Friday, December 31, 2010

Cocktails Anyone

So I have a great boss. Who I've talked about before here. This year he gave everyone in our department and that's 10 of us a fantastic gift. It's a new take on a cosmopolitan. It's called the Sparkling Mandarin. Here's the instructions he gave us:

3 ounces of Mandarin Vodka
1 ounce of Triple Sec
1 ounce of Cranberry juice

Shake well...

Remove lid from shaker and add 2 ounces of Sparkling Blood Orange French Soda. (Included in the lovely package above)

Then stir well - do not shake - the soda is carbonated.

Add a squeeze of fresh lime.

Toss the ice water and strain cocktail into the chilled glasses.

Serve with the garnish of your choice (martini cranberries, lime twists or orange slices).

Sip and enjoy!
Serves 2

I told my friend Jessica about this fantastic gift and she asked that I have the cocktail shaker ready in the waiting room for her after she delivers her first baby. Can you hear the ice now?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sea Salt Carmels

So my friend Jessica who LOVES all the sweets possible always gives me great suggestions on Trader Joe sweets. This past winter season she introduced me to yet another goodie.

Dark Chocolate covered carmels with sea salt on top. Need I say more. This only is in stock during the Holiday season. Mark it down for next Nov/Dec and stock up.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Huntington Library & Botanical Garden

Recently my mom was in town which was nice. We spent one of the days playing at the Huntington Library. This is an amazing place. It's not just about books. Although they do have the Gutenberg Bible (c.1455), this was so different then I expected, smaller and more colorful, I didn't expect to be an illuminated manuscript.

But the best part is the gardens, and lots of them, deserts, roses, lily ponds, frogs, Japanese and Chinese gardens and an Australian jungle. Amazing. But there is more... they have a fabulous art collection. My favorite was the portrait gallery. Enjoy the day and make a reservation in the tea room for a lovely way to finish the afternoon of roaming the gardens and libraries. Be aware....a bit of a picture overload. I just couldn't decide what I liked the most, so I inserted all my favorites.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Road

San Marino, CA 91108


Sunday, September 5, 2010


So these next couple of post will be slightly out of order of when the actually happened. But at the end of August we went camping with 4 families. Total count was 10 adults and 8 kids. We went to the Palomar Mountains near Temecula. It was lovely, perfect weather, not to hot, not to cold. For some first time campers, I'd say they had a great time. We divided the cooking, every couple cooked one meal. Let's just say we all ate great. Not a bad cook in the bunch. I for one had to go on a serious diet the next week due to the sugar shot of evening s'mores. Thanks Deb, Jane and Elliot for organizing.
Gorgeous lillies on the trail

Planetary about a 15 minute drive. SB took these abstract shots.
Are the aliens coming?

Bee caught pollinating.
Doanes Pond, lovely reflections.
My favorite Wildflower shot. Makes me think of my childhood.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Club Ed

So for 1 week in July I went on location for a photoshoot. Not my photoshoot, but another very talented photographer, Lars Toppleman. He has a great crew and the best personality. One of the locations was in the desert, in a place called Club Ed. It's an old movie set, click on the link to read the story. Here are my shots as we walked around the set. Pretty cool place and used for lots of photoshoots and commercials. Just saw a Viagra commercial tonight with gas station.We shot behind the hill on a sandy plateau.
Love the Joshua Trees.And the Easy Rest Inn

Here's the Office to check in at the Easy Inn. It's actually where the caretaker comes during photoshoots. Another person lives on the property keeping all the lookie loo's out.

Old prop gas pumps.
Nice motel pool. Rooms are just facades, I believe only one is proped out.

My favorite Levi's ad with my favorite TV characters from my favorite TV show were shot here. Take a look.

Located off Avenue K in the lovely city of Lancaster. I do have to give props, no pun intended, to the Oxford Inn Hotel, where we stayed. We got two free drink tickets, they offered appetizers and breakfast and let me tell you it was "all good."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer Update 2010

It's been a foggy and now, a hot long summer.
I have much to post about and no time to do so.
Work and life have consumed me.
To top it off my scanner doesn't work right either.
I'm ancient of days with film that needs to be scanned in to finish my Cuba journey.

I promised my sister I'd finish my story of Cuba as I have yet to tell my Dad about this blog.
I have three posts to wrap up from July, as it was that month, 10 years ago that I went.

Also coming soon posts on my week long business travel which ended me up in the desert at one point. Awesome old set in the middle of all places....Lancaster.

Don't give up on me....I know I'm talking to myself as by now know one is reading this but me.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Afternoon Summer Tea

Every year my friend Sherri hosts a lovely afternoon tea for all the ladies. She is a full-time wife and mom of three and somehow finds the time to make the most amazing creations. She even on occasion does flowers for events as she did from my wedding almost 15 years ago. This year I tried a few new things but the above Pavlova's, made with meringues with cream, kiwi, strawberry, mango, blueberry and passion fruit sauce is my favorite. So lovely to look at and delectable to eat.

Love chocolate and these were rich and unbelievably tasty
Carmelly goodness, yeah I know it's not a word, but I like it anyway.
Can we say sugar coma.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Stress Relieving Chocolate

Some people go for a jog, or to a bar, have a drink or gorge on food. I eat chocolate, not just any chocolate it should be rich, dark and delicious. On this lovely Sunday April day in the midst of cleaning up my kitchen and getting decisively dizzy, cleaning does that to me, I finally realize it's not the normal displeasure at cleaning but in fact it's a 6.9 Earthquake. First time in my city that I felt it roll and roll and roll on forever it did, swaying the chandelier (yes the little wrought iron one in my apartment counts) and blinds. After my heart slows down I need a drink and better than that I need chocolate.

My long-time friend and former roommate Karena and her husband were here visiting and she brought me the best treat. She said to me, "when you just know that you have to get a specific gift for someone nothing else will do." So on her way to the airport in NY they have the taxi stop and wait in Brooklyn while she grabs some treats for me at the Jacques Torres store. I tried to go there when I visited last time but didn't make it. So today after the stressful earthquake I opened the celophane package that wrapped dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds in a crunchy candy coated with the loveliest dark chocolate. Jacques Torres is a genius chocolatier and an amazing cook. I've watched his show a few times, admittedly I can't always understand him, but I'm fascinated by his chocolate creations. Thank you Karena and please come again with Danny and more chocolates.

So what do you do to relieve stress?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Canon Mark II Giveaway

OK Epiphanie is giving away a Canon Mark II camera. I so want this camera.

Check out the site and their lovely bags.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms

A couple of weeks ago when I was preparing for a dinner party I went through all the recipes I've pulled from multiple food magazines. As I love mushrooms I pulled an old recipe from April 2003 Gourmet magazine. I adapted it a bit as I was missing a few ingredients and wanted to use the extra pork sausage I had in the frig before it went bad (I hate wasting food).

I made the veggie version for SB and the sausage version for myself. These are very meaty even without the sausage. Whole Foods has some great stuffing type of mushrooms, big cremini's.

3 slices firm white sandwich bread (I toasted mine to make it dry)
2 tabelsppons olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
20 large (2 to 21/2 inches in diameter) white mushrooms (I used Cremini)
2 tbsps unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped (I left this out as I didn't have any of the "must" have staple)
1/4 cup finely chopped celery (I left this out too as I didn't have another "must" have staple)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 oz finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cut chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400F
Tear bread into pieces and pulse to coarse crumbs in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and toss with oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Spread in a shallow baking pan and bake in middle of oven until golden. 6 to 8 minutes. Then transfer to a bowl.

Pull stems from mushroom caps (to create space for stuffing) and finely chop stems (I put these in a food processor and went to town). Put mushroom caps, stemmed sides down, in a lightly oiled large shallow baking pan and bake in middle of oven until mushrooms exude liquid, about 10 minutes, then remove from oven.

While mushroom caps are baking, melt butter in a 12 inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then saute chopped stems, stirring until golden, about 5 minutes. Add onion, celery, garlic, oregano, and remaining 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Cool vegetable slightly, then add to bread crumbs along with cheese and parsley and toss well.

I browned ground pork sausage and added it to the mixture after I stuffed the veggie mushrooms.

Turn mushroom caps over, then mound mushroom filling in mushroom caps, pressing gently (you will have some filling left over). Bake in middle of oven until mushrooms are tender and stuffing is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Eat while warm, delicious appetizer. I took some left over for lunch and the sausage was even better the day after as the flavors melded well.


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