Cooking · Food · foodie · friends · Holidays · horseback riding · Kitchen · weekend

{weekend notes}




I’m ready for a new week with a fresh start.  I vowed to not overbook my week.  Not to take on more than is humanly possible.  Enjoy the things that truly matter.  I’m looking forward to this week:)  Cheers to a new week!!


Our weekend was mellow, just how I like them.  Friday night we had tickets to the California State Railroad Museum’s Polar Express.


It’s a fun annual Holiday tradition that we’ve done for the past 6 years.  They do such a great job following the storyline.  The conductor walks down the aisles punching all the train tickets.  Next the dancing waiters come out tapping and dancing away.  Hot! Hot! Hot!  Hot cocoa and snickerdoodles are served to all the passengers.  They read the Polar Express story.  Then before you know it, you’ve arrive at the North Pole.  Elves are busy making toys.  Santa is checking his list twice.  The children wave good bye and we head back.  All of the sudden you hear the sound of bells and enters Good Ol’ Saint Nick, himself.  He hands each passenger a bell.  If you hear the bell, then you believe.  Sounds cheesy, but I promise it’s adorable.  Even the older kids totally enjoyed it.  Do we go again next year?  That is the question?  I was convinced that Bailey is getting too old, but  maybe not?

The Polar Express tickets are hard to come by, unless you are a California State Railroad Museum member.  Here’s the scoop.  You must have your membership paid by September 15th of each year.  Not only do you gain access to pre-sale Polar Express tickets, there are lots of other perks too.  Read more about it here.  I personally purchase the Caboose Club.  It runs $35/year.  Check out the other benefits:

  • Free Admission to the California State Railroad Museum for named child member and one adult guest
  • Free coach Excursion Train Rides on the Sacramento Southern Railroad for child member and one adult guest
  • 10% discount at the Museum Store
  • Official Membership Card
  • Invitation to the annual Caboose Club Social for child member and one adult guest
  • Advance notice to purchase tickets for special events (polar express)

Once your membership is paid, a membership card with an id# is mailed out.  This # is the golden ticket.  I’ll be honest, we don’t take advantage of any of the other perks.  I’ve never had a problem getting my 8 (max tickets available to purchased) tickets, so to me it’s worth it.

Every year everyone is always asking “how did you get tickets” and “but, it’s always sold out” I will be blogging all about membership renewal dates and tips to securing your 2016 Polar Express tickets right here on xoxostacyb, next September.  So you better keep reading 🙂

Friday night I put on Amy, the documentary of Amy Winehouse.


Pj’s +popcorn + red wine + movie.  It was nice.



This documentary tells the incredible story of six-time Grammy-winner Amy Winehouse – in her own words. Featuring extensive unseen archive footage and previously unheard tracks, this strikingly modern, moving and vital film shines a light on the world we live in, in a way that very few can. A once-in-a-generation talent and a pure jazz artist in the most authentic sense, Amy wrote and sung from the heart using her musical gifts to analyse her own problems. The combination of her raw honesty and supreme talent resulted in some of the most original and adored songs of the modern era. Her huge success, however, resulted in relentless and invasive media attention which coupled with Amy’s troubled relationships and precarious lifestyle saw her life tragically begin to unravel.

Watching someone’s life rise to the ultimate high then fall and unravel….it’s sad.  I mean, the movie is good, but in a sad way.  I guess I didn’t realize what a hot mess express she really was.  I read about it, but seeing it played out is a different story.  Watch it and let me know what you think!!!


I played a lot of cards.  1st with my Hand + Foot girls, then again Saturday night with the Truitt’s.


Charley loves his chicken legs.  Isn’t he the cutest??

We dinned, played cards, decorated cookies and had dessert.

Speaking of dessert – I perfected the crème brulee

It took me two tries, but I got it down.  Don’t be intimidated by this dessert’s fancy perception. With a few rules and ingredients, this is one of the simplest desserts to master.

Crème Brulee


  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup sanding sugar



  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
  2. Stir together the cream and ½ cup of the superfine sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the inside of the pod halves and add them to the pan along with the pod halves. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat, whisking constantly, until the edges of the mixture just start to bubble. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 10-15 minutes then discard the vanilla bean pod.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining ½ cup superfine sugar until light and pale yellow.
  4. Strain the cream mixture into a 4 cup pyrex measuring cup or another bowl then slowly pour about ¼ of the hot cream mixture (about ¾ cup) into the yolks in a slow, steady stream while whisking constantly. Slowly whisk the rest of the cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
  5. Place the ramekins on a high sided baking pan and ladle the custard, dividing it equally among the ramekins. Place the baking pan in the oven and carefully pour hot water into the pan to reach ⅔ of the ay of the sides of the ramekins.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the custards are mostly set but still a bit wobbly in the center. Tent the ramekins with aluminum foil if they begin to brown.
  7. Carefully remove the baking pan from the oven, and then carefully remove the custards from the water bath. Cool for 1 hour then refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 days.
  8. To serve, sprinkle with 1 generous tablespoon of the sugar evenly over the top of each custard. Slowly wave a kitchen torch back and forth over the sugar one custard at a time until the sugar melts and changes to an amber color. Let the custards sit just until the sugar hardens then serve immediately.

My Dad gifted me a kitchen torch for Thanksgiving to make the Pumpkin Meringue Pie.  I’ve been itching to use it on another recipe, so when this beauty popped up  in my Pinterest feed, I knew it was going to happen this weekend.  They key is cooling after the crème brulee comes out of the oven.  My first try, I didn’t allow enough cooling time.  The custard wasn’t as set as I would have liked.  All in all, it was a fun recipe with a great final product.  I will be making them again.


We got up bright and early for Bailey’s riding lesson……in the rain.  It didn’t stop her though.  She practiced poles for the first time, in a long time and did excellent.  Bailey did it over and over again, trying to beat her best time.  It was fun to watch.

By the looks of this post, we clearly indulged a little too much.  One of the advent calendar items last week was Baskin Robin, so I promised we’d make a trip by Sunday.  You can’t break a promise:)  Did I mention Baskin Robin’s flavor of the month is Dreamin’ of minty wonderland?  Mint oreo pieces and dark fudge ribbon in chocolate ice cream.  Holy moly.  We also have plates of frosted sugar cookies from 4H baking.  I love the 1st Sunday of each month when Bailey brings home homemade festive treats.  They are always the best.

Cory + I had the rest of the day to ourselves.  We contemplated going out to dinner, but settled for a nice dinner at home.  He cooked too.  We actually went to Nugget to get groceries together.  I think it was the first time EVER that we’ve gone grocery shopping together.  It was kinda weird!  He’s an aisle stroller.  I never knew!!  I’m a grab whatcha need and get the hell out of there shopper.  We are so incredibly different in so many ways…lol.  I do all of our grocery shopping on my lunch break each Friday.  So, when we are in need of some odds and ends, typically one of us runs to the store to grab what’s needed.  Anyway, we picked up few ingredients for this dinner…..

New York steaks with a blue cheese butter (OMG) + baked potatoes + roast butternut squash, red onion and brussel sprouts.  It was BOMB.  Whenever you don’t cook, things taste so much better, right?

And that’s a wrap.

I hope you all have a great week.

xoxo stacyb

ps……16 day’s till Christmas!!

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