Monday, February 28, 2011

Working is Expensive

So, this is what gas is going to cost? And doesn't it get more expensive during the summer?  And aren't we only in February?  And isn't my commute to work 50 miles round trip plus lots of stop and go traffic?

  It is going to be a long winter (what is left of it).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Won Ton Soup

There are two things I really should tell you about me.  The first is that I am (kinda) from the South.  I try to eat as healthy as possible, but I will ALWAYS have a weakness for things that are fried.  Don't judge.  The second is that I married an amazing cook.  There is no recipe that husband can't conquer.  And when the two of us get together and whip something up, well, watch out Iron Chef America














Also, it is freezing cold outside. It is supposed to snow here for the first time in 35 years.  Something warm and comforting is in order for dinner tonight.  It is a perfect night to whip up some won ton soup.  We have made this recipe several times, tweaking the ratio of ingredients to our liking, but the one major thing we always change is that we use ground turkey, instead of ground pork.   


 And since we were whipping up won ton soup, why not throw in some fried won tons and spring rolls (all homemade, of course)?   
 

Husband cutting up the finishing touches (scallions) that give the soup a nice crunch


And then we have this


Which means dinner is served

And just like that, the chill inside of me is gone.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Awkward And Awesome Thursday

For my most recent Awkward and Awesome posts, click here.


I have decided to participate in Sydney's (from The Daybook) Awkward and Awesome Thursdays.  I must admit, I thought it would be much easier to come up with my list.  I mean, awkward things happen to me on a regular basis.  Maybe I am just repressing them.

And without further ado (yeah, I didn't know that was how you spelled "ado" either)

Awkward: (hmmmm....notice I don't have any pictures of the awkward stuff?)
  • When you get your hair cut, and your hairdresser tells you to sit up straight.  And you believe you are sitting up straight.  And then your hairdresser straightens you himself, and it was nowhere close to where you were. 
  • Getting my first speeding ticket..  And starting to pull over to the left while the cops are pointing you to the right.  And then having them explain to you how you are supposed to pull over in the future.  Thank you officers, but I don't plan on getting pulled over again.
  • How lifelike CGI has become.  Have you seen the trailer for Mars Needs Moms?
  • Going to get my eyebrows waxed, and the lady asking me if I want my arms done too.  Really?  Are my arms abnormally hairy?  Good, I needed something new to be self-conscious about.
  • Trying to make homemade English muffins and having it turn into a complete disaster (we are talking hockey pucks here).  I swear I followed the recipe to a T.  Good thing husband can whip up some mean eggs to save the day (not to mention breakfast).



  Awesome:

  • Thursday night means Jersey Shore
  • And The Office
  • And watching said shows with a warm puppy (or two) in my lap
  • Having a complete stranger perform a random act of kindness and totally restoring my faith in humanity.  Even when it is small.  Like giving me a ticket for the parking meter so I don't have to buy one myself.
  • It is girl scout cookie season!
  • Things are blooming all over.  I really love this time of year (well, the warm parts anyway).  My plum tree and irises are start to bloom away (see picture above)



  • And finally, some new cookbooks.  I think I may be addicted to buying them.  I have been really into making homemade soup this winter.  It is great to bring for lunch and so easy to make  And we recently got really into started dabbling in preserving things.  And what is better than homemade jam?  Hmmmm...I see some future blogposts coming from this.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Sweet Guard Dog

 We rescued our American Bulldog Meatball, when he was 9 months old.  Well, we consider him a rescue.  He outgrew the family he was living with and spent his days tied up in the backyard and his nights sleeping in a garage.  He was 90 lbs of love (and has since grown to 125 lbs) and his owners needed to give him away.  Husband and I were in the process of buying a house with a yard (here in California, the yard part is worth mentioning) and had been considering adding a big dog to our family.  It was love at first sight.

 Just look at this sweet face.  

 













Besides being a wonderful companion, he is a fantastic guard dog.  He loves to sit on our back patio at night, or stick his head through the sliding glass door and watch what is happening in our backyard.  He has a nemesis, the opossum that lives on the roof of the house next door.  He likes to come out at night and torture poor Meatball.  But Meatball is plotting against him.  Just you wait, Mr. Opossum, just you wait!



Here he is, in all of his glory, at the dog park.  Unfortunately, at 125 lbs, he is often much bigger than the other "big dogs" (read: labs) that want to play with him. He still gives it a shot, but is not always successful. 


And people tend to get a little afraid of him, often confusing him with a large pit bull.  I know this because it is not uncommon to hear, "Wow, that is a big pit you got there," from intrigued passersby.  But I ask, how could you fear this?


And I must mention that he is so gentle with little dogs.  Before Petunia and Harriet swept into our lives, we had an immensely dignified pug named Turner (pictured below).  And Turner wanted to sleep in the big dog bed, leaving Meatball with, well, you can see below.


And sometimes they would just share the couch.  No, we were not happy about this. 

But what are you gonna do? 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

I am not really sure what the protocol is when you see a recipe you like on another blog, and then you try the recipe on your own blog.  Please forgive me if I am not doing this correctly.  I first saw this recipe on Cupcakes and Cashmere and want to give credit.

I love to bake and had some free time this long weekend to fulfill this desire.  I decided that the lemon meringue cupcakes I saw on Emily's Blog would be perfect. 


I am having a slight love affair with the tulips, and had to get them in the picture. 






Ta-Da!  I don't own a kitchen torch, do I couldn't get the meringue brown like the recipe calls for, but these cupcakes are more than fabulous.  I had to bring some over for the neighbors to enjoy too.


And on a final note, I am a firm believer in Rachel Ray's garbage bowl.  I always have one when I am doing anything in the kitchen, and I don't know how people can cook without one.  If you haven't ever tried it (and find that you are running to the garbage can every 2 seconds) I recommend giving this a whirl.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday Laundry- Part 2


Just one more picture from last Sunday.  How could you ever get mad at that sweet face?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bibimbap for the First Time

The weather in the Bay Area has taken a real turn.  For the past week, it has pretty much rained every day. It is snowing in the hills, and the view from my street looks pretty much like this...


 Pretty, but cold and wet.  Today the sun came out for the first time all week, and husband and I decided that getting out of the house was in order.  As mentioned in an earlier post, we found a very cool signed Korean cookbook at Tyler Florence (the store, not the man) and had been interested in trying some recipes ourselves.  But first, a trip to an actual Korean restaurant (called Korea House) was in order (all in the name of research, of course).

Going off of the recommendation of a friend that lived in South Korea for a while, I decided that I was going to try the bibimbap.  Sure, I wasn't really sure what it was (and the menu didn't really describe it all that well), but I was ok with just diving right in. 

So the waitress brings out a delicious soup, that I can only describe as tasting like miso with cabbage in it (if you are a fan of Japanese miso soup, you would definitely like this), and then all of the sides pictures above. There is a roasted seaweed, a daikon radish salad, some fish cake, kimchi, and this dried salted anchovy side (which I adored, but I do love salt). 
  
Then this comes out. 


 I must have looked like a deer in the headlights, because the sweet waitress came over to me and started tell me what to do with it.  I still must have looked confused, because then she started doing it herself, mixing in the chili sauce and rice.  And then it looked like this:


It was fantastic.  Not like anything I had ever tasted before.  We happily ate as much as we could (it was a LOT of food).  And then husband and I felt ready to tackle the Asian market to get the ingredients that we need to try some dishes at home.  This wasn't our first trip to the market, but I always get so overwhelmed with all of the different types of similar things the market carries- noodles, rice, condiments.  It looks exactly like this:



The labels aren't easy to read, but hopefully, you get the idea.  And eventually, we found the items we were looking for


And a few snacks to munch on while we are doing the cooking.  Garlic cracker nuts are addicting.  If you like very strong garlic flavors, they are definitely something you should try at least once.  If garlic is not your thing, stay far, far away.  They are pungent. 


Hopefully, a Korean cooking blogpost will be coming soon.  Any else experimenting with Asian cooking?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Survivor Starts Tonight!

OK, I am going to come right out and admit something here.  Husband and I are big Survivor fans.  Huge.  Like never missed a season huge.   And what is not to be adored? 


Source

1) A bunch of strangers (that would never be friends in 'real life') are stranded somewhere (usually) tropical and run around in bathing suits, and (sometimes) their skivvies - check

2) These strangers have to build a shelter, make fire, catch food,  find fresh water, and keep warm using materials they find on the island while maintaining the stamina and mental capacity to compete in incredibly complex challenges.  There is usually a very noticeable drop in the weight of the contestants.  You have to wonder, how do they keep going?- check

3) Lying, scheming, fighting, sabotage, and betrayal are all important aspects of the game, where in the end, the people that you have lied to, schemed and fought against, sabotaged, and betrayed are expected to vote in favor of you winning one million dollars- check

4) The contestants often get caught in the middle of said lying, scheming, betraying, and sabotaging and try to wrangle their way out of it so the power (read: votes) shifts in their favor- double check

5) The fact that usually when I dislike a survivor contestant very much, I am sad to see them get voted off the island because they were SO entertaining- check

6) Do I even need to point this one out?  The ability to vote someone off of the island.  If only real life were more like Survivor *sigh* :)  -triple check

The best part for me is that I actually worked with someone who was a contestant on the show.   I got to ask a million questions about what the experience was like.  It was truly a fascinating conversation. At least for me.

Is anyone else out there watching with me?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Room With A View

“I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”
- Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda.


I absolutely love this time of year.  Everything starts blooming, and I am surrounded in color.  I have an amazing view of the cherry blossoms from my office window.  Sometimes it is distracting. 


How am I supposed to get anything done when I am surrounded by this?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Husband isn't so thrilled to be in pictures.  Me, I am working on it.  Meatball and Petunia, SUPA-MODELS!!  And Harriet....well, she was chasing an airplane when this picture was taken.  What can I say, she is part terrier. 

Husband gave me a great Valentine's Day, complete with a homemade dinner and lots of snuggles.  OK, the pups were also a big part of the snuggles too, but you get the picture.  While my Valentine's Day was magnificent, my neighbor seemed to outdo everyone living within the immediate area with this....


Well played Ben, the neighbor I've never met.  Well played.

I hope you had a fantastic Valentine's Day, or Anti-Valentine's Day for that matter:)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Laundry

This Sunday was definitely a chore day.  But I just turned my back for one minute, and discovered this....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Random (and Somewhat Quirky) Things About Me

1) I cannot write with a pen that is missing its cap.  The weight feels all wrong.  I also do not like writing with black pens.

2) I like eating tuna on a toasted  garlic or onion bagel with cream cheese, minced onion, and green olives.  I swear, it is good.  Don't knock it til you've tried it:)

3) I have to make lists to organize my life.  And out of those lists, I will make sublists.  And then I will prioritize and categorize them.  I keep different lists in Excel, on post-its, and on a dry erase board, depending on what the list is about.

4) I love to bake, but when I am done, I am usually not interested in eating it. 

5) I am left handed, and it is usually one of the first things people notice about me. I don’t think I have ever noticed what hand other people write with.

6) My husband and I have matching personalized license plates. They are only amusing to us, and other people just end up looking at me funny if I try to explain what they mean.

7) I don’t believe in regrets. For me, everything in life is a learning experience.

8) I cannot parallel park. In fact, I am not the world’s greatest driver. Anyone who has ever spent much time in a car with me driving has volunteered to drive on future occasions.

9) I often feel conflicted between my love for animals and my love for animal products. I can see myself one day becoming a vegetarian but don’t know if I could give up steak or leather. See, I feel like an awful person for just typing that.

10) My sister has the most incredible singing voice, which is definitely not a gene that was passed on to me. However, I love to sing in the car with the kind of reckless abandon of an American Idol finalist. This may directly relate to #8

11) I do not like pasta or any kind of encased meat. I especially dislike the smell of Cinnabon.

12) Irregardless in not a word, and I sometimes find myself biting my tongue when people use it.

13)  As revealed in #3, I am a super-organized person. I could spend hours in the Container Store shopping for things that will organize my stuff. I would then shop for more things to organize the stuff I just organized. And so on.

14) I like to win. After I win, I feel bad for the loser and want them to win instead. If I lose, I don't want to play anymore. Luckily, I am good at keeping these feelings to myself.

15) I treat my dogs like miniature people.  They were all rescues and I like to think they have forgotten about their past lives, and only remember how good their lives are today. 

Enough about me.  I would love to hear more about you.  Sock it to me!

Friday, February 11, 2011

I Am For The Birds

I have always loved watching birds.  I knew that when I became a homeowner, I was going to have lots of them around.  I have gradually collected a combination of feeders and houses, and I love watching what happens with them throughout the year. 


This is my newest feeder, a NoNo (love the name).  I just put it up, and so far, I seem to have scared all of the birds away. The birds seem to know when I have been touching the feeders to refill them or rearrange them (as I did to give the NoNo a prime spot).  I wonder if it is my scent that lingers?



You can see it got top billing on the corner of my house.  The long tube feeder next to it is a finch feeder, and it often overflows with goldfinches (it has space for 24).  Next to that are some coconut windchimes that I got in Kona.  The sound they make always brings me back.  The last feeder is just a wild bird feeder that seems to attract a variety of birds.  I hope to get some pictures of the feeders with actual birds on them someday (although it is tricky not to scare birds away with three rambunctious pups always by my side). 

I'm Erin

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Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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