The Candy Experiment

Results are in!

Dress Code

I was once asked to leave  the dining room of a Rancho Mirage golf club because I was wearing a tank top (collar or sleeves only, please!)

I went to high school in Santa Cruz.  I often wear shorts with Ugg boots and spaghetti strap tank tops.  I still own multiple pairs of Juicy Couture sweats including one that actually says “Juicy” on the butt.

So it’s ironic that I was asked to deliver a quick reminder to our NCL chapter about our “business casual” dress standard at our next meeting.  I am chairing the meeting in my role as president elect while our president is out of town.  In her absence I get to play fashion police.  Yikes!

I am irrationally stressed over this.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news.  I am still planning what, exactly, to say, and I’ll probably just keep it short and sweet.  (It is tempting to do something funny or cute like a skit or slideshow with fashion “don’ts” with pixelated faces but I’m going to err on the side of good advice to speakers everywhere, which is to resist the urge to try to be funny.)

So what I’m looking for is the happy medium somewhere between Britney barefoot in the gas station bathroom:

britney bathroomand a pillbox hat and pearls:

jackieHopefully without offending anyone in the process.  Let ya know how it goes!

Nobody Asked, But Here Are Ten Things You May Not Know About Me

I am totally capable of happily ignoring a ringing phone.

My favorite medicine in the world is ice. Seriously, is there anything an ice-filled baggie can’t fix?

I don’t like to fly because of my motion sickness, but I find the process fascinating, and if I’m on a flight with a “flight deck” channel I listen the entire time. When we went to Kauai I woke Scott up to tell him we were cleared by the tower to land. You’re welcome!

I only drink red wine because whites trigger my severe sulfite allergy and I start to wheeze. Champagne will send me to the ER.

I am an early riser no matter what time I go to bed, but I have a hard time getting out of the house in the morning. I spend a lot of time puttering.

I can barely use scissors at all. I blame being left handed so never learning correctly as a kid.

I carried a black men’s briefcase to elementary school.

I love pumpkin seeds so much I order them by the case from Eden Foods. Last time they sent me a cardboard shelf display too.

No matter what I’m doing I still get excited to check the mail at 2 pm. The best part of a trip is coming back to a huge stack. Magazines!

I have never been snowboarding but would like to learn. I have been surfing. In fact I used to own a wetsuit that I bought from consignment and the name inside was Adam Replogle, who grew up to be a really well known surfer. I could probably get some bucks for it on eBay but I accidentally left it hanging in a closet in a post-college apartment move.


What I Wore: Looking for a Uniform

Not just A uniform, but MY uniform.  Uniform dressing seems so appealing.  I wonder if there’s a way to do it that doesn’t scream “I always wear fitted black pants and a vibrantly patterned top with scarf” or “it’s jeans, cardigan and boots for me every day.”

I don’t know if this counts as a uniform or just the building blocks of an outfit, but I like a mini or shorts with a loose top.  The occasion: a weeknight evening women’s meeting in summer-into-fall weather.

This is a skirt I bought at least ten years ago at the Nordstrom anniversary sale.  It seemed fun and cute at the time but I have rarely worn it.  Usually when I do, it’s in the winter with dark tights and boots.  I think this skirt might look cute with short ankle boots.  I was searching around on Pinterest for ideas (I found a surprisingly large number of results when I searched for “houdstooth miniskirt”) and decided to pair it with the loose dark top.  (This top is Ralph Lauren, thrifted from the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop in Rancho Bernardo.)

The shoes are thrifted Stuart Weitzman and they have my current square heel shape (I have several pairs of thrifted Weitzmans with this type of heel.)

Necklace is from a Stella & Dot party (“trunk show.”)  I purposely forced myself to buy some brightly colored,  bold pieces to leap outside my comfort zone.


Magazine Recipe Review: Vegetarian Times Toasted Quinoa Tabbouleh

I have been reading Vegetarian Times for years and I appreciate that they are keeping up with what modern readers want to eat. This recipe for Toasted Quinoa Tabbouleh is a perfect example.

Why do I love this recipe?  On one hand, it’s a totally traditional rendering of Middle Eastern tabbouleh.  The flavors and ingredients are all there.  But on the other hand, instead of bulgur wheat, VT Executive Chef Ann Gentry reimagines this recipe using protein-packed quinoa instead.  Which makes it gluten-free.  It’s also vegan.

Finally, my family enjoyed it, and this is a recipe I would serve to omnivores without a second thought.  This would be great as a side dish year-round (but it’s especially nice on a hot day) or as part of a meal of mezes, which is how I served it this weekend.

Quinoa is one of those ingredients I always feel I should be using more but shy away from because I’m not sure exactly what to do with it.  The few times I’ve ventured into quinoa territory I’ve gotten bad textural results.  This recipe takes the brilliant step of TOASTING the quinoa first before cooking.  It’s an easy step but one that makes a big difference in achieving a bulgur-like texture.

IMG_0346I started with quinoa which I rinsed using a sieve.  The box says “no rinsing required!” but when Ann Gentry tells me to rinse, I rinse.  I used a sieve because the grains were too small for a  colander.

IMG_0347I pan toasted the quinoa for ten minutes.  It got nice and aromatic.  Toward the end a few of the grains popped and I wonder, if I’d continued, if I’d have ended up with some type of quinoa popcorn.  Another project for another day, I guess.

IMG_0349After pan toasting, you put the quinoa in boiling water.  Bring it back to a boil then simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.  At 20 minutes on the nose mine was good to go.  Fluff it with a fork and let it cool.

Meanwhile, prepare a simple and traditional dressing.  I remembered to use my Temecula Olive Oil Company olive oil.  This recipe uses lots of lemons.

IMG_0351 IMG_0355It’s also a very garlicky recipe.  I might use a little less next time.

When the quinoa cools, toss it with diced tomatoes, scallions, diced Persian cucumbers (which I’ve  blogged about before when I made Israeli salad, and are definitely worth seeking out for this recipe), a lot of chopped parsley, and chopped fresh mint.

Et voila.

IMG_0357Serve room temperature or chilled. This is the type of recipe that tends to get better as it sits and the flavors meld so I’m  glad I made enough for lunchtime leftovers.


The Big Thing…

eva jumpingDid we have something going on this summer?  Oh, yeah, just a little shindig called EVA’S BAT MITZVAH. It was Labor Day weekend and it really was an entire weekend extravaganza.  Eva was thrilled.  This picture pretty much sums it up.

The short school week immediately following the bat mitzvah was a time of sleep.  Recovery.  Laundry.  Always so much laundry. (Why?  How? I don’t understand all the laundry.  Always.)

The last centerpieces are wilting, but I hate to throw them out.  One more day….then back to real life.

Seizure Dog

Mo’s superhero alter ego has an Arthritis Foundation-approved pill organizer and discount card at Target pharmacy. He already has an old guy name; there is something about “Mo Grossman” written on a prescription bottle that cracks me up.

Luckily he seems to be doing well. Like most dogs, he lives in the moment which is a great thing.  Also he’s on phenobartbitol whose primary side effect is lethargy, which makes it much easier to get good pictures of him.

Nobody knows what tomorrow holds so maybe we could all benefit from a bit of that living in the moment philosophy.