Christmas Spending and Kombucha

Before we begin, I have to tell you that I was compelled to stop mid-Costco and take a photo of a book I never, ever want to receive. Ugh, Jeffrey. 

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Ok, now I’m ready. Hello and welcome back, I’ve missed you! We’ve had a season of learning how to handle something called Reactive Hypoglycemia. It’s a whopper of a mess and I’ll talk about it another time because I have something way more fun to share. Once again Mom, no I’m not pregnant. Two is good.


Ah, the holiday season, November and December are so precious.  These months are the time of the year when I score a Pottery Barn tree skirt for $6, schmancy candlestick holders for $3 and more miscellaneous Christmas crap than our home can handle for a few bucks more.  When my favorite thrift store brings out all they have stored for the past 11 months, everything hits the fan. EVERYTHING.

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This even lacks a bit of Christmas spirit, so I added some festive hats to lighten the mood.  This year, I was 15th out of about 100 in the line which forms an hour before the 400 square foot second-hand store opens. 40 people and their empty boxes are allowed in the store at once.  At this point, we all forget that we are celebrating Jesus and pretend the apocalypse is tomorrow and our family’s only chance of survival depends on THAT gold trimmed placemat set. You want those Spode Christmas plates? You best be prepared to knuckle fight Grandma for them, and she don’t mess. 

That said,  I friggin’ love that sale. 

In an almost easier shopping story, I bought a new car. I mean, um…I bought a new car with my husband’s money. Ugh. I picked out a car and he went to buy it. Don’t kick me out of Pantsuit Nation. (Spoiler alert, I voted for Hills).

I’m obsessed with my new car, but we can’t live in it if we need to. I’m fairly sure that’s not supposed to be the measure of a good vehicle. But honey, let me tell you, if you haven never owned a minivan, you don’t understand that secret sense of security when thinking of possible zombie invasions and the like. The idea of a car large enough to stand in, lie down in and carry a couch in is a tough one to release. So ya, I miss the minivan life, but I don’t miss the threat of my kid’s door falling off, the knocking from the vent, the crappy brakes and the rest. 

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Are you totally ready for the best thing I have purchased this month? You is gonna die. 

Maybe you won’t. But you know who will? My brother, Ron. Now that I think about it, maybe my brother Matt will too. Definitely my mom.

If you can withstand it, let me tell you the story. 

My friend Jody and I love to drive a good 20+ miles for our favorite cup of coffee, an Iced Mint Mojito from Philz in Oakland. I’ve written of this concotion more than once, you should be familar. No booze in the cup, just muddled mint, 2 T. brown sugar, straight up cream, coffee and ice. It’s amazing and I have no caloric regret afterward. I should, but don’t. 

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When time allows, we often venture to nearby shops and explore. We’ve found all kinds of treasures, including a secret hipster nook of Oakland, Temescal Alley, a stop for all things stylish, overpriced and millenial. If you like to have your non-dairy ice cream scooped for you by a 20-something with ZERO shame over her long armpit-hair in a tank top, visit Curbside Creamery and bring about $8.

This week we found Preserved Goods,

a kitchen shop focused on traditional methods of preserving. Think of us as a hardware store for developing your pantry. We provide a community-oriented space to learn, share and shop for healthful products and do-it-yourself supplies. 

Pickling, kefir grains, sourdough bread starters, cultured food, kitchen supplies for the homesteader, butter jars. This store is the most exciting place I’ve been all month. (Comments to yourself, friend).

I know that churning your own butter is probably a clearly paved path to hipsterville, but it’s also so dang delicuous, so what’s a girl to do?  

Fine, I’ve never churned my own butter, that was a lie.  I just need you to believe me that this store is so, so much fun. Ok, here’s my favorite purchase of the season….a Kombucha starter set!

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Kombucha is brewed and sweetened black tea, that sits out for 7-21 days to ferment with the help of a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). It sounds like something you are supposed to avoid, right? The gal at Preserved Goods gave us a taste of her homemade Kombucha and it was better than any I have ever tried. I can’t wait to report back and let you guys know how it turns out.  Tell me this wasn’t the best purchase? Wait, you don’t have to, my brother will for you. 

Happy Holidays Friends!
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But Seriously, WHERE’S THE BEEF?

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On the bright side, I did find myself this treat at Costco…

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My husband got a kick out of all the labels on this box, he considered it Cocoa Krispies all the same.

Let me tell you a secret, I am a bit of a Vegan fraud. Not meaning I get to secretly enjoy a scoop of ice cream or bites of a burger, oh no, no, no. My animal bits are ingested without taste, they are in my supplements to cure my (almost)-ulcer. Wait until you see what is in some of this stuff! First, a bit of boring back story. If you scroll down, I won’t be offended, because I won’t know.

Only a few days into taking the prescribed Prilosec, I knew I wanted off. Not only did I feel crummy, but it was defeating any actions I had recently been taking to heal myself from a leaky gut. PPI’s like Prilosec, Prevacid and Zantac supress stomach acid, which would allow a forming ulcer to heal itself. The problem with supressing acid is that I haven’t been making nearly enough, for years. I know this because of an amazing digestive enzyme I had started taking and found immediate results with. It was obvious that I hadn’t been properly digesting food for the majority of my life. For the first time in my life (that I can remember), I wasn’t hungry after eating. Open heaven now, ’cause I can die happy.  Until my forming ulcer interrupted everything. Enzymes are shelved for now and here is what I am taking instead. 

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A mix of (brace yo’self): Okrah, bentonite (a type of clay), cow liver, pig stomach and pig brain. Mixed of course with some other healthy stuff. I’m pretty sure that makes me a Vegan liar. Vegans don’t eat brains.

The other supplement I take is a Chlorophyll mix, much less scary. This combo works, though, like seriously works. I have to actually remind myself that I need to eat carefully. While waiting for these to come in to my Chiropractor’s office over President’s Day weekend, I tried about $100 worth of other supplements from Whole Foods, with no luck. My stomach was pissed and if you are reading this in the UK, my stomach was angry, not drunk. 

On another food note, Indian food and I are having an emotional affair right now. We are forbidden to be together, but oh do I long for the day when we can reunite!

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Ready for another complainy girl story? I apologize, I really do. Gonna tell it anyway.

President’s Day weekend in California was beautiful, we had to get outside. After a trip to take the lamest 1 mile hike in the Bay Area, we ventured into Berkeley in search of ice cream.  Whadda ya know, there’s a creamery right next to Philz Coffee! 

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BUT, I CAN’T HAVE COFFEE. 

This is like telling Donald Trump he can’t have hairspray. Things will just get UGLY.

So, despite my best judgement and Google’s warnings, I headed in for a decaf version of my kryptonite, Iced Mint Mojito. I ordered extra sweet and creamy to cut back on the coffee, which also allowed for my 8 year old to take a sip. Now he thinks all coffee must taste like minty milk if you add a bit of sugar. I will move his college savings account over to a Starbucks savings account on Monday. 

But look how fun this little corner Philz is! So many students studying on a lovely Sunday, glued to their screens. I can’t help it, I love it. This would totally have been me in college too. Except, I didn’t go to UC Berkeley, despite our similarity in student loans. I also would never have sat in front of a computer on a Sunday. So, what the hell am I talking about? This wouldn’t have been me, I just like the idea.

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Trust me, I know how ridiculous this post is. When coming up with a title, I really wanted to write, “God, I Miss Jack!” Not knowing who would remember this movie or even understand what I was talking about, I opted for a different 80’s reference, ha!

Poor Audrey. I feel her pain, but I couldn’t care less about Jack, I want some ribs, girl!

With all those complaints out of my system, I can go on to tell you that I actually feel really, really good. I started taking some vitamins that have made my energy skyrocket. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I may stretch out the Vegan thing a while past my next blood results, it just feels really good. Barbecue season hasn’t started yet, so I still have a bit of confidence that I can stick with it. 

Do you have any gluten free, vegan recipes to share? Do you also have some diamonds you aren’t using? If the answer to either of those is yes, I’ll wait to hear from you. 

Paleo Pause

Last week Max had a 24 hour tummy  bug and I stormed it like a champ. I actually even enjoyed some of it, he just wanted to cuddle and it brought me back to the baby days. Even though he asked me to not put this picture on Facebook, I’m keeping it here for the future. Sorry Max. Maybe you should have put your toys away more often.

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Now let me show you something else which falls in the category of, “Enjoy it now, you ain’t gettin’ that again for a long time, girl.” 

Carnitas. Beans and rice. So. Much. Cheese.

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Not too long after this Mexican date night I found out a lil somethin’ about my cholesterol. Sorry, I won’t go on with that lie. I didn’t date a new Mexican man. Same white as ever husband, he’s a good catch.  After that date, as I was saying, I discovered that since leaning Paleo (for the past three years), my good cholesterol has increased. 

And. Uh…

My bad cholesterol skyrocketed too. Like, er….50 points. 

And also, I have something called a pre-ulcer. 

For the next three months, until my follow up blood test, I am…I am…I am…a gluten-free vegan. A gluten-free vegan who can’t have coffee, tea, alcohol or spicy foods. I am so freakin’ serious right now. 

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So, in true vegan fashion, I expect everyone else to go vegan too. Go toss your honey and leather belts

Kidding! Don’t send me Anthrax!

One of my first culinary vegan adventures was trying to make something called, brace yo’ self…Mushroom Bacon. I’m just gonna come right out and tell you that those little slices of brown fungi tasted exactly like bacon. They tasted JUST like bacon would taste to someone who has been a vegan from birth and had no actual idea how good the real stuff tastes. Sure, it was kinda good, but if someone tried to tell me I was eating bacon and served me these mushrooms, I’d slap their pretty little stupid face and walk out the door. 

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I’m not even going to give you the recipe, because…just don’t. Instead, you can head over to Clean Food Crush to find this fun pasta-less pasta salad with zucchini noodles and artichoke hearts. Because hey, summer is only four months away and you know it takes you that long to actually try a new recipe. 

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Feeling guilty over creating a blog post with no actual recipe, I decided to offer you a Pinterest worthy image. I challenge you to put it on your Facebook page, make it your Twitter profile picture, share it like crazy. When people ask you what it means or tell you that they don’t get it, act bewildered. 

“You don’t get it? Read it again. Seriously, BE THE BENCH.”

Never let on to the fact that you too, have no clue what it means. 

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Now that I am totally in love with Zumba, I need to buy some special shoes. I mean “special” in all the ways you can take it, too. Zumba requires a dance shoe with the support of a fitness sneaker. Hence, this is what I get to choose from…

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Aren’t these just the stupidest things you can imagine? They look like shoes that were not taken off the conveyor belt during an earthquake in the factory. My knees hurt though and I can’t handle one more thing that reminds me I am inching towards 40. (In 2017)

Zumba is fantastic. There are just so many women in the classes I go to that just do not give the ass of a rat. Rhythm? Meh, who needs it? Coordination? None here! There’s an elderly woman who literally just stops and talks to another woman and checks her phone while the music blares. There are three women who love to grace the front row and dance until they come down from their cocaine highs. These women aren’t always in the same class at the same time. They are all well, WELL over fifty and will slap a ho if she were to try to interrupt their wild Zumba time. WOOOOO! 

Never tried Zumba? Wait until everone has left the house and give this a go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love in San Francisco – Part Two

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There’s just no way I can talk about anything in San Francisco until I tell you about my family’s new, special friend.

I want to introduce you to the crazy squirrel lady. You can find her in Berkeley, where people who are just a little crazy are green lit to go full-force bananas. She frequents the marina, where the squirrel gather to eat her treats. Now, before we get into those treats, Id like to tell you why she says she feeds a population of rodents. You see, she’s pissed. The city of Berkeley plans to exterminate all the squirrels in the marina area, because they are digging holes near the water and sewage is seeping into the bay. This may of course, all be in her head, I have no idea.

For their last meals, these squirrels are treated to a healthy diet of shortbread Girl Scout cookies. The cookies are broken into two or three pieces and held out for the little squirrels to come and bite. She offered to let my kids feed the animals, an opportunity which they obviously jumped at, while I cautiously watched.

Here’s a special Bay Area kind of crazy for you, show the rodent population love with carbs! They are going to die, so she takes special care to not let them die without experiencing diarrhea.

Now, on to San Francisco. When you visit, you won’t want to look like a tourist, caught in a tank top on a foggy, windy day. Take fashion advice from this local gal (below) and dress in layers. Heck, bring like four purses too.

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San Francisco is a small city by comparison, but still too vast to walk everywhere, so my weekend involved a few cab rides. I have a video of my. Our driver was from Yemen and apparently had cloudy vision. He absolutely expected us to recognize songs by Tom Jones and other singers of his era. We obviously only look 25, so he was clearly drunk.

Ok, here’s where stuff kinda hits the wall. I LITERALLY, no, like, literally have a film degree. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Motion Picture & Video. Yet, I didn’t think about turning my phone to take this video. I also don’t know how to change it, so you’ll have to make like you are eating a taco and tilt your head.

Our happy (and drunk) driver had windows down and ABBA blaring. He also kept doing some creepy finger popping trick, which the camera just missed.

Our taxis were all summoned through the app Uber. If you haven’t heard of this, listen up, it’s awesome. You simply request a taxi or Limo, depending on your wallet and sense of self-worth, with a tap of a phone button. Uber locates you, finds a driver and notifies you of both the driver’s phone number, car ID and a photo of their face. The driver has your picture too, so no one will be stealing your ride, pal! You are given the fee in advance and pay through Paypal, including tip. No need to worry that your driver might take the long-cut to get to your destination. The only possible way I can see this being a bad idea is if your driver is a murderer, in which case, I’m sorry I recommended this app to you. Hope you are in heaven.

Speaking of heaven, this girl is in it. Not me, I’m at my desk and see NO signs of iced coffee fountains and still have frizz. I’m talking about the girl below, in the little hobbit-like house. She works at Juice Shop, a tiny closet of a shop that sells freshly bottled juice. Other than being kind of boring, how sweet of a job is this? You can people watch all day, you’ve got your refreshments next to you and no one is going to steal your favorite pen from your desk. Also, she could probably sell drugs and totally supplement her income. Juice Shop: 1994 Union St. juice collage

“But Kim,” you ask, “What if I find myself in the middle of the Tenderloin, needing a healthy breakfast after a long night of bad decisions? Well, have I got just the thing for you. Walk yourself a few blocks to the edge of Nob Hill at the TenderNob, which is slang for “Who are we kidding, this is still the Tenderloin” and visit Farm Table. Go early, like maybe 3 am, if you are hoping for a table. There’s just one. They totally aren’t joking with the name. The store isn’t much bigger than the hobbit house juice store I just showed you, but it’s pretty good. It’s tough to find a place downtown with homemade yogurt, gluten free foods, organic everything and an almond milk for your coffee.  Farm Table: 754 Post St. 

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Lunch time? Got you covered there, too.

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These are snapshots of our food at Pica Pica, a Latin inspired eatery which specializes in these little corn pockets called arepas. They are grilled on the outside and moist on the inside, perfect for holding together some tasty meat. I ordered the grilled chicken, which was marinated in love or something, it was SO good. The fat fries in the photo above are Yucca and tasted the opposite. Yumma, fat and dense fries for this chick. The restaurant is 100% gluten free, which is awesome for all you GF peeps.

If you have some Brazilian pals, tell them you are going to Pyka Pyka. One of our other cab drivers was surprised at our lunch location. Apparently, in Portuguese, pica means something really, really different than lunch. Oh boy, it is killing me not to insert joke here. Pica is also the name of a disorder where people are compelled to eat dirt, chalk or things of the sort. Maybe next time the Pica Pica folk open a restaurant, they can consult with a marketing firm.

I only had one dinner in the city, so you’re on your own for the next meal. Or, how about this for a segue…head over to Fresh & Easy, they have some changes in store. (Ba dum dum – cymbal sound). Which is JUST what I’ll be chatting about next go round. Also, I’ll add some funny photos in case you aren’t that interested in grocery stores. Happy Easter weekend to those who celebrate. Those who don’t, happy regular weekend!

Finding Love in San Francisco

Some nights, when I’ve run down my list of songs and the kids still aren’t asleep, I dig deep. After seven years of Disney songs, the patriotic stuff, the standard lullabies, made up jingles and camp chants, I’ve looked to songs of my past. My kids know the words to songs by Julie Andrews and one chorus of one song by Journey.

When the lights go down in the City, and the sun shines on the bay

Oh I wanna be there, in my city, oh oh h, oh oh, oh. 

That’s all they know, because that’s all I know!

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If you find yourself visiting the Bay Area, you may want to bring some elastic waist pants. Perhaps some stylish jeggings or just go full mama and bring a giant belt to wrap around your snuggie. We have so much good food. While we may not fry it all up, don’t be fooled by the abundance of avocados. There are so many ways to go wrong. I would know, I am have been full since Sunday, after 32 or so hours in San Francisco. It all started at the edge of town…

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You know what you can find in that there building? Calories. They live there and they want to overtake you. There is literally a cheese melting station, where (for the low-low price of $6.75), you can have a slather of bubbling Asiago spread over some carbs. Look, here’s the cheese lady! Don’t worry about the face she’s making. That’s just the way her face looks when she’s dropping snobbish sales pitches on curious onlookers. The moral of the story, be nice to everyone. You never know who is going to blog about you. I know that was wrong, but it still feels kinda good.

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Are you more of a meat lover? (Insert San Francisco joke here). Then folks, grab yourself a meat cone. Yep, a cone full of meat. The Mortadella in the left photo brought back too many memories of fried bologna sandwiches (my brother ate them, not me), so I asked for a cone full of salami. I’m not as manly as I thought I might be (which is not that manly at all), so I ate a measly few strips of salami before tucking it away in my purse.

Nope, don’t need to go back and read that sentence. It said, I put salami in my purse. It was $5 for my specialty cone guys. You would have totally done the same.

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Totally not sure how to segue from meat cones to oysters. But I’m pre-hetty sure there is a good joke in there somewhere. Instead, I’ll go with the unfunny. If you like good oysters, San Francisco has some. What’s the website for amazing writing, again? Feel free to go nominate me for somethin’.

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Gluten free folks need love too. We found ours at Mariposa Baking Company. Awesome salad dressing, super tasty sandwiches.

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Travel a wee bit further down the plaza and….

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You’ll find the exact spot where many a folk have left their heart…Blue Bottle Coffee’s cafe!

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The New Orleans style iced coffee is so delicious. Not overly sweetened and so fresh.

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The plaza is full of so many treats. but a girl’s jeans can and should only hold so many calories in! Before I continue on with my photo tour of the weekend, let me show you what a mom getaway looks like.hotel

See any toys on those comfortable beds? Neither do I. Does the middle photo look like a restaurant that offers a kid’s menu? Nope, not to me either. Spot my boys running down that long hall? No way. A la, mom getaway.

It would just NOT be a mom getaway without chocolate, right? Let me show you the monstrosity of a store my friend, Jody, introduced me to. It’s divine, in every sense of the word. Also, it’s mind blowing how much some of the stuff costs. Jody bought three pieces of chocolate for around $7. Not like chocolate bars, like small, small chocolates. A box of chocolates to bring home for your mom? Bring at least $85, for the cheapest assortment. Remember though, she birthed you. She wiped your butt, she has dealt with so much crap from you, literally. Stop being so cheap and spend the $150 on a box that says I love you enough to buy you chocolate that was painted on with gold flecks.

There’s totally a scent of snobbery in the air, coming from what I (at other stores) would call the cashiers. However, these people sell expensive chocolate, so maybe I should call them chocolatiers? I don’t know. Doesn’t his look just scream, “Hey girl! I’m pleased as punch you came to my chocolate store. I’d love to help you!”?

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Dirty mug me all you want sir, because your goods are worth it. I’d let him slap me around if it meant I could have a few pieces of free chocolate. The store is a chocolate importer, bringing in bits of deliciousness from around the globe. CocoaBella and its glorious employees are on Union Street and I plan to visit every time I am slumming through that ritzy hood.

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Speaking of poor people. We watched a hilarious comedy show at The Purple Onion, which is in the cellar or Kell’s Pub.

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We were cracking up like mad women over a few of the comics. Which may totally be because we had just finished a couple of cocktails. Either way, there are some funny comics trying to make a go of it. I would probably cross to the other side of the street to avoid them during daylight hours, but that’s just me and my suburban issues.

The point of this section? Kitty-corner or catty-corner from Kells is a Basque restaurant called, well, Bask.

Still stuck on catty/kitty. Here’s what University of Wisconson asked 10,000 people and came up with:

76. What term do you use to refer to something that is across both streets from you at an intersection (or diagonally across from you in general)?
a. kitty-corner (49.53%)
b. kitacorner (0.09%)
c. catercorner (1.34%)
d. catty-corner (30.38%)
e. kitty cross (0.00%)
f. kitty wampus (0.13%)
g. I can only use “diagonal” for this (12.31%)
h. I have no term for this (3.68%)
i. other (2.53%)
(10706 respondents)

I REALLY, really wish that kitty wampus was a part of my vocabulary. But, on to the paella. I’ve been dying for an awesome pan of paella since I watched snooty bomb-booty Gwenyth cook some up with Mario Batali, a good seven or so years back. I’m talking about on tv here, in case you thought I was way more famous that I actually am. Have you seen the photo of me at 18 with David Hasselhoff? Let me show you again. 

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Bask is authentic Bask food. Check out my freakin’ paella, pals! Heck yeah!

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Now that I have upped my street cred a bit more. I have to remind you to visit Philz Coffee!  We trekked the length of the city just to visit the original Philz, deep, like DEEP in the heart of the Mission district. If this were the Hunger Games, this district would come pretty darn close to killing the Tenderloin (aka ghetto) district’s butt. It’s the wild west over there. You aren’t in the suburbs anymore, little spoiled girls. There’s no city ordinance about blaring music out your low-riding window. Wait, that happens everywhere except my white-bread valley? Oh. I miss life outside of my bubble. 

Anyway, the heart of the Mission holds Philz. It’s fantabulous and I think I even liked my Ecstatic Iced Coffee (regular iced) better than the Mint Mojito Iced. It’s worth the trip to try it. Even if you can’t get a cab to come pick you up. Even when you try using your special app called Uber, like 30 or 40 times. philzSo there it is, some San Francisco food love. I toyed with putting up the photo of us we took in The Purple Onion, but the sparkle in our eyes is definitely induced my a bit of rum.

In hopes of reducing eye burnage, I have split this post into two. Come back Friday to read about my breakfast. I know, your pants are LITERALLY blowing off of you right now. I still haven’t got to Pica Pica, which by the way, please do not enter in the Portuguese to English translator box. I’m talking about the Spanish translation of Pica and not about the heart of the Castro District.

Well, I’ve noticed that it’s been a month since I have blogged. What a sad state of blogflairs. Luckily, you are already dying to read about picas. Talk soon, my little baboon! Love ya!

 

Enough about you. Let’s talk about meme.

So, if you are a reader who frequents Food It Forward for the recipes, then I have to say you might be let down at the idea of more “talkie” posts that are coming your way. You are also probably sad about the fact that you eat the same food every day for two weeks, while waiting for a new post. How many pumpkin scones did you end up with on your hips?

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I totally hope someone gets that joke. My meme-making skills are new, but I may have found my future career. Oh, that’s not a job? That’s cool, I still have my crossword puzzle skills to fall back on.

I have a lot to talk about. Always have. Which is why I got in trouble in class. Also because I was always tardy and hated dressing for P.E.

I love words. Crossword puzzle words (obviously), spoken words, written words, typing words. I prefer talk radio to music most of the time and have a costly obsession with podcasts. I’ve mentioned them before, but here are my favorite:

 

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All of these podcasts are absolutely worth your time, they are free and full of information that is inspirational and not what you’ll hear in the mainstream media.

Wait, what did I hear you say? You want another homemade meme? Here are two.

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Hope I don’t regret putting my most prized photo on the internet, which is why the text across my face.

Ok, I seriously don’t have too much to talk about tonight. I mean, of course I have a ton to talk about, but I’m editing myself. I already lectured my family when I found a can of Crisco in my parent’s pantry. I’ve shamed my husband for leaving a Hershey’s wrapper in my car. Seriously? Like right there by the gas pedal? I am putting my tsk-tsk finger down for the night. Which means I am absolutely not going to talk about how agriculture has been the downfall of all civilizations.  I’ve been transitioning to Paleo, minus the tortilla chips.

Dang it, Tina!

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Smooches booches. Bootches? Buchez’?

Goodnight!

Just Hold On, We’re Already at Home

Hi 2014! I’ve had more than a handful of friends ask, “Are you still blogging?” The proof is in the sugarless pudding gals, I’m back.

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What’s new since Christmas you don’t ask? Take a peek at the collage below and we can talk about it.

Ribbet collage

First, I must introduce you to my newest and bestest friend ever, my juicer. I don’t have a picture of her, but she’s flippin’ awesome! She is a Breville Fountain Elite, not a lady who hangs out in my kitchen squeezing limes. I don’t have her picture in the grid, but I do have some of her handiwork there. I’ve been loading the fridge each night with juices for the next day and I’m a total addict. Best Christmas gift from my parents, ever. Possibly tied with the Vitamix. I love both my kids equally.

My favorite juice is called the Red Lemonade and is a mix of beets, celery, kale, lemon, apple and ginger. It may sound like your worst nightmare, but it becomes totally addictive and gives you more energy than you know what to do with. Ok, ready?

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Five of the seven days of the week, I swap my morning coffee out for a juice. I know that may seem disgustingly blasphemous, given my history, but I can’t keep that kind of secret from you, I just can’t.

If you don’t have a juicer, and you have $8.99 to drop on a beverage, give the freshly squeezed juices at Whole Foods a try. They are awesome and nothing like Naked or Odwalla juices, which I now consider to be junk food.

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I know, I know, that was a super obnoxious thing to say. BUT, now that I’ve seen fresh juice and watched how it separates after about 5 minutes, I’m totally opposed to drinking whatever chemical or seaweed is used to hold Odwallas together. Plus, they are loaded with sugar and not enough veggies. Let the slapping of me commence.

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So, uh…I just did a search for “let the slapping commence”, wanting to add yet another meme, you know…for the sake of overkill. My Google Chrome TRIED to warn me that there might be inappropriate content. I took that as maybe some swear words. Now however, I kind of need to bleach my eyes. I feel like innocence has been stolen from me. Please don’t search that image!

Welcome back to those of you who didn’t listen. Hope you learned your lesson.

Distract ourselves with food. Distract, distract, distract. But don’t get fat, ok?

There are a couple of smoothie photos up there too. The smoothie in a glass is my new favorite afternoon snack; dark cherries, banana, coconut milk, whey protein and dark cocoa powder make for a heavenly drink.  There’s also a picture of the $25 in smoothies I bought when we ran out of frozen fruit. Someone remind me why I am the poorest girl in my zip code again?

Speaking of, I really, like REALLY wanted to take a picture of a woman at the grocery store yesterday. My blogging ethics kept my phone in my purse, but let me describe her to you.

  • Expensively bleached, long hair
  • Wearing size 2, possibly size 0 $100 yoga pants
  • Bright, brand new looking athletic shoes with bouncy squares underneath
  • A puffy, yet very slim vest over her slouchy, Bloomingdale workout top
  • Enough makeup to be camera ready
  • Purse that could be sold to pay off my car
  • Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds

So you can see why I love living where I do, I have SO much in common with this type of woman. She’s probably the nicest thing ever. Who am I kidding? She’s probably awful and has an awful husband to go along with. Just kidding, she’s probably great. (Believe what you will). Don’t get the impression that there aren’t awesome and fun women around here, there are. There are just lots of not-awesome women too. Where am I going with this. Ah yes, noodles!

I bought a spiralizer! Now I can make zucchini noodles that rock my world.

That Vietnamese Home Cooking book? I mostly put that in there to remind myself I want to buy it. That photo was taken at an author event with Danielle Walker, who wrote Against All Grain. I did some recipe testing for her book and finally got myself a signed copy. See that photo? It’s in there too.

There’s also a cup of trail mix, made from the Whole Foods trail mix bar. Again, mostly a reminder to myself to set up a home trail mix station.

The last photo is of a display for essential oils. I wanted to ask you all, have you had any good experiences with oils? I’d love to get my house full of these. I’d also like to put the bottle that says something to the effect of “Calm and Peaceful” in my classroom. Some days I kind of wonder if the kids in my class are chugging down their dads’ Red Bulls before school.

So you are now caught up with me. Do you want your money back? I can make it up to you. Watch this video. I’m so obsessed with this song right now.

Sorry about that. I totally tricked you. It’s like the worst video, possibly ever. Love you! Night!
 

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And expensive. And stressful. And wonderful.

I just wasn’t into Christmas cards this year. I have loved getting them, but haven’t had the big urge to make our own, which usually hits me in early November. By the time December 19th rolled around, Jy took matters into his own hands and made the cards for us! Here’s a taste of the kids cooperating in the way all kids do when it comes to posing for a super “important” picture. Bless my husband’s heart. He even addressed them all, making sure to include as many of my friends as he could.  #husbandoftheyear. #Hashtagsannoy #can’thelpmyself

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A couple of things put a damper on my holiday prep this year. This was one of “those” years, where Thanksgiving comes extra late and my turkey day rolled right into a head cold. Teaching preschool without a voice can throw one for a loop! I had run myself into the ground my the first weekend of December, missing a friend’s holiday party and setting back my Christmas mood.

By the following weekend, I was feeling good again though and was treated to a night at this gorgeous house! My friend Lisa can turn a jam jar and a toothpick into some type of beautiful decor, that I would never think of!

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So, I kinda figured that Lisa’s lights would be turned low, which they were in most of the house. Plan backfired though, as this was one of my first attempts at a “smoky eye” and felt a little floozy-ish under the bright kitchen lights, surrounded by families. Here I am, ready to get out of the house and away from my stage 5 clingers, children. Lisa, I’m sorry if I put the ho in your holiday party.

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The rest of this month has been at home prepping for a day of teaching, or staying up too late watching Bravo or other uplifting television. Something about the lights glowing on my tree and the smell of my generic pine tree scented candle burning away whispers, “Just one more episode of The Real Wives of Shahs of Sunset Vanderpump.” 

I have to say though, that I did watch something of substance, last night was my first time seeing The Color Purple. What a good movie!

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One wonderful part of this season is watching how my kids are full-force into the magic of Christmas. I’m trying my hardest this year to let go of the idea that every December has to be a deeply meaningful month of every type of tradition we can squeeze in. We’ve missed church two times this month because Max won’t go into Sunday school. I bought a pre-assembled gingerbread house to decorate. You already know about the Christmas cards. Guess what else? I’m not baking. Except for Christmas day. Otherwise, I have just been wanting to relax. It’s been really nice to give myself permission to do so, too.

It also gives time for new traditions to pop up on their own. Like, night tag around the giant Christmas tree.

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Because I don’t have a recipe for you and because you have still read this far, I want to share a bit more. Here’s a look back at things that made me chuckle this year. If you are in restroom or perhaps a DMV line, you’ve got the time to spare. Join me. 

2013 was the year that…(FYI: None of the following are deep and meaningful)

  • Dallas set up an episode of “The Bachelor” in our hallway. He didn’t realize that naked girl with the bad hair and weird belly was totally inappropriate. There’s always a naked, drunk girl on the first episode though, so he might have been on to something.

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  • Dallas had some memorable quotes –
  1. He told he loves me so much and knows I wouldn’t sell him for 1,000 dollars or crystals. Even though I like money and crystals.
  2. While I tried to hide out and squeeze in some yoga, Dallas crawled under my down-dog pose and told me he was a”Rat in a rat home.”
  3. After secretly tossing popcorn kernels out of the shopping cart throughout all of Target, Dallas fessed up to “feeding the chickens”.
  4. “It’s no fair. Jewish people have all the awesome days. Hannukah is awesome. You get to spin a dreidel, have a feast and light the maracas. I wanna do Passover too, but I don’t want to kill a lamb.”
  5. Dallas fell in love with Emily. He vowed to try 1,000 times to make her say yes to a marriage proposal. He said he will just bring her heart boxes and sing songs and do love stuff to get her to marry him.
  6. He told me he would “Remember this day when he was an adult”, while we waited for the play, The Little Mermaid to start.
  • Max cracked me up
  1. “Mom, did you wash your car?” -No, not yet. “I washed it for you with my ______.” (Insert 3 year old body part name) He must have been working out that joke in his head for the whole 10 minutes between his peeing on my tire to the delivery.
  2. After telling him he was not allowed to walk around the house with an ice cube in his hand, Max gave me a look of disgust, shook his head and told me, “I don’t understand you.”
  3. He got on the phone with my Grandma and said, “Hi toilet. Have you done anything toiletish lately?”
  4. Max started praying at dinner. “Eh, God, Thank you for this world, for my boxes, for the t.v., for my squinkies, for the meatballs, (continues with a listing of any items in his line of sight), Ay-men.”
  5. He looked me in the eye and said, “I love you.” “Stupid.”
  • I learned all about Star Wars and Star Trek – and told Facebook about it
  1. Spent my life avoiding Star Trek and Jy asked me to watch the latest movie with him tonight. Highly entertaining, yet confusing. Why are there so many models in space?
  2. That was really messed up. There was no good reason to completely destroy Alderon. Jerk.
  • I learned to make a virgin Mojito and Turkish Armenian coffee

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I could go on and on. Heck, I probably will. But it’s 9 p.m. now and there’s television to be watched and presents to be wrapped. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! To those who don’t, I’m sorry that so many stores are closed that day. Amen for Starbucks and movie theaters!

Life As a Paid Mother

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Max showing off his craft skills.

Week one of teaching preschool is complete and week two begins in less than 12 hours. My education has prepared me to teach middle or high school students, so I’m a little out of my element and in need of extra caffeine!

Luckily I work at the same school as this woman I have known for a seriously long time. She’s old enough to be my mother. Which, uh…she is. She’s helping me cut shapes and animals like nobody’s business. Tonight I called her Edward Scissorhands. That chick is crafty.

I’ve been cooking, because my family is apparently still hungry. As soon as I can figure out how to get through the day with a second to spare, I’m going to get back to bloggin’ on the regular. Did I mention I get off work at 12:45?

No one told me that elementary school drop off and pick up can be these crazy 30-45 minute ordeals, even if the school is a two minute drive away. Now that I have to get food ready for breakfast and lunch for two, three or four of us each night, I have this crazy two hour routine before bed. It’s worth it though, we all have some good food to get us through the day and no one is eating McDonalds for breakfast anymore.

This has been the routine for the past two weeks…

The first week was classroom prep time and Dallas’ starting week of first grade.

  • Easy sandwich bread in the bread machine, once or twice a week. This stuff makes awesome French Toast by the way! Scroll down a couple posts for the recipe.

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  • Thine eyes do not deceive! This is a Ronco, “Set it and forget it” Rotisserie! It was buried deep in my grandma’s garage and had never been used. Granny let me lug the big box home and we are in hog friggin’ heaven! So far we’ve had a chicken, a pork roast and some undercooked wings. Learning curve. 

 

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A peek at the monster sized cooler I pack each night. Next to Max’s Star Wars lunch bag, which he is obsessed with. He opens it any time he can and tries to sneak out all the good food before lunch. Luckily Dallas’ is all about buying lunch right now and I’m alright with it. I think I’d end up spending more than $3.50 if I packed it myself and he is loving that big-boy feeling of choosing his own lunch. I’m loving that feeling of not packing another bag!

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Every night, I put together by own breakfast of overnight oats. This particular photo happened when I could make OOIAJ. Which is a seriously annoying acronym for Overnight Oats in a Jar. Totally filling and super yummy. Worst part are the Chia seeds that forever get stuck in my teeth. Visit Kath Eat’s page on OO to learn more and get sure-fire recipes.

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Here’s my really sad attempt at playdough in the bread machine. It works well and smells great, but 10 drops of food coloring does not a beauty make!

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In attempts to make sure my kids will eat something  for breakfast, which often times they don’t, I’ve been pulling out the stops. I love the Immaculate Baking Company cinnamon rolls in a can, because they aren’t filled with the trans-fats and chemicals that Pillsbury cans are.

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I’m sure as the days pass I’ll get in the swing of it all and my blogging will pick up again. For now, I wanted to keep you all posted on my life as a paid mom! Because I didn’t spend the past six and a half years not working, I just never got paid!

The New Recipe Page

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Take a peek at the new menu on the top of the FoFo homepage. You can find an archive of all the recipes (well, the ones that taste good) on the recipe page. There are ten categories, each with recipes listed in alphabetical order. The best part is that the archive will constantly update itself.

I know you are probably not anywhere near as excited about this as I am, but thanks for pretending!