It was the end to a truly wonderful year. I was featured on the front page of the OC Register on Dec. 31. There is my column and name call out at the top.
I write a weekly parenting column for the OC Family section of the Orange County Register (I also edit the 12-page section). Sometimes I'll spend hours picking the right word, contiplating the right imagry or simply writing and rewriting my column. That's what makes this so funny to me. This column was a silly, simple list of "10 Things Mommmy Will Stop Doing in the New Year." I wrote it in less than 1/2 an hour. I hesitantly submitted it.
Don't misunderstand, I was thrilled to have the exposure! I think it's a solid lesson to me as a writer. Sometimes I have to take a chance. I have to just get something down on paper. I have to submit!
One of my favorite quotes on writing is by one of my favorite authors, Anne Tylor: "If I waiting until I felt like writing, I would never write anything at all."
It's a challenge to find nice New Year's decor for the home. I loved this handmade "Happy New Year" banner I bought from the ETSY store Paramore Art Studios. Please take time to visit her shop. She sells Valentine's, Easter, Christmas and custom banners. She is wonderful and the prices are right! ($25).
We changed it up this year for New Year's Eve. I wanted to host at my house to give the kids more time together. For the last 10 years we have eaten dinner at Joe's Crab Shack in Newport Beach and then all shuffled off to our own homes, but this year called for something new!
We rang in the New Year with a silly hat party! The *ahem* kids loved the idea and really got into it!
I served this fantastic adaptation of Tyler Florence's Ultimate Lasagna recipe by Kayotic Kitchen. It takes some time, but well worth the extra work. It is delicious and served all 15 people at the party! Kayotic Kitchen provides a step-by-step pictorial guide to this recipe which is much appreciated.
I also served Martha Stewart's Lemon Drop Champagne Punch. I doubled the recipe -- in order to serve all the adults -- and tripled the vodka (Oh, yeah!) to make it more flavorful.
At the last minute I realized I didn't have any bread to serve with the pasta and salad. My mom came to my rescue and improvised these delicious Garlic Oregano Biscuits.
Here's how she made it.
Garlic Oregano Biscuits
One roll of Pillsbury Grands Biscuits
One stick salted butter
Handful of fresh oregano (Perfect if you're already buying some for the lasagna)
One clove garlic
1/2 Tsp. garlic powder
Completely melt butter in microwave. Take the stems off the oregano. Add pressed garlic, garlic powder and oregano to the melted butter. Open the biscuits and separate. Cut each biscuit in half and dip it into the butter (fully coating). Cheat a little by making sure a little oregano is on each piece. Set the pieces beside each other in an ungreased 8 x 8 ceramic or glass dish. Pop in a preheated 350 degree oven for 14 - 17 minutes.
My mom nailed this ... and, naturally, she looked great in her silly hat!
This is one of my favorite holiday recipes. My friend Robin served it at Christmas over 20 years ago and I've made it every year since. It's super simple and delicious.
Cranberry Pineapple Jello Salad
2 Cups raw cranberries
1 1/2 Cups water
2/3 Cups sugar
1 Small package any red jello
1/2 Cup crushed pineapples
1/2 Cup pecans
In a medium saucepan add water and cranberries. Bring to simmer for ten minutes. Add sugar and jello (reminder it needs to be a small package of red jello). Let partly cool. Add mostly drained pineapples and the pecans. Pour into a pretty dish. Refriderate for 3 - 4 hours.
I don't know how it its that I've never eaten at The Beachcomber Cafe. It's so quintessential Orange County that it seems like every citizen of this county has had to have dined there, at least once. With fresh food and unique cocktails the cafe has quickly become one of my favorite haunts. The open-air patio offers sweeping views of the coastline and if it gets too chilly, the friendly staff will offer diners a warm blanket for their laps.
The cafe was once one of the many quant cottages that pepper the intimate coastline of Crystal Cove State Beach. It was transformed into The Beachcomber Cafe in 2006 by restaurateur Doug Cavanaugh, of Ruby's Cafe fame. (See my interview with Doug here.) In the short time since it opened it has been acclaimed by Gayot and Open Table as "Top Outdoor Dining Experiences in the United States." Not bad and right here in our own county.
It takes a little work to get down to the cafe -- either by shuttle or hoofing it -- but it's well-worth the time. Get there early as the waiting lists begins to grow starting at 10 a.m. You can book a table online at Thebeachcombercafe.com.
My boyfriend, Tim, and I had loads of luck on our last visit. It was a warm and crispy clear November morning in Crystal Cove. We only waited about 15 minutes for our tiny table.
When I mentioned I had never had a Bloody Mary Tim ordered me one promptly at the Bootlegger Bar that's located directly behind the restaurant. It immediately became my favorite cocktail and I have not had its equal since -- though I have tried them on several occasions since Beachcomber.
The menu for breakfast isn't as expansive as most breakfast establishments, but what is offered is fresh, simple and fantastic! The menu rotates seasonally and always offers one omelet, scramble and frittata.
For me the specialty breakfasts are the show stealers. Apple Pecan or Coconut Macadamia Pancakes look delicious but for me, The Florentine Benedict is the clear choice for best on menu. They also offer a Traditional and Crab Cake Benedict. You can go to the Beachcomber website to see what is being served right now.
The lowdown on The Beachcomber Cafe
Breakfast is served from 7 to 11:30 a.m. Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dinner (yes dinner!) is served from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Park in the Los Trancos parking lot off PCH. The shuttle cost is $1, one way. Kids under 12 are free.
The Florentine Benedict
The cafe offers rentals of beach essentials like beach chairs and umbrella rentals during the summer months.