Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jalapeno Mascarpone Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

JALAPENO MASCARPONE GRILLED CHEESE

I tweeted about discovering cooking with mascarpone cheese recently and my friend noticed it and sent me this recipe. Unfortunately, that evening, my beloved put the kibosh on eating jalapenos. He’s generally staying away from all things spicy until we get a full handle on what is going on with his stomach issues. I put it out of my head, deciding that I was still going to attempt to enjoy these. So during our weekly shopping trip, I added jalapenos to the cart, as well as medjool dates (slice ‘em in half, take out the seed, spoon in the mascarpone and you have some sweet deliciousness!). Guess what else was in the cart! Another tub of mascarpone cheese that Don had put in there without me asking. I guess he is completely aware of my love affair with this goodness!

I followed that recipe mostly. I used whole wheat extra grain bread. I used colby jack cheese that I’d shredded instead of cheddar. I only used 3 jalapenos, which allowed me to make 2 sandwiches. Plus, I don’t know what is going on with the suggestion of putting the jalapenos in the plastic bag. I don’t know if I was supposed to wait to put them in there, but my baggie started melting and then I nearly burned my fingers, so yeah, going back to loosening the skin/veins/seeds the old way.

This sandwich was soo unbelievably good! Yummy! Just enough heat for my tastes. Still very much a grilled cheese for my girls that they kept returning for bites. And I may or may not have slightly burned one side of the sandwich because I may or may not have been doing some of this instead:

Never miss an opportunity to dance, folks. Never, not ever! You should also try out that recipe. it is good stuff!

HUMP DAY MOVIE REVIEW

I’ve not done a hump day movie review in a long time. I won’t do an in-depth review here, but I will give you a bulleted list of movies I’ve recently watched and let you know whether or not you should invest the time in ‘em.

  • Hotel Transylvania – loved it!
  • Hatfields & McCoys – loved it!
  • 10 Years – Not so much
  • The Bourne Legacy – fell asleep, so not really sure, but I guess I didn’t love it
  • End of Watch – loved it…gut wrenching, but honest and good
  • Silver Linings Playbook – LOVED IT!!!

 

I’m doing my best to lift my melancholy. Today would’ve been the 13th birthday of my little Guapo. I’m sad about it, indeed, but I’m reflecting on what I do have and his spirit. So with that, go out and do something kind today! Hope you all have a jolly Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Emmy Rossum: Sentimental Journey Review


Some of you may know Emmy Rossum through her acting credentials (currently she stars alongside William H. Macy in Showtime's series Shameless  and will appear next in Beautiful Creatures which also showcases Emma Thompson and Viola Davis), but I bet many of you were unaware that she was also a singer. Yeah, she is. She's so legit, her album, Sentimental Journey, launched today! This is a collection of classic covers that takes you on a journey through the American songbook. 
Emmy's 12-song 'passion project' is an emotional musical journey, with each song representing a month in the year"Each song needed to either lyrically or emotionally reflect the corresponding month," Emmy explained. "Some songs were obvious fits, like Summer Wind for June, and Pretty Paper for December. Others songs were less literal fits. I chose Nobody Knows You (When You're Down and Out) for September because, to me, the plaintive melody and lyric emotionally reflect the cold weather creeping in and the sense of melancholy we can get in the fall months."
I was selected to receive a preview of the album for a review. It just so happened that on the day I decided to take a listen, it was dark and dreary out, with menacing clouds threatening a downpour. I was struck with a fit of full on melancholy. Kind of fitting when you think about it, especially considering Emmy's words from above. Then I hit play. I shuffled through the first few chords of each song before I stopped at track 4. I listened to this song for 5 times before I proceeded to the rest of the album. Give it a go. Yes, April is when it would correspond, and for me, April is quite an emotional month for me in both amazing/fantastic ways and depressing ways.


The rest of the album pushed me through a whole spectrum of emotions. It was fun and definitely transported me back to a different time. Those times when tailored dresses, fancy hats, and supper clubs reigned supreme!

I've been enjoying the rest of the album quite a bit. I get a bit of a pep in my step and I have no problem already singing along with her or acting as backup. My second favorite song is Summer Wind and not just because it goes hand in hand with my birthday month either!

If you like the classic songs from the American songbook and you appreciate a voice like Emmy's, then I highly recommend you give her new album Sentimental Journey a whirl. You will not be disappointed!

 I participated in this campaign for One2One Network. I received a free copy of the CD to facilitate my review. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. All opinions stated are my own.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

National Chocolate Cake Day!

I like any reason to celebrate. So when there's an obscure holiday, like National Chocolate Cake day, well, by golly, I simply must eat/make some chocolate cake! Thank goodness for Pinterest, because I was just about to go to the store to buy a slice, but I really, really wanted to try my hand at making one from scratch. Martha, you are a genius!

First I started out by measuring the ingredients. I doubled the recipe because I was making a batch of "normal" cake and a batch that would be gluten free. To make it Gluten Free, I used a GF all purpose flour and a gf baking soda (I wasn't sure if there is a such thing as non-gf baking soda, but I used it anyway)

Interesting story about this. How long has it been since I've baked that I now only own a small glass liquid measuring cup (I used to have this gloriously large almost 5 cup liquid measuring cup). My large one has been broken for nearly a year. Also, all of my measuring cups (shaped like large spoons) are missing, except the 1/2 cup! What?? No worries, though. I guess this is just the excuse to get these lovelies. They are near the top of my wish list! I made it work, though.

Something to note: When I mixed the GF recipe, I added 1 cup of warm water according to the instructions. I probably would have only added 1/2 a cup. Also, it was quite a bit "earthier" when I did the mixing bowl taste. Not bad, just a different type of flavor that what I was used to. The cake passed the husband test. He proclaimed it a victory and said I didn't need to ice it. Also, remember to butter and flour your pans and don't just butter them. ha!

When I made the regular cake recipe, the batter was so sinfully delicious. It took everything in me to not eat it all. Wow. No really, wow! I skipped the homemade caramel part. I don't own a candy thermometer and the goal was the cake, not the filling. Heck, the icing wasn't even the goal for this one. I still made the icing, though, just didn't add the additional melted chocolate on top of the cocoa powder.

I stacked two of my 9 inch rounds, frosted it, and voila! Here is the final product:

I'm totally excited! I also made a tiny 4 inch personal cake for my BFF. Because how much better is chocolate cake when you share it??

The girls are totally going to be excited to have a slice of cake. Especially the Sugarbean. She helped act as a taste tester. She even willingly bypassed a donut in the morning to enjoy a slice of cake in the evening. Too bad I didn't finish the cake until after her bedtime, but rest assured, she will have a slice for dinner on Monday. She was such a great helper!

And in July, there is such a thing as National Chocolate day, so you have a few months to plan how you will celebrate. In the meantime, check out how my Beloved elected to celebrate that holiday back in 2011.

Cheers for chocolate! huzzah!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

House Party Celebration

I was selected by House Party to host a Pull-ups party. Essentially, I was requested to throw a party (yeah, like I ever need an excuse) to talk about potty training (which we are totally in the middle of doing with the Sugarbaby), and hand out some awesome coupons to my friends who are in the same time frame as we are when it comes to potty training. There were many wonderful activities planned and House Party provided us with lots of helpful information to distribute to the partygoers.



But here’s the thing, my party blossomed into a new form because something else took priority. When I called up my friends individually to discuss potty training with them, most of them were unable to make the date. I did have one dear friend who had free time and still wanted to have a playdate, so that was a plan. Then, I received word from our other friend that her grandmother had passed. My heart ached for her. She doesn’t know how many of her seemingly small acts for me have uplifted me when I’ve needed them most. We’re talking, bringing me a home cooked meal when we were all crazy sick, inviting me and my girls over when my Beloved worked long hours, and giving me a make-up makeover to make me realize that my outside can be just as pretty as I feel on the inside. I hope all of you have a friend like that!

I’m blessed with many talents. One of the best is that I’m good at is being a much needed distraction at red alert moments. I can bring fun when there is no fun to be had. I guess I’m like the Cat in the Hat in that regard. Maybe that’s not such a good comparison. ha! Anyway, she and her family spent the day with me and my girls. We hit up the ginormous Asian market, went for a near 5-mile run, let the kiddos run around at the park, came home where we met up with my other friend and her daughter. We laughed and talked, and yes potty training was brought up. The tiniest of our littles are similar in ages. Miss A is 5 days older than the Sugarbaby and R is 3 months younger. They all get along famously.

In the middle of the playdate, I had to run over for a quick photo session for my girls. (this is a teaser of the images for Valentine’s day)


When I returned, the party evolved to a dinner party! Everyone had snuck off to retrieve different parts of the meal. Within an hour we were gathered around the table feasting on tacos. Later, we piled around the couch and on the living room floor, toasting memories of her grandmother, watching movies, and just being the distraction we needed to be. When my friend wanted to cry or reminisce, we let her. When she needed us to make jokes or just laugh, we did that. Our kids happily played and we all shared quality time together. And when they’d run out of diapers, it was fortunate that we had the sample Pull-Ups from the party pack for them to use. How fortuitous!

I had a few remaining party packs, which I happily shared with the parents from my gal’s school, whose kiddos would benefit from the coupons and samples. I was too busy being in the moment that I didn’t snap one single photo of all of us hanging out. Heck, I even lost my phone for about half an hour, which is HIGHLY unusual for me. It was a good day (and weekend!) to make memories!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sweet and Dear Faces of Tesla Jane

Sweet, sweet faces! The Sugarbaby is three months shy of her 2nd birthday. Here lately, her facial expressions have been quite amazing. She is so expressive, to the point of inciting bouts of giggles to the rest of us. My mother insisted I capture them on film/video. This was the first video (of I'm sure many) that I got.

She's eating her ice cream at Jason's Deli after her meal. Don is offering her a pea. This is her honest reaction. I dare you to not laugh or crack a smile at it. Total silliness!


 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Date Night: Watters Creek

The first date night of the year found us just slightly north of our city at Watters Creek. That day, I awoke with an out of control funk. No sick, just the blahs. I think I was coming off the Holiday-ness. It’s normal for me. I get all of that awesome holiday excitement of seeing friends and family. You know, being showered with attention and gifts, even if sometimes it may drive you bananas because you get stressed from the hustle and bustle. Yeah, that sort of frazzled calm.

 

I sent my Beloved a note on facebook (knowing he’d get that notification while he was at the doctors office). It simply stated, “Get a sitter for tonight from 6-10PM. I’m kidnapping you.” A couple of hours later, he called letting me know he completed his task and wanted to know where he needed to meet me.

crap.

 

I’d not thought through the actual planning of the date, just scheduling! Just days before, I’d been in the Watters Creek area celebrating my BFFs birthday, so I figured, why not. It was a lovely backdrop to fuel great conversation. What I did not expect was the much cooler wind.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Howdy 2013

So long 2012! Hello 2013! Yes, I know it is four days after the fact. I’ve had this post in draft since the middle of December. That’s what happens when you move your laptop to the craft room and then don’t set foot in there for oh…forever. It just so happens my little laptop is buried under some fabric and cardstock, but that, my friends, is neither here nor there.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!


Me, I spent ringing in the New Year NOT watching the Redbox movies I’d rented thinking my girls would sleep and I would get to see non-G-rated movies. I enjoyed this Valdo prosecco, toasting our the marriage of our new Barbie & Ken wedding dolls. Also, I shared my chocolate with my littles and had them take their doses of Zarbee’s, while I slathered them nice and good with some Vick’s. Both of them were up for the new year, especially the Sugarbean. The honey in that  medicine must’ve really got her going because she was quite the busy body, playing with her dolls, dancing, and even laughing in the New Year!

The next day, the Mr. and I went on a date to celebrate the new year in our own way. During that time, I made known my intentions and goals for the year. I’ve decided to embrace “COURAGE” as my one little word for the year. I’m not afraid of doing things so much as I let fear limit me. Ali Edwards first wrote about this concept and I followed it. Last year was the first year I adopted a word, but I didn’t make it known. “Magic” and boy howdy was last year chock full of it! Here are some of my goals for the year:
courage2013

  1. It takes courage to train for a half marathon. What I didn’t elaborate in the photo is that if I feel healthy enough after the run, then I will continue to train for another full marathon. I would like get in the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. Usually, that race is run in October, so I have a bit of time between now and then. Whooo…can’t believe I put that out there, but there it is universe. Let’s make it happen!
  2. It doesn’t take a whole lot of courage for me to go camping. It does take a lot of courage for me to plan, relax, and get everything ready without losing my mind and that thought does drive fear into my brain. I’m gonna let go of that and plan a camping trip with friends & family and it’ll be great!
  3. I’m incredibly afraid of heights. Like pee on myself afraid. I’ve signed up for 10 sessions at Lone Star Circus School. I hope to conquer that fear and fly on a trapeze. Bonus points if I can fly on the aerial silks.
  4. If you are married, do you still date? We do. I think it is important. It makes me feel special and heck, I love sharing dedicated time to my Beloved. When I go through my photo gallery on my phone, I see lots of photos of the food, wine, coffee we have shared and very little of the two of us or anything else we’ve done on our dates. This year, I’m insisting on bringing along Baby and we will shoot images. Later I’ve uploaded them to an album on Facebook where I have written about the date. I’m so excited about this one. Would you like me to write about our dates here, too?
  5. I let fear of scheduling get in the way to phoning friends to say, hey, I’ll bring some popcorn, you throw in a movie and we' will sit and eat it while the movie plays, not watching any of it, but rather sit and talk for a few hours while our kiddos play. I’m a very social person, but I did take a bit of a hiatus on organizing events with friends. Not any more. I hope to get at least 1 group outing together a month and have at least one date a month with my two BFFs who are local. Heck, some of the events will be, “let’s go fly a kite at the park!” Nothing crazy, but just an excuse to get together.

More ideas will likely come to me, but these are the big ones that are at the front of my mind. The biggest thing being, for me to have courage and not let fear and doubt get in the way.
Cheers to 2013!

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