I kind of dress like a caveman anyway

Hey, look at the calendar! Look look! It's the last day of August! I know today's high is 102, but tomorrow it will be September and the leaves will turn colors and the air will be crisp and we'll all pull out our jackets and cute hats and new school supplies and football schedules and spiced apple cider recipes and everything will be okay again. Whew!

Okay, I know. But please just let me have this dream, y'all. I have had a bad August even for August, which is like saying "That expression was skeptical even for Anna." A variety of factors (weather, travel stress, dead cat) contributed, but if I had to guess, I'd say the primary reason that August was a bust was: lack of food project.

Sooooo here's what we're going to do. We're going to make some Blue Cheese Mousse. No! Wait. I'm saving that bad boy for October. We're going to do a Whole 30! Yay! Because it's what the internet is doing and I am in and of the internet and must do it as well. Seriously, look, all the cool kids are Whole 30-ing. Or rather, just finished, as I am consistently slightly behind everything popular. Or way behind. (I've been on Instagram for well over a month now! Pretty cutting edge, you've probably never heard of it.) I think I'm all set, I read the book and have the other book and I'm trying to stay as open-minded as possible, although I feel like my temperament is less "eat meat and lift heavy things" and more "be a vegetarian and do yoga," so we'll see. Anyway, the takeaway is: no booze, no dairy, no grain, no BEANS. No beans. I feel like it's going to be easier than Bon Appetit though, because on page 261 the Hartwigs say "We will not decree that you must eat shrimp." SOLD!

But first, we eat beans.

Look, all I have to do here is replace the beans and cheese with hunks of meat. Paleo-fied!
Let's eat some other stuff too, just to get it out of our systems.

Again, we just swap out the brie and crackers for meat and meats. This is going to be totally easy.

Fried pickles, fried macaroni and cheese, and ranch dressing becomes meat, meat, kale. Seriously, I can do this in my sleep.

Cheesecake = meatandveggiecake.

You know what, probably easiest just to give up cupcakes.
We did take a bakery tour this week, giving me a chance to make out with a loaf of sourdough bid adieu to bread for a bit. It also gave Anna a chance to be mesmerized by the bread-creation process.

I'm guessing she's not joining me for Meat and Veg Month.

Meanwhile, Ivy has been gently hinting that we may want to re-babyproof the house.


They probably eat shrimp in Stockholm

Wow, can you believe it's been almost a month since I was gloriously freed from my self-imposed Bon Appetit shackles? It's been so great basking in the glow of a world full of recipe variety! I mean, do you even realize how many recipes exist? Bookmarked or pinned on my computer alone? Not to mention the dozens of cookbooks lining my shelves OKAY FINE YOU GUYS IT WAS TOO MUCH FOR ME AND I WENT BACK TO THE LOVING ARMS OF MY CAPTOR. It turns out the real world is overwhelming and I do not like to make decisions.

So I roasted up some chicken.

And I, uh. I made some shrimp.

I mean who didn't see this coming, really?
Anyway, I think I've figured out a way to basically not eat anything interesting in September, so stay tuned because I imagine that will be pretty fun to read about.

So we had back-to-back birthday parties this weekend, as you can probably tell:

Oh, what's that? This was before the first party even started? Excellent.
First up was cousin Levi's party at the Pioneer Town arcade. You know Anna hit the ground running!

It's fine, it's fine. She found a friend to sit with.

Meanwhile, Ivy demonstrated some pretty mean air hockey skills.

Come on, Ivy. Just let your cousin win on his birthday.
Let's just check back in with Anna...yep, all good.

Okay, birthday two, let's do this! Well, pretty disappointing food and decoration from Regan, unfortunately.

Anna seemed a little unsettled by the swirl of fun surrounding her at the Children's Museum.

But she soon realized that there was serious work to be done.

Though she may have been disgruntled that no one else was pitching in.

These cloth vegetables aren't going to pretend to water themselves.
Happy birthdays, Levi and Truman! Ivy can't believe she made it through all that and still no cake.

She's actually just practicing her "incredulous" face in a bid for more screen time here. Rewarded!


Haven't put a lot of effort into anything so far this week, not going to start now

Not a lot to report in the food department this week, although you can read Monday's Food Lush post for a California restaurant review. There's some food in that one. I'm sort of recovering from vacation and possibly gearing up for another project, so I've been doing this thing where I just go to the grocery store and buy some food that looks good then season it and heat it up. Did you know you could do that? Spend ten or fifteen minutes a day on dinner and that's it? Ugh. It's tragic how some people live.

Anyway, we're all taking it easy around here this week. Doing a little light reading:

Also some heavier reading.

Applying Vitamin E face masks.

Wouldn't have pegged her for a spa type, but there you go.
Dressing ourselves.

I feel like she's attempting to summon a thumbs up here. So upbeat lately!
And, uh...finger painting.

BOOM, drops mike, walks away.


I was right, I did miss the maternity pants

Hello, all! I have returned from Southern California! It was extremely beautiful.


I know this for a fact because I repeatedly said, "Well, it is beautiful" in the same voice one would say, "Well, at least he went quickly."

Small blessings!

Which is to say, it was not exactly for me. Not SoCal's fault. I believe I am more temperamentally inclined toward, I don't know, Northern Europe. In December. Layers and coffee and scowling, I mean. I would probably move to Scandinavia if I believed I could find palatable liquor there. It was pretty much like those California episodes of Mad Men where Don Draper stops seeming awesome and instead seems sort of awkward and uptight and out-of-place. And I know what you're thinking: Erica, please stop comparing yourself to Don Draper for once. Enough with the striking parallels. But I'm sorry, the symmetry is almost spooky.

The only meaningful difference is that I'm guessing Don Draper did not take pictures of all of his food, but it's not like we know that for sure.

He probably would have taken a picture of this bad boy.

And if you're ever served a salad with multiple flags in it and fail to record it digitally, we are not friends.

This one tasted like chicken!
Okay, in San Diego's defense, they do boast a Hash House A Go Go, which, in retrospect, is where I should have spent the entire four days.

The size of that straw allowed me to slide right down into this Bloody Mary and splash around, Augustus Gloop-style.

Thank GOODNESS Dan had the foresight to get the combination platter here.

I'm still not sure what happened here. I mean, I ate it. Almost all of it. And...I'm looking at it now. Yet I can't quite wrap my mind around it.
Most of the wedding food was very dim and blurry, but this is all that matters: late night grilled cheese (and sliders) on the way out of the reception.

Speaking of foresight.
Thank you to Actual Californian Sarah for steering us toward The Broken Yolk:

They have eggs there!
And thank you to Dan for ordering a French Toast Monte Cristo.

I sleep better at night knowing that this exists.

And big huge thank you to other Actual Californian Elizabeth for soliciting a burrito recommendation for us, which we cashed in late night in the hotel room for maybe the most satisfying meal of the trip.

Also for mailing a lobster hat to me (unrelated) (neither here nor there).
We also had breakfast at our extremely fancy hotel and somehow Dan managed to snag some bread pudding? Made with croissants? And bacon? You know, I'd had a bit to drink by that point in the trip, so I feel like I probably made that up.

It was all a dreeeeeeeeeam.
Anyway, I've got to go, someone's grandparents re-programmed her to wake up at 5:30 am for some reason and I'm sacked.

Practical jokers.


Town: I am out of it.

That's right dearies, after a week that was basically terrible in various ways, I have packed it all up and skipped away to the sunny shores of California. The only hard part was, as always, leaving Anna bereft at my impending absence.

We're actually here for a pretty frou-frou wedding, as evidenced by the fact that the hotel bathroom includes a substance that both cleans your hair and exorcises it of its demons. At least, I hope it cleans your hair.

It is a Fancy Place.

I also spent some time this morning sampling various artesian vinegars.

No joke here, just bragging.
Don't worry, though! We haven't abandoned our humble, ridiculous-food-seeking roots. We spent a leisurely morning at Cafe 222 (WARNING: very annoying website) partaking of such nourishment as peanut-butter-and-banana-stuffed French toast:

Re: "nourishment," YMMV.
And a pumpkin waffle:

As featured in Gourmet magazine!
And now a special tip based on my personal experience, which is of course why you are here: in order to fully enjoy your pumpkin waffle as featured in Gourmet magazine, do not upstage it by ordering a tamale with gravy on the side no matter how much your brain is shouting IT'S RIGHT THERE ON THE MENU THEY OBVIOUSLY DON'T THINK IT'S WEIRD JUST DO IT. Better to skip the waffle entirely.

Hellooooooo, California.
Anyway. I do not know anyone at this wedding and I have spent a great deal of time skulking palely around the pool, fully clothed, quietly humming the theme song to "The Beverly Hillbillies," so I think it's going pretty well so far. But don't be surprised if I end up spending most of the weekend hanging out with this guy.

I feel like he just gets me.