Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Risotto Master

I'm probably not a risotto master, but I've made it enough times that in general I know what I'm doing. I was inspired by this recipe from Giada for mushroom risotto with peas.
Mushroom Risotto with Peas
The biggest change I made was that I didn't use straight chicken broth. There's a bunch of people complaining that theirs turned out too salty, and since I am of course a risotto master, I know that you're supposed to dilute any store bought broth with water before adding it to the rice.

As for how it turned out, well I was probably a little impatience. To start with I probably should have cooked the onions down a little bit more before I added the rice. But more than that the rice probably should have absorbed a bit more broth, but again I was too impatient to wait for that.
Risotto & Salad
I paired my risotto with my favorite salad. Really just lettuce topped with fruit (pears this time) and cheese (parmesan), plus there were a few pecans for crunch. I probably wouldn't list that as a true mastery meal, but I still enjoyed it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Kiwi Love

I recently discovered my new favorite snack. Seriously so good that I can't believe I've never seen them before.
Dried Kiwis
Dried kiwis! I love kiwis. I love dried fruit. It's like the perfect combination for me. When I was checking out my cashier expressed her love for them as well. Except I was surprised when she told me the only way she'd ever tried kiwis was dried. While for me, I love fresh kiwis, but this was my first time every seeing a dried one. I wasn't sure how it would work since kiwis have such a high water content. But it does, and they still look like kiwis. Plus the black seeds have a little bite to them as well. I'm going to be on the lookout so I can make sure to buy some more!

Anyone else a fan of kiwis, either dried or fresh?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Traditions

I hope everyone had a very happy thanksgiving! I did and I'm back to my regularly schedule non-review posting. (Although don't be surprised to see yet another book or movie review in the next day or so!) But since it be silly not to share some of Thanksgiving...
Pumpkin Pie
I made pumpkin pie. We celebrate with my future in-laws (haha... feels so weird writing that), but they aren't big pumpkin pie people. Since it doesn't feel like Thanksgiving to me without one I took on the responsibility myself. It looks pretty enough in the picture, but by the following day the entire circumference of the filling had pulled away from the crust. I'm not sure what happened, but it was easily covered with homemade whipped cream.
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Our other contribution to the meal was the bacon wrapped dates stuffed with parmesan above. These are probably becoming somewhat of a holiday tradition for the boy and I. We make an assembly line of pitting, stuffing, and wrapping, and each year we've been able to make them a little bit easier. Plus they are pretty much amazing, sweet from the dates, cheesy from the parmesan, and of course bacon-y from the bacon.
Finally there's the boy's family's Thanksgiving tradition, a bowl of gumbo. While their thanksgivings may or may not have turkey or stuffing or ham or mashed potatoes, the once constant every year is a big batch of gumbo. Not a bad tradition to keep, especially as long as I get my favorite traditions too! I hope all my American readers had a happy thanksgiving! And tell me what are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
We actually saw this movie at a midnight showing the night it opened, so I guess you could say I'm a little behind posting. It's not that I didn't enjoy the movie, but that I did and I wasn't quite sure how to capture the feel of it in the post, so I've been putting it off.

I think this movie's probably my favorite, so far because I'm hoping the final movie is truly the best. I love the small tweaks they've made, and while I was a little disappointed at bit they left out (like listening to the secret radio broadcast) there really isn't anything I'd change about it.

It had been a while since I've read the books, and so there's a few details I forgotten specifically who exactly dies. But when Bellatrix threw her knife it came back and I remembered...

I definitely loved the movie, and even more than that I've loved the whole Harry Potter experience. I can't wait until next summer, where I'll be at my final midnight Harry Potter showing.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Last Hunger Games

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
It took me a little longer to read this one than the first 2 in the trilogy. Part of it was because I didn't want the series to end, and then there was also that little distracting thing called getting engaged. But just because I read it slower doesn't mean I was captivated any less.

This book has a different feel than the first 2 in a way. Part of it is because there isn't an official hunger games this time. Then there's the fact that so little of this book takes place in district 12. I wouldn't say this book doesn't fit with the first two, but in a way it's so different that it doesn't quite.

Then of course there's the ending. It's not what I would have predicted, but in a way it fits everything that happens throughout the book. I wouldn't say I was disappointed with the ending, but more that I was sad with everything that had to happen to get to this place.

If I was worried about how they'd be able to turn book 1 into a movie I'm even more so with this one. Don't get me wrong I'd love to see a movie. But I can't figure out how their going to be able to take all the violence and put it onscreen and have it be something appropriate for teenagers. I know they'll need to take out some, but I'm not sure at one point it losses the actual book it's based on. But even so I'm still eagerly anticipating watching them try to figure it out!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Girl on Fire

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
I read the second book in this series just as quickly as the first. I think what it is, is that every chapter seems to end on a mini-cliffhanger. So no matter how hard you tell yourself, "Really this will be the last chapter it's impossible to stop.

This books has Katniss dealing with the consequences of her actions in the first book. I wasn't really sure exactly where this book was going to go, and in a way there was a big surprise about halfway through. But really looking back it shouldn't have been that much of a surprise.

The one ends just the way you want it to, and again leaves you just as excited to read the 3rd and final book of the series. I can't wait to read the end of the trilogy, but yet I don't really want the books to be over.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Get the Hype

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I finally broke down and did it, and now I know what everyone else is talking about. If you're not sure what the book is about think back to the short story you probably read in middle school, "The Lottery," in a way it's pretty much the same story. According to the boy there's also a Japanese movie called Battle Royal which is pretty much the same story, where teenagers are forced to kill each other as well.

While it may have been somewhat of a recycled concept it doesn't read that way. It's impossible to put down, and once I started I was done withing 24 hours and buying the next one. Of course it is teen fiction, so it's not that long, but still it's impossible to stop reading.

In a way I was surprised that this book is such a hit with teen girls due to the somewhat goriness inside. But there is a love triangle a la Jacob and Edward so in a way it make sense. It's funny because I tend not to read a lot of gory fiction with lots of death, but I still loved this book. I've already started the second, and I have a feeling I'm going to love it just as much as the first.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

4 Years to Forever

Yesterday was mine and the boy's 4 year anniversary. We had made a few basic plans for the night, but weren't planning on anything too crazy. We stayed at the house and watched LSU beat Ole Miss in their football game and then headed out to dinner.

We had dinner at Albasha's which is where we had our first date, and both ordered our regular meals. I thought we should exchange presents at the table so I set the boy's wrapped ipod nano on the table, but he wasn't quite ready to trades the nano, still wrapped, went back in the purse.

Outside the restaurant the was a wooden bench we walked over to, my mind is kind of a blur and I'm not completely sure what happened, but all of a sudden there was a ring and the boy was down on one knee. I can't even really remember what he said, and all I remember saying is, "Are you serious?" because I really and truly wasn't expecting this at all. He had made sure to convince me it wasn't happening anytime in the next year or so, and I was completely convinced. I'm still in somewhat disbelief.

But it did actually happen, and the boy even agree to take one of those posed, "Look at my ring! We're engaged!" pictures once we got back to the house!
Posting will probably be a little lite this week except for maybe a book or movie review or both. So this engaged couple is wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Gonna Eat a Lot of Peaches

How to Pick a Peach by Russ Parson
I realize that this isn't the type of book I normally read and review on From L.A. to LA, but when you think about the fact that it's about food it isn't so far-fetched. A few years ago I "borrowed" my parents' copy of Russ Parson's first book How to Read a French Fry (and by borrow I mean I still have it), I really enjoyed his first book and so it's not a surprise that I enjoyed his second as well. As the title suggests the book is about how to pick a peach as well as other fruits and vegetables but it's really a bit more than that.

The book is organized chronologically by season, as the the fruits that are ripe within a certain season. Each fruit has it's own chapter and contained in each chapter is information on what to look for when you buy it, but also where the fruit is generally grown, how to store it once you've bought it, and of course recipes.

But what I liked most of all about the book are all the random tidbits about fruit growing, like the fact oranges were brought to America by Spanish explorers which is why we associate oranges with Florida and California both of which were settled by the Spanish. It's interesting, but shouldn't be that surprising, to read about the consumerism of fruits and vegetables, about how fruit has evolved not necessary to taste better but instead to ship better and stay fresher longer.

It's definitely a book I enjoyed reading. Of course it helped that I was reading a copy of the book my parents had signed by the author!
Russ Parson's Signature
But now that I've read it, it's a book that's going to be sticking around for reference. That way next time I buy tomatoes I'll remember not to refrigerate (who else had no idea about this?), and there's definitely a few recipes in there that I'd love to test out someday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Show us Your... Laundry Room

The theme this week at Kelly's Korner Show us Your Life is bonus rooms/playrooms/laundry rooms. Since I only have one of those 3 I'm sharing my laundry room.
Landry Room
I realize it's not that exciting. We haven't really done anything in here except add "the stuff." The paint color and curtains were hung by the previous owner. But sharing this photo reminds me of a story that I've never shared before on From L.A. to LA, so sit back and enjoy...

The Tale of the Iron and the Mixer
Back when the boy and I were first looking for a house together we spend a few months living with his sister's family. As it worked out we found an apartment and they found a new house at the same time, so within a few days we were all moving out of the same space.

His sister had told me we could have their own iron, so as I was leaving with boxes on a trip to the new place I found the iron sitting in the middle of the floor. I figured it must have been left out for me and brought it to our new place.

The iron sat in the closest until the boy and I were getting ready for a wedding. He had a new shirt that needed to be ironed, and excitingly I went to the closest to get our iron for its inaugural use. Except... it wasn't actually an iron!

Instead I headed him the handle to his sister's hand mixer. While the look the same from the top if you turn them over you'll notice a clear difference. An iron is flat and metal whereas a mixer has whole for a mixer blade. Not quite the same. The boy loves telling this story and adding in a killer line about how this shows I can't do laundry or cook. But the story does have a happy ending because his sister has her mixer back, and now in our house we have both a mixer and an iron which hopefully will never be confused in our house again!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wishing & Hoping

When I was little I used to go through catalogs and circle whatever I wanted for the holidays. I started with the American Girl catalog, graduated to Delia's, and eventually started going through Victoria's Secret. So it's only fitting that this year I'm posting on my blog right? In a way it's more for myself, as is a lot of the stuff I post to my blog in that a lot of it's there for me to remember, but in case you were feeling generous, here's a few things I'm lusting over this holiday season.

LSU t-shirts from Victoria's Secret

The Murder in the Tower: The Story of Frances, Countess of Essex by Jean Plaidy

Glee Soundtrack Volume 4

The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drumond

Elizabeth from American Girl

Captive Queen by Alison Weir

Taylor Swift Speak Now

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

LSU Picture frame from Color Your Dreams Esty Shop

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Can't Wait for NKOTBSB

You look confused? Have you never heard of NKOTBSB? Well what if I write it out as NKOTB and BSB? Make more sense then?

In case you haven't already heard the New Kids and Backstreet are going on tour next summer! They're starting with a limited number of tour dates (Toronoto, NYC, L.A., and Chicago) and depending how those dates work out they might add more. Right now I'm really hoping all the pieces fall into place and I'm able to see them all perform in New York next summer. But if you wanted to see them and you're not able to go to one of the concerts, I believe they're all set to perform at the AMA's this Sunday. So remember, KT(NKOT)BSPA!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Movie Review

It's been a while since we've seen any type of kid-y 3-D movie, but this was a fun one. The movie was actually surprisingly different than I expected it to be. In a way it's a superhero movie, but there's a twist to it because the superhero is instead more of a supervillian. It has a few good lines, that the boy has been pretty much been quoting non-stop since we saw it. And then there's the 3-D which I thought was great in this movie. It was a lot of fun, and I think even worth the ridiculously expensive 3-D ticket prices.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Seasons Greetings

Now that it's starting to get a little cooler weather-wise I can't stop thinking about the upcoming holidays! I've always loved the idea of holiday cards I think I'd be fun to send them out eventually. Eventually as in the future when we have kids, or in the future once we're married, because it seems silly to send out holiday cards from a couple whose just dating, right?

Except Shutterfly is giving out 50 free holiday cards to bloggers (Check it out here!) and if they're free maybe it's the perfect time to do it! I even found I few designs I'd considered using, like the ones I'v shown throughout the entry. Since I'm Jewish and he's Catholic I did my best to find options that seemed more winter-y or general holidays than one holiday in particular. Except finding a good picture of the two of us might prove to be a little more difficult!

So when do you think is the "right" time to start sending out holiday cards? Do you send you holiday cards? If not, is it something you think you'd ever want to do? And finally, do you think it'd be weird to receive cards from a couple whose dating, but isn't actually married yet?


Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Movie Review

Due Date
I feel like I've been slacking lately in my movie watching. But things have just been so bust lately we just haven't really been able to get to the theater a lot. But I am glad that we were able to make time to see this one.

Robert Downey Jr's character Peter is one his way home to be there to see his wife give birth to his first child. But due to some unexpected craziness we winds up havaing to roadtrip cross-country with Zach Galifianakis' Ethan. The movie is as ridiculous as it seems. There are crazy highjinks, and I was happy that the some of the best parts weren't anywhere in the previews which is always a pleasant surprise. Robert Downer Jr. and Zach Galifianakis are a little unexpected together, but I think they work great together. It has the same feeling of the hangover, so if you love that, you'll definitely love this one as well. I'm really glad we were able to find the time to see this, and if you find the time I'm sure you'd enjoy it as well!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Geaux Tigers Beat Bama

Yes we did wind up "Beating Bama" yesterday. There's actually a more recent version of this song, but you'll have to make do with the version about the 2007 National Champion LSU Tigers. But onto this actual weekend.

Some of the boy's friends from high were in town this weekend. He was working yesterday morning, but I went out tailgating with a few of his friends. They picked me up around 7, which meant I was up around 6am to make sure I had enough time to get ready, which is actually earlier than I'm up for days when I'm off to work.

We spent the whole morning drinking at various tailgates. I think we tried to stop by the tailgate of everyone we knew who had one. But the days end I think we stopped at 6 different ones and made a full round of the entire campus.

Game time was at 2:30pm and we all met up with the boy and some other to watch the game. After being up at the crack of dawn and several hours of drinking I was actually having a hard time keeping my eyes open the first half of the guys. But the second half as it started to get crazy, I definitely woke up and was cheering during the trick 4th down play and all the other craziness as the tigers went on to win.

After the game we headed to a movie (any guesses as to which one?) and I thoroughly enjoyed my extra hour of sleep. As for the rest of the weekend, right now we're watching the Saints game and hopefully we'll be able to cheer another team onto victory!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Changes for Felicity

With the holidays coming up, I figured it was the perfect time to stop by the American Girl website so I pretend to be 8 years old again. Well I was expected to see all sights of holiday goodies, something else horrific caught my eye, although it really shouldn't have surprised me.

Two years ago American Girl retired Samantha. I had always wanted her and when I found out I bought Samantha as a present to myself. Last year they retiree Kirsten. Another doll I wanted but never had. And while I could have bought her myself again, it seemed silly when all my dolls did was sit on a shelf. But this year they're retiring Felicity!
Meet Felicity
As you can pretty much tell by the hair I've had Felicity forever. She was the first American Girl doll I owned, and my parents bought her for me as a Hannukah present in 2nd grade. It seems silly to me that they're retiring these dolls, because basically it's a complete financial decision by Mattel. I do get that they don't want to have two dolls from the same period. For example, with Samantha gone they were able to bring out a Jewish girl from the turn of the century, and the rumor is with Kirtsen gone they'll have a California Gold Rush doll. But still, what do you replace an American Revolutionary doll with?
Changes for Felicity
I posted on facebook my disappointment and one of my friends pointed out that at least I have a collectors item. Which is true in a way. While I was trying to find out all I could about her retirement the other night I did find out that the small chest above which was originally around $15 now sells for over $100 on ebay. But while it's nice having a collector's item, I still want to have all the of the collection.
Happy Birthday Felicity
A lot of items, like her birthday dress above, are no longer even being sold. There are a few items still for sale I don't have but most are the big ticket items. And the ones that are smaller, don't really make sense to buy without the biggest part. For example, I don't have any of Elizabeth's clothes, but since I don't have Elizabeth it doesn't make sense to buy them. I could also buy her tea set or party treats, but again I don't have her table to put them on. And the big ticket item would be the bed, but with the canopy it would be kind of the hard to store. But even so I can't help but want it all! I guess I might just have to give myself a big present or two again this year.

Anyone else incredibly disappointed that Mattel has started to retiree American Girls? Does it make you feel like a piece of your childhood is disappearing, because in a way it does for me.