The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Archive of ‘Parks’ category

Baked Oatmeal


Why on Earth would anyone be baking ANYTHING here in Los Angeles? It’s in the high 80′s already at 11AM. I had this baked oatmeal in mind last weekend or week when it was getting cool & fall-like out and since I had all the ingredients, I went for it!

This recipe is great for a wholesome breakfast that can be reheated. Make it Sunday night and you have breakfast ready for the week!

Here’s what you need:

(I don’t necessarily recommend Skim Milk – it’s just that’s all I had in the house. I would use 2% or whole depending who you’re cooking for.)

And this:

This is optional:

I can’t help but notice these photos in the background.

Who are those good-looking lads?

Those aren’t lads! That’s my sister and me!! My mom liked to keep our hair short.


Me. (That turtleneck was itchy.)

3 c rolled oats
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c melted butter
1/4 c apple sauce

raisins or cranberries

chopped nuts

ground flax seed

frozen blueberries
(No picture b/c I don’t actually have any!)

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Feel free to add a teaspoon of ground cloves if you have them. Or don’t!

3. Beat eggs into wet ingredients (milk, vanilla extract, apple sauce & melted butter.)

4. Add wet ingredients to dry & stir until combined. Add any of the optional ingredients you desire (i.e. have)!

5. Spread into greased loaf pan.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes (depending on your oven.) I did mine for 25 minutes because I don’t like it too dry.

7. Slice & serve! You can eat it as-is (sliced on a plate) or serve in a bowl with milk. This keeps well in the fridge for about 5 days. I haven’t actually had it longer than 5 days.

Bea loves it. Maddie doesn’t care for it. George has a raisin issue. He likes raisins solo but he doesn’t like them “in” anything. These are curious issues upon which I am not qualified to comment.

Baked Oatmeal
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

Easy, wholesome breakfast that can be made ahead for the week. Perfect for the fall/winter to keep you going all morning!
  • 3 c rolled oats
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ c melted butter
  • ¼ c apple sauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • raisins/dried cranberries
  • frozen blueberries
  • ground flax seed
  • chopped nuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 & grease a loaf pan.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Beat wet ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry & stir thoroughly.
  5. Add any optional ingredients you like!
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes.
  7. Serve as a slice on a plate or in a bowl with milk. Can be reheated for several days if kept in fridge. ENJOY!

Checkout the original recipe. I replaced half of the butter with apple sauce & I also halved the amount of sugar that was in the original. I tried it two ways so far:

1. Replace ALL the butter with apple sauce. and

2. Replace half the butter with apple sauce.

VERDICT: Some butter is yummy! This is NOT news. In the future I’ll use 1/4 c butter and 1/4 c apple sauce. Still cut the sugar as I think 1/2 c is still a lot of sugar. Also, try to use apple sauce with no sugar added. The ingredients should say, “apples” and nothing else.

What variations did you try? I’d love to hear from you below!

Maddie & Bea are 1 & 3 or “Cupcake Porn”

Well, Maddie’s 3 and Bea’s 1 but Bea and 1 don’t rhyme. We were really lucky to have my dad and the A’s come celebrate with us!

Maddie told me she wanted a “butterflies & flowers” theme until I was done making 24 chocolate butterflies. Then she told me “I changed my mind. I want DRAGONS!”

She got butterflies.

Thank god my sister in law was there!! She appeared like a magic fairy princess around 6AM to help me with EVERYTHING and then she took photos at the party! I couldn’t have done it without her!
That’s my torso next to the cupcakes. I don’t like it but I DO like the colors of the veggies!

This was a pink & green park party. I spent all day Friday & the wee hours Saturday preparing everything. To be honest, my sister in law, angel, sent from Heaven, also spent the wee hours Saturday. And the later morning hours too. Oh, and she took all these photos as well. THANK YOU, ALLISON!

This is not a cupcake porn page.

Or is it?

Stay tuned for the cupcake HOW TO in the next posting…

Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.

Cucumber/cream cheese sandwiches.

G hauling 3 of the cutest kids in the world around

Andrew & Grampa

Little Sylvie just turned 1 a couple of weeks prior. Happy Bday!


Aston mastered rings and now bowling.


Ava goes vertical!


The place is lousy with babies!


Thomas, Bella & Root Beer. Root Beer, you are NOT a gentleman.


Thanks for the idea, Charlotte!

Coffee filters + paint + a pipe cleaner = a butterfly!

"First you do this, and then you do that. Is anyone listening??"


"Where'd everyone go?"


Maddie did hers one-handed.


Aston, don't leave your cupcake here!


We absolutely LOVED having family there! We loved seeing friends at the party – friends we don’t get to see very often due to busy schedules and that pesky little thing called “work.” And I love baking and planning. But because of all the things I had to leave till the last minute…I was exhausted by the time the party started!

With Rebecca.


By the time this photo was taken I was too tired to get back up & light the candles on the cake.

The words of my mother in law rang in my head, “I always hated birthday parties.”

Next year G and I will be taking the girls to this place. They recently got a beer/wine license. Phew!

We came home and sat around watching football. (Not me, I wasn’t watching football.) Maddie loves having family around. And so do we.

Patsy, don’t blame Andrew for this:

And thanks to Allison, we got a family shot!

I have crazy eyes here.

Later that night, after a yummy dinner with margs at Gilbert’s, we finally cut the cake! This is an excellent triple layer chocolate cake that I made last fall. This time it was DRY. And I ran out of time to decorate it. But it was the candle ritual that mattered!

The next day we headed to the Natural History Museum.

Andrew & Allison had to leave soon so we finally opened presents. Ready….set…


I thought I’d never finish this posting & I hope you didn’t think you’d never stop reading it! Happy birthday to both our sweet girls!!

3 Ingredients Tomato Sauce


Bear with me – I am trying to make my recipes printable so you don’t have to print out 10 pages of wordy blog or splatter your laptop with sauce while you’re cooking. Btw: this is the EASIEST tomato sauce I’ve ever heard of or made!


3 Ingredients Tomato Sauce
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

This is the crockpot of all tomato sauce recipes. It’s SO easy it’s ridiculous! This is adapted from Marcella Hazan’s recipe and can be found all over the internet(s).
  • 28 oz can tomatoes (no salt added)- I used 2 lbs fresh tomatoes instead
  • 5 tbsp butter (I used salted- if you use unsalted you can add salt to taste at the end)
  • 1 onion – peeled & halved

  1. Combine ingredients in a large sauce pan over medium heat. When sauce starts to boil, lower heat & simmer for about 45 minutes. Serve over favorite pasta.
  2. It wasn’t necessary but I added fresh basil, ground black pepper & a few shakes of crushed red pepper. I also chopped up half the onion and threw that back in. YUM!
  3. Be sure to have some crusty bread for dipping!
  4. NOTE: My prep time was longer b/c I used fresh tomatoes.

Kale Chips Recipe – What took me so long?

This post is dedicated to my dear friend Meghan. She and Briar stopped by a few days ago. She’s my inspiration for the kale chips. How did she do it? She suggested, “You should try kale chips.” So I did.

G was watching college football so I thought I’d test these “chips” on him as we are eating healthier these days. Most of the time.

Kale. I used to be scared of kale. Not only did I not like the looks of it, but I didn’t know what to do with it. There are different kinds of kale. Some are bitter, some are curly, some are tasty raw & some aren’t. It was overwhelming! Lately though, I’ve been making dishes with kale and it’s really yummy & easy to prepare!

I looked at 4 or 5 recipes for the chips online and they were all the same basic idea:
Coat potato chip-sized pieces of kale in olive oil and bake. Salt to taste.

Mine turned out excellent. (Unlike some things I make which are not posted.) Here’s what I did:

Gathered ingredients:

1 bunch kale (curly is recommended but any kind will do)
sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil

I planned to use the olive oil in spray form so as to go sparingly on the fat but then I said, “What the hay!” and dumped olive oil in. You’ll see. I don’t recommend you do that.


1. Cut the thick stem out of each leaf.

2. Cut or tear stemless leaves into potato chip-sized pieces.

3. Wash the kale. I am one of those people who is too lazy to wash veg that I plan on cooking because I believe the heat will kill anything on it. But this time I obeyed and I did see some actual earth (dirt) come off. I used a spinner. You can just rinse in a colander and dry with a clean kitchen towel if you don’t have a spinner. But you probably knew that. I add details like that for people who don’t cook or get anxiety about not having all the kitchen tools.

4. Toss in olive oil. I rinsed out & used the spinner bowl to save on dishes! I HATE doing dishes but I love making food. So I try to be strategic. I dumped olive oil in so who knows how much I added? I know how much: TOO MUCH. I would use 2 tbsp next time. Toss to coat leaves.

How much did I pour in there? 2 cups?? A quart?

I tossed the leaves with salad tongs.

5. Spread on a cookie sheet. Some people suggest using parchment paper but since I don’t know what parchment paper is I ignored that advice.

6. Set timer for 12 minutes.

Did I really need a picture of the timer? Heck yeah!

7. See what everyone else is doing.

8. Remove to a plate with paper towels, salt to taste & enjoy right away!

Let’s see how the meatatarian liked them:

He’s a phony. I don’t trust him a bit. Let’s go to someone who can’t tell a lie!

She likes them!! She really likes them!


These are really good but I could’ve eaten a lot more. I would make 2 bunches but they must be eaten right away!

Some alternatives:
1. seasoned salt instead of sea salt
2. soy sauce mixed with the oil instead of salt
3. a dash of balsamic vinegar before you pop in oven

ENJOY!!! If you have any variations on this please let me know! This recipe proves my belief that almost any veg tastes great coated in olive oil & baked. Stay tuned for Toaster Oven Brussel Sprouts…

Kale is REALLY good for you!!

Back East

First & foremost, today is my sister, Libby’s birthday so, HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIBBY!!! To a sweet sister & aunt from us. We love you tons and wish we could be with you on this special day. I hope everyone in FFLD is treating you right!

Next, I haven’t posted anything in a while because we were out of town and frankly, I don’t seem to get much done now that Bea’s crawling. By much I mean anything, including taking a shower. While I have been cooking I haven’t been able to post pix but I will be back on that this month.

We had an excellent excuse to go back east a few weeks ago: G’s cousin Paula was getting married in Albany. Of course there are no direct flights but let’s not get into that.

Beautiful bride Paula

Paula & Dave had an intimate wedding in her gorgeous backyard.

Moments after this photo Maddie quietly asked me if she could eat. I told her we’d eat as soon as the ceremony was over which would be in approximately 5 minutes. She threw her head back & sobbed. Then she sobbed & sobbed & sobbed to be sure we didn’t think she was messing around. She and I had a nice tour of the neighborhood after that.

Bea dozed through the ceremony.

We left right around here. It was a beautiful wedding and very moving to have been invited. We all loved Dave and are not just a little jealous of their upcoming honeymoon in Nepal. VERY happy for you both!

After the ceremony & some Bloody Mary’s it was off to the races. That’s right – Saratoga Race Track! We had an amazing lunch, drinks & watched the horses. G may have won some money. I have no idea how to bet on the horses – trifecta, exacta, superfecta…all I know is I need to do work on my bicepta(s). Do you know I just found out biceps is not spelled with a t? I am 41 years old and learned this yesterday at the gym. A lot of people would be embarassed to admit that.

The next day Dave’s parents had a cookout on Sacandaga Lake. Too bad it rained but we enjoyed it since we don’t get too much rain. Bea loved crawling around in the soaking wet grass.

G holding about 50 lbs of LG (Little Girl).

Another newlywed – Chris Daniels – who just married G’s sister

We headed for Northampton after a few days.

Bea turned 1 on the 7th.

1st Birthday breakfast in Amherst

Garsh – I meant to take a lot of pictures but it was raining and we were struggling with strollers & squirmy kids. We spent a night in Northampton at my alma mater. Jack & Patsy were shocked at how little I knew about the town etc. I became shocked after I saw how shocked THEY were! What was I DOING there besides driving a catering van around and eating skyrises of hummingbird cake, veggie strollers & tempeh??

I don’t know but whatever I was doing obviously didn’t involve academics.

Since it was so rainy, we stopped at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst. It was a dismal, dreary day. G and I empathized with that cold, miserable weather and the freshman dreads that go with it. All those unloved papers on Faulkner due Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Aggh. Don’t make me go back to school. And if you do, please do it in Hawaii or Barbados.

Anyway, the museum was the perfect birthday stop! We still had a 3+ hour drive ahead of us so we thought we ought to let the kids move around first.

These large paintings line the walls of the entrance and are intended to evoke something – a feeling of being in moving water, forest or the sun etc. And they DO!

There’s a library:

I'm 1 today!

Lookit what Maddie and I found in the bathroom! All you readers of “Polar Bear, Polar Bear” should recognize these…(Thanks Lib & Rachel for the Eric Carle books!)

I couldn't get over it!

There’s also an art studio:

Very kid friendly – well, it's a kids' museum after all.

There is a gorgeous little art gallery of childrens’ book illustrators. I could’ve stayed for hours!! Unfortunately (for me) and fortunately (for the illustrations) they didn’t allow photos there.

M and I checked out the bathroom ONE MORE TIME on the way out:

Finally, around 3 or 4PM we set out for Newburyport where we planned to visit my mom’s cousins and hopefully the family cemetery. We also planned to meet up with a friend from a long time ago when we got there but by now it was so late, we had to reschedule. That was a big disappointment since I haven’t seen her since my infamous Governor Dummer days but hopefully next summer…

3.5+ hours later, after driving through rush hour in the rain, we celebrated Bea’s first birthday with dinner in downtown Newburyport.

I didn’t notice Bea munching on a crayon until now! No wonder she didn’t want any cake.

Bea, you are the sweetest, silliest little girl with a toothy grin!! You’re absolutely into everything, exhausting & so much fun. We are so lucky to have you in our lives and we love you so much!! Happy Birthday little Beezy!!!

The next morning Jack & Patsy walked around Newburyport while G, M, B & I went to see Cousin Priscilla at her assisted living home. Her daughter Susan helped coordinate the whole think (lucky for us!) so we were able to join them for lunch.

Priscilla is my mom’s first cousin though she is 93 years old. She is sharp as a tack and full of stories. I wish I could’ve heard her better over the kids. We had lunch with her and then went up to her room. She had a little rocking chair out for Maddie to sit on.

After that we visited my mom.

And then showed Jack & Patsy the tombstone DIRECTLY ACROSS from my mom’s:

Maddie ran around…
…looked at brightly colored mushrooms:
until it was time to go see my mom’s other cousin – Natalea.

Natalea’s younger than Priscilla. She’s only 92. She gave us a tour of the downstairs of her quite historical house. Seeing how much I have moved throughout my life, it was fun and sad thinking of the Thanksgivings we spent there as children with all the adults “above” us, sheltering us from life, mostly gone. And to think of even 5-6 years ago when I was in Newburyport, riding in Natalea’s VW with Priscilla while they told me about which house various relatives lived in at which time and Priscilla’s family home which is now condos etc. Now they can’t get out to lunch and in the car as easily. Who, besides they, remember all the stories?

We were so rushed I didn’t have time to buy flowers for my mom. I want to go back next summer and stay in Newburyport for a week so I can see everyone longer and properly put flowers on my dear mom’s grave.

After visiting with Natalea for a few hours, we got our cranky nap-less kids into the car and headed to Cambridge to see Nina. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any photos b/c I left the camera in the car. It was a really fun visit because we also met up with Sheherazade and little Leo, Ian, and on Friday night, a friend from Londonttown – Renato – showed up. WOW!!! Nina took us in, fed us, and let us take over her bedroom, kitchen, bathroom & condo. Thank you, Nina! We had such a nice time and loved seeing you & catching a tiny glimpse of your life.

It was really a special trip and we are hoping to go back again soon!

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