Friday, July 29, 2011

I Thought We Got Lucky. Nope.

Somebody promptly turned three:

and the next day, 
began the Terrible Twos phase (late bloomer??).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Herb Quinoa

I'm a sucker for any recipe containing feta cheese and herbs. Combined, they deliver a punch of flavor. Add in any type of grain or pasta (quinoa, couscous, barley, etc) and I'm sold. That's why I saved this recipe. Oh and it was a big plus that I didn't have to turn on the oven :)

Quinoa Toss with Chickpeas and Herbs
(courtesy of Good Housekeeping Magazine)

1 C. quinoa
2 C. chicken or vegetable broth
2 ears fresh corn or 1 C. frozen corn, thawed
1 15-oz. can chickpeas
1/2 C. crumbled feta cheese
1/4 C. finely chopped sweet onion
3 Tbsp. snipped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 C. olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 C. diced, cooked beets
Romaine leaves

Rinse quinoa in fine mesh sieve under cold running water, drain. In saucepan bring broth to boiling. Add quinoa. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 15 mins. or until broth is absorbed. Remove from heat; set aside to cool.

Cut corn from cobs. Rinse and drain chickpeas. In bowl combine quinoa, corn, chickpeas, cheese, onion, and herbs. For dressing, in bowl whisk together oil, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add to quinoa mixture; toss to coat.

Cover and let stand at least 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving. Stir in beets just before serving. Serve in bowls lined with romaine leaves. Makes 8 (1-cup) servings.

My notes: This was a little more time consuming that other recipes I've put on my blog. First of all, who has a fine sieve for quinoa?  Quinoa is too tiny for my normal sieve so I had to use a teeny one I use mostly for straining tea leaves and lemon juice so I had to rinse the quinoa in portions (it looked ridiculous). That was a little annoying; I hadn't read that part before starting the recipe. Also, I ended up having to use frozen corn (it was fine) and a regular purple onion (the sweet one would have been better). The other time consuming part was the chopping/snipping -- have I stated before that I stink at chopping? I'm slow and I don't cut up everything evenly. I'm trying to get better but I'm still slow. It takes a while to snip 5 tablespoons of herbs. Maybe I was being too particular. Anyway, Lee looked alarmed when he saw me add the beets at the end (he doesn't like beets -- I did not know this. It's funny how you continually learn things about your spouse). But the beets were really more for color than flavor, in my opinion. Lee didn't have a problem with them.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Who Needs a Dog When You've Got a Bear?

Nate and Ruby are still best friends (go here for more on their relationship). Doesn't the baseball cap make Nate look like a little BOY and not a toddler??

Nate and Ruby: The Early Years

Friday, July 15, 2011

Park Talk

Boy at the park:  "We're playing Harry Potter tag. Don't let Malfoy touch you -- he's it and he's evil."

Me: "Are you going to see the movie this weekend?"

Boy at the park: "Yes! Is he seeing it (nudges toward Nathan)?"

Me: "No, he's too little."

Nate, wanting to join the conversation: "Hi Harry Potter!"
Boy at the park: "Even the PG one?"

Me: "Uh, yeah, he's still too little."

Boy at the park: "He could see Winnie the Pooh... "(then he runs away)

Nate: "That was interesting!"

Whatever you say, little man.

Mmmmm Meatloaf

I've tried several meatloaf recipes over the years and I believe the one below is the best. It's incredibly basic but flavorful. The key ingredient: horseradish. I know, it's a little odd but trust me when I say it's really good. Give it a try - you won't regret it (and if you wrinkle your nose as you measure out the horseradish, that's okay because that's what I do too.) Here's the recipe and my alterations are below:
Full disclosure: mint sprig added to make this photo look somewhat professional

Mom's Meatloaf
(courtesy of / Diners Drive-In and Dives)

1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. ground beef, moistened
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 egg
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 C. bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the horseradish, mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, mix ground beef, onion, egg, and Worcestershire sauce. Add contents of small bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the bread crumbs and combine well. 

Place mixture into a 1-lb. loaf pan. Pour ketchup over top and place in oven. Bake uncovered for 45-60 mins. Makes 4 servings.

My alterations: I've made this with 1 tsp. horseradish (as directed) and with two. I think doubling the horseradish is the way to go. I also have made this with beef and with ground turkey. We prefer the turkey version. I've only used regular bread crumbs but I'm thinking the Italian crumbs might be interesting. I also use whatever onion I have on hand -- yellow, purple, etc. And if you're in sweltering weather somewhere else in the US (it was a lovely 76 degrees here today - not to rub your nose in it or anything) and you don't want to eat hot meatloaf, use the leftovers for cold meatloaf sandwiches; they're yummy!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Swag Bag

I went to the Hallmark store a few weeks ago to buy a bunch of birthday cards. This is the paper bag my purchase came in:

Isn't it sweet? I just loved that little bird and that yellow-purple -white combo. I couldn't toss the bag in the recycle bin. But what to do with it? I thought about it for a few days and came up with this little hostess gift:

I cut out the bird portion of the bag, typed out that little "for you!" balloon, and glued the whole thing on a glass jar (that used to contain peaches). Inside the jar are herbs from our garden -- mint, basil, and rosemary. Simple...and somebody else now gets to enjoy little Chester (couldn't help it - I named the bird).
I'm linking up this post to:

Somewhat Simple
Transformation ThursdayThe Shabby NestThe DIY Show Off

Thursday Threes.

Yippee for a new season of "So You Think You Can Dance." It's hard to believe this is Season #8. There have been so many fabulous dancers on this show over the years and I've sat in front of my tv and cried a few times over the emotional routines (anyone remember this dance about surviving breast cancer? I balled my eyes out at that one). And, of course, part of the fun is tuning in to see what Cat Deeley, the show's hostess, is going to wear. I like Cat. I think we could be friends. We could go out to eat and she'd take me shopping at Fred Segal and I'd take her shopping at, um, Sears and JC Penneys. Hmm, maybe this friendship isn't destined to be....

For those of you outside of the Los Angeles area, let me fill you in on a little bit of local news. This upcoming weekend will be a challenging one for Angelenos. In fact, it's being nicknamed Carmageddon and Carpocalypse (we like drama or sound bites or nicknames....or anything else that gets us attention). Basically, a 10-mile stretch of one of our busiest freeways will be closed down for 53 hours (Fri thru Sun) for a construction project and people are talking about it as if the entire city will crumble before our very eyes. Over 50,000 cars normally drive on this freeway on a typical weekend. So will the shutdown bring LA to a standstill? In my opinion, probably not. But it will cause a lot of driving headaches as people seek out alternative routes. OR maybe it'll turn out to be the Y2K of 2011 (remember that bag of hot air???)

This is what 95 looks like. Not bad, huh? Nate and I attended a surprise party on Wednesday for our dear Auntie Ruth (our next-door-neighbor, relative, and friend). Lighting 95 candles on a cake isn't an easy task. Blowing them out is even harder. (poor Ruth). I think Nate said "Happy Birthday" and "Surprise, Auntie Ruth!" about 50 times. That boy loves a party.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

We've watched this video maybe 50 times. That's a lot. Lee and I  were waaayy over it back around the teens or 20s. Nate, on the other hand, still requests to see it. Every day. "Nate to watch baby laughing," he says excitedly. And now Nate has to rip paper along with the baby in this video. He rips it, looks at me and does a fake hysterical laugh while the video plays. This must be the 21st century version of what I used to do as a kid -- insist on eating a carrot while watching Bugs Bunny cartoons.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Favorite Summer Visual

When I see this, I feel happy:

I love seeing bathing suits hanging in the bathroom to dry. It means summer is here and kids everyone is having fun in the sun!

Monday, July 4, 2011

No Crusts

One morning I was about to tell Nate "hey buddy, the crusts are the best part of cinnamon toast!" when I noticed Lee's plate. Like father, like son??