Thursday, May 31, 2012

two years is too long

the last photobooth we sat in was in Chicago on the BIG road trip. I think this one here in Burbank is the last working booth in L.A. (probably not but it FEELS that way). I think SLO needs one. Absolutey! I wonder who I could pester to put one in?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

last week, in los angeles

we ate...
thai iced tea is a favorite
all the stuff that makes pho so good!
a new pho place! and good!
the pineapple aqua fresca was a hit
at Cook's we went tried something different (pulled pork)
at Fosselman's we shared three scoops. Yes, three!
 it's one of our favorite things to do while in l.a., aside from squeezing our friends (and my brother whom we did not get to see).

the places we hit:
Fantastic pho, not too salty. We stuck with the brisket but they had all the usual suspects plus many other dishes. The thai iced tea was really good. Strong and tea flavored, plenty sweet but not watered down or too sweet. We stopped in at 99 Ranch after for some lavender green tea, amaranth blossoms and owl brand ginger tea crystals.
Oh boy, do we love Cook's! The mister and I definitely have our favorites (I like the cubano while the mister loves the Zacateca) but we opted to split something new this time around. We ended up with the bbq pulled pork and it was incredible! Not overy saucy but so full of flavor and tender. The homemade bread was perfect with it. As accompaniment we had a smidge of their super tasty potato salad and a large order of sweet potato fries. We also split the pineapple mint aqua fresca. So good! 
Fosselman's is a bit of a tradition after Cook's or Banh Mi. The mister and I discovered that three scoops in a cup is cheaper than two separate scoops and when you can pick out three flavors instead of one, why not? My favorite flavor is the chocolate dipped strawberry which is like a straberry chocolate chip. Totally fresh and no too sweet, if you have a working sniffer the flavor is wonderful. They didn't have blueberry this time around so we opted for toasted almond and cherry vanilla as our other two scoops, both of which share a sweet cream flavor as opposed to a classic vanilla. The cherry seemed to be a sweet cream with maraschino cherries chopped up and mixed in making it light and perfect for a warm day. Again, Fosselman's tends to be less sweet than your chain shops. The horchata ice cream however is really sweet!
Oh blue Hen, I miss you so. All around the table we ordered the Blue Hen banh mi. It's made with chicken and comes with a side of carrot salad or their famous turmeric fries (which include yams). An extra order of fried for the table really hit the spot as did their classic iced Vietnamese drip coffee. 
Meh. I don't think I can recommend this place. Our server was great but the food was just so-so and stupidly overpriced. The Leets ordered the jumbo pancake with fruit and opted for blueberries as a topping which consisted of a smattering of berries as if they were an afterthought. Their begnets were too fried and hard while the eggs an taters were like any other breakfast diner fare.
Eat Well in Glendale is a favorite standby. Nothing fancy, it serves up your usual diner fare. The mister enjoys the Po Boy and their chilaquiles while I hop around from various sandwiches to french toast. This time around we split the turkey burger which was enormous and full of alfalfa sprouts. The fries are crinkle cut and tasty and if you go on the weekend you get a free piece of coffee cake which totally takes me back to junior high and the cafeteria sweets they made. Love! 

So there you go, if yer ever in Los Angeles, here are a few recommendations (plus one not to go to) from the a-go-gos. Happy eats!

Monday, May 28, 2012

when the sniffer is on vacation

...(again) and you decide to watch a Gene Kelly flick whilst grilling a cheese sandwich you end up with a charred bit of cheesiness. There was a photo, of course there was, but somehow it made its way to the trash before I could catch it. ooof.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

sweet tooth: pumpkin chocolate chip magic bar pie

 We woke up Saturday to an overcast sky and cooler than usual temps. After a run to the farmer's market and a visit to the Goodwill Outlet, the mister headed to his workshop (aka Mom's garage) while I settled in for some busy-work.

I tried to get things done, I did, however, the grey sky and chilly breeze that snuck in the window kept distracting me. It was time for some baking. I really wanted to get that oven on but was hijacked by laziness. It was only when I opened the freezer for some frozen fruit (it was smoothie time) that I realized I had something sweet already half-way baked! Remember this bomb pie? I had another pie shell in the freezer filled with crumbled cookies and kisses. Whoo-hoo! I pulled out the partial pie and stood in the kitchen as I pondered what to do. I didn't really want to make the bomb pie again, it wasn't bad but I wanted a different texture. 

What to do? What to do?

I had it! That morning at the farmer's market we stopped at Stewart and Clark's booth for their famous biscuits and they were selling magic bars. I figured I had most of the ingredients in the pie shell already and there was a can of sweetened condensed milk in the pantry so why not? To freshen up my memory, I hit the laptop for an internet search to make sure this would work and even found a pie recipe by cakespy! It was a go!

I tweaked things a bit here and there but the end result was fantastic! Super sweet, sure but not as sweet as the bars themselves as I used a traditional pie-crust instead of a graham crust. If you can, let it sit a day before digging in, the flavors settle and the pie solids up making it pure deliciousness. I recommend a tiny slice with an unsweetened cup of coffee, iced or hot, your choice! Enjoy! 

Magic Bar Pie
*one unbaked pie crust (I used a frozen shell)
*8 pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (I used market-made)
*about 10 caramel kisses or other caramel candies
*half a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
*half a cup rolled oats (not instant)
*1 can sweetened condensed milk
*dash o' cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F and pull out a cookie sheet to place pie pan on.
 Break up cookies and add to pie shell. Fill in spaces with kisses. Sprinkle oats over the top then add the chips. You could probably use more, I was experimenting so erred on the less-than side. I also chose oats instead of the traditional coconut as the mister is not a fan and I did not have any. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over the top just for kicks.
Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk over the whole shebang. It will fill up yer crust and look a bit wonky but that's okay, the pay-off is just dandy.
 Pop the happy bit of sweetness atop your cookie sheet and get that puppy into the oven! Bake for 25-30 minutes. 
 Let cool and sit overnight if you can handle it. We each ate a slice a few hours after it came out of the oven and it was good, but the next day it was even better! Otherwise, cut yourself a tiny slice and brew up some coffee. The sweetness is crazy but the unsweet of the coffee adds to its tastiness. I hope you like it! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


 have you ever picked up a children's picture book that rhymes only to find that when you attempt to read it out loud, yer tongue trip-trups over the words? sometimes i think that is what happens with some of my blog posts. mostly the ranty kind.

i want to try to clear up what i meant about comments and pinterest and all that jazz. i think that pinterest has added to the lazy quality that the internet is developing. kinda like the facebook LIKE button. just because you repin it or like it doesn't mean i know you did or do. my intention was not to wax whiny over my lack of comments but to point out the lack of response and respect from the large number of persons who repin and like wily-nily without taking the time to let the owner of the property know you were inspired or love the project or recipe. my peanut butter cookie post now has had over 7000 views! 7000 views and seven comments. that is a little wacky, methinks.

i'm not sure this is coming out right or not but i did not mean to point my rant at regular readers who do not comment but to pinners everywhere who pin and repin projects without a shout out to the creator of the niftiness. does that make sense? there has always been free info on the web and i suppose i am asking for it since i continue to put free projects put there but i don't think it is too much to add a polite thanks to the march on manners. i think we could all use a little refresher in manners. this new technological age has been eliminating them at a speedy rate. i feel like an old fogey when i get cranky but just because everyone is doing it, doesn't make it right....right?

just park me on a park bench with a hairnett, rolled stockings, sensible heels and a (handmade) bag of breadcrumbs....

happy wednesday! it is time for work.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

eclipse goodness

 the mister and i had a very busy Sunday. we were down in L.A. and doing our best to squeeze in visits with friends old, and friends leaving. after breakfast and lunch we hit the road for our three hour or so drive back home. we also hit traffic here, and traffic there and wondered if we would make it home in time for the eclipse. we had a filter in the glove box just in case.
we motored our way home and just, just, JUST as we turned up one the road for one of my favorite drives, the light did that magical shift. we pulled into the driveway of the homestead just in time to set up the telescope and enjoy a meal with family. 
our next solar eclipse isn't until 2014 and the next lunar is in 2017...yay for astronomy!

Monday, May 21, 2012

pinterest in action: scones and pie and an observation.

a few weeks ago, i actually rescued the ingredients that had been sitting in the freezer FOREVER to make this bomb pie by Something Swanky. sugar overkill, maybe , but SO good with a milky iced coffee sans sweetener.
time for baking
and last week, i made these blueberry buttermilk scones by Mango and Tomato. they baked up quite nicely and were packed with flavor even though i left out the coconut. the mister, sister a-go-go and mama a-go-go loved them!

 ***i know that there are oodles of folk out there who are not exactly fans of Pinterest. i kinda understand but at the same time, i don't think Pinterest made it any easier to "steal" ideas. they just created a platform to share your favorite ideas. before Pinterest, i had a folder on the desktop full of links and people's projects. in a nutshell, my folder was full of "stolen" property. i had and still have no intention of monetary gain from all the goodness, i am just so wholly inspired by all the creativity out there just as i hope you are inspired by what i share.

that said, i see a new trend in how people respond to blogs and with Pinterest people are forgetting to leave comments and offer up thanks and encouragement to the author. instead, photos and diys are pinned as a salute but if you don't see it, you don't know how much you inspire. case in point...i average maybe 1 comment a post. yeesh. not so good for my ego . yet i know people are clicking and reading as evidenced by my stats. a LOT of people. and if i hop on over to Pinterest, i will see my projects pinned and repinned to high heaven and yet not a single person has shown up here to say "Hey, this is cool, thank you for sharing"!  (oh, i don't mean you or you or you, you know who you are) and to me...that is just bad manners. it's not Pinterest's fault, it is the poor behavour of the masses. now, i pin like a mad woman myself and if i pin something from a blog i have never visited, i leave a comment and i thank that person for sharing (if it is a blog i subscribe to i have already and continue to say thanks). sometimes i find a new blog to read in the process and sometimes i make a new friend. i'm a bit behind on my repins however, i need to finish up and go through to the original source to say thanks and yes, i totally mean it. absolutely!

enough of my mini rant but i encourage you to think about it and if yer new to my blog and actually reading not just pinning put yourself into my shoes or think about yer own blog. wouldn't a little howdy and thank you make your heart sing and connect?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

cake mix peanut butter cookies

on thursday, it was weirdly overcast and cool. i say weirdly because we've had a mini heat wave going on and the forecast was for 82. when i stepped out to put a donation bag of clothes into Eleanore aka Henrietta Hippo, i felt quite chilled.

baking was in order. cookie baking. peanut butter cookie baking...with a cake mix as i was feeling too lazy to pull out measuring cups and such. 

*1 box white or yellow cake mix
*1 cup peanut butter
*2 eggs
*1/4 c milk
*chocolate chips (optional)
preheat oven to 350 F. mix up ingredients and add yer chips.
drop by the spoonful onto your cookie sheet (the dough will be super sticky). sprinkle with a smidge of sugar and press the tines of a fork into the tops to create that peanut butter cookie look. you do not have to flatten or smoosh, they bake just fine as a puff ball and do not spread much at all.
bake 10-12 minutes, wait a smidge to cool and enjoy with a cold glass of your favorite milk beverage.

**i think next time i will add more peanut butter, salted peanuts and milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet  and less of them at that.

Friday, May 18, 2012

i went walking

 on wednesday, i walked to work. it wasn't far, less than two miles and i was equipped with new happy walking shoes. 
i gave myself extra time to stop and take pictures. the marine layer was still lingering over the mountain and the birdies were chirp, chirp, chirping. 
it was a lovely warm morning and even though i woke up with sad and tired feet, a knot in my back and a soreness in my calves that i haven't felt in too long, i'm going to do it again. i think all those knots and tired bits need it. 
have you taken a stroll lately?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

of shoes, t-shirts and plastic hangers...

 in a mad fit of procrastination i tore apart my closet and bureau for clothing purge. i'm a bit lackadaisical that way. when one thing really needs to get done, i do something else that could be dealt with but isn't necessary. it's like cleaning out the fridge when you should be doing taxes.

i'm on a wardrobe revamp kick and have already been through a few purges but another one couldn't hurt, right? this time i tried almost everything on and to my delight found previously-too-tight digs to fit save for a pair of breezy crops that may never fit but i love too much to part with. never mind that i picked them up at a thrift store and have yet to wear them. if by next year i cannot squeeze my gifted behind into them they will become quilt fodder and yes, you can quote me on that.

i'm amused by it all because yesterday i felt full of steroidal poofiness and ick, darn that prednisone, and while today hasn't really taken away from the bloat, my brain was okay with it and the mirror had a good carnival lilt to it. so on came the iTunes playing a combo of french soundtrack and then skiffle, i created my own chick flick fashion montage complete with different hair styles and a change of shoes or two.
i discovered that i look pretty good in white shirts of which i have quite a few and that too many of them are quite similar. two have been destined for a dye pile. i also found that i seem to have a thing for Threadless Tees and have forbidden myself from looking at any new designs (oh crap, but this one is quite nice). i would rather spend any extra cash on a soft tissue t or bloomers or maybe even a pair of ballet flats anyway. gotta pick my fashion priorities, right?

i also dug up a pile of things that need altering or fixing or something and with any luck i'll get to them soonish otherwise they will disappear again and who knows when i will rediscover them...or where.
what i really want is to get the darn pantaloons made's to procrastination!

scent with lurve

through the marvels of modern medicine i have my nose back. i am sure it is but temporary but i'll take what i can get. there is a heavy silence that prevails when one's nose is out of whack. in my case, there is a serious disconnect from comfort and soul. it sounds awfully dramatic and i'm going to put myself out there and say it is.

stepping out the back door with orange laundry bucket in hand i was greeted by a blast of the summer-like sun. the traffic on Highway 1 speeding by in a rush played a background song as i was suddenly greeted by the sweet warm scent of sidewalk and grass. i simply stopped in my movement, put the bucket down, clasped my hands together, closed my eyes and inhaled a mighty breath. never knowing how long it will last, i danced into action. orange bucket discarded on the back sidewalk by the new makeshift birdbath, i abandoned it all and ran back into the tiny casa. another deep inhale gave me the sweet scent of vanilla and sliced apples with a dash of the pikaki i wear on the inside of my wrists. i could detect the steamy scent of the hot iron as it waited patiently for me to get back to work and the sweet cent of the dish soap on the sponge i had just used to wash the morning dishes.

i quickly stuck my head in the pantry and was surprised that instead of onions and stale pantry scents, i was tickled by the spicy sweet calling of star anise. room to tiny room (not that there are many) i skipped and clapped and sniffed and laughed. the bathroom was full of shampoo smells and honey. the bedroom like green tea and vanilla while the living room managed to contain the least happy yet still welcome of scents...cardboard and spackle (we've been hammering things into the walls and those darn boxes may never get cleared away).

out the front door i went, sticking my nose into the thyme, mint  and basil that sit in anticipation of new garden digs. the front sidewalk greeted me with that summery spice and i am certain i looked like a mad women as i brought my new to the carob tree for a sniff.

with a satisfied smile on my face, i walked back into the tiny casa full of the scent of apples and vanilla and finally, for the first time, felt like i was home.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

just an average tuesday

 the noggin is far too full of projects and ideas for me to form a coherent post or sentence for that matter. today i snipped and stitched and swept and oh so slowly eked out a smidge of that confounding pile that has been haunting me since we moved into the new tiny casa almost one year ago.
i also baked some scones from scratch (which the mister promptly gobbled up, both before and after i sent some with him for the mama a-go-go when he left for the homestead to work on a project).
and hung things on the wall. it's the wee accomplishments that make our moments. or maybe it's just the scones....