Monthly Archives: April 2010

Celebrating sunshine potato salad

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There’s something about warm weekends and being outdoors that calls for potato salad. Why? I don’t know. I’m a creature of pop culture programming.

For the past month or so we’ve been doing a lot of home improvement projects, one of which was to replace about 75′ of fencing. Yay. We’ve got another 75′ to go. Groan.

To celebrate this weekend’s sunshine, let’s make some potato salad.

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Happy Mom’s Day: a travel clutch

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If your mother is like my mine, she’s doesn’t want much for Mother’s Day except for her kids (and grandkids) to be healthy and happy. Check. Check. We’re healthy. We’re happy.

Every year I rack my brains for something to give her that a) doesn’t cost a lot of money (she LOVES it when I’m thrifty), b) she can actually use/appreciate and doesn’t add clutter, and c) that’s a little different than the year before.

Seriously, what do you get the mom that has everything?

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La Chamba cookware

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A couple of weeks ago I went out front to check the mail and lo and behold there was a huge box on the front porch. A gift from the UPS dude. Yay! I love gifts! I love the UPS dude!

But what could be in this ginormous box? The chic looking label said Toque Blanche, which is a cooking store in Half Moon Bay. My heart started racing. Holy baloney this could be good!

After digging through a billion layers of tissue and an ocean of foam peanuts (little excited am I?) I discovered one of these …

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Asparagus, gruyere and zucchini puff pastry tarts

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I’ve been seeing this recipe for puff pastry tarts floating around the internet lately and we finally got around to making it. Or … I should say, Jack, finally got around to making it.

Commercial break: Here’s the deal, during the work week I do the cooking because my commute is a 10-second walk across the kitchen. Jack’s commute is … well, we don’t want to go there. Let’s just say it’s loooooooooong. Many books and much news can be listened to.

Anyway, on the weekends he prefers to do the cooking. The man’s a fabulous cook. It makes him happy. And I’m all about making Jack a happy camper.

When he insists on cooking dinner, who am I to argue? Instead I happily skidaddle to another room with a good book, or I paint my toenails, or I just stare at the ceiling, pick my nose and contemplate nirvana. It’s an idyllic time. I don’t question it; I just enjoy it.

Back to scheduled programming: Here’s the ridiculously easy recipe along with our modifications …

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Sugar and Spice and Puppy Dog Tails

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There’s been much talk of munchkins lately.

Jack’s sister is pregnant. Naturally his mom is quite excited. My mom keeps looking at me and wiggling her eyebrows, asking, what about you? Hurry up and have some kids while I’m still around to play with them.

No pressure there. Nope. None at all.

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These kids are two of my cousins’ kids in Vietnam. We’d all gone to Bac Trang—a town known for its pottery—to visit and, ahem, buy pottery. I admit that I bought a few dishes and hand carried these heavy suckers all the way home to the U.S. Please don’t roll your eyes at me. I couldn’t help it! Dishes are my ultimate weakness! They’re super cute and were worth the pain-in-the-rear packing techniques and hand lugging over four time zones. I’ll post about them sometime soon.

Anyway, these two little kids are cousins to each other and while they’re good friends and love hanging out together they couldn’t be more different from one another. It was fun to watch them interact. Man, there sure is a difference between boys and girls.

I think almost every photo I have of this boy he’s got his arm jacked up somewhere (as in this photo), is picking his nose, scrunching up his face, karate punching something or just plain causing terror. Look at the little anime statue that he chose to paint. He loved the wild hair. And his painting technique was modeled after the Jackson Pollock fling-paint-everywhere brush stroke.

He’s definitely all about puppy dog tails—a constant jiggle and wiggle, hopping all over the place.

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And than there’s this sweetheart. Really, she’s one of the sweetest little beings on the planet. She oozes sweetness and serenity. Actually, I think she’s a bit of an old soul.

She’s all sugar and spice. Sweet, sweet, sweet.

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Here’s my cousin Ly (their aunt) and my uncle (their grandfather) who loves to take photos more than anyone I’ve ever met. Even more than me. This man has a camera (or video camera) glued to his hands at all times. It was his job to watch over the kids while all the ladies went shopping for dishes and pottery. He spent most of his time trying to corral the Puppy Dog Tail.

Yeah, good luck Uncle.

Ly and I just watched and laughed. We’re supportive that way.

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And we continued hanging out with Sugar and Spice. The happy, pink, lovey dovey bubble of girldom was going strong.