Friday, January 29, 2010


Griffin held me hostage for the better part of a day last week, until I produced a "Robin the Boy Wonder" costume for him. He'd gotten the idea in his head a couple of weeks before, so we paid a visit to our good friend, Google Images, until we found just what we were looking for. The costume didn't turn out exactly as I'd hoped, mostly because Griffin was breathing down my neck the whole time, saying, "Hurry up, Mummy! I need it, I need it!" No matter though, Griff loves his costume and wears it every day. As a matter of fact, we played "Batman and Robin" for most of the day yesterday. This consisted mainly of Griffin bossing me around, telling me that I could not drive the Batmobile (only Robin can), that I could not throw Batarangs (again, only Robin), and that I basically had to do whatever he said. I just love the Griff is so into costumes, just like Camden was at this age (and still is to this day).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Miracle in a Tiny Jar

Where have you been all my life ?
(or, the last five years at least...)
Seriously, the best foundation. Ever. That is, if you are foundation-wearing kind of girl. This is the stuff that Ellen DeGeneres hocks. I bought this the other day because I love that Ellen is a Cover Girl, and I love Ellen (those Cover Girl Execs really do know what they are doing!). Oh, and I'm getting old. At this point in my life I really need a good foundation, but can't stand picking out stuff like that. So I bought this on a whim the other day because of Ellen. So glad I did. I might have to start hoarding it in case they ever decide to discontinue it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy, Happy Birthday

Devoted Husband
Wonderful Father
Amazing Papa
Happy 69th Birthday, Dad...
You are loved beyond measure!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pure Comfort

This past weekend was kind of crazy. It started on Friday with a burned-out first grader who had a very rough day at school. We progressed into the weekend with Daddy away at drill, which never goes over well with the little boys. This led to the previously-mentioned first grader, not wanting to go to bed, i.e., stalling, getting back out of bed, etc., etc. Thrown into the mix was a 3-year old having nightmares and waking up throughout the night. On Saturday night, after a particularly vicious nightmare, Griffin crawled into bed with me, snuggled right up, and about an hour later, wet the bed (yes, all over his mother). So, by the time Monday rolled around, we were all over-tired and a bit on the cranky side.

Like most people, I find potatoes very comforting, so I thought I'd make a pot of potato soup in an attempt to soothe my weary soul. I cracked open Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and settled on Potage Parmentier (Leek and Potato Soup). It couldn't get any easier than this:

~1 lb. peeled potatoes, diced
~1 lb. thinly sliced leeks including the tender green (leeks can be pricey, so you can also use 1 lb. of onion, thinly sliced/diced)
~2 quarts of water
~ 1 tbsp. salt (I used 1/2 tbsp. because I don't like things overly salty)

Simmer the potatoes, leeks, water, and salt, partially covered for 40-50 minutes until vegetables are tender. Mash the vegetables with a fork or run through a food mill.

**I actually prefer a smooth potato soup, so I put the soup, in two separate batches, into my blender. I quickly pulsed it 4-5 times, just enough to barely puree the mixture. Make sure to only fill your blender half way if you use this method, because the hot liquid will expand.

Right before you are ready to serve, stir in 6 tbsp. whipping cream, or 3 tbsp. of butter. I decided to use 3 tbsp. of whipping cream, and one tbsp. of butter, just to be crazy.

The result, a no-frills, completely comforting soup with delicious flavor. While I did serve it the day I made it, it tasted so much better the next day, and it was quite a bit thicker as well. If you like potato soup, this is an easy, delicious recipe - - one that I will make over and over.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Retro Goodness: Kid Edition

Griffin and I hit the Thrift Store Jackpot yesterday.
After months of searching, we procured a Sit & Spin.
For $1.75
Griffin has been spinning ever since!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Beautiful McCall

While my parents were here over the holidays, Steve and I managed to escape for an overnight in McCall, Idaho. McCall is North of Boise and a beautiful drive. We hadn't been to McCall in about six years, so we were both really excited to head out. McCall reminds me of Maine in a lot of ways - - the landscape is much different than where we live. It is a resort town, situated on a lake, and near a ski hill, so it is a popular vacation spot.


Steve, humoring my foolishness along the way

Dinner (and beer) at the McCall Brew Pub

The lovely Hotel McCall - - I'd always wanted to stay here and am so glad we finally did!

The next morning, Steve got right up and went cross-country skiing. I opted to walk around town in the snow, take pictures, sip a delicious mocha from the Fogglifter Cafe, and soak in the jetted spa tub. I took a picture of this little bench at the Hotel because I want one just like it. Anyone want to build me one?

We then enjoyed a lovely lunch at Ruperts, and then headed over to the McCall Community Congregational Church, to see our friends Dennis and Tanya get married. The perfect end to a perfect getaway.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Cooking With Julia

One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year came from my husband. A copy of the movie, Julie & Julia, and Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking box set.

I think I've mentioned here before, how much I love this movie. I'm not too into giving my endorsement on movies, because whether a movie is good or not really depends upon what a person does or does not like in a movie. For me, this one is right up my alley. I love the food, cooking, blogging, history, relationships, etc. - - I absolutely loved it. I adore stories about people who follow their passion, no matter what. As for the two-volume cook book - - I'd never thumbed through it until Christmas Day. Really, the cookbook is amazing. I tend to prefer a cookbook with a lot of pictures so I know what my end result is supposed to look like. These books have no pictures, aside from a few pencil drawing here and there. What it does have is explicit instruction. Explicit. I really believe even the most novice cook could pick a recipe from these books and produce a fabulous dish.

I had my heart set on making Boeuf Bourguignonne (Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms) for New Year's Day dinner, and I'm happy to report that I did just that. Not only that, but I also decided to tackle one of Julia's desserts, too - - Reine De Saba (Chocolate and Almond Cake). Mind you, I was in the kitchen for almost the entire day, but I loved every minute of it. I do believe that at one point, Steve came in to check my progress, and I jumped up and down and clapped because I was having so much fun.

Here's the "boeuf"....

....and the "bourguignonne"...

The end result was a dish that I never would have guessed in a million years that I could have produced. The flavors were amazing and I must admit that it was completely satisfying to enjoy a meal that I spent such a long time preparing. It was so much fun!

Part of the process was to learn to properly brown-braise pearl onions...these smelled soooo good while they were simmering.

I also learned that to properly brown mushrooms, you cannot crowd them in the pan. Yes, those mushrooms are swimming in butter and oil...yum.

As for the was also a delight to prepare, although I didn't think it was very pretty to look at, unfortunately. I think the cake decorator in me expects to see high, perfectly decorated end-result. What I learned is, a cake does not have to look like it came from a bakery to taste divine. This cake only contains a half-cup of flour, and therefore results in a texture similar to a chocolate truffle - - smooth, creamy, and bursting with chocolate (and rum, I might add).

Next on my list? Coq au Vin (Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, Mushrooms, and Bacon). I'll let you know how it goes.

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