Monday, February 28, 2011

Filling Up

Shot of a gas station at night taken out of the car window on the way to a restaurant.
Click on the image to see a bigger, better version.

A True Angeleno?

I was driving through Hollywood to a baby shower this afternoon and noticed lots of people directing traffic and parking, a sure sign there was an event happening tonight. It wasn't until I got home and got online that I realized it's Oscar night.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at LA Live and I saw lots of people milling around and lots of security and kept wondering what was going on. It wasn't until I got home and got online that I realized that that night was the NBA All Star game.

Am I a bad Angeleno? Or does the celebrity stuff flying over my head make me a true Angeleno?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Starbucks Trenta: Is This Real?

I ran into the screen clipping below on the National Post. Apparently Starbucks has come out with a new drink size called the Trenta. The capacity of the cup is greater than the capacity of the average human stomach, so if you order it, please drink slowly to allow some space to free up. I will not represent you in your burst stomach lawsuit against Starbucks.

As someone who sometimes has trouble finishing a tall drink at Starbucks, I am a little bit horrified right now. Is this behemoth beverage actually available for purchase and consumption? Please let me know if this is a hoax or if you've actually seen it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Telltale Signs That You Are on a Women's Retreat

I am recovering from women's retreat culture shock.

All of my retreats prior to this one have been co-ed and with people my age. This past weekend, I went on a retreat that was comprised of all women. All but one were older than me. Many were significantly older. Allow me to share some characteristics of women's retreats that make them unlike any other and that contributed to my culture shock.

Gift bags received upon registration filled with lots of girly items including tissues. 
Apparently, the gift bag coordinator thought the rate of crying would be two tissue packs per women per retreat. Given all the heartfelt sharing followed by crying and sympathy tears, that estimate may have been about right.

Regardless of age or gender, everyone likes to have fun on a retreat. But, women's retreats seem to have an extra dose of it. The women I shared the weekend with knew how to have a good time. For every tear shed, there must have been ten good laughs.

Lots of great conversation.

Cutesy things. 
Not only were there gift bags, but there were also beautiful centerpieces on our dinner tables and these heart decorations on the doors to our rooms. I can't imagine the men's retreat or the high school retreat doing this.

Desserts after every meal. 
I'm not sure if this is a women's retreat thing or not, but I just wanted to include this picture.

The only man around looked like this.

All in all, I had a wonderful weekend. The culture shock was well overshadowed by the gift of spending time with and learning from women of all different ages.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thai Mango Sticky Rice, White Girl Style

Thai mango sticky rice is incredible. After a spicy Thai meal full of garlic, basil, ginger, and curry, the creamy coconut flavor of the rice combined with a sweet juicy mango tastes so subtle and so perfect. Unfortunately, it is supposed to be a pain in the butt to make.

One day, I was feeling a bit adventurous, so I decided to give it a whirl using only the ingredients found in my cupboard. This is normally a recipe for disaster (pun intended), but this time it worked! By "worked," I mean that this Caucasian woman feels like the end result is close enough to what Thai restaurants serve. The real test will come when I serve it to my Thai mother-in-law.

Here is my simple, three step, four ingredient recipe:


  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • a few tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk
  • a juicy, juicy mango cut up


  1. Cook the rice.
  2. Just before the rice is done, gently stir in the coconut and sweetened condensed milk.
  3. Serve with mangoes. Sprinkle it with sesame seeds if you're really going for the Thai restaurant look.

Now, if I can only figure out an easy way to make a yummy Thai meal to eat before it...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Old Soul and a Childlike Heart

If our beverages of choice reveal our inner identity, I am a frumpy, forty year old British woman and my husband is a playful, ten year old American boy. This tickles us to no end. While most people in their twenties sit and chat over a cup of coffee or a beer, my husband and I like to swap thoughts and stories over a cold glass of chocolate milk and a hot mug of tea. When I prepare my husband's beverage of choice, I laugh because I feel like I already have an elementary schooler around. When my husband prepares my beverage of choice, he laughs because he feels like he can act more grown up vicariously through me.

Now raise your drink of choice and let us toast the differences that make marriage fun. *clink, clink*

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Warm February Day

My husband took me to a local garden to celebrate Valentine's Day two days early. I couldn't resist bringing my camera to take a few shots! You just saw the beautiful, serious photos. The handsome, not so serious photos are below:

Pine-ing Fir Yew?! You've got to be kidding.

That's a BIG pinecone!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Shocking News About Bell Peppers

Just had to throw in this
cute picture from the 

Wiki article.
Have you ever gone grocery shopping and noticed that red, orange, and yellow bell peppers cost two to three times as much as green bell peppers?

Have you ever asked why?

As I was pondering this deep question the other day, the answer popped into my mind: green bell peppers must simply be unripened yellow, orange, or red bell peppers.

It just makes sense. Since farmers are able to harvest green bell peppers earlier, they are able to produce more crops in a single year than if they were to dedicate their fields to ripening them all the way. This would raise the supply of green bell peppers and therefore decrease the cost. (I dedicate that analysis to my dear friend who majored in economics. Hopefully I got it right.) Also, I imagine farmers are able to ship them much more easily since green bell peppers are further from rotting than their more colorful counterparts.

I hopped online and in .24 seconds, Wikipedia confirmed. "Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colors, including red, yellow and orange. The fruit is also frequently consumed in its unripe form, when the fruit is still green." 

And now I have officially dedicated about 30 minutes of my life to thinking, researching, and writing about bell peppers. I hope that little fact is as interesting to you as it was to me.

Monday, February 7, 2011


"How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?"  ~ Julia Child

My first six years of life, where taste buds are developed often beyond repair, were spent in Europe where delicious, fresh bread was a daily fare. My ex-pat family indulged in a variety of loaves and often joked about Americans and their (our?!) Wonderbread. "You wonder if it's bread!" ...hardy har har.

From popovers piping hot and smeared in butter served with a bowl of soup to roasted garlic bread soft and shared with a friend over tea, Portugal has left an indelible mark on my taste buds; fresh, home-baked bread is still one of my favorite foods.

And it is particularly delicious when you stuff it full of cheese, vegetables, and meat! If the above ode to bread has made you a little hungry, try making these calzones. A quick caveat: My prior recipes have been quite quick and simple. Make these calzones when you have time. They take a little while the first few tries, but they are well worth the effort!


1. Make a basic pizza dough recipe. The following recipe is adapted from "Joy of Cooking."

  • Pour a package of yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons) over a bowl of warm (105-115 degree) water. Let the yeast dissolve. This takes about five minutes.
  • Mix the yeast water with:
    • 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups of flour
    • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • Knead it by hand or using a dough hook attachment on a mixer.
  • Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size. This takes about 1-2 hours. Put it in a warm place to make it rise quickly.

The yeast will look like this when it's almost dissolved.
2. Get your filling ready while the dough rises

  • Grate lots of mozzarella cheese. You'll need at least a pound.
  • Chop up veggies. (I recommend 3-4 of the following: thinly sliced garlic, bell peppers, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, or anything else!) Tip: The veggies need to be dry to prevent the calzone from getting soggy.
  • Meat. (I recommend pepperoni ... though I've been known to do salmon, leftover meatballs, and no meat at all.)

3. Assemble your calzones.
  • Heat the oven to 400.
  • Split the pizza dough into six small balls.
  • Lightly flour a dry, clean surface. Cover your hands and a rolling pin in flour. 
  • One at a time, roll out each ball into a disk and cover half with cheese, veggies, and meat.
  • Moisten the edges of the dough with water and seal it tightly.
  • Place in a greased pan.
  • Beat an egg in a bowl. Brush the tops of the calzones with the egg mixture.
  • Bake until golden brown. About 25 minutes.
  • Serve with salad and with warmed tomato sauce for dipping.

Put more cheese than you see pictured here.
This one wasn't cheesy enough, though the salmon, spinach, and zucchini was so good!

All brushed with egg and ready for the oven.

Enjoy the incredible flavor of your calzone! It definitely won't taste like Kleenex.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...