Yay, it’s that time of year again! No, seriously!

We’re enjoying the season in stride, with most of our shopping done -but not all! We don’t want to slip out of holiday mode. And I can’t keep baking, because I’ll run out of people to help me eat it.
We’re packing for our trip up to the High Sierras, where a couple of heavy snowstorms seem to be awaiting us. Also if all goes well, an igloo. Here’s our tree:

Yes, that’s a framed image of a tank next to the tree. We love Banksy in this house.
But more important than the holidays, have you seen the HotBooth App? Rather than making you fat or old (see Fat Booth or Old Booth), you can add makeup or accessories to your photo. Or a kitten. I’ve been playing with a pic of one of my favorite people, Avegail:

You can only imagine what I did with this photo:

One of our favorite things this season, though, was figuring out how make the Hawaiian Kettle Corn that we had as an appetizer at our current favorite restaurant discovery, the A-frame.

When you get it just right, which only happens if you go to Farmer’s Market and pick up actual kettle corn, it is so delicious, and you can’t stop until your hands are covered with butter and the japanese seaweed seasoning.
So we’re all geared up for a nice holiday season, and I’m sure it will only get better.

Late fall and feels like winter

I just realized that if I don’t post soon, i will only have a few posts between last Christmas’s Truckee post and this Christmas’ Truckee post. We’re supposed to go up there for Christmas with my family, and I can’t wait.
I also picked out an internal frame backpack as my Christmas present. Tim was about to buy me a coat at REI, and I was like, why buy a coat at REI when I can get a backpack? Tim already has one, and I was all jealous.
So yeah, I’m going to need to plan some backpacking trips.
In the meantime, I’m hosting Thanksgiving at my place this year, and so I’m planning out my shopping list. I’m hoping to be a little more organized than that one year when I was so busy cooking that I forgot to shower and get ready, and I spent the evening hiding from the cameras.
Tim is in NorCal this weekend, so I’m using the time to get my place ready and to play Black Ops (just kidding, OMG!).
I’m going to be making Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Thyme, Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and chives, Pecan Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Cauliflower, and hopefully some kind of rolls. Lisa is bringing up the Turkey, and helping me with stressing, I mean cooking. We can stress together. And if it gets to be too stressful, well there’s always a jacuzzi for after dinner.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try to make a paper corsage for a prom I’m attending tomorrow.

Oh the freaky-deaky things I’ve been eating

I got into raw food around Thanksgiving time last year. And let me be clear on this: I’ve never gone exclusively raw. I’ve just added a lot of raw food to my diet. I don’t know what it is, I just couldn’t walk past the raw food cookbook in the book store and not stop and look at it. It was just as simple as that. I find it fascinating. So I made a few of the patés, the ‘Not Tuna Rolls’ since I had so recently gotten into Korean food and had a lot of Nori at the time, and the zucchini pesto. I was put off by how long it takes to soak the raw nuts, but other than that, I loved it. Since I got the cookbook back from my sister-in-law, I have gone on another raw food kick. I don’t know why I couldn’t just go on a vegetarian kick. But then again, like I said, I’m not exclusive with it. I tried the veggie sandwich this time. You use romaine lettuce where the bread would go. I found it was a bit untidy, but it would probably be better to use extremely fresh lettuce. I made ‘Not Tuna Rolls’ again and still don’t know what I think of them, other than they are nicely filling. I also made avocado boats, tomato stacks, date-almond cookies and cream of zucchini soup. It was after the zucchini soup last night that I began to get a little discouraged, at least for the moment.
Here are a few of the conclusions I’ve come to:
It takes a lot of effort at first, but tapers off quickly because there are only so many ingredients you would use in a raw food diet. There is a nice variety, but you can still get them all in one cartload.
The unexpected surge in energy is a welcome bonus. SO welcome.
It seems to make me sensitive to subtle flavors in things. I could never have sat around chomping on carrots, celery, broccoli and cucumber. That is, however, exactly what I’ve been doing for the last two days.
You have to soak the nuts for at least four hours. Otherwise the patés don’t come out creamy enough to dip veggies in, or spread on anything.
When the zucchini soup came out with way too airy of a texture, I felt frustrated because I’d gone through all that work for nothing. However, it turned out that it just needed to sit in the fridge for a while.
So I’m sitting here happy and full after a dinner of zucchini soup and spinach. I never thought I’d say that.
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Petcam at BBQ

We celebrated my mom’s retirement over the weekend in the Joshua Tree National Park, camping both nights and celebrating with BBQ and cake on Saturday. The whole family and many of her friends were there, and we all had a wonderful time. I’m editing/ retouching the pics right now. I also brought my petcam, and clipped it to the dog for a while. After I realized that the dog was probably going to be laying by the picnic table for a long time, I clipped it to my shirt and continued with my evening. The little camera took pics every 3.5 min until I went ahead and put it away because it was getting dark.

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Marrakesh

I met up with my family at Marrakesh in Costa Mesa for some Moroccan food, a great plan put together by Ian’s girlfriend, Melissa. I guess I’ve never been to a Moroccan place. The inside is all tented and colorful, and I wanted to take all the teapots home with me. We sat at these low comfy tables and they poured water over our hands and into a bowl and gave us towels to dry them with, and we feasted. Oh did we feast. The food was delicious, just when I didn’t think it could get any better, some great loud Moroccan music came on and a belly dancer came out.
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I’m so high on health food right now

Have you been to Farmer’s Market lately? It’s great anyway, but the fruit I got yesterday was unbelievable. I went there specifically to buy eggs. I keep thinking about chickens lately and have had a strong desire to support places that treat them more humanely than places that mass produce. It means enough to me that I’d rather go out of my way to get my eggs, whenever I can. They also sell coffee 🙂
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My massively efficient mini food bin: walnuts, almonds, baker’s sugar, more almonds. My espresso maker is to the right, and that’s a jar of brown rice on top of the food bins, because… fuck yeah.
Anyhowww, I also got strawberries, oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. I did not know oranges could be so good.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how food-centric humans used to be, in comparison to how we are now. Yeah, I read my “Little House” books, and my “Caddie Woodlawns” and that quaint “Farmer Boy” book. I know it was out of necessity, but there’s a lot to be said for spending time with your food, planning out meals and spending parts of the day or week involved with food prep. My friend Ang is great at it. She’s always cooking or has some prep thing going on in her kitchen. And come to think of it, it was always that way when I’d visit her back when she lived with her parents. I got caught up way early on with meal convenience. I go on kicks where I get into cooking, but I still naturally fall back on convenience. I was listening to a podcast a while back with Paul Roberts, the author of “The End Of Food“, and he raised some pretty good points about how we think we don’t have time for cooking, yet we find hours to spend watching TV. He’s obviously spying on me and now I feel creepy, but he raises a good point. I think of good cooking/ healthy eating, or at least the eating of food with fresh ingredients, as something of a novelty, rather than as an important part of my every day life. And it’s hard not to. Meal planning is work. Shopping along the walls of the grocery store instead of in the aisles? That requires some planning ahead, and some note-taking while in front of our cook books. It’s a gradual transition, and one that will require a constant process of talking myself back onto the right track. Today, for example, I practiced being food-centric by passing out in front of the computer after eating celery with almond butter and raisins. Okay, during. I have almond butter in my hair. And that is a complete misinterpretation of the words ‘food-centric’. The point is, it took some effort. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some eggs to make a meal around and a bib to put on.

Cake

I’ve had a thing for cakes this past year. Not so much eating them, I just like looking at them. Well, both. But the looking at them part is probably because I work at a wedding photography place, and I’ve seen some pretty interesting ones. I discovered this blog called “cakewrecks“, that has some amazing, and awful, cakes. As in some are awful, but some are amazing, and all of them are interesting. My favorite recent one is this Alice In Wonderland cake, via cakewrecks, via cakenouveau:

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