Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Places I've Been

Last night I was horsing around online and found another cool app where you can track all the places you've visited. I think I'm somewhere around 20 countries- there's just too much white space on the places I haven't been.

To make your map, go to bighugelabs.com

Monday, January 30, 2012

California or Bust

At the Oakland Museum last week, I especially identified with their extensive history exhibit on settlement and migration so prevalent to this state.

Just a little over a year ago, I too immigrated here from the East Coast, a pioneer anxious to stake claim on a new life.

I never needed propaganda to send me west.

This looks alarmingly similar to my first car I drove west to California from Wisconsin right after college, complete with a "California or Bust" sign in the window. My dad wasn't kidding when he said we looked like Okies.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Oakland Museum

Last week, I went to the Bay Area for a couple days to catch up with my pop. When we're looking for a good time, we head to the museum.

I grew up in Oakland until I was 12 and the Oakland Museum was one of my favorite places. This is my second visit since its undergone a huge facelift in the last couple years.

Thank goodness they still have the functional art piece that serves as a bench in the lobby. They don't let you climb on it anymore like I remember as a kid, but I am still stunned that it is all carved out of a single piece of redwood.

 The atrium still has its large, languid goldfish. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were the same ones.

 We strolled around the sculpture garden to soak up as much of the beautiful day as we could.
 City Hall is right next door, and holds my birth certificate.

 I'm still in the sling, but happy to be out and about.

 My dad, doing his tourist pose.

 A sculpture from a reclaimed tractor.

My dad is a retired foundry man and explains the principles of welding to me as we admired the sculptures. Here he points out the hand cut edge of the metal verses using a machine.

Our lovely view, while he reminisced about Erector Sets from his childhood.

 I discovered that rosemary climbs.

We headed inside, with a bit of reluctance to leave the sun and steel.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rockin' the 'Tinis

I just got back from a couple days seeing my dad in the Bay Area. We usually hike or go on a silly adventure when we get together, but our options were limited while I'm still slingin' it. 

At least you don't need two hands to drink. So we did. My dad got martini glasses (actually, they're gigantic and better suited for margaritas) and mise en place for cocktails, so I showed him how to do a proper martini. Here's a refresher course for those seasoned drinkers.

First, chill the glass. Ice water will chill in it faster than ice alone. To an ice-filled cocktail shaker, pour a double shot of gin (a four count pour works best for me), and a splash of dry vermouth. For an extra dry martini, reduce the vermouth, or eliminate it altogether. For a dirty martini, add olive juice. Shake hard for 20 seconds until the outside of the shaker is frosty. Dump the ice water in the glass just before straining. There should be a thin layer of ice over the martini's surface as you serve it.

I'm not a huge clear martini gal, so I made mine with gin and homemade limoncello in place of the vermouth for a sweeter, more refreshing drink.

It made a weeknight watching Malcolm in the Middle feel way classier.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mama!

Hope you had a wonderful day and I wish I could have been there. I have so much to thank you for. I love you.

Daughters, love your mamas for all that they do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Just for Today

"The intellect cuts things, the heart sews them together." Mata Amrita- andamayi

Sometimes we just need a little reminder of this.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Back to School!

I'm minutes away from starting my creative writing class at the local junior college. I'm so excited! I've always wanted to keep taking classes beyond my bachelor's- there's nothing like knowledge for the sake of knowledge. And fast internet!

Right now, I'm just trying to act cool and figure out where to go. After all, I'm a nontraditional student now ......

Eclairs and Pot Pie

This weekend I needed a break from taking it easy in the sling. A friend came to the rescue and made me veggie pot pie while we prepped for the Niner playoffs.

Bonus: mustache bottle attachments! As if there's nothing better than a bottle of beer on its own.

The star of the show, with the flakiest crust ever ...

Next we did a recipe test for a pate a choux recipe I had that needed some tweaking. I was a bit nervous, since I haven't made this in years.

 Ooops, I forgot a pastry bag. My quick fix- use a ziplock and snip a hole in the corner. They don't come out as pretty, but it works well in a pinch.

Chocolate eclairs, here we go. The ones on the silpat are prettier, but the ones above without parchment (as advised in the recipe) cooked more evenly. Hmmm.

 We split them open and got them ready to fill.

 Another issue, the one part chocolate to four parts pastry cream ratio came out a little too strong. A little more ganachey than I would have liked, but will scale back the choc next time.

The finished "truffle" version of the eclairs. Delicious, but I'm going to go the extra mile and make the glaze next time for a prettier pastry.

I'll put up the recipe once I work out the kinks!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012


I'm just want to warn you right now, there is some ridiculous cuteness about to follow. 

That's right, puppies! My roommate just adopted two sweetie pie huskies who moved in on Wednesday (which ended up being one of the happiest days of my life). We've been overwhelmed by the cuteness these last couple days and the house is full of love. (The cats, of course, are less than pleased.)

 Sugar will keep one of the girls at our house and the other will go to her parents so they can still hang out every day. We just have to decide which gal goes where, and what to name them.

 I'm secretly calling this one Bear, and may have whispered it into her ear once or twice.

I'm not even kidding. They are seriously this cute.

I'm determined to be the best dog auntie ever!

I'm trying to keep from falling into a puppy coma, but if you don't hear from me for a while, you'll know where I am.