A Repeat Performance

IMG_5545The citrus muffin experiment wages on. It’s fueled by the fact that now that summer has ended Coffee Bean is carrying pumpkin choc. chip muffins (not that I’m complaining) instead of lovely citrus deliciousness.

So, I thought I’d try again. This time, more zest, less orange juice, a splash of vanilla (daring, I know) and the repeat glaze from before.

These muffins were better, but only marginally. The first round was juicy and didn’t rise, not the case with this group. But, they were a little too firm…

Eric thinks it’s a lost cause. That I won’t be able to recreate mass market muffins without preservatives. And maybe he’s right. In the meantime though, I’m going to keep trying. As you can tell from the picture, these babies don’t last too long in our house.

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An Anniversary

It’s been two weeks since our first anniversary, but I have to post about it because I took some pretty cute photos and it was a great night.

After bantering around ideas about heading to Vegas and renewing our vows with Elvis or hopping on a booze cruise and heading to Mexico, we decided to be logical and just head out to a nice dinner. We choose The Lobster because we had registered there and didn’t get it as a gift, so we decided to gift ourselves.
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The food was really yummy (although I thought I might spoil the mood by taking pics during dinner). We had wine, ceviche (YUMMY), ahi tuna and Eric had crab stuffed steak medallions. We had the best table in the restaurant, right next to the glass so we could overlook the pier.

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After dinner we walked down to the beach for a bit and out onto the pier. The night Eric proposed we drove to the SM Pier and had champagne and rode the Ferris Wheel, so it’s a special spot for us. It was nice to head back there before heading home for some of our wedding cake and champagne.

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It was a great night. I absolutely can’t believe it’s been a year already.

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A Trip to the Fair

 

LA County Fair

LA County Fair

This weekend the LA County Fair opened with a promotion for $1 admission from 10-1. Normally it’s $17/person. Eric and I, along with most of the Inland Empire and LA County, headed out since we prefered to spend our money on food and not admission. After a seriously rocky start where we sat on the transition ramp from the 57 to the 10 for an hour and a half (and I had a meltdown about the traffic), we made it in at the last second. Eric actually bought tickets at the $1 rate for the people behind him in line since they wouldn’t have made it.

Once inside however, we had a great time. We ate…and ate…and ate.  

Tri-Tip

Fried Veggies

Fried Veggies

Cheesecake on a Stick

Cheesecake on a Stick

 

Ice Cream Sundae

Ice Cream Sundae

 

We visited the animals…

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saw the knitting and spinning exhibits and my personal favorite, table scapping.  

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We went to the pig and chicken races.  

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Enjoyed the wine and beer tasting…  

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We even did some shopping watched the Peking Acrobats (who were so amazing I refused to take pictures, you have to just see them for yourself).    

IMG_5532After a full day–about eight hours–we were officially exhausted. A great trip but time to head home.

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A Fab Lunch

Today I had to meet with a client in Brea. After meandering through the brushfires along the 210 and a succssful meeting I was ready for lunch. I’ve been working with this client for 5 years and thought I had been to every restaurant in a 10 mile radius. But, we met with a new employee at the company today who had a suggestion, a sushi restaurant called Fish in a Bottle.

Sushi and I have an odd relationship. I love it, but I’m much better served to eat it in the privacy of someone’s home. I start out strong but about half way through I’m over the chopsticks and really just want to eat with my hands. We had sushi at Trader Vics one night and I dropped more than one piece on my lap (and maybe flung some over my shoulder).

Today’s find was exceptional. The specialty rolls were pretty funky and I had a hard time choosing. Do I go with Blue Mountain or Cowboy?

(As described by the OC Register)

The restaurant’s Blue Mountain roll ($9.95) is made with crab, avocado and mozzarella, all baked and topped with blueberry jam. Though one of the more peculiar rolls on the menu, it was one of the best we tried. The flavors of the sweet crab and mild mozzarella seemed enhanced by the addition of the blueberry jam. The nori also did not seem out of place, mostly because there were other sweet elements in the dish.

The Cowboy roll ($9.95) is another menu anomaly, this one containing Angus rib-eye steak, red onions, field greens, bits of Gorgonzola and drizzled with a balsamic reduction sauce.

I opted for the Blue Mountain, since I feel like not eating fish while in a sushi restaurant is a bit of a crime. It was so good. I know it sounds weird. Cheese and jelly with sushi? Trust me, it was perfect. So perfect I don’t want to eat anything else because my taste buds are still remembering how good it was.

You’ll be happy to hear that I did not drop any on my lap. Thank God for that because I was wearing new white pants and blueberry jam would not have looked so good. It wasn’t easy either because the roll was enormous. Four pieces of sushi and I was stuffed.

Next time you’re in Brea (or Cyprus), Fish in a Bottle is a must. Lucky me we’ll be heading back that way soon.

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A Cool Site

One of the good things to come out of this downturn for me was realizing how little I really need. But I think a lot of people are going through this so that’s not super unique.

But for us, the slide was interestingly timed with our wedding. The market literally tanked while we were on our honeymoon (and who wants to watch CNN when they can be lounging in the Caribbean). When we returned to reality, this made combining our finances and starting to plan long term as a couple really interesting–especially given that we decided the first thing we wanted to do was produce Eric’s album. This meant a whole second round of expenses after the wedding at a time when things were really slowing up at both of our jobs.

I’m really proud of us. I don’t want to sound cocky, but we’ve worked hard this year, put ourselves in check and really been plowing ahead toward our goals.

Part of our plan (and one of my new year’s resolutions) was to track all my spending. So I signed up for Mint.com. I’ve been using it for a few months now and I LOVE it. I especially love all the little charts and graphs compairing my spending in certain areas to others in my demographic and my spending on items like a phone plan, car insurance, etc. It’s really intersting. I actually am paying too much for my car insurance.

Anyhow, this morning I was poking around on Mint while I drank my coffee and found this chart, which tracks my spending since April.

SpendingLook at me go!!! Also, what the hell was I doing in April?! I can’t wait to see where we stand at the end of the year because there are a couple things we can still do to cut back but just have to wait on due to timing. Cell phone contract, that means you.

Long story short, I know that QuickBooks has all of these features but I really like that Mint enters everything for me and I just have to log in and check my receipts to stay on top of the finances. I also like that I can set a budget for each month and it sends me weekly updates that shows my progress in every category.

Who knew I was such a financial dork, not me for sure!

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A Wrap That Will Not End

IMG_5404Believe it or not, there has been knitting going on around here. Quite a bit actually. This wrap is from Inspired Cable Knits by Fiona Ellis. When it’s finished, it will actually be two long pieces sewn together. (I can’t find any good photos of it online.)

IMG_5402I feel like this project is taking me ages.

First, it’s slow going, not because of the cables in the middle, but the tiny triangles on the side, which are making me so crazy, I’m considering ripping out the whole thing and starting over without them.

Second, is not a project I get to work on often. It’s a bit too intricate for Stitch and Bitch, and when I try to work on it at home Foxy inevitably sits on the pattern or forces her way onto my lap making any attempts at knitting either incredibly slow or completely futile.

Third (and typically), I’m not actually sure if I have enough yarn. This is the problem with using stash without labels. When will I learn…

I know that when I finish it, I’ll love it. Until then, I’ll just keep plugging away, a row or two at a time. I’d like to think that I’ll finish it before my Twilight stitch markers are completely out of date. And, just in case anyone was unclear on my Twilight stance–Team Jacob.

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A Book Review: Garlic and Sapphires

Sunday morning I woke up not feeling well. After my morning coffee and lounging about, I just couldn’t shake it. I decided a day on the couch with a book was in order. Luckily I had been at the library earlier in the week and picked up a new book: Garlic and Sapphires.

book-garlicRuth Reichl was the food editor for the Los Angeles Times and who was recruited to be the Restaurant Critic for the New York Times. This book shares her tales about life in NYC, eating in full costumes to avoid being pegged and going out to eat night after night.

I really enjoyed her writing style and will definitely check out her other books. This book came out in ’05 and I hadn’t heard of it until browsing Amazon one afternoon. It’s a quick read. Great for foodies. It’s especially good for busy moms or people who only have 10-20 minutes at a time to read. The chapters are great stand  alone stories…or, if you’re a bookhound like me, you can read the book cover to cover in an afternoon.

By the time I finished, my stomach was feeling better and I was inspired. Off to the kitchen I went for a Sunday dinner of pasta with homemade sauce.

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