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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tastes Like Chicken

I love browsing through cookbooks, always searching for ideas. Found this one in a Japanese macrobiotic cookbook, and gave it a try. Deep fried frozen tofu.

You freeze tofu in their containers, then thaw it. The tofu turns spongy. Tear into chunks then squeeze out some of the water. Then you marinade it for about 10 minutes, I decided to use my own marinade that I use when I make fried chicken (kara-age), with ginger, soy sauce, and sake. Lightly squeeze out the marinade and coat with corn starch.

Then deep-fry.

Turned out pretty tasty. Abby thought it was chicken, Emi thought it was fish. It's tofu, but tastes like chicken!

Where Did That Come From?

Kids ask the strangest questions. Abby asked me today if Yumi is really my real name. So I said no, my real name is Patricia. Really Mommy? Yes, it is. Then Sage asks, then why do people call you Yumi? Because I hate the name Patricia, I like Yumi better. It's funny because she's still gullible and usually believes what I say (although there are some doubts in her head.) Emi's sitting next to me laughing her head off.

Monday, October 29, 2007


A practice run with homemade fake blood, since Emi's going to use some for her costume. Just some corn syrup and food coloring. Looks amazingly real.

The Great Pumpkin Massacre

It's that time again, where pumpkins are tortured by innocent children for decoration. As fun as it is, it's a shame to see all those pumpkins go to waste. For after they are carved, they sit around till they shrivel up and mold, then tossed into the trash. I wonder who came up with this in the first place... Either way, the kids really enjoyed it.

This is the first pumpkin Abby carved by herself. It is the WWF panda.
Emi carved some character named FrekPo.

Sage's B-day Celebration

When you're birthday lands on a holiday, it can be cool and suck at the same time. Sage was born on Halloween, so every birthday is a big party. We've always celebrated with the family after trick-or-treating, no fancy parties. This year, he asked to have a party and invite kids from school. I wasn't sure if it was because he'd get a lot of presents, or because he is starting to become more social. Either way, having a party is a lot of work, and frankly, I don't think he needs a lot of gifts either. So what we've started doing was to take them somewhere with just a couple of their close friends. What better way to celebrate your birthday than with your closest friends and doing something you normally can't do. So Sage decided he wanted to go see "The Game Plan." Movies aren't something we go to see often, it's just more economical to buy the DVD. The last time we were at the theaters was for "Madagascar" 3 yrs ago. So he took Ben and Micah, they've been close for the last couple years. Went down to Hemet to see the movie, which was really cute, and a tear-jerker. It was really touching, with the father-daughter thing. Even David cried. Afterwards we went to Chili's, then Baskin Robbins, and headed home. He got some cool gifts, a Dodger hat, a Padres jersey, a football shirt, and a cool card game. It looked like the boys really enjoyed themselves, and Sage had a good b-day.
Sporting his new gifts, his hat and jersey, with his buddy Ben who has tremendously influenced him into sports.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gourmet White Trash

My kitchen creation for today...Pretzel Dogs. I think next time I'll try Italian or Polish sausage. I bet that would be tasty...or David's idea, Louisiana Hot links or Hebrew Nationals.

Copycat Clif Z-Bars

Well, actually the recipe was called Easy No Bake Cookies (more like brownies, if you ask me.) Cookies that aren't baked just didn't sound right. But it had good reviews and I was looking to use up my instant chocolate pudding mixes. So I gave them a try. They were supposed to be dropped like cookies, but that was just too much work so I threw them into a brownie pan and just cut them up. The appealing part of the recipe was that it called for oats, rather than flour. Turned out like brownies, but healthier (?). The kids say they taste like the Z-Bars made by Clif Bars, so I ran a calorie count. For the same size bar, a Z-Bar was 120 calories vs. 260 for mine. I think this might be a good base for an energy bar for David. For those of you out there who'd like to give it a try, here's the recipe. Very easy to make and loaded with energy!

Mix together in a large pan:

1c sugar

3/4 c butter

2/3c milk

Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.

Turn off heat and add:

1 (3.9 oz) pkg instant chocolate pudding mix

3.5 - 4 c oats

1/2 t vanilla

Mix well, cover and let stand 10 minutes. Then drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper, or press into a pan and cut after cool.

The recipe said different flavored pudding mixes can be used for variety. Also, I used sugar-free mix since that's what I had, but had I used regular mix, the calorie count probably would of been higher. Next time I might add some nuts or dried fruit. I'm pretty happy I came across this one.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Abby's teacher asked me to make her some homemade playdough. This was a new experience for me, so I wasn't sure how it'd turn out. It was fairly easy, and fun to make. For those of you who are interested, here's the recipe (I doubled it to make more):

2c. flour
1c. salt
4t. cream of tartar
2T oil
2c water (add several drops of food coloring to the water)

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook on low heat and stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove and knead a few minutes. Let cool and store in airtight container.

The kneading part was like bread making...

Tah dah! Playdoh! Just had to play with it...made a quick little bunny!

Pleasantly Surprised

Another dehydrator experiment...cantaloupes. Although I had doubts, I tried it anyway. I had never seen dried cantaloupes at a store, so I wondered if it was because they don't come out too well? Turns out, they came out pretty good. Kinda like dried mangoes in taste. I bet if Trader Joe's carried these, people would buy them. Next time though, I'd slice them a bit thicker. I bet honeydews would taste really good.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Is This Normal?

David's gone for four days, visiting his friend and racing in Flagstaff. So I thought this would be a great time to let the kids take turns sleeping with me. They were so happy. They (mostly Sage and Abby, but I know Emi wants to) ask often and they always get a NO. I don't remember wanting to sleep with my mom as a kid. The thought never really entered my head. So I wonder if this is normal for kids nowadays, or was I just an abnormal kid?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Freak with Big Feet

We went shoe shopping yesterday. Emi chose a pair of navy blue Converse low-tops. Yes, she has good taste in shoes :) The size she got, a women's 8. She's only 9 yrs. old and is wearing an adult size 8. Holy moly! She grew two sizes in the last few months. Man, she's going to be tall, or just be a freak with big feet...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tofu Jerkey

Yup, you read right. TOFU jerky. Sounds funky, but thought I'd give it a try. Came out a bit salty, but the kids ate it, "Mmmm, jerky," "Is this bacon?", no, take a guess...Sage and Abby thought with no answer, finally Emi said, "Tofu?" That's right, tofu. Not bad. If the marinade is better, I bet it can taste pretty good. And healthy too, (except for the high sodium, of course)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Big 40

Today is David's b-day. Happy Birthday David! We're now officially in different decades. He's out riding his bike now with some friends, it rained this morning so I bet he'll come home all muddy. I made him a hemp anklet. I used to make these a lot, back in the day, with my friends all hangin' out till late drinking beer. Nice little trip down memory lane.

Can't Win

The squirrels have been raiding my plants on our back deck. I cut off the nearest branches hoping they can't cross over. The other day I caught one climbing up the deck post underneath. My jaw dropped. They're everywhere, like pigeons in the city. But they're still cute and we still enjoy watching them. I just wish they'd stop destroying my plants.

Holy Smokes!

When it comes to kids snacks, we always read the label to check for nut ingredients since Emi's allergic to them. This one just blew us away. Can't believe the person who edits these things didn't catch it. For those of you who watch Jay Leno, I'm sending this one in for the Headlines segment. These are Japanese chocolate covered biscuit cookies.
Allergy Information: Contains milk, wheat, eggs, SHRIMP, CRAB, ABALONE, SQUID, soybean, MACKEREL, SALMON, and SALMON ROE! That stuff's not in the ingredients list, both English and Japanese, was somebody high?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Turning Hillbilly

After years of wishful thinking, we have finally decided to try raising our own chickens. This winter we'll set up a caged area and build a chicken coup. Come spring, we'll get some cute little chicks and several months later we'll start having our own organic eggs. The kids will each have a chicken and learn to take care of them. They might decide they don't want to eat chickens (and maybe even all meat) any more, and we'll slowly start our path down vegetarianism.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Three Pianists

Abby started piano lessons, so now we have three pianists (can you say that without laughing?) in our house. Emi's being playing for two years now, and Sage for a year. They've both grown a lot. It's amazing what you can accomplish in a year's time with a little practice. I wonder which one of them (if any) will become a musician... wouldn't that be cool.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Beef Jerkey

A neighbor let me borrow her dehydrator, it's been my latest play thing. I've dried fruit and made some fruit leather. The latest experiment was beef jerkey. Used a Cowboy Jerkey recipe, tastes like regular ol' jerkey. The kids love it. We knew a Thai guy who used to make Thai jerkey with sesame oil (?) in his jerkey which was really good. Hopefully I'll find a good recipe online. The dehydrator's a pretty cool gadget, I really like it.


Tried my hand at decoupage. Started with a simple project, lightswitch covers. I've haven't been able to find one I like (within a reasonable price), so I got some ModPodge, scrapebooking paper, and varnish and decided to make my own. Pretty simple and came out nice.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

More Gummies

Picked up some candy molds from Michael's and tried gummi candy again. They came out cute with their little shapes, almost looks store bought. The kids will be stoked when they come home.