Monday, August 31, 2009

Ferry Market and Cheesy Giada

I am not a "foodie": someone who mostly cooks gourmet and eats very gourmet and spends $25 for the perfect quality cheese.

I am a Trader Joe's girl. But, I love open markets. Samples of cheese, bread, olive oil with vendors selling buckets of fresh flowers....Love it! One of the stops I really wanted to make in San Francisco was the Ferry Market Building. Various cooks on the food channel and in the Rachel Ray magazine had mentioned it featuring some of the West Coasts premiere gourmet food vendors.

The building itself is worth seeing, as it was originally built in 1896 and was the main harbor stop for immigrants traveling to California. It has its originally clock tower and was one of the only buildings to survive the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. Survivors of the earthquake nestled in this building to receive help and care. Over the years, the market building has been largely unused until the late 1990's when it was renovated and began featuring gourmet restaurants and food vendors.

Now, when you walk in it is an amazing food court of some of the best coffees, teas, cheese, gilato, olive oil around!

One of my favorite stops was here, at Cowgirl Cheese. Awesome, crazy, yummo cheese.

So good! and so expensive! We left with a sample box ($20) that was perfect - a good variety of flavors and a souvenir cheese knife.

When we got home I was still thinking about cheese and this amazing episode of Giada that I saw featuring a few recipes with lots of cheese!

Isn't she just so pretty....

and doesn't she look like she is related to Susan Lucci?

For Giada's Cheesy Baked Farro here are a few of the ingredients I used...

I could not find farro, at least I could not find it at Trader Joe's, so I substituted it for TJ's Harvest Grains. That seemed to work out fine. I did forget that I needed bread crumbs. But, they are really needed for this casserole, so I made my own by toasting bread in the oven, putting it in a zip loc baggy and then hammering it a bit with a rolling pin.

Here is Giada's recipe:


Vegetable cooking spray

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups warm whole milk
Kosher salt
and freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
1 cup grated Gruyere
1/2 cup fontina cheese grated
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups faro or barley, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs
Olive oil, for drizzling


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

For the sauce: In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 8 minutes (do not allow the mixture to boil). Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the farro: In a large bowl, add the cheeses and stir to combine. Remove 1/2 cup of the mixture and reserve. In a large stock pot, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the farro, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the faro is tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, if necessary. Add the farro, thyme, and sauce to the bowl with the cheese. Stir until combined and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with the reserved 1/2 cup of cheese. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake until the top is golden brown and forms a crust, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

For more recipes that were also very cheesy go to Giada at Home

...and for more recipes go to Jen's site today at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Heart Saturday AND.....japan town

We loved staying at the Hotel Tomo! The hotel and the rooms are decorated in Japanese pop art which is one of the kids favorite things. The rooms had japanese robes and bean bag chairs. We all love sushi and we ended up at a restaurant we could walk to that served sushi on boats floating along a little bar river. You pay per color of the plate. The kids (me too) loved it! There is so much to see in San Francisco, but I was really glad that we hung out alot in Japan town.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the theology of rest

'O ye of little faith!"

What a pang must have shot through the disciples

"Missed it again!"

....and what a pang will go through me when I suddenly realize that I might have produced downright joy in the heart of Jesus by remaining absolutely confident in Him, not matter what was ahead.

There are stages in my life when there is no storm, no crisis, when I do my human best; it is when a crisis arises that I instantly reveal upom whom I rely.

If I have been learning to worship God and trusting Him, the crisis will reveal that I will go to the breaking point and not break in my confidence in Him.

We talk a lot about sanctification.

What is it all going to amount to?

It should work out into rest in God which means oneness with God, a onenes which will make me not only blameless in His sight, but a deep joy in Him.

(Taken from August 12 My Upmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I Heart Saturday AND....ciao bella

Blood Orange is my favorite. We have also had Chocolate Hazelnut and Pistachio and they are way yum too. On sale at Albertson's this week!

Friday, August 21, 2009

cash cab

Bria loves watching Cash Cab on the Discovery Channel. She was already facinated with taxi cabs before she saw the show. Several times she would comment about how much she wanted to ride in a taxi. She would ask me questions about taxi's such as why someone would take one, how much they cost, can we take a taxi to co-op or music lesson!?? Can a taxi pick up Jenna and bring her to our house, and WHAT if she and Jenna ended up in the Cash Cab!!!

So, we started playing Cash Cab (more like Cash Van) in our car. I would ask history and bible review questions between point A and point B. Three wrong answers and it was over. Answer all correct and its McDonald's ice cream time :)

We get to San Francisco and of course she sees lots and lots of taxi's. The benefit of traveling with Grandparents is (besides they happen to be very fun) they say "Yes" to almost everything. Papaw was more than willing to get Bria in a taxi. He was so sweet. He found a taxi and told the driver to drive them around as far as $10 would take them - they were on the ride just for fun. Bria of course asked the driver if he has seen Cash Cab...he had. I have no pictures of her and the taxi since I was off exploring other parts of the city (another benefit of traveling with grandparents). But, I love this picture of Bria and my dad (with taxi in the background.) She was so happy about FINALLY getting to ride in a taxi...even though it was not the Cash Cab!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

on the hunt..

for these shoes...
they are (were) at wal-mart...$10 and the most comfortable shoes ever. I tried on my Aunt's and now I want them to be mine. I looked on-line and all I found were the red ones. So, today I shall check my third wal-mart as part of my hunt. Mom, if you are reading this, check your nearby store and remember, I do not want the red ones.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

the good, the bad and the reality

"What!? What do you mean you cannot find your school uniform tie!??" It is 9:45 pm, the night before the first day of school.

As if the buzzing noise coming from the pencil sharpener was not annoying me enough!

Seriously, when going through the check list of what to have ready for the first day of school, did we forget the tie?

"We" also only have PE shorts because "we" lost required PE shirt before the end of the last school year.

"Did you print out your summer paper?"
"It is not due until Wednesday, that gives me two more days, it is near done and I won't have any homework the first few days of school. I just don't want to think about it right now. Let me enjoy my last day of summer!"

So, the nagging has begun. The excuses flown around and my head starts pounding.

How sad. The vacation clothes are barely washed and put away. Really? Is it time?

What did I learn from last year?
Trust God.
Let Go.
My kids are His.
Enjoy them.
Love them.
Train don't Nag.

He went to bed without a nice goodnight. Without prayers with me.

His mercies are new every morning.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

a facebook status

a friend of mine posted quite the facebook status to announce the birth of her fourth baby (and first girl):

Eloise Marie, the bitter warrioress, completed her first misadventure this morning at 3:30, bringing her 8’4”, 19 inch frame into the world kicking and screaming in protest against the inherent injustice contained in one’s denial of liberty when being unceremoniously forced into the cold and bright post-partum world

got to love facebook friends who majored in English and have both a nack for prose and humor!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I Heart Saturday AND.....vacation plans

Mom to Family: "So, what song should we be listening to when we drive across the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time?"

Nate: "Don't Start Believing" - Journey - definitely"

Family: "Perfect" - "Yes"

Good to know we are all on the same page.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

music note thingy

I have been really wanting one of these guys for a while now. It is a magnetic music note board - a great aid for my budding music people. About $40 with shipping and handling.

Some things just look too easy to I never bought it. I used a small dry erase board I already had, bought art tape for $3.99 and added some jewled magnets...
I can add more magnets, but I really only need one at a time to test her on which note is which. I also like this because I can quiz on the time signature and it does not need to be too big as I can change it with the marker to be treble cleff or bass cleff. She can identify each note by writing on the correct letter name right on the board.

I can quiz too by writing name of notes that she is to place on music staff. So, now we have a little music note thingy :)


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

with an emphasis on reluctant

I am at 4 Reluctant Entertainers today!

When it comes to entertaining...for me the emphasis is on reluctant. Really, if you are a friend who comes to my blog chances are you have never been to my house for a meal. I really struggle with this.

Today on Sandy's blog I share the story of one of our weekly meal traditions.

"Hospitality is not about having the best or newest or most beautiful," says Reluctant Entertainer Sandy Coughlin. "It's about sharing your heart and home with others."

Love that.

However, what really got me attached to Sandy is..

Yes, it's a theater balcony and you will see why this has another meaning for me soon.

Oh, and to learn another fun thing about my co-worker Doreen....see this post

Monday, August 3, 2009

low carb breakfast

Anyone else trying to stay away from heavy carb breakfasts? Like my favorite blueberry pancakes from The Orginial Pancake House!! It seems that since blueberry's are on sale alot this month I keep running into food that looks this good!

Of course, we all visit PW's recipes...but I wanted to make sure I documented my new found eggs.

Finding this recipe has made me wake up the past two mornings smiling and looking forward to eggs! If you have been trying to think of all the ways you can have eggs in the morning-

Try these! Huevos Ree-Os

Speaking of breakfast, but definitely off the low-carb mind of my favorite parts of vacation was that my mom bought these guys..

First, because mom did not buy sugar cereal, so the fact that the pack comes with the good stuff was such a treat! The corn flakes and rasin bran were for the parents- we kids never reached for those first! Plus, how fun that breakfast came from a mini-box!

Im buying them this week for our up-coming - it's finally here - vacation!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I Heart Saturday AND.....the new downey

I love when products just get better. This Ultra Downey smells good and makes everything soooo soft. An indulgence for me.. the other selling point the bottle matches my new laundry room :)