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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar Night.....

So when Maura, Miranda and Quinn got dressed up to watch the Oscars I planned a special dinner for all of us. I really like to braise meats right now. This is a form of slow cooking but can only be called braised if the meat is seared before being put into the slow cooker. Enough of the trivia, I purchased some lamb shanks from Bristol Farms. The shank is a relatively inexpensive cut of meat because of the long time it takes to be edible but after 3 hours of slow, loving simmering you have meat which melts in your mouth. If you don't have any major plans It's the kind of meal you can set and forget.




 The shanks being seared




 After 2 hours of cooking


 I made some blue cheese mashed potatoes with truffle oil and of course butter and cream




Friday, February 25, 2011

Aquarium.....

Tonight we went to an activity night at The Aquarium. It was not a night to be down by the ocean with the storm gaining strength by the minute but luckily we chose to have some dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp which is right next to the Aquarium so we didn't have to walk far in the rain. My girls had sneakily told our server that my birthday was coming up soon and If anyone has been to this restaurant you will know all the servers get together and sing a very loud birthday song at your table. As if I was not embarrassed enough there was some lyrics regarding "shaking the booty", which I obliged by smacking my tush to the rhythmic hand clapping of the serving entourage.










Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Baking Day.....

I usually help in Miranda's class on Wednesday's, I have been dubbed the baking dad by the teacher and we try to make something simple in a very short space of time. It's mostly an exercise on counting with a little science and if the kids get to vote for their favorite item then we will make a graph and see which item was the winner. Today baking day was cancelled, they have a math test tomorrow and focus was on that which was fine by me, tests are important.

As I had no class I spent my time trying to get some items from the store and this is where my reasoning came from regarding the red velvet. Now this cake is my all time favorite and as I was mindlessly pushing Quinn around I spotted a piece, It looked really good and I went to pick it up and thought, wait I'll pick up Miranda from school and we can have our own baking day at home, genius!

Now I could have pulled up a recipe on my phone and looked around for each ingredient but right at this time Quinn started to practice his highest falsetto in an already quiet store. I checked out with some strange looks and headed over to Cost Plus where I knew I could find a half decent box mix. I know, It wouldn't usually be my first choice but Quinn may be a future opera singer if his voice dosen't break.

Anyway Miranda had fun and the cupcakes were actually pretty good...







Sunday, February 13, 2011

Please raise your right hand....

And repeat after me......

Last Friday I went to my swearing in ceremony. This was my final step to becoming a citizen of the United States and I figured I had better go to this one as I had cancelled two previous ceremonies which resulted in me having to go back to "the office" to explain why I keep finding reasons not to attend, like.....helping at Miranda's school and looking after my kids while Maura was working in New York, you know the little things.
 Anyway there I sat in a giant hall with 900 other eager beavers, each with  there own dreams and Ideas to better or further themselves with the help of Uncle Sam. The location was a country club in Montebello and my 1pm ceremony was the third that day, each time swearing in 900 citizens giving a total of almost 3000 people in one day. There are other locations such as the L.A Convention center and The Fairplex. These are bigger places and each event can swear in 3500 people multiplied by 3 ceremonies that day. Do the math, the country is growing fast!

Because this location was not a federal courthouse, the hall we were in was officially turned into one where all courtroom rules applied. The judge started the proceedings and we went on to say our Oath Of Allegiance. After that we were officially U.S citizens. There was plenty of screaming and hollering, lots of little flags being waved and generally a lot of relieved people in my opinion.
Now I will apply for my blue passport and be able to vote in all elections, though the jury is still out on who will be getting my little black X on the ballot. I am still allowed to keep my own passport and I will still use it when travelling back to Scotland. Miranda and Quinn also have dual nationality which I think will benefit them when they are older and start to travel.

I did have more pictures from inside but they turned out terrible, I think our camera is on It's last legs. I put it on the chair a couple of days before and came back into the room to see it on the floor and Quinn with a look of, "What, was that something important that I just dropped?"  




Our nice jokey Judge, not Judge Judy at all!


Done!!


 My favorite pic but I can't seem to get it to be portrait? When I finally exited the hall and saw the family waiting, Miranda rushed up to me, gave me a hug and said with all sincerity, "Daddy...welcome to California"


 They can't kick me out now...


The golden ticket.
video


Monday, February 7, 2011

Gingerbreadchipcaramellynutty loaf....

Well I haven't blogged in along time and what better way to get back into it than with food. I was going to make my first blog be from Miranda's school pancake breakfast at the weekend but like any good blogger....I forgot to take the camera.

Today as I was rummaging in the cupboard  I saw the box of gingerbread mix which I bought at Trader's a long time ago. Today was the day it was going to meet some new friends, Mr egg and Mrs oil and be born into the cake it deserved to be, but I have a habit of doctoring things up. Sure I could have stuck to the recipe and had myself a nice piece of  dry gingerbread for supper, wait why the hell should I? So after some more foraging around I found multiple bags of nuts all of which had probably 2 tbsp in them each, a small amount of white choc chips and wait I knew there was a half jar of butter rum sauce in the fridge.

Guess where these useless amounts of ingredients ended up......