Category Archives: Kids

R.I.P.


“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.”

– John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

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May he rest in peace.

Yogi, my oldest daughter Robyn’s lovable three-legged corgi, left us last week.

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Yogi was such a happy dog.  Her loving nicknames for Yogi included “Yogs” or “Yo-Yo”.

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The day Yogi became part of the family… Who could resist him?

Yogs made me grin when he would run…if you can call it running.   Indeed, it was like watching a huge log of Jimmy Dean sausage on steroids with four Vienna sausages¹ as legs chugging through the grass.

c-10-579Man, he loved to play with a ball.  You’d toss a tennis ball or a toy and he would just instantly turn his back on you and bound away with his tailless butt the only thing you could see…  just like how the famous Willie Mays did after hearing the the crack of the bat.  After he chased it down, he’d bring it back near your feet.  He’d then stare at the now motionless ball… And if Yogi thought you were ignoring him,  he’d use his long, skinny nose to nudge it closer to you if you didn’t pick it up.  “Again!  Again!” he was saying.  The simple joy he must have had.

c-10-575The only time he wasn’t happy was when fireworks went off.  He would cower behind Robyn’s toilet, shaking in fear, with his two shivering rear legs protruding out from behind the toilet.  He was such a lovable wuse.

And he always wanted to be alongside somebody.  “Hey!  Me!  Me!  Look at me!” he was saying in dog-speak.

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Yogi did not like it when I would try to sneak off to work on my computer. He made sure you knew he was there.

Yogs loved everyone – at least everyone who loved dogs.  He was always so happy to see you.  And he also knew who loved him.  He took in my dad and Old Man Jack very quickly on Father’s day in 2011.

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Old Man Jack, my dad and Yogi on Thanksgiving 2010.

When Robyn would bring Yogi to my house, I’m sure he sensed in her car with his doggy nose, “Ooo!  Ooo!  We’re near grandpa’s house…  The house that I can jump onto comfy sofas all I want and leave my hair all over them…and mama can’t say no!  Woof!”

And one of Yogi’s most favorite spots to sit was on my lap as I sat on my sofa; it was a silent doggy signal… His stubby little Vienna Sausage legs would propel him right onto my lap as soon as I sat down.  No invite was necessary.  Then, he would would lovingly lay his head on my nice round belly.

c-10-573Once he made it to my lap, he didn’t have to say one bark; his face said, “Pet me, you dumb human, while I leave tons of my hair as souvenirs!”

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Yogi’s “pet me immediately” look… right on my belly.

Well, perhaps I was stretching it a bit.  Yogs didn’t really care whose lap it was…  It would become HIS spot.  No matter what you were sitting on.  No matter how little space there was…  It was all his space.

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Yogs just HAD to jump on my littlest daughter’s lap. It didn’t bother him one bit the chair was narrower than a plane seat in Economy Class.

But make no mistake about it.  He knew who his mama was.  When Robyn would bring him over to my home to look after him for part of the day and then grew tired of all the attention I was giving him (How rude!), he would patiently wait at the door for his mama to come home.

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Can his nose get any closer to the door?

c-10-585And of course, his “Feed me some of that human food!” face.

“Huh? I don’t care if it has preservatives!  …What???  Mama said no???  Well, if you don’t tell her, I won’t!”²

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It was right before Christmas last year; her usual happy boy Yogi was then not only limping, he would yelp after I patted him on the usual spot: his side near his shoulder.  After a few persistent visits with different vets, Robyn tragically found out why her beloved son was limping.

Yogi had cancer.  He was only eight.

She was devastated.  We all were but I felt most badly for Robyn and I knew exactly how she felt.  Yogi was a big part of her life and he provided much happiness.  But just as if Yogs was her boy, she opted for surgery… but in order to remove the tumor, her beloved Corgi had to lose his leg.

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Yogs sans a leg during his final visit to my home where he had unfettered access to sofas…

He returned home the day after Christmas last year.  Robyn was so happy Yo-Yo was back home.

We went to visit Robyn on August 23rd.  Even with all my failings, Yogs would always greet me with great happiness at the door with his stocky Jimmy Dean Sausage body nearly bowling me over.  But this time, he barely made it over to me as we walked in.  I said, “Yogiiii…  What’s wrong?”  I secretly feared for the worst.  I knew in my heart something was very wrong with Yogi.

She took Yogi to the vet on August 30th.  Inoperable cancer had now spread to his spine; he was in great pain.  She called me over that night to say goodbye as did many other family and friends.  There was great sadness.  But there was a happy moment.  She said I could give Yogi some of my human food deli sandwich.  I think we all gave Yogi some.  He must’ve been so happy.

Yogi left us the next day, August 31st, while being lovingly held by my daughter and son-in-law, just like Masako held my grandma in her arms as she passed away,  Yogi was blessed with having such an adoring mom and dad.

I know he is in doggy heaven.  More precisely, the “Dogs That Brought the Most Happiness to Mom and Dad” wing of doggy heaven.  While very, very sad, I know Robyn’s heart is at peace knowing her beloved Yogi is now free of pain.

I will dearly miss you, Yogs.

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Notes:

  1.  For those who don’t know what a Vienna Sausage is:vienna
  2. No, Robyn, I never gave him my food. 😉

Creamy Spaghetti Carbonara from Scratch


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My foolproof creamy Spaghetti Carbonara from scratch.

I had started out thinking this would be another “She’s Killing Me” story; it certainly qualified but this pasta dish turned out so well that it’ll just be another cooking story.  Well, not completely.

But it’s my creamy Spaghetti Carbonara.

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The kids were in Japan for over three weeks and landed at LAX at night on August 17th.  In short, the ex insisted on picking them up and keeping them for a few days.  But she decided it would behoove her to bring them to my house so she changed the schedule at 3 pm the next day.  They were dropped off at my house at 5:30 pm.  Of course, she had selfish reasons and yes, they were in la-la land from jet lag.  They slept for the most part for the first couple of days.

Seriously, I had mentioned to the kids they should have some kids over since school begins August 31st.  Jack just wanted to stay home but my Little Cake Boss Brooke…  That’s a whole ‘nuther story.

All week, between snoozes, she was asking if I would take her and her friends shopping.

“Sure but DON’T make it last minute, OK?” said I.

Just like the previous two times…  Wednesday, no plans.  Thursday, no plans.  Friday, no plans…  Then Saturday, at 3:30 pm, she says, “Can ‘J’ come over?”

I never learn.  “Sure,” I hesitatingly replied.

“…Can sheeee… eat with us,” she cunningly asked.  Never mind I had gone to the supermarket already for just the three of us.

“Oookay” I replied even more hesitatingly.

Then the whammy: “…Can sheeeeeeeee… sleepover?”

Arrrgghhh.

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So I decided to make Spaghetti Carbonara – for the first time.  I thought her friend J would give some feedback if I asked her.  So I went to Cook’s Illustrated… and the pasta dish turned out excellent if I say so myself.

The ingredients are simple and I had them in the fridge already – except for the Pecorino.  Yes, because of my Little Cake Boss, I had to make another run to the supermarket just for the cheese.  Well, actually two since the first place didn’t carry it:

  • 8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (They’re easier to slice up if you freeze them for a bit.)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 ounces Pecorino Romano, grated (1 1/4 cups)
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Putting it all together was a snap; their instructions are:

1. Bring bacon and water to simmer in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat; cook until water evaporates and bacon begins to sizzle, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until fat renders and bacon browns, 5 to 8 minutes longer.

Doing it in the above manner allows the bacon to remain chewy for the carbonara and not crisp up:

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With the water added to the bacon.
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Water’s nearly evaporated, right around eight minutes. A snap!
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Near the end of the cooking cycle. The bacon turned out as advertised! Chewy yet done and substantial.

2. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Strain bacon mixture through fine-mesh strainer set in bowl.  Set aside bacon mixture.  Measure out 1 tablespoon fat and place in medium bowl.  Whisk Pecorino, eggs and yolk, and pepper into fat until combined.

3. Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. (You use less water than normal for this dish to insure the water you will add to the sauce is real starchy.)  Set colander in large bowl.  Add spaghetti and salt to pot; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente.  Drain spaghetti in colander set in bowl, reserving cooking water.  Pour 1 cup cooking water into liquid measuring cup and discard remainder. Return spaghetti to now-empty bowl.

4. Slowly whisk ½ cup reserved cooking water into Pecorino mixture. Gradually pour Pecorino mixture over spaghetti, tossing to coat. Add bacon mixture and toss to combine. Let spaghetti rest, tossing frequently, until sauce has thickened slightly and coats spaghetti, 2 to 4 minutes, adjusting consistency with remaining reserved cooking water if needed. Serve immediately.

Voila!

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Spaghetti Carbonara, creamy and full of flavor – and not heavy!

Most of all, happy faces!

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The Little (and cunning) Little Cake Boss and her classmate friend “J”.

So give this easy and delicious dish a shot.

Someone will love it!
And by the way, they were up until 4 am.  Let me ask you moms: Why do you even call it a sleepover??!

My Shepherd’s Pie from Scratch


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My shepherd’s pie. The kids love it. They even eat the peas!

Well, my kids finally returned from Japan this past Monday; they had been gone for over three weeks.  Believe me, I didn’t like it ONE bit.  Worst part of it was my ex prevented me from emailing with them for longer than the last two weeks of their stay.  What kind of parent would do that, I ask?  There are some other irritating things about this trip – like her postponing applying for the Little Cake Boss’ passport until the last minute.  They finally picked it up from the Federal Building in Westwood two working days before their departure in late July.  No kidding.

But they are back albeit badly jet lagged; they went back to their mom’s today after a groggy week with me.  I had asked them what they would like to eat their second night back now that they are home and Jack immediately, said, “Shepherd’s Pie!”  So Shepherd’s Pie it was.

As a couple of my friends have asked me to provide them with the recipe, I thought I’d take a break from writing about my Leyte pilgrimage.  The pilgrimage was emotionally draining; it still is weighing on my heart, especially when I write about it for my family’s sake.

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On Leyte, July 2015.

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The recipe is quite easy.  I use Rachael Ray’s recipe for this one instead of my standby cooking bible, Cook’s Illustrated.  Besides, she’s as cute as a button.  (Did you know some “pro” chefs on TV don’t think she should be showing people how to cook?)

The ingredients are:

2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 3/4 pounds ground beef (lean preferred for me)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock or broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it
1/2 cup frozen peas, a couple of handfuls
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
For the potatoes, I use russets, about four of the potatoes found in your typical supermarket’s bulk bag.  While I wash the skin, I leave the skin on and drop them into cold water with about an inch to cover.  The reason I start with cold water is that I believe (ha) that the potatoes will cook more uniformly.  I feel that dropping them into boiling water will cook them unevenly, from the outside-in.
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Boil potatoes and remove when done.

Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream.  Add the cream mixture into slightly mashed potatoes then mash until potatoes are almost smooth.

While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef or lamb. Season meat with salt and pepper.  Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes.  Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together two minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy one minute.  Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas.

Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve.
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As a side note, I do cook the carrots a bit first, then add the ground beef and onions to brown.  If still frozen, I throw the peas in for a minute before I add the gravy mixture.
Lastly, you’re not going to see the paprika and chopped parsley leaves in the picture above because… I forgot.  Old age sucks.
Enjoy!

She’s Killing Me #10


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“Noooo-ah!” But too late. She was the last person to get out of the car…again.

She’s killing me, I tell ya.

My Little Cake Boss Diva.

Even way up in Seattle.  Her killing me is not restricted to home.  It is unrelenting.

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While some of her photographs will be shown below, a quick she’s-killing-me story first.

We weren’t even in Seattle for three hours when the onslaught continued.  (Don’t think she didn’t try to kill me during the flight.  Even my warning her of plain clothes air marshals being on board didn’t deter her.).

After quickly checking in, we met my good friend Rick; like any good buddy, he treated my two kids and me to dinner.

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My good buddy Rick, a USAF veteran. He liked blowing things up. Still does… but all his Mustangs are slower than mine.

As I had brought some cigars for him but forgot them in the room, we had to return to the hotel.  While he and his gal waited in the lobby, I escorted the kids up to the room.

Knowing my Little Cake Boss Diva, I sternly said, “Brooke, do NOT touch anything, OK?”

“Okaaay-ah!” she replied… and I headed back down to the lobby, cigars in hand.

I wasn’t with him for more than fifteen minutes before I returned to the room.  Yes, I was worried she was up to something.

So I opened the door.  Wham.  A rush of frigid artic air hit me.  Mumbles (from Happy Feet) would have been pleased.

At the other end of the room, there she was on top of the air conditioner grill…sitting on a blue bed cover sheet with her butt square in the middle with her hands on either side trying to keep the sheet down.  She was attempting to stop the flow of air conditioned air blasting out of the A/C.  Talk about the Lucy Show.  She was Lucy.  I was Ricky, down to the “Ai-ya-yai, Lucy!”

Before I could yell, “Brooke!”, Jack immediately ratted out on his sister.

“Papa, she was doing something that she wasn’t supposed to and turned on the air conditioner!  She doesn’t know how to turn it off so it’s freezing in here!”  He was very pleased with himself for tattling.

Now I could yell, “Brooke!  I told you NOT to touch anything!”

“Hee-hee…” she replied with her trademark “I’m VERY innocent” smile making for a happy face complete with adorable chubby cheeks..

I turned off the air then she scampered over to the one cup coffee brewer.  What do you all that gizmo?  A Keurig?  Sure enough, there was one empty slot.  She had brewed herself some coffee.

19105232875_47cbae4ee2_o“Brooke!  What were you doing brewing yourself coffee?!  You don’t even know how to use that thing!”

“Welllll-ah!  I was freezing-ah!  And I can read (the directions) so I made myself something like a latte, okaaaay-ah?  Sheesh!”

She’s only twelve.  OMFG.

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Anyways, that’s one of her traits…besides doing the opposite of what I say.  She has to try everything…except clean her room.

So as in my previous post – and not being pleased with the way Jack was taking pictures – she commandeered my pretty new bazillion dollar Canon DSLR for pretty much the rest of the trip.

I only gave her one pointer: to cradle the lens with her left hand while shooting.  For once, she actually followed my instructions.

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c-10-340But anyways, here are some of her photos taken with my bazillion dollar camera:

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Jack and me at the bottom left.
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Handheld macro!
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Handheld macro!

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Handheld macro!

c-10-334c-10-328c-10-333c-10-331c-10-332So what do you think of her abilities?

Her photography… Not on how she’s killing me.

Some Disappointment


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Jack is now headed to high school come September having graduated from middle school.

The last two weeks have been exciting if not challenging with all the kids’ activities.

In addition to an 8th grade party and his 14th birthday, my youngest son Jack has graduated 8th grade and is heading off to high school come September.  Not only did he receive recognition for perfect attendance, he also made honor roll.

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Jack receiving recognition for perfect attendance.

In addition, my Little Cake Boss Diva has had rehearsals – lots of them – culminating in recitals… Twelve performances in total Friday, Saturday and Father’s Day Sunday.  During the past ten days or so, I must have made at least 25 round trips taking both her and food to and from dance rehearsals and performances.  Believe me, I have enough for TWO “She’s Killing Me” stories but you won’t be bored with them now; I shall refrain.

Insofar as these rehearsals and recitals go, she needs to be dropped off in full makeup and costume an hour before the start of every event.  But as I dropped her off on Saturday and watched her get to the entrance, it was clear that she was no longer my little girl.

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She is pretty much a teenager – a bit too early.

Still scatterbrained, though…Her brain has ceased to function now that school is over except she still wouldn’t let me take her picture.

Well, maybe just this one, taken with my cell phone past 10pm and after tonight’s recital.  It was taken in the light flowing out from the main lobby of the performing arts center.

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Very pixelated and grainy but it’s just for the memories.

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The annual recital was called “Arabian Nights”.

But my girl and boy are not the focus of this post… “Some disappointment” is my focus.

While my Little Cake Boss Diva performed five routines flawlessly Friday night (opening number, lyrical, tap, jazz, ballet), it’s about what the dance school decided to name the recital: Arabian Nights.  That is the source of the disappointment for me.  Of course, I have no say-so in the matter.

Perhaps it’s just the patriotism in me that’s clouding my vision – but it’s there plain as day.  Arabian Nights.  No, I am not racist but I do feel we are at war.  It is abundantly clear our young boys are dying each day in a godforsaken region in which Arabian Nights is based upon yet this implies something else to me.

Let us view it differently.  If a dance school in 1942 were to name their recital “Celebration of Nazi Folklore” or “A Tokyo Love Story”, would there be some boycotting or outrage?  I would think so.  Remember there were death camps and executions of prisoners of war.  Besides, it just wouldn’t make sense.  We were at war… and we are now.

Their opening number was called “Arabian Jewels”.  Other performances were entitled “40 Thieves” and “Walk Like an Egyptian” (talk about stereotyping).

How about a theme like “The Andrew Sisters” with tap dancing to songs like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”?  Or how about celebrating the much needed morale boosting supplied by the Hollywood Canteen?  Think of all the marvelous smiles these stars like Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis, Ray Bolger and Ginger Rogers provided our service men and women with their dance at the Hollywood Canteen.  Wouldn’t that would be something that these girls could dance to?

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Shirley Temple providing much needed smiles at the Hollywood Canteen.

Has the foundation upon which our country is based crumbled that far?  At least we recited the Pledge of Allegiance at Jack’s graduation.

Anyways, I was just expressing some disappointment.  I’m sure to many, this may be seen as cultural awareness.  I do loathe sharia law which is intertwined in Arabian Nights. It is totally contra to our Constitution.

I guess the answer lies within which side of the fence you are on.

She’s Killing Me #9


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About five years ago… when she was just my little girl.

She’s killing me, I tell ya.

My Little Cake Boss Diva.

If I were a cat, I am on my ninth life.

Well, maybe my tenth.

Unfortunately, I am a dog.  A dog that loves to sit on a human’s legs.  But unfortunately, dogs don’t have nine lives, you know.

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Her mind is on summer vacation; school is out this week.  It is a signal to her brain to cease functioning.  Well, not completely.  She can still text like crazy.

While her brain is normally stock full of smarts, it is now replaced with shades of nail polish, texts, BFFs, the mall(s), dance… and scatter-itis.

Scatter-itis, like scatter-brained in layman’s terms.

And she did not get that from me – but since it is me who is writing this, I can say that.

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2009

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My Little Cake Boss Diva was with her mother last week and as in every school year before, she has to turn in her textbooks.

Simple…unless your brain has stopped functioning.

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So my last visit to the gallows started at her orthodontist on Friday morning, June 12th.  Not that her mother told me she was taking her.

I will let my Little Cake Boss Diva’s texts speak for themselves:

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And when she says “in my room”, she is referring to my home.
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Car, not cat. I am blaming spell check.

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So I planned to be at home when school got out…  so she could see for herself her textbook wasn’t here LIKE I SAID.  One thing about my Little Cake Boss Diva: once she thinks she’s right, not even a jackhammer the size of Bumblebee can break it up.  (She did not get that from me.)

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Believe me, I bit my tongue when she said she wasn’t dropping by after I purposely came back home… but I’m sure her mother made that decision, also on purpose.  And in case you’re wondering, the “dolphin” is this huge plush toy I got her many years ago.
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“He” is my son Jack. I asked to make sure he had his own room; I have never seen interior pictures of my ex’s home…although my younger brother has.

text 9I slowly bled to death in those seven hours.  I had so many morphine shots administered that addiction is looming.  And perhaps you may be wondering why we didn’t talk on her iPhone that I bought and pay for monthly?

Don’t ask.

Somebody, please help me.

I am running out of lives.

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BUT, the saga of her killing me for the bazillionth time is not over… Not just yet.  She is still with her mom who is supposed to take care of all her dance stuff by virtue of the divorce agreement.  (You know, the same mom who apparently made no real effort to locate her textbook.)

The very next day – June 13th – my Little Cake Boss Diva was thoughtful enough to have arranged for my funeral services.  She even gave the eulogy from her mid-day Saturday dance class via iPhone.  Isn’t technology amazing?

Her eulogy via her iPhone began like this:

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text 99Luckily, I was an un-dead.  I had not been cremated yet so I managed to get into my car and drive to her dance studio by 12:30.  While I was certain her precious sheet of paper was not in my house, I knew she would not be satisfied unless she came to inspect her impeccably un-tidy room herself.  She thinks she’s always right, you know.

So she comes out a few minutes late (as usual), lugging her abundantly odoriferous dance bag and her plastic “dance bucket” filled with 1,000 pairs of her various dance shoes.

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Her bucket with her 1,000 pairs of dance shoes. BTW, there is a bottom to this pit, you know.

As soon as she got in, I expertly maneuvered the car out of the battle zone filled with crazed dance moms driving their battle tanks.  I think my Little Cake Boss Diva expected me to give her a piece of my mind for the textbook fiasco just the day before but I instead calmly asked, “Brooke, are you SURE it’s not at mama’s or in your dance bag?”

“Yessssss-ah! And it’s not at mama’s!” she annoying replies in her valley girl phonetics.

I look at her bucket and see a small corner of a piece of paper through the jumbled mess of 1,000 pairs of shoes.  “Brooke, did you look in your bucket?  The bucket you carry to dance class five days a week?”

“Yessssssssss-ah!” she instantly says while gesturing with her hands, palms up, fingers spread out… then looks down at the bucket, pushes around a couple of shoes, and pulls out the paper she was looking for…  You know, the vital paper she said was not at her mother’s house but at my house…in the bucket she sticks her manicured fingers into many times a week.

“Oooops…  Hee-hee-hee…” grinning then saying, “Sorry.”  No sorrrrry-ah, though.

I turn the car around and drop her off without saying a word.  My body is late for the cremation, you know.

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If you are unable to tell, my Little Cake Boss Diva is in the orange shirt.

Italian Sausage Pasta with Spinach


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My Italian Sausage Pasta with spinach.

So a number of months ago, my kids asked of me the unthinkable – again: “Papa, can you make something different?”

Jiminy Crickets.  How can 12 and 13 year old kids want something different, especially when one likes cheese only pizza and the other only pepperoni?  Trying to make something BOTH will like?  Why couldn’t they be satisfied with my culinary masterpieces (LOL) like:

  • Fettucine Alfredo with Prosciutto
  • Shepherd’s Pie
  • Spaghetti al Limone
  • Gyoza (potstickers)
  • Ma-bo Dofu (Szechuan Tofu)
  • Ham with Homemade Honey Glaze and Scalloped Potatoes
  • Enchiladas
  • CPK’s Pesto Creme Penne Pasta
  • Croquettes (コロッケ)
  • Chicken Katsu
  • Beef Teriyaki with Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
  • Spaghetti and Homemade Meatballs
  • Wilted Spinach Salad
  • Grilled Chicken with Lemon and Chive Pan Sauce
  • Burritos
  • Etc?

Let’s not even address breakfast, like my buttermilk pancakes or waffles from scratch even on school days.  Well, I didn’t milk the cow nor grew the wheat that makes the (King Arthur) flour.  I need to be honest about that.

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So I went to my trusted source.  No, not Cook’s Illustrated.  This time, my oldest daughter Robyn, who’s become quite an accomplished cook herself (She got that from me.).

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My oldest daughter’s prime rib. Yum!

I forgot from which site the recipe came from, but as soon as I said to my kids, “Robyn has a new recipe for pasta,” they said OK!

That’s the magic word, you know.  “Robyn”.  It’s never my saying I’ll make something new.

But this recipe (with a couple of modifications) is ideal for a dutch oven… and it’s easy!

  • 3/4 pound pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound mild or spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Swanson chicken broth
  • Fresh basil chiffonade (to your liking but I use about two stalks of fresh leaves)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 bag fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Cooking:

  1. Heat a skillet (or Dutch oven)
  2. Add olive oil
  3. Brown onion until transparent
  4. Add Italian sausage.  Crumble and cook until pink is almost gone
  5. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds
  6. Add broth, basil and tomatoes with liquid
  7. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes to slightly reduce. Add chopped spinach and fresh basil
  8. Cover skillet and simmer on reduced heat until spinach is tender.

In meantime, aggressively boil your pasta (I like to use Penne or Ziti) until al dente.  Drain.

Add pasta to skillet and mix together. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

Done!

And you know what?  The kids liked it…because it was Robyn’s recipe.