Bug turns ELEVEN! (and gets blue hair!)

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Can you believe Bug is ELEVEN?!!! Of course you can’t. Neither can I. It was like yesterday when she was born. I get heart palpitations every time I take a picture of her and she looks like a teenager already. But I can’t stop time and I can’t stop her. This girl is a powerhouse and she just keeps growing up every day!

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Bug has wanted to dye her hair blue for about two years. Her cousins constant chameleon hair-change-ups might have something to do with it and her obsession with anime and changing her minecraft skins etc… If you know Bug you know how she is about color. Color is her thing and she has strong opinions.

Of course I told her that dying her hair was a silly idea and gave her about a thousand lectures on how pretty her hair was naturally. But as you can see she wore me down. And wore me down some more. Because I love my crazy girl and I really wanted to give her a present that would make her really really happy. I caved!

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Off to the salon we went! Bug has a favorite salon and a favorite stylist. She’s way more loyal to her stylist than I ever have been. It might have something to do with her stylist being 24 and a really cool surfer dude but he always does a really good job with her hair and we make a special treat out of it when we go. You know, macarons at Lette, hotdog from the hotdog stand. It’s our bi-annual thing.

At first, when we started to take the hair-coloring subject seriously, I thought we’d go to a beauty college and save some $$$ but then I got worried that I might fry her hair and I’d ruin her (red flag number 1). So we opted to ask her stylist for a recommendation and he recommended Ally.

We set the appointment and waited for the day with great anticipation. It was crazy how excited we were. Then the day came and the bleaching began. BLEACHING. Oh-my-goodness. I bleached my daughter’s beautiful long healthy honey-blonde hair?!!! Who am I? This so wrong on so many levels. (Red flag number 2.)

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The plan was to lighten Bug’s hair to a white blonde and then apply a blue-indigo ombre effect to that white blonde. It was a great plan. But then as Ally started blow-drying out the blonde, Bug and I both gasped at how pretty it was. It was this amazing out-of-the-bottle blonde color that every Californian aspires to. We thought, maybe we should keep the blonde and just apply the dark ombre indigo-teal color to the underneath in a cool peek-a-boo effect. In fact, that idea sat with me even better because the blonde was more natural, right? (Red flag number 3 with blinking lights and a siren!)

But then as she finished blow-drying and I saw the blonde getting brassy all the way up to Bug’s eyes, I started to feel anxious. I couldn’t ignore the sirens going off in my head any more. My kid should not look like this. This is the kind of blonde ombre effect grown women on Real Housewives of Orange County have. I started to feel sick to my stomach. But Bug loved it and was over the moon! Ally curled it all pretty and Bug felt like a golden princess. I was a ball of mixed feelings with alarms going off in my head.

By the time we got to her Dad’s house (she was at his house that week) I was experiencing a full panic attack over her hair. Sweating, my heart hurt… How could I have done this to my child! She looked like Iris from Taxi Driver and it was just wrong. Poor Bug had no idea why I was getting so upset. She started crying and I was crying.  It’s amazing I could even drive. We were a mess.

Thankfully, Toby didn’t lose his marbles over my mistake when we got to the door and I exploded all of my worries and concerns. He agreed it didn’t look right for an eleven-year-old and we all decided we’d go back to the salon to fix it as soon as possible and stick to the original blue plan.

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But Bug loved her blonde hair. It was such a mixed bag of emotions. On the morning of her next appointment Bug and I took an early morning walk with the dogs. She wore her rollerblades (her favorite accessory these days) and I took a few photos (with the dogs pulling me this way and that)  just so we could remember how pretty it was. We put her hair up in tight Princess Lea buns so the swirls of blue showed through. It didn’t seem quite so offensive. I wanted to take more photos but we ran out of time. I’m glad we have these though.

It was such an emotional experience for both Bug and I, I know we will remember it for years. Someday we’ll laugh about it.Bug-turns-11-blue-hair-5

Back to the salon we went. This time with strict instructions to be pastel blue, indigo blue, and teal blue and nothing else. Everyone at the salon totally understood our concerns and they happily fixed her up into the prettiest mermaid princess you have ever seen. Bug was sad to see her golden locks wash down the drain in a puddle of purple but it was best. And we know the blue will wash out over time and the blonde will come back slowly and not so shockingly. AND best of all it’s just hair. It will grow back to her pretty honey blonde someday. And no she’s not getting another hair-dye-job as a birthday present ever again.

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The blue turned out to be so much cooler in the end. I feel like I have my eleven-year-old back again. My crazy, cool, color-obsessed eleven-year-old. This is just so Bug.

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I love you to pieces, you big blue smurf-head. Which Bug is quick to correct and let me know that smurfs have blue skin NOT blue hair. (eye roll)

Tachin at Pedram’s

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You know that saying, A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? I don’t know if it’s true or not but I like a challenge and if I can earn extra girlfriend points, I’m going to try and get them.

I’ve nearly mastered all the different kind of noodles Payam likes (he likes them all) and pot stickers and I know my way around this weird cheesy thing he calls spaghetti casserole, but you know what Payam really likes? Persian food cooked by his mama. Doesn’t everyone like food cooked by their mama? I know I do. And if Bug asks for my special enchiladas I will move mountains to make them for her. You just can’t beat mom-specialties.

Payam’s favorite dish is called Tachin (pronounced tah-chine). It’s a rice and chicken casserole dish with crunchy rice parts on the top and bottom.  Payam says no one, no restaurant anywhere makes it as good as his mom.

You know what that means! I must learn how to make it of course!! So we made a special date with Payam’s mom to learn how to make tachin her way. Payam’s mom’s name is Pedram so I’m just going to call this dish “Pedram’s Tachin.”

It’s delicious. You should try it!

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Ingredients:

  • jasmine rice boiled al dente (enough to serve 6-8 people)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • saffron mixed with water (about a quarter cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 3 cups of plain yogurt
  • 3 chicken breasts cooked with skin and bone (for flavor)
  • grape seed oil (or olive oil)

Of course these steps are mom’s steps so measurements are more eyeballed than measured and a lot of this is based on experience but I think you and I will probably be able to figure it out with the help of these pictures and good instinct. (I haven’t tried it on my own yet, but I will!)

Directions:

First boil the rice until it is al dente and set aside. You can tell if it is al dente by tasting it as it cooks. You don’t want to cook it completely because then it will become overcooked and mushy later in the casserole as it bakes with all the liquids.

Cook your chicken however you normally cook chicken, debone and de-skin it and then shred it. Pedram boiled her chicken in a pot of water with salt and pepper and onion until it fell off the bone. Then she kept the juices to add to the yogurt saffron mixture later.

Combine the yogurt and egg yolks, salt and pepper and cinnamon in a bowl. Add your saffron water mixture and mix until it looks the color of eggy mustard.

Pour just enough oil into the casserole dish so that it covers the bottom. This part is important because it creates the “tadig” which is the crunchy part that all Persians (and this Irish-American) love so much.

Then spread half of your rice into the pan on top of the oil. Add your chicken and yogurt sauce and mix.

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Mix, mix, mix. I think this part is probably where the mom’s special touch comes in. You have to mix it just so. Add a little more chicken. Mix, mix, mix.

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Then add the rest of the rice on top of the rice-chicken-yogurt mixture and spoon some saffron water on top for color. If you have any chicken juices left over from cooking your chicken you could add that on top here too for extra flavor.

Preheat your oven to 350.

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Cover the tachin with foil and poke a few holes in it with a fork. Then bake at 350 for half an hour. But you’re not done yet! After that half hour, remove the tinfoil, turn your oven up to 400 and then bake for another half hour, checking often to make sure it’s not burning. You want your casserole to be a nice toasty color but not dark or burnt.

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While you are waiting for it to bake, serve strong black tea and cookies. This is the Persian way: dessert before dinner!

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Or play in the backyard and make fairy gardens.

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Once the casserole is done, let it cool for a little bit and then cut it into squares and serve each piece by flipping it upside down on your plate so that the crunchy tadig side is up. Serve with cucumber salad, fresh crunchy herbs (Thai basil, green onions, oregano etc) and more yogurt!

Hope you enjoy!

*edited January 11th to add chicken cooking and missing seasoning instructions. Sorry, I didn’t have that earlier!