Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Second Cousin

So, I missed my cousin’s graduation party.  Except she was my mom’s second cousin’s daughter and I really don’t even know what that means.  Do you?  If so, don’t explain.  I have read about it, heard about it and different people have given me 15 different variations on it, but I still don’t get it.

But, they are at all the family get-togethers, so I just call them cousins.  And, I missed her high school graduation party.  This was totally my scheduling error and not the error of a careless school (sorry, Ameena).

If I had gone, I would have gotten her money.  Because, let’s be honest.  A high school graduate doesn’t want a pen as much as she wants money.  This also applies to a college graduate and just about any person.  Maybe I’m projecting?

I also understand the impersonal nature of handing someone money with some exceptions.  If you attend a party/get together and hand the money in person, then all is well.  There is some personal-ness to it.  However, if you missed the graduation party and just send money, it might seem a little distant.  Right?  (Mind you, I would accept money with no care but others may care.  Except from Binks – wherein homemade and/or thoughtful are requirements.)

I’m sure this follows no rules of etiquette as I clearly have none, but hey, that’s how I roll.

So, I’m going to mail her a gift package with the following: pens, pencils, highlighters, a desk organizer, cookies, and of course – money.

I was most excited about the cookies.

Specifically, snickerdoodles.  (Recipe)

I love snickerdoodles.  The light and crisp (yet chewy) texture is perfect for a summer treat.

Who knew cookies could be seasonal?

Snickerdoodles are in the same family as sugar cookies to me, just with a bit more pizzazz.

They’re probably second cousins.

Are you a fan of snickerdoodles?  What do you usually give to a high school graduate?


Filed under baking, Cookies, Desserts, Life, Uncategorized

My Magnum Experience

Yep, I’ve tried the Magnum.  It was everything I wanted and more.

I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.  Nothing but highs and the only lows occurred when the ride was over.

I moaned.

I groaned.

And when it was over, I wanted more.

I was insatiable.

So did Binks.

Have you tried a Magnum?

You should.

I took pictures.

Look how big it is!

It was pretty thick too.  That’s Binks holding it.

And, then I joined in.  I love how creamy it is inside!

And, then this happened.

That’s what she said.

Now, excuse me while I go wash my mouth out with soap.

Word of caution:  This is very much a rare-time pleasure.

Have you tried a Magnum?  Either kind? LOL!


Filed under Desserts, Favorites


I accept I am with child.

I accept that the baby is growing.

I accept that my body will change.

I accept that the baby is mine.

There are certain things that I have not come to terms with.

1. I have a beer belly.  So most people would expect this yes, but I have not. I keep looking at myself in the mirror and I notice that things are expanding in the tummy region. Funny as it is, years of trying to get in shape immediately causes me to think, “Geez, you need to eat better and exercise more.” It’s a losing battle for the next 5 months. It takes Binks to remind me that there is a wee one in there. And by remind I mean everyday two-three times a day.

2. I need new clothes.  This relates to #1. As a lot of my clothes are already loose, I keep thinking, I’ll wait until I can’t fit into my clothes to buy new ones. Let me tell you why this is dumb. Just because I can fit into my jeans/pants/etc. standing up, doesn’t mean that it feels so wonderful sitting down. So, for the past week, I have been unbuttoning my pants while seated. (Insert judgment here.) Tis not a pretty sight my friends. Thank goodness I have my own office and I own my own firm and I work with my husband.

3. I have gas.  I know TMI. I apologize. This speaks for itself. I keep saying – Oh, I must have eaten something bad. Binks just rolls his eyes – from halfway across the room at that point.

4. My boobs are huge.  And don’t get me started on the n-word. Again, TMI – I apologize. But we’re all friends right? Pre-pregnancy, I had some knockers, let me tell ya! Let’s say I understand Jessica Simpson’s pain. I didn’t like it then, and I certainly don’t like it now. And have they grown. The first three months were a disaster because they would be large and extremely sore. Luckily the latter part has subsided. And again, as for the n-word, it’s like watching a tattoo spread in shapes and change colors that you don’t even want to describe. Again, I apologize.

5. I get tired.  Like early. I’m usually an 11 p.m. sleeper but lately, it’s been 9:30 p.m. at the latest. It’s a great thing.

6. Things hurt.  Aside from #4 issues, my back and my joints hurt. Things are popping. Not in a pop-and-lock way but an “I’m-falling-apart” way. Silver lining: I get back massages almost every day.

7. The scale is increasing.  Oh Lord, don’t even get me started on this mess. I know it’s baby weight, but because I, like others, have been taught to care what the scale says, the number is climbing and I’m panicking. I’ve learned to calm down as my clothes fit almost everywhere except my boobs (see #4) and belly (see #1), which only really leaves my arms and calves. Oy ve.

8. I have to tell people I’m pregnant.  It’s a weird thing. Let me tell you. When you get engaged, you can show someone a ring or someone will notice. Here, there is no proper way to ease into it, and you don’t really want to wait until someone will notice. So, I’ve been saying ridiculous things like this: “I’m with child.” “Turns out I’m knocked up.” Thank God for good and understanding friends!

9. Crazy Dreams.  My dreams are wicked. Insane. Crazy. I dreamt that someone was trying to steal my baby a la Rosemary’s Baby, and I was planning an escape route. That’s a tame one. It is nuts.

10. I will be a good mom.  I’m a mess. A hot mess. I forget my cell phone in the car. I forget whether I closed the garage completely, thus having to turn around just to be sure. Did I mention I’m also OCD? I leave dishes in the sink sometimes because I’m too tired to wash them that night. I don’t cook dinner every night. I mean compared to my mom, I’m a disaster. My mom had a fresh-cooked meal for us every night. She never forgot anything for her, my dad or for us kids. She always washed the dishes no matter how tired she was. I fear that I might be too selfish.

All in all, this is probably one of the best experiences of my life. I have not felt so much fear, joy, anxiety, and excitement all at one time.

And, most of all, I’m really glad that I have you to share it with. Thank you for listening!  🙂


Filed under Life, Pregnancy

More Protein Please!

With the pregnancy, I’ve been hungrier than ever.  The best way I keep myself filled and fulfilled?  Protein.  Lately, my oatmeal and smoothie breakfasts have not been able to keep me full long enough.  I must admit that my oatmeal bowls are heavy on the fruit but I totally forget to incorporate protein.

So, recently when a vendor came to visit and do a little ad blurb, she brought breakfast.  The best kind – the Central Market kind.

{Cranberry Blueberry Muffins}

Plus fresh strawberries and pineapple

Talk about delicious

And this is no ordinary muffin.  Usually muffins are stingy on the fruit but not this one.

So, why am I talking about protein and showing you pictures of carbs galore?

Because yesterday’s breakfast was given a protein makeover.

Fage yogurt (because, to me, there is none better), Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter (Nutella’s serious competition), and the fruity muffins.

I split the Justin’s nut butter with Binks.

Okay, I cannot even describe how delicious this bowl of goodness was.  I savored this meal for a good 30 minutes, which definitely beats my usual 30 second inhalation of my morning cereal.

With combos like this, incorporating more protein will not be so difficult!

How do you incorporate more protein into your breakfast? 


Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Vegetarian

Tuna Fish Temptation

Lately, I am hungry all the time.  And, certain foods set off hunger pangs in me like nothing else.  Mostly fish.  For instance, when Tiffany posted all about her sushi dinner, I almost lost it.  I spent a good hour that morning wondering how I could get my hands on some safe-for-pregnancy sushi (meaning the veggie kind) for breakfast.

The other day, my friend told me that when her mom was pregnant, she had a serious craving for tuna salad sandwiches.  I swear to you – a light turned on.  I had to have it.  And, after consulting my OBGYN, I did.  (I get paranoid, okay!?)

Tuna salad sandwiches were a staple growing up.  My mom made it best.  Tons of onions and celery for the best crunch possible.  She also kicked it up a notch with some jalapeno and red pepper flakes.  I wouldn’t do it any different – well except that I do.

I start with the basics.

Tuna, onions, celery and serrano.  These days, you cannot give me enough spicy food.

And I cannot be content with a tuna salad without some grass.  The sticky icky good stuff.

Can you guess this ingredient without clicking here?

Then, some standards in my tuna salad.

I don’t like my tuna salads too mayo-y.  I hate seeing a tuna salad just drowning in mayo.  And, I personally don’t like using so much mayo in my food.  In fact, I haven’t eaten mayo since this post.

My favorite half substitute for mayo is dijon mustard – especially in my tuna salad.

It is rich like mayo but also packs a flavor punch.  This allows me to use the bare minimum of mayo possible for my tuna salad.

What you get in the end is a satisfying and comforting tuna salad made to quell any craving.

Until the next one strikes.  I’m thinking anchovy pizza.  Anyone?

Tuna Salad


  • 2 (7 oz) cans of chunk light canned tuna, drained well
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion, finely chopped
  • 1 hefty tsp of dried dill
  • salt, to taste (start with a pinch and move up)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes, adjust to taste
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp mayo (I used Hellman’s with olive oil)
  1. Combine all ingredients and mix.  Add more or less dijon mustard and/or mayo to your desired creamy-ness consistency.
Please note that it is not recommended for pregnant women (or women of child-bearing age) to eat a lot of tuna due to the mercury levels.  Generally canned tuna has lower levels of mercury than other tuna, but should still be eaten in moderation.  (Source)  
And moderation I did.  I had a sandwich (light on the spread) to quell a craving.  Binks has claimed the rest and has brought it for lunch.

Are you a fan of tuna salad?  Any substitutions you make?  Been craving anything lately?  


Filed under Lunch

The Amazing Grass Challenge – Completed Plus

A few weeks ago, I told you I was doing the Amazing Grass 2 week challenge.  Well, it’s been more than 2 weeks.  Forgive me.

Why did I forget?

Because, I’m still doing it.

So, what did I do?

Well, Amazing Grass sends you a meal plan and if you review it, nothing is lacking.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can pretty much customize the plan to fit the lifestyle.  If you are a meat eater, there are plenty of options for you as well.  It’s a great system and it really just fit with good wholesome whole-foods eating.  It’s great for anyone in my opinion.

One of the main things lacking in health-related programs is the option to choose or to customize.  I don’t want to feel deprived of anything  as it makes me want it even more.  In the Amazing Grass Challenge plan, I really felt like I could mix and match so long as I was eating whole foods and filling up on fruits and veggies.

I didn’t follow the meal plan to a T because there were some things I just did not want to eat.  Specifically, I personally cut out the following for two weeks – refined sugars, white bread, white flour, and red meat.  Honestly, out of the list, the white flour based products were the hardest.

So, what did I eat?

I drank/ate a lot of smoothies – all delicious and all different.

I ate a lot of healthy and filling grain-y breakfasts.

I loaded up on my favorite summer fruit.

I incorporated super foods that I don’t usually cook with or eat often enough.

I usually don’t use cinnamon that much as it isn’t my favorite spice.  But, I have been sprinkling it on my morning cereals, which have been fantastic.

In addition, Amazing Grass is pretty much full of super foods (spirulina, chlorella, etc.) so I was getting it that way too!

So, how did I feel?

Great would be an understatement.  Mind you, I was having the Berry Superfoods mixed with organic apple juice pretty much 3/week prior to the challenge.  So, adding a smoothie/drink every morning with the Amazing Meal was just perfect.  I really didn’t miss the candy/cookies/cake and really indulged in fruit in place of it.  I didn’t miss white flour products as really there so many different options out there these days (Ezekiel bread, etc.).

I really felt great overall.  I had less gas and bloat (pardon me), felt lighter overall (less weighed down), and wasn’t hitting my usual tiredness and declines during certain portions of my day (usually after eating).


Trust me when I say that I’m not one to stick to anything.  Especially when the anything is something related to my food intake.  I hate feeling limited or that I cannot eat the things I want.  Once I started, I really thought I was going to hate it or miss things.  I didn’t.  When I was done, I’ll be lying if I said I didn’t have this M&M cookie.  I only had one – b/c that’s all I wanted.  But, this challenge really wasn’t about dieting or restrictions for me.  It was about changing my eating habits (especially after vacation), and getting back on the road to good eating.

And, that my friends, is why I still do it – because it’s an addition, not a subtraction.  And, in addition, when I’m incubating another person inside me that eats what I eat, I want to make sure it’s full of super foods and free of crap – well as crap free as I can be.

I am human after all.


How do you incorporate super foods into your diet?


Filed under Uncategorized

So, A Priest and A Lawyer Come for Lunch…

Binks and I had our priest over for lunch.  I was given one day’s notice (he travels a lot) and thought of a great easy lunch idea that won’t leave you weighed down.

Hot mini ham and cheese sandwiches (spread with a mustard and butter mix – trust me it was good)

Cucumber sandwiches with a dash of Tabasco mixed into the cream cheese – it totally makes a difference.

Salad with homemade dressing (red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh black pepper, and a pinch of cumin).  And you can see a tiny portion of the M&M cookies we had for dessert.

The most delicious pasta salad ever!  (I reduced the oregano and the whole salad could have easily been missing the pepperoni.)

I ate this pasta salad for the remainder of the week.  Refreshing and totally hits the spot.  I have to say the tiny bits of cheese were perfect to bite into.

All in all, it was a great time with a good friend and food.

The lunch inadvertently lasted from noon to 5 p.m.  Thank goodness for sandwich snacks along the way.

What would you serve for a lunch gathering?  (I might be the only one but I love dreaming up menus for different events.  Judge me if you wish.)


Filed under Bread, Cookies, Desserts, Lunch, olive oil, Uncategorized

Behind the Beginning Scenes

So, if you have been reading, you all probably know that I have discovered that I am carrying around a little lemon, which has now turned into an apple.


Binks and I are super excited about new development.  I have been really excited because I finally got to share it with you.  You have no idea how much I wanted to tell you as soon as I found out – at 6 weeks.  However, I really did want to wait until the time was just right and I felt a bit secure in the pregnancy to reveal this wonderful news.

What did we do when we first found out?  We went to grab breakfast.  What did I get?  Lunch.

Then, as it turns out, you’re not supposed to have cold lunch meat.  Crap.

We told our parents at 10 weeks – on Mother’s Day weekend – right before San Francisco.  We did it for two reasons – one obvious, one delirious.

Obvious:  Mother’s Day turns out to be Binks’ dad’s birthday so it was perfect.  We got Happy Birthday Grandpa (we got one for my dad too as we didn’t want him to be card-less) and Happy Mother’s Day, Grandma for both moms.  Needless to say everyone took the cards and just put it on the table.  This is what happens when you give things to people in the middle of eating.  Second, my mom thought I was joking like usual and calling her old.  Third, it took my dad to thoroughly read his card and my sister to squeal reading over my MIL’s card.  Finally!  And, then I started crying – like a damn fool.  🙂

Delirious:  This would be the first grandchild on both sides.  Aka – the parents go nuts.  I can’t handle that.  Hence, two days after we told them, we hitched a ride to California and didn’t have to face the news until we came back!   By then, the family has already self-implode with the excitement.  🙂  I came back to calmness and logical questions.

Can I tell you?  No morning sickness.  You heard right.  Just a bout of nausea at first, which was what prompted me to initially take the pregnancy test.

It seems like I was meant to have this baby.  I mean, I don’t have these wide birthing hips for nothing.


Filed under Health, Life, Pregnancy

When Life Hands You A Lemon

What does a lemon mean to me?


It’s the start to a great refreshing salad.

It’s the perfect addition to a great biscotti.

It’s the star of one of my favorite cakes.



It’s the size of the baby growing inside me.



Filed under Life

I Roll, You Roll

We all should roll for egg rolls.

You may know have a thing for frying things in the house.  In case you don’t know – I hate it.  But, it seems like that egg rolls serve as the exception.  If you tried these, you too would agree.

Surprisingly the whole process was pretty easy and the results were extraordinary.

Cute eh?

And after a good fry…

Egg Rolls
–   adapted from here


  • 1 pound ground chicken (or ground pork)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 quart oil for frying
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 4 cups cole slaw mix
  • 2 packages of egg roll wrapper packs (usually each has 24 wrappers)


  1. Mix ground chicken with garlic and ginger.
  2. Heat ground chicken until cooked through.  Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the flour and water until it is a paste.  Set aside.
  4. Lay out one egg roll wrapper with a corner facing you.
  5. Place a spoonful of the ground meat mixture into the wrapper.
  6. Fold up and over the corner until the meat mixture is covered.
  7. Fold the left and right corners towards the middle.
  8. Roll the remainder of the roll until you get to the very top.
  9. Using your finger, apply some of the flour mixture to the top to glue together the top to the rest of the egg roll.
  10. Make the egg rolls and set aside on a plate.  Do not overlap egg rolls.  The egg rolls should not touch.
  11. Heat oil over medium high heat until hot.  I usually test a small strip of the egg roll wrapper to see if it is hot enough. The test strip should sizzle and start to fry as it hits the oil and not smoke.  
  12. Once the oil is heated, add the egg rolls.  Do not crowd.
  13. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
  14. Once cooked, remove and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
  15. Serve hot.


Filed under Appetizers, Asian, Chinese, Uncategorized