The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia Spain with Kids – US Embassy in Madrid —> Barcelona Spain with Kids – Madrid Part 1 Free the People Immigration March (Los Angeles) Week 1 – South Street & Smith Memorial Park Found Sticks Christmas Tree Leaving Oz Homebody Mostly NOT Potato Salad

This trip to Barcelona wasn’t my first. I had spent a few days there just after college when I was working in London. However, I only spent two nights and...

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The morning after losing the passports we packed up our stuff in a jiffy and took a cab to the US Embassy where we were soon engaged in a 4...

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We just spent a month in Spain and I want to write down as much as I can before I forget it. It’s been over 10 years since I’ve travelled...

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My friend and I attended this event on February 18th. We missed the march and joined the rally at City Hall in downtown LA. It was a much smaller crowd...

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We started out at my sister’s house. My niece had a day off of work so we grabbed her and headed to South Street. The last time I’d been there...

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This is so cute. There are many variations on Pinterest. I think the original idea came from the Free People blog which is worth looking at. I had these animals...

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Last fall when I heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge I claimed to have felt bullied into donating since I didn’t want to make a spectacle of myself on Facebook....

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After 20 years in the Castro, my dad decided to leave for a flatter, easier life. St. Allison met me in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago to help...

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We braced ourselves for the start of kinder this year. After all, we knew how pre-school had gone two years prior. She only cried every day for 1.5 years of...

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It’s getting HOT and making pasta every night is killing me. I’ve been trying to branch out to more salads now that it’s summer. This is a really tasty dish...

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Lemon-Yogurt Crumb Cake

Boo hoo!!! I’m crying because I used the rest of my lemons on this cake. I can see more on Eileen’s tree next door. Just need to pull some pantyhose over my head tonight, drug her dog “Amanda Barks-A-Lot,” sneak on over there & help myself… That or ask her for some.

You probably have most of these ingredients:

You might not have lemon curd but can buy it pre-made at most grocery stores:

Lemon curd (click photo for recipe)

INGREDIENTS:
Crumb Topping
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
2/3 c sugar
1 TBSP lemon zest
1 TBSP orange zest
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c cold butter, cut into pieces

Cake Batter
1/2 c butter, softened
1-1/2 c sugar, divided
3 eggs, separated
1-1/2 c flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
1 TBSP lemon zest
3/4 c lemon curd
1/4 c powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Make the crumb topping first. It’s easy. Combine flour, sugar, lemon & orange zest and salt. Add butter & cut into flour mixture with a pastry cutter.

Voila!

Cover & chill in refrigerator.

Now make the batter:

Beat the butter until creamy.

Then add 1-1/4 c of the sugar and beat for about 3 minutes. You want it fluffy. Add egg yolks.

The original recipe says to add them one at a time but I added them all at once because I have 2 small children who get all up in my business when I’m trying to cook.

(And here I thought I was being fancy by having them separated at ALL.)

Beat just until they’re incorporated.

In another bowl, whisk together flour & baking soda.

Just this leetle teeny tiny amount of baking soda makes a big difference!

Add about 1/3rd of it to butter mixture, then add 1/2 the yogurt,


then another 1/3rd of the flour mixture, then the rest of the yogurt and finally the last 1/3 of the flour.

Finally, stir in the zest. Be careful not to over mix this.

In another bowl – beat the egg whites at a high speed until foamy. Then add the last 1/4th cup of sugar, a little at a time, until stiff peaks form.

Fold whites into the batter. Pour batter into a greased & floured 9×9″ square pan.

Drop dollops of lemon curd on top of batter.

Swirl curd into the batter with a knife.

Sprinkle crumb mixture on top & pop into the oven for 45-50 minutes.

I definitely needed to bake mine for 50. Original recipe says stick a toothpick in to see if it comes out clean BUT it might not b/c of the curd. My curd tricked me and I baked it too long. What I recommend is gently shaking the pan – if it jiggles a lot it needs a little more time.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar & serve. YUM!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Lemon-Yogurt Crumb Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
 

A pretty lemony crumb cake perfect for spring time holidays & get togethers!
Ingredients
  • CRUMB TOPPING
  • 1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ c sugar
  • 1 TBSP lemon zest
  • 1 TBSP orange zest
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • CAKE BATTER
  • ½ c butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 c sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1-1/2 c flour
  • ⅛ tsp baking soda
  • ½ c plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 TBSP lemon zest
  • ¾ c lemon curd
  • ¼ c powdered sugar

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Make the crumb topping first. Combine flour, sugar, lemon & orange zest and salt. Add butter & cut into flour mixture with a pastry cutter. Cover & refrigerate.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the room temp butter on high until creamy.

 
Source: Southern Living Magazine

 

Lemon Curd

It’s been exciting having this huge yield of lemons from my next door neighbor’s tree. I’ve been getting “Southern Living Magazine” this year thanks to my niece’s magazine drive and have stumbled upon a few yummy recipes.

Lemon curd can be used for lots of things including Lemon-Yogurt Crumb Cake, Lemon Tiramisu, Lemon Souffles, Lemon Bar Cheesecake and even Rosemary Lemon Curd Martinis which I shall try as soon as I lose this hacking cough. Wonder if I can make a Lemon Curd Nyquil Martini?

This is a really quick microwave/cheater method. I’ll tell you how to do it via stove top too though if you really can’t stand the idea of nuking your curd. Haha!! “Nuking your curd!”

INGREDIENTS:
2 TBPS lemon zest (about 4 lemons)
1 c lemon juice (about 4-6 lemons)
1/2 c butter, softened
2 c sugar
4 eggs

Beat 1/2 c butter, softened and 2 c sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add 4 eggs, one at a time. Beat until just blended each time. Add lemon juice slowly until just blended.

Now add zest & stir.

If it looks curdled, you

You’re about to microwave this so make sure it’s in a large microwave-safe bowl!

**NOTE: See bottom of post for stove-top method!**

Microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes, stirring every minute. That means just set it for 1 min, then open, stir, put back in or 1 min etc. I wrote hash tags on a little paper because I was being talked to and interrupted the whole time.

Now microwave 1 or 2 more minutes on HIGH stirring every 30 seconds. It should be thickening and sticking to the spoon.

Poor into an airtight container. Cover with plastic wrap being sure it touches the surface of the curd to keep it from getting a “skin” on top. Can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks.

Lemon Curd
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

 

A quick way to make your own lemon curd. A yummy addition to tons of foods!
Ingredients
  • 2 TBPS lemon zest (about 4 lemons)
  • 1 c lemon juice (about 4-6 lemons)
  • ½ c butter, softened
  • 2 c sugar
  • 4 eggs

Instructions
  1. Beat ½ c butter with 2 cups sugar until well blended.
  2. Add 4 eggs, beating in one at a time until just blended.
  3. Slowly add lemon juice mixing on slow until just blended.
  4. Stir in zest. (It will look curdled – this is OK!)
  5. If microwaving, transfer to microwavable bowl.
  6. Microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes, stirring every minute.
  7. Microwave 1-2 minutes more stirring every 30 seconds, until mixture thickens and clings to spoon.
  8. If using stovetop method, cook over medium-low heat in a 4 qt saucepan.
  9. Whisk constantly for 14-16 minutes.
  10. Pour into air tight container. Place plastic wrap over the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
  11. Stores for 2 weeks in refrigerator.

Stove top method:

Instead of microwaving, place in a 4 qt saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for 14-16 minutes, whisking constantly. Pour into air tight container & cover with plastic wrap (directly touching surface of curd to prevent “skin” from forming.)

Source: Southern Living Magazine

 

utah get-a-way, bloating & 3.2% beer

Last weekend G’s company sent us all to Park City which happened to be the last few days of Sundance Film Festival! We took advantage of Jack & Patsy’s stay by making them hostage babysitters.

Our moods were good right from the bar at LAX where we awaited our flight.

We had a great laugh about “No Side Shot” on the receipt. Everything’s funnier when you don’t have kids with you!

We cheered right out loud when we noticed our dear friend’s NYTimes Bestselling Novel, City of Dark Magic in the airport bookstore! Go, Lynchie!!

I was so impressed with this water fountain which was ubiquitous at the Salt Lake City airport!
You can either drink straight from it or fill your water bottle with it. Amazing!

We got up early the next morning to hit the slopes.

Whilst waiting for a cab to take us to Canyons Resort, I noticed some income disparity in our neighborhood.
The house in the foreground had smashed in windows in contrast to the luxury homes behind.

Anyone who knows me knows I will enjoy myself but not before feeling guilty about my good fortune.

This is the back of our townhouse.

Right across the street from us:

Finally we hit the slopes at Canyons.

So happy.

G & I skied all day! After the lifts closed, we stopped by The Umbrella Bar for a beer. A low alcohol beer.

We finally picked ourselves up & got out of there as the sun was going down.

Off to the Brickyard Dinner at one of the houses in town. This house sucked! It only had ONE elevator and the DVD player in the screening room was broken. LAME!

Poor lobster!

Dinner awaited!! We made up about 40 people so we took turns eating!

Nobody took turns drinking though.

Killed by 10PM.

As many of you know, the beer in Utah is 3.2% alcohol (4% alcohol by volume). This means you might tend to drink more beer than you normally would. Not so in my case. For me 3.2% beer = wine. I drank only wine after I noticed the mid-section bloating taking place. Others drank hard liquor.

After dinner we headed out for a drink in town & then back to our house up the hill. Many played foosball and/or went in the hottub but as many tired mama’s know, a vacation bed (i.e. clean sheets & nobody waking you with a shriek at 4AM to pull their covers up for them) looks better than sitting in a cup of hot skin soup (aka an overused hot tub) with a bunch of rowdy blokes.

Next day we slept late. Aggggghh!!! Yes, we slept till 9 o’clock!!! What a treat. Off to a late lunch & then a half day skiing in Park City. We could walk to the slopes from our house.

I skied the slowest I’ve ever skied before. Is middle age catching me?? I couldn’t see any features on the snow and worried about falling and shattering a knee. It was still tons of fun!

That night G grilled about 150 burgers & dogs on the grill. I enjoyed a beautiful & much needed salad prepared by Lisa (did not get a picture of it) as well as some homemade fries. YUM!

Having only 2 full days in Park City, we didn’t make it to any movies (“films” to you film festival aficionados) but we didn’t feel we missed out on anything!

Thank you, Brickyard!! You made my year!

 

Letting go

of a balloon, that is, is a sad event in the life of a kid. But besides getting clocked in the head by a swing every child needs to experience this cruel (not to mention eco-unfriendly) rite of passage.

Lookit how happy she was before she let go?

Yesterday M told me she wanted a haircut and that she wanted it cut to look like her Aunt Charlotte’s and/or cousin Lydia’s. Since Lydia and Charlotte have totally different (both very stylish) cuts, we met in the middle. It was hard to believe that a little girl would WANT a haircut but Maddie has her own style and a strong sense of fashion so I wasn’t about to stand in her way.

We set out for the salon.

BEFORE (with a side pony)

This salon is so adorable. Let me interrupt myself to apologize for boring most of you with this post about my daughter’s first haircut. Nobody hates hearing about cliche parent experiences like this more than I do but gosh dang it, for some reason these little kids make even common everyday experiences fun!

Anyway, The Yellow Balloon has been in SM for ages.

I actually saw the salon from the car, pulled over & called. They told me to come right in! It was so totally friendly inside, well, actually kid-friendly inside.

Our stylist, Denise, was so sweet. She let M sit on my lap which I doubt made it easy.

M really enjoyed looking at herself. And the cookies they gave her. And the Cinderella flashlight. The tattoo & the lollipop. Oh, and she also enjoyed the haircut.

She took a quick ride in the car (which the owner insisted on paying for).

And we left!

She accidentally let go of the balloon later in the park and wept bitterly as we watched it shrink to a tiny dot. I understood how she felt as I watched them cut her baby hair off and sweep it away into a dustpan.

The Yellow Balloon
1328 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310)458-7947

Hours:
M 9:30AM-6PM
T, W & F: 9:30AM-7PM
TH: 9:30AM-8PM
SA: 9AM-6PM
SU: 10AM-5:30PM

 

Eco Coastal Cleaners – Local shout out!

When I had a job I used to take my clothes to the dry cleaners once in a while. One day this eco friendly place popped up in the Sunset Park area of Santa Monica. Now they’re MOBILE!!

The owners are local people – they live a few blocks from us and we’ve known them for years. You just call them up, once they have your payment info. it’s all automatic. Last week I left a few sweaters in a bag on my back gate & they picked them up. I just stuck a note inside saying when I’d need them and BOOM they were back on my gate on the required day!

No more toting your stuff over to the dry cleaners. Love using local businesses and when they are eco-friendly it’s even better!

ECO COASTAL Cleaners
(310)450-7878
Free Home or Office Pickup & Delivery

Featuring:
Non Toxic chemical free process
Eco Friendly Dry Cleaning Since 2000
Reusable “ECO” Garment Bags
Reduce Reuse Recycling program
Home/Office Pick Up and Delivery
UGG Boot Cleaning



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