Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My lil monkey...

After waiting two weeks, JD's Halloween portraits are finally here! As usual he hammed it up for the camera (more so for Melissa the photographer) and he is absolutely adorable! Here is a sneak peak at JD monkeying around in his Halloween costume!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My hubby rocks!

Today was one of "those" days, I woke up with a cough that sounded like a mallard (the hubby words exactly) and I had a headache and body aches most of the day! Around 1pm I decided it was time for a nap, so I grabbed JD and we both had nap time together (we needed it). Well to my surprise (shock), when I woke up my kitchen was spotless, the floor was mopped and even the stove was clean. I was beginning to think that there was some type of mommy helping fairy that came by to make my life easier, but it turned out to be someone even greater, my sweet hubby!

Well after that things only got better. I'm not a very techy-techy person but I've been dying to get a Nintendo DS for some time now, especially after seeing the Personal Trainer: Cooking video game, this game is a Foodies dream come true. Well guess what, the hubby who is on a roll today, got me the Nintendo DS; but not just any DS, he got me the Nintendo DS Lite Special Edition Green, which comes with the game and a carrying case! My hubby rocks!



Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Lasagna

Tonight's dinner is this lovely pumpkin lasagna, which was inspired by Robert Irvine, of Dinner: Impossible. I served the lasagna with a tomato and basil salad, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with a sprinkle of salt and fresh ground pepper and warm french bread. 

ingredients:
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed or 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 28-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 16-ounce box lasagna noodles
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Romano cheese
  • 1 large zucchini, very thinly sliced

directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pumpkin puree in a fine sieve over a bowl; set aside to drain while you make the sauce.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 more minutes. Add the sausage and cook until brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Pour in the wine and cook until reduced by half. Stir in the tomato sauce, basil, parsley and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook as the label directs. Drain and toss with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.

Mix the strained pumpkin puree with the egg in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella and the Romano.

Build your lasagna in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish: Start with a layer of sauce, then top with a layer of noodles. Evenly spread half of the pumpkin filling, then half of the zucchini, over the noodles. Top with half of the cheese mixture and cover with some of the sauce. Repeat the layers, finishing with noodles and sauce; sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake, uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly. Let cool 15 minutes before slicing.




A very exciting weekend...

On Saturday we took JD in his Halloween costume, to Sea Scare at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, this was JD's first trip to an aquarium and I'm happy to report he loved it!

 
JD's first encounter with
Pirates
(Sea Shore Entrepreneurs)
JD looking for Nemo

After the aquarium on Saturday, JD wanted to visit with Grama and Grampa, so daddy, mommy and the aunties headed to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for the Dia De Los Muertos Celebration.
 
 
 

and then on Sunday we spent the day with 90,000 of our closest friends in Pasadena for the long-awaited U2 concert!

 
 

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fun things to do with the kids today!

If your bored at home and looking for something fun to do "with the kids" today, here are some really cool ideas even if you just woke up!

Boo at the Santa Ana Zoo
Saturday, October 24, 2009
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM 



This family-friendly costumed extravaganza will bring FUN, SAFE, trick-or-treating in a "Merry not Scary" Zoo atmosphere, with educational animal presentations, storytelling, and entertainment throughout the evening, with a grand finale costume parade!

Admission is $12 per person, children under 2 are free 

Saturday, October 24, 2009
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM




Sea Scare is a Halloween event so come in costume and join in the masquerade of spooks and ghouls, trick-or-treat throughout the aquarium at six different themed treat stations, or walk along the docks of the “Port Town” scare zone.  Just when you thought you were safe, those marauding pirates are back with their crazy antics and bad pirate jokes.

Admission is $5 per person, children and seniors$1

Irvine Park Railroad's Pumpkin Patch in Orange County  
Pumpkin Patch Dates 
September 19 - November 1st
Weekdays 10am-5pm
Weekends 10am-6pm 



Irvine Park Railroad's Pumpkin Patch in Orange County is fun for the entire family! Come out and enjoy the many activities for kids of all ages. The Pumpkin Patch is located just behind the Train Station and admission is FREE! Please note that a gate entrance fee will be charged by the County of Orange for each vehicle that enters Irvine Regional Park. 

Click here for Irvine Park Railroad coupons

Friday, October 23, 2009

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake

Halloween is right around the corner and Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) is soon to follow, so it gives me a chance to share my obsession with "Pumpkin"! For the next month or so I will be posting all my favorite pumpkin recipes and ideas, everything from pumpkin pie to pumpkin centerpieces.

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake

ingredients:
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker, chocolate or 12 mini crusts
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

directions:
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time, then add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, stir gently until well blended. 
  • Place pie crust/crusts on a baking sheet, carefully spread batter over the crust.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.
Tips: 
You can substitute the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg with 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. 
If making the 12 mini crusts reduce cooking time by 5-10 minutes.
Prevent cracks by baking the pie at a moderate temperature and even better, bake custard pies in a “water bath”. This prevents the outer layer of custard from baking too fast. But if it does crack, just remember you can cover it with whip cream!




Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Love Trader Joe's!

Today while running my errands I decided to stop by Trader Joe's, to pick up something yummy for dinner tonight. Well every-time I go to TJ's, I walk up and down the aisles to see whats new (there's always something new) and to my surprise I came upon Trader Joe's Mini Beef Burger Patties.



I thought this is great, but what would make this discovery even better? "mini burger buns"...


 Trader Joe's Mini Hamburger Buns

they actually had them, wait it gets better!


Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Fries
(in the frozen section)

So hurry home hubby, this is dinner tonight. I Love Trader Joe's!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

JD learning besitos!


JD Kisses

LuckyDoll55 | MySpace Video

A day at the park...

Tuesday was such a beautiful day in Southern California, our little family packed a picnic lunch and headed to the park. For a few years now the hubby and I have taken strolls through El Dorado Park in Long Beach, we even took our engagement pictures in their Nature Center; so we thought it was time to introduce JD to all the ducks, turtles and squirrels of El Dorado Park.

 JD very interested in the ducks
 
 he refused to wear shoes today

 
 this was before he tried to eat a leaf

 
 showing off his toothy grin
 
 being silly with daddy
 

Monday, October 19, 2009

"a romantic dinner on a budget"

I received the Fall 2009 issue of The Nest last week and I've been carrying it around hoping to get a chance to read it.



Well the hubby must have been bored because he got a chance to skim through it before I did and announced this weekend that he wanted me to make the recipe on page 67. So tonight's dinner was taken directly from The Nest's, 4 Dinner Dilemmas Solved.
                                       

beurre blanc 
chicken and herbed 
mashed potatoes
SERVES 2
ingredients:
2  chicken breasts (salt and pepper to taste)
2  Tbl. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2  cup white wine
1  Tbl. garlic, minced
2  Tbl + 1/4 cup heavy cream
2  sticks unsalted butter, diced
2  medium baking potatoes, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1  Tbl. fresh parsley, chopped
2  Tbl. fresh thyme


directions:
1.   Preheat oven to 350 f. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. Add to heated skillet coated with olive oil. Brown chicken on both sides; then set on baking sheet covered with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

2.   In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add white wine and minced garlic. When the wine comes to a simmer, add 2 Tbl. heavy cream and stir. Slowly add butter, whisking until fully melted. Set aside.

3.   In a large saucepan, boil diced potatoes until softened; drain and mash to desired texture. Heat the remaining heavy cream with 2 Tbl. of prepared butter sauce. Combine this mixture with potatoes, plus parsley and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

4.   Place a mound of potatoes on each plate, topped with chicken breast. Drizzle a bit of butter sauce over the chicken and serve extra sauce on the side.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

JD and the "Big Boy Chair"

On Saturday I stopped at Target and of course ended up in the baby department again! I've been waiting to get a shopping cart cover for JD, but now that he's sitting up (with a little help) I thought what the heck and purchased the Eddie Bauer Shopping Cart/Highchair Cover. Well this morning I was feeling especially hungry, so I called JD's aunties, Mari and Gabi and all I had to do was mention pancakes and within 30 minutes we were at Carrows; this was the perfect opportunity to try out the new cover. So here is JD ordering his breakfast from the dessert menu, in his new highchair cover...




 Eddie Bauer Shopping Cart Cover - Blue Geo Print
On sale at Target $17.99 


Features:
  • Padded construction protects against germs on shopping carts and highchairs, while providing a plush place for your little one to sit. 
  • Adjustable shoulder harness keeps your li'l rider snug, safe and secure. 
  • Back area and leg holes offer complete comfort.
  • Zippered pocket provides storage for essentials, like keys and your cell phone.
  • Loops to easily attach toys or a teether.
  • Folding design makes it incredibly easy to carry wherever you go.

      Saturday, October 17, 2009

      The Mommy and the Elusive Umbrella Stroller!

      Let me start off by stating "I'm not cheap," I just love a bargain. JD as we all know, is a very nosy baby and lately his "baby" stroller is coming between him and his desire to explore the world around him; So my mission this week was to find an umbrella stroller, with good reviews, a cute design (preferably blue and brown) and  a reasonable price (ha what was I thinking)! Well once I did all my research I was basically left with one choice, the Maclaren Triumph Stroller, unfortunately it retails for $170 (not a reasonable price for an umbrella stroller).


      Maclaren Triumph Stroller
      in Coffee and Blue Sky

      Needless to say, I had to keep searching for the perfect stroller and I found it for $100, the Wendy Bellissimo Deluxe Stroller, sadly no one carries it anymore. I started to think I would fail this mission, I had one final chance to make nosy JD happy, while being stylish "Craigslist"! You'll never believe it, I found one; in like new condition, in Baldwin Park (about 30 minutes away) and the price, $65. JD will try out his new (new to him) stroller tomorrow, I really hope he likes it, because after that mission he's stuck with it, like it or not.

       
      Wendy Bellissimo Deluxe Stroller
      in Blue Camouflage

      Thursday, October 15, 2009

      JD's Photo Shoot...

      On September 28th we took JD to his first photo shoot.We really like JCPenney Portrait Studio in Lakewood (Melissa is our photographer); they take great portraits and their prices are very reasonable (especially if you have coupons). So here is JD hamming it up for the camera.



       

       

       

      JD at Pa's Pumpkin Patch

      On Tuesday the hubby/daddy took JD and myself on a surprise trip to Pa's Pumpkin Patch. The pumpkin patch was so adorable, it had a petting zoo, pony rides, games and of course hundreds of pumpkins! JD was very interested in picking (eating) the perfect pumpkin.


      Our little pumpkin head!



       he liked this one...



      then this one...



      we have a winner!

      Monday, October 12, 2009

      Julian David's Baptism

      Friday night was JD's Baptism and I'm so happy to say it turned out beautifully. We had a small private gathering, just our immediate family and JD's Godparents. JD was Baptized at St. John Chrysostom Catholic Church in Inglewood by Father Sal Pilato who is a close family friend (he also married the hubby and I) . JD was such a good boy, he listened carefully to everything Father Pilato had to say and did not cry or fuss at all during the whole ceremony. After his Baptism he headed over to Il Fornaio in Manhattan Beach for the reception (I'm so glad we chose this restaurant the food and staff were excellent) and had a wonderful time, it was great to share this event with the ones we love.


       

       

       

       




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