Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Foodie Pen Pals!

July has been an INSANE month! I was so excited when my box arrived from Kim filled with so many delicious goodies. I regret that I haven't actually tried any of the yummy goodies yet. Like I said, this month is nutty and I want to sit down and really ENJOY what she's put together for me, not just shove it in my mouth!


It contained dark chocolate roasted almonds, Ritter hazelnut chocolate, hot drinking chocolate, olive tapenade and my two favorites that I'm excited to try: Sassafras tea (never heard of it) and currant jam from her local farmer's market. There may have been one other thing in there that I got antsy and grabbed and munched before I had the chance to take a photo...or even compute what it was!


So stoked to try it all!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend at the Beach

It was another busy weekend for the Sutherlins. Filled with good food, great friends and plenty of family we don't get to see very often.

Friday night we packed up the truck and headed to Santa Cruz to visit Jim's grandparents on his mom's side. We arrived late and went to bed late after talking with his grandparents until after midnight. In the morning, his grandma made us french toast for breakfast (two different kinds: one with regular bread and one with my gluten-free bread) and we spent the first half of the day hanging at the house with them.

They were heading off on a trip with their RV group, so we left them to pack their stuff and headed to the boardwalk.

It was crazy and packed with people and it took us over an hour to find a place to park (although when we finally did it was free as opposed to the $12 fee to park in one of the Boardwalk's lots). There were so many people, we could barely walk through the crowds as we made our way down to the beach.


Someone had made a really cool shark out of sand. It was impossible to get a photo of it by itself because for some reason, every time someone else was done taking their photo, this lady in black and white in the front had to go in and get more pictures taken of her. People are strange.

Then we went inside and played some arcade games and stopped for a photo with the distorted mirrors. As you can see, Jim wasn't too interested, and this mirror wasn't too crazy. Our legs are super long though. We got $5 worth of coins and then gave our tickets to a cute little girl who was there with her dad. She was stoked!


Then we walked out to the wharf. From there we got a better scope of exactly how many people were on the beach. I can't understand how it can be considered fun to hang out so close to so many other people. But then again, I didn't grow up in beach culture, so maybe there's something to it that I'm just not getting.


There were tons of seagulls and pelicans on the wharf, including this fellow who found a comfy spot on top of a trash can for a nap. These guys are mean when you get up close to him. After I snapped this photo, he opened his beady little eyes and followed me with them as I walked away. I thought he might peck my eyeballs out if I didn't move fast!

There was a display about them in the wharf and I guess they're endangered and were close to extinction several years ago. I can understand why if they're such jerks!


When it got too warm and we were both tired of walking in sandals (Jim got a pretty nasty blister from the sand rubbing in his), we headed back to the car to meet our friends Nic and Christie for dinner. I have mentioned Christie before. She's the one who married us. She's also my massage therapist. She's quite the multipurpose friend!


They were in town for the Wharf to Wharf run. They were staying at the house of a friend of a friend. They'd brought wine and snack, and all she could find were these mason jars to serve the wine in. It was white wine, hippie-style! There's never a dull moment with these two!


We had dinner at a restaurant called Dharma's. They do all vegetarian and vegan food and they are very sensitive to other allergies, with many gluten-free options. Nic has an intolerance to gluten, so he and I are in similar boats when it comes to eating out.

This drippy droopy sandwich Christie is digging into was made on a gluten-free roll. I had a burrito with no tortilla. Jim had probably the toughest time picking a meal because he's not used to going out and not having a meat option. He chose a burrito and some nachos. Nic had rice pasta with Greek toppings. We all left completely stuffed.


After dinner we had drinks and headed back to Jim's grandparents' house and fell into bed.

The next morning we went up to meet our newest nephew, Jim's brother Chris and his wife Stefanie's son. His name is Nickolas and he has the cutest chubby cheeks and more hair on his head than most adults do! I was so distracted I forgot to get a photo, so I jacked this one from Stefanie's facebook. Isn't he a cute little monkey face?


I only wish we lived closer to them so we could see them more often and watch this little one grow up!

The weekend was all sorts of fun, but now we've hit Monday morning, and I feel like I've been hit by a truck. Both of my brother's, my sister-in-law and my nephew were all sick last week, and I think I finally caught a bit of it. I'm congested and my chest hurts and my throat hurts and I'm bundled up on the couch with tea and my dvr. Hopefully this will blow over by tomorrow. I don't do sick very well.

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Nothing new to report

I've been feeling, the past few days, like I need to write a post. I just haven't had anything profound to say. No pictures to share, no interesting stories or new recipes. I wish I did. Mostly, the past week I've been dreaming of traveling. It's been several months since we last got away and I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm the kind of person who needs to travel, who has to get away at least once a year to relax, regroup, and refresh so I can continue living my day-to-day life.

[caption id="attachment_998" align="aligncenter" width="461"] View of Waikiki Beach from our hotel 2009[/caption]

Maybe that's a fault of mine. But I can't help it. It's who I am. My husband says it makes me "like my dad," which I don't think he means as a good thing. Granted, my dad needs to move, to run, to roam because he's trying to escape the demons he doesn't realize are all in his head. There's a profound difference between that and needing some time to recoup and unwind from everyday life. I don't mind coming back. He hasn't been home in over a year.

[caption id="attachment_996" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Outside Kaikoura, South Island, New Zealand 2007[/caption]

But we don't need to get into the subject of my dad. There's a reason he's seldom mentioned on the blog and we can keep it that way. I only brought it up because I can see a certain similarity...and because my husband had to go and make that comment. But I get an itch that is quite similar to the way my dad reacts when he "needs to go!" I get restless and antsy and spend far too much time perusing travel sites and dreaming of sitting on a beach or riding a train through Europe or roaming through the spice markets in Istanbul. There's a difference between wanting adventure and needing to escape.

[caption id="attachment_995" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Prince of Wales Island, Alaska 2010[/caption]

That being said, I've been in one of those moods. I've spent countless hours trying to figure out what we can manage to do to get away for our anniversary, and I've pretty much come up with this: nothing outside of California. But it's not like we can't afford to do something fun. It's just that every penny right now is going toward our down payment for our house, and that, despite the gravitational force in my body that seems to physically pull me towards Sacramento International Airport, is more important.

[caption id="attachment_997" align="aligncenter" width="634"] Our honeymoon in Santorini, Greece 2012[/caption]

But that doesn't stop me from dreaming...or searching for good deals, like suddenly a 4-day trip to Hawaii is going to pop up for $500 or something. I'm hoping eventually the feeling will subside. Maybe we can take a few weekend trips or something and my hunger will be assuaged for a while.

[caption id="attachment_1000" align="aligncenter" width="409"] Gettysburg, PA 2010 48 States Road Trip[/caption]

It'll be better once we have a house, too. I'll have a very large project to keep my attention, to keep me busy. I'm overly excited to get into a place and start making it our home. The half of my day that isn't spent checking out travel websites is spent checking out interior design sites and cruising Pinterest for creative DIY projects.

Well, I guess I had something to say and photos to share after all. Now I'd probably better get some work done. I'm leaving early today. Lunch with my dear friend, Christie, followed by being poked with a bunch of needles (acupuncture).

Hope you're having a lovely Thursday!

What is your favorite place you've traveled? What is your dream vacation?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Oh what a day

I am just sitting down to my desk for the first time today. It's almost 2 p.m. This morning I had to go down to El Dorado County's building department to handle some things (in my dad's absence) regarding our second shop building. It's boring, so I won't go into details. But I was there for almost three hours.

Breakfast this morning was delicious. I was totally channeling fall on this one. I had a little bit of extra time, so I decided to make some oatmeal. On top, I put some pumpkin butter, some toasted pecans and a small handful of chocolate chips. It was so yummy. The chocolate added just enough sweet. I definitely felt nostalgic for fall.


I love Cold Hollow Cider Mill. They're in Vermont and I was soooo happy to find out that they have a website where you can order their stuff. I loooove this pumpkin butter. Their maple syrup is to die for and pretty much everything else they carry is delicious as well.


So after breakfast I rush down to the county offices and wait while my architect is 1/2 an hour late. And then sit in various offices for two and a half hours, filling out paperwork, signing checks, listening to the architect talk with whoever about whatever. Then I had to deliver plans to the fire district as well as the water district (hey, at least we're covering our bases!) before I could finally come in to the office. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining about the time away from my desk. If it wasn't hotter than Hades out there, it would have been fine.


Anyway, so to back up the bus a little, the offices for El Dorado County are in Placerville, about a 20-25 minute drive from my office. Since I got out just before lunchtime, I decided to grab some chow from one of my favorite places in Pville.



They serve all sorts of fresh, organic foods and yummy beverages. I got a dirty chai...which is a chai tea latte with a shot of espresso...with almond milk (how many other places offer almond milk?!). For lunch I ordered their "Righteous Rice Bowl" with tuna. I ordered it to go, but here's a photo of the same rice bowl I ordered with my mom a few weeks ago.



It had rice, beans, cheese, tuna, avocado, carrots, cabbage, red onion, sprouts, cilantro, two different kinds of sauces and probably all sorts of stuff I'm not remembering at the moment. It was so good.


And the Cozmic Cafe is super cool. It's in this really old building and has a mine shaft at the back...



And I just learned today that there's seating back there!



Yea, it's a little creepy. But it was the coolest place in the entire restaurant!


So now I'm at work...and since I've been writing this (okay, and browsing Pinterest), I have 45 minutes before it's time to leave. And then I'm off to the gym for my daily 30 minutes of aerobic exercise and home to make dinner...which I've yet to make a decision about. I'd better get on that.


What are you having for dinner? Anything corn and wheat free?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review: Gone Girl

Don't you hate when you read a book, especially a long one, and you're loving it; it's so amazingly holding your attention that you can barely put it down, and then you get to the end and it totally flops? Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was that book.


It's a story about marriage at its rockiest. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy moves girl from NYC to dying Mississippi river town. Girl hates it. One day girl disappears.


As I said before, the story starts out well. I was compelled to pick it up any chance I got just to see what happened next. In the first section of the book, you aren't sure what happened to her. Is she still alive? Did her husband kill her? Did she run away? Did someone kidnap her? So many unanswered questions. I found myself unsure of who I was rooting for. You know what I mean, right? There's two sides, of course, and its usually easy enough to decide whose team you're on. But I found myself going back and forth the entire way through this book. I couldn't predict how it was going to turn out or who would "win."


But then, at the end of the first section, you get the big answer. You know what happened to her. And you're compelled to continue reading to figure out how the heck she's going to get out of the mess she's in. Because she is in a big mess. And he's in a big mess too. And all the little pieces unravel and squirm toward the end. And then, it just dies. No closure, one giant loose end just floating around out there. It's like it was hurling full speed toward a giant cliff and instead of something miraculous happening, it just falls of the edge.


I contemplated writing a further review below, but I don't think I want to. I don't think its worth my time because I'm kind of over being pissed off at this book. If you'd like to have a chat about it, feel free to leave a comment and we'll go to town on it.


Other than that, I do NOT recommend this book.


Has anyone else read this? Did you have a different opinion?

Trying to get back into the swing of things

I love time off from work. It's my favorite. I think I was at work a total of 2 days last week between the holiday and taking an extra day off and having work-related errands that kept me out of the office. But now it's Tuesday and the "vacation" is officially over and I have to get myself back into a routine of actually being useful in the office.

It sure was a good week, though. Between 4th of July at the beach and family fun this past weekend and taking a little bit of time to relax, it was definitely much-needed time away from work.

On Saturday we got to spend some time with Jim's family. His mom and sister and her family, his cousin and his family and his aunt and uncles. I got to hang out with this little one: the newest little niece, Charlotte. Isn't she adorable?

(please excuse my apparent glare. I'm not sure whats going on with my face...it's probably just due to my hatred for heat)


She spent most of the day sleeping. According to Tricia, her awake time is in the evening. It was only like 3 in the afternoon at this point, so she was still gathering her strength for a night of  keeping mommy up!



Seriously. Way too cute, right? She turned one month old today.


Charlotte has an older brother, Cameron, who is almost two (his birthday is in a month). Jim's cousin Bryan has a son named, Cody, who just turned 2 on the 4th.  (Hold on, I'm going to go facebook jack some photos for ya!)


Cameron



Cody



That night we went out to Swabbie's on the river with Jim's uncle Ken. They had a band playing and we had some drinks and a bite to eat. Evidently they have the best tacos around, but I wouldn't know due to my inability to eat the part that makes it a taco: the tortilla. They sure looked delicious though.



(You almost cant tell I am dehydrating, here, in the almost unbearable heat..."keep drinking")


So, needless to say, after all that fun, it's been hard getting back into the boring old swing of things. And now that I've stopped "working" to write this post, it's unlikely I'll be very productive for the rest of the day. It's a good thing I got a lot done this morning!


Hope you're having a lovely Tuesday!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thai style peanut noodles

I have had the biggest cravings for something savory and creamy lately. Most things possessing those qualities are so because of the flour in them, which makes it hard for me to find something that's safe for me.

I decided to bust out the PB2 my lovely Foodie Pen Pal, Dee, sent me and create something myself.

I've always loved Thai peanut noodles. I never thought peanuts would be good with pasta, but holy moly. Delicious! Since I'm home from work early today, I decided it would make a delicious little lunch.




Mr and Meatless' Thai style Peanut Noodles


1 large handful of spaghetti style pasta (I used rice pasta, but you can use whole wheat or regular old what pasta. Tis up to you)

1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thin

2 medium sized carrots, sliced thin

Approx 1/2 cup frozen edamame (or fresh if that's what you've got)

1/2 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)

4 tbsp PB2

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 squirt Sriracha sauce (to taste)

Cilantro, for garnish

Boil the spaghetti noodles in a large saucepan. Steam the bell pepper, carrots and edamame. Combine the liquid amino acids, PB2, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and Sriracha, whisk until smooth. If you're using rice noodles, empty them into a strainer and rinse with cold water, then place in a serving bowl. Toss noodles with veggies and sauce. Garnish with cilantro (If I had sesame seeds, I probably would have sprinkled some of them on top too) and enjoy!


Have a wonderful weekend everyone! I'll see you on Monday!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July at the beach


We had no big plans for 4th of July this year, which is strange because it's always been such a big holiday for my family. At the last minute, we decided to join my brother's family...as well as some family friends, some of which I haven't seen in years...at Dillon Beach for 4th of July. I'm not going to write much, just post some photo highlights from the 24 hours or so we were there.


Sunrise at the dock


Tucker and Ila, our friend Alison's little girl. Aren't they the cutest?!


She's gonna be a great wife someday! LOL


Funny lil face!


Lil Man playing in the sand.


I love his little hood.

It was such a beautiful day at the beach. Most of the summer it's foggy and cold down there. My family used to spend every weekend, every summer down there in a 5th wheel trailer in horseshoe formation with Alison's family and the families of a few other friends. I hadn't been there since before I graduated college, and it was nice to be back, to see everyone again (We've seen each other more recently than I've been to the beach, though!).

I spent the day with Michaela and Tucker and "the girls" while Jim went fishing with my brother. Jim had to work today, so we headed home when they got back. It was a nice, relaxing day, and a nice quiet evening. We stood in our parking lot and watched the various fireworks shows in the area. It was kind of neat to be able to see so any of them, even though they were smaller for us than if we'd been close by. But we were feeling low key, so it was perfect.

How was your 4th?