Showing posts from 2012

Ringing in the New Year with the Peanuts Gang

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!

If you're still looking for a family friendly event for New Year's Eve, I would seriously consider Knott's Berry Farm. I'll be going there tonight with my mom even though the park has been open since 10AM.

If I had my daughter with me, we might have made a day and night of it (talk about aching feet and back!) I'm going to make sure I catch both It's Christmas, Snoopy and Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! It's been a long year and I'm more than happy to end it on a fun note.
Knott’s Berry Farm will have something for the entire family this New Year’s Eve with a variety of dance music, a family-friendly comedian magician, Clueless Remix Featuring DJ Reesso, a trip back to the ‘70’s with Elton John – The Early Years, line dancing and salsa dancing. All this plus Knott’s rides, attractions and a Midnight Mayhem Fireworks Show in Calico Square will make Knott’s New Year’s Eve celebration the place to ring in 2013. I wonder if t…

Finnish Production of The Hobbits

At the Movies ~ The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, 2012 (Photo credit: erjkprunczýk) Well, I haven't yet seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, But someone posted The Hobbits (Hobitit 1993) on YouTube.

It's a Finnish production with English subtitles. There are 24 videos in the playlist and it runs just over 3 hours. Guess what I'll be watching this weekend?

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Wordless Wednesday: Put the lime in the coconut


Cajun Salmon

This is another one of those recipes where I just wing it but the results are incredible. It all comes down to the spices. I use Cajun's Choice Creole Seasoning, or you can make your own Cajun Spice.


2 teaspoons salt (or adjust to taste if you want to use less)2 teaspoons garlic powder 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 teaspoon ground white pepper 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano 1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional) 

DIRECTIONS: 1. Stir everything together. Store in an airtight container.

Once you have your choice of seasoning (store bought or homemade), grab your salmon (4 4-6oz steaks or filets), some butter (or olive oil, but it tastes better with butter), a sauté pan and get to cooking.

Heat sauté pan until water sizzles when droplets are flicked into itAdd 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter and melt. Sprinkle seasoning evenly in bottom of pan.Lay salmon filet…

Menu Plan Monday: Week of December 3

I couldn't think of any clever title for this week. C'est la vie. I'm too tired from playing Ingress (more on that later).

It's almost dinner time and I let my daughter pick tonight's meal - chili dogs. The rest of the week I'll be picking. We're still cleaning out the fridge and freezer and making everything last as long as it possibly can.

Monday: Chili dogs - cheap and easy
Tuesday: Ghetto fabulous adaptation of Claim Jumper's Jamaican Jerk Sweet Potato Chicken (because I have like 2.5 lbs of sweet potatoes left)

Wednesday: Chicken and broccoli casserole (this will probably last the rest of the week)
Thursday: Lentil Stew
Friday: YOYO
Bonus recipe: African Sweet Potato Soup -- I may have this instead of a chili dog. Since cutting out most carbs (meaning rice, idaho potatoes, and most breads), I really don't crave them anymore. Except for when I go on a cookie baking blitz.

What are you cooking this week? Leave a comment or a link.
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Knott's Merry Farm Savings

Who doesn't love a deal?  Thanks to I'm able to offer you a coupon to "Knott's Merry Farm."

How cool is that? If you haven't been to Knott's at this time of year (sad to say, I haven't. I usually go to Disneyland) here's what you can expect:

Knott’s Merry FarmThanksgiving Day – January 1
Knott’s Berry Farm is filled with the magic of the season as it transforms into Knott’s Merry Farm and celebrates “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with seasonal entertainment, spectacular decorations including a 65 foot tall Christmas tree, and a colorful Christmas parade. Now a holiday tradition in Southern California, Knott’s Merry Farm is proud to present the holiday ice spectacular, “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!” The show, performed in the 2,100-seat Charles M. Schulz Theatre, is hosted by the famous skating beagle and his PEANUTS friends as they look for the true meaning of Christmas and features Knott’s ensemble skaters, dazzling sets, colorful costumes…

Oh my.....

So yesterday I had to go to yet another government office to get paperwork filled out, approved and sent back to another government office. And all the government offices that I have been to this month have security that rival TSA. What the hell has happened to this country??? I mean really, why would terrorists take out the SSA?

But anyways, as I was waiting for my number to be called--this gem (and a few others) popped up on the screen. Patty Duke and George Takei in a PSA. I couldn't decide if it was cool, corny, or creepy. What do you think?

Watch all of them here.
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29 Days of Thanks

All rolled into one.

A few things are coming together and I can breathe a little easier. Being on the verge of an anxiety attack for almost two weeks, I could feel some of the tension leave. And then I literally took a deep breathe after a huge "Whoosh!" from holding it. I thought that kind of stuff only happened in books.

I'm not out of the dark yet, but there seems to be a light at the end of this very long and very dark tunnel.

Wordless Wednesday: Stress Relief


Menu Plan Monday: Clean out the Fridge

Well, the first holiday feast is over, the leftovers are almost completely gone (enough turkey left for one more sandwich) and I have $40 left in my grocery budget. It's going to be interesting this week.

Luckily, chicken and fish come in big bags, so I have breasts, thighs, salmon and pollack. And my daughter doesn't mind a little variety. It's easier to make sure the food doesn't go to waste when I have her input.

Monday: Chicken Curry with potatoes and spinach
Tuesday: Cajun Salmon  with rice pilaf and steamed veggies
Wednesday: Baked Parmesan Alaskan Pollack
Thursday: Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Friday: Leftovers (if there are any, I've gotten better at cooking the right portions). If not, Quesadillas
Saturday: Chili (beans only)
Sunday: Breakfast for dinner

Thanks to for hosting

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Sick with worry

Chronic, dull low back pain.
Lack of focus. I really need to get my mind off my situation, but I feel that if I don't work tirelessly to solve it, I will have failed myself and my daughter. I know there comes a point where you can't do anymore than what's already been done, but I'm not sure if I've reached that point. I have this nagging feeling that I missed something, overlooked something, didn't do something right. It's extremely stressful. And distracting. And emotionally draining. Or maybe I feel like crap because I'm coming down with something. Time for some tea.

Really getting inside my head

I've been asked, "What is your inspiration for blogging?"

To be honest, sometimes there is just so much in my head that I need an outlet before it explodes (or I do)--and writing is that outlet.

I've always wanted to be a writer. In third grade, I wrote a sequel to The Secret of Nimh and tried writing my own version of the Laura Ingalls Wilder stories. Turns out I'm a better editor. But I still need to write to get my voice heard, even if it's just by me.

I've been journaling since age 12 at the recommendation of a counselor. I wasn't adjusting well to my parents' divorce, puberty, and everything else a 12-year-old introvert goes through. My father saw that since I wouldn't actually talk to someone about what was going on in my head (If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!), I needed a constructive outlet before I did something drastic. I still have that journal and the many others that came after.

With my first co…

Who Says?

In reality, I'm the only one who says.

Sometimes I need to make the voices in my head shut up. They are stressing me out and making me focus on the negative instead of the positive. And I really need to focus on the positive right now.
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Chef Mickey Parmesan Potatoes

My daughter declared these the absolute best mashed potatoes she has ever had. So of course I had to get the recipe. I think these will replace garlic mashed potatoes as the Thanksgiving staple.

Chef Mickey's Creamy Parmesan Mashed PotatoesRecipe from Chef Mickey's Official Photo folder

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Yield: 8-12 servings

8 cupspeeled and diced Idaho potatoes1.5 cupsheavy cream (or half & half)1/2 cup butter1 cupgrated Parmesan cheese1 tablespoonKosher salt1/2 teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper Cooking Directions
Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes and place in large mixing bowl (or reuse pot) Heat cream and butter in saucepan over low heat until butter is melted and warm. Add warm cream and butter mixture to potatoes. Add Parmesan cheese. Mash (or beat with a mixer) until all ingr…

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Not everyone in my immediate circle is a fan of sweet potatoes, though I am slowly wearing them down. As a compromise, two years ago I made my first cheesecake -- pumpkin flavored! At the time, I took lots of pictures because I meant to blog it.

Well, I'm finally getting around to that.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Recipe by Adapted from Pillsbury Classic Cookbook #344 pg. 73
Prep time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total time: 8 hours 40 minutes
Yield: 16 servings
Calories per serving: 440
Fat per serving: 28g
2 cupscinnamon graham crackers1/4 butter, melted Filling 4 (8oz) packagescream cheese, softened1.5 cupsgranulated sugar4eggs1 cupcanned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)2 teaspoonspumpkin pie spice3/4 teaspoonground cardamom or allspice Cooking Directions CrustHeat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter (or spray) 9-in springform pan. Warp foil around pan to catch drips. In a small bowl, mix crust ingredients. Press mixture into bottom and up the side to 1-inch…

Sweet Potato Pie

This isn't quite the recipe that I made growing up, but it's pretty darn close. And I get to use less sugar than the original. 
Sweet Potato Pie Ingredients 1lb sweet potatoes (orange flesh not yellow, might be labeled yams) 1/2 cup butter softened 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed 1/2 cup milk 2 eggs 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (or to taste) 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or to taste) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 (9in) unbaked pie crust Directions Peel sweet potatoes, cut into large chunks and boil for 30 minutes or until soft.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Drain sweet potatoes, then break apart. Add butter and mix well. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, spices, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.  Pour filling into pie crust. 
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool before serving. Whip cream is optional. Pin It

Menu Plan Monday: Fall Foods

Well, it's autumn here in SoCal, and that generally means that the weather can't make up it's mind from one day to the next. Rainy and cold, rainy and warm, almost 80 ... I long for the days where I can wear boots and sweaters without wondering if I am going to create a personal sauna by being overdressed.

This past weekend was on the chilly side, so it got me to thinking about fall foods. I usually make a lot of soup and casseroles this time of year. This being Thanksgiving week, I get to cook less, and more. This Thanksgiving will be the smallest I have ever cooked for. Ever. Just two people. It seems ... wrong. Onto the menu!

Monday: Broccoli Cheese Soup
Tuesday: Baked Salmon or Chicken Chili
Wednesday: Alaskan Pollak with Black Bean Compote
Thursday: Thanksgiving! Turkey, Bacon Roasted Potatoes & Aspragus, Cranberry Apricot Relish with Ginger & Orange Zest, biscuits, sweet potato pie -- the turkey and sweet potato pie will be my usual recipes (I'll post those…

Time to Kick My Ass

I came across this on Pinterest, and since I have a yoga mat, a jump rope, and lots of time on my hands, I might as well work on dropping 40lbs (I'm down to 176 as of last week!).

For those of you who lost count, I started getting serious about my weight when I hit 200 lbs. It's been a long and arduous trek getting to my goal weight, with many stops and starts. Oddly enough, I lose the most weight when I am unemployed, I'm still trying to figure that one out.

The Workout Pick a form of cardio you can do for two minutes at an all-out pace. Rich's preferred activity? Jumping rope. It's an incredibly effective cardiovascular workout that can be done almost anywhere, plus it's a killer calorie burner (according to the National Institutes of Health, jumping rope can burn up to 750 calories per hour). It also helps the routine move fluidly—it's faster and easier to drop the rope and hit the mat than wait for the treadmill to come to a complete stop, walk back over…

LEGO® KidsFest Announces 2013 Tour Dates

Southern California just isn't cool enough it seems. But for the rest of the U.S. -- get ready, get set, BUILD!

Giant Family Expo Kicks Off Fifth Year of National Tour Richmond, Virginia:  February 15 - 17Louisville, Kentucky:  April 5 - 7 Houston, Texas:  May 17 - 19Phoenix, Arizona:  July 12 - 14San Jose, California:  August 30 - September 1Portland, Oregon:  October 11 - 13 Hartford, Connecticut:  December 6 - 8  Ready your building skills! The LEGO KidsFest, a nationally-traveling giant LEGO expo, is coming to a city near you!  This interactive LEGO extravaganza brings all of the creative hands-on, minds-on fun of LEGO building and experiences together in an activity- and entertainment-packed family event for children of all ages and builders of all skills and interests. Among the many LEGO attractions, families will find: LEGO Model Gallery: dozens of life-sized models made entirely from LEGO bricksLEGO Master Builders: live demonstrations and activities from the crew who get p…

Happy Halloween!

Groovie Goolies Monster Mash Music Video - YouTube: ""

My daughter refused to be photographed this year, but she was a ninja. Her best friend was Katara. She had fun trick-or-treating and is back in time to get a decent night's sleep. Part of me wishes that California could have rescheduled it like New Jersey. But it's over and done with and she's happy.
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The Force is Strong with Disney

HOLY SHITtake mushrooms!

I am still in shock after reading this. Never in a million years would I have though that George would sell to Disney, despite all of the collaboration.

I wonder what the seventh film will be like? Will it follow George's original vision? And will they finish out the trilogy so that we have all nine movies (after almost 40 years!)
The third trilogy starting with Episode VII was to deal with Luke's life as a Jedi. Episode VIII was to deal with Luke's sister (not Leia) coming from another part of the galaxy and Luke was to become a Jedi Master and pass on his training to her. Episode IX was to feature the appearance of the Emperor and have Luke and his sister confront him on the Imperial Capital Planet of Had Abbadon, possibly bringing about the Return of the Republic and the Jedi Order. Episodes VII, VIII, and IX would have taken place from approximately 40 ABY to 203 ABY, based on early facts from Lucas. A detailed fan timeline, Star Wars Timelin…