Friday, February 14, 2014

I {heart} Pinterest

I really love Pinterest.  
It's such a great resource, and I find it to be an amazing way to organize recipes you want to try.  
Since I like to try at least one new recipe a week, I often just pin away to my heart's content, and come back later to choose something to make.  
Lately I have had great success with the following recipes:



Local blog readers -- have you ever had the lavender shortbread cookie at Sweetsalt in Toluca Lake?  OH.MY.WORD. It was love at first bite for me and I've been on a quest for the recipe ever since I tasted it.  Today I tried this recipe and it was VERY easy and successful (not quite as good, but very good!).  I got a big bag of lavender buds on Amazon for a good price.  There are many uses for them, like lavender lemonade or other baked goods.  I also put them into my homemade soap. 

Is there anything better than a latte and the perfect cookie? Ahh.  This cookie fits the bill.
I love it's rustic look, too.


So this recipe is also pretty amazing. 
A little time consuming to make, but well worth it.
Don't you love it when cookies bake up big and beautiful like this?
After tasting brown butter cookies in Cayucos, 
I've been kind of smitten by things made with brown butter. 
Try these Nutella-Stuffed Browned Butter Chocolate Chip cookies and you'll be glad you did.



One of my favorite things is waking up to a warm crock pot full of oatmeal.
This one has pears and spices which makes it sweet and delicious. I subbed in coconut sugar for the brown sugar and used homemade almond milk for the milk.

Did you know leftover cooked oatmeal is amazing in pancakes?
I love this recipe that I tried.
I used half sprouted wheat flour/half AP flour.
I cooled them and froze extras in between sheets of waxed paper. 
Just pop them in the toaster to thaw/rewarm.  They taste great.


This recipe for Roasted Veggie Quinoa Bowls with ginger peanut sauce 
was the winner-winner though!

This humble meatless entree looks very boring, but man was it TASTY!
We've been growing snow peas in the garden and they really make this dish.
It took less than a half hour to prep and get this to the table (LOVE that).
Faster than you can get a pizza delivered and much healthier!
The veggies roast and the quinoa cooks while you prepare the INCREDIBLE SAUCE.
You could add chicken, shrimp, or salmon to this dish -- but it really doesn't need it.
Leftovers are quite desirable.  Consider doubling!
This is going to be a regular in our line up for sure!

Up next to try...



Martha Stewart's French Macarons*

*Not to be confused with, nor pronounced like macaroons.
Click here to be enlightened on the subject.
 
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Monday, February 3, 2014

Empty Nesting Begins...

I never expected to be empty nested so soon or so young!  With one in heaven, and two married, somehow here we are.   Out of the almost 27 years we've been married, we have had children in our home 25 of them. Thus begins a new chapter for us- or back to the honeymoon phase!  :-)  

People ask me how I feel or what it's like.  First of all, it really doesn't seem that different  --  in the last couple years our kids lived with us they were quite busy and not really home that much anyways.  I adjusted to long stretches of time without them, which was a blessing for me as a mother.  I would say it was a slow process, over many years, of letting go.  I will admit there were times of sadness along the way when I anticipated them leaving our home forever. But, since the changes were gradual it didn't really seem abrupt or sad when they actually got married.   We are happy for them and their new lives as married people so that surely helps the process for us.  We love to get together with our kids and plan to do it often. So, it's more of a change, not a loss, in our relationship with them.

So, I guess my answer is, it's kind of nice.  I still have plenty to keep me busy, which I'm thankful for.  I do enjoy having more freedom in my schedule to say yes to different opportunities.  I still want to serve my kids -- it just looks different now.  But the best bonus of all is that I have my hubby all to myself much more! I'm actually feeling excited about what lies ahead.

After the wedding, Rich took the week off and we got away for a few days to celebrate the beginning of this new chapter.  We grabbed a Living Social deal and stayed at an adorable bed and breakfast inn at Cayucos, which is between Pismo and Cambria.  Cayucos is just a quaint little seaside tourist town. There is not much but the beach, a few antique shops and some restaurants (including the amazing, not to be missed Brown Butter Cookie Company.). It was very quiet at this time of year but in the summer it gets busy. 

Everything about our trip was so nice.  The drive up the coast listening to great 70's music, the gorgeous warm weather, the place we stayed, the food, a walk on Moonstone Beach cliff, the McConnell's ice cream on the way home (my fave ice cream on earth) and especially the company.  :-)

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On the Beach  --The Bed and Breakfast Inn we stayed at.

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A shot from our beautiful room -- see the ocean?  We had a spacious room that featured a fireplace and a big jacuzzi tub.  I think everything in our room was Tommy Bahama --

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I took this shot inside the inn.  I think there were 12 units at the place.  We stayed on the ground floor. Loved the beachy look and feel of the place.

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Chef Maureen made us feel like a guest in her home.  Everything was from scratch and so good!  Every morning we could even smell breakfast cooking from our room!  And they even gave us appetizers in the afternoons and dessert in the evenings (which we gladly ate).   Great place!

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The view out our room window

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 Cayucos pier

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More time with him is definitely a benefit!

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We went to Cambria one of our days.  I may have posted food pictures from this restaurant in Cambria before -- but it's worth a repeat!  We love the Main Street Grill there.
Yummy salad, a beef rib and fries, and the best tri tip sandwich on earth!!

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Did I mention that this sandwich is the best tri tip I've ever had?  Oops, sorry. I don't know how they make it, but it has an awesome smoky flavor and is super tender.  The bun is made into garlic bread before they slap this baby together which sends it over the top.  I think our conversation at lunch was mostly us repeatedly saying how good it was.  Seriously! You gotta go!!


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