Holiday Photos

Better late than never. Every year the girls and I meet uncle BK at a certain location for the holiday pictures. This year we chose La Jolla for the backdrop. We decided to have the girls do a take on the “trash the dress” theme. If you haven’t heard of “trash the dress” before, basically it’s a photoshoot where the bride wears her wedding dress for a second time; but this time it ends with the dress being creatively ruined, whether it’s while jumping into a pool or being saturated in wine. I always loved the idea. The idea in my head however was much more grand than what actually played. Mostly because the water was ice cold and even the girls didn’t want to get wet. I need to remember to take Christmas pictures in the summertime.

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Kaili ended up knocked over by a wave which was amazing.

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Once the sun set a little lower and the weather got chillier we wrapped it up. After a quick change into dry clothes, a seaside dinner awaited. The pictures turned out beautiful as they do each year.

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2020

Resolutions, traditions and parties, all of those words are used to describe New Years Eve.  One day you’re staying up late sipping sparkling wine all night and then before you know it, you are waking up every morning with young kids. That’s when you accept the fact that none of the “fun” of NYE events are going to happen again, at least for years. But then something wonderful happens, you realize that nothing else matters aside from waking up every day with the ones you love. Even if that means going to parks every damn day of holiday break. Where the kids would rather fill up their socks with sand than play on the swings.

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After an afternoon at the park we had managed to sneak invitations into the mailbox. Casually asking one of the the girls to check the mail, it only took a half a second of screaming to let the house know all the girls had a letter.

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We thought it would be fun to include the girls in one of the NYE traditions. Get dolled up, sip bubbly (soda sheesh), and dance till midnight. They were so excited. Nothing was off limits, want to wear make-up? That’s fine, one night and one night only. Fancy shoes, perfume, soda and no bedtime. What more could they ask for?

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We dined on charcuterie and puff pastry with cheese and passion fruit. These girls sat down in front of the food like we have starved them all day. Before you knew it, shoes were being kicked off and the whining was starting. You guys it wasn’t even 7:00. And then it happened, they asked if they could put on their pajamas and we said, “only after some pictures, party poopers” the nerve.

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We all sat in pajamas and sang karaoke but the party wound down quick. Before you knew it all the girls ASKED to go to bed. Apparently the moral of the story is this…. if you want to have an adult NYE with the kids in bed, take them to the park that day, stuff them full of meat and cheese and tell them they can stay up all night. Voila!

Cheers to a new year!

 

Holiday Holiday

Somehow it’s already mid December, I have so much to catch you up on. Currently our Elf, Peppermint Sugarcookie is playing Twister with a few scantily clad and very limber Barbies.

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Every morning the girls give a full report on what trouble he got into the night before.

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Our neighborhood puts on a Holiday party each year. It’s the perfect time to meet the neighbors we never see and probably won’t see again until the next party. It’s also a great time for the girls to see Santa. Averi loves to get fancy for all occasions, she also loves to have her photo taken.

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Our Elementary school put on a Frozen movie night and of course the girls had.to.go. We saw Frozen 2 the day after it came out and that is all Averi can talk about. Frozen Fever. But the movie theater is different than the school auditorium. Drinks were spilled, bathroom needs were constant and the Avester decided she was “too tired” and stayed put even after the lights came on. Yep that’s my kid.

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The next day we spent swimming at uncle Casey’s new place. They decided to slum it for a bit and move to Coronado Island, sigh. The view is awful. And yes it looks cold, but the pool water was just fine….for the kids…and Casey.

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Since all three girls weren’t able to attend the holiday party, we went back to the mall for another visit with Santa and some quick shopping.

As luck would have it, when we went to walk the neighborhood Christmas lights, we ran into Santa again. What a tiring job he has. Luckily he will have cookies waiting for him as a reward, or treat? So many kids and cats, I can’t keep it straight.

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Averi’s teacher held a rehearsal for the Kinder Christmas show early so I could record it. The girls are heading up to WA with their dad this holiday and she’s missing the show. It was both super cute and painful at the same time. The first picture is when they just sat down in the auditorium, the video is 30 minutes later. Wrangling cats, that is another word for teaching Kindergarten.

 

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Pavlova with Passion Fruit Whip and Mango

A little tidbit about me and this blog, the titles are the hardest part. So I apologize if you are underwhelmed with them, some days are better than others.

I have so many fond memories of my grandma. She loved me, she loved my grandpa, she loved to please and I am not sure if she loved to cook but that is one thing she was always doing, at least that’s one thing I remember. I remember fresh orange juice, scrambles eggs, homemade buttermilk ranch dressing, red hot cinnamon applesauce and strawberry shortcake.

Here is where it gets fuzzy. You see my grandma died before I was mature enough to really appreciate all that she was and did. But one of the many things I remember vibrantly is a dessert she made. Meringues with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  I remember the dessert as “strawberry shortcake” but I may have made that up. However I have talked to my parents and they were no help, sigh. (LOVE YOU PARENTS)

This is where I am going with the story if you are nodding off; dad cough cough. As I grew older my friends, not naming names (Jess) told me about how they loved strawberry shortcake, I thought; OMG, (well I didn’t say that because I was only 10) I also love strawberry shortcake.  Turned out, their version of (can we condense it to SSC?) SSC was not the same as my memory of the dessert. Years and years went on and another SSC I did not order.

As time went on, cooking classes were taken and the words “Eton Mess and Pavlova” crept in. I wish so hard that my grandma was alive to answer all of my questions I need to ask her about one damn dessert. But since she isn’t with us anymore I must give you my own findings. The dessert was her own creation, half Pavlova (meringue dessert with a crisp crust and soft, light inside, usually topped with fruit and whipped cream) AND half Eton Mess. (dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, meringue, and whipped cream). I think the thing I am asking myself is this….how has it taken me so long to make this dessert? Such a strong fond memory but yet, so distant.

I put a tropical twist on it using passion fruit, mango and some dragon fruit. It was incredible.

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Meringues

6 egg whites, room temperature
1.5 cups white sugar
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice or distilled vinegar
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Combine cream, sugar and vanilla and nectar in a chilled mixing bowl and beat until soft peaks form. 
Smother your Meringues with passion fruit whipped cream and top with anything you want. I used mangos and dragon fruit but it will be good with anything or nothing at all. I promise.

 

 

 

 

 

Enchilada Meatballs

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I am not your number one meatball fan, just not my jam.  But the thing with this dish is all. of. the. flavors. And using a tortilla to soak these up with the addition of avocado’s and sour cream, so good you guys, so good.

Kaili wanted to be chef so the credit really goes to her, I was just her kitchen side-kick.

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This recipe is *adapted from Delish.

Kaili really surprised me with her determination to start and complete this dish. She cut, rolled and even taste tested enchilada sauces to determine the best one to use.

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Kaili’s take away from this dish was “I like the enchilada sauce and the meatballs but not the green stuff on top, and I like lots of sour cream!” See, I told you it was good.

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Ingredients

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
egg
cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish)
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1  small onion, chopped
jalapeño, minced
(19-oz.) can enchilada sauce
1/2 15-oz.) can black beans, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. shredded cheddar
1 c. Monterey jack
avocado, sliced

 

*for serving:  Tortillas, sour cream, your favorite hot sauce.

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Season mixture with salt and pepper, then form into meatballs about 2 inches in diameter.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add meatballs and cook to an internal temperature of 140 degrees , about 2 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and transfer to a plate while you make sauce.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet. Add onion and jalapeño and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in enchilada sauce and black beans and bring mixture to a simmer.

Return meatballs to skillet, tossing them in sauce. Top meatballs with cheeses and bake until beef is cooked through and cheeses are melty, about 15 minutes more.

Garnish with avocado and more cilantro. Serve with warmed tortillas and sour cream.

 

 

Back to School Date

The girls are back in school. Can you believe baby A is in Kindergarten? I sure as hell can’t. I’m not sure why but it seemed like the craziness was elevated this year. Maybe it’s because I have so many things going on, or maybe it’s because our Target decided to remodel this summer. Trying to get school supplies there was like fighting my way through a zombie herd.

Back to school shopping is at the moment a one on one activity. It’s physically impossible for me to take both girls shopping for clothes and get anything accomplished. They are completely different little humans. Averi, the fashionista wants to look and try on all the pretty things, where as Kaili only wants a certain type of shorts, she’s very picky, or as some would say, she just knows what she wants. She’s so small that we struggle to find anything that fit’s her right. It’s definitely a thing I have to do with each of them separately.

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The girls have eased in well to their new classes. Averi has had the teacher boasting about how great she is. I even had a dad approach me and express his gratitude to Averi for helping his son with an activity that he was struggling with. –> insert exploding heart.

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Shawna and I decided to take a “back to school” date and headed out for a wine pairing dinner.

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A three course prix-fixed meal with wine pairings awaited us. She ordered the better starter, a roasted summer squash salad with fresh ricotta, it was amazing. I got the roasted prawns and sea bass in a spicy curry. It was good but heavy handed with curry paste, almost a palate ruiner (is that a word?) We both got the pan seared sea bass with tarragon jam and it was pretty good. I hate to nitpick, I really like this place.

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For dessert, she ordered the pavlova. My grandma always made us these served with whipped cream and strawberries, they are really delicious. I ordered the obvious chocolate dessert, a take on a trifle.

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The wine pairings were fine, nothing to write home about but we left overly satisfied. We night capped at a bar that has turned into a favorite local spot that leaves us wondering what or whom we will encounter each time we step foot inside. Can’t wait to tell you some stories.