Welcome to my blog. I document my adventures in travel, style, and food. Hope you have a nice stay!


Contraband Penne Primavera

This past weekend was pure perfection. Busy, but not hectic. Happy, with a minimum of crying, tantrums, and whining. H and Baby C were good too.

Aunt Maureen has been visiting us and she was kind enough to smuggle some Birney Farm contraband vegetables to our undisclosed location front door. We got a box heavy with luscious zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, potatoes and tomatoes. It was like winning the lottery. Turns out the post office doesn't bat an eye if a box you ship across the country is leaking dirt. Good thing, we would have all been in trouble. Also a good thing we were able to eat all the incriminating, yet delicious evidence!

Friday night I made homemade pepperoni pizza. I know, I know, it is easier to call and have one delivered, but the results are worth a little extra work. And really, how much extra work is it to throw the ingredients into the mixer with the dough hook and knead the heck out of it? It just requires you to start dinner a little earlier in the afternoon.

Pizza Crust Recipe

3 1/2 cups flour (I have even used 1 cup of whole wheat flour with 2 1/2 cups white flour)
2 Tablespoons yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use kosher)
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup olive oil

Mix the ingredients together and knead until a nice ball forms. Oil the bowl and let it the dough rise for about one hour (or until doubled in size). Punch dough down and let until doubled again. Punch down and roll out to fit your pizza pan.

IMPORTANT: Drizzle and spread some olive oil on the crust before spreading sauce (it keeps the the crust from soaking up the sauce).

Add any sauce and any toppings that curl your toes.

Get your oven fired up to 500° and bake the pizza for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't get too dark on the bottom.

Then on Saturday, we all went to The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena (the land of Mr. Smith's birth). All the photography is courtesy of Mr. Smith, aspiring shutterbug.

Can I just say, what a lovely oasis. It is quiet and serene. There are several art exhibits in the different buildings, a variety of gardens, etc. If you haven't been and you are in the area, I highly recommend checking it out.

Sprinting through Shakespeare's Garden

Naturally, we were with the Little People, so we spent the majority of our time in The Children's Garden.

Entrance to the Children's Garden

To be honest, I wasn't expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised. It is well thought out and perfect for even our disgruntled little girl. There are fountains, jumpy water and other kidcentric fun.

I can go in, I can go out

Whoops, only splashed himself

Vibrating water thingy, very popular

Baby C weighs her options

Our little Water Baby

IncrediBoy sprints (against the rules) through a flower bed

Caroline works on levitation

Baby C growling at a carved fish

On Sunday, Mr. Smith and I went to breakfast at The Original Pancake House. It is the only way we can have a meeting without being interrupted between 15 and 20 times each hour. Their Buttermilk Pancakes are to die for, I tell you, just die for. Light, fluffy, perfect vehicle for butter and syrup...all at a reasonable price. Find one near you and go.

We then hit Trader Joe's and found some wonderful bargains. By the way, try their frozen cheese and chili tamales, you will be so glad you did. Add some sour cream and salsa, then pick yourself up off the floor, and take the second bite. The Monkey also gives two thumbs up to the Joe's Diner Macaroni and Cheese.

After that, Pop Pop and Mr. Smith agreed to baby wrangle for a few hours while I went to see Julie and Julia with my mother and Aunt Maureen. Wonderful movie, eat before you go or you will end up devouring a seat cushion. I felt like some kind of heretic eating movie theater nachos while watching the movie! I may even have girl crush on Meryl Streep!

Sunday night we had a wonderful dinner at Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse. Wonderful steak, both children held it together until we were done with dinner.

And when I looked into the back seat, this is what I saw:

My darling children holding hands while we drove home from dinner.

All in all, I could not ask for anything more, so I won't!

Off the Road Again Part 3: The Final Insult

Off the Road Again Part 2