Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#9 / 52 Food Adventures: Food from The Playground

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This weeks food adventure was all about trying a new twist on things I've already had.
We went to dinner at The Playground for our friend Courtney's birthday.

It is a food lover's playground for sure.
I'll be doing a full post later at Eating the Orange but I couldn't help sharing some of the fun here.

First up we had crispy broccolini with a calabrian chili vinaigrette.  I've never heard of calabrian chili but now that I've seen the name I'm starting to notice it around.  The vinaigrette had the perfect balance of zing, smokiness, spice and salt.

We also had the honey roasted scarlet turnips.  I never knew that turnips could be gobbled up like candy.
I'll be keeping my eye out for more scarlet turnips as a fun way to mix things up a bit.

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The best fried chicken I've ever had in my life.

Apparently the chef/owner (who is a mere 25 years old) had this amazing chicken in New Orleans and came back home to re-create it.

It starts with a soak in Thomas Keller's brine, then gets dredged in a mixture of 3 parts Wondra, 1 part black pepper with a dash of cayenne and cinnamon.  Then it's tossed in a mixture of honey, red wine vinegar and Louisiana hot sauce.

It's not like any fried chicken I've ever tried and it's absolutely incredible.

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This last dish is so simple.

Sumo tangerines (or any kind of tangerine) with good quality olive oil and sprinkled with maldon sea salt.

I'd never thought to season tangerines or oranges with olive oil and salt.
I'm not sure why as I love salads with citrus on top.

I'll be doing this again.

I can't wait to go back to The Playground for some more food fun.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

He's Just Lost Without Me

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As you know, I went back to work 2 weeks ago.
I've been meaning to get on here and update how the transition went.

I've spent nearly all day every day with my little Peanut for his first 15 months. 
Sure we had play dates and time with friends and family... 
but I've always been near, just in case he needed me.

The first week was traumatic.
When he woke I was already gone and he cried for me for hours on end.
A few days a week I go to work later and end up taking him to my parents.
He cries uncontrollably when I leave.

When we are together he clings to me, starting to panic whenever I go to leave the room.
After work when I pick him up he runs to me... flinging himself into my arms.

His whole world has been turned upside down.
I'm not sure he'll ever recover.

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Oh wait a minute.... NONE OF THAT HAPPENED.


In fact, it was the complete opposite.

I think me leaving before he's even awake has worked out really well. 
Thats how we start off the week, Mon-Wed and he gets into a nice routine with daddy.

He didn't seem to miss me at all, although he didn't go back to sleep cuddled in bed like he usually would.

When he gets dropped off at my parents he sweetly waves goodbye.

That first day back, I sped over to pick him up.
I couldn't wait to see him.  I couldn't wait for him to run into my arms.

I quietly opened the door as he was playing with his cousin.
They both looked over.

Peanut went back to playing.

When he finally made his way over to me it was only to grab my phone and start talking to it.

Rotten kid.


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Poor Peanut had Roseola and the rash got much worse but he's fine now and all is well.

How did I handle the separation?

To be honest I was totally fine. 
Perhaps it's just the fact that I'm still learning something new and 
so my mind is focused on something else.

I think in the mornings I'm too tired to think at all.
I leave the house by 6 am and I'm home from work by 2:30.

Sometimes I get home earlier and I'm there when he gets up from his nap.
The schedule just really works out for us.

Of course, Peanut celebrated my first week back with Roseola, temperatures in the 103 range, followed by a whole body rash.  Lots of sleepless nights and lots of coffee.
He's better now.

I'm adjusting to the early rise.  I used to go to bed at 1 am and now I try and force a 10 pm bedtime.
It's all cut into my blogging and my reading but I think I'll get into some kind of a rhythm over the next couple of weeks.

Overall it's been shockingly trauma free.

Whats it take for mom to get a running welcome 'round here?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

#8 / 52 Food Adventures: Romanesco Cauliflower

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We received Romanesco Cauliflower (or Romanesco Broccoli depending on where you get your info) in our last CSA box and we've never had it before.

It's quite stunning.

It was mostly that gorgeous lime green (the picture is a little light)
 with just a few bits of purple along the base.

We decided just to roast it with evoo, salt and pepper.

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Oh my.
Sweet, tender, delicious.

It tastes like a cross between broccoli and cauliflower.

I'm crossing my fingers we get more!
It didn't even make it to the dinner table.

Peanut couldn't get enough of it.

Have you had Romanesco Cauliflower before and how do you prepare it?

What did you try this week?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

#7 / 52 Food Adventures: Chocolate Cheddar Cheese

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I'm running way behind on this weeks posts but I think you know why :)

I adore cheese.  I adore chocolate.  
I saw this at Trader Joe's and didn't hesitate to try it.

I was curious about the pairing with cheddar, a creamy brie seems more likely, 
but I really liked this.

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The cheddar is strong, sharp and slightly creamy and the chocolate is dark and not too sweet.

I think it's a great conversation cheese and I really liked it.
B thought it was good but he'd rather eat a stinky blue cheese.

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Peanut liked it.
He's saying cheeeeeese in this picture.
This is after his first day home with daddy.  They are both exhausted.

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What is your absolute favorite cheese?

What did you try this week?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It's that time

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The time to go back to work has come.  It's here.  I officially start tomorrow.

It's actually been in the works since last summer when it was first mentioned to me.  I was going to start the beginning of January, then the end of January, then a few days before that, they postponed to March and again a few days ago they asked me to start tomorrow.  It's been a bit chaotic.  A bit stressful.  I'm used to a lot of organization and I've had a hard time adjusting before I've even begun.  I still don't know my schedule past my start time on Monday.

What am I doing?  Well, it's back to the restaurant for me!  Although I swore I'd never go back, this restaurant is only open from 7 am to 3 pm and that is a schedule that will work with me, B and the Peanut.  Besides, you know how I love food.

I think I've been in denial.  I went through a brief period of sadness and then a brief period of excitement back in the beginning of January.  Since then I've been in a state of denial.  I think it was just too much trying to get prepared each time I thought I was going to start.  So tomorrow at the insane hour of 6:30 am I officially start managing.

B will have Peanut in the mornings (somedays he doesn't work until 12) and his weekday off.  Then B will take Peanut over to my mom's house.  Unfortunately for B he needs to make a 20 minute drive to drop off Peanut before going to work 3 miles from our house.  Fortunately Peanut gets to spend days playing (and getting spoiled at) Grandma's house.  I'll pick him up after work which is halfway between our house and my parents.

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We're in for a lot of adjustments.  I'm not worried about the Peanut at all.  We're already at my parent's house constantly.  In fact, he'll be even more spoiled without me around.  I'm not worried about my mom as she already knows his schedule.  It's really the ideal situation, getting to have her around to take care of my baby.

 I'm sure I'll miss him though.
 I'll miss the wake-up time in the morning. 
I love that time when he's all smiles and cuddles and we read books in bed.

B is a different story.  I actually can't wait until he has Peanut one day a week by himself.  B has never really had to get Peanut out the door in the mornings.  I believe he's had him twice for the day since Peanut was been born.  This is going to be fun for mommy!  I'm not sure B gets how much life is going to change for him having to run the Peanut around and take care of him during the day.  I'm sure it's going to be fine but you know how it is... somedays can be rough/exhausting with a little one.  Heck, that's why I have playdates and go to my parents house.
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Remind me to lay out Peanut's clothes for B. This is what happens when daddy dresses the baby.
And his onesie is on backwards.
As for me, well I'm nervous and anxious and becoming a bit more excited as I type.  It's been a long time.  I'm so grateful to have had this time with Peanut.  15 months of my attention focused on helping my baby learn and grow.  I never thought I'd have that type of opportunity.

I'm curious as to how long it'll take me to get back into the groove of working.  B doesn't think it'll be long.  I've always been eager to work, to do things correctly, to iron out the kinks and put things in place.  I'm looking forward to being back around people... and food.   I'll have to learn to balance out my obligations, my writing, my reading and my playtime.

I think I can do it all.  I have my priorities and I'll stick to those.  I'm pretty sure I remember how to do this whole working thing.  It's like riding a bike... right?

Maybe thats not a good example.  I'm horrible on a bike.

So here we go again.  I'll report back on how work is going!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Just let me eat.


Peanut just wants to eat.  
He keeps signing more as I ask him questions.

He's a pretty patient kid.

PS Does anyone know why videos seem to look like crap when you upload thru blogger?  
Are there any alternatives besides youtube?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cranberry Lemon Heart Scones

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Can you believe that Valentine's Day is on Tuesday?
I had all these plans for projects :)
I was going to make things.  Pinterest things.

Well those projects may or may not get done but either way at least I made these yummy heart scones.

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I used a scone recipe from Baked Bree, halved it and substituted cranberries for blueberries.
You can find her recipe HERE.

I also left out the vanilla in the glaze, substituting milk, but that had more to do with color than flavor.

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A quick word about scones.  It seems that some people like them dense and crumbly while others like scones to be light and flakey.

These are definitely the lighter, flakey type.
They have the consistency of a biscuit and are very yummy.

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These would be perfect with a nice cup of coffee or tea for your honey on Valentine's Day!

If you aren't feeling the completely homemade scones you could always try these easy semi-homemade Raspberry Heart-shaped Cinnamon Rolls.

Do you have plans for Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

In case of zombies

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I've always been very imaginative.

It doesn't always work in my favor.
In fact, I'm not sure it ever works in my favor.

Once, when I was very little, my mom was giving me a bath.
She took the washcloth, swished it through water and said (in a very playful voice, I'm sure),
"Look at the little fishy!  It's gonna get you!" 

After which I began screaming whilst desperately trying to escape the piranha 
that had been unleashed into the bathtub.
No amount of explanations (including showing me the washcloth) 
could convince me that I was not about to be eaten.

This imagination has followed me into adulthood, making it completely impossible to watch scary movies and allowing me to spend vast amounts of time creating elaborate and highly unlikely scenarios in my head.  These include, but are not limited to, magical adventures, what to do in the midst of natural (albeit highly unlikely or sometimes impossible) disasters, ways in which I will suddenly become rich without having to do any kind of work, ways in which to use talents I don't actually have and many other things I don't dare put on paper.

Becoming a mother did not bring about a change in which I automatically grew out of my fear of scary movies (accurately described here) or my tendency to have a wild imagination.


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The other day, as I was flipping through channels,
 I spent about 2 minutes watching some kind of zombie movie.  
Although it didn't scare me, it seemed to set into motion a certain primal instinct.

The instinct of a mother to protect her young.
(Of course.)

weirdo + hyper-active imagination + motherhood + impossible scenario = days spent analyzing how to keep my baby alive in the event of zombie apocalypse.

Now I'm not saying that I lost sleep over it (at least not much) but when I was driving or waiting for the bath to fill or packing the diaper bag, I found myself thinking about how to protect the Peanut from zombies.

How long could I feed him on the food we have in the apartment?
Would we have the necessities to survive on our own?
Where would be the safest place to hide?
How would I keep him quiet at night?
What would I do to protect him?
What could I use to block the windows?
How would we get to B (who was always at work when the apocalypse hit)?

It is true that I realized there were things that I needed in the apartment, like basic food supplies, that I could use in realistic scenarios like an earthquake.  Really though, that was just a by-product of the craziness.

Zombies.
Mmmm-hmmm, protecting my baby from zombies.

The zombie preparation kit.
The Mother's Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit.

I'll let you know when I'm ready to start marketing my new product.

For now I'm onto bigger ideas, like what I'll do with all the money I win on the lottery I never play.




Tuesday, February 7, 2012

#6 / 52 Food Adventures: Creamy Avocado Pasta

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Picture from Two Peas and their Pod

This wasn't originally what I was going to post today but the computer gods are working against me.
However, I am glad I decided to throw this together at the last minute.

This creamy avocado pasta doesn't have any cream or butter but uses avocado instead for the smooth consistency.

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I made such a small batch I couldn't get it smooth and didn't bother trying to take a pretty picture but
the flavor was all there.
I did add parmesan cheese because I just looove cheese.

I'm going to play with variations of this for the Peanut.
I love avocado but I think this would work for people who don't love it like I do.

The combination of the avocado with lime and cilantro
make for a really refreshing spin on ordinary pasta.

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This picture is just to make up for the ugly pasta picture I took :)
Thank you for the beanie Auntie Christina!

@*%$%#!$^^ internet

I'm having issues with my internet.  Again.  I'll have a 52 Food Adventures post up ASAP :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Sweetest Spots in Orange County

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Valentine's Day.  A day to indulge!
A day of love... and by love I mostly mean chocolate.

I love that Valentine's Day is far enough away from our New Year's resolutions that we can eat dessert again.  Or perhaps it's a reward for sticking to that exercise plan.

I'll be honest, I didn't make any resolutions that prohibited dessert.
I'm rambling.

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In anticipation of this lovely holiday I asked my facebook friends (who always answer my article questions) to tell me about their favorite sweet shops.

I added in a few of my own and we now have a fantastic list of shops,
all of which I must visit soon, in the name of blogging, of course.

Visit me HERE for the post!

What are your favorite sweets?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's electrifying!

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I've got chills 
They're multiplying
And I'm losing control
'Cause the power you're supplying...

I'm supposed to be writing an article right now.
I can't think of anything to write on the topic.

So instead I'm looking through pictures B has sent me from his phone.

And singing the words to Grease songs.

You know how those playground slides can be.
Peanut always wonders why his head feels so weird.
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