Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Streak is Broken

The whole purpose of the other two blogs about the SF Giants was to get  us to this one. It won't be as long and wordy, I promise.

After the 2010 season, K and I had bigger fish to fry... like getting married. So we weren't fortunate enough to catch a live game all of the 2011 season. It was a little sad considering all the activity we had in 2010, but getting married was worth missing some games. Since we are still trying to play catch up from the wedding, we didn't think any games were on the horizon for us in 2012 either...

That is until K's best friend said she had never been to a game with K and wanted to be able to experience the game through her excitement and happiness - so she bought us all tickets to the Giants v. Angels game at Anaheim Stadium.

Here are some pics:

Our seats. Not baaaad!!!
Giants fans everywhere - rockin' the
suit and flip flops, dude!
The hot dogs were gianormous! My kind of dog!
Uhhh... I will keep the comments to myself. This brave woman
posted this to Facebook!! Love her for her bravery!! LOL
The Crew after getting beat by the Angels. Thanks Zito!
And thanks Mrs. Fix for being sure to show the angels love.
*Scratching my head in confusion* :o)
Thank you Mrs. & Mrs. Fix for our first game in over a year, a great night, and memories we will forever cherish! 

Then... after not going to any games in over a year, I got a call Friday from a friend that has season tickets and he wanted to know if K and I wanted to go to that game. When it rains, it pours - but in this case, in a good way! Granted, they weren't playing the Giants... in fact, they were playing our arch nemesis, the Dodgers. We went anyway and had a great time. Here's a couple shots from that game:

A little higher than we usually sit, but great view of the field!
Oooohhhhh

Aaaaahhhhh

Finished it off with fireworks!
It was a fun game, despite having to sit next to a Dodgers fan the whole time. There was a lot of friendly ish talking. I wish I got his phone number because I would love to be able to gloat about how we just swept the Dodgers and are now tied for first. BOOOYAH!

World Champions!!

Disclaimer: This post may be a little long... especially considering those that might not love baseball so much. 

The 2010 season was - by far - THE best season for the Giants and for me and K.

It started out in Arizona at Spring Training.


My mom happened to be on her yearly trip to Arizona at the same time we were going to be there for Spring Training so we bought her a ticket, gave her a Cubbies hat (even thought that wasn't even who we were playing) and had a great time. Quite possibly my first baseball game ever with my mom! That drunken fool was our host for this fun-filled weekend. (He wasn't really that drunk.) Him and his wife we super nice, cooked amazing meals, and were fantastic hosts!

Here's one of the whole crew that weekend:


SO much fun! If you are a baseball fan and have never been to Spring Training - GO!!! It's fun, cheaper thank regular season, the stadiums are smaller and more intimate, and despite the Arizona heat, I am 99.9% sure you will enjoy it!

Back to California we went. K's wonderful sister bought us tickets to the home opening game. We were SO excited to go, not only because it was opening day, but also because it was our first game with our two sweet nieces. We just had to get ourselves up to the Bay Area. We did that...


And then? The game had a gnarly rain delay. We waited and waited and waited... we stuck around as long as we could, but because of the long drive home and having to work the next day, we had to leave. Of course, shortly after we left, the rain left with us and the game started. A friend of mine of FB even posted an amazing picture of the park with a rainbow... a freaking rainbow! And we missed it all. :o(

Next up? A night game with my sister and nephew! I wanted desperately to go to a night game. On TV you see people all bundled up, sipping hot chocolate - miserable to most people, but for some reason, I wanted to experience that camaraderie. As you can see by the pictures below, as any typical day in San Francisco, we started the day in t-shirts and ended it with beanies, gloves, and sweatshirts!


After that, we took a break. Since we live outside of the area, we had to listen to the games on the internet radio, usually hovered over a puzzle, but we were tuned in the majority of the season. If we couldn't listen to the game, we were plugged into our phones, staying connected.

Then came September. K and I decided to do a little weekend getaway to San Diego. I can't remember if we went there with the intent of going to the game. I don't think we did, and if that was the case, I am pretty sure K went with the intent of going to the game -- she just forgot to clue me in on it. I can't remember.

Anyway, like true form to us... we had so much fun at the first game, we bought tickets for the rest of the games that weekend. A splurge I am positive we shouldn't have done, but it was well worth it!

The second day was September 11th and they brought this amazing flag onto the field. It was quite emotional. I'm not sure why I don't have more pictures of this game... perhaps because my camera had that weird hue to it so I didn't take many. But here's what made the whole splurge of a weekend worth it...


K, in her 38 years of being a faithful Giants fan, having gone to numerous games, and never getting a ball her entire life, got not one... not two... but THREE balls!! She got them all during batting practice, but whatever! She was the happiest I think I have ever seen her... perhaps even happier than our wedding day. LOL I am a little embarrassed to admit that I can't remember who the third one came from.
  1. Jeremy Affeldt - Relief Pitcher
  2. Dave Righetti - Pitching Coach
  3. Aaaaannnnnnnddd.... *Shrug* 
I am sure it's someone fabulous that I am going to feel like an idiot for not remembering later.

Then... then... came the BEST GAME EVER! 
My awesome sister lives in Chicago. Chicago has one of the oldest, coolest stadiums in the MLB - Wrigley field, of course. We planned our trip specifically for when the Giants would be in town. We went, fully expecting to get tickets of Stub Hub. But then... my awesome sister tells me that my even awesomer brother-in-law got us tickets from a co-worker with season tickets, or something. I thought, "Right on. I bet they'll be decent seats if they are from a season ticket holder." 

My sister sends me the seating "assignment" and was all nonchalant like, "Are those good?" She doesn't love baseball like I do, so perhaps she didn't really know, but I looked them up online and OH! MY! GAWD! THEY WERE NINE ROWS BEHIND HOME PLATE!!! Best seats of.my.life.

  1. There's Kelly with the infamous Ivy. We were like kids in a candy store and all the Wrigley staff were super nice. If I was more prepared for this blog and wanted to put more energy into it, there are about 100 more pics I could dig up and share, including a certificate they gave us for it being our first time at Wrigley. Awesome hospitality!
  2.  There's a view of our seats.That's Buster Posey at bat. Don't worry, we'll get to him. 
  3. Clearly, we kicked ass and took names! Such a fun game! 
Since I brought up Buster Posey, I might as well talk about him now. We brought him up to the big leagues sometime near the end of 2009, but I don't really remember him much until the 2010 season. He was, and is, AMAZING! Star catcher, fantastic batter, young, and adorable. Just what the Giants needed. Our current catcher was decent, but getting up there in years and didn't just have the spunk that this kid brought. Here he is - absolutely adorable and bad ass all at the same time. Not only that, but he became my new, and current, favorite Giant:
 
 
Wait.  I feel like I am missing some games. In fact, I know I am. 
So, in my other blog about the Giants I mentioned that my first love was Pablo "Panda" Sandoval and how he was the player that was on my first Giants t-shirt. At one of the games, they were selling grab bags that had a mixture of Giants paraphernalia in it and, if you were lucky, a signed ball by one of the players. I, of course, didn't want to do it, but K insisted. So, we buy a grab bag and open it up as we're walking away. K opens it up and ... pulls out a ball! You can never read their autographs, but under his autograph was the number "48".
K was like, "who is 48?"
"I don't know," I reply... Couple seconds of us wracking our brains... My eyes light up and, "HONEY! What number is on the back of my shirt?!!!!"
K, "HOLY SHIT! It's 48! This is Panda's ball!"
We were elated.

The All-Star game was held in Anaheim for 2010. They had some contest where they had a Mickey Mouse in all the different team's gear located throughout California. If you went around to each one and took your pic with them, you could submit it to someone and you could win 4 tickets to the All-Stars game. K and I didn't care much about that, but we of course googled where the Giants Mickey was. It was conveniently located at Fashion Island, right here in Orange County. So we headed out there to get a pic of the Giants Mickey:


Ultimately, the Giants made it to the play-offs. We were SO excited. During the playoffs was when our closer, Brian Wilson, started the "Fear the Beard" frenzy.


There is a big back story about Brain's beard, but I will spare you. If you're a fan and reading, you already know the story. If you're not a fan and REALLY want to know, leave a comment and I will share it.

We won the first round!! We were the 2010 National League Champions! We could hardly stand the excitement ahead. We watched every game (at this point, all the games are televised so we tuned in!) The games were intense!

Halloween weekend and we were in the last series of the playoffs. We drove up North to surprise K's sister and celebrate in the Giants glory (you don't find much Giants glory down in Southern California). We had a great time getting to watch the game with a house full of Giants loving family was a blast and made us a little homesick. Perhaps we could get used to this?

I had to work on Monday, so we had to go home. We went home with the Giants only needing to win one more game to become the World Champions. We watched the game Monday night and I'll be damned!


We whooped and hollered and shed a few tears! What an amazing season. It was the first time the Giants had won it in 53 years! Needless to say, those life long fans were elated!!!! It was a time to celebrate!!

Remember I said we drove home on Sunday and they won Monday. Well on Tuesday, K calls me and says, I am going back up North for the victory parade. What? We just got home! And I have to work!! OK, hold on... let me talk to my boss. I begged. I explained it's a once in a lifetime chance. I promised him I would be back on Thursday to help with the event we had been planning for months. He finally gave me the green light.

So after getting home late Sunday, we turned around and drove the 8+ hours back up North Tuesday afternoon. We arrived in Vacaville at about 1am on Wednesday, went to bed at maybe 3am and were back up at 5am to meet two of K's sisters so we could drive to concord and hop on BART.

Got to the City. I got separated from them in the BART Station. If it weren't for K's uber tall sister with bright red hair, I might have never found them again!! Thank goodness for her! We walked around for a few hours, bought a bunch of t-shirts, and finally found a spot to watch the parade. (Again, if I wanted to put in more time and energy, I would have a lot more pictures, but ... this is what you get.)

This is us being silly on BART on the way there. We weren't quite that cute on the way home. You see all those people in the second picture? Yeah... those people were trying to get home on BART the same time we were. We were hot and packed like smelly sardines on the way home. It was a time to remember!

Here's a more accurate glimpse of just how many people came out to celebrate their team:


It was in-sane! I am glad I went. I am glad I can say I was there. I am also glad to say that when they win it again, I will stay home with the kids and watch the parade from home. LOL

We made it home by about 3am on Thursday morning and I had to be at work by 8am. The most memorable, most insane, most fun trip up North we've had! 

You see? The 2010 season rocked for us in more ways than one! Eventually, we want to be able to watch the Giants in every stadium out there. Our next stop is going to be the Colorado Rockies. Keep the sheets clean, Lisa because you're never really sure when we might show up. (OK, you could probably narrow it down to a few dates per year, but you get what I'm saying. :o)

To be continued...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mexican Mac n Cheese

K and I have recently started working two jobs. She works early mornings (like 4am) and I work nights (until about 10pm). I am the house chef (scary, I know), so with me not being home in the evenings to cook, we'd both go hungry if I didn't figure something else out. My sister suggested casseroles because they keep well and are an easy nuke-when-we-get-home kind of meal. So lately, I have been making a casserole Sunday night that we eat at the beginning of the week and then hope I have a night off half way through the week to make another one for the end of the week.

Last week's casserole was a fluke, so I haven't bothered blogging it. It was just a tuna casserole.. nothing exciting, but I put frozen peas in it that were so frozen (and by frozen I mean old and freezer burned) that they were almost freeze dried. The peas ruined the whole dish. Sure, you could eat around them, but that was too much work for my liking.

Anyway, back to this dish.

I found the recipe on Better Homes and Garden. I may have mentioned it before, but I love Mexican anything. (OK... don't take that too far, we are just talking food, here!) I think maybe I was Mexican in a past life, but wouldn't that mean I would be good at cooking Mexican and not just good at eating it? 

Here it is:

Recipe:


12 ounces dried mostaccioli or rigatoni pasta (3 cups)
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1 - 16 ounce jar green medium-hot salsa
2 - 8 ounce package shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 cups)
Tomato wedges, sliced jalapeno peppers, and chopped fresh cilantro
Salsa (optional)

 Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 3-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in large skillet cook sausage and onion until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain fat, Return sausage and onion to skillet. Stir in green salsa.

3. In prepared baking dish layer half of the cooked pasta, half the sausage mixture, and half the cheese. Repeat layers. Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes. Top with tomato, jalapeno, and cilantro. If desired, serve with additional salsa. Makes 12 servings.

The Review:

Well, it was good. Not spectacular, but good. In typing this blog and reviewing the ingredients (and cooking a second casserole that I didn't have the right ingredients for, but swore I bought them), I realized I messed up on the cheese. :o| You see, I'm tired. Working two jobs is tiring. I went to the store and got the ingredients for two different casseroles. One called for mozzarella cheese and... You know, as I try and make sense of this, it baffles me even more so let me spare you the baffle and just move on.

So here's what I did, I grated an entire small block of mozzarella and quite a bit of cheddar. I thought the recipe called for a cup of each (which I didn't think was enough, but whatever. I rarely do the exact amounts of cheese the recipe calls for anyway.) As you can see, this recipe calls for two (2) 8 ounce packages of shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Idk how I missed that. Maybe this is why it didn't turn out spectacular?

Whatever. Outside of the cheese screw up, and the optional Tomato/Jalapeno/Cilantro/Salsa garnishes, I followed the recipe as is. I was thinking maybe next time instead of so much green salsa, I would do half the salsa and 8 oz of cream cheese to make it more creamy and more cheesy. However, perhaps next time I will just do the right kind and right amounts of cheese the stinkin' recipe calls for. :o\


P.S. Teenah this blog is for you. ;o)



Friday, June 22, 2012

Love Affair with the San Francisco Giants




I have always had a love for baseball (usually live baseball that included my nephews playing) and I grew up in the Bay Area. I even worked for Pacific Bell/SBC/AT&T, who own the Giants baseball stadium, but I was never really a Giants fan. To be honest, I haven't been much of a pro-sports fan ever. Of course I would jump at the opportunity to go to a professional game. Who wouldn't? It's such a fun atmosphere, full of energy and fun people to watch. It's a guaranteed good time!

It wasn't until 2009 when K and I started dating that I fell in love with the Giants. Almost her entire family not only love the Giants, but have been life long fans. One of the few times I got to meet her dad before he passed away was spent in front of the TV watching a 15 inning game. I caught on quick that it would be in my best interest to learn to the love Giants.

It didn't take much. This team full of a "cast of characters" had me from the beginning.


Pablo Sandoval, aka "The Panda" was my first favorite. How can you not love a guy called The Panda because he looked like the Kung Fu Panda. Not to mention he was probably the best player on the team at the time. It is his name and number that is on the back of my first Giants t-shirt.


The infamous 2-time Cy Young award winning, pot smoking pitcher, Tim "Timmy" Lincecum , aka "The Freak" that had an uncanny awkward likeness to the kid from Dazed and Confused.


Freddy Sanchez and all his weird faces he makes when he's at bat. It took me a while to love this guy, but I eventually did.




Let's not forget the uncomfortable batting stance of Aaron Rowand.


Oh, and their stadium is A-MAZING! Surrounded by the beautiful City of San Francisco on one side and the Bay on the other. There is no stadium like it! You can take the Ferry in to the City and it drops you off right at the back entrance of the stadium. And I don't know how they know when to start hovering, but somewhere between the 8th and 9th innings, all the seagulls show up waiting to devour the snacks left behind by all the spectators. It is a one of a kind experience. 

 I came in at the back end of the 2009 season, but  knew that it was the beginning of a life long love.

The 2010 season was the best season ever. Even though I had only been a fan a short time, I am pretty sure life long fans would agree that it was the best season ever. Not only was it great for me and K personally, but it was the year the Giants finally became the World Series Champions!!!

Stay tuned for a recap of our 2010 season!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Carmelita Melt Down

A couple of weekends ago, the SIL and I got into a serious baking kick. I think we baked four different sweet recipes. Ridiculous.

She made these things called Carmelitas. They are delicious, but a little on the rich side. Of course, K loved them. At first I was just like, "of course she does". It wasn't until the SIL said that the Carmelitas reminded them of something their grandma made that I decided I would make them for K sometime in the future.

The SIL got the recipe from Lulu the Baker. She doubled her recipe and I was debating doubling mine. K loves a sweet after dinner and the SIL said it freezes well so I figured, what the heck... I would go ahead and double the recipe.

The Recipe
32 caramel squares, unwrapped
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until completely smooth; set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, and baking soda.
Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of an 8x8" pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust.
Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture over caramel.
Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.
Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.

*A stint in the fridge will help them cool off if you're pinched for time. They shouldn't be served cold, but all of that molten caramel takes a long time to cool down. They should be stored and served at room temperature.

**To make a 9x13" version, simply double the amounts. 

The key word there? "Simply". Apparently in the world of me, doubling a recipe isn't so simple.

I didn't double the flour. I thought I doubled the butter but in hind sight, my math brain was taking the day off and what I thought was a cup and a half of butter was really just the 3/4 cup it called for. And in reviewing this recipe for the blog, I am pretty sure I didn't put the full amount of brown sugar in.

Hence, the "Carmelita Melt Down".


The SIL "Melt Down"

Despite the melt down, and it being more caramel than anything else, they were still a hit. K devoured them, the SIL had an even bigger meltdown when she attempted to warm it to put over ice cream (above), and my boss nearly put himself into a sugar induced coma because he ate so many of them.

So, I guess even with major mistakes, it was still a hit and comes highly recommended. I think from now on I will stick with the recipe and stay away from doubling.