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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lamburgers!

I've been thinking of starting a food blog, not because I have that many original recipes to share, but just to document what I feel is a really massive achievement: cooking dinner almost every single night. Yes, let's hear it for me!

Sunday night's dinner turned out to be one of the best I'd ever made. Oh, my gosh. One bite, and I said, "This is the most delicious thing I've ever made. I would PAY to eat this in a restaurant!"

I've had a yen for Greek food lately, so when I saw this recipe I had to try it. Grilled Lamb Burgers, or as I call it, Lamburgers. I found the recipe in the paper, but I can't link to it. (If you click on the picture, then click again, it will enlarge enough to read it.) I'll type out MY version at the end of the post.



I do have a few comments on what I did.

Ground lamb at the farmer's market is ex$$$$pensive but delicious! I used about 1 3/4 lbs, and made the patties extra large, so that with shrinkage (not that kind) they would still fill out the whole bun.


Because I used more meat, I also increased the other ingredients semi-proportionately. I'm not a real measury kind of cook. Also, I used onion powder because I really don't like onion chunks in a burger. I cooked them in the frying pan, not on a grill. Because I don't have a grill. Use a meat thermometer. The meat is so tender that it will still feel quite soft when it is done. I topped them with avocado, grilled onions, arugula, and a decadently delicious smoked cheddar from the farmer's market.

Doesn't that look wonderful?


I served them with homemade cole slaw and tater tots. Yes, tots. We love tots. (Which explains why there was so little ketchup left for the next night's dinner.)

1 3/4 lbs. ground lamb (try it with hamburger, tell me what happens!)
zest of one lemon (the juice went into my coleslaw)
approx. 4 tbl. fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (I think basil would be good, too)
approx. 4 tbl. fresh parsley, finely chopped (I like the flat leaf kind)
1/2 tbl. dried oregano (or fresh, if you have it)
2 cloves garlic, pulverized with your garlic press
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp honey
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper

Toppings:
4 good-quality larger hamburger buns, toasted
cheddar cheese, enough slices to cover each burger
spicy arugula, or any other greens or lettuce
sliced avocado
grilled onions (mine weren't quite "caramelized")
ketchup (yes, we're a ketchup house, not a catsup house)

Mix up the meat and seasonings, form into patties, cook...you can figure out the rest.

Yum.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Take the Money and Run

Darn it, I forgot the camera at Open House. Ernest actually sang one song (first time I'd heard him solo in a long time). Here's my bad cell phone picture.



Take the Money and Run



I thought Ernest's last solo was "My Blanket and Me" from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown

But actually it was this...



I HAVE to dig out those videos.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Two Daddies

It's Gay Day at the zoo today.

Ernest says this is appropriate, because the new baby penguin has two daddies. Apparently, his/her mommy abandoned the chick but another male stepped in to help the new dad.

Penguin fatherhood rocks.

Enjoy the day.

(I love all the animal gossip he tells me! I wish I had more capybara news.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Puff Piece


My lawn is full of puffballs.

Pick carefully, make a wish and blow! I hope it comes true!

I wish I could have this on a wall. I could make a wish every time I saw it!

What's your wish of the day?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Frank's Fruit Fest

Frank's been scavenging in my fruit bowl a lot! He made a great smoothie the other night.

One apple (Gala).



One pear (Bosc. Wow, pears have their own website).

("Mom, should I peel them?" I said yes. With my ultra-sharp new peeler.)



Six strawberries.

Orange juice.



Blend.

Enjoy. That's all that was left, before I remembered to take the picture. It was delicious.


Ernest tried this today and left the apple unpeeled. Still delish. I love to see my sons creating in the kitchen.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

7 things

I received this beauty from Jenn at Perspective Required and all I have to do is list 7 interesting things about myself.



Here goes:

1. I have a really hard time thinking of these things.
2. I am obsessive about my cheese slicer.
3. My closet is horrible -- it looks like a hoarder lives in there.
4. My taxes are done.
5. But I think the refund is already spent!
6. I cook a real dinner almost every night.
7. I'm thinking of starting a food blog to document all that cooking.

If you're reading this, you're a beautiful blogger too and the award is your for the copying!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Signs of Spring 2010

I see the light. It feels like spring now.



I've changed the artwork...



and found some spring clothes.



I've discovered that rotating my growing collection of knicknacks really helps with the dust problem. I've got an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party theme going...







I'm sure the men in the house are cringing. But I'm happy.

Happy Spring! Bloom Away!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Champions

First place! Go Warriors tennis team!

Smug face, or just getting the hair out of his mouth?


We moms were chatting at their last practice and in unison, we all said, "What a great group of kids."


Congratulations 2010 Boy's Tennis Team! And thanks to their great coaches!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Age Activated

My magical sister-in-law forwarded me this e-mail. Funny, it describes me perfectly!

I had a post in December describing me bouncing around the house. And last week I started off thinking Monday was Tuesday and confused the heck out of my Facebook friends.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

AAADD
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS.....PLEASE READ!


Thank goodness there's a name for this disorder.
Somehow I feel better even though I have it!!


Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. -

Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests:


I decide to water my garden.
As I turn on the hose in the driveway,

I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage,

I notice mail on the porch table that
I brought up from the mail box earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table,

put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table,
and notice that the can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back

on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think,

since I'm going to be near the mailbox
when I take out the garbage anyway,
I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table,

and see that there is only one check left.

My extra checks are in my desk in the study,
so I go inside the house to my desk where
I find the can of Pepsi I'd been drinking.

I'm going to look for my20checks

but first I need to push the Pepsi aside
so that I don't accidentally knock it over.

The Pepsi is getting warm,

and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi,

a vase of flowers on the counter
catches my eye--they need water.

As I put the Pepsi on the counter and

discover my reading glasses that
I've been searching for all morning.
I decide I better put them back on my desk,

but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter,

fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote.
Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV,

I'll be looking for the remote,
but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table,
so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs,
but first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers,

but qu ite a bit of it spills on the floor.

So, I set the remote back on the table,

get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then, I head down the hall trying to

remember what I was planning to do.


At the end of the day:

the car isn't washed
the bills aren't paid
there is a warm can of Pepsi sitting on the counter
the flowers don't have enough water,
there is still only 1 check in my check book,
I can't find the remote,
I can't find my glasses,
and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today,

I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all damn day,
and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem,

and I'll try to get some help for it,
but first I'll check my e-mail....

Do me a favor.

Forward this message to everyone you know,
because I don't remember who the hell I've sent it to.



Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gathering Moss

I feel like I've been gathering moss all winter, like my patio.


I took these pictures in February after our big rain. It's drying up now.



Time to start rolling. I have a head full of plans, but it's so hard to get moving. I'm thinking of: a small vegetable garden in what is now a dried out bed of stunted straggly volunteer alyssum, my topsy turvy tomato planter (do they really work?), and 2 New Zealand tea trees in pots on the front porch.

What are your plans for spring, garden or otherwise?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Warm Fuzzies

It's been getting harder and harder to get him out of the house on time in the mornings. This is why:



Who can resist a warm fuzzy?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jack Chooses a Different Tree

A Bit of Blarney for St. Patrick's Day



Wait a minute, that's Caplin Rous! I borrowed that picture from his Facebook page.

Here I am last year at Blarney Castle! The Handy Husband and I had the most wonderful trip to Dublin last year, except for the food poisoning. (Beware of hotel tartar sauce and department store mayonnaise. Everything else was perfectly fresh and delicious!)



We're prepared for St. Pat's this year with corned beef (real, not canned. What do I do with that slab of meat? Pot roast it?) and various Irish beverages. We missed out on the tour of the Jameson Distillery, due to the abovementioned misfortune, so I picked up a bottle at the grocery store. (Although the Irish folks he talked to recommended a different whiskey.)



And then there's Guinness. Which tastes best --



at the end of the climb to the top of the brewery.



Cans and bottles just don't do it. Although these cans are a good size!



Happy St. Patrick's Day and I hope we get back to Ireland someday!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pi Day

In addition to Daylight Savings Time (which I didn't realize until yesterday!), it is also Pi Day.

Remember our Pi pie?



Happy Pi Day, everyone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

CapyBabies

I've expressed my love of capybaras before. We are so lucky! The zoo has 4 new capybaras, 3 males and one female. We saw them on Sunday! New friends for Caplin Rous! Here are 3/4ths of them.




The zoo has a video of them on Facebook. I wonder what their names are.

I was so happy to have the company of my Beloved Niece and Great-Nephews. Mr. Thomas does not like creepy crawly bugs, but he does like snakes. McQueen is partial to the snow leopards. We had a fun time, while Ernest went to a meeting. Next Saturday is Princess Day (a thinly disguised frog appreciation event). Ernest usually has to play a frog. I wonder if he gets kissed?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

In the Pink

This one's for Debbie, who always makes me feel in the pink!

The flamingos were gorgeous on Sunday.








While I love my little point and shoot camera, it is impossible to see the display in the sunlight. Usually I am shooting blind, so I was happily surprised that these pictures came out. I miss a viewfinder.

Monday, March 08, 2010

PupPees

Don't get me wrong, I love Barbies and confess I have a collection of them, but the other night I was screaming in disgust over a Barbie commercial.

For her Barbie's piddling dog.

I can't find the exact commercial on YouTube, but they've apparently updated the toy since this one was made:



Because now, the paper turns YELLOW.

Eeew, just eeew.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Sunday Funnies

Hello, did they just photograph my sons' rooms? It's uncanny! Frank's even got the Christmas lights.

For Jen

This post has been dillying and dallying and whiling away its time in my drafts area, so the references are a little out of date. But still....I think it's worthwhile.

Here's a shout out to someone who makes my day every time I read her blog, a great friend and blogger: JenontheEdge. We've had a few things in common lately.

Like Jen, I also write on my hands. Only on the front, where I can see it.


That does not stand for Up-Chuck, University of California, Un-Clear, or even Unlimited Calimari lunch, or something else that might be interesting -- it's just to tell me, "Small Town Mom, you have to do upper campus lunch duty at the last minute so you better not forget it!" (I took the photo after I got home.) And there's nothing wrong with a Sharpie, Jen. I used to do belly dance tattoos with Sharpies. The ink comes off nicely with a baby wipe.

The really funny thing is that I scrubbed this note off that night, but the next day? I had to write it again! (We've had a lot of people out sick.)

Jen also had an informative post about recycling glasses. I can barely see out of these but they work OK for the stumbling to and from the bathroom to put in the contacts. I donated 5 pairs of Frank's old glasses to the Lion's Club.


Just recently, Jen saw an interesting Barbie display. Stay tuned tomorrow for my most recent Barbie reaction.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Saving Someone's Job

This story caught my eye, about an employee who volunteered to be laid off so someone else's job would be saved.

I was in a similar position 10 years ago. I worked for an insurance company TPA (Third Party Administrator, but we didn't put cover sheets on the TPA reports!). We were unsure if our contract would be renewed. If it was, we were told that one person would need to be laid off. And I volunteered to be that person. I was dithering about staying home with the then-4-year Ernest, my elderly mother needed more assistance, and my husband and I agreed it would be the best thing for our family. Unfortunately I couldn't save someone else's job -- the contract was not renewed and everyone was laid off.

Now I work as an aide at an elementary school. I get laid off every year. I am on a strange cusp, always the last aide to be laid off, and the first to be rehired. I feel a similar dilemma coming on this year. I won't have a child at the school next year, I don't really need the job, and I'm a little burnt out. There is a wonderful young woman, hired after me, who has a teaching credential, but she is working as an aide. She was a long-term sub last year...I think if the school had an opening, they would hire her. However, just like last year they are now pink-slipping all the nontentured teachers, so there is slim hope of her getting a teaching position. And she's pregnant! And...

I tell you right now, if my quitting would save her aide job I would do it in an instant.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Baby Steps

For the first time since I started this blog in December 2006, I changed my template. Adventurous, huh? I mean, I don't want to rush into things!

But there were so many choices, I was a little overwhelmed.

I always find when I am overwhelmed, inaction is the easiest course for me. Like the thought of dusting all my knicknacks is overwhelming, so they just sit there growing little coats of fur. My beloved niece was telling me about weeding her garden...baby steps, she said. That's good advice, my dear.

I'll go dust one thing.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Catalina

Frank had some great class trips in middle school:
  • 6th grade - Yosemite in winter. Snow! I know many of you are sick of snow right now, but that was his first time in the snow and it was so exciting.
  • 7th grade - Band trip to Great America.
  • 8th grade - Mexico with his Spanish class. That's when he came back with this hairdo:



Ernest has not been so lucky with his middle school trips.
  • 6th grade - Yosemite trip cancelled permanently because too many chaperones slipped and broke bones the year before. They went to Hollywood instead. It doesn't quite compare.
  • 7th grade - no band trip because the current band teacher doesn't do that.
  • 8th grade - no Spanish trip because there is no Spanish class any more. No Washington D.C. trip either because no one wanted to plan it.

However, the school administration came through and planned a trip to Catalina for the 8th graders. Ernest and classmates went last week and had a great time -- there was snorkeling and kayaking and a lot more. Only, he DIDN'T TAKE A CAMERA! Sigh.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

It's Cool, Dude


Priceless! Thanks to my Friend Debbie W for the picture. They are playing R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
They're doing it again tonight at a fund raiser for our school's music and art programs.