Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summer Memories

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Summer didn't officially begin for me until I had my girl back from Thailand.

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We had a bumper crop of fruit!

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Which resulted in vanilla peach pies and a freezer full of crisp filling!

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We had a very successful tomato season as well. If you follow me on instagram, you are well aware of this.  Tomato pictures are a regular occurrence. 

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This shot is one of my favorites, and an average almost daily pick.

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Ok, one last pic.  This whopper weighed almost 1 1/2 pounds!

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And the little $2.99 basil plant I picked up at Trader Joe's is thriving as well!  I've made about 10 cups of pesto so far (I freeze in small containers). The more I cut that little plant, the more it grew!  We put pesto on our garden tomatoes, toss it into pasta, and my favorite - smothering it on grilled chicken or salmon.  Definitely the taste of summer.
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Emma wanted to update her room and needed a new desk.  We found one on Craig's list which was just perfect.  We tried our hand at refinishing and it came out great.  Love the "Tiffany" blue color on the desk and her fun orange wall she chose. We also did a chair in antique white.  Now I want to refinish a bunch of stuff in the house!  Maybe I'll find the time in the fall.

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I joined my handsome working men downtown for lunch at a great place called Ocho.  Think Chipotle turned organic with lots more interesting choices - it's awesome.  Drew had a full-time internship at an investment firm doing accounting work.  So proud of him for working every day of his summer.  He has a couple weeks off now before starting his senior year at Master's!

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We had a late celebration of Emma's 19th birthday in Newport.  We made it a beach day and enjoyed dinner at our favorite spot, the Crab Cooker.

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I always get the combination plate with coleslaw and romano potatoes.  It is so delish.  They also have an awesome Manhattan (tomato based) clam chowder.  Great place to go for reasonable seafood and great ambience!

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We like to take the ferry over to Balboa Island for a Balboa Bar.  It's the quintessential So Cal summer activity.

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 Though there is a battle over which Balboa Bar stand is best, we like Dad's.  The competitor doesn't have as good of toppings.  I prefer the frozen bananas, as their ice cream is pretty low quality.

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Drew celebrated his 21st birthday with the date of his choice to a nice restaurant.


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Stepanie's 21st was just a couple weeks later! We had a joint birthday dinner with the Tubbs and DeShongs at our house and Emma did some really cute decorations.

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Unfortunately, this gorgeous cake slid off the cake stand as I was holding it and fell onto the patio!  There was absolute dead silence after I dropped it - then Emma recalls I said in a very calm voice, "oops I dropped the cake."  Then I started laughing and everyone else did too! The funny thing is, we scooped up the cake and every bite was eaten.  At least I made the evening memorable.

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Also, summer consisted of lots of preparation for the upcoming Master's Kids year!  Excited about this year's ladies I get to serve.  Also, Emma is going to be helping me out so I'm really thankful for that!
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And lastly, we got to spend a wonderful afternoon with my dear friend Pam and her daughter Catherine.  We got to have Catherine along on our recent camping trip, and her mom just flew out from North Carolina to help her move into the Master's College dorms.  We are so excited to have Catherine back here in Cali!  She is one of our special "extra daughters."  We did lunch at a great place called Lemonade in Pasadena.
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Loved the menu, will definitely be back to this adorable place!

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We all got pedicures after lunch.  So fun!

Enjoy the last few days of summer.  All those fall responsibilities are just around the corner!


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Friday, August 17, 2012

Snapshots of San Clemente

Nothing says summer like a camping trip to San Clemente!  We've been doing it for more than 25 years and have no plans to stop anytime soon.  The beach there is one of California's finest, and the town is simply adorable.  It's a little slice of heaven and our home away from home.  Here are a few snapshots from our lovely trip last week.    

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Of course we did a little (okay, actually a lot) Bagel Shack action.  I really haven't had a better bagel than theirs. I was raised in a Jewish home so I'm in the know on such matters.

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I watched a few sunsets sitting next to this hunk. It was quite nice.

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We discovered this great new place for an off the hook burger.  This shot is enhanced with my fun new app deluxe fx.

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Speaking of good food finds, may I present La Galette Creperie. If you want to pretend you're French you can pronounce it "crepp-ree."  But if you try and order a "crepp" you will be perceived as an idiot by your server. Not that I would know.

I really felt like I was in Paris until the stunning Pacific ocean view I had burst my bubble(it was rough). 

Yes, that's us kissing on demand for our hopelessly romantic daughter.   

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If the ambience above wasn't enough for you, this might further compel you to go.  These were some righteous crepes!

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There is always a bit of trailer dancing going on.  

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I love eating lunch on the beach but I'm not much of a sandwich girl.  This was easy to tote and on the menu a few days.  Just some tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, avocado, some good feta, lemon pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice, and drizzle of evoo. 

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We always love it when Kait joins us and we surprised Emma by having Catherine come down as well!  She just "showed up" in our trailer one afternoon! 

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We always try to do a group shot of "the kids."  We have so many shots like this from over the years- but a lot of them contain beached-out, cranky, crying babies.  It's a nice benefit that they can now all stand still and look happy.

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It's our tradition to have a Pedros-on-the-beach night and watch the sunset, and it didn't disappoint this year.  We usually have the beach all to ourselves at this time and it's lovely.

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It basically works like this.  The wives lounge on the beach while the hubbies go get the food and bring it right to us on the sand.  After all, someone has to save our perfect spot on the beach.

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It was great that Nick could come spend some time with us.  He's a lot of fun and also happens to be really good at carrying large coolers to the beach.
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On our last day we bumped into our dear friends, the Shoemakers, in the parking lot of the beach!  For many years we camped together and our kids spent their babyhood drooling on each other. The kids had a great time playing volleyball and an inventive form of Smashball.  Roxane and I just took pictures and threatened to instagram them all.  We still know how to annoy our children.
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And "beach church" on Sunday morning is always awesome!  We all get together at one campsite and begin by singing praise songs.  This always draws interesting looks from nearby campers. 
 Then, Rich usually teaches, and he mainly caters to the littles. He even brings coloring pages from our Sunday School curriculum for them.  But as you can see, coloring is for all ages! 

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8:30 pm Sunday evening. Well, maybe just one more Pedros run before heading home.  :-)
 
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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WDW - Homemade Larabars!

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I'm super excited about these!  Have you gotten hooked on Larabars yet?  They are these wonderful, healthy little bars. They taste amazing, and the ingredient list is so clean.  All they contain is cashews, dates, and depending on the flavor, other natural ingredients.  Plus, they are raw.  They are a great product indeed!

Awhile ago, my niece Amy's sister in law Katie (got that?) posted a recipe for homemade Larabars and I thought they looked good, but I hadn't really tasted one yet so I didn't take an interest in making them at the time.  THEN, I tasted one and all I could think of is when can I make these!!


I did a bit more research as well, and found this website which is fabulous in showing how to go about the process.  I like the build-your-own formula they have:  

1 cup pitted dates(I use Medjool)  + 1 cup raw cashews 
+ flavoring (if desired)
+ 1 cup add-ins of your choice

They have also listed the ingredients needed to make some of the more popular Larabar flavors.

The first ones I tried, I used 1 cup dried apricots and 2 tsp. vanilla extract.   YUM!   Then I got on a roll and made another one:  coconut-lemon-blueberry (1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/2 cup dried blueberries, 1 tsp. pure lemon extract).   That one was really good!  Then I made a variation of one from Katie's site - the chocolate almond (substituted half almonds instead of all cashews, leaving some in big pieces + 1 Tbsp. raw almond butter and 1/8 cup chopped dark chocolate).  Rich was sitting at the kitchen table as I worked and at one point I just blurted out, "this is so much fun!!" :-)  He was happy too, because I kept bringing him samples.   I was having such great success, it was starting to become addicting! There are endless combinations I'm eager to try.


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The method is easy - I used my trusty big 'ole Cuisinart food processor and first pulverized the dates and cashews together.  You have to let it go awhile so it's like a paste.  Then, I added in the flavoring (the extracts) and pulsed some more.  After that was all incorporated, I added my "add ins" and pulsed just enough to incorporate.  You don't want to totally break up the add ins or turn them into a paste.

I turned each batch onto wax paper and shaped into a square shape about 1/2" thick with my hands.  I cut them into bars and wrapped each one in waxed paper.  I'm storing them in Ziploc bags in the fridge.  I'm not worried about their shelf life because they won't last long around here.   But I would guess it's several weeks.   Emma LOVES the blueberry ones, and has already asked me to make more.   She said "this is pretty much the best bar I've ever had."


These little powerhouses of energy will be great to grab as breakfast on-the-go or as a mid afternoon pick-me-up.  Here are some of the health benefits of these bars:


Cashews:
-protein 
-fiber
-minerals:  magnesium, selenium, copper, zinc, manganese,   potassium, and iron
-vitamins:  B5, B-6, vitamin E riboflavin, thiamin
-antioxidants
-cashews are also one of Dr. Oz's 4 anti-cancer super foods (for whatever that is worth.)

Dates:
-fiber
-tannins (anti inflammitory)
-vitamin A, B-complex, vitamin K, riboflavin, niacin
-antioxidants:  beta carotene, lutein
-minerals:  iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper

Plus did I mention these are INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS??  Good tasting and good for you = my kind of food.  :-) 


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