"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day. And I believe in miracles."
~ Audrey Hepburn


Bon Apetit!

My baby sister begins her last year as a teenager on July 29th. 
Unfortunately, she has chosen to spend her birthday weekend with her friends
 in SACRAMENTO so my family had to make other arrangements.
(I am not very good at hiding resentment, am I?)

We're pretty awesome at making other arrangements, though. 
Steamed lobster? ...check!
Lemon butter dipping sauce? ...check!
Fresh, crunchy artichokes? ...check!
Julia Child's hollandaise sauce? ...check!
New York cheesecake with glazed strawberry topping? ...CHECK!

Are you ready for a photo tour?

Here we are cooking:

Oh I forgot to mention that I tried to dress like Julia Child haha

Melissa helping:

Michelle helping:

And then... it was time.
Time to cook the lobsters.

At the bottom of the steamer pot I added water, sea salt,
beer, lemon juice (and the lemon halves), chopped onion, and celery.


This was a very intense process. It is harder than you think to bring a poor, innocent animal to its death.
Especially when the animal is wiggling around in a bucket! Especially when there are three animals!!!!!!

Anyway, the following pictures depict me putting the lobsters in the pot.
(Insert wild and frantic screaming here).

According to Melissa, in this next picture I yelled,
But I cannot attest to that fact. I must have blacked out during my murderous rampage.

Blah blah blah... time passed... we made the lemon butter dipping sauce and the hollandaise.
And then!!! Ta-da!

Dinner is served :)
(Mrs. Doubtfire voice)

So now that I have shown you our meal, let me break it down for you.
First of all, I accomplished two goals!
#002: Cook a live lobster
#009: Make one of Julia Child's recipes

So yay me! Now for a review of the food:
Lobster is wonderful. Juicy. Flavorful. Yadda yadda yadda.
But making it at home is a pain in the butt.
First of all, it is hard to kill things :(
Second, its reallllyyyyy hard to crack the shell!!!
And third, once you finally pry it open, there is not much meat :(
So, long story short, I would recommend making it yourself once, just so you can really
appreciate how hard it really is. And then go to a nice seafood restaurant :)

Yummy yummy artichoke.
These are difficult to prepare. Lots of chopping and cutting.
They are also difficult to eat. Lots of peeling and peeling and peeling.
We were so excited to get to the middle but the middle was... hairy? hahahah eww

Lemon butter dipping sauce:
It was suchhh a weird consistency but actually had a great lemony buttery taste!
I would probably try to find a better recipe next time because
 the consistency freaked me out just a bit.

Julia Child's hollandaise.
Lordy. I am going to give you the recipe for this because it is just so amazing.
I may have told you already, but, I just started eating egg yolk for the first time
since I was like seven, so I was suuuper excited to make this.
It was amazing but after around 10 bites (we dipped the artichoke into it),
we just couldn't eat anymore. It was soooo dang rich.
(It literally had 2 sticks of butter in it).
Please make it! I think I am going to try to make it again with poached eggs :)

Julia Child’s Hollandaise Sauce
makes 1 1/2 cups

3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, (or more, depending on your taste)
6-8 ounces very soft unsalted butter
1 dash cayenne pepper
salt, to taste
fresh ground white pepper, to taste

1. Whisk the yolks, water, and lemon juice in the saucepan for a few moments, until thick and pale (this prepares them for what is to come).
2. Set the pan over moderately low heat and continue to whisk at reasonable speed, reaching all over the bottom and insides of the pan, where the eggs tend to overcook.
3. To moderate the heat, frequently move the pan off the burner for a few seconds, and then back on. (If, by chance, the eggs seem to be cooking too fast, set the pan in the bowl of cold water to cool the bottom, then continue).
4. As they cook, the eggs will become frothy and increase in volume, and then thicken. When you can see the pan bottom through the streaks of the whisk and the eggs are thick and smooth, remove from the heat.
5. By spoonfuls, add the soft butter, whisking constantly to incorporate each addition. As the emulsion forms, you may add the butter in slightly larger amounts, always whisking until fully absorbed. Continue incorporating butter until the sauce has thickened to the consistency you want.
6. Season lightly with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper, whisking in well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding droplets of lemon juice if needed. Serve lukewarm.


The cheesecake was rich and the graham cracker crust was
crunchy and perfect, and the strawberries were sweet and tangy and juicy.
Thanks Smitten Kitchen!
 I think I left it out of the refrigerator for too long, though, because it got kind of melty.
For future reference, keep cheesecake in the fridge
until you are just about to slice it. Ready for the after picture?

Haha. So needless to say, it was a long night.

Buuut we're all still kind of hungry hahaha.
Actually I think Des is picking us up McDonalds as I type this...

The end!

P.S. Happy birthday baby boo. I love you!


Stars & Stripes

So I realized the other day that my life revolves around blogs.

I have this blog.
I am researching blogs with a professor at UCSB.
I blog for Events of Santa Barbara.
And I blog for Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy.
Actually I have also been working on the Facebook and Twitter pages
for ESB and SBYMA (the chairman calls me the "Czar of Social Media").

Long story short:
You should check out the pages that I am working on!
It would be nice to know that somebody is actually reading them, haha,
and we need followers/fans/friends :)
Events of Santa Barbara: Facebook, Twitter, Blog
Santa Barbara Youth Music Association: Facebook, Twitter, Blog
Thank you :)

Alright, alright, here are some pictures from this weekend...

♥ ♥ ♥

So for the Fourth of July, we had a little BBQ at our new apartment!


And by "little barbeque" I mean one heck of a fiesta

We had ribs and baked beans for dinner (I used my cousin Tameka's recipe. Best decision EVER)

And I made Pioneer Woman's salted caramel brownies.
If you read Pioneer Woman, or if you are one of my friends who was
there when we made them a few months ago, you will realize that this batch
went terribly wrong. I was depressed for quite some time until some of our guests
came and began to comment on how amazing the brownies were. They loved
the crunchy caramel. Who woulda thunk?

Fireworks on the roof

 great food, great people, great day ♥


Yum Yumz in my Tum Tumz

Guess what this is...

Yep, you were right! Ingredients for meatloaf! 
I am kind of embarrassed that one of my goals was 
#007: Eat meatloaf
but I have never had it before and I have always wanted to try it!
Meatloaf is like... engrained in American history. The Cleavers ate it. The Bradys ate it.
Even the family in A Christmas Story ate it! Remember? When Randy was like, 
"Meat loaf, smeatloaf, double-stinkloaf, I HATE meatloaf!"
And then the mom instructs him to show her how the piggies eat? And then Hilarity ensues?
Needless to say,  I   l  o  v  e   A Christmas Story .  Therefore,  I  h  a  d  to have meatloaf. 

This is where Emily comes in. Meet Emily.
She is one of my wonderful roommates. One day we are going to own a bakery together.
Emily's grandmother was a sweet old italian woman with more recipes than her family can possibly keep up with
(Emily has good reason to believe that the only living person with her grandmother's
full recipe collection is the man working at Albertsons. Ask her about it later). 
Anyway, Emily used her grandmother's recipe for meatloaf, so it was
special italian meatloaf. It had spinach in it, my new favorite veggie. YUM!

Doesn't it look amazing?!

It did not taste as I had expected... the texture was different.
But good different! Em also prepared a caesar salad and rosemary roasted potatoes for us.
I definitely had seconds! And I am very excited about the leftovers in the fridge :)
I am officially American!

There is waaaay too much tasty food in this house!
I made some yummy chicken quesadillas the other night, so we have those leftovers...
Then Em made these banana chocolate chip muffins this morning.
The BEST thing to wake up to is the smell of homemade muffins! 

And the other night I made pecan pie bars from the Golden Book of Baking
that Bryan got me for Christmas. They were wonderful!

Ugh! This is why I go to the gym!
Our first intramural beach volleyball game is tomorrow, by the way! Excited! :)