Tuesday, June 30, 2009

4th of july trip

i'm flying to Indiana early tomorrow. early, I'm realizing requires a 4am wakeup. yikes. there's nothing like practice for the baby! i wish i looked this small and put together on my travels. but this photo makes me feel relaxed which is how i need to feel. i get to see j tomorrow - hurrah!, take family pictures of dear friends, float on the ohio river, eat biscuits and gravy for breakfast at the campground and see the twins. i'm also requesting that j make me a fresh cherry pie from their trees - yum! what are your plans for the 4th?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

eclairs 101

slit eclairs, before drying
filled with pudding mixture
piped with chocolate. (note the piped ziplock looks better than the spoon dab and drag on the left)

back in college & living in sf, i used to make this recipe often. it was easier than i had imagined, and it quickly became a request of friends of mine. small dinner parties to bbq's in a park where everybody else brought chips & drinks. it was the easy fancy treat. it's been a few years, so i had a practice round for a church bbq, and then made a good batch for nozomi's 30th bday celebration on saturday. this is one of those desserts that people don't eat one of. and it is received as a gourmet treat, which is a lot of fun when you're the chef.

heat oven to 450

1 c water
1/2 c butter

1 c flour

4 eggs

1/4 t salt

small box french vanilla pudding
made, then mixed with 1/4 tub cool whip
ghirardelli semi-sweet chips

Boil water, put in butter. Stir. When melted, add flour and salt all at once. Stir until it becomes a ball, take off heat & cool for 10 min's. Add eggs one at a time, stir after each. Place in pastry bag or if zip lock, seal and cut the corner. Pipe (I go down 2-3 inches and then back up along the side to make it double wide) on lightly greased cookie sheet. (too greased and it'll slide too much when piping, too big of a loop and you have a small donut that leaks the filling)

Bake 450 for 10 min's, turn down to 325 for 20-25 min's until golden brown. Cool, split in half, scoop out the middle. (this part i find optional) Keeping open, place back in off oven for 20 min's to dry. Fill with vanilla pudding mixture. (i make this while the flour/water/butter mixture cools and refrigerate to help it set up, making it easier to use later). Melt 1/2 c. chips and place in ziplock. Cut small hole in corner, and pipe on zigzags of chocolate. Refrigerate/freeze for up to an hour to help set up. Serve as it's approaching room temperature.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

chocolate chip cookies with a twist

i was browsing a friends blog, baby jaynes, and saw this posting for a cookie recipe. i usually pass on other people's recipes for the basic cookie because i have my own, but this one intrigued me for these 2 reasons: 1. the oats are blended in a cuisinart instead of used whole, 2. there is a bar of shredded baking chocolate added.

truthfully, i only shredded half the bar before i got tired and bored, and figured it was enough. i still think it was. also, i added 1.5 c chips instead of 2, and next time i'll cut out a quarter c. more. i love chocolate, but not when it takes over the cookie. my thoughts? very very good. crispy on the edges, but chewy on the inside. nice slightly crunchy texture while mingling with the creaminess of the chocolate chips. a pretty nice crackle on top, and a short baking time - 8 minutes. would i make them again? definitely. it makes for close to 40 with tablespoon sized scoops. follow the link to the recipe.

i packaged them in simple white takeout boxes for a friend who just had a baby, photos of her coming soon!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

magic something or other

i am not good at growing things. so not good that j got me a book on how 'not' to kill common houseplants for christmas. i usually buy them and they look pretty, and then they just die on me and i throw them away. well, whatever it was, can't stop me now! look at what's growing at the benders!
out of nowhere, the leafy orchid sprouted, and flowered this week.

tomatoes (growing from beneath a hanging planter)
meyer lemons
and my favorite fern that my mom grabbed from my grandpas house when he passed away. also convienent too, that my grandma's name was Fern. it's really light and pretty and i was sad when the rabbit thought it tasted good and gobbled it all up over the course of a few short days. it's finally making a comeback.
i'll keep you posted on the progress of the lemons & tomatoes! i guess if something can grow in my tummy, it can grow in my yard. i hope they don't all quit in sept. :)

Friday, June 19, 2009


it seems so long ago that i graduated, and now jan has finally caught up with me. granted he did start his early years being a marine while i was in college, so he got a later start than most, but he finished in 3 years and did great! the last 4 months have been hard having him many states away, but we did it. he is smarter, i am larger, and we will be reunited over the 4th when i fly out to see his family and float in the ohio river. congrats to my husband! now, on to find him a job...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

monday = best deal ever

on my way home yesterday after work i spotted a garage sale. nothing fancy. huge wooded sign nailed to a tree w/scraps leftover from the day. my keen eyes spotted what looked like a svan high chair. no, it couldn't be. but there it was. definitely used, a little beat up, but still in working condition. i hollered to the guy through his steel gate (pretty ghetto) and he came out and verified that it was indeed a high chair, but it wasn't his. after discussing my meager budget, he offered up the chair for $5. $5???? are you kidding me? this retails for over $250! my cute handy husband is going to sand down and refurnish/repaint this in july. it adjusts from infant to adult which is genious. the one i got looks like this toddler set up and doesn't have the infant part w/tray, so we may need to hunt one down. who would have thought being pregnant would be this much fun??

even when you mess up, it still tastes good

i wanted to make a breakfast shake this morning after seeing it on caroline's blog. i was all set in my mind, and then i realized i didn't have any yogurt. i figured i'd improvise, and then accidentally added 1/2 c of oats instead of 1/4 cup. shoot, this being pregnant thing really has turned me into a space case. follow her recipe, but just so you know, even when you do it all wrong, it still tastes good and super healthy.

this was my version:
1 banana
1/2 cup oats
half bottle of odwalla protein shake
1/2 cup milk
5-6 strawberries
1/4 c frozen costco tropical fruit
2 T honey
1-2 T blueberry flaxseed from trader joe's (i just pour)

currently drinking: protein, fiber, calcium, vitamins from fruit, omega-3's. eat that baby!

Friday, June 12, 2009

passive aggressive notes

most of you have busy weekends. mine are slow because i lack a husband and i'm pregnant. if you have time, and feel like laughing, check out this site: passiveaggressivenotes.com

if you've ever had weird neighbors or bad roommates, it's awesome. care, this is for you...

the back story

i love, love this idea. i'm always thinking of new ways to display images in our house without screaming, hey, look, it's us on the wall, big!! i have some silhouettes, but feel like something new w/more pattern would stand out and act as abstract art as well as a portrait of sorts. along comes ReadyMade mag, with the genious idea of the backs of heads as your art. i'll shoot ours this summer, and add our new addition once he can hold his head up. places like paper-source always have pretty paper to tape on your wall as a backdrop. i am going to do some profile shots of extended family this summer too as a project - i'll keep you posted. i think they would look great on smaller canvases grouped together.

Monday, June 8, 2009

trip home

things i did when i went home:

1. hiked tennessee valley (saw baby rabbits, baby skunk, 2 deer, quail, turkeys)
2. ate banana carmel chocolate chip ice cream and guava ice cream from
lappert's with friends
3. johnny rockets with family in the city
4. placed my dad's hand on my belly to feel mango and then laughed when he couldn't fall asleep until 2am because he was weirded out
5. picked up super cute sushi board book from consignment store for only $1.50
6. picked up some of these cute ceramic plates for mom so the grandkids don't destroy the adult dinnerware. ($2.50/ea w/my discount)
7. went on long walks with dad every day around tiburon
8. talked to the tiburon fire chief. dad's excited about j possibly being a fireman and freelancing video/editing on the side. they work two 24 hr shifts/wk and get paid well with benefits and a pension. my dad is big on pensions. we'll see. :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

overdue pics

one of my friends asked why i hadn't posted recent pregnancy photos. the truth is, it's just me alone at home. i forget and feel weird taking photos of myself. so i had my brother take one when he was in town (24 wks preg). also included are the orange cinnamon rolls and my little brother and sis-in-law with face masks from lush. ever since my brother was little, he loved putting on masks that freeze your face and don't allow you to laugh. we did one for old time's sake.

Monday, June 1, 2009


this rad clock is coming up at target at the end of the month from Dror Benshetrit for only $24.99. i wonder if i can get away with adding it to my baby registry.

seen on apartment therapy

secret menu

most of you know that a lot of places have secret menus. i thought i knew most of the tricks, but in the past week, i've learned 2 new things and now i must share. in & out has 3 flavors of shakes. but you can actually combine them into a neopolitan shake. is it good? oh. yes.

starbucks has a drink off the menu for non-coffee drinkers. the tuxedo. a mix of dark and white hot chocolate. good? again. yes. so good. (now stop reading and go get yourself one)