Spooky

We kicked off the spooky season with my first visit to Knott’s Scary Farm.

We went straight to an amazing looking roller coaster. The lights were all lit up and it looked like a boardwalk. The ride was so fun we did it multiple times. The downside, the exit took us into clown alley. Yes, I know that I am an adult, but I have an irrational fear of clowns…sigh, I am not proud. It took all that I had to not look them, even when they came running at me head on…Otherwise I would have cried.

We had a such good time, rides at night are just better. Parts of the park were very dark and creatures of all sorts would follow us around breathing down our necks and jump out at us. A lot of them had on shoes with metal taps so when they ran and slid at you, it made an awful sound..basically scaring the shit out of us at every corner we turned.

We were walking through a very dark area with fog machines clouding our path when we realized why so many people run in the wrong direction in horror films. You know how we scream at those idiots? Well, we were them…We had a hard time figuring out where we were and where we were headed. If was legit in danger, I would have just fell to the ground and succumbed to my death.

However, it was fun and definitely something to do again.

The girls had fun at the store trying on masks.

We hit the pumpkin patch and we made it easy on ourselves this year. We went to one in Temecula, gave the girls some money, grabbed a glass of wine, and hung out while they did all of the things. Petting zoo, panning for gems, snow cones and all of the other shit that is a waste of money.

We no longer buy our pumpkins at the actual patch which saves a lot of money. We just grab them at a local store on our way home, the girls don’t care.

Then we carve them and then they die. {the pumpkins, not the girls.}

Luckily we got a few photos of our artistry before they wilted 20 minutes later.

The next day we made Oreo bats and I realized that the girls are almost too old for these food crafts. They just want to eat the ingredients rather than create. However, I MADE THEM HAVE FUN!

These are super simple using only 3 ingredients.

Oreos, bite size Reese’s and candy eye balls. We used the oreo filling as the glue for the wings and the eyes. Pop them into the fridge for 10 minutes to set or don’t and just eat them right away.

I think they turned out cute!

The girls have their costumes and we are excited to take them out Monday night, and then go right home to inspect their candy! {aka take all the good stuff}

Just kidding, we will wait until they are in bed.

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!

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.

Dump to Catch up!

It’s been a hot minute. Busy with school, life and colds going around, it’s been something.

Legit pharmacy.

Finally we are all on the mend, so let’s chat.

The girls had their school’s multicultural fair on campus and it was so nice to be back on site.

Averi and her bestie ran around getting their passports stamped all while chasing the boys.

Kaili and Shayne were doing their own thing, in Shayne’s words, “living her best life”. Which meant hobnobbing with her teacher whom she adores.

It was nice to talk to the teachers we haven’t seen face to face in forever, and get to know the new ones better, even though schools about to end.

I can’t believe the older two are saying farewell to their school. It’s bittersweet.

Here they are in Kindergarten, so cute and innocent.

On another note, one thing that I have been cooking lately is baby bok choy. I have neglected this vegetable. It’s super quick and simple to cook up and is so tasty. I just halve the bok choy, saut√© in some sesame oil with garlic. Add soy sauce and chili crisp then cook until tender, around 10-12 minutes.

One night we paired it with a chicken curry and another time with steak. Don’t walk by it the next time you’re at the market.

Now it’s time get back to finalizing a little jaunt that’s in our future. I can’t wait to share all of the sights, food, fun, food, wine and food with y’all.

I leave you with Spring photos.

Actual People?

You guys soccer fans? No? Cool, cool, well anyways, here is a little update anyhow, our U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) beat Mexico, Dos a Cero (that means 2-0) in the World Cup Qualifiers. If you aren’t sure about the history of the U.S. and Mexico rivalry referred to as Dos a Cero, then I won’t bore you with the details.

Anyways, it was fun night, good food, good people, great game.

Then it was straight into a busy week.

I was in the middle of a Peloton ride when the instructor said, “I am going to stop talking so you can be present with yourself.” My brain went straight to how much people-ing I did the past week. I don’t really have too much interaction with actual people (family doesn’t count) since Covid. Most of it is via text or email, but last week it seemed that I had somewhere to go or a meeting with someone each day. It’s quite overwhelming and I understand the anxiety some people are probably experiencing. Anyhow, I just wanted to say that if life is sometimes hard, I get it.

To help ease the busy constant that is keeping children alive, I put the kids to work.

Averi helped me make chicken piccata, which in the end, she wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. Seriously infuriating.

We also made Polvorones aka Mexican wedding cakes. When I was going through my binder of saved recipes to find the enchilada casserole recipe, I found this recipe.

You guys, this recipe is straight out of a college Mexican cooking course.

All of the girls helped. All of the girls tried the batter except….ya Averi. She was eating the pecans out of the bag but refused the batter.

But, they all thought the cookies were delicious, so that’s a win. Although, it shouldn’t be a win because they’re effin cookies, right?

Mushroom Stroganoff

What do you call a mushroom in a fable?

The morel of the story. Ha ha ha…ha.

I didn’t know mushroom stroganoff was a thing. I thought I invented it in my head one morning but when I started Googling, it saddened me to find that once again, I was not the only one with that idea.

Back when we were store hopping for the Indian Chaat ingredients, we picked up a bag of egg Cavatappi at the International market. It worked perfectly for this dish.

Meanwhile as I was making dinner, one of the girls came in and asked to have a snack.

And then when the youngest beast is fed…..

Apparently she’s been raised in said prison….sigh.

Back to dinner. Creamy mushrooms over pasta, how good does that sound?

INGREDIENTS

*Recipe adapted from https://damndelicious.net/2019/02/06/creamy-mushroom-stroganoff/

8 ounces egg noodles of your choice

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 large shallots, diced

Salt and pepper, to taste

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups beef stock

1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (less is more)

3/4 cup sour cream

2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Crushed red chili flakes, to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and shallots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and browned, about 5-7 minutes or looks like this.

Season with salt and pepper, you can even add your crushed pepper now, if you like heat.

Stir in garlic and thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute

Gradually whisk in beef stock and Dijon. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced and slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes.

Stir in pasta and sour cream until heated through, about 1-2 minutes. 

Stir in Parmesan until melted, about 1 minute.

Serve immediately but not to the children who will whine about mushrooms. Leave them with their Nutella while you enjoy this delicious meal with a cold glass of Chardonnay!

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.

89d166e7-49a3-463a-b6f5-0f53f751e5c7

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.

IMG_9753fullsizeoutput_9c5

 

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?

IMG_5208

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.

95D799E9-B788-41A6-A167-7AB346973EF75D71C09E-B044-47E7-9449-8B2C72660EE6

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!

 

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.

AmHnU23+SFCFgPt+SxEcmQ_thumb_6

xqAkJexOQrqCOpC10z254A_thumb_15

BZjGvInfSm+swDuzBx3bXg_thumb_8

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.

Fs23vA2nRsq%Ai783LbeGg_thumb_39b

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

+qvbLc8PRDSLoOSVdHvETg_thumb_362

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.

N6qtF670R0Kl9X5clvG13w_thumb_36f

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.

8eP5X6s3TpqfNvFEbkcjRw_thumb_364

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.

 

 

Cooking with Kids {Basic Pizza Dough}

I love cooking with kids, my mom cooked with me, I cooked in my classroom and my two girls have been in the kitchen with me from early on. Now I am not going to say it’s easy, cooking with children. What’s easy is taking a picture of your child cracking an egg and then once the picture is taken it’s like “okay, you’re getting it all over, get out!” Am I right? The key is to go in knowing it is going to be messy and if you have multiple kiddos then there is always going to be a fight. BUT, it’s good for them, good for their brain and if you have your wine glass full, a little easier on you!

Kaili picked a pizza dough recipe out of her cookbook and read me the ingredients.

IMG_3333

INGREDIENTS

1 cup water

1 package yeast

2 tbs olive oil plus 1 more for the bowl

2 tbs sugar

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

Combine sugar, water and yeast in a measuring cup or small bowl.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.

Pour yeast mixture and oil in well and stir into dry ingredients until you have a soft dough.

If dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.

Knead until smooth on a lightly floured surface.

Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled.

IMG_3340IMG_3348

How simple is that? Now the hardest part is a toss up between the clean up or the refereeing.—> Take a big sip of wine!

Once I put the dough on a hot baking sheet, they slathered on store bought pizza sauce {it was a weeknight meal y’all} and cheese. Anything else in their mind is “gross”. Side eye.

IMG_3354 2

And voila! A cheese pizza that they both ate and didn’t kill each other over!

IMG_3356

IMG_3360IMG_3358