Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The weekend, briefly

pancakes
{pancakes}

sorting
{sorting}

lazy afternoon
{lazy afternoon}

baby girl
{baby girl}

I had a pretty productive weekend. We had D's little brother up so I made pancakes for us. I'm still looking for the perfect buttermilk-esque pancake recipe. I usually use this one (subbing lemon juice for the vinegar) but this weekend I had buttermilk so I tried a new one. They're both great, not sure that one is better than the other. I might keep testing.

The boys went to FYF fest and I settled in for a marathon closet session. More on that later - it's something I've been putting off for months. After six solid hours of work I stopped and spent the rest of the evening watching Scandal and drinking rosé and trying to convince Circe to be social. She's mostly only interested in snuggling at night and she prefers to spend most of the day alone in the closet in our bedroom (I know, she's a weird one). 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

LACBC year 5

A couple weekends ago it was the fifth annual LA Craft Beer Crawl and it was pretty great. I write the same things about it every year, but it's that good. D and I threw a mild wrench in the works by getting mono a couple months ago (I know! I thought it was just for 13 year olds too!) and because I couldn't definitively figure out how long you're contagious we opted to not share drinks with anyone. We still managed to taste quite a bit by asking for half pours all afternoon and it worked out pretty well.

preparing! - LACBC 5
{preparing!}

casey's - LACBC 5
{kinetic at casey's}

the varnish - LACBC 5
{the varnish}

seven grand - LACBC 5
{seven grand}

las perlas - LACBC 5
{las perlas}

My very favorite beer this year was Neddles from Allagash. It's a slightly sour wild ale brewed in rum barrels. The Bruery had a great showing with a coconut and pineapple riff on their Sour in the Rye (sounds horrifying, isn't AT ALL). Deschute's Fresh Squeezed IPA was hoppy and not too citrusy and BONUS it's readily available (we found it at a random liquor store last week). Los Angeles Ale Works, a newcomer, has a winner with their Lievre Saison, served both regular and on cask. The on cask version was amazing, if you can get your hands on it. I also really enjoyed the Enter the Future IPA from Highland Park Brewery, which operates out of the Hermosillo. We were really bummed that we didn't make it in time to taste their Lazy Susan, which was getting a lot of buzz.

There are so many great places popping up and I keep thinking that I should do a run down on the different LA breweries. Maybe a little series? Is that hoping for too much, given that I'm barely managing to post a couple times a month?

Recaps of all LACBC to date - 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

P.S. - So many thanks for all the sweet sympathy re: my annoying dry eyes. I'm going to do a quick post very soon on what I'm doing (although I've seriously had two days this week where I couldn't see anything that was more than 3 inches away from my face, so I'm not claiming to be an expert) and pull together some of the excellent advice in the comments as well. Hate that so many of us are dealing with this!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fresh grout

Taking those last pictures was the straw that broke the camel's back, re: me and our kitchen grout. I had issues with our grout. Namely, the fact that it hadn't been redone since the 1930s and most of it was missing. At some point someone came along and attempted a quick fix by running large amounts of painting caulk along the more obvious gaps. I'm almost positive this didn't improve the situation.

One Sunday I couldn't stand it anymore so I did what any rational person would do - decided on the spur of the moment that I was going to re-grout the kitchen instead of taking care of the laundry, meal planning and grocery shopping that actually needed to get done.

scraping
{scraping}

un-grouting
{un-grouting}

I went through an insane number of razor blades before we gave in and went to Home Depot. Not sure why we didn't go sooner because we were obviously going to have to buy grout anyways. I think I was hoping I could get away without the scraper. We'd watched this video which is really all you need to do to prepare.

A few hours later, we had a freshly grouted kitchen. I was so excited that I also filled in a few gaps in the bathroom later.

sweet potato
{sweet potato on new grout}

This is the randomest picture to show, but apparently I didn't bother to take an official after picture so instead you get this shot of tiny roasted sweet potatoes, aka the cheapest gluten-free dog treats you can find. It's how we give Circe her pills every day.

There's nothing we can do about the fact that the glazing on the old tile is getting patchy, but I can't tell you how relieved I am to see actual grout in there. I swear our whole kitchen seems brighter.

And yes, we rent. And I'm guessing they're going to re-do the kitchen after we leave anyways so this might seem sort of pointless. But our counters are small so this project took just a few hours of active time (plus not being able to use the sink for 36 hours) and cost about $35 in supplies, most of which we can re-use in the future. It was totally worth it and I'm only sorry I didn't do it months earlier.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

On the homefront

Actual documentation of small amounts of cooking! An oven-baked meal is a rare beast right about now. I honestly only bothered with this because we were having company. Our kitchen just gets blisteringly hot during the summer so I'm not always willing to go for it.

lasagna in process
{lasagna in process}

bread + spread
{bread + spread}

caesar dressing
{caesar dressing}

classic caesar
{classic caesar}

contemplative
{contemplative}

Is it weird that I don't use a recipe for lasagna? I always eyeball it. I mix ricotta with a few eggs, salt, pepper, chopped basil and Parmesan. Then I just layer sauce, noodles, ricotta mix, mozzarella, repeat a couple times. I've finally started not pre-cooking my noodles and it's awesome. I hate wrangling cooked noodles. I do lay them out in the pan, pour boiling water over them and let them soak for 5 minutes but that probably isn't even necessary.

I made the garlic bread by whipping together salted butter and a few cloves of pressed garlic. I sliced the bread almost all the way through, slathered the butter between the slices and wrapped the whole thing in aluminum foil to bake for a bit. You don't get the lovely browned tops, but it's a lot easier.

I pulled the Caesar salad recipe directly from Bon Appétit and it was perfect - super traditional. I did chop the romaine because I personally hate unchopped salads. They look pretty but I just don't want to have to cut up slippery lettuce while trying to hold a conversation.

And if you're wondering what Circe is waiting for in that last picture ...

romaine nubs
{romaine nubs}

She sticks pretty close while we're cooking because we're terrible and will feed her scraps of food. We're super strict about never feeding her from our plates (which is amazing because she's learned not to beg and she just leaves the room if we start eating) but it's so nice to have her in the kitchen while we work that we bribe her. Romaine hearts are her fave.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A minor detour

There weren't any homemade popsicles this weekend because we ended up driving up to Northern California to help my sister and her husband get settled in their new place. It was a super last minute decision and it made the weekend a crazy whirlwind, but I'm glad we were able to do it.

into the fog
{into the fog}

staring
{staring}

Drake's taps
{Drake's taps}

Drake's flight
{Drake's flight}

princess platform
{princess platform - aka the sadness of being too short to see out the car window and the kindness of an owner who will build you a viewing platform out of thermarests}

We normally zoom up the 5 but this time we were following the VW, so we took the coastal route and cruised at 50 miles an hour. It was actually a nice way to see the state for most of the drive. We left LA at 4:30 am and Circe, who is not normally a morning person, was beyond thrilled to have everyone up in the middle of the night and she loved the whole drive. I guess we need to take her on more road trips.

We went to Drake's almost immediately upon arrival. It's a great little brewery and I've been a big fan of their Aroma Coma since I first had it at the brew crawl a couple years ago.

We had to leave at 5 am on Sunday, but I'm hoping we'll be able to get back for a less crazy visit very soon.

P.S. - Why do our loved ones have to keep migrating north?!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Not to brag or anything

Just made three boring taking-care-of-business phone calls in a row and it took less than 10 minutes and I am pumped with myself. When you work full time it's annoyingly difficult to make personal calls when the people you need to contact are also only in the office from 9 - 5.

What I haven't done - uploaded any recent photos to share with you, planned any real meals (side benefit - eating scrambled eggs for dinner three nights every week really frees up your food budget) or done anything remotely useful with my life except research and order a vast variety of products claiming to help with dry eyes (90% sure my eyes are trying to slowly kill me) and then watching Sons of Anarchy every weeknight while trying to convince Circe that getting her ears washed is secretly awesome or at least better than another $200 vet bill. None of this is as depressing as it sounds and actually, with the exception of the getting-to-be-too-routine visits to the ophthalmologist and the vet, it's pretty pleasant around here.

I have also been eating a lot of Fudgesicles. And thinking about making fancy homemade ones but then just buying another box.

So basically, you aren't missing out on much.

Goals for the weekend: move photos from camera to computer to interwebs. Potentially make fancy popsicles.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

You need these ...

Just a quick public service announcement. If you haven't already discovered the peanut butter chips from Trader Joe's, you're missing out.

the best thing
{the best thing}

I've been swapping them in for half the chocolate chips called for in my favorite recipe (I usually just cut the chocolate in half, because I like more cookie than chip). They are slightly salty and so, so good.

They get soft easily so I keep them in the freezer. But that might just be because our kitchen becomes an oven at the drop of a hat. Hard to tell.