Tuesday, January 31, 2012

#5 / 52 Food Adventures: Bison

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This weeks post will be short and sweet.
We went to True Food Kitchen (which I'll blog about at Eating the Orange on Thursday)
and as soon as I saw bison on the menu I knew I had to try it.

So, yeah, it tastes like beef.  
I thought the burger was tasty and the umami sauce on it was phenomenal but that's a different subject.

Bison has been described as sweeter or richer than beef but a burger is probably not the best way to really compare.  I did a quick internet search and found this info on the nutritional difference:

Ground bison and beef are high in protein (about 22g per serving) and in many vitamins (e.g. niacin, vitamins B-6, B-12 and A, iron, selenium, zinc and phosphorous). Both are also high in cholesterol. Bison burgers are far lower in fat than all but very lean ground beef burgers. Unlike nonorganic beef, bison are not exposed to antibiotics or growth hormones.

So really, although the flavor might not be much different the fact that it's healthier makes me a happy camper.
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Peanut had a bite and he like it too.

He was more interested in eating our veggies and the "pish" from our fish tacos.

Have you ever tried bison?
What did you eat this week?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Raspberry Heart-shaped Cinnamon Rolls

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Valentine's Day is just around the corner and I've been thinking of some easy treats.

These Raspberry Heart-shaped Cinnamon Rolls are quick to make and easily customizable.

Although you could most certainly make this all by scratch if you're feeling fancy,
I used store-bought cinnamon rolls and raspberry preserves.

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I made these in both plain and raspberry but the raspberry won out in making this treat special.

Raspberry Heart-shaped Cinnamon Rolls
Open your package of dough (try not to flinch)
Unroll until it's completely flat.
Cover with a layer of raspberry preserves- there will be some ooze and you're going to lose some during baking so mess is unavoidable.
Roll both of the edges until you almost meet in the middle.
Pinch the bottom to complete your heart.
Lick fingers.
Bake according to package directions.
Frost.
Eat.

Perfect for a Valentine breakfast, gift or surprise treat!

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Can you just see all the possibilities?

Strawberry, orange marmalade, blackberry, apple butter, apricot, bacon, what?

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I may have to try them all.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Bru Grill & Market


We finally made it into Bru in Lake Forest!

Peanut had his first taste of lamb shank and a bite of these donut pops (sitting on fresh cotton candy).

For the full post come over to Eating the Orange!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Our playtime checklist for 2012

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It seems that sometimes I come across approximately one million things to do with the Peanut
and other days I completely draw a blank.
Orange County is packed with things to do.  Every day.  All kinds of things!

This year I've come up with 10 things that we would like to do as a family.

You noticed that I said I've come up with things we would like to do.
It's my job as a wife and mother to tell B the things that he really wants to do with us
 but just didn't know it yet.

Find my list HERE, maybe we can plan a trip together!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

#4 / 52 Food Adventures: Veggie Chips

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Although I never intended for this to be a challenge on cooking,
 we just haven't tried anything new at the restaurants we've been to.

We've been focusing on using all the gorgeous fruits and veggies from our CSA.
We've now decided that we're going to try and made everything into chips.

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Kale chips, which aren't pictured, are very popular in our house.
Everyone likes them, even the Peanut.

Although, I'm pretty sure Peanut likes them because
 he thinks he's getting away with eating crunchy paper.

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May I also say that I had to overcome my fear of the mandolin for this weeks adventure.
My mom broke out her fancy professional one and I concentrated hard on keeping all my fingertips and knuckles because, believe me, I've seen a lot of people lose both on this thing.


I tried beet chips and butternut squash chips and liked them both with a few adjustments.
The beet chips were really tasty.  I think I would just use a oil spray on the cookie sheet and then a light spray over top instead of tossing in oil.

The butternut squash recipe was a little hit and miss but that was mainly because I sliced all of my squash too thin.  I think next time I would do them thicker and maybe lower the temp a bit.

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I thought I would try and get a pretty picture of my beet chips.

I took out all my bestest chips and stacked them up,
put a cutting board behind to eliminate all the background "noise"
and right as I picked up my camera it fell on my pretty posed chips.

WHACK!

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Then I quickly brushed the crumbs into my hand and shoved them in my mouth.

What did you try this week?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

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Happy Chinese New Year!

Today is the first day of the lunar new year and

this year marks the Year of the Dragon!

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It's cold and rainy today and we don't have much planned
so we started off the day with a big breakfast, some cuddles on the couch and 
a special book on Chinese New Year.

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There are flaps, pop-ups, textures, scratch and sniff and lots of information given in the form of a fun story.  Lenny and Lili and their family prepare for the new year by sweeping our the old year and welcoming the new,decorating with oranges and tangerines (that you can smell),
making long noodles and lots more.

My favorite is when the family sits to eat dim sum
and you can lift the flaps to see what they are eating!

Steamed Buns!  Spare Ribs!  Pork Dumplings!
I'm thinking about adding in the Chinese names for the food too.

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Next year we'll plan for some decorations and celebrations.

Are you celebrating today?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mia's Bee Birthday

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Miss Mia turned 1 year old in December but I haven't had the time to post about it until now.

So you've been missing out on this amazing party that her mama Joanne (and her husband Mike) put together.

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You can imagine how excited I was to find out that it was a Bee theme.

Despite the fact that this particular day there were freakishly strong Santa Ana winds tearing through Orange County, the party was picture perfect and tons of fun.

The kids had little bumble bee snacks made from snack bags and painted clothespins.
There were antennas for all the little bees to wear as well.

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This little bee was all over the place.
If Auntie Jen hadn't been there watching out I never would have been able to snap any pictures.

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Is this not the cutest, most creative thing ever?
Yep, they put this together.

Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of any of the kids in it because I think Peanut was busy putting rocks and dirt in his mouth, but really, this is one of those ideas that will spread like wildfire.

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Another amazing game they put together is the honeycomb hunt.

Each child was able to break through the honeycomb to grab their prizes.

I can only imagine how long they worked on creating all these things.

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Of course I was immediately drawn to the dessert table, as always.

Not pictures was another table full of awesome Vietnamese food as well as hamburgers, hot dogs and salads.  I had some of everything and Peanut had his first egg roll.

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The dessert table had everything from the amazing beehive cake and cupcakes to rice crispy treats, cookies, kettle corn and oreo truffles.

Isn't that cake amazing?!

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I also always love looking at the photos of baby's first year.
It's incredible how much they change, every day you hit a new milestone.

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Let's all discuss this tutu.  Holy yellow fluff.
This is why I need to have a baby girl.
Or maybe why I don't need to have a baby girl.

She is the cutest little thing ever!
She takes after her mom, obviously.

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As party favors the kids were given age appropriate bee books.

Peanut absolutely loves his Buzz-Buzz Busy Bees book, complex with 3D bees.

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He was super excited about this cluster of balloons.

He wanted to take them all with us.
I wanted to take them with us too.  Who wouldn't want polka dot balloons?

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Little Harlow was just loving the swing at the park,
while Peanut sat and covered himself in sand, which is all he really wants to do at parks anyway.

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Thank you Joanne and Mike for a wonderful party and tons of fantastic ideas :)

Happy Birthday Mia!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

#3 / 52 Food Adventures: Drink Your Greens

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We've been getting this gorgeous spinach in our CSA box lately.
It's not like the baby spinach we would get at the store and it has a great sweetness to it.

I knew right away that I wanted to try some of the smoothies I've been seeing all over Pinterest.

I tried 3 different smoothies and although they get an A for flavor, 
the appearance is obviously lacking.

This first one came out a weird color because it's a blend of spinach, banana and strawberries.

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Green Berry Blend
1 cup packed spinach
1 cup strawberries
1 banana
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup ice
Blend.

I really liked this and I've decided that you can't really taste the spinach at all.

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Luckily Peanut will try anything, regardless of how it looks because my dad said my smoothie looked like something Shrek would drink.

Peanut seemed to like it just fine!
I'll be making this again.

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Banana, Avocado, Strawberry Smoothie
2 medium bananas
1 small avocado
1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup ice
1 tbs honey or agave (optional)
Blend.
Taste your mixture and add the honey or agave if you need it.  
If your fruit is really sweet you might not.

I loved this one and Daniel seriously couldn't get enough of it.

If only I could get the boys to use a straw, this would all be so much easier.

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Green Monster Spinach Smoothie was a fail that was entirely my fault because I lacked ingredients and it wasn't even blended enough resulting in weird chunks and pieces of leaves.

Chewing on your smoothie is weird.

If you try something new or come across some ideas, 

Did you try anything new this week?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

85°C Bakery Cafe, Irvine

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Have you been to 85°C yet?  You know, that bakery with the long line out the door...
the one with trays and trays and trays of goodies to choose from.

From squid ink rolls to marbled taro bread to lemon pastries, this is the place to go for baked goods and great coffee.

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If you haven't been there then put it on your checklist and check out my post about it HERE

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fall is here!

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When we first moved way out here in the "wilderness" which is to say I'm 20 minutes away from
Huntington Beach where I grew up, but I'm 20 minutes into the wilderness I tell you.

Sure you may laugh at our OC wilderness but did you know that my friend Kelly and I were on a walk Tuesday and we saw vultures?!  
Big ugly vultures with scary, icky red hangy-skinned heads and they were eating a dead bird.
That, my friends, is wilderness.

Anyway, out here in the wilderness of South Orange County we have lots of trees, and trails,
and gorgeous parks, and did I mention trees?

Perhaps this isn't a big deal to you but did you know that some of our trees have 
leaves that change color?!

It's crazy, I know.
That first year I couldn't wait until the leaves changed during autumn.
Although it's still mostly green all year round I still love those streets where it seems like the seasons come alive.

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Of course, these are Southern California trees and they didn't grow up with tree parents to mold and guide them and tell them that the leaves are supposed to change to gorgeous orange and red in the FALL!

Some did but we still have quite a few stragglers that are turning brilliant colors now.

These Orange County kids have been deprived of running through falling leaves
and jumping into piles in front of their houses.

The fact that it was 77°F doesn't help with my little fall fantasy.

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So this daddy decided to take nature into his own hands and give these trees a little help.

Oh man, you should have seen these kids running around as the leaves fluttered around them.

Such a dad thing to do.
That man is halfway up that tree, shaken' it around.

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Peanut is wondering what in the world is going on.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's time to slow down

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The presents have been opened, the cookies devoured, friends and family visited and the past month has flown by in a blur of non-stop celebrations.

After spending weeks in anticipation, always looking forward to what is happening next, it can be hard for the kids (and parents) to switch gears and slow down.

Now is the time for a bit of quiet, for a bit of reflection, some semblance of sanity returned and a whole lot of Orange County beauty.

These five places will give you the calm and quiet you need:


see the rest of my article HERE

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

#2 / 52 Food Adventures: One Ingredient Ice Cream

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I've been seeing this ice cream for years now.

Just one ingredient, can you believe it?
It's creamy and delicious and sweet.

It's just frozen bananas!
Of course, I had to try it 3 different ways and I already have a plan for more ways to try this.

~~~~

But first, let's talk Pinterest.

Let's be honest, half of us can't plan a party (or a dinner... or a present....or get through the day) without first consulting Pinterest.

The lovely LeAnna suggested I start a Pinterest Board for inspiration and then we thought- 
Hey!  Let's do a community board!

It's a place we can all pin fun ideas for our 52 Food Adventures and 
comment on recipes or ideas we've tried.  

Check out the 52 Food Adventures Community Board and let me know if you'd like to be a part of it- I'll send you an invite to the board!

By the way, stop by LeAnna's blog and see how her food adventure went this week  ~snicker~

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So back to the one ingredient ice cream.

You freeze and then blend a banana.  Tada!

I loved it.  It's like a healthy eaters dream.  Don't even tell people that it's straight frozen banana.
Give it to your husband, your kids and your I'm allergic to everything friend.

For more detailed directions go here.  I found that it blended better in a food processor (I used a mini for just one banana) as the small amount bounced around in my blender.

But I think I'll make this again in a big batch.

It comes out like soft serve
 so if you want it to be more like regular ice cream I suggest freezing it again for another hour.

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I've seen this all over Pinterest and so I decided to try adding peanut butter.  
I thought 2 tbs for one banana was way too much.

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I also tried a chocolate version by adding cocoa powder.
2 tbs cocoa powder for every banana.

This was a big win for me.
Chocolate and banana.  Yes!

Peanut thought he was getting away with murder when I let him eat some.

I mean, you could sprinkle this with some crushed nuts and you have a deconstructed frozen banana!

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As you can see, it was a big hit.

Other variations I've heard of are Nutella (but seriously, an open jar of Nutella around here would just be dangerous), honey or a splash of vanilla.

I've seen other things that would up the calorie content but seriously, 
start by trying the plain banana.  I think you'll be impressed. 

Now, if you'd like to link up, thanks to Alicia I'm trying out this new link tool, so click below and link up!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Kula Revolving Sushi Bar



It's January and everyone still has ink stains on their fingers from the long list of New Years Resolutions.
Do people use pens still or is it just me? Are pens becoming obsolete?

Anyway, January is the month where everyone eats healthy and works out.

My solution the January mindset is sushi.  Actually my solution is not to have the mindset, but if you do, well then head out and get some sushi!

Don't just go anywhere, try Kula where all the plates are a mere $2.

Did you hear that?  $2 for quality sushi.

See my post on Kula at Eating The Orange.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bicycle Dreams

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The last couple weeks we've had the most amazing weather.  

It's been anywhere from low 70°s to low 80° but most often it's right in the mid 70°s which is absolutely perfect.

A few days after Christmas we were having one of those days.
Peanut was still exhausted from all the festivities but could not seem to settle down to nap.

We've never been able to force him into a nap and I just wasn't up to trying.
We decided that a bike ride down the street to the park would be the best remedy.

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The park down the street from us has lots of different play areas for little Peanuts to tire themselves out.

He could spend hours in the sand/dirt/wood chips.

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After a while we could see the Peanut slowing down.

He quietly sat there poking his stick in the ground.

Poke. Poke. Poke.

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Look at that sleepy smile and those tired eyes.

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The little Peanut was not happy to be leaving the park.

That's the worst part about the park, you know.  Mommy always makes you leave.

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On the way home B started laughing really hard.

Apparently Peanut just sort of leaned his helmet on B's arm and fell asleep.

Of course, all our loud laughing woke him up but before long his head was bobbing around, looking for a landing spot.

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A little guidance from daddy and he found himself quite comfortable.

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This kid, who naps well on, and only on, every second Tuesday in a month with a full moon when the wind is blowing from the East and Jupiter is in the Second House... fell asleep on a 5 minute bike ride.

I think he's having bicycle dreams.

Perhaps when we can't get him to sleep I should have B ride him around the neighborhood for an hour or two.


PS:  Always wear a helmet, even if you are only riding down the street.  Do not follow our example. :)
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