Thursday, October 28, 2010

What's cookin' in my kitchen

Ever been stuck in that ridiculous maze of useless products before you get to the register at Marshalls, TJ's or Home Goods? Yeah? Me too. And what do I have to show for it? A cinnamon bun scented candle, drawer liners and caramel apple mix. Which I thought would be a fun little Halloween project with the girls.

I was so wrong.

Like a good prepper, I layed out all of the goodies that we intended to roll our apples in.

If you ever want to test the willpower of your children just put them in front of 4 candy bowls and tell them not to touch anything.

They were good for about 30 seconds.

And then all hell broke loose. They both began tattling on each other for taking an M&M or for stealing a gummy worm. Then the yelling. And the hitting. Which I could do nothing about because I was too busy stirring 225 degree scalding ass caramel. What the hell was I thinking? TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY FIVE DEGREES! This, clearly, is not a project for kids let alone a novice baker. After removing the caramel from the heat, the instructions told me to work quickly so it doesn't harden. I wanted to tell the instructions to kindly kiss my ass, but then I realized it was a piece of paper and that just wouldn't wo...dammit Gina, snap out of it, your freakin' caramel is hardening!


Quickly doesn't go over well when you have OCD children who want to pick and choose which M&M's get planted on the apple. Quickly doesn't go over well when your children start freaking out that the worm is on the bottom of the apple and not "peeking" out from the top like all worms do. Quickly doesn't go over well when your children lose their mind because you decided to add nuts at the last minute (because you knew if you brought them out beforehand with the other bowls they would outright refuse a nut addition). THEIR CARAMEL APPLES MIA, THEY ALWAYS COME WITH NUTS!!! But again, even my yelling wasn't helping the situation. Oh no.....I quickly realized the best thing was to practically throw the damn candies on the apples until they stuck.


My kitchen was a total disaster. I was full of sweat. Chance was screaming. And I had about 5 minutes to get all three kids in the car and drop Bella off at school. Best. Afternoon. Ever.

But ya know what? They were so good--I mean, really really good! Gee, can you tell which one's Bella's? Hah!

Tonight we made some pumpkin bread---and oh my goddess this pumpkin bread recipe was AWESOME!! My fellow blogger friend Megan over at Living the Dream posted this amazing recipe for pumpkin bread that has me wanting to make a loaf a day. Here's the yummy recipe.

Make it today, don't wait--it's that good! Thanks so much for this Meg, it's a keeper.

What's cookin' in your kitchen these days? Any good recipes you want to share?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The best read in a long time....

I loved this book. So poignant and so powerful. I find myself thinking about Aibileen (one of the characters) randomly throughout the day and all I can do is smile. I hear they're making it into a movie, so hurry and read it now.

Anybody else loved it like I did?

Monday, October 25, 2010


It's not often that I dine in an establishment that doesn't have mac-and-cheese listed somewhere on the menu. And it's not often that I dine in a place where I have no choice over what's being served. Cloth napkins and wine sommelies? Are you kidding me?

Not kidding at all people. We dined at Moto.

Moto, a postmodern dining experience, is at the forefront of culinary innovation. Chef Homaro Cantu and Pastry Chef Ben Roche are the perfect team. Like two kids in a 7th grade science lab, they challenge the way we typically view food.

Using molecular gastronomy, our senses were amazed at every single course. And, um, there was ten of them!

Which is exactly why I'm going to blog about it.

Like in any other restaurant, we were handed our menu. Only this time, it was edible! A yummy garlic and parmesan brioche!

Our first course looked like a snow man. But it was a lime foam with black sea salts over a bed of ahi tuna.

Before the second course arrived, my diet coke was delivered to me. IN A BEAKER. AND IT WAS SMOKING!

How cool is that!!

Our second course was an incredible piece of Hawaiian fish (I forgot the name) that was flown in that day, crisped on the outside and on a bed of roe. Delish!

Next, was their take on traditional crab cakes. Although, there was nothing traditional about it. Playing off of the word cake, they created a sponge cake with crab infused in the batter, topped it with a lemon butter frosting and paired it with fennel and butternut squash ice cream. AMAZING!!!!!

Next up was a maitake mushroom and pork belly dish. Get this---the mushroom that is standing up is actually mushrooms that were vacuum sealed, crushed and then put back together again and formed into the look of a mushroom. Basically, they were deconstructed mushrooms that had the texture of a funyon or a cheese puff. Awesome.

We're not even halfway through yet. Next up was a spin off of the tastes found at a baseball game. Here's the breakdown, breaded quail with a caramel sauce, crushed popcorn and an edible Cracker Jack logo. Definite home run!

Did I mention we had the wine pairing as well? By this time, Mama G was feeling really good!

Our sixth course looked like a big sushi roll, but was actually rabbit wrapped in a risotto roll. Accompanied by an amazing sauce, dehydrated peas and a radish slice--it was perfection!

Up next was what they called a mexican cannoli. Sweet and spicy, this dish had it all. Loved the contrast in flavors here.

Our first of three dessert dishes, was incredible. It was a truffled ice cream cake. Literally, the cake was the flavor of truffles, it was so unique. The flavor, the texture--everything! Who thinks of this stuff? Well, Ben Roche apparently.

Our next dessert was called pineapple and chai. It was so simple and so perfect. I swear, this guy's a genius!

The final dessert was called Tea Time. And it was a chocolate mousse, drenched in cookie crumbs and paired with Earl Grey ice cream. Very impressive.

The meal was fabulous and fun and exciting all at the same time. I felt like I was trapped in a Top Chef marathon hosted by Willy Wonka--and I loved every minute of it!

Before we thought we were done, Chef Homaro Cantu and Chef Ben Roche had one last surprise in store for us. Delivered to our table was a set of lab beakers topped with an edible packing peanut (the ones you fill boxes with). As we all ate the foam peanut, a blast of smoke simultaneoulsy erupted out of our mouths. Laughing, we all took a final sip of a clear soda that I swear tasted just like roses.

It was an amazing experience!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Door County in Fall

I've said it before--I LOVE ME SOME FALL! I especially love visiting other towns that embrace this love too. Tucked in my files of memories I can easily recall the excitement I had visiting the New England states 4 autumns ago. Vermont and Massachusetts were amazing.

Eugene and I decided that we wanted to plan a fall weekend away, with hopes of finding a place that would showcase the fall. I did a lot of research online and spoke with friends and concluded that Door County, Wisconsin would be the perfect spot.

It is known as a photographer's haven this time of year and I now understand why. Eugene was inspired everywhere he looked. With sunshine all weekend long, we spent all of our time outside. Could you blame us? Look at this!

He has such an eye for photography. Such talent.

Here's my favorite picture. And apparently it's the most photographed spot in all of the county.

From another angle...

Door County is located on the northern tip of the Wisconsin peninsula, with Lake Michigan on one side and Green Bay on the other. All of these lakeside towns are adorable and quaint and quiet....but we chose to stay in Sister Bay because of the Fall Fest.

All five of us had so much excitement when we arrived at our new "house," a perfect little two bedroom townhouse in walking distance from the festival (which comes in real handy later on). The girls decided to unpack all of their stuff and find a home for EVERY SINGLE THING they brought. Mia couldn't believe that she was going to have a big girl bed all to herself. She was so thrilled she spent nearly 20 minutes laying her blanket out perfectly. OCD? It was so cute to watch! After their bedroom was perfect, we all went out and played.

Even Chance got in on the action!

After a relaxing night, we woke up on Saturday morning and headed to the festival. Eugene and I laughed with each other as we realized how much having a third child changes things--since we were BOTH pushing a stroller into town.

The town's festivities began with a parade, but our festivities began with a beer. Classy.

There was a huge turn-out!

And the smell of brats filled the air.

Along with pumpkin pie, hot cider and caramel apple sundaes!

Cheesin' for the camera

While Chance slept and the girls grubbed on their parade candy, Eugene and I refilled our glasses. I'm telling ya, afternoon buzzes are great, aren't they? It's the best buzz of all. Look what happens when uptight Mommy downs a couple of brewskis....

The fest was so much fun and it felt great to let loose a little bit. After we let the kids frolic at the park in the town square we walked home and all passed out for a couple hours. A perfect afternoon nap! Waking up and feeling a little guilty over our self indulgent afternoon, we decided to take the kids (in their pj's) to the local drive-in movie theatre where we all saw (for the third time) Toy Story 3.

And you know what, it doesn't get old. Nope--the more they watch it the more they love it!

On Sunday morning we decided to stop by a local favorite for some breakfast before we hit the road for home. Check it out, it's a Scandinavian restaurant--with an authentic grass covered roof.

Oh but it gets better.....cuz there's GOATS GRAZING ON IT!!!

Crazy, huh?!

As we drove home we already started the talks about doing it again next year. I like the idea of starting our own family traditions....I hope we follow through.

Until then, we'll let our pictures remind us.


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