Thursday, April 22, 2010

All Good in Carlsbad

Thatboy and I took the day off work to entertain TFIL and TMIL. TMIL is an AVID reader of Sunset magazine. Not like "oh, I enjoy the articles" kind of reader, but a "some people read the bible, I read Sunset magazine" kind of reader. She literally uses it to plan every every day trip they go on, and every restaurant they eat at. And recently they did an article about Carlsbad. So TMIL requested we go there. You know, because SUNSET MAGAZINE SAID TO.

Which wasn't a big deal for Thatboy and I. We had already planned on taking them to the Flower Fields after our last successful trip. TMIL loves flowers and gardens. She had a fabulous time. And last time we were there, the roses weren't quite in bloom yet, this time they were big, beautiful, and fragrant. So I played some more with my Super Macro.

And we also found this little guy who looks SO freaking cool. And SO freaking scary. Check out those green/blue fangs! And all them eyes! Anyone have a clue what kind of spider this is? I'm thinking "poisonous" but I'm sure someone will fill me in with a more technical name.

After the Flower Fields, TMIL wanted to pick up a gift for the upcoming birthday of Thatniece. So we used a super special "get in free" pass to Legoland to pick up a present. Everyone should visit Legoland for free. I highly recommend it. Because then you get to see dinosaurs made out of legos:

And elephants made out of legos:

And of course, buildings made out of legos! Like the Capitol building in Washington D.C.

And the Lincoln Memorial:

And one of our favorite weekend destinations:

And of course, New York City!!!!

It's fun to see miniaturized versions of places we've been in real life. But not everyone thought it was so much fun. As we were leaving, we saw some parent berating a poor entrance worker. The conversation went something like:

Crazy Angry Mom: You know. I really wish this place didn't have x-boxes.
Poor Entrance Worker: Yes Ma'am.
CAM: I don't even know why you would have video games at an amusement park. Completely unnecessary and it makes things very difficult.
PEW: Yes Ma'am.

Seriously? I mean, I get she was with 3 children, one of whom was crying hysterically....but somehow I don't really see how that's Legoland's fault. Hundreds of children are able to enjoy the park even with a video game in the gift shop...used to sell the many Lego video games that are out there. Because you aren't able to control your ONE child around video games, the entire park should cater to that child? That's not how the world works. I can't wait till the kid goes to a school that uses COMPUTERS or something else mom doesn't want him around.

After Legoland, we headed to the Village of Carlsbad for some lunch and walking around. Except, even though this was exactly what TMIL wanted to do, TFIL complained so much about how tired he was, and how he wanted to go back to the hotel and take a nap, we ended up cutting the trip short and dropping them off for a break while I whipped up dinner.

And what did we have for dinner?

I don't love meatloaf, but Thatboy does, and it cooks quickly. I made this one with ground beef since the inlaws think ground turkey is just for crazy hippies. It's been a while since I've had a ground beef meatloaf, and it was actually pretty good. And covering it with bacon helps ensure the inside stays nice and moist.

1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 lb ground beef
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
3/4 tsp dry mustard
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/8 cup milk
3 strips bacon

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Pat the mixture into a loaf pan and cover with bacon. Bake 45 minutes.

Steamed Green Beans
I'm a huge fan of steamed veggies. I like the crispness of them. Thatboy never had steamed veggies before me, but definitely prefers them tossed with butter.

1 lb green beans

1. Wash beans and remove ends. Steam in steamer basket about 12 minutes.
2. Drain, toss with butter, salt, and pepper to taste.

Hashed Brown Potatoes
I have a HUGE problem with making hashed browns. Remember? As usual, when I'm terrible at something, I turn to Fannie Farmer for the answers. And as usual, she provides. These are not only THE BEST Hashed Brown Potatoes I have ever made, they are also THE BEST Hashed Brown Potatoes I have ever eaten. SO good. The inlaws were very impressed as they have never had anything like that. They're not potato people...which is ironic given their pride on their Irish heritage. I will never ever ever use another recipe again, these are the answer to everything.

6 Tbsp oil
4 cups potatoes, peeled and finely diced
1 Tbsp onion, finely chopped

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Spread the potatoes evenly over the bottom and sprinkle the onion, salt, and pepper on top.
2. I'm bolding this, because this is THE most important part. I have a problem getting my potatoes cooked through so they can be mashed into the skillet for hash brown making. Fannie Farmer says "Cover the pan and cook over a low heat to cook them through; then turn up the heat for a final browning." PERFECT.
3. While potatoes are cooking, you're going to press down on the potatoes firmly with a spatula several times, and cook until the bottom side is golden brown.
4. With the spatula, cut down the middle of the potatoes and turn each side over.
5. Cook until golden, again pressing down with a spatula several times.

And for dessert: Baked Bananas
The inlaws LOVED this. The sweetness of the banana, the tartness of the lemon. And far healthier for TFIL, the diabetic than ice cream or cake.

4 Tbsp butter
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4 firm bananas
4 Tbsp dark brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350. Put butter, lemon rind, and lemon juice in a baking dish and put it in the oven for 2-3 minutes, until butter is melted.
2. Stir butter and lemon and place peeled bananas in dish, coating with the butter/lemon.
3. Sprinkle brown sugar over the bananas and bake for 15 minutes.


  1. I need a free pass to Legoland. We only had a free pass to the neighboring aquarium.

    Not the same. :(

  2. We were just at the flower fields this past weekend. I loved the rose garden, so cool to see all the variations. Now I know what types of roses we have in our backyard, cause ya know, that's useful knowledge. :)

  3. i'm now going to have a nightmare about that spidery creature :/