Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking Back - A Monthly Recap

As the year comes to an end, my friend sent me an email with a monthly recap of her year.  It was pretty funny to hear what she thought of 2010.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

DIY – Wine Bottle Sweater, Wine Cork Trivet & Gift Tags

This is a little late in terms of giving people quick and easy gift ideas, but I’m going to share this year anyway.  And you should start drinking up now to save wine corks for the trivet.  Read on for zero dollar, non time consuming DIY projects: a wine bottle sweater, wine cork trivet, and gift tags. 

Warning: this is a long post, including a trip to Napa.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Food + Foto Week 6: Under 10 minutes and Under $10

This last post for the Food + Foto series is a bit late, oh well. After running around to gather last minute necessities on Christmas Eve Eve, I was hungry and in the mood for a glass of wine by our Little Tree.  Dinner under 10 minutes and under $10 – a box of couscous and a rotisserie chicken from Jewel.

So that’s it for the Food + Foto series.  My submissions weren’t very cohesive or consistent, but I put lots of thought into it, learned a lot, came out with good shots (I think) and loved seeing what beautiful things other people can come up with. I hope there’s another class with a new theme!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Meatballs Recipe

Last night I had a holiday dinner with my grade school friends. Love a night of good friends, food, laughs and good times J We had Graziano’s house salad, foccacia, stinky Italian cheese on little toasts, mostacolli, meatballs, Red Velvet cake, and Blackberry Cheesecake.  We were stuffed.  I made the meatballs, read on for the recipe.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wreath Update

I only have time for a quick post today.  Remember those wreaths I was telling you about?   On the crummy rainy day?  Well here they are on a white Christmas J *aaaaah* I love a white Christmas. And this house. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Winter Wonderland

Not to be confused with Mia’s Winter One-derland coming in February J If you’re a loyal reader (or friend), you know by now that I love this time of year. And I love when I can transform my home into a cozy Winter Wonderland with all the little details that the season has to offer.  And I love that Doug loves it too. Little Tree is his project now J  I can’t wait for Mia to love this time of year too.  She already waves and says hiiiiiiiiiiiii when Halmani turns on Little Tree’s lights for her.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DIY - Gift Bows

I’ve mentioned how much I love this time of year.  I also love wrapping presents. J  And I love admiring all the pretty gifts under our little tree.  I get SO sad when Christmas Eve and Day comes when there’s no more gifts under the tree and it looks so empty L

Monday, December 20, 2010

DIY Three Panel Wall Art

The timing of this post is a little off considering it's the holidays.  But I wanted to cross this art project off my to-do list.  I struggle to find ways to decorate all the walls in my home, even after 2+ years. I am totally going to freak out when I actually get a house when we decide to move out of the condo. When I’m finally satisfied with the decorating, I bet it’ll be time to move out! Anyway, we have a pretty large bathroom, with a big blank wall.  A guy friend of ours wanted some design inspiration for his bathroom so he walked into ours (I was honored!) and said “Oh, that’s boring.” Wah wah. I knew I had to get moving and fix that.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Indian in Uptown - Marigold

To catch up with my world traveler, we decided to try another Indian place.  I bought the $22 Groupon for a prix fixe dinner at Marigold in Uptown, which turned out to be a great deal! Similar to the first Indian restaurant we tried, we were delightfully stuffed - except this time we didn’t smell like curry! J Here's my review...

Marigold is very cozy with warm tones on the walls, jewel lanterns hanging from high ceilings, and banquette seating along the length of the space.  It was obvious that we liked the décor.  As we were looking around, taking it all in, our waiter came over thinking we needed something.  When really, we were just admiring the ambience! J Marigold already succeeded in two important aspects of my dining experience (ambience/décor and attentive wait staff). The only thing left was the food…

I love going out to eat with people who have the same tastes.  It was a cinch to pick out what we wanted for each course. We started with a buttery and flaky samosa filled with spiced potatoes and peas.  The inside was a little too mushy for my liking, but the outside was nice and crispy and the filling definitely had a good kick to it.  Similar to Cumin, we were served a basket of papadum chips and chutneys. SO addicting, like chips and salsa. Next we had a plate of the Murg Makhni (boneless spiced chicken tikkas simmered in a rich fenugreek spiced tomato cream sauce) and lamb vindaloo (tender and spicy), all served with fresh tandoori naan bread and basmati rice.  These were both tasty.  To accompany our meal we had some Maharajas (Indian Pilsner).  That name reminds me of Moulin Rouge ;) We finished off the night with sweet rice pudding kheer.  Eh, I didn’t like this at all.  It was cold, had a taste that I couldn’t place (which I still don't know what it was), and had a weird texture. 

All in all, for fifty bucks (Groupon + drinks + tax + tip) instead of ninety, we were stuffed and satisfied J  I bet we'll be back, try it out!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

DIY - Christmas Wreaths

The wreath making doesn’t stop there! I made three more for the family. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Said a Brrrr Chika Brrrrr!

While Mia was at home doing this…

Mom and Dad were out doing this… 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Food + Foto Week 5: Chocolate Chip Pancakes & Fresh Whip

Here’s my fifth Food + Foto submission…Semi-Homemade Chocolate Chip Pancakes with fresh whip cream J



Thursday, December 9, 2010

No More New Baby Smell - 10 months

Mia just turned 10 months old!  We are realizing that she is starting to become a real person and isn't a baby anymore. L And the fact that her birthday party is less than 10 weeks away freaks me out. So much crafting and planning to do!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Picture Frame Wall - Holiday Redo

The set of black picture frames on my wall has been bothering me. It was supposed to be a wall filled with pictures of all the wonderful places we traveled, since we did a lot trips when we first started working. But now, who knows when our next trip will be!  And lately the plain black frames and the pictures have been boring me.  With the holidays, I knew the perfect way to spruce it up!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

DIY - Flower Wreath

Whenever I look through catalogs, I rip out pages of things that I like and put the idea in a box for a rainy day.  A few months ago, this Crate & Barrel wreath caught my eye.  (You should be able to figure out my favorite color by now.)  As with most things, I thought to myself, that’s expensive and I can SO make that!  $100 for a wreath!? That’s just absurd for my frugal and crafty wallet.  I decided to make this recently as a cute little housewarming gift.  

Materials:
Foam wreath - $4 w/coupon
Silk flowers - $3/each on sale (I used 2 red hydrangea bunches and white flowers to accent)
Hot glue gun and a package of glue sticks – already had on hand
Wire (for hanging, stolen from my dad’s stash of hardware/tools)
Wire cutter (also stolen from my craftsman father)
 
Process:
  1. Lay out newspapers.  My flowers had glitter.  And glitter drives Doug insane.
  2. Make a place to hang the wreath. I used some wire to bend/wrap around the wreath to make a hook. 
  3. Snip the flowers off the long stem, leaving a little nub to stick into the wreath.
  4. Glue the late night away!  For each flower, I took my glue gun (I hate glue guns by the way, as you can see by my scar/burn from this project)  and would let the heat make a hole in the foam wreath. 
That way I had a hole to stick the nub of the flower in and the flower could lay better.  SamsterMommy has a good illustration.  I let some flowers overlap so you don’t see the foam wreath.  You could leave the wreath one color, like this one from Target, but I wanted to break it up a bit. 

So I took little white flowers and stuck them wherever there was a gap or I could see the foam wreath.  Just keep filling/gluing until you feel it looks right. 

For less than $15, I made a much prettier (and cheaper) wreath than those in the stores J  Granted it’s not as large, but still, even if I did make it way bigger, it’d be cheaper and better, right!? I also added the leaves from my hydrangea stems so it wouldn't be a dinky little circle. Kinda reminds me of angel wings.
Yep that's my bathroom. It was late night crafting again and I didn't think to remove my Christmas wreath from its hanger, put the hanger on a prettier door and then take pictures of this new wreath. I also plan on making little Christmas trees with the leftover flowers.  Come back next week for those and more wreaths!
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Ahhh, thanksgiving leftovers…how we love them until we get sick of that fourth plate.  Here’s what I served up so we didn’t have to eat plates of turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, and sweet potatoes for lunch and dinner everyday for the next week.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

Now that the leftovers are almost gone (just one plate left), here’s my Thanksgiving recap…

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Umma's Birthday!

Sorry I’ve been gone for a few days, but you know how the holidays get busy like that! Don’t you worry though, I’m back with plenty of food, crafts and family pictures to share J

We usually keep it low key for family birthdays, so for Umma's birthday last week we ordered in some Pork Shoppe and picked up a pumpkin cake from Rolf’s. But first, Lil Mama Stuart had to bake something.  Because something home made is always a go-to gift for me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Food + Foto Week 3: Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe

I made these sausage stuffed mushrooms for our first annual holiday party with Doug’s friends last year and it was a hit!  I whipped them up for another holiday potluck this year.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

So Much to Learn!

Now that I am in the Food + Foto class, I am inspired by other people’s creative shots and am realizing that there is so much to learn! 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Food + Foto Week 2: Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

I’m not too happy with this week’s photo - I let my hunger and impatience get the best of me.  But here it is.



Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipe - Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Oh my goodness, Thanksgiving is coming up quick!  I still need to plan this year’s menu!!  Here’s the last Thanksgiving recipe before the big feast.  While I was making my Thanksgiving dessert last year, Doug peeked over my shoulder and said "What is that? It doesn’t look good."  As with most husbands, he’s never right.  Sure enough, there were resounding mMmMmMMmmM’s after digging into these Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars (drizzled with warm caramel and topped with freshly whipped cream).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Second Family Photo Shoot

When my sister in law asked me to take their Christmas pictures this year, I delightfully accepted!  I just got my new lens a few days earlier and was excited to practice on something outside of my own home. We wanted to go to the Morton Arboretum, but the rain and cold front didn’t let that happen.

Monday, November 15, 2010

So Many Variables...

If you think buying a DSLR camera automatically means better pictures, you might be a little right, but there's so much more to it than you think.  Here are a few things that (I try) to have go through my mind in that split second of trying to perfectly capture a moment…

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipe – Honey Cornbread Muffins

In addition to toasty French bread, I like to have cornbread in my bread basket for Thanksgiving.  I think I associate turkey with cornbread thanks to Boston Market.  The first cornbread recipe I tried the day before Thanksgiving turned out to be un-servable and tasted like cardboard!  I tossed the whole batch out. I had to quickly look for another recipe where I had all the ingredients on hand.  I found this one and it’s a keeper!  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Food + Foto Week 1: Hoisin-Broiled Ribs Recipe

Since I'm in the Souvenir Foto School featuring food, I'll be posting recipes each week.  Some will be new to me and some will be regulars. Hopefully the pictures will improve each time! 

I had country-style ribs on hand but didn’t know what to do with them.  I didn’t want to make BBQ ribs because this wasn’t a full slab (it was cut into individual pieces already) and I prefer to do BBQ ribs over the grill.  Which it’s too cold for that now.  I was looking for something Asian and found this recipe on epicurious.com. It's not too different from the Hoisin Honey Chicken Wings recipe, but I did say I liked having hoisin on hand in my pantry.  And I'm a meat and potatoes kinda girl, so anything would probably work.  After the first bite, Doug said with his mouth full “I love you a lot.”  So I may come back to this recipe if I have the meat on hand. 



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Food + Foto::Souvenir Foto School

Each week for the next six weeks, I’ll be posting a picture of food. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Toy!

Now that I’m more familiar with my camera and its limitations, I realized that I’m ready for a new lens.  Santa brought my gift early and I got a new 50mm f/1.4G SIC SW Prime Nikkor Lens!






 

Monday, November 8, 2010

DIY - Baby Leg Warmers

Mia had her nine month pictures taken this weekend.  My how time is flying! She wore an adorable little sweater dress from Frances and to complete the look, I made a flower headband and legwarmers.  Easy peasy for a completed look! J If only I had someone to accessorize me. L


Friday, November 5, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipe – Raspberry Vinaigrette

I wanted a recipe for raspberry vinaigrette, found this one and stuck with it.  I never kept track of where I got recipes from, so again, I can’t remember where this came from.  But if you search for Ella’s Raspberry Vinaigrette, it’ll come up on various sites and no one cites where it came from.  Anywhoo, raspberry season may not be in the fall, but I still think it’s a wonderful salad and I've had it at my Thanksgiving table.  And it seriously takes 5 minutes to make.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three Weeks Until Turkey Day!

A friend of ours who lives close by and never leaves our place without a meal, suggested that I have more recipe posts.  How appropriate with Thanksgiving coming up in a few weeks! omm omm ommmmm...


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hoisin Honey Chicken Wings Recipe

One added bonus of having Umma over is random deliveries of kimchi J  Here's a recipe for chicken wings that I like to make that goes well with (or without) the Korean side dish.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween!

What will you get with a onesie, sweatpants, headband hat, 2 pairs of socks, pipe cleaners, and some felt?



Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Carving Party!

Halloween would be incomplete without some jack-o-lanterns.  Agatha started the pumpkin carving party tradition a few years ago and we decided to host this time.  Apparently sweatpants are unaccepptable attire being the hostess, whoops!

The night before, I wanted to make some cute Halloween treats for our pumpkin carving party.  I guess there are certain expectations for Mama Stuart, since it was shocking that I wouldn’t make something from scratch or use the pumpkin seeds for something else (I just don’t like how pumpkin seeds taste!).  Since it was a weeknight, I took the easy way out and baked cupcakes out of a box and bought frosting out of a can.  I wanted to create something like these, but I discovered that cake/cupcake decorating is not my forte. I should take the Wilton cake decorating class.  Maybe it was the “creamy” type frosting I bought or the heat blowing over the cupcakes, but all I got was a drippy sloppy mess!  It was so sad to see all these unappetizing looking cupcakes. L  But I have good friends because they still ate them J  Agatha wouldn’t even let the frosting on her arm go to waste!

But back to the pumpkin carving party…Mia had fun with the other two baby girls - it was so cute to see them interact.  It also felt like a photography studio swapping babies in and out with our pumpkin backdrop.  

Here’s pictures of mine and Doug’s pumpkins from past Halloweens.  We were pretty proud of our first one  where Dougeretta doubled as a wine carrier!  
 
 
Three pumpkins are missing from the final picture for this year, but I think they all came out pretty good!
Check back tomorrow for Mia’s first Halloween costume!

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Pleasure To Do My Civic Duty (+ DMK Burger Bar)

I was summoned to be a standby juror at Daley Plaza this week.  Wah wah – no one likes being called for jury duty, but I'm glad it was downtown.

Since I was fortunate enough to never have my panel number called, I was able to finish sewing Mia’s Halloween costume, do two crossword puzzles, have a 1.5 hour lunch in Millennium Park, and take a nap.  At 3pm I was dismissed, given my $17.20 check, and then hit up State Street for shopping.  Not a bad day at all! I was pretty bummed that I didn’t have my camera when I had all this time to roam the city on a gorgeous day.  But I still enjoyed people watching at the Bean, taking in the skyline and having lunch in the warm sun. J

Later that night I caught up with a friend for dinner.  We were going to try La Gondola becauseI had a Groupon.  It was a Wednesday night, so I didn’t think I had to call ahead of time.  Well when we walked in to see this little place had like seven tables, I was very wrong about not calling.  We could get a table in an hour at 8:15.  No thanks. 

I thought to check out DMK Burger Bar since it was just a few minutes down Wellington. Burger bars have been popping up all over the city recently.  Here's my review... The hostess was going to seat us at this long high boy where there were like five parties of two seated.  Awkward. I’d prefer not to sit at a table like that when they’re not part of my group!  Thankfully, we were able to get a separate table just for the two of us.  There was no wait at this point, but when we left around 8:45, people were standing around waiting to be seated.

I ordered the #1 (aged cheddar, smoked bacon, charred balsamic red onions, BBQ sauce) and my friend got the #5 (prosciutto, fontina, pesto, red pepper).  We also went with sweet potato fries with lemon tobasco aioli and parmesan fries with truffle cream to share.  I think they also pride themselves on craft beers.  I do love burgers & beer, but Lil Mama couldn't bear letting 5oz of milk go down the drain. So I didn’t try any. L We didn’t have to wait too long for the food so that was a plus.  But I had to ask the waitress to fill up my glass of water on three occasions – one of my pet peeves when out to eat, negative. The décor was also depressing. The main wall looked unfinished - like cement colored with paint chipping.  I think that’s the look they were going for, but it’s not working. Lastly, it was WAY too loud in there.  We could barely hear each other.

Ok back to the burgers…The burgers were thin, which explains why they don’t ask how you want it cooked like most good burger places. But they were tasty.  I was super full afterwards, mostly because of the fries and their sauces - which felt heavy towards the end.  I wanted to ask for ketchup, but it seemed like that would be taboo. I wouldn’t recommend the parmesan fries since they were nothing special (I was very disappointed), but the sweet potato ones were good. 

Annnnnnd that was a really long post about a burger joint – sorry! I don't get out much, so when I do, I take it all in!  To wrap up, my friend said “That’s the best burger I’ve ever had!” I wouldn’t go that far. Or even near that.  But I may be back if I’m in the area.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

First Family Photo Shoot

As Halloween approaches, the beautiful fall colors are quickly disappearing and temperatures are dropping.  A few more weeks and it’ll be bare trees and warm coats! Before we know it Thanksgiving will pass and Christmas will be upon us.  But before all that happens, I took advantage of the decent weekend to take pictures outside.  I was so excited when my dear friend asked me to take Christmas pictures for her family!  Finally!  Some free practice (other than Doug, Mia, Ryu, Kira and my food)!  I’ve also offered up free party/wedding planning services, but no one has taken me up on that.  So until then, I’ll practice my photog skills.

This was my first time (formally) taking pictures of other people.  I was a little nervous at first, but knowing each other for 24 years eased the anxiety.  I also felt better since I included the disclaimer that if they don’t turn out, then at least you still have some time to get them professionally done J  Being a U of I alum, it was tough to look at them, but you can't discriminate against clients, right? Here are two good ones, but I don’t want to spoil their Christmas card!


My sister in law also asked me to do their Christmas pictures this year.  Yay, people think I have talent! I'm honored. Stay tuned for those pictures to come next month!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Our Little Pumpkin at the Patch

We love family time and want to do as many fun things with Mia as we can.  Hopefully some of them will evolve into traditions.  This weekend we took our little pumpkin to Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm  in Barrington. 

I heard it can get packed and crazy on the weekends, but there was some light rain in the morning that I think deterred people later in the afternoon.  It wasn’t crowded at all and thankfully it wasn’t wet.  Unlike Bengston’s in Homer Glen which costs over $10 (adults and kids) admission, Goebbert’s was free to roam the grounds.  There may be admission for the activities (pony rides, animals like giraffes and camels, etc), but it’d still be cheaper than Bengston’s.  We didn’t need any of those activities anyways since Mia is still little and probably would end up watching people rather than animals.  We’ll do those things next year when she can run around.  

Bengston's did have awesome pig races, but Goebbert's has them on the weekends too.  Also, the layout at Goebbert's is way better than Bengston’s.  There are so many cute little setups that make for great photo opps. So that’s basically what the trip was…an opportunity for mommy to practice more picture taking J  “Put her here. Ok now here. Get out of the picture! Mia look here!” Mia was a little scared at first when we kept putting her down by herself to take pictures.
 
Look at all those teeth coming in!
I think she’s at the age where separation anxiety develops.  But then later she enjoyed standing and playing with the pumpkins all by herself.  
mMmmMM pumpkin...
Which one to pick...

Squealing with excitement!

Telling us how much fun she had!

Quiet time...
Getting tired!
So all in all, it was a fun free day at the pumpkin patch. J  We’ll definitely be returning to Goebbert’s instead of Bengston’s. Another bonus was that we stopped at IKEA afterwards. J Check back in next week for our pumpkin carving party!

I could end the pumpkin patch post there, but I <3 food.  So keep reading if you care to hear what we had for dinner…Pork Shoppe.  Thanks to that little picture, we know where ham comes from. Anyway, Doug decided we go with the ½ and ½ with a side of fries and corn on the cob.  It was accompanied with the Tart & Tangy Sauce and the Wicked Spicy Sauce free of charge. As he got in the car, I could smell the smoky deliciousness already.  When I opened the package at home, my hungry eyes complained that this didn’t look like enough food. *rawr*  But after I devoured my half slab of smoky meat, I was full. J Note, the corn on the cob is dinky, but you get a good portion of fries.  Which Doug told me were so good like five times. The Spicy Sauce has a good kick to it and may leave your mouth burning if you consume too much of it. We also ran into our neighbors who say the brisket tacos are good.  We’ll definitely be back to try those.  And since Doug doesn't do well ordering on his own, he liked the simple menu.    

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

DIY - Fleece/Felt Flower Headband

Since Mia was mistaken for a boy the last time she was sporting her Bears gear, it’s time I give the girl some accessories. And although the Jim McMahon look is fitting for the season, I thought the plain headband could be dolled up a little.  I used to think baby headbands were silly, until I got a baby girl of my own!


Monday, October 25, 2010

No Spitting Young Lady!

So I don’t intend for this blog to document all the little things Mia does.  That’s what the journal I bought before she was born was for.  Which remains blank to this day. Kind of like the scrapbook(s) I bought.  But anyway, my memory is not the greatest.  If it’s not written down, or I didn’t take a picture, chances are that moment may easily be forgotten.  So here’s our parenting story for the weekend.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Send Your Baby an Email!

This weekend all the babies (and parents) in our building finally met for a play date.  It was so much fun! I’m glad I could meet our neighbors, get to know everyone a little better and hear how their new parenting lives are going.  Also, winter will be here before we know it and we’ll all be cooped up in the same building.  So might as well get out and enjoy the fall weather together before it’s freezing outside!  

Monday, October 18, 2010

What’s a motto? Nothin’, what’s a motto with you!?

Hakuna Matata! Six months after I bought the tickets, it was finally time to see Lion King! When I got the Broadway in Chicago email back in April about pre-sale tickets for Lion King, I was so excited!  I heard great things and was waiting for it to come back to Chicago.  Doug and I have seen a show every year for the past few years: Wicked, Jersey Boys and Chicago.  I hope I can keep this tradition going until we’re super old J

We started our date night out with dinner at Hub 51.  Here's my review...With reservations at 6pm, there weren’t too many people yet.  But by the time we were done at 7:45, I heard the hostess say it was over an hour wait.  We got seated towards the back and I took the banquette seat with a nice view of the bustling restaurant. Doug was upset he had to look at me all night instead of scoping out the scene for any celebrities.  Apparently Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler were spotted here a few weeks ago. 

I already liked the vibe and music but the waitress won me over when we were trying to figure out which bottle of wine to get.  Since I couldn’t decide, she offered to bring us four different ones to taste.  I’ve never been offered that at a restaurant before so I was thoroughly pleased.  I chose the Muscat to accompany our shrimp and king crab sushi roll, braised short rib tacos and halibut with coconut rice.  They hand press their own corn tortillas which I clearly enjoyed as I “stuffed my face” says my husband.  After topping it all off with a brownie and ice cream it was time for Simba!

Overall, I liked the show, but not as much as others.  I just wasn’t entirely into it at some points.  Maybe I couldn’t completely lose myself in it because it’s a Disney story where I’m following the life of a lion, but still.  However, the costumes and set were amazingly creative.  I loved the use of lighting to create dramatic silhouettes, how they created the animals and Pumba.  It’d probably be a great show if I were a kid.  But note to parents, judging from the two sleeping kids next to me, I would spend your money on matinee tickets. 

As always, I enjoyed my date night J What should we see next year?  Les Mis is coming in February!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Perfect Ending - Gelato and a Sunset in Laguna



Since we checked LA off the list on Saturday, we spent Sunday along the coast.
 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Getty Center

Our next stop after lunch (and Babies R Us) was the Getty Center. I didn’t really know what this place was until we got off the tram and walked up the steps.  Then it clicked! I've seen this on Project Runway!  Thanks Bravo/Lifetime for broadening my horizons.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Babies R Us to the Rescue!

This is probably TMI for 99% of you, but it may be helpful to other moms out there.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tailgate Chili Recipe

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!
Before I left for California, I knew I had to leave Doug with a few meals so he doesn’t starve while caring for our baby.  He requested chili. To eat the entire weekend.


While tailgating at UofI for the Ohio State game a few years ago, Andrea warmed up individually packaged tins of chili on the grill.  It was perfect for a cold day of tailgating. 
Andrea gave me her mom’s recipe and I adapted it a little to make it my own.  Thanks Mrs. Z! I also made a batch for Doug’s Bears/Packers tailgate last year.  His friend said it was better than his dad’s, who is from Texas!  Now that’s a compliment. J

The necessities which serves 8:
3 lbs of ground beef
2 packages of Spicy Chili Mix
1 large can Tomato Sauce
2 cans Tomato Soup
2 cans Diced Tomatoes
1 can Spicy Chili Beans, drained
1 large onion, diced
Spices to taste:
Chili powder
Cumin
Paprika
Cayenne
Black pepper
Hot sauce
Serve with:
Club crackers
Cheddar Cheese

Brown the meat. Then drain all the fat.

Toss in the chili mix, all the canned goods and the diced onions.

Add the spices to your liking.  I’m sure chili powder and the chili mix already have all the remaining spices, but I throw some extra in just to feel like I’m contributing to the recipe.  I also like my chili with a good kick, so I definitely add extra pinches of cayenne and dashes of hot sauce.

Give it a good stir and transfer to crock pot.  Set it. And forget it! Is that infomercial still on anymore?  I wouldn’t know, I sleep at 9:30pm.  If you don't have a crock pot, letting it simmer on the stove works too.   I set my crockpot on low for a few hours and give it a good stir every half hour or so. 

I love cheese, so I add some on top and let it melt.  I absolutely must have buttery club crackers to eat alongside it or it's just not the same!

If you'll be taking this along for a tailgate, you can buy some foil/tin mini loaf pans (they come with lids too) which are perfect for individual serving sizes.  Just put them on the grill over indirect heat to warm them up on a cold football afternoon. Be careful when handling the hot tin off the grill though!

If you have way more chili than you can eat in a week, the recipe freezes well too.  Just defrost in the fridge and pop it in a pot when you want it later.

Warning: As tempting as it may be, if you eat the entire batch of chili in one weekend (by yourself), like Doug did, you may feel ill.