Monday, March 25, 2013

California Man-Babes, Gray Hair, The Oberon Kingdom, And the BEST Passover Stroganoff EVER!

Uncle Robb flew in from San Francisco, and visited us for the night, before heading to see his family in Toledo. Noah has amassed an impressive menagerie of honorary "uncles", each with their own, unique mix of awesomeness and oddball. 

Uncle Robb comes with an uncanny propensity for refined tastes in certain areas of his life. He made a B-line for my new Le Creuset cookie jar as soon as he arrived, but rest assured, it wasn't the cookies that attracted him. 

Perhaps it's from time spent living in New York, Tokyo, San Francisco and La Jolla, honing his love for the finer things. I was acutely aware that my recent splurge on $15 facial moisturizer could nowhere near compete. With his. 

None-the-less, this California man-babe, who hob-knobs with silicon valley's cyber-elite , and Stanford overachievers, on the grassy hills of Dolores Park, in the sunny micro-climate of the Mission's western edge - came to be, with us, in the lowly, freezing cold mid-western, wet and sloppy Thursday night in March.  (I meant to do that. The run on. )

We tried. We welcomed him with old white wine. Opened and cooked with two weeks ago.


And he tried. With gorgeous baked goods, careful carried from his favorite San Francisco bakery, Arizmendi .  The Arizmendi Bakery, which is now just a long-forgotten memory for me, one place amongst many, that use to pass by the window of the light-rail train.


My god, it's like I'm driven to mention California, in every two posts or so. I'm sorry, it's another one of my hang ups. Even though we lived there for such a short time, and even though it was.... TEN YEARS AGO,  I still can't seem to let my glory days go. But maybe they weren't so glorious. I mean I DID move away from California eventually.  Read: plastic bottles of urine, dangerously rolling around on subway platforms and hypodermic needles on the curb. Yes, definitely two things that my worst nightmares are made of.  I didn't stick around for long.

Where was I? Uncle Robb's scones. Yes, scones. Corn-cherry and currant scones, and a gorgeous, little loaf or walnut sourdough. I felt like a real shmendrik* for avoiding his fancy glutenous Californian  offerings. I'm such an annoying jerk . 


Hi Robb, welcome to Michigan. No I will not eat your scones. Let's go outside, it's only 50 degrees colder than what  you came from . And snowing. And raining.


When Robb arrived, we had Thai food. I was nervous that nothing could compete with the authenticity and freshness of swanky San Franciscan Thai cuisine. Like our old favorite, Marnee Thai. Where the matriarchal owner would go around, table to table, "reading palms".  Inevitably, for every single looking woman , it would be: "You be married in Threeeeeee years.  Not long time. you hang in there". Or for me, after I began sporting the new and sparkling engagement ring: "Oh you, you will have four children. Uh huh,  a lot of children!".  Regardless of being slightly off on my spawn count, the food was always exceptionally fresh and beyond delicious.


In the end, our Michigan version of Thai food was good enough. That or Robb was being gracious. And to my great surprise, he even rallied along with Noah, for a post-dinner walk to dessert.


Which is odd, because it had actually began HAILING. Not exactly palm trees and sunshine.


But, it was worth it. Noah was ecstatic to be out later than usual, scarfing down ice cream, sitting in swivel chairs with his uncle Robb at the local soda shop.

After that we all went home and called it a night. Robb, without any complaint, went to sleep on our couch, which was dressed up in flannel sheets, covered in ice skating penguins. He is a good sport.

The visit was much too brief, and we were all sad to see him go.

But four days later, that Shmendrik put THIS up on his Facebook page:


WHOLE WHEAT banana bread on Lexington he said.  And he's not talking Kentucky, that's Lexington AVENUE in MANHATTAN on the fancy pants upper east side.

Perhaps I shan't feel so badly for our flat wine, mediocre Thai food, freezing rain and guest bedroom couch. I think Uncle Robb still has it made.





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When I said that I would go, that I was "in" for the Springsgiving party, some were in disbelief.  Mainly the king of the castle, who you will soon meet, could not believe that anti-social, party popper me, was coming. Which isn't entirely fair, because I do attend royal gatherings when I can, and ask anybody, I'm always the last to leave the castle.

Springsgiving is the answer to Thanksgiving, but in the spring. It involves a very complicated way of smoking a royal turkey. A way to celebrate with your lordships and other nobles, peasants, and family of friends. 

The Springsgiving feast was held at the castle that sits a top a big hill, at the end of a long drive. The royal land is rich in squirrels, birds, an occasional coyote , and other pooping animals.  The king, and his queen, Queen Oberon , (Seen here anointing the commoners, in her Oberon tiara and wand) are quite generous, to us, their proletarians who live beyond the bottom of the hill. They regularly host big parties at the castle, and feed us, and let our children rampage and pillage at their will, destroying the second floor of the castle every time. I have been told though, by her royal queen majesty Oberon, that fair lady Linda doth promptly arrive within a day of these great gatherings, and Dysons the shit out of the palace, hence dispensing of any dirt on the floors, tiny barbecue sauce fingers prints on the walls, and the completely obscene, what the hell are you thinking people amount of toys. 


From hence fourth, you will be my Earl of Oberon! Piiiiing!


The king of the castle is a moody, broody one, who doesn't say much unless you give him Oberon and start asking stupid questions. What he is quite proficient at, is storming the kitchen, and in an feat unheard of in most lands, he himself cooks upon the hearth.


On this day of Springsgiving, a great feast. The king prepared a turkey prior, ate it with the royal family, then took the carcass, bones and all, and pressure cooked it into a a flavorful stock. Where upon he then injected his royal stock (oh god, that sounds bad, doesn't it?) into the turkey pictured here, smoked it for many an hour, and then put it into the royal oven for some reason I am not sure of. Although, I did sneak a forbidden peek of King Oberon, whilst he rubbed a golden stick of butter over the massive oven turkey.

The feast was a success! And while I was a total vegetarian shmendrik again, the eldest royal Oberon princess devoured an entire turkey leg with no hands! Whilst King Oberon's finger licking gravy hand photo bombed this picture. 

Because, spare for my bourgeois husband, I was the youngest of the commoners this eve, and at most royal gatherings,  therefore, I am repeatedly the old king's target for practical jokes and other shmendrik pleasantries. Like the sneak from behind  with oily turkey skin to smeared upon thine neck "joke". How doth I protest, but only so much. I'd like to keep mine head.

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Queen Oberon got me hooked on a new App. called Four Pics, One Word.
Four pictures have something in common and allude to one word.
For this, I eventually texted the Queen saying: "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat"?
She being the great queen, had the answer, but do you!? If you want to know, tell me, and I will give the answer!


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Something happened today, and it was so weird, I just had to take a picture. I was not wearing purple nor pink, nor patterns. I was wearing BLACK! No florals, no stripes, no polka-dots. It felt so ODD, but actually refreshing! I'm finally a woman!


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I would like to stop, and take a moment for a gray hair update. So, if you're here for gray hair talk, great! And if not, feel free to fast-forward to the other stuff.

Many of you have come to How Bourgeois through my gray hair posts like THIS one and THIS one!
Over 2,000 of you have read those two posts alone, and I can't thank you enough for your readership and wonderful, amazing, supportive comments. It's personally been such a fantastic experience, to meet other people like me, and to know that I'm not the only one sporting a mop of gray hair.

Because some of you have asked for an update, here is what my hair currently looks like.......
Slowly but surely, it's growing longer. I can't wait to trim my ends, and to cut off the last dark brown bit, but it's been so nice to finally have longish hair once again, I've been too afraid to cut it just yet!


You can see that the ends are a little frayed. So, a trim is really in order. I do want to start experimenting more with conditioners and products that help gray hair stay healthy and shiny.

I've been doing everything that I can to steer clear of conventional shampoos and conditioners, with their harsh chemicals.  I figured, if I cared enough to stop dying my hair because of all the caustic, and most likely not- great- for -you ingredients in the dyes, why would I use anything but natural hair care products?

It's truly not as easy and one would think! Especially with gray hair, if you're in the market for gentle, chemical-free products that will help keep your grays shiny and white. Sure there are more natural brands like Klorane Silver Highlights shampoo and Phyto Phytargent Whitening Shampoo and Rene Furterer  Okara Mild Silver shampoo,  but even they have sodium laureth sulfate or parabens! And, they're expensive. I did try the Aveda Blue Malva Conditioner, to be used with my regular, natural shampoo. It did a nice job, but at $18 for an 8.5 ounce bottle, it was just WAY too expensive for me. Also, the Blue Malva shampoo that is recommend to be used in conjunction with the conditioner for best results...costs a whopping $31 for the one liter bottle. That's a lot, I go through these products quickly. 

Sooooooo......


I decided to go with Shikai's Color Reflect Shampoo in platinum. As close to all-natural as I've found in the specific for gray hair category. It works nicely and didn't break the bank too much. Although way over-priced on Amazon, I found my bottle for around $8 at a local, upscale market and natural products store. It can also be found online for as low as $6, if you search!


I decided to also try Shikai's Color Reflect leave-in conditioner. Not only did it de-tangle and leave my hair soft and conditioned, it added shine too! I don't need to use a heavy rinse-out conditioner anymore. This is great! This bottle of conditioner was also found at the market. I paid about $9 for 8 ounces, but I believe it will last quite a while.  I'm glad to have found these two!


Just so you know internets,  I bought all of the products that I speak of myself. These were not freebies or paid reviews!




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Dear Internets,

I am about to reveal to you, the best recipe in the world.
I give you:  Mushroom Stroganoff!       PASSOVER STROGANOFF!

I said to Jon: "Jon, do you want me to make a little Seder?", and he said "no, it's ok". So, I didn't.
But, Jon would like to point out, that because I made this meal with gluten-free brown rice pasta, it is INDEED kosher for Passover.  Just kidding.


This is an Alton Brown recipe, so it almost HAS to be delicious. Which, it completely and utter was. It's also easy and quick. Boil pasta, chop five portobello mushrooms. (In our case, four portobellos and large handful of super flavorful dried porcinis.)

Brown in butter, and cook down with beef, chicken or veggie stock. Throw in the white ends from a bunch of green onion. Simmer for a while.



Eventually, mix in sour cream and goat cheese, pepper and a generous handful of green onion. Then be all like: "OMG, this is the best dish I've ever tasted."


We served it simple style, with peas and strawberries on the side.


It. Was. Delicious. End of story, the BEST!


Aaaaaaaaaand Noah gives it............... "One Medium Thumb side-ways".....! What!? Hey! Oh come on!


And then.....right on cue, when we're like: "Dude, eat  your dinner or you can't watch cartoons". He's all................................

Oh the humanity! Asked to eat porcini mushrooms!!!!! Aaaaaarghhhhhhh. My life!


Oy. Happy Passover.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo,
Lauren

7 comments :

karen Harp said...

I am a gray haired follower-- Guilty as charged! Your hair looks amazing! What did you use when you added the lavender? Happy Day!!

Lauren said...

Hi Karen, it's so nice to meet you!!! Thank you for stopping by! :)

Thank you for for you nice words, I still have a way to go to get everything looking more even and one color, but it has certainly been an interesting challenge as the months have gone on.

Karen, do you mean what is the lavender shampoo that I am currently using? If so, it's "Color Reflect in Platinum by Shikai". I really like it a lot! And, their spray-on, leave-in conditioner is really nice too!

I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any other question.
Take care and thanks again Karen!!!

Loulou said...

Your hair looks beautiful. And the mushroom stroganoff is on my 'to make' list. Great post as always. You have a special way with words, you do.

Amy Jay said...

I am a huge fan of yours and nearly half gray at 37. You inspire me on lotsa levels. And thanks for doing all the dirty work on finding good shampoo.

Lauren said...

Oh Amy, I'm tearing up!!!! Hiiiiii. Thank you so much for your comment. That was so nice. I'm really glad to meet you. I don't think it's easy going gray in our 30's, do you? I'm sure it's never easy, no matter one's age! Thank you for cheering me on. I'm happy to help in whatever small way I can. Nice to meet you, keep in touch!
Lauren :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am one of the many who stumbled across your blog as I wrestled with the choice of what to do with my unruly mane...I've been gradually going grey since my early teens but went through the usual phase of dying it and believing I was hiding my thick white streak at the front of my hair. Wrong wrong wrong! Now at the ripe age of 42 and being roughly 75-80% grey I have decided to grow out my colour and it's thanks to you. Your hair is just beautiful wavy or straight and I applaud you.

Lauren said...

Hi "Anonymous"!

Oh it's so hard, I know, to really take that leap and start growing out your gray hair. If there's one thing I know, it's if you really want to do it, and you're ready, you'll succeed! Please hang in there, this is definitely a challenging task but SOOOOOOO worth it. :)
When the days of frequent hair dyes are in your past, you'll look back and smile. Yay! I used to hate the mess! :)
Thank you thank you for your kind words. I hope I can be helpful in your journey!
xoxoxoxo,
Lauren