Thursday, July 29, 2010

I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never ever possibly destroy us.

Lackadaisical on the blogging this week - I am still getting over the Con excitement...or I'm just playing with my new Ghostbusters dolls. Whatever.This weekend I will be donating prizes AND cupcakes to Cupcake Camp O.C. A charity event at the Atrium Hotel - 18700 MacArthur Boulevard, in Irvine! Stop by Sunday August 1st from 3-6pm. I will be baking and also entering the baking competition!

In addition to that I am also prepping for next week's Wednesday night event at the Comic Bug. Even more cupcakes!

I'm surrounded...by cupcakes. Does anyone else have cupcake dreams? Or are they nightmares...

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Alllloha!

Last week I had the very important task of assisting in the world's cutest first birthday. It was a Hawaiian theme, complete with a catered shave ice stand! Perfect for summer!

My favorite thing is SNACKS so I also got to set up a snack table for guests to come take their pick of 'local' treats:

Li Hing candies, kaki mochi, Pocky, kimi boro balls, Diamond animal cookies and sour apple candies. I also made some chocolate dipped marshmallow pops as well. Heaven!

I made little customizable tags for treat bags to scoop their snacks into - so they could snack all day and if they laid down the bag, they could find it again.

The food was catered by King's Hawaiian and it was fantastic, spam musubi, kalua pig, beef skewers, chicken, rice, mac salad, mini sliders, hot dogs. AMAZING food. It was a total feast!

For dessert there was King's Paradise cake (what else?) but I also made up some cupcakes to look like......real shave ice! How real did it look? No one ate them. WHAT. People thought they were fake and were wondering why the ice wasn't melting. It's sugar, people!!

Reluctantly people started eating them and were shocked to find out it was an honest to goodness cupcake. Sheesh! Since my kids are used to me making food that is fake looking - they spent no time in picking out the ones they wanted.

It was an amazing party with great food and friends!

Shave Ice Cupcake how-to, here.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Back in black

Sure there's Christmas day - but around here? The day after Comic-Con is even better. Santa ain't got nothin' on me.

I always set aside money to buy TONS of toys to bring home for the boys. When they wake up in the morning and see a pile of toys, they freak out and it's so fun to watch.

Con was crazy busy, and when I could get away from the table - that's when I went on a toy hunt. Star Wars for the Kid, Superheroes for the Baby, and toys for them to 'share.'

It was nice to see all my friends who I only see once a year, even though most of them live right here in L.A. I guess there's something about seeing someone for 4 continuous days that eliminates the need to see them the rest of the year - even when they live close by.

I also had A LOT of blog readers stop by which was very cool, and I ran out of cookies by Saturday! Speaking of blog reader the WINNER is announced...go here to check it out!

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

**GIVEAWAY!**

This week I will be down in San Diego for Comic Con - I'll have lots of con specials going on as well as some new items. Con is always crazy, if you're coming down, stop by Small Press #N10 and say hi - I'll have cookies...

While I am gone I am having a giveaway- I think you will LOVE this prize package. Just go here to the recipes blog to enter and win!

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

It all started with a mouse...

Geez, you know the kids miss Disneyland when they start building a monorail out of paper in your living room...

Sadly, the Baby's pass is allll blockout dates from now until school starts, of course. Figures. With the kids in school (and the cost), the passes aren't going to be renewed. It makes me sad - not that I can't wander the park alone, heck I do that a lot too - but now it just won't be as often.

Still, you can always bring the Disney 'spirit' home with you...through food! I made these mini Minnie & Mickey cupcakes for a kid's birthday party.

I will miss all those Disney treats - I suppose I could just set up a paper cotton candy stand to go with the paper theme park he's building. I better make sure his paper bathrooms are up to code...

Minnie Mouse in fondant how-to, here.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Aw, nuts.

I have some really big IMPORTANT NEWS to announce today: The Kid is no longer allergic to peanuts. Can you hear that? It's the sound of angels and the heavens opening...or it's just the sound of me busting open a jar of peanut butter.

How did I find this out? In a very scientific way. I fed him a bite of my banh mi sandwich, only to realize AFTER the fact, that the thing was studded with chopped peanuts. Um...oops? Hey, I've never had a banh mi with peanuts dammit - who knew?? Anyway, I turned and looked for signs of choking, itchiness, nausea...nothing but the Kid looking back at me saying, "What. Why are you staring at me? Can I have more sandwich?" Hm.

As a peanut lover I was eager to try out every possible item on him, nutter butters, peanut butter cups, pb&j - but the Kid...he wasn't having it. I even made up some very pretty, very fancy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to celebrate only to be turned down.

I guess all those years where we put the fear of death by peanut in him worked a little too well. Even if he wasn't allergic he swears that peanuts will kill us all and he won't go near them. Remember kids, guns don't kill people, guns AND peanuts do - just ask Boba Fett.

Fancy PB & J recipe, here.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard, to give the poor dog a bone: When she came there, the cupboard was bare, and so the poor dog had none.

Economic recovery - not so much. The only job offers I am getting are emails asking me to be on Cupcake Wars. Sorry, 1000 cupcakes in 2 hours - No. Way.

And with no job, and no money I am Old Mother Hubbard 2010, so I have to make do with what I have, which means stocking the pantry with essentials. My freezer is full, (lord help me if there is a power outage) and salmon filets is one of my standbys - they are one of the best things to have on hand.

I found an awesome Ina Garten recipe for salmon with just FOUR ingredients, I didn't think you could get so much flavor with so little. She never lets me down, that Ina.

The kids love this recipe and can't get enough, which is a good thing since I'm convinced salmon is brain food and will help make them baby geniuses. Now to convince the Baby to harness that power for GOOD...

Grilled salmon recipe, here.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Allez cuisine!

A dinner prepared by an Iron Chef and a Top Chef? Yes, please.

Makoto Okuwa was Iron Chef Morimoto's sous chef in Kitchen Stadium for many battles and last week he was the challenger himself in Battle Uni v. Iron Chef Michael Symon. To commemorate the event he hosted a night of chefs and their dishes called the Iron Chef America Dinner. It was held at his restaurant Sashi Sushi in Manhattan Beach along with a screening of the episode.

The roster of chefs was impressive, but more impressive was the fact that they were plating the dishes right outside the restaurant - so you could get a clear view of all the action!

Iron Chef Morimoto was there, as was Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio. The dishes were stunning...

Makoto's dish was first, a deconstructed bagel and cream cheese. I was surprised at how well this worked and how great all of the components tasted together.

Caesar Salad soup with bacon foam! You could really taste the smokiness of the bacon in the foam, the soup was very rich and flavorful.

Lobster salad - was fresh and FULL of local vegetables with I loved. I could have had many more plates of this.

Morimoto's fish course was...to die for. Snapper with XOJan and fish sauce - honestly I've never had fish that good in my life. It melted in your mouth and I wanted to bathe in the broth it was so delicious. There is no good picture of this because I ate it. All of it. Every last drop.

That was followed by Michael Voltaggio's Wagyu beef "Thai Flavor." The puffed rice popped in your mouth and the Thai flavor was all in the little pearls that flanked the beef.

There were pairings for every course, champagne, wine, sake - all of which is sadly lost on me since I don't drink. To end it all, there was a dark chocolate ganache dessert, but the star of the plate was really the eucalyptus ice cream. I was surprised at how light and minty it was - cool and delicious.

It was such a great night - the food was amazing but what I really loved was being able to watch the chefs work. To see all the labor that goes into each dish, it really makes you appreciate the true artistry of the food. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

More Iron Chef America Dinner pictures, here.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer lovin' had me a blast

Even though it's wintery weather here in SoCal, it is definitely summer because Obon season has begun. The summer Japanese church festivals start in July with one of the bigger ones being Nishi in downtown L.A.

Parking here is crazy, so many people lined up to dance that they could barely move...

... it's worth the crowds just to eat that summer carnival food. It's not anything special, but it sure brings back memories. There's something very comforting about sitting on a metal folding chair eating a bowl of chili rice in the warm summer night.

But the games - oh the games. And I'm not talking about kids games here. No, Nishi has some straight up gambling type games. You can spend hours throwing dimes, trying to get them into a tiny black square for a chance to win more...

or my favorite game: DOUGHball. Get it? You place your 'bets' on which color the rolling basketball will land on - COME ON Black 6:1!!I lost. Typical. Nothing like Vegas type gambling in a church parking lot to get you pumped.

For me, ending the night with a bag of fresh dango makes life a little better. Little fried balls of dough for $2 a bag - fresh hot donuts? It's worth the 20+ person deep line and buying back a few of my childhood memories.

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Friday, July 09, 2010

When you say it's gonna happen now, when exactly do you mean? See I've already waited too long, and all my hope is gone

Vons contacted me and asked me if I'd like to try their online shopping home delivery service. In exchange they'd give me two gift cards to reimburse my purchases AND give me an online code for to share with YOU the blog readers.

I was intrigued because I've always wanted to try home delivery, and what with the Baby home with me all day - going to the market ain't as easy as it used to be. While he napped I tried out the site and 'virtually' shopped.

Since I was scheduling the shipment for later - I bought ingredients for making a dinner later in the week - I decided on lasagna, and that I would buy all the ingredients online. Since it was available I bought 'no boil' pasta for fun - I've never used it and I never will again. UGH. Old skool BOILED pasta is the way to go, always.

I also bought all my baking ingredients that were heavy, like flour, sugar - AND I bought canned pumpkin! You may or may not know, canned pumpkin is extinct and you can't find it in stores, so having it available online was pretty cool. Heck they even sell It's-It bars (I'm looking at you MyBurningKitchen) which are very hard to find.

I also threw in a curveball and bought ice cream. I wanted to see if it would arrive melted or not! I bought mini $1 cups, Mango for the Baby's sophisticated palate, and vanilla for the Kid's boring one. Ha!

To my surprise, the delivery arrived right on time within the allotted time period - everything looked great (save for a dent in one of the cans) and the ice cream was right on, perfectly frozen!

I think it was a pretty cool experience for buying things that you don't need right away, and if you can think ahead - you can plan some pretty good meals and have all the ingredients arrive right on your doorstep while your kids are napping. That part was GREAT. The Baby woke up to mango ice cream and said "WHERE DID THIS COME FROM??" The ice cream fairies dropped it on the doorstep, son. No really. Why don't you believe me?

Online code: JTJNRCPS for $7 off + free delivery ($50 minimum)

Lasagna recipe, here.

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Baby don't sweat it, you're not cut out to hold a job. Better forget it, who wants their hair done by a slob?

Ok fine. I'm a bad mother. Since we take O.G. to get her hair done every week, I thought - what the heck, I'll get the Baby's hair cut there too, so I could kill two long-haired birds with one stone. The Baby took one look around and said, "THERE'S NOTHING BUT OLD LADIES HERE." Er.

He was right. This was an old skool beauty salon. So old, that they had those dryer chairs - and not just for a 'retro feel,' for every day use. It was like a step back in time, I expected Frankie Avalon to drop down from the sky at any moment.

The Baby - sensing this was a 'girls only place'- resisted, but I did as any good mother would and bribed the heck out of him to get him in the chair. He wanted a Kung Zhu Zhu Pet (WTF. Why are those popular?) but I negotiated with pluots and he agreed. It was worth it - I got the hair cut for less than HALF what the kid's salon cost me!

When we were leaving the beauty salon, the Baby pointed to something and said, "What's that?" That's an ASHTRAY, son. sigh. You know you're old when kids ask about things that don't exist anymore...

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Comics & Cupcakes!

Every year at Comic Con, different dudes walk by my table, look at me funny - walk away, then walk back and say..."My wife loves your blog and forced me to come here and buy something from you." I love these customers. I know they'd rather be in Hall H at a super screening extravaganza, but for their wives, they stop by to say, 'hey.' And I really do appreciate it and always give them some extra goodies to take home for the family. Yay, blog readers!

Now if you can't go to Con, and most people can't since it's sold out a year in advance - here is a great opportunity to not only see my products (and *buy*) BUT taste my cupcakes too...

On August 4th, my good friends at the Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach are gracious enough to host ME for one night only! Wednesday (new comics day) from 5-8pm, I will be at the Comic Bug with my whole line - stationery, comics, buttons, gifts - **new** designs that probably won't make it to Comic Con cause I'm lazy - and more importantly...CUPCAKES. I plan to make as many as my little hands can handle, so come by and say hi!

I am telling you a month in advance so you can plan to come by - come after work, bring the kids - the Comic Bug is a great family-friendly place and really, I just love that store so much.

RSVP to the event invite, leave a comment to let me know you are coming, or just stop on by. O.G. is supposed to be there, but I'm not promising anything because I think 'So You Think You Can Dance' is on that night...thanks in advance for your support, see you then!

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Monday, July 05, 2010

May the 4th be with you

This weekend I just could not mentally or physically get out of the house. Plus it's tourist season, so I'll leave the beaches to them and just park it on the couch.

The Baby and I watched parts of the Star Wars:May the 4th Be With You marathon:

He HAD to dress in full regalia of course. How else do you watch tv? Other than that, I busted out the Mini Donut Maker and I made chocolate donuts. Darth Vader + donuts. How...patriotic?

Chocolate Sour Cream Baked Donuts recipe, here.

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Random is as random does

Somehow July is here and I just can't seem to get it together.
Here is a random list of things:



For the first time ever I will NOT be making my Watermelon Ice Cream bombe for the 4th. But you can! Recipe, here.



We have been watching a LOT of Avatar - not those freaky blue people either, I'm talking air-bending here, people!

I don't know how the live-action will be, but Avatar:The Last Airbender anime is great and the kids love it. The Baby is REALLY into it, and he's taken to drawing up his own storyboards every day:




What does RICE KRISPY + ICE CREAM + MUSUBI look like? My dreams, that's what.

Rice Krispy Ice Cream Musubi recipe, here.



And finally, for the holiday I am offering FREE SHIPPING from now til Sunday - take advantage of it!! Happy Fourth of July!

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