Saturday, July 27, 2013

cooking tip: steamer baskets

In my infinite quest to find "cleaner" ways to eat, I have recently befriended the steamer basket. The concept is simple, baskets made of bamboo or metal sit atop one another in a pot of boiling water. The water steams the contents of the basket - no oil needed!

Simply throw your food in a basket or two in a pot filled about 3 inches with boiling water. In the photo below, you're looking at tilapia with cauliflower, broccoli and tomatoes. I think I threw in some scallions and red peppers. In 20 - 30 minutes, you're meal will be ready!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Happy 80th Birthday, Dad!!!

He's funny, he's silly, he's meticulous, he's the best father and Papa in the whole world!!!!

And today, he's 80 years young!!

We are all in my parent's hometown of Montreal, Quebec, celebrating this monumental occasion. And like a good sport, he wore a tiara on his head at 9 in the morning. 

He has taught me a lifetime of lessons over the years, but the one that sticks with me each and every day is that laughter is truly the best medicine (and best coping mechanism.) 

Happy birthday, Dad!!!! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

bugs for lunch

And then there was that time my four year old ordered and then ate a scorpion for lunch....

let me back up. We were having a discussion about bugs and he asked if people ever eat bugs. I said most people we know do not eat bugs, but explained that there are cultures in which bug eating is the norm. He then said that he wanted to try eating bugs. I went into mommy research mode and found a restaurant called Typhoon, housed at the Santa Monica airport that serves up a plethora of bugs!

I picked Doodle up early from school and we scanned the menu. Our choices were: grubs, ants, crickets and scorpions. Without hesitation, he chose scorpions. Two fried scorpions arrived on toast and he wolfed it down. But after one he was done. Then he made me take a bite out of the other one. It kinda tasted like a french fry. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

healthy trail mix

I made this uber healthy trail mix for the boys when we went camping and they scarfed it down! It's amazing what kids will eat when they're hungry!

Uber healthy trail mix:
1 cup puffed millet
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup dried fruit of your choice (I used apricots and bananas)
1/4 cup nuts of your choice ( I chose raw almonds)
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Mix together and place in a jar! This one will keep for weeks in your pantry.

Friday, July 19, 2013

hockey time

The boys began their first inline skating lessons. My husband is a huge fan of hockey (you may recall this picture we took last year when the L.A. Kings won the Stanley Cup).

 Not only does he love to watch it but he's been playing inline hockey forever and manages to play three times a week on three different leagues. 

When he first mentioned he was interested in getting the boys on skates, I kind of balked at him. Our kids aren't the most coordinated. Or at so I thought. 

Turns out, the months Mr. P. has spent skating around our yard in skates with no shoes has prepared him for inline skates. (I wouldn't last two second on those skates!) 

He now has an amazing command of the ground, he can T-stop and he just figured out how to skate backwards?? 

And Doodle is doing great as well! A little more cautious, but he's upright! Most of the time....

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

sewing tip: double needle

Did you know you could replace your regular, boring, single needle with one of these double needles? They come in varying width depending on what kind of stitch you want.

Most sewing machines have a place to put an additional spool of thread and then you get double the stitch work for the price of one!

Monday, July 15, 2013

what i ate #15

So far, this has been the summer of cooking! We enjoyed this Salted Thai Fish from Gwenyth Paltrow's new cookbook, It's All Good. Considering my new diet restrictions, this book offers so many healthy recipes. My kids loved the "candy bars" made from gluten free rolled oats, dates and dried fruit and the turkey sausage paella was also really yummy. 

But back to my fish....we covered this Thai snapper with salt:

foraged for some Japanese eggplant in the garden:

and made this eggplant, basil and miso dish:

we served it with some kimchi (the purple one is store bought, the white one is home brewed!)

and homemade miso soup: (why does it look like there's a baby turtle floating in that first bowl of soup??)

and the Thai Snapper, which I remembered to snap only after half of it had been eating by ravenous diners:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

road trippin!

Mr. P. and I had our annual end of the school year road trip up the California Coast. First stop, as requested, a stay at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. The kitchy hotel boasts an inordinate amount of themed-rooms: caveman room, Swiss Alps room (see last year's post) and this time, we got the pink room, that has another fancy name, but really should just be called the pink room. 

Even the walls sparkled. 

Golden cherubs hung from the ceiling. 

We climbed some pretty fancy spiral staircases to get to our room!

These goblets are only sold here! Mr. P. always picks one out for his little brother. 

Then we were off to San Francisco to spend less than 24 hours! Considering what little time we had we managed to see my friend from college who just had a baby, our friends and her two daughters who moved from L.A. to S.F. a few years ago and a night out with some of my camp friends!

We headed up the coast to the Santa Rosa airport, a.k.a. the most stress-free airport ever and had lunch and read as we awaited Doodle and my husband's arrival. Although I did get carded at the restaurant (we were in wine country after all) I decided that she must have glaucoma or something. 

Then up, up, up the coast to Farm Camp!! I've been coming here for the past 28 years! (minus a few summers here and there) first as a camper, then counselor, then assistant director, then to family camp with the kids!

Even though Doodle looks grumpy cold in the photo above, we did have a great time!

That's a banana slug:

Fierce hiker:

The camp's owner was on her way to a party with these appetizers in pretty is that??

We made new friends at the barn dance:

And were very cold in the mornings:

Spend some time in a tree:

With a dragon head:

making more new friends:

These two braved the cold and slept outside one night. They slept in until almost nine when a meandering pregnant  goat discovered them. 

the puppies were so cute!!

And the nine hour ride home was off to a beautiful start!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

kale pesto and veggies

I'm slowly culling together new snack alternatives for my new non-dairy, non-wheat, non-egg, non-most legume way of life. 

Last week, I shared with you my favorite crackers and today, this simple pesto and veggies delights as an afternoon snack. 

Kale Pesto and Veggies
2 cups of chopped kale
1 clove of pressed garlic
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1/2 cup of olive oil (or other oil)

Place ingredients in a food processor (I like using my mini food processor for this since it's a single serving) and blend until ingredients combine. Add more oil if necessary. 

You could also double or triple down on the recipe and jar the rest for later use. 

Serve with fresh, sliced veggies!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


The winner of the Jack and the Giant Slayer DVD giveaway is Anonymous who wrote:

"I am an email subscriber AND a real follower of your blog! Love it. My favorite fairy tale is Snow White!"

Congratulations! I have already sent you an email requesting your mailing address!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

playing the mandolin

I play the piano. I play the guitar. I've been known to bust out a ditty on the harmonica. And I recently learned how to play the mandolin. 

Wait, wait....not this kind of mandolin:

This kind:

I don't know how I ever lived without one! They are so easy to use and make the perfect slices! I've cut daikon for homemade kimchi (tutorial coming soon), sliced perfect rounds of cucumber, baked shoe string fries and sliced super thin beets to put atop salads which is great because they're raw, but so thin!!

I really like this make and model from William Sonoma because it's easy to change the blades and there's a great safety guard so I don't have to worry about slicing my skin off into crinkle cuts!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Serge: my new crush

Meet Serge. He's powerful. And swarthy. And a bit noisy. Just how I like my men. 

I've wanted to purchase a serger forever, but after researching them, decided they were too expensive. From what I had gathered, lower end sergers cost around $500 and the higher end ones approached $4,000!!!! Who knew?

So I gave up on my dream of converging with Serge. 

Then a sewing machine sale popped up on (you ever shop there? They have such unique items: shoes, clothing housewares, at incredibly discounted prices) and there I saw Serge...originally $700 on sale for $250. I knew this was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. 

He arrived on my doorstep and sat in his box. I was too afraid to open him. Too afraid of the time commitment I was going to have to make learning how to operate yet another machine. I was afraid of his four-spooled physique. But after a trip to my local fabric store, I inquired as to whether or not they gave serging lessons and, they did!

I went to my one hour lesson the other day with Jacqueline. Now here is a woman after my own heart. She makes ALL her own clothes and she even recently made her wedding dress as well as all the bridesmaid dresses and linens!!

She helped me through the basics of to thread him (it is a complicated process, but once I did it a few times, I think I have it down) and what he can do (although I think we only really scratched the surface there). 

For those of you who aren't familiar with sergers...they are like a sewing machine, but instead of using one spool of thread they use 4 in an intricate interlocking fashion to make edges that look like this. 

In fact, if you look at the underside of most of your garments you will see evidence of a serger or serger-like machine has been used. The threading is durable in a way that regular sewing isn't and if you like working with knits or jersey...serging the material will not alter the way the material stretches as sewing does. Plus Serge works super fast!!

But he is loud. I wondered who was jack hammering out my window and then realized it was just Serge. 

Jacqueline suggested I use four different color threads until I get to know the machine, that way, if one stitch looks wonky I can figure out and adjust the right one. 

So far, Serge and I came together one afternoon and produced a set of octuplets in the form of napkins. 

Who knows what we'll make next?

(and who knows why I have sexualized my Serger??!! But if you're still reading my posts after all this, then I know you still love me.)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

burp cloths

Well, it's been a while since I did some sewing! But my mom ordered some burp cloths and a changing pad, so I was back at it!

Usually I try and use white swirly minky for the underside of my burp cloths, but the fabric store only had this vibrant pink minky with stars. 

I think pairing it with some orange "pier-themed" fabric toned down the loud pink!

One of these days I'll get more items into my etsy store!!!