LA Galaxy Sideline Photographer

LA Galaxy Sideline Photographer

I have made no secret of the fact that we are huge LA Galaxy fans in our household (which you can read more about here and here), so when David was presented with the opportunity to shoot Sunday’s LA Galaxy match against NYCFC he jumped at the chance. Getting to shoot the game on the field alongside LA Galaxy team photographer, Robert Mora, was a dream. David picked up some great tips and invaluable lessons in sports photography, but more importantly, he had an absolute blast snapping away as the Galaxy beat New York 5-1. The rest of us had a great time watching the game at home and looking out for sideline sightings of David (we were able to make him out three times). Below are just a sampling of his shots from the day. To say that I am proud would be an understatement.

David in an empty StubHub Center before the game

David in an empty StubHub Center before the game

La Galaxy Juninho Steven Gerrard Robbie Rogers Robbie Keane Omar Gonzalez

Players Juninho, Steven Gerrard, Robbie Rogers, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez during warm ups.

LA Galaxy Team Photo

LA Galaxy Team Photo before the game

NYCFC Andrea Pirlo LA Galaxy Robbie Rogers

Shaking hands before the game

LA Galaxy Omar Gonzalez

Defender Omar Gonzalez

NYCFC Josh Saunders

NYCFC Josh Saunders making a save

Steven Gerrard Robbie Keane Gyasi Zardes Omar Gonzalez after LA Galaxy Goal

Steven Gerrard giving props to Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Keane

NYCFC Andrea Pirlo faces off against LA Galaxy Giovani dos Santos

Pirlo and Giovani dos Santos facing off

LA Galaxy Robbie Rogers

Robbie Rogers on a breakaway

Sebastian Lletget and Gyasi Zardes celebrating an LA Galaxy Goal

Sebastian Lletget and Gyasi Zardes celebrating a goal

LA Galaxy Steven Gerrard Celebrating with Sebastian Lletget

Steven Gerrard celebrating with Sebastian Lletget

LA Galaxy Steven Gerrard Robbie Keane Gyasi Zardes Sebastian Lletget

Steven Gerrard and teammates celebrating after one of the Galaxy’s five goals

LA Galaxy Gyasi Zardes

My favorite shot of the day. This is Gyasi Zardes doing his hero walk after a goal

 

Tasty Tuesdays: Cinnamon Roll Macarons

Tasty Tuesdays: Cinnamon Roll Macarons

My niece had a birthday recently and I helped out with a lot of the food. A few days before the party I spent an entire day just making macarons, which are always a huge hit at a party. While I have a tendency to stick to my tried and true recipe (which you can see in this post), since visiting Paris earlier this year I have become a bit more experimental and enjoy testing out new concoctions. For this party I made my basic macarons, chocolate macarons filled with Nutella, apricot macarons, tiramisu macarons and cinnamon roll macarons. They were all a huge hit but my brother and I agreed that the hands down winner were the cinnamon roll macarons. These were such a huge hit that they will definitely become part of my permanent rotation (especially since they are gluten-free which means everyone in our family can eat them).

Cinnamon Roll Macarons

Cinnamon Roll Macarons

Ingredients

  • 225 grams powdered sugar
  • 125 grams ground almonds
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for dusting
  • 110 grams egg whites, aged for at least 48 hours in the refrigerator and brought to room temperature
  • 30 grams granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a pencil, draw one inch circles about 1 inch apart (I actually may have left even less space). Flip the sheets over and return to baking sheets. Set aside.
  2. Heat Oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Sift almond flour, powdered sugar and cinnamon into a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until they start to foam. Add in the sugar and increase the speed to high. Continue beating on high until stiff, shiny peaks form.
  5. Gently fold the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites until the mixture is just incorporated and you can see no egg whites.
  6. Transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large, round tip, and pipe the batter onto the cookie sheets, using the templates as a guide.
  7. Gently tap the cookie sheet against the counter to release any air bubbles that have formed in the dough (be seriously gentle, it doesn’t take much force to dislodge the air bubbles)
  8. Lightly sprinkle each macaron with cinnamon.
  9. Set aside for 1 hour so that a “skin” can form on the cookies.
  10. Using a wooden spoon to keep the oven door slightly ajar, bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on cookie sheets.
  12. Spread about ½-1 teaspoon of cinnamon cream cheese filling (recipe follows) onto a cookie and then sandwich together with one that is similar in size. Continue until all cookies have been filled.
  13. Refrigerate for 2 hours or longer so that flavors can meld. Bring to room temperature before serving.

 

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese.
  2. Add the powdered sugar in batches and continue mixing until smooth.
  3. Add the vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and salt and mix until combined.
  4. Use immediately.

I like to double the frosting recipe so that there is some leftover the next day to smooth over toast (or graham crackers or whatever else is laying around).

Friday Five – August 21, 2015

Friday Five – August 21, 2015

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  1. What I’m Reading: The American Heiress – This delightful novel has been on my to-read list forever and I finally got around to reading it on our trip. The story is about an American Heiress who travels to England in search of a titled husband. It is a quick, interesting read. If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, you’ll love this.
  2. What I’m Eating: Laura’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge – Every time we are in Colorado, I make a visit to Laura’s Fine Candies to pick up a pound (or two) of Laura’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge. I’m not a huge sweets person, but this stuff is addicting and I’ve just discovered that you can order it online. I am in so much trouble!
  3. What I’m WatchingDear Frankie – I honestly think that this is one of the most underrated films I’ve ever seen. My mom introduced me to the film years ago but it has recently been added to Netflix, so I’ve just watched it again and I am every bit as in love as I was the first time I saw it. In the film Emily Mortimer plays a single mom who, wanting to shield her nine year old son, Frankie, from the truth about his father, poses as the boy’s father in a series of letters about life at sea serving on the HMS Accra. As Frankie tracks the ship’s progress, he is elated to discover that it will be docking in his hometown and he cannot wait to finally meet his father. His mother panics and convinces an alluring stranger (played by the always charming Gerard Butler) to play the part of Frankie’s father while the ship is in town.
  4. What I’m WearingPlaid Button Down Shirt by Mossimo Supply Co. – When we were in Colorado I was in need of a light weight shirt that would protect my shoulders from getting burned while we were exploring Papa’s ranch. After checking out several outdoor and sporting shops I was discouraged that most of the women’s offerings were bright pink or purple and the men’s offerings didn’t fit properly. I gave up on my search and made my way to Target to pick up some sunscreen and found these great light weight plaid shirts by Mossimo.
  5. What I’m listening to in the car: Song for Someone by U2 – This song feels like Bono and the gang are getting back to their roots. Definitely a new favorite.
No Place Like Home

No Place Like Home

David and I recently returned from a much needed vacation with the boys. This summer has been hectic, to say the least, which has been the primary reason for my radio silence. Not only were we finishing up some huge hospitality projects, but every single client seemed to have an install on the same date in July – I’m not kidding! Plus, I felt bad spending too much time on my computer since I set such harsh limits on my children’s screen time.

Exploring Papa's ranch

Exploring Papa’s ranch

Me and my cousin, Mat looking for the property markers on Papa's ranch

Me and my cousin, Mat looking for the property markers on Papa’s ranch

Vacation time is now over and we are back to the grind. After last year’s month long sojourn to Europe, this trip felt short by comparison. Despite its short tenure, it was every bit as refreshing. We spent time at my parents’ cabin in Colorado, my grandfather’s ranch (also in Colorado) and we spent a weekend in Park City, Utah.  We had been tentatively planning the trip for a while but we weren’t positive that we would be able to go until the last minute. Because we were driving, no last minute travel arrangements were needed and when we finally felt confident that our business could survive without us there for a while, we were off.

The boys checking out Rocky Mountain National Park

The boys checking out Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

If you’ve been on Instagram lately, you probably caught a glimpse of our vacation (if not, all of the pictures accompanying this post were snagged from either David’s Instagram or my own), but I’ll be sharing more on here soon. For now, it’s good to just be home. Dorothy was right, there really is no place like home.

David and the boys in Estes Park

David and the boys in Estes Park

Park City Sunset

Park City Sunset

Big Guy’s Mac and Cheese

Big Guy’s Mac and Cheese

I told you about Project Summer, but I haven’t given you any updates. The boys just wrapped up a week of Vacation Bible School at our church and we have had a lot of friends visiting and several birthday parties to attend, I haven’t had much time to post. I don’t think the boys have slept at home more than a handful of times the entire summer because they have been too busy having sleepovers with their grandparents. I miss having them sleep at home, but I can’t exactly blame them. My parents let them sleep in however late they want and David’s parents get them donuts every time they sleep over so there is absolutely no incentive to sleep at home where we make them get up early and take out the trash (oh, and did I mention that both sets of grandparents have a pool? Why would they ever want to come home?). We have already made several new dishes with varying degrees of success and I have been stockpiling ideas for recipes to make with them (this is the excuse I gave David when I bought three new cookbooks last week – this is also why the lovely people who work at at Barnes and Noble love me). Finding recipes that the boys will actually want to make has become slightly more complicated since David and I both cut refined sugars completely out of our diet for the month and all the boys really want to make are cookies, cakes and hot fudge sundaes. I have a few tricks up my sleeve though and I think I have some recipes that will be a hit despite their lack of sugar. One of the first recipes the boys wanted to make this summer was Macaroni and Cheese. We ended up making it on a day that Little Man wasn’t feeling well and was refusing to eat anything other than pasta. That is when Big Guy had the idea to make “real” macaroni and cheese and not the boxed stuff. Since we had (almost) everything we needed without having to make a run to the store, we gave it a go. The results were fantastic but the best part of the experience was how proud Big Guy was of himself (and rightly so). He did everything by himself while I supervised. I was impressed by how well he followed direction and how careful he was in doing each step. He’s such a good little chef.

Little man was sound asleep on Nana's couch while Big Guy made his lunch.

Little man was sound asleep on Nana’s couch while Big Guy made his lunch.

Not only did Big Guy cook the food, he set the table and served everyone

Not only did Big Guy cook the food, he set the table and served everyone

Big Guy’s Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 12 ounce package gluten-free macaroni (We used the Barilla Gluten Free Elbows and they are awesome)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/2 cup) butter
  • ¼ cup gluten-free flour (We used Cup 4 Cup)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup whipping cream**
  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions until al dente.
  2. While the macaroni is cooking, beat the egg in a small bowl.
  3. In a large cast iron pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
  4. Add the flour and whisk together with the butter, continuing to stir constantly for about three minutes.
  5. Slowly pour the milk into the flour and butter mixture, whisking continually for about five minute or until it has thickened, making sure that there are no clumps.
  6. Temper the beaten egg with a small amount of the sauce (slowly add about ¼ to ½ cup of the sauce to the beaten egg, mixing quickly to keep the egg from curdling) and add mix the egg mixture into the sauce and stir to combine.
  7. Add cheese, dry mustard and turmeric and whisk until smooth.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste (We didn’t add any because Big Guy felt that the sharp cheddar and spices gave it enough flavor).
  9. Drain the cooked macaroni and add to the sauce.
  10. Stir to combine and serve immediately.

**you can omit the whipping cream and use an additional ½ cup of milk (this is how it was in the original recipe), but we only had two cups of milk left in the refrigerator, so we had to sub the whipping cream and it turned out so incredibly creamy that we decided that we like making it that way.

Things I Love: June

Things I Love: June

 

June is nearing its end, but I wasn’t about to let an entire month fly by without sharing some of my current favorite things with you. I hope you enjoy some of this month’s picks. I know I am.

2015-06-Jennifers June Picks

  1. Dang Toasted Coconut Chips: I saw these at Target one day and bought a couple of bags. When I saw them at Whole Foods a few days later, I was already buying more. They are addictive and I have them at home, at work and in my car for anytime I need a quick pick me up. If stores in your area aren’t carrying them, you can buy them at Amazon here. Trust me, if you like coconut, you are going love these.
  2. Ballers: This new HBO series, starring Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), was created and executive produced by Steve Levinson; executive produced by Mark Wahlberg, Peter Berg, Dany Garcia, Julian Farino, Evan Reilly and Rob Weiss. It is like if Entourage took place in the world of professional football instead of Hollywood. Once episode in and I am already hooked.
  3. Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo: This dry shampoo by Amika is extremely light and smells absolutely divine. It can be hard to find a good dry shampoo that doesn’t make your hair look dull and grey right after using it, but this one gets the job done and hair looks and smells fresh and clean.
  4. Nothin’ But Granola Cookies – Chocolate Coconut Almond: These are AMAZING. I am so hooked that I have to ration them. I found them one day at the Coffee Bean and I have been addicted ever since. You can order them from the Nothin’ But website but I’m warning you, it takes major willpower not to eat the entire bag. They use real ingredients that you will actually actually be able to pronounce, these cookies are the perfect healthy indulgence.
  5. Windsor Smith Homefront: Design for Modern Living: I have always admired Windsor Smith’s aesthetic but I really fell in love a few years back when she headlined the House of Windsor Show House.  This book, with a forward by Gwyneth Paltrow (who is not only one of my favorites, but she also lives in the former House of Windsor Show House) and it is beautiful and informative. It is a great coffee table book and something that I never grow tired of flipping through.

 

Weekend Wisdom – Father’s Day

Weekend Wisdom – Father’s Day

fathers day

There are a lot of good dads out there, but I have been blessed with a truly great one. Happy Father’s Day to all of the wonderful fathers in my life: my dad, my husband, my brother, my father-in-law, my grandfathers, uncles, cousins (the ones who have kids) and friends. The above picture, by the way, is of me and my dad celebrating his very first Father’s Day.

Friday Five – June 19

Friday Five – June 19

2015-06-19-Friday-Five

  1. What I’m Reading: When I took the kids to see Tomorrowland earlier this month, there was a preview for Paper Towns, which is based on John Green’s book by the same name. I was intrigued and when the book was a $4 and under deal on my iBooks, I downloaded it and started reading immediately. Honestly, I love John Green’s writing and the only thing that gets me to put his books down is the fact that I don’t want them to be over too soon. I am loving this one.
  2. What I’m eating: Since making Cherry Clafouti earlier this week, I get multiple requests every day to make it again (and that is just from David). I guarantee that we will be having it at least once this weekend. Who knows, maybe we’ll get creative and experiment with the recipe. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
  3. What I’m watching: When I saw the previews for The Whispers I decided that I wouldn’t be watching because it looked way too creepy. Then when I was hanging out with my dad, he mentioned that he had recorded the show after my brother told him that it wasn’t creepy after all. We watched two episodes and you know what? It is TOTALLY CREEPY. Like, big time. When I asked my brother how he could have possibly not found the show creepy, he said, “No, I told dad it wasn’t satanic. I never said it wasn’t creepy because it is completely creepy.” Regardless of the creepiness, I’m hooked. It probably helps that the casts boasts Milo Ventimiglia and Barry Sloane (aka Aiden Mathis from Revenge – though, sadly, he is without his English accent) and that it is creepy in a science fiction way (kind of like X-Files or Doctor Who) as opposed to a creepy in stalker/ax murderer way. Science fiction creepy is something I can totally handle.
  4. What I’m Wearing: Bare Minerals Ready Blush in The Faux Pas. Seriously, when the guy at the Bare Minerals store suggested this shade, I told him, emphatically, no way. He insisted and somehow managed to convince me to try it on in the store. I was hooked. It gives you that perfect after the gym blush without making you look like a circus clown. You also need such a small amount that this stuff is seriously going to last forever.
  5. What I’m listening to in the car: I posted my June playlist yesterday and all of the songs on it are currently on heavy rotation in my car. I’m not even sure which one I would single out as my current favorite.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead of you! It is going to be a scorcher here in Southern California so I see a swimming pool in my near future.

June Playlist

June Playlist

When I was growing up, it was right around the time I started school that I decided I should be in control of what we listened to on the radio. My kids are no different. They have rather eclectic tastes when it comes to musical choices and they have greatly influenced what we listen to in the car (and what gets downloaded onto my iPhone). Some are, no doubt, influenced by the films that we watch (Mas Que Nada, for example), others have been recommended by friends, and at least one is a classic (Beast of Burden) because the boys are just starting to discover that good music existed before they were born. The following is just a few of the songs that have been blasting in our car this month. Happy listening!
2015-06-JunePlaylist
Marvin Gaye (feat. Meghan Trainor) – Charlie Puth // Bright – Echosmith // Take Your Time – Sam Hunt // Mas Que Nada (feat. The Black Eyed Peas) – Sergio Mendes // Bonfire Heart – James Blunt // Let’s Not Be Alone Tonight – R5 // Infinity – AJR // Soul On Fire (feat. All Sons & Daughters) – Third Day // Kick the Dust Up – Luke Bryan // Fight Song – Rachel Platten // Whistle (While You Work It) – Katy Tiz // Beast of Burden – The Rolling Stones // Dear Future Husband – Meghan Trainor // Hold Back the River – James Bay // Life’s a Beach – Heymous Molly // Want to Want Me – Jason Derulo // See You Again (feat. Charlie Puth) – Wiz Khalifa // This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like a Mother – Maroon 5

Project Summer

Project Summer

projectsummer
The kiddos have already officially been out of school for a couple of weeks this summer and we are embarking on what I loving refer to as Project Summer. Basically, Project Summer is ways to fill the long lazy days of summer that don’t involve computers or iPads. It was met with major resistance in the beginning (like when my oldest told me that I was totally unfair and ruining his life), but a couple days in and Project Summer was already gaining some approval.

So what exactly is Project Summer? It started as a pretty simple concept. Number one, they needed to do something physical for at least an hour every day, whether it was swimming or shooting baskets or riding their bikes around the neighborhood. This requirement is sort of inconsequential because the boys are both naturally pretty active and getting them to go outside and play has never been an issue. The second requirement, however, caused a bit of an uproar. Basically, the rule is that for every hour of educational activity that the boys complete, they can earn an hour of video games. Consequently it was this requirement that apparently made me the “worst mom ever” (yes, those exact words were uttered, or rather shouted). When I tried to explain that there were many activities that would constitute something educational, they were bullheaded and only heard my first example which was that if you were to read for an hour, you could then play video games for an hour. After I mentioned reading, they shut down and apparently didn’t hear any of my other suggestions. Words were exchanged, tears were shed and a door or two may have been slammed, but eventually everyone calmed down and the boys started to accept what they realized was the inevitable.

2015-06-projectsummer-01

Our first day was off to an extremely rocky start. First of all, I had some things I needed to do that required me to be at the workshop so the kids were at my parents’ house and were shocked when they weren’t able to convince Nana and Apa to let them out of their educational obligations for the day (David and I have been blessed with parents who, while prone to indulging our children, stick to our rules and don’t back down, even under pressure). The boys called me at work (on Facetime actually) and proceeded to tell me all of the reasons that I was ruining their summer by making them spend the entire time inside reading. Calmer heads prevailed and after a bit of negotiation, I told them that if they wrote me a story (and it had to be illustrated) that was ten pages long with at least two sentences per page, they could play video games for the rest of the day. Little Man opted to just read with his grandfather, but Big Guy grudgingly accepted my deal.

2015-06-projectsummer-04

By the time I arrived at my parents’ house later that afternoon, I discovered that Big Guy had spent nearly three hours working on his story, which had morphed into a book. Not only had he written and illustrated the required amount of pages, he also typed it on the computer, had Nana help him laminate the cover (he actually asked if they could use the “plasticifier” which I personally think is a better name for it) and spiral bind the edges. It turned out marvelously and now I have a super special keepsake. It turns out that he sort of liked writing his story and maybe (just maybe) wants to do a couple more before summer is over. I made this discovery later that day because his friend’s mom texted to let me know that he had told his friend about it and that his friend was now interested in writing his own story. One point for Project Summer!

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The boys still weren’t totally on board with the concept but because they now realized that reading isn’t their only option for earning screen time, they have been more open to hearing some of my other educational ideas. I listed several options such as solving math problems, spending time on specific learning websites (like khan academy or codecademy), performing science experiments, watching documentaries (and no, watching the Island – or any other reality TV for that matter- does not count), learning to cook, making crafts or practicing their Hungarian, just to name a few.

2015-06-projectsummer-02

So far the cooking option has been quite popular and we’ve already made macaroni and cheese from scratch and homemade pretzels with cheese dipping sauce. Both boys have started listing all of the dishes that they want to create and their ideas are actually quite a bit more gourmet than I was expecting (one asked to make steamed clams and the other suggested we try making apple strudel). The other activity that is quickly gaining in popularity is making Perler bead crafts. This is something that my brother and I loved to do when we were younger and I count it as an educational activity because the boys have to either follow a pattern which involves quite a bit of counting or they have to make up their own pattern, which involves a lot of creativity and reasoning (Big Guy quickly realized that the Perler patterns are basically just pixilated pictures and he was able to come up with his own pattern for making the bird from Flappy Bird).

2015-06-projectsummer-05

Project Summer isn’t just educational, we’re having fun with water balloons and pool toys as well, and I expect that there will be many trips to the beach.