Otay Farms Market

I’ve wondered what would bring me back to my blog.  I should have known it would be a good food experience.

I went to Otay Farms Market today.  I’ve driven past it a few times a month since I was a little girl, perusing the thrift stores with my dad, but I’ve never gone in.

I’m not even sure why.  I knew the minute I walked through the door, that it was the kind of place my dad would have loved.

The fruit and veggies are plentiful and well priced and there’s an intoxicating aroma of fresh baked goods coming from the back.

Along the way to the bakery shelves, there is a Mexican style deli complete with fresh guacamole, a variety of salsas, spicy jalapeno carrots, and a selection of other interesting lunch fixings.

I will definitely go back for a meal from there one day soon.

Today however, I only grabbed some pears, a bag of plums and a tall, sticky-looking coconut macaroon.

And tortillas.

Fresh, piping-hot-off-the-stone tortillas.  (Insert glee over upcoming food deliciousness here.)

The bag of them was so hot in fact, that I couldn’t hold it in the palm of my hand.  Instead, I had to dangle it from my fingers by the teeny bit of plastic above the twist tie.

After a quick glance at the rest of the store, I paid and left.  I tossed the tortilla bag on the seat next to me and was all set to drive away, but those tortillas had already filled the van with an amazing aroma.  I had to eat one right then, in the parking lot.  Isn’t that the rule with fresh food?  Eat it on the spot?

I ripped open the bag, rolled one quickly to avoid burning my fingers, and then took a bite.  It was really good.  So good.   So fresh.

I started my car, left the lot and headed home.  But that aroma was still there.

I grabbed another tortilla from the bag.

I was about to take a bite when I remembered the See’s Candies Dark Chocolate Almond bar in my purse.  I ripped open one end, broke off a square and tossed it inside my rolled up tortilla.

The chocolate started to melt on contact – just enough to easily eat, but not enough to make a mess.

I took a bite and immediately felt happy.  And then quickly sad, because no one was there to share that amazing moment.

Fresh, hot tortilla with See’s Chocolate?  If I go to Heaven one day, that’s what I will eat there.

Absolutely.

And I probably won’t ever buy tortillas at the supermarket again.

I am changed.

♥♥

What a Lovely Weekend

I spent last night alone at the Marriott in Pasadena.

I drove up by myself, walked all over Old Town, popped into a few little shops, and took myself out to Il Fornaio too.

I had forgotten how much I enjoy eating all by myself in a nice restaurant.

It’s so fun to people watch, and somehow, the solitude makes you really savor the textures, colors and flavors of your food.

I started with a Caesar salad.  It was very fresh and just the right size, but I was not a fan of the croutons.  There were only three and they were almost too crunchy to eat.

The bread that came with the meal was similarly crunchy and also difficult to eat.  The olive oil and balsamic vinegar helped.

Next, I enjoyed ravioli filled with butternut squash and walnuts.  It was served with brown butter, tomato sauce, and crispy sage.

The sage was great.  It was actually dipped in something a little denser than a tempura batter and then fried.  It was unusual and a very welcome addition to the plate.

My only disappointment with the entree was the amount of the tomato sauce.  The ravioli needed a little more oomph, but there wasn’t a lot of that sauce to do it.  The flavors were all wonderful, just not quite proportioned properly.

Of course, none of that stopped me from cleaning my plate. 😀

I got dessert too.  I ordered by sight from the cart and really didn’t know what I was in for.  To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement.  It was possibly the best chocolate mousse I’ve ever eaten.  It included a layer of fresh raspberries and it came in a pool of cream fraiche and raspberry coulis.  Another raspberry sat on top.  Delicious.

The entire day was delightful.

And long overdue.

I haven’t needed a break that badly in quite a while.  😐

This morning I got up early, ate some cereal in my room, then drove to the Rose Bowl to meet a friend for the monthly flea market.

We both had some cash to burn this time, so it was a lot of fun.

When our feet could take no more, we drove back into town, bought a couple of teeny bird figurines at  Goldbug, ate a very pleasant, leisurely meal at Mi Piace, and then looked at every single item in Lula Mae.  I LOVE that place.  So sweet.

We parted company around 4:00 p.m.

On the way home, I stopped at Cost Plus World Market to finish out my fun.

Now, I am exhausted and ready to hibernate.

I’ll post pictures of my new treasures in a couple of days.

I hope you had a good weekend too!

Happy Sunday!

♥♥

Catch Up, Catch All, Ketchup

I bought a new t-shirt the other day.  I wore if for five hours this morning and now I don’t want it anymore.

Until my beautiful sister-in-law came over, I don’t think I realized just how much I hate this shirt.

It’s essentially identical to all the shirts I wore when I was pregnant nine years ago.

But I’m NOT pregnant and probably never will be again, so now this kind of shirt just makes me feel old.  And wide.  And matronly.

What the hell was I thinking with a scoop neck and horizontal stripes?  Right.  Sooo wrong.

Goodbye, blue-striped-shirt-that-I-just-bought!  It wasn’t nice knowing you.

My sister-in-law has beautiful taste in clothes.  She always looks great.  And so feminine.  I envy her that.

I wish I could dress from stores like Anthropologie, but they don’t carry my size.  Or my shape.  Grrrrrr.

I can’t buy light, airy, ethereal fabrics because I don’t have a light, airy, ethereal life.

Even if I did, it wouldn’t matter, because I’m lumpy.

Pretty stuff doesn’t go with lumpy.

In fact, it might even make it worse.

Sigh.

Changing shirts now.

Ack!

Enough about that!

Moving on…

I got my fun little drawer in the mail from Studio 162.

Thank you, Erin!

I can’t wait to find a spot for it.

It might have to go on a wall near my chicken house.  (Scroll to the end of that post to see a poorly lit photo.)

And speaking of chicken…

did you know that getting ready for nuggets is all about the sauce?

The little boy actually ate some of those grape pieces this time.

The carrots?  😐  Not so much.

I’ve been putting four or five teeny slices on his plate every night for a week now.  I’m not sure he’s even looked at them, much less touched or eaten them.

Soon enough.  🙂

Kind of a slow day…

for my brain anyway.

Need.  Caffeine.  Chocolate.

Happy Wednesday!!

P.S.  Green lollipop boy:

♥♥

#13 – Things I sorta already knew…

but learned again this month:

  1. If you don’t have giant bandaids, you can use a bandana to tie a kotex to your husband’s hand when he burns his skin late at night and wants to protect it while he sleeps.
  2. If you need a new patio table, one will magically appear at your front door.  Behind it, you will find giant birthday cupcakes (see pic) and a card from a visiting (and quite spectacular) friend.  Thank you, Christine!
  3. If you accidentally toss a heap of lantana clippings into the blue bin instead of the green bin, you will be really upset with yourself when you also pour a container full of broken bottles, dented cans and wet cardboard in on top of them.  Dumb.  Dirty.  Tedious and icky to correct.
  4. If you don’t write something on your blog at least five days a week, you will forget how and your drafts will threaten to outnumber your published pieces.
  5. If you really need a break from the house and long to indulge in a little guilt-free impulse shopping, a friend will suddenly appear with an Anthropologie gift card for your birthday.  Thank you, SarahHUHlita!
  6. Everyone should have three moms.  😀 😀 😀
  7. If you sign up for every restaurant e-club out there, you will get a lot of free meals around your birthday.
  8. The little boy does better with pictures.  For everything.
  9. You can’t finish your list unless you take a cheerios break when you get to number nine.
  10. Sitting in commute traffic sucks even more for a low blood sugar autistic seven-year-old than it does for me.  “No zero.  No zero.  Yes sixty.”
  11. Oil covered wildlife is sad and wrong and makes me teary.  (Don’t look, mom.)
  12. I want to see Toy Story 3 more than my child does.
  13. If you are patient enough, you will realize that the odd looking tomato in the corner is actually a yellow heirloom variety and not a red one gone wrong.
  14. If you are smart enough, you will take your salt shaker into the yard, eat the yellow tomato right from the vine, and feel more privileged than any diner who ever lived.
  15. Support for Obama will wax and wane, but I will always believe that he is a good man who is trying very hard to do what’s best.
  16. If you keep forgetting to take your child for a haircut, the hair will not stop growing to wait for you.
  17. You don’t have to pile into the car to entertain your kid.  Sometimes, riding a scooter to the park around the corner is the best thing ever.  Really, ever.

♥♥

Roses and Boredom

Husband and I have very little luck with roses in our yard.

We don’t have the right soil, the right water sources, the right patience…the right anything.

We tried really hard the first few years, but we got rusty leaves, white fly and a variety of other problems.

We gave up.  And, I kid you not, I have cried over this.

Some people dream of white picket fences or cobblestone paths for their very first homes.

All I could think about were roses.  Lots and lots of roses.

I thought we would have them everywhere, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Their thorns scratched the husband and the little boy when they passed to mow the lawn.

Their blooms were beautiful, but not abundant.

The leaves were plentiful, but unattractive.

The yard was just not big enough.

We took the roses out.

“Good riddance” we said, but I miss them.  A lot.

We kept just one.

In the front yard, in the wrong spot, hidden from our view, there is one little plant struggling to survive.

I don’t see it when I look out the window.

I don’t see it when I pull up in the driveway.

I don’t see it when I’m daydreaming about the roses that are gone.

I don’t ever see it, but this week, husband was out there cutting and mowing and chopping things down.

I wandered outside and there it was, bare and boring.  Husband had just pruned it back.

I took the branches at his feet and brought them in to see if their blooms might be salvaged for a vase.

I was rewarded for my teeny effort.

Look at these colors.  All from the same little starving stems.

I’ve decided this is the best rose bush in the whole world.

I can even forgive it for those little rust spots on the leaves.

Not a surprise that the variety is called Joseph’s Coat.

Alleviating the little boy’s holiday boredom required construction paper and box of cake mix.

First, we made some Memorial Day decorations for the chandelier – stars and “yoyos” (as the little boy calls the curly streamers).

We incorporated his holiday school craft…

and his drawing and cutting skills…

and we wasted a TON of staples and an entire ROLL of tape on this patriotic paper chain:

Miniature cupcakes provided sweet relief from our open afternoon schedule.

They also gave me a great excuse to try out the new frosting tips I bought last week.

I’ve decided that I will only make miniature cupcakes in the future.

They’re more fun to eat (one bite if nobody’s looking – 😀 – way better than their big messy cousins).

They’re more fun to decorate (you don’t need the professional tips – just snip the corner off a ziploc bag and fill with frosting) and they’re much easier to store.

Plus, minis just seem to go better with kids.  😀

Make some, you’ll see.

All that, a fabulous Saturday with mom, Sunday coffee with the girlfriends, a quick grocery run this morning and we’ve had a pretty good weekend!

Wish us luck on getting the little boy off to school tomorrow after four days at home.  😐  Sigh.

Happy Monday!

♥♥

Trees, Mom’s Recipe and A Pretty Link

My brother sent me this article yesterday.

Apparently there are some voracious oak killing beetles poised to ruin my childhood playground.  😦

It makes me so sad that the landscape of that amazing canyon may soon be changed forever.  Darned beetles.

We used to slide down the hills above those oak trees.

A big piece of cardboard, a little bit of nerve and away we went.

My mom even did it a few times.

Speaking of my mom…

I used her banana bread recipe the other day.

If you read this post, then you know I had very low resistance to the finished product.

I had forgotten what a good recipe it is.

With mom’s permission, I thought I’d share it with you.

Click here to see it on my new blog!

In other baking news…

I made chocolate chip cookies for the teacher and the aides today.

It’s staff appreciation week at our school.

I wish my wallet allowed for something like restaurant gift cards for each of them, but it doesn’t.

Cookies will have to do.

Yesterday was a particularly bad day for everyone.

I talked to the teacher for a moment after school and also received this note on my son’s daily progress slip:

“Tantrum when asked to work in language arts.  He threw the timer and it hit another student.”

The other student is okay, but the teacher looked drained.

I think one of my biggest fears is also one of hers – that his frustration will lead to a tantrum that seriously injures another child.

He would never harm another student on purpose of course, but the potential for accidents is there.

It makes my stomach hurt.

Maybe it makes her stomach hurt too.

I probably should have made more cookies.

And now for something completely different…

and no, it’s not Monty Python.

About a year ago, one of my all-time favorite magazines bit the dust – Mary Engelbreit‘s Home Companion.

I still have every issue I ever owned and I look at them frequently.

One of my favorite parts of the magazine was a regular feature they ran on artist workshops.

I found it fascinating to peek into the creative spaces of artists from every end of the spectrum – sculptors, painters, paper collage artists, doll makers, stampers – you name it.

Their craft rooms and studios were as varied as their work and all of it was wonderful.

Well, today I found another magazine on the stand that is dedicated to that very thing.

Where Women Create is a quarterly magazine with amazing photos.

At $15 an issue, it’s out of my price range, but the website includes links to the artists featured in each issue.

Click the magazine name to check it out.

Enjoy!

Happy Thursday!

♥♥

Banana bread, a bistro and some cheese

I’m bored.

I should be cleaning my house or reading my new book, but I don’t feel like it.

It’s a weird, blustery day outside.

I’d really like to put on my jammies and curl up in front of the boob tube with a slab of the banana nut bread I baked this morning.

But it’s only 4:00 p.m, daylight saving time, probably not going to be dark for a few hours.

Do I really want to turn on the t.v.?  Mom sort of raised us not to do that during the day.

What then?

I don’t feel creative.

I haven’t sewn anything in months.  Not even sure why.  Probably just no real time to do it.

And no goals for it.  Gotta have a goal for those kind of things.

Maybe I should be thinking about Halloween and making some friends for Sergio.  Friends to sell.

But the banana bread came out so well.

I need to paint the little boy’s room some time soon.

I told myself today that I will complete it before his birthday.  That’s two months.

I can do it!  He can help!  Or he can hinder.  😐  You know how it goes.

Banana bread.  Did I just hear my name?

The Fairy Princess is sitting a few feet away from me.  She wants her Friskies.

She’s only insistent when it’s late and I’ve forgotten, but she puts herself in my path a few minutes early to help me remember.

Her eyes are closing, but she doesn’t move because she knows she has to tell me it’s time.

Husband and the little boy don’t notice her when she sits like that.

It’s only me.  She sits there for me.  I’m the supplier of her banana bread.

Okay, I fed her.  Does she look fatter?

(Please ignore well loved scratching post and excess fur matted into curtains.)

Moving on (or back) to boredom.

Husband and I had some relief from it yesterday.

My mom watched the boy while we had a very pleasant grown-up lunch with two other couples.

No kids!  Woohoo!

We went to the Stone Brewing World Bistro in Escondido.

It’s a huge place with interesting food and a zillion different beers.  Even the iced tea tasted kind of hoppy.

If you go, be sure to order the mushroom pillow appetizers.  Yummy.

It was nice not to worry about the little boy and whether or not there were chicken stars or pancakes on the menu.

Wish we could do that more often.  Sigh.  Someday.

Maybe you can babysit.  🙂  No pressure.

We might still have banana nut bread left for you.

Don’t forget to watch 24 tomorrow!!  😀

It’s the last one.  😐

Cheese!

Happy Weekend!

♥♥