Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blueberry Flavored Moji-tea

For the next twelve weeks I will be posting non-alcoholic drinks on Thursdays.  I am working through Julia Cameron's Second Artist book, Walking in this World.  It's a lot like a detoxifying cleanse only it's for the soul, not the body.  Part of the contract I made with myself in regards to taking care of my career as an artist is to abstain from alcohol and bad foods for the next 12 weeks. 

Speaking of detox and healthy, this recipe does have some benefits.  Just to name a few...  Blueberry tea acts as an antioxidant, mint promotes digestion, limes also have antioxidants, vitamin C and  promote digestion as well.  This is a delicious drink that is also healthy...and you really can't beat that!

So, here's this week's recipe.

 Blueberry Flavored Moji-tea
3 bags of Celestial Seasonings Tea
(let steep for 15 minutes in 40 oz of hot water, add after mint and lime)
28 fresh mint leaves
2 whole limes, quartered and squeezed
16 oz of Simple Syrup

Here are some photos:

Start with fresh mint

Then add lime

 Muddle lime, simple syrup and mint

Add your blueberry tea!

There you have it!  An easy and beautiful drink!  Great for entertaining guests or just dining with your loved ones at home.  This is meant to be drank right away.  This is not a drink that keeps well.  Bottoms up!!!

I'm using a Rubbermaid Carafe.  I found it at my local grocery store, but if you want one and can't 
find it near you, I will post the link on Amazon!  I also used a wood muddler I found at BevMo but will link to that as well.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Chocolate Shop


As a bartender, I like to be adventurous with my own palate.  Tonight I thought it would be daring to try some chocolate wine.  Okay, I get it.  That's not daring.  There is nothing exciting about it if you know how much I adore chocolate.  But the thought of drinking chocolate wine kept me alert and alive the entire day...until...I drank it.  

My mother would love this.  She loves Moscato and wines on the sweeter side.  If that's what you prefer, then this is the wine for you.  If you get stuck drinking this wine, (with your mom), then alleviate the over abundance of sweet by dropping an ice-cube in it and noshing on water crackers and brie cheese.  

I tried Chocolate Shop red wine.   The overabundance of sugary flavor led me to say that the wine was pungently sweet.  I never thought sweet could be pungent but in this case there just isn't another way to describe it.  If you are into super sweet wines, and it's totally cool if you are, the link to purchase it via Amazon is below.  Once again, my tasting buds are different than yours so if you're into it, drink up and enjoy!  If I were to do it again, I would pour it over ice and add a little soda on top with a twist of lemon, then I would have the perfect drink for me!  Hey, I'm a bartender, I love to make cocktails out of everything!

Nonetheless, I think this would be a great gift or a delicious addition to a pre-game girls night out party.  Sip up and tell me what you think!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Tale of the Little Tourists: Part One

I rarely get weekends off, so when I do, I want to explore and enjoy my new family.  The funny thing I have noticed about being a new mom and a newlywed is that no one else is walking around in the blissful haze I am.  I spend more time with my daughter than anyone, second my husband, and third, Ryan, the 24 year old surfer guy I work with behind the bar in Malibu. 

Last Sunday I planned a family outing.  First brunch, then shopping then a trip to introduce Cora to one of my dearest friends.  This section details brunch.

Brian and I decided on The Inn of the Seventh Ray for brunch.  I think it sounds like a pretentious sci-fi show but it was pretty good.

This is a photo from their website.

They are known for creekside dining, organic and locally sourced food and it was pretty on par with Topanga.  It smelled of incense and there were statues of spiritual icons scattered about.  We ate lunch near St. Francis of Assisi.  When we arrived we waited for the hostess.  She came up and with one look at Cora, she became flustered. 

Hostess:  How many in your party?
Me:  Two please.
Hostess:  I see a little more than two. (said disdainfully)
Me:  She won't be eating.  So, just two.
Hostess:  Sigh.  Follow me

So we followed her.  And we followed her.  And we followed her.  To the very last table in the restaurant.  To say she wasn't kid friendly would be a stretch.  I think she was kid terrified, like I brought in some kind of wild cat that would rabidly attack her customers.  It's all good though, I don't prefer crowds so I thought this was nice.  

The menu has some great items with nothing over $14.  Or you can do the $40 brunch.  We opted for a menu item because I just couldn't justify spending $80 on a buffet table knowing that we would never have time to devour that much food with an infant in tow.  The waiter seemed miffed that we would dare to order off the menu and not happily scoop up what's on buffet.  He seemed annoyed by life though.  It's tough when I come upon a person like this because I seem to lose my social graces.  

He would sneer in our direction occasionally to see if we needed anything.  I mean, I understand, we had a baby and those can be terrifying to hung over waiters during a disliked brunch shift.  I work in the service industry so I'm not passing judgement, just telling it like it is.

The odd thing to me was that a monk came to dine.  He went for the buffet.  I guess I was surprised that a monk, who exists on so little usually, would have the buffet.  I figured he would eat oats and incense and chant ohm but as I walked by I heard his chirpy British accent and shrugged it off as, possibly he just likes to wear the robe to get chicks.

The brunch was good.  Nothing to really write about.  I had wanted a waffle but I got lox and a bagel instead.  We should have been dining by a stream but the Los Angeles drought has made that impossible.

No stream.  Hope rain comes soon!

The time came for us to get our check.  Not that we were finished with the food, Cora just decided it was time.  The waiter slid his eyes in our direction and I did the most socially awkward thing I have ever done.  I raised my hand with my index finger pointing up.  The service industry professional's biggest pet peeve.  I saw it, I couldn't bring it down, I saw him look as disdainfully at that as the hostess had our stroller and it seemed like hours before the entire exchange was over.  He straightened up, briskly walked over and took Brian's card.  We tipped him well and got out of there.  

Brian loved the place.  I honestly felt like we may have stumbled upon the strangest two employees and since it's close to home, I'm willing to give it another try.  It really is beautiful.

Me and the terrifying dining guest.


Brian and the tiny observer.

In part two, I will tell you about our trip to Silver Lake and the odd attention a lady paid to Brian's butt. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

It is the sea fled away with the sun...



Eternity

It has been found again.
What? – Eternity.
It is the sea fled away
With the sun.
Sentinel soul,
Let us whisper the confession
Of the night full of nothingness
And the day on fire.
From human approbation,
From common urges
You diverge here
And fly off as you may.
Since from you alone,
Satiny embers,
Duty breathes
Without anyone saying: at last.
Here is no hope,
No orietur.
Knowledge and fortitude,
Torture is certain.
It has been found again.
What? – Eternity.
It is the sea fled away
With the sun.

~Arthur Rimbaud


View from the Malibu Pier




Tonight was one of those nights that as I walked by the ocean, I felt like, if I spoke, it shouldn't be above a whisper.  The waves gently kissed the shore as the moon rose and the sun slowly sank into the sea.  


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Toast to Summer

Today I got a call telling me not to come into work tonight.  No biggie, Malibu just wasn't hopping today.  Truth is, it's hard to open up a restaurant in this city.  Regardless of if you have the best chef, which we do, the perfect location and incredible bartenders, plenty of people in this city aren't adventurous or willing to drive.  You can open up a location in the perfect spot but the lifespan of many restaurants in LA is shorter than a gnat's life, which really sucks.  You find that perfect dish, crave it, go back six months later and find a bar and restaurant called Public School (insert area code) has taken over.  Which brings me to the recipe I'm sharing this evening.

A couple of years ago I tended bar in a restaurant called Fraiche.  I loved it there at first.  The staff was so very cool.  It was in Culver City, across from the studios so the clientele was amazing as well.  Of course, after we started sending out specials on Groupon, it was all downhill from there.  But it had a great run and I learned an amazing cocktail and honestly, they had the best drinks of any bar I have stood behind.  I don't feel bad sharing something that I didn't create, it's a vodka gimlet with grapefruit juice, not exactly the epitome of creative, but really damn good.

I chose Tito's for this recipe because it's made in America and distilled in Austin...and Austin is a pretty kick ass city if you haven't been.  St. Germaine is a French liqueur, and they sent us the Statue of Liberty, so when you think about it, this liberating cocktail just makes sense.  

Here's the recipe.

2oz Tito's Vodka
1/2 oz St. Germaine
1/2 oz Lime Juice (fresh lime is the best, lazy, already made lime is good too)
1/2 oz  Simple Syrup (find the recipe here)
1oz Grapefruit Juice (also, fresh juice is the best, but ain't no shame in the carton)






Combine your ingredients in your mixing glass first.  Then put ice in your shaker tin, dump your ingredients into the ice and shake it like you mean it.



Next, strain it into your favorite martini glass or redneck stemware.


video

After, you can garnish with a grapefruit peel if you're really feeling fancy, or just drink and enjoy. 

As you all know, drink responsibly!



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Some Days I'm the Jerk

Today was one of those days.

I have decided to take Cora to the once a week learning classes at the neuro-development center up the street.  Today, I forgot my blanket and this was the day we painted.  So, I had to paint Cora on her changing pad.  It was clean so it wasn't really a problem, but still, not a good start.

Also, she's teething and constipated, so she's not in the best mood.  The teacher called someone out for observing to their baby, "you don't like this."  After that, I was terrified to comfort my baby because I began to second guess myself on whether or not I was even saying the right thing to comfort her.  We were told not to tell them, you're ok.  Well darn it, that knocked out my comforting quotes.  I was confused moving forward and Cora became enraged.  She had a melt down towards the end of class and was inconsolable until we left the class.  As soon as we walked into the open part of the mall, she was all smiles and calm, hasn't cried since we left.  Today, we were the assholes.

Two a-holes in painting class.

Does this make me want to give up?  Nope.  I do want to use this as a learning tool.  I want to trust my instincts.  As I was leaving class I was told by the instructor I didn't spend enough time soothing my baby.  Fair enough, I let her discussion of an article she had read of what not to say to babies cloud my judgement.  I like telling Cora she's ok.  I feel like it's important.  I'm going to continue, despite what some study reported.  Not to say I'm not willing to learn, but I'm new at this so I will allow myself some missteps and amendments to doing it by the books.



All of this reminded me of a conversation I had with a woman about a year ago.  She and I had both recently lost our beloved old pets.  She went on and on about how smart and amazing her dog was.  Her dog had the intelligence of a small child and she was devastated.  She looked at me with pleading eyes and asked about my dog.  I took a breath and realized, my dog was actually pretty bad.  I was a free spirit when I had her and so was she.  It wasn't until we discovered Runyon Canyon that she quit running away from me all the time.  She loved to run.  One time I found my front door open and realized she had been out chasing cars.  I could tell by the cool feel of her coat and her rapid panting that she was not napping beside me that chilly afternoon in Dallas.  She was a little mean and antisocial, much like me.  But you know what, I loved her so much.  My heart shattered when she died.  I was so heartbroken that for a week I would lay down in her spot randomly throughout the day and just cry.  Her lack of perfection didn't take away my unconditional love for her and I feel the same way about my child.

 Bailey the sweet bad dog.

So, we weren't the best in show today.  It happens.  The important thing is that I spent time trying to better us both and I will continue to love her like she was the belle of the ball.  All we can do is try to be better each day, and when we fall short of that, we must pick ourselves up and keep trying immediately.  Not tomorrow, not next week, but as soon as we are conscious of our mistakes.

Messy baby!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Baby Eats

Despite the recommendation of my pediatrician, I have started giving Cora a small amount of solid food.  She's teething, watching every bite I take and I think it's time.  I decided to start with Earth's Best Organics.

I found the food while on weekly formula run to Toys R Us.  Here's a little history about the company:

Earth's best started in Vermont, so you know it's hippy dippy wholesome.   They also have a wonderful website with how to's for feeding and questions parents may have.  Check em out here!

This blog is short and sweet because I uploaded a video to youtube.  Watch Cora's reaction as I feed her Earth's Best!


If you would try Earth's Best but it isn't available in your area, here's the link!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Rose

Brian and I have decided to stay in Los Angeles.  For awhile he had been searching for a petroleum job in Oklahoma or Texas that would have moved us closer to our families but would have moved me far from the place I love.  It's a tough trade.  I think about my family everyday.  I tried moving back to Oklahoma a couple of years ago, and while I love it, the feel of the wind, the sweet smell of the air and the general friendliness of the people who live there, it's just not for me.  I have been in Los Angeles for nearly 10 years.  I know my way around.  I like it here.  I feel at home here, yet my heart aches daily for the people I hold dear and never see. 

Since we have decided to stay, and now that Cora has reached the age of needing constant stimulation, I have made it a point to get out of the house everyday and see the city.  This is new for me.  I used to be a hermit.  In fact, I liked being a hermit.  I love the outdoors and when I had my dog I spent time hiking with her.  So I was an antisocial nature hermit.  That's the best description of who I was.  Now, with Cora, I am no longer allowed to be that.  I love that my child guides me out of the house through her need to see and explore the world.  I feel I was a jerk by staying in so much and only going places my dog wanted to go before.  Now, I make it a point to go to Toys R Us every week to replenish Cora's food supply and to walk around the area and just see stuff.  In my adventures this week I have stumbled upon a woman named Rose.

 (a pic of an actual rose I took on one of our walks)

Rose is from Germany.  Rose lost 30 pounds.  Rose lived in Queens.  Rose needs to stop eating sugar or her doctor will get mad.  Rose has all her teeth.  My point is, in two days of walking about my town, I have stumbled onto Rose on two separate occasions.  Rose lived in Germany and left before WWII, just barely.  She explained how her parents were questioned about their lifestyle and her father felt harassed.  So, they decided to leave Germany for America.  They were lucky and she told Brian and I she knew she was lucky.  This made me think of the children who are coming here in droves from Central America.  They come here hoping for a better life, but the America we live in now wants to send them back where they came from.  And they come from horrible places. 

Rose has all her teeth.  She drinks milk everyday and has a healthy diet.  Except for today.  She wanted pizza and was having some after getting rolls for her coins that she will roll this week.  When I walked with her today she was on her way to the pizza place I have just discovered by our apartment.  It's a delicious, family owned spot that is so much bigger on the inside than it looks when you walk by...like Dr. Who's Tardis.




As I walked Rose to the pizza place I thought, gee, I need to call my Nana.  I will tomorrow and I also need to print some photos at Target so Nana can see how much Cora is growing.  I wish I were one of those women who was more organized.  I would love to be able to send Nana photo collages of every moment, but I'm not that girl.  I'm messy.  I'm a spaz.  I'm not what I ever thought a mother should be.  The beauty of it is Cora is still too young to know that.  Hopefully, when she's old enough to figure things out I will be the picture perfect Martha Stewart of the North Valley.  Except I got a D in sewing in high school and I still think it's because the angry sewing teacher didn't like me.  Which I still think is strange, who doesn't like a kid? 

Rose also got me thinking how lucky I am to be born here and she also sent my thoughts back to the guy from Russia and a talk he had with me, a guy from Israel and another guy from California.  We were in the hot tub on my first night back to my place of relaxation and he was talking about American capitalism as opposed to Socialism as he had experienced it.  He said, where he came from, they had money to buy things but no goods and here, we have plenty of goods but no money to buy them.  He was drunk.  He then laughed at his observation then said that in this country you can still be anything you want.  If you put the work into it, and give all you have to your own personal goal, in America, anything is still possible.  Then he got bored with us, the other three of us were parents escaping for a bit, and he bounced over to the other hot tub where the hot chicks had landed and left the three of us to ponder our luck for a bit. 

Cora, Rose and the crazy Russian have me rethinking my goals.  If anything is possible, then I can be the Martha Stewart of the North Valley and a working actress.  Ok, at least I can become a working actress, the Martha part may take a little more work.  But the point is, he and Rose escaped a certain future for the beautiful  uncertainty America holds.  I am willing to pursue my goals and accept that attaining those goals will take work.  I have the freedom to put in the work and I cherish that even though most of my life I have taken it for granted.

I leave you with a grainy family photos of our 4th of July celebration.  It's the time of year when I love being an American and I tear up for those who have valiantly walked before me in love with this great nation.