Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Enjoy your winter break, Tomato Garden!

This year, I planted my first ever garden! Over the course of the season, I've learned some lessons. For example, 9 tomato plants is too many for my garden size, jalepanos don't grow in my area, and green tea kills some types of tomato bugs. I've become friends with my tomato monster, but it was time to say good bye.


I did get one last good tomato from my plant:

I'm considering doing some minor composting in the garden over the winter to make sure next years tomato plants do as well. Anyone have any advice?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What's for Dinner?

: Cheeseburger Pie The return of one of my favorites! Sadly, I think I might be over cheeseburger pie. Hard to imagine why, I ate it everyday over the summer...

: Green beans with charred onions and pita Pizzas. Pita Pizza's are one of our favorite easy meals. We just put some sauce and cheese on a pita, and bake it for a 12 to 14 minutes. Gavin made the onion and green bean salad which was also quite good.

: . Zucchini & Sweet Corn Fritters with Fresh Tomato Relish: Courtesy of Alyssa. This was a seemingly super easy recipe of flour, spices, corn and shredded zucchini fried. The hot sauce and relish really helped with the flavor.

Thursday: Girls Night at French 75. Thursday night was girls night. While I had a Champagne cocktail and a small steak, Gavin made the delicious pasta and salad pictured below. I am only assuming the salad was good, I did get some pasta for lunch Friday and it was amazing.

Friday: Del Taco Gavin played Friday and I was busy being artistic (more on this later!) Therefore, drive thru it was!

Saturday: Selma's Pizza, Saturday Gavin and I decided to have some Chicago Style Pizza instead of cooking

Sunday: Pork Medallions with Apricot Mustard We couldn't find any fresh apricots for the sauce, so we used apricot nectar instead. It came out delicious and smelled amazing.

Bonus!: A trick I learned from Benhana's:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Art Show!

Over the last few weeks it's been an ongoing joke with Jen that Gavin and I are going to need to head to a Rave or something equally drastic to balance out our decidedly suburban lifestyle. Honestly, I love our life, but variety is the spice of life!

Last week my friend Alyssa invited us to an art show she had a piece in. I've only ever been to a few art shows (although I was a security guard at a Thomas Kinkade show at CSUF back in the day!). I also wasn't quite 'open' enough to art to successfully appreciate the display on rotten food when I visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and since then have primarily avoided art shows. Even my most recent experience of listening to random Saddleback art students spew nonsense about pieces (most of which I actually liked) hasn't convinced me that art shows are for me. Still, as this entire blog will attest, I've become much more interested in art and was excited to see something different.

The show, Apopcalypse "Pop Goes the World", was housed in three renovated storage containers in Costa Mesa at The Lab. Sadly, I didn't take any pictures of the exhibit (honestly I wasn't sure if that was allowed or not. But after the show, Alyssa took some time to show us the inner world of the art kids:

We wrapped our evening with these:

So Thanks to Alyssa for the invite. And congrats!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Club 33!

Disneyland is my favorite place. I love the Rides, the atmosphere, the families laughing together. Over the years I've collected all kinds of Disneyland trivia. At some point, I heard about Club 33. Club 33 is behind an unassuming door tucked away in my favorite land: New Orleans square. New Orleans was solidly my favorite land already, housing both the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, but the addition of a 'secret club' cemented the title.

Getting reservations for Club 33 isn't easy. It is a private club and membership is expensive, limited, and not easily acquired. Reservations can only be made by members. Fortunately for me, a friend of mine knows a member and they agreed to make the reservations for us!

We had some hassle getting from the rose court garden to Club 33. But, we made it and met up with our lovely photographer Jackie who had agreed to shoot the dinner. Gavin eventually arrived and for the first time, I saw the magical door open!
I'd toured the galleries numerous times, especially in the last few months, but it still felt magical and special. I was expecting everyone to be as quietly awwed as I knew I would be, but in a group that included 6 kids under 10, it didn't happen. The atmosphere, at least in our group, was much more jovial and excited.
We were ushered into the trophy room. Immediately after we came in, we did our champagne toast! It's not a wedding event without Champagne, am I right?
We hadn't really thought about who would be doing the toast, so as the champagne was being distributed, Gavin and I exchanged several prods and nods back and forth before finally I stood up and started! As I mentioned, I hadn't considered this aspect, least of all what to say so I doubt it had the fluidity I remember it with. What I hope I conveyed was that this was a dream come true for me to be in a magical place with those closet to me in the world and that I was ecstatic about my imminent marriage to the most wonderful man I'd ever meet. I'll leave it to those who heard to judge :)
The staff at Club 33 was amazing! For example, they saw me eying the toys that topped the kid's drinks and poof! Magic Champagne flutes!!

Then, food!
Okay, this one isn't actually food!

Gourmet Artisan Cheese Plate
Sadly, I don't remember exactly what types of cheeses they were! I a bigger fan of soft cheese than hard cheese, so the brie was my favorite. I think I may have even traded with Gavin.

Chateaubriand with mashed potatoes garden vegetables

The steak was amazing. I think almost everyone finished it! Mine was slightly overcooked, but Gavin split his with me so it worked out fine. The sauce was fantastic!

Dessert: Creme Brulee
I've never had creme brulee before, but everyone said this one was fantastic. I loved the little chocolate on top.
Dessert 2 Chocolate Mousse
Next they brought out this adorable dessert plate! The white chocolate faces were good, but I thought the dessert cakes themselves were absolutely terrible. Still, it was very cute. I also solidly determined that the blue shapes on the plate solidly tasted like blue.

The mints get a mention because Gavin LOVED them. Plus they are SO cute.

Jackie also shot some cool pictures of us hanging out on the balcony and around the club, this one is my favorite.
There are SO many great pictures, but I don't want to swamp my blog, so I'll put the rest on facebook, instead

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What's for Dinner?

A blog series about, what else? What we had for dinner!

This week is a little light on photos and great food, but we tried a few new things!

: Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes Inspired by my previous success, we made this recipe again with cubed potatoes, but it didn't come out quite as good. I love the smell of it!

Tuesday: Lasagna Gavin and I made it ahead of time and it made much more than we were expecting so I got to eat it all week!

Wednesday: Vegetarian fajita burrito Sadly, we had a meltdown and Alyssa and I didn't get to eat them before class, I did have one after and it was very good. Here are the ingredients:

Thursday: Lamb chops and basmati rice. Gavin and I have a one pot cook book and had never cooked lamb so we decided to try. The flavor was great, the problem is that a shoulder cut of lamb has pretty much no meat. The rice was amazing although a bit too salty.

Friday: Dinner with Jen. Another great night at Elephant bar!

Saturday: Chili Quesadilla with beans
by Rachel Ray. This dish was SPICY, but very very good.

Sunday: Gavin and I had a big brunch at Sundried Tomato Cafe and skipped dinner.

Not my most impressive entry ever, but hey, at least I did one! :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rehearsal Day and other not the wedding wedding stuff

The entire wedding week/weekend was amazing. It also went by in a bit of a whirl. Trying to condense all of the emotion and memories into even 100 blogs posts is impossible. Luckily, that's what I have wedding videos, albums, thousands of photos, fond memories and most importantly my life partner for. Still, it's impossible for me to not come up with something to write about such a beautiful time in our lives in the blog! So I'm trying to break it up into bite sized pieces that I can somehow summarize in a reasonable(ish) length blog posts. Plus, there are quite a few little art projects that went into the wedding I might someday write about!

I've decided to start with the Rehearsal Day. Even before Rehearsal Day, the week of the wedding had lots of wedding stuff going on. Despite some car trouble, Terrence came in early to enjoy the wedding chaos (and beat the kids at Mario Cart if I believe the tales!). Gavin's family spent the week before the wedding helping out with errands, last minute to-do's and everything else that needed done (no small list, let me tell you). I really don't know what I would have done without their help. I even needed Gavin's dad's paramedic background at one point (more on that later, maybe.)

Our house is relatively quiet, so I was a little nervous of what would happen to my house, and my nerves, with the addition of four kids. I have to admit, although the noise and excitement was a bit much at times... It's hard to beat Gavin's nieces and nephews for hugs!

Wednesday night, Kenny, Kelly, Jake, Melinda, Terrence, Emily and Matt stopped by to hang out for a while. I hardly slept at all that night, I was too excited!

The Rehearsal day was a bit like my port in the storm when the wedding planning seemed a bit... well, stormy. Initially, it was going to be pretty straight forward: practice for wedding, eat dinner. But, through some awesome luck, my rehearsal became a dream event instead when, due to the awesomeness of a friend, we successfully landed reservations at Club 33!! (this will get an entire post of it's own, very soon!)

We arrived at Disneyland bright and early, and surprisingly, so did a bunch of the rest of our party! (The rest trickled in throughout the day) We couldn't meet up with everyone, but we did get to spend some time with some of the wedding entourage. The morning was beautiful, quiet and we zipped from ride to ride, as the day went on, the lines got longer and the weather got hotter and hotter. But, we had to be back to get ready for dinner early anyway.

A day at Disneyland surrounded by friends and family is hard to beat.

After a quick shower at the hotel we headed back for the wedding rehearsal. I'll admit, this was about the closest I came the entire weekend to a meltdown. My biggest mistake was allowing Gavin and I to be separated while we tried to make sure everyone got in the limo to get to the rehearsal. After carefully ensuring that Gavin would be around to soothe my nerves as much as possible on the wedding day, I just bombed it here! Plus, the entire experience was surreal. With each limo full of my closest friends to arrive, I felt a bit more like I was slipping into a dream world. Gavin and I have so many friends and family spread across the US and globe, that to see them all together in one place was strange and exciting at the same time.

I started getting anxious to have Gavin near me while I waited for him to arrive from the hotel. I had an offer for a substitute... but I've only got eyes for one!

Eventually, everyone had arrived, and were, besides some pouting by Terrence, happy and ready to go. The practicing went pretty well, as far as I remember. To be honest, I was still in this half dazed state and feeling pretty unorganized (not like me at all) and out of control (maybe this is like me a little!)

After everyone learned how to walk, it was time for Club 33!!!! But alas, you'll have to wait a bit longer to hear about it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What's for dinner: Breakfast ediiton!

I'm spoiled. Every morning, my husband wakes up with me (before me), gets me out of bed, makes me breakfasts and gets me on my way to work . /brag

Gavin is fantastic at making my perfect breakfast: two eggs over medium on buttered toast.

One Sunday when Gavin and I got home, I decided to make breakfast and decided to spice it up with homemade hash browns. Since this was a last minute decision, I didn't have a recipe or any ingredients (other than potatoes of course). The only thing I really wanted was an onion, but decided it would be fine without.

Hashbrowns = potatoes cooked in frying pan with a little bit of oil.

My formula, I think, was correct. My decision not to use a nonstick pan was not.

The yummiest part of the hashbrowns is that stuff you see attempting to permanently bind to our cookware. What I ended up with was more like hash-tans as Gavin named them. Gavin saved the days with my favorite breakfast and the meal wasn't a complete failure!

Sunday Breakfast

I think I'll leave breakfast to the pro from now on! Love you, Gavin!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dracula by Bram Stoker

This book has been on my 'to read' list for quite a while. About this time is when I start getting excited about Halloween and thought it would be a great start! It's always interesting to read a book written over a hundred years ago. I found this one particularly interesting because it's actually written as a compilation of letters, newspaper clippings, and diary entries.

Literary vampires have come a long way in the last century it seems. The Count wasn't all sparkly in the sun, and better yet, he could control wolves. The Twilight debate of Edward vs Jacob becomes much less interesting if Edward ever gets wind of that information.

So the real question should be Edward Cullen vs Count Dracula.

You've got a perpetual high school student who's shiny and melodramatic and likes to creep by teen girl's beds at night while they sleep or a rich creepy old guy with a giant rundown castle in Transylvania and an uncanny knowledge of late 19th century British real estate laws.

You know what, you can have them both, I'll take Eric.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What's for dinner?

A blog series about, what else? What we had for dinner!

: Labor Day Picnic Our first BBQ experience! More about it here.

Tuesday: Labor Day BBQ leftovers! The thing about having any type of party is you end up with a ton of extra food! Leftovers will be a recurring theme this week! We did mix it up by creating some cheese fries!

Wednesday: Vegetarian Burgers and Carrot Soup (aka leftovers) It's class day! Veggie Wednesday, ftw.

Thursday: Dinner with Jen. Always a favorite part of my week! This week we met at Elephant bar for a fun happy hour.

Friday: Romantic Dinner out with my Husband. As one of our wedding gifts, we received a gift certificate for The Melting Pot. Dating married men is so much more fun! :p

Saturday: Top Ramen. My old college favorite! :)

Sunday: Fish and Chips. I think we are addicted to the deep fryer!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hiking: Crystal Cove State Park

While Sara was visiting, she, Gavin and I decided to head out to Crystal Cove State Park for a hike. So we packed up some water, a fake picnic and off we went!

A quick look at the weather or forecast may have been a good plan, but instead we cheerily left for our adventure. We found a place to park at one of the trial heads. The only problem is we parked at the top of the trail head. Therefore, the first half of our hike was downhill. the second half was uphill. We eventually settled on a hike we estimated to be about three miles long (our estimate was almost correct).

It was hot, and long, but quite pretty.

When we got back to the car, it informed me it was 110 degrees. The lower part of the park was 75 degrees and overcast. Lesson learned: next time we'll check the weather.