Saturday, August 20, 2011

Adventures in LA

My last big trip of the summer was to Los Angeles to visit a friend who works for a non-profit.  I had never been before and wasn't entirely sure what to expect.  But I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would (the 75 degree, low humidity weather may have helped!) and would love to go back with the husband sometime!

Some of our adventures over the weekend included:

Going to a park in downtown LA for a movie festival and food truck gathering

I got my dinner from Dogtown Dogs, a hot dog truck.  It was delicious!

Red Velvet Pancakes from Buttermilk - a breakfast food truck.  Amazingggggg.

A trip to Hermosa Beach

Visit from Griffith Observatory of the Hollywood sign - definitely the best place on trip we went!  Such good views of the city

The famous Walt Disney Concert Hall

Cool graffiti exhibit downtown

In Santa Moncia

The original muscle beach!

No actual journeys into Hollywood this time - or celebrity sightings!  Perhaps next trip! :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Making Peach Preserves!

On Friday, the local Whole Foods had peaches on sale for $.69 a lb!  That was entirely too good a deal to pass up, so I went and bought a whole case of peaches!  (so it was a half bushel for $15.52 - such a good deal on fresh, local NC peaches!)

However - I now have half a bushel of peaches to use up as they definitely won't last that long!  Yesterday, I decided to use a good bit of them to make peach preserves.  I just used a basic recipe from Martha Stewart (which can be found here) and I think they turned out really well!

Here are some pictures of the process:
Peaches freshly peeled and ready to be chopped up (notice the large box of peaches in the background...)

The recipe only calls for three ingredients - peaches, sugar, and lemon juice!

The peaches cooking while we sterilize the jars

Easy peasy sterilization!

The cooked down ingredients ready for the jars!

The final product - the jar size we use is a half pint jar - just because there are only two of us, so we don't want an open jar to spoil because we're not eating it quick enough.  Plus, with the husband's diet, it's usually just me eating the preserves!  

The plan for today is to bake a few more peach recipes and then freeze most of the rest!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What I'm doing today

The much needed, but never been done before, task of cleaning our blinds.  You know you're a grown-up when you realize the only way those blinds are going to get clean is if you man up and do it yourself....don't I look so cheerful??

A busy summer of traveling: East Coast edition

The first week of July my mother's side of the family rented out a house in Kill Devil Hill's - over the course of the week, over 20 people stayed there!  If you want to get in some good quality family time - this definitely seems to be a fun way to do it - rent out a giant house and just pile everyone in!  Each family took a night of the week to make dinner, saving tons of money on eating out (although it does mean I have zero restaurant recs!).  It was also quite hot in July - the northern relatives were feeling a bit melty, while us southerners poo-poohed their complaints :)  But overall - definitely a memorable week and something I want to do again in the future - whether with family or friends!

Wild Horses on Corolla! (while they are "wild" - they seemed pretty tame...)

our home for the week!

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse - always a must see while at the OBX

Sunrise our last full day there!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A busy summer of travelling - San Francisco edition

The husband and I really enjoy travelling and we've hit several locations on both the east and west coast since May.  I thought it might be fun to do a few posts detailing our favorite spots to eat and things to do in each place.

In May we went to San Francisco for a whole week - which was absolutely amazing!  We rarely get to really experience one place for that long, so it was great to really to be able to explore!

We stayed with a friend, so I don't have any hotel recs, but we ate out plenty - and did a fair amount of adventuring too!

Some of the good places we ate at:
Little Delhi - amazing indian food in the Tenderloin district

Beach Chalet - some of my husband's family took us here (they live in SF) - a little fancier but right along the water and has some very tasty crab dishes!

and probably the best meal of the trip was at B*Star - a Burmese restaurant that was to die for!  We had never had Burmese food (which is kind of a thai/indian fusion type cuisine) but we were immediately sad it' not available in NC!) I highly recommend the avocado shake - super tasty!

We also ate dim sum at an unassuming restaurant in Chinatown (there are so many options that it is hard to wrong there!) and delicious sushi at a small place right down the street from our friend's apartment.  You can't really go wrong with Asian cuisine or fresh seafood in SF! 

 And of course, we had to hit up Ghiradelli for an over the top sundae!  This trip we got the Peanut Butter and Chocolate sundae - every last bit was amazing!

Other things we did included:

Find fun statues around the city - and pose with them obviously. 

Go to Fisherman's Wharf and see the Boudin Sourdough breads being made!

Indulge the husband's coffee habit and visit FOUR! coffee shops while there - including Blue Bottle and Ritual Coffee (which was the favorite - the Valencia St. location)

One of the most fun days we had was biking across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito.  We used Blazing Saddles to rent the bikes from and spent the whole day biking - it was so much fun!  We grabbed lunch in Sausalito - at a really good deli named Venace - highly recommend!  I got a brie, apple and avocado sandwich - yummmm!

 We also spent a day exploring Sonoma - which was recommended by the locals over Napa!  We went to four wineries - Cline Cellars, Jacuzzi Winery, Gundlach Bundschu Winery which we all liked, and then Valley of the Moon Winery, which we weren't fans of.  The first two had free tastings - which was a surprise - but a nice one!  And at Jacuzzi, they also had an olive press and had olive oil tastings which we really enjoyed.  You never realize olive oil can have so many different tastes until you taste different varieties side by side! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Free time = Time to clean

After a whirlwind two weeks celebrating my brother's wedding and then a large family trip to the OBX, I am now facing a few weeks that are completely free.  I knew the free time was coming, so I had started a mental list a while ago of things to do while I'm not working.  Number one on the list was organize, clean, and clean out, our home office, which I don't think has really been tackled since we moved in over two years ago!

I'm expecting it to take a week or so to get through, slowly but surely.  I figured I'd post a few before pictures and hopefully by the end of July we'll have a shiny, clean, organized office that doesn't feel like a dorm room to work in!

Scary right!?