Tuesday, December 14, 2010

8 bottles of wine later...

Just a quick post stemming from a great week of food-and especially wine! It didn't seem like much as I was in the middle of it, enjoying it all; but it happened regardless. As Pat and I prepared for our Christmas trip to New Jersey, Pat piled in the wine bottles that had been stacked along the counter. (unasked might I add!) 1 week-8 bottles-lots of fun! It was pretty hilarious when I saw all of the bottles, especially since I know I drank a good amount of it; which of course led me to this post.

How it broke down:

Monday: Baked orzo, peas, and mushrooms, with an Australian Pinot Grigio: Yellowtail

Tuesday: Chicken and white bean (oops red bean since forgot the white at the store!) Chili, with another Australian Syrah: Yellowtail (can't beat a good deal at the store!)

Wednesday: day off from cooking (attended a Christmas dinner with a neighbor)

Thursday: great Rachel Ray recipe: Gnocchi with Sirloin, with Sauvignon Blanc: Yellowtail

Friday: left-overs! plus movie date =)

Saturday: Early Christmas dinner (see previous post) BEST WINE OF THE WEEK! Thanks to Dad: St. Supery red (don't remember type), Rutherford Hill Blend, Plus another red for cards (another no-name great deal at local store), and a great white wine: Ledger Wineries (I think!) this was our "while cooking wine."

Sunday: Girl Scout Christmas dinner for Amy, In-n-Out for Pat =)

Monday: first try at Risotto...loved it!!! with my first "BevMo" purchase...Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc

Needless to say, we had a great week of food, fun, and wine! Cheers!

Monday, December 13, 2010

An early California Christmas

This year Pat and I are spending the holidays in New Jersey with his family, but I just can't go without decorating our house. Even though we will miss almost two weeks of December in California, I still wanted to share in the holidays with my family. So, we brought out our decorations (and maybe a little of Sara's and G-ma's) and decorated. I love holiday decorations and I have to go all out. Since we were only in a small apartment last year, we didn't have too many decorations to fill up an entire house.

My solution: I just decorated the dining room/entry way so my things weren't spread too thin! We couldn't decorate the front half of the house (for reasons beyond our control) so our Christmas tree had to go in the dining room this year. Thankfully, most of the items we purchased last year worked in our new home and we now have a very Christmas-y entry. I absolutely love it and can't wait until next year when I will hopefully be able to spend a little more money to spread the holiday cheer into our family room and kitchen!

Of course, decorating isn't as fun if you know there won't be a lot of time to enjoy it, so I decided to host an early Christmas dinner with my parents and sister. So, 2 weeks before the big day, they came over for some good food, Christmas music, a walk through the neighborhood to see the lights, and to see our decorations on display.

On the menu:
Prime rib
Potato and parsnip gratin
roasted brussel sprouts with caramelized onions
Gingerbread cupcakes with eggnog frosting and apple streusel cupcakes! (this one thanks to my sister!)

What a great meal and a fun time with the family!

Playing a little rock band Beatles while the Prime rib was cooking...

A couple views of the table

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Quarter Century!

Just a quick post to celebrate my husband's 25th Birthday! Not too big of a celebration since it was just the two of us but it was still a great day. We previously celebrated his birthday last weekend with my parents and sister at TAPS for an Octoberfest beer dinner which was amazing.

For his birthday dinner we decided to head to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch game 2 of the NLDS since Pat loves the place. We got to watch the Phillies on the big screen while enjoying great beer and wings. They gave us a scare the first half of the game but came back for a great win!

Wearing our Phillies gear!!

His birthday cake was delicious, but I wish I had time to hand make the cake itself instead of using a box. He wanted red velvet cake and I didn't want to hassle the food coloring so I bought a box instead. To make up for it I made the frosting from scratch and it turned out great! It was a cream cheese whipped cream frosting and it went perfect with the cake. To be honest, I wanted to just eat the frosting; the cake was more of an accompaniment to the deliciousness of the frosting. Hopefully next year I will have a great recipe for the cake as well so I don't have to use a box.

His birthday cake with 24 regular candles and a baseball glove on top of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup for the 25th!

So many candles!!! What an old man =)

Bon App├ętit!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

I don't know if it's just the nice fall weather or finally having a house to decorate, but I am so excited for Halloween this year! It has been a few years so I have really been looking forward to carving some pumpkins (and baking pumpkin seeds-yum!) Luckily I read an article out of a local event paper that highlighted a great family owned pumpkin patch in the area. Lavender Hill Pumpkin Farm is the place and it is in Fallbrook, CA. Only about 20 minutes from our house and we were in pumpkin wonderland!

I looked over their website before going and really thought it was a great choice since they were very low-thrills...just a good variety of home-grown pumpkins, and lots to choose from. What I really loved about the place was their quirky side. They had quite a few abnormal pumpkins and have named them all different and creative names.

The pumpkin "museum" with all of the named pumpkins

More of the named pumpkins

They named their pumpkins after all sorts of people, both real and made up. I saw a "Darth Vader," "Zeus," "Xerxes," "The Ugly Duckling," "Iago," and so on.

"Gargantua" the creamy one, and "Gort" the misshapen one, and

I can't remember the third one.

They have around 30 varieties of pumpkins to choose from which really makes your decision tough, especially if you are extra picky like me. I made Pat walk all over the pumpkin patch as I searched for the perfect large carving pumpkin, small carving pumpkins, and decorating pumpkins. In the front they had a bunch of small varieties to make your picking a little easier, which of course just made me want to buy even more.

I think this picture of the green and white pumpkin is my favorite type I found that day. Besides of course the "Cinderella" type which we will have to get next year.

My pumpkin I will carve into when we found it on our search.

Pat chose the perfect shirt for the day...Flyers started the pre-season today (I think) and a great orange color for the pumpkin patch. Though I don't know if he planned it like that.

2 pumpkins found so far...

Our bounty!

The guy told us all of the different varieties when we paid. Of course I don't remember them all but we did get a bumpy one that was a "Rumpelstiltskin" variety! Now we can start decorating for Halloween and Fall!

And I wanted to end with our adorable kitties...I take way too many pictures of them so I figured I might as well share one of them actually hanging out together. Happy October!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Settled yet?

What do you know...another long gap in posts and I really don't have a big excuse for it. We have been safe and sound in California for over a month now and yet I have really been slacking on the whole blogging thing. I really will try to get better at it!

We have had quite a busy month or so. ( I guess that could be partly to blame!) After our successful drive across the country (post coming soon-need to get pictures from by bro), we started to get our house ready for the movers who were arriving about a week after we did. Luckily, my wonderful G-ma was able to help us go through all of the items she left behind in her house. She really is an amazing woman and so full of energy. I don't know what we would have done without her help and that extra push she always seems to give me.

Before all of our furniture arrived, we had a little welcome home celebration at my parents house with some close family and friends. It was such a great way to come home without having to worry about a bunch of people coming over. That was probably the first semi-relaxing day we had had since we officially started packing everything up a week before the move.

The beautiful welcome home cake created by my sister and mom!

My dad and Pat relaxing before the party

Then it was time for the movers... we really lucked out on this (thank god I had a wonderful co-worker whose husband happened to own a moving company-thank you Maggie!) The driver and helpers were wonderful and did a great job getting all of our belongings to our new home safe and sound. I think we only had one plastic bin that was slightly dented. Of course once they were done all the fun began!

Pat and I definitely have our priorities strait...our first goal was to get our tv set-up so we could watch movies while we unpacked! I think we watched about 4 movies back-to-back before we were close to having the kitchen ready. The rest of the family room wasn't too bad. Our bedroom took a little longer...lots of books and other little things to put away. Actually, we still haven't finished since we have tons of pictures and things to put up. That will probably be a work in progress for quite awhile.

All of this fit into the trunks of our two cars!

Most of our bedroom things

Watching "Step Brothers" while we unpacked!

I think overall it took us about 2 weeks to fully unpack (with some small stuff still left).

Found the perfect spot for our "Priscilla" painting! She is my great Aunt and a wonderful artist! (Those books will be in the community garage sale...all national geographic if anyone is interested)

Gizmo hiding and Tigger laying on top of her as we get all settled!

We really love our new home and can't wait to have visitors over. We are very fortunate that Pat's mom has already come out for a visit and we all had a great time! We can't wait to have her back as well as whomever would like to come with her. The post on our week together will come soon.

All in all we are very happy and excited for what is to come here in Escondido!

Here are a few pictures of some of the finished product from our new home:

Our master bath

Bedroom with some pics up

Other view of room...

I love my new kitchen!!!

Our mix and match family room

Our wedding party photo hanging over our fire place!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Moving and Phillies

The time has finally come for Pat and I to move back to California (well back for me at least!) We have had a great summer hanging with friends and family, visiting some great places, and just enjoying the summer. Along the way we packed up most of our life (but Pat still has quite a few things that will have to be left at his parents house). I can not believe how much stuff we own...a lot of it can probably be classified as junk. We basically packed stuff up all summer and started stacking it in the dining room of our apartment.

This picture is about when we were half way done...

The last few days the poor kitties have gone through periods of unrest as they realized something was going on. Here is Tigger in one of her many hiding spots as she adjusted to each change.

One problem with moving is figuring out what to do with unused food that you don't want to go to waste. After we finished packing up the entire kitchen, Pat decided he wanted to finish off his "Gadzooks" ice cream (it is so good with peanut butter brownie pieces). Well, when you don't have any silverware you are usually left to use whatever you can find. Luckily he was able to find a serving tong to use...pretty funny!

To get away from all the moving stuff, we decided to go to one last Phillies game this last Tuesday. They played the Dodgers (bummer of a game though losing 15 to 9) which I thought was very apropos for our upcoming move. We did also get a chance to watch the Angels play in Baltimore. Just a little bit of California before we leave the east coast! We took full advantage of our last Phillies game arriving when the gates opened. We were finally able to watch the home team take batting practice-usually we never make it in time. It was also so nice and relaxing to be able to not rush to eat. We ate at "Harry the K's" to watch batting practice while having some cold beer and ball park food. Highly suggested for some pre-game food. This game is the first time we purchased "standing room only" tickets and it was so worth it. We stood behind the lower field section just beyond 3rd base. What a great view!!! Plus the Phillies were not doing so hot so we got to sit in the lower section from the 7th on since so many people had left.

Even though the game was a loss pretty early on, we still enjoyed ourselves tremendously. We got to witness the first career home run for Dominic Brown, who will hopefully turn out to be a great ball player. Here is the bell ringing after the home run hit.
We really have had a great last couple of weeks on the east coast. It really has a lot to do with the great friends and family that Pat has and I have been lucky enough to get close to. Whether it was drinking with friends, going to family parties, or just hanging out; we really enjoyed every minute we have had. There really is going to be a lot that we will miss living out here with a lot of it being things you don't normally think about. It is the little things that really make the difference in your life and there were plenty of these I really enjoyed. We are definitely looking forward to the start of our life together in California, but I am grateful we had a chance to experience life together on the east coast these last 4 years. Thank you to everyone who has really helped to make me feel welcome so far from my home (and making Jersey feel like home while I was here) =)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Visiting Jere

Quite a bit has happened these last couple of months, and whether it was due to laziness, or just a busy schedule; I have a few updates to make. I wanted to start with our trip we took to visit my cousin Jere in Virginia back in May (I know...it should not take me 2 months!). He is in the navy and stationed in Norfolk on the U.S.S. Porter. We have both lived on the east coast for a little while but have never had a chance to meet up. Pat had already finished school and I took a sick day to make it a long weekend. Besides visiting with my cousin, we also were lucky enough to spend one day with his adorable son, Christopher!

Lucky us, we had a personal tour of a U.S. Navy Destroyer! It was such a great tour! Here is a big portion of the ship from the deck

The boys early in the tour

Pat in the captain's chair! He loved hamming it up for me.

Chris playing at one of Jere's stations

A look down the hallway standing in Jere's section.

I like this shot with the flags...it was such a beautiful day!

We also had a chance to go ice skating and watch Jere play some hockey, which he recently picked up. I warn you, the next picture is very awkward looking. Pat has never been ice skating before so I was helping him just after he started...he got a lot better by the end of the day!

Christopher didn't get to go skating with us but he did get to go on the ice in his sneakers after Jere's game-he loved it! He is wearing one of Jere's hockey undershirts here.

Watching the hockey game-so cute!

Father and son together after the game! We had such a great time. He also took us to a flight simulator where we got to fight with F-16's. Yours truly was pronounced the winner by the way! The only way I was able to win was that Jere let Chris fly for him...but still I was the only girl and I won! Also worth a mention was the great bar-b-q we had at a restaurant called Smokey Bones. Soooo good! I think it will only be topped by our upcoming road trip through Memphis. I only wish we had time for a few more visits before we move back west-thanks Jere for the great trip!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

CA wedding, cats, and space bag

I was lucky enough to make a quick weekend trip to California for a friends wedding. This was definitely some much needed time off from school, I was able to use personal days to make it a 5 day trip. There really is nothing like going home and just being able to relax.
Of course finally having In-n-out and Miguel's after 3 months just hits that home-sick spot just right. I think Miguel's might actually be at the top of my list of foods to have when I get home. (even over in-n-out!) When you don't have the opportunity to eat the Mexican food you grew up with, it really takes precedence over anything else.

After a wonderful Saturday spent with my family, I had my friend Thanhthuy's wedding to attend on Sunday down in Mission Bay, San Diego. I have been lucky enough to know Thuy since 7th grade. We were friends all through high school and were even roommates our freshman year of college. I am so glad I was able to make it out for her wedding (using a free flight I have earned). Here are few shots from her wedding.
Her brother and sister walked her down the aisle part of the way.
They both are wonderful singers...here they are having two chimes join in song as one
What a beautiful cake!
Denise and I (another friend we met in college)
The beautiful bride and I

Now on to our cats. These two are our "kids" and I just can't help taking pictures of them, especially when they are nice to each other and lay together. We celebrate Gizmo's birthday on Cinco de Mayo so she is now 8 years old! I can't believe how fast it has gone. She was born the end of my freshman year of college and has been my cat ever since.
Here is a great one of Tigger. She LOVES bags and somehow managed to turn this one into her own personal cape. "What?" She just laid there for so long looking at us like we were the crazy ones. = )
And finally, a great invention I can't wait to use more of. I recently purchased the "space bag." We have so much stuff and not very much storage space. I have here the trial run of our attempt to clean up our bulky winter stuff. In the piles are a winter coat for each of us, a regular coat, 3 sweaters, 8 beanies, gloves, and 4 scarves.
I fit everything but the scarves and one sweater in the bag. Here it is with most of the air sucked out. I had to open it and work it again, but you get the idea of how much space we will save. I can't wait to try it on more things!