Friday, June 7, 2013

Sourdough Breadzza Semi-Disaster

Looks delicious, no?? Keep reading.

Once upon a time a baker on Fisherman's Wharf in San Fransisco started making sourdough bread.  There was something about the San Fransisco air that made the sourdough starter particularly awesome.  Eventually, it became a franchised, much-better-than-fast-food restaurant, and one of the most recent franchises opened on my neighborhood a few years ago.  My neighborhood NOT being on Fisherman's Wharf, with it's groovy sourdough yeast spores naturally zooming through the air or whatevs, so they fly in the sourdough "mother" weekly. On an airplane and stuff.


Crazy GOOD.

Anyway, the restaurant has a promo thingie, where if you check in on your smart phone on each visit, you earn a free loaf of bread per month for the first six months or something.  I dunno.  I didn't pay that much attention.  I heard "free bread" and was all in.  

So, I take my little guy (who finished 6th grade today, btw, so not that little, really) and his bestie there for lunch as a little end of the school year treat.  And guess what?  Today was a free loaf day for me, so, SCORE!

And, it's Friday, which just means PIZZA around here.  Often I make it from scratch (dough included), sometimes we order in, sometimes we go out to one of our favorite pizza places.  But something about my free loaf of sourdough made me a little giddy this afternoon, and I remembered that much of the USA eats French bread pizza, so why the heck not sourdough bead pizza?

Only problem was, 6 year old Miss Thing has an extremely loose, owie front tooth (as in it's sort of grotesque, even) and there was no way she was going to be able to bite though the super thick, crusty-crust that this bread is famous for.  Hmmm.  What to do?

Instead of the traditional French Bread Pizza sliced horizontally down the middle... Slice it in thick pieces like it was bread (cause, it IS!) and go from there...

But! Then I thought that maybe the sauce would make the bread all googy and soggy, and that wasn't appealing in the slightest.  So I hatched a plan.  Turns out that it was a good one.

I have this method of making a crostini-ish garlic bread, wherein I slice up a baguette, brush each slice with Olive Oil, sprinkle with garlic powder (yeah, that's totally cheating. Don't care) and basil, then top it off with fresh grated Parmesian Reggiano or Romano.  Then I put it under the broiler for just a few minutes-- careful or it will burn... and quickly-- et viola! Mi famiglia's favorite garlic bread.  The top of my garlic bread is toasted and crusty... Awesome.

So, huh.  Maybe if I made it like my garlic bread and THEN added the pizza sauce and toppings it would fend off the soggies?

Oh em gee, it totally did, youse guys.  And, since I placed it on the bottom rack for the second cooking, the bottom got crispy too, which is nothing to sneeze at, either. 

In truth, I was the only one who liked it.  I used tomato *paste* instead of sauce, hoping that would be thicker and less likely to sog it all up, and my husband said that that was too "bright" tasting (I beg to differ).  And then, Miss Thing also has a canker sore in addition to her terribly wiggly tooth, so not only couldn't she bite into it, she couldn't chew it, either (I made her oatmeal), and my son, halfway through his first piece sided with daddy and made himself some Ramen noodles (don't judge me.  Sometimes it's the only thing he WILL eat).

So, bummer.  

Honest to Pete, though, it WAS good.  And the method was inspired, even if no one liked the sauce, and complained about the cheese coverage or (rather) lack thereof.  Personally, I would eat pizza withOUT cheese, so I thought it was nice of me to include a little at ALL, really...  I think there were a few other complaints thrown in there, too, but I stopped listening at some point, as I'm prone to do.  Sigh. 

I swear every time I try to do something different from my five or six meals that I KNOW 3 out of 4 of them will happily eat, they get all revolutionary on me.  And then they wonder why I'm all grumpy about it and stuff.  I am so tired of always making the same things.  I know Miss Thing will grow out of it (mostly, it's her causing a scene these days while my eldest is suddenly eating Thai food where he couldn't handle a little black pepper on his baked potato a year ago), but, ugh.

Am I alone in generally refusing to cook a second "special" meal for a little one (I did make her oatmeal tonight, because she was obviously in pain and not just being stubborn)?  I was always expected to not only eat what was on my plate, but to do so without complaining, or that would be that, end of conversation, to my room, hungry and too bad so sad, thanks for playing.  


I'm going to give a piece to Andy.  He'll eat it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

She is SIX...

  ...How did THAT happen???

Well, it did.  And of course, there was a party.  We RAN to the park, clucking like chickens for some reason (six year olds!) where we found paper bags and paints all set up for making paper bag hats.  Top right, is Miss M digging into the paint for her hat.  Paper Bag Hats are so easy and fun!  

PAPER BAG HATS:  Use a standard grocery bag, *carefully* turn it inside out (remove handles, if necessary), and sloppily roll the edges up to form the hat. Rolling too tightly makes the hat too big and crushes the paper, so make your rolls big and bunchy.   Messiness is no problem with this project, and it doesn't have to be perfect.  For really little kids, I've found that "pegging" the bag, (like we did the ankles of our jeans in the 90's, remember?  We were super-bad!) works really well.  Give the kids lots of colors to choose from, and make SURE the paint is washable! Go play some games while the paint dries and wear your creations proudly!

Top, right, you can see my son sneaking up on me to jam one on my head and the (blurry) result in bottom right.  Bottom left are two much bigger boys (my son and his BFF) in their Minecraft inspired creations.  If you have any computer geeks in your house, or are one yourself, you may recognize a Minecraft Pig and a Creeper painted on their hats/masks.  Those two are h.i.l.a.r.i.o.u.s. and I'm pretty sure that they are the Mutt and Jeff of the 21st Century.  Also in this collage is a cutie patootie from down the street playing with a hula hoop.  I could just eat him up.

While the paint on the paper bag hats was drying, there was a scavenger hunt based on things the kids could find at the park.  

SCAVENGER HUNT:  I made a quick trip to the park a few days before the party to see what could be found and took pictures (most of the kids aren't readers just yet), and photoshopped the pictures onto card stock (see bottom left image).  Then, I just pasted the scavenger hunt cards onto treat bags, so that a.) the kids would have somewhere to out their "finds" and b.) so that the cards wouldn't be lost.  The kids found as many things as they could, and brought the bags back to me for prizes/party favors (we returned the "finds" to the wild).  I also had them write their names on the bag so they could keep it to fill with piƱata candy and more party favors later.  

Of course, the punch balloon favors were immediately blown up and (mostly) popped.  Hey! It's not a party until the balloons pop!

There were healthy(ish) treats to be had, and these two partygoers had quite a rousing conversation about how delicious/disgusting tomatoes are.  That sweet little boy was popping cherry tomatoes in his mouth like candy.  I heart him.  

You might notice the cupcakes, bottom left... Yes, they are UNfrosted... You'll see why in a minute.  The cupcake stand, I threw together with some hot glue, candlesticks and serving platters/plates that I had on hand.  I did this last year, too... Except that, LAST year, the hot glue separated easily after the party.  This time, I think I might have used a little too much hot glue! HAHAHA!  Cupcake Stand for LIFE!  

After the kids made their hats, had a couple of sack races and played for a while, I started assembling the DIY CUPCAKE BAR.  I thought it was a stroke of genius, and the kids LOVED it.  So, no, the plain, unfrosted cupcakes didn't look so party-perfect on the cupcake stand.... But, I knew if I frosted them beforehand, the frosting would harden, and the toppings wouldn't stick.  

DIY CUPCAKE BAR:  If you want to try this at your next party, I HIGHLY recommend it!  First, I filled two cupcake trays with different toppings (I used mini marshmallows, mini M&Ms, crushed chocolate sandwich cookies, gummy worms and different colored sprinkles).  Then, I gave each kid a little cocktail spoon and told them they could top their cupcakes however they wanted, but to please take one only little spoon of each topping so that everyone could have what they wanted (gummy Worms being the exception... everyone got a gummy worm).  I frosted each cupcake on the fly as I handed them out to the kids, and then the kids got to work on the toppings.  

The sprinkles were flying, the gummies were slurped, crushed cookie bits raining down... SUPER FUN!  It totally worked! But, I'm really glad that I covered the tables with parcel paper!  GAH!

Of course, the BEST PART about decorating your own cupcake is EATING IT!

Look at those happy faces!  I do believe my son was making a Minecraft cupcake, naturally (bottom right). Looks like a dirt block, reminiscent of his birthday cake last year.

And there was still time to play... And also get covered in paint!  Hahaha! Sorry, mom... But it SHOULD come out in the wash.... In the same picture, you can see our painted hats drying on garden stakes.  I had actually made sweet little coffee filter flower and streamers toppers for the garden stakes, knowing I wouldn't have a lot of time to decorate the park, and I figured I could just poke decorated stakes in the ground to gussy up the park a little (coffee filter flowers were based on the ones I made last year).  That was easy, too.  And, it made a durn good spot for the hats to dry!

The big boys had a go at some sort of hybrid sack race/three-legged race of their own.... Which worked out exactly as I suspected it would.  BOMP!

My husband has a new camera (HE took all these photos, btw... I was kinda busy!) and got to playing with the filters.  These are a little dark, but the ATTITUDE is totally visible.  Is she six or sixTEEN???

I had also made a cake for the grown ups, but as it turned out, nearly everyone just dropped their kids off at the party (!) so I saved it for later and Miss M blew out her candle that night.  

Happy Birthday, Baby.  You are just my kinda girl.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Little Catching Up

  A hugemongous Thank You to those of you who said such nice things about my continuing on with this blog, even if time changes it into something else.  I think you might be right.

Where else am I going to post contrite pictures of my puppy when he does this sort of thing? Hmmmm?

Or, the amazingly categorical arrangement of shells my son made on my dining room table at 6am a few weeks ago?

How about the mini-Dalek I crocheted for my brother for Christmas that made him laugh so hard that he cried?

The "Please Ring Bell" weirdness that someone (actually, it was two someones) chalked on my screen door months and months ago, and which remains because it Never-Ever rains hard enough or long enough to wash it away, and at this point, it's become an experiment in longevity, and I fully expect it to be there when both kids have graduated High School?

And *where would we be* without Miss M in a paper plate Dr. Seuss hat?

Nowhere. That's where.

Things change. Life moves.  We must move with it.  And so, I shall.

See you around, kids.  I'll be here.  And, Thank You.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

So... It's been awhile...

...but I know there are at least two of you wondering if I fell off the face of the earth, or what?!?!

I didn't. I'm still here.  

On the other hand, I haven't been pebbling, which was (originally) the whole point of the blog.

Why haven't I been pebbling? The short story is that that I have developed an allergy. To the SUN. I wish I was kidding. I am not. I have never been allergic to a single thing in my entire 39 year old life (except for whining. I'm terribly allergic to whining).

And so... I've been struggling with whether or not I should continue posting non-pebble related bits, since pebbling usually involves being in the sun, and I am now a vampire.

My teenage goth-self loves the vampire thing in THEORY, but reality is a bitch. I was a teenage goth child in Ohio... Which was EASY... and I now live in sun-soaked Southern California. Kinda hard to ignore the giant glowing orb, if you know what I mean.

The good news is that just yesterday, I discovered that my husband's over-the-counter allergy pills will block the crazy itchy, massive hive-y histamines enough to allow me to do super-exciting things like picking up Miss M from Kindergarten without jumping out of my skin. Yeah. It's been THAT bad. It's already nearly HOT here, and I've been wondering just how in the heck an already overheated woman was going to make it through the summer with a scarf around her neck...

So anyway. Pebbling has been somewhat out of the question since this began in October. I suspect my laundry detergent (specifically, the chemical Optical Whiteners). The only thing that has changed that might trigger such a crazy reaction is the switch from our ancient washing machine to a new High Efficiency one. I didn't change detergent BRANDS but we did switch to the HE formula of the same brand. I have since found some forums online where people are pointing to this particular brand as being supremely evil for all manner of reasons, but you know, it's the INTERNET and people say all kinds of wacky stuff. But, there is a possibility that whatever is wrong with me is being caused by a chemical photosensitivity... And the chemical doesn't bother me until it's exposed to sunlight. Then, BOOM. Scratch. Could very well be the laundry detergent.

So, three weeks ago, I switched to a brand that claims to NOT have the optical whitener, but while I have rewashed everything in my closet (and triple rinsed it!) my bedding and my towels... I'm still itching. Sigh.  

It simply might take more time to purge myself of the chemicals, I might need yet a different brand or need to make my own detergent (hubby is NOT pleased with that idea-- I believe his exact words were, "Make it out of what??? Lye and Baking Soda???" to which the answer is, well... uh... yeah... sorta-- although the idea of making my own laundry detergent appeals to me, and he may very well have to take a backseat on this one if he ever wants to see me at the beach again) or, of course, whatever the problem is is not even related to laundry detergent, in which case, I have no idea which way to turn next. Well, that's not true. I need to make an appointment with an allergist. Duh.

But that's my story. So the question remains... Do I continue this blog under the auspices of "Curious Pebble" or do I just change the name and keep the URL or what? I honestly don't know what to do.

I haven't even had any pebbles in my etsy shop for months... I had last put a vacation hold on everything while I did a local show one weekend, last October... but once again, I didn't sell a single thing and just kinda got BLEH about the whole thing. The pebbles are now languishing in a box in the garage. No sense beating a dead horse, no matter how pretty he is. Or not? I don't know!!!!!

But, I've been busy with my usual crafty-self, just not posting. There were Valentines again this year of course, and those pictures on on my hard drive, just SITTING there, as are probably five thousand other things I've thought to share, but haven't.  

Mostly there has been music. I once promised myself I'd have an album ready by the time I was 30. I'll be 40 in July. OMG. It also may be my last year as a full-time stay at home mom, so, I've been desperately trying to make as much music as possible. But... Again... Hardly pebble-related.


Jeez. I've missed you.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Say My Name"

Less Pebbling more Music, lately.  It happens.  A little Ambient/Chill/Trippy Love today. 

Say My Name....

Say My Name by Julianna McDuffie