Friday, July 4, 2008

happy fireworks day!

I hope everyone is going to have a fun and safe holiday! What are your plans? I'm meeting up with some friends from high school in San Diego for an all day BBQ and celebrating extravaganza. I had to make an emergency Forever21 run last night to purchase something patriotic for the event. If you're throwing a party or going to one, remember that everyone loves cupcakes! The ones above are from my personal Guru, aka Martha Stewart. I really like the white frosting and fresh berries look, it is very sophisticated yet playful because it's a cupcake! Even if you don't have cupcake plans for your Fourth of July, make sure to have a great day and enjoy lots of fireworks, like these cupcakes from Cupcake Project did.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

four is a horrible number

Four is pretty much one of the unluckiest numbers ever, according to Chinese beliefs. But, I'm bored and Frank posted this so I will, too, since I never do memes. Maybe you'll learn a few things about me, who knows, anything is possible with a meme.

Four jobs I've had:
1. Greeter at two different restaurants
2. Resident Assistant...something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy
3. Property management assistant (I have my California real estate license!)
4. Columnist for a regional music and art monthly publication

Four movies I can watch over and over again:
1. Old School
2. The Big Lebowski
3. Sixteen Candles
4. Superbad

Four places I've lived:
1. Stockton, California
2. Madrid, Spain
3. Pau, France
4. Irvine, California

Four authors I could read over and over:
1. David Sedaris
2. J.D. Salinger
3. John Steinbeck
4. Anthony Bourdain

Four TV shows I love:
1. Family Guy
2. Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?
3. Top Chef
4. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations

Four places I've vacationed:
1. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
2.Kauai and Oahu, Hawaii
3. Paris, France
4. Mykonos, Greece

Four of my favorite dishes:
1. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
2. Lean cuisine pizza
3. Salad with cilantro, avocado, and fresh lemon juice
4. Yogurt and honey

Four sites I visit daily:
1. All the ones listed in my "favorite sites"
2. Facebook
3. All four of my e-mail accounts
4. iGoogle

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Laughing on the couch with Rod
2. Home with Tater Tot
3. Under the Eiffel Tower
4. Hanging out in San Francisco

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

best banana bread ever

This is the only recipe I carry on me at all times. Seriously, I have it folded up in my wallet. It might seem weird, but trust me, it has come in handy so many times when I'm at home for a weekend or staying with a friend for a few days. People always buy too many bananas. I don't care who you are or how many people are in your family or how much potassium you have to eat on a daily basis, you will buy too many bananas and they will turn brown and mooshy and inedible, and you will throw them away. Not anymore! Print out this recipe or jot it down on a scrap piece of paper and keep it with you at all times. Trust me, you will use it. More than once. I feel like Mom buys too many bananas solely because she knows that it breaks my heart to see them end up in the trash and wants me to make banana bread.

Some people can take or leave banana bread. I, on the other hand, absolutely love it, and have hence perfected this recipe after many trials, errors, and taste testings. I've had this recipe for a while and don't remember where I found it, but I've altered it to be a slightly healthier by using mostly egg whites instead of the whole egg, and opting for fat-free milk. Plus, it has like 3 bananas in it. That's good for you, right?

Best Banana Bread Ever

1 cup packed brown sugar
7 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
3 bananas
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cups fat free milk
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Beat well at medium speed of mixer.

2. Combine bananas, oats, and milk. Add to sugar mixture from step one, beat well.

3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and stir with a whisk.

4. Add to sugar mixture and beat until moist.

5. Put in 9x5 loaf pan coated with spray. Alternatively, you could use a mini-loaf pan or a mini-muffin tin, or both. I used both because I doubled the recipe and had a ton of batter. We had a LOT of over-ripe bananas.

6. Bake large loaf for approximately 1 hour and ten minutes, or until golden brown. The mini-loaf pan will take approximately 40 minutes, but I would continue to check on the bread every few minutes after 30 minutes passes, as baking times differ from stove to stove. Mini-muffin banana bread takes about the same amount of time (40 minutes).

This is the first time I made this recipe using a mini-muffin tin and I loved the results. If you're not going to eat this right away after cooling, make sure to wrap them in plastic wrap and throw them in the fridge. This recipe yields very moist and light banana bread, but if you find after a day or two (if it lasts that long!) that it has gotten somewhat dry, just wrap it in a moist paper towel and pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds. It brings back the moisture and makes it nice and warm.

Twin loves this recipe so much that once when she was feeling pretty homesick in college I FedExed her a loaf overnight for $32. A lot of money, I know, but it was worth it!

Monday, June 30, 2008

wanted: prince charming

Twin isn't getting married anytime soon, but I found her the perfect cake today from the fabulous bakery Pink Cake Box. Sadly, they're all the way in New Jersey, but since Twin is single, I think we have some time to find a local bakery that would be able to make something similar in time for the (eventual) wedding.

Oh, and for her bridal shower? A glass slipper cake, of course!

My favorite cake was an adorable cat and pizza novelty cake:

Substitute the cats with Pomeranians, and you're speaking my language. I think this cake would make a super cute birthday cake for someone that loves their pets and pizza...just like me! This, uh, was a cake made FOR the pets, though. In the product description from Pink Cake Box, the baker writes, "A couple recently approached us and asked if we could make a cake for their cats. They were planning to have a pizza party celebrating their cats birthday and wanted a cake to match the theme." I swear to G, if I ever even pretend to want to spend 300 dollars on a cake for Tater Tot, someone punch me in the face. That is straight up not normal. I don't care how much you consider your animals to be "a part of your family," there is no way they need a cake that costs several hundred dollars that they can't even eat.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

strawberry, to the rescue!

So I have no idea what is going on with these Targets in the SoCal area, but I've only been living here for two weeks and my two most amazing moments thus far have occurred in Target stores. Maybe it's just chance, these things could have happened anywhere, but by freak accident happened at Target. Maybe it has to do with probability, I spend most of my free time in Target so of course I'm going to have most of my non-school experiences there. Maybe it's like that whole salmonella outbreak with tomatoes where restaurants stopped selling them and then they were super expensive in grocery stores and then reports came out that officials aren't even sure if it really was tomatoes that were the cause of the outbreaks and I don't really know where I'm going with that example but it was really annoying to not be able to find tomatoes anywhere. Who knows what it is, but last week I met a celebrity in the school-supply aisle, and this week I became a hero in cosmetics.

I was wandering aimlessly from section to section, as I tend to do in Target, before landing in the exercise aisle and trying out a few different free weights. I spent a few minutes there, trying to convince myself how much I need and will use a pair of pink 3 pounders. I was just about to put the weights in my cart but then got distracted when a woman, frantic, ran up to the Target associate a few feet away from me and started shrieking about losing her son. The associate acted very calm and proceeded through a series of questions and actions that much have been stressed during her training period because she had the system down pat, let me tell ya. Anyway, within 30 seconds the employee had been able to calm the mother down enough to get a physical description of her son, the child's last known location, and then the associate whipped out her walkie talkie and radioed everyone in the store that a "code yellow" was in process. I understand what it feels like to lose a child (dog, in my case) so the situation wasn't funny, per se, but I was sort of amused by the whole "code yellow" schpeal. I mean, I didn't laugh or anything, but I definitely could have laughed. If I wasn't four feet away from the distressed mom.

Suddenly a storm of red and khaki figures were descending on the scene from all angles, and after a quick pow wow they all went running off in different directions in search of the missing child. Normally, if someone's child were missing, I would chip in with the search, but there were so many people already looking I figured I would just get in the way. So I continued with my shopping, making sure to glance down each aisle as I passed, just in case I saw the boy.

Ten minutes had passed and I was on the opposite side of the store, debating which SPF would best suit my every day needs (see yesterday's post re: sunburn) when I heard a faint rumble rumble squeak rumble coming towards me. I looked up from the oil-free SPF 45 and toward the noise and saw a little boy, all by himself, riding a tricycle. He didn't look lost or scared, but I had a feeling it was the lost kid from earlier, so I leaned down and in my most non-threatening voice I said Hi little boy, I think your mommy is looking for you. His hand shot up from the tricycle immediately and grabbed mine, and, bending down closer to the tricycle, I pulled him on the bike to the nearest Target employee who was able to get him back to his mom. In other words, I saved the day. Unfortunately, there was far less fanfare and confetti than I would have liked, but it still felt pretty good.