Photos from Before the End

Doesn’t it feel like yesterday was last week? Days. Are. So. Long and it’s an uphill road.

Before the world closed.

Kaili got 100% on her math test, huge accomplishment. For those of you who have been around from the beginning know she had a traumatic birth with a possible a brain injury (Post is here if you’re new). Aside from some struggling in certain areas, she’s thriving. She has had the same teacher three out of her four years in school and it’s been amazing because we love her and she loves Kaili, what more can you ask for?  Unfortunately her teacher is moving away this summer and it breaks my heart to think she might not get to see her in school again.

Sobbing

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Moving on….

We went to the Santa Anita track for a Handicap beer and cider festival. The first thing that came to my mind was that if this was happening in Del Mar, it would be so crowded. It was nice to enjoy betting and drinking without the massive lines. This was the luckiest I have been at the track in a long time and to my knowledge, no horses were injured.

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A photographer came up to us and mentioned  Shawna’s newly purchased Las Vegas sunnies. He said that the reflection was incredible and asked if he could take pictures of the horses through her sunglasses. “Of course I will be your muse”, she replied.

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I made a Caprese board which really is all we need in these trying times.

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My last store run I saw Brie AND Burrata, tomatoes and basil… but there wasn’t any French bread, people are doing it wrong.

This little guy was found out front and all I kept seeing was Franklin the turtles’ best friend Snail.

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snail

 

Remember that show?

One day on the way to pick up the girls from school. This was in the car behind us.

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No thank you. Do not stop, don’t look them in the eye.

And then the beginning of the end started. The weekend called for all of the home fun,  puzzles, scavenger hunts and board games and, and, and…

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I think it’s safe to say the kiddos aren’t heading back to school anytime soon. Since we are in this together I am going to share a couple of  links that have activities for them. Aren’t we lucky with what we have available at our fingertips these days? Imagine going through all this with solely a land line.

At Home Activities

Bouncy Ball Science Experiment

Having available resources helped me tremendously while I was on pregnancy bed rest and I know they will help me through this. Let’s all stay together through these turbulent times.

 

 

 

 

Sequestered Lemon Curd and Cream Cheese Pastry

How is everyone holding up in our new reality? I won’t lie, I have cabin fever and it’s only been a week. But to keep my spirits up, I will hang out in the kitchen more and experiment with new recipes.

Our lemon tree is finally having its moment.

I see lemon martinis, in the near future.

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Since all of the time is on my side, I decided to turn a a few of them into a non-alcoholic curd.

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I used this recipe from Epicurious and you guys, it’s so good. Perfect balance of sweet and sour with the butter coating the palate at the end. So good.

Now what? I had newly made curd and puff pastry in the freezer, after a few searches I came across this;  a cream cheese and lemon puff pastry braid.

This was a pretty easy recipe and now that I have a slight grip on how to braid pastry, (it’s a lot harder than hair) I think Kaili will be able to take the lead next time.

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The curd was starting to spill out and I wasn’t happy with my pastry talents but…..it all turned out just fine in the end.

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Not sure how many servings this is supposed to be; but turns out it’s two….two totally worth the macros servings.

Birthdays

To celebrate the February birthday’s in our family we all went to Little Italy for dinner. Although the food wasn’t anything to rave about, the company was well worth it. The best part of Italian food is that we know we can order the girls pizza and skip the dramatics. You guys, they are getting older, when does their pickiness go away?

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Later that night Kaili started to deteriorate and ended up with a bad cold. It has now hit the entire house, besides me; takes a bow while simultaneously knocks on wood. 

A week or so later we headed to Vegas. While we were waiting to check in, we saw Jesus, probably.

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We hit the arts district where we had an incredible lunch at Esthers Kitchen.

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So good in fact, that we went back once more before we left.

Once my brother flew in, we hit the town. Music, food, dancing and all the fun that we have there.

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The next day we decided to hit up Frankie’s Tiki’s Lounge before heading to the strip.

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We were almost committed to riding on the high roller, but then beer pong caught our eye.

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On the way back to the hotel, we saw the most amazing rainbow.

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With that we headed to a casino to test our luck. Some of us were luckier than others. We met some nice folks, crazy characters and spent the rest of the night singing and dancing.

A great birthday month in the books.

My Favorite Valentines

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We had a low-key at home Valentine’s day.  After taking the girls for lunch at the park, we went home to give them their goodies of love.

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Once they were all sugared up, we sent them outside to disturb the neighbors. For dinner I made Chrissy Teigens’ meatloaf.  I am in no way a fan of loafed meat and it took bottles of ketchup and bbq sauce for me to eat it as a child. This recipe combines ground beef and spicy sausage which is the real winner on the dish. Just try it, it’s good. We also had potato puree, green beans and chocolate lava cakes for the ending. Pictures are now in your imagination because I didn’t pause to take any.

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We finished the night eating chocolate on the couch as our favorite shows played. I hope you all had a wonderful love day. I know I did!

 

January Wrap up

Everyone was saying how long January seemed, but to me, February came out of nowhere. On January 10th, Averi turned 5 and a half. On the girls half birthday they get to choose what/were they want to eat for dinner. Averi chose Chuck E Cheese, last year it was Islands for mac n cheese, so she is par for course of her dining choices. For someone who can go all day with her shoes on the wrong feet she sure is picky about her food intake.

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The girls have also been getting better on skates. We are trying to urge them outside after homework to practice their skating so the next time we go to the rink, they will be more independent.

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I took advantage of San Diego restaurant week (SDRW) and although each year I am less and less impressed with the choices, I was pleasantly surprised this time. Brian and I went to WaterBar in Pacific Beach for lunch and the view wasn’t the only thing that was sumptuous.

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The fish sandwich I had was truly deliciously messy. Our waiter said that the chef put the sandwich solely on the restaurant week menu but I would purposely go back there just for that sandwich.

Shawna and I also took advantage of the SDRW and had another spectacular meal. You guys, these are so far and few between for me that it’s worth writing about. There was crispy pork belly in a brown sugar maple glaze served with a fuji apple salad. We had crispy octopus with salsa verde and the absolute best dish of the night was the pan seared scallops with coconut black rice in a Thai red curry sauce. This dish was so incredible that I went ahead and tried to make it at home a week later.

Please disregard my awful plating and, imagine how good this was. You guys, so good!

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We also made whole roasted fish bathed in garlic, olive oil, jalapeños and lemons.

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I fed us for a week with this crustless mushroom and spinach frittata.

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The Santa Ana winds stopped for a visit and gave us a couple of 80 degree days. We all took advantage of the warm sunshine.

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And last but not least my baby lost her first tooth.

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Now it’s February and we marching towards more birthdays! Can’t wait to share the fun that is in store!

 

 

Mini Donuts

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Mini donuts are the best! Kaili says as I type this. She is on my lap dictating my words, so it’s all her fault, especially when you are thinking about donuts in bed. Kaili came home from school one day and said “mom, we made mini donuts!” And I said, “that’s awesome!” ” But wait, when did you make donuts?” She walked me through what I needed and it turned out, donut pans were a biggy.

The next morning I looked up a donut recipe, the only thing we were missing was a donut pan, just as Kaili said. Shit, I hate when the 8 year old is right!

Thanks to the amazing delivery services, we had our new silicone donut pans within days. I bought these and for the price, they are great. Just make sure to put the donut pans on a cookie sheet or they will fold on you and you will lose your donuts to the floor.

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I won’t lie, I haven’t made donuts before. So here we are with new donut pans and a recipe I found… Kaili assured me it looked A-Ok.

So, as the girls ate dinner, I baked the donuts allowing time for them to cool before the frosting commenced.

INGREDIENTS {DONUTS} *this recipe made a perfect dozen donuts

2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Sprinkles

{Frosting}

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray your donut pan with cooking oil.
Place the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
Add eggs, butter, milk and vanilla extract to the bowl. Stir until smooth.
Place the batter in a freezer bag. Snip off the tip of the bag and pipe the batter into the the donut pan.
Bake the donuts for 10 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean) Let the donuts rest for 3 minutes, then remove them from the pan and place on a rack to cool.
Place 1/4 cup of cream in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Pour in your chocolate chips and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for a few minutes and then stir. Your chips should melt, if not zap in the microwave for a few more seconds.
Dip each donuts into the chocolate ganache and then sprinkle the sprinkles to your hearts consent.
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*recipe adapted from here.

Sticky Korean Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are without a doubt the best finger food ever. Over the years I have steered towards the sweet and salty sauces opposed to the original buffalo sauce, I find it to be a little boring.  I used a dry rub and a sauce for these and it made them much more addicting. The Gochujang gives them a lingering spice that lends an umami sweet heat.

To lessen the clean up, I grilled the wings; leaving only the saucepan in my workload of dishes.

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INGREDIENTS

18 Chicken wings or around 2 lbs.

Dry Rub

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tsp EACH ginger powder, garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Korean Sticky Sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons Gochujang (you can find this at most Asian markets and I have also seen it at Vons)

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or Mirin

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons of chopped scallions

DIRECTIONS

Stir rub ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add half of the rub to a large freezer bag with half of the wings and shake until coated evenly.  Set wings on a large cutting board or a vessel to transfer to the grill. Continue with remaining rub ingredients and wings.
Meanwhile heat the grill to medium-high heat.
Grill the wings until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
While the wings cook, start the sauce. Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, simmer until thickened about 8 minutes.
Place the rested wing into a bowl and toss with the sauce until they are evenly coated. Garnish with green onion or sesame seeds.
*Note, these can be baked in the oven if you prefer. Heat oven to 400, line baking sheets with foil and top with a baking rack. Line wings on the prepared rack and bake 35-45 minutes or until cooked through. Follow as is, with the sauce.