Saturday, December 29, 2007

Let's Share Recipes!!

Overnight Egg Casserole
This is the yummiest and easiest casserole. You make it the night before, refrigerate, then cook and serve the next morning. All you have to do is make the toast and juice! It's great for entertaining breakfast or brunch guests and would be a great way to wake up and start the new year.

8 slices bread, cubed ( I used Hawaiian sweet rolls, sliced in half)
3/4 pound Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds fresh, ground spicy pork sausage ( I used chicken breakfast sausage from Trader Joe's)
5 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

Place bread cubes in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese; set aside. In a skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Crumble sausage over the cheese and bread. Beat the eggs, milk, mustard, and soup; pour over sausage. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 2-3 hours before baking.
Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes or just until set. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Off With Her... Pants!"

It's official.
We are on day 1 and hour 5 of potty training.
So far, so good.
In the toilet: 3
Accidents: 0
Being pregnant while potty training Olive is very helpful since I am on the toilet every 45 minutes. I just take her with me and the fun begins.

**Disclaimer**- I did not pick out Olive's outfit today. She requested "Daddy's football shirt" and her glass slippers.

My little pant-less wonder.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

**Jesus, Please Do Not Read This Post**

So, I'm pretty sure I stole from Target.
My mom and I went to Target this morning to hit their "50% off Christmas" sale. We both loaded up our cart and I bought the following:

Various bows, gift bags, gift tags, wrapping paper, an ornament for Olive, a tree topper, holiday rug, earrings, etc.
When I got to the check out, I was mentally adding up my total and expected it to be around $40.
So, when the pimply faced check out guy said my total was $17.40.....
I squinted my eyes, cocked my head to the left and replied, "you mean, $70.40?"
"No, ma'am. $17.40."
I handed him a 20, waited for my change, and with smoke trailing from my Target cart's wheels, peeled rubber out to the parking lot and drove away.
I'm not sure if I will be able to sleep tonight, but I can't wait to wrap next year's Christmas presents.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Quick Hello...

I am still here!
I cannot believe that Santa will be visiting our homes in just 3 days! This month has gone by so quickly! I promise I will be back to my blogging self once the Christmas craziness in my house has subsided, all the presents are wrapped, and I can stand up for more than 30 seconds without throwing up.
Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Birthday Fun!

Last week was a better week for me, sickness wise. And thank goodness because I was able to share in on some birthday fun with two special people: MY MOM, and Megan.
My mom's birthday was last Wednesday, the 12th. (I will not reveal her age in fear of her returning all my Christmas gifts upon hearing the news her age is posted on the web for all to see.) That night she hosted a dinner at her house where four of her close friends came over and we all enjoyed a nice evening of food and pleasant conversation. It was comforting to see that my mom has surrounded herself with wonderful, smart, fun-loving women (myself included).

Megan's 27th birthday was last Friday, the 14th. That morning, Megan, Collin, Olive, and I had a fantastic breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel. We had a blast eating the yummiest breakfast buffet while some Disney characters periodically joined us at our table to take pictures and to wipe the excess scrambled eggs and country gravy off our faces.

Collin and Olive by Goofy's Christmas tree.

Goofy welcoming the birthday girl and Collin.

Megan's birthday wish come true: a special "Happy Birthday" serenade from her secret crush Aladdin.
(His two female body guards were there to ensure Aladdin's safety- Megan once had an "incident" with Tarzan that turned ugly- she sometimes gets a little too excited for certain shirtless Disney characters.)

Collin and Olive consumed an entire watermelon.

Olive and Snow White. Olive was SO excited to meet her! She usually is not very fond of meeting characters but was elated to see Snow White. I was seriously holding back tears as I took this picture!

Snow White, Collin, and Megan.

After breakfast we headed over to Disneyland's City Hall where Megan registered herself as the Birthday Girl of the Day.

She received her special Birthday pin....

Then we headed off to Disney's California Adventure where she fulfilled her second birthday wish of getting a free bag of freshly made tortillas from the Mission Tortilla Factory. It was a great day!

I hope everyone had a great week! Now I'm off to the crazy malls to START - yes, START my Christmas shopping. Wish me luck!

Let's Share Recipes! Week #5: Goodies I Will Make When I Have A "Good Day"

I'm a little behind, but better late than never, right?

The ban of the Food Network from all two televisions in our home has been lifted due to my recent stints of feeling pretty good. Although I haven't tried these recipes due to the fact I'm a little gun shy of breaking raw eggs(the thought makes my stomach turn) They do look delicious and look like something I could whip up as little gifts for my neighbors or something. I hope you enjoy!

#1. Spoon Cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch fine salt
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/3 cup jam, such as a berry, plum or cloudberry
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Melt the butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter browns lightly and smells slightly nutty, about 15 minutes. Transfer the butter to a medium bowl -- be sure to get all the tasty brown bits -- and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in another medium bowl.

Whisk the egg yolk, sugar and vanilla into the cooled browned butter.

Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture to make a uniform but crumbly dough that looks like wet sand.

Scoop out dough with a small teaspoon (the kind you set the table with, not the ones you measure with). Rock spoon gently back and forth against the side of the bowl, packing the dough into the spoon, then scrape/slide the spoon against the inside of the bowl to make spoon-shaped cookies. Trim excess dough with your fingers and slide out onto the prepared pans, preserving their shape. (Try to make sure you form an even number of cookies, since these sandwich together.)

Bake cookies until just browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool almost completely on the baking sheets, and then transfer cookies to a rack to cool.

When cool, spread 1/2 teaspoon jam on the flat side of a cookie, and then sandwich together with a second cookie. Repeat until all cookies have met their match. Lightly dust the cookies with the confectioners' sugar. Serve.

Busy baker's tips: The dough can be prepared several hours ahead and stored at room temperature. Freeze baked cookie halves wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil for up to 2 weeks. When ready to serve, defrost at room temperature and assemble as desired. Store sandwiches in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Do not store with crisp cookies, as moisture from the jam will soften the texture of other crisp cookies.

#2. Coconut Cake: I would make little mini yummy! I have tried the frosting on chocolate brownies die for!

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Let's Share Recipies! Week #4: Cures For Morning Sickness

......or in my case, ALL DAY sickness.
I'm miserable, I'll admit it.
I'm terrible first thing in the morning, o.k. in the mid morning to afternoon, then like clockwork, when Ellen comes on around 4pm, I'm a mess. Literally.
Having been through this before when I was pregnant with Olive, I'm no stranger to this stage of permanent nausea. But it wasn't this soon in my pregnancy, and it wasn't so relenting as it is now.
So, my friends, with all that being said, here is my "recipe suggestion" for the week.

1. Eat something high in protein before going to bed. Helps your blood sugar stay more level.
** What, like a roasted chicken or something, yeah right!**
2. Two crackers before your head leaves the pillow is old but wise advice.
** Is that on my way to the toilet?**
3. Have sips of ice water as the urge to purge strikes. Many women say that this helps them keep meals down as well.
* * And REALLY give myself the chills, no thanks.**
4, Flat Sprite® is supposedly great at keeping the stomach from churning.
** I won't touch anything "flat".**
5. Avoid foods and smells that seem to trigger nausea. Sometimes this will be nearly every food or every smell.
** Ooohhh! I never thought of that! So, then what foods don't smell?**
6. Ginger, teas, cookies, even the spice can be helpful in preventing nausea.
** All I have been eating are cookies-not working.**
7. Acupressure bands can be worn like bracelets and can curb nausea while you wear them. But be forewarned as one mom says, stand next to a bucket when you take them off!
** I wonder if my doctor can permanently attach them to my wrists? I bet you some voodoo doctor in Tijuana could do it.
Nice suggestion!**
8. Peppermint, either smelling it in aromatherapy form or sipping the tea can help curb nausea. It's also known to help with sagging energy levels.
** In addition to cookies, candy canes are not working for me as well. And what's "sagging" is not my energy level.**
9. Try peanut butter or other protein snack before rising from your bed.
** So, I'll put peanut butter on my roasted chicken?**
10. A teaspoon of cider vinegar in a cup of warm water has been said to be effective.
** We're not removing stains here people, we're vomiting!! Vinegar??? Seriously???**
11. Take a deep breath. It might be mind over matter sometimes.
** Aahhh, it's just my over-active imagination! I've never thought of begging my body not to be ill and positively visualizing not being sick and praying every minute for a calm intestinal tract!**
12. Comfort foods! Eat what you can, if it stays down it is probably a good thing.
** Call me crazy, but mac and cheese, fried chicken and lasagna doesn't sound so appealing these days.**
13. Sleep to avoid nausea. Hey, don't knock it until you've tried it.
*** OH! Go to bed!!! That's my problem! I've been up for 10 days straight with nothing to do so I just pass the time by vomiting! The thought of sleep never crossed my mind.**
14. One mom swears by cold veggies soaking in water to help relieve the churning feeling.
** Dirty hippy.**
Remember that not all of these will work for everyone, try some and find out which work for you.
** Thank you, for all these fabulous suggestions.....$100 bucks says the author has a penis.**

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Christmas Traditions

Growing up, my dad had established a Christmas Tradition where each year my sister and I would have our picture taken with Santa. To this day, my dad possesses this special, doberman-guarded photo album which preciously holds 31 years of priceless moments in time on Santa's lap. The album is truly special. Some pictures are breathtakingly cute- Kasey and I, ages 2 and 4, dressed in matching dresses with matching tights and hair bows, bubbling with excitement to be able to meet and slobber all over Santa. While some are painfully awkward -the teenage years- bucked teeth (sorry, Kasey) braces, puffy bangs, perms, leg warmers, ill-fitting Esprit outfits, worn out Reebok high tops, the two of us puberty stricken girls spilling off Santa's delicate knees with Santa not knowing where to place his hands on us in fear of having a child molestation suit slapped on him by my parents, etc.

The point is this, I love this tradition and always thought as a young gal that when I had children of my own, I would keep the tradition alive and have a delightful album with my beautiful offspring.

It sounds so great in theory, but so far, this is my reality.

Year #1: 2005

From left to right:
1. Kasey looks 20 times the size she is in real life and is bigger than Santa.
2. Riley looks, well, you be the judge.
3. Although you cannot tell from the photo, Ryan is Kasey's husband, not mine.
4. It looks as though my hair is permed and my baby is a plastic, fake one that I bought at a garage sale.
5. Jackson looks as though he knows no one in the picture and is scarred to death.
6. I'm sure there was a more flattering way Kasey and I could have placed our hands to showcase our babies.
7. I am not comfortable with Santa's creepy hand placement on Jackson's leg and his overly rosy-flushed cheeks.

"Maybe next year the kids will be older and the picture will be better."

Year #2: 2006

Olive was screaming and crying at first glance of this gentle giant in red. Although not yet mobile, she couldn't get off his lap fast enough. In fact, this is the first time she crawled/jumped/pooped her pants from fear.

"Maybe next year Olive will be older and the picture will be better."

Year #3: 2007

"Maybe next year Olive will be older and the picture will be better."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Real Update

I'm finally home and back to my normal routine. These past ten or so days were nonstop fun. Here is what we were up to:

The day after Thanksgiving, Rob, Olive and I hopped in our overly packed car and drove up to San Francisco. This is our third year doing this. It's our family tradition of kicking off the holidays in our favorite city. That night we watched the Macy's annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Union Square from the 21st floor of our hotel then went down and saw it up close.

Me and my Sue

Olive and I at the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39. She was a little weary of the fish swimming all around her.
"No down, mommy. Shishies too big."

My FAVORITE pizza place, ZA Pizza. It is hands down, the best pizza I have ever had. We ate there 3 times.

Then it was off to Kasey's house where we bounced on her trampoline, ate the yummiest burritos from Rincon, and had a quaint little campfire outside where we roasted marshmallows for s'mores. I think I ate about 5.

The next morning, we all got back in our cars and Kasey and the boys headed home with us. It was great. I love seeing the kids have so much fun together- o.k. maybe Riley wasn't having so much fun in this picture....

The day after that we all spent the day at Disneyland! Both parks are decorated so beautifully. We had a blast!
Kasey's favorite ride is the carousel at Disneyland so, we dragged the kids on and forced them to have a good time.

We met Ariel.
Objects (to Ariel's right side, holding Olive) in this photo are NOT as stubby as they appear.

The castle at night.

The day after that we all went to the Seal Beach Pier with my dad, where the kids ran to the Ruby's at the end of the pier in 30 seconds flat....

and had ice cream.

Delicious ice cream.

Super yummy ice cream.

And one more thing....

I am 7 weeks pregnant! I have visited my doctor and everything seems to be going well. Rob and I are SO EXCITED and can't wait to make Olive a big sister in July!
* That explains all the countless mentions of food in this post.*