Disney Presents the Lion King

The Lion King was playing for a few weeks at the San Diego Civic Center. Since we have an avid Lion King fan, I thought it would be a fun thing to do. I have only heard great things about the show so I for one was excited. The older girls however, were not and they originally said that they would rather stay home. So we decided just Aves and I would go, of course after the tickets were bought, they changed their minds. By that time it was too late, the seats were slim picking.

After dinner and on a school night, Averi and I headed downtown. After we found are seats we had to go back up to stock up on sweets and a drink.

Averi got all sorts of compliments on her dress.

The opening moments of the show were breathtaking. The music and life size animal puppets were incredible. As the African drums filled the room a herd of galloping gazelle make their way down the aisles followed by rhinos with flocks of birds perched on their horns. They were followed by thudding elephants also making their way to the stage. Giraffes came out on the stage as a yellow-orange glowing sunrise filled the stage all while a leopard made it’s away around the animals.

All of the characters were played by fantastic actors. The hornbill Zazu was comedic perfection and the young Simba was outstanding.

It was a great show.

The second act was a little slower, more talking, less singing. Averi knows every word to the show so if something was off, I heard about it. Zazu would joke, “this isn’t the cartoon!” Which made the adults laugh and the children question why.

Averi started getting tired towards then end, it was past her bedtime. We got home by 10:30 and she crashed as soon as she hit her bed.

It was a great time and I am forcing all the girls to go to the next show.

BTS

No, that’s not the BTS that the girls love, it’s the BTS us parents love.

Back to school!

I only bring this up because we had BTSN on our calendar and all I heard was ” if you take off the N, you have BTS” followed by giggles.

We have two 6th graders and a 3rd grader (gasps)!

6th grade down here in San Diego is also known as middle school which still gives me heart palpitations.

I know I know, boy have things changed. I mean sixth grade vs. kinder really is something. Something as in, we as moms had wayyyy more power over their looks back then, sigh.

Averi is at the same school but has a new building, and she was SO excited when we got to school and found out that her bestie was in her class.

They each had BFF bracelets for each other even after a summer of no contact. SO damn sweet.

The weather has been so ridiculously hot that almost all outdoor activities were canceled or postponed. I know if you don’t live here you’re rolling your eyes, that’s ok. Roll away, it’s hot AF for us San Diegan’s, we can’t cope in extreme weather.

However, we did brave the heat and attended the Family Fun Day at the Del Mar Races. My parents met me and the girls for the afternoon, luckily those clouds and a slight breeze saved us from overheating.

I think the girls enjoyed themselves, pretty sure everyone but Kaili and I won some money.

Easing back into the school time swing. Hopefully I will have a new recipe to share sooner than later. It’s definitely trial by error right now.

Rigatoni with Ricotta-Sage Pesto

The Milk Street cookbooks much like the America’s Test Kitchen and Cooks Illustrated cookbooks are almost foolproof when it comes to ingredients, flavors and photos. Obviously this is my palates opinion but I think if you read through a few of them, you’d likely agree. After our trip to Greece I got my sister-in-law (SIL) the Milk Street Tuesday Nights Mediterranean cookbook for her birthday. It seems she cooked her way through it with raved reviews. So I went ahead and checked out the Milk Street Tuesday Nights Weeknight Suppers. Flipping through it in the car I quickly realized that I was going to need to own it, that’s how many recipes struck me as delicious. This recipe was the first one that I made from the book and if you like sage, then this will be your your jam.

Rigatoni with Ricotta-Sage Pesto

INGREDIENTS

6 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup chopped fresh sage

3 cups lightly packed fresh parsley

2 tsp grated lemon zest

1 ounce finely grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta

salt and pepper to taste

12 ounces rigatoni

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

DIRECTIONS

In a small microwave safe bowl, stir together the oil and sage, making sure the sage is completely submerged. Microwave on high just until the oil is hot and the sage is fragrant, about 1 minute. Cool to room temperature.

In a food processor, combine the sage oil mixture and the parsley. Process until finely chopped, about 15 seconds. Add the lemon zest and Parmesan and process until well incorporated. Transfer to a large bowl, stir in the ricotta, one teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper.

Bring your water to a boil and add pasta, cook until pasta is al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta.

Add the pasta to the ricotta mixture, then stir 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. The mixture should be creamy; if needed, adjust with additional cooking liquid. Serve with walnuts and additional Parmesan.

Don’t be so Prickly

We took two days to soak up the desert heat and wade in water. Good times and tan lines. We have a favorite hotel in Palm Springs but it was booked for the dates we wanted so we decided to try out the Saguaro hotel. We thought about stopping in Temecula on the way out there for a wine tasting, but decided to just hightail it straight there to be poolside.

The Saguaro is a super trendy hotel that has a retro vibe, aesthetically eye pleasing with blocks of color everywhere. We asked for a pool view room so we could have an idea of how early people trickled down to the pool. Shade was sparse so we wanted to stake our claim on a proper poolside lounger.

Once we were checked in we swiftly changed into our suits and headed down to the crowded pool. See those loungers in the bottom of the photo? One of those opened up so we dropped our stuff and hot stepped literally into the pool. You guys, it was 110 degrees out and I’m pretty sure the pool water temp was 95 degrees. I honestly didn’t think I would make it there for two days, however I adapted. We brought our own adult beverages and our frost buddy cups which was a lifesaver. They have a poolside bar but it’s super pricey and the bartenders are green. Tip 1, bring drinks and a cup. Tip 2, get a poolside room. That was the biggest mistake we made. Each time we wanted to go to the room it was through walkways, key cards, stairs and around and through and down stairs and key cards etc. EVERY TIME….That got old fast. Meanwhile the smart ones were just hopping into their poolside rooms.

We learned that Palm Springs had a two day, two weekend musical festival called Splash House. The Saguaro hotel was a location, our favorite (sold out & now we know why) hotel was a location and one other hotel were all home base for this house music situation. Luckily we were checking out the day it started, phew. The pool wasn’t big enough or cool enough for 80 + drunk people and their floats or their urine.

We spent the entire afternoon in the pool talking and making new friends. We were deep in a conversation when I saw this in a friends sunglasses. I told him to stand tight so I could take this picture. Summer in a photo.

Eventually the sun set and it was finally only 100 degrees outside. Everyone trickled out of the pool putting a period on the day. We made our way to our room for dinner.

The next morning we claimed some pool chairs and went for breakfast. We weren’t impressed but we were fed. We hit the pool and read and sweated and read. I was almost done with my book and the pool was filling up, I told Shawna I needed to finish it before our friends showed up. I ended up crying in the pool, damn book…. but I did finish it.

We took advantage of the hotel restaurants happy hour, we slightly dried off and headed in for tacos and drinks.

Back in the pool we talked and talked until time slipped away and once again the sun went down, funny how that works. We ended the night, ordered a pizza and fell asleep watching the death channel.

The next morning we had a nice lie in, and then hit a recommended spot for lunch before heading home. We were told we MUST try El Patio.

So we did and it was delicious. Shawna got breakfast but me, not me. I ordered the Del Mar for us to start with. Fresh ceviche of crab, octopus and shrimp mixed with cucumber, tomato and the sweetest mango topped with avocado and pickled onions. SO GOOD!! I asked for the trio of salsa’s (I don’t think thats the right name) but it’s not on the menu so make sure that if you visit, ask for it! Finally, I had the fish tacos and they were perfect. We thanked our new friends for the suggestion and will most definitely be back.

As for the Saguaro hotel, I’m not sure if we will be back. One thing that I didn’t mention was the music at the pool was terrible, really bad IMHO. Maybe it was the music of the DJ’s that were going to be playing at the festival, either way it was not good. You guys, that’s all that played for two days, the same playlist over and over…I wanted to go find someone and pay them to change it. Other than a handful of negatives (working ice machines were limited) it’s not a bad hotel, we did have a great time.

The One and Only Crab Cake Recipe

Ironically, two days after I post about the only crab cake recipe one needs, I see this on Instagram.

So…. I figured it was a sign from the chef’s to post this. Honestly it’s so easy and delicious, you won’t look back.

*Recipe from Chef Andrew Zimmern

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 large egg, beaten

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauceĀ 

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over

20 saltine crackers, finely crushed

1/4 cup canola oil

Lemon wedges, for servingĀ 

Homemade remoulade/tarter sauce or your favorite store bought brand.Walmart Logo

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce until smooth.

In a medium bowl, lightly toss the crabmeat with the cracker crumbs. Gently fold in the mayonnaise mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Scoop the crab mixture into eight 1/3-cup mounds; lightly pack into 8 patties, about 1 1/2 inches thick. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderately high heat until deeply golden and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the crab cakes to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

  • These can be made ahead, formed or not, for up to a day.

Race You

Last week I found myself at home instead of teaching a cooking class. That lead me to cook in my free time, obviously. Although I don’t have much photo proof to show you, I did indeed make some delicious food.
Pavlovas with lemon curd, scallops with an herb chili oil, esquites (Mexican street corn salad) and crab cakes with a remoulade.

The crab cake recipe that I use (Andrew Zimmern) is the only one I need, ever. Super simple ingredients, not loaded with filler, it lets the crab shine. It’s delish!

Shawna and I hit the Del Mar races. I had some luck on my side… finally.

Winner!

It was a fun day. The weather perfect, the views even better.

Our weather has been a consistent 77-80 degrees with humidity. Leaving us craving water in all forms.

We went to Mission Bay and the Plunge at Mission beach and then back to the bay. Seeking refuge in bodies of water.

I think it’s almost time for an adult poolside day. One where I’m not lugging snacks, chairs, boogie boards, water bottles and everything else that comes along with children. More like a good book and an adult beverage!

Baking with Kids

The second session of my cooking class was International baking. I had 4 girls, all 8 years old (it can’t get much better than that).

We started off the first week making Venezuelan Alfajores sandwich cookies, Albanian cornbread with feta and green onion. Indian Nankhatai cookies and South African Karringmelkbesuits.

Since they were only 8, they were more about the creating, than the outcome. So I would invite them to use their creativity, after we completed the recipe.

This is one of the girls hand made cookie.

Each of the girls reminded me of our Aves, she would have loved being in this class.

I decided to start each day with a different approach, than I did with my cooking class.

I would find a book on video that had a story about a country that we were going to “visit” or a food that resembled one we would be making. They loved it.

And if you don’t know about StoryLine Online, and you have kids, you have to check it out!

The next week we made Egyptian butter cookies and Lithuanian sour cream pockets.

The sour cream pocket recipe did not work, something was off…

But who cares.

Next, we made mango cupcakes, and stuffed Georgian cheese breads.

I was really excited about this next recipe.

Mongolian sesame flat-bread crackers with a cream cheese spread.

But somewhere along the way, the soy sauce was heavy handed in the spread and it was too salty…inedible

But I will make that again.

We also made a really good cheese pizza.

And a not so good Romanian Easter bread.

The last day of class, I asked them to make something from the ingredients that we had left. Chopped style. They put so much heart into it. But…

You guys, this raised my blood pressure.

I just can’t with chaos.

But, they did so great.

They all used cocoa powder and chocolate chips.

Most of it wasn’t edible.

But that wasn’t the point. The point was to give them the freedom to create, with no boundaries.

I was very lucky to have that group of girls, It was such a great experience .

Dead and Company, Food Company

We get to see Dave Matthews in less than 45 days, I think…. Math is not my strong suit.

With the Dead and Company being on tour and Dave has finally gone out to tour this summer, I can’t help but remember THAT DAY.

May 20, 1995

I went to Vegas to see the Grateful Dead. It was hot, I wasn’t old enough to gamble and I remember being so afraid of being dosed with acid. You laugh, but we heard that squirt bottles had been dosed with acid, sigh. I walked into the outdoor stadium, it was sweltering, people were selling cold fruit, and squirting people with “water”, I put myself into panic mode, ha! But, then….this band came on stage and that was that. I fell in love right there. Soooo, I can NOT wait to see him live again with my favorite person.

Last Saturday I asked the girls what they wanted for breakfast. Being that we didn’t have pancake mix (no I am not making it from scratch, eye roll). They branched out. One asked for avo toast and another, toad in a hole (egg in toast). Extra, or kids who still need to dip everything they eat in a condiment, now insert eye roll.

I made a very good scallop recipe.

You had me at spicy herb oil.

Reality check. We can combine all of the herbs, add in some salt and some spice and we could pair it with anything. Steak, chicken, fish, pasta….seriously you guys, it’s so flavorful, and fresh and perfect for summer.

To give this dish a more Asian influence, add 1 tsp of sesame oil to the herb oil mixture.

This recipe comes from Chef Tory Miller

Pan-Seared Scallops with Heirloom Tomatoes & Spicy Herb Oil

INGREDIENTS

8 Jumbo Scallops

Salt, to taste

fresh ground pepper, to taste

2 Tbs Butter

Herb oil

1 Tbs fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 Tbs chopped fresh chives

1 Tbs chopped fresh mint

1 Tbs chopped fresh Basil

1 Tbs minced garlic

1 Tbs minced shallot

1 Tbs soy sauce

1 Tbs fish sauce

1/4 cup evoo

1 fresh Thai chili, thinly sliced

2 cups fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes

1 lime, halved

Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook without turning or moving until they start to turn brown around the edges. Add the butter to pan. When melted, use the butter to baste the scallops to complete the cooking. Do not turn the scallops. This whole cooking process should take around 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and set the scallops on a paper towel lined plate.

To make the herb oil, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well.

Arrange the tomatoes on a plate. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked scallops and drizzle with the herb oil. Squeeze the lime juice over the entire dish.

Enjoy!

Cooking with Kids

A few months before our trip to Greece I landed a gig to teach a summer cooking class to kids. The days, times and location worked out brilliantly with our schedules. I was given all of the recipes for the cooking session, then I went shopping for the ingredients on the Sunday before class or that Monday morning. There is a Pavilion’s right near the school, that was so handy! The company dropped off bins full of the cooking utensils and tools I should need beforehand, so all I had to do was unpack the groceries and prep for the class.The plan was to teach two separate sessions, three weeks each. The first session was a cooking class the second was a baking class.

My cooking group consisted of 3 boys and 3 girls, ages 6-11 and they were awesome!

Each day we made two dishes/recipes. I would get to the site early and prep all of the ingredients (mis en place), the cooking equipment we would be using, and presented it on a table for easy accessibility. I wrote on each recipe card who was going to do what. Little Billy (names have been changed) will cut onions, Rose will grate cheese and so on and so forth. That way I knew that everyone was participating throughout the entire class. After a quick demo of what we were going to make and asking them about some of the ingredients, we dove in. I didn’t do any of the cooking, they did it all. I guided them, I handled the hot oven, any boiling water and the washing of knives, but other than that, they did it all. And man, they kicked ass!

The first week we made.

Gumbo, flapjacks, carrot casserole, porridge bites, egg casserole, spinach mac n cheese, Spaghetti with meatballs, and omelettes.

They were pretty good eaters. I will say that by the second week, one girl was begging to stop using onions, HAHAHA! I feel like every recipe called for onions.

When we were done with both dishes of the day, we sat down and ate together. I would bring in juice mix and they would take turns making a pitcher of lemonade or fruit punch, yes, of course it was sugar free, not my first rodeo lunatics. Then, if we had any free time before the class ended, we would play heads up or trivia or maybe just draw Whatever they wanted to do as long as it wasn’t swinging from the rafters or playing chase, boys, I am looking at you.

The second week we made;

Mash and gravy, meatball stroganoff, brussels sprout and parmesan salad, hot dogs with a veggie chili, Naan personal pizzas, macaroni and cheese and a fruit salad.

This pasta recipe, you guys, was soooooo good. I know it doesn’t look great and honestly when I read the recipe I wasn’t sold. But it’s good, guilty pleasure BBQ side dish good.

I will share the recipe.

The final week we made said pasta salad, pizza pockets, veggie sushi rolls and eggs with pico de gallo.

It was a great first round of cooking.

Mostly July

We had a low key 4th of July. The clubhouse had a BBQ and games which were fun for the kids.

Averi won a few things, Limbo and the belly flop…I think, which is so ironic.

We did some local wine tasting.

I took the girls to inflatable world which had water bouncy slides. Kaili was sure we wasn’t going to get wet.

The girls made tomato sauce for pizzas.

We went to the beach.

That about wraps up July. Aside from my summer cooking class, I will tell you all about it next.