Baby Menu: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Based on this recipe:


  • Doubled most of the recipe except chicken stock, only used 1 quart stock + 3c water
  • Used 8 tortillas
  • Added chayote squash
  • Used fresh instead of canned tomatoes
  • Omitted cayenne and halved chili powder
  • Addition of heavy cream didn't seem necessary, maybe omit next time
  • Didn't make tortilla strips but just crumbled tortilla chips
  • Avocado garnish completely necessary!

Baby Menu: Sardine Potato Cakes

Based off this BBC food recipe:


  • Used half (300g) potatoes
  • Used 2 regular American-sized cans of sardines (higher fish to potato ratio)
  • Used panko breadcrumbs instead of flour
  • Omitted all salt
  • Used crushed dried oregano instead of parsley
  • Fried in olive oil


  • 300g potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2 cans of sardines
  • 2T crushed dried oregano
  • zest and juice 1 small lemon
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 tsp olive oil


  1. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, about 15-20 mins. Meanwhile, coarsely mash the sardines in a bowl (remove bones). Mix oregano, lemon zest and juice.

  2. Drain the potatoes, then mash until smooth. Gently mix into the sardine mixture. Shape into 6 fat fish cakes, then dust with breadcrumbs.

  3. Heat half the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry half the fish cakes for 3-4 mins on each side until golden and crisp. Keep warm; repeat with remaining oil and fish cakes. 

  4. Great with avocado!

Baby menu: Zucchini Banana Whole Wheat Muffins

Wanted to make a healthy, carby snack to help little guy power through his afternoons and adapted from a couple of different recipes for apple banana muffins. Found the existing recipes to be too sweet so adjusted accordingly.


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup (will probably cut this to 2T next time, it was still too sweet with so much banana)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 small zucchini, grated (instead of apple)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients: flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. Grease two muffin tins or line with muffin cups and fill each cup 3/4 full with the batter.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes about 16 regular sized muffins.

Things I would like to do this spring and summer. Who wants to come?

Two summer trips to Lake Tahoe, one in June/July and one in August/September

  • Eagle Falls
  • Jet-skiing
  • Sand Harbor Beach and other secret beaches on the Nevada side

Mono Lake & Tuolumne Meadows

  • Sunset tour of South Tufa
  • Kayaking
  • Hot springs!
  • Visit the ghost town of Bodie

Peach Picking in Brentwood & Olallieberry Picking in Pescadero

Angel Island Day Hike

Visit the Albany Bulb

Weekend in Mendocino and Orr Hot Springs

Flower Walk at Jepson Prairie Preserve and Tule Elk on Grizzly Island


Day Trip or Overnight to Wilbur Hot Springs

Burning Man

Palomarin Trail to Alamere Falls

Weekend: Beach Hopping from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz + Day in Santa Cruz

  • Pescadero State Beach
  • San Gregorio
  • Bean Hollow Beach
  • Ano Nuevo Preserve
  • Scott Creek Preserve
  • Wilder Ranch
  • Bonny Doon
  • Natural Bridges

Visit the Mission Inn in Riverside over the holiday season

Explore Northern California

  • Wild Horse Sanctuary in Shingletown
  • Mt. Shasta

2013 To-Do List

  • Japan
  • NYC/Boston
  • Somewhere in the southern hemisphere
  • Somewhere domestic: New Mexico, New Orleans, Yellowstone, Hawaii
  • Somewhere local: Tahoe in the summer, Big Sur weekend, etc.
  • Major closet overhaul 2x this year.
  • Rule: If I wouldn't pin it, I don't keep it, and I certainly won't buy it.
  • Buy 1 serious designer piece (still haven't done this, three years running).
  • Settle on and stick to a better skincare and hair care regimen.
  • Speak more slowly and stop using meaningless words in everyday conversation ("seriously," "like," "totally").
Time & Money
  • Don't be afraid to use professionals where time can be saved for better uses. This means hire a good house cleaner, a good seamstress, a cab/driver when necessary, a masseuse, an aesthetician, and enlist the help of professionals to manage my space/environment better than I can.
  • Get my finances and investments in order, for crying out loud.

Health & Spirituality
  • Journal at least 1x/day, even if it's just a sentence.
  • Read Scripture at least 1x/day, even if it's just a verse.
  • Pray at least 1x/day, even if it's just a "Thank You."
  • Exercise at least 3x/week, even if it's just a walk down the street.
  • Stop cursing
  • Spend no more than 1 hour a day on any social network: Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube.
  • Sleep <7 hours no more than 1 night/week.
Personal Projects & Organization
  • Learn how to code using
  • Finish my darn wedding photo album
  • Finish my darn honeymoon photo album
  • Finish organizing all my digital files
  • Finish organizing all my digital photos
  • Back everything up!!!
  • Process all remaining work files/papers
  • Recover all my old music and load onto iphone
  • Finish The Far Pavilions FINALLY
  • Read a biogoraphy of Genghis Khan
  • Cook: Julia Child's boeuf bourguinon, French macarons, homemade bread, cultured butter

Third quarter check-in

A very random post from davidian of old Xanga days made me super nostalgic and reminded me that I haven't been writing in a long, long time. There was a time when I wrote, a LOT, and often. These days all the writing I do is crafting that perfectly, politically balanced but effective e-mail to my team at work. And maybe sometimes the Facebook post that quips just so (yet strangely feels like no one really cares what I ate on Sunday night, or who with).

I can't believe it's been more than TEN YEARS since I first discovered and picked up Xanga as a medium for self expression. Back then I always wondered how long I'd be able to keep it up, and whether I would still feel the need/urge to blog ten years into the future. I guess I have my answer now.

That said, I was reminded also of my yearly to-do list and first things first - gotta check in to see how I'm doing on this year's list. 2012 has been infinitely better than 2011, so I'm already pretty happy about that.  Here goes.


2012 To-Do List

Journal/talk to God at least once/day, even if it's just 1 sentence about how the day went. [FAIL]

Stop using meaningless words in everyday conversation [FAIL]:

  • totally
  • seriously
  • random
  • like
  • super

Stop cursing [EXTRA BIG FAIL]

Take better care of myself [I think I get a 'C' on this.]

  • Grooming/pampering: weekly at-home facial/pedicure, massage 1x/month, haircut 3x/year, eyebrows threaded every 2 months, wear makeup 1x/week, ModVellum facial 4x/year [Yea I've pretty much accomplished about half of this]
  • Medical: Find a gynecologist, floss 4-5x/week, take vitamin D pills [I actually get a B+/A- on this. I did my yearly girly exam, floss EVERY DAY and generally remember to take my vitamin D pills]
  • Serious workout 1x/week [LOL]
  • 7+ hours sleep/night [LOL]

Join an fellowship group and go to church at least 2x/month [FAIL]

At least 1 outdoorsy activity/month [Pretty sure I've stuck to this]

Tackle 2-3 major organization projects until the whole house is in order

  • Computer stuff
  • Mementos
  • Paper files: medical/dental records etc.
  • Financial stuff
  • Upstairs closet
  • Downstairs closet
  • Jewelry
  • Sell/give away stuff: futon, old laptop, wedding gown, decor, appliances, other furniture
  • Hang art/place decor
  • Print photos of friends/family to display around the house

Rebuild the pieces of my digital life - since my hard drive was stolen in July. Back it up in the cloud.

  • Photos
  • Music
  • Writings
  • Finance stuff

Travel [This is the one area we've been doing pretty well on]

  • Hawaii [went in February]
  • Honeymoon to Europe [we went to Italy in May]
  • One other domestic trip [I get bonus points for this because we went to Sundance and I also went to Alaska, as well as Denver for work]
  • One other international trip [Working on this, may be able to squeeze it in during the holidays]
  • Three trips to LA (Magic Mountain one visit) [I think I've done about 5 at least, but no MM]
  • Two camping trips (Burning Man for one) - [we did China camp and Emigrant Wilderness]
  • At least one summer weekend in Tahoe [This is the only thing I may not get to do]


  • Host people at home 1x/month [Meh, more or less...]
  • At least 1 concert, film, or other major event every 2 months
  • Read: finish the Far Pavilions, Malcolm X, Bluebeard [Gah, I got stuck halfway through The Far Pavilions, but I've read a LOT of other stuff, so don't I get a pass here?]
  • Cook: Julia Child's boeuf bourguinon, French macarons, homemade bread, cultured butter [I haven't made ANY of this stuff]
  • Send out Christmas cards [There's still time!]
  • One writing project: short story or script outline [There's still time!]
  • Learn how to code and/or design [There's still time!]


  • An iPhone and/or small point-and-shoot camera
  • A new laptop
  • One serious designer piece [I don't know if I'll work up the nerve to do this.]
  • A label-maker