Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Today is Kicker's first Halloween. I'm so excited!

Last night, we met up with some other moms at a local farmer's market, where there was a special Octoboofest event (get it - Octo'boo'fest?). It was so neat, seeing all the little kids wandering around in their costumes. Kicker is too little to get into the trick-or-treating part, but he really liked watching all the kids in their bright costumes running around. He also loved animal crackers, which a little girl shared with him last night. It was so sweet - Supergirl came over and handed him an animal cracker, and then they both shared a really adorable smile. It made me sad that I'd forgotten my camera.

Tonight, before Shabbat service, Hubby and I are going to quickly take Kicker to a few houses for trick-or-treating. Since Kicker can't eat the candy, we're doing it mostly for the photo opportunity. Though if someone's handing out good chocolate, then I'm willing to eat Kicker's spoils of war. Kicker will be dressed up like a dragon. A very ferocious baby dragon.

So, what are your memories of your childrens' first Halloweens?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Miss me?

Well, I had a great time in Albuquerque.

Kicker flew wonderfully. Well, on the trip there, that is. On the trip back, he wanted to crawl around, and was mighty annoyed that I made him stay in the seat. Luckily, it was a short flight.

It was great seeing my family. My dad and stepmother got to hang out with their grandbaby, and I got to see my new nephew! He's adorable (not as adorable as Kicker, but awful cute). My uncle and aunt also were in town, coincidentally, so we got to see them.

Anyone ever tried pinon picking before? It's really fun. Pine cones blossom open, and the pinon or pine nut will just fall out. There are two ways to get the pinons - one is to pick up the pine cones and take them out, or the other is to pick up the pinons that have fallen all over the ground, either from wind, or from shaking the tree. So, we spent all day Saturday pinon picking in the Cibola National Forest. Only in the desert will a National Forest have pine trees with cactus all over the ground. Needless to say, I didn't get to pick a whole lot of pinon, since I was holding Kicker the whole time. Every time I tried reaching for some pinon, he'd try reaching for the nearest cactus. So he and I just spent most of the time exploring, while the rest of the family picked pinon.

I miss my chile. Chile in New Mexico is more than just a condiment - it's a way of life, almost an art form. While I was back there, I tried to make sure I had chile with almost every meal, even breakfast. I had this great dish at Flying Star Cafe called a Southwest Bennie, which is amazing. They make their own english muffins, and their own turkey green chile sausage. Over which, they put two over medium eggs, which are then covered in this plate-licking-good green chile cheese sauce. Yeah - I fit in my new size 6 jeans for a couple of days, and of course, after eating like that all trip long, they no longer fit.

So, now that I'm back home, I'm trying to figure out how to work green chile into some non-traditional menu items, so I can ease back into all this 'normal' cooking. Right now I'm trying to figure out how to combine my favorite soup recipe - green chile stew - with matzo ball soup. I'm thinking I'll make a normal chicken soup, with just a touch of green chile, and then work some green chile into the matzo balls.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's always funny when Bugs Bunny says it.

Albuquerque. I still have an image of Bugs Bunny saying it whenever I read that word, and a slight urge to giggle. Which is odd, considering I used to live there, and all.

Anyways, we're leaving for a few days to the Albuquerque, NM, area to go visit my family. While we're there, I plan to eat lots of red and green chile, because no one in California really understands how to make spicy food.

Okay, I exaggerate. But until you've tried New Mexico green or red chile, you don't understand how good chile is. Honest. Heck, I have to replace my keyboard now, just from the drool caused by thinking of it.

And for those of you that ask, New Mexico is a state. One of the United States. Albuquerque is not near Mexico city. I do not need a passport to get there. It is not a foreign country. UPS and FedEx do deliver there. Yes, dang it - I can get my cable and DSL there - you do service that area, since it is not MEXICO. I do not need special auto insurance to go there. There is no exchange rate. NM is that state between Arizona and Texas. How the heck did all these people who have asked these questions ever graduate grade school?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Kahlua Fudge Brownies

Every now and then, you get sent a recipe that sounds so good, you have to clean drool out of your keyboard. For me, folks, this is that recipe.

Kahlua Fudge Brownies recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil (or walnut oil - heck, use whatever you've got, if necessary)
  • 1/4 cup espresso powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (though, wouldn't pine nuts be great in this recipe?)
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Heat the chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan over low heat until blended, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Combine sugar, peanut oil, espresso, and eggs in a bowl, beating for 5 minutes and occasionally scraping sides of bowl.
  5. Add chocolate mixture and beat until just blended, then add flour mixture and beat again.
  6. Stir in pecans. Spoon batter into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges pull from the side of the pan. Cool until lukewarm on a wire rack.
  7. Pour Kahlua into a spray bottle and spray onto warm brownies. Let stand until completely cool.
  8. To serve, cut into 3 x 4-inch brownies and microwave until just warm. Split each bar horizontally into halves and sandwich with a scoop of ice cream. Top with whipped cream and/or fresh strawberries or raspberries.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Was it or wasn't it?

I was trying to clear off some TV off of my DVR while Kicker napped. I began watching a new show called "Easy Money." In the show, the main characters run a paycheck-advance money lending company.
Part way through the episode, the lead character referred to themselves as "shylocks." Another character admonished him for using an "ugly, racist" term, but then, not two sentences later, used the same term herself.
So the question is: was it racist, or wasn't it? Is the TV show off the hook for using a racist epithet simply by acknowledging that it is one? If that isn't enough to make it okay, how and why did it get past the censors?
I tried mentioning this to someone else, and they shrugged it off, saying that the show didn't mean anything by it. Okay, so let's pretend that's fine - the show's writers didn't mean anything by it. But if you start using terms like that in every day speech, you're giving them meaning, new life and power. You're teaching people and new generations that this kind of language and behavior is acceptable.
Frankly, as far I'm concerned, it was a racist term, and shouldn't have been used. Period. But it was - so, now what? How do we address these issues?

Monday, October 13, 2008

When did he swallow the lead bricks?

I've had a wonderful, but very long, weekend.

Friday night, we went to Disney's California Adventure, for Mickey's Halloween Trick-or-Treat party. That was so much fun! There'll be another post, with pictures, but for now, take my word for it. Kicker was dressed as a Dragon, and had a great time, holding on to his trick-or-treat bag. We even rode some rides! There were lots of candy opportunities, with healthy snacks also being passed out. All in all, it was a wonderful time, and I think we'll have to be back next year.

Saturday morning, Grandma, Hubby, Kicker and I went out for breakfast at Mimi's (mmm... pumpkin pancakes), then off to the park! We rode rides in Fantasyland, attended a Disney media event with lots of baked goods and characters, and then met up with my sister and her new boyfriend. I learned that it's very important to know where the Mother's room at Disneyland is - otherwise there is way too much going on for Kicker to nap. Also, Rancho Del Zocalo serves a toddler menu in addition to their kid's menu - good to know for when Kicker gets a bit older! It was a wonderful day, and became an even more wonderful evening, as two very good friends of ours joined us because they had some very important news they needed to share - details forthcoming in another post.

Sunday, Kicker slept in until almost 11am. Poor thing - he was just exhausted, and so was I! Man that kid is heavy! I love every moment of carrying him, because I know all too soon he won't want to be carried as much, but WOW! My back is killing me!

Anyways, it was a great weekend, and I promise I'll post pictures of Disneyland, along with Kicker in his costume.

Friday, October 10, 2008

AF: Halloween Candy?


It's almost Halloween! I've already bought my Halloween candy (I bought it in September), and wisely, I didn't buy chocolate. That's why the package is still unopened. Otherwise, I'd probably be doing a last minute candy-run to the store.
This year, I bought Florida's Natural Fruit Nuggets from Costco. So, on this Aloha Friday, where we kick back and take life easy, I ask: what kind of Halloween candy are you stocking this year?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

T13: Things I am grateful for.

The past couple of weeks, I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my life. I'm glad to say that, while my life is not how I pictured it would be 10 years ago, I am really happy with it and who I am. That's not to say I wouldn't make changes, but overall, I am content.

So, today's Thursday Thirteen is 13 Things I am Grateful for.

  1. I have a beautiful, healthy, and happy little boy. Kicker is wonderful.
  2. I have a brilliant, gorgeous, and charming husband who is as crazy about me as I am him.
  3. I am healthy.
  4. I have wonderful friends, for whom I am eternally grateful.
  5. My parents are both in great health.
  6. My dogs are adorable (and really really fuzzy).
  7. While we aren't by any means rich, we have enough.
  8. I have a roof over my head, and it happens to be a cute roof attached to an old Craftsman home.
  9. I have big boobs (okay, so they're nursing boobs, but still - gotta appreciate them while I have them).
  10. I am able to stay at home with my son, and give him one-on-one attention. In turn, he gives me one-on-one attention right back. He also gives me lots of drooly kissies.
  11. I can be as neurotic as possible, and my loved ones have always, and will always, love me.
  12. I am still young. Despite my occasional grousing about turning 31, I know that I'm still pretty young, and have a lot of years ahead of me.
  13. I have all my memories. Looking around, I see so many little things that remind me of happy times. I've had a pretty happy life, and I wouldn't trade it.

For more Thursday Thirteen, check out the Thursday Thirteen hub.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mickey's Trick or Treat Party!



One of the perks of living in Southern California is being near Disneyland.

Thanks to MomSelect and Disneyland, Kicker, Hubby, and I, along with Grandma and Auntie, have been invited to go to Mickey's Trick or Treat Party!

This Friday night, we're attending Mickey's Trick-or-Treat Party at Disney's California Adventure. For kids, the only thing more fun than trick-or-treating at Halloween is trick-or-treating at Mickey's Trick-or-Treat Party, a private event in Disney's California Adventure. This celebration lets little ghosts and goblins (and princesses, pirates and superheroes too) join Disney characters for an evening of Halloween fun and games. In addition to collecting candy at treat stations and riding attractions throughout the Park, kids, their families and friends will enjoy lively music, interactive games, a nightly character cavalcade and special activities.

If that's not cool enough, we've also been invited to come back on Saturday to Disneyland, for a special Halloween celebration!
During regular park hours at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, Halloween Time offers parents and children plenty of not-so-scary fun in addition to the parks’ many popular adventures. Halloween Time activities include special attractions (including Haunted Mansion Holiday), shows, meet-and-greets with Disney characters in spirited costumes, opportunities to decorate Halloween cookies and listen to fun stories during “Woody’s Halloween Roundup” at Big Thunder Ranch.

I'll write up a post, along with pictures, after we experience it. I have to tell you - I'm really excited! Kicker is going to be dressed up as a Dragon. Mommy's going to be dressed up as someone who needs a nap.
video

WW: Shofar

Happy Wordless Wednesday, and Yom Tov.


For more Wordless Wednesday, check out the Wordless Wednesday Hub or 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

TT: Lenticchie

It's Tuesday again! And time for another wonderful recipe. Remember that tasty challah recipe I posted last week? Well, that same friend who sent me that recipe sent along this one as well. It's a vegetarian lentil recipe, and it's delicious. And it's easy to make! This recipe serves about 4 to 6 people, so if you're serving a crowd, make sure to double it.

Lenticchhie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 dried peperoncino (chili pepper)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery rib
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ bunch basil
  • salt
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Rinse the lentils in a colander. Crush the peperoncino. Peel and chop the garlic and carrot. Trim, and chop the celery.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, blanch the tomatoes; rinse under cold water. Core, peel, and finely chop them.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan. Saute the garlic, peperoncino, carrot, and celery.
  4. Add the lentils and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 40-60 minutes; do not let lentils get too soft. If necessary, add some water to the simmering lentils.
  5. Meanwhile, sauté the tomatoes in the remaining oil in a small skillet for about 10 minutes or until they have fallen apart.
  6. Heat the wine and sugar in a small saucepan and cook down to about a half. Shred the basil leaves in small pieces. Mix the lentils, tomatoes, and the reduced wine, and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with basil.

Enjoy!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Like a 3rd Arm

Someone asked me this past week if I had always planned on having children. The question made me pause - I think in the back of my mind, I always wanted kids, but in my early 20's, it was impossible to imagine myself as a mother.
Later that same week, someone else commented that my life must have really changed since having a child. Now *that* rocked me.
You see, I can't even really remember what my life was like before Kicker. I know he's only 8 months old, but he's so much a part of me, it's impossible to imagine myself *not* as a mother.
I can't take off to Europe for an extended weekend, like some friends. I can't just up and go out to the movies, or to a party. Heck, I can't even go and get a haircut without some prior arranging. And I'm perfectly fine with that (though, I do want anyone who goes to Europe to bring me back chocolate, please).
So, my life did change. I'm sure of it. I'm guessing it changed so slowly, over those 9 months of pregnancy, that by the time I actually was a mother, I didn't even notice my old life was gone, or if I had, I certainly didn't miss it. After all, I got this.

Friday, October 3, 2008

AF: Guilty Pleasure?

I read cheesy romance novels. There, I said it. It's out in the open - my secret guilty pleasure.
You can dress them us as "women's fiction," but the reality of it is - they're still cheesy romance novels. And I LOVE them. Hi, I'm Channah, and I'm a cheesy romance novel reader. Thank goodness for the library; they keep me well-supplied!


So, Aloha Friday is the day of the week where we kick back, take off our shoes, and relax. So, today, I pose a question to you, my readers: what's your guilty pleasure?

Garlic Herb Challah Recipe

Each month, on the first Friday of the month, our friends all gather together, and have dinner with each other. It's a great idea, and I hope that it inspires some of you guys to do the same. Each month there is a different theme, and we each bring a dish. This month is Italian. A friend sent out this recipe to me for tonight's dinner, and I thought I'd share it with you. Let me know if you try it!

Garlic Herb Challah for your Bread Machine

Makes a 1 1/2 lb loaf.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

JUST BEFORE BAKING IN OVEN
  • 1 egg, beaten with
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed (optional)


Directions

  1. Load all ingredients in the order listed into bread machine, water through yeast.
  2. To make challah, select dough only setting (to make sandwich bread, select large loaf).
  3. When dough-only cycle is done, remove dough from machine and place on well floured surface. Dust top of dough with flour and press out air bubbles.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Roll dough into rectangle, then roll into rope. Cut rope into 3 or 6 pieces (depending on whether you want to do a 3 braid or 6 braid challah). Roll each of these pieces into balls, cover with towel and set in a warm place, free from drafts. Let dough rest 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Next, roll each ball into a rope about 8 or 9 inches long. Braid, set in baking pan lined with parchment paper or corn meal. Cover with towel and let rest 45 minutes (you can put on top of the stove to enjoy the warmth from the oven).
  7. Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, if desired. Place in oven on cookie sheet and bake for 35 minutes, or when nicely browned.
Enjoy! And have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Happy New Year

Miss me?

Kicker got sick last week, and then I caught his cold from him. All in all, I just didn't feel like blogging. Or using the computer. Or the TV. Or going anywhere. I became a cozy little hermit, just playing with Kicker, reading books, and suctioning out his nose then blowing mine.

Though I did miss blogging, and reading everyone else's, I do feel better for my mini-break. It's nice to un-plug for a while. Re-group.

Rosh Hashanah has just passed by, and a new year (by the Jewish calendar - year 5769) has just begun. I hope that in this coming year, I remember to keep things in balance; my home and family life, with my internet life balanced in there.

Yesterday, it reached 106 degrees outside. Which is just ducky, considering that I don't have air conditioning. It never occured to me that October would be a triple-digit temperature month. Not exactly the weather I want to bake in. Luckily, it's supposed to cool down, starting today. Did anyone else experience that kind of heat?

Anyways, thanks for hanging round, and L'Shanah Tovah - a good year to each of you!

 
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