Sunday, April 29, 2012

Friday Afternoon

On Friday I got to work a half-day and Dietrich and I had the most blissful Friday afternoon.  There is nothing like getting off work early on a beautiful day, knowing that you have the whole weekend ahead of you.  

We walked Bella over to our friends' house to have a play date with their dog, Tug.  It was so fun to watch them play!  Tug is about Bella's size, but full grown.  The play hard, and it tires Bella out.  We like that.

Once 5 o'clock rolled around (which seemed like forever after getting off at noon) we rode bikes to the Swift Street Courtyard for wine and dinner.  I absolutely love this little business park, and dream of having my own little shop there some day.  It seems like there are new little places popping up there all the time, and we tend to frequent the same three - Kelly's Bakery, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, and New Leaf.  We decided to try a new tasting room (there are now twelve in this business park!) Vine Hill Winery.  It was lovely, and I can't wait to go back.  Great wine, reasonable prices, friendly service, and they will even deliver food from Kelly's.   

We ended the evening snuggling with Bella and watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  A pretty perfect evening if you ask me!

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Road Trip Part II

I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted.  Time really flies when you have a new pup and you're recovering from vacation ;).

Our road trip continued down the Central Coast with a two-night stop in Santa Barbara. The goal was complete relaxation.  It started with a dinner at the Boathouse, right on the beach. 

We got a great deal to stay at the Bacara Resort where one of Dietrich's friends works.  He took us on a golf cart tour of the grounds and showed us wedding sites - we pretended we were a newly engaged couple.

After the tour we went on a little walk to explore and admire the scenery.  I loved all the walking paths and ocean views!

We spent the afternoon at the pool eating chips with guacamole, drinking sangria and soaking in the sun.  Unfortunately we soaked up a little too much.  Spring sun feels so good, it's hard to know when you've had enough of it!

Our second evening we got to visit with our friends Nicole and Jesse.  We had so much fun catching up that I didn't manage to get any pictures, except a quick shot of dessert - plain frozen yogurt with sprinkles and mochi from their local yogurt shop Rockin' Yogurt.

After dinner Dietrich and I went to one of my favorite markets, Lazy Acres, to get aloe and staples for the rest of our trip.  

I loved their display of terrariums!

After our two nights in Santa Barbara we were off to Pacific Palisades to visit Dietrich's parents.

We went on a beautiful hike.

We also shopped in Santa Monica, and I got a long wished-for down jacket and vest - perfect for walking Bella and riding bikes to my sister's house.

It's always lovely to stay with Dietrich's parents, and it doesn't hurt that Jim makes a mean margarita :).

All in all, the road trip was a success!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Road trip

Dietrich and I are on a little road trip to celebrate the end of tax season and relax.  We left yesterday and headed south on Highway 1.  

Our first stop was the Big Sur Bakery, where I indulged in a latte and a mocha cookie, and Dietrich had a meatloaf sandwich.

We also stopped at a few vista points along the way, and admired the breathtaking scenery.

Dietrich was very excited to show me Kirk Creek, a car camping spot he hopes to take me to someday.  I'm not a big camper, but I could settle in at a spot like this for a day or two.  Especially with an ample supply of s'mores and friends.  Any takers?

More of our road trip to come soon....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Roast Chicken

We eat a lot of chicken in our house.  Dietrich likes to buy them whole, and we have a few go to recipes for preparing them.  Even with a few preparation styles in the mix it still gets a little old at times, which is why I was excited to see a simple roast chicken recipe on A CUP OF JO's best recipes series.  (I am obsessed, I think I have made more than half of the recipes posted).  Dietrich tried it out and it was absolutely delicious! Once it cooled I sampled a piece, skin and all.  It took a ton of willpower to not eat all the skin on the spot.  It was the perfect combination of crispy and buttery.  

P.S. This is another one of our favorite chicken recipes - so easy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dear friends

This weekend Dietrich and I got to visit some old dear friends.  It was delightful to catch up and see their adorable, cozy cottage in the cutest pocket of a neighborhood.  When we got there we took a little walk with their pup and spotted a great horned owl sitting in a eucalyptus tree.  It was very regal, and my first owl sighting in person.

We visited, drank tea, ate waffles and chocolate, talked about dogs, gardening and life.  They showed us their garden (pictured above) which used to be a muddy, flat field.  It was so inspiring to be around them! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Then and Now



 Another addition to my Then and Now series....

Bella Luna

We have a new member of our family!    

This weekend Dietrich and I got a little puppy and named her Bella Luna.

She is absolutely adorable, and we are so in love :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Inspired by this post over at A CUP OF JO, I decided to make tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner last night.  I've actually already made it twice since its posting, because that's how we roll around here. 
The savory grilled cheese recipe supplied by Kate from {Wit & Delight} is absolutely fat-fully, delicious, even on gluten-free bread.

The first time around, I made the tomato soup recipe verbatim, except instead of tomato croutons, we had brussels sprout croutons (my office had a fresh delivery from one of our farmer clients).  It was very yummy and fresh tasting, but took a little longer than I hoped for on a weeknight and I don't think I let it churn in the food processor long enough.  I would also recommend deseeding the tomatoes if you go this route. 

So, when Dietrich asked me to replicate the dinner last night I opted to use my own tomato soup recipe, or lack thereof.  It's so simple and it's probably been made a million times, but I am very proud of it as I made it on my own without a recipe and I rarely cook like that.  Here's the recipe - and I apologize for the lack of precise measurements:

Olive oil
1/2 of a large onion
1 28 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes
Garlic granules
Red wine
Whole milk
Ricotta cheese - (you can make it fresh like Shoko!)

1. Saute chopped onion in olive oil in your soup pot for about 5-7 minutes
2. Add full can of tomatoes and sprinkle generously with garlic granules and salt to taste. Let it come to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes
3. Pour contents into a food processor or blender and let it whirl for a bit until it reaches a consistency that you are happy with.
4. Return mixture to pot on low heat.
5. Pour in half of the glass of red wine that you have been drinking (about 1/4-1/3 of a cup)
6. Pour 3-4 seconds worth of whole milk into the soup.
7. Stir and let simmer another few minutes, add additional seasoning to taste.
8.  Serve with a heap of ricotta cheese, fresh basil and grilled cheese.

Yum :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Then and Now


Thanks to my mom, I managed to dress somewhat stylishly as a tot.  When my sister sent me this photo of myself circa 1984, I thought I might have something similar in my wardrobe today.  Thus the idea of "then and now" was born.  More to come.