The food part of this blog has moved to I'll see all you foodies over there!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Tamales! Ole!

Making tamales has been on my mental list of things to make for over a year. Usually when I decide to make something, I go get the ingredients (that aren't in my usual pantry), so that'll leave me no choice but to make it. I've had corn husks sitting around for a LOOOONG time. Sage enjoys tamales, so I finally decided to make them.
Pre-soaking the husks. One bag contained soooo many, just looking at it was overwhelming.

Testing the masa dough. Drop it in some cold water, if it sinks, it needs more liquid, if it floats, the dough is good. (Little tricks I found on the net.)

My production line.

Many hours later, they are FINALLY all done! Made 43 tamales total. I think we'll get our tamale fix for at least a year. The tamales tasted a little different, maybe the masa flour was a little old and starting to stale (from sitting in my cupboard too long), but Sage liked it. But given the amount of work and the final product, I don't think I'll be doing this again anytime soon. What to do with the other bag of husks...

Meanwhile...David took the Emi and Sage bike riding. Emi wants to try racing her first race, the Idyllwild Spring Challenge in May. The junior (and mom's) course is 6 miles long. I don't think I could even do it. Or as David says...I KNOW you can't do it. (Thanks a lot...) But Emi's tough, and with a little training, she'll be able to pull it off.
Pretty soon, Sage'll be racing too... It'll be cool for David and the kids be on team together some day...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

What is This?

I was surfing the net and came across a page that said this. It was the first time I've ever seen such a thing.

The End of the Internet
Congratulations! This is the last page.Thank you for visiting the End of the Internet. There are no more links. You must now turn off your computer and go do something productive. Go read a book, for pete's sake.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Busy Day in the Kitchen

Started off the morning baking some chocolate croissants from Trader Joe's. They come frozen, so it thaws and rises overnight, to be baked in the morning. Fresh baked croissants are just so good.
The conveniece was really nice. They should start carrying plain croissants too. I bet that would be a good seller.

Last night around midnight, I started some chili in the crockpot so David and Roshan could have something warm to eat after their ride. Pretty much a basic chili recipe, but this time I tried adding some instant coffee and red wine vinegar, and since I didn't have any unsweetened cocoa around, threw in some baking chocolate. It was a mild chili, so the kids can eat them. My chilis are getting better.

David enjoys saltine crackers with his chili, but I didn't want to drive into town. So here's another first, homemade saltines. I got to use my pastry wheel, which had been sitting in my drawer for years.

The crackers, pre-bake.

The final product. It made quite a bit. A little time consuming though, it took about 2 hrs. to make since they needed to be rolled pretty flat. But David enjoyed them. A lot of crackers for under 50 cents.
Also made a quick batch of corn bread.

New Year's in Japan means mochi time. We had eaten up our last batch, so we made some more.

Since the mochi maker was already out, I gave an attempt to make mitarashi dango. They are really good, but pricey, so it's an occasional treat. Such a simple recipe, the dango is just rice flour and water, steamed, and kneaded.

After it is kneaded, I made little balls, skewered them, lightly grilled them, and pour some sauce (sugar, soy sauce, water, and corn startch) on them. I got 14 good size skewers. Yuuuuummy! Emi couldn't stop eating them!

Japanese Pen Spinning

Cool to see something we all used to do (and still do?) elevated to an art form.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lake Elsinore

We drove down to Lake Elsinore to meet up with my parents at a hot springs, and arrived a couple hours early so we can hang out at the lake. The lake was huge.
But it sucked to have a lake in front of you, and all you can do is look at it. No swimming, not even wading.

So we drove around the lake looking for a picnic area or a playground, and came to a gate. $10 per vehicle to enter. I don't think so. So we turned around to see if we can check in early.

Saw a funny picture on a sign. I know drunk driving a boat is no laughing matter, but the picture made us laugh.

The House of Siloam, run by a Korean couple, a hot springs retreat. My parents wanted to go somewhere with some hot springs for their x-mas getaway, and this was close for them and us, about 1 1/2 hrs. away, so we met up with them for an overnight stay.

They had a swimming pool at 90*F, perfect for the kids to swim around.

The room came with a kitchen, which was nice. We didn't have to eat sitting on the beds.

Each room has its own deep Japanese style tub that you can fill with the hot springs water. So if you wanted to go in naked, you can, without having people stare at you.

After a nice soak, we walked around Old Town, a few blocks of stores. We found Santa's sled.

An outdoor tub in a gazebo.

An open-air jacuzzi. The sulfur in the water kinda stunk, but I guess that's what makes the water medicinal. The water felt really good though. My parents took a liking to the place, so we might join them again in the future. This wasn't David's kinda place, but the kids enjoyed it. Overall, it's an OK place, but the kids and I would go again. The kids always enjoy getaways.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Time

The kids have been counting down to X-mas. Abby made a bell with chains, everyday one chain came off, counting down the days till there were no chains left. She was the most excited, telling me everyday, It's X days till x-mas!

Coleslaw was on our menu for x-mas eve, but I didn't have enough mayo. I didn't want to run in town just for that, so I did something I never thought I'd do, make homemade mayo. I know it's simple but we don't use mayo often enough, so it would of went bad, so I always just bought one with preservatives. Bad, I know...

Fortunately, one batch made just a little more than I needed, so it worked out. It did taste different than the ones in the jar, but after it got turned into coleslaw dressing, I couldn't tell.

As requested by Sage, we had some BBQ ribs. David was nice enough to cook them for me. He also BBQ-ed some pineapples, a first for us, but we all enjoyed it. We also had some beer that tasted like root beer. It was 9% but didn't seem strong. I didn't quite get the buzz I was hoping for. But dinner was great.

For desert, was Emi's request...Carrot Cake. The cake was dense but not too heavy, and the cream cheese frosting wasn't overly sweet either. A keeper recipe.

We let them open their stockings, since we don't let them open their presents in the morning till Mommy and Daddy are up. (Is that mean? But I want to be there to video tape them!)

The kids left a glass of water and a tangerine for Santa. We feel he's probably getting sick of cookies that he could use something refreshing.

Abby holding a penguin Mushabelly she got from Santa. Besides that, she got a latch hook kit (that'll keep her busy for awhile,) some coloring books, and a jewelry box.

Sage got a Chargers football from Santa, as well as a Troy Aikman rookie card. We got him a trainer, so he can practice catching. That thing ended up bigger than I thought.

Emi didn't get her wish from Santa. She had wanted some roller skates. Instead, she got the new Simpsons DVD, the Harry Potter DVD, and a really cute doggie stuffed animal. We got her a beading kit and a quilter's basic tools kit.

I told David I don't want anything for X-mas. BUT...if you're going to get me something anyway, I want this cereal by Trader Joe's. That would make me really happy. Super Nutty Toffee Clusters, my favorite cereal right now. I had been saving a few bites from my last box since I didn't know when I'd be getting some more. He got me two boxes, so I'm a happy girl. It tastes great alone with milk, but really good with some Brown Cow Cream Top Vanilla yogurt. I've been trying to figure out how to make these at home. He also got me some Irish Creme, Carolans, supposed to be better than Bailey's. This stuff's liquid candy.

Sage playing with he new trainer.

The neighbor dog, Joe, came by. He's a cute dog. Emi and Abby are hiding under the trainer in the back.

Some X-mas Jello. There's Santa, a snowman, a sled, and a x-mas tree.
A nice, quiet, mellow X-mas. The presents were all opened within 5 minutes, then we just hung out the rest of the day.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Today's Goodies

We really like clam chowder, and always eat the canned Campbell's kind. For some reason, clam chowder seemed like something hard to make so I hadn't even bothered to look into it. Until recently, I saw some canned clams cheap so I picked them up, with hopes to making homemade clam chowder. They were actually pretty easy to make, my only regret was that I wished I had made them last night, since they taste better the next day. But I started them in the morning, hoping the flavors will have a chance to blend together by dinner.

I also made some big rolls of bread so we can have bread bowls. I doubled a French Bread recipe and it made six pretty good size bowls. I used to work at Boudin's Sourdough and I remember eating these and thinking how good they were. This might get me to give sourdough bread a whack.

The kids enjoyed it. They're first breadbowl experience. It was a little too big though...

Even Abby who loves to eat couldn't finish hers...

I also tried making Apple Coffee Cake. The name's a bit misleading, the kids thought it would taste like "coffee." It's called that because it's cake you eat with coffee. Can we drink some coffee then? No way! Why do kids like coffee? Emi actually likes the taste of black coffee. Yuk.
The coffee cake came out on the light side, not too sweet. The recipe had called for apple pie filling for the filling in the middle, but I used fresh apples tossed in brown sugar and cinnamon instead for the filling and the topping.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Only 99 Cents?!

I found a Venus Fly Trap at the 99 cents store. I had to get one. They're so cool, I knew the kids would trip out. I love that store. We poked it with a pencil to watch it try to eat it. Can't wait to find a bug to feed it. I hope it can survive the cold.