Galentine’s Day

We don’t talk about Bruno, no, no no!

I don’t even have the girls today and that song has been stuck on repeat in my head all.damn.day. Have you seen Encanto yet? It’s cute, I enjoyed it and I enjoy it when it’s on. The girls like to watch all the You Tube families recreate that song, which I have to admit, always grabs my attention.

This one is my favorite.

But seriously, where do these people get the time to create these elaborate videos? I was asking Kaili, what do you think all of their neighbors think when they see them all singing and dancing in the middle of the street? Lol.

Sorry if you’re singing it all night.

How was everyone’s Valentines day?

We had a nice day. The girls made their class small valentine bags. Kaili gave them each a mini Kawaii Mochi squishy and candy. Averi gave them each a zipper fidget bracelet and candy.

I forced them to take kissy pictures.

I can NOT believe how big they are getting.

I will forever recreate these pictures, even if I have to fly across the world to surprise them in college just for a kissy face picture.

Babe got me some Adidas soccer slip on sandals, and lava filled dark chocolate Hershey Kisses that are so good.
For dinner, we got fancy and ate King crab legs and mushroom risotto on a towel in front of the television while watching Big Brother and Love is Blind 2.

Guilty pleasures all around.

Let me know if you want this mushroom risotto recipe, I took the easy way out and baked it.

Happy belated Lovers Days!

Rolling with a side of Pasta

This week started off with the most Monday-ist Monday I’ve had in awhile. Is that because of the Mercury in Retrograde shit people make up believe affect their personal lives?

I decided to task switch and take a break from writing my course paper. My professor chewed up my rough draft, spit it out then told me that, and I quote, “You have two bad habits as a research writer, you use questions in areas where you should be focusing on articulating discussion and you speak about yourself in the first person.” Do I sir? Do I ask too many questions in the first person, sir? I mean, the nerve of this guy.

So I decided a work out would be a good way to reset the day, and the instructor, said “today you are not going to fall apart on the bike.” Maybe he was referencing Mr. Big, but I felt that in my soul.

I have some good recipes to share with you, but I don’t have the time to write them both, so one will have to do for now.

Oh, we also took the girls roller skating, which the adults had more fun doing. But Aves wowed us all by joining in on the game Limbo, and won the damn thing. I mean it’s because she is small, but still, a win is a win.

PASTINA RISOTTO

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Water’s Fine Foods. The author and chef, Mary Kay Waters is owner of our local Waters catering. I have talked about how good their food is, mac and cheese, roasted veg, her chocolate mousse and lemon bars are close to perfection as you can get. This time I made something different.

It’s not a traditional risotto, the pasta is cooked first and then combined with the other ingredients. Let’s talk about the combination of flavors, though, exceptional! We paired this with steak one night and then had it on it’s own another night. This is sure to be a hit and I will be serving this at the next family dinner.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound acini de pepe pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 pound mushrooms, chopped

1/4 head cabbage, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

1/3 cup white wine

2/3 chicken stock

1 cup fresh white corn kernels

3/4 cup cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs ( I used sage and parsley) reserve some for garnish

3/4 cup grated parmesan, reserve some for garnish

salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the package aka al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion and garlic, stirring occasionally until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cabbage and cook for 3 to 5 minutes longer, until soft.

Add the wine and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and continue to cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.

Add the cream and corn, bring to a boil, cook for 2 more minutes, remove from heat.

Stir in cooked pasta, herbs, parmesan and salt and pepper.

Serve with reserved herbs and parm on top.

Get into the Spirit

The week before Christmas break the girls had school spirit week.

They had pajama day.

And holiday fashion day.

And dress to impress, which Averi was all about.

One afternoon we decorated gingerbread men.

We had an early Christmas with the family and then spent an afternoon in Coronado.

We ran off for a few days over Christmas and celebrated with the girls a couple of days later. They were tortured by having to wait.

And wait.

Finally, they were able to open the ridiculous amount of presents that they had.

I need to have a talk with Santa about the Mini Brand Mart he brought all three girls. I think he needs to come back and put these together himself.

Save yourselves. Do not purchase unless you want to spend hours of your life putting together a million little pieces, that are flimsy… AND then watch the kids pull their hair out trying to the items to stay on the shelves.

Anxiety in a box. These should come with wine and a Xanax.

Elevated Wine, Really?

Last year my brother gifted us a night’s stay at Ponte’s Inn and Vineyard in Temecula for our birthday’s.

We finally had a free weekend to enjoy it. Once we checked in and dropped our stuff, we headed out for wine, starting at Altisima. They are a newer winery, making old world and new world wines with Spanish roots. The grounds are beautiful as is the tasting room. Luckily we had a knowledgable pourer who had a fun personality, that can make all the difference (well that can make a difference in the experience, not in the wine). Luckily the wine was superb, everything we tasted we enjoyed, and that rarely happens.

We moved on to a couple more wineries that we haven’t been to, and honestly, didn’t really like. We ended at Bottaia. Bottaia is Ponte’s sister winery, the same winemaker but elevated, I guess. I was eager to try it because I do like Ponte’s wines. When you walk in you are greeted and then asked to pay depending on what type of “experience” you want. Uh, ya, we want the one where we try your wine please. Their description reads “chic”, I say boujie… They say “elegant”, I say expensive. The experiences that they were offering were….we could either sit out on the deck and choose from a flight of wines or we could sit in the cold barrel room, and choose from a flight of more expensive wines. We chose the deck, ordered some hummus and wine.

Nope, not for us. It felt as if the focus of the winery was on the atmosphere, opposed to the wine. We didn’t like any of them and you guys, it’s not cheap. I wouldn’t go back on purpose.

However, the view of the vineyard when the sun started to set, was gorgeous.

We had dinner at Bouquet, the restaurant at Ponte. It was good, very intimate. Mushroom soup and scallops, not bad at all.

The next morning we were looking for egg bennies before we drove home. We stopped at a winery whose website said that they had it on their menu. Lies, all lies. Once we were seated we were handed a menu for lunch, which as you know, isn’t breakfast, it was very sad way to say, the end.

The next day the girls and I went to a Christmas party at the clubhouse.

They ran in and headed straight for the soda and donuts, and then waited for Santa.

Giving Santa the lowdown. Unicorns, horses and toys..oh my!

The girls met up with some friends and ran around outside for a good hour. Finally, when I was so bored I couldn’t take it anymore, we headed home.

The next morning we woke up to Cupcake confused on where he was at.

Definitely not summer weather here anymore.

Beach House

Way back when I when I was in high school, my brother was in elementary and we lived in Nor Cal, my family spent a week at a beach house in south OC. We loved it. Then we moved there and we still loved it, but nothing is the same as living on the actual beach. The waves crash and you can feel the spray on your legs while you’re sitting on the porch.

My brother decided to recreate that beach house moment from our childhood and rented a house on the same beach, but this house was much fancier.

We couldn’t stay too long because the kids where in camp and school was starting, but it was a great way to end the summer. We played, bathed, swam, sunned, met a curious sea lion and in the end, no one wanted to leave.

The morning that we left the girls went down to the COLD water in their pjs, same thing I would do if I lived on the beach.

August

Does it seem like time is flying by? Somehow it’s the middle of August and back to school shopping has commenced. I really hope we make it and there isn’t a state wide “oh shit” and we all end up in lockdown again…sigh.

Still plenty of pool days.

A few weeks back we had a blast at Boots in the Park. It was an all day country concert at Waterfront park with five artists/bands. Our seats were amazing, the view was amazing and the reason we went, Old Dominion, were AHmazing! So much fun.

The fountains were on until the sun went down, it provided a cool down when needed.

Ryan Griffin
Dustin Lynch
Scotty McCreery

I made a couple of my favorite recipes to make for guests. One being Chrissy Teigen’s meatloaf from her cookbook Cravings. I am not a meatloaf fan, I mean….meat in a loaf, no thanks. I remember my mom making it when I was young and she put mashed potatoes on top, well I think that’s a memory. Anyhow, I had to douse mine in BBQ sauce to eat it. But this recipe has half ground beef and half spicy Italian sausage along with mushroom and onions. It’s really good, as good as meatloaf can get.

I also made this gazpacho, which is my most favorite of all time recipe for the cold Spanish soup. However, I did tweak a couple of the things from the original recipe to make it my own. It will not disappoint, I promise.

Here is what you need to do.

Grab 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled and wrap them in foil

3 large tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds)

1 medium cucumber ( I use

1 green anaheim pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 medium sweet onion, unpeeled

Throw all of the above ingredients and grill or roast until the skin in charred and they begin to soften. F&W says “about 8 minutes for the tomatoes, cucumber and bell peppers, 10 minutes for the garlic and 15 minutes for the onion.” However I think it takes longer, so allow 30 minutes for this.

Once they are cool enough to handle without you swearing as you burn your fingers, peel and discard any seeds or stems from the veg and then run a knife through them. Then toss them all in your food processor or blender.

Then grab.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley and Basil, plus more for garnish

1 cup cold water

croutons

Salt and freshly ground pepper

While blending add the olive oil, then the vinegar (use sherry vinegar if you can). Taste for salt, i think it always needs more. Add the herbs and taste again. Pour into a big bowl, stir in the cold water and stick it in the fridge until cold and ready to serve.

Serve in individual bowls and drizzle with your best olive oil and garnish with herbs and croutons.

Then watch your guests happily slurp it up. It’s delicious

Please make this and tell me how much you LOVED It!

A Day by the Sea

We have been keeping busy the past few weekends. The Chula Vista Harbor fest is the one thing we do each year. It’s the perfect mix for kids and adults. Most of the time you find these festivals have it all, food, booze and a kids zone. But in the city of San Diego, the booze has to be kept in a 21 and over “beer garden.” In Chula Vista, they don’t give a shit and we like that kind of thinking. We can grab a drink and walk around with our kids or sip our wine while our kids bounce in the jumpers. I mean it really is common sense, happy parents + happy life?

The girls had so much fun. From the bouncers to the ice cream…they were kept busy.

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Kaili did a little bungee jumping.

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Ave’s had fun on the playground.

 

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There was hula hooping. I just realized I don’t know how to spell that…is it hula or hoola? Oh, man.

It’s all fun and games outside of SD limits.

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After the festival we headed to Coronado for a late lunch. A day out in San Diego really does feel like a mini stay cation.. What’s not to love?

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Dragging my Feet

What can I say, I have been a horrible blogger lately. I will blame it on the Avester. Every time I stand by my computer contemplating on writing, she is at my heels yelling “Mama, mama, mama, UP UP UP!” It’s ear piercing and nerve-racking.  I end up picking her up and wandering away from the computer.

Averi is now 19 months and quite the handful. She prefers her meals on the go, something I told myself I would never let her do. Wandering around with food, what good can come of it. Well, it keeps her quiet, let’s me get stuff done and puts meat on her bones, so for now, I just go with it.

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Photo by Brian Kerr

Kaili just ended her first month of soccer. She seemed to really enjoy it so I signed her up for another month.  She also started up swimming again, this time it’s at a swim school opposed to the YMCA. But once a week isn’t frequent enough so I am hoping to up it to twice a week. We need this girl swimming.

IMG_7399As I write this, it’s sprinkling outside but the last couple weeks we have been spoiled with amazing weather. I have spent almost everyday outside reading in the sun and then spending the afternoon playing in the backyard with the girls.

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We spent Valentines day as a family eating chocolate, popping in and out of the hot tub, sun bathing and watching Shane work in the backyard. More on that later. Kaili had a school party and enjoyed scouring through her mound of cards and candy.

Kaili and one of her besties.
Kaili and one of her besties.

Shane and I treated ourselves to some King crab for dinner and then I tried making chocolate soufflés for dessert. They didn’t turn out as I expected, the lava cakes I make are much more decadent. Next year, I will go back to making those.

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Meal Times

I don’t know how I, one of the least pickiest eaters, has a child who doesn’t like anything. I might say that this is the most frustrating part of parenting to date. Each meal is a struggle, one week she likes something, the next she doesn’t. I know this is probably pretty normal but my gawd it’s driving me mad. I am about to let her eat dry cereal and taquitos three meals a day.

Meanwhile, Aves is still a pretty good eater and I hope it lasts.

IMG_7296 The girls just love music. Averi gets into a semi trance while watching any sort of singing and Kaili likes all the hip songs on the radio. I hate to admit this but I just downloaded a Justin Bieber song because Kaili loves it.. 

IMG_7226Kaili’s class had a field trip to the new Children’s Museum downtown. I was worried about having to bring Averi along but it worked out pretty well. A lot of the museum was great for both kids but there were some parts that weren’t Averi accessible, I would have had a hard time rounding them up all by myself.

IMG_7218IMG_7220IMG_7225Days are starting to get easier. Averi is sleeping through the night, Kaili has been pretty good about staying quiet until 6:30. Aves will play by herself and watch some cartoons  while I need to get whatever done, and then she naps from about 10 until noonish. That time I spend working out and reading in the sun or the bath. I am trying to take more of her nap time to zen out. I don’t know if it helps with my patience or not, I like to think it does.