Thursday, December 18, 2014

our weekend in 3 photos

kind of a fun challenge to try to describe our weekend using just 3 photos.  let's see how i do.

 friday night we took the kids to rockwell in los feliz to see the 10th anniversary concert of fellowship, a musical parody of the lord of the rings.  we saw it 10 years ago in a small theater in north hollywood with our good friends.  we bought the soundtrack, took other friends and family to see it and basically quote it all day long.  so when they announced the reunion of the original cast for the anniversary we knew we had to bring the kids.  we took the subway from universal and walked a few blocks to the restaurant.  we had dinner, watched the show and then said hello to the cast afterwards.  it was a lot of fun.

close 2nd: photo of us with one of the cast members.

saturday sofia and i went to the mall to do some christmas shopping.  she needed a dress for the holiday concert and some winter clothes - long sleeved shirts and pants.  she also wanted to spend some of her birthday money at target.  so we made a stop there too.  i saw these words in front of a store and had to snap her picture.  she does sparkle and shine.

close 2nd - photo of a dinner party we attended that night.

sunday we took part in the chatsworth parade with the kids' school.  earlier this year we won an auction item at the gala to drive the golf cart down the street.  we decorated it and invited sofia's friends on board. andrew got to hang out in the back.   the girls waved at people and sang holiday songs as loud as they could.

close 2nd - photo of the carolers that came to my dad's christmas party that night.

and that's our weekend in 3 photos (and lots of words.)

Monday, December 15, 2014

2014 weekly menu #51

lunch on our way to disneyland last week. 
this is one of those weeks where there is so much excitement (and things to do) that i wish someone else would plan my menu,  do the shopping, and cook for us.  it's the last week of school, high school finals, start, er i mean, finish my christmas shopping, school holiday concert, class parties, birthday dinner, and cookie baking.

but no one's gonna cook for me so i'd better get that out of the way.

weekend eats
saturday: work dinner party
sunday: tacos at my dad's holiday party

making this week
monday: chicken mole for my dad's birthday
tuesday: rachel ray's tortilla soup - hate the name, love the soup
wednesday: salmon, garlic mashed potatoes, salad
thursday: grilled steak, onions & blue cheese salad
friday: pizza

have a great week.

Friday, December 12, 2014

currently | december

looking at our pictures from our disneyland trip yesterday.  we had so much fun and didn't have to deal with the rain, but did have to deal with the crowds.  totally worth it though to see the lights and decorations.

excited about participating in the chatsworth parade this sunday with the kids' school.  we get to drive the golf cart down the street!

thinking about our parent teacher conferences from this morning.  we love the school and are so grateful that the teachers are taking so much care in educating and nurturing our kids.  no happier place for us.

watching the kids playing with light sabers in the back yard.

enjoying a day off of school.

preparing for more rain. they said it's coming.

proud of jordan for his season on the water polo team and his academic athlete award at the banquet last night.

ready to send out our christmas cards.  they've been sitting on the counter for over a week but i was...

finishing up addressing the holiday cards for bobby's work.

taking the kids to see fellowship! 10th anniversary concert tonight.

listening to the soundtrack now. it's hysterical.

picking out outfits for some holiday parties coming up.

signing up for the one little word class and

deciding on my word for 2015.

wishing you a happy weekend.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

brockett cookie bake 2014

bring on the sprinkles, chocolate chips and the fudge.  it's time for the annual brockett cookie bake.  this year we also incorporated the early christmas get-together because this ever growing family is getting busier and busier during the holidays.

this is a tradition that bobby's family has done for many years.  the siblings would get together at one house, bake cookies and other sweet treats and then go home with a sampling of what everyone made to enjoy during the holiday season.

as the family grew, more and more people came and more and more recipes were shared. and now it's a full on party.  and a win-win for me. food, recipes, and tradition all rolled into one - pun intended.

this year everyone brought their a-game with new recipes as well as the tried and true.  you bake and eat a cookie.  have lunch then eat a cookie. open gifts then eat a cookie.  it's non-stop fun.

i always make the pretzel hugs.

pretzels with a hershey hug.  in the oven at 250 for a few minutes until the chocolate gets soft but not melted.  then straight out of the oven you add m&m's.

this year we tried the peppermint m&m's and they were better than ever. let them cool in the freezer or fridge so the chocolate sets. these are a fun treat to put in a jar and give as a gift.

i also tried 2 new recipes.  this one is a chocolate chocolate chip cookie with a rolo baked in the middle and sea salt on top.

they were decadent.  i also made these sugar cookie blossoms.

i love how festive they looked.  and they were pretty tasty too.

the littlest kids (and a lot of grown up kids too) do the cookie decorating.  that makes them a part of the festivities as well.  it's always fun to see what designs they will come up with.

and of course this family has a great sense of humor.

here's a sampling of what we brought home.  peppermint fudge, snickerdoodles, lemon bars, pretzel toffee (my favorite), peanut butter cookies.  after a few days in the one container everything starts tasting the same, but we enjoy it.

uncle ed and aunt elaine have hosted the cookie bake for the last few years.  they have the perfect kitchen for it, and the oven of my dreams.  but an added bonus is the cappuccino machine.

i don't know how i earned the honor but mine is usually the first one.  i feel so special.

and we share a cocktail or glass of wine. it is a holiday party after all.

this year we also exchanged gifts for the kids at the cookie bake.  every child in the family receives a gift from another family.  gift are sent from all over the country.  it is so fun to watch them rip open their presents.

and to watch the next generation of cousins share in this tradition.

we take lots of pictures too.

but mostly we are a family.  we catch up and share stories and updates.  we wish each other a merry christmas, share lots of hugs and kisses,  and we think about those that can't be with us.

thank you to everyone for continuing this tradition.  we look forward to it every year.  

wishing the brockett clan a very sweet christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2014

2014 weekly menu #50

did i say last week was the week we were going to eat better? ha! if by eating better i meant eating cookies, then yes.  lots of cookies.  good cookies.  chocolate, buttery, sweet & salty cookies.  it was decadent.

this week is going to be interesting.  sports banquets, disneyland, a musical and a holiday dinner party.  i'm going to try and make good choices but i'm not guaranteeing anything.  the good news is we're only a few weeks away from a new year's resolution.

weekend eats
saturday: mexican food
sunday: pizza

making this week
monday: chicken pesto paninis and salad
tuesday: spaghetti and meatballs
wednesday: eat out
thursday: eat out
friday: eat out

looks like i get most of the week off.  yippee!  have a good one.

Friday, December 5, 2014

food adventures | nola

food, glorious food.  and it was glorious in new orleans.  we joked that we never felt hungry the entire trip. but i had so many restaurants that i wanted to try and there were only three meals a day - so we made the most of it. i did some research before hand using this source.  and then we did some yelp and google searches while we were there.

you can't talk about new orleans food without talking about beignets.  we visited cafe du monde 3 times during the 4 days we were in new orleans. we stood in the long line, got a table and ordered the only thing on the menu; beignets and cafe au lait.  the only decision we had to make was how many orders we wanted.

i have to admit i took an ungodly amount of photos of these fried delicacies.

pictures of us.


close up.

and just plain beignets. aren't they pretty?

they are blanketed with powdered sugar that made you choke and got all over our clothes, camera and phones.  we had them for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.  they are open 24-7 so really anytime is a good time for a beignet.  we even brought back the mix and some chicory coffee to give as gifts and make at home.

our first meal was after the city tour.  the guide dropped us off at cafe amelie in the middle of the french quarter.  we did make reservations at every dinner spot since there were lots of people in town for the game and there were places we had to go.

the weather was pleasant which was perfect for the patio seating.  the food was good but the atmosphere was what made this place memorable. it was enchanting and mysterious.

shrimp and goat cheese with walnuts.

grilled salmon with horseradish cream.

shrimp and grits.

and amelie's bread pudding - this was amazing!

there are 2 things you need to know about the napoleon house -

pimm's ginger julep

and the warm muffuletta

on a sesame seed bun, with plenty of melted cheese and olive salad. too good to be true.

 for the birthday dinner we made reservations at peche. it was voted best new restaurant and best chef by the james beard foundation.  so it was no surprise that the reservations were either early or late in the evening.

shrimp and fontina croquettes
it was also no surprise that the food was outstanding.  because our reservations were early and we had eaten that huge muffaletta just a few hours earlier, i can't say we were starving by dinner.  so we opted to share and try little bits of what was on the menu

crab and jalapeƱo capellini.

and two desserts

chocolate peanut butter banana pie

and salted caramel cake.  happy birthday becky!

 for breakfast we tried johnny's po-boys, recommended by one of the tour guides.  it was literally around the corner from the hotel and offered a huge menu for breakfast and lunch.

 i enjoyed watching the line cooks hard at work.  one making biscuits, one grits, frying up eggs and bacon.  they crowded over each other, yelling as they were plating.  it was exciting.

 and did i mention the biscuits.  we had a clue they would be good when we saw an abundance of sticks of butter in the display case.  seriously good.  they split them and grill them and serve them with jelly or gravy.  i could have eaten more, many more.

it's a small place and we were there sunday morning as they were getting the football crowd in but totally worth a stop - even if it's just for a biscuit to go.  and bring one home for me.

 we stumbled upon tableau on sunday afternoon. we wanted to get away from the sports bars and get a bite to eat before aunt lanie and sarah flew home.  we got here at the end of the jazz brunch but in time to still here some music.  i texted this photo to bobby who replied "wait, you're at disneyland?"  yep, it disneyland but bigger.

you have to order a bloody mary at brunch in new orleans.  so i did.  you basically drink morning, noon or night. in the restaurant, on the balcony or in the street.  it's all good here.  we paced ourselves but tried a little bit of everything.

creole french onion soup, with plenty of gruyere.

the asparagus and seafood salad.  the portions were small but the taste was good. and it was an upscale brunch for us.

sunday night we were ready for something other than shrimp and grits. pizza sounded good to all of us.  we thought about dominos but opted to venture out and try dominica's.  there was a 90 minute wait for a table so we knew it had to be good.  and we checked out the roosevelt hotel which was right next door while we waited for a table.

here's the thing about domenica's.  i had read about the roasted cauliflower with whipped feta dip and i was all for it, but the ladies needed a little convincing.   the server said it's a must and we would never look at cauliflower the same way. and she was right.  you pull of a piece and dip it into the feta, and cream cheese dip and your taste buds go to heaven.  absolutely the most amazing thing i ate. please go to domenica's and order the cauliflower.  you will not be disappointed.

 and the pizza was good too.

i was inspired by the water glasses they had made out of wine bottles.  great idea.

in terms of overall experience, the best we had was at commander's palace in the garden district.  we took the street car into the area where we had reservations for lunch.  i wasn't sure about dining here, thought it was a tourist trap, but i was wrong.  the service was incredible, the food was authentic and the martinis were .25 cents.  how can you beat that?

walking through the kitchen to get to the patio was super cool. you can eat at a table in the kitchen.  i'll have to remember that for next time.

 our second round, because we had to have them in martini glasses.

 turtle soup - don't hate me.  not sure i would order this again.

 and you guessed it, shrimp and grits. it was the best.

 and another birthday celebration with the commander's palace bread pudding souffle and hat.

that final night, after all that walking i went back to the room to get my coat while they decided where to have dinner.  melissa came up to me and said, our moms are officially done.  they won't walk one more step and they're having dinner at bubba gump's just a few feet away from the hotel.
knowing that that would not sit well with me, melissa dropped them off and then came back to get me so we could have dinner at a local place.

i can't say we did much better since a lot of places were closed.  but i hadn't had a po' boy all trip so it was satisfying.

yes, we had fantastic meals.  we ate a lot of shrimp. and we drank our fair share. but what really made these meals special were the people i shared them with.

the conversations we had.

the sharing of food and laughter.

the sister (and cousin) hood.

the celebration of life and spending time together.

i left with a full stomach and a full heart. cheers to that.