Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It's today!... And a little Train lovin'

Today is moving so slowly! But then again, why shouldn't it? Don't all exciting days go by slowly? I mean Jim and I have only been waiting for this day for six months. And even so, it may not end up being THE day afterall.

You're probably wondering, by now, what the heck I'm yammering on about. And I'll get there, but first let's talk about breakfast. After all, it is the most important meal of the day.


Doesn't that just look scrumptious? I mixed a little pumpkin in with my oatmeal this morning (by the way, I cook my oats in almond milk to make them creamy. It works so much better than adding the milk after cooking with water). Then I topped it all with a splash of maple syrup...real maple syrup, none of that Mrs. Butterworth's crap, some toasted pecans and just a few chocolate chips.


Honestly, as much as I love chocolate, I think I'd omit the chips in the future. Yesterday I was craving the crap out of something gooey and warm and chocolatey, and I thought maybe the chips would do it for me...it accomplished what I needed, but even though the flavors worked well together, it just seems like it's gonna be a one time thing. Anywhoo, like I said yesterday, I looooove anything pumpkin, so there ya have it.


While I'm leaving you hanging, I'm going to let you know this is the last post I'll be making, probably, this week (Although I may post you the recipe for some delicious little morsels I'm making for a birthday party on Saturday, but we'll see how I'm feeling at that point) because tomorrow I'm off! For four days! I'm beyond stoked, I must tell you. This weekend kicks off our Manic October filled with birthdays, our one year anniversary, a trip to Disneyland with a special dinner at Club 33, a grape-stomping event at our favorite Napa winery, and of course, this weekend's fun!



I am so stoked!!!


My youngest brother is going to school at UNR in Reno, so we figured this was the perfect venue for this year's Train tour. It occurred to me only last week that we've been to see them every year for gosh only knows how long. Last year we saw them at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln. This one was good. We had super close seats and...well, once the sun went down (holy nasty squinting face!) it was an amazing show...although their shows are always pretty amazing.



The year before it was in Berkeley at the Greek Theater (we passed on this venue because it was MISERABLE seating. Tiny narrow bench style stadium seating with about 12 inches to all your own and no back support. We were lucky to find a nice security guy that allowed us to sit in a vacant section by ourselves) for my mom's 49th birthday. We stayed in San Francisco and had afternoon tea at the Palace Hotel the next day.



Mom and I looking a tad like we're about to mug someone and the two men we observed taking in afternoon tea at the table behind ours


Let's see, the year before that we saw them....oh, San Diego! July 6th. We spent the 4th at Disneyland and watched the fireworks from...wait for it...the parking lot by Paradise Pier Hotel! YES! That's where our car was, and wanna know something? We could see them perfectly, we had our little snacks and there wasn't a soul around!


Before that we saw them as a family in Clear Lake. This one was special because I was at school and my dad flew the family down and picked me up before heading to Clear Lake. Except the resort where the concert was was on the other side of the lake. So he rented us a limo for the night. Boy did we feel cool riding up in that thing! This was actually the first time I'd even ridden in a limo. It was pretty cool. My dad is pretty cool when he's not letting his other stuff get in the way...but that's not a chat for the blog.


Anywhoo,  the first time I saw them was in 2001, I think, and I had just started college. I remember thinking "the best concert ever would be Matchbox 20 and Train." The next week, they announced Matchbox 20 would be touring with Train. I bought tickets immediately. And the second time I saw them was my sophomore year in college when they played Alice's Now & Zen fest in Golden Gate Park. Mom and I took the ferry into San Francisco and walked from the ferry building to the park. It was a pretty amazing day, too. They're all pretty amazing experiences. We always seem to make a to-do about it, even though its not really intentional. I do feel like I'm missing one, though. I'll have to ask my mom and I'll get back to you.


Anyway, the concert is tomorrow night....after acupuncture at 10 am and the hour or so drive to Reno. I've actually developed a pretty interesting response to the acupuncture: I fall asleep. Every time. I remember asking my mom if she ever fell asleep when I first started. She said in 12 years, she'd fallen asleep maybe twice. But I do it every. single. time. Not that I mind. It's just interesting. I lie there with needles in my back, trying to focus on my breathing and relax all my muscles. I guess I'm successful because it never fails. I'm zonked within five minutes. So I guess we should add a short nap to the list of things that come before the concert tomorrow.


But also before the show, we're having dinner with some really close family friends, one of which was diagnosed with cancer this year, and isn't expected to live too many more years. One of our favorite places to eat with them in Reno is the steakhouse at Harrah's, so hopefully he was able to get reservations there. If not, I'm sure he's got another place up his sleeve. That guy knows EVERYONE is Reno.


Okay, I've delayed enough, kept you hanging a sufficient amount of time.


This afternoon Jim and I have an appointment with the mortgage guy at the bank. We're going to apply for our pre-approval for our home loan!!! So exciting, right?! Now we can REALLY start looking for houses...hopefully. If we're approved.


That's all I've got for you for now. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

End of Summer Stuffed Squash

I didn't have a garden this year. Our 983 square foot apartment's tiny little deck had room for little more than a few tomato plants, which we gathered precisely ZERO tomatoes from. I think it was because there wasn't enough sun on that side of the building. I grew the crap out of some tomatoes on the deck of my old apartment...which happened to face the opposite direction. Anywhoo, just because I didn't have a garden of my own doesn't mean I didn't have plenty of fresh homegrown vegetables from the garden's of various other people in my life. And as of last night I had 3 different kinds of squash, a couple of sweet peppers, a small tomato, an onion and several garlic bulbs left. Not wanting any of it to go to waste, I decided to throw it all together in one delicious meal.


[caption id="attachment_1057" align="aligncenter" width="430"] Please excuse the crap photo. I just didn't have the energy to get the camera out last night. But you get the gist anyway.[/caption]

End of Summer Stuffed Squash


Serves 2

1 largish squash (it doesn't really matter what kind. I'm not even sure what kind mine was. It just came in a lovely bag from one of our employees)

1 small onion, chopped small

1 small tomato, chopped small

1-2 other small squashes, chopped small (I had two other small squashes. That's why I added them. You can adjust based on what you've got)

1 small sweet pepper, you guessed it, chopped small

1 clove of garlic, chopped small

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup quinoa (cooked in two cups water, per the instructions on the box)

1 heaping spoon of greek yogurt (or sour cream if you wish)

1 handfulish parmesan or asiago cheese (or a mix, like I used), shredded

1 slice of bread (I used gluten free bread), broken up into pieces

1 sliver of butter

Seasonings to taste

Cooking Spray

Spray a cookie sheet with your cooking spray and set it aside. While you're cooking your quinoa, broil your bread chunks until they start to darken and become "toasty." Put bread chunks into your food processor (or your Ninja blender, if you weren't so lucky as to get your food processor from your wedding registry) and make bread crumbs out of them (feel free to just use bread crumbs if you want. I like this way better because they're a little coarser..and you know, all around tastier).

Cut your large zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the innards. Chop the innards a bit and add them to your other chopped squashes and your chopped peppers and garlic.

Put your olive oil in your frying pan and when it gets warm, add your onions. When they start to soften, add the other veggies (DO NOT add the tomatoes till the end of they'll be gross and mushy) and whatever spices you're going to use (I used Jim's step dad's magic spice mix, which I'm not exactly sure of all the contents, but I know salt, garlic, rosemary, parsley, I think?? That's all I got for ya. Sorry. You can wing it). When your veggies start looking opaquish, add the cooked quinoa and let it fry away for a few mins. Meanwhile, melt the butter and mix it up with your bread crumbs. Add the tomatoes to the frying pan at the last minute, just to warm them up a bit.

Mix in the cheese. Then mix in the Greek yogurt. Place your squash halves onto your prepared cookie sheet and fill them as full as you can with the quinoa/veggie/cheese/yogurt mix. Top them with your buttered breadcrumbs and bake for about 20 minutes at 400ish. Your crumbs will be browned and your squash will be softish (try stabbing it with a fork).

[caption id="attachment_1056" align="aligncenter" width="461"] Sooooo good.[/caption]

I used the veggies I had in my fridge, and since I don't eat meat, I didn't add any. I'd imagine sausage would be good in this if you're into that kind of thing. I also might try carrots, Jim suggested mashed potato instead of quinoa. You can probably stuff pretty much anything into a squash. Use your imagination...and whatever you've got on hand.


Speaking of the end of summer, is anyone else beyond excited for fall? I'm SOOO ready to bust out my sweaters and scarves and boots and drink steamy drinks and eat pumpkin everything. We even already put up our cute little fall door sign.


Isn't he cute and welcoming?


What is your favorite part of fall? Are you as excited as I am for it's true arrival?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sooooo cute!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing two of the cutest kids ever! Bekah and I have been friends for several years. Even before her son, Logan, was born.  Bekah's on the far right on the photo below, and she had just given birth to her daughter, Sabrina, a couple of weeks earlier. Sabrina actually turns 1 year old today. Happy Birthday, Sabrina!


And, since I don't have heaps more to share with you today (I made a delicious smoothy this morning, but it looked slightly like baby poop, so I didn't want to take photos...but maybe I'll include the recipe below. We'll see), I decided I'll share some of the photos from the shoot instead.

[caption id="attachment_1043" align="aligncenter" width="477"] Logan and Sabrina[/caption]

Aren't they cute? We had so much fun playing at the park, dressing up a little, snapping a few shots. That's my favorite way to shoot kids (that sounds so awful!). Just let them be themselves and have fun and I'll capture the moment. I feel you get the most genuine representation of their personalities that way. And isn't that what we are aiming to do? Remember them at this age? Anyway, here are a few more. Enjoy! And happy Friday!





Thursday, September 13, 2012

30 things to do before my 30th birthday

Last month I turned 29. I am not like most people when it comes to birthdays. I freaking love mine! I love that there's a day that's just mine and I don't have to drive or pay or do dishes. I can't change the fact that it comes around once a year, so why fight it?

[caption id="attachment_1032" align="aligncenter" width="323"] Lil Man helping me finish my birthday ice cream...[/caption]

But this was the last of my twenty-something birthdays. So far I don't feel like that carries any kind of stigma, at least not for me. I know people tend to go bat-shit crazy when they turn 30, 40, 50...you know, the milestones after 21. But for now, I don't feel like the world is going to end or that I'll be instantly rocketed into senility. That being said, I do realize it's a milestone and it's caused me to reflect on my prior 28 years and nineteen days and I've made a list: 30 things to do before I turn 30. It's more fun stuff than crazy "Oh my god, I haven't DONE THIS!" type of stuff, and while I'd love to finish it, it won't completely screw up my life if I don't. It's for fun, for motivation, a little bit of enrichment and some of them are just so I can say I did.

Without further adieu, the list!

30 things to do before I turn 30


(This list can also be found in a tab at the top of the page!)

1. Try 30 new recipes

2. Buy a house

3. Write a(nother) novel

4. Go to a storage auction (like Storage Wars only I've wanted to do this since I was 7 and my friend's parents brought home a whole crap ton of treasures from one!)

5. Read 30 books

6. Sell one of my photographs

7. Paint pottery

8. Create my own signature cocktail

9. Throw a party (in our new house!)

10. Learn to be happy with my body

11. Revamp my wardrobe (get rid of crap I don't wear, update my style a tick)

12. Figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life

13. Learn to be happy in Roseville

14. Get rid of everything I don't need

15. Find my perfect lipstick (inspired by my good friend, Jenny, who feels lipstick is a necessity in life)

16. Find the perfect little black dress

17. Pay off all debts (excluding house from item 2 and car)

18. Try one of the crafts I've pinned on Pinterest

19. Take a photo that really makes me go "wow"

20. Go hiking in Yosemite

21. Purchase a nice (non-Ikea) piece of furniture

22. Read a whole book in one day

23. Learn the live completely in the moment

24. Take a class with Jim (maybe a cooking class, maybe a photography class or a tennis class, to be determined)

25. Learn how to fold a fitted sheet

26. Compile a cookbook of my most-cooked recipes

27. Cut my hair and donate it to Locks of Love

28. Get a dog

29. Take a yoga class

30. Have an amazing 30th birthday

So there ya have it. They're not all amazingly exciting or anything. Some are downright boring and serious, but these are the things I hope to accomplish in the next year. I'll keep you up to date as I tick them off.