The meanderings of three red-heads under one roof.

This is the story of a family. A family full of gingers living in Sunny San Diego, told by the the lady (I use the term loosely) of the house.

*Allergy Information: Manufactured in a facility sharing equipment with sarcasm, realism and too much information.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Jack's Robot Birthday

I's the end of July.  I'm a busy lady!

Jack's Second Birthday Party was fabulous! Jack's Mimi and PopPop came out from Cleveland to celebrate his birthday (and maybe Mr. Ginger's MA from Virginia Tech, too!)  Robots ruled the roost as we celebrated with about 100 amazing friends and relatives.  Thanks to a lot of help and a great photographer (Mrs. Kate Yoon) here are some pics of our best party yet!

Invitations by Papers in Bloom's Jamie Gatchell

Because a good wife knows that the way to a man's heart is through beer.   Karl Strauss "Endless Summer Light" on tap

 Getting Dressed

 Handsome Gingers!

 Robot Fuel

 Mimi and PopPop

Love the shoe falling!

The Grandkids

This lady knows how to have fun!

 Family Glamour Shots


Coloring table for the kids

Aunt Mint screen printing t-shirts for party favors

Family Reunion

Pinwheel, Pinwheel Spinning Around

Girls just wanna have fun!

Happy Birthday to You!

Red Frosting.  Rookie Mistake!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lunch Box Brownies (with Peanut Butter Swirls) -10 Points!

Oh.  My. Goodness.  Or should I say, Oh. My. Brownies.  Because, these brownies?  They ARE goodness.  I chose these as my hosting recipe because a very special someone, we'll call him The Boy, loves Peanut Butter and Chocolate.  Yes.  That is properly capitalized.

FYI, The Boy is a sweet young thing who happens to be dating my sister via Skype these days.  It's not creepy, he's just a Marine and he may or may not be living somewhere distant right now.  Before he left for his extended desert holiday, he requested something PB/Chocolate.  Who am I to say no to the face of an angel?  Seriously.  Skin like an earthworm.  Soooo jealous.

Ok, so about me.  I am 30, I live in San Diego, I used to teach Special Ed but I decided I'd rather stay home with my wild Ginger Baby, and I started a daycare to help pay the bills whilst I play with The Dude.  I joined my cousin-in-law, Amanda of Girl+Food=Love in her Bake 52 adventure.  Sadly, I'm running behind and will need a hiatus for a bit after this post.  We are mid-construction and I'm embarking on a super special vacation to Mauritius (Google it) for two weeks.  Hence, no baking.  I joined Bake 52 because I really miss baking/cooking.  I kind of fell off the domestic wagon when I got pregnant and was completely disinterested in food for 8 weeks.  Then we moved and had home repairs.  Then I started teaching Special Ed and had about negative 5 hours in each day.  My change of pace was the perfect opportunity to start enjoying the cooking/baking process again.

Home Repairs or "Why I'm Having a Hard Time Baking: This is My Dining Room"

The Place I'm Going Where I'm Pretty Sure I Won't be Baking, But I'm Pretty Sure The Baking So Far Has Done Me No Good As Far As Bathing Suits Go.

So, without further ado, her is the AMAZING recipe for Lunchbox brownies from our Bake 52 cookbook, The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book Page 205.

Lunchbox Brownies: Peanut Butter Swirl Variation


1 stick unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped coarse
2/3 C. (31/4  ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. (7 oz.) sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 C. Peanut Butter
Optional: Wine for keeping you cool in a hot kitchen, if you're into that sort of thing.  Which I am.


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°.  Line an 8 in. square baking pan with foil sling and grease foil.  Melt the butter and chocolate together in microwave, stirring often, 1-3 min.  Let mixture cool slightly.

* See my previous post on foil slings.  I skipped the sling and just greased my pan with Baker's Joy.  Here's a picture of my foil sling blooper #2.

2. In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  

In a large bowl whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla. 

Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until combined.  Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated.  

3. Scrape batter into prepared pan, drop peanut butter in small dollops over batter in baking pan.  Run butter knife through batter to create swirls. Bake the brownies until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs attached (22-27 minutes.)  Rotate pan halfway through baking.

4. Set pan on a wire rack and let brownies cool completely in the pan.  Remove using foil sling (or invert on a plate, like I did.)  Cut into squares and serve!

These were such a hit that I forgot to take a final picture.  Luckily a few had remained safe and I was able to snap a picture using a friend's iPhone before we ate them!  So much for looking like this in my swim suit next week!

Please check out these other lovely ladies' efforts and find a variation that suits your taste!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Challah! 9 points

This was my first real bread recipe ever. I've made loaves from the frozen dough you buy at the store, but I usually manage to botch one out of the three of those. I was really nervous to attempt making dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer. I'm realizing that this must be why people spend zillions of dollars on them. I loved it before this, but now? Whoa. Big crush. Huge. In eight minutes my mixer managed to do a minimum of thirty "by-hand" minutes. Considering I made this during nap time, I was impressed!  I had a beautiful ball of dough.

I let my dough rise, and it took forever. It must have been chillier in my house than I thought.

Eventually, I turned my oven on to 170° and then turned it off and placed my bowl of dough inside the oven. This helped my dough to rise beautifully. Maybe too beautifully. In a panic, I made a fatal error. I didn't do the second rise because I thought I had let it rise too much in the first place.  I rolled it out, braided it, and got ready to bake.

Oops. Although my bread looks beautiful, it isn't the right texture for challah. Honestly, I only know what it should taste like because I used to stop at Einstein Bros. Bagels like, 4 times/week on my way to work before I changed routes and became a Starbucks junkie. I don't love bagels, so I always ordered my egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on the challah bread. I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be light, fluffy and just slightly chewy. My challah is dense and heavy. Luckily, it still tastes really good and makes great toast!

Here's why I give this recipe 9 points despite the fact that my actual loaf is closer to a 5 pointer.

1) I loved the book's cheater method for creating the super-fancy braid. My bread looks awesome, and anyone who doesn't read this post will think I know what I'm doing.
2) The ingredients weren't crazy, so I am totally willing to make this again.  I don't feel bad for ruining it, because it's not like I threw away $15 on ingredients. This makes it a "safe" recipe. I can keep trying until I get it right. And maybe once I am successful, I will be able to transfer my new skills over to more complicated loaves.
3) As we've discussed, I'm not HUGE on sweets, but who doesn't need bread? Ok, maybe not people on GF diets. We go through a lot of bread in my house what with having a daycare where PBJs rule the universe. In addition, both Mr. Ginger and The Dude love their simple carbs. Sometimes The Dude just wanders through the house signing/saying, "bread" over and over. He doesn't even need anything on the bread. Just bread.

My first attempt at from scratch bread was not exactly a roaring success but it was good. I learned from my mistakes and next time I will be more patient with my dough. If you think you might need to finally start using your Stand Mixer to it's full potential, check out the original recipe from this week's Bake 52 hostess, Jenn at Zolly Zoo in the Kitchen and challah back at me to let me know how it goes.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

This week's blooper:
My first rope died a slow painful death.