Thursday, May 28, 2009

Farmers' Market Shopping Cart

‘Hook and Go’ Urban Shopper
- I see these at the farmers' market all the time. Given that we'll be using a stroller for the foreseeable future, I don't need this. But, oh how sleek and smart. One day...

$59.95 @ Sur La Table

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Recipe: $10 Meals for 4 via NPR

How Low Can You Go? $10 Meals for 4 on NPR - Four recipes submitted by professionals, all ringing in under $10. Personally, I love Jose Andres (a charming Spaniard, though aren't they all ;-), but all of the recipes look good!

From Chef Jose Andres, A Family Favorite For $10

Navy Chef Gets Creative With A $10 Skate Meal

Chef Ming Tsai Makes $10 Dish His Kids Love

The Neelys Get Playful With A $9 Mac 'N' Cheese

And if you continue on to the comments, you'll find hundreds of recipes submitted by readers.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Los Angeles vs My Mood

Ya see, I want to be in a good mood. I really do! And today, I have no serious symptoms of the bug that MetaBoy oh so graciously passed on to me. There's a bit of a sore throat, but no fever, no chills, no headache...two miserable days, and I'm feeling good again. And I got a lot of rest, since I had little energy to do anything other than watch TV with the kids.

But I digress. I woke up smiling with energy to spare. Had a busy day making up for the big load of nothing that I've done all week, including grocery shopping. It's amazing how quickly you can run out of food when you don't buy more. As I said in a recent tweet, we haven't relied on take-out this much since MetaGirl was born. In driving around and getting things done with my positive attitude, it occurred to me: it's hard to stay in a good mood in this city.

Trader Joe's - It's a small store with narrow aisles and a lot of shoppers. Why do people leave their carts in the middle of an aisle, blocking other shoppers, and walk off as if enchanted by elves? Or perhaps they insist on "gently" pushing you as they walk past, despite the fact that you're carrying a baby and you're hardly in anyone's way. Maybe, if you're lucky, that pushy older lady who just had to get in the store right NOW might say "thanks" as she sees the pile of rubble left in her wake. Slight exaggeration? Perhaps. But only slight. This is the last time I go to Trader Joe's in a good mood. I need to be crabby to go there if I'm going to defend us.

Traffic - People don't know / understand / respect traffic laws. I understand getting distracted by a "shiny" and not noticing the light has changed. We've all been there. But don't make a left from the right lane...while crossing 2 lanes of traffic. That is NOT OK.

Home Maintenance - Someone turned the ringer off on the phone. I don't know who did it, and I don't really care. I didn't notice for days since we don't get many calls at home. We only realized it when the answering machine came on this morning despite the lack of rings. I was going to check it, but I forgot. So when the lady called with the estimate I had been expecting for several days, I missed the call. In her message, she said something to the effect of *gee, you're phone and fax machine are the same number. I'm leaving for the day, so I guess I'll have to call you tomorrow to fax you the estimate.*

My reaction:
  • If you can print out an estimate, you have a computer. Get an email account. Use it.
  • If you have an estimate, you have a dollar figure. Don't hang up without giving me some information.
  • If you're calling me to tell me essentially...nothing...don't call me.
And while we're at it...
  • When you give me a time frame for service, honor it. If you don't, don't start calling me a week before the bill is "due" to "remind" me.
  • Be thorough. Don't change shower handles without suggesting it might be a good time to change washers. As far as I'm concerned, if that unchanged washer is the cause of a leak, it's you're fault.
Is it just me? Is it just Los Angeles?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Costco Proposed Settlement of Class Action

Just a little FYI...

Costco - Notice of Pendency and Proposed Settlement of Class Action ("Notice") - If you're a member of Costco, this might benefit you.

Here are some broad strokes:
  • "If you have been a Costco member at any time since March 1, 2001, you may be entitled to benefits from a class action settlement."

  • "The Complaint alleges that Costco members who pay an annual membership fee to renew their Costco memberships after their expiration date has passed received a renewal membership term of 12 months beginning from the previous expiration date, instead of the date on which they paid their renewal fee. For example, if a Costco membership expired on January 31, 2008, and the Costco member renewed the membership 2 months later on March 31, 2008, the members renewal membership would expire on January 31, 2009, not March 31, 2009."

  • "Costco members who renewed their memberships 3 months or more after their previous expiration date will receive 3 months of free membership. The value of this benefit is $12.50 or $25.00, depending on the type of membership."

Monday, May 18, 2009

How to Freeze Everything

I've been reading a lot of random things about food lately. Mark Bittman, NY Times columnist and author of How to Cook Everything, has some tips on saving money in the kitchen. Here's how he puts it:
"If I tried to sell you a new appliance that could help you save money, reduce food waste and get meals on the table faster, the only thing you’d ask would be 'How much?'"
Ah, how we take our freezers for granted. Well, his article has some great tips on what foods to freeze and how. Best tip I took away from this: since food doesn't get "better" in the freezer, it should be used in weeks or months, not years.

Here's an accompanying video of him on the Today Show. It's short, amusing, and informative. But you'll get a lot more information from the article.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


This bird prolly takes better pictures than I do ;-)

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Around the Internet

Healthy lifestyle triggers genetic changes: study - It turns out it's never to late to change habits for the better. Don't just blame genetics. Do something!!

Sugar Content in Packaged Breakfast Foods - A visual aid. And if you want to check other foods like processed snacks, beverages, and more, click at the links on the top of the page.

Our Milk Money - Here's an interesting website where self-employed parents list their products or services. So with your purchase, you can help support a family. And if you're a parent looking to make some money on the side, this might be a good place to list yourself.

News Map - A cool, if overwhelming, news aggregator.

Blame Poverty, Not Pork, for the Swine Flu - So the article is interesting, but a rather nutty comment stuck out.
"IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri says we should have two or more meat-free days a week. New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman equates the environmental impacts of livestock production to those of nuclear war. On the loopier side is Paul McCartney’s ex-wife, Heather Mills, whose global warming worries led her to recommend that people switch from cow’s milk to milk from dogs and rats."
OMG! If it's between rats milk and no milk, how about no milk, for goodness' sake!?!

I'm just saying.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Photostory Friday: Dining Express

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

So, with MetaGirl rolling everywhere, putting everything in her mouth, and generally taking all sorts of liberties with MetaBoy's toys, MetaBoy's trains are often banned from the living room. I feel bad, but those little magnets are like some tasty little treats to do you say no to a tempted infant? You don't. Eliminate the temptation.

Poor MetaBoy :-(

But he found the fix. The trains, tracks, and all related paraphernalia, are now dining room accessories.

Oh bother.

Dancing Fool

It's Friday. Feel good. Dance!

Bird Loves Ray Charles

Friday, May 8, 2009

Recipe: Farmers' Market Spring Melange

Here's a contribution to Kerry's Farmers' Market Report. Fun!

Amelia Saltsman, author of one of my favorite cookbooks, The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook, inspired me yet again. Well, she and the farmers' offerings this week. I kept walking past the beautiful English peas thinking "must resist, must resist." Shelling the peas can be tedious. Furthermore, the minute the pea is picked, the sugars starts to break down into starch (if I remember correctly), which means that by the time you buy "fresh" peas from the grocery store, they're unlikely be very sweet at all. If you want sweet peas, your better off using frozen. I've heard this many, many times, so I guess you could say it's been drilled in to my "pea" brain.

But I did it anyway. Why? Who can resist the thrill of a challenge!?! Besides, the peas at the market are pretty fresh, so it's the best case scenario for fresh peas.

I took her Spring Melange recipe as a guide, and bought what I found and/or liked at the market. My melange included leeks, green garlic, Swiss chard, asparagus, English peas, mint, and lemon.

I've never used green garlic, but it was actually lovely. Its mild, garlicy flavor permeated the dish without overpowering it. I used fava beans last time, but heavens...if shelling peas was tedious, fava beans are at a whole new level (shell, boil, peel from skin). Speaking of, I found shelling the peas rather therapeutic, though MetaDaddy thought I was nuts to try it and rather discouraged such future endeavors. We'll see about that. As for the Swiss chard, I felt it toughened up the feel of the dish. I'll try spinach instead next time.

The final touch of mint and a good bit of lemon really brightened up the dish. I threw in some chopped up roasted chicken and served it with brown rice for a well rounded meal.

I'll definitely be doing it again!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Today's a day to celebrate! Here's why:

"For the mathematically challenged, Thursday's date, 5/7/09, is one of only six this century that will feature three consecutive odd numbers."

Any excuse to celebrate, huh? Break out the cupcakes, MetaBoy. I'm on my way!!

Post Office Update: 2009

So, a friend of mine thought that my post about the post office increasing the price of stamps again was an old post coming back to life.

Nope. In case you thought the same, here goes.

May 11, 2009 - Postage will increase by 2 cents from 42c to 44c. If you're going to buy stamps, make them forever stamps. If you prefer rolls of stamps, then you might already know that the post office doesn't sell them. What's that all about?!? But I hear Costco does sell rolls of forever stamps, though I couldn't find them online.

And don't forget to buy some extra non-perishable groceries this week to donate on Saturday, May 9, 2009 for the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Movie: Julie & Julia

Oh, I have to see this movie. Per the trailer, it's about Julia Child and a woman named Julie, both of whom are searching for themselves at different points in time. Julia goes to cooking school, and Julie goes to cookbook school (she cooks from Julia's books).

The actress playing Julia Child: Meryl Streep. And she just NAILED IT!!

Due in August 2009.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Southwest Elevator Commercial

I love this Southwest commercial. You know you want to be this person sometimes. You know you do. I do. And I know MetaDaddy does. Though if you ask him, he'll deny it ;-)

I'm just saying.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Around the Internet: Food

Sweet Sue Whole Chicken in a Can - Ew, ew, ew.

Farmers fear pigs may get "swine" flu from people - Counterintuitive. Interesting.

Food maven Ruth Reichl: 'I'm starving!' - Our book club just finished Ruth Reichl's "Garlic and Sapphires." We all liked it as it was a fun, easy read. Her antics were a hoot! Ruth's new book, "Not Becoming My Mother: And Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way," has pushed her back into the spotlight a lot these days. Her current position as the editor-in-chief of the precariously positioned Gourmet magazine only reinforces her need to stay visible.

Ruth Goes Undercover - Mickey Rourke, Amy Winehouse, and Gene Simmons. Silly. All for the love of foodies ;-)

And to round it off...

Ruth Reichl Rips Into Lobsters, Gets Her Dumplings to Go - Ruth eats were way from LA to NYC over the course of a week. Well, it's more like she details all of her meals over the course of a week when she happens to be in both cities. She leads a fun life!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Recipe: Quick & Easy Muesli

Breakfast in 5 minutes...tops!

This is a super easy recipe that feels like a decadent treat every time I make it. I got the original recipe from Darina Allen's Ballymaloe Cooking School Cookbook. It's a wonderful book full of great basic techniques, master recipes, and delicious ideas. It's one of my recent cookbook purchases, but has turned into a great culinary resource.

Besides being quick and easy, the ingredients are pretty portable. So it could be an easy breakfast when you're not at home.

The original recipe says it feeds two, but I could easily eat it all on my own. If you want to share, make more ;-)

Apple Muesli
1/4 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons water
1 sweet apple (e.g., Golden Delicious)
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoons nuts (e.g., walnuts), chopped
1 tablespoons raisins, halved if large

Measure out the water into a bowl and sprinkle the oatmeal on top. Let the oatmeal soak up the water while you grate the apple, preferably with the skin.

Stir the honey into the oatmeal, followed by the apple, nuts, and raisins.

As strawberry season flits by, consider mashing in a few instead of apple. Or blueberries, banana, mango...mmm...

Getting Sick, Getting Better

Feeling lousy. MetaBoy caught a bug and got sick on Saturday, and every two days, it's been passed on to another family member. I'm the last one to get it. It's like a 24-48 hour stomach flu; bad for a day and unpleasant for a day. All things told, not that bad. But when you can't eat anything for a full day, it feels bad.

So, as of this morning, I'm eating again. I was starving at first, but I'm being pretty cautious with the type of food I eat, as well as the quantities. Bananas are my friend!!

Thinking longingly of tasty breakfast options like this super easy muesli...mmm...