Saturday, March 31, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Cheesecake

With the twins away at their first "camp" this weekend, I have a bit of time on my hands so I made one of my all time favorite desserts, Lemon Cheesecake Squares. There are three great things about these delightful bursting bites. The cheesecake itself is incredibly easy to make. The lemon curd gives the bites that extra zing. And finally, being the perfectionistic person that I've been cursed to be, I cut them into 2 x 2 squares, just like the photo shows, put them into decorative cupcake papers, where they get stored in a plastic container in the BACK of the frig. Betcha can't guess why!? So, I can grab a quick sweet snack from the frig and fewer members of my family find them, which may be good or bad!

Regardless, aside from Mascarpone Cheesecake, this is the best recipes ever!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Food, Glorious Food!

In the same way that Texans apologized for the weather when I arrived last August (109 degree), I will apologize for my constant reference to food and recipes. Although, honestly, how many of you spend a fair amount of your life pursuing food. If you're lucky you occasionally eat out. But for those of us who do most of our eating at home, the story goes like this. If you're not at the grocery store buying the stuff, your at home cooking the stuff, or worse yet, your staring into an empty refrigerator trying to decide what to eat. And it's been my observation that the less food in the frig, the more time you spend staring, go figure!

When I met my husband 23 years ago, I loved that he enjoyed cooking and, better yet, was (and is) a great cook. Within the first month of our short dating history, we dined on his fabulous Chicken Marsala in my lovely Victorian San Francisco flat. Sounds like something from a romantic movie, doesn't it? Well, it was. He also cooked some other fancy beef dish whose name currently escapes me. Now, I love good food. Therein lies the problem. If the food isn't good, and I mean exceptionally good and fresh, I'd prefer not to eat at all. To solve the no eating problem, my husband and I attempt to keep good, fresh, healthy food at home as much as possible. Buying the ingredients is one thing, but cooking it is another story. Although my husband loves to cook, he does have his limits both in time and energy. So occasionally the kids have to fill in when I'm not up to the task.

This recipe from Fine Cooking Apr/May 2012 was the perfect solution to the ongoing issue of "whose cooking tonight." The make ahead dough keeps in the frig for up to two weeks. Armed with a pizza stone, pizza paddle and plenty of toppings, everybody can have a custom made pizza, any way they like, within 30 minutes. Combined with a quick salad, you have a delicious, healthy dinner that anyone can throw together.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Signs of the Times

I thought California was the only state arrogant enough to put bumper stickers like this on their cars. Perhaps, this is why I feel so at home in Texas.

While delving into all things Texan and searching the radio stations in my car, I stumbled across "Classic Country", also known as and was shocked how many songs were familiar. Well, okay, they were a bit more than familiar. I actually knew the lyrics. What I'd like to know is, how did this happen!? Somewhere in my California life, I was exposed to country music, and it STUCK. Upon returning home, I turned on our satellite radio, DirectTV, and tuned into the bluegrass station and, wonder of wonders, I love this stuff. Please don't tell my kids, Andrew and Olivia would be mortified! Now, mind you, 90% of my CDs are classical and romantic period composers with a smattering of Smooth Jazz. There is no, I repeat, NO country music or anything remotely close.

Do you think we could be genetically predisposed to like certain types of music? My parents were from the mid-west, Kansas and Missouri, and although my Dad passed away 12 years ago, I do remember he liked folk and country music. Maybe he played it when I was little because I do remember a fair amount of Bob Dylan and Gordon Lightfoot (for my Canuck friends). Well, another fun discovery of things past. So, as I drive down the Texas highways listening to Kenny Roger's "You Decorated My Life", I'll be thinking about you Dad.

I miss you Mom and Dad.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Oyez Oyez Oyez

If you would have asked me three months ago what oyez oyez oyez means, I might have said it is the sound a pig makes when he's hungry and not been at all embarrassed by my answer. But now I know better. It is used three times in succession to introduce the opening of a court of law. The origin of the word Oyez is Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, hear ye, imperative plural of oyer, to hear. from Latin audire. -- Source: The Oyez Project - Northwestern University. Alright already, enough etymology! This is the kind of information I learned at the University of Houston's Paralegal Certification Program from which I recently graduated. Yes, I warned y'all (this is my Texas immitation), that I may be returning to school and with a resume like mine, I had a few diving boards to jump from.

I've always loved design work but pursuing a design career with constant moves is sort of like walking into a kitchen to prepare an original, gourmet meal (with budget and time constraints) and discovering that somebody has rearranged your cabinets and pantry and, frankly, I just wasn't up to doing that again. So... What next?!

First, assess my strengths. Organized, methodical, analytical and enjoy reading, writing, and researching. Second, and this is where the research thing comes into play, research the U.S. Board of Labor Statistics website. With so many people unemployed and job trends continuing to change, I wanted to be sure I was shooting at a target that wouldn't disappear in ten years. Ah ha! Job forecast for paralegals is excellent, demand continues to grow, and my strengths are well suited to the job. Third, sign up for a course. The closest and most reputable one was through the University of Houston so I signed up and began classes January 21. Thus began the most intense 9 weeks I've ever experienced. Having 5 kids and a set of twins was, by far, easier!

Since I don't watch TV, I had never seen the shows like Law and Order or The Practice, so this was a decision based on the written word, namely, research. In a way this was good because I didn't have a Hollywood view of the legal system or court room setting but it was bad in the sense that I didn't realize the level of drama involved in legal machinations particularly as it relates to family, criminal, and juvenile law. I think I'm best suited for corporate law, estate planning, immigration, intellectual property, or in-house counsel. But, like any good program, one is exposed to it all, like it or not. My two favorite areas were the study of the American Constitution and anything business related.

So now, here I am, on the back side of the program which ended last Saturday.

Then to Pappadeaux Seafood Restaurants (Andrew's employer) for, yet, another celebration. One great thing about having a big family is perpetual celebration is a continual thread that weaves us together!