Thursday, October 20, 2011

Warm Pasta Salad

We have this quite a bit around here. The recipe is more or less this:

1 pound of whole wheat pasta
1 bag of organic broccoli crowns
1 clove of garlic
1/8 cup olive oil
4 oz. asiago, parmesan blend shredded cheese (or can use other grated cheese-Romano, etc.)
1 can of olives
1 pound of cherry tomatoes
handful of fresh chopped basil
sprinkle of smoked sea salt
sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper

-Make the pasta according to package directions. While that is boiling,
-Steam the broccoli crowns in water for 2 minutes
-Chop the garlic, saute it in the olive oil and smash it up a bit in the oil to release the flavor. (Be careful not to burn!)
-Drain the broccoli, then add it to the frying pan so that the oil/garlic mixture coats the broccoli, throw in mixing bowl

-Open up the can of olives, and slice them in half. Add to mixing bowl
-Chop the cherry tomatoes in half, add them to mixing bowl, along with cheese and freshly chopped basil.
-Pasta should be done right about now. Drain it, add to mixing bowl.

-Toss everything together, sprinkle with smoked sea salt (Trader Joe's has it) and fresh black pepper

We eat this hot but also cold the next day! And there are a million variations depending on what I have in the fridge & cabinets. The above is the variation we had last night. Also try: sundried tomatoes, feta cheese, kalamata olives and oregano with the pasta & garlic broccoli.
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Guest Post from my Dad: Timeshare

For the past few days I have received numerous calls about my time share.

The people on the phone knew my name and were courteous, then apologized when I told them I didn't have a time share.  They promised not to call again.

However, the calls from this management firm escalated until last night was the last straw.  I finally said "Ok, ok, I have a time share.  What can I do for you?"

The rep said she wanted to find out if I was interested in letting it go at a reduced rate this winter. 
"I guess so," I said.  "Quite honestly, I haven't had much luck getting any return on that investment."

"Would you be willing to drop it down to $1,200 a week?" she asked.

"Sure, if you want I'll drop it to $500 a week if they rent it for more than a month." I said.

"Great, we'll post that right now!"

"Good, what is the website where I can see it?" I asked.

So a Mediterranean villa time share is going at a discounted rate this winter.

 I just hope whoever rents it in December remembers to clean up when they leave.  I have rented it for the month of January. 

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Chuck E.Cheese fun

Until last month, I hadn't been in a Chuck E. Cheese since the 80's. Some things are still the same-the arcade games, ticket for prizes system, gleeful children running in endless circles, and Chuck E. himself pressing the flesh. But one big thing has changed-they've improved the pizza. To encourage people to try their new offerings with real mozzarella cheese and a crispier crust, they invited me and my family to come and check it out and write about it.

We went to the location on La Tijera, (a few exits before LAX off of 405) We ordered the fresh olive pizza and hit the arcade. After we had been there a few minutes, Ryan said "This is more fun than I thought it would be." Lauren said "Wow, this is EVEN more fun than I thought it would be!" And William said "goo".

Chuck E. Cheese has a package where for $29.95, you get a large pizza, 2 soft drinks and 50 game tokens. If you buy more game tokens, they are 25 cents or less (cheaper if you buy more of them at once). Every game takes one token. At the end of play, the game spits out prize tickets which you can redeem for toys. If you don't earn enough tickets to get the toy you want, you can buy the difference for a penny per ticket. When Lauren fell short of the tix required to got her coveted rainbow slinky, Ryan discreetly made up the difference from his wallet.

Lauren had her bucket of 30 tokens which lasted quite awhile. She especially liked the old-fashioned Skee Ball, Whack-a-Mole and cheering for her dad in basketball. Lauren even said that she might like to turn six in the company of Chuck E. Cheese. I don't think there will be an unsmiling face in the house!

Disclaimer:I was not compensated but was provided a gift card from Chuck E. Cheese to facilitate this review.
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Monday, October 03, 2011

Mixed Emotions on the first day of Kindergarten

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I saved this to drafts a few weeks ago.  Those are two shots from the 1st day of kindergarten and we're now a few weeks in.   For the most part, Lauren loves school and dislikes homework.  I can't say I enjoy it either, sitting with her and reading each line of direction, thwarting her stall tactics ("I have to go to the bathroom again.  It's just that my throat is SO DRY.  This is NOT the best pencil.  Could I maybe do this LATER?").  But we're managing!

Still, I see why "homework clubs" and tutors for little children are so popular.  I'd put helping with homework in that category of "things I'd love to outsource", along with scrubbing the toilet and installing car seats...What would you pay someone else to do if budget was not a concern?  Comments, please!