Thursday, February 18, 2010

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

Pretty intense, right?

I've fallen a bit off the frugal, no-box wagon as of late, and need to hop back on.

I'm not really sure where my failure was... I am certainly not sucking less at this rate. I didn't gym last week, except Monday. I ate out Friday night, and Saturday lunch. I ordered pizza last night. Sigh.

I have gymmed twice this week, so far. And intend to do something tonight, even if it's not in the gym. But honestly? That first night "back" was crappy. It felt like I'd never done anything ever but sit on my ass. Yoga was a whole new experience. If THAT ain't motivation to keep on keepin' on, I don't know what is.

Anyway. Onward and upward, right? Bringing the awesome this week...

Friday night, we went to this place that claims to have the "World's best burgers". Sadly, they lied. I mean, it was okay, but. The WORLD'S best!? Doubtful. I've experienced In N' Out, my friend, and this was no In N' Out. But, they did have Dos Equis Amber, so... I'll give them bonus points there. Nice work, place whose name I can't recall.

Saturday, I took the kidlets to Corner Bakery for lunch. I can't even tell you why, but I adore the hell out of Corner Bakery. We trolled through Snork's favorite Goodwill in Huntington Beach, and saw this lovely dress... along with these boots.... Then hit up our fave Japanese market, and picked up some Pocky's, and sukiyaki ingredients, which was a huge win.
Sunday. I did nothing. At all. I quite literally planted my ass in my couch and watched hulu and netflix all day. It was epic.

Monday, I had the idea that I would take the kidlets to the beach. Apparently, ALL of OC had the same idea, so we diverted to Pacific Whey Cafe to eat cupcakes on the patio overlooking the ocean.
Last night we picked up some chairs for our dining room... so for the first time in 6 months, we can EAT at our table, sitting in chairs! Thanks, Ikea!

I got to sleep in today (on a work day!) 'cause #3's daycare is closed. So rad that I get to pay full price for 3 days this week, daycare!! RAD!

So. Despite falling off (a teeny bit), I think I'm back on. I have a list to shop this weekend, and I won't stray. I've got visions of awesome meals dancing about in my head, and getting back on my training plan for the marathon in June. I have a spa gift certificate I can use up... massage and facial?! I think I will. The weather is going to be conducive to relaxing at home, and since my home is "mostly" clean, there's not much else for me to do.. Netflix should be delivering Alias: Season 3 to me tomorrow... I think my favorite cousin is coming for dinner. So, really. What IS there to complain about? It's all pretty awesome :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Best way to get rid of kitchen odors: Eat out."

Just kidding. I love to cook. Really.

My version of Touring Tuesday, minus filth and comatose children! Win!

My kitchen is pretty tiny, and... well... boring. I mean, it's an apartment kitchen. There's just only so much you can do with that, y'know? I do like that the cabinets are white, and there's a window in the attached dining room, so it gets pretty good light most of the day. But, it's teeny, and bland.

Looking right.... my fruit baskets, and... sink. Fascinating, eh? Right now, hanging out in there, I've got a gajillion tangerines, grapefruits (NINETEEN CENTS!!), kiwi, pears, bananas, apples, plantains, garlic, onions, potatoes.
And left.... knives, stove, my favorite Ikea frying pan, toaster deal, and messy fridge.

Yep. Mess. We've got pretty limited storage space, so... Yeah. Gatorade (which I don't normally have!), two bottles of Hansen's Apple Juice (99 cents?! Yes, please!), the family's bread (white... ick), and mine (Sprouts multi-grain!). Somehow, I also have two boxes of Cap'n Crunch. Not sure about that. Neither are empty? Huh. Oh, and. Half eaten bag of tortilla chips that I bought for my Trader Joes guac. Which ran out long before the chips.
Also evidencedhere, I have a little bit of a thing for Disney.

My freezer. Two boxes of waffles (gasp! Boxes!! I know, I know. But, really. 3 kids out the door in the morning? God bless Eggo.). Also hiding in there.... Trader Joes frozen corn, edemame, a LOT of chicken. That's about it. Quiet this week. I ought to go shopping.
Inside.... Um. OJ, Gatorade, Apple Juice, milk, leftover yellow rice in the little pot dealy, TONS of blueberries, TONS of asparagus, lettuce, eggs, cheeses, spinach, celery, peppers, miscellaneous other produce items. The majority of our grocery budget is probably spent on produce in some fashion.
Sigh. The door of shame. I'd like to say I'll cut out HFCS, but. Ketchup, all types of salad dressing, barbecue sauce, jelly, mayo... sigh. Butter for DAYS. I bake cookies like it's my job. Milk tea. Pickles. Sambal. And, my argyle sock holding the door open.

My pantry... Is a hot mess. I really ought to clean this mess out. Hm. Anyway. We've got tea, instant oatmeal (yikes... I don't even remember buying that.), tomato sauce, Trader Joes pancake mix, syrup (more HFCS!), peanut butter, breadcrumbs, chocolate milk stuff, pasta, rice... Down at the bottom are potatoes and onions.
So. There you have it. I just realized I ought to have pictured my spice cabinet as well, but in there I've got the staples - sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, salt/pepper blah etc.
Was it as good for you as it was for me?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.”

There's this store in Bellflower, the Holland American Store, that I love to go to. It's kind of in the ghetto, but it's only about 15 minutes away from my office... I should visit more often, but... since I usually skip lunch, I just don't get to.

I made a special trip there this week for my dad's birthday... I specifically was looking for spekkoek, but unfortunately, they were sold out until next month. Grrr. But I did find some other goodies, like....

...these super rad clog slippers. Don't you want some?
And my favorite thing to eat for breakfast, ever, chocolate sprinkles, for toast. How could you go wrong?!
They have sambal for days.... We are too wussy for the crazy spicy stuff, so we typically go with sambal bajak.
Krupuk? I think I will! Who knew shrimp flavored chips would be so good?

I don't know really what rum-flavored chocolate balls have to do with Dutch or Indonesian. I mean, the package even says "Jamaica Rummy's". But they are hella tasty.
These stupid things are dangerous. I will eat the package in its entirety, so it's really best that I just leave them on the shelf.
If you like licorice, which I don't, this is the place to go... literally, entire rows of shelves dedicated to different types of licorice. Ick.
They have some pretty random stuff, too, like this tamarind flavored balsamic glaze? I was skeptical about this stuff, maybe next time I'll give it a shot.
They've also got heaps of Dutch cheeses, which are super rad, and freezer cases of other Indonesian treats, like lemper (rice rolls, filled with a chickeny coconutty stuff), and other good stuff that I can't spell.

I love going there, it always reminds of how super psyched I was when Oma and Opa would have spekkoek to share, or brought home chocolate sprinkle things from Holland.... I think I'm out of chocolate sprinkles already, it might be time for another trip. Soon.

“It's your life. Live it with people who are alive. It tends to be contagious.”

Back in December, we #1 had a few requests for her birthday (Jan. 2nd).
1. Go to Big Bear
2. Go to a ramen restaurant, and
3. Fro Yo


So, we compromised and agreed to do ramen and Fro Yo for her birthday, and Big Bear for The H's birthday.
Magically, insane storms dumped like a gazillion feet of fresh snow in Big Bear in the week prior. Good for the snow, bad for the traffic. And the people heading for the ski resorts. Snork's Pretty Neighbor's husband told us to go around the other side of the lake from where we normally go, and it turned out to be perfect. No traffic, pretty open spaces, less people, and great hills.

We actually came prepared this time, to play in the snow... and I cannot express what a difference it makes to play in snow boots and snow pants, vs. sneakers and jeans. Seriously. We actually enjoyed it this time, and didn't almost die from frostbite.

Snork was awesome enough to have picked up some snow pants for #2 in some thriftshop, and thankfully, they fit! Win!

The H originally bought just one 2-person sled thing, and looked at me all side-eyeish when I suggested we ought to buy more. Despite his protests, I picked up a second single person plastic dish thing. Which turned out to be a good thing, 'cause... dude. Hiking up hills covered in snow is not easy. So two sleds, and all.that.stuff.... it was a lot of stuff.

This was Baby's first real trip to the snow, so we weren't sure how she was going to take it. Seems like she loves it! And, really. Could anything be cuter than a Baby all decked out in snow gear?! Doubtful. I'm not sure why I refuse to follow other peoples footprints, because this is the scenario that takes place every.single.time:
Oh, look, footprints. They look pretty deep. Wow, that's about up to my knee. I ought step around and try 6 inches to the right. Shoot, now I'm thigh deep in snow. Awesome.
The girls had a game plan, apparently, and took to crawling up the mountain. Baby, as usual, had to exert no effort at all. I'm not sure how she has this power over people.

Anyway. The Snorks joined us up in the mountains. Mr. Snork is apparently, somehow, also completely whipped by my Baby. At one point, I caught him carrying her UP the hill, because "she put her arms up". Yep. Okay.
We determined Snork and I on a sled = fail. Alone = win. Mostly. Until Snork's sled kicked her off.
Snowball fights, sledding, snow angels. It was a pretty successful couple of hours.

We left after a stupid, overpriced, crappy lunch in the Village... next time, I'll stay on the other side of the lake. Traffic sucked coming back down again, but then there's this...
And by 6 pm, we were back home, in the palm trees, and tee and jeans.

So Cal :)

For Squirrely....

Chicken tortilla soup. I swear it's easy, even if there are "ingredients".

I usually make this with what is leftover from a whole roasted chicken. This week, I had a plethora of bone-in chicken breast, 'cause it was on sale for something like $0.77/lb, so... that's what I used. It only took one for this recipe.

Chicken - I used about 1-1 1/2 cups shredded
1 Green bell pepper
3 stalks celery
1 med onion
5-6 cloves garlic
1 tsp chili powder
2 Tbs dried parsley
1 1/2 c crushed tomatoes (ish - I just used about half of a 28 oz can)
3 c chicken stock (ish, again - I just pour until it looks right?)
Salt and pepper to taste

So. Season chicken - salt and pepper. Brown in about 1Tb of olive oil, in a heavy bottomed soup pot.. thing.

While that is browning, chop up the bell pepper, celery, onion, and garlic.

When the chicken is browned, remove from pan, and add the vegetables. Add parsley and chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Sautee until onions turn translucent.

Add the chicken back to the pot, and add crushed tomatoes, and chicken stock. I usually have my own chicken stock on hand, but since I didn't make this out of leftover chicken, I don't... in those cases, I love this brand... Low sodium FTW!
The liquids should just barely cover the chicken.
Bring to a boil, and lower heat to med. Continue to simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove chicken from the pot, and shred. Re-add the chicken, and simmer another 5-10 minutes.

I usually fry my own tortillas, but this time I had a bag from Trader Joe's... lazy all around. Serve topped with shredded cheese, salsa, and tortilla chips.
All told, about 45 minutes until complete.

Just for kicks, here's a cost break down on this...

Chicken - $1.25
Bell pepper - $0.49
Celery - $0.99 for the whole... thing, and there's still 2/3 left, so.. $0.33?
Onion - $0.25
Crushed tomatoes - half can - $0.75
Chicken stock - $2.00
Garlic - full head was $.33, so... $0.15?

I'm not adding in the stupid things, like salt, pepper, chili powder, 'cause.. it's stupid.

We could have had this for dinner twice, so counting Baby as a half meal each time, total of 9 meals came out of this.

Total, about $5.22. Round up, even, to $5.25, and it comes out to $0.58 per meal. Not bad!

Even taking into account the fact that I frugally sucked this week, and the leftover soup is sitting in my fridge and needs to be tossed, it's only $1.16 per meal.

AND, when you consider that this is usually made with leftover chicken, and home-made stock, well. It's practically free.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

“A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand”

We do a lot of cookies at Casa Giraffy. Sadly, they are almost always the same... chocolate chip. It's a good thing they're awesome, because... one could get super tired of them if they were just okay.

I usually make a batch, and bake them throughout the week for dessert.


  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 c white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 c flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 2 c chocolate chips


Add sugars to the softened butter, and stir until combined and slightly fluffy. Like so....

Add 2 eggs....
Stir until combined thoroughly... This is the part that always gets me. It's all gooey and yummy.

Add the vanilla to this and stir.

In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon).
Mix together. Then, add in thirds to the wet ingredients...

...until totally incorporated. It'll be pretty stiff...
Add the chocolate chips... I buy mine from the bulk bins at Sprouts. They're cheaper (WIN!), and soooo much yummier than the bags. I'm not sure why, I mean.. they're just chocolate chips, right? But. They really are.

Drop on spoonfulls if you're lazy like me, or prettily constructed balls if you're impressed by symmetrical cookies.

Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes. Maybe 9, depends on your oven and cookie size. I'm stingy, so mine take less time.

Rest for a few minutes on the pan, then move to baking racks to cool.

Sunday, I only had a bit of dough left, and was tired of cookies, so.... I did this mess.

Packed a bunch of dough into my ramekins...

...and baked at 400 for about 12 minutes... Then topped with Trader Joes mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Holy. Hell.


Related Posts with Thumbnails