Banana Nut Smoothie

I did something weird. Like, really weird. I made milk out of cashews. Doesn’t that sound like the most unnecessary thing you have ever heard of?

I needed cashew milk to replicate recipes from the new juice spot in town, called Nekter. No utters are involved, no straining either! The hardest part is waiting for the cashews to soak ahead of time, which makes them easier to digest. Apparently unsoaked cashews will give you webbed feet and a slight limp. *Previous statement is not scientifically proven

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You can find a recipe worth trying and modifying at Foodilistic. I can’t take a photo yummy enough to give this smoothie all the props it deserves. Dates, nutmeg, cashew milk, bananas…it’s so creamy and perfect for fall.

BUT, I have to stop.

It’s like, really, really not cool to say things like “give props” anymore. It’s right down there at the bottom of the list with, “All that and a bag of chips.” I’ve actually Googled terms such as, “latest slang”, “latest sayings” and researched Urban Dictionary to try to keep up with the language of the cool kids. Alas, I have fallen way, way behind.

The internet tells me I am middle-aged and white. Being 37, I take offense to the middle-aged idea, as that is a good 7 years off, dang it! I can’t exactly argue with the idea of being out of touch though. Yeah, I love to reference movies like Napolean Dynamite and Nacho Libre. Yeah, they are outdated. I can’t help it, I still love them!


As for the white girl thing? I don’t think I entirely look the part. In fact, people never really know what ethnicity I am!

A couple months ago, a cranky neighbor was extra pleasant to me, asking me why I moved back. Nope,  we’ve never moved, I told him. He responded in shock, he thought I was his friend who lived her before. I look just like her and talk like her too. Wasn’t I Persian he asked?

(I’m not)

  • When my hair is dark and curly, people speak Spanish to me.
  • When I wore eyeliner, more people speak Spanish.
  • Someone at a restaurant once mentioned I look like I don’t speak English.
  • I don’t stick out in the Jewish crowd, I blend just fine. (With good reason)
  • I once thought I found “my people” at Jy’s cousin’s wedding. Dark eyes and highlighted hair?! That’s me! Alas, I am not Armenian.
  • People find my blog by the search term, “Japanese eye surgery”. No joke.
  • I’ve been asked if I am I Portuguese? No, but my husband is part, does that count?
  • There was the year in the late 90’s when I had black hair and heard more than one person whisper “Doesn’t she….Monica Lewinsky?”

Here is what I actually am:

  1. Russian
  2. German
  3. Polish
  4. Mexican
  5. Spanish
  6. Native American
  7. Something else my mom can’t remember
  8. Something else that we don’t know. Family secrets, shh!

So, yes, plenty of European white-girl stuff, but also a good dose of the Latin stuff and a bit of mystery.

This is from a couple years back, but looking at this picture, what ethnicity would you say I am? Other than tired from staying up all night with a young baby?

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Me and my cousin April, who totally missed her calling as a catalog model.

Back to my white girl status. There has been a video going around about being a “basic” girl and plenty of memes about being a pumpkin-spice loving white girl. Those totally apply. However, When I say I am a white girl, I mean that I have little to no understanding of pop culture outside of what is highlighted on The Today Show.

For example, I am still Googling the concept of milkshakes bringing boys to the yard. Without the explanations of the internet, I’d still think this is how I get boys to come running:

Hey  boys! I've made shakes and smoothies! Come over here! Come out to the yard!
Hey boys! I’ve made shakes and smoothies! Come over here! Come out to the yard!

I’m on Instagram and follow all kinds of accounts. The other day, this popped up on my IG feed:

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Plenty of comments laid out their virtual laughs and I scrolled on. BUT THEN, I saw another.

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Ok internet, one point for you. I guess I am white. Who is Felicia? Is she on a reality show? Is she in a Tyler Perry movie?

“Bye Felicia” originated from the movie “Friday” where a crackhead named Felicia used to come and ask Craig (one of the main characters) for random things like if she can borrow his car or use his iron – just random stuff. One day she asked him for some money and he says “Bye Felicia” and when she refuses he says it again with gusto. Ever since then, people have been using it as a way to get rid of people in a funny way when someone does or says something outrageous. – Reddit

Which brings me to the next example,

Malia has been playing this song in yoga for a long time and I always figured the words were, “Come get it baby,” just a little slurred. Nope, it’s bae. I think by now everyone knows about bae. But it just bothers me on so many levels. WHY the E at the end? Why not bay or ba? It’s obviously an abbreviation of baby, right? Maybe not. If you are another logophile (word lover, it’s not an illegal act), then you might just love reading more about the controversy over the origin of the term bae at Visual Thesaurus. All the rest of the normal people out there, skip the link and read on about my lacking cultural awareness.

Once upon a time I lived in San Francisco, a couple blocks from the Castro District. I also lived on Treasure Island, half way over the Bay Bridge, between San Francisco and Oakland. I never truly fit in while living in San Francisco, my valley-girl roots just couldn’t be hidden. After a couple years though, I was a little bit city and more in touch with other cultures.

But now, now I live where everything is landscaped. The grocery stores aren’t just clean, they are stocked with over priced boutique items. I live where the CEO’s travel home to after a long day at work. Hence, we are probably one of the poorest family in our surrounding zip codes. But, (yeah, I started a sentence with but), the schools are the best, the parks are amazing, the community is like no other.

What’s the point of all this? I just wanted to really express my new found self-awareness. I am not cool. But no one has called me Felicia, either! So yes, ladies, blend up those pumpkin smoothies, drink down those pumpkin lattes, be basic all you want. I stand in solidarity with you. Let’s be outdated and basic together!
 

Cooking Once a Month. Loving the other 29 days.

I tried really hard to take a picture of a lady in some gross sweat pants at the grocery store. They weren’t dirty or shredded, but they had wording on the butt which read, “FYI, I might not be wearing underwear.” It was only on the right booty cheek, which happened to be the same side her sweater was hiked up on. She obviously really, really wanted to have her message read. 

This was so confusing. What did she want me to gather from her information? Was it a warning to not sit where she has sat? Was it an invitation for conversation about society and undergarments? Does she need some money for underwear?

I followed her and snapped a dozen photos, all of which were blurry. Not sure if you really needed to see her pants, it was more of a need to have proof that these pants exist. 

Are you ready for the worst part? It was in a really, really bad font. 

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Would you like a giant shortcut to dinner? You have two options. One, get really, really rich and hire someone to take care of your meals. Two, sign up for OnceAMonthMeals.com.

It will cost you $10 a month for a basic membership and $16 for premium. You will more than make that up with grocery savings, immediately. There are different monthly menus to choose from and once chosen, the site will compile a few lists for you:

1. A complete shopping list
2. A prep chart
3. Recipe cards
4. Cooking day instructions
5. Labels
6. A thawing sheet, with information for each recipe

The idea of Once A Month Meals is to plan meals, shop for them in one day and spend one day cooking, then freezing all of the meals. That day is not the most relaxing, but it is well worth it.

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It would have made sense for me to take a photo of our freezer last month, when it was full of meals! I’m getting ready for round two of cooking for the month. Because I bought a premium membership, I can swap meals from the suggested menu and choose one of the other 3000+ meals on the site.

As of right now (October 2014), the menus offered are:

  • Traditional
  • Whole Foods (As in healthy, unprocessed foods)
  • Gluten Free, Dairy Free
  • Diet
  • Paleo
  • Kid’s Mini Menu
  • Vegetarian
  • Baby Food

The menus are seasonal and plenty of bonus menus seem to keep popping up, like the pumpkin menu!

Not only is it pretty awesome to have a homemade dinner every night of the week, it’s amazing how much money batch cooking saves. My other, other favorite part? There is usually only one crock pot meal per menu. 

Here is a sampling of what I cooked last month of my mega-cooking day –

Breakfasts:

  • GF Apple Pie Oatmeal Muffins
  • Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
  • Pumpkin Muffins

Lunches:

  • Taco Bowls
  • Lemon Orzo Soup
  • Quinoa Mexican Bowl

Dinners:

  • Perfect Roasted Chicken
  • Autumn Sausage Casserole
  • Crockpot Mongolian Beef
  • Honey Sesame Chicken
  • Mushroom White Wine Chicken

Doesn’t sound bad, does it? Regain your sanity. Stop cooking seven nights a week, that just plain sucks! 

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2012, Don’t Let the Door Hit You On the Way Out!

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Happy New Year’s Eve FoFo readers! I was so sad to take down our big light display today. We always light up our backyard as you see from the photo above.

For those of you who have visited the Oakland Zoo and perhaps have seen that exact same display there, please don’t ruin it for the rest of the internet by tattling about me lying. Does anyone else have a home that looks super bare without all the holiday decorations? I need some color back in my life!

I’ll be cruising through all of 2012′s top 10′s and looking-back posts around the web, after my kids are in bed. We plan to celebrate NYE New York time, which is 9 pm for those who are even worse at math than I am. My little party planner has tonight all mapped out.

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It reads:

  • TV
  • Cookies
  • Barbies
  • Slurpees
  • Dinner
  • Freeze Dance
  • Chess
  • Countdown

Who says we don’t know how to party? Everyone? Oh, yeah, everyone says that.

My friend Jody gave me a great recipe, which has inspired my second new favorite salad. (My first is a few posts down and it’s buffalo chicken-licious).

Paso Uno (That’s step one, Gringos): Buy a fat pomegranate at the end of the farmers’ market for $1.00

Step Two: Read the photos below. You’ll be slicing off the top, scoring the corners, peeling back the pom and pulling out all the seeds.

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Next: Toast some nuts. Any nuts! Pour raw nuts into a dry pan and turn the heat to high. Once the pan is hot, keep the nuts moving for 1-2 minutes and you’ve got yourself some flavor!

Step Twelve:  Use a dressing which is light in flavor. I don’t think you can go wrong with a Poppy Seed or Balsamic.

Step C: Mix seeds, nuts and dressing into a giant bowl of lettuce.

Step Last: Crumble blue cheese, feta, cojita or whatever crumbly stuff you’ve got over the top.

Step Eat: Eat it.

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Before I go party with my family in my pajamas, I’d love to wish you all a Happy New Year! 2013 has great things in store for us all. Yes, it will have some poop as well, but it’s all in how we look at it and deal with it, right?

Thank you all for making 2012 a bigger, better year for Food It Forward. As of yesterday, FoFo has had a little more than 82,000 views this year. I plan to triple that number in ’13. Lucky number 13, right! Be safe tonight!

As my Grandfather would love to say on NYE,

“I’m not brushing my teeth until next year,”

Kim

Good News First!

2012-12-18

What you are looking at here is a bit of good in the world! These are a few shots of generosity found this December.

The girls in the top left photo volunteered to collect some of what you see in both the top and bottom right corner photos. The bins in the pictures are full of sports bras, t-shirts, socks and shorts, all of which will be making their way to Uganda this month. There is an amazing program with an even more amazing story behind it, in Jinja, Uganda, called Children of Grace.  I was invited to work with this table at a church Christmas luncheon and was able to chat with one of the program directors who told me all about this beautiful organization which helps children in Uganda who have lost their mothers to AIDS. 

The photo in the top center and the one on the bottom left are both items from the family we adopted this Christmas. I am in no way trying to pat myself or my husband on the back right now. The generosity found in these gifts came from others! We had planned to give each family member in this small family of three, one item. However, my mother and grandmother stepped in first. Between the two of them, the seven year-0ld of the family was given a pair of pajamas, a school outfit, a dressy skirt and top, some fuzzy socks and a sparkly pair of Hello Kitty shoes. THEN, our good friends Jody and Travis stepped in and gave the family two seriously generous gift cards, one for groceries and the other was a Visa card, they could use wherever they choose. I feel like it was my family who was adopted this year!

The photo in the bottom center and the right center are some of the gift gathered for a family adopted through my women’s group at church. I wanted to show you all the bikes that were generously sold for only $25 to one of the groups who were searching for the gift that a needy family really wanted. These bikes are said to sell for somewhere around $600! What a gift this family will have this year.

If you are a personal friend on Facebook, then you already know about my friend, Jen. She spent the past month collecting donations for a struggling single mother, who has had a long, hard battle with cancer. Jen asked for $10 gift cards to make this lady’s Christmas a little brighter. Over $3,500 later, the generous spirit of Jen’s heart has made this Christmas a very special one for a mom and her daughter.

The best part? I know more stories than these!

There is another sweet lady I want to tell you about. Her name is Melissa and I’ve been able to work in Dallas’ class at church on the occasional Sunday and play with Melissa’s adorably sweet daughter, Kate. Check out Melissa’s blog, The Larson Lingo. If you’d like to help someone out this Christmas, consider sending Melissa’s friends in Newton, Connecticut a small donation or gift card. These friends of Melissa’s include two children who left Sandy Hook safely, but witnessed things no child should ever have to. Melissa plans to send some gift cards to Panera, Starbucks, Cold Stone and other fun spots for this friend to take her 1st and 4th grade kids. The hope is to offer a few escapes that will lift the spirits of these heartbroken children. If you’d like to send $5 or a gift card, please email me at KimNowlin@hotmail.com or leave a message on the Food It Forward facebook page. I’m sure Melissa’s friend could arrange to pass out or share any extra donations that come her way!

Here comes the bad news.

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I took Dallas to See’s candy to pick up ONE piece before he got his flu shot. Look what found its way into the car and then to my glutes. Well, they didn’t make it to my actual glute muscles, but they are sitting comfortably near them. I can tell you, it was NOT on my DAMY plan. Neither was a lot of what I have recently eaten. However, I’m not giving up! I am still only at about 50% of being on-plan, but I am trying desperately to shed my all or nothing attitude about a healthy lifestyle. I ain’t quittin’ honey (even if my jeans have).

Look what I found in the waiting room that infamous flu shot day:

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So much guilt!

You know what is a better find? The magazines you’ve been wanting to read, but will not buy. I always find those at my Grandma’s house. My Grandma is friggin’ awesome.

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I would like you to meet my new favorite salad, buffalo chicken with greek yogurt dressing!  To make the chicken, you simply heat up some precooked chicken pieces in a skillet with one part water, two parts buffalo flavor hot sauce and a few dashes Worcestershire sauce. Get the mixture nice and bubbly, then let simmer for 5-10 minutes. The dressing is a mixture of greek yogurt and blue cheese with a splash of apple cider vinegar. Lots of flavor, tons of heat and a bit of creamy coolness!

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I’ve been surrounded by holiday food lately, which I am sure you have to. You can’t escape it! Carby and sugary foods are the new Kardashians. My kids aren’t helping either. They are not so slowly evolving into little candy canes. Aaaaand, would anyone mind inventing a candy cane that isn’t sticky? Thanks.

So, I found a great deal on a gingerbread house at Fresh & Easy which was already assembled and contained no crazy ingredients. I had big hopes for the little cottage. Here is the reality:

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And here is the other reality, there was NO way my kids were going to let this puppy sit and dry overnight. This is what the shack looked like a good 20 minutes after start time.

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As added DAMY incentive, I am posting this photo of myself in all my weight gain glory. Quick, someone sing something angelic for me!

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If you have read more than two or three posts here, you may remember I mentioned that I am writing a book. Just wanted to update…still writing it. Yeah, that’s still about all that I have to say about it. Just wanted to let you know it’s still coming. It mostly writes itself when I have the rare chance to be alone and walk the streets. Uh, you know what I mean.

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Glad to have to chance to sit and chat again! Happy a couple days away from Friday, friends!

Bowl O’ Vitality

We have a few wonderful eateries in my hood. Two of my favorite have two of the worst names ever given to restaurants. The dessert bowl I made yesterday was inspired by Vitality Bowl, a healthy, yet caloric cafe, which offers a menu full of freshly created antioxidant bites for more than I want to pay.

The other restaurant I’m talking about is Fresh Millions.

Fresh Millions offers a complete selection of lunch or dinner entrees including specialty and made-to-order gourmet salads with a variety of healthy mix-ins, savory made-to-order hot bowls, hearty soups, and grilled paninis.

While there won’t be any awards handed out for best named restaurant, I do have to give some props to these places for offering simple, real food, quickly made. Why can’t I do that at home? Oh yeah, I can!

 

This bowl is full of healthy ingredients, sure. I wouldn’t be adding it to your Weight Watcher’s meal plan anytime soon, though.  There are no real specifics, just tips and tricks to make an ice cream like consistency out of frozen fruit. I originally figured Vitality Bowls just offered smoothies and toppings for $11 a pop. To their credit, there is much more involved.

To make a creamy base:

Blend frozen fruit – Frozen bananas make the best base for a creamy bowl. Fill the blender with a variety but keep berries with berries and tropical or citrus together.  Vitality Bowl uses a lot of frozen acai berries, but any type of fruit really works fine.

Add your liquids: You’ll want two types of liquids to create your base and coconut milk works best for one. The other can be a juice, chocolate almond milk or anything your giant heart desires.

Healthy stuff: They sky is the limit, er, your taste buds are the limit when adding good stuff like chia or flax seed, bee pollen or vitamin boosts.

 

Toppings are a matter of what you have at home. The more, the merrier. I used the Costco energy nut mix in the bowl above.

Try:

  • Dark chocolate chips
  • banana slices
  • strawberries
  • shredded coconut
  • peanut or other nut butters
  • honey
  • granola
  • dried fruit or veggies

Again, not super science here. Is there such a thing as super science? I think I would have enjoyed that more than regular science. I’m excited to have some rain falling outside today. I can experiment with my giant jar of virgin coconut oil sent to my by Tropical Traditions. I will give you all the run down once these kids stop pestering me and let me write. So, shall we say, in 20 years?

Quick laugh before my baking begins…

 

 

 

Dinner Battles

I went all Rumpelstiltskin on my kid tonight. I didn’t threaten to steal his baby, I just struck him a deal. I told him he would owe me three chores before earning back a playdate, which he lost after screaming like at dinner like he was Axyl Rose. He was fine with the agreement we had struck and I plan to hold out of the chores until I find something I really don’t want to do myself.

This is the Rumpel of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, not of German tale.

 

If you don’t watch the deal making Rumpelstiltskin on Once, you should! I can’t believe what amazing storytellers the writers of this show are!

Dinner was all over the place. It was easy to make and filling, but the kids nearly scratched their own eyes out when they were forced to try at least a bite. Luckily, ketchup and a time out helped cool things down.

This dish looks more fattening than it really is. Read through with me…

I’ve made cheesy cauliflower eggs in the past and revisited that dish for tonight’s dinner. Where did I get my cooking inspiration from? Well, a bit came out of the lack of meat in the fridge and the rest came from my desire to NOT go into a grocery store for the fourth or fifth day in a row.

While Max napped, I added four thick pats of butter to a 10×15 Pyrex and let it melt in a 350 degree oven before adding 1/2 head of shredded up, raw cauliflower.

Then came the drizzle of olive oil, a cut up green onion, one zuchinni, salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme.

I let the veggies and butter cook in the oven a bit while I whisked together a cup of egg whites and 8 whole eggs. After pouring the eggs over the veggie mix, I added roughly a cup of shredded cheese. I wish I could say I timed this, but I just kept checking back until the eggs looked solid in the  pan. My best guess would be around 40 minutes. I topped one side with tomatoes and salt, then popped it all back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

A good dinner for the lazy nights when there ain’t much left in the fridge!

For those of you who I am not connected with personally on Facebook, I would like to ask you to join me in helping homebound elders.

Many of these people have no family or resources. To choose between paying bills, buying groceries or medication is a choice that these folks shouldn’t be forced to make. You can find your local MOW online, but here is the link for local friends.

https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1100

Do something good today!

Blue Bottle Love

Looks yummy, doesn’t it? I didn’t bake it, let me say that up front! You are looking right at a pumpkin buckle. What’s a buckle? Read over this glossary of cake toppings from the San Francisco Chronicle to catch up.

Crisp: One of the most common fruit desserts, the crisp boasts a topping made primarily from oats and nuts. Nearly any seasonal fruit works well. Though crisps and crumbles are often interchangeable, this dessert traditionally has more going on in the topping than the crumble does, and, as the name suggests, it gets a little crispier when baked.

Crumble: Not to be confused with a crisp (though they often are), this dessert has a simple streusel topping – essentially butter, flour, sugar and a little seasoning – that is sprinkled over the fruit of choice. When baked, the crumbled topping hardens and browns while simultaneously melting into the fruit underneath.

Cobbler: A baked deep-dish dessert with the dough on top rather than the bottom. The topping is normally a sweet cream or buttermilk biscuit, while the fruit usually is berries or stone fruit – even savory fillings like winter squash can work (see recipe). In some versions, the biscuit dough is rolled and cut into circles to place on the fruit, allowing some of the filling to peek through; in others, the dough is spread across the surface, hiding the fruit beneath.

Grunt or slump: Essentially a steamed cobbler, this fruit-and-dough combination is cooked on the stove as opposed to being baked. The dough – which resembles a dumpling batter – is dropped in spoonfuls over simmering fruit. As for the name? It can be either a grunt or slump, depending on where you live; the origins are said to trace back to different parts of New England. Some say the dish makes a grunting sound on the stove as it steams and bubbles; others claim that the dessert has a slumped appearance when spooned onto a plate.

Pandowdy: Said to be named for its homely appearance, this deep-dish dessert starts with a base of almost any fruit. Toppings can range from rolled-out pie or pastry dough to biscuit, but the catch is that about halfway through baking, the topping is broken up into pieces and pushed down into the cooked fruit, allowing some of the juices to bubble up and over the dough.

Buckle: Baked as a one-layer cake, this dessert is normally made by floating berries into batter, then sprinkling streusel crumbles on top. When it comes out of the oven, the cake has a buckled look – hence the name. With a loose, almost pudding-like batter, this has a very moist crumb, and works just as well for brunch as for dessert.

Brown Betty: This layered dessert is all about crumbs – breadcrumbs, that is. The fruit of choice – most often apples or pears – is placed in alternating layers with buttered, toasted crumbs, which either soften along with the fruit or harden up on top of the dessert. Leftover cake or pastry crumbs would work, too.

– Amanda Gold

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/food/article/Seasonal-fruit-enlivens-crumbles-crisps-cobblers-2754965.php#ixzz2BCbpmQKB

 

Got that? Yeah, neither do I, but at least we have a nice reference for future recipes.

Last night, I ate the buckle created from a recipe by Caitlin Freeman, author of Modern Art Desserts and wife to James Freeman, the founder of Blue Bottle Coffee.

Caitlin creates desserts for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which are inspired by old French masterpieces. Just kidding. She is inspired by modern art and creates dishes to compliment exhibits at the museum. A slice of the Mondrian inspired cake you see above will set you back $8 at the SFMOMA, but it’s more of an experience than eating a slice of pound cake at Starbucks, right?

By the way, if you haven’t heard of Blue Bottle, take my word and order yourself a bag!

So yeah, upon visiting the Blue Bottle website you might ask why you should even consider spending $17 for a bag of coffee? How about this for proof, It has been called, “The best coffee you may ever drink.” And no, not by me. By CNN! They are serious people around CNN, right? Why would they lie?

James Freeman brewing it up. Slow style.

Wait, I almost forgot about the buckle. The recipe for this dessert works with most seasonal fruit. You can find this recipe at Epicurious, only as the  strawberry version, with lemon-pistachio streusel.  You’ll find the instructions for the pumpkin swap at the bottom of the article. This dessert is not overly sweet, which is a nice change of pace. It also tastes like actual pumpkin, not pumpkin pie or pumpkin spiced everything else. I think it would make a great addition to a Thanksgiving dinner for those who can’t decide between cake or pie.

Ok, so back to the coffee. You all know  how I feel about coffee.

I visited a local bookstore last night to enjoy a dinner of coffee-braised pork with white beans and roasted root vegetables. What? Your bookstore doesn’t offer dinner? That’s because you haven’t visited Rakestraw Books. If you are a local, please patronize this store!

The evening was a dinner, complete with wine and coffee to hear a bit from James Freeman about his book, The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee: Growing, Roasting, and Drinking, with Recipes. As far as author events go, this wasn’t exactly my favorite. However, I did enjoy tasting some Blue Bottle brewed up by James Freeman himself. This is the type of coffee you drink black, it’s that good.

I thought I was being served a second cup of coffee and quickly smelled otherwise! Blue Bottle Coffee also has a distilled liqueur, called Firelit.

 

I will give full photo credits to my husband’s iphone. Blech. Even the photo looks drunk!

I’ve just read this post and I’m actually a little bored by it. I should have just summed it up in two sentences. Go make the pumpkin buckle. Buy some Blue Bottle Coffee. Ah, shorter and sweeter. Now, it’s time for some schmaltzy family photos. I promise the next post will be a bit livelier!

 My little Mario.

 My sweet Thor.

 My seriously dramatic and temperamental five-year old.

 He calls me his, “Brave Little Lion.” Because that is what I call him.

 Grandpa helping out at the Kinder pumpkin patch field trip. He can’t figure out how to pose for a picture. All the other photos I took are too unflattering for the permanent record of the internet.

 While we are battling weekly tantrums, Dallas finds ways to sneak in cute moments like this.

 Grandpa again.

 The kid version of the fried turkey leg. Cotton candy.

 My cricut has been coming in handy lately. It made another debut at our school’s fall carnival. Thanks again Auntie Debi, for my paper cutting wizard.

And last, but not least. Honestly, shoulda been first.

 

She-Ra, Master of the Universe

 

Wait, how can She-Ra be Master of the Universe if He-Man was? And really, why were we not all a little smarter back then? Is He-Man the best name the cartoon writers could come up with? That’s almost as bad as Dog-Canine. Why wasn’t She-Ra named She-Lady or She-Woman? I think I’m really on to something here. or not.

I just had a few photos I thought I’d share. They have brought me joy and I thought they could deliver some to you as well. If they do not, you can always just have fun judging me.

– First up, top-left corner, the donuts made at Pier 39. Ah, heaven! I stayed on Earth however, as I didn’t start re-eating gluten until the next day.

– Next photo, 2 packages of boneless pork ribs cooked in a crockpot full of bbq sauce and apple juice. Easy-breezy cholesterol gonna make me wheezy.

– Third is Dallas working on his favorite new snack, Ants on “THE” Log. We were out of raisins, so his version is made with chocolate chips. I’ve always dreamed that Dallas would grow up to be a celebrity chef. Not a real, working chef who has to work on Christmas Eve and wakes up at noon. Just a celebrity chef. I think it’s in the works.

– Bottom left photo is a crowning moment in my journey through motherhood. Those aren’t carrots. That’s my two-year old passed out mid-Winnie the Pooh DVD, stained orange with Cheetos. Total artificial flavored awesomeness.

– The duck photo was taken at a local shopping plaza with man-hunting birds. They know when they see a toddler holding a white box, it means they are about to chow on some $1.98 duck seeds sold at the grocery store nearby. I’d say this was easily 1/3 of the ducks which would have eaten me and Max alive, had they been zombies.

– Lastly, Bob’s Gluten Free Bread Mix, once it found its way out of my garage sale bread maker. Holy heaven on a stick. It did not taste gluten free, but I know it was. Otherwise I’d be full of heartburn. It made up the second half of our meat/bread dinner. I kinda need to go veggie shopping.

Gotta hit the hay, it’s another big day of Kindergarten carpool and cleaning marker off the wall. G’night!

WAIT! I forgot the whole reason why I titled this post, She-Ra. I made some hard boiled eggs tonight and they turned out purrrrr-fect. No grey around the yolk, peeled like a dream. I felt like I could have conquered the world at that moment.

 

I’m 35.

No, it’s not my birthday. It’s just really sinking in that I am 35. My eyes aren’t super sharp and I finally can find some crow’s feet if I study my smiling face in the mirror. I am not quite twice my 18 year old self and definitely not going to accept that I am half way to 70.

A fellow mom and I were chatting this morning about Kindergarten drop off. She feels like she’s the oldest mom there and I told her that I didn’t share that feeling. Where I live, many homes function by having both parents work full-time while one set of grandparents live in their homes and take care of the little ones. Thanks to all the grand-folk at drop-off, I feel pretty young. I may not be in a mini-skirt, but I don’t shuffle when I walk. The rest of the moms are around the same age as me, unless I’m just in serious denial.

I am finally however, coming to the realization that need to spend more than $6.99 at CVS for a skin-care routine.

By the way,  you noticed my blog has become less and less about food?

You can blame it on 35. Our good friend Sharron once told Jy and me that every seventh year is considered a transitional year. I’ve mentioned that before, I know. Things are really changing however and Jy always remembers to remind me of our transitional year! I won’t bore you with all the details, but my life is slowly shifting.

So yeah, I’m gonna be talking less about food. Probably not less about coffee though.

Explanation? Click.

What will be on my mind that I’ll probably be sharing?

 

I might be talking about a particular HBO series I may or may not be in love with. It may or may not rhyme with Game of Phones.

I might be talking about papercrafting projects and all things Close to My Heart.

I might be talking about my friend Pete and his fun app that’s about to come out.

I might be talking politics. Just kidding, I’ll be talking about the Today show.

I won’t be talking about Calliou. I totally hate Calliou.

I’ll be talking more about family. I want to learn how to somehow merge my old family blog with this one. Anyone know?

Here’s what is really goin’ on…

Have you ever thought about something you’ve wanted to do, only to be constantly greeted by opportunities, inspiration and plenty of not so coincidental reminders?

I have something in the works that I can’t seem to shake. I’ve been reminded of it over and over each time I walk by myself, take a shower or really do anything where there aren’t small voices at my leg asking for apple juice.

I’ve been bombarded lately with lots of funny little run-ins that remind me where my heart belongs and what I should be doing.

Ready for it?

I’m training to become a tattoo artist.

Just kidding.

I’m writing a book. It is already started, it consumes my thoughts and I don’t want to talk about it. I want to bury my head in the sand (unless there are those nasty sand-flies) and just pretend it’s not happening.

But, it is.

It’s about faith and it’s funny. Ugh. Faith. Dont. Want. To. Write. It.

Then again, I can’t not write it.

That’s all I want to say about it for now. No more talking.

Tell ‘Em Large Marge Sent Ya!

I can remember three different quotes from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and Large Marge makes the cut! I made a breakfast fit for a big mama this morning, which is why I have Marge on the mind. Accepting my gluten-free fate has caused me to take a second look at breakfast. Especially now that I have run out of gluten-free oats and haven’t made it back to Trader Joe’s to buy a reasonably priced bag.

I had scant one cup (does that sound right?) quinoa sitting in the fridge and took it upon myself to do a bit of experimenting. I mixed together the quinoa, 3 egg whites, a smashed banana and a teaspoon of vanilla before “frying” it all up in a non-stick skillet. (Don’t add butter, oil or spray). It takes about 3 minutes for this pancake to bind together and form a skin suitable for flipping. I was THIS close to mastering the flip, alas my quinoa-cake did not survive. It was beautiful, you’ll have to believe me.

With a little syrup and berries on top, this quinoa pancake is totally going to become part of a new routine. I didn’t think it would be possible, but I found a breakfast that keeps me seriously full all morning long.

CONFESSION TIME

I bought a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks yesterday. And again today. And I freaking loved them. I promise myself I will get some canned pumpkin soon and make my own pumpkin syrup.

So, guess what? After I confessed the above to my husband (we are on a tight budget right now), he confessed the same. Except, he opted for the salted caramel mocha. We are so coffee-weak.

My sweet husband and I celebrated our seven-year anniversary on Tuesday. We work well together, except when it comes to reality television. Jy prefers any show with judges. I like any show that isn’t about keeping up with the Joneses. Honey Boo-Boo, anyone?

I ran into my pal Jen at yesterday’s Starbucks visit and we had a good chuckle about our hometown. There is a serious case of “keeping up” around this area, but no one really knows who the Jones’s are. The golden treadmill will just never end and I’m trying my best not to hop on. Hence, Honey Boo-Boo.

The Other White Meat

I’m so proud of my dinner tonight. It took no effort, was cheap and tasted awesome. Those are the three best ingredients, aren’t they?

Here’s all you do:

Cover a bunch (technical term) of boneless pork ribs, (country-style) in taco seasoning. Grab a packet or skip the additives and make your own. Place ribs in a large crockpot and pour 1 cup apple juice over the meat. Cook on low for 7-9 hours. Set it and forget it! Wait, is that line copyrighted?

The pork was awe-to the-some, friends. I ate mine over green leaf lettuce with sliced apples, avocados and some balsamic. Hot dang! The boys took theirs burrito style and everyone was pleased!

Fall is in the air and I am itchin’ to make some Autumn Sausage Casserole. Off to bathe the dirty ones…