Friday, November 30, 2007
The good news is that my kitchen smells like lemongrass.
The bad news is that my kitchen smells like lemongrass. And only lemongrass. And now all I can smell is...lemongrass.
The soup tasted decent. Except that the combination of the lemongrass and lime was WAY too overpowering for that delicate a soup. So needless to say the recipe needs a bit of tweaking before it's deemed worthy to share with the internets. When I go back to the market at the Buddhist Temple, I'll be sure to ask some of the cooks there for some advice.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
1. My finals begin next week. Good Lord, it's time for the freak-out to begin.
2. NaBloPoMo is coming to a close. Woo Hoo!
I kind of feel like Morgan Spurlock from the movie "Supersize Me" and the t.v. show "30 Days." I'm really proud of myself for being able to stick with blogging daily for that long. I know a month doesn't seem like a long time; but sometimes I feel I'm borderline flaky, so this is a real accomplishment. I'm going to commit to something else for the next month--though I will try to continue keeping a more regular blogging schedule (just maybe not every single day). I'll deliberate on it for another day, and then December 1st will be the kickoff.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
1. While my husband is the musician in the house, I had quite the music education myself. I took several years of band, where I became a mediocre trombone (yes, you read that correctly), clarinet, and alto saxophone player. I am unable to play any of these instruments today, though I can still read music.
2. I smoked throughout my last two years of high school, during my first go-around at college, and for a couple of years after that. I smoked for about six years in total, and fortunately for me I quit the year before I met Flamenco Dad. He's not a fan of cigarette smoke.
3. I learned to drive at twenty-two (kind of late by some folks' standards). But before I got the hang of driving, I crashed an old boyfriend's car--oops. Hey, that stop sign and that tree jumped out in front of me; how could I not hit them?
4. I know lots of people think he's kind of grungy, but I think Johnny Depp is very sexy. Does that make me weird? Call me, Johnny!
5. I'm scared to death of mice (rats too). I'd elaborate, but I'm starting to hyperventilate.
6. As I mentioned in my previous meme, I never learned to ride a bike. But I can roller skate like nobody's business. And I'm talking the old school skates, not the rollerblades. Holla!
7. I did not enjoy any of the following movies: Crash, The English Patient, or The Thin Red Line. I know they're supposed to be these great, important movies; but I just don't see the appeal. In fact, the latter was so bad in my opinion I'm still wondering how I can get those three hours of my life back.
8. It's no secret that I love spicy foods. I put some variety of hot sauce (tobasco, sriracha, jalapenos) on just about everything I eat. I'm still trying to figure out how to successfully add heat to my desserts, but it's coming soon--I just know it!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
BTW, I got tagged for a meme, and I'll be sure to do that tomorrow. I'm still reeling from the results of Dancing with the Stars.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
When we got back, I baked some cookies: gfcf pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to be precise. More on that tomorrow. Hopefully those pictures came out fine.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
We're going to a wine-tasting/start of the holiday season shindig at the home of a friend of ours named Paul; Paul is a sound engineer who has helped Flamenco Dad on several projects. Paul's also a great photographer, who recently took FD's new headshots. So we're bringing some wine and the guitar (and yours truly will do a bit of dancing tonight). So tonight the kiddies will be left in the loving care of my dear,sainted mother-in-law (can you tell I'm grateful to her for babysitting) while my husband and I get our party on. Tootles!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
for my hubby, who totally rocks my world...
for my mom, brother, and the rest of my crazy familia. They always keep things interesting and entertaining...
for my friends, both near and far; thinking about all our adventures together makes me smile...
for all the wonderful people I have met online, through this blog and others. I'm amazed at the ability of the online community to bring people together...
for The Soup and Best Week Ever. Weekend television is so much better with you in it...
for turkey. Ahh, tryptophan and gravy...
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The kids are excited to visit their grandmother, great-grandmother, uncle, and the assorted other relatives and friends that will be there. What my kids don't know yet is that my mom and her husband have already put up their Christmas tree: a 12-foot behemoth with a gazillion lights and a slew of adorable ornaments. I'll be sure to take many photos.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Today Zoe got some news that, while very exciting, threw her for a bit of a loop. Her occupational therapist told us that it may be time for Zoe to "graduate" from therapy. She's met all the goals the therapist had set for her, and she has improved in that area to the point where therapy may no longer be needed. I had a similar conversation with her speech therapist not long ago; so it appears that after the present evaluation period ends, Zoe may be done with private speech and O.T. after nearly 8 years. That's right folks; she has been in therapy for 8 of her 10 years. So you can see why Zoe might be a bit apprehensive about closing that chapter in her life.
Zoe loves the therapists, staff, and friends that she's met along the way; and I know that's the reason she doesn't want to leave. So part of what we'll be doing during her Thanksgiving break is talking about how we deal with moving on when things in our lives change. It's fascinating to see how she handles this; Zoe has reached a level of maturity that I guess I didn't really notice until now. That's the mama in me, always seeing my baby as, well...a baby. But today my baby came home from therapy, and sat at the desk and proceeded to write in her journal, no doubt about the changes in store for her now.
Monday, November 19, 2007
So I've got a couple of side dishes in the making, as well as some desserts. I'm doing a sweet potato dish and some gfcf cornbread stuffing. I'm still working out the dessert thing, but I've got to make a decision by tomorrow. I was thinking something with pumpkin, but the hubby is requesting chocolate. Maybe I can put the two together into one showstopper of a dessert. I'm running out of time to decide, so I've got to get to it!
We've all got a cold here...again. We're tired, cranky, and smell of Vicks Vaporub (so not hot); and my house is like a tropical rain forest because of the humidifiers.
Tonight, after the kids were tucked in, I cozied up on my couch and watched Dancing with the Stars with the hubby. He makes watching the show even more entertaining (if that were even possible). He provides interesting commentary on the musical selections (we agree they are often campy, and occasionally border on ridiculous) and the costume choices. My husband thinks the Spice Girl is sexy, while I think her partner is hot stuff. Wonder what he thinks of Vaporub?
I've heard nothing else about the kangaroo/wallaby/chupacabra, or whatever it was wandering the streets a few nights ago. Maybe it was some random hairy guy roaming the area. Oh boy, I think I'm delirious from the Nyquil.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
My mother-in-law's version didn't have the same combination of spices that resemble the Jamaican version, but her version rocked just the same. The hearty stew combined beef oxtails and some root vegetables, gourds and spices commonly used in the Latin kitchen: yucca (there it is again), calabasa (a type of pumpkin), green plantains (I know, I wasn't sure how it fit in there either, but it did), garlic, onions, bay leaves, peppers. It was just what we needed on this cool, lazy Sunday. Gracias!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
In other news, today Zoe performed at a Christmas tree lighting. I know, they just start doing these earlier and earlier every year. She and her group did a wonderful job, dancing and singing to "Sleigh Ride" and "Rockin' Round the Christmas Tree." I was a proud mama.
Oh yeah, and I haven't cooked a thing all day. What's up with that? Well, I have a great excuse, really. I've been out all day. Yours truly is pooped, so once I get the rascals to bed I'm going to kick back with an adult beverage and watch the boob tube.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Seems the local sheriff's office got a call about a kangaroo that was seen hopping around in traffic. So far, no one has been able to track it down, nor has anyone been able to confirm if there actually was a kangaroo in the area. There is speculation that the marsupial is someone's pet, though I'm not sure that our local Petco or Pet Supermarket is in the business of selling kangaroo chow. What do you feed a kangaroo, anyway?
Before I go any further, I should explain that I do not live in Australia, though there are two locations in the "larger" city nearest to me that may (or may not) have kangaroos. The nearest zoo is about 25 miles from where the caller claims the kangaroo was seen. Also Busch Gardens is at least 20 miles from where the kangaroo was allegedly spotted. Some folks who read the news headlines on the internet have been joking that the kangaroo escaped from the local Outback Steakhouse. I suppose that's possible. Gosh, I hope the legal people from Outback don't send me a nasty-gram for that comment. Oh well, I don't like their restaurant anyway.
Now our little town is blaming all the random events that have occurred in the last few days on the mysterious kangaroo. There was a bank robbery today? Blame it on the kangaroo. Traffic tie-up on the interstate? Must have been that darn kangaroo. The illusive marsupial has now achieved "celebrity" status here, joining the ranks of the Chupacabra and Sasquatch. All I know is if he's the one who knocked over my trash cans the other night, he's in a heap of trouble.
My husband has just informed me that the animal in question may have in fact been a wallaby. The plot thickens.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I know some people would consider a gift of kitchenware to be unromantic; some would say that a more appropriate gift would be flowers or candy. Don't get me wrong: I love flowers and candy. But to me, cool gadgets I can use to get my kitchen mojo going are gifts that just keep on giving. And did I mention that the immersion blender has a whisk attachment and a mini chopper attachment, and that it makes fantastic smoothies?
The soup was silky smooth and full of flavor. It made for a delicious dinner on what was a slightly cool evening. And now that I've gotten over my fear of The Exorcist the soup tastes even better.
*Note: when using an immersion blender to puree the soup, make sure if you're using any kind of meat (ham, ham hocks, etc.) that you remove them from the pot before using the boat motor. Trust me on this.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
What they don't tell you is what to do when, three-plus days into your vacation, your kids start to drive you out of your skull! When you're at home and your kids start to rattle you, you can always send them off to play in another part of the house, put in a movie, or send them into the backyard to let off steam. On vacation though, it's twenty-four-seven in your face time. Mama needs a break!
I ADORE my children. Actually, I'm not sure there's a word strong enough to convey how I feel for my babies. But I'm really craving some me time--as in me by myself time. Guess it'll have to wait till we get home.
All complaints aside, we visited the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta today. We saw lots of great dinosaurs, sea creatures, and a pretty neat frog exhibit. We saw the IMAX film entitled "Sea Monsters," which was an interesting and well-done film. I enjoyed it even though my son was acting like a bit of a monster of the two-legged variety. The museum has many interactive exhibits that are great for inquiring minds and little hands. There was also a fascinating exhibit about different cultures and the various ways cultures use adornment to tell stories about their history. Pretty cool stuff.
Tomorrow we load up the Flamencomobile and head back to the hacienda. Once I've unpacked and gotten the mountain of laundry started, I'll work on getting some photos and video up here.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
We did just about everything there was to do at Stone Mountain Park, with the exception of the antebellum plantation stuff. We rode the scenic railroad twice (Ayden's head nearly exploded over that one!), we saw the 4D Polar Express show, the Christmas Parade, the Laser light show, the Great Barn--man, I'm so tired I can't even remember all of it right now!
Tomorrow we're going to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Hooray, dinosaurs!
Friday, November 09, 2007
As I had suspected, our GFCF choices have been a bit limited on this trip. Our hotel has a breakfast selection which has fruit juice as its only GFCF choice. Fortunately for me I brought the banana bread I made earlier in the week. The aquarium had some GFCF foods, mostly salads and fruits. We totally lucked out on the dinner front, though. We had dinner at a fantastic Thai restaurant in Tucker, L'Thai, which is just minutes from Stone Mountain. To top it off the restaurant offers organic and conventionally raised meat, for those who prefer organic. We had a terrific meal, and the staff was attentive and friendly. We feasted on delicious curries and steamed jasmine rice. The restaurant has a large fish tank with koi, and the owner was nice enough to let the kids feed the fish. Zoe and Ayden were thrilled. We are all exhausted, so it will be an early night for us this evening. The kids were out cold by about 8:00, and I'm off to bed now too.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I meant to take a picture of the pair of western boots my mom gave me for my birthday, but of course the camera was already packed. But you can see them here. I got the denim blue ones. Zoe also got a pair of boots from her grandma, and they are too cute! Did I mention they're orange? We're both going to put our hot new boots to good use while we're away. More to follow tomorrow! Adios!
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
I made a simple dinner--hey, I wasn't about to get all creative in the kitchen today. So I made a simple roast chicken with herbs and some yuca. Those who are not familiar with it should give it a shot. It goes by many names: cassava, manioc, etc.--but it's wonderful. It's a traditional root vegetable served in Latino homes. Sorry, I don't have a photo of it, but I'll google it tomorrow and post one.
I'm off to bed. Tomorrow afternoon we hit the road.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Since we're going away this Thursday I wanted to make sure I had enough road-worthy, GFCF snacks to take with us in case we had limited food choices for Zoe. This morning I baked six mini-loaves of banana bread. This time I added buckwheat to the flour mixture, which gave a great texture and a more complex flavor. I decided to go the buckwheat route since my "regular" banana bread used to contain a mixture of white and wheat flour. I was very pleased with the results; the family loves it, and I've got a healthy snack or breakfast item to give Zoe in a pinch.
Tonight at school we worked on a lab involving food preservation and safety. So what do we do? We get to prepare petrie dishes with E. coli--great, two days before my trip and I have to get up close and personal with some nasty buggers. None of my lab partners wanted to touch the test tube with the bacteria sample, so yours truly had to be the one to do it. I think they figured since I'm the oldest person in the group (in the class, to be more specific) that I was somehow more expendable. Good times!
Monday, November 05, 2007
Flamenco Dad and I went out on a mini-date this evening to...the gun range. Romantic, right? Ha ha ha. We had fun; and frankly, I'm not too shabby in the marksmanship department, which surprised me. Though I don't really think I'm cut out to be a regular at the firing range. Let's just say that it's a good thing everyone there has to wear ear protection; otherwise they would have heard the sounds of me humming the music from "Annie Get Your Gun." Man I loved that show! The drama club geek in me comes out every so often. Sorry. I digress.
This range/gun shop had what seemed like hundreds of stuffed animals (not referring to the teddy bear kind either) adorning the entrance and walls of the entire place. It took me a while to get over the strangeness of all the animals just hanging out there; I felt like they were looking at me, I kid you not. I saw a bear that appeared to be about 7 feet tall, a mountain lion (at least I think that's what it was), and all manner of antelope, deer, and who knows what else. Can you tell I don't know much about wildlike? Who am I, Jack Hanna or something? Tell the folks on Animal Planet they have nothing to fear; their jobs are secure.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Me: Sweetie, it seems like just yesterday I gave birth to you.
You: Well Mom, that's just silly. You know, I've been around a looong time. And soon I'm gonna be a teenager. How long before I become an adult?
Me: Too soon.
Today we feasted on GFCF cupcakes in your honor.
Pineapple Velvet Cake (recipe from Special Diets for Special Kids, with a minor modification from me)
2 1/2 cups GF flour mix
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. xanthan gum
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup canola oil
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 tsp. vinegar
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
Combine first 5 ingredients and put aside. With an electric mixer, blend eggs, oil, sugar and vinegar. Beat well so oil is completely emulsified, and mixture is light and lemony looking. On low speed add flour mixture and pineapple juice, alternating.
Pour into paper-lined muffin tins and bake at 350 about 15-20 minutes.
1/2 cup CF margarine
1/2 cup solid white vegetable shortening.
1 lb. confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbs. milk substitute
2-3 Tbs. corn syrup
In a mixer, combine margarine, shortening, vanilla, and any other flavorings you'd like to use. Beat until smooth. Add sugar, a cup at a time, and beat until all the sugar has been added. Beat in milk and add corn syrup to reach spreading consistency. You can add food coloring to this to reach your color of choice. Pink is tops for Zoe.
Makes about 30 cupcakes.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
I know the photo doesn't scream birthday celebration, but it's the most recent one I have; and he looks pretty cute in it, I must say. Happy Birthday, love!
Friday, November 02, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Yesterday was a great distraction from my research paper; I'm glad I decided to go along with Flamenco Dad and take the kids out to trick-or-treat. Oh yeah, and I am so totally DONE with my paper! Sweet Jebus, I put that baby to bed and turned it in to my professor this evening. I am so relieved. I've only got a few more tests, then finals, and the semester will be over. Hallelujah!
Nablopomo started today. I'm going to be a good girl and stick to my promise of thirty posts in thirty days. I've got some recipes I'm going to try out and post here during the month (now that I actually have time to cook). Lynn made some egg rolls on her blog the other day, and that inspired me to make some summer rolls. Fortunately I have rice flour wrappers on hand here, so I may get cracking on those this weekend. Oh, and the birthdays begin this weekend, so there will be much birthday merriment here at Casa de Flamenco. Stay tuned.