31 January 2011

weekend update- spi11 edition

hello and welcome to weekend update i'm coco plum.  here were this weekend's top stories. 
first spi11 (that's short for spill of 2011.  it's pronounced spill-evn).  here is a hypothetical situation for you.  let's just pretend on friday night you decide to walk on the wild side and you paint your nails.  perhaps you choose "cran-red" as your color.  now for a moment let's just say that you forget to twist the top back on completely.  now fast-forward one day.  let's just say this part of the story takes place at 11:45 pm.  you decide to paint your nails "park avenue" instead (let's just for theory-sake pretend it's a gray/brown/purple hue that is lovely and versatile.  in fact you might think to yourself, "this color should be called coco plum").  while you are at it let's just say you get crazy and paint your toes "minted" too.   as you blissfully wrap up your painting expo let's pretend you decide to pick-up all your polishes.  you are cleaning haphazardly because your nails and toenails are wet (picture figures spread out and daintily picking up items as you are walking with your toes up).  you reach for the "cran-red" to put it away and what might happen?

you might drop the bottle.  the glass bottle may or may not break.  it may splash and spill all across your bathroom.  your house might be for sale and if you are really fortunate there would be an open house the next day.  you might want to lay down on the floor and cry.  or laugh.  or laugh and cry.  it may be hard to decide.

 let's just say you realize you are completely out of nail polish remover because you have been on a nail painting frenzy.  let's pretend the time is now 12:00 am.  but wait...it may get better.

 you could also be covered in the "cran-red" nail polish.  in fact, you may or may not look very guilty in the crime of killing a small creature with your bare hands.  to make things more complicated your nails may not be done drying which would somehow irrationally make it harder for you to concentrate on cleaning well.   even though you may have gotten a great haircut that day, let's just say one side went flat.  you can't even look cute while making a huge mess?  you may realize the cards are really stacked against you on this one.

it may be all over your pretty white vanity chair.  at this point your sweet husband might be asking you to call BP to see what not to do in major spill situations.  wouldn't he think he's clever?

let's just say your beloved slippers you've had since high school are now being tagged as evidence to a crime...that you committed.  you wonder, "i came from a good family.  how could this have happened to me?"

the real kicker is that the tile is not sealed on the wall so it might be extremely porous.  in fact let's just pretend it is devouring "cran-plum".  thank goodness because (maybe) it wasn't bad enough!  now the clock is ticking. 

maybe after a mid-night run to wal-mart (which can always be a story within itself), 1/2 a bottle of nail polish remover, 3/4 roll of paper towels and a dozen q-tips later.  your bathroom may no longer look like a crime scene, except for the rebel porous tile which may or may not need to be replaced.  but like i said from the beginning this idea of spi11 is all just hypothetical.  but if this has happened to you or a loved one, let's just say there is one other person out there that may or may not be able to sympathize. 

in other news (that actually happened), this weekend was laid-back.   my mom and i hit up the antique mile near my house, we managed to see 4 different antique stores.  i found some great bookends for $10,  i am going to give them a new look with spray paint.  my mom is such a gem and it was a real treat to spend saturday with her.

the locksmith and i spent some good quality time together sunday.  we watched the social network last night which is out at redbox.  have you seen this movie?  it made me want to disable my facebook account!  ugh.  i am glad we only paid $1.50 to see it.  it was a good movie but the founder of facebook is not a nice guy.  have you watched it?  i baked bread yesterday so instead of having popcorn or candy we ate bread.  it was so good.  there is something about warm bread, butter and honey that is such a heart-warming snack.  i will try to post the recipe later this week. 

so that's was our weekend and now it's a new week- with new recipes :

monday: spaghetti with green chile chicken sausage
tuesday- cauliflower and leek soup with orange splash salad
wednesday- veggie pizza (with more orange splash salad)
thursday- chicken stuffed with rainbow swiss chard and prosciutto.  served with cauliflower "couscous".
friday- leftovers or date night

thursday's meal is for cookbook club so i will be sharing any mishaps or success i have along the way.  i hope your week is off to a great start!

27 January 2011

weekend update

happy monday wednesday thursday everyone!  how was your weekend?  whew!  i am getting this out just in time for another weekend.  last weekend was busy but packed with fun!

we started the weekend off with a friend's birthday party.  i made yummy artichoke and green chile dip.  my mum and i love whipping this dip up for special occasions, which is not limited to a birthday.  it could also include the first day of autumn, election day, a new episode of office, thursday etc.  this dip is always a crowd-pleaser, plus it takes 4 ingredients on hand and i bet you have at 2 of them in your pantry.  also the fanciest kitchen gadget you will need is a can opener.  let me just say right now that this is not healthy, i am real sorry for that.  please trust me that when you take a bite you will forget all about that. 

since super bowl is coming up (though i would rather not talk about it right now, it's a sore spot since my bears lost)  i thought i would share this recipe with y'all.  saying y'all brings out my southern hospitality side, just go with it. 

here's the line up: mayo, green chile, parmesan cheese and artichoke hearts

so let's begin! first a quick note, when i make this dip i mix it in the same bowl i bake it in.  if that option is available to you, please utilize it, less dishes makes for happier people.

chopped artichoke hearts

grab the artichoke hearts, after opening the can, rinse in a colander (or a berry washer like i have-it is similar to the one that my mum has been missing).  most artichoke hearts come in a brine which is full of added salt which is poison according to my mum (and she is right).  not wanting to serve poison, i wash the salt away.  wait..this is sounding healthy. 

before baking
add all ingredients, mix well.  put in an oven-safe container (if you weren't mixing ingredients in one already) .  bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. 

taste.  repeat.  taste.  repeat.  go grab your husband to help him taste.  repeat.  taste.  repeat.  just look at the crisp, cheesy layer on top!

the locksmith approves.  whew.  it's not just me.  taste again. 

the dip was a hit at the party.  i think i will use the left overs to make panini sandwiches for lunch this week.  i also added some dip to our scrambled eggs...i don't know how i feel about that.  i am still processing it but i think i want to say don't try it.  the eggs were a strange texture.

saturday i hosted a cookbook club at my house.  my friends and i had been tossing around the idea for awhile and we finally got the ball rolling.  it was so much fun.  i will post more details later but basically it's a book club but instead of reading a book you cook your way through a cookbook- with friends.  it was such a fun time. 

after cookbook club, the locksmith and i met some friends for a little more love.  it was the best so far!

cake batter frozen yogurt  with cinnamon toast crunch, capt'n crunch and fruit pebbles (insert choir of angels singing).  oh yeah and that's a waffle cone bowl.  the yogurt is low-fat so don't judge.

the locksmith played it safe with the non-dairy option- mixed berry.  it wasn't as good as his last concoction but he survived without incident this time so we can call that a success. 

and to round out the weekend i took a sewing class on sunday! i was so nervous- like the first day of school.  the locksmith walked me into the class.  none of the other girl's husbands dropped them off so i was a bit embarrassed.  it turned out to be so much fun that i signed up for two more classes!

so there you have it-our weekend.   i laughed, i cried, i was domestic.  it was wonderful

below is the recipe for the dip:
1 cup mayo
1 cup artichoke hearts
1 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup green chile

mix all ingredients in a bowl.  bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  have the best dip at the super bowl party.  go home with an empty bowl.  repeat.


coco plum

26 January 2011

where am i?

i went to work today but i worked at a different site.  it was my first time driving there by myself and only the 2nd time i had been to this different location.  i decided the best way to find it would be to not google directions and just wing it. 

this is when i got nervous

this is when i had to use a life line and phoned a friend.  she looked at google for me.  i was headed in the right direction.  somehow that did not comfort me.  i work with children not cows on a prairie.  does my boss know this?  apparently she did because 10 abandoned cars on the side of the road and a murder of crows later i found it.  the children not the cows that is.

25 January 2011

banana custard

we started monday off right- with banana custard!  you may remember the locksmith's love for frozen delights.  you may also remember that they don't play nicely together.  so i decided to finally try this banana custard recipe that has been calling my name.  although i would say it was more like just-starting-to-melt ice cream than custard (maybe it needed to freeze longer than 2 hours), it was still delicious and nutritious.

here's the very complex recipe.  you may need to write this down.   slice 2 (or 13) bananas and put it in a ziploc bag in the freezer for a few hours.  pull it out and blend it in the food processor until it looks like ice cream.  easy right?  not that i am a fan of tricking kids (or anyone) into eating healthy food but this definitely satisfies the ice cream craving with a single frozen banana!  i topped our banana custard off with melted chocolate. 


here is what our meals for the week look like:
  • monday- bruschetta pasta
  • tuesday- maple syrup pork chops with veggies
  • wednesday- frito pie at church dinner (yipee!)
  • thursday- stir fry
  • friday- buritto bowls
thankfully, banana custard will go with all of these recipes!  i feel a banana custard binge coming on!  what are you eating this week?  i am sorry i haven't posted our weekend update.  we were busy bees so the update is long.  i will post it as soon as i can.

22 January 2011

sweetest cup of happieness or bitter draught of sorrow?

here is a quote that has challenges me whenever i stumble upon it.  i hope it offers you ladies the same challenge and encouragement. 

"woman was the finishing grace of the creation. woman was the completeness of man's bliss in paradise. woman was the cause of sin and death to our world. the world was redeemed by the seed of the woman. woman is the mother of the human race; she is either our companion, counselor, and comforter in the pilgrimage of life or she is our tempter, scourge, and destroyer. our sweetest cup of earthly happiness or our bitterest draught of sorrow is mixed and administered by her hand. she not only renders smooth or rough our path to the grave, but helps or hinders our progress to immortality. in heaven we shall bless God for her aid in assisting us to reach that blissful state; or, amidst the torments of unutterable woe in another region, we shall deplore the fatality of her influence."
whether it be parents, roommates or husbands, what ability we have to influence those around us especially in our own homes.  i wish i knew what book i originally found this in but i seemed to have written it down and forgotten that important bit. 


21 January 2011

say what?!

i found this at the grocery store.  i had to do a double take.  really?!
dear little clown-glove- please be more careful with your words.

who is a God like you?

who is a God like you pardoning iniquity
   and passing over transgression
   for the remnant of his inheritance?
he does not retain his anger forever,
   because he delights in steadfast love.
he will again have compassion on us;
   he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
you will cast all our sins
   into the depths of the sea.
 you will show faithfulness to jacob
   and steadfast love to abraham,
 as you have sworn to our fathers
   from the days of old.

-micah 7: 18-20-

20 January 2011

in love with love!

we are officially in love with love!  we decided to go there after we heard some good buzz about the place.  and guess what?  we just might have found our favorite new sweet spot.  love is a self-serve frozen yogurt shop that has so much unique flare.  the place is stinkin cute!  no two ways about it, the decor is modern and fun.  the frozen yogurt is delightful and the fun approach won us over.  at love, you can mix and match as many flavors and toppings as your heart desires.  no limits!?  no rules?!  nope!  at the end, they weigh your cup and charge a reasonable 39 cents an ounce. 

the locksmith is lactose-intolerant but he threw caution to the wind (or selectively blocked out that detail) and began agnogizing over what flavor to make himself sick on.  peppermint and chocolate?  vanilla (yawn)?  he opted to mix red velvet and chocolate malt together...then added vanilla at the last minute.  red velvet + chocolate malt = crazy delicious. ooh wait and there's more.  each flavor is either low-fat or non-fat!  say what??!!  yup, that's having your cake (red velvet) and eating it, too!  no need for confession after indulging.  they also rotate one sugar free and one non-dairy flavor each day.  who are these people?  do they know how many prayers they have answered? 

i opted for a single flavor but to spice it up i went with the taro flavor.  what's taro you say?  well, it doesn't predict the future but it is a polynesian tuber vegetable.  vegetable frozen yogurt?  that's a nutritionist's dream!  the label said the taro flavor was simple and mysterious. simple and mysterious?  sounds like a good man flavor to me!!  i was especially sold when a love employee told me it tasted like the left-over milk after a sweet cereal with a slight nutty taste.  and just to top it off, it had a beautiful light purple hue.   then came the topping bar!  i decided to go half healthy and half indulgent.  the locksmith?  well he was so enraptured by love that he put half the topping bar in his bowl.  he was all smiles. 

look at all of those options!  each station has 2 flavors with one nozzle in the middle to mix the two flavors.  

 i decided to mix the taro with  fruity pebbles and slivered almonds.  where has this been my whole life?

look at that handsome face.  he was like a kid in a candy store!  can't you just see it in his eyes?  pure joy.  and who can blame him?  he lived it up big with a huge waffle cone bowl, three flavors and countless toppings.  don't forget your lactose-intolerant honey.  honey??  hello?  he was in the zone after this picture was taken.  he could not be brought back to reality. 


empty bowls and full bellies. 

look at those fun pillows!  oh and my poor husband.  honey?!  are you ok? 

let's just say he is still recovering.  he thought all the flavors were non-dairy and sugar free.  he was so excited he wasn't listening when the nice lady was telling us about the options.  i told him just one flavor was non-dairy and it wasn't red velvet or chocolate malt...or vanilla.  none the less we still love love! 

19 January 2011

a happy mistake

sometimes mistakes aren't such a bad thing and can even can be happy surprises.  we were driving back from a rafting adventure this past summer when i spotted some whimsical clouds.  i snapped a photo from the car but accidentally took the picture through the tinted strip at the top of my windshield, which is what really appears at the top of this picture (not dark clouds).  i think it adds drama to the photo and i am happy for the mistake.

18 January 2011


i was going through some old photos on my phone and stumbled upon this photo that made me laugh.  first you should know a little back story so the photo is in proper context.  i was completing a mandated training for work.  of course, the computer was acting up and i was trying to scroll back to the first page.  suddenly this sweet and subtle error message popped up. 

at first my mouth dropped in shock and i started laughing.  i really couldn't believe it. then in the words of stephanie from full house i thought, "how rude!".  how sassy!  i think i gathered every co-worker from my office to witness the error message on my screen.  i have since moved from the denial and anger stage to acceptance.  thanks for asking.  and yes, sassy and i still work together...some days are better than others. 

what about you?  do you have any funny technology stories?

17 January 2011

weekend update

it's a wonderful monday today, i have work off but more important than that it's martin luther king day!

so in saturday night live style this is weekend update, no seth meyers though.  anyway, this weekend was packed with fun things.  on friday we scored free tickets to the motocross.

on a quick bunny trail, i was searching for the particular motocross group we saw on friday because i thought they were pretty impressive...or scary.  i still haven't decided.  it made me real glad i wasn't one of those boy's mothers, partly because they are only 5 years younger than me and that would be a  miracle  tragedy.  but mostly because they were doing scary tricks that could only result in bones breaking and very expensive insurance.  did i just take a bunny trail within a bunny trail?  oh my.  anyway, back to my original bunny trail, i was searching online to for a link to the show on the blog because i thought it was amazing. i clinked on the link from the ticket vendor sure that this was the group we saw.  but it turned out to be way cooler motocross group than the group we saw, it made me glad our tickets were free. be grateful in the small things, right?

so anyway, the locksmith scored 8 free tickets on friday and 4 on saturday.  we could only find 1 couple to come with us on friday ( i promise we do have friends but they were legitimately busy (washing hair, walking their new pet cheetahs etc) and we don't (normally) buy their friendship with bribs to free shows).  as we took our seats at the show my friend pulls out her crochet needle and yarn and proceeded to crochet the entire time.  can you think of any activity more opposite from motocross than crochet?  i know you don't believe me either so i took a picture for proof.

isn't she so cute?  i mean really who does this?

all around it was a good time and she made excellent headway on her scarf.  we enjoy going out with this couple; especially when she adds a little class to any event with the art of crochet!
saturday i made a dessert from one of the best cake books ever. period.  if i don't have much time or energy dr. byrn is my go-to lady!  dr. byrn claims to be the cake mix doctor but i am not fully conviced she isn't a real dr but that is neither here nor there.  i made her delish honey bun cake.  i had most of the ingredients on hand so i only spent $2.32 to make this cake.  i had the locksmith give me a high-five for that.  the locksmith picked out this recipe; he wanted breakfast for dessert, which i won't argue with, especially if it's honey bun cake.  the honey bun cake reminds me of
it will add a little bit of honey and cinnamon sunshine to your day, this cake should be it's own little miss!  before we start baking little miss honey bun cake i should tell you that the finish on these photos is posterise.  my kitchen is equipped with 9 lights in it, flood lights practically.  i mean, honestly, i could preform surgery in my kitchen if need be or dr. byrn, the cake doctor, could but again that is neither here nor there.  so the photos came out very bright so i decided to make them look like they came out a comic book instead.

first you start with ingredients that are of....

quality.  i know that was a terrible joke but i promise you i could not help myself!  sometimes i crack myself up.  ok honestly, no more egg jokes.  here is what you will need:
  • oil spray for misting the pan
  • 1 package (18.25 oz) plain yellow cake mix 
  • 1 cup sour cream ( i did light sour cream, you know to cut calories)
  • 3/4 cup oil ( i used canola but use whatever you want, you're allowed, just not olive oil)
  • 4 large eggs
preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  spray a 13-by-9 inch baking pan with your oil spray.  put all ingredients in a mixer or a bowl if the fancy standing-mixer didn't come for christmas or is too hard to get out.  it will look like this, just in case you are a visual learner.

next, mix it for 1 minute on low, this is to prevent cake powder from getting on your eyelashes, i am not speaking from experience here.  then stop the mixer (be it your fancy mixer or your sleek hand-held mixer).  scrape sides.  mix again on medium for 2 minutes.  the batter will be thick like this...
when i read this photo it makes me want to sing it in a elvis voice, "i'm all mixed up, ummm hmm".  was that out-loud?

pour batter into grease pan and smooth with a spatula.  now dr. byrn doesn't mention this part (again evidence she may be a real doctor) but now is the time to leave a wee bit (plus a wee more) of batter in the pan, close the blinds so the neighbors don't see and lick the bowl and spatula without shame.  during this step my sweet husband, the locksmith, told me he loved me at least 5 times.  this cake will even strengthen your marriage or sweet little miss honey bun may come between you and your loved ones.  i cannot say for sure.  now add the filling.  yes, this cake does get even better. 
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnmon
  • 1/2 finely chopped pecans (only if you want)  
drizzle the honey over the batter.  sprinkle on the cinnamon and brown sugar (and pecans but don't feel pressured to do it).  take a butter knife and swirl that yummy filling around.  you will have pretty swirls in your batter.  again, dr byrn left out the important detail of licking the knife (carefully though and don't use a cutco knife, seriously my step-dad did once,  i will save that story for later).  again, your loved ones will tell you they love you at least 5 more times if they get some of this batter too.  the locksmith was much more animated at this point, i was glad the blinds were closed.  i turned red and then green with jealousy of that little miss honey bun.  on a side note, i also made 2 tiny bundt cakes so i used a smaller pan than 13-by-9.  can you see the tiny cake in the upper left corner?  so cute, right?

bake cake until it is golden brown and cake springs back when pressed with your finger, around 38-40 minutes.  the aroma coming out of your oven will be divine, but don't worry you aren't gaining weight from the smell.  just when you thought you had the best cake ever- it gets better.  every honey bun needs frosting in this cake's case it's glaze.  super easy glaze at that.
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar (it says to sift but a girl's gotta get on with life so i skipped that part)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
mix in a bowl.  pour glaze over hot cake.   now the hard part, wait 20 minutes while cake cools. 

isn't it cute?  don't be fooled this mean  lil cake will add inches to your waist and thighs and steal your loved one's affection.  i think this cake instead will be little miss naughty honey bun.

here is the recipe without the commentary for your baking pleasure:

honey bun cake
from dr. bryn (the cake mix doctor)
the coco plum cliff note's verison

  • oil spray for misting the pan
  • 1 package (18.25 oz) plain yellow cake mix 
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup oil
  •  4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnmon
  • 1/2 finely chopped pecans (only if you want)  
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar (sifted if you are type-A, over-achiever type baker)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. place rake in center of oven.  preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  lightly mist a 13-by-9 inch baking pan.
  2.  mix all cake ingredient in large mixing bowl.  blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.  stop the machine.  scrape the sides of the bowl with rubber spatula. increase mixer to medium and mix for 2 more minutes.  batter will be thick.  pour into prepared pan and smooth out with spatula.  
  3. add the filling.  drizzle the honey on top of batter, sprinkle on brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans, if desired.  with butter knife, swirl through these ingredients to blend. 
  4. place pan in oven.  bake until cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed, about 38- 40 minutes.  remove from oven and cool.  
  5. mix all glaze ingredients in bowl.  stir until well combined.  pour glazed over top of hot cake, use spoon to spread to the sides.  allow cake to cool for 20 minutes.  serve warm. 
store cake, covered in plastic for up to 1 week at room temperature.  reheat leftover cake in the microwave for a few seconds to re-live that out of the oven experience!

13 January 2011

first date

well hello there.  my name is coco plum.  i am so nervous right now.  i feel like we just met through match.com and we are on a virtual first date.  i like long walks on the beach.  no no that's too cliche.  oh no!now my palms are sweating.  for now, let's not rush things.  let me just say this blog is my blank canvas and i can't wait to see how it unfolds.  i enjoy many things in life but i am a poser really.  none of my passions come natural to me but i still love the journey.  i may not have anything orginal to say.  surely you won't find any craft templates here (you might. and don't call me shirley).  the recipes you will find here?  well let's just say half of them will come out burnt.  but if you still have your christmas tree up, enjoy too much chocolate and need a laugh come sit next to me.  who knows maybe we can make this a second date....

this is me! coco plum.