Monday, November 10, 2014

Robinson Rembembrance

Did you know that Jackie Robinson was a Pasadena local? He grew up there in a house on Pepper Street from 1922 to 1946. I've always had love for Jackie Robinson. In 1947, he shook up the scene in major league baseball by breaking the race barrier when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Before that, he was the all-star at my alma mater, UCLA, the university's very first four-sport letter winner in baseball, football, basketball, and track-and-field. He was a man of integrity, and his comittment to equality for all Americans is something that should never be forgotten. 

Earlier this summer, we were in Pasadena visiting hubby's dad. On our way back home, we stopped off at Yummy Cupcakes because we needed a moment of nostalgia and a sweet treat (we ordered our wedding cupcakes from Yummy Cupcakes and thought they only had a shop in Santa Monica). After the desserts were secured, I asked if we could drive by City Hall. If you haven't been before, it's a must-see. The building and surrounding complex is a truly grand and beautiful example of the California Mediterranean architecture style.

While we were in the turnaround driveway, I saw two impressive sculptures to my right. I hopped out of the car to get a closer look, and to my pleasant surprise, the scupltures were of Jackie Robinson, and his older brother Mack, who won the silver medal in the 200-meter race at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Set in a beautiful spot in Centennial Square, right across from City Hall, it is a place where you could easily sit and enjoy a picnic. 

Make sure to get an up-close look at the portrait heads... Images of their accomplishments in sports, politics, and community service are embedded in Jackie and Mack's hair

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Focaccia Fiend

I love bread. Every iteration of bread is divine in my opinion. Crusty loaves, crispy crackers, all types of pasta. Yet, for all my yearning for and consumption of this heavenly carbohydrate, I've always believed that making bread is difficult. I was wrong. This lovely specimen only took about 10 minutes to pull together (in dough form, with around two 30-minute periods waiting for it to rise). Here's the rub: I can't find the original recipe that I used. Thank goodness that there are heaps of online resources. I have been craving focaccia again recently, and will probably make another one this week. This focaccia recipe is a good starting point from which you can create a delicious bread.

The ingredients and steps are really simple: flour, yeast, water, and salt are mixed together and quickly kneaded to form a dough. Coat the dough with the olive oil and let it rise for a period of time until it doubles in size. Then, stretch the dough to fit an oiled baking sheet, and poke dimples all over the dough using your index finger. Sprinkle your desired toppings (salt, peppper, herbs, onions, vegetables, etc.) on the dough, and drizzle more olive oil into the dimples. Let the dough rise for about another 30 minutes, and then bake it for up to 20 minutes. Crisp, golden deliciousness awaits!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rainbow Connection

The summer veggies are in full effect, and just as the season is about to come to a close, I feel that it's necessary to get as much vibrant color as possible onto my plate. As a result, here's my take on ratatouille as a pasta salad. 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Boil water for the pasta (I used whole wheat fusilli). In the meantime, dice up your vegetables (eggplant, bell peppers, and zucchini) and season to taste with salt, pepper, favorite herbs (herbs de Provence or any variety), and  3 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast the vegetables in the oven for about 20 minutes stirring once halfway through, or until the eggplant wilts and gets some noticeable color. Let the vegetables cool, and cook the pasta. Drain the pasta and allow it to cool. Then, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle the salad with additional olive oil and balsmic vinegar. Serve cold* or at room temperature.

*Tip: I made this dish a day in advance for a pool / play date, and the extra time in the fridge helped the flavors blend together well. You can absolutely top the salad with protein of your choice: cheese, tuna, chicken, beef, shrimp, etc.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Crafty One?

I built a castle.

When you're a parent, you'll pretty much do anything to make your kid(s) happy (within reason). You have such a keen interest in their likes and dislikes, and seeing them happy just makes your day. Kids can be SO fickle, andwhen they find a toy that they just adore, mom and dad go all-in. Many parents will feel compelled to buy the hottest new toy and all of the accessories that go with it simply because their little ones played with one during a play date.

That is pretty much what happened... We went bananas on some toys for Bee. You see, Bee likes to watch short videos on YouTube hosted by DisneyCollector. One day, we all became aware of the Disney Magic Clip dolls. The dolls are the Disney Princesses, and their dresses are interchangeable, so you can mix and match as you please. 

"What a fun little toy," I thought. Maybe we can get some when Bee turns three. I hadn't seen the dolls in the store before (well, I wasn't actively looking for them). In the past, I made it a point to stay far from the toy department at Target, and whenever we've gone grocery shopping, I hope that Bee doesn't notice the nearby Toys R Us while we're in the parking lot.

Bee and I went over to our friends' house, a little over a month ago, and she finally saw and played with a Magic Clip doll in real life. Destiny.

I have generally railed against the whole princess bonanza that exists in the realm of girls' toys and life. My own mom is quick to tell me that I was all about princesses when I was little. I think she exaggerates. The most princess-y thing I had was a canopy bed in a checkered pastel print. It was dreamy.

Anyway, Bee loved playing with that little doll, so I decided to pick (only) one up during my net trip to Target. I was hoping that I could choose from the full range of princesses (Mulan and Pocahontas included), but the supply was meager. Bee had a choice of two, and good old Cinderella came home with us.

No less than one day later, hubby was online ordering a set of seven princesses (Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Belle, Tiana, and Rapunzel) in addition to Queen Elsa and Princess Anna. Three days after that, I was back at Target, and looking for Princess Merida.

Of course, the dolls don't come with a carrying case. But they have to have a home, right? Well, I wasn't willing to shell out triple digits for a play set, so I grabbed a leftover box from the Honest Company and got to work building a castle. It was really fun, and Bee loves to sit and play in it. I even added on a slide after she and Hubby had the dolls using books for the same purpose.

It's been around 6 weeks, and she's SO into them. She plays with them every day, multiple times a day. Hubby even ordered some backup dolls in case of future mishaps. It's on and strong with the princesses here. I give in.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Peony Perfection

Hello, spring... maybe summer is more appropriate. It has been a veritable inferno this week, and it will finally be cooling down over the weekend. While we haven't had rain showers in months, I did pick up some pretty May flowers.

Peonies are ferociously beautiful. Every time I see them, they are so unabashedly feminine, delicate, and wild. Just gorgeous.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Paris Baguette

I haven't been very inspired to post anything over the last two months. But hardly anything inspires me as much as baked goods. My husband would say that anything French inspires joy in me. Combine the two, and I'm in heaven. Enter Paris Baguette.

When we go out to dinner, I often crave dessert. Most of the time, the offerings leave me cold, and I complain that there aren't any bakeries open after 7pm. Last Sunday evening we were looking for something to do to pass the time (no Super Bowl for us) and then this pastry oasis appeared before my eyes. They even keep late hours!

Though I'm not one for imitation anything, I had to partake in their "croissant donut." Kudos to Paris Baguette for respecting Mr. Ansel's trademark. Let me tell you, these flaky delights are LETHAL. Okay, you won't actually keel over from eating one, but you could do some serious damage (and buy far more than is wise) in a moment of weakness. 

Look for a location near you!