Saturday, February 28, 2009

oh. mah. GAH!

check it:


holy shit, y'all. i must find this. like, immediately.

then again, bacon salt finally materialized in my grocery store a few weeks ago and not only did the hub give me the "look" as i drooled, but i couldn't bring myself to cough up the $5 for it. oy.

oh, a couple of things about yesterday's tot extravaganza:

i don't watch "jon & kate + 8," nor do i follow the saga of the 20-member-strong duggar family, so i don't associate my fabulous thursday night dinner with either of those. although i was amused at the ginormous-sized recipe for tater tot casserole in the latter's website. and i won't lie, a couple of those other recipes caught my eye, too. stay tuned.

also, please do not take that post as me stereotyping all midwesterners. come on - i know that not everyone in the area subsists on casseroles/hot dishes! but just like how a lot of folks assume that californians are weird, liberal tree-hugging hippies who tan and have fake boobs and big blonde hair, i guess i have my own ideas in my nugget, too. my apologies to anyone i may have offended - you know me. that was certainly not my intent.

with that being said, i've got a breakfast casserole in my trusty convection oven. i've taken the tater tot obsession to a whole 'nother level, people. i'll report later.

let's just say it's got bacon, mushrooms, eggs, and tots in it. yup, i have issues.

Friday, February 27, 2009

"come on, gimme some of your tots."

i've never been to the midwest.

well, unless you count a stopover in chicago when i was 17, coming home from visiting my godparents in maryland. i had an hour, which was just enough time to find the gate for my new plane and check out the airport shops. so i guess that doesn't really count, huh?

where was i going with this? oh, yes. so i've never been to the midwest, where casseroles are called "hot dishes" and are a staple in many households for dinner. i've made a few of them myself, but never had i tried the glory that is TATER TOT CASSEROLE.

dudes. there are three basic ingredients in this thing - ground beef, tater tots (you know, those delicious bits of seasoned potato all smushed together in a cute little bite-sized cylindrical patty), and cream of [insert random vegetable here] soup. all good, right? i googled for recipes and found all sorts of variations, including ones that called for french fried onions, green beans, sour cream, bacon.

you know where this is going.

i don't even know what brought this casserole to mind - i'd never heard of it until i read a cheesy la vyrle spencer novel years ago - but for some reason, yesterday, i HAD to have it. i knew i had all the ingredients, and i seriously looked forward to making it all. day. long.

i tweaked one of the recipes i found and made my own variation of "tater tot hot dish" - browned and drained a pound of ground beef, added in some crumbled cooked bacon (surprise!), mixed a can of low-sodium cream of mushroom soup with a can of skim milk, and stirred it all together. i put that in a baking pan, topped it with some shredded cheddar, covered the entire surface with frozen tots, and then sprinkled more cheese on top of that.

i'm drooling just thinking about it.

to make the meal semi-healthy, i decided to make the teen's favorite spinach salad (see, the bacon did double duty). i served it alongside the casserole, and the hub took one look and said "dude, are those TATER TOTS in there??"



i glared at him, started feeding the bean, and we all dug in.

oh mah gah. i am in luuuuuurve with tater tot hot dish. it's the best thing EVER. and although i really, really dislike leftovers, i was totally stoked to pack up the rest of the pan in a tupperware container for lunch.

so guess what i just popped in the microwave? mmmmm. peace!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

so much wan randomness

i don't think i've mentioned it here before, but in the last couple of months i've tried out something fun - mystery shopping!

if you're not familiar, this means that i get paid to go to shops or restaurants, pay close attention to customer service, and then come home and fill out an online form providing the details of my visit. basic stuff, like how many employees were on the floor, did they acknowledge me when i arrived, how long did it take to be served, etc. i've done about four or five assignments so far, and it's always fun and easy. mind you, it doesn't pay much - i just got my first check for one of those jobs for a whopping $8.85 - but if it's close to home and i don't have anything else to do, it's cool to get out of the house and browse around.

i did a job a couple of days ago that had me posing as a bride-to-be and shopping for tuxedo rentals at a local shop. i kept my e-ring on, left my wedding band at home, picked an imaginary date and venue, and the teen posed as my "sister" while she kept the bean occupied. the job itself was simple, and it was kind of fun looking at the colors and options that are available these days.

it totally made me wistful for the days of wedding planning - all that anticipation and excitement, dreaming of how all the details would pull together, imagining how much fun we'd have with our guests. i so wish i'd started blogging back then! anyway, the teen and i did a little reminiscing and giggling over our memories of our wedding and local reception, and now we're even more excited to take part in my brother and o's wedding.

love. weddings. SO. much!

oh, and the job pays $20. whee!

after we were done, we headed to the nearby mall and walked around. the teen and the bean checked out the offerings in the baby section at nordstrom while i bought a pair of cheapo sunglasses (i never did get those fabu dior shades that i wanted so much), and i laughed when i rejoined them to find this:


ha! awesome.

when the teen was a baby, i met an older filipino lady who babysat her for me while i worked. she was such a sweet woman, and it was like having one of my aunts nearby. anyway, she introduced the teen to a yummy, savory, slightly sour filipino dish called sinigang, which she often served for lunch. of course, the baby teen couldn't pronounce the word, so she simply called it "rice and soup."

and all her life, the teen has loved rice and soup and gobbles it down every chance she gets. when we were living with my gram, i got her to show me how to make it (so we didn't have to hit her up every time the teen had a craving), and it was so wonderfully easy to make, it's almost ridiculous.

the hub's not a huge fan, so whenever he's gone for dinner with clients or whatever, the teen knows that we'll be partaking in some delicious rice and soup that evening. last night was one of those times. yay!

yesterday also saw me trying my hand at crepemaking. the teen and i adore crepes, and when i stopped to think how silly it was to shell out $8 for them, i decided i was going to give it a shot. my mom is a master at making crepes, and i have great memories of her delicious crepes suzette. of course, she has a fancy-schmancy electric crepe maker, and all i had was my griddle pan and high hopes. heh.

so i found a recipe for crepe batter, mixed up half a batch, and got to work. sadly, since my small nonstick skillet pan was in the dishwasher, i settled for ladling the batter onto the flat griddle pan. look at how ugly my crepes turned out:



but once i added a bit of this:



folded it over, and served it to the teen with a dollop of cool whip, i got this:



and so, yeah - when we'd gobbled up a couple of crepes apiece and cleaned up the kitchen, i went straight to the 'puter to look for a fancy-schmancy electric crepe maker of my very own.

and i found one! on sale, with free shipping! whee!

i see many, many crepes in our future.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

pretty pretty princess

my mac is running as slow as molasses lately. the hub took one look at my iPhoto library and gave me an exasperated look.

"dude. you have twelve THOUSAND fucking pictures in there. and you wonder why it's slow?"

well, since he put it that way... poophead. so i made it my mission to buy some blank DVD-Rs and start moving pictures over.

of course, this was about a month or so ago. heh. hey, life gets in the way of little shit like that. but now that we're mostly settled, i decided that it was time to accomplish this little task. i went to staples and was stoked to find a spindle of 100 DVD-R discs on sale for $20 - regularly priced at $50! whee!

and so yesterday was mostly spent organizing and copying pictures - first to my external hard drive, then burning them onto the discs. i fucked it up, though - of course - because i realized as i was burning disc 5 out of 6, the newly created folders in which i'd so carefully organized the pictures didn't copy over. and so i have DVDs of completely unorganized pictures, all with names like "IMG056." shit. oh, well. i've got 94 blank DVDs left!

the poor bean's bangs have grown out quite a bit since her first haircut a few months ago. so i decided that it was time to get them trimmed - and there's a newly opened kids' salon nearby, another branch of the "little kuts" we went to the first time. i called, made an appointment, and after we picked up the teen, we headed off to la verne.



the teen sat in the chair with the bean on her lap, and our stylist put a pretty princess cape over her and handed her a bucket of toys. this kept her quiet and occupied, making it much easier to accomplish the task at hand. the stylist was quite the chatty cathy, though, which drew funny looks from both girls.



the "before" shot:



and then she started snipping away.



almost done:



she looks pretty happy, yes?



she was even happier when we walked out the door with a pink balloon.



and then yesterday's dinner was simple - tomato-artichoke soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. i realized later on that i should've thrown together a nice green salad to go with it, but i didn't think of it then. next time!



i really need a haircut myself. i wonder when i'll be able to squeeze that in. hell, i don't even know what i want to do with my 'do. it needs something, but i'm kind over the "pob." what next?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

dinner and a bath

for last night's dinner, i turned to my buddy rachael ray. okay, actually, i'm pretty annoyed by her, with that stupid ass "yum-o" crap, but she's got some pretty good recipes. one of the few cookbooks i saved from the half.com store was rachael ray 365: no repeats, and the recipe of the night was chicken cordon bleu hash, served with mashed potatoes.

i tried to find the recipe online, but it's apparently only in the book. i changed up a few things, but it's pretty simple - heat through a ham steak, season chicken with salt & pepper and cook in a skillet with a little olive oil, and cube it all up. sprinkle a little chopped thyme on top. plate it on an ovenproof dish, atop a bed of mashed potatoes (i totally cheated and used those awesome steam & mash potatoes), finish with some grated cheese (i used mozzarella, but the recipe calls for gruyere), and put it under the broiler to melt the cheese. voila! i served it with some mixed veggies, and it was a big hit.



if you want the exact recipe, just e-mail me.

i also busted out my new fab pink mixer to make some delicious chocolate cookies and mixed in some peanut butter chips. these are SO yummy. if you like soft, chewy cookies, give these a try.



the bean, who decided that cooked carrots would make a great hair conditioner, got her first bubble bath after dinner. we'd found some all-natural baby bubble bath at fresh & sleazy (or "f'in sleazy", as one of yesterday's commenters dubbed it), and we put it to good use. the bean was pretty fascinated with the bubbles, although the teen was less than impressed with the quality and quantity. heh.



and, of course, to keep her modest, i covered up her bits in this picture, which i love (well, i love the original picture, sans pasties):



and what's a baby bath photo shoot without a butt shot?




oh man, she's gonna strangle me one day for these.

Monday, February 23, 2009

wan's weekend, in bullets

  • waking up at 3:33 am is not magical, but it makes for some good blogging material. too bad i can't remember any of the fun shit i was going to write about. boo.
  • an outlet of the convenience/grocery store chain fresh & easy finally opened in my neck o'the woods. the teen, the bean and i decided to check it out, with added motivation courtesy of a $5 off coupon i got in the mail. cheap produce and canned goods! yummy-looking prepared dishes! fresh bakery items! $.49 cups of pudding! i think i'm gonna like this place. and i dubbed it [inanely and inappropriately] "fresh & sleazy."
  • the teen thinks my current 'do is old and boring. i've gotta agree with her, but finding a new style isn't exactly easy. i turned to the in style hair makeover and could only find ONE that was even close to decent-looking. and even that's pretty freaking questionable. oy.
  • the cooking mania continues - friday night was my [in]famous homemade spaghetti, served with some clearman's cheese bread and green salad with italian dressing made from scratch. saturday night saw us feasting on corned beef & cabbage with buttered parsley potatoes. and last night was skillet chili pie - an abbreviated recipe for chili, topped off with cornbread batter and baked in the oven. so delicious!
  • i decided that my blingtastic blog background was way too busy, so i got rid of it. then i couldn't find another one i liked better. so the one that's up now is only temporary. i think.

    before (i forgot to take a screen shot of it before i wiped out the background, so this baconized version is courtesy of my friend mrs. shorty cake):


    now:and now i've vowed to change the background whenever i damn well feel like it, so don't get used to what's up at the moment. heh.
  • i thought i finally had the hub talked into that cute little honda cr-v. i really did. it's such a cute little car, and it would fit so nicely in that garage we have downstairs. but after he and FIL went to look at it (again, since we went last month and i got to test drive one), i'm back to square freaking one. "it's just not as safe as your car now," he said. ugh. you can't compare a honda with a BMW! come on.
  • by now, MIL has landed in china - she's on another mission trip with people from church, doing the bible-smuggling thing. she left friday, armed with printouts from the louis vuitton website that brother wan and i gave her. last time, she came bearing armfuls of LV bags and wallets, and this time she wanted examples of stuff we liked. heh. i'm terrible at pinpointing fake LV items, but the ones she brought back last time seemed to be legit - at least, according to a couple of websites i looked at. i hope we aren't funding terrorists.
  • watching "encino man" with the teen is HILARIOUS. she and i howled with laughter as we watched it on friday night, and now an hour doesn't go by without one of us uttering the words "weezin' the ju-uice, bu-uddy." so wrong, and yet so right. not to mention, it reminds me of how much i loved brendan fraser back in the day.
  • the bean is usually kind of high-maintenance when it comes to naps - i've been really lax about nursing her to sleep and cuddling her as she naps. yes, i know she's far too old for me to be doing that kind of shit. shut up.

    anyway, the ILs came over on friday (for MIL to see us before she left on her trip) and hung out till about 2:00. the bean hadn't napped yet, and she was obviously tired. but she refused to sleep when they left, so i went to the bedroom to put laundry away.

    and when i came back into the living room, i was totally amused and blown away to find this:

    so awesome.
  • and one more bean bit: she seems to think it's pretty funny to smack folks in the face. we never tolerate it and always hold her hand down, say "no hitting!" with a totally straight face, and what does the little shit do?

    she laughs!

    and i always have to turn my head to hide a smile, because she's just so darn cute. but i REFUSE to be *that* mom - you know the one. i know you do. everyone knows parents like that, who think their kids are just so cute and precious no matter what they do. and all the while, everyone rolls their eyes, talks shit about them when they can't hear, and marvels at what awful parents they are. i WON'T be that mom, yo. know that i'm completely aware of the perils of having a cute kid.

    but come on. is it not difficult to discipline a face like this?

  • we met up with my folks yesterday and had some delicious cuban grub at the manhattan beach outlet of versailles restaurant. mmmm. i'd read on yelp that the service was rather spotty, and forewarned is forearmed, right? so i wasn't particularly shocked when our server mumbled, served everyone BUT my stepdad, and then we played a game of "how many servers does it take to bring cream for coffee?" but the food was scrumptious (garlic chicken! buttery rice!) and we all left stuffed and happy. we visited with them for a while and then headed home to finish projects and get ready for the week.
and how was YOUR weekend?

Friday, February 20, 2009

top chef right here, foo!

after my oh-so-helpful therapy session yesterday (i.e., my random vent blog post), i did a little chatting with my buddies on the OC nest board while continuing my quest to empty my google reader. and when my good buddy ssinca gave me a link to a recipe that she highly recommended - for snickerdoodle blondies! - i decided that i had to have them.

plus, i found mushrooms on sale at the grocery store a couple of days ago and had two containers of them in the fridge, just waiting to be used. and whaddaya know - ThatGirl had a lovely 'shroom-filled post that was absolutely perfect for me. PERFECT!

it was all i needed to get my ass out to bed bath & beyond to finally buy the pink kitchenaid hand mixer i've been wanting. the hub's never gonna touch this thing, so i don't care what he says about the color. ha! anyway, i have a stack of 20% off coupons that i totally hoard in a drawer (much to the hub's dismay), so i took one and off we went.


wouldn't you know it - they only had ONE pink mixer left, and it was the display. there was no box, no instructions (although it is a hand mixer, so how complicated could it be?), and it was missing a beater. but i wanted it. i was determined to have it. so what did i do?

i looked around, found another kitchenaid mixer on display, plucked the beaters off, and walked my happy ass up to the cashier. yay!




when we got home, it was time to give the bean some lunch. her little faces were totally cracking me up.



a few days ago, she'd shared some top ramen with me. so bad, i know, but she loves noodles and it's fun to watch her eat them.



it's actually been a really good cooking week for me. look, homemade creamed spinach:



the most delicious bacon-wrapped brown sugar pork roast:



i made the snickerdoodle blondies, but they don't photograph that well. trust me, though, they're DELISH. try 'em.

and then i got to work on that mushroom and cream cheese tart. i tried dicing the mushrooms by hand, but quickly got tired of that and busted out my chopper to finish the job:



cooked 'em up according to the directions (looks gross, i know, but it's so yum):



at this point, i realized that the bean was being really, really quiet. and you know that always means she's up to no good! i peeked around and saw the little booger going through my purse. she'd found my wallet and pulled out every last piece of paper in it. haha!



i made the crust, and as the dough chilled in the fridge, i got to work on the chicken marsala (also recommended by a nestie). i managed to time it perfectly and plated up a couple of slices of tart (i didn't have tartlet pans and didn't have the patience to bust out cookie cutters anyway, so i just used a small round cake pan) alongside the chicken:



the hub was awed and amazed at my culinary skills. oh, yes. and i was quite proud of myself as i bit into that mushroom tart and savored the buttery flakiness of the crust.

"wow, where'd you get this crust?" he asked.
"i MADE that shit from scratch, foo!" i proudly retorted.

yes. i'm uber klassy. you would expect nothing less, yes?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

i don't like being annoyed

before i go off, i offer many, many thanks to everyone who provided such great advice about how to help poor mollydog. i'm doing some research and i think we're going to give crate training a shot. i hope it works - she does like to squeeze herself in tight spots and just chill there, so i have a feeling it may do the trick.

and now, a random, possibly cryptic vent - i don't do these often, because i much prefer looking at the bright side of things, but geez.

i really don't understand why people can be such douchebags. honestly - why can't folks just 'fess up and be honest, especially when we've bent over backwards to accommodate their every whim and help out? i guess that it's easier to just jump to conclusions, get defensive, and come out swinging, even when previous communication has been nothing but cordial.

i swear, whenever money is involved - whether you're dealing with someone you know or a complete stranger - people turn into total assholes who refuse to listen to reason or consider the other side, and won't even consider a compromise. it just seems like we play by the rules, go above and beyond in some situations, do everything we possibly can, and then we just get fucked. fucked in the ass. with no lube.


get some lube, people! LUBE! gah!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

good golly, miss molly

i love my dog. i do.

the teen and i wanted her so much - we spent months dropping hints to the hub and talking about how much fun we'd have with a dog in the house. we ooh'ed and aah'ed over every dog we came across and melted at the adorable puppies at the local pet stores.

and on christmas eve 2004, we finally got our wish.



look at this face! she was all of about twelve weeks old here.



we loved our mollydog so much. we had tons of fun playing with her, getting her groomed, sharing the bed with her at night. before the bean, molly was our own personal heater, snuggling into a blanket at our feet as we all slept.



poor doggy. i thought the leg warmers were awesome, but to her, it was torture in sequins.



when the bean joined our happy family, molly was hesitant at first, but eventually warmed up to the new little being in the house.



so what's the problem? well, she's sort of good at shitting and pissing where she's supposed to. but she disappoints us on a regular basis - the little shit'll wait till we leave the house and then let loose. and all too often, it's not in the right place. we've tried all sorts of methods for potty training and somehow, she's still not getting it through that damn pea-sized brain.

when we were in the old house, it was annoying but fixable - the sunroom was tiled and easy to clean. but now, we've got linoleum in the dining room, kitchen, and bathrooms - but carpet everywhere else.

and we're finding piss every-fucking-where. we've got bottles of nature's miracle and try to confine her in the dining room and kitchen when we leave the house, but i hate keeping her confined. not to mention, it's a small ass apartment. if we gate it up, it cuts the place damn near in half and it's inconvenient as all hell.

last night, after finding about a half-dozen piss spots in the carpet, the hub was at the end of his rope. and i don't know what to do. the ILs have offered to take her, but their house is fully carpeted too, and i don't want to pass on a problem like this. not to mention, i would miss the little furball like mad - as would the bean. when we got home from san diego last month and the dog was still at the vet's (where she was boarded for the weekend), the bean spent a good chunk of time walking around, looking in all of molly's usual hangouts, wondering where her doggy was. and when we picked her up and the bean caught sight of her, she lit up like a christmas tree.

i love my dog. what the hell can i do to fix her??

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

lazy, rainy day

yesterday, we woke up to find that it was absolutely pouring outside. a perfect day for relaxing at home. but after an unsuccessful attempt to get the hub to work from home yesterday, the bean and i settled for chillin' at the apartment by ourselves in our jammies.

all.
day.
long.

heh. but we weren't necessarily unproductive! i busted out my trusty swiffer and attached a lovely, lavender-vanilla scented cloth to it and proceeded to clean my kitchen floor. when i was done, the bean decided she wanted to help.


and then she caught a whiff of the aroma, laid down, rolled around a bit, and then crawled around sniffing the floor. it was comical.

i decided to vacuum the living room carpet, too, and she didn't like that one bit. she hates the sound of the vacuum cleaner. oh, well.

by the time the hub got home, the floors were nice and clean - and we were STILL in jammies. ha! i made dinner - grilled chicken with salad, tossed in a homemade red wine-honey vinaigrette, plus cheesy biscuits - and then we finally hopped in the shower (yes, both of us). as we watched the bachelor, i got to see what happens to my hair when i don't blow-dry it.

and it ain't pretty. we won't be doing that again anytime soon.

Monday, February 16, 2009

a love-ly weekend indeed

it was a fun and busy valentine's weekend for the wans.

on saturday, we exchanged cards. i'd picked up a limited-edition, just for v-day bag of all-green peanut m&ms while at target the other day, and when the teen caught sight of them, she was all "ewwwwwwwww, that's gah-ross, mom!" heh.



the hub ran a few errands, and then when he got back, we packed up the car and headed up to wrightwood to see the ILs and help them out with the valentine's dinner they were putting on at their church. it was gorgeous and cold up there, with the recent storms dumping feet of fresh powder on the town.



the church was rocking these killer-looking icicles.



the ILs had set and decorated the tables quite festively, complete with a flyer that explained the evening's murder mystery entertainment.



the bean put on some gloves and then went outside with the hub to play and eat some snow.



i took her in to the childrens' building to let her run amok and play with all the toys. after being slightly dumbfounded at first, she got into it and had a blast.



i was really amused to open a drawer of kitchen toys and find this:



spam is everywhere!

then it was a whirlwind of activity, helping brother wan finish cooking the meal (prime rib, creamed corn, smashed potatoes), plating the individual dinners, coordinating the kids who acted as that evening's servers and entertainers, dishing out dessert, and then staring openmouthed at the piles and piles of plates, flatware, and glasses that resulted. i had the bean strapped to me, asleep as i worked, and when it was all over, the hub sent us home with his mom while he, brother wan, and FIL tackled the cleanup. they didn't get home till 11:30. yikes.

yesterday, we got up early to head home and get ready for a visit with my brother and o. we hadn't seen them in ages and we were pretty excited to hang out and just relax with them. o recently switched to a vegan diet, and so i'd bought ingredients to make some vegan chili. i was a little nervous, as i'd never made chili from scratch before, let alone anything vegan, but i had fun researching recipes and buying the groceries - which included meatless "meatballs" that i planned to chop up and stir into the chili.

it turned out really well:



after tasting it several times, i got the hub to give it a try. he wasn't thrilled about the idea of meatless meatballs, but he gamely stuck a spoon into the pot and took a big bite.

"it's actually pretty good!" he proclaimed, and i beamed. yes!

and when my brother and o arrived, we chatted for a while before we dug in. i'd also made "regular" chili for me and the hub, along with cornbread and sliced up some ciabatta i'd found at trader joe's. everything was yummy, and i think they enjoyed their special chili. at least, i hoped they really did and weren't just being nice. ha!

they're planning a november wedding, and so we sat and talked about their progress and helped them with questions they had about vendors and meals and contracts and things. oh, how i love weddings! and then as i took the bean into the other room to nurse, o followed me in and shut the door.

and asked me to be a bridesmaid! oh mah gah! i'm so excited, i can barely stand it. and when we went back out to join the boys, she also asked me if the bean could be their flower girl.

could she? COULD SHE?!? hell, yeah! and there's also a role for the teen, but i think i'll let them talk to her first before i spill here (stop smiling, my dear, i know you're reading this).

we fired up the wii and played a bit of my new game, which was really freaking hilarious. i can't wait to play it some more. then we started playing baseball - really badly. the boys were aghast at our ineptitude and quickly took over the controllers. they sucked at first, too, but got the hang of it and totally blew us out of the water. ha!

they tried out boxing:



and bowling and tennis, and then we were all tired. haha, wusses!

i sent them home with the rest of the chili and "meatballs," and about an hour after they left, the hub fired up the BBQ for our delayed valentine's dinner. while he grilled a couple of thick ribeye steaks, i took a tip from amber and adapted this recipe to make some miso-glazed shrimp.



mmmm, it was quite a delicious way to end valentine's weekend. and so way better than fighting the crowds and going out! i love cozy dinners at home.
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