Blog Archive

Friday, December 13, 2013

Shopping Trip

Yesterday I went to Santa Rosa to run a ton of errands. Here's how it went down:

  1. Dropped Eddie off at the bus at 7:15 am.
  2. Ate breakfast, cleaned up the kitchen, and pulled out of Gualala at 7:45 am.
  3. Pulled into Lowe's at 9:15 am to pick up a new, super-discounted, super-efficient washing machine. Dave calculated that it will pay for itself in only 3 years in water alone over continuing to use the old top loader we currently have in the Coast House.
  4. Nearby shopping center for all the stocking stuffers and some Christmas gifts.  The Dollar Tree and grocery section of Wal-Mart were both out of smoked oysters so Edward will be purchasing those for our stockings this year. I got a hazelnut iced coffee at the McDonald's inside Wal-Mart and it tasted like pure sugar. 
  5. Taco Bell for some nachos, which I ate in the car with the windows down, enjoying the sunshine and listening to NPR. It was a nice break from the shopping madness. I was ready to stop shopping at this point--but I knew I needed to finish my list of to-do's to make that 4 hour round trip worth it (not to mention the day off of school work!).
  6. Costco for a carpet steam cleaner and the usual bulk groceries. Among many other things, I bought a fresh 50 pound sack of whole wheat flour since I discovered that our supply had gone rancid in the hot Davis garage this past summer.  I also bought a double pack of bread...for half the cost of the sack of flour. I've GOT to get back into the homemade bread habit because it's so much cheaper.
  7. Spent 20 minutes packing the car--remember there was already a washing machine box in there and I needed to fit in a steam cleaner box AND a cart full of things for me and my MIL. And knowing I had other errands and it was a warm-ish day, I needed to arrange all the cold items together to keep them cool for the rest of the day.
  8. Got a phone call from my MIL that she wanted cotton yarn from a nearby fabric store. When I got there, I called to find out what color(s) she wanted. She said "one of each except black." I told her that there were 30+ colors and she still wanted one of each color. So...I loaded up a cart with 40 skeins of yarn for her!
  9. Old Navy to get a supply of pants for Eddie. Until we had that week of sub-freezing temperatures, he had refused to wear anything but shorts because pants make him run less fast. He had exactly 4 pairs of pants in his dresser, two of which were 4" floods on him. And that's really a lot considering he's only 43" tall in the first place.  A couple of months ago I paid for our new garage door installation with my Old Navy credit card so I had TONS of rewards to use for my purchases that day.  I got him 4 pairs of jeans, exchanged a pair for myself, and got a few things from the clearance for myself. 
  10. Haircut at the mall...just the split ends trimmed off.  FINALLY.  This was on my to-do list (whether in Gualala or anywhere else) since October.
  11. Picked up dinner at Chipotle, never mind the fact that I knew I wouldn't get home until way after dinnertime.  Normally I get a fatty burrito,but this time I got a salad with the lettuce on the side (to prevent it getting soggy on the drive). 
  12. Got myself a grande no water soy chai at Starbucks.
  13. Drove home, arriving at 7:30 pm, just as the boys were exiting the shower. I sang along to Crawdad Republic and listened to the beginning of a Radio Lab podcast during that dark drive.  The podcast was amazing even though it begs more questions for me than it answers...I might have to look up the prof and email him. Eddie and I talk about dinosaur extinction theories all the time so I'll have him listen to it or watch the video soon.  The music is upbeat and complex and sorrowful all at the same time. Edward and I went to high school with the band members, which makes it even better to me. I downloaded the album when we moved to the coast and I listen to some of it nearly every day when I drive to get Eddie from daycare. It's become the soundtrack to my new life as a coastal, motherless person.
  14. I unloaded the van all by myself (minus the washer, a monumental task with all those purchases) because I didn't want Dave or Eddie seeing their gifts. 
  15. Put Eddie to bed.
  16. Watched an episode of White Collar and drooled over Matt Bomer while I ate my super spicy Chipotle salad.  I think Dave was even drooling a little--he agrees that the guy is "very handsome."  
  17. Fell asleep at 9:45 pm. Errand days are looooooooooooong.
And because no post is worth looking at with out a cute picture, here are two that Dave took last weekend. Eddie asked him to take his picture with sister.  These two bicker, fight over toys, and make too much noise for my delicate ears most of the time...and then sometimes they're sweet. And seeing them be sweet together is crazy cute! Aw, melt my heart!
Cute Eddie and my beautiful baby girl. Isn't she a gorgeous dog?  I love love love her expressive brown eyebrows.

Dave asked her to smile and she did!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Marry Me, Korean Beef

Last weekend I was stumped about what to make for dinner each night this week.  Here in Gualala, Mondays and Tuesdays have become crock pot or frozen Costco pizza nights to make evenings easy since we both work those days.  So Sunday I prepared a crock full of pumpkin soup mostly using items from the freezer (pumpkin, black beans, beef stock, tomatoes), amped up with coriander, cumin, and garam masala. I love most soups topped with yogurt and cilantro so I had to buy the latter to complete the meal. The crock moved from the fridge to the cooker at at noon on Monday when I popped out of work for an errand.  I love living 2 minutes from work!

Typically, I base my short term meal planning on some ingredient that I will have on hand for a desired dish, just to use it up. Not knowing what else to make for the week and being without our CSA box until spring, I went to my Pinterest recipes board to get some ideas.  I spied something that made me remember a Korean beef recipe on my friend's blog AND a similar recipe in a magazine for Thai beef. I liked aspects of both, so I combined them.  Since I omitted key Thai ingredients like fish sauce and basil, it ended up tasting more like Korean food. was amazing.  Dave liked it so much that he had a second small serving instead of his piece of candy from the advent calendar.  Yeah, it was that good. Thank you, Leah, for posting your Korean beef recipe on your blog a few months back!

The pictures I took were terrible because it was already dark out and our kitchen lighting SUCKS.  But trust me, you should make this.
You can't see it in this crappy picture, but it was a very pretty meal since I used yellow and red bell pepper. This would be excellent made for a pot luck.
Korean Beef (with spinach)


  • 1.5 T oil
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1/2 t (or more) red pepper flakes
  • 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 pounds ground beef, 15-20% fat
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 t minced ginger
  • 3 cups packed spinach, whole leaves (although I would double that next time)

  • 2 medium carrots, julienned
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and julienned
  • 1 bell pepper, julienned
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 scallions, sliced thinly
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1 t sesame seeds (garnish)
  • More pepper flakes (garnish)

In a large skillet, heat oils on high, cook pepper flakes and garlic for just 30 seconds. Add beef and flatten out on bottom of skillet for maximum browning. Brown heavily, 8-10 minutes.

Add soy sauce, stock, sugar, and ginger and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and scrap up brown bits from bottom of pan. Fold in spinach and let wilt, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat to a warmed oven until ready to serve.

Make the salad by mixing all ingredients together.

Serve beef over rice and top with salad and garnishes.

Even Eddie liked it!  But first he insisted on cutting up his salad.
I hope the rest of the week is just as yummy!  (Although I doubt anything could top that beef...)  We're using up the left over rice as a substitute for pasta in a tuna salad served inside romaine heart leaves tonight.  Tomorrow we'll use up some frozen corn for corn cakes with goat cheese since we have everything on hand for that, including locally made fresh goat cheese.  Mmmm.  I wriggled my way onto a local goat cheese maker's email list and picked up my first batch last week. It's really good.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Since November 5....

Oh my goodness...where have I been?  It has been nearly a MONTH since I last posted anything.  My poor dad must be going through withdraws for lack of pictures.  Of course, if he were on Facebook or Instagram or had a cellphone to which I could send him pictures of Eddie like *everyone else* then I wouldn't have to post anything here.

Except...I should post stuff here because while pictures 'tell a thousand words' I can't take a picture of my brain so you'd never know what I've got to say.  Someday I'd like to use one of those blog-to-photo-book services and order a hardcopy of this thing to keep foreverandever as a journal.  So blog I shall.

This will be short because I want to get some work done today.  I have a self-imposed deadline of 12/31 for submitting my second chapter to my professor.  For now I'll ignore the fact that he sent back revisions to the first chapter back in the summer and I've not made any changes to it yet.

Since November 5 when I last posted:

The dogs are obsessed with Nina Kitty. If you say "meow" or "kitty" around Taters then he BOLTS to attention (if he isn't already on kitty patrol) and runs to her room to see her. Her litter box and food are in the laundry room so she's in there a lot. I don't blame her since there are high places to keep away from the dogs and a sunny window sill with a blanket on it for napping.
I made 23 pints of roasted salsa verde using the zillions of green tomatoes from the garden. It's gooooooooooood.  And now there are only carrots and chard left in the garden.

Ruby got sick with bloody stool, vomiting, and no appetite for a week. After $700+ in vet bills she recovered on her own without intervention beyond antinauseau and antibiotic shots and lots of xrays. There was a blockage but we never figured out what it was.
I did a small honey harvest with John a few weeks ago. We only got 18 quarts this time.
Dave bought us a phone holder for the vent in the car. I LOVE IT. I used to set my phone behind the steering wheel so I could use speaker phone. But this is easier and I can take selfies! Haha.

I'm now the in-law driver, taking my MIL and FIL on the two hour drive to Santa Rosa for medical appointments and shopping. I took this picture on the way to pick up John for one such trip. Sometimes I feel a touch resentful that I have to spend my time doing this, but it IS one of the reasons we moved up here--someone has to step in to care for aging parents and there's no one else around to do it. And at the end of the day I am glad that person is me because I wouldn't want them to have to pay someone else to do it.  At least they buy me lunch and a Starbucks treats for the drive home!

Eddie had Veterans Day off of school and a few days later stayed home sick with a slight fever, body aches, no appetite, and sleepiness. Dave kept him home one day I stayed home the next to give him a healthy 24 hour buffer before returning to school.  It was nice to spend extra time with him, even if he was sick for most of it. Once he recovered, I took him to the park. It was about 50F outside and he still insisted on wearing shorts. I was amazed that I convinced him to wear a sweater. This picture commemorates his first Superman swing experience--my favorite as a kid.
Eddie wanted me to take him on a walk around the neighborhood to see the houses that are for sale. (Anyone want a $400k cottage or a $1.25m multilevel house both with ocean views?) He didn't want to walk so I suggested a stroller ride. He pointed out, "But I'm a BIG BOY and strollers are for babies!" So we settled on the wheelbarrow instead.

Notice his Hulk shirt. I got this for him as a surprise addition with one of Dave's recent Old Navy orders.  HE LOVES IT. For about two weeks, I washed that thing every other day for him. One night I promised to wash it when he went to bed. About 40 minutes after saying goodnight we could still hear him in his room singing, laughing, reading to himself. Dave and I were talking in the kitchen and we hear Eddie yell, "HEY GUYS! ARE YOU WASHING MY HULK SHIRT?!  AND KEEP IT DOWN IN THERE!  I'M TRYING TO SLEEP!"  It cracked us up.
On Monday, 11/18 we tried to get Eddie to ride the bus. He refused. But the next day he rode it like a champ. And has every day since then. WOOOOOOOOOO! I used to drive him to school at 7:45 am and would get back to Gualala at 8:30 am. Now he's on the bus at 7:15 am and I don't have to get to work until 8:30 am. I've spent that extra time eating a hot breakfast, going grocery shopping, or getting to work early.
The dogs are still obsessed with kitty.
Eddie had no school for Thanksgiving week so we took him to Disneyland for the first time. It was a looooooooooong drive but we survived. Don't worry--we were stopped in traffic at a light when I took the picture.
Our Costco Disney package included character dining passes so we had a special Thanksgiving lunch at Ariel's Grotto. Eddie wasn't too keen on the food, but seeing the princesses was a hit.  "Mama, are they REAL princesses?"  Of course, Eddie.  =)
For Thanksgiving dinner, we ordered pizza and salad room service and watched Kung Fu Panda. They boys are holding up teeny tiny Tabasco bottles that came with the pizza.

I realized that my 32nd Thanksgiving was the first ever without my mom--I'd had Thanksgiving with her every single year--throughout childhood (obviously), college, and grad school. She loved relaxing as much as she hated cooking so I'm sure she would  have approved of our room service decision. 
Eddie's favorite ride was Autotopia. I have NEVER seen him so happy in his entire life. 
When we got back from Disneyland, we started bringing Nina into our room at bedtime. She sleeps on a pillow near my head and LOVES the extra attention.
Well, she likes the human attention anyway...the dogs still love staring at her. She was purring loudly in this picture so I know the gawking dogs don't bother her much.
Annnnnnnnnnnd that's what we've been up to!  I'll  be back again soon...but maybe not until the end of month after I've emailed off this next chapter.