for the best tacos in L.A.!

Call: "Jenn's - Old Lady Shuttle Service" for details!

Fine print:
1. *Payment accepted in tacos.
2. You must provide your handicap parking card so that I can park near the front of every major facility.
3. Gangsta rap will be played on the radio on low volume, but you probably won't be able to hear it without your hearing aid anyway.

Honestly. People think I dream up these comics. They are real. Dropped O.G. off for lunch with her friend - she made me take a picture of them IN FRONT OF THE RESTAURANT.

Even with their heads cut off this picture is still hilarious.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

And through it all she offers me protection , a lot of love and affection, whether I'm right or wrong

O.G. loves baseball. She would often tell me of how she'd go to Wrigley Field to watch games. No, not THAT Wrigley Field - the one in LOS ANGELES! Of course that was eighty years ago and it is long gone and now the area is today's South Central L.A.
She was just 10 years old then and games cost 25 cents. Times have changed but her love of baseball has never waned. Last weekend the Anaheim Angels were playing the Mariners. Big deal, right? Apparently, YES, it was a big freakin' deal because in actuality it was Matsui vs. Ichiro, two Japanese players and yes sir, everyone seemed to know this.
I was shocked at how many people showed up (um, I never go to games, obviously) and not only that, LOYAL Japanese fans. People in front of me were wearing kimonos. WHAT. The Angels went all out cause even the non-asian ticket takers spoke to O.G. in Japanese which was hilarious since we had no clue what the lady was saying.

Our tickets were right field and WHO KNEW (??) that that's where Ichiro plays and therefore that is where every Japanese person in the Los Angeles vicinity got their seats. And we just happened to have bought the tickets in that section by chance! HA!

People cheered for both Matsui and Ichiro. O.G. stood up - she could barely contain her excitement - she even wrote down the lineup BEFORE we went to the game! Of course, the kids were bored in the SECOND inning. Think: whining children begging for cotton candy for SEVEN INNINGS STRAIGHT. Kill me.

In the end it was sort of a letdown, no big plays and the Angels lost. But every Friday night at the end of the game, Anaheim Stadium sets off a big fireworks show and that was the payoff for me. I am not a sports fan, but it was fun - I doubt I'd go to another game, but to see O.G. thrilled was all worth it.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

After the party it's the Waffle House, if you ever been here you know what I'm talkin about, where people don't dance all they do is this...

You know how Norm walks into the bar and everyone yells his name? I think I've found my Cheers. At least I wish it was so. This weekend I finally got over to Syrup Desserts downtown.

Downtown has changed so much since I worked there, the gentrification is astonishing. A once decrepit Historic Core is now bustling - with hipsters and crackheads sharing the sidewalks. And right there at 6th and Spring is Syrup Desserts. With a FULL menu of sweets, it will get your head spinning, but avoid the dessert case - no, really. The good stuff is on the menu.

See, this place specializes in waffles. Yes, waffles. aka the Kid's favorite of favorites. Want him to calm down? Give him a waffle. Stubbed his toe? Waffle. The menu is full: Belgian Waffles, buttermilk waffles and also 'Liege' waffles which are denser heartier sugar waffles. These were a little too much for me, but I can see it going well with coffee for an afternoon snack.
Which brings me to...the coffee. Intelligentsia and L.A. Mill are the best - NO, the only coffees you should be drinking in Los Angeles, and now you don't have to go out to their locations, Syrup provides both in the store. Not only that - the best Ice Cream in L.A., Scoops? They've got that too. I will never have to drive around town again.

In addition to all those heavenly things they also serve crepes, waffle ice cream sandwiches and sweet (not savory) grilled cheese. There is also a lounge area upstairs with couches and board games, that is good for hipsters but even better for bored kids. I know from experience. ~ahem~

Check out this menu: with a price point of everything under $6, how can I not frequent this joint? And the staff is SO nice - they were especially kind to my kids, which always wins my heart over.

My pictures are bad since it's rather dark in there. It reminds me of the tiniest little coffee/sweets place in New York, tucked away where no one can find it. Oh, but they will find it. And I will be back, again and again. And yes, I did let the kids have ice cream for lunch, so sue me. I got the leftovers...

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