Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spring has Sprung

I guess that Southern California does have seasons.

We just have them at the wrong times of the year. As I mentioned previously, this year we had Fall during Winter , and now this.

Check out these pictures taken today from my backyard.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't daffodils Spring flowers??? They certainly aren't Winter flowers, I know that much. You can't blame the flowers,'s been, on average 80 degrees the past couple of weeks. I think our screwy weather has confused my tulip and daffodil bulbs.

Friday, January 30, 2009

One Cheeseburger, Animal Style

Seeing as I have nothing better to talk about this evening, I'm going to keep going on my topic of things that I would miss if I ever moved out of state...

Cheeseburger, Animal Style**
Small Diet Coke

That would be my typical order.

**Animal Style = Mustard is grilled on the burger and it is served with grilled onions (no thank you), extra sauce (think- thousand island dressing) and pickles.

So, what is it about In-N-Out that makes them so popular? It's obviously not their extensive menu (3 items). For me, I love that the hamburger bun is a little crispy, the meat patty is thin and the sauce and pickles make it extra delicious. Everything is fresh- even their fries. You see them using this machine to julienne sack upon sack of potatoes. Plus, everything is made to order. Nothing is standing around under heating lamps, and, come to think of it, they don't even have heat lamps. Additionally, the joints are always kept clean and the staff is always exceptionally friendly. No matter how many times I go, I always check under my soda cup to see if they still print them with John 3:16 and on the burger wrapper (I think?) is a verse from Revelation.

One heads up, though... if you are ever visiting CA and going through their drive thru, you may be asked the question, "is that for here or to go?" The first time I heard that in the drive thru, I looked over at my sister with this dumbfounded look on my face and mouthed, "here or to go???". Wouldn't the fact that I'm in my car just naturally lead to the presumption that this meal was 'to go'? I have come to find out, however, that when they ask you that, they are really asking, "are you going to be eating your food in the car or waiting until you get home?" Because if you are eating it in your car, they will wrap the burger so that only half of it is wrapped up, thus allowing ease of consumption and the place it in a box top, versus a bag, for easy accessibility. They will also provide you with a paper tray liner so you can lay it across your lap and avoid spilling all over yourself.

The only downfall to visiting an In-N-Out is the wait. If you come during peak times, the lines in the drive-thru can, easily, wrap around the building and the lines inside aren't much better. Because everything is made so fresh, you also have to factor in a longer wait to receive your food. But, it is SO worth it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Heart Trader Joe's

When I contemplate the future and where I'm going to live, I can't help but think about the things that I would miss about California. I'm not talking about family and friends, because that's a given; rather, I'm talking about those things that I've taken for granted as my everyday part of life. Of course, there's always the weather. I love the snow and experiencing the different seasons, but would I want to live in the snow? Shovel myself out of my driveway every morning? Drive to work on a sheet of ice? (or maybe it would be more accurate to say 'slidding' to work on a sheet of ice) Probably would get old really fast. Recently, while friends across the U.S. were experiencing weather that registered in the negative degrees, I was out and about in 80+ degree weather.

Aside, from those things, I'd have to say that one of the things that I would miss the most would be my Trader Joe's. Notice how I said 'my'? I'm very possessive of it. But, honestly, I don't think that I would ever miss it, simply because I could never move to a state that didn't have TJs. It ranks right up there with Target for me. I actually look forward to and get excited to go to TJs because they have so many different types of foods and there have been few, if any, things that I haven't liked. Everytime I go, there's something new to try.

Similar to Target, it's one of those places where I go in with a list of 3 items and I come out with 15 additional items, aside from what was on my list. Take today for example. I went to TJs to purchase eggs and Vanilla Bean Joe Joes. I came out with a plethera of items that included...

Vanilla Bean Joe Joes. One of the items I actually went to TJs for. If you haven't tried these, you really must. I could sit and eat an entire box in one sitting. They're even organic. Before eating these cookies I held the firm belief that organic should stay in the food groups it was made for- vegetables and fruit. To me, organic + cookies = tasteless cardboard.

Veggie Chips...again two words that don't really go together, but they are addicting. (and I can validate eating an entire bag because they have 'veggie' in their name)

And don't even get me started on their frozen Mac and Cheese. Y-U-M! There are 3-4 different cheeses and I just heat it up, add a little salt and I'm good to go!

One of the new items they had this week was the frozen Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough. Now, I absolutely LOVE to bake. If I could do it all day long, I would. But, when it's midnight and I have a cookie craving, I can just pop one of these out of the box and have warm, homemade-tasting cookies in 8-10 minutes. Can't wait to try them out!

Did I mention that I love Trader Joes???

I actually don't even go to the grocery store anymore unless I need something that TJs doesn't carry. I will drive 20 minutes to go to my local TJs vs. walking down the street to Ralph's... I love it that much! And, don't even try to distract me with those imitation Trader Joe' know... those stores you call "Whole Foods".


Next time I want to spend $5 on one apple, I'll go to Whole Foods. Until then, you can find me perusing the aisles of TJs; and, for those of you who don't live near a Trader Joe's, you have my condolences.

Monday, January 26, 2009

No Room to Complain

I was initially going to say that if you feel like you have it rough or if you’re having ‘one of those days’, take a look at this video. But, on second thought, I really don’t want this video to serve as a vehicle to make you feel better about your life. Grateful- yes. Humbled- yes. Angry- yes. And, I’m sure that it will make you re-evaluate your day and the problems you may be experiencing, and that’s fine- things do need to be put into perspective. However, given the choice, I’d rather that this video disturb you. I’d rather that it anger you because it sometimes takes those emotions to motivate us to action.

Please realize that I’m really not trying to come across as condemning or self-righteous because I’m just as guilty as the next person, if not more guilty. I make assumptions all the time. I assume that someone else will take care of it. I assume that it’ll just get better on it’s own. I assume that one person can’t make a difference. But, really, I’m just making excuses and it’s not even that I’m making excuses to anyone in particular, rather it’s like I’m trying to justify my lack of action in my own mind. I’m trying to make myself feel better.

I’d really encourage you to watch the video all the way through. It can be easy to press ‘pause’ and turn away, (I did a couple of times) but these kids and so many others like them around the world, don’t have the option to press pause and turn away from their lives. They are faced with these circumstances all the time and not just for the 9 minutes you’ll spend on this video.

I don’t have answers. I don’t know what I’m going to do with this information yet and I pray that God will give me some insight as to the next step I should be taking. I did, however, want to provide you with a couple of links to world-wide organizations that offer you the opportunity to sponsor a child in a third world country, if that's something you feel led to do. These are reputable non-profits and they truly do some amazing work around the world. Just click on the banner below and it will route you to the website(s).

World Vision (having trouble with the banner)

Sponsor a child online through Compassion's Christian child sponsorship ministry. Search for a child by age, gender, country, birthday, special needs and more.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy (Belated) Birthday to Me!!!

I’m definitely not in the category of draw-attention-to-myself, all-eyes-on-me type of person. I’m very comfortable being in the background, persay …. but, not in a pathetic-wallflower sort of way. I just don’t need all eyes on me. It’s too much pressure. If they’re looking at you, then they’re judging you- whether good or bad, and I don’t want to be on the receiving end of anyone’s critical eye. I’m more than critical enough of myself… I don’t need someone confirming my insecurities, thank you very much. I do a fine job of that on my own.

But, there is one day of the year that I don’t mind attention. My birthday. I certainly don’t need over-the-top attention, but I like it when people acknowledge it and I LOVE it when it lasts over several days (i.e. birthday dinners, get-togethers). I definitely do cringe a bit at turning another year older- not so much by the number, but I just have always had ideas in my head of where I would be in life by this point and this ain’t it! But, I can also look at the things that have happened that weren’t expected, and, really it’s pretty cool the route God has taken me, the opportunities He’s afforded me and the multitude of blessings He’s given me. I really can’t complain.

This birthday did not disappoint. I had a great time!

Although my b-day was several days ago, I’ve delayed posting about it, not because I’m upset over it, but because of the ridiculous amount of time it takes me to upload photos to blogger! It’s 2009. They really need to offer a drag and drop option. Instead, we have this tedious process of browsing for the photo, uploading the photo (and you can only do 5 at once) and then you have to look at the mess of html coding (or whatever it is) and try to figure out which picture is which and then place them where you want them on your blog. It’s a pain. Ok. My rant is done. (for now)

So, here’s my birthday in pictures, or as it’s better known- the I-didn’t-stop-eating-for-five-days-tour. That tour is done. I visited several cities, ate in numerous restaurants and just finally finished the last of the leftovers last night. :)

The family was in town prior to my birthday, but before they left, we went out for a birthday dinner to OC Mining Company. If you’ve never been there- go. It’s up on a hilltop overlooking several cities and it’s beautiful at night. Most of the restaurant is set up so everyone has a view. The food is good and plentiful as well!

My wonderful co-workers also got in on the birthday action. They decorated my cubicle and brought in this A-MA-ZING cake. It was some combination of three layers of marble cake, filled with cheesecake filling and chocolate mousse filling. It was all topped in ganache, whipped cream and strawberries.

Went to Disneyland on my actual birthday and spent about ½ day there. During which time, we rode on several attractions, people-watched and if you’ve never people-watched at Disneyland, then you haven’t ever really people-watched- the most ‘interesting’ people come out of the woodwork to go to DL…and it’s not just locals- you have a veritable parade of freaks from around the world at your disposal…you simply have to take time when you visit just to watch everyone walk by. And, of course, ate more food. We went to Café Orleans for lunch because I love love love their Monte Cristo Sandwich. It’s, essentially, a heart attack on a plate. Turkey, ham and cheese on white bread (you’re probably thinking that doesn’t sound so bad, but just wait)… said sandwich is then fully dipped into a batter and deep fried to perfection. It is sprinkled with powdered sugar and you are given raspberry preserves to dip it in. YUM-MY! Then the kind waiter, who knew it was my birthday because of the donut-sized button DL gives you to wear all day (yes, of course I could opt out of wearing it, but what’s the fun in that? I want people to say ‘Happy Birthday’ to me). As he brought us our bill, he also brought a Mickey Mouse shaped beignet (another deep fried delicacy) dessert over and a birthday card that was signed by the Café Orleans staff. Very nice touch!

Before leaving the park I stopped at the Candy Palace and picked up the most adorable Minnie Mouse themed caramel apple. Don’t ask how much it cost. I’m embarrassed that I bought it for that price, but it was a one-time thing, never to happen again.

Later that evening, my sister and her boyfriend took me out to dinner to a Mexican restaurant where I proceeded to have a 4-item combo dinner with a taco, enchilada, tamale and a couple of flautas…not to mention the obligatory chips and salsa we had beforehand. My sister’s boyfriend gave me a bouquet of flowers at the restaurant, so the waitress knew it was my birthday and, again, as we are waiting for the bill, she and 4 other employees walk up, slap a sombrero on my head and sing a birthday song. Did I mention that they brought along with them an ice cream sundae. What was that ice cream sundae sitting in? Why a deep fried bowl of course.

We then made our way over to the movie theatre and saw Bride Wars. Cute movie – I liked it. It was a no-brainer, which is what I was looking for. Then presents and lemon cake.

The next day I met up with friends for church and they took me out to dinner at Chili’s for my birthday. I had these chicken crispers (aka small pieces of fried chicken). The girls obviously told the waitress we were there for my b-day. So… at the end of the meal, they brought over a chocolate-molten-cake-ice cream-sundae-piece-of-heaven.

The next night a couple of my girlfriends took me out to Italian food- SO good and such a cute location. The dessert that night was a chocolate chip cannoli.

Lastly, on Wednesday I got a call from the front desk at work and my lovely friend sent me flowers! They are so pretty and they brightened up my day significantly.

I hope that everyone has as great of a birthday as I did this year!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I've been thinking alot lately about how I truly don't fully understand or comprehend the gift of grace. And, I'd be willing to wager that I'm not alone.

Grace means that the price for my sin has already been paid, and try as I might, there is literally nothing I can or could ever do to earn my salvation.

Yet, I still try. I try to say the right things. I try to do the right things. I try to think the right things. But, there's always that voice telling me, "you don't deserve this- you need to prove you're worthy", aka earn my way to heaven. Well best of luck Julie, because I'm right- I, in no way, deserve God's grace. Nor will I ever be deserving of it. Today, I was reminded of this scripture:

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8

"While we were still sinners."

God didn't wait for us to 'measure up' or become deserving before He saved us. It was in the midst of our messiness, in the midst of our brokenness...that's when He chose to save us.

Not only did He reconcile Himself to us while we were still sinners, but He reconciled Himself to us in the most sacrificial way possible. He sent Himself to dwell among us- to suffer through pain, heartache, betrayl, hardship and degradation. Then He paid the ultimate price in dying a horrific death on the cross.

For us.

Not only for you and me, but he died for the people who caused him pain, who put him through heartache, who betrayed and humiliated Him. For the people who nailed Him to the cross. I don't know about you, but if someone degrades me, my first response is not one of love and it's certainly not one of being willing to die for that person. But, thankfully for us, Jesus was willing. Wow- He must not only like us on occassion, but He must really love us with a love that can never be understood by a human being.

Why, then, do I have such struggles? Why do I think God has given up on me- not because He's unloving, but because I'm so unworthy of His love. I mess up on a daily, if not hourly, basis. I mean, really...exactly how many times can I expect God to forgive me? How many times can I count on Him to extend grace to me?

I can't help but know, in my heart, that God's response to that question would be:

"How many times? Every single time, that's how many times."

I like the analogy I've heard at church several times of imagining grace as a gift under the Christmas tree. Imagine it was your gift to your child. You'd sacrificed your time and energy to pick out the perfect gift for them and couldn't wait for them to open it up. But, then they open it and get a forelorned look on their face, immediately hand the gift back over to you and say, "I don't deserve this- take it back". I would imagine you would be a little disappointed and upset at their reaction, and perhaps irritated. Now, picture that your child opens the gift, breaks into a huge smile, jumps into your arms, thanks you over and over and immediately begins to play with the toy. Wouldn't that reaction be better received? Wouldn't you be thrilled and filled with joy? I'm sure so. Don't you think God would rather we be the excited child in this story vs. the one who tries to hand the gift back?

I think that you and I (especially) have to just stop trying to figure grace out, because grace is inherently unexplainable and indescribable to begin with. We just need to accept it for the free gift that it is and say 'thank you'.

God's Riches At Christ's Expense

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New President

I obviously can’t let this day go by without at least acknowledging it.

Our 44th President has come into office. Our first African-American President.

I recognize that this day is, as everyone’s referring to it, ‘a historic moment’, but for some reason I don’t feel…I don’t know what you’d call it… excitement? awe? pride? that I see many people experiencing today. Don’t get me wrong- intellectually I recognize the significance, but I’m just not emotionally there. I’m sure that I can’t fully comprehend the depth of the moment as much as say, someone who is African American. But, when I think to myself, ‘what if it were a woman up there being sworn in?’ Sadly, I still don’t think that I would feel that overwhelmed or emotional.

It’s sad. I wish that I could feel something more than just a mild interest in today’s activities.

I would have taken the time to watch my TiVO’d Inauguration Ceremony if the friggin' frackin' TiVO had actually done the job it was created to do!!! It claimed to be recording the inaugeration, but what did I end up with????? An infomercial, that's what! But, thanks to technology, I watched most of it on the computer through I thought his speech was good, but I'm going to have to go and actually read the text of the speech. I swear I must be a little ADD, because I cannot focus on anything for too's frustrating...and, thus the reason I need to just sit down and read through it. If I'm being honest, I was more impressed that he seemed to have the speech all memorized. Were there teleprompters??? Even if there were, you'd never know he was reading from them. And, if it was memorized- kudos to him! Good memory.

I also enjoyed Pastor Rick’s prayer and it was nice seeing a man who has been, for me, the personification of integrity, humility and generosity, get to have that amazing opportunity. Poor Pastor Rick. Sometimes I think that he has been bashed just as much as any of the political candidates. He’s been threatened with numerous lawsuits, from various groups, claiming that if he used “Jesus” in his prayer, they were going to sue him. The latest papers he was served, last week, stated that they were going to take him to court if he mentioned ‘God’ in his prayer.

IT’S A P-R-A-Y-E-R PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If ever there was a time to mention God, a prayer would be it!

So, I found it to be especially amusing that, not only did he say ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’, but he invoked the name of Jesus in a couple of other languages and/or names that Jesus is also known by. Loved it!

I will say that it’s nice to see people feeling hopeful. I was not an Obama supporter and I vehemently disagree with him on several things, but he has been elected into office and no one is elected into a leadership position without God allowing it; so, it’s now our responsibility to pray for him. I’m hopeful that God can change Obama’s heart and I’m hopeful that Obama will listen to God’s promptings and callings on his life. I pray and God will do the rest.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I Give In...

Over the past couple of months all I hear about at work, in small group, on the tv and on Facebook is this book 'Twilight'. I had no idea what it was about and had assumed that it had something to do with aliens and outer-space...I guess I made that assumption because 'twilight' makes me think of the sky...that's really all that I've got to back up my original theory on the book's contents. It's pretty weak- I realize that now.

So, anywhoo... I did, via word of mouth, find out that it was about vampires and, specifically, about the relationship between a vampire, Edward, and a human girl, Bella. This realization still didn't make me feel like I wanted to run out and buy a copy and read it because I'm not really into mythical creature-type of stories...never got into Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, so I figured that I'd just go ahead and avoid this one as well. Plus, nothing ever lives up to the hype and I always end up disappointed.

Go back to Christmastime... I'm shopping in Wal-Mart and looking for gifts to buy and I head down the book aisle. You really can't help but notice the Twilight series. The covers are all black with something bright red on them (an apple, a flower, a ribbon, etc.). That and the fact that they took up about six shelves of bookspace. I've been wanting to get back to reading and that, coupled with the fact that it was only $8.88, I figured, why not? If I read through the first chapter and am utterly bored, I can always return it. (I would feel, ethically, okay doing this given that I would have only read 1/16th of the book :-)

The majority of the book is about introducing the various characters and their history. The author did a really good job of character building and you have no problem envisioning the town and the people in your mind. So, nothing terribly exciting, but interesting none-the-less.

THEN... about 3/4 of the way into the book, it took a twist, and for those 12 people out there who haven't read the book, let's just say that I reached the 3/4 mark around 11pm at night (when I should be going to bed) and stayed up about 3 more hours to finish the book. The next day I went to the bookstore and bought the second in the series, "New Moon", which, as of last night, I finished and I am 100 pages into the third book, "Eclipse".

And, again, I know that I was previously out of the loop on this book, but I seriously had no idea that it was classified as a 'Young Adult' book... I only found that out when I went to Borders last night and there was a large display of the books and the sign read "See What Your Teenagers Are Reading".


I almost felt embarrased walking up to the display to look at the books! When I was a tween I was reading 'Sweet Valley High' and 'The Babysitters Club', not 600+ page books. So, I again, have to give kudos to the author because the book really does appeal to a large audience and I never would have guessed that I was reading a book geared towards teenagers.

I also went and saw the movie a couple of weeks back and although you hear the usual, 'it wasn't as good as the book', I thought that it was entertaining...althought I still struggle with some of their choices of actors, based on looks. Edward, Bella, Carlisle, Esme and, especially, Annie are all fine...I think that they picked the right people...but, for those of you who have read the book and seen the movie....Rosalie??? Looked nothing like the book described her. I'm looking forward to the other movies and I'm glad that they're bringing back the same actors (for the most part anyway :-).

Go Ahead and Laugh All You Want...

One of my resolutions this year is to be better about taking vitamins. I've got nothing against vitamins and, in fact, I've, medically, seen my health improve when I was taking them on a regular basis. Part of my problem is that it's just not a regular part of my routine, so I forget. But, truthfully, it wouldn't be difficult to work them into my routine and make it a daily habit because I've successfully done it before. Why I don't want to do it now is because, honestly, they can make me feel sick. Either it's taking them on an empty stomach, or trying to take too many different kinds at once...inevitably I get queasy. And, then there are the vitamins that look like they would be more appropriate going down the throat of a horse vs. a thirty-something female...those are always a kick in the pants.

But, the good Lord saw fit to send me a saving grace in the form of L'il Creatures Gummy Bear Vitamins for kids.

This is the part where you can go ahead and laugh at me all you want, but I can tell you that I haven't missed getting my recommended daily dosage of Calcium since I purchased these puppies at Costco. Now I just need to go back and buy the Multi-Vitamin Gummy Bears.

Truth be told, those gummy bears are GOOD! Just as tasty, if not tastier than their candy counterpart. So, while I now have no problem whatsoever with taking my vitamins, I now need to worry about ODing on them.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day Trip to Julian

It's crazy. I've lived in California my entire life, yet there are so many places, in my own backyard, that I haven't visited yet. You hear that a lot from people...we typically never experience the 'touristy' areas unless someone comes to visit us and then we go. I don't know why that is...I think, in part, I just have the mindset that, 'well, it's there, it's not going anywhere and I can go at anytime'. Problem is, I never go.

This past Sunday, I was able to check one of those places off of my list- Julian. Now, I wouldn't really consider Julian to be a 'tourist attraction'. As you're driving into San Diego, you don't see billboards advertising the city, nor are there even major hotel chains in the nearby area, but it's a place that it more known by southern Californians. Julian is a historic gold mining town that was founded during the Civil War. It's a very small town with only a couple of hundred residents, so you know that everyone knows everyone's business. It's unique in that it does experience all four seasons- tons of blossoming flowers in Spring, a lot of hiking and star gazing activities in Summer, Fall brings all of the beautiful fall colors along with apple picking season and it even snows in Winter.

Julian is really well known for their apple pies and along Main St. there are at least four bakeries that specialize in variations of the apple pie (keep in mind, Main St. is only two blocks long). We stopped at "Mom's" for some homemade apple pie and it really lived up to it's reputation.

When you arrive in Julian, on Main St, you really feel as though you've stepped back in time. They've kept it looking as authentic as possible, as you can see from the pictures. It epitomizes "quaint". I really loved it and I plan on going back in the Spring and Fall so that I can get me a little 'seasons' out here in California.

Here are some pictures from the trip...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Year, New Furniture

The New Year is supposed to be one of fresh starts and new beginnings. Something new to our home, as of this last weekend, is new living room furniture. Yay! I'm so excited!

You see, my sister and I have been living together for the past 12 years and we have had the exact same couch the entire time. It's not like we haven't tried to find new furniture. I've visited department stores, Living Spaces, Thomasville, Pier 1, Cost Plus, Pottery Barn, etc. etc. etc. over the years and to no avail. It completely baffled me that friends would tell me that they were going furniture shopping on a Friday and by Monday they have a completely new furniture set...just like that! It's seriously been years of looking for something that not only looked nice, but that was reasonably priced and that both my sister and I could agree on...just trying to satisfy one of those requirements would be difficult, but to have to meet all three was becoming impossible.

I was so tired of our old couch. Not that it hadn't been a good couch- I mean, it still looked pretty darn good after 12 years of use, but I just felt like I should have furniture in my home that wasn't furniture I had purchased back in college. Plus, with the addition of cats to our home, several years ago, we found that apparently our couch's function was not only to provide seating, but to attract every stray cat hair in our condo. I think that we may have, single-handedly, funded the college tuition for the children of the inventor of the Pet Hair Lint Rollers. And with it being a solid dark green couch, it's not like the couch disguised the fact that there was enough cat hair on there to knit a small sweater.

I had all but given up hope of finding new furniture. Until... I went to Costco last week to look for a cookbook and, there, in between the books and the gardening supplies was a row of furniture and nestled amongst the bar stools and race car beds, was the couch . I loved it. Perfect size, color and price, and, after sending my sister to take a look at it, she loved it too! Hallelujah! Not only that, but we also found two really nice chairs to go on either side of it. The couch was purchased last Friday and delivered on Saturday afternoon and we are now the proud owners of non-college, grown-up furniture. (or, I should really say that my sister is the proud owner as she purchased them... I just get to reep the benefits)

Our old beloved couch. May it rest in peace...or out in our garage until we can donate it somewhere.

Our new furniture...

Our new furniture when we leave the house and don't want the cats to get their grubby paws (and claws) into it.

Yes, it looks funny, but it all comes off when we get home. I just draw the line at putting plastic slipcovers over it.

I know, I know, call me could I not love the way the light reflects off of the plastic, or that anyone within a 100 ft radius could hear the slightest movement I make while sitting, or let's not forget the fact that if I were to sit down, on a hot day, I'd be permanently stuck to my couch. I'm weird that way.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Birthday Celebration

As you can tell from my last (very brief)post, it was my Mom's birthday. She, my Dad, and my Grandpa came down for the week to celebrate her b-day.

She started out the day with Creme Brulee French Toast that I had made the night before and, let me tell you... it was GOOD! You have to enjoy sweet food, but if you do, I can guarantee you'll like it and it's SO simple and you make it ahead the night before and just pop it in the oven in the morning. Here's the recipe for you cooks/bakers out there: (disclaimer- this is not my picture nor my recipe :-)


1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
2 Tbs Corn Syrup
8 slices of French Bread (approx 1 1/2 inches thick)
4 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups of Half and Half Cream
2-3 Tsp Vanilla
2 Tsp Brandy-based Orange Liqueur (Grand Marnier)
1/4 Tsp Salt


- Melt butter in the microwave and add brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan.

- Arrange bread, in a single layer, overtop of the brown sugar mixture in the pan.

- In a bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla extract, orange brandy and salt. Pour over the bread. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or overnight.

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the dish from the refrigerator, sprinkle top with cinnamon and place in preheated oven.

- Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes in the oven, until puffed and lightly browned.

After breakfast, everyone, minus me, headed over to Disneyland for the day.

I met up with them, after work, for dinner at PF Chang's at Gardenwalk in Anaheim. Afterwards we came back for presents and cake.

A very busy day for everyone, but I think that all in all it was a good way for my Mom to spend her birthday.