Monday, December 12, 2005

KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night #1

The first thing to say is... my ears are STILL ringing!

Jason and I were given pit tickets to the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night #1 from my dear, sweet, beautiful, available friend Shane. I originally set about to get the tickets because I thought Jason and my brother-in-law Neal would want to go. Neal declined the ticket (surprisingly!), so I decided to go with Jason.

I had a great time. Jason had a guitar lesson, so we arrived to the ampitheater late. It was at Gibson Ampitheater (formerly Universal Ampitheater) and it's surrounded by CityWalk, which has tons of restaurants and stores. We decided to get a drink at Tony Roma's before going into the show. Good move because they had Bud Light for $11(!) inside.

We saw the last song by Avenged Sevenfold and that was good. We saw Fall Out Boy and they were a group of dorks!! And not in a good way! Then the big names started...

Korn - I only know their popular songs, but it was cool because they had a lot of stage presence and really got the crowd going! They did a cover of the Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" or whatever it's called. They also did a cover of Metallica's "Master of Puppets." Jonathan kept walking to the right side of the stage and putting an oxygen mask on. Seriously, he did it at almost every song and sometimes during a song. He also played a bagpipe.

Nine Inch Nails - Trent Reznor has been working out! He's got a whole Henry Rollins look going on. Very short buzz cut and buff!! He was awesome. He played a few songs off of his new album, a few songs from Pretty Hate Machine and Closer. At the end, one of his band members threw his keyboard out into the pit and there was a scramble for it and the guy who ended up with it was hanging on to it for dear life!!

Our worst moment was during this set when the short, fat, alcoholic b*tch behind us kept leaning on Jason to steady her cameraphone and sticking it right between our heads. When Jason asked her to stop, she started screaming, "F*ck you! F*ck you! I love you Trent!"

System of a Down - They started off their set like the beginning of the Mesmerize CD. It was awesome! I love BYOB, so that was cool to hear it live. Their set was very long (maybe it was because my feet were hurting at this point). The lead singer's hair is long and curly. He has a big nose too, so all he needs now is messed up teeth to look like Dee Snider! The guitarist was funny!! I think his name is Darren. If you saw him on the street you would never know he was in a big rock band. He's pasty white, untoned, and looks like a middle aged regular guy.

Overall, it was a lot of fun... A very impractical Christmas gift for my husband!!

My people-watching observations: Fat chicks should not wear revealing clothes (please, please, please! Stop the insanity!!) and drunk people suck...

Monday, December 05, 2005

I'm an idiot

I'm an idiot.

That's about all there is to say...

Here is a little story about what happens when you don't take your time doing something right...

KROQ is a radio station in Los Angeles that has a two day concert every December called the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas. They always have fabulous line-ups and I always try to win tickets. This year they have an especially good line up (see for the details). My husband Jason really wants to go to Night 1, so I've been trying like a madperson to win tickets to either night.

They have been doing a contest called the 12 days of Christmas. Every morning they give out a clue designed to hint at where they have someone stationed with tickets for the pit and backstage passes.

Today they were giving away tickets to Night 2 which has Depeche Mode, the White Stripes and Coldplay. The day of Christmas was "5 Golden Rings". I figured out the clue almost immediately to be a very popular engagement ring store chain. There is a location RIGHT by my house (about 2 miles away), so I jumped in my car and drove over there. I didn't see anyone who looked like they had tickets, so I rushed off assuming they were at another location.

Well, they announced a winner about 45 minutes later and it turns out that I was at the right location!!!! There was a girl sitting on what looked like a bus stop bench and she had the tickets. Like a complete moron, I didn't get out of my car and go talk to her because she looked like she was just waiting for the bus and I was in a rush to try to get to the second location of the store.

I'm an idiot. I've been beating myself up all day because I KNEW where they were and I screwed it up. AARRRGH!!! Why am I so lame? The lesson I learned is to slow down and do something right. If I had actually parked my car and got out to look around, I probably would've talked to her and hence, won the freakin' tickets.

I know it's only a concert, but still, I just can't believe they were RIGHT THERE! and I missed them!!!! Chances are the next clues won't point to locations 2 miles from my house.

I just can't believe it.
I really can't.

My advice to everyone out there... take your time and do it right so you won't be an idiot like me.

Monday, November 28, 2005


I can give thanks to Leanne from Saving Dinner for a well-organized Thanksgiving dinner! Everyone had a great time! The menu changed a bit, but in general it was fabulous! I'd venture to say that it was one of the best ones I've had in the last 10 years. It's my second time cooking the Thanksgiving dinner and this one was WAY better than the previous attempt four years ago. A lot of things have changed in the last four years that I'm thankful for... namely, I'm more organized, I have Flylady, I'm a better wife and a better cook! The last time I cooked T-day dinner, the turkey took FOREVER so we didn't eat until close to 7-8 PM when we would normally eat around 4 PM. It was awful. This time, everything was great. I had my menu planned, my cranberry dishes made on Tuesday, ingredients prepped Wednesday night and the turkey was done early!

You can tell that I haven't cooked turkey very much because I figured out on Saturday as I was cutting leftovers off the turkey that the giblets are hiding under the neckflap. Luckily there were no issues with it being left in there, but I had no idea they were there! I kept looking inside the cavity for it because that's where they put it for chickens!! Oh well, no harm, no... fowl??
A special thank you to my sister Dawn for the fabulous Pumpkin Cheesecake and my SIL Jodi who made mashed turnips, sweet potato pie, persimmon bread, pumpkin bread, pomengranitinis. All the food was fabulous. The only adjustment I'll make for next year is less salt in the stuffing. It was too salty (and I love salty food!).

I think the winners were the turkey, yellow squash casserole and the pan drippings gravy. I had a friend who said she usually does eat gravy have three helpings! It was good, so I can't blame her one bit.

Here's a picture of me cutting the turkey:

Here are pictures of other food:
Thanksgiving TableMain table

Thanksgiving Side Dishes 3Side dishes

Thanksgiving TurkeyTurkey, up close

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Thanksgiving approaches...

Thanksgiving is right around the corner!! We usually spend Thanksgiving with my husband's family, but this year, we decided to do our own thing with some of both our families and some friends. It should be fun...

The Menu
  • Turkey (of course!) from Shelton Farms so it's a fresh, all natural, free range turkey
  • Stuffing - bread type with no fruity stuff
  • Mashed potatos
  • Yams/Sweet Potatos - to be made by my SIL Jodi
  • Broccoli-Mushroom Casserole
  • Yellow Squash Casserole
  • Fried Cauliflower
  • Corn Souffle - to be made by my SIL Jodi
  • Cranberry-Orange Sauce
  • Cranberry Relish - my favorite, it contains oranges, celery, red onion and jalopenos
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake - to be made by my sister Dawn, she already has some practice!
  • Sweet Potato Pie - to be made by my SIL Jodi

Whew! I think that's it! I have to go through my fridge and get rid of all the extra stuff to make room for leftovers!! It will be an adventure! This is only my second Thanksgiving dinner ever. The first one ran WAY behind schedule because the turkey label lied so my turkey took WAY longer to cook than indicated.

In anticipation of T-day, I purchased a brand new saucier pot/pan/whatever you call it. It's beautiful and I love it!

All Clad Stainless 2 Qt. Saucier with bonus whisk

I also purchased a new roasting pan because mine was the $8 version from the outlet mall and will NOT fit an 18-20 lb. turkey in it. It barely fits three Cornish game hens in it!

Kitchenaid Five-Ply Stainless Steel 15 by 11 1/2 -Inch Rectagular Roaster with Rack

I did buy this stuff to use for Thanksgiving, but I can use this stuff year round. We already tried out the saucier pan and it's fabulous!! I love it!! The roasting pan should be here by Tuesday, so it will be here just in time!!!

Monday, November 07, 2005

My next vacation!

I love the idea of changing jobs. In fact, I know I've told people that my ideal job would be one where I often change it up. The idea of doing something forever is kind of scary. Maybe because I haven't found my passion in life. Either way, I was browsing around and found an article about
Vocation Vacations!

You can take a vacation and shadow someone who has a job you're interested in and see what it's like. It's like a preview of a new potential occupation! They have all kinds of things like innkeeper, chocolatier, caterer, cheesemaker, winery owner, etc. They are not all food related either. I haven't looked through all the possibilities, but I think that would be awesome!!

Which occupation would you shadow?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bathroom News

I haven't posted much lately because Jason & I have been busy sprucing up the bathroom. It started in April when we had to take down a hideous drop ceiling that was in our bathroom. You might be saying to yourself... a drop ceiling? in the bathroom?? Yes, you read correctly. Why anyone would put a drop ceiling in a bathroom we would discover at a later date.

Turns out that the electrical was running on the bathroom side of the ceiling, instead of in the attic and no one had ever fixed it. Luckily, it only cost $175 to get it all fixed by an electrician. We had to scrape an wallpaper border off the walls. Then sand, spackle and sand some more. And we've spent the last week painting.

I am going to search my home computer for a "before" picture. Unfortunately, we didn't specifically take one before we started. But maybe we have one stashed away somewhere.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Halloween Get Together

I'm having a small Halloween get together and want to have a relatively low stress menu. I know I'm going to make soup because it's been getting chilly here and I think it will be cool that night...

I will make Potato Leek Soup for sure (with my homemade stock!!) and if I get lots of people to RSVP, I will make a pot of Split Pea Soup. I'll pick up some yummy bread too...

Other potential munchies:
  • Deviled eggs - could boil the eggs Thurs or Fri
  • Veggies w/ranch dip - easy to make
  • Cheeseball - make on Fri
  • Peppered salami - slice on Sat morning
  • Cheese & crackers - a variety of both
  • Cookies - could make Thurs or Fri
  • Meatballs (in a crock pot) - throw in the pot Sat

Just thinking out loud so I can figure out what works the best.

EDIT: OK, now I've received a lot of RSVPs, so it's definitely Potato Leek and Split Pea. I also am picking up croissant sandwiches from Costco. Other munchies: Munchies (Doritos, Cheetos, sunchips, pretzels), Kettle potato chips, cheeseball, salami with cheese and crackers, candy bars and caramel & candied apples that I bought at the store. I am trying to make this as low stress for myself as possible.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Locks of Love

Yea! I finally got my hair cut off so I can donate it to Locks of Love. They take donated hair and make wigs for children who have cancer and have lost all their hair. The minimum length for donation is 10", but I've been saving mine up so I am sending them a whopping 13 1/2"!!

Here is the before picture taken at work:


Here is the after picture taken at home:


Honestly, this is probably the best it will ever look! The stylist blew it dry and flipped out the ends.

I heart Russell

How can you not love a cat that looks like this:

Russell sleeping on the couch

I could've saved it for weekend cat blogging, but I decided that I couldn't wait!!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Games, games and more games!

My husband calls me a maniac. I mean, he literally called me a maniac yesterday. I spent almost 12 hours playing games! Board games! Yes, board games! German board games to be more specific...

Of all the games listed below, the only one I'd played before was Power Grid. That being said, yesterday I played:

Cheops with John, Dave, and Lincoln. It has cute little scarabs that Lincoln kept insisting looked like mini-Sugar Babies. I think he was hungry. I won this one :-) It's easy to learn how to play and fun.

The Usual Suspects - John, Dave, Lincoln (I'm behind the camera)

Atlantic Star with the same group. This one was fairly easy to learn too. With a little different strategy, I could have done better. I finished last in this one.

Power Grid with John, Anna, Nicole and Danny. This is the second time I've played this and I really like it! Lots of strategy without the headache! I'm debating buying this one.

Power Grid

Princes of Florence with Anna, Erin, John and Chris. I made some classic beginner mistakes and therefore finished 2nd or 3rd. Overall, pretty fun, I'd play it again. My friend Lana had recommended I try this, so I was glad to finally get a chance.

Ingenious with Erin and Anna. This game was super easy to learn and play. I'd play it again, a great quick game.

Samurai with Dave, Danny and Anna. I didn't quite understand the winning parameters, but I ended up winning anyway.

Attika with Devon and Dave. I won this one. This one is fun. It's strategy with a little luck in tile flipping. According to Dave, this game is best with 2 people, 3 is OK, 4 sucks. (Just a mental note for myself - and anyone reading this apparently!)

Overall, I had a lot of fun and the day flew by!! It's amazing how 12 hours can fly by playing games while a day at work can just drag on and on! Super fun and I can't wait til the next one! I think it's scheduled for Feb. 8th.

Oh, and I bought Puerto Rico so I can't wait to invite some gamers over so I can play it again. I've only played it a couple times, but I enjoyed it.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Pepperoni and Jalopeno Pizza

Ok, my sister made a deep dish pizza the other day and since then I've been obsessed with making a pizza too. I didn't have the time to make the dough she did, so I cheated and bought pizza dough from my favorite Italian sandwich shop in Burbank for $1.29. It was tasty! Jason said that it tasted better than most of the frozen pizzas we eat.

It was nothing fancy! I rolled out the dough, put a little tomato sauce on the dough, added shredded mozzarella, dried oregano, pepperoni, red onion slivers and jalopenos on half. I decided to try some variations on the crust. Here's a picture first:


On the left half of the crust, I sprinkled a California blend of garlic powder. On the upper right quadrant, I brushed it with olive oil, then put some pre-minced garlic on the oil and then sprinkled it with romano cheese. Then for experimental validity, I left the lower right quadrant untouched. The best crust was the one with the real garlic and romano cheese. I think I'll do that to the whole pizza next time.

I have all the ingredients, so next time I think I'll try making the dough from scratch, but overall this was pretty easy and good. I also made myself a salad and it looked so yummy, I had to take a picture!

My Salad

Nothing that exciting, but it was fun to make! I love making salads. The variations are endless!! Lately, I've been in love with gorgonzola cheese in my salad. As for dressing, our current favorite is the Girard's Light Champagne vinaigrette. It is good. I think it tastes very similar to the dressing at the Olive Garden, except that it's about 60 calories per serving vs. 200 calories!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Making Stock: Part Two

Making stock has made me appreciate the ability we have nowadays (am I 85?) to just buy stock in a can. The convenience offered to people who like to cook is immense! Imagine if you lived back in colonial times. If you wanted to make some chicken noodle soup, you'd have to make this stock. Without refrigerators or even being aware of the so-called "danger zone", how did people survive?

Anyway, I digress. After I took my stock out of the fridge, it looked like this:

Stock with Schmaltz

I took off all the schmaltz and bagged it for future sauteeing and then proceeded to stir it to see if the stock had obtained the gelatinous consistency that it should. Thankfully! It had. It's hard to tell in the picture, but I tried: (hmmm... I'm having problems uploading this picture)

So, after two nights of slaving over a hot, simmering stove, I ended up with almost 3 quarts of liquid love. I can't wait to try it and hopefully, it will taste way better than anything I could get out of a can, no matter how convenient!!

The finished product!

One last word of clarification...
In my last post, I cited that the disadvantages to watching Good Eats were time and money. Time in that I spent two nights working on the stock and money in that I bought 3 fine mesh strainers to use to strain my broth. Who knew that a big fine mesh strainer could cost $15?? I had no clue! But it will be worth it in the long run because I'm sure I will need those items for future endeavors. I can already see myself sifting flour or powdered sugar this winter for cookies! :-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Making Stock: Part One

Watching Good Eats has some advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that it's immensely entertaining and you end up learning a lot about cooking! The disadvantages are the time and money ones. I see AB do things on his show that I decide I MUST try at home!

Recently I was watching his True Brew IV episode about making chicken stock and decided I must do it! Since I learned from AB how to cut up chickens, I've been saving their carcasses in my freezer with the anticipation of making my own, but didn't really know where to start!

Last Sunday was a relatively quiet day around the house, so I decided that I would give it a shot! First, I took my frozen chickens out of the freezer and let them sit out a bit just to get a little unfrozen, then added them into my 12 qt. stockpot like this:

While those were sitting, I ran around to a few stores to get all my ingredients as outlined in the
Chicken Stock recipe. I cut them up and then threw them in the pot. Here's the before picture:

After letting it simmer and smell delicious all day, the really stressful part was trying to get the stock to cool to below 40 degrees to get it out of the "danger zone"!! I had borrowed a cooler from my sis-in-law to give it an ice bath, but the pots I was planning on using didn't fit! So there was a lot of jockeying and it was really kind of stressful as I thought of all those bacteria multiplying in my "liquid love" (as Alton puts it!). It ended up taking about 1 1/2 hours. Not too bad!

The true test was last night. I let it refrigerate overnight and it's supposed to take on a gelatinous texture, but when I checked it, it had not. So, I took AB's advice once more and reduced it. Now I'm just waiting to go home to see if it set properly!!! Cross your fingers for me!!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bacon, what else?

We got in late last night. By the time we talked, toured the house and talked some more, we ended up going to bed around 3:45 AM.

This morning, we had rhe old standby "bacon & eggs" for breakfast. I don't think there's any doubt why bacon gets top billing in that marquee. Bacon is so tasty!

I learned that our host Paul loves pork. He eats it almost everyday! I don't eat pork everyday, but I do love meat. The saying in our house is "Everything tastes better with bacon!" The bacon-love is universal with carnivores, I think.

I going to try to post a picture of the newly washed pup here!

Isn't he cute?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

On the road

We are on the road! I am using my Treo to send this
posting. We are heading up the 99 and I have to say,
that with the menagerie of smells Ive smelled, I may
have to rethink this whole living on a farm idea!

I think what I would enjoy is the open space and
private feeling I imagine one would feel living on
acres of land. Maybe one day Ill experience that.

Emailing posts!

I am testing out this whole emailing posts feature.  If this works, I can post updates from the road!

Sacramento, here we come

I'm going to Sacramento this weekend with Jason (my husband) to visit his friend Paul, and Paul's partner, Jim. Jason knew Paul at a previous job probably about 15 years ago. I've met Paul and Jim a couple times early in our marriage, but we haven't seen them in years!

I'm excited about visiting them and I'm looking forward to relaxing. Road trips are fun! I can't wait to eat my first piece of beef jerky. The ultimate road trip food!!

I always try to scope out the restaurant scene before I get to my destination to see if there is anything that I know I have to have. So far, I have a sushi place called Mikuni's on the list. We'll see how it is! I don't know if Paul & Jim are planning on cooking for us all weekend. That would be great too! I love it when people cook for me!

On a crafty note: I finished with the knitting on a scarf for my husband. It was supposed to be his Christmas present last year, but I didn't get it finished in time and then it just lagged in my knitting bag. I just need to weave the ends into the scarf. I will post a picture once I finish it up.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pictures are worth a thousand words

My sister, Dawn, introduced me to
FarmGirl's Blog and she features a "picture a day" from her farm. They are the best! Dawn and I were talking about trying to post our own pictures a day. I suggested that since she's planning on moving to Colorado because of her growing dislike for California, she could post her "Another reason to leave California" every day. Pictures of trash, smog, traffic, etc. I think that could be hilarious!!

What could I take a daily picture of? My cats? Something new around the house? I think I'll start chronicling my crafts. They are not up to the snuff as compared to NotMartha, but hey, I have to start somewhere! OR, I could be the yang to Dawn's yin and find beautiful things about Los Angeles/So Cal.

Truth be told, I love the idea of moving to a farmhouse on some land and not having to rush into work everyday. Although, ideally, I'd love to buy a small diner or cafe and learn how to cook and have fun with that in a small town somewhere. Along that vein, I've been browsing (just for fun) the businesses for sale on

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Not a food nerd... just plain old nerd

Steph and Alton Brown
Originally uploaded by Bunny Steph.
This is a picture of Alton and me at the Orange County Fair. This was shortly after our love affair began. I leaned WAY into the picture and he said, "Make yourself comfortable!" in a somewhat sarcastic tone, but I just leaned further in as if it was an invitation. Man, I should've kissed him! That would have been REALLY fun.

Although I'm no foodie (like my sister), I love cooking and I love food. I don't know all the jargon, but I do know that one of the reasons I love Alton Brown is the total dorkiness he brings to cooking. His skits are funny and his show is immensely entertaining and educational!

In fact, the first chicken I cut up was following his instructions on Fry Harder. I can't wait to try his beef jerky recipe now.

This was going to just be a test post, but now I've made it longer. More on the AB love later.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

First post on Blogspot

Well, my sister started a blog on BlogSpot to post her food and crafty trials, so I figured I've give it a try too!

Currently, my life is very busy! I'm happy that fall is arriving because cooking is so much more enjoyable during the cooler weather! I love cooking and baking. I also like football, so the start of the NFL season is the first sign that cooler weather is in our near future. I celebrated the first game of the NFL season by making, what else?... Chicken wings! :-) I made spicy, sweet wings and they were tasty and fun to make. It was the first opportunity I had to use one of my new knives! I bought a Henckel's Pro "S" boning knife. It worked like a charm!

Yes, I finally broke down and purchased an awesome knife set! I bought a 9 piece Henckel's Pro S knife set. The set consisted of the following knives/pieces:
  • 3" paring
  • 5" serrated
  • 6" utility
  • 8" chef
  • 8" bread
  • 7" (?) slicing (not sure of the exact length of that one)
  • kitchen shears
  • sharpening steel
  • knife block

I also purchased the boning knife and a set of 4 steak knives. I watched an episode of Good Eats, during which, Alton Brown uses a boning knife to cut up a whole chicken to later fry it. I had to have one after I saw that episode!

AND, I finally got to use the boning knife to cut up a whole chicken last night. Alton's directions were so easy to follow! It worked like a charm. Alton's the best!!

This is a lot of knife detail, but I've been wanting to buy a set for years and thanks to winning a game show with my sister, I bought them in anticipation of receiving the check. Hopefully, it gets here soon!!! More general info to be posted later.