November 30, 2009


I know it is an absolutely ridiculous title, Bitten, but it is only fitting since this is an absolutely ridiculous post. It does, however, explain my absence. Once again I've found myself deeply involved in the world of vampires.

Back in October I told you that I was reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels and how my new found love for the southern vampire series was taking up all of my time, forcing me to ignore my blog. Well in a short lull between books, I picked up the Twilight series. I had only heard good things about it from friends so I figured it would pass my time while I waited for the next Sookie book. Boy did I open a can of worms.

Like millions of other fans, I was immediately hooked. Even more hooked than I was with Sookie. Although at the time I hardly thought that possible. After all, isn't Twilight a teenaged romance novel for crying out loud? But isn't that one of the essential elements in every great love story? Young, tormented lovers a la Romeo and Juliet or Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy? Yes Twilight has all of the makings of a classic love story full of drama, tragedy and tormented teenaged love. Sigh.

And that is only the beginning. My timing was spot on. Just as I finished the books, I ordered up the first movie, Twilight, via Netflix and promptly watched it twice. Then I forced Oscar to take me to the theater for the second movie, New Moon, that was just released; reminding him that both would make perfect stocking stuffers for his ever so crazy wife.

Sadly I still haven't had my fix. Because I was so engrossed by the story I found myself madly reading and flipping pages like a crazy person. I finished all four books {plus the fifth book online that will never be completed due to a leak} all 2800+ pages in less than a week! Since I am not ready to say goodbye to Bella, Edward {especially Edward}, Jacob and the rest of the Cullens I am starting over. This time I will read slowly and methodically taking it all in now that I know the happy ending.

So please understand if my December posts are few and far between. Like I said- bitten. Laugh if you want but I'll tell you what I told my husband after seeing New Moon. If loving a teenaged vampire is wrong then I don't want to be right.

November 18, 2009

Steel Magnolias 20th Anniversary

November 15th marked the 20th anniversary of Steel Magnolias. Okay so most people were not aware of this and none of the major networks or even the trashy entertainment shows paid notice but I sure did!

Steel Magnolias is a movie about the bond among a group of Southern women in Louisiana. The film is based off the play by Robert Harling and his experience with his sister's death from diabetes.

Steel Magnolias is one of my top five absolute favorite movies. Coincidentally all of them start with the letter S. This is of no significance to anyone but I find it interesting.

Anyway, I was 14 years old when it hit theaters and I loved it immediately. My parents bought me the video when it was released {I am really dating myself here} and I remember watching it over and over and over again with my dear friend Carmen. We would sit for hours in our family room, veg out {another dated term} and watch this movie. I can still recite all of the famous one liners.

There was something about those Southern woman that stole my heart. I've mentioned before that I love people from the South. Their quirkiness, the southern drawl, strongly rooted traditions, southern decorating, the over the top brides and super controling mothers- this is right up my alley.

In all seriousness, it is a movie about love, loss, friendship and strong women. What's not to love? Not to mention the cast. How many movies include six amazingly talented actresses? Four of them oscar winners. These women feel like friends, mothers, family to me.

In fact I love this movie so much I begged my wedding cake baker to make me Jackson's bleeding armadillo grooms cake for my bridal shower a few years ago. She was spot on! I also dream of buying a toy dog and naming her Ouisa Boudreaux.

So no one else noticed the 20th anniversary of Steel Magnolias but me and because this is my blog I find it fully acceptable to celebrate with a post. Maybe I'll make a southern meal for Oscar and throw out a one liner or two? "He'll be so confused he won't know whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt!"

I will leave you with one of my favorite scenes. M'Lynn breaks down after Shelby's funeral and Clairee suggest she takes out her frustration by hitting Ouisa. "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion."

Happy Anniversary to a great movie about the strength of women!

November 17, 2009

Whole Wheat Millet Muffins

Our morning routine has changed quite a bit since Ozzie joined our tribe. Oscar and I used to enjoy a healthy breakfast together before we left for work. Both of us have always been breakfast eaters, it IS the most important meal of the day.

Now that I stay home with Ozzie full time, Oscar is left to fend for himself. Also because Ozzie doesn't wake up until Oscar has to actually be at work, I make Oscar complete his entire morning routine in stealth mode for fear of any noise waking Ozzie up early.

Sleep is a top priority in my book since it took us nearly 10 months to get Ozzie to sleep through the night. Yes 10 MONTHS! He had colic and that screwed everything up.

Every morning I hear Oscar being as quiet as he can be and it tugs at my heart because I know it must suck to be on pins and needles every day. As a result of this, Oscar is usually stuck with a lame piece of toast or a protein shake for breakfast. This also makes me sad since we used to enjoy this daily ritual together.

So when I saw this recipe for whole wheat millet muffins on Hogwash, I figured it wouldn't hurt to give it a try. Can you blame me for being leery? WHOLE-WHEAT-MILLET-MUFFIN. It doesn't exactly scream out yummy breakfast pastry, does it? But it sounded decent AND healthy(ish); and I thought Oscar deserved a yummy home made muffin before his busy day.

We were pleasantly surpirsed. If you are looking to try something new for breakfast, give this a try. I bet you'll be surprised too.

Whole Wheat Millet Muffins via Hogwash

Look for millet in the bulk foods section of a natural grocery store.

TIME: 15 minutes active time
MAKES: 1 dozen muffins

Vegetable oil spray
2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup (raw) millet
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
Zest and juice (about 2 tablespoons) of 1 lemon (I skipped the zest because lemon zest can sometimes be overwhelming for me).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable oil spray (including the flat parts), and set aside.

Whisk the flour, millet, powder, soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In another big bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until the flour is just incorporated. Divide the batter between the muffin cups, spooning a heaping 1/4 cup batter into each one. (The muffins will not rise much.)

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until browned and only barely beginning to crack. Let cool 5 minutes in pans, then cool completely on a wire rack.

November 11, 2009

Million Baby Crawl

I recently joined a moms group in my neighborhood and we are supporting the Seventh Generation Million Baby Crawl to demand stronger laws that will help keep our families safe and healthy by protecting us all from toxic chemicals found in household products.

"Mounting scientific evidence points to widespread exposure to chemicals that can cause serious and adverse impacts on human health, particularly for children.

The federal law that should protect us from health-harming chemicals just doesn't work. Since 1976, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has required safety testing on only 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals on the market. We need a stronger chemical law to keep our families safe and healthy."

We are participating in a Crawl to Action rally on November 18th at Seattle Center. Click here to find a event near you and make sure to say "no" toxic chemicals in household products by creating your crawler to join the crawl.

This is a cause worth standing (or crawling) behind!

November 10, 2009

Chicken Recuerdos de Tucson II

Tonight for dinner I made Chicken Recuerdos de Tucson again. A recipe I got from reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

However, tonight I made a few modifications and wanted to share them to show how versatile soups can be. Add this, omit that and you can have a completely different meal!

Chicken Recuerdos de Tucson- take two
1 lb. chicken drumsticks {the original recipe called for breasts, thighs and legs but I only had drumsticks on hand so I rolled with it}
Olive oil (for sauté)
1 medium onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Brown chicken in a large kettle. Remove chicken, add oil, gently sauté the onion and garlic.
1 tsp cumin seed
2 orange bell peppers
1 large or 2 medium zucchini or other squash, thickly sliced
Add to kettle and sauté, add small amount of broth if necessary.
1 cup tomatoes (fresh, frozen, canned, or ½ cup dehydrated, depending on season)
1 28 oz can white hominy
2 tsp. oregano
2 cups chicken broth or water
Add to kettle along with browned chicken, add water or broth (more if using dried vegetables), cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until chicken is done to bone.

The cliffnotes
1. I used drumsticks instead of a breasts, thighs and legs. I only had drumsticks available.
2. I omited the green chilies so the soup was not spicy at all.
3. I replaced 2 cups of corn with 1 28 oz. can of white hominy.
4. I omited the basil since I did not have any available.
5. I used 2 orange bell peppers instead of 2 red or green. Not a huge difference here in taste but the orange peppers at the store looked a lot better than the green or red.

The hominy made the soup much hardier than the original version. Although Barbara Kingsolver, the author of AVM, would probably object since the basis of her book is about eating local foods. The hominy was definitely not local. Hey I'm doing what I can but I am no purist. Besides she made the year long vow, not I.

Also, by omiting the green chilies the soup was not spicy at all. Which was great because I could feed it to Ozzie. The other changes were minimal and made little to no difference in taste but they were modifications from the original recipe so I felt it necessary to note them.


Happy 40th Sesame Street

Today Sesame Street celebrates their 40th anniversary. What an amazing 40 years it has been. Sesame Street is the longest running show in the history of childrens television and it is broadcast in more than 140 countries.

I have many nostalgic memories of watching Sesame Street as a child. Remember the scene at the end of each episode where Barkley the dog ran through the park with all of the kids? Oh how I loved that scene {sigh}. I can still remember that bitter sweet feeling I had because I loved Barkley but also knew my favorite show was over. Sadly there was not a dvr back in the 80's to rewind and rewatch. Nope, I had to endure until the next new episode. If you don't remember, click here to see it on YouTube.

Now as a mother, I love that Ozzie also watches Sesame Street. His favorite character is Elmo, of course. I'm sure just like every other toddler around the world, Ozzie stops midtrack when he hears the familiar tune of Elmo's World and is memorized for the next 15 minutes. We also enjoy Murray and his lamb Ovejita {little lamb in Spanish} and their trips to new schools around NYC. Then there is The Count, Abby Cadabby, Oscar of course!, Bert & Ernie, Grover and the grouchy blue man... I could keep going but I'm guessing you get that we love all of the characters!

With all that is said about children watching too much television these days, I am always on the fence about letting Ozzie watch tv at all but my guilt is let up just a little for the hour that Sesame Street is on.

Happy Anniversary Sesame Street! Here's to 40 more years!

November 9, 2009

Kangaroo Climber

Oscar and I found a used Kangaroo Climber on craigslist for Ozzie and he has been playing on it non-stop since day one. Climbing, jumping, riding the wall like a pony, sliding down the slide, he can't get enough of it.

It is such a great toy for your toddler. Even if you buy it at full price, it is worth the money. I highly recommend it if you are looking for Christmas gifts.

Here are some pictures of Ozzie enjoying his Kagaroo Climber which he calls his "house".

Telling Daddy how much he loves his house.
Posing at the bottom of the slide in need of a haircut!

Fall Swag

I am absolutely loving this pine cone swag that Sweet Paul created for Country Living's November issue. Simple yet still festive and a nice alternative to the traditional fall door wreath.

I saw it in their magazine and searched their website for a picture with no luck. Luckily Sweet Paul added it to his Crafty Friday post on his blog.

Yay! Now we can all love it and recreate it!

*photo courtesy Sweet Paul

November 8, 2009

Oscar's Tequila Spritzer

Last night Oscar and I had old friends over for dinner and drinks. Well it really wasn't planned that way, dinner was but drinks were kind of a last minute thought. We're not huge drinkers around the house of O.

But Oscar had a trick up his sleeve and sent me to the grocery store to pick up Diet Squirt of all drinks. Diet Squirt, while good, is not normally in our drink repertoire.

He concocted this delicious drink, kind of a fake margarita slash tequila spritzer. Also, low calorie considering you are using Diet Squirt in place of margarita mix. Sounds crazy folks but I'm telling you it was good! We were all happily surprised.

We always have such a fun time with our dear friends and for once I got to partake in the festivities because I am not pregnant or breastfeeding! I am hoping the same is true next summer because I can not wait to suck these down on a hot day!

Oscar's Tequila Spritzer

Diet Squirt
Sweet & Sour

Fill margarita glass with crushed ice
Add 1 shot of tequila {or more if you wish}
Fill glass with Diet Squirt
Add a splash of sweet & sour
Add a squirt of lime


November 6, 2009


Have you seen the recipe reader from Demy? It's like an ipod meets a kindel for your recipes! I'm swooning...

The Demy stores up to 2,500 recipes. First you create an account at where you can load recipes from all over the web or type in your own recipes if you only have paper copies. Then you plug your Demy into your PC and synch your account, much like your ipod. Can you imagine? All of your recipes, right there on your kitchen counter, organized perfectly in this lovely electronic device!

Right now I have my recipes organized in a binder {so 20th century I know) and/or random recipe sites on the web. I can only dream of having all of my recipes on my very own Demy. Thank goodness Christmas is just around the corner. This baby is definitely going on my Christmas list. Perfection!

November 5, 2009

Pesto Pork Sandwiches

I tried yet another recipe from Colleen at Over Cocktails for dinner this week. Oscar loved this sandwich. I mean LOVED this sandwich.

At first he was skeptical because of the pesto. When Oscar thinks sandwich, his condiments are typically mayo, mustard, etc. So when I told him the recipe called for pesto, he was leery.

To tell the truth, we've never been huge pesto fans in our house. We have had our share of overly done pesto dishes while eating out so I have steered away from pesto recipes. I think you have to be really careful with pesto because it has such a strong flavor but since the supermarket had natural pork tenderloin on sale, I decided to give this recipe a try.

I am glad I did because it is delicious. A must try if you are looking for a new sandwich to spice up your repertoire.

Pesto Pork Sandwiches via Over Cocktails

For the sandwiches
• Pork tenderloin, sliced (recipe below)
• Ciabatta bread or rolls, brushed with olive oil and broiled until lightly browned
• Buffalo mozzarella, sliced
• Tomatoes, sliced
• Good pesto, homemade or a good store-bought one (Whole Foods has a great pesto in their deli department although they don't sell it on the shelves, you have to ask for it)

Ina Garten's recipe for herb-marinated loin of pork from Back to Basics:
Grated zest of one lemon
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I think she skipped this)
1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra for the grill
2 T minced garlic (6 cloves)
1 1/2 T minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 T chopped fresh thyme
2 t Dijon mustard
Kosher salt
3 pork tenderloins, 1 lb each
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, and 2 tsp salt in a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat with the marinade. Squeeze the air out of the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.

When you're ready to cook, preheat the grill. Be sure to brush the grill with some oil to prevent the pork from sticking. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and discard the marinade but leave the herbs that stick to the meat. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, then grill, turning a few times to brown on all sides, for 15-25 minutes--until the meat registers 137 degrees at the thickest part.

Transfer the tenderloins to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Carve in 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices. The thickest part will be pink(it's just fine) and the thinnest part will be well done. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the juices that collect on the platter.

Because it is currently not grilling weather, I followed the cooking directions on the tenderloin package. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes per pound until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F.

Also, I couldn't find ciabatta rolls at my supermarket so I went with thick sliced sourdough and toasted in without the butter. It was still delicious!

I served the sandwiches with a salad with Colleen's balsamic dressing. Also a thumbs up from Oscar!

Basic Balsamic Dressing via Over Cocktails
2 small garlic cloves
2 heaping Tbs Dijon mustard
1 heaping Tbs brown sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
3 dashes of worcestershire sauce
½ cup balsamic
½-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Put everything into the blender and blend on low until thick and well combined. It will take on a pale brown color and a creamy consistency. When it is combined adjust the flavor with salt and pepper. This is also the time to adjust the sweetness or the balsamic zing (use more oil for a milder dressing). This can be refrigerated for up to a couple of days!


Meet Up

Ozzie is getting to the age where he needs more activities than I can give him so I searched high and low on the web for toddler activities in my neighborhood and stumbled upon

From their website- "Meetup is the world's largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.

Meetup's mission is to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference."

I found two great Mommy groups, one is devoted to fitness with your toddler in hand {or in stroller} and is called Stroller Strides. This is right up my alley. I always sign up for crazy bootcamps and other exercise groups. It is a fun workout, I am really enjoying it.

The second is a play group with other moms that live near us. Ozzie loves the kiddos in this group and I have really enjoyed getting to know the moms. We have already participated in so many fun activities in our town. They are a super sweet group of gals without any drama. Just what we both need!

If you are looking for something new to do in your neighborhood or to meet new people, make sure to check out meet up.

November 4, 2009

Thomasson Family Farm

Fortunately this year, October was full of more sunny weekends than rainy ones. We took full advantage of this and took Ozzie to another pumpkin patch.

This time we went to Thomasson Family Farm in Enumclaw. I can not tell you enough how impressed I was with this farm. First of all, it cost $6 for Ozzie and nothing for Oscar and I to enjoy the activities; and there were A LOT of activities. Aside from your basic tractor ride, pumpkin patch and corn maze that you would expect, Thomasson has a mini-hay maze for toddlers complete with a slide, a corn pit (a corn version of the ever popular ball bit), a petting zoo, tricycle track, a kids korral with slides, bubbles, sandbox, duck race AND a fake cow to milk. All for $6- pretty amazing!

The weather was warm and sunny and a good time was had by all! Below are our pictures from the farm.

In the mini-hay maze.


Ozzie could play on a slide all the live long day!

Ozzie was giving the camera {or possibly us behind the camera} more sour faces than smiles.

Finally the smile we all know and love!

Gotta love the action shot! Looks like he was on a mission to get where he was going.

I love this picture. He looks like he is just about done getting his picture taken.

Yet another slide.

Hooray for farms!


I recently discovered the television show Everyday Food, by the publishers of Everyday Food Magazine, on PBS.

I instantly loved the show {of course since Martha publishes Everyday Food Magazine} and stopped whatever household chore I was working on to watch the rest of the episode.

The recipes they share, usually three per episode, are very simple and look delicious.

I decided to try the Easy Paella for dinner one night last week. I wanted to try it because turmeric was listed on the ingredient list and turmeric has been in the news a lot lately for its health benefits.

It was truly scrumptious. The creamy texture and Spanish flavor really warmed our tummies on a cold Fall night. This was such a hit, I will definitely be trying more Everyday Food recipes.

Easy Paella

2 T olive oil
3/4 lb. peeled and de-veined shrimp
1 12 oz package chicken sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 c long grain rice
1/4 t paprika
1/4 t ground turmeric
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 14.5 oz cans reduced sodium chicken broth
Salt & pepper
1 c frozen peas, thawed

In a heavy 12" saute pan, heat 1 T oil over medium high heat. Cook shrimp until just pink, about 4-5 minutes (do not overcook). Set aside.
Add remaining T oil and sausage to pan. Cook over medium heat until sausage browns, about 2 minutes.
Add onion and cook stirring frequently until translucent, 3-4 minutes.
Add garlic and rice, cook ans stir to coat, 2-3 minutes.
Stir in paprika, turmeric, tomatoes and broth, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan with wooden spoon. Season with salt & pepper.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook until rice is tender and absorbed almost all liquid, about 20-25 minutes.
Stir in peas, cook 1 minute. Stir in cooked shrimp. Serve immediately.


November 3, 2009

Halloween Playdate

Ozzie and I had a play date with my friend, Trinette, and her daughter, Vivi, the day before Halloween.

He is finally getting to the age where he actually plays with the other children at play dates. When he was still in the mirror play mode, he happily enjoyed the other child's toys while completely ignoring them. So it was fun to watch Ozzie and Vivi play and laugh with each other.

He thought she was hilarious in her ball pit and Vivi was constantly offering him new toys to play with; which he happily obliged. I was happy that they played well together since I always enjoy the company of my sweet friend.

We decided to dress them in their costumes in an attempt to get a picture of them together but neither of them would cooperate. I think they still look adorable as we chased them around the house with our cameras.

Here are a few pictures from our fun day!

A lion and a frog

Out of their costumes

Wanting out of the house!

Pumpkin Bread

A few weeks ago Oscar came home from work raving about pumpkin bread that our friend made and pretty much demanded I make it for him ASAP! He even asked her for the recipe and emailed it to me. He said that it was the best pumpkin bread he has ever tried.

I was intrigued. If you know Oscar, you'd know that he is a pretty even keel kind of guy. It is not typical of him to call anything "the best thing he has ever had". Those dramatics are usually left for me : )

So as instructed I made Oscar his now favorite pumpkin bread and I must say that it IS the best pumpkin bread I've ever had!

Thanks for the recipe Steph!

Pumpkin Bread

2 cups all purpose flour
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t each ginger, ground cloves, nutmeg OR 1 1/2 t Chinese Five Spice
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c sugar
3/4 c vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 t vanilla
3 c shredded pumpkin
1 c toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
Sift flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.
In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Combine both mixtures and fold in the shredded pumpkin and pumpkin seeds.
Once the ingredients are all incorporated pour into a non-stick 9x5x3 loaf pan an top with walnuts, if desired.
Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cook for 15 minutes and turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.
For muffins, temperature should be 325 degrees F, but bake 30 minutes.

A few tips you plan on making this:
I roasted my pumpkin for a bit in the oven to make it easier to shred.
I used the ginger, cloves and nutmeg mix and not the Chinese Five Spice. I am not 100% sold on the Chinese Five Spice idea.
Also, the pumpkin seeds and walnuts really make this bread, so if you make it add those options unless you are allergic.