Wednesday, October 30, 2013

sweet potato mash...

you know it is officially fall when the markets start to carry interesting root vegetables and squashes.  i saw sweet potatoes at the grocery store and i was inspired to create a meal around using them as a side dish.  i came up with a pork tenderloin, sweet potato mash and grilled zucchini.  it was delicious and the perfect meal for a weekend evening at home in the chilly weather.

ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes
2 T cream cheese
2 T  melted butter
2 T brown sugar
dash cinnamon
dash ginger powder
salt and pepper to taste

how to:

poke the potatoes all over with a fork and start the cooking process in the microwave, i cooked them in there for 10 minutes.  then transfer to a 375 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes or until completely tender.  once they are fully cooked remove from oven and allow to cool until they can be handled.


cut potatoes in half (length wise) and scoop out the insides into a bowl.  add all ingredients and mix until smooth and combined.  you can put the mash back in the shell for serving or just serve right out of the bowl.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

music...lana del rey

she has become my new favorite these days and this song is in "the great gatsby" soundtrack, which is another one of my new favorites...

lana del rey, "young and beautiful"


Sunday, October 27, 2013

macaroons...

when i heard the word "macaroon", i usually thought of a coconut cookie, but the new trend is the french macaroons that come in bright colors and unusual flavors.  they are traditionally made with almond extract, they are two meringue like cookies with a gooey filling in between.  some of the common flavors are pistachio, chocolate, and hazelnut, but i prefer the more exotic flavors like rose, lavender, and salted caramel.


these delicate treats go well with coffee and tea and come in such beautiful colors, you see them often times served at weddings.  i am on a quest to find the best french macaroons in los angeles, but until then you can also get a 12 pack at trader joes in the frozen section, and they are pretty tasty (especially the apricot one).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

name change...

 now that the wedding is over, your facebook relationship status is updated and you are settling into married life, it is time to start the process of changing your name.  there are many different ways to go when picking your new last name...you can take your husbands last name, your maiden name can be your new middle name or you can hyphenate.  whatever you decide to do, you will need to make this decision BEFORE your wedding when you apply for a marriage license.  after the wedding you have 10 days to send in your completed marriage license (a task that is usually done by whomever is officiating the wedding), and once you get your marriage certificate back (usually 6-8 weeks later), that is when you can start the process of changing your name.  it is not something that happens overnight, so be patient...

step one - you must change your name with the social security office first.  you can fill out the application and either walk it into your local office or mail it.  i mailed it in (along with my marriage certificate and passport) and within 2 weeks i got a letter stating i would get my new card within two weeks and it also had my original documents in there to send back to me.  this is one of the few free things that come along with getting married...there is no cost to apply for a new social security card.

step two - DMV.  this is one thing you have to do in person, no shortcuts can be taken and you can not do this at AAA.  i made an appointment online, and it can take up to a month to get an appointment.  i went to a lease desirable location and got in within 2 weeks.  the cost to change your name at the DMV is $26.00 and you also need to take a new picture.  your new drivers license should come by mail within 10-14 business days, but they will give you a paper copy of a temporary drivers license until you receive your new card.

step three - change your name on important things like payroll (may require you to fill out a W4 & I9 form), health insurance (i had to submit a change form to my insurance representative) and credit cards.

step four - passport.  i had to get my passport renewed before our honeymoon, and if you change your name on your passport within one year of renewal, it is free!!!  so get on it!

step five - make a list of other accounts and memberships and start checking them off...

~bills (utilities, phone, etc.)
~bank accounts (this also had to be done in person, and they needed my marriage certificate, new social security card and my temporary drivers license)
~doctor offices (this was done once my new health insurance card came in the mail)
~car insurance
~gym membership
~magazine subscriptions
~update your emergency contact info or beneficiary info

a few tips to remember when changing your name...

~practice your new signature.  i had to sign documents but wasn't sure how i was going to sign my name.
~don't book your honeymoon with your new name unless you are absolutely certain you have enough time.
~get an extra copy of your marriage certificate.  it is good to have, because you will need to send originals in when applying for a new social security card and passport (they always send back, but good to have an additional copy on file)
~don't buy the "name changing packages" that they offer on the wedding websites.  it seems like a rip off.  so far the only cost i have incurred in this process is the DMV fee.  i guess if you are renewing your passport than you would have that as well, but since i renewed mine before the honeymoon it was free.

Friday, October 4, 2013

amish cinnamon loaf...

this fun and yummy science project has been going around my office and i wanted to share. i was given a ziplock bag with a "starter" in it, and ten days later and a lot of "mushing" i baked a delicious sweet bread and gave the rest of the new starters away...here is how it works.


~do not use any type of metal spoon or mixing bowl
~do not refrigerate
~it is normal to rise, bubble and ferment and burp as needed

day 1...do nothing
day 2...mush the bag
day 3...mush the bag
day 4...mush the bag
day 5...add to the bag: 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of milk & mush the bag
day 6...mush the bag
day 7...mush the bag
day 8...mush the bag
day 9...mush the bag
day 10...follow these instructions:

~pour the entire contents of bag into a non-metal bowl
~add 1.5 cup flour, 1.5 cup sugar and 1.5 cup milk and mix
~measure 1 cup of batter into each of (4) 1 gallon ziplock bags
~give away 3 bags along with the recipe to friends and keep 1 bag for yourself
~preheat oven to 325 degrees
~to the remaining batter add:

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 t cinnaomon
1  cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
2 cup flour
1 box vanilla instant puddling
1/2 t salt

how to:

grease 2 loaf pans or muffin tins and in a bowl mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1 t cinnamon to dust the pans with.  pour batter into pans and sprinkle any remaining sugar on top. bake for one hour and allow to cool


if you keep a starter for yourself you will be baking every 10 days.  you can add dried fruit or nuts as well.