Friday, August 8, 2014

Snippets of Summer

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The highlight of our summer thus far was a wonderful long weekend in San Clemente with our kids.  Now that they are married it is extra special to be able to spend extended time together.

We have vacationed in San Clemente every summer since we got married. Because of that, it holds a special fondness for all of us.

This year, however, we hung up our usual camping accomodations in favor of resort life - there is no turning back now!  
We stayed at the San Clemente Inn and would definitely go back.  It was reasonable and had a lot of great amenities.

We had so much fun going to the beach, playing tennis & miniature golf at the hotel, visiting great local restaurants, shopping at all the cute shops in town, and of course some good evening Sequence tournaments.

At one of the antique shops, we found this, and since we had the truck with us, we decided why not make it ours?

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It has a new home in our dining room and is just perfect for my little Depression Glass collection.  It will be a great place to serve drinks or set up coffee.

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Of course, our summers are always full of homegrown heirloom tomatoes!  It hasn't been the best year for some reason, but we've gotten some real beauties.  

To give some perspective, in this picture the tomatoes are on a regular sized jelly roll pan.  The big yellow tomatoes in the foreground are called Pineapple and are about 2 lb. each.  They are gorgeous, juicy, and flavorful.

Here's one way to serve them:

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Just a little red onion and blue cheese makes a pretty salad.  We sprinkle on our favorite rosemary olive oil and a little good balsamic.  This is practically a meal in itself!  Add some good crusty bread and you're all set with an easy summer dinner. 

We have also made salsa with fresh jalapenos and cilantro. Fresh salsa is the best.

Since I love Rao's bottled sauce so much, I decided to plant a San Marzano tomato plant this year.  I have made a couple batches of marinara and it is delicious!  I just put the tomatoes in the vitamix with some fresh garlic, sweet onion, and fresh basil.  I pulverize it and simmer it on the stove a long time with some olive oil, salt and pepper.  That's it!

Other things we are growing:  lettuce, carrots, beets, strawberries, Japanese and Armenian cucumbers, Japanese eggplant, colored bell peppers, basil, jalapenos, yellow squash, and zucchini. 


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Our pup Buttercup has gotten so big and weighs around 40 lb. now!
She has proven to be a typical lab in the water.  She loves to play fetch or just lounge on the step to stay cool on hot summer days.

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And it's sure a "ruff" life having your own lounge chair in the shade.

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We have found a new fave place to frequent - Urth Caffe.
 There is one downtown that we love, and Rich has taken me there on several occasions when I've come to his office.

Now there is a new one in Pasadena!  
Check out some cool photos of the place here.  
It's the perfect place for breakfast, lunch, afternoon coffee or a Boba.  And it's fantastic at night for dessert and coffee. They have great organic coffee and outstanding pastry.

Their food is so fresh and absolutely delicious.  I love the ambiance! 
The restaurant is very large and open air and done in Spanish decor, which includes lots of tile mosaics and a pretty fountain.

I must say I have found myself here a few times this summer either with a friend or most recently on a breakfast date with my hubby.  The above photo was Rich's beautiful food - poached eggs over fresh, yummy veggies.   

Below was my dish - I'm such a fan of their oatmeal.

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This and a fresh hot Americano really hit the spot on a slightly chilly morning.  :-)
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