Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hoarder Inventory

Current inventory of the backyard of the hoarder that lives behind us:

2 bed frames, full or queen size
2 dining tables
2 pair sandals
1 tarp
1 grill
1 bookshelf
5 5-gallon buckets, some with lids
miscellaneous bits from the front of a car, 1 headlight, etc.
1 large birdcage, sans bird
6-8 small bags containing what appears to be aluminum cans

Why, oh why, couldn't our back fence be higher?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Conspicuous Consumption

Not to sound too much like the Charlie Brown Christmas special, but when did Christmas become so much about consumerism?  This year I've done much of my shopping online, where I feel like I can really concentrate on finding just the right thing (singular) for each person, rather than being inundated by things, things, things and overbuying.  It still doesn't feel all that good this year.  2011 might be the year we migrate to "giving" by doing or donating. 

Do you find a million extra things you hadn't previously wanted or considered purchasing when Christmas shopping?    Here's what I found last night.  No one thinks they need an origami crane bank or baby tube socks.  Until they see them and are in the midst of a buying frenzy.
(Side note:  although you might not need them, $5 of the purchase price of the bank and sequin animals benefits St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.) 


$9.97-$22.00 at West Elm

$9.97 at West Elm

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Welcome 2011!

As we polish off 2010, I did a little searching for nice 2011 calendars.  I'm sort of obsessed with the passage of time, and have kept all of my planners and calendars for 10 years (they serve as a strange journal, since I don't keep one otherwise), so I am careful to choose a calendar I really like.  Round 1:

$22.95, Snow & Graham 2011 Wall Calendar at Patina
Okay, this isn't for "journaling," but it helps me focus on living in the moment to flip forward every day (losing the last day forever).  $16 Vintage Forever Calendar from Etsy seller Eclectic Home
$12 from Etsy seller bomobob
$12.95 Daily Doodle calendar from West Elm  Remember your year in doodles.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Countdown

Unbelievable.  It's almost Thanksgiving.  So far we've spent November caring for a sick baby (ear infection and a cold) and trying to catch up on work.  Boo.  Thus, I'm left with a long to-do list to accomplish before Thanksgiving.  Here goes.....

1.  Remember the Kolache Challenge
2.  "Thanks" jar (from Young House Love)
3.  Drive somewhere to see some changing leaves
4.  Finalize a menu for our post-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner
5.  Early Christmas shopping while it's still "early"
6.  What's autumn without a pumpkin dish?
7.  Don't forget the Autumn Spiced Scones
8.  Make a donation to the food bank
9.  Make a donation in our kitty's name to the NSPCA

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Public Service Announcement

Get to Starbucks between November 18 and 21 (or all of those days) between 2 and 5 pm for their buy one, get one free holiday drink offer!  Yum!  That includes the caramel brulee latte, peppermint mocha, peppermint white chocolate mocha, peppermint hot chocolate, gingerbread latte, eggnog latte, caramel brulee frappuccino, and peppermint mocha frappuccino.  You know what would go well with any of those?  A cranberry bliss bar or a slice of gingerbread (iced!).  Probably a bottle of water, too....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Because it's too soon for Christmas music...

Here's what I'm listening to today:  Snow Patrol, Just Say Yes

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Let There Be Light

I know, I know.  It's too early to begin celebrating Christmas.  The shops have their decorations up and music on, and it's too soon.  Yes.  Yes?  Maybe not.  What's so wrong about taking a few extra weeks to celebrate a miracle?  To think about what's really important in life?  To take some time to let the beauty seep into your bones and sustain you for the rest of the year?  To really enjoy it between mad shopping sprees and baking sessions?  Nothing.At.All.  So, to that end, do consider joining us for the 17th annual cactus lighting at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory in LV.  Stop in for a factory tour, some free (!) chocolate samples, grab a hot chocolate from the shop, and head out for the unofficial start of the Christmas season with Louie Anderson, Zowie Bowie, and On With the Show. 

Here are the details...straight from the source:

Tickets are limited and required for the Nov 16 event, so you'll need to get them asap.  To get tickets you'll donate one new, unwrapped toy at the Ethel M factory in exchange for a family four-pack to the Nov. 16 event (limit eight tickets per family). Toy drop-off will run from Nov. 1 – Nov. 15 at the factory location only and tickets will be provided on a first come-first served basis.

The action is Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 5 - 8 p.m. at Botanical Cactus Garden adjacent to Ethel M Chocolates’ factory in Henderson. The countdown to the lighting of more than half a million colorful lights will take place at approximately 6 p.m. 3-D glasses are available for purchase at the Ethel M store, though they're certainly not necessary.

The added bonus - Santa.  Yes, Santa is venturing out to Henderson.  

If you can't make it, don't fret.  The lighted garden, factory, and store will be open all season, closing January 1.  After the initial night, tickets are unnecessary and it's free (unless you get the hot chocolate, as I do).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

zzzzzzz.....

Dear God I need some sleep.  C has been sick (ear infection, congestion) and no one has slept in about a week.  Probably going back to the doctor if there's no progress today.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

You Are My Sunshine October 31-November 6

When I think of my childhood, inevitably I think of the swimming pool.  My sister and I went there almost every day in the summer.  These water bottles bring me back to that time.


KOR water bottles, $29.95 each.

Don't they remind you of pool toys and floaties? 

Anyway, KOR donates at least 1% of sales to water-related non-profits.  For sales of the orange bottle, donations go to the Container Recycling Institute, for pink donations go to the Blue Planet Network, for green donations go to The Wetlands Initiative, and for blue donations go to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.  I think I'll go with green. 

Check out KOR.  They also have some special editions of the above bottles with designs on them and a greater percentage going to nonprofits (for $35).

Vote!

Here we are - another election day.  Please, don't vote out of anger.  Don't vote strictly on party lines.  Don't vote the way your dad or friend or spouse or anyone else wants you to vote.  Don't vote based on anyone's attack ads.  Think rationally, realize that a grain of truth is not the full truth, research candidates using a variety of sources, and vote the way your well-informed conscience tells you to vote.  I hope that is with a broad view and compassionate heart.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Las Vegas Halloween

Need something fun to do in Las Vegas with the kids on Halloween?  We'll be here:



Sunday from 4:00-7:00. 

Bite of Las Vegas 2010, the Recap

Last Saturday I packed up C and we headed off to Bite, timing it so that we missed the initial crush of Miranda Cosgrove fans. Parking was a breeze, thankfully. I opted to take the stroller since I was bringing in jackets, the Baby Bjorn, diaper bag, and a blanket. In the past I've had to park on this huge rock parking lot, and our stroller isn't made for that kind of off-roading. Anyway, no problem.


The Food:
Kalua Pig from Island Girl Catering. Delicious!! Island Girl doesn't have a brick and mortar location, but you'll find them at all the Hawaiian festivals and events around town and, obviously, can hire them for your catering needs. I didn't have the nerve to try the Spam dish they were serving, but everyone said that was fabulous, too. Unfortunately I can't find anything about them online.

Vegetable empanadas from Whole Foods. Have I gone on and on about my love of Whole Foods before?

Watermelon lemonade from Hash House. Yum!

Really wanted to try the treats at Atomic #7, but I was stuffed. Just look at their full menu here. Oh, and the frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity.

The Entertainment, in no particular order:

Frank Caliendo - Okay. An impersonator. Boring, usually. They used him well, though, to announce winners of food contests.  Those were entertaining 10 minutes.

Ryan Star - Awesome!  Cute!  Very sweet.  He cooed over my sweet C, and offered to get me a drink.  Talented and kind!  A winning combo!

Plain White T's - I'm always impressed when I hear a band live and they sound like, well, themselves.  Themselves on the radio or CD, that is.  That's not to say it wasn't a dynamic performance - it was.  They just proved that their sound isn't totally a product of crafty production in the studio. 

K'naan - Very entertaining.  I had to leave towards the end of his set, but he really got the crowd going.  Just as we reached the car I heard him talking to the crowd for awhile.  I like it when an entertainer engages the crowd musically and intellectually and really seems present in his performance. 

Sara Bareilles - We'd left by the time she went on, but I was able to meet her backstage, and she was very sweet (and had great shoes).  She offered to babysit C.  Don't think I wouldn't take her up on that!  That would be the best lullabye C would ever hear!  B says Sara sounded great.

Switchfoot - Again, we missed it.  Anyone have a review?

Christina Perri - Just heard the end, and wished I'd gotten there sooner.  I'm excited to see where her career takes her.

Miranda Cosgrove - Didn't meet her, but Lordy did she have a long line of people waiting for pics and autographs!  I understand that she and her people delayed her flight in order to stay longer and meet more people.  How nice!

Local Bands - Okay.  I didn't pay enough attention to which band was which, but I heard some solid talent over there, and they seemed to have decent crowds listening.  Bravo!

Cooking Stage - This year I vowed to make it to the cooking stage at the appropriate times, but instead I must've been eating or something at those times.  Next year...

Children's Area - Looked fun!  I'm excited for C to grow big enough for that fun.

All-in-all, a grand day.  The weather was beautiful, the entertainment was - um - entertaining, and the food was delicious.  What more could I ask for?

For more, including pictures and video, check here, the Mix 94.1 site.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vitame Vas, Kolache

The area I'm from in Nebraska has a fairly large Czech and Bohemian population (it's not far from a region known as the Bohemian Alps), my dad's family among them.  After several generations in America, most of the culture brought over by my ancestors seems to have drained out.  Apparently my grandparents were fluent in Czech, although I never heard more than a few random phrases.  The one area where our heritage has paled to a lesser degree, though, was the food:  duck and dumplings, sauerkraut, rohliky, and - most importantly - kolaches.  Now I like to bake, but I've never taken on the kolach challenge.  My mom (who is exactly 0% Czech, incidently) makes decent kolaches - great even in certain circles - but they are just different than those made by my 100% Czech grandma and aunts.  Currently I'm exposing my BB and C to none of my heritage, and I want that to change.  Through food.  So here it is.  The Kolach Challenge, which if successful will be followed by the Rohliky Challenge.  Let me preemptively apologize to my family.  I will do my best, but no one is as good as Grandma was.  Followed closely by Aunts E and R (ladies, do you want to fly out to LV for a lesson??  Bring samples.).  So here goes. I promise to update regardless of the outcome.

Image from Pietz's Kuchen Kitchen
I'm sure these are delicious, but the dough to filling ratio is off.  ;)
 Prosím , ať kolaches dopadlo tak lahodně .

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bite of Las Vegas 2010!

It's almost here - the 2010 Mix 94.1 Bite of Las Vegas!  If you haven't been to past Bites, it's an all day food an music festival featuring national and local bands and a plethora of delicious restaurants.  There are also carnival rides and games for kids and a stage for cooking demonstrations.  So here are the details...

Saturday, October 23rd

10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m
Desert Breeze Park (at Spring Mountain and Durango)

Admission: $9 for adults, free to children 5 and under

Food:  Menu selections range from Mexican, Asian, French, Mediterranean, Italian, pizza, gourmet sandwiches, barbecue, kids’ selections and desserts all offered in $1-$5 portions.

Entertainment:  Switchfoot, Sara Bareilles, K'naan, Plain White T's, Ryan Star, Christina Perri, along with an autograph session with Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) and four local Las Vegas bands (Play for Keeps, Redwine Rewind, Spadoni, and Parade of Lights)

Switchfoot:


Sara Bareilles:


K'naan:


Plain White T's:


Ryan Star

Christina Perri

Miranda Cosgrove

Local Bands

**Update**
Discounts are available:
•Purchase a family 4-pack of tickets for half price at lasvegashalfoff.com

(must be picked up at KMXB office starting Monday, October 18th, at 6655 W. Sahara Ave, Suite D-110. Tickets must be picked up before 5pm on Friday, October 22nd – tickets will not be mailed)

•Buy a bag of non-perishable food items at any Whole Foods Market location for City Mission and receive 2 free Bite tickets.

•Attendees can receive $1 off the admission price with a donation of canned food at the gate for the City Mission of Las Vegas. Additionally, $1 of every ticket sold will be donated to the City Mission to help feed Las Vegas’ hungry.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

From Waaaa to Zzzzzz

Around here we try to lay C down for the night when he's drowsy but still awake.  "Try" is the operative word here.  About 25% of the time he falls asleep when eating his last meal of the day, 25% of the time we think he's drowsy but something changes when we lay him down and he's suddenly wide awake, 25% of the time he's already overtired and fighting sleep with all the tools in his arsenal (squealing, crying, and clinging), and the last 25% of the time it works, to our surprise.  Alas, I think I've found a way to coax overtired C and wide awake C closer to peacefully sleeping C:  Pandora.  I know it's nothing new, but I just found the lullabye station, and I think C would like it (more than the clang-y lullabye on his mobile) and BB and I wouldn't get annoyed by it.  The last three songs, for example, were You Are My Sunshine by Elizabeth Mitchell, New Soul by Yael Naim, and Be My Baby by Linda Ronstadt.  See?  Not annoying!  AND, it's free!!  AND, it's not loaded with ads (there are some, but it's not bad).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tweak it!

I'm liking this...
La Mer Collections Cognac Brown Leather Watch
via Outblush, $98 at Metropark
...but maybe if it were just a bracelet I'd love it. 

take it from those who know...

In my dreams I am able to create recipes on the fly, bake like a champ, and come up with delightful new concoctions in the blink of an eye.  In reality I'm a stick-to-the-recipe kind of girl who relies on yummy looking pictures when choosing new recipes.  Look, I'm just not a person who can look at a list of ingredients and know if I'll like it or not, which as it turns out is okay, thanks to the talented Joe at Culinary in the Desert Country.  He posts recipes pulled from a variety of sources a few times a week along with a fairly detailed synopsis of the baking/cooking/creating process, tons of pictures, and a review of the final product.  It's become a reliable source around here.  Kudos!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Qualifications of the Famous

My 15-year-old niece was in town last weekend and one of the things she was hoping to do was see someone who is famous. That's not all that difficult in Las Vegas, but we were obviously not going to any clubs. We did, however, go to Target in our suburban neighborhood, and who did we see?? Scotty Nguyen.  Okay, so a poker player isn't exactly what a teenager has in mind when she thinks of famous people, but I think given the request, we successfully found her a "famous" person.  

from here

Anyway, isn't it funny what kinds of things can make people famous?  Rich and famous, I should say.  What if people were rich and famous for being social workers or special ed teachers?  I'm sure Mr. Nguyen and Justin Bieber are perfectly nice, deserving, giving people, but wouldn't it be refreshing if hospice workers were similarly compensated for the very meaningful work they do?

ps.  Scotty Nguyen was wearing his glasses, but I didn't see a bracelet.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Today's soundtrack starts with...

Neon Trees, Animal

Aloha!

No, I'm not going to or coming from Hawaii, but I am doing the next best thing.  This weekend is the Pure Aloha festival at the Silverton in Las Vegas.  Some of my family from Nebraska is going to be in town, so I think we'll head over (despite the lingering summer heat).  I suspect my realtor is dancing at the festival (she's in an elite hula group that competes at major events).  Bring on the poi!

Also on the agenda:
-Stratosphere rides (I'll be the official Holder of Things while they ride)
-Go-karting
-Shopping like we're rich, and shopping in reality
-Eating, eating, eating

Friday, September 24, 2010

money burning a hole in your pocket?

This would be perfect for a wedding or black-tie affair, and hey!  It's on sale! 

Satin Limelight Clutch from J Crew, $29.99

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oh, there are four of them?

Do you feel sorry for the Black Eyed Peas who aren't Fergie or Will.i.am??

Las Vegas: Buffet Epicenter

Many people think of buffets when they think of Las Vegas, and often, cheap buffets.  I'm generally a buffet hater (seems that food isn't usually at the correct temperature and I don't like strangers near my food), but we recently had the opportunity to try the newish buffet, Studio B, at M Resort and Casino.  Actually, we went to see "Martini Time with Chef Tina Martini," which comes with a trip to Studio B.  Brief tangent - Tina Martini has a lot of good nutrition and health information, which makes her show one worth seeing.  Don't expect it to work like a cooking show you'd see on the Food Network, though.  She just touches on a couple of techniques before bringing out the completed dish.  Back to the point, that was one good buffet.  Everything I tried was the appropriate temperature and tasted fresh, and I never noticed anything unappealing or potentially gag-inducing.  Reasonably priced, too - dinner was $22.95.  By my count, that's the third buffet I've been to in town, and easily the best (the others being the one at Paris and the seafood buffet at Rio).  I think you should go there tonight.  Don't miss the dessert selection.  :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

stuck in my head....

Honey Pie by the Beatles



Grace Kelly by Mika

Monday, September 20, 2010

You Are My Sunshine September 19-September 25, 2010

I intended to post today about my foray into making baby food of meat.  That's just not going to happen now.  It's still making me gag (I made sole, poached chicken, and sirloin).  The colors...the textures... the gagging...

I hope C thinks it tastes better than it looks.

Anyway, instead I'm going to sing the praises of the Whole Foods butchers.  If ever you are met with doubtful glances and disparaging comments when you mention that you make your own baby food, hustle over to Whole Foods.  The fish guy proved knowledgeable and kind when I asked about the best fish and methods, and the meat guy was awesome - he quickly deboned chicken thighs for me (or did he "bone" them??) while telling me about when he and his wife made baby food for their kids.  It was nice to be around like-minded people.  I love that place.

If you need more convincing of their fabulousness, check out their values here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Penny Saved...

The first thing I bought when I found out I was pregnant was a bank for the baby.  Every Friday I empty my change and dollar bills from the week into it.  Once C is old enough to start learning about the value of a dollar, we'll take him to the bank to open his own savings account (right now we use gift money given to him to buy savings bonds and CDs that we'll put into his future savings account when they mature).  Anyone need a good baby gift??

Animal Farm Money Bank (Bella) by Present Time, at Pacifier for $21
(we bought a sheep version from another retailer and love it)

Silver plated airplane bank from Rumors, on sale for $17.95

Vintage mechanical cast iron horse racing bank from Ebay, starting bid $275

Moonjar bank teaches children to allocate money for saving, sharing, & spending
Vintage tiger bank from Etsy seller ismoyo, $50

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bringing the Outdoors In

I lived in Omaha for several years, and among my favorite places were the Lauritzen Gardens and Fontenelle Forest.  Here in Las Vegas we have the Springs Preserve, which I suppose is okay - it has some nice educational displays inside and several great events, but a sort of sad garden.  We just don't have "lushness" here and though I'm sure the Springs Preserve people do all they can, the heat is just too much to overcome to create a really fabulous garden.  What's the cure?  Well, travel.  Aside from that, these:

Bonsai Forest Kit from Branch Home

Wee Cow Grazing on Moss from Etsy seller weegreenspot



Pillows from Etsy seller KainKain
 


Monday, September 13, 2010

Motherhood

Saw this on Highchair Critics and had to pass it on....



My C is growing up so fast.  Someday that purity, that innocence, and that trust will go from his eyes.  He won't smile and giggle with me over nothing.  I won't be his greatest comfort.  That's part of the gig.

Brocade Home

What do you think of this from Brocade Home?  If it were only about $150 instead of $349 it would be in my entryway.

and if I ever had a dressing room, I think this would be appropriate, also from Brocade Home

Is that a glass of whiskey?  I'll take that, too.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

You Are My Sunshine September 12-September 18, 2010

At last, the return of the pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks!  Here in Las Vegas, the normal precursors to fall, like changing leaves, crisp mornings, and harvest don't happen, so instead I use seasonal beverage availability to mark the time.  :)

I, for one, am happy to see the pumpkin spice latte's return, but that toffee mocha sounds pretty good, too.  If it weren't 98 degrees I'd go don a sweater...

Ooohhh, I just saw that The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is welcoming fall (beverages, anyway) on Tuesday the 14th by giving away free 12 oz. Classic Pumpkin or Cinnamon French Toast Lattes or Ice Blended drinks.  4p-7p.  Be there, but first check out the details

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Joys of Home Ownership

We took a mini-vacation over Labor Day weekend to visit BB's family in Nebraska - from Friday until Tuesday.  So, thinking myself wise, I decided to clean the house on Thursday night so we could come home to a nice clean house and less stress.  This is pretty much how that turned out:
Thursday, 3:00pm pick C up from day care
3:00-4:30 play with C and coax him to take a nap.  Fail at the coaxing.
4:30 feed C peas and clean up. 
5:00 start to prepare dinner, realize C has a low fever probably from his 6 month shots. 
5:03 give up on dinner.  Cuddle with C and administer Tylenol.
6:00 BB home to help round up the kitty and take him to the vet.
6:15 after much yowling and scratching, the kitty is kenneled and I'm off to the vet's to board him and then pick up Jimmy Johns.
7:20 home with dinner
7:40 bath time for C
7:55 C pees on our bed, soaking it down to the mattress. 
8:30 finally get all the bedding stripped and into the washer
8:45 B hears gushing coming from the laundry room and enters to find our laundry room closely resembles Atlantis.  Damn.
8:46-11:45 Clean up the laundry room.

So my house was left dirty, with the notable exception of the laundry room, which is cleaner than ever.  Thank God the laundry room isn't upstairs.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Home Ec, Circa 1989

When I was in Home Economics with Mrs. Taylor in 1989 I chose to make a pair of maroon (school colors, of course!) stirrup pants for my final sewing project.  I even wore them later to school on game days, as athletes had to dress up (which part is funnier - that I just called myself an "athlete," or that I considered my horribly executed maroon pants dress clothes??).  Anyway, looky what I found at Gap:

Gap Stirrup Leggings



Interested?  Get them for the low, low price of $12.99 in your choice of black or charcoal.  If only I had kept those pants, I'd be in style for sure!!  :)

101 Insults

So I just heard about a new book called 101 Places Not to See Before You Die by Catherine Price.  Among the sites listed in the anti-travel guide is Nevada.  The entire state of Nevada.    I've not been known to rave about Nevada, but it's an insult to everyone here to boil a whole state down to the less-than-lovely aspects of the Las Vegas Strip, nuclear fallout, the potential nuclear garbage dump, and a segment of the state profiting off of those who wish to look for evidence of aliens. 

Nevada has wonderful outdoor recreation (hiking, golf, climbing, biking, skiing, boating, and on and on), historical sites, shopping, restaurants, museums, and spas, just to get started.  If you're not into that, it has great shows of all kinds, concerts, gambling, and oddities.  The state is diverse in geography, economy, and culture.  It has something for everyone.  It doesn't have everything for everyone, but it has something.  Doesn't every state have something for everyone if they just care to look? 

Hey, we've all been places that underwhelmed.  The point is to take from a place what you can.  Go in with a positive attitude, do some research, and try to have fun.  Oh, and if you ever find yourself putting together a web site promoting your book, do a quick spell check (ahem, Ms. Price, that means you).

Ms. Price seems like an intelligent, funny, and well-rounded individual.  Her book won't harm any of the sites listed, and it might even promote some of them.  I'd just be more interested in a book that lists both the best things to do and see, as well as those that are best skipped, with the focus on the good.  Since we moved to Las Vegas, we constantly hear about all of the things people hate about Vegas, and are often met with surprise when people learn that there is more to the city than a five-mile strip of casinos.  Come on, people!  Las Vegans don't sit around playing slot machines and drinking booze from novelty cups until it's time to get to work flipping nudie cards at passers-by or stripping!  Sorry for going off on a tangent...

If you care to look for beautiful, interesting, and fun things in Nevada, check here first.  Then here.  Maybe I'll do a little post on things to love about this place soon.  Hey, here's a pretty place I haven't visited yet, the Ruby Mountains.


Ruby Mountains

Friday, August 27, 2010

Words

Watch this outstanding video found on Radiolab by Will Hoffman and Daniel Mercadante on words and language.



Doesn't it make you think about the minutia of life differently?  It's beautiful.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Good Eats, Courtesy of Beaba

We were fortunate enough to receive a Beaba Babycook steamer/blender/warmer/defroster as a baby shower gift, which fit right in with our plan to make C's food from natural, organic ingredients.  He's edging on 6 months now, and has been eating rice cereal for a week, so I thought it was high time I broke out the Babycook.  Isn't it cute?


I decided to go ahead and make C's next two weeks' of food (right now he's still on breast milk except for one meal in the evening, which is rice cereal.  We will be serving him one new organic fruit or vegetable every 4-5 days with a smaller portion of rice cereal or just milk).  This week we're doing avocado (which doesn't need to be cooked, just blended until smooth with a bit of milk).  Then sweet potato and pear will come next.

All I had to do was chop up the produce, throw it in the basket, add the appropriate amount of water to the tank (there's a reference guide in the manual), and turn the thing on.  Minutes later I had perfectly steamed sweet potatoes and pears.  I chose to leave all of the water left from the steaming process in the container, but you can drain some or add a different liquid if you like when you puree.  (I like the water because it contains some nutrients from the vegetables/fruits).  Anyway, next I dumped the cooked produce from the basket into the container, put on the lids and turned the dial to blend.  At this point you can choose how chunky you'd like the baby food, and since C is a beginner, I pureed it until it was smooth.   

Same story for the pears. I peeled them first, although I should've steamed them with the skins to get all of the nutrients, and then peeled before pureeing.  

So far I love my Beaba Babycook! 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Plain White Ts

Last night we left C with his first babysitter (that we're not related to, anyway) so we could go to an event with the Plain White Ts. I was surprisingly calm about the whole thing (only called home once!) since the sitter is actually a mom, herself, and clearly loves kids. The two of them got along wonderfully. It was good to get away, and the T's sang this sweet song



and we ate at Nove,where we had the most delicious carne cruda and a fantastic salad.  Thank you, J, for taking such good care of our C.  Thank you, Nick, for your kindness (please stop flaunting your cool Vespa and making BB think he needs one, too!!).  Thank you Zoe for the space and your kindness.  Thank you Nove chef for serving up the deliciousness.  Thank you BB for the great date!

Evicted!

It's a bad day for pigeons in my neighborhood. The pigeon guy has evicted the tenants of three nests on our house. They're pretty likely to move next door, but I don't care, as long as they stop pooing on our steps and driveway. Adieu, pigeons.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Enough Already, Katy!

If you're not listening to NPR Music's casual, intimate Tiny Desk Concerts, you should be.  Recent faves:

Raphael Saadiq


Zuill Bailey


Tallest Man on Earth


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes (they're wacky, but talented!)


So next time you catch yourself singing "Daisy Dukes, bikinis on top" for the thousandth time, go choose a tiny desk concert.  Any of them will do.

Bake-N-Blog: Lemon Cupcakes with Jam Filling

As mentioned previously, I'm participating in Staci Edwards' Bake-N-Blog project.  I chose cupcake #7 from Ming Makes Cupcakes, Lemon Cupcakes with Jam Filling, as shown above.  It's no surprise that I went with a lemon cupcake.  Just look what I found in my pantry...



Ahem.  Now pretend you didn't see that. 











On to better things....

First things first - who knew it would be hard to find cake flour?? Maybe people in Las Vegas don't bake much?  Anyway, after three stores I was ready to go.



The gang's all here.

Mix.  Cream.  Beat.


I was doubtful when I saw that the recipe calls for 4 eggs.  Forgive me.  They made the lightest, loveliest batter with the flour and buttermilk.  I might've even tasted it.  Don't judge.

In went the lemon juice and zest, and voila!  The batter was complete.  Easy!  Nearly as easy as that Betty Crocker cake mix, but now I know exactly what's in my cupcakes!  Next I filled the cupcake papers (was I supposed to use papers?  It's probably not as gorgeous as it could be, but I didn't know), popped them in the oven and cleaned my microwave and garbage disposal with leftover lemon parts while I waited.  Feeling newly virtuous, Sally Homemaker pulled the cupcakes out of the oven to cool.  Somehow I ended up with 22 cupcakes.  I guess I was a bit chintzy when filling the cups.



After cooling, I carved out cones from the tops, bit cut off the tips of the cones to make lids for the holes, filled the holes with raspberry jam, and topped them with the little lids.  Again, easy.


Next up, I topped the cupcakes with whipped cream and garnished with strawberries.


I found my taste tester in his office, delivered the goods, and awaited his reaction with bated breath...


The verdict?  "Perfect for summer, light and lemony."  So BB loved it, and he's generally a chocolate cake guy. 

I liked it, too, as you can see.  These would be perfect for a crowd, since I doubt you'd want to do the whipped cream and berries on a whole batch if you were not serving them right away.  Would it be overkill to top these with little pieces of candied lemon peel?  Blueberries would be great, too.


Fin.








Linky-link, fellow bake-n-bloggers:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Autumn

Let's ignore the fact that it's going to be 108 degrees today.  It's almost fall.  School has started, catalogs of Halloween costumes are out, and the nights are growing cooler. My sister and I were daydreaming about sitting out on the porch with a good book, a sweater, and a cup of hot tea smelling the crisp autumn air . . . ooooooooh, I can't wait!  Until then, I can swoon over these:

His for Fall:
Kenneth Cole Reaction Motorcycle Jacket
The North Face Men's Hayden Shoe

J Crew Argyle Sweater

Hers for Fall:
Frye Paige Tall Riding Boot

Banana Republic Wool Cloche


Anthropologie O'Reilly Jacket
Anthropologie Sugar-Coated Shirtdress


For Baby:

Next Knitted Romper
For the Home:
CB2 Branch Mat

Sundance Catalog Four Winds Throw

I'm guessing there are inexpensive versions of all of the above.  I'm off to find them.