Healthy(ish) Cinnamon Buns

Today is a cold and rainy day in Ventura, so its a great excuse to put on some Christmas music and make Moosewood Restaurant's classic cinnamon buns.. I like to think these are healthy because 1) it's Moosewood's recipe 2) it's not Cinnabon's Carmel Pecanbon from the mall

Sweetest thing ..

Tonight I was going through the Thanksgiving pictures on the camera, to upload to our computer, and landed upon this sweet surprise... just another reason I love my husband... he is traveling in Pennsylvania this week and I miss him already.

FAQ with Giada de Laurentiis

The other day I sent out the following question into the google universe: "Does anyone know where Giada's wood pepper mill is from" - I absolutely love her solid dark wood mill, that she uses on Everyday Italian.. apparently I am not alone (although I already knew others would have posed this question into cyberspace too). It is beginning to look like there are tons of disappointed pepper mill fans, because the mill was made by Le Sancuaire, who has discontinued making it... however in my searches I found an amazing FAQ on her website that answered just about every question that I have had about her at one point or another (i.e.: where did you go to culinary school, where is the necklace you always wear with the 4 strands from, what type of nail polish do you wear, I see what you make on the show, so then why are you so damn skinny).
Here's the link to her answers. PS Bubble Bath nail polish from OPI has been life changing, highly recommend it ladies.

Sushi at home

Tim made some yummy vegetarian sushi and veggie tempura on friday night. $100 at Bristol Farms, left over vegetable oil in the wok, rice everywhere and about 10 dirty dishes later, it leaves me wondering if sushi is best left to the experts to do in their kitchen..

San Franciso treat.. or trick

I think that I have lucked out having one of my best friends have their birthdays on Halloween.. it has led to many memorable birthday parties celebrating in SF, and of course... in full blown costume inspired by ipod ads. Its even more of a reason to go big with the costume.. and this year was no exception. Since Halloween was on a Saturday this year, Tim and I took off the Friday before to make the trek to the Bay to celebrate Shanna's birthday. A few minutes into the road trip, we had to make a U-turn back home because Tim was feeling pretty sick.

The show had to go on, so I kissed Tim and Elle goodbye and hit the road again, with two amazing homemade costumes in tow. (Luckily Carly didn't have a costume - and actually admitted this news to me - so she had to choice but to take Tim's place). I have to say that although I was really nervous about wearing black face paint (and Carly was not even committing to the costume until 30 minutes before go time), the costumes turned out really fun and we were super excited about them in the end. We even ended up winning a few of the costume contest categories!

The funniest part of the night was trying to hail a cab in the city in ALL black, no one could see us, and trying to find a black wig last* minute. (*5 minutes before the last open Halloween shop in the city [we had to go to a couple] was closing).

Best tastes of the night - This was my first taste of Golden Boy Pizza - basically fresh pizza made on top of the most amazing foccacia bread. ( Joel's 3am vegetarian nachos with homemade guacamole was also a huge winner... and I know I should mention the cupcakes (I won't mention their special name on the G-rated blog) however I can't bring myself to even talk about those things yet). PS recipe needed.

Most athletic part of the weekend: walking to touch Hoppers hands under the GG Bridge and getting a mini hula hopping lesson in a park Sunday morning with Shey.

black face paint = fully committed
Jeremy (Big), Jill (Carrie), me, Carly, Shanna, Joel (Noting Jeremy and Jill's costume because you can't see Carries shoes and facial mole)

summer is not dead

Although I am really excited for Halloween that just around the corner (... and especially this year when I will be in San Fransisco celebrating Shanna's birthday) I still can't help but be a little sad summer is coming to an end. Well, officially, it has already come to an end, but in so cal, we like to push the summer envelope.. and this is just what Jill, Shanna, and Carly and I did a few weekends ago!

There is nothing like spending time with some of your best friends for a weekend of sunning at the beach with bud light 40s (who knew?!), shameless I-don't-care-what-anyone-watching-thinks beach hula hoping, indulging in beer battered fried avocados and award winning guacamole at the Carpenteria Avocado Festival to hold onto summer!

Carly re-packing the cooler after we had a tip over cooler incident on the PCH

stopping traffic to take make sure our 40s are okay and cool

perfect day at the beach

Shanna was so happy with that corn!

beer battered fried avocado with sweet and spicy corn relish

Wagamama's yasai chilli men (stir fried chilli vegetables with tofu and soba noodles)

Wagamama's got me through (I should say around) British cuisine when Tim and I were living in the UK.. and recently I found this gem again (a going away gift from my friends at Waterstone's bookstore where I worked). A few weeks ago, I bought a package of Soba noodles after Martha did a show about this healthy noodle made from buckwheat. With my Soba noodles and a little encouragement, Tim played Japanese chef making one of the most flavorful and delicious Asian meals I have ever had.. now I just need a Wagamama fresh raw juice to go with it (or a trip to Boston or DC to visit their new US locations)!!

sweet red sauce spiked with chilli and ginger

tomatoes from our "garden"

stir fried vegetables (and tofu)

California Beer Festival

This weekend was the California Beer Festival.. in Ventura!! Tim, Kathy, Susan and I had such a fun time tasting all the local brews.. and some "secret" brews of some of the larger breweries. In all there were over 60 brews to try!. I got inspired again, to get Tim set up to brew for the annual Amgen Brew-B-Q where Amgen holds its own beer tasting festival for its employee's home brews! Just need a secret ingredient, winning composition... and this brew kit.

first rock band I have seen with a harp!

passed out at noon

brew brain

how did all our festival mugs end up at my house this morning?

30 hand wrapped Thai Spring Rolls, no problem

Sometimes I get this crazy idea to cook (usually when Tim is "unavailable" and what I like to call "unwilling"), so when I do, why am I never inspired for a simple pasta dish or a creative salad.. why do I choose complicated recipes and complex foreign cuisine... for example my latest attempt to, oh you know, make 30 fresh Thai spring rolls for a cocktail party later that night. Of course, not realizing that half the battle would be to find rice paper.. I was pretty confident that other crazies as myself (and/or local Thailander's) demand for rice paper would be enough to at least supply one pack in normal big box grocery stores. Nope and unfortunately I wasted quite a bit of time walking around the grocery store(s) isles with unhelpful sales people trying to locate (non existent) rice paper. After hitting up TWO Asian market stores, that were sold out of rice paper (???), my iphone gave me the bad news that there was one more local Asian specialty shop in the heart of the Oxnard ghetto. Was it worth my life and my new passenger side window to venture to this random hole in the wall market for rice paper? It's hard to know if you are just being dramatic (usually the case with me) or if really, it is unsafe.. I ended up taking the risk (and living to type about it). I got the goods and ended up buying a lifetime supply of rice paper (preventative measures). In the end the rolls didn't take to long to make, tasted so good (!!!), and got snatched up quick at the party ... now I just need a good peanut sauce recipe to accompany.

Emily's first day of kindergarten

Last weekend in Seattle, Tim and I got to watch the behind the scenes action of getting Emily ready for her first day of kindergarten.. and more importantly, #1 mom in full force. As if dealing with house guests from California for a week isn't stressful enough, #1 mom (aka Kirsten Malone) made my jaw drop, in her amazing efforts to get her little Emily ready for her first day of kindergarten! The night before consisted of mix and matching colors of melon and cream, to match with new hip corduroy pants, and of course pulling out the new uber cool slip on converse shoes, for the perfect back to school look (at the same time trying to talk Emily OUT of wearing a dress from last year.. can you EVEN fathom wearing a last year-style dress...honestly, the nerve).

While I gave Emily a manicure with her new green nail polish, Kirsten was a busy bee of activity, preparing a lunch box, checking off the last of the needed school supplies, sending Dan to Walgreens to pick up hand sanitizer, gathering milk money, getting out her new heart shaped sandwich press, writing E.Malone on everything in sight, hand stitching Emily's initials on her new back back (glass of wine in hand at this point), blow drying and styling Emily's hair, all while making homemade pesto with fresh basil from their garden.

My favorite part of the night was when #1 mom mysteriously snuck out of Club Lovelace (the nightly crew was in the club up to usual shenanigans) to make a batch of homemade cookies at MIDNIGHT, she had evidently promised Emily she could have a cookie in her lunch box for school (and of course, #1 mom knows that homemade would be the only option for a first day of kindergarten). #1 mom luckily brought down freshly baked cookies for the Club Lovelace crew when the cookies were done, then proceeded to take a shot of whiskey as if she had not just been the most hardworking, sweet, tired mom of a little 5 year old preparing for her first day of school!

Eating spiders while asleep.. a myth?

You know the myth/non myth about eating like 4 spiders in your lifetime while you are sleeping.. well just in case, I decided to take a POW last night (its not a spider, but falls into the "other" bug category). Its the WORST while Tim is out of town and I see a bug, since generally speaking, he "deals with" any bug issues (I have my own independent non bug roles). Anyhoo last night Elle woke up at 3am to throw up some remote control pieces she ate this week (this is the 4th remote control we've had to replace). While cleaning up dog throw up, I noticed a bug right by the bed, who, undoubtedly, was was going to head up the bed skirt, onto the comforter, onto the pillow and then right into my mouth. Now, the myth/non myth I have heard is only for spiders, so I am not even sure (in addition to spiders) how many "other" bugs crawl down your throat as you sleep too. The POW is still upstairs waiting for Tim to get back to "deal with" it - and in the meantime, I have a feeling that my little (not so innocent) BFF Elle, has been having thoughts of double crossing me.. even knowing that I cleaned up her dog puke last night!! I can't believe her! If only she understood English, I would explain how these myths go, and hope she understands that I am just trying to protect my myself, but now she just thinks its a game. She has been staring at this little black bug for hours with the most intensity and interest, and quite frankly, I think she's going to double cross me to let the bug out. In fact, when I asked her why she kept staring at the bug, she rolled over and started doing her gitty dog roll on her back, flailing her legs and tail all over the place.. now I have to keep an eye on both of them.

August Sunset from our porch

There are many thing I love about our new place.. I love the walking trails, I love how it seems to fit us and all our things comfortably, I love the open living room and kitchen, I love our "tree-house" master bedroom, I love walking into the house and smelling laundry detergent, I love the new soft carpets, I love to hate the workout up and down the 2 flights of stairs, I love that we will be able to walk to Whole Foods, the Yardhouse, and Ann Taylor (oooh dangerous), but most of all I love the sunsets off our porch every night (even when I have to take a shot with my iphone because the camera is MIA).

Welcome to Glitterville!

Dear Glitterville,

If, heaven forbid, something happens to my job, I am going to apply to work here asap (I don't even need benefits). I love your motto that every day is a holiday, and that all your days sparkle and shine, and I can already see myself working with glitter all day ever day (PS Love every thing except the bathroom buddies, that's even a bit too much don't you think?!)

Glitterville has a few gorgeous glittered stacking boxes and over the top glittered birthday crowns in the Amgen gift shop, and now that I have had time to explore their over-the top candy land / sugarplum fairy infused website, I am sold.. land of polka dot socks, Glitterville birthday vintage inspired cupcake holders, hanging treats, halloween glittered treasures, oh my ... of course the man behind it, is a bit over the top, but I guess you have to be to produce larger then life glittered lollipops for a living.

Love, K-Sparkle

Elle's 3rd birthday

Happy 3rd birthday Elle, hoped you like your filet mignon dinner!

Niagara Falls

After our Toronto trip, Tim and I headed to Niagara, New York. Tim had business meetings all week, so I worked in the hotel room during the day and we explored at night. The actual falls exceeded my expectations, and they honestly took my breath away. We stayed on the US side of the falls, however walked across the border to the Canada side everyday for the spectacular views and beautiful lush parks on that side of the falls. One day, while Tim was in meetings I walked all around the US side, and got some great pics with my phone.. the US side had some amazing view points where you were literally at the falls edge! Scary, but beautiful! During the night they shine lights over the falls, and it’s the most gorgeous spectacle! It looks like rainbow sherbet ice cream is rushing down! We got to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary on the Canada side enjoying a concert at the falls, and fireworks! It was the perfect way to celebrate!