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forgive the shortcuts.... [Jan. 5th, 2015|06:23 pm]
I've been on sporadically, due in part to the frustration of only being able to view a page worth of friend updates...lj doesn't let me scroll back. Guess I should check more in that case, not less. Both computers were broken last month, and all things internet happened on a Kin d le or non-smart phone...kindling now, so plz forgive typos...
After 11 months being out of work, Ben started a new job today.Twice the wages he used to make, with stock options and travel. We should be able to replenish our meager savings and hope beyond hope squirrel away funds for Aidan's college fund. This has been the hardest year of my life. My little full time sales job and part time baking was able to keep the rent paid but the money my parents gave us for an Alaskan cruise *someday* is down to the last hundred dollars. Good timing, husband. Whew. Cutting back hours at work, home again to cook meals and help Gabe with homework, and be a mom again, thank goodness. Thanks to you on facebook who kept me updated on your lives and kept me laughing...you know not how you saved me.
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Oh, clueless BIL... [Mar. 20th, 2011|04:59 pm]
[mood |annoyedannoyed]

If I hear/read on facebook one more glowing, adoring adulation about Tiger Moms from my (childless, unmarried) brother-in-law, next time he visits I am going to refuse him use of my bathroom until he perfects a song on the keyboard/makes perfect Pad Thai/solves a Rubic's Cube.
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Food memory [Jun. 23rd, 2010|11:57 am]
At the supermarket today, bay shrimp was on sale for under $4 a pound. My intention was to make shrimp salads for dinner, but on the way home my memory went into overdrive.

When I was little, I went to visit my aunt in New York. It was just me, and one night she took me to dinner at a very fancy place. I remember a huge crystal chandelier and white linen tablecloths and napkins, and I wore a dress that flared out when I spun. You ladies remember how awesome it was to have a dress that flared out when you spun? I remember a place setting with a laughable amount of silverware and a tiny fork on one end. My aunt informed me that it was a shrimp fork, and I couldn't believe that shrimp would be so fancy that it called for its own fork. I couldn't remember ever having shrimp, and my aunt suggested I try a shrimp cocktail. I don't think I had heard of anything that sounded so grown-up or elegant in all my 7 years.

I remember it being brought to my table on a tray, in a tall glass with saved ice, and a little indentation for the sauce, and these enormous shrimp hanging off the rim. I remember feeling like a fraud, that surely they would never place it in front of me...hadn't they heard? I spilled things! I broke things! A glass like that with so much precariously balanced fare was surely an invitation for disaster at my hands!

But in front of me it was delivered, by a very thin, tall man in a dark suit, and I could not believe my good fortune that my reputation didn't precede me.

No need for the shrimp fork, I can tell you. My aunt showed me how to eat it (with your hands? NO WAY!) and she suggested I indulge in a Shirley Temple. I really thought I was the height of sophistication.

So as I sit here, my baby bay shrimp smothered in cocktail sauce, (not intentionally but rather amusingly piled in a "Finding Nemo" plastic bowl) I'm grateful for that cook who didn't know what an amazing memory he provided for a little girl traveling alone, and to my Aunt for not presuming what I'd like or not; just letting me discover it on my own and letting the experience be one to remember.

I hope as an aunt, mom and cook I get to do the same for someone else some day.
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Mag pimped me! [Apr. 4th, 2010|08:25 am]
Thanks MAG for the shoutout on Twitter! I now have 5 followers!
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Cooktarded [Mar. 30th, 2010|03:49 pm]
[mood |nerdy]
[music |pandora: cake radio]

I don't know how to Twitter, but I just signed up as Cooktarded, in case anyone is the following sort, or wishes to enlighten me as to wtf I am doing.

I have realized that I started cooking school with the sort-of plan that I'd be writing, and other than the hilarious list of misused idioms by the Algerian in my group, I've written nothing of note.

I have been toying with the idea of posting a simple tip a day, something from which the truly kitchen-stoopid could benefit. Things like don't heat oil in a wet pan. Cheap meat = slow cook, that sort of thing. With all the access to internet and info available whenever one is about to embark in a culinary journey, mine will hardly be at the top of the google search list. But, I am usually afraid to try things, and therefore usually don't. Twitter under an anonymous name seemed to be a way to do my post, and gain a following or not.

We lived for a dollar a meal for years. Someone came along and made a documentary on doing that. I thought of doing a recipe a day from a favorite cookbook of mine, then the Julie/Julia blog and book started gaining attention. I figure it may be a stupid idea that goes nowhere, but I can say that I wrote a couple of words about cooking each and every day.
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Cheap (and elegant) eats [Feb. 17th, 2010|09:58 am]
I threw a baby shower for my sister, and it couldn't have gone better. The food was INCREDIBLE! I can say that since I only made some of it. :) But I was delighted and shocked that the main dish I whipped up was so affordable. When I tested this recipe, I bought the ingredients at the grocery store for about 18 dollars, and it made 4 feta cheesecakes. I needed to make 48 of them for the shower, and it cost less than $40 for the ingredients at Costco.

Preheat oven to 350

* 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened (I used salted butter because I love me some salt.)
* bread crumbs ($2- at the store, will last me the rest of my life)
* 8 oz cream cheese (Philadelphia is always best, and was less than $6 for 3 lbs at Costco)
* 2 large eggs
* 1/4 cup sour cream (again, three pound tub at Costco for around 4 dollars)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
* 1/4 cup strong cheese, like feta, or blue if you prefer. (24 oz tub of Athens Brand feta for $6 at Costco.)

Use your finger and butter the inside of 4oz or 6 oz. ramekins.
Add breadcrumbs to coat the inside (like when you grease and flour a cake pan)

Whip the cream cheese with a stand mixer until smooth. Add eggs, sour cream, salt, pepper, and half the parsley. Whip until smooth, scraping down the bowl occasionally.

Pour the mixture into the ramekins, then top with feta and remaining parsley.
Place on baking sheet and cook for about 25 minutes. The center will look a little wet. Cool ten minutes, then release from ramekins.

We tossed some baby greens($3 at Coscto,)dried blueberries, and candied pecans in a balsamic vinaigrette, and topped and shaved white cheddar. We also made a fruit salad of mixed berries on a cantaloupe wedge. It was a gorgeous presentation. To keep costs down, you can serve this instead on some baby greans or baby spinach, or arugala,lightly tossed in vinaigrette, and serve the cheesecake on top. It is a lovely presentation.
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Remind me not to yell at my kid for a while. [Jan. 19th, 2010|08:31 pm]
[mood |touchedtouched]

My kid hopped in the car this afternoon, drenched from the storm, beaming.

He started a club this afternoon at his school.

"The Tremor Troops".

He has been online researching fundraising efforts for Haiti, and has determined that "money now, clothes later" is their goal.

He has chosen "Save the Children" as the charity they will give to, as 92% of their funds go to the cause, 4% administrative, and 4% for fundraising.

I can't even look at him I am so proud and I keep tearing up. I just need to keep a neutral face and tell him it sounds good to me. God bless ya kid, and good luck.
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Disasters Grand and Petty [Jan. 14th, 2010|01:24 pm]
[mood |annoyedannoyed]
[music |Pandora...Cake Radio]

First off, I'd like to vocalize my wish that Pat Robertson pray quietly in his head as he digs through rubble to find survivors, and donates even HALF of what he rakes in to serve people in dire need.

It is my youngest's 7th birthday today. It is also the anniversary of the death of a very dear friend from my high school days. I'm so grateful to have something wonderful to celebrate on a day that would be hard to take otherwise.

I made Calvin and Hobbes cupcakes. I asked the teacher if the kids could pass out treats for their birthdays, she said yes. I show up with the cupcakes, only to have her ask if they are healthy. WTF? They are cupcakes! I love California, but for the love of Pete, does EVERYTHING we do have to revolve around hydrogenated oil and the lack thereof? I'm not sure how many of you remember the cupcake debacle of '08, when I worked my ass off to make cupcakes only to have the teacher rip me a new one. I learned my lesson from that one. I told her to let Gabe hand them out as kids left the classroom at the end of the day, and she could sleep easy that no chocolate was handed out on her watch. I sure hope the youngsters enjoy the alfalfa sprouts I pass out next year. Any tips on how to decorate with wheat germ, Sproot?
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Wii cake [Jan. 9th, 2010|02:49 am]
After all the good advice given to me by assorted gamer/baker flisters, I settled on making a Wii remote cake, and not the entire console. I made a standard 9x13 cake, with a non-dairy recipe for the alergic set. I cut in half lengthwise, and stacked one half on top of the other. I made Sprootle's fondant and must say, that girl could take me in a fist fight. I was winded after rolling that stuff out! But it is very pretty and flexible, so a great medium to work with. I knew Amy's cakes were awesome, but after trying to dabble in her area of expertise, I bow to the master!

So, when my kids hit the teen years and resent me for whatever reason, please to be reminding them that I stayed up all night to make this sort of crap for them.
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Wow! [Aug. 12th, 2009|11:50 pm]
[mood |gratefulgrateful]
[music |Oingo Boingo- We Close Our Eyes]

Today I received a fruit box in the mail and I couldn't for the life of me figure out who would have sent it. Fruit box is an understatement- it is a box with three oranges the size of my head, gorgeous fuji apples and pears that look so luscious that I would eat them all right now if not for the fact that they are my son's favorite fruit and tomorrow he will think Christmas came early.
It also has the most adorable sugar cookies that look like flip-flops, jelly-bellies and candied pecans.

Sound good??????????
It looks freakin' delicious!

What did I do to deserve such a treat???

I dragged poor Cis Masque (CMW) to my kid's swim lessons, that's what!


This is so very generous! It was absolutely my pleasure to take you to Trader Joes. That's like asking me to eat chocolate for you as a favor.

I can not believe how spoiled I am by my flist, I swear. Just recently Tara knit me gorgeous brown socks, Vani sent me a lovely postcard from URU...

Thank you so much for the lovely, thoughtful gifts. I am so blessed/humbled/lucky for you all and by you all daily.
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