Sunday, March 31, 2013

spring has sprung!

Happy Easter, everyone!

We've had a gorgeous weekend here in the big SD. We've also been as lazy as possible, which has been WONDERFUL!

Friday afternoon, I got my stitches out and took the dog for a long walk. All of the pretty wildflowers were blooming and it was simply lovely :)

in the future... i won't choose to break in my new shoes on a long walk ;) 
rose bush getting ready to bloom!
i. can't. wait.
Friday evening, we tried out a new place. A Whole Foods just opened up near us, and when we read that there was a bar inside {random?} with a mid-century modern feel that served 30+ craft brews on tap... we were in. Our meals were surprisingly delicious! I went in wanting a burger, but as soon as I saw their selection of sushi, that notion went out the window. Where else can you get a Belgian White Rascal with a pink dragon and sesame kale roll!? OK, probably anywhere in San Diego, but still... I was pretty jazzed. Spencer got the burger with garlic fries with a cappuccino stout... another delectable option.

aside from the fact that it was in a grocery store... the restaurant wasn't bad!
we'll be back. 

spencer's meal: bacon swiss burger with garlic fries and a cappuccino stout.

my meal: pink dragon roll with jalepenos and eel sauce with a brown rice sesame kale role and a white rascal.
Saturday, Spencer made us a super yummy all-American breakfast with our Whole Food finds from the evening before. Eggs, bacon, biscuits with locally produced jam (strawberry rhubarb... yum!) and of course... mimosas. We lazed around most of the day, watched a couple of movies, took the dog to the groomer, and just hung out. Perfection!

This morning, we got up and showed our "kids" their Easter baskets.
You can laugh. It's OK. I am completely aware at how ridiculous that sounds. But they were so excited!

a spencer basket.

treats for chloe, treats for london & a puppy with a pig.
After the exciting finds, I made an extra-special brunch for the two of us. We didn't feel like going out anywhere, and I was desperate to try my new Babycakes Mini Pie Maker (looooooove those kitchen gadgets!), so naturally, we improvised. Spencer said he felt like he was "eating breakfast in a fancy hotel". Teehee... I will take that as a compliment. I didn't bother to ask what he meant by that.

easter brunch!
mini quiche with bacon, cheddar, and broccoli... strawberry and vanilla parfaits... and homemade blueberry muffins.
yumminess.
post-brunch coziness on the patio.
spencer's foot made a cameo in the upper right-hand corner. classy.
This evening, we are going out for Russian food at a local place with some friends. I am beyond pumped about it because they serve STROGANOFF. Stop it. I'm so damn excited.

Happiest spring to you all!

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Adventures of a Shameless Tourist: A Day at the Del



Having visitors for the weekend only means one thing: 
you get to shamelessly play tourist.
I'm talking camera around the neck, cheesy gift shop purchases, and lots of photo ops. Yes, please!

We spent the day at the historic Hotel del Coronado on Coronado Island today. The Victorian style beach resort hotel opened for business in 1888 and is still in operation today. The massive structure is situated directly on the beach and is the perfect place to grab a drink, spend a long weekend, or just take a day to explore the grounds as we did. The 125-year old hotel has been the backdrop for numerous films and television shows, ghost sightings, hosted celebrities and royalty, and has been a long-standing part San Diego's history.

After strolling through the hotel and around the immediate grounds, we walked barefoot on the sand (which was powdery fine and cool), gathered seashells, took pictures, and just hung out.
Not a bad way to spend a Saturday!

The below pictures are a few that we took on our little island adventure. We're still learning the ins and outs of the new camera, but are having a great time testing it out. I see many more photo-adventures in our future :)

Enjoy!















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{F R I D A Y faves} Eats :: Dairy-Induced Breakfasts!

As a child of the 90's, I was far too familiar with convenience items such as Pop-Tarts, Nutri-Grain Bars, and [on occasion] the bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits from the local gas station. These were the breakfasts my mornings were made of.

As an adult, I couldn't even look in that direction because just thinking about warm, maple brown sugar Pop-Tarts straight from the toaster (my favorite!) would instantaneously cause me to gain 5 pounds, have a mental breakdown, and shovel three additional packages of said Pop-Tarts in my mouth at once.  Much as I enjoy the occasional high-fructose corn syrup filled breakfast, I try to keep them to a minimum.

Today, I worry less about my HFCS intake and more about my dairy intake. I don't worry as in "gee, I should really watch that!"... it's more like "STATE OF EMERGENCY: WE ARE OUT OF YOGURT!". It's sad... but true.

I could eat plain, non-fat Greek yogurt for every single meal. I put it in (and on) everything. My very favorite way to eat it is with this granola recipe and a touch of honey. This might be my last meal (you know... the if-you're-going-to-the-electric-chair-tomorrow type thing... we have strange conversations in our house... my apologies).

Since I put yogurt on, in, between, and wherever I can... these low-fat, quick, and easy breakfast recipes pay homage to my adult-friendly obsession. Enjoy!

Hold the Syrup! Whole Grain Waffles with Fresh Fruit


Now I know I was just bashing on pre-packaged foods, but as a working girl we don't always have time for the four course breakfast. You gotta accept help when you can! 

Start with two (2) Eggo Whole Grain waffles (located in the freezer section of the grocery store), toasted. Dollop your favorite brand of plain, Greek yogurt on top, sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon, and slice up whatever fresh fruit you have on hand. The Greek yogurt is slightly tart, and combined with the light sweetness from the waffle and fruit, the combination is heavenly. You won't even miss the maple syrup... I promise!

Tip: I have recently discovered that I really, really like applesauce on top too, in lieu of yogurt. My favorite fruit combination with that is blueberries. 


Life is a Bowl of Strawberries [with Vanilla Yogurt & Honey]


This week's breakfast has been one of my favorite yet! Since I don't always have granola on hand (and that's probably a good thing... it's a trigger food for me), I had to find a way to spice up my favorite breakfast. Being that it's spring and the strawberries are starting to hit the shelves a little earlier this year and Target happened to have a buy one, get one of Dannon's Light & Fit Vanilla Flavored Yogurt (whaaat?) I concocted this little treat from my Target finds and have been munching on it ever since!

In a small bowl, squeeze a small amount of honey into the bottom of the bowl. Portion out about a cup of yogurt on top. Core and slice 4-5 strawberries and arrange. Drizzle the top with a little more honey and dig in. 

Why the honey on the bottom? Because my favorite part of any meal is the dessert. The last couple of bites give you that little burst of sweetness! 

Cinna-Nanna Smoothie



Please forgive my photo quality. I took this early one morning... before the sun was up... and my fluorescent kitchen lights can do some crazy things! I promise it's not green. 

You might have noticed from my posts of late that I like smoothies. A lot.

I like to play around with different recipes, based on what I have available. My motto is... if you have at least one fruit, vegetable (or both), a juice or dairy base, and a "seasoning" (be it peanut butter, vanilla, cinnamon, etc.) you've got a smoothie. Simple as that.

For this one, I combined a couple of scoops of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt, a splash of milk, two whole bananas (on the verge of rottondom!), a dash of cinnamon, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and two ice cubes in a blender on high speed, until smooth.
...
Another tip: People, always make your food pretty.
YOU DESERVE IT! A dash of cinnamon on top, pretty layers, or expertly placed arrangements can make all the difference. We first "taste" with our eyes, and you would certainly do it if you were serving someone else... why not do it for yourself? It takes an extra two seconds of effort to dine with a plate of food worthy enough for your guests. Your tummy will thank you :)


Last but certainly not least... to wash down all of your dairy-induced breakfast cravings from now on, if you haven't already tried this stuff... YOU NEED TO. It's pre-made iced coffee from International Delight--in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
I'm literally obsessed with it. It's borderline not going to work in my house because I can drink nearly the entire carton in one sitting. It is sooooo good. Add it to your shopping list! ;)

Happy weekend!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

hippity-hoppity.

You're never too old for an Easter basket :)


These little goodies were signed, sealed, and delivered to family back in Texas. I can never help myself when it comes to miniature sized treats and spring colors!


Even the packaging is fresh and fun! Love this time of year :)


So I got a treat [or ten] for myself. What gives?

Hoppy Spring!

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Friday, March 22, 2013

I believe...

via
Lee Brice's 'I Drive Your Truck' is one of the most beautiful tributes to a fallen soldier I have ever heard. It's a beautifully written song about how a man deals with the loss of his brother in combat. The first time I heard it I thought "wow... now that just about says it".
Beautifully written, down to earth, and a genuinely realistic look at loss, you don't have to like country music to appreciate this one! Check it out here. {And don't bother watching the video... I think it kind of takes away from the true meaning of the song}.


via
look at that face... seriously? 
Animal abusers are among the lowest form of human life. I was outraged earlier this week when I heard this story (click for link) of mother seals and their pups being kicked, punched, and sat on at one of our local San Diego beaches. I try to keep it pretty PG around here, but the first thing that crossed my mind was "you piece of shit" when I saw the video that surfaced of the two women performing these actions. Very few things get me hotter... in fact, I'd say almost nothing, than when I hear of a story like this. Much to Spencer's embarrassment, I have been known to confront dog owners when I feel like they are being too harsh on their pets. Not my business? Maybe not, but in the interest of being a lady I won't tell you where I think these folks can stick it.


via
Starbucks new Hazlenut Macchiato is divine. Is this what I've been missing? I've always been on Team Latte. I've never understood these macchiato drinkers, but seriously they clearly know something I don't. Rich and delicious, I could devour this thing in a single gulp. If you haven't tried it, YOU MUST.
Hint: get it iced, with whip, then shaken. You're welcome. 



Downton Abbey makes me want to be a rich tea drinker...at the turn of the century. If you don't watch this one, you're missing out. I first started it about a year ago, but couldn't understand what they were saying couldn't get into it. I was also trying to do about 500 other things at the time I watched, so it's really no wonder it didn't stick. I started over during my surgery last week and I dare say (see how you can just turn that on and off? I love it) that it's one of the most imaginative shows on television. Give me a show with a little bit of period costume and a lot of scandal, and I will book a first class seat.

via
Also, when I grow up, I watch to be Head Bitch like the Dowager Countess. Maggie Smith has this role to a fine art and I can only say... bravo.
Sorry about the language. This post was already ruined from the seal story. 

That's all that's shaking in my world right now! What about you?


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Sunday, March 17, 2013

{Recipe} Green Smoothie [the AB way]


My love affair with the green smoothie began about 2 years ago, shortly after having moved to California. I was scrolling through Pinterest one night, when I came across a pin for a green smoothie.


Hm. Weird.


It evidently peaked my interest enough that I clicked over to the link to investigate further. The pinner promised that you wouldn't even be able to taste the 'green' part in it. I was skeptical.

I read the story of the original green monster smoothie and decided to give it a whirl.
I mean... look at her skin! She is GLOWING. I would kill for those pores.

I made some early attempts with spinach as the base. Remember that?
Didn't look very appetizing... didn't taste bad, though!

However, since then I've joined the kale movement and discovered my full adoration for it.
I loooooooove it. I like it raw, in smoothies, cooked down with garlic and lemon. Yum!

So naturally, spinach got the boot.

I like to drink these for breakfast. They keep me full all morning long, which is super since sitting at a desk all day makes me yearn for a snack. I've taken them along for lunch, too, when I've had the opportunity to make them in advance.

There's really no rhyme or reason for the ingredients, and I generally end up just tossing in whatever I have in the fridge. However, this is probably my favorite variation of this drink.

..........

Green Smoothie [the AB way]


  • 1 C. kale, chopped, with stems removed 
    • [you can leave the stems--they're edible!--I just don't like them]
  • 1 Apple or pear, cored and chopped with skin removed
  • 1 Whole cucumber, skin removed
  • 1/2 C. Greek yogurt
  • 1 Banana
  • Splash of almond milk [or regular milk--whatever you keep in your casa]
  • 2-3 Ice cubes 
    • [this part is crucial--it helps make the smoothie thick]

Combine all in blender and pulse until smooth.



..........

That's all there is to it!

You really must take my word on it. It's super tasty. I have been drinking tons of these lately, as my can't eat anything I really want to post-op go to meal of choice. They have all the nutrients of a giant, power-packed salad in a portable little container. Got to love that.

Play with your own variations and enjoy!

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{Recipe} Shamrock Key Lime Cupcakes



So, today I was looking at the list of post-op approved soft foods.

Avocados... potatoes... cupcakes?

Just kidding... I added that last one. But, I mean, it totally goes.

I really wanted to use these darling silicone shamrock cupcake molds for something and when I stumbled across the Sprinkles recipe for Key Lime Cupcakes, I knew a winner had been selected.

The cupcake is light and moist while the frosting is dense, heavy, and super sweet.
Just my style.

This is a fabulous recipe for spring or summer! Enjoy!

..........

Sprinkles' Key Lime Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • For the cupcakes:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp key lime juice
  • 1 tbsp key lime zest
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • toothpick or skewer

  • For the frosting (frosts 1 dozen +):
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter , firm but not cold
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. key lime juice
  • 1 tbsp key lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp. milk (only if necessary)
  • Cooking Directions

    For the cupcakes:
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, key lime zest and 1 tbsp of lime juice; set aside.
    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
    With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
    Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely.
    Use a toothpick or skewer to poke the tops of the cupcakes with holes. Use pastry brush to brush remaining lime juice over the top of the cupcake.
    Let cupcakes dry slightly before topping with key lime frosting.
    For the frosting:
    Beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla, key lime juice and zest; mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream. Frosts over one dozen. 
    Note
    I added a couple of handfuls of crushed Teddy Graham crackers over the top for a bit of crunch--yum!



    ..........

    The only downside to using shaped cupcake molds is that they generally loose their shape and transform into some discombobulated form when adding the frosting. OK, maybe if you don't use a 3:1 ratio of cake to frosting, it wouldn't be so alarming... not that I would know anything about that. Lesson learned: the best use of these molds would maybe be a glaze on top in lieu of frosting.

    But like I said... an excuse is an excuse, right? C'est la vie. 

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    May your blessings outnumber 
    The shamrocks that grow, 
    And may trouble avoid you
    Wherever you go. 
    Irish Blessing

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    Thursday, March 14, 2013

    post-op: party of one.

    So, I'm having a little oral surgery today.


    Who's jealous?


    The oral surgeon will be extracting an infected baby tooth (I still have one left!) that has started to go (those little things aren't made to last forever) and replacing it with a dental implant. A hugely common procedure, but a surgery nonetheless.

    Therefore, I plan to spend the remainder of my day & weekend with:

    a fat stack of magazines...

    this could take a while... 

    cozy new socks...

    loving these... thanks, target clearance!

    and green juice!

    don't be fooled... this is way more appetizing than it looks.

    Since I am off solid foods for at least the next two weeks, I figured I might as well take advantage of the situation and get some veggies in. I'm not at all sad about it... I looooooove green monsters. They're healthy, filling, and delicious (I promise... you don't even taste the green stuff!). I'll post my favorite recipe to use in a later post.

    In the meantime, I think I'll put on my super rad socks and get cracking on some of these reads ;)

    Have a great weekend you guys!

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