Monday, July 29, 2013

Renegade Craft Fair and Frances

On Sunday, we went to our favorite fair of the year, the Renegade Craft Fair. Erik picked up two tshirts and a guitar 


Birthday cupcake earrings : pink sprinkle vanilla cupcake - food jewelry
I didn't get anything but saw two cute shops there including Inedible Jewelry. Check out those super cute cupcake earrings. 

Waves
We also LOVED this print. Doesn't that look like me and Evie in the boat?It's by Jillian Nickell.  I have no clue where I would put this in the house but I love it so much. I might just buy it on her Etsy shop and figure out a spot for it later. 

After the fair, we went to dinner at FrancesFrances is a hot SF restaurant that has been open for a little while but we finally just got a reservation. The restaurant is tucked onto 17th street in the Castro. Awhile back, when we were still living in SF, Evie and I found this restaurant on one of our walks.It is a small restaurant and the tables were pretty tight together. 

The food was pretty good. Here's what we had - 

  • Smoked Bacon Beignets - Maple Chive Crème Fraîche
  • Panisse Frites - Chickpea Fritters, Meyer Lemon, Smoked Chili Aioli
  • Bodega King Salmon - White Corn, Polenta, Lobster Mushroom, Salmon ‘Chowder'
  • Golden Nectarine & Blackberry Trifle - Nectarine Gelee, Lime Curd, Toasted Almond Macaron
Great dinner. Would I try hard to get a reservation to go back? No. Glad we went and enjoyed it though. 






Sunday, July 28, 2013

Junior League and the Postal Service

On Saturday, I started the day by going to a New Member gathering for the Junior League of the East Bay. The Junior League is a great organization of women who focus on volunteering as well as providing training and leadership skills for members. I love volunteering and networking so this seems like a great combo. For the past 10-ish years, I have always have some type of steady volunteership. Right now, I don't and this could be a great way to meet people in my community and give back directly to the community as well. 

In addition to volunteering, the Junior League puts on fundraising events and social events. It's like a grown up sorority! haha! I will be joining soon and the new year for the group begins in September. 

Later in the day, we met our friends Lisa and Justin for the Postal Service concert at the Greek Theatre. Ironically, on our way to the concert, we saw a protest outside of the post office. hah


Prior to the show, we went to the Free House in Berkeley for dinner. It was so close to the theatre and not crowded at all so that was great. 


So, going to concerts is not my thing and I don't know anything about the Postal Service but Erik knows and likes them. It was fun to go to the show though and the Greek is a great venue. The seating is first come, first serve but we had good seats. It seems that any seat in the arena is a good one. 


Lisa and I



We had a great time!

video






Saturday, July 27, 2013

Buffalo Turkey Burgers

SkinnyTaste Photo

On Friday night, before I fell asleep on the couch, I made buffalo turkey burgers for dinner. I used this recipe with some edits, of course! They were so good and we had extra for lunch on Saturday which was nice. 

Ingredients:


  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli slaw (Didn't use)

    • 1/4 cup skinny blue cheese dressing  (Didn't use)
    • 1.25 lbs 93% lean ground turkey
    • 2/3 cup grated carrots (grate in food processor) 
    • 1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs 
    • 1 clove garlic, grated 
    • 1 tbsp red onion, grated  (Didn't use)
    • 1/4 cup Franks Hot Sauce
    • salt and fresh pepper
    • oil spray
    • 5 slices reduced fat cheddar
    • 5 whole wheat burger buns 
    • 3 celery stalks (I added)
    Directions: (What I did)

    Chop the carrot and celery in the food processor. 

    In the KitchenAid mixer, combine ground turkey, carrots, celery, breadcrumbs, garlic, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Makes 5 equal patties, 5.5 oz each.

    Habitat for Humanity

    On Friday, my entire company had the day off so that we could spend the day volunteering. We have many offices across the country and each office chose their own non-profit to work with. My office chose Habitat for Humanity and we worked on a site in Oakland. 


    Oh yeah, here I am all suited up. I had to cut siding for a house, get on scaffolding, and hang it. It was an all day job and we were SO tired at the end of the day. 

    Here is the site we were on. We were at the 2nd story windows hanging siding!



    The finished project. We were climbing in and out of that window all day onto the scaffolding. 

    Here's a shot of all of the name tags of volunteers that have helped with this build site. It was a fun day! I love doing Habitat. You learn some skills you may or may not use again but you can see actual results at the end of the day. It was great walking up to a blank wall and leaving with the siding hung. 

    I was so tired at the end of the day. I came home, walked Evie, showered, and laid on the couch. We had dinner and I think I probably fell asleep at 9pm! Oh well, it was a good day!




    Week Rewind

    Although I've been trying new recipes, on Wednesday night I made fajitas without a recipe. Fajitas are so easy to make. I used a white onion to make carmelized onions and cooked with sliced peppers and frozen corn. I made grilled chicken strips, shredded cheddar, and mixed it all in a wrap. Yum!


    I made more rice using flavored broth but this one wasn't that good. I liked the Thai Ginger one better. 

    Check out Evie poised on the ottoman this week. How is that foot placement even comfortable?


    We had an exciting Thursday because we went into SF to meet our friend Betsy & Greg's new baby girl! We brought pizza for dinner with us and hung out with the new family for a little while. 

     So cute!
    We are so happy for them! They will be great parents. 

    On Friday, we re-watched The Social Network movie about Facebook. You know the Winkelvoss Twins who supposedly invented FB before Mark Zuckerberg? Well, they are played by two actors but you only see one of the actors face in the movie. Crazy, right? 
    I looked up how they did it and it is pretty nuts. They basically had TWO actors, they both had to play both parts, and they placed the face of the chosen actor to be shown in the film (Armie Hammer) on the second actor. Check it out HERE



    Wednesday, July 24, 2013

    Coconut Chicken and Thai Rice

    On Monday, I made a deeeeeeelish dinner - Coconut chicken and Thai rice with zuccini. The coconut chicken is courtesy of this recipe:



    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cook time: 30 minutes
    Yield: 3 servings
    Serving Size: 2 chicken tenders
    Ingredients
    • 6 (about 12 oz) chicken tenderloins
    • 7 tbsp shredded coconut - Used a lot more than this because I wanted to really taste the coconut
    • 1/4 cup panko crumbs
    • 1/4 cup Fiber One cereal - DID NOT USE
    • 1/3 cup egg substitute or 3 egg whites
    • dash salt
    • dash pepper
    • dash garlic powder - DID NOT USE
    • Non-stick cooking spray
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. In a food processor, crush Fiber One cereal to a bread crumb consistency. - DID NOT DO
    3. Combine coconut flakes, panko, Fiber Once bread crumbs, and salt in a bowl.
    4. Put egg whites or egg beaters in a separate small bowl.
    5. Next, dip chicken into the egg and then into the coconut mixture.
    6. Place chicken strips evenly on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or lined with parchment paper.
    7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and coconut is golden brown, turn chicken once half way through cooking time.
    8. Serve with your favorite side dish and enjoy!

    The rice was made with a Thai flavored broth -

    I made brown rice on the stove replacing water with this broth. It came out SO good. I cannot wait to try the other flavors that Swanson has out - a hot and sour and a Mexican tortilla. This seems healthier than buying flavored rices (albeit these have a lot of sodium). 

    I made double so we had this for lunch the next day. So good!! My take on cooking is really to find a recipe that looks good and then edit due to what you have on hand or what you do/don't like. Removing the cereal from the recipe didn't really do much. It would've made it crunchier but I'm not going to buy a box of Fiber One for $5 just to make this. So, meal planning and cooking is actually fun right now because aren't stressing over having the perfect spice for every dish, it's fun to try new recipes, and it's nice having lunch the next day!


    Garbage Collecting and Italian Food

    On Sunday, I found two GREAT things on the street. I was thankful to have Erik with me on my walk with Evie so he could carry this stuff home. First, I found this breakfast in bed tray which I am going to turn into a cheese tray. I plan on painting the tray and painting that black area with chalkboard paint. Then for parties, we will put the cheese on the tray and use chalk to write what kind of cheese it is!

    I also found this chair. It was sitting outside for a few days and I was thinking about picking it up but left it. Finally, we took it home. This will be another paint and make a new cushion job. I have to decide where I will put it before I decide on color and fabric. Yippee!! I've also been looking online for a sewing machine. I've  found some great deals on starter machines on Ebay and Overstock!

    For dinner, we went into SF for dinner at IL BORGO. This restaurant is located in Hayes Valley and we would drive past it EVERY time we got off the 101 highway to drive to our place in SF. Literally, every time we drove past I would say, "We should go there!" 

    Turns out our friends that lived up the street also said that to themselves. For our last dinner before they had their baby, we decided to meet in SF and finally go here!!

    It was actually really good. It's super cheesy inside and has murals of Italy on the wall but they make all of their pasta and ravioli. It was great. 

    Good way to end the weekend!


    Sunday, July 21, 2013

    Beer Tasting in Wine Country

    On Saturday, Erik and I headed out to Livermore to have dinner at our FAVORITE restaurant - The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards.  We thought maybe we'd stop by another winery to do a tasting before dinner but instead I looked up breweries in the area. I found two small breweries offering tastings. Whattttt? We had no idea what we were getting into when we pulled up, but we were pleaseantly surprised. 

    First, Altamont Brewing Co. We walked in to a rowdy tasting room, just like at a winery!


    $5 for 5 tastings. We bought one tasting since they were mostly IPA's. The beer was pretty good but the tasting room was full of younger kids and it was a little crazy in there. We were not allowed to buy a pint and you couldn't taste the same beer twice. So, after tasting, we moved on to a second brewery that we found .

    These tasting rooms were in little warehouse type settings and it was nothing fancy by any means. We liked Working Man Brewing Co.better than the first spot. The brewers were there and it was a cooler place. 

    Tasting paddle

    $4 for 4 tastings AND we got a tour of the little one room brewery

    Here is a contraption the brewers made to grind the grain and send it into the tank

    Holding tanks for fermentation

    On the Tour


    The Brewer gave everyone a taste of beer that was "in the works" and not quite ready yet. 

    Oohhhh Beer!

    After our tastings, we went to Wente for dinner and it was out of this world. I've said it before - best food and service we've ever had at a restaurant. We used a gift card my parents gave us for our wedding anniversary, too!

    To start, we had a squash appetizer and shared a melon/tomato salad.
     For dinner, I had the Walu fish and Erik had steak. 


    Checkout the sunset on the ride home. Such a fun afternoon!











    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    Movie Night

    Last night, Erik and I went to the movies and saw Pacific Rim. This is NOT my type of movie at all but Erik picked it and he loves going to the movies so we went!


    It was a really silly movie. There is this underworld where these crazy looking alien things live. They are coming up to Earth and ravaging our cities. To combat them, we created our own huge, machine things that can battle the aliens.

    Lots of fire, fighting, destruction....with a mix of a love connection and saving the world.

    Oh well, spending time together is what counts. :-)

    Friday, July 19, 2013

    These Cookies....


    These cookies are SO good and SO easy to make. In fact, I've been making them too much! I have to cut the recipe in half or else we have a ton of cookies for two of us and then SOMEBODY has to eat them so it turns out to be us!

    I've used this recipe a few times and it is so good. I'm telling you, the Kitchen Aid makes life SO easy including whipping up a batch of cookies. It is probably one of the best gifts I've ever received. hah!

    Ingredients

    Chicken Enchilada Soup

    Today, I worked from home and around 2pm was starving. I was going to save this for dinner but instead whipped it up quickly for lunch. It is super easy to make and so good. To do the chicken, I boiled it and then shredded it in the KitchenAid mixer. Once again, it's a SkinnyTaste recipe! I did make a lot of edits due to what I had on hand though. 

    Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup (except I didn't use a crockpot!)

    Ingredients:
    • 2 tsp olive oil
    • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 cups low sodium fat-free chicken broth
    • 8 oz can tomato sauce (replaced this with about a 1/2 cup of Pace Salsa)
    • 1-2 tsp chipotle chili in adobo sauce (or more to taste) - didn't use
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (plus more for garnish)
    •  15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
    • 2 cups frozen corn
    • 1 tsp cumin  - didn't have any
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 2 8 oz skinless chicken breasts (16 oz total)
    • 1/4 cup chopped scallions, for topping
    • 3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
    • fat free sour cream (optional)

    Directions:

    Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the chicken broth, tomato sauce and chipotle adobo sauce and bring to a boil. Add cilantro and remove from heat. Pour into crock pot.

    To the crockpot, add drained beans, diced tomatoes, corn, cumin, oregano and stir.Add the chicken breasts; cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.

    Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Add chicken back into the soup, adjust salt and cumin to taste. Serve in bowls and top with fat free sour cream, cheese, scallions and cilantro. You can also top with avocado or crushed tortilla chips. Enjoy!



    Thursday, July 18, 2013

    Back on the Wagon - Meal Planning

    Last week, I got the desire and energy to meal plan and shop for dinners for two weeks. I had a new idea to make double of every dinner so that we would have lunch the next day. Let me just say that it has been working out GREAT this week.

    Skinny Taste has provided us with some awesome recipes, yet again. On Monday, we had Chicken Pesto Bake and it was deeeeelish.

    Skinny Taste Pic

    Better yet, we used the tomatoes from Erik's garden for this dish! We had this with a side of pasta and it was so good for dinner AND lunch.

    Tuesday, we had Asian Meatballs with stir fry veggies and brown rice. The lime sesame dressing that goes with this was Soooooooo good.
    SkinnyTaste Photo
    Wednesday, we had a FAIL in the recipe department. I found this recipe online for Falafel and it sucked. The Falafel fell apart and was flat BUT it was still pretty good.



    Thursday, we had Teriyaki Turkey burgers. So good. Grilled pineapple on a burger - yes please! Again, we were able to use Erik's tomato and lettuce. We also made fries out of a big purple potato from his garden!

    Meal Planning takes time to look up recipes, come up with a variety of meals to eat, make a detailed list, and shop for it. It makes the evenings go smoothly when no one is going to to the store or asking "whats for dinner?" So glad we did this. Now, to start planning the next two weeks!

    Surprise!

    On Sunday, we pulled off a big surprise...a baby shower for my friend Betsy! She had NO idea and we were so excited that she was surprised. Three of us worked to plan the shower for months so when it all came together, it was awesome. We LOVED using Pinterest and Etsy to bring this shower to life. 



    Bucket List for guests to give ideas of what to do with the baby when she arrives

    Good luck wishes

    Delicious cake

    Super cute water bottle labels

    A delicious spread of cheese, salad, sandwiches, cookies....it was great

    These were so cute -- little containers filled with popcorn!

    Super cute cookies for the guests -- from etsy!

    A "pink drink" to coincide with our color scheme


    We played a few games and opened gifts...

    The party planners!

    The Hockey Wives

    Good shower & it was so much fun to pull together and surprise!!

    Can't wait to meet the new baby!